The talk in the press here is all about Engagement, listening, actions, new tone, content, partnership, mutual respect – these are the words used to describe President Barak Obama's speech to the Muslim world made from Turkey yesterday.
During his visit to Turkey, Obama emphasized that the US is not the enemy of Islam.
Needless to say it has some Israelis concerned – chief of whom may will be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. One of his newly appointed ministers in his cabinet simply said; he (President Obama) shouldn't give us orders.
The US President said in his speech that he will actively pursue the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Before the Turkish Parliament, Obama emphasized that, “Both sides – Israel and the Palestinians – have already agreed on the two-state solution in the framework of the Road Map and Annapolis.”
Israel's Foreign Minister was all the talk last week when he, on his first day in office, said the Annapolis Agreement was “dead”. Mr. Netanyahu's Bureau in response to the Obama statement said: We will work with the US for Israel's security and for peace.
Some people here feel that Obama is being naive and does not know yet of the Islamic world. That he's failing to recall that Al Quida hailed from Saudi soil, that the future Palestinian state will be styled after a European democracy. People think he is wrong to think that a State involving Hamas can be like Jordan.
The other surprise news is that President Obama will apparently come to Israel for an official visit in at start of June. At that time he will also meet with the Palestinian political leadership and visit Ramallah.
He will have some groundwork to do to get these sides talking. Right now senior Palestinian sources say that the Palestinian Authority leadership will not hold any contacts with the new Netanyahu Israeli Government until Israeli settlements are frozen, and all signed agreements and the two state solution are recognized.
We'll be keeping you posted,
Middle East Correspondent