Barack Obama's Visit to Israel Fails To Ignite Faded Peace Hopes — On Either Side

Israelis and Palestinians United in Bleak Outlook

An Eternity Ago: Then-candidate Barack Obama meets with Israeli Pinhas Amar to see damage from Palestinian rockets in his home in Sderot. Amar was impressed with Obama, but has become disillusioned in the four years since.
getty images
An Eternity Ago: Then-candidate Barack Obama meets with Israeli Pinhas Amar to see damage from Palestinian rockets in his home in Sderot. Amar was impressed with Obama, but has become disillusioned in the four years since.

By Reuters

Published March 14, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Five years ago, a few months after a Palestinian rocket crashed through his kitchen ceiling, Pinhas Amar received a more welcome guest at his southern Israeli home - Barack Obama, then running for president of the United States.

Amar holds up a picture he now keeps in a back room - unframed and glued to thin cardboard with crumpled corners - of himself showing the missile damage to Obama. He was impressed by the candidate, he says. The president Obama became: less so.

“He promised me he would make sure there would be no more rockets,” said 53-year-old Amar, whose wife was injured in the December 2007 missile attack. “It is quieter today, but I am not optimistic. This calm will not last very long.”

If there is one thing that seems to unite Israelis and Palestinians days before Obama’s visit to Israel, the occupied West Bank and Jordan next week, it is their talk of broken promises and lack of hope that he will ever bring peace.

Across the frontier, in Gaza, Badiaa Anbar, 53, was demonstrating with other parents for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Her own son, she said, was imprisoned 18 years ago for being affiliated with militants.

Despite initial pledges to work hard for a Palestinian state, Obama has turned out to be no different than any of his predecessors, she said.

“Obama’s promises were as deceiving as a mirage. None of these promises came true.”

ONLY WORDS

In his first term Obama started off by making peace between Israelis and Palestinians a top priority. His 2009 “new beginning” speech in Cairo raised Palestinian hopes of establishing a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, territories Israel captured in a 1967 Middle East war.

But those hopes plunged when U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in 2010, only weeks after they began. Israel ignored Obama’s call to halt the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank; the Palestinians refuse to talk as long as settlements are being built.

This time around Obama’s administration is wary of risking its credibility on efforts to revive talks. The White House has said there would be no launch of a diplomatic initiative during the trip.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.