According to White House officials, President Obama has resigned himself to the fact that there will be no peace agreement between Israel and Palestine before he leaves office. From the Washington Post:
They said that the administration has become “realistic” that there might not even be negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian officials before Obama leaves office. In September, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said his government would no longer consider itself bound by the Oslo peace agreements in effect for two decades, charging that Israel had failed to live up to its obligations.
Rob Malley, the National Security Council’s senior director for the Middle East, said that for the first time in two decades, an American administration “faces the reality” that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “is not in the cards for the remainder” of a presidency. That, he said, has “led to a reassessment not only of what we can do but of what the parties can do.”
We’re not surprised by Obama’s failure to end the impasse, and we have our criticisms of his approach. But we certainly wish he’d had more success. Dennis Ross, formerly an advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had a front-row view of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations led by the Obama Administration. To understand why President Obama once had high hopes for meaningful progress on this perennially difficult problem, you should read his essay.