US President Barack Obama has come to realize what many Middle East observers have long known: that perhaps the Palestinian Authority leadership does not want genuine peace and coexistence with Israel.
Obama expressed that concern during a White House meeting with Orthodox Jewish leaders on Tuesday, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Over the past three years, Obama has seen the Palestinian leadership consistently refuse to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while at the same time trying to blame the impasse on Israel's rejection of far-reaching preconditions.
Washington's response to this frustrating situation has been increased pressure on Israel to make gestures toward the Palestinians, in particular by curbing Jewish construction in Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and Samaria. The apparent hope was that the Palestinians would soften up, but it also resulted in Israel feeling as though the Obama Administration was far less friendly to Israel than previous American governments.
In Tuesday's meeting, Obama insisted that was not the case, noting that all four previous American presidents had called for an end to Jewish "settlement activity." Obama said that in the overall scheme of things, his administration actually tilts in favor of Israel, a fact that has caused problems between Washington and the Palestinians.
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