"President Obama has told aides and allies that he does not believe that Mr. Netanyahu will ever be willing to make the kind of big concessions that will lead to a peace deal." - New York Times// My first reaction to Obama's speech was that he was fooled again by Netanyahu. Apparently, as the NYT indicates, this is not the case. Let us then see what the speech implies for Israel. For the first time, a US President endorses the 1967 borders (up to some territorial exchanges). Even Clinton in his "parameters" left some 3-4% of the West Bank uncompensated for. From my point of view, obama's stand is very close to Clinton's and even better for all. Such a territory is only about 1% of Green-Line Israel, and taking it amounts to taking "Kivsat ha-Rash [Poor Man's Sheep]", as in the David and Bathsheba story. Now, the fact that the US supports the 1967 borders makes it virtually certain that if the UN endorses a Palestinian state this September, it will also specify that the state will have the '67 borders, which will then become practically non-negotiable. This is a body blow to Netanyahu and the entire settlement enterprise. If these people went to settle for the sake of Greater Israel, the fact that every bit of territory has to be compensated for by another territory, makes the whole enterprise pointless. All the other details in the Obama speech are practically immaterial and changeable. Obama is on the way to fulfilling his promise, although more by words than by action.
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Gaza education ministry shuts 2 Shejaiyeh schools citing fear of Israeli artillery fire (Haaretz)