Obama, at a news conference with Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority.
What was surprising, given how much Mr. Obama appeared to give up on the peace process at the end of his first term, was how ready he seemed to take up the challenge once again of trying to broker a deal that creates a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel.I don't see why it's "surprising" that he'd say something bland and minimal like "still possible" when he's actually taken the trouble to go over there. It's not like before he'd said "I absolutely give up." He merely "appeared to give up." Has this appearance changed? He'd never gone to Israel before, not in his entire first term. Now, at the beginning of his second term, he's getting the visit in, so you won't be able to say he never went. What is "surprising"? There's nothing new. But, he says, "Both sides are going to have to think anew." Is that new or is the same old hopelessness?
“I absolutely believe it is still possible, but it is very difficult,” Mr. Obama said. “If we can get direct negotiations started again, I believe the shape of a potential deal is there.”
ADDED: It just crossed my mind for the first time in a long time: Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. That took a lot of pressure off him to make the usual gestures at solving the Palestinian problem. Or do you think he feels he ought to justify the prize retroactively?