According to Israeli President Shimon Peres, the Jewish state is putting its faith in US President Barack Obama to bring peace to their troubled region.
During a meeting on Thursday with US envoy George Mitchell, Peres said Israel has "full faith in Obama's policies," and insisted the American leader was dealing with the Israeli-Arab conflict in a very fair manner.
Many Israelis would probably disagree with Peres, as polls show the majority of Israeli Jews feel the new US president very much favors the Arabs and their demands, as evidenced by Obama's overriding focus on halting all Jewish construction in areas claimed by the Palestinians, including Jerusalem.
During his meetings with Peres and later with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Mitchell said he was sent by Obama to push for the "early relaunch" of direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He was scheduled to meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leaders over the weekend to advance that goal.
Netanyahu has repeatedly declared his readiness to restart talks immediately, but the Palestinians, sensing Obama's desire to please the Muslim world at all costs, has refused direct negotiations until Israeli is pressured into making extreme promises and concessions.
A senior US official told Israeli reporters that Obama is becoming fed up with the delay in restarting peace talks. Observers feel that the president's visible impatience is also fueling the Palestinians' steadfastness in their hardcore positions, certain that a restive Obama will eventually bully Israel into doing whatever it takes to conclude a peace deal.