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2013-2014 Annual Assessment

At the last UN General Assembly, President Obama made American foreign-policy priorities clear: “In the near term, America’s diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular issues: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Arab-Israeli conflict. While these issues are not the cause of all the region’s problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can serve as a foundation for a broader peace.”55 But along with the importance Obama places on these issues, he also lowered expectations as to the prospect of achieving the goals. In an interview he gave to the New Yorker, he estimated the prospects of reaching final treaties with Iran and between Israel and the Palestinians as “less than 50-50.”56 The president’s sober assessment shows the severe uncertainty inherent in both issues that are so critical to Israel and to the resilience of the triangular relationship between Jerusalem, Washington and the American Jewish community. Yet, the severe uncertainty, which unfortunately characterizes the entirety of Israel’s strategic situation, does not relieve Jerusalem of the need to take fateful decisions.