"I look at this, and I think back, 'What could I have done during my presidency to move this forward, as hard as I tried?'" he said in an interview conducted by his former staffers for their podcast, Pod Save America. "But there's a part of me that's still saying, 'Well, was there something else I could have done?'"
Obama entered the White House convinced he could be the president who would resolve the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. He left office after years of friction and mistrust with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was frustrated by Obama's masterminding of the Iran nuclear deal and by his demands that Israel suspend new settlements.
In his comments Friday, delivered at a gathering of his former staff in Chicago, Obama acknowledged the strong emotions the war had raised, saying that "this is century-old stuff that's coming to the fore." He blamed social media for amplifying the divisions and reducing a thorny international dispute to what he viewed as sloganeering.
He continued: "And what is also true is that there is a history of the Jewish people that may be dismissed unless your grandparents or your great-grandparents, or your uncle or your aunt tell you stories about the madness of antisemitism. And what is true is that there are people right now who are dying, who have nothing to do with what Hamas did."
Still, Obama appeared to acknowledge the limits of his musings about bridging divides and embracing complexity.
"Even what I just said, which sounds very persuasive, still doesn't answer the fact of, all right, how do we prevent kids from being killed today?" he said. "But the problem is that if you are dug in on that, well, the other side is dug in remembering the videos that Hamas took or what they did on the 7th, and they're dug in, too, which means we will not stop those kids from dying."
Rich Nations Cut Aid for Climate Shocks, Even as Risks Grew 氣候變遷風險升高之際 富國反削減援助
Wealthy countries have decreased the amount of money they commit for helping developing countries cope with the effects of climate change, even as the need for that spending has grown, the United Nations said in a report issued Thursday.
Aid for climate adaptation fell to $21 billion in 2021, the latest year for which comprehensive data is available, a drop of 15% from 2020, most likely the result of increased financial pressure on wealthy countries resulting from COVID-19 and other challenges, according to the authors.
The United States posted one of the greatest reductions in climate adaptation aid of any country between 2020 and 2021, the authors found. In 2021, the United States committed $129 million in aid for climate adaptation, compared with $245 million in 2020, a drop of 47%.
A White House spokesperson, Angelo Fernández Hernández, said the report "does not represent the full picture of what the U.S. is doing on climate adaptation." He said the Biden administration secured about $2 billion in climate adaptation funding for the 2022 fiscal year.
Developing nations will need between $215 billion and $387 billion annually this decade to protect against climate shocks, such as worsening storms, crop failures and loss of access to water, the report found. That's as much as 18 times greater than the total amount that wealthy countries committed for climate adaptation in 2021.
The new data comes weeks before the start of a major United Nations climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where aid to developing countries will be a top agenda item. At a similar summit two years ago in Glasgow, Scotland, countries agreed to double their climate adaptation funding by 2025, compared with 2019 levels. Even if nations make good on that pledge, the report said, it would provide just a small share of the additional money needed.
The demand for adaptation assistance has grown. The report notes that under current climate policies around the world, global average temperatures would rise at least 2.4 degrees Celsius, or 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with preindustrial levels by the end of this century. That's far more than the 1.5 degrees Celsius that scientists have set as a target, beyond which the effects of warming threaten to become catastrophic.