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Palestinians Not Optimistic About Obama Visit

As US President Barack Obama prepares to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders in their respective capitals, Palestinians do not expect any progress on the peace process, reports Hazem Balousha.
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy after touring Linamar Corporation that manufactures parts for the truck industry in Arden, North Carolina, February 13, 2013. Obama visited the facility on Wednesday to promote economic policies outlined in his State of the Union speech. REUTERS/Jason Reed   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS TRANSPORT BUSINESS) - RTR3DQPD

US President Barack Obama will make a historic visit to Tel Aviv and Ramallah in March, the first since he took office in 2009. The visit comes amid a suspended peace process, a weak performance by Netanyahu's political party in the recent Israeli elections, and continued Palestinian division through Hamas’ control on the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank.

Factions in the Gaza Strip exhibit traditional skepticism over the ability of the American administration to pressure Israel to achieve its vision of a two-state solution. They also criticize Washington’s failure to deter the Israeli government from continuing settlement activity, which is taking chunks out of territory on which a Palestinian state is supposed to be built and was the reason for stopping the negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

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