President Barack Obama told over a thousand young Israelis why he thinks the Jewish state is one of the most amazing places on earth, how he understands their people’s ancient history and modern redemption, and reassured them that in their hour of need, America will be there.
The crowded went wild.
But then he went on to tell them that occupying another people was not the way forward, and to the surprise of many journalists looking on, they continued to applaud heartily.
“The Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and justice must also be recognized,” Obama said. “Put yourself in their shoes – look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day. It is not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished. It is not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands; to restrict a student’s ability to move around the West Bank; or to displace Palestinian families from their home. Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer. Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land.”
That's the start. There's plenty more to that article. Some of his comments weren't as well received as others, but it seems that the crowd was split even on those which didn't generate as much enthusiasm. This is as close as a sitting President has gotten to plainly stating my own views, and I think it's a damn sight further than any sitting President has gone in stating their opinion in general. I'm still trying to soak it in...