Friday, June 5, 2009

Obama on Israel

In his Cairo speech, I'm glad that Obama didn't waffle about the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It's long overdue for the U.S. to stop letting the Israeli government dictate to us. Just because they're our ally and have a right to exist, doesn't mean that we should give them a pass when they violate agreements.

I wish that Obama had said more earlier about Gaza and the humanitarian crisis, though. He carefully kept his mouth shut when he wasn't inaugurated yet, but since then has been mostly focused on domestic issues, so I wondered if he was ever going to call out Israel in strong terms.

I just hope that the speech and tour will be followed by some definite action, like withholding some of the aid that America gives to Israel, or some other diplomatic stuff. I really hate the thought that our tax dollars are going to help Israel in doing things like waging their brutal Gaza offensive in December. Israel is more than strong enough to defend itself without us backing them.

I like also how Obama made sure to portray the Palestinians in a balanced light, not as terrorists, but as displaced people who are suffering.

They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

But as Obama said, one speech can't change everything. There's plenty of work ahead. Peace must come from both sides, and we as the interested third party are caught in the middle of it. We just have to keep trying to negotiate and hope that it can indeed be solved, much like the Irish/British "troubles" were.

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