>> if you have been following our coverage, you have heard us talk about the arab spring. the uprising egypt, bahrain, syria, and it's going on right now. today, president obama had a speech laying out his plan for the middle east, and his main message is already proving controversial. we have it covered from all angles with ron allen from the white house.
>> reporter: the president tried to put the u.s. squarely on the side of the people in the arab world, but all of that may have been overshadowed by his most direct comments perhaps about how the israelis and palestinians should make peace. president obama theld so-called arab spring as an historic opportunity.
>> the united states welcomes changes that advances self-determination and opportunity. after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be.
>> saying the u.s. has a stake not just in the stability of the nation but also the freedom of people.
>> our message is simple. if you take the risks that reform entails, you'll have the full support of the united states.
>> reporter: the president had blunt words for dictators for bashar al assad, accused of killing hundreds in a brutal crackdown on protesters wanting change.
>> president assad can lead the challenge or get out of the way.
>> reporter: as we saw first hand in tahrir square where many expected more support from the president, and today, it was his very direct language to israel that was perhaps most striking.
>> the dream of a jewish and democrat state can't be fulfilled without an israeli occupation.
>> calling for an exchange of land for security and peace.
>> we police the borders should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed slots.
>> israel's prime minister, netanyahu, rejetted that, saying israel would be indefensible. however, mr. obama said he's convinced the majority of palestinians and israelis no longer want to be trapped in the past.
>> that's a choice that has to be made. a choice between hate and hope. between the shackles of the past and the promise of the future.
>> reporter: the president also said all palestinians including the militant group hamas, which is now part of the government, must recognize israel's right to exist. the israeli prime minister is here tomorrow for talks with the president. there's certainly more to talk about now.
>> ron allen with a report on the president's speech. let's