July 6th, 2010
01:37 PM ET

Obama praises 'real progress on the ground' in Gaza

[Updated at 1:51 p.m.] President Barack Obama Tuesday commended Israel for easing limits on goods going to Gaza, saying there had been "real progress on the ground" that was happening "more quickly and more effectively than many people anticipated."

Speaking to reporters after talks with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama said the United States wanted to "ensure the people of Gaza are able to prosper economically while Israel is able to maintain its legitimate security needs in not allowing missiles and weapons to get to Hamas."

[Updated at 1:37 p.m.] Netanyahu said Tuesday that recent sanctions adopted by United Nations are helping to delegitimize Iran's nuclear program. The sanctions "have teeth" and "bite," he said.

[Updated at 1:36 p.m.] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that reports of damaged relations between his country and the United States "aren't just
premature, they're just flat wrong."

[Posted at 1:30 p.m.] President Barack Obama said Tuesday he is convinced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "wants peace" in the Middle East and is "willing to take risks for peace."

The United States will never ask Israel to "take any steps that would undermine (its) security interests," he said.

The relationship between Israel and the United States has improved over the last year, he asserted.

"The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable," Obama said.

He made his remarks during a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Israel • Middle East
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. Rich

    Everyone hates the Jews. That is the bottom line. Where was the world wide disdain when N Korean sank a sub? Doesn't take much to gang up against Israel. Why? Yes you guessed it.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave F

    Israel has been a terrible friend, a friend that just takes from you while telling you you are the best. The US should have the same relationship with Britain, Ireland or Italy, where by far the real bonds are stronger and the friendship is genuine. What's the total of the affected US population? Less than 2% at best. The US is a nice little goyum, a Gentileman to Israel.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tony Leyton

    Israel isn't our ally, it's our government.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Isaac

      Tony, that was pathetic (and stupid)

      July 6, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. T.K

    Same old song and dance.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Yaakov Sullivan

    Enough with this "unbreakable bond" and "special relationship". Enough is enough. Our relationship with Israel should be like that we have with any other nation, based on our interests. Where is Obama in telling netanyahu flatly that his settlement policy is wrong and contravenes international law and is the core impediment to reaching a peaceful solution. With Israel stealing away 40% of the West bank and its ongoing expansionism in East Jerusalem how does Obama think a viable, contiguous Palestinian state will ever be formed. Enough patting on the back of this netanyahu government which continues to defy internatla law and opinion. I'm sick and tired of Israel's arrogance and our rubber stamping anything they do as necessary for their "security."

    July 6, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan's mother

      Nice try Esav.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • USArulz

      Face the facts – The Jews were in the land of Israel for more than 2,000 years BEFORE the Muslims. We Christians (over 2 billion) strongly support the Jews living in their homeland and defending the birthplace of Christ from the racist Arabs.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sue Hardly

      Yaakov– do you live at the computer?

      July 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MToussaint

    Hmmm. Let's see. When the American colonies fought for their independence from an opressive King George, we were called Patriots. When the oppressed blacks fought against the unjust South African Apartheid regime' they were called freedom fighters. When the French fought against the Nazi's in occupied France, they were called the French Resistance. When Palististinians fight against their Zionist oppressors, they are called "terrorists." Nutjobyahoo is the leader of a rogue state who, just like the Nazis, Apartheid and every other brutal regime, need to be wiped off the face of the earth.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    Netanyahu doesn't want peace any more than the Nazis' did so many years ago. They are no better than the Nazis' either. Just different uniforms and this time the US is supporting them, when everybody knows that they have no right to be there in the first place.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan's mother

      Worse than idiot.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Amir

    Why does "our greatest ally" make up 50% of the spies in our country? USS Liberty, reselling our weapons, etc.

    I almost feel like we're the wife/gf in an abusive relationship. We keep coming back for more.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ruth

      Proof Amir. All you are doing is spoutingpropaganda. Show us proof taht what you're saying is true.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike Albertson

    Imagine if Canadians would want to create their own state in Michigan and separate it from the U.S. Canadians are a minority in Michigan so democratic vote on the separation would not work because they would be outvoted by the rest of the Americans living in Michigan. So imagine if they had a historic opportunity when the U.S. is at its weakest and militarily occupy a part of Michigan and impose a regime where only Canadians can vote and all the others who lived there cannot. Furthermore, the occupiers rename the occupied part of Michigan as, for example, the “Catholic State” (like the “Jewish State” as they call Israel, unbelievable idea in this age of freedoms, diversity and inclusion) where not only that people of other religions are not welcome, but they are systematically expelled over time creating huge refugee camps in nearby states of Indiana and Ohio. Imagine then that at that point in history the artificial organization called the United Nations is full of Canadian supporters and somehow that makes the occupation “legal” and Americans that fight for their homes in the occupied part of Michigan are labeled as terrorists. Canadians rationalize the occupation with a claim that the occupied part of Michigan is theirs because their predecessors abandoned it 2,000 years ago and all Americans who live there must leave for good. The occupation is a part of a careful plan of acquiring land by Canadians, so as soon as the occupation is implemented (literally days after, what a coordinated plan!) the occupiers import millions of other Canadians from all over the world to increase their population in Michigan from under 100,000 to over 5,000,000 in a short period. Then Americans resist and fight to regain the occupied part of Michigan, but France steps in, sends weapons, cash, and everything else the occupiers need to sustain the occupation. WHAT DO YOU THINK ALL OF US AMERICANS WOULD FEEL? We would hate Canadians first, and then all of their supporters (France in this analogy) that make the illegal occupation of our land possible. STILL QUESTIONING YOURSELF WHY PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD DO NOT LIKE US? Because our government (not the people) supports the very exact scenario as described above against our will and with our tax money making us accomplices in this unspeakable crime. THE SCENARIO THAT WOULD OUTRAGE ALL OF US AMERICANS AND MAKE US FIGHT AGAINST IT IF IT HAPPENED IN MICHIGAN OR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE U.S.

    This comment is not to make derogatory remarks about Canada and France. It is merely used as an example of how Americans would be outraged and fight back in the same situation as the illegal establishment of Israel.

    URGE YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES AND SENTORS TO IMMEDIATELLY STOP ANY REMAINING SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL’S ILLEGAL REGIME. MUCH OF THE SUPPORT ALREADY STOPPED BECAUSE OF THE INCREASING PRESSURE ON THIS ISSUE, BUT WE AMERICANS NEED TO COMPLETELY DISTANCE OURSELVES FROM THIS OPPRESSIVE REGIME.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ruth

      Um, Arabs vote in Israel. Stop spouting lies.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan's mother

      You guessed it. Idiot.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt Feldman

      Mike – here's a little help with your flawed analogy. The ONLY place that Jews have ever had claim to is Israel. While many Jews were exiled 2000 years ago, many actually stayed – there has been a continuous Jewish presence in Israel since the roman empire.

      So the analogy would be more correct if in your story story went as follows:

      Native Americans – not Canadians – reclaimed Michigan, from which American colonists had originally evicted them. Further, in an effort to compromise with their former Colonial oppressors, the Native Americans agreed to an internationally sponsored plan to carve out a little tiny part of Michigan where they actually live, and the larger remainder of Michigan to remain a part of the Colonial territory. Meanwhile, the agreement was rejected by the Colonists, who called up huge armies across north america to wage a full scale war against the Native Americans, only to lose that war and spend the next 60 years terrorizing, rejecting peace offers, and whining about Native Americans controlling the global political system and media.

      That is a more accurate analogy of what has happened in Israel 1948 and since then.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • USArulz

      Mike, how stupid are you? The Jews were in the land of Israel for more than 2,000 years BEFORE the Muslims. We Christians (over 2 billion) strongly support the Jews living in their homeland and defending the birthplace of Christ from the racist Arabs.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rich

    The Jews were in Israel 1st. It was called Canaan back then. The United NAtions chartered Israel as a state after millions of Jews were displaced and another mere 6 million tortured to death. Ergo, the Jews have 1st right of refusal and they are protecting their rightful land. Moreover, they are industrious and actually do things to better mankind, all the while fighting international hostility, rockets and homicide bombers.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • USArulz

      My Pastor told us years ago through the New Testament that the Jews were in Israel first. There are even archaeological sites to prove it. Drop you hatred for the Jews. See a psychiatrist.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Stan's mother

    Last week I attended a seminar on the legal status of the territories hosted by Media Central for reporters and correspondents.
    Professor Ruth Lapidot, renowned scholar on international law, and a young female Arab lawyer, Nada Kiswanson representing al Haq presented. al Haq, funded by the EU, prepares legal analysis from the Arab point of view.
    Lapidot started out by giving a balanced presentation of the law with respect to the Geneva Convention, occupation law, settlements and the like. She was entirely devoid of passion.
    Kiswanson spoke fluently and passionately and argued the case from the Palestinian perspective and mentioned the word “occupation” in every sentence. Everything she said needed to be challenged because she was stretching the law beyond recognition. And of course she buttressed her opinion by claiming world opinion and the General Assembly of the UN agreed with her. Obviously both are irrelevant in a court of law.

