For decades, some regional scholars said the notion of Arab solidarity with the Palestinians was a myth. But the controversy over their statehood has demonstrated, some argue, that the Palestinian struggle is a matter of pride and fairness among Arabs – especially as the international community champions other younger pro-independence conflicts.
"There's a whole body of work out there built around the notion that the Palestinian issue doesn't matter [to the Arabs], but it resonates and it does matter," says Mr. Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator.
Repairing US-Arab relations won't be easy. Some say that Obama's options are limited by, among other things, a Congress (and not just conservative Republicans) that is increasingly pro-Israel and dismissive of America's traditional role as an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Obama’s reelection campaign could also factor in.
Nevertheless, in the next pages are three key steps that would help.