The one area in which I really thought President Obama might make a difference was in breaking the Israel-Palestine status quo. Unfortunately, it seems he's better at sounding like he wants to change things than actually getting them done. King Abdullah of Jordan tells Christiane Amanpour on "This Week" that he doesn't expect much change, either:
King Abdullah II of Jordan, a key American ally and advocate of the Middle East peace process, says he does not have much hope for progress on negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians in the coming months.
"My instincts tell me not to expect much over the next couple of months, unfortunately," King Abdullah said in an exclusive interview with "This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour." "I just have a feeling that we're going to be living with the status quo for 2011."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently visiting the United States, where he met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday, before addressing a joint session of Congress next Tuesday. Netanyahu spoke strongly against President Obama's Thursday address in which he publicly called for the pre-1967 borders of Israel to serve as the starting point for future peace negotiations.
Abdullah, author of the new book "Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril," said the current realities on the ground leave him pessimistic, including Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank.
"When he speaks to me, I see his vision of peace with the Palestinians, peace with the Arabs and I've always left those meetings feeling very optimistic," Abdullah said of his discussions with Netanyahu. "But unfortunately, the circumstances that we've seen on the ground for the past two years does not fill me with much hope."
Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who resigned this month as President Obama's envoy to the Middle East after serving two years, said that while President Obama's comments on the 1967 borders were "a significant statement," they do not signal a major shift in policy, especially when land swaps are taken into consideration.
"The president didn't say that Israel has to go back to the '67 lines. He said with agreed swaps," Mitchell told Amanpour. "Swaps means an exchange of land intended to accommodate major Israeli population centers to be incorporated into Israel and Israel's security needs. Agreed means through negotiations. Both parties must agree."