Palestinian statehood: why Arabs have turned on Obama

President Obama, who made Israeli-Palestinian peace a priority from the outset of his administration, is now the US leader with incongruously bad relations with the Arab world. Here are three key causes of the deterioration in ties – and three steps that the can be taken to mend US relations with Arabs and Muslims.

Arab solidarity on Palestinian issue

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.

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