The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 7, 2013

Palestinian officials urge Obama to push for peace


The Palestinians believe they don't have enough common ground with Netanyahu for successful negotiations. They also fear the Israeli leader wants negotiations more to ease diplomatic pressure on Israel than to truly seek a deal. A final agreement would require difficult concessions, including a division of Jerusalem.

Israel, for its part, believes the Palestinians are to blame for refusing to return to the peace table without preconditions. Netanyahu has said peace talks cannot be fruitful if the Palestinians continue to refuse to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland.

Abbas and his aides argue that negotiations can only resume if the U.S. engages fully and if Obama is willing to spend political capital on pressuring Netanyahu. Wednesday's White House comments suggest that such involvement is unlikely in the near future.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, said Thursday that she hopes Obama's visit "signals an American promise to become an honest and impartial peace broker."

"The U.S. can play this positive role by engaging in an effective and constructive manner rather than by repeating the same policy of negotiations for their own sake," she said.

Previous visits to the region by U.S. presidents have raised high expectations for U.S.-brokered peace deals. The White House tried to lower those expectations this time, emphasizing that the president's focus will be to turn a new leaf with his Israeli counterpart, with whom he had frosty relations during his first administration.

U.S. officials said Obama will meet with Netanyahu and Palestinian leaders and will stress the importance of getting the parties back to the negotiating table, but that the administration does not see the immediate revival of the peace process as a realistic prospect.

"That is not the purpose of this visit," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. The White House has not announced a date for Obama's visit, but Israeli media reported he will arrive March 20 for a three-day visit.

Text Only
State and Nation


Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

     View Results
AP Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee