Diplomacy

Obama Meets Palestinian Leader

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with President Obama today in the White House in an attempt to ratchet up pressure on Israel to back a Palestinian state. But on the same day as Abbas' meeting, Israel announced it would dismiss America's demand that the state stop building Jewish settlements in the Palestinian West Bank. A spokesperson for Israel's government said Israelis would pursue "normal life" on the West Bank, a euphemism for continued construction and growth. Secretary of State Clinton used uncharacteristically blunt words explaining President Obama's demands for Israel: "He wants to see a stop to settlements. Not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions." The Palestinian mission in D.C. expressed optimism on the United States' receptiveness of their goals: "This administration has indicated clearly that it wants to move forward," said the mission's chief Maen Areikat. "Netanyahu is the only one in the world opposing a freezing of settlements and establishing a Palestinian state... sooner or later he will realize that he can't oppose the will of the international community and the majority of Israelis."