Excerpts from remarks made by U.S. President Barack Obama with Chancellor Angela Merkel at Dresden Castle in Germany on Friday:
“I’ve assigned George Mitchell, my special envoy, who has met repeatedly with all the players in the region and who is going to be going back next week in the wake of my appearance in Cairo to follow up with each of the individual parties on a whole host of negotiation points and potential confidence-building measures that can be taken … You know, a lot of attention has been given to my statement that the Israelis need to stop settlement construction, and I recognize that it’s received a lot of attention in Israel, as well. Keep in mind that all I’ve done there is reaffirm commitments that the Israelis themselves had already made in the road map. And I recognize the very difficult politics within Israel of getting that done, and I’m very sympathetic to how hard it will be. But as Israel’s friend, the United States I think has an obligation to just be honest with that friend about how important it is to achieve a two-state solution — for Israel’s national security interests, as well as ours, as well as the Palestinians. And that’s an area where steps can be taken. They’re not the only steps, by the way, that Israel can take and will need to take in order to advance movement towards peace. And I mentioned some of the other issues that I’ve discussed with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office, for example, increasing freedom of movement within the West Bank, dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and allowing reconstruction to proceed more aggressively”. The full transcript is available here.
The Israeli military — which administers without any serious government oversight the sanctions regime against the 1.5 million people in Gaza — has promised the Israeli Supreme Court that it would NOT let a humanitarian crisis develop …
So, what is President Obama going to do now? How will he follow up on his words?