Obama Lays Out His Plan for Pressuring Arab Leaders
By Glenn Kessler
President Obama recently wrote letters to Arab leaders detailing the steps he hopes they will take on Middle East peace, the president told 16 Jewish leaders in a White House meeting this afternoon.
The president plans to follow up the letters with personal communications, according to a White House spokesman who confirmed the account by Jewish leaders.
Some of the Jewish officials expressed concern that much of the media focus has been on the administration's efforts to halt Jewish settlement expansion in Palestinian territories on the West Bank. Obama emphasized that he is also putting pressure on Palestinian officials and Israel's Arab neighbors to take their own steps toward peace.
Among the steps that Arab countries could take, administration officials have suggested, are allowing the landing of El Al flights, providing visas to Israeli citizens and the opening of economic or trade liaison offices. But Arab officials have been privately skeptical of such confidence-building efforts, and thus far there is no public evidence that the administration's efforts have gained much traction with Israel's neighbors.
Posted at 6:49 PM ET on Jul 13, 2009
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