This day in Obama foreign policy.November 3 2009 at 11:56 AM
Today the National (UAE) published a story entitled, "Obama betrays hope created by Cairo speech." As the Arab press turns against Obama, can it safely be concluded that the administration's first foray into the arena of Israel-Palestine peace-making has failed? Two of the major prongs were the Cairo speech and the demand for a full settlement freeze. These together were designed to paint the current U.S. administration as an even-handed broker and show a sharp departure from the Bush administration. A full settlement freeze, including natural growth and settlement construction in Jerusalem, is something that was never politically feasible in Israel, least of all under the current government. That did not, however, stop Abu Mazen from following the Obama administration and coming out in support of it as a precondition for negotiations. Now, as the administration backtracks Abu Mazen is once again left out in the cold to deal with the harsh realities of Palestinian politics.
The demand for a full settlement freeze also did not stop Israelis from coming to the conclusion that the current administration is not acting in Israel's interests. President Obama's poor polling numbers in Israel show that Israelis simply do not trust him. The support of the Israeli public would have been crucial in making progress since any proposal would have required Israel to take risks that might compromise its security.
As we enter Palestinian election season, it has become clear that we are today unfortunately further from peace than we were on January 19th.
Source: Weekly Standard
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