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article imageObama draws rocket fire against Israel, lecture from Abbas

By Larry Clifton     Mar 21, 2013 in Politics
Tel Aviv - In his first visit to Israel as a sitting president, Barack Obama drew rocket fire into the town of Sderot early in the morning from militant Islamists in the Gaza strip.
While Obama has split his time between appeasing Israelis and Palestinians, no real progress toward peace talks was made.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas seemed to be lecturing Mr. Obama during a joint news conference and Hamas militants fired rockets Thursday morning and protested from Gaza as Israeli leaders listened politely to Obama’s comments.
The Obama administration has a shaky record in the Middle East, a region plundered by terrorists and besieged by militant governments and opposing factions. In Syria, which borders Israel, over 60,000 have died in a civil war that continued to rage as Obama chatted with Palestinians about forming a sovereign state after promising Israeli leaders “undying” U.S. support.
After a visit to Israel's national museum — where he inspected the Dead Sea Scrolls, which highlight the Jewish people's ancient connection to the land that is now Israel, Obama immediately traveled to the West Bank to tell the Palestinians that the creation of a Palestinian state remains a priority for his administration.
Obama has had weak relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu throughout much of his term and Palestinians seem equally unimpressed as indicated by the rocket launches and protests in downtown Ramallah during his visit.
Speaking of Mr. Obama, leading Palestinian activist Mustafa Barghouti opined that he "should take immediate action to stop settlement activity because the passivity of his position toward settlements is happening while the very last option of a two-state solution is being killed by Israeli settlements."
After arriving in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured an Iron Dome battery at Ben Gurion International Airport, a key component of U.S. security arrangements between the U.S. and Israel.
Palestinians in Gaza have launched thousands of rockets at Israel and the Iron Dome battery was largely devised as a defense from such attacks.
Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007 after ousting the rival Palestinian Fatah group in bloody street fighting, leaving Hamas in control of the Gaza region of Palestinian territories. Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, led by Abbas, only govern a part of the West Bank.
While Obama insisted he had not given up on Middle East peace talks, there have been no significant advances in them during Mr. Obama’s term as U.S. president and Americans are not optimistic this trip will improve relations.
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