The White House will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday in an effort to broker a peace agreement between the two Mideast nations.
President Barack Obama said he is "cautiously hopeful" about the talks.
"This moment of opportunity may not soon come again," Obama said at the White House Wednesday night.
"Ultimately, the U.S. cannot impose a solution, and we cannot want it more than the parties themselves," he said. "There are enormous risks here for all the parties involved, but we cannot do it for them."
Israelis "recognize that another people shares this land with us," Netanyahu said, adding that any agreement must ensure the Jewish state's security.
"We left Lebanon. We got terror. We left Gaza, and we got terror once again. We want to ensure that territory we concede will not be turned into a third Iranian-sponsored terror enclave aimed at the heart of Israel," he said.
Both Mideast leaders agreed that their nations must seize the moment.
"We don't want blood to be shed, neither that of Palestinians nor of Israelis," Abbas said. "We want peace, we want normal life. We want to live as partners and neighbors."
The U.S. is hopeful the negotiations will lead to a series of meetings and the eventual creation of a Palestinian state.