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Obama and his audacity of hope for Middle East peace talks

At the UN, Obama put his presidency on the line with his hopeful statements about the fragile Middle East peace talks. But now is exactly the time for risk taking. Above all, by Abbas and Netanyahu.

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At the United Nations on Thursday, President Obama took a risk by speaking so optimistically about the fragile Middle East peace talks. He told his international audience that “this time will be different.”

The president offered that outcome as a choice, but even so, he went out on a limb by pronouncing that one short year from now, the UN could have a new member: a sovereign Palestine living in peace with Israel. In 2003, President Bush held out that possibility for 2005.

But isn’t risk what’s needed now? The outlines of a peace deal are well known. All that’s really missing is the political courage of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders – and all those who back them – to not let antipeace extremists derail a deal.

Which is why President Obama called on the world to “rally” behind this effort. Direct negotiations between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that began Sept. 2 could easily buckle under years of mistrust between both camps, and internal divisions on each side.


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