May 11th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

How can Pres. Obama succeed at Mideast peace where others have failed?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama may not have much time to help broker a peace deal in the Middle East. King Abdullah of Jordan tells the London Times that Mr. Obama's meeting next week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become the acid test for the administration's commitment to peace.

Jordan's King Abdullah II met with Pres. Obama last month. King Abdullah is the first Arab leader to visit Obama in the Oval Office. He used the opportunity to push the U.S. to revive Israeli-Palestinian talks.

King Abdullah says all eyes will be on Washington; and if there are no signs of progress, the Arab world will feel like yet another American government has let them down. He suggests that overnight, President Obama could lose the "tremendous credibility" he's built up in the Arab world.

And that would be a shame because Mr. Obama has a pretty impressive level of support over there. A new Ipsos survey polled 7,000 adults in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. The poll shows President Obama gets a 48 percent favorable rating, running as high as 58 percent in Jordan. Only one in 10 residents across the region think the U.S. president will have a negative effect on their country.

Compare that to the U.S., which has a favorable rating of only 33 percent - and a negative rating of 43 percent.

President Obama is set to give a major speech to the Muslim world in Egypt next month; and perhaps his high approval ratings can help him get closer to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

But there's no question the stakes are high. King Abdullah says that If peace negotiations are delayed, there will be another conflict between Muslims and Israel in the next 12 to 18 months.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to peace in the Middle East, how can President Obama succeed where other U.S. presidents have failed?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Richard from Canfield, Ohio writes:
President Obama can succeed if he can get the women of Israel and Palestine to provide input into the peace process. It is the women who have suffered the most with all the killings on both sides. They are losing their families in this tragedy. The women can succeed where the men have failed.

Phil from Washington writes:
The real problem here is Netanyahu, a hard-core right winger. If Obama can convince him to have an open mind and be receptive to compromise, there may be a real breakthrough here. But I won't be holding my breath.

John from Louisiana writes:
Bush set Middle East peace back 10 years by his completely one-sided policy in favor of Israel's ultra-right government and every anti-Palestinian action they took. Obama can help by restoring balance and honesty to U.S. policy–and stopping Israel’s right-wingers from continuing to isolate and assault these people. Get rid of the wall, for one. Get rid of the settlements, for two. And honor all the agreements from the past, for three.

Cliff from Rego Park, New York writes:
President Obama will never succeed unless he manages to elicit to fundamental changes from the Arab world. First, recognize Israel's right to exist and second, remove all anti-Semitic teachings from their school textbooks. Peace starts with human decency and respect. That is the first lesson Pres. Obama needs to convey.

John from Watertown, Massachusetts writes:
The term "Middle East peace" should be forgotten. Most Israelis are in favor as I’m sure are most Palestinians, but we will never see it. There are simply too many militants who will never put away their automatic weapons and rocket launchers.

Debbie from Kansas City, Missouri writes:
President Obama has a chance to win the hearts and minds of the public. As we know, it is the people, who can best influence what happens in the government. Presidents and prime ministers will be more inclined to make agreements, if their people want them to.

Filed under: Middle East • President Barack Obama
soundoff (269 Responses)
  1. Joan B

    Obama can't succeed – he's immature and inexperienced – look at his backside bowing to the Saudi Family.
    H'es a joke.
    JOan B

    May 11, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  2. dan in Tucson AZ

    Pres. Obama must use his appeal to lure them to peace talks. Then put politics and corporate interests aside and get to the heart of their issues. If that cannot develop into a peaceful co-existence then work on a plan to exterminate them.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  3. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    Because they are naive enough to believe since he has the name Hussein, that he is one of them. Simple as that!

    May 11, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  4. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    The president has an accomplished team of negotiators with George Mitchell, and others.

    The majority of Israelis have now said they want to swap land for peace.

    The Obama presidency has the confidence of both Jews and Arabs.

    The frequency of King Abdullah, and Queen Rania in this country makes me think they are assisting with preparatory negotiations. In true Islamic tradition they are tireless and heroic in their struggle for peace.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  5. Jenna

    When it comes to peace in the Middle East, how can President Obama succeed where other U.S. presidents have failed?

    When he establishes a 2 state solution for the Israelis and Palestinians (where each nation is contiguous/seperate from each other) and makes Jerusalem like the Vatican – a free seperate state.

    Roseville CA

    May 11, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  6. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Because he is actually willing to meet with and talk to leaders from countries we disagree with. He is willing to listen to their concerns but not automatically side with them. He has opened up new avenues of discussions that Bush totally refused to do. He believed that if you didn't acknowledge their existance, they'd just go away! That really worked, didn't it?

    May 11, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  7. David from Virginia

    It's simple - he has to get tough with Israel. There can't be peace until there's something close to a passable existence for people on both sides. That's going to require a logical border that doesn't partition tiny Palestinean neighborhoods in the West Bank.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  8. Paul Austin, Texas

    He has a head start already with his special envoys and sending the Secretary of State to talk and try to help more talking to start by both sides. Also by his focus of the crux of the matter that Presidents in the past have failed to understand.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  9. Markel, Houston, TX

    President Obama's approach is to engage the parties with respect and dignity. This is a major change in policy from the previous administration.

    Each sovereign country in the Middle East has a right to exist. The very first step to resolving their conflicts is to get each of those sovereign countries to talk about their issues ...and for their opponent(s) to listen to what they have to say. There are two sides to every story and compromise can be negotiated only when all parties are treated with honesty, respect, and dignity.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  10. Terry in Virginia

    I don't know if anyone can bring about peace in the Middle East until the collective mindset in that region changes from a group of warrior nations to a group of nations tired of war. But compared with past Presidents, at least President Obama has the temperment and reasoning necessary to affect temporary compromise among warring factions. Sure beats a swagger and an "aw shucks" any day.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  11. Rob of Brooklyn

    by listening for a start. Bush didn't because he was always hearing voices telling him what to do. I think Obama can do it-it just won't be easy , but it wlil happen

    May 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  12. Tony from Torrington

    First of all, he won't.

    But maybe a little Jewish guy can. Here's how it goes.

    A little Jewish guy was walking along the beach when he spotted a small bronze lamp. He picked it up and as he held it, a Genie appeared and proclaimed "You have set me free from the lamp.... I will grant you a wish."

    So the Jewish fellow drew a map of Israel and Palestine in the sand and said "I wish for peace in the Middle East."

    The Genie said "Are you kidding, they have been fighting for years! Wish for something else."

    "OK, how about this. I've been married to the same Jewish woman for thirty five years and never had oral sex. I want oral sex from my wife."

    The Genie thought for a moment and said "Let me see that freakin' map again."

    Have a great day Jack.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  13. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    There is no success in the middle east. If you do something, half of them are going to hate us for doing it. If you don't do something, half of them are going to hate us for not doing it. There is no pleasing them, so Obama is better off looking after our interests.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  14. Scott-San Diego

    I don't believe he can, he is very Naive and the Middle East knows this. Playing nice with them only succeeds in making us weak.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  15. Charles, Lansing, MI

    Apparently President Obamma threw away his History book when he took office. He will do no better than all the other presidents and countries before him. As was most of his predecessors, he is beholden to the military industrial complex so it is now his war.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  16. Ken in NC

    Jack, when you have it in your mind to do something or not to do something, nothing and no one will deter you. You may appease them for a short time to get them off your back but sooner or later you will return to your old ways because it is what you believe and want to do. The Middle East is no different.

    Former VP Cheney is a good example. He kept his mouth shut while Bush was President but now he is back to his old ways because he really believes that his way is the right way and he is not willing to change what is left of his mind.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  17. Tina Tx

    The best way is too keep out of their business. We need help here and why are we always looking over seas to help some one else? I guess we have screwed up our life we think we can straighten out theirs? No. Keep the money over here for our projects. Look around you. What do you see? People out of work, people loosing their homes, no jobs etc but yet we want peace in the Middle East. Go figure? I can't.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  18. Dan from Alliance, OH

    I don't think he can. As long as there are the small factions of armed radicals on all sides there will be no peace.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  19. grigore caragacianu

    Dear Jack.
    A just and lasting peace in the Middle East is beyond the reach of the current and more so of any future American President.
    All peace settlements must be done from the outside in, starting with geopolitical factors and working toward specific Izraeli-Palestinian issues. The geopolitical environment is increasingly outside American control.
    U.S. can influence world events but not decisevely. Other major
    players have different agendas.


    May 11, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  20. Billy the Bookie in Las Vegas

    I think just President Obama's multicultural heritage makes it more likely he can get something positive done in the middle east. that plus the fact that he's not looking for any excuse to start a war like the previous "your either with us or against us" administration.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  21. John from Alabama

    Jack: President Obama should use a great deal of diplomacy and personal involvement when needed to keep neogiations on track. He should do all of the above before selling anyone weapons in the Middle East. Make sure all Foreign Military Sales are for typewriters and farming equipment. It is really hard to preach peace while your selling F-16's and Bradley Infrantry Fighting Vehicles to your friends.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  22. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    He has a better chance of achieving peace in the Middle East than previous Presidents because he starts with more credibility and less suspicion in the eyes of the Muslim and Arab worlds. Even so, changing cultural attitudes that have existed for thousands of years will not be easily accomplished by any U. S. President, including Obama. I wish him the best, but he is going up against long odds on this effort.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  23. Frank from Peterborough

    President Obama is already miles ahead towards achieving peaceful solutions in the Middle East just by virtue of him showing signs of intelligence which may just result in others listening to what he proposes.

    America has just come through 8 years of the most brutal and irresponsible regime any Industrialized country has ever seen in recent history. How could anyone with a modicum of intelligence be expected to listen to let alone follow anything they had to say.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  24. Chika Uzokwe

    Obama to succeed in the mid-east he should listen to the people of Isreal living in Isreal and ignore the infulencial Jews lobbists politiking in Washington. The last time I checked the majority of the people of both Isreal and Pallistine want peace.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  25. Jason, Koloa, HI

    Peace is up to the parties involved in the violence. If they decide to continue the cycle of violence for violence for violence then no outsider can do anything to stop it. The middle east will have peace when they decide to have peace, not when an American president tells them to.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  26. Joe CE

    Under-write Isreal's security – station a Batallion there if they want and offer the Arabs/Muslims incentives. We can afford a large investment if it stops the costs we are incurring becasue of the status qou, maybe even end the ElQueda thing.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  27. George in Pa.

