President Barack Obama stepped in with his first personal involvement in the renewed Palestinian Authority-Israeli negotiations Tuesday morning by meeting with representatives from both sides.
Publicly, he said, “This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead.”
Obama’s participation came only hours after another Middle expert proved that no one in Washington really knows “who’s on first.”
The Washington Post noted how the president is showing his reliance on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Is staying out of the limelight. To make its case, the newspaper quoted Aaron David Miller, a longtime Middle East adviser to Democratic and Republican presidents, as saying, “You don’t want to waste presidential capital,” said Miller, now vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center. “But in the end, Obama is going to have to own this if it’s going to succeed.”
Tzipi Livni and Shlomo Molcho of Israel and Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayyeh of the Palestinian Authority met at 8 a.m. EDT with Martin Indyk, the new presidential special envoy for the 22-year-old “peace process.”
After their meeting with the president, they will talk again and hold a press conference in the evening, a probable photo-op to put a checkmark in the diplomatic column.
While the Americans and Israelis spouted off the usual clichés of bearing heavy responsibilities for a difficult path under another window of opportunity that is closing, chairman Mahmoud Abbas called the tune in Ramallah, stating that no soldier and Jewish citizen will remain in land in a Palestinian Authority country, if it ever is created.
Lacking and real substantial news, a couple of reporters covering the State Dept. asked at the daily press briefing Monday if the negotiators and Kerry were easting at a plain old dinner of an “Ifta” dinner, marking the end of the daily fast of Ramadan.
The menu was not disclosed.