Here is an excerpt from this morning's AP report:
Obama said he felt it important to "get engaged right away" in the Mideast and had directed [his newly appointed Mideast envoy former Sen. George J.] Mitchell to talk to "all the major parties involved." His administration would craft an approach after that, he said in the interview.
"What I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating," Obama told the interviewer.
The president reiterated the U.S. commitment to Israel as an ally, and to its right to defend itself. But he suggested that Israel has hard choices to make and that his administration would press harder for it to do so.
"We cannot tell either the Israelis or the Palestinians what's best for them. They're going to have to make some decisions. But I do believe that the moment is ripe for both sides to realize that the path that they are on is one that is not going to result in prosperity and security for their people," he said.
Obama added: "There are Israelis who recognize that it is important to achieve peace. They will be willing to make sacrifices if the time is appropriate and if there is serious partnership on the other side."