JERUSALEM ISRAEL– The [PA] president said a new attempt by the Palestinians to get the United Nations to condemn Israeli settlements was specifically designed to win U.S. support.
As part of a new emphasis on winning international support for their cause, the Palestinians have drafted a proposal and are lobbying for a Security Council resolution that would declare West Bank settlements illegal and an "obstacle to peace."
The U.S. has said it doesn't support the move, but it remains unclear if it will veto the measure or abstain should the draft come to a vote.
Israel says it is an attempt by the Palestinians to avoid negotiations....
The Gaza experience in 2005, the Palestinian rejection of Israel’s offer of a state on 100 percent of the West Bank (after land swaps) in 2008, the Palestinian refusal to negotiate during the 2009-10 moratorium, and now the attempted UN diversion all demonstrate that the problem is not the settlements but the Palestinians.
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- About 20 Israeli suppliers will help build the first modern Palestinian city in the West Bank but only after promising they will not use products or services from Israeli settlements, the project's developer said Tuesday.
“What do you say to people who are losing patience with gas prices at $3 a gallon? And how much of a political price do you think you’re paying for that, right now?” This was a question asked of the president at a press conference in August…of 2006. The president was George W. Bush. In fact, it was a question that was asked in one way or another regularly during the entire eight years of the Bush presidency, regardless of where energy prices stood at that moment.
In May 2004, The New York Times reported that congressional Democrats “were stepping up pressure on the Bush Administration to ease gasoline prices,” when prices were still under $2/gallon.
In April 2005, at another press conference, a journalist stated: “Mr. President a majority of Americans disapprove of your handling of social security, gas prices…”
In 2006, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) exclaimed: “Since George Bush and Dick Cheney took over as president and vice president, gas prices have doubled…They are too cozy with the oil industry” after she drove one less-than-energy-efficient block to a press conference at a local Exxon station.
In 2008, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “blasted” the president for rising gas prices on his (and her) watch. In July 2008, ABC News asked the president what was his “short term advice for Americans about gas prices?” repeating a nearly identical question asked at a February 2008 press conference.
In April 2008, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said gas prices were “the number one issue facing America today.”
You get the point. Yet, at the end of President Bush’s presidency, gas prices were 9% lower than when he took office (adjusted for inflation). So where have these outspoken critics been since Bush left office?
Since President Barack Obama was inaugurated, gas prices have been on the steady rise, as have home energy prices. During his tenure, he presided over arguably the worst federal response to an oil spill in our nation’s history, and has pressed legislation on Capitol Hill that would, in his own words, cause electricity prices to “skyrocket.” Yet there has been almost nothing said by the media as consumers face $3/gallon gasoline at the pump in December for the first time in U.S. history and see their home heating bills soar in the winter months.
Now this week, analysts including former president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, say Americans could be paying $5/gallon of gasoline by 2012. Investment banks are predicting a return to $100/barrel oil, and OPEC is refusing to raise production. All of this news would be less frightening if the White House were focusing on potential ways to lower energy prices. Instead, President Obama is admittedly fixated with raising them.
Just last week (as frigid temperatures and blizzards blasted Europe and the U.S.), the EPA announced that it will begin regulating power plants and oil refineries in an attempt to curb global warming. The new regulations will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by making it more expensive to turn fossil fuels into energy. And Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the Bureau of Land Management would issue new rules making it harder to develop natural resources on government-owned land. These measures will not only drive up the cost of electricity and gasoline but will also make us more dependent on foreign sources of energy.
But none of these actions compare to the brazen way President Obama has unilaterally declared the U.S. oil industry dead. During the BP oil spill, Obama needlessly declared a moratorium on deepwater and shallow water drilling, since no White House advisers apparently could draw a distinction between the two. After two federal courts said the moratorium was illegal, the Obama administration instead moved to a de facto moratorium, by issuing no permits, while speeding up the permitting process for wind farms.
In October, President Obama “lifted” the moratorium, but since then has issued almost no new permits. In late November, his administration effectively issued a seven-year ban on drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and across the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. We’re not even talking about ANWR anymore; these are publicly and politically accepted areas of drilling. These actions, of course, increase our reliance on foreign oil, which as OPEC points out, will only become more expensive in the near future.
Finally, this all spells disaster for the jobs market. Higher energy prices translate into higher costs for small businesses, which cause less hiring. Energy producers are moving platforms out of U.S. waters rather than have multi-million dollar assets sit idle as the president destroys an industry. And local businesses and retailers who service this industry along the coast are losing money and employees, if not entirely shutting down.
President Obama knows energy prices are skyrocketing. The liberal mantra has long been to disincentive Americans from purchasing cheap fossil fuels, by driving costs up. Because the only way consumers will choose the vastly-more-expensive wind and solar alternatives is if all prices are high, rather than wait for the market to bring alternative prices down. This is a reckless and devastating way to make a point about global warming at the expense of American families.