    By being a bigger thief than they are.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  28. Ben in Maryland

    He can't. The Palestinians and the surrounding Arab States do not and will not accept Israel as a Jewish state. They are only stalling for time and using tactics that they believe will, in time, make that part of the Middle East 'Judenrein'-cleansed of Jews. And so, they will continue to defraud US administrations and others until they succeed in their ultimate objective. But they will fail.

    May 11, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  29. Lyons-Philadelphia, PA

    Treat the middle east as if they are people and not just terrorists....Be fair and not bully

    May 11, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  30. ANDRES SAENZ(Albuquerque, NM)

    WOW, this is a tough question to answer! As long as terrorist networks such as Al-Qaida and the Taliban exist, it will be very hard to attain peace in the Middle East. And we also have to worry about Iran's nuclear program, which has been developing in defiance to UN sanctions.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  31. Terry from North Carolina

    This president it seems is willing to talk to other countries that the previous administration has ignored. Of all former presidents that have tried and failed at helping to bring peace to the middle east, President Obama has a better chance in acheiving a lasting peace in the middle east.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  32. kishen c.rao

    jack, only way his strategy works is excactly what pres. obama said...by Dialogue.....not by wars...like GOP and Republicans...by dialogue....and by educating them...not by force....they are not ready yet for democracy....just know

    May 11, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  33. Dan Nelson

    He needs to force the Israeli's to give up land and settlements with the exception of Jerusalem which should be the capital for all Christians, Jews and Islam then maybe Islam might change their policy of power over the middle east and enjoy peace with the world! IF NOT A CHANGE IN POLICY FROM ISLAM THEN THE WORLD SHOULD FORCE ISLAM INTO SUBMISSION!

    May 11, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  34. oz Gig Harbor WA

    If we want to have peace in the Middle East we need to remove all support (and troups) from ALL countries in the Middle East. With no referee, just watch how fast the opponents race to the bargaining table with their pens in their hands and Peace in their hearts and minds.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  35. Harold from Anchorage,AK

    By tongue-wagging instead of saber-rattling. Israel will realize it will have to negotiate a Palestinian peace rather than being the bully in the playground with the unspoken approval of the U.S.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  36. Mike of Hot Springs.

    Perhaps he has a better chance because he is bright, articulate and understands. Also when compared to the last bozo we had he really comes off well.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  37. Dean in Macungie,PA


    There will never be peace in the world, not just the Middle East, as long as religion exists.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  38. brad williams

    Somehow, your current President must convince the planet that they bear no ill will towards anyone. An utter lie but you guys are getting used to believing homegrown, high volume rhetoiric. How did you get so stupid?

    May 11, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  39. Bob


    If I could answer this question I'd apply for Hillarys' job, become a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and be elected President in 2016.

    Louisville, Ky

    May 11, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  40. James

    If today's change in military command in Afghanistan by Secretary Gates is any reflection on President Obama's leadership and intuition, then yes, I think therer IS a chance. In Israel/Palestine, as in Afghanistan, you need the right people doing the work, if you want the work done right. Afghanistan has been a miserable, backpedaling failure, as have efforts in the Middle East under the former Idiot in Charge. The previous commander looks like a CPA, the new guy looks like a warrior.

    Does the appearance of the guy in charge matter? They do if you're in command. CPA types tend to look stupid wearing pearl handled revolvers or smoking corn cob pipes. Troops laugh at apparent weakness, correctly assessed or not.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  41. john j. grimes Watertown, Ma.

    The term "Middle East peace" should be forgotten. Most Israeli's are in favor, as I;m sure are most Palestinians but we will never see it. There are simply too many militants who will never put away their automatic weapons & rocket launchers. I'm afraid that there will be more tragedy on the horizon which will only further this madness.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  42. Linda in Arizona

    Beats me. Maybe by dint of his charming personality? It seems to work everywhere else.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  43. Russ in Johnston, IA

    I really don't think he, or anyone for that matter, can succeed in establishing a peace process for any length of time. It has to be from the countries involved. Ironically, those countries feel it has to come from Washington.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  44. Remo .............. Austin, Texas

    I think he's already failed. The G20 and the Latin America meeting where he was kissing butt's shows the world he's weak.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  45. Kevin in CA

    Take a page from Iraq ... pay 'em off ... another trillion or so should do it.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  46. Debbie/Kansas City

    President Obama has a chance to win the hearts and minds of the public. As we know, it is the people, who can best influence what happens in the government. Presidents and Prime Ministers will be more inclined to make agreements, if their people want them to. I understand from people who live over there that, President Obama is very higly liked and people really want him to suceed in changing the way our nations work with each other. They trust his good intentions, intelligence, and integrity, when was ever a time that happened?

    May 11, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  47. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    He can't!

    May 11, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  48. Jackie in Dallas

    Listening to real experts might help...talking with both sides in a reasonable and respectful way will certainly help. Going in with both guns blazing and saying "it's my way or the highway" (as our previous Administration did) certainly will NOT!

    This is, however, too big an issue for a single person, single government to handle alone. President Obama needs the input and support from members of the EU and Far East to really make a dent.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm |

    President Obama is right to talk to the countries, but until they want to have peace it might not take place. They have been having wars for ages and seem to not want peace. I say it is still better for our President to talk with them then to ignore the mess.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  50. AspenFreePress

    He has no other choice than to try. Sterling Greenwood/Aspen Free Press

    May 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  51. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Jack, your statement that the Araba world will consider that yet another American government has let them down if Presdient Obama fails to bring about peace for them is where the problem starts. We cannot solve their problems and rightfully so as it is their problem, not ours. They just want more money.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  52. Debra Eisenberg

    President Obama, unlike his predecessors, is both willing and able to intelligently consider all perspectives and information - of both the Israeli and Arab positions. He has no personal history with the Arabs nor a financial interest in their oil. The fact that his family roots include Muslims gives him an added advantage in reaching out to and potentially being embraced by the Arab nations. And, Obama's "gift" for bringing people together to sit down and share their views, negotiate with honesty and integrity will create the foundation for talks we haven't seen since Carter brought Egypt and Israel together. Lastly, he is the "steel fist in the velvet glove" who will press when necessary but with diplomacy and finesse others have sorely lacked in past administrations. Though I don't expect miracles, I do hope for progress towards a lasting peace in the Middle East.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  53. LM from Fayetteville, NC

    Find out what THEY want and try to comply. Find out what will make THEM happy and try to comply. IF it is getting out of Muslim countries, then get out of Muslim countries. We can't afford to do what we are doing. We need to come home and get well and turn anyone to glass who messes with us and not take two years to do it.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  54. Phil-Central WA

    The real problem here is Netanyahu, a hard-core right winger. If Obama can convince him to have an open mind and be receptive to compromise, there may be a real breakthrough here. But I won't be holding my breath.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  55. Virginia Nielsen in FLORIDA

    Obama has all the tools that the predecessors lack. He is a result of the globalization that happened after the WWII...a father that was agnostic, a grandfather that was muslim and a mother that was an american. Hes name is , by it self, a call for piece, and a muslim middle name that helps a lot and a christian faith. Welcome to the 21s century !!!

    May 11, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  56. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Peace has to be wanted and sought by Israel and the Palestinians in order for it to happen. The only thing President Obama can do is to get them to sit down, watch for breakthroughs in any talks that take place and pounce on the moment. The closest any president came to that at happening since the Israel and Egypt peace agreement during the Carter administration, was President Clinton when Arafat walked away at camp David.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  57. Conor in Chicago

    He can succeed by threatening to withdraw support for Israel if they do not follow our suggestions. Historically what happens is Israel pays lip service to things like settlement expansion and then just goes on and keeps doing it. If Obama were to say in plain words, "stop the settlements or you will stop receiving our military aid" they might actually listen to us.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  58. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    three little words. Listen very carefully

    May 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  59. bminotti

    I think he should be less pro israel and a little more objective toward the Arab world.
    b minotti
    montreal ca

    May 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  60. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    For Obama to bring peace to the mideast he must demand these terms:
    First Israel must agree to abide by nuclear regulations and allow inspections of its nuclear facilities, and stockpiles of nuclear arms.
    Second Israel must allow equal rights with all ethnicities and religions within its borders and occupied territories. Arabs must have equal rights to form political parties in Israel.
    Third, the right of return for Jews to Israel must end. Most of these people are eastern europeans with no genetic relation to ancient Israelites.
    Fourth, Israel must stop building settlements in Palestian lands.
    Fifth, Israeli's must stop bullying Palestinians and ethnic minorities.
    The problems with peace in the mideast are the direct result of Israels violent, unethical and immoral conduct with its neighbors and minorities. If Obama truelly wishes to bring peace to that region, Obama will have to stand up to Israel, and AIPAC, and demand these terms.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  61. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    Yes, Obama can succeed at Mideast peace where others have failed.

    Step 1: Don't be a fake cowboy.

    Step 2: Actually want peace

    Step 3: Have a higher IQ than Spam.


    May 11, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  62. Jim/NC

    Jewish party invitations go something like this: "Party begins at 7:00 PM and ends when there is peace in the middle east." President Obama will not make any difference no matter what he does. Israel would love to live in peace, but they know that it will never happen as long as you have Iran, Syria and terrorists groups that want Israel removed from the map. Good luck Mr. President!

