WASHINGTON -- Ten days after meeting with Israel's prime minister, President Barack Obama discussed peace in the Middle East with the Palestinian leader.
Obama welcomed Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to the White House for the first time on Thursday.
Obama says he's confident the peace process can be advanced if some conditions are met.
"Each party has obligations under the road map. On the Israeli side those obligations include stopping settlements," Obama said.
He's talking about 120 settlements housing hundreds of thousands of Jews in the West Bank.
The President's call to stop development there fits into the peace plan being pushed by Abbas.
It requires Israel give up the West Bank which would become part of a Palestinian state.
But an Israeli spokesman says some construction will continue.
"It's really Jewish land. It's land that God gave us. This land was unoccupied, it was totally, there was nothing here when we came in 1967. There were no Arab houses, there were no Arab fields. All of these things came when the Jews came here," he said.
Obama is making demands of Palestinians, too.
He told Abbas anti-Jewish sentiments taught in schools and mosques must end calling them "impediments to peace."
As part of his goal to improve America's image among Muslims, next week the President is traveling to Egypt to deliver a speech.
He'll discuss how Muslims contribute to the U.S. and how, he says, America can change its relationship with the Muslim world for the better.
Israelis will be watching closely.
President Obama says the rejection of a two state solution on their part is short-sighted.
"If Israel looks long term, looks at its long term strategic interests, then it will realize that a two-state solution is in the interests of the Israeli people, as well as the Palestinians," Obama said.
The President isn't setting a timetable for peace but says increased fear and resentment on both sides is creating a hopelessness, and he wants that to change.