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Obama includes Israel-Palestinian peace in counterterror strategy

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama said the United States was trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in part because it could help “reshape attitudes” that foster extremism.

In a speech about terrorism delivered Thursday at the National Defense University in Washington, Obama described what he said were a number of “underlying grievances” that “feed extremism.”

“We are working to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians — because it is right, and because such a peace could help reshape attitudes in the region,” Obama said.

Among other terrorist threats, Obama mentioned Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, which he called a “state sponsored network” that engages “in acts off terror to achieve political goals.”

The thrust of Obama’s speech was to wind down what his predecessor, President George W. Bush, had called a “global war on terror.”

“We must define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror’ — but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America,” he said.

Among other measures he proposed were closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay in the U.S.-held corner of Cuba, where some men have been held for years without trial, and greater oversight of drone strikes as a means of targeting terrorists.

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