Editorial – Mr. Obama and Israel – NYTimes.com

We hope Israel is being pressed to at least temporarily halt building in East Jerusalem as a sign of good faith. Jerusalem’s future must be decided in negotiations.

The administration should also insist that proximity talks, once begun, grapple immediately with core issues like borders and security, not incidentals. And it must ensure that the talks evolve quickly to direct negotiations — the only realistic format for an enduring agreement.

Many Israelis find Mr. Obama’s willingness to challenge Israel unsettling. We find it refreshing that he has forced public debate on issues that must be debated publicly for a peace deal to happen. He must also press Palestinians and Arab leaders just as forcefully.

Questions from Israeli hard-liners and others about his commitment to Israel’s security are misplaced. The question is whether Mr. Netanyahu is able or willing to lead his country to a peace deal. He grudgingly endorsed the two-state solution. Does he intend to get there?

via Editorial – Mr. Obama and Israel – NYTimes.com.

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