AMMAN, Jordan — Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama stepped into the thicket of Mideast politics Tuesday, declaring in Jordan that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are strong enough internally to make the bold concessions necessary for peace.
Obama said he would work to bring the two sides together “starting from the minute I’m sworn into office.” But he cautioned it is “unrealistic to expect that a U.S. president alone can suddenly snap his fingers and bring about peace in this region.”
After meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Obama flew to Israel for talks with Israeli leaders. He’ll also meet later with Palestinians.
Upon his arrival in Jerusalem, he spoke of a “historic and special relationship between the United States and Israel, one that cannot be broken” and one that he hoped to strengthen as president.
In Jordan, he made his comments on the struggle for Mideast peace within a few hours of stepping off a military aircraft — a presidential contender carrying body armor and wearing orange earplugs — following a five-day tour of war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq with two fellow senators.