Dear reader, It’s on every newspaper on the net and newspapers as I took the subway this morning still half asleep.
I wasn’t eagerly waiting for it, but the way it has been advertised and proposed caught my curiosity. The oh-so attended visit of US president to the turbulent region of Israel and Palestine (Jordan is also in the agenda) is advertised as the biggest mission since his second term. And I believe it, this is indeed the biggest challenge he has on international ground: peace in the Middle-East. Even La Repubblica has reserved a front seat to the news.
In the past Obama argued frequently with Netanyahu over the Palestinian peace process, and despite the public efforts of maintaining a cordial and solid public relation, it is no secret to anyone that Obama has been often criticized by pro-Israel conservatives blaming him for not doing enough for the Middle-East stability. The most brutal attack came after he agreed that a two-state solution was the only choice. In fact he took the statement back.
The reactions are varied, some display Welcome signs for the president while others see it as a waste of time.
Well now he is back in the region with no specific plan nor policy, only as listener and observer. I remember during his presidential debates how he stayed quiet and humble towards Romney’s attacks, so I wonder if this low-profile mission will have another successful outcome.
He finished his speech in Hebrew saying “Tov l’he’ot shuv b’aretz”. This surely depicts an effort to rekindle ties with Israelis, who already feel betrayed by his former administration. Is his goal to reassure them in order to set things straight? And by straight I mean trying to create further chances for peace negotiations?
As long as the US continue the excessive economic and defense support to Israel, any visit of the US to the area will be worthless for any real peace process progress. On the other hand, protecting Israel by providing defense support sort of gives a balance of forces. Without this support, Israel would be facing terrible consequences such as invasions as the least. I sincerely think he will not waste his time, somehow he has demonstrated that he can find balance within possible conflicts of interest and the task is not easy. So keep your expectations low, as this mission may not provide some interesting turn of events.
FYI, our dear friend Abed has long invited Obama to have tea at his cave in Al Walaja, maybe this time he’ll go? I hope he enjoyed seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls as much as I did.