Netanyahu bows to Obama, accepts Palestinian "state"

By Ori Lewis

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walks off stage after delivering a foreign policy speech at Bar-Ilan University on June 14, 2009 in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv. Netanyahu accepted on Sunday the U.S.-backed goal of a Palestinian state but didn't meet President Barack Obama's demand to stop Jewish settlement expansion. (Photo by Baz Ratner-Pool/Getty Images)RAMAT GAN, Israel (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded on Sunday to uncommon pressure from Washington by finally giving his endorsement -- with conditions -- to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

But in a speech answering President Barack Obama's address to the Arab world 10 days ago, the right-wing leader's defense of Jewish settlement on occupied land may fail to dispel tension with the White House, as the two men try to set new terms for the Middle East peace process in their first months in office.

Obama called Netanyahu's shift in position on Palestinian statehood as an "important step forward," even as aides to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were denouncing the speech as "sabotaging" negotiations by restating Israel's refusal to share the city of Jerusalem or accept Palestinian refugees.

Netanyahu, who has refused to back a state for Palestinians since he took office in March, said he would now endorse the establishment of a such a state -- but only if Israel received in advance international guarantees the new nation would have no army and Palestinians recognized Israel as a Jewish state.

"If we receive this guarantee regarding demilitarization and Israel's security needs, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state," Netanyahu said at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

"If (Obama) looks at the glass as half-full, this should be sufficient," Israeli political scientist Eitan Gilboa said of the speech as a whole. "But if he is looking for confrontation with Israel, he would say the glass if half-empty."

A senior European diplomat in the Middle East questioned how far it changed the substance of Israel's approach. "It's goodwill and good words but I don't think it's going to appease the Americans," the diplomat said. "He's trying to gain time."

WHITE HOUSE WELCOME

"The president welcomes the important step forward in Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech," the White House said.

"The president is committed to two states, a Jewish state of Israel and an independent Palestine, in the historic homeland of both peoples."

Palestinian leaders have rarely made an issue of Israel's insistence that their future state should not have an army in a position to threaten its neighbor, but they have rejected the demand that they explicitly accept Israel as a Jewish state.

To do so, they have argued, weakens the position of the 20 percent of Israel's citizens who are Muslim and Christian Arabs, and undermine a key demand for a right of return to what is now Israel for millions of Palestinians classed as refugees since the flight of Arabs during Israel's creation in 1948.

The White House reference to Obama's support of "a Jewish state of Israel" may reassure Israelis, who will also hear in his reference to "the historic homeland of both peoples" an echo of Netanyahu's robust defense on Sunday of the Jews' 3,000-year-old claim to the land and to the city of Jerusalem.

Palestinian leaders voiced their opposition, especially to the Israeli premier's flat rejection of any right of return for refugees or of a division of Jerusalem, where Palestinians want to have the capital of their new state.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said: "Netanyahu's remarks have sabotaged all initiatives, paralyzed all efforts being made and challenges the Palestinian, Arab and American positions."

Saeb Erekat, who has negotiated interim peace accords, said: "The peace process has been moving at the speed of a tortoise. Tonight, Netanyahu has flipped it over on its back."

He reiterated the Palestinian demand that Israel freeze all expansion of the settlements that are home to some half a million Jews in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

SETTLEMENTS DISPUTE

Obama, too, in what has been the frostiest spell in U.S. relations with Israel in a decade or more, has made a halt to settlements a personal demand. Netanyahu repeated his agreement not to build more settlements but indicated he still wanted to allow what is called "natural growth" of existing ones.

"We have no intention of building new settlements," he said. "But there is a need to enable the residents to live normal lives, to allow mothers and fathers to raise their children."

Netanyahu is conscious that a harder crackdown on settlers could fracture his right-leaning coalition government.

The White House did not comment on settlements but did say Obama would ensure all parties "fulfill their obligations." Under the 2003 "road map to peace," worked out under U.S. sponsorship, Israel committed to freezing settlement activity.

Netanyahu reiterated his readiness to meet all Arab leaders in the region and urged Palestinians to resume peace talks.

It was not immediately clear whether Abbas would accept Netanyahu's call to resume talks. Abbas has made a halt to settlement a condition for renewing negotiations.

With Gaza in the hands of Abbas's Islamist rivals Hamas, who reject interim peace deals and continue to attack Israel, there seems little immediate prospect of ending more than 60 years of conflict. However, diplomats say, engagement by Obama that puts pressure on all sides has raised hopes after years of stalemate.

(Additional reporting by Adam Entous, Dan Williams and Joseph Nasr in Jerusalem and Mohammed Assadi and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, writing by Jeffrey Heller and Alastair Macdonald in Jerusalem)

Copyright 2009 Reuters. click for restrictions

Carter Page, a former advisor to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, found himself at the center of the Russia probe and had his reputation and career destroyed by what we now know were lies from our own intelligence system and the media.

On the TV show Thursday, Page joined Glenn Beck to speak out about how he became the subject of illegal electronic surveillance by the FBI for more than two years, and revealed the extent of the corruption that has infiltrated our legal systems and our country as a whole.

"To me, the bigger issue is how much damage this has done to our country," Page told Glenn. "I've been very patient in trying to ... find help with finding solutions and correcting this terrible thing which has happened to our country, our judicial system, DOJ, FBI -- these once-great institutions. And my bigger concern is the fact that, although we keep taking these steps forward in terms of these important findings, it really remains the tip of the iceberg."

Page was referencing the report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which revealed that the FBI made "at least 17 significant errors or omissions" in its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications for warrants to spy on Page, a U.S. citizen.

"I think this needs to be attacked from all angles," Glenn said. "The one angle I'm interested in from you is, please tell me you have the biggest badass attorneys that are hungry, starving, maybe are a little low to pay their Mercedes payments right now, and are just gearing up to come after the government and the media. Are they?"

I can confirm that that is the case," Page replied.

Watch the video clip below for a preview of the full-length interview:

The full interview will air on January 30th for Blaze TV subscribers, and February 1st on YouTube and wherever you get your podcast.

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Subscribe to Glenn Beck's channel on YouTube for FREE access to more of his masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, or subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

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On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com