Sean in Jerusalem
While the current 72-hour ceasefire seems to be holding, there is still major concern that Hamas will comply.
It is Egypt and its mediators who are now shuffling between the two delegations, trying to negotiate a long-term truce.
Secretary Kerry was asked about Israel's blockade to Gaza, to which he replied: “What we want to do is support the Palestinians in their desire to improve their lives and to get food in and to open crossings and to reconstruct and have greater freedom.” But that must come “with a greater responsibility toward Israel, which means giving up rockets. No country can live with that condition, and the United States stands squarely behind Israel’s right to defend itself in those circumstances. Period.”