    May 11, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  63. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: He can try---but I doubt he will succeed-–good question---with no answer.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  64. Bob in Georgia

    By continuing to be interested and involved in the problems of the Middle East. He has already demonstrated that America once again has an intelligent President who will listen and be truly involved in getting everyone's input to a Global solution to life on our planet. Of course, it will take more time to completely recovery from the buffoonery of the last administration.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  65. Scott in Canada

    He's got one major thing going for him: after the insanity that was Bush, Obama's policies have the Arab's giving him a lot more credibility than he'd otherwise have had. Shame it comes at the same time that an Israeli hardliner gets into office.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  66. Charles Illinois

    The President can only do his best, he's just one man and its up to the other parties involved in the middle east conflict to do the rest. If they don't want peace because of petty differences that even the worse juvenile delinquents can resolve among themselves THEN there will never be peace. USA should step back and stop playing Superman, he was a fictional character on a fictional planet. We learned alot with the invasion that took place with Iraq so lets fix this economy, get the millions of Americans back to working again, shore our borders, AND leave these other countries to their own petty conflicts and that includes the Middle-East. President Clinton tried with all his might and all he got was a handshake from them & a photo op.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  67. Randy from Salt Lake City

    He can't and he won't. Rahm Emanuel is an Israelli. Many in the cabnet are also Israeli. AIPAC controls all of the House and the Senate which means nothing good will happen in the Middle East. Only more death and destruction with Isreal causing the majority of it with their upkeep of the largest open air prison -Gaza.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  68. Sandra from Texas

    Clinton almost succeeded at the end and Bush did not even try. Obama is starting to push for peace from the outset. I think he stands a chance.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  69. " Sarge " St. Augustine, Fl.

    It may help if he brings other leaders to the table from surrounding countries like Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt.
    Peace in the middle east should not rest solely on what the United States has to say. These surrounding countries are the ones that need to get involved since they are the ones most likely to be affected if there is a conflict between Palestine and Israel.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  70. Vinnie Vino


    President Obama will achieve middle east peace because of one thing he isn't an old white dude like all his predecessors...

    Central Islip, NY

    May 11, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  71. Sherri Illinois

    Unemployed for 10mos so $$$$$$ is going right in my pocket to be spent only for necessities Jack. Maybe the people to ask are the millionaires like Dick Cheney & Rush Limbaugh because they don't seem to be concerned about this Recession and whats it doing to the average American.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  72. Eddie - Atlanta

    President Obama can succeed in bringing peace to the Middle East by taking a pragmatic approach. Obama has to be an honest broker; stop capitulating to Israel's every request; and most importantly resist the fear of a political backlash from pro-Israeli lobbying groups. Lets keep in mind president Carter was able to broker a peace deal between Israel and Egypt during a more contentious time.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  73. Carol McKinney, Texas

    I don't think he can succeed any more then any other American president can, None of these other countires want to broker a peace deal, If they did it would have happened long before now. The United States is just a pawn in the middle east game of chess. Completely expendable and just a good source of income whne the need arises.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  74. Mike, FL

    He is not Bush and Cheney!! Thats says it all!

    May 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  75. Craig- Hastings, MN

    He isn't doing too bad so far as far as I can see. Give the man a little time and good things could happen here.

    May 11, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  76. Matt Pierce

    In order for there to be peace in the middle east Israel will have to give atleast some of the land back to the Palestinians. For so long we have been one sided on this issue, we have to recognize the rights of the Palestinians as well.

    Front Royal, VA

    May 11, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  77. steve

    Hi Jack,
    I believe the best thing obama can do is to stay neutral and guide the two sides as best he can. He can certainly apply pressure to both sides but in the end the peace can only come from the two parties.
    The main issue blocking the process will be Hamas's unwillingness to accept Israel, however peace comes when you least expect it, so there is always hope.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  78. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    It will be only temporary and they know it. The next Republican president will make null and void any and all deals Obama makes.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  79. odessa

    president obama knows how to talk to people instead engaging war tactics.i'll give them credit for doing something with the mideast peace while other previous predecessors were taking money and oil for political purposes.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  80. Lance Schumacher

    Jack, He can't, unless he just caves in completely and sells Israel and American interests down the drain. As long as the Muslims continue to believe that their religion is the only religion and everyone else is just a target, the conflict will continue. Our best hope in the region is that the different factions of Muslims continue to kill each other off faster than they kill us, like they are doing in Iraq, Pakistan and other places.
    Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    May 11, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  81. Rod from Allentown PA

    He can't Jack. There will be no lasting peace in this region as long as there is even one non-muslim there. Why would we think that we can suddenly end the bickering there? Julius Caesar tried and failed over 2000 years ago. Barak Obama will have no better luck.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  82. Dave in Saint Louis!

    He could move to the mideast and stay there! I am sure that will work Jack!

    May 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  83. Kevin St. Joe, MI

    Jack, President Obama could get the job done with 100% effort over the next few years. Former President George W. Bush put in his 20% effort in, and failed. President Obama is a real leader,G.W. Bush was not a leader!

    May 11, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  84. erica p san antonio,tx

    Im not sure president Obama can broker a peace deal. While he is popular among people that does not translate into power among various countries. The United States has lost a lot of leverage politically and economically when it comes to pressuring countries. Ever since we invaded Iraq without major support from our allies except Britain things have not been going well for us internationally. We lost credibility and moral high ground when we failed to find WMDS in Iraq. The international skepticism toward economic free market systems and the questioning of the dollar as the preiminent international currency is growing. I cant think of any time in history where a president has negotiated from such a weak position and got anything done internationally. If any good comes out of it will be from sheer charisma and luck. I hope he succeeds.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  85. abdul

    Very easy,Israel need to accept the facts,and give the palestinians the land captured in 19967, without that , there will be no peace ever........

    May 11, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  86. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    The best Obama can do is getting the two sizes together. If willing, only the principles can reconcile their differences. That's the way it has always been done regardless of who was involved.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  87. Gigi

    His success will have to come through the military advice he receives if they back him, the people are more likely to accept his plan.


    May 11, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  88. Michael Odegard (PDX, Oregon)

    He can succeed by taking care of the USA first, get our economy, health care, education and social services under control. Then, in his second term, he can worry about the Middle East.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  89. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    He's committed to getting it done unlike any other presidents since Carter. He's a smooth talker and a lawyer too, so if anyone can do it, it's him.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  90. Ray from Nashville

    He can't, which is something we need to realize and live with. There is no solution to the Middle East problem as long as Israel exists. That's the line in the sand drawn by Arab extremists. That being said, President Obama has to try, but we have to be ready for failure.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  91. Derek Wayne, NJ

    Jack, there is no such thing as Middle East peace and there never will be. So why should we even bother trying to put ourselves into their business?

    May 11, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  92. Don (Ontario)

    Obama can succeed when it comes to Peace in the Middle East because he is regarded as a Washington outsider by the rest of the world and is implementing change in a way that is seen as fair. The only stumbling block to his success in convincing Washington about a course of action that may not favor Isreal.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  93. Barry

    What is causing unrest in the middle east has nothing to do with who is president in America. It never did so we can't hope that Obama will have some magic wand of peace to wave and make things all better. Oil is what drives the economy in the middle east. There are those that have it and those that want it or at least proceeds from it. The United States is but one consumer of that oil. If it wasn't for the oil we would have no interest in the middle east. When the oil runs out and the middle eastern countries have no money to maintain their economy and no other commodity to sell then everyone else will become their enemy. The middle east will become the have nots and that will won't be pretty.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  94. Jeff Crocket

    As long as he stays Mr. Diplomat and nice guy he will never succeed!
    He must deal from a position of strength and power to gain the respect to deal face to face!!

    Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    May 11, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  95. Kevin, Florida

    Easy one Jack, what should have been done long ago. Permit Isreal to do what it needs to , enabling us to have clean hands and eliminating all regimes that truly despise our way of life. Everyone in the Free Worlds Happy!!!

    May 11, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  96. antwon

    get out and let them handle their own problems. long as we`re there, there will be no peace

    May 11, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  97. Lynn

    President Obama seems to be willing to agree with our enemies attitude toward the U.S and let them take the lead. They seem to be embracing this and will gladly be in charge with no regards to America's interest.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  98. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    I think that President Obama listens first, and then speaks after he knows what other nations think and have to offer in any given situation. I also think that he is fair, and takes his time making decisions. All of these qualities give him a better chance at bringing peace to the Middle East.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  99. Howard in Novato, CA

    Success in the Middle East is possible with a different approach to the enigmatic problem. If Team Obama tries to push the same old tired agenda his predecessors tried, the results will be the same frustrations and failures of the past.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  100. Donna Wisconsin

    He'll be truthful, thoughtful, respectfull and use the integrity he possess. He will also listen and not bring that "My way or the high way' mentality to the discussions. That's all they want–to be treated like equals.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  101. Tom in New Hope, MN

    Conduct discussions with an open mind. As much as we Americans would like to believe it America is not always right. Listen to the other side, find common ground and move forward. Stop talking in signals and directly talk to each other. If you haven't noticed the US has not made much progress in the Middle East over the last 40 years. How long do we bang our heads on the wall before we look for a new strategy if we are serious about our intentions in the Middle East?

    May 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  102. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    I will be short and sweet...past Presidents only talked about peace!They never talked about peace and love!

    Take care!

    May 11, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  103. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The best olive branch to extend for peace in the Middle East is to build Mosque. The word that Americans are building Mosque will spread throughout the region and maybe in the caves and hills. Maybe the terrorist will come out of hiding to destroy the Mosque and the people will take revenge on them.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  104. James Lenon - Chuckey TN

    Obama should point out to Netanyahu that the two-state option will self-destruct all too soon if not implemented in concert with stopping the settlements. The Palestinians will likely fail to achieve stable statehood and will have to be absorbed by the Arab states that should have done so long ago; but they must have one more opportunity to try.
    In return, Israel retains supremacy over Jerusalem while assuring Moslems and Christians access to their holy sites.

