It seems as if the mass demonstrations in the Middle East and north Africa have influenced America's policies towards the Middle East.
In President Obama's first speech related to the Middle East in about two years, he indicated the idea that the national borders of Israel and the future country of Palestine should be demarcated by the former boundary lines from before the third Arab-Israeli War in June 1967.
In this war, during which Israel fought against several Arab nations, Israel at once expanded its occupied territory, and in places like eastern Jerusalem and Jordan's West Bank, continued to construct housing districts for use by Jewish newcomers.
In the peace talks between Israel and Palestine, the return of occupied territory had become a core topic of discussion. However, a great number of settlements exist in those territories, and in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, the total number of Jewish residents has reached 500,000.
Former American President George Bush said that the return of all the occupied territory by Israel was "unrealistic." In contrast, President Obama treats the return of all occupied territories as the starting point of the negotiations. This standpoint is that if settlements are transferred into Israel's borders, compensation measures will be necessary.
It is possible to say that Palestine's requests are being met halfway on a grand scale.
The problem is whether, with this opportunity, the Middle East peace negotiations, which are at a standstill, can be put on track again.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, in a speech the next day, pointblank rejected discussions with the President, saying, "We can not go back to the indefensible lines [1967 borders]." There was also the criticism that America's position as the negotiation's intermediary has weakened.
More than creating interest in the peace talks, America has the responsibility of clarifying a concrete plan for making progress in the peace process.
In the past five months, much in the Middle East has changed, causing President Obama to look differently at the United States’ Middle East policy.
The citizens' demonstrations demanding democratization in Tunisia and Egypt, which evicted the dictators, have spread to Arab states like a large wave.
America has tended to back Israel and dictators in the Middle East. In order to preserve its clout in the area, the United States must take a definite stance of standing on the side of democratization and distance itself from Israel.
In his speech, the president declared economic support for Egypt and Tunisia and called for change, criticizing the relentless attacks by the Libyan and Syrian political administrations, which have pointed guns at the demonstrators.
As might be expected, the Palestinian National Authority is now showing signs of a unilateral declaration of independence. Certainly there are those who aim to hinder this.
In order for America to regain trust in the region, it is essential that it makes the Middle East peace negotiations move forward.