WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama listed his inability to move the peace
process forward as a personal failure during a TV interview Sunday.
was asked by WJLA, the Washington ABC affiliate, whether there was anything
during his first that “you believe you failed at, not because Congress wouldn’t
play ball, but that rests squarely on your shoulders and has you desperate to
get that second term to atone for?” Obama began by listing a few issues, such as
immigration reform, that he felt his administration had not accomplished enough
on, but was pressed for something that did not involve Congress.
things I can do without Congress tend to be in the foreign policy area,” he
noted. “In that area, I have not been able to move the peace process forward in
the Middle East the way I wanted.”
He continued, “It’s something we
focused on very early. But the truth of the matter is that the parties, they’ve
got to want it as well.”
It was not the first time Obama acknowledged
frustration in his inability to move the peace process forward, but his comments
came as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to Israel to try to
reignite moribund negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
the first high-level push by the administration in many months, and also
coincides with the presidential campaign, during which presumptive GOP nominee
Mitt Romney will soon be visiting Israel himself.
Some have suggested
Clinton’s last-minute stop in Israel was a bid to steal some of the spotlight
from Romney’s trip later in the month, and also stress American commitment to
the Jewish state and its challenges – as Romney seeks to use Obama’ struggles
there as an election issue.
Romney has repeatedly criticized Obama for
his stance on Israel and approach to region.
The same day Obama’s WJLA
interview aired, The Washington Post devoted a lengthy front-page feature to
exploring the history of the president’s peace-making efforts, titled “Where
Obama failed on forging peace in the Middle East.” The story explores Obama’s
tensions with American Jewish leaders and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
issues which still resonate on the campaign trail.