    At the same time he must demand from Jordan and Egypt that they truly enforce their borders with the West Bank and Gaza to stop the weapons smuggling and continual attacks upon Israel. And the U.S. must be willing to put troops on the ground to assure Israel's security.
    Lastly, Iran must be told that any attack upon Israel is an attack upon the U.S.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  105. Terrell Walker of Escondido California

    Jack I seriously doubt even president Obama can help the Mid East on a sustainable basis. There are deal breakers on both sides. The Arabs insist on having pre 1967 borders which is not going to happen. They also want Jerusalem for thier capital, which is also not going to happen. And last but not least, They want Israel to stop building settlements. The only problem with that is that the Israeli's keep having babies. They need the space. Mix this scenario with the Iranian back militias and we have a problem of truly Biblical proportions that will only be solved by the second coming OR a defeated populace.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  106. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    By being the true negotiator that he is. He has the ability to listen and not set preconditions for his dialogue with other heads of state.This does not necessarily mean that Obama will win over the other participants but it does mean that they will have more respect for him and our country.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  107. Svein from Oregon

    I think Obama can be the first President since Carter to move forward in peace talks because he'll do something totally unheard of...Listen, learn and then speak.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  108. Deal

    With some solid credentials:

    1) Toughen up on Saudi Arabia to withdraw support from radical elements and extremists, women rights and reform and human rights

    2) No double standard when dealing with Israel-Palestine issue

    3) Recognize democratic regimes even when you don't like the results of election because its the will of the people. Toughen up on repressive regimes such as Egypt.

    4) Restore trust and friendship to Muslim world that they know you are not war with them and you are serious about peace and reforms.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  109. george

    Well for beginner, Obama is not going to try to bomb another country into submission, nor is he going to rush our young fighting men and women in to an unjust, and a very poorly planned war, nor is he going to use irrational reasons for doing so, and he is not going to lead our country into another bad economic situation just to cover his tracks for the ill begotten war. Well the people didn't forget how we got to where we are our last election, and they won't forget for a very long time.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  110. Peter Benton

    That question is so simple.. Withdraw our support for Israel. I gaurentee you there will be peace in a year. Either Israel will Leave all of the Occupied Arab territory and become respectfull of the rights of the people upon whose land they sit or there will be no more Israel .

    Jews Christians and Arabs all lived side by side peacefully before the arrival of the Zionest from Europe, and I'm sure the could again once the dust settles.

    Israel is not part of the United States the last I looked, and It's time we wake up and realise it.


    May 11, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  111. Anthony......NJ

    Unfortunately for president Obama, the Israelis chose Netanyahu as their new leader. Anytime Israel has a leader who is willing to make major concessions, they are either assassinated or driven out of office.
    Bejamin Netanyahu is a hardliner who continues to exacerbate the problem by supporting new settlements, not surrendering any part of Jerusalem and continuing to build the wall of shame separating Israel from the Palestinians. He's content on the status quo and his country and ours will suffer the consequences for his entire term. It's time for us to put Israel's feet to the fire by tightening the purse strings.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  112. Richard Sternagel from Canfield,Ohio

    President Obama can succeed if he can get the Women of Israel and Palestine to provide input into the Peace process. It is the Women who have suffered the most with all the killings on both sides. They are losing their families in this tragedy. The Women can succeed where the men have failed.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  113. Steven

    Please Mr. President be firm about what you want when you speak to the Middle Eastern people no matter which way it goes. You are a world leader and America is a stern country which likes to know we are a staple of our voice and opinion. So please voice US well!!
    In the form of a question, why so humble with other world leaders?
    Thank you for all your work an effort to redirect the course of our youth!

    May 11, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  114. Joe in VA


    If I could answer this question, I'd win a Nobel Prize. Come to think of it, Jimmy Carter did win one and look where we are now.

    With 4000 + years of ingrained hatred going back to Cain and Able, this is surely not a quick fix. Any progress with be attacked strongly by those on the radical fringes who find no room for any compromise. Obama's best hope seems to be to do what he does best, be balanced, pragmatic and have a strong sense of history. I wish the president success.Still, it's a very long shot.

    Chatham, VA

    May 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  115. Johnson

    Not possible without withholding support for Israel, which isn't gonna happen anytime soon.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  116. lynn

    President Obama can learn from past mistakes and then move on with a more robust era of diplomacy and listening. He knows that America can no longer dictate but be the statesman between both sides. He could also refuse to continue to arm Israel with weapons like cluster bombs to do what ever they want to innocent civilians.

    The only way peace will occur is when the rights of Palestinians to their own state have the same status as Israelis.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  117. Ed Woodbridge,Va.

    Since the formation of the State of Israel in 1948, the people of Israel have been in a state of war with the Palestinians. These people have been fighting each other for sixty-one years, and now here in 2009, President Obama thinks he can broker a peace deal between the two warring factions! As much as I would like him to succeed in stopping the violence in that part of the world, President Obama hasn't got a prayer in trying to end the violence. Carter tried it, Reagan tried it, Bush tried it, Clinton tried it, and the second George Bush tried it without success. As long as the hardliners in both factions in this ongoing war have their say, there will never be peace among the two, and Obama is kidding himself if he thinks he can do any better than previous Presidents have done! Obama should focus on getting our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible, and start worrying about the battle weary American Soldier for a change!

    May 11, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  118. K

    Pres.Obama has already started to improve our world image. he is an intelligent, competant president who actually listens to the opinions of others. No one is always correct. Obama seems to be able to compromise something that the Bush administration did not and still does not understand.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  119. Greg, Ontario

    The hatred and fear runs deep in that area of the world. The biggest problem is they want to be integrated and yet separated. If President Obama could some how get them to stay separated for a while maybe they could set up something like the Greeks and the Turks have set up on Cyprus. Patrolled by UN troops that have the power to respond to all threats would probably work. Jack why is it that the US feels it should bring peace or anything else to the middle east? Let them do it, let them pay for the warring with their own blood and money. These fanatics attacked the US because of it's actions not because of it's inaction.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  120. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    He will throw the Israelies under the "bus" just like he has America!

    May 11, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  121. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Obama is change personified. He already has the people of the different countries with him. If he listens to both sides and treats them both with respect, he has a great chance to succeed where others have failed. If anyone can do it, HE can.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  122. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Obama already has the people of the different countries with him. If he listens to both sides and treats them both with respect, he has a great chance to succeed where others have failed. If anyone can do it, HE can.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  123. Jerry

    By not trying to make them like the United States, when will people in the U.S. learn that everyone in the world doesn't want to be like us. Most of those countries have been around a lot longer than we have and they have no desire to change. I say lets get the hell out of there and let them fight is out and may the best one win.

    May 11, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  124. Matt Lord, Cedar Springs GA

    Obama is willing to listen, not just talk and force our ideas on others. Will he succeed, I'doubt it(due to the regions history), but will pray he does.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  125. Laurel

    By being himself! He's got more diplomatic skills than the last several presidents put together. Plus, he has the unique perspective of his cross-cultural background, meaning that he can probably see both sides of the story easier than most.

    He wants to talk to all sides. If anyone can do this, he can.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  126. Chris, NYC

    It's really a bit of a puzzle as to what to do regarding peace in those parts....I do believe however we have the right President at this time, to focus in on a real solution.....He has a certain calmness, the smarts, and the patients that are a must for such a resolution. Indeed youth is not being wasted on this President!!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  127. Bob D, Morristown, NJ

    Short of sacrificing Israel and forcing its demise, there may be little President Obama can do to promote peace. The Palestinian populace overwhelmingly support suicide bombing and Hamas, which has stated repeatedly, that it considers all of the Land of Israel to be Palestine, and will accept nothing less than total domination of that land, and the expulsion, or death of all Jews therein. Even the Fatah based PA does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

    One thing that might help the Palestinians consider an alternate reality is if Obama can get Iran and Syria to halt their sponsorship of Hamas and Hizballah

    May 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  128. S Callahan New York State

    How can he succeed? He can't. He can only role model and hopefully others will imitate him. Everything taking place in the Middle East right now was ordained ions ago. For the sake of the people in the Middle East the goal should always be peace, and history tells us there will be , at least for a seven year period . God knows all the people of the MIddle East certainly need rest from so much violence.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  129. David of Alexandria VA

    He can't. He'll get lip service and oohs-n-aahs about his inclusiveness. But, until the Israelis and the Palestinians decide that want and can sustain peace, and the 6 other meddlesome countries decide that they should stay out of it, nothing substantive will change.

    In the meantime, they may treat Obama as a king, but they really consider him to be only yet another pawn.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  130. John, Fort Collins, CO

    If the Obama administration impartially provides every country in the Middle East with exactly the same financial support and backing provided to Israel it would lift the United States above the fray and build trust with the Arab nations. If we truly become neutral benefactors, it would no longer be a case of "them" versus Israel and us.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  131. Ken in NC

    When you have it in your mind to do something or not to do something, nothing and no one will deter you. You may appease them for a short time to get them off your back but sooner or later you will return to your old ways because it is what you believe and want to do. This is the Middle East. Always has been and appears it always will be. No room for change. Change is that which humans almost always resist.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  132. Dan, Chantilly VA

    The only way he's going to succeed is with a lot of luck. It doesn't matter how much negotiating the US is involved in when all the leaders in the area promote peace through violence. The radical elements on both sides are so far entrenched that it's going to take a lot of time to get the message across. Keep in mind, we can't even control the radical elements of our own government.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  133. Carmelo, Shrewsbury, NJ

    Obama can succeed in bringing peace between Palestinians & Israelis by first putting pressure on Netanyahu to eliminate the 650 check points thru ought the West Bank, tear down the wall that is cutting into 10% of Palestinian’s land , releasing the 10,000 Palestinians that are rotting in Israel jails without judicial process and removing all the illegal Jewish settlements built on Palestinian land. The resistance against the occupation will end only when Palestinians have a viable state
    Has VP Joe Biden rightly stated at the AIPAC meeting to the Israeli leaders “Show me”

    May 11, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  134. Kim

    He will succeed because he's not others. He thinks and does differently from others.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  135. John in LA

    Bush set Middle East peace back ten years by his completely one-sided policy in favor of Israel's ultra-right government and every anti-Palestinian action they took.

    Obama can help by restoring balance and honesty to U.S. policy–and stopping Israels' right-wingers from continuing to isolate and assault these people.

    Get rid of the wall, for one. Get rid of the settlements, for two. And honor all the agreements from the past, for three.

    If Obama got Israel to be more reasonable, I think he could also get Hamas to recognize Israel and make some concessions.

