Anisa Hamood (SA) responds to “Obama can’t end Mid-East stalemate” The Advertiser 24Sep09 September 24, 2009

The Advertiser (print): “Obama can’t end Mid-East stalemate”, 24 September 2009
The Advertiser (online): “Obama calls for urgent Mideast peace talks” , 24 September 2009

Bristling with impatience, U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday sternly prodded Israeli and Palestinian leaders to relaunch Middle-East peace negotiations, grasping a newly-personal role in their historic standoff.

He won an awkward, stone-faced handshake in a meeting at his New York hotel but no other apparent progress beyond a promise to talk about more talks.  There had been hopes there might be more to show from the first meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas since the former took office in March – perhaps even a dramatic announcement by Mr Obama of the resumption of the Middle-East peace negotiations that broke off over a year ago.  Despite months of effort, the sides remain far apart on a staunch Palestinian precondition for talks:  that Israel halt construction of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory.

Mr Obama publicly has echoed the demand to Israeli leaders – though the Palestinians noted with displeasure he used the word “restrain” rather than “halt”or “freeze”.

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