Obama: Chance of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Deal is Small

Monday, January 20, 2014 |  Israel Today Staff

US President Barack Obama has acknowledged that all the back-and-forth by his secretary of state, John Kerry, is unlikely to result in a final statue Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, despite previous proclamations to the contrary.

And Obama apparently admitted as much months ago, when Kerry was visiting the region on an almost bi-weekly basis.

In a November interview with The New Yorker that was only now published on the Internet, Obama reportedly stated that "in all three of his main initiatives in the region—with Iran, with Israel and the Palestinians, with Syria—the odds of completing final treaties are less than fifty-fifty."

Sounding surprisingly sober, Obama told the magazine that decades of institutionalized anti-Semitism on the Arab side, coupled with growing anti-Arab sentiment among Israelis as a result of years of terrorist attacks, meant that reaching a genuine, lasting peace would not be a quick process.

Obama hopes during his last term in office to "unwind" some of that hatred and mistrust, but knows the most he can accomplish is to "push the boulder partway up the hill and maybe stabilize it so it doesn’t roll back on us."

Publication of Obama's remarks came just days after Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon again criticized both America and Europe for failing to truly understand the situation in the Middle East.

"The US and Europe are mistaken [in their peace proposals] and don’t understand the Middle East and the processes taking place there," Ya'alon said last Thursday at the Jewish Statesmanship Center in Jerusalem.

Earlier in the week, Ya'alon had been quoted by Israeli media as calling Kerry "obsessive" and "messianic" in his approach to the peace process. He accused the American of only seeking to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

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