from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Obama in Ramallah and Jerusalem

March 21, 2013

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President Obama spoke at a press conference in Ramallah today and then gave a major speech in Jerusalem.

I’ve analyzed what the President said in Ramallah in National Review, and discussed his Jerusalem speech in The Weekly Standard.

Briefly, he abandoned his previous position on settlements, now calling them unhelpful rather than illegitimate and urging the PLO to go back to the table without a settlement freeze as a precondition. He used tough language on Iran but was vague about Syria. He was very sympathetic and supportive of Israel, but placed most of the burden on the Israelis to make peace--despite Palestinian rejection of previous Israeli peace offers and the unstable situation in the Arab world. Whether he really thinks there will be movement on the negotiations is unclear, but I did note that he said his new Secretary of State would spend a lot of time and energy on this subject; he did not say he would do so himself. Perhaps that answers the question.

 

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United States

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