May 20, 2011
Barack Obama has sought to realign American policy on the Middle East, pledging to shift from decades of support for autocratic regimes to backing for pro-democracy movements, and setting out the shape of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Facing criticism that the US has repeatedly been behind the curve in response to the Arab spring, Obama promised a “new chapter” in US diplomacy. He placed Washington on the side of popular uprisings not only in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya but also in Syria and, for the first time, in Bahrain – a longtime American ally.
“The status quo is not sustainable,” Obama said, referring to Arab autocracies and to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.
On the eve of a visit by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to the White House, Obama showed frustration with the lack of any progress towards peace by setting out broadly what a future Palestinian state may look like, based on the border that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. “The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation,” he said.
This article was posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 at 4:15 am