    Only problem? It will take years. And it will help if Netanyahu is not the Prime Minister. He may be a right-winger, but he's not Begin. Someone better needs to come along in Israel for peace to have a good chance again.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  136. Donald in CA

    By not deamonizing countries that disagree with us. Obama is a good
    listener, who will be fair to all parties concerned.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  137. Jim Bailey

    Wrong question Jack!
    Why are'nt you rolling around in the tub of Sykes/Limbaugh/Miss California goo like everyone else?
    Let the Pope handle the Middle East...he's there right now.
    Jim Bailey
    Cripple Creek

    May 11, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  138. Chip Brogan, Celina Ohio

    When it comes to peace in the Middle East, how can President Obama succeed where other U.S. presidents have failed?


    He can't. They want a piece of land that neither are willing to share or give to the other. It's not just an amount of land, it is a SPECIFIC piece of land.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  139. MQu, Louisville

    Very simple. Not adopt unilateral support for Israel when they shed blood and commit genocide acts like the well informed George Bush and Dick Cheney always did.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  140. lou

    It depends on your definition of success. This is a religious feud based on a centuries old belief systems. Do they really think Obama was sent down from the Almighty to settle this thing? If he can help keep the nukes out of the wrong hands and get through the next 8 years with no one invading anyone's space, I'd say he was a success. Throw in catching Bin Laden and I'd upgrade to major success.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  141. Joyce Jenkins

    Jack, I believe that President Obama will and must prevail in talks with the Middle East. The best way to accomplish that would be to bow three more times to the king of Saudi Arabia.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  142. Franko

    Follow through.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  143. Gorgegirl

    How can he succeed? Take both Bill and Hillary Clinton with him.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  144. Dennis from Albuquerque

    Other than Jimmy Carter, I can't remember a whole lot of time being spent by our Presidents, especially the last one, on brokering peace in the middle east. If he can make this one of his highest priorities and really pushes the two state solution in Israel, then yes he can be successful.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  145. Pepou

    He will succeed by being fair to all parties instead of giving in to Israe's antics like his predecessors.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  146. John in Virginia

    He certainly can't by bowing to Saudi kings, pretending he is a Muslim and giving Israel the cold shoulder. The President is deluding himself if he thinks that appeasement ever works. This strategy will backfire on him . . . big time.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  147. David A Whitaker

    Hey Jack, yes he can because he decided to listen to others. We can't continue to dictate to other countries like we have in the past.


    Martinsburg, WV

    May 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  148. Al

    Obama needs to withhold financial, military, and political aid to Israel if that country does not abide by international law and withdraw from the West Bank, Golan Heights, and Lebanese territory.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  149. Harriet J. Brown

    President Obama has a better chance of success, with Middle East peace, because he no long has Arafat to condend with.

    But, he must not push Israel under the bus. He must keep his promise to Israel.

    Then, he will be trusted by both sides.

    Harriet J. Brown
    Bayside, NY

    May 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  150. Jean-Luc

    I think Obama must be firmer on Israel than previous presidents. Israel Must stop building settlements and expanding their territory on 'occupied palestinian land'.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  151. AARON

    He just needs to be himself and keep doing things the same way he's been doing to achieve the favorable ratings he has now.

    San Diego, CA

    May 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  152. yeni

    by helping the palestinian create a palestinian state.also by letting the arab world know he is sincere in this process not just talk

    May 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  153. Chris Mccarthy

    Maybe if he says a few words in Arabic they will get it. There can not be a majority of people in the world that supports more war and depravation. Let's deal with these problems and sovle them now. Times up!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  154. Greg

    The answer is simple. Unfortunately, as Jack Nicholson said in a A FEW GOOD MEN – we can't handle the truth. The truth is that Israel itself is an ethnically cleansed state, occupying another people purely on race and religion issues. If we just act fairly and CONSISTENTLY with our own values, we would pull the plug on the billions we give to Israel and force peace. In most wars, the US took the side of the innocent victims – in this case we have taken the side of the aggressors and oppressors. The main problem is the huge amount of disinformation and myths put out of by those who put Israel's interest ahead of AMERICAN interests. Until we deal with the truth, there will NEVER be peace.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  155. JS

    We have been hoping for this peace for 40 years, President Obama seems to be wise beyond his years, he knows how to listen and respect the position of both friends and foes. Usually presidents feel they have to be seen to be macho in order to impress and end up doing nothing.
    It's not going to be easy!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  156. William Feliciano

    Anyone who knows the history of the Middle East crisis understand no one man can solve this problem. As long as Hamas and Hezbollah wield significant power there will be no peace, both of their charters call for the destructions of Israel.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  157. James Currie

    How can Obama succeed where other Presidents have failed?.
    Quite easily actually. Tell the Israelis to get out of the occupied territories or lose the aid and support of the USA. Tell them to honour their agreements and UN resolutions.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  158. Sarah,Richmond,VA

    If, and when, we stop letting Israel lead us around by the nose.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  159. Daniel LA,CA

    Hi Jack,
    Action speak louder than words....the pres. obama will succeed.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  160. Jason, Koloa, HI

    Peace is up to the parties involved in the violence. If they decide to continue the cycle of violence for violence for violence then no outsider can do anything to stop it. The middle east will have peace when they decide to have peace, not when an American president tells them to.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  161. Win Reed

    President Obama will succeed in making peace if, unlike prior Presidents, he recognizes that there are two sides to the story...and treats each equally.

    Win Reed
    San Diego, CA

    May 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  162. Karen - Missouri

    Obama should just be himself.

    It's time to stop putting the pressure on U.S. presidents and time for the Muslim world to step up...so far they've done nothing themselves to promote peace nor to fight terrorism. If the Muslim countries acted like they want peace with Israel it probably would work, now wouldn't it? All our countries are sick of war, fighting and finger-pointing. Muslims need to do more toward peace.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  163. Dan Racicot(Qué)

    I hope i'm wrong but i don't think its possible.The Isralis lobby is too
    strong. I never heard the word "occupation" in American medias.....

    May 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  164. Kabdesh

    Hi Jack,
    Reasonable peace deal could be reached if President can acts with fairness, rather than providing blind support to all and every action of Israel for so called self-defense. I mean, killing innocents in any side should be prevented. Thanks.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  165. Peter M

    Yes, Prez. Obama can succeed where others have failed. This is a guy who is seen as sincere, fair-minded and just. He is also extremely persable and intelligent. This is a guy who manages to make the Drab White House Corresponts' Dinner funny and informative to watch! When is the last time such a thing happened in Washington? Prez. Obama will succeed in the Middle East.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  166. Mark Lloyd

    Simply – stop Israeli settlement expansion in Palestine. The US has to get tough and insist on the 1967 borders. Enough sycophancy to Israel already. An even hand is long overdue.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  167. Lynn

    By continuing to use his intellect, diplomacy and honesty with the world at large – a drastic change from the last yahoo.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  168. Rosemarie A Stone

    Jack, All President Obama has to do is continue to criticize how America was in the past, and how he as "supreme being" will improve it; and he'll have all the Middle-East countries eating out of his hand. Pretty simple solution! He's already got the act down perfect!

    Vero Beach, FL

    May 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  169. George Chassey

    Follow the advice of the prophet Isaiah,"let us sit down and reason together."

    May 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  170. Tristan R.

    We need to realize that Israel is not always right. When we are the only nation in the UN that supports Israel in a conflict we need to realise that they are guilty of just as many Human Right abuses as the Palistinians otherwise why would there be over 5 million refugees in the Middle East from the region.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  171. Tahar


    USA gives Israel Billions of dollars of aid each year along with a lot of high tech planes and arms . Obama can reach a peace deal if he stands and tell Israel what do versus letting them handling the situation . If I am giving all this money you better listen to what I have to say . Once Obama has the guts to do that then a peace deal can take place .
    Tahar- Boston .

    May 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  172. Max

    He will succeed because "his confident smile and kind eyes" will win them over!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  173. JeanneKLA

    Because President Obama does not force his or anyone else's religion on them. He understands that that's where the conflict begins. "There will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions. There will be no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions" Dr Hans Küng. It starts by forming a mutual respect which has done remarkably well in his recent visits.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  174. Josh Jacob

    Obviously peace between Israel and Palestine requires a two state solution.

    What need to change is how this is approached. Palestinians must not simply receive territory but also access to employment and infrastructure; an excellent way of achieving this is a New Deal type program that pays Palestinians for public works projects that build sewers and other utilities they lack.

    Currently, Palestinians have a "state" but is a failed, nonfunctional one; in order to succeed the double standard of Jerusalem where one side is modern and the other lacks even basic sewage disposal need to change; only then will the anger and resentment of Palestinians towards Israel begin to succeed as they become more invested in their own independent destiny.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  175. mike, virginia

    Its really not that hard Jack, if he stays fair between the two he'll go further then an other president has.As long as he doesnt play favorites there should be positive progress

    May 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  176. visco

    i think he can succeed because the world is hoping for the change he promised
    and remember jack he is obama no drama...


    May 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  177. Yusuf A Shakuur

    Just become an honest broker and let go of that tired mentality "whatever Israel does and wants is OK; and because they are our ally we can acknowledge no fault in their behavior.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  178. Ofer from Jerusalem, Israel

    Israel's peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 came about when there was a Democratic president willing to "pay" the price of peace, a right-wing prime minister in Israel who could pursue a peace treaty without serious opposition at home and an Arab partner willing to make serious concessions when it came to accepting Israel's right to exist in the Middle East as a Jewish state. While the first two conditions exist at the point, the third condition does not. The Palestinians need to be willing to abandon this fantasy that they can eliminate Israel either by convincing their Arab brethren to destroy it for them or by getting the international community to "correct" the "historical injustice" of creating Israel in the first place. They need to be willing accept the principle of Israel as a Jewish state and want an end to the conflict. If not, then President Obama is wasting his time.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  179. Louise in Alabama

    Earlier you all were speaking about salt. Ouch. I would suspect that the Middle East acid test would then include India. Many swords have made a lot of cuts across many backs across many countries.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  180. Scott Stodden

    Jack, President Obama could do no worse with the middle east peace process than what past president's have done, remember Jack each and everytime that a former president has tryed to bring peace it never lasted for to long. However who knows, President Obama can do anything but if Israel and the Palestinians dont recognize each other as a state then peace will never happen, not even with Mr. Big Shot, oh I mean President Obama

    May 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  181. Weldon from Canada

    I believe that President Obama has the ability to present himself in a manner where the Saudi's will feel that they are an important part of the solution and that America will assist but not dictate the terms.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  182. John Radgosky

    Peace in the Middle East is dependant on a UNANIMOUS Arab nation recognition of the right of Israel to exist with a guarantee of security. All other details including return of lands and a unique solution for Jerusalem can be worked out by willing participants. The Arabs want to look to Obama for a solution. It's now time that Arabs do the right thing. Palestine equally deserves self determination and economic assistance with it's own development. 62 years of bloodshed in recent history is more than enough to prove the futility of the current hostilities.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  183. The Broker.

