"Obama reiterated that he had been 'very clear about the need to stop building settlements, to stop building outposts' on Palestinian territory.
"Only hours earlier, the Israeli government said it would continue to allow some growth in the settler communities in the West Bank."
Let me make my bias on this issue clear. I have lived and worked in Israel. I have spent time in the West Bank and have seen a number of settlements close up. In the course of my work, I have had contact with Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and Bedouins. I firmly believe in Israel's right to exist; and as long as there continue to be numerous explicitly Muslim governments in the world, I believe simple fairness should allow Israel to exist as a Jewish society.
Now, on to my comment:
Good for you, Barack.
There is something inherently unfair in the fact that Muslim Palestinians are free to live in Israel and participate as far as they are willing in its government, yet Jews cannot live in peace in Palestinian areas. Nevertheless, life is not always fair, and an end to hostilities will never come while these settlements are allowed to continue. Israel had to remove settlers from Gaza; at the very least, it is going to have to tell the ones in the majority of the West Bank that they are free to stay as long as they are willing to live under a Palestinian government and abide by its rules.
Make no mistake: Netanyahu has long demonstrated that, as a politician, he stands firmly with the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bolton. He should be no more appealing half way around the world than he would be here. It is a great thing that Obama is refusing to go along with Netanyahu's game, and it is the only possible way forward.