President Barack Obama gjør det klart før Kairo-talen at han kommer til å øve et vennlig, men bestemt trykk på Israel for å stanse utvidelsen av bosettingene. Obama tror diplomatiet vil gi resultater, men det vil ta tid. Han venter å se positive svar fra Iran innen året er omme.

Særlig høyresiden frykter at Obama vil svikte dem til fordel for araberverden. Ikke noe tyder på det så langt. Obama legger ikke skjul på uoverensstemmelsene.

«Part of being a good friend is being honest,» Mr. Obama said in an interview with NPR News. «And I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory, in the region is profoundly negative, not only for Israeli interests but also U.S. interests.

«We do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace,» he added. «I’ve said that a freeze on settlements is part of that.»

His comments were made as Israeli officials dug in their heels against a settlement freeze. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that halting construction in settlements in the West Bank would be equal to «freezing life,» and, therefore, «unreasonable.»

In the 15-minute interview on Tuesday, broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Mr. Obama said the «conversation» with Israel was at an early stage — both on the settlement issue and on the demand for a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

«Not only is it in the interest of the Palestinian people to have a state, it’s in the interest of the Israeli people to stabilize the situation there,» he said.

«And it’s in the interest of the United States that we’ve got two states living side by side in peace and security.»

Referring to the debate about settlements, he said: «Diplomacy is always a matter of a long hard slog. It’s never a matter of quick results.»

He also said it was «in the world’s interests for Iran to set aside ambitions for a nuclear weapon.»

«Although I don’t want to put artificial time tables on that process, we do want to make sure that, by the end of this year, we’ve actually seen a serious process move forward,» he said.

Obama Plays Down Split Over Israeli Settlements