News / Middle East

Mideast Analysts Say Obama Has Time on His Side in Mideast Peace Process

President Barack Obama talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the conclusion of a statement to the press in the East Room of the White House, Sept. 1, 2010.
President Barack Obama talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the conclusion of a statement to the press in the East Room of the White House, Sept. 1, 2010.

Multimedia

Multiple U.S. leaders over the decades have pushed for it, but there is still no lasting peace in the Middle East.

U.S. President Barack Obama's Mideast Envoy George Mitchell says this should not deter the United States. "The cause of peace is so important, so just, indeed - I'm not trying to use hyperbole - so noble, that it must continue notwithstanding prior efforts' failure," he said.

Mr. Obama vowed to press for a two-state solution during his speech in Cairo six months into his presidency. "That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. And that is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience and dedication that the task requires," he said.

Notre Dame University Professor Michael Desch, like many Mideast analysts, is skeptical that direct talks that began this month will yield success.  Desch says obstacles include the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and what he describes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reluctance to embrace the idea a two-state solution.

"The optimist might say that President Obama is committed to this issue, made a historic speech in Cairo reaching out to the Arab and Islamic world, and is beginning this effort relatively early in his first term in office. But I think the structural obstacles to successful peace negotiations are just huge," he said.

George Mitchell says he believes the president will succeed, even though the president himself acknowledges that the outcome is uncertain, and the goal is agreement on major issues within one year.   Mitchell said whatever the outcome, "it isn't going to be because time ran out at the end."

Robert Danin, of the Council On Foreign Relations, points out that Mr. Obama is less than halfway into his first term in office. He says this gives him leverage. "Starting with a great deal of time left in the administration means that President Obama still calls the shots. Whereas previous presidents were up against a wall.  They were up against the end of their administrations, and the parties knew it, and they were able to play that against the United States," he said.

Danin says he does not think the Israeli and Palestinian leaders will want to anger or embarrass a U.S. president who could be in office for another two to six years. "I don't believe that this is the graveyard for American presidents, but pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace, Arab-Israeli peace, is not a domestic vote getter," he said.

President Jimmy Carter brought together Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin for the Camp David Accords in 1978.  President George H.W. Bush took part in the Madrid peace conference in 1991, with Israeli and key Arab leaders in attendance.  

Neither U.S. president was re-elected.

Now, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy, elections and other issues all compete for attention with Mideast peace.

Ian Lustick, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, says that makes a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal that much harder to achieve. "It is hard to imagine even in the best of circumstances President Obama solving that problem, of being able to attend to this and almost only this issue over a significant period of time for the next year, which is almost what's necessary," he said.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid