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Still a minefield for U.S. presidents
JERUSALEM—Like so many times in the past, a flare-up of violence on the Israeli-Palestinian front—or between Israel and Hezbollah militants on the border with Lebanon—could focus Obama's attention on the Middle East sooner than planned.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which has fueled anti-American sentiment and stoked tensions throughout the region, has become a minefield for U.S. presidents.
A target set a year ago for an Israeli-Palestinian deal by the time President George W. Bush leaves office looks certain to be missed, and Obama may have to press both sides harder and more consistently if the ongoing negotiations are to bear fruit.
Obama might have better chances of success on the Israeli-Syrian track, where there have been several rounds of indirect talks mediated by Turkey and the issues in dispute are not as intractable.