Flustered Barack Obama on the back foot over Israeli settlements via The Telegraph

Obama will succeed in creating another clusterfuck. His entire ME policy has been one big clusterfuck. Egypt, Libya, Syria now Israel and the Palestinians.

Flustered Barack Obama on the back foot over Israeli settlements

Barack Obama experienced the sobering realities of re-engaging with the Middle East peace process on Thursday when the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, openly challenged his line on Jewish settlements, telling him that they represented a direct obstacle to progress.

US President Barack Obama holds a joint press conference with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas beneath a banner showing Abbas and the late Palestinian later Yasser Arafat in Ramallah on March 21, 2013.

US President Barack Obama holds a joint press conference with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas beneath a banner showing Abbas and the late Palestinian later Yasser Arafat in Ramallah on March 21, 2013. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Robert Tait

By , Jerusalem

2:40PM GMT 21 Mar 2013

In a stark contrast to his smooth-running public appearances with Israeli leaders, the US president found himself on the back foot when forced to address the issue after a 90-minute meeting with Mr Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Mr Obama said he had told Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, that settlement expansion in east Jerusalem and the West Bank on land the Palestinians want for a future state was not “constructive” or “appropriate”.

But he did not repeat his previous call, issued in 2009, that building must cease, pleading instead for resumed talks on the “core issues” of establishing a sovereign Palestinian state and providing security for Israel.

“That’s not to say settlements aren’t important. That’s to say if we solve those two problems, the settlement issue will be resolved,” Mr Obama told a press conference in a rambling answer in which his normal fluency seemed to desert him. Read more…

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