RAMALLAH, West Bank (CBS/AP) — President Obama called for a free and independent Palestinian state while visiting the West Bank with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas Thursday.

“Palestinians deserve a state of their own,” Obama said during a joint news conference with Abbas in Ramallah.

Obama believes that a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians is possible.

“If we can get direct negotiations started again I believe that the shape of a potential deal is there,” Obama said.

The big thing standing in the way of a possible peace deal is Israeli settlements in the West Bank which Abbas deems “illegal.”

“Israel doesn’t trust the two-state solution anymore,” Abbas said, adding that he hopes the Israeli government understands that these settlements are illegal.

Obama said he told Israeli officials that the White House does not consider settlement activity in the West Bank to be appropriate or constructive. He says Palestinians should not have to confront the daily indignities that come with occupation.

Despite the conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians, Obama believes that a lasting peace deal can get done.

“I absolutely believe that it is still possible, but I think it is very difficult,” Obama said.

A new poll finds 36 percent of the 500 Israelis who were surveyed believe the president is more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, The Jerusalem Post reports. By comparison, 26 percent said Obama was more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian.

Obama arrived in Israel Wednesday to kick-off his Mideast swing. The president will also visit Jordan before heading back to the White House.

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