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Obama appeal to Israeli public carries some risk

Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

JERUSALEM – In a landmark speech to young Israelis this week, President Barack Obama delivered an unorthodox appeal couched behind warm words of affinity for their country: Urge your leaders to change their ways and take bold new steps to reach peace with the Palestinians.

The message, potentially risking the ire of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, marked a gamble by the U.S. leader as he searches for ways to restart Mideast peace efforts. With no breakthroughs coming out of the visit on the Palestinian front, Obama must now hope that the power of the presidency, combined with the goodwill he accumulated during the visit, can persuade a still-skeptical Israeli leadership to abandon some deeply entrenched views and get negotiations moving again.

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