Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From Status Quo To Final Status

After talks at the UN, President Obama has shifted his Middle East policy from the difficult (getting Israel to stop building settlement residences in the West Bank and the Palestinians to make relatively small confidence-building gestures) to the near-impossible:
The pivot toward tackling issues that include the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the borders of a future Palestinian state greatly increases the stakes for an administration that has found even small advances to be beyond reach. It also risks making Mr. Obama appear ineffective in having not gained a tangible early goal of his Middle East policy.
This could be the first step toward Obama losing interest in trying actively to broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinians. It's not that he doesn't have enough troubles. That may be a relief for Israel in the short term, but it's in no one's long-term interests. An interested and well-intentioned U.S. President is a priceless resource. Too bad both sides seem intent on squandering it.

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