There's a half-empty way and a half-full way of looking at President Obama's Jerusalem speech about the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
The half-empty way of looking at it is: this was Obama's white flag of surrender. To everyone around the world who for decades has been assuming that at the end of the day, the president of the United States would lead the way to resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Obama was saying:
Israel's ceasefire with Hamas is holding, but unless Israel completely lifts its blockade and includes Hamas in two-state negotiations, renewed rocket attacks from Gaza are likely. Should that happen, Israel would not be justified in arguing self-defense.
Ban lifted: A truck loaded with building materials drives at the Rafah crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip Dec. 30. Israel had banned construction materials for Gaza after Hamas seized control there in 2007. Op-ed contributor Jerome Slater says that Israel "needs to fully lift its blockade and bring Hamas into the negotiation process" if it wants to permanently stop attacks from Gaza. Ibraheem Abu/Reuters
This week we are asking Israelis to devote two minutes of their day to a worthy cause. We know that many others are also asking for two minutes for a multitude of worthy causes, but trust us, these will be two minutes well spent. Each day we are asking people to send a letter to a different individual who can play a role in allowing sale of goods from Gaza in the West Bank. Why?
Jaffa, known to Palestinians as the ‘bride of the sea’.
As temperatures in Palestine and Israel continue to rise to scorching heights, weather forecasters tell us to head to beaches and lakes, or seek respite under air conditioning.This week, temperatures are expected to reach 44 degrees centigrade in the shade, and the high humidity levels will make it seem even hotter.It is important for weathermen to remind people of the dangers of sun and heat exposure.
In Israel, it is helpful to remind residents who are too busy to think of a beach trip, or who might even fail to notice the burning heat as they move from air-conditioned homes, to cars, to workplaces.
But just across the land, sometimes only a couple of minutes drive away, the situation is completely different.
Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi and Foreign Minister Muhammad Kamel Amr meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the presidential
palace in Cairo July 14, 2012. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Israeli officials during her visit to the country on Monday that the new Egyptian president had promised her he would not end the closure of the Gaza Strip, an Israeli news site said.Clinton secured a promise from Muhammad Mursi, Egypt’s first Islamist president, that it would not fully open the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip, the sole entry and exit point not controlled by Israel, Israel’s Inyan Merkazi (‘Central Issues’) news site said.