How far is President Obama prepared to go for peace?

Thumb_john-ray

They say that in the Middle East it pays to be an optimist – but you never lose money betting on failure.

And so it is with the protected history of failure in the quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

ITV News' Diplomatic Correspondent John Ray reports:

From the Oslo Accord to the Wye River Memorandum, from the White House lawn to the woods of Camp David, each dawn has proved to be false.

So negotiators from the two sides do not come to Washington burdened by great expectations.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Credit: REUTERS/Issam Rimawi/
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Credit: Press Association Images

Look how hard US Secretary of State John Kerry has had to work to get to this far.

Months of pressure and persuasion before Israelis and Palestinians would agree to sit in the same room merely to talk about talks.

US Secretary of State John Kerry. Credit: Olivier Douliery/ABACA USA/Empics Entertainment

But the real problem is weak leadership on both sides.

Mahmoud Abbas is no Yasser Arafat; a figure who dominated and unified his people.

You might say the same of Benjamin Netanyahu when you compare him to the Israeli war heroes turned leaders who in the past came closest to peace.

And the biggest conundrum of all – how far is President Obama prepared to go for peace?

President Obama. Credit: Reuters

So far he has watched largely from the sidelines. Is he ready to engage; to use his own authority, even if that risks failure?