President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday
One of the challenges [to the resumption of negotiations] has been continued settlement activity in the West Bank area. I've been clear with prime minster Netanyahu...that we do not consider continued settlement activity to be constructive, to be appropriate, to be something that can advance the cause of peace.
Asked about the Israeli-backed plan for settlements in the E1 area in the West Bank near Jerusalem, Obama said:
I think that is an example of a public statement by the Israeli government that would be very difficult to square with a two-state solution. And I've said that to prime minster Netanyahu. I don't think that's a secret.
However, Obama declared that the West Bank leadership should not demand a freeze on settlement before resuming discussions with Israel:
What I shared with President Abbas is that if the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time then there is no point for negotiations. It is important to work through this process even if there are irritants on both sides. The Israeli have concerns about rockets firing into their cities last night....
Even though may have areas of strong disagreement maybe engaging in activities that the other side considers to be a breach of good faith, we have to push through those things.