    I am with you Jack! Whatever you say. It is your Country after al is said and done. And thankyou!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  184. Piroska

    Jack: President Obama will succeed if he will recognize Israel as a peace loving Jewish state and will deal with the truly elected government heads (Livni) and will convince Netanyahu to step down and let the Jewish citizens to decide! A longtime Central European refugee Piroska, Florida

    May 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  185. Matt ouimet

    He should be even -handed in his dealing with both sides. Acknowledge that both sides ( Jews and Palistinian) are guilty of deeds that foil any attempt to reach a permanent peace in the area. Sincerely, Matt.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  186. Jean-Luc

    I Think Obama needs to revoke the Israeli 'blank check' and ask for major reforms like stopping the expansion their territory with armed ideological settlers. The wall must come down. I mean the actual 'wall'. Palestine needs to be recognized as a nation today by the whole world.

    Once Israel Makes some concessions, i am sure that extremism on both sides will diminish greatly and peace will flourish.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  187. john ..... marlton, nj

    Succeed in/at Middle East peace? That's an oxymoron if the premise itself defines success as a two state solution. Let's be real, the WORLD understands that anything less than the 1967 borders is a little more than an exercise. Unfortuneately, Israels ability to garner the alligence and loyalty of Obama insides Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod make the up coming "peace talks" a joke and no more than theater.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  188. Harold

    President Obama WILL SOLVE the Middle East 42 years problem because he never received a penny from the lobbyist but he must be very careful due to huge Israeli lobby influence here in the United States. He should do what he believes for the good of the Middle East.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  189. Bob from Witch City (Salem, Ma)


    To succeed, Pres. Obama has to convince the Arab world he can be even handed and will champion human rights and a state for Palestine. To do that he needs to take Israel to task for its counterproductive policies. To do that he needs the support of the American Jewish community. Only a president with widespread support among American Jews can play hardball with Israel.


    May 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  190. Rick


    For the last eight years, we had a president who's policy, foreign and domestic, was, "my way or the highway". President Obama, as great statesmen do, will listen to all parties and work WITH them to forge a framework for peace.

    It's amazing what can be accomplished by a President who listens, understands the issues in depth, and works towards a solution that is in the best interest of all.

    Rick – Hudson, New Hampshire

    May 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  191. K.A

    I think he has a far better chance than many U.S presidents. He is very liked inside and outside the Muslim World.

    Whatever it takes, the president should make the Middle East Peace his top priority. In reality, the United States is the victim. We give donation and money to both Israel and Palestinian, Egyptians and other Islamic states, but none seems to be happy enough to appreciate the generosity of Americans.

    God Bless America,
    Peace in the Middle East

    May 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  192. John C. Smith

    President Obama will succeed because he does not open his conversation with "We will blow you into nuclear annihilation."

    May 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  193. Mustafa / Dallas, TX

    President Obama can make this deal simply because he works hard for the good of people and humanity and not for the good of politics. He knows that majority of Muslim and Jewish population want a two state solution and also a two state solution will put all the extremest out of business..

    May 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm |

    He cannot succeed,period. The muslim world hate us with a passion. There view of us is carved in stone just like the 10 comandments.
    They are just waiting to get there hands on nuclear weapons so they can wipe out as many americans as they can. Can you imagine trying to strike fear into the muslim extremist mind by assuring mutual destruction. They welcome it.
    Call me black cloud if you want. Even if Saudi Arabia was 100 percent behind us, what would they do to protect us from these maniacs, kill there own. Not in the muslim world.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  195. Troy W. - California

    President Obama needs to play hardball with Israel and cut off all aid to them if they don't come to the table and make a genuine effort to come to a settlement that all sides can live with. Congress appropriates funds but the President can determine how the money is spent. As long as the Palestinian Authority does not have official statehood, aid intended for Israel could be used to support them instead of the Israeli government. Israel would be up a creek without US aid so the serious possibility of losing that support would get them to make some concessions needed to bring a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  196. Yasmeen Algahtani

    As an Arab American living in the United States, (mother is American and my father is from Saudi Arabia) I believe, like many of Arabs I know that Obama is really trying to make peace by meeting with many Arab leaders as well as Israel to negotiate a resolution as opposed to Bush and many past U.S presidents who just ignore the issue or pretended to be concerned when they usually would pick sides (usually Israel's side). It was obvious that the past U.S leaders didn't care about what happened to the Palestinians or Arabs as long as Israel was safe and satisfied. Obama doesn't seem he is picking sides, but is more of a neutral negotiator concerned with both party's interests.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  197. Larry

    No Jack, no one can.
    Almost everyone except Israel doesn't like westerners, can't stand Christians and despice all Jews. That doesn't give us much room does it. Beyond the yankee dollar and bombs all we can do in talk, reason and hope.

    Palm Beach

    May 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  198. Andre R. Newcomb

    He doesn't know?

    Andy of Sierra Vista, Arizona

    May 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  199. Jim Blevins

    Using his usual objective, unbiased problem solving methods, Obama may well solve the Israel/Palestine problem. All attempts in the past have involved strong religious bias. It will require a lot of "tough love", but in the long term, it is in every one's best interest and Obama is up to the task.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    May 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  200. James Osiemo

    Jack,President Obama can only succeed when people like Dick Cheney shut up and let him clean the mess they created in the last eight years

    May 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  201. derrick

    easy jack , dont be afraid to talk to them

    May 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  202. Darryl L. Bennett

    Keep on talking "Talk Baby Talk"

    May 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  203. Matt Frick

    He can't succeed, but he can help by convincing Israel to return to pre-1967 borders, taking the "Palestinian situation" out of the equation. Maybe then outsiders like al Qa'ida, Iran and their proxy Hezbollah will stop exploiting the Palestinians for their own gain. Hamas would also lose much of their political clout and most of their support.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  204. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Jack, the fighting has been going on for so long that no one remembers why they are fighting, they just hate each other. I say we sell a boatload of weapons to each side and let them have at it toe-to-toe. Last one standing wins. We help ourselves out of the recession and the two sides in the Mideast conflict get to kill each other. It's a win-win right? Not really, but you'd have more people buying into that than sitting around a table talking peace at this point.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  205. Walt from Canada

    President Obama will succeed because of his openness and honesty. Bill Clinton may have succeeded if the Republicans allowed him the time to do it instead of bringing those foolish charges against him. If he had had a couple more years, the Middle East would be a changed society! Bush and Cheney set everything back 20 years at least (and gave President Obama a real challenge) following their own ideology in bringing 2 wars and chaos to the Middle East. Thank God they are gone! P.S. : And tell Cheney "it is over, go away and shut up"!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  206. Tony IL

    Unlike Obama's predicessors, Obama is well liked among other countries. Also, instead of taking the stance of, "You do what the US wants or else", Obama is reaching out to all foreign leaders without preconditions. President Obama and his staff he has assembled is one of the best Iv'e seen. Besides, as good as he has done in his first 100 days, he will succeed when others have failed.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  207. Al

    Israel can not survive under a peaceful situation. No one will be able to solve the problem, not Mr. Obama or anyone else.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  208. Patrick, Austin, TX

    These people have been fighting since the beginning of time. It is very hot over there and there is no air conditioning. If we gave them air conditioning, DVD players, and video games it might help. It definitely distracts our own people from the real issues. Do not get me wrong, we still have religious extremist, the Republican Party, but they like the air conditioning as well.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  209. Terrance in Hartville, MO

    Its simple Jack, he will use diplomacy instead of the threats used in the past. Truth be know, I don't know how he'll do it, but I'd put 5 to 1 odds that he will succeed where Bush failed, which will be no supprise for anyone with a brain.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  210. Asghar Ayazi

    Others failed because they were on the side of the aggressor, Israel. Obama can only succeed by being just and fair to both sides. He should listen and learn from former President Carter who was an honest and fair peace broker; I know Zionist are going to hate him

    May 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  211. Karl from SF, CA

    We know what hasn’t worked in the past and our President, despite his supposed immaturity and inexperience as noted in previous posts seems to have a knack for bringing people together, so I am confident he has a good chance of pulling it off. It has to be easier then getting the Republicans to agree to anything.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  212. Terryold

    Truman started the debacle and now Obama can end it by making the Israelis sign the Saudi Peace Plan which would be a cure, not a band-aid. Terryold

    May 11, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  213. Ruth

    If anyone can help promote peace in the Middle East, President Obama can. His abilities to listen openly and respect the views of others, regardless of his own beliefs, are a valuable asset.
    I call on everyone to envision a positive outcome to this meeting President Obama will have in the Middle East. Prayer and intention do produce results! Let us all participate in helping to create a lasting peace in the Middle East and around the world!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  214. Tony

    I am afraid with an arrogant and dangerous former vice president the President task to finally bring about change in the Middle East will be impossible. I will go even further to advise the President an his security staff to keep the former vice president under under serious watch.

