Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Daily Strike-5/28/09-Abbas

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. The President returned to Washington today from the West Coast, and had quite an important meeting. Let's get to it.

ABBAS: The President today met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today at the White House. Abbas is a member of the moderate Fatah party, which currently controls the West Bank. Abbas committed to fulfilling the Palestinians' obligation to the peace process as part of the road map. Obama praised Abbas for holding strong against Hamas, who wants to show a unified Palestinian front. Abbas will not commit to such an alliance until Hamas recognizes Israel's right to exist.

The most important part of the meeting was Obama's insistence that Israel halt it's expansion of settlements in the West Bank. New Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has neglected calls to shut down the settlements, saying that the Palestinians first need to exhibit willingness to engage in the peace process. It is a huge step for Obama to put this sort of pressure on the Israeli government. The previous administration gave almost full deference to Israel, whatever policies it chose to pursue. The Obama administration has not abandoned America's strong commitment to the state of Israel, but is pushing them to be an active partner in peace negotiations. I hope the Israeli government heeds Obama's call to halt the building of settlements in the West Bank as a first step towards a comprehensive peace process. Unfortunately, with the current Israeli government, I don't like our chances.

SOTOMAYOR: The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court has reached its 3rd day. The nominee faced both good news and bad news today. The bad news is that Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts became the first Senator to announce his opposition to Sotomayor. I can't say I'm too surprised. Roberts opposed her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1998. I'm pretty surprised, though, that someone would come out against her nomination so quickly, before she's even had a chance to meet with Senators on the hill. The good news is that the public is largely supportive of the nomination. 47 percent, according to Gallup, believes that Sotomayor was an excellent or good choice, while 13 percent said she was a poor choice. I think in this case, the good news here far outweighs the bad.

Well, that's it for this relatively slow news day. Four more days until Congress is back in session! In the meantime, we'll be bringing you our "comment of the week" tomorrow night, followed by
the return of our "Wouldn't Go as Far as THAT" feature on Saturday.

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