Nearly no questions have been asked of President Obama by the media regarding:
1) his bungled response to the oil spill; 2) his unilateral policies that are creating higher home energy prices; 3) rising gas and oil prices; or 4) the de facto moratorium on domestic oil exploration.
It’s time to start asking the White House some tough questions. A two year moratorium on accountability is long enough.
Home prices across 20 major metropolitan areas fell 1.3% in October from September, the third straight month-over-month drop.
Japan has abandoned their global warming regulation scheme due to expected job losses.
On January 2nd, the Obama administration will officially start regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
The Chamber of Commerce is allying with Big Labor to oppose a House Republican rule change designed to cut federal government spending.
According to Rasmussen Reports, only 21% of voters support the FCC’s push to begin regulating the internet.
I see from a quick scan of the headlines that the newly elected Governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie, has been slamming birthers in a lot of major newspapers, and that even Chris Matthews has brought up the subject of Obama's birth certificate (but only after declaring himself an "enemy of the birthers").
I would add only this to the present discussion.... from BtB 13 October 2008. Neither the U.S. Senate nor the New York Timeshesitated in the least to discuss or to examine evidence in the matter of John McCain's eligibility to run for president vis-a-vis his birth in Panama [Canal Zone]:
.... Jordan’s Education Ministry this week censured a local private school for using a history book that includes a chapter on the Holocaust and even cites portions of Anne Frank’s diary.
Jordanian newspapers referred to the story as a “sensational affair,” and Jordanian Education Minister Dr. Khalid Karaki immediately ordered a commission of inquiry to “examine and write a report about the implications of the incident.”
The school was ordered to stop using the history book.
Many hold up Jordan and even Egypt as examples of how Israel and its Arab neighbors can live in peace. But the truth is that while Israel has a peace agreement with the governments of both those nations, their populations and elected representatives still view Israel as an enemy.
In one of the many US diplomatic cables declassified by whistleblower website WikiLeaks recently it was revealed that American diplomats also recognize that as a whole, Jordan and Egypt are not at peace with Israel, and are likely to resume full hostilities with the Jewish state if their current governments are ever overthrown.
Representatives of the Amish community from the United States and Switzerland paid a visit to the Western Wall on Saturday night, where they asked the Jewish people’s forgiveness for their group’s silence during the Nazi extermination of Jews in the Holocaust.
Part of what made the visit special was that the Amish, a sect of the Mennonite Church that largely rejects modern technology, do not normally use contemporary forms of transportation such as the aircraft on which they made the journey to the Holy Land....
photos from 7 Agorot("my two cents... only in a Jewish currency")
.... The group Girod led to Israel in November included three Amish, 10 Mennonites from the U.S., and three Mennonites from Switzerland. Of the U.S. Mennonites, three live in Idaho and seven live in Lancaster County, Pa.
Al Longenecker, a member and deacon of Buffalo Mennonite Church in Lewisburg, Pa., learned about the trip through Bishop Hoover.
Though Longenecker had visited Israel a few times before, this trip was different. He went to reach out and repent for Mennonites’ “sin of neglect” toward Jews.
“There seems to be absolutely no written response to the Holocaust or World War II from the Mennonite church in America,” he said. “That disturbs me."
Longenecker said they repented as a group, not on behalf of all Anabaptists. The group’s statement uses broader language though:
“On this day, we, representing Anabaptist people, humble ourselves and seek your forgiveness for our collective sin of pride and selfishness by ignoring the plight of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel,” the statement says.
Longenecker acknowledged differences between the statement and the group’s intent.
The group visited various friends, government officials and Jewish rabbis, including Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch and the deputy mayor of Jerusalem.
Girod, oftentimes on his knees, presented a statement of confession and sometimes towels to symbolize footwashing. At one point, a German Baptist church with a kibbutz in Israel sang for the group.
“It was a mirror of something we would’ve done in our conservative Mennonite setting in Pennsylvania,” Longenecker said.
Now back home, Longenecker and Girod both hope reconciliation among Amish, Mennonites and Jews continues. “I see this as a foundation of beginning to recover deeply divisive situations among us,” he said.
Girod believes rejection of the Jews has led Anabaptists to lose the blessing of Abraham. "This is a step toward that blessing again."
The full statement presented by the Anabaptists to Jews in Israel is available here.
As serendipity -or Something- would have it, my inbox this morning also contained this old joke:
A female CNN journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for over 55 years. She decided to check it out. She visited the Western Wall and watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, she approached him for an interview.
"Pardon me, sir, I'm Rebecca Smith from CNN. What's your name?
"Morris Feinberg," he replied.
"Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall and praying?"
"For about 60 years."
"60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"
"I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims."