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The Israeli president told the visiting Obama envoy that he should focus on broader issues than the natural growth of settlements. Netanyahu, too, reasserted Israel’s right to build in the existing settlements. Unlike Livni, many Kadima MKs voiced support for the settlements’ growth.

Hamas’ leader Mashaal praised Obama’s efforts at halting the settlement growth. When a determined enemy of Israel praises our self-proclaimed friend, there must be something wrong with the friend.

Why the fuss? Only several hundred houses are authorized each year in the settlements, which is clearly a non-issue both for Bibi and Hussein. The answer might be found in Jewish law: a husband is permitted to divorce his wife over a burned meal. The assumption is that if their relations have deteriorated to the point where even such an insignificant thing becomes a point of contention, then the marriage is beyond repair. Bibi and Hussein are heading for divorce.

Hillary went so far as to renounce Bush’s oral agreement with Sharon on continuing settlement growth as “unofficial.” In that sense, Obama’s speeches are unofficial, too.

In his Cairo speech, Obama did not accept “the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” Huh? If the settlement itself is legitimate, then continuing it is also legitimate. If its continuation is illegitimate, then so is the settlement itself.

It seems that in line with US Administration’s 2001 recommendations on ending the Intifada, Obama envisages the settlement freeze as a “confidence-building” measure, an incremental step toward a peace treaty. Contrary to the Harvard classroom experience, in the real world wars are not ended incrementally, and after eighty years of terrorist attacks Israel does not have to build confidence for herself.

Speaking in the Senate, US Defense Secretary Gates assured his audience that the US would have no trouble intercepting North Korean missiles.

North Korea threatened nuclear offensive if the international community “offends its dignity,” a euphemism for UNSC resolutions, anti-terrorist and money-laundering charges.

Eugene Rostow, a former dean of Yale Law School who was also undersecretary of state in the Johnson years, would write years later that “Israel has an unassailable legal right to establish settlements in the West Bank.”

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In his “peace speech” this Sunday, Netanyahu is expected to offer Palestinians a state with interim borders.

Palestinians cannot accept an arrangement while IDF retains freedom of operation in their state, and anything less than that is unacceptable to Israel. Abbas, too, wants IDF to operate in the West Bank to prevent a takeover by Hamas.

Abbas cannot tell the Palestinians in the refugee camps that he forfeited their right of return.

Fatah cannot accept borders which leave the Temple Mount in Israeli hands even temporarily.

Both Israel and Fatah prefer the current indecisive situation to a formal peace treaty.

After the Minister of Internal Meir Sheetrit became a common MK, he lashed out against his former ministry for the wasteful program of electronic handcuffs, a tracking system for paroled criminals. Despite tens of millions of dollars in expenses, the criminals can take them off easily.