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Israel Policy Forum backs Obama’s Mideast vision

WASHINGTON (JTA) — An Israel Policy Forum ad backed President Obama’s view of the Middle East on the eve of his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the full-page ad titled “Yes you can, Mr. President” that appeared Friday in The New York Times, the dovish pro-Israel group supported Obama in his pressing forward for a two-state solution, as well as called on him to insist on an Israeli settlement freeze and to bring about an end to weapons smuggling to Palestinian terrorists.

The ad also called for embracing the Arab peace initiative, the peace-for-1967-lines proposal first promoted by Saudi Arabia in 2002.

Obama is expected to press Netanyahu to restart peace talks when the leaders meet Monday in Washington. It will be their first such meeting since their elections.

The ad was unusual in that pro-Israel groups usually use the eve of inaugural visits by freshly elected Israeli prime ministers to wish the Israeli leader well. It does not mention Netanyahu by name and refers only to “leaders from the region” Obama is meeting.

Obama met recently with Jordanian King Abdullah II and is planning meetings in coming weeks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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