obama - AP - February 4 2011
President Barack Obama speaks about Egypt at the White House in Washington, D.C., February 4, 2011. Photo by AP
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There’s a growing clamor for President Obama to visit Israel (and, presumably, once in Jerusalem, Ramallah as well). But there’s a bit of a problem in imagining such a visit: What would the president say?

He would likely deliver a very elegant speech; that’s one of his great skills. But beyond reassuring the Israelis of America’s “unshakable” commitment to Israel’s security and chastising them for their inflexibility on settlements, what is there for him to say? Pretty words, even moving words, no doubt. But useful words, words as a prelude to… to what?

On the issue of settlements, the Obama administration has tried different approaches, including reason, public chilliness and bribery. None of these worked, and now the administration has undermined its own seriousness by voting at the UN Security Council against its own policies.

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