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Letters: Achieving peace in the Mideast will take an arduous climb

In President Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world from Egypt, he attempted to convey the impression that the United States intends to mend fences and guarantee an even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palistinian conflict in which a separate Palestinian State is the main issue.

The president is aware that the Arab nations worldwide believe that Israel has been consistently favored by the U.S. government to the detriment of fair solutions for all concerned. Obama tried to put this notion to rest by assuring Muslims that the United States is not an enemy of Islam and is willing to broker peaceful dialogue between the conflicting factions at all levels to achieve mutually agreeable solutions

The president has some mighty high hurdles to overcome in this regard because the American public regards Muslim countries in general, fairly or not, as havens for fanatical terrorists whose only aim is to destroy Israel and all who support her, a conclusion that few Arab leaders to date have repudiated - and therein lies the rub.

In order for Obama to make any inroads in creating peaceful bridges between Muslim countries and the rest of the world, he must convince Muslim leaders that it is in their best interest to at least go to the conference table and try to work things out. This applies to the Israelis as well.

It can no longer expect carte blanche acceptance from us of an "our way or the highway" policy from them. We must be perceived as honest brokers with open minded fairness in dealing with all factions.

Can President Obama hope to accomplish his goal? It may be wishful thinking, but we would all sleep a lot easier if he succeeds. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.