    Her presentation reminded me of the lawyer’s tactic of drowning the opponent in paper most of which was irrelevant but still required some attention. Similarly when the Palestinians present facts or law, they throw so many inaccuracies at you that your efforts are consumed with dismissing all the lies rather than focusing on the truth.
    Unfortunately, when she said the Palestinians were a people, Lapidot agreed with her. I wanted to ask what made them a “people” believing that there are a list of criteria to define a people, none of which the “Palestinian people” share. Even if they are to be now considered a “people”, that doesn’t give them an automatic right to a state. Look at the Kurds who certainly meet the criteria but are denied a state.
    Essentially she was demanding that Israel withdraw from all territories which is not what Res 242 provides. She was relying on the French translation of the resolution rather than the English rendition which is the official one.
    She talked about the “occupied Palestinian territories” but did agree with me when I said the occupation was legal. She stressed that the occupation was to be temporary and I pointed out, to the contrary, that the Security Council resolution, agreed to by the PA, said that the occupation was to continue until there was an agreement on “secure and recognized borders”. The PA keeps alleging that it is temporary to avoid negotiating such borders in order to end the occupation..
    Another correspondent acknowledged that there was an occupation but asked what made the land “Palestinian”. She answered that the Palestinians were always there and in a majority before the state was declared. A follow up question suggested that following that logic, all of Israel was Palestinian land. She declined to go there.
    Of course she ignores that prior to Israel coming into existence in 1948, the Jews were referred to as Palestinians and the Arabs that were there were just that…Arabs. She also ignores that but for the British violating the Mandate by restricting Jewish immigration while permitting Arab immigration, the Jews would have been in a majority.
    Prior to the Mandate the lands were part of the Ottoman Empire until they came under the control of Britain and France who defeated them in WWI. International law recognizes the right of the victors to redraw borders. Pursuant to this right, the Palestine Mandate was created with a view to such lands becoming the Jewish homeland. Jews were given the right of “close settlement.” This right has never been abrogated. Thus the Jews have every right to settle in Judea and Samaria. Thus the settlements are legal. Somebody should tell Obama.
    It was clear that she wanted all the territories to be given to the Palestinians based on her legal reasoning and world opinion. Lapidot pointed out that the Roadmap required all parties to negotiate all issues in order to come to an agreement. Resolution 242 does likewise. Negotiations imply that there be give and take to reach agreement.
    Israel, began this process because she believed that there would be no resolution without her agreement. Never did she think, prior to the Obama administration, that she would be denied negotiations and would have a solution imposed on her.
    A year ago, President Obama promised King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia that he would impose the Saudi Plan on Israel without requiring the Arab countries to sign a peace agreement.
    The PA does not want negotiations which imply that they must give and not just take. They are relying on Obama and world opinion to force Israel to do the giving without any taking.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vargas

      Bravo! Well stated fact, not opinion. Maybe you could teach a class.

      July 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. thetruth

    Netanyahu does not want and never has wanted peace. After George Bush he's one of the biggest liars on the planet, unfortuantely Obama is stupid enough to believe him. When Obama tell him to go suck an egg and cut all the aid money off to Netanyahu and his cronies? Until this happens the Middle east and the world will not be a better place.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cinge

    mike albertson imagine if missiles were being fired at your house, family, and neighborhood daily. wouldn't you want that to stop? for years israel has been putting up with this trying to negotiate an end to this to no avail. when will you all understand that israel just wants to be left alone on it's tiny piece of land? look at all the arab land that surrounds it? why don't the arab countries give the palestinians a country? why don't the arab countries help the palastinians by welcoming them into their lands and making them citizens. interesting that they don't want to have anything to do with them. they don't even send aid. israel withdrew from gaza in 2005 and has been repayed with violence. again, if you lived next door to a people who wants to annihilate you- wouldn't you want to defend yourself? that is all israel is doing. stop the rockets. recognize israel's right to it's tiny piece of land. there would be peace. where is the arab's responsibility here? take take take and never give anything back in return? hamas needs to free the palestinian people and let them have a state. it's all up to the arabs.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stan's mother

    The anti-Israel idiocy will be confronted.
    Count on it.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. stony

    "They are truly a freedom and peace-loving country and, once our mutual enemies are destroyed, this will become more evident." wow jay if thats not ironic than i dont know what is. very scary reasoning there. wake up. please.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
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