Obama Netanyahu US Israel
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in WashingtonReuters

President Barack Obama has declared that he has not given up hope for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. However, he added that tensions in the region and "serious questions about overall commitment" have made progress difficult.

"It's no secret that we now have a very difficult path forward. As a result, the United States is taking a hard look at our approach to the conflict," Obama said in an interview with Asharq al-Awsat, an Arabic international newspaper based in London.

"We look to the new Israeli government and the Palestinians to demonstrate - through policies and actions - a genuine commitment to a two-state solution," Obama said.

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas
Palestinian leader Mahmud AbbasGetty Images

He noted that when he visited Ramallah, on the West Bank, two years ago,he said that "Palestinians deserve an end to the occupation and the daily indignities that come with it; they deserve to live in an independent, sovereign state, where they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity.

"And as I said in my speech to the Israeli people on that same trip, peace between Israelis and Palestinians is necessary, it is just, and it is possible. It is also in the national security interest of the United States."

However, he stressed that "with the breakdown of talks, simmering tension in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, last summer's conflict in Gaza, and serious questions about overall commitment to a two-state outcome, it's no secret that we now have a very difficult path forward. As a result, the United States is taking a hard look at our approach to the conflict".

Obama said that it was ultimately down to the two parties "to address not just Gaza's immediate humanitarian and reconstruction needs, but also core challenges to Gaza's future within a two-state context, including reinvigorating Gaza's connection with the West Bank and re-establishing strong commercial links with Israel and the global economy".