(NBCNC) - President Barack Obama was awarded the Medal of Distinction Thursday, the first U.S. president to receive Israel's highest honor.
The ceremony took place after he traveled to the West Bank and demanded Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas re-start the peace talks, while adding that Israel bore responsibility as well.
"I think it's important for us to work through this process, even if there are irritants on both sides," he said.
Irritants like Palestinian attacks on Israel, and Israel building more Jewish settlements.
"We have to push through those things," President Obama urged.
Abbas did not agree, demanding a settlement freeze before any new talks.
Back in Jerusalem, in a speech to friendly students, Mr. Obama urged Israelis to compromise and put themselves in Palestinian shoes.
"It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own," he said.
Still, there's no hint that either side in this epic conflict was swayed by the Obama appeal for compromise.