Obama: Don't blame it all on Israel

US president calls for "balance" from Muslims, urges Jews to "see the perspective of the Palestinians."

obama waves to turks 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
obama waves to turks 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
At the end of his two-day visit to Turkey on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama met with Muslim, Christian and Jewish students, and urged Muslims to look at the "two sides" to the Arab-Israeli conflict. "In the Muslim world, the notion that somehow everything is the fault of the Israelis lacks balance because there are two sides to every question," AFP quoted the US president as telling university students in Istanbul. To the Jewish members of the group Obama said, "I say the same thing to my Jewish friends - you have to see the perspective of the Palestinians. Learning to stand in someone else's shoes, to see through their eyes... this is how peace begins." "The world will be what you make of it," Obama told the students. "You can choose to make new bridges instead of new walls." He left Turkey shortly after the meeting, flying into Iraq on a trip shrouded in secrecy, for a brief look at a war he opposed as a candidate and now vows to end as commander in chief. Obama arrived in the country hours after a car bomb exploded in a Shi'ite neighborhood of the capital city, a deadly reminder of the violence that has claimed the lives at least 4,266 members of the US military since March 2003. Shortly before leaving Turkey, the US president had held out Iraq as an example of the change he seeks in policies inherited from former president George W. Bush. "Moving the ship of state takes time," he told a group of students in Istanbul. He noted his long-standing opposition to the war, yet said, "Now that we're there," the US troop withdrawal has to be done "in a careful enough way that we don't see a collapse into violence."