Israeli and Palestinian Leaders Congratulate Obama

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and P.A. chief negotiator Saeb Erekat are pleased with President Obama's re-election.

Both are hopeful Obama will pressure Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, act against "settlement activities," and support the P.A.'s unilateral statehood bid at the United Nations., WAFA, the P.A.'s semi-official news agency, reported Wednesday.

"We have decided to take the Palestinian issue to the U.N., and we hope that Obama will stand by this Palestinian right," Erekat said. "What Obama needs to do is stop the Israeli settlement policy and not act to stop the Palestinian activity at the U.N."

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also congratulated Obama in a statement released by the Defense Ministry.

"I have no doubt that the Obama administration will continue its policy -- whereby Israel's security is at its very foundations -- as well as its efforts to tackle the challenges facing all of us in the region, all the while continuing to strive for further progress in the peace process.

"I believe that in the tradition of deep friendship and with a backdrop of shared experiences accrued with President Obama, it will also be possible to overcome any differences in stance, should they arise," the statement read.

Barak wished Obama "great success with the tasks that are yet before him."

And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Obama.

"The strategic alliance between Israel and the U.S. is stronger than ever," Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office. "I will continue to work with President Obama in order to ensure the interests that are vital to the security of the citizens of Israel."

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