Netanyahu meets Obama, but not much expected on Mid-East talks

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Washington, Nov.10 (ANI): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday night, but observers monitoring the event, said a restart to the Middle East peace talks was further off now than when Obama took office in January this year.

While the Obama administration is not giving up on its priority of restarting Middle East peace talks, the diplomatic and political setbacks in the last eleven months, suggest that the goal of a return to the negotiating table appears further off than at any time in the recent past, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Obama "started out much too loud, much too fast, and focused on the wrong issue [of settlements]," says Aaron David Miller, a Middle East expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington who has worked with both Democratic and Republican administrations on the peace process.

Miller, however, says: "It's not [Obama's] fault primarily, it falls above all on the two guys who were unable to come together on core issues," meaning Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.The president's mistake was putting America's capital and prestige on the line in an impossible situation. It was an unnecessary misstep," Miller adds.

US officials say the administration's thinking is that the Israeli detailed plan for limited settlement growth is positive. If adhered to, they suggest, it could eventually lead to a freeze.

Miller, however, says that making a settlement freeze the key to resumed peace talks was not going to open any doors.

Miller says the administration needs to use the diplomatic setback "as what the president himself might call a 'teachable moment' " and consider why the effort backfired. (ANI)

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