A Staten Island man spent his life savings to announce to New Yorkers that Judgement Day would be May 21, 2011. That's tomorrow, for those of you just on your first cup of coffee. Ads screaming "Global Earthquake: The Greatest Ever!" are plastered on subways and on bus shelters. That these posters are up at the same time as the CDC announcement on the proper procedure for a "zombie apocalypse" might be coincidental. Or not. Anyway, the believers will be raptured to Heaven. The rest of us will be stuck with student loans and the Middle East.
Anticipating a visit from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Obama yesterday endorsed a two-state solution along the 1967 lines, among other things. This is nothing new. Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Bush all endorsed the same policy.
But in an icy statement yesterday, Netanyahu said he "expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of U.S. commitments made to Israel in 2004, which were overwhelmingly supported by both House of Congress." Tricky word, "expect," and one that Jeffrey Goldberg takes issue with:
So Netanyahu "expects" to hear this from the President of the United States? And if President Obama doesn't walk back the speech, what will Netanyahu do? Will he cut off Israeli military aid to the U.S.? Will he cease to fight for the U.S. in the United Nations, and in the many international forums that treat Israel as a pariah?
(Goldberg also called this "something of a hissy fit.") So far, Netanyahu has proven, once again, he is not particularly inclined towards any sort of peace agreement. It is not in his DNA. It is not in his administration, cobbled together by extremists. His obstinence made Obama's special envoy, former Senator George Mitchell (who pretty much resolved the Northern Ireland conflict), resign with despair and disgust.
The UN is voting on Palestinian statehood in September, something that looks likely to go through--unless the US opposes it.
Many of the far-right Christians who push for unconditional support by the US for Israel do so because they believe this will make the Rapture happen. Presumably, if it happens tomorrow, they won't care much about 1967 lines.
Here's our first-hand account from 2009 of the worsening situation in Hebron: