Scant Hope of Breakthrough as Barack Obama's Mideast Trip Looms

Many Questions But Few Answers With Israel Awaiting Visit

getty images

By Reuters

Published March 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 4)

The White House believes Israelis have yet to reach a consensus on how to confront Iran, according to a source familiar with the administration’s thinking, who added that Obama would stress the need for patience with sanctions and diplomacy. U.S. officials also hope a high-profile recommitment to Israel’s security will increase public pressure on Netanyahu to avoid aggravating the situation while negotiations continue.

NO “GRAND PEACE PLAN”

Obama is likely to press both the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table, but he told American Jewish leaders in private before the trip that he did not intend to deliver a “grand peace plan” during the visit. Participants said the president did not preclude the possibility of launching an initiative in six months or a year.

The mood was very different at the start of his first term, when Obama said peace between Israelis and Palestinians was 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 the 1967 Middle East war.

Obama revived direct peace talks in 2010, but they collapsed soon afterwards when Netanyahu refused to bow to Palestinian demands to extend a partial freeze on settlement building.

Both the Palestinians and Israelis felt let down by Obama, for very different reasons. The Israelis begrudged the fact that at the start of his first term, he publicly told Israel to halt all Jewish settlement building, saying this put unfair pressure on Netanyahu to make unilateral concessions.

The Palestinians were furious when Obama then backed away from his demand over settlement construction, saying the peace talks were doomed unless Washington twisted Israel’s arm.

Both sides say that without a serious U.S. engagement, the chances of a deal are close to zero. However, few U.S. analysts expect Obama to expend much political capital on an elusive peace accord that has tied up so many of his predecessors.


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!
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • 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.