As usual, it seems, public discourse about the Palestinian situation tends to be much more vivid and vigorous in Israel itself than it ever seems allowed to become in the United States.
Reports of the Hamas police grabbing young men from the streets of Gaza to give them a haircut have been making the rounds. It appears that most people in Gaza are critical of both the police tactics and the fashion choices made by those young men.
While Abbas should continue to demand a settlement freeze and a demarcation of the borders of Palestine, he might wish to challenge the Israelis to bring back the Palestinian police to King Hussein Bridge and to allow free passage between Gaza and the West Bank.
The UC senate voted overwhelmingly to rescind the SJP standard-form-like divestment resolution that it had adopted. The senators committed instead to working on Riverside-specific resolutions that foster dialogue rather than division.
"The Palestinian people's right to self-determination and justice must be recognized. Put yourself in their shoes - look at the world through their eyes". This declaration seems very simple and even obvious, but coming from an American president, it has the potential to be game-changer.
If Obama's observations in his Jerusalem speech are correct, then not only the Israeli public needs to heed his injunction "to see the world through their [Palestinian] eyes." U.S. policymakers need to do the same. This is especially important as Secretary of State John Kerry visits the region in a renewed effort at peacemaking.
Today, there are approximately 7 million Palestinian refugees and they have largely been forgotten in the peace process. Yet, without addressing the refugees' right to restitution, there can be no just peace.
The situation in Jerusalem and the most recent agreement notwithstanding, for an effective defence of Muslim and Christian sites in the holy city, there is need for more than declarations and agreements.
. Nonetheless, as the Syrian crisis continues to threaten the security of all the Levantine states and the Iranian issue continues its slow boil, greater cooperation should be expected between the two. The rapprochement is real; the question is, does it matter?
However John Kerry will go about seeking to persuade the parties to return to meaningful negotiations, his efforts have no chance of success if he does not base his diplomacy on the following realities.
The ingredients are there for the birth of the national homeland of the Palestinian people. A homeland with which the U.S. can, and should, puruse elevated relations that go beyond the political aspects of making peace in the region.
Those intoxicated by Obama's rhetoric will soon experience a painful hangover. For the president's Israel speech and the rest of his Middle East trip were focused, first and foremost, on domestic politics here in the United States.
The incursions are no longer limited to fringe and extremist Jewish groups, but also of the mainstream Israeli politicians.
I was hoping (but not holding my breath) that President Obama would come with a message to the Israelis that the world's superpower is now going to fill the process with accountability. That did not happen, and will not, until average Americans say, "Enough is enough."
Obama figuratively dialed Turkish PM Erdogan's phone and pressed Israeli PM Netanyahu to apologize for the killings of Turkish activists on board a "peace flotilla" headed to Gaza. Perhaps the relationship has been permanently altered over the last few years, but it may be the fulcrum for resolution of Syria and a broader Israeli/Palestinian peace.
So quickly President Obama flew to the Middle East and back; excerpts from his speech in Jerusalem deserve a longer look.