Barack Obama had an hour-long meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank. Palestinians had hoped for a Middle East peace deal before January, when President George W. Bush’s is due to step down.
But as that deadline nears, they have called for his successor to focus immediately on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to capitalise on any gains made in intervening peace talks.
Obama has suggested he will make the Middle East a priority, but warned that no US president could bring about peace in the region on his own.
In contrast to the goodwill on the West Bank generated by Obama’s visit, in the Gaza Strip, Hamas criticised President Mahmoud Abbas for hosting the Illinois senator.