Obama: U.S. ‘overestimated’ ability to bring Mideast peace


(JTA) — President Obama acknowledged that the Middle East peace process has not moved forward.

The U.S. leader told Time magazine in an interview published Thursday that "we overestimated our ability to persuade" the Palestinians and Israelis "to start engaging in a meaningful conversation."

"This is as intractable a problem as you get," he told Time’s Joe Klein.

Obama said that the Israelis, while showing a willingness to modify their policies, found it hard to make "bold gestures," and that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had to contend with Hamas looking over his shoulder and an Arab world that is "impatient with any process."

"I think it is absolutely true that what we did this year didn’t produce the kind of breakthrough that we wanted, and if we had anticipated some of these political problems on both sides earlier, we might not have raised expectations as high," Obama told Time. 

The interview came on the first anniversary of Obama’s inauguration.

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