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Barack Obama
Photo: AP
George W. Bush
Photo: AP
Obama: Bush neglected Israeli-Palestinian conflict
'Our starting point must always be a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel,' US senator says in essay addressing foreign policy he plans to pursue as president. 'Changing the dynamic in Iraq will allow us to focus our attention and influence on resolving the festering conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians,' he adds
WASHINGTON – US Senator Barack Obama, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, declared Friday that he would seriously promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement should he be elected president.

 

"Now more than ever, we must strive to secure a lasting settlement of the conflict with two states living side by side in peace and security," he said.

 

In an essay addressing the foreign policy he plans to pursue as president, published in the Foreign Affair journal, Obama explained that "the morass in Iraq has made it immeasurably harder to confront and work through the many other problems in the region – and it has made many of those problems considerably more dangerous.

 

"Changing the dynamic in Iraq will allow us to focus our attention and influence on resolving the festering conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians – a task that the Bush administration neglected for years," he added.

 

In an attempt to attract Jewish voters, the senator from Illinois continues to use every opportunity to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel.

 

"Our starting point must always be a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy," he wrote.

 

According to Obama, in order to advance the peace process "we must help the Israelis identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability."

 

The Democratic candidate made it clear that such an effort would require patient effort and the personal commitment of the president of the United States. "That is a commitment I will make," he stressed.

 

'Military force against Iran must not be ruled out'

Obama also addressed the way he plans to deal with sensitive issues, such as Iran's nuclear program, saying that "we must not rule out using military force."

 

However, he voiced his support for negotiations with Tehran, saying that "we should not hesitate to talk directly to Iran. Our diplomacy should aim to raise the cost for Iran of continuing its nuclear program by applying tougher sanctions and increasing pressure from its key trading partners."

 

According to the senator, "The world must work to stop Iran's uranium-enrichment program and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is far too dangerous to have nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical theocracy. At the same time, we must show Iran – and especially the Iranian people – what could be gained from fundamental change: Economic engagement, security assurances, and diplomatic relations."

 

Referring to the Syrian arena, Obama estimated that "diplomacy combined with pressure could also reorient Syria away from its radical agenda to a more moderate stance - which could, in turn, help stabilize Iraq, isolate Iran, free Lebanon from Damascus' grip, and better secure Israel."

 

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