Burden of proof is on the Palestinians

Palestinian leaders were extremely reluctant to welcome U.S. President Barack Obama to Ramallah on Thursday, as if they assumed that they were simply extras in a show focused solely on showering Israel with affection.

The Palestinians had little hope that Obama's visit would effect change, but it seems even they were surprised by his cold shoulder, both in his Ramallah speech and in his Jerusalem speech.

It was only four years ago, in 2009, that Obama addressed an Arab audience in Cairo and demanded that Israel freeze all settlement activity, stating that a construction freeze was a prerequisite to resuming the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. By doing so, he perpetuated the illusion, prevalent in Washington during his first term, that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the key to resolving all that was wrong in the Middle East.

Four year later, Obama is an experienced, sober president. It is no wonder that this time, his speech — given in Jerusalem, before an Israeli audience — resonated with empathy, respect and even admiration for the State of Israel and its achievements.

Obama this time was careful not to demand anything of Israel. The burden of proof was laid squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinians, and he demanded that they resume the peace talks with Israel immediately. The president also made it clear that he understood that any progress made in the peace talk, important as it may be, would not resolve all of the region's problems....

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