Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Obama Launches His 'New Mideast'
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Obama Launches His 'New Mideast'
U.S. President Barack Obama launched his personal Middle East initiative Tuesday by hosting Jordanian King Abdullah II, who separately met with Christian, Muslim and Reform Jewish leaders for support for a Palestinian Authority state. President Obama told King Abdullah that Israel and the PA “cannot talk forever” and demanded that both sides show “goodwill.” He specifically said that Netanyahu government leaders are “going to have to solidify their position."
While saying that both sides must show “gestures of good faith,” the president did not specify want he expected from the PA. He officially invited Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for separate talks in the next few weeks.
Continuing another American attempt to create a "New Middle East," a term coined by former President Bill Clinton, he stated that both Israel and the PA “must step back from the abyss.” The president made it clear that the 18-year-long dispute will be his administration’s priority. The U.S. was instrumental in pressuring Israel to attend the Madrid Conference in 1991, which was the first diplomatic forum in which the PA and the Jewish state engaged each other.
Jordan was the first Arab country to be hosted by President Obama, who two weeks ago visited Turkey, where he stated, "The United States strongly supports the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.”
Before meeting with President Obama, King Abdullah conferred with Islamic Center of America leader Hassan Qaswini and National Council of Churches general secretary Michael Kinnamon.