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Obama and McCain diverge on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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The White House said Friday that US and Iraqi officials would set a "time horizon" for the withdrawal of US troops, based on conditions on the ground. McCain's spokeswoman responded that a "conditions-based withdrawal" is something the candidate has always supported.

Both McCain and Obama have called for sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Foreign policy advisers to Obama say the stops in Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank will signal a return to a US policy of placing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal at the center of a vision for the region, if Obama is elected.

"The differences between the two [on this issue] are not as great as they are on Iraq and Afghanistan, but that's not to say it would all be the same, because it wouldn't," says James Phillips, Middle East expert at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington. "McCain is less sympathetic toward the Palestinian side, and while he supports peace talks, I don't see him as too optimistic about their short-term outcome, so I don't think we'd see him diving in to personally oversee them," he says. "Obama seems much more likely to risk his personal presidential capital to try to jump-start talks and get something going."

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