    This sick man needs help before something happens to the president at the hands of Dick Cheney and his friends in the Middle east

    May 11, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  215. David P. Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – It is time for America to outgrow the hubris of trying to impose solutions to everyone else's problems. The only people who can settle the "Middle East" problem are the participants who live there – Palestinians, Israelis, Christians, Muslims and Jews. No President of the United States (or, for that matter, no leader of any other country but Israel and "Palestine") can make these people stop shooting at each other. Mr. Obama can mediate, some, if the principals allow it, but peace must be achieved by the principals, and cannot be imposed. Furthermore, Arabs, because of their cultural ideal of independence, will resist any "solution" imposed on them from the outside – it is that resistance to the imposed UN Resolution of 1947 that started the Arab-Israeli Wars in the first place. The solution will come form the locals, or not at all, and not from Washington, period.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  216. Julius, Moose Jaw, SK, Canada

    No, because neither Israel nor the Palestinians want peace, they want peace only if they totally get their way, they are not willing to negotiate an agreement. Good Luck Mr. President, but you will fail as many others have over the last 2,000+ years. Even Jesus himself could not bring peace– anyone who thinks they can do it are kidding themselves.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  217. Rich Reidy

    The president needs NOT to give in to the Israeli lobby in this country. Instead, he should put every possible pressure on the Israeli government to remove Jewish settlements from Palestinian territories, and agree to a Palestinian state. The increase in the population of those Ultra Orthodox groups who believe it's their deity's will to GIVE them the land of Israel/Palestine and expel non-Jews, can only lead to more war and the eventual destruction of
    the very land which they claim as their inheritance. The population of secular Israelis is not keeping up with the increase of the Ultra-Orthodox. that means political power shifts in favor of the religious viewpoint of the Ultra-Orthodox.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  218. Boyd, Reedsburg, WI

    What this country has failed to appreciate is the difference between a military conflict and and ideological one. We've been so full of ourselves since WWII that we have tended to see things only in military terms. We apparently didn't learn our lesson from Vietnam, and don't appreciate that our very own American Revolution could not be won by the British, who had the most powerful military at that time. By the same token, we cannot win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and neither will Israel win against the Arabs long-term, until the ideological needs of all parties are successfully addressed, met, and respected. Hopefully, our new administration realizes this, but if they are constrained to think in purely military terms, their efforts are doomed to failure as well.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  219. Ann P.

    Pres. Obama may be our last and only hope for MidEast peace. He can succeed if he can get the Israelis to make true efforts at making peace such as stopping the settlements and even abandoning some of the settlements. U.S. politicians have always been very beholden to the vote and campaign contributions of Jewish Americans. Obama is the first President in recent times to have broad support among American voters and to have raised much campaign funding $10 and $20 at a time from many Americans. Of course, he also needs similar true peace making efforts from not just the heads of the Arab countries but also leaders of groups like Hamas. That area needs a 21st century Marshall Plan so that young, angry men have jobs to keep them too busy to blow themselves and others to smithereens.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  220. Jerry; Alpharetta, GA

    Easy, hold Israel accountable for their actions and move forward with the establishment of a Palestinian state.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  221. John Owen, Hudson, NY

    Jack – Jimmy Carter's book, "Peace, Not Apartheid," detailed the harsh tactics of Israelis as they impounded Palestinian fresh produce at border crossings until it rotted and was useless as well as a host of other similar events which seemed to show that the private Israeli goal has been to ultimately take all of Palestine's land and strangle their economy.
    President Obama will have to reverse that mindset and hold the Israeli government to the two state solution if peace is to prevail. I think he will – but it will cost him support at home. Abroad and in the Middle East, he'll be a hero. In Israel, the people will have to settle for an enduring state within adjusted borders without further expansionism. Finally, the Palestinians will share the same homeland the Israelis tried to take for themselves. The two parties both lose, yet also gain. It could work. John

    May 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  222. Christine, Thousand Oaks Ca

    President Obama is definitely our best shot, but the election of Netanyahu in Israel tells me the Israelis will not back down while they have him in office. The Israelis are a bigger problem in this mess than the Arab world. Israel will never give back the West Bank or Gaza, although they stole it and should return it. I don't trust either group.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  223. Melissa

    He's already doing what he needs to do. Working together with people instead of working against them.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  224. Mario

    Hello Jack, The only way President Obama can succeed in middle east is to avoid babying Israel in order to prevent losing popularity and his solidarity within the Arab world. President Obama can achieve something that no other president has been able to achieve and that is the support and respect of the Arab nations in the middle east by taking a fair stance in dealing with Israel and Palestine both.


    May 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  225. Daniel

    Obama should approach this issue the way he has approached so many others-by doing the exact opposite of everything Bush did! He needs to pay close attention to what is going on for both sides, and instead of favoring one over the other he needs to hold them both accountable for their obligations to each other and themselves.

    And unlike Bush, he should definitely push not just for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but between Israel and Syria. Syria is a key piece of the puzzle. They are one of Hama's strongest allies and share a border with Israel. If Syria could be pushed away from hostility with Israel-perhaps in exchange for the Golan Mountains-it would significantly weaken Hamas, and put them in a position where they would have little choice but to start negotiating.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  226. Tommie Hunter


    President Obama has to continue to build the bridges and open communication channels, which he has so correct been given credit for.

    This is a monumental task given the problems and historical ties and misunderstandings.

    He has to luanch new initiatives geared to build trust and understanding and mutual respect for both parties goals and objectives.

    Billions in aid alone will not achieve this goal without a firm commitment to an agreed outcome that meets both their goals and objectives, which will demand compromise and trust on their part that has been lacking in the past,

    May 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  227. leon zelby

    President Obama can succeed if he recognizes that the fundamental problem, at least in my estimation, is the simple fact the Israel is a democracy. but its surrounding countries are either pseudo-democracies or downright totalitarian. Their concern is that democracy might prevail!

    Leon Zelby
    Norman, OK

    May 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  228. Amber Scott, Los Angeles CA

    This has almost nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with the fact that Palestinians and Israelis are so fractured politically that no one knows who to negotiate WITH. It's a tragedy, since the Arab world is now pushing for a two state solution instead of Israel's eradication.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  229. Jean from Sun City AZ

    I believe that Obama will do all that he can to bring peace to the middle east but getting the Palestinians to sit down and negotiate will be difficult – they've got to want peace.

    The Palestian leaders are bull headed and want what they cannot have; Israeli land and the demise of the Jews. So how is Obama going to change their mindset? By bringing in Arab leaders from other countries to help persuade them that peace is preferrable to terror.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  230. Rod

    There were major accomplishments made under previous presidents when they had the political will and patience required; notably under Carter the Israel-Egypt Camp David Accords were reached, which are still in place today. President Obama seems to have the will and the patience. He seems to have the analytical skills, the intellectual perspective and the needed sense of fairness to tackle the key mideast problems. For him to succeed, he needs to free the US from two political taboos: 1) Israel (and its US lobby) ability to veto US decisions it sees as unfavorable, and 2) the importance of Saudi Arabia as a stakes broker.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  231. Susan in Dallas Tx.

    He can admit that Palestinians have rights,too.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  232. MCD, SF

    The only reason America and other countries ever got involved in the past was because we wanted to get our hands on their oil. Who knows how these countries would have evolved if we and others had not interferred. Obama might have a good chance if he makes it very clear, right from the outset, that we are NOT after their natural resources.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  233. Annie, Atlanta

    I honestly don't see hope for the middle east, but hope that's wrong. They took Palestine away from the Palestinians, gave it to the Jews, and expected everyone to be ok with that? It doesn't work that way.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  234. Bernard Clark

    Obama's respect of International Leaders is already having an affect! He has already achieved what other American President's have never; showing respect.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  235. Rinaldo, Florida

    President Obama is a smart man.He will succeed in most issues were others have failed.I am pretty confident he' ll reach an agreement with Israel and Palestine before the end of his first term.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  236. Sarah


    President Obama needs to send the only theocratic Jewish state a clear signal. If you’re not with Americans then you’re against us!

    Israel has been a torn in the side of the United States ever since its illegal creation in the heart of the Middle East by victors of WW II.

    US Foreign policy is run by Washington’s Jewish groups such as AIPAC, who have dictated for years with whom Americans can or cannot make friends. Tell AIPAC to immediately stop meddling in US government affairs.

    The Arabs have no personal problems with the US, except that American leaders give Israel a carte blanche when it comes to snatching Arab land and illegally building Jewish settlements.

    The Jewish state is the only theocracy in the Middle East, making the argument it was established by the God to rule the world.

    However, if one looks closely at the Middle East, it’ll soon become evident that Islam, and not Judaism, is the most predominant religion of the land.

    One is compelled to then ask: To whom did God make the promises of the religion of “Shalom” for an everlasting covenant? Obviously, the Kingdom of God must be manifest in Islam, which means “Peace.”



    May 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  237. K. Amen

    Hi Mr. Cafferty,

    Great topic!

    President Obama has a wide span of international support, some would say more than any other previous president or politician.

    Mainly because of his choice to exercise diplomacy before force.
    The closing of Guatanamo Bay sets a powerful precidence by our government, that human rights violations will not be tolerated.

    Recently a UN group (headed by a South African judge) were sent to Israel/Palestine. The panel was sent as observers based upon reports
    by Israeli soldiers. (See UN WIRE)

    America has a world reputation, (that was strayed from after 9/11)
    that reputation is that we are a protector of human rights.

    According to International law if a country does not act in accordance with HUMAN RIGHTS and human rights are violated, it is up to the UN to intervene.

    I think among all the issues surrounding this crisis HUMAN RIGHTS is primary. The ironic thing is that at Nuremberg, Israel brought NAZI war criminals to justice.

    Will the same standard be applied to them in the International Criminal Court, 60 years later?

