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What Carter Can Teach Obama About Mideast Peace-Making

If President Barack Obama has no set objectives in his forthcoming trip to the region, he should learn from Jimmy Carter and get serious about Middle East diplomacy, writes Geoffrey Aronson.
Former US president Jimmy Carter is seen at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado August 26, 2008. U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) is expected to accept the Democratic presidential nomination at the convention on August 28.  REUTERS/Chris Wattie            (UNITED STATES)   US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008  (USA) - RTR21Q1O

Israel's national archive has just released protocols of momentous discussions held during the two-day visit to Israel by then-President Jimmy Carter in March 1979. Carter traveled to Israel to lend the authority and prestige of the presidency to clearing the last significant obstacles to the realization of a historic treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, which was signed soon thereafter on March 26, 1979. 

The documents' release comes only days before the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama. The two events, separated by 34 years almost to the day, share a only a superficial similarity. Carter's assessment that an Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement was a vital interest to all parties, his determination to succeed despite all obstacles and his willingness to engage, confront and resolve obstacles that reluctant leaders placed in his path offer not only an instructive contrast to the upcoming Obama visit to Israel, but also an instructive example of presidential leadership that the current US president may want to emulate.

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