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Obama asks he be given a fair chance to show results

Saturday, June 27, 2009 03:30:45 PM, Associated Press

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Washington: President Barack Obama told Jewish leaders on Monday that eight years of joint efforts to find credible solutions to Palestinian problems had produced no results and urged them to give him time to try his tactics for Middle East peace.


Obama assured 16 Jewish leaders that the United States remained steadfast in its commitment to Israel's security.

During an hour-long private White House meeting, however, he told guests that he was asking the Israelis and the Palestinians alike to take concrete steps toward restarting peace talks.


"I think people were very direct with the president in expressing their views. ... I think the president was very candid in responding," said Alan Solow, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations.


Participants shared their worries that Obama's public request for Israel to follow through on its pledges to stop colonies went too far. Obama replied that he was telling his Israeli friends in public the same things he has said during private meetings, according to those in the Roosevelt Room on Monday.


"I think I share some of the same anxiety that others might have shared. But I'm prepared to give this new president an opportunity - not just prepared, but I support him taking a slightly different approach than we're used to," said Rabbi Steven Wernick, executive vice-president and CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.


"No one could leave that meeting with any doubt about Obama's commitment to Israel," said Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council.




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