    I think president Obama has the diplomacy as well as the political impartiality amongst Israeli's as well as Arab countries to facilitate the end of these HUMAN RIGHTS violations. Without involving the ICC.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  238. Conor in Chicago

    There is no profit in Mid-East peace. To suggest that there might be peace ignores the very power structure in place on the planet Earth in the early 21st Century.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  239. Scott C, Minneapolis

    The dim light at the end of the long tunnel toward Middle East peace shines a bit brighter these days, but the prospect of peace in the region is really in the hands of recently-elected Benjamin Netanyahu, who is unfortunately a conservative member of the Likud Party who has campaigned on the promise of no second Palestinian state. I have faith that peace can and will come to the region, and a two state solution is key. There has to be heroes on all three sides, heroes who are willing to swallow their pride and prejudice and come to a compromise. President Obama has a great chance to make this happen, but we have learned from Iraq that we can't simply point a gun at two feuding parties and expect them to like each other. What makes President Obama's role and the current environment and view of the U.S. more significant and greater than previous presidents is the significant change in foreign policy. We no longer abide by the black-and-white view of "for us or against us", we no longer accept or justify torture, we no longer consider the silent treatment as sufficient diplomacy, and we no longer use the words "War on Terror." I truly believe a peace deal in Israel and Palestine can happen, but perhaps it would have been easier if Tzipi Livni was Prime Minister.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  240. Rob MacRiner, Toronto

    Understanding and recognition of the fundamentals of the mideast conflict is the key to a resolution. This conflict has four major components; land claims, religious disparity, deep resentment from past battles, and the lack of commerce between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The latter is a key component that is often underestimated. Israel by culture resisted developing a sustainable and fair commerce with the Palestinians. If Obama brokers this issue, his chances of success will noticeably improve.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  241. Chris Mccarthy

    Peace! What a concept!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  242. Andy in Vancouver, BC

    In the past, the US has only dealt with the Middle East by either making parties bow to their terms, or to talk to them while at the end of a gun barrel. Obama actually seems to have a desire to listen to different political factions regardless of whether or not they like us (or Israel for that matter). Its sad that actual diplomacy is such a radical departure, but it might actually work where forcing our terms on others has failed.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  243. Al Rangeloff

    Jack, Pres Obama should use the same scenario Pres. Carter did with Isreal & Egypt. Get the leaders from both sides of Isreal and the factions of Palestinians @ Camp David (or another totally secluded location) and have them stare @ each other (for days if necessary) until the all-encompassing dialogue produces a conclusive understanding of each other and the resolution of cohesive peace. It's a "start" anyway!
    Al, Indiana

    May 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  244. Jude in California


    The bad news is Netanyahu seems to be a clone of our favorite dark side character CHENEY and unfortunately both of them won't go away.

    The good news...we need to wait and see.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  245. maria, southern california

    by reminding them of his middle name hussein.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  246. Sharon

    Pres. O will have a strong advantage over past Pres.; having lived in the largest Muslim country; coming from a multi-national, multi-cultural, multi-religious background & having read both Bible and Koran. He must learn significance of historical data; not become too overconfident; reach out showing strength of character; be willing to not only listen, but HEAR the concerns of both sides; verify ALL information given before acting; advise both parties to compromise & act accordingly; all while protecting American Citizens in the process. Not a small task knowing past attempts at such.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  247. Alex Simon

    I doubt he can succeed. That is not President Obama's fault. It is just the reality of the situation. President Clinton could not convince Yassir Arafat to accept the best deal the Palestinians were ever offered from Ehud Barak. President Obama has Hamas on one side and Netanyahu and Avigdor (not Joe) Lieberman on the other. Netanyahu may be voted out of office but Hamas will not be and even if they are, does anyone think they will leave. This is just political correctness and political expediency. I do not doubt the President's sincerity but just like trying to solve the Iranian and North Korean nuclear issues I don't think there is much chance for success.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  248. Jack Dempsey

    Jack, American policy in the Middle East is illegal based on the seperation of church and state. Our policy towards all nations in the world should be kept simple "Make peace or kiss off". Jack From Nice, Ca.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  249. Steven

    You can mess with the ZOHAN go get 'em

    May 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  250. j/NJ

    When it comes to peace in the Middle East, how can President Obama succeed where other U.S. presidents have failed?

    By implementing a balanced American policy that favours neither Palestinian nor Israeli, there are after all two sides to this conflict not just one; by distancing himself from a very powerful Jewish lobby; by doing all he can to secure a viable two state solution and by understanding that peace in the region cannot be obtained without it...

    May 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  251. Chris McCarthy

    The waste in our system is because of paranoid fear of our competitors. Denfense and security is killing us.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  252. Bingo

    CHANGE: Apply the Golden Rule to the Middle East fiasco instead of the Rule of Aipac and the Jewish media.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  253. Denise

    By not acting like John The Cowboy Wayne! People of European descent always seemto think their way is the right way and everybody elses is wrong. How about acknowledging the cultural differences between East and West and understanding the differences and acknowledge these and any similarities.
    That is a start. Know the history of the region. It would help. Learn why their are so many sects and why they differ. Common ground can be found if one tries, though it may be difficult.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  254. Bob - Pittsburgh

    It's time for a change ! Let's simply put this back in the laps of those directly involved, the Mideast Leaders. Stop looking to Washington to solve your differences and do something about it yourselves.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  255. Jordan Keyes in Mobile Ala.

    Stop meddling in this centuries-old mess and worry more about the crazy Taliban getting hold of Pakistani nukes!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  256. Charles from Chapel Hill, NC

    Peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians when they have resolved the many anciliary issues: Right to return, resettlement of Palestinians throughout the region, Water rights for Israel & Palestine, etc. Most important when the Arab nations support it and set the example. Unlikely but best wishes to Pres. Obama for trying!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  257. Molly B

    I think Pres. O. is trying to make our country a "world peacemaker"
    rather than brutish bully.
    How can anyone describe Pres. O. as "naive". Goodness, is it

    because he has not done anything as yet that is cruel and vicious?
    Mollly from Iowa

    May 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  258. joker

    If he has the balls to do it, publicly state in his glorious Messiah like rhetoric:
    1. America does not support Jews Nor Muslims in this centuries old conflict between stupid, arrogant, child-like, power-hungry POLITICIANS..
    2. America Will Not get involved in any war between Jews & Muslims, period. If they want to destroy each other and kill millions of human beings over a centuries old conflict, it's not America's problem. It's their problem. Settle it once and for all on the battlefield, like World War III.
    Except this time, American lives and taxpayer dollars will not be involved, nor sacrificed for this centuries old conflict between POWER HUNGRY POLITICAL & RELIGIOUS LEADERS!
    3. Tell both Democrats & Republicans, this is all about MIXING POLITICS & RELIGION, which is a VIOLATION of the U.S. CONSTITUTION!!!
    4. Tell the Jewish Lobby and Voters, this is what's best for America, not what's best for Politicians & Religious Leaders, if they Truly, Truly, Want Peace in the Middle East!!!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  259. Ekbaaaaaaal from AZ

    I strongly DISAGREE with folks here who say he has a Hussein as middle name and he is one of them ... sorry, it is just a name and he is NOT A KUTBULLAH – period!

    May 11, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  260. Jeremy: Brooklyn, NY

    There's only so much that Obama can do, the real determiners are Israel and Palestine. However, if Obama cut America's massive military funding to Israel, then Israel would be pressured into settling for a little less. Obama then has to lay out a two-state solution with Jerusalem either as a semi-indpendent city or somehow shared between Israel and Palestine. After that, we pray that it works.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  261. Brian -Va Beach, VA

    The only way Obama will succeed isto have these countries respect us more. The Bush administration destroyed our foreign relations but acting like the bully on the block. We have more enemies against our country now than we did before 9/11. It seems everyone wants to kill Americans thanks to Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  262. Dan, Rockaway NJ

    Obama needs to approach the issue with a lot of patience and attention to detail. George Bush neglected it except when it was convenient, and sought to resolve it with some big, flashy gestures like a "roap map for peace." You can't wipe out over half a century of history and problems in just a few years.
    Obama is going to have to nudge both sides toward agreements and deals instead of cramming it down their throats. He is going to have to hold both sides accountable for their obligations to each other and themselves instead of letting either of them do whatever they want. And he has to pay attention to the smallest details to make sure that real progress gets made instead of just a lot of words on paper. And he is going to have to be really patient, because it is going to take a lot of years of tit-for tat exchanges and agreements to built trust and confidence on both sides. Both sides actually do want a final peace, but they have to be willing to work for it. And to make them want to work for it, there has to be real results.
    I actually think that if/when he starts a special team for this issue, it HAS to include Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. They both have unprecedented success to their names when it comes to this issue, and no one is more qualified.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  263. Seebofubar

    All of these things have been tried before. Many with much more inteligenst and experience than Obama have failed. Face it, the Arab population will not tollerate Israel's existence. Supply Israel with the arms and tools necessary to scare the heck out of the Arabs. That's the only way.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  264. Emilio

    I'm hoping you can have an impact, being from a muslim father, maybe, just maybe they'll listen this time around....

    May 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  265. Gigi in Alabama

    He'll need to get Netanyahu on board before he can accomplish anything. Israel would rather act the bully and that is not what our president needs at this point. If he can get Israel to talk in earnest, then maybe he'll have a good chance of accomplishing what other presidents have failed to do.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  266. CJ

    It is so time for us to make them stand on their own, when they are continuing to do what they do anyway and that is war against each other and killing lots of our (US) own too. These people are just looking for someone to support them as they keep doing just what they are doing, including hiding nuclear weapons.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:56 pm |

    There is no way President Obama will do better than his predecessors. In my opinion he will do worse than the others. He will throw Israel under the bus with little or no support. In his first 100 days, he has already weakened national security by giving our interrogation procedures to our enemies. As Joan B. said, he is a joke. If I were to compare Obama to George W. Bush, Bush would come out looking like Abraham Lincoln and Obama like John Wilkes Boothe.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  268. Peg Gallagher

    President Obama should continue to ask for help from Jordan The Saudies, Syria. He is doing a fantastic job All of us must remember that he is new to his "job", and inheirted a .MESS. be aware of INetabyahu/ H e will try to start trouble or a war.

    May 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  269. Mohammed

    Actually, none of the former U.S. Presidents have failed in so-called Mideast peace because the aim was not achieving the peace between Arabs and Israelis, the aim was keeping the process of the peace so that US can control and channel the whole operation in accordance with its own interests. Despite that Obama wants to do something, the process will continue.

    May 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm |