May 21st, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #852 'Talks with Israel'

Reporter's Note: President Obama met Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Perhaps they shared some of my letters over lunch. Although…um…I’m not betting on that.

Dear Mr. President,

Not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but from a distance your meeting with the Israeli PM looked…how shall I put this? More tense than a cat on a roller coaster.

Seriously, when he was going on about what he will accept and what he can not accept, you looked like you wanted to jump up and break a vase. I kept thinking, “This president doesn’t like being lectured.” But then, who does? At least you were being lectured on something that, to be frank, we could almost all learn a lot more about.

I don’t actually enjoy doing reports on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because it is just so complex. The animosity runs longer and deeper than a mafia vendetta. The history is ridiculously convoluted. And when you try to explain it to folks who haven’t been keeping up for the past 40 or 50 years (which is pretty much everyone) invariably you get into gray areas that are hugely disputed.

People on both sides of this issue are understandably passionate. They have been lectured (and shot at, and bombed) by the opposition for a long time, and they don’t much care for it either.

So be patient if they need to explain a lot of things as you head down this road. Because while the future of that region may be hugely important to you; for them - on both sides of that conflict - it truly is about life and death.

When folks have that on the line, they have a right to talk over your plans a bit, and speak up clearly about the parts they don’t like.

Call if you get a break. Going for a long run Saturday morning, so if we don’t connect, I’ll call back.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Samar Al Barghouthi, PhD

    Netenyaho said we cant solve the refugees problem on Israel intrest.meanwhile Israel was created on Palestine's, Millions refugees, and you think its equal....? its only in the case of Israel time wipe the right, I

    May 22, 2011 at 10:07 pm |