Obama: Israel Settlements in West Bank Not Appropriate
Earlier, Gaza militants fired rockets into Israel during Obama visit
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 21, 2013 2:03 AM CDT
Updated Mar 21, 2013 8:00 AM CDT
President Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands at the Muqata Presidential Compound in Ramallah, Thursday, March 21, 2013.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – President Obama headed over to the West Bank today for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in which he blasted Israel's settlement activity as neither constructive or appropriate. At a news conference with Abbas, Obama said he's told Israel's leaders as much, the AP reports, and added that the settlements aren't helping the peace process. But, since stopping the settlements would be difficult politically for Israeli leaders, he suggested that Palestinians not make it a condition to restarting talks.

Obama also said Palestinians deserve an independent state, though a two-state solution will be difficult. The West Bank didn't exactly roll out the red carpet: Some 150 protesters greeted Obama's helicopter, Reuters notes, and Gaza militants had hours earlier launched a pair of rockets into the southern Israel town of Sderot. No one was injured in the attacks. One rocket caused damage to a house's yard, while the other landed in a field, police say. No group has yet claimed responsibility, the AP notes.

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Mar 22, 2013 11:53 AM CDT
Boy this fkg President talks out of both sides of his ass. Instead of "blasting" the Israeli settlements, how about telling the Palestinians (Arabs) to stop being savages and open up a book and learn how to build a functioning society?
Mar 21, 2013 2:15 PM CDT
The movement for Palestinian-Arab sovereignty west of the Jordan River was always and remains nothing more than a vanguard movement seeking the eventual destruction of the state of Israel. In the Six-Day War, Israel captured Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. But they didn't capture these territories from the "Palestinian Authority" or Hamas. They captured them from Jordan's King Hussein. I can't help but wonder why all these Palestinians suddenly discovered their national identity after Israel won the war. The truth is that "Palestine" is no more real than Never-Never Land. The first time the name was used was in A.D. 70 when the Romans committed genocide against the Jews, smashed the Temple and declared the land of Israel would be no more. From then on, the Romans promised, it would be known as Palestine." The name was derived from the Philistines, a Goliathian people conquered by the Jews centuries earlier. It was a way for the Romans to add insult to injury. They also tried to change the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, but that had even less staying power. "Palestine" has never existed - before or since - as an autonomous entity. It was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after World War I. The British agreed to restore at least part of the land to the Jewish people as their homeland. There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc. Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents only one-tenth of 1 percent of the landmass. But that's too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today. No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough. What about Islam's holy sites? There are none in Jerusalem. Shocked? You should be. I don't expect you will ever hear this brutal truth from anyone else in the international media. It's just not politically correct. I know what you're going to say: “the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem represent Islam's third-most holy sites." Not true. In fact, the Quran says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca hundreds of times. It mentions Medina countless times. It never mentions Jerusalem. With good reason; there is no historical evidence to suggest Muhammad ever visited Jerusalem. The main holy sites of Islam are Mecca and Medina, and the few references to Israel in the Quran actually call for the creation of a Jewish state. So how did Jerusalem become the third-holiest site of Islam? Muslims today cite a vague passage in the Quran, the 17th Sura, entitled "The Night Journey." It relates that in a dream or a vision Muhammad was carried by night "from the sacred temple to the temple that is most remote, whose precinct we have blessed, that we might show him our signs." In the seventh century, some Muslims identified the two temples mentioned in this verse as being in Mecca and Jerusalem. And that's as close as Islam's connection with Jerusalem gets – myth, fantasy, wishful thinking. Meanwhile, Jews can trace their roots in Jerusalem back to the days of Abraham with hundreds of Biblical references to Jerusalem. So what's the solution to the Middle East mayhem? Well, frankly, I don't think there is a manmade solution to the violence. But if there is one, it needs to begin with truth. Pretending will only lead to more chaos. Treating an Israeli 5,000-year-old birthright backed by overwhelming historical and archaeological evidence equally with Arab illegitimate claims, fantasies and lies gives diplomacy and peacekeeping a bad name.
Mar 21, 2013 1:47 PM CDT
The Jews needed a home of their own...They got it, and then they got greedy...The West Bank is not settled territory, so therefore there should not be any settlements until things are settled...Sure hope the Isrealites can get along if the land is ceded to the Palestinians..By the way..Palestinians are descended from the Caananites. The people the Isrealites threw out the first time, when Moses and David were around