Barack Obama tries schmoozing in Holy Land
- IPL spot-fixing case: Actor Vindoo Dara Singh arrested in Mumbai
- IPL 2013 LIVE SCORE: Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings
- Just in: Pune Warriors withdraw from the Indian Premier League
- Li Keqiang pitches for more Chinese investments as he backs trade balance
- Supreme Court rules out ban on IPL matches, slams BCCI over spot-fixing
From old-fashioned schmoozing to "I feel your pain" appeals, President Barack Obama is wading into Middle East diplomacy with a personal touch he has rarely displayed on the world stage.
It is the kind of charm offensive he has been trying to pull off - with decidedly mixed results - with political opponents back home and which he now hopes will help advance peace prospects in a region mostly devoid of them.
Even though scepticism runs as deep as the distrust between Israelis and Palestinians over Obama's latest effort, he was intent on testing the waters anyway in his first official trip this week to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
After all, his biggest risk is nothing more than failure - but that's something almost every recent U.S. president has experienced in Middle East peacemaking.
The upside is clear for a second-term president who will never again have to face an election: a potential boon to his presidential legacy.
For now, though, Obama is moving cautiously, with soothing rhetoric, friendly pressure and popular outreach marking his visits to Jerusalem and Ramallah this week.
American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, an authority on the Middle East, described it as "Operation Desert Schmooze."
CHUMMY WITH NETANYAHU
Obama started out cozying up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - politically weakened by January's election and looking for a boost from Israel's superpower ally - as soon as he hit the tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday.
The cool, detached president, not known to enjoy glad-handing, was suddenly on a first-name basis with "Bibi," the prime minister's childhood nickname. Seemingly forgiven: Netanyahu's support for Obama's Republican rival, Mitt Romney, in the November election.
But the visit hit its peak with Obama's keynote speech on Thursday at Jerusalem's convention center. There he was given a rousing reception by university students - though his call for a more conciliatory approach to the Palestinians drew a much more divided response outside the conference hall.
- 'Sophisticated' Indian cyberattacks targeted Pak military sites: Report
- Talkative Li quoted Weber, Hegel, Jobs, said PM is large-hearted
- Bihar food corp ends up with chaff as rice worth Rs 535 cr vanishes from mills
- In 7 lucrative minutes on May 9, Sreesanth bowled 6 balls, bookie made Rs 2.5 cr
- India and China ask border envoys to work on more steps
- Former Ranji player among 3 more held