US President Barack Obama on Thursday indirectly laid blame for the lack of peace in the Middle East on conservative, right-wing Israelis who handed their representatives a majority in the Knesset and the current government in last year's election.
Speaking at a town hall meeting in Tampa, Florida, Obama said his administration had been unable to move the Middle East peace process forward because of internal political difficulties in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Obama said that while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears ready to make serious concessions to the Palestinians, he is in danger of going beyond the red lines of most of the parties in his coalition.
The president was referring to new hardline demands presented by the Palestinian in recent months that no Israeli prime minister would be able to meet and expect to remain in power, such as a full cessation of Jewish construction on the eastern side of Jerusalem.
The fact that Netanyahu has already implemented a Jewish building freeze in the rest of Judea and Samaria was not mentioned by Obama, even though Washington originally praised the gesture as "unprecedented" and a serious step toward peace.
Obama said that he believes Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, too, truly wants to make peace, but is hindered by the growing strength of Hamas. He ignored the fact that the Palestinian general public elevated Hamas to its current position of power in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election.
In the tradition of past presidents, Obama has taken to separating Hamas from the Palestinians in general, though the two are in reality one and the same, with the former drawing all its support and backing from the latter. Without the Palestinian general public, Hamas would be unable to hinder peace efforts. Hamas' unwillingness to genuinely make peace and live in coexistence is the Palestinians' unwillingness to genuinely make peace and live in coexistence.
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