Learning from Past Mideast Mistakes

The resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on Wednesday offers the White House a chance to fix its messaging problem on Middle East peace and build the political support needed for the talks to achieve results.

President Barack Obama’s Cairo speech, in June 2009, was hailed by the Arab and Muslim world. But it was viewed with skepticism—and worse—in Israel. That handshake by Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly last year was viewed—correctly—as a mere photo-op. It was not accompanied by any movement in the political process.

The above excerpt was originally published in Politico.