Obama meets with Mideast negotiators
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has stepped into the Middle East peace process today, with a private White House meeting involving lead negotiators for the Israeli and Palestinian delegations.
Despite the meeting, the official strategy for Obama is to take a mostly hands-off approach to the actual negotiations.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators arrived in Washington yesterday for the first major effort since negotiations broke down in 2008. Talks continue at the State Department today, with the goal of working out plans for how negotiations should proceed in the coming months.
The hands-off strategy is in part a vote of confidence in Secretary of State John Kerry, who has embraced the issue with gusto since joining the administration earlier this year. It also signals a calculation by the White House that direct presidential intervention is best reserved for the final stages of negotiations or moments of tension.