From Ramallah, Obama’s view of life in the Holy Land

Obama’s second day here in the Middle East began with rocket fire from Gaza. No better indication to the visiting … Continued

Obama’s second day here in the Middle East began with rocket fire from Gaza.

No better indication to the visiting U.S. president how complicated things are here.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, who was hosting Obama later in the day at his headquarters in Ramallah, denounced the rocket attacks, quickly highlighting the deep schism that now exists between the leaders of the Gaza Strip and those of the West Bank.

There is no united Palestinian body for Israel to talk to. Not that anybody is talking to anybody, mind you.

Obama said in Ramallah that he was still “deeply committed” to the two-state solution. But the two-state solution is being eroded on the ground here by Jewish settlement building in areas the Palestinians are envisioning as their state, he also acknowledged.

And that’s not likely to change, everybody knows that. Israel’s newly-formed government includes a large representation from the settler movement.

And so it goes here in the Holy Land. Just gets more complicated all the time.

It’s easy for the world to just forget about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict too, since it’s been going on so long now, and the fact there are so many other places — just in this neighborhood alone — to worry about.

Today’s newspapers here were full of what Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talked about yesterday – the possibility of a nuclear Iran, the disintegration of Syria, and the increasing instability in the Middle East, at the top of the agenda.

Not a whole lot about the Palestinian issue.

There had been a big build-up to the Obama visit here. Big red, white, and blue banners heralding the “unbreakable alliance” between the U.S. and Israel adorned major streets, as did U.S. flags waving alongside Israeli ones.

The visit was mostly billed as an opportunity for Obama and Netanyahu to turn over a new leaf in their strained relationship.

That seems to have happened. Not much change on anything else, though.

Daniela Deane, a former Washington Post reporter, is the author of www.letterfromtheholyland.com.

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