Palestinians prepare tea on an open fire next to Israeli-bombed buildings in Rafah on the Gaza Strip border with Egypt on January 24, 2009. The Arabic graffiti on the wall reads: 'Fatah movement.' (PHOTO CREDIT: PATRICK BAZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
From CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Former President Jimmy Carter tells the Associated Press that Israel will face a catastrophe unless it revives the Middle East peace process and establishes an independent Palestinian state. This is a sentiment he's echoed before, and he's saying it now as he's making the rounds to pitch his new book on the issue. But timing is everything.
President Obama sat down for his first formal TV interview since taking office with the Dubai-based Arab language network Al-Arabiya. It's a calculated move for the President to make good on his promise to improve American-Muslim relations in the wake of the Bush administration. In the interview, he told Muslims that Americans are not the enemy. He also vowed to hunt down terrorist groups who kill innocent civilians while respecting laws.
The interview comes as the President's newly tapped special envoy for Middle East peace, George Mitchell, is on his first trip to the region to meet with Arab leaders.
Perhaps like clock work, the week-long cease-fire between Israel and Gaza, that halted three weeks of fighting, was ended when Palestinians detonated an explosive device at an Israeli Army post, and Israeli helicopters fired back in response.
Here’s my question to you: Are chances for peace in the Middle East any better with President Obama than they were with President Bush?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Mike from Syracuse, New York writes:
Not a chance Jack. Every President since Truman has tried and failed. Clinton had the best deal they are likely to see worked out with the PLO, only to have them walk away at the end. Until so called moderate Muslims renounce the terrorists who set the agenda, there will be no peace.
Tripp from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania writes:
Obama is intellectually more capable of responding to the needs of both Israelis and Palestinians than was Bush. Also, the acting and probable new Prime Minister of Israel, Tzipora Livni, seems ready to address the removal of Jewish settlements from the West Bank and reform Israel's apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians. It may be bleak, but now there is again hope.
John from Fort Collins, Colorado writes:
In attempting to start a dialog with the Arab world, Barack Obama is certainly off to a good start to right the wrongs of the Bush administration's dealings in the Middle East, but I doubt his chances for a lasting peace are any better. The roots of the problems in the area are a complex mix of religion, social structure, poverty of the masses, and politics beyond our ability to change in the short term.
Jack, have heard 'peace between Israel and the Palestinians' since I was 2! Yep, I'm 62 and have yet to see it. Having traveled in Israel, Egypt and Jordan in recent years, my impression is that the gap and distrust is almost genetic. My most vivid impression is the unhappiness in the face of the people we saw in those Muslim countries. Their lives are so hard and they blame us. For them to accept our mediation would require this country to denounce Israel. There's no chance of that, so getting deep into that situation is a waste of time and effort.
Paula from Indiana writes:
On November 4th the entire world celebrated the outcome of the election. I am sure the people in the Middle East were thrilled by the results. I am not sure President Obama can make a difference in that war-torn part of the world but I don't think he'll have to dodge any shoes when he visits there.