Mr. Obama also stepped into an Israeli-Palestinian dispute over Jewish construction, criticizing Israel for its decision to advance the approval of 1,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem during a sensitive time in peace talks. The plight of Palestinians is a big issue in Indonesia, so much so that President Yudhoyono mentioned it in his opening remarks, saying he had told Mr. Obama that “we need a resolution on Palestine and Israel in a permanent, sustainable manner.”
Later, Mr. Obama was asked about the settlements. “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations, and I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough,” he said, adding, “Each of these incremental steps can end up breaking trust.”
Aides say the speech Mr. Obama will give on Wednesday will build on one he delivered in Cairo last year, in which he called for “a new beginning” with the Muslim world. At Tuesday’s news conference, he was asked to assess progress thus far. “I think it’s an incomplete project,” Mr. Obama said.
Of course, it's an incomplete project. He has just started it!