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

Apparel company The North Face recently stated that it would no longer make jackets for oil and gas companies because it doesn't want to be associated with the fossil fuel industry. In response, Colorado-based oil and gas company Liberty Oilfield Services rented full billboard ads to remind The North Face of the truth: "Globally, 60% of all clothing fibers are made out of oil and gas. For North Face, it is likely 90% or more."

Liberty CEO Chris Wright joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to discuss just how much of our economy — beyond outdoor apparel and energy — wouldn't exist in a world without fossil fuels. And he warns that many companies are now deeming this truth to be "controversial."

"I have been for years, trying to get a real, honest dialogue about energy going," Chris told Glenn. "So we took this opportunity to point out that North Face jackets are ... almost completely made out of oil and gas. How can you choose not to associate with the essential material your equipment [is] made out of? So we put a billboard up ... the billboard says, 'That North Face puffer looks good on you. And it was made from fossil fuels.'"

"Most billboard companies did not want to run that billboard. They thought it was controversial," he added. "And Facebook put a hold on our brief video just saying the jacket looks good, this is what it's made out of. In today's world, that is controversial."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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During a lecture at the Yale School of Medicine's Child Study Center, a New York City-based psychiatrist told students and faculty that she fantasizes about "unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way," among several other shockingly race-hating statements.

In April, Dr. Aruna Khilanani — a New York-based forensic psychiatrist and psychoanalyst — delivered the talk called "The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind" virtually as part of the Yale School of Medicine's "Child Study Center Grand Rounds," a lecture program for "trainees in child psychiatry, psychology, and social work, faculty, clinicians, and scientists."

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck shared several quotes from an audio recording of the lecture provided by Bari Weiss, a former opinion writer and editor for the New York Times.

Here are a few of Khilanani's statements from the audio:

  • "This is the cost of talking to white people at all. The cost of your own life, as they suck you dry. There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil."
  • "I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a f***ing favor."
  • "White people are out of their minds. And they have been for a long time."
  • "White people feel that we are bullying them when we bring up race. They feel that we should be thanking them for all that they have done for us. They are confused, and so are we. We keep forgetting that directly talking about race is a waste of our breath."
  • "We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks that they are a saint or a superhero, to accept responsibility. It ain't gonna happen. They have five holes in their brain. It's like banging your head against a brick wall. It's just like sort of not a good idea."

"We must take a stand. We must speak out, because this is evil," Glenn said in response to Khilanani's shocking lecture. "I don't care who you voted for, you know this is evil."

Watch the video below for more details:

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The prices of our houses and food are already rising fast, but they will skyrocket to record highs if we don't fix the problem soon. So what's causing the inflation?

On the radio program this week, Glenn Beck said he doesn't believe it's the fault of our loggers, farmers, or truckers — many of them are really struggling. But the big corporations that control these industries are making record profits, all while the Biden administration is making some very odd decisions that could make the crises even worse.

Watch the video below for more details:

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The crisis at the border continues to worsen, with the U.S. Border Patrol recently releasing some shocking statistics that illuminate just how bad the situation has become. But Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) is doing everything he can to prevent any additional unlawful crossings into the Lone Star State.

Abbott joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to describe recent action he has taken to ensure that those who do cross into Texas illegally know they came to the "wrong state."

After noting that both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris "have completely abandoned post as it concerns the Texas border," Abbott explained how "Texas is stepping up" to combat the flood of dangerous gangs and cartels, human traffickers and drugs he says are pouring into border communities.

"Beginning in March, I deployed a thousand Texas Department of Public Safety officers to the border. I deployed the National Guard to the border. And they made well over a thousand arrests of some of these criminals we talked about. They've apprehended more than 33,000 illegal immigrants coming across the border." Abbott said. "But because of the way the Biden administration has abandoned the border, we are now elevating our game. What I did yesterday, in response to more than a dozen counties along the border ... I granted their request for a disaster declaration," he added.

Abbott went on to describe how his disaster declaration gives Texas the authority to toughen penalties for lawbreakers, including criminal trespassing, smuggling, and human trafficking.

"We're going to begin arresting everybody coming across the border and charging them with criminal trespass and putting them in jail. They are coming in here, thinking they'll get the Biden free-ride, and go wherever they want to go. Not in the state of Texas. We'll start arresting them right and left, and putting them behind bars, and saying they came in to the wrong state."

Asked by Glenn if he is prepared for the inevitable "media onslaught", Abbott simply answered, "We're prepared to see a reduction in the number of people coming across the border — because Texas is enforcing the law, period."

Watch the video clip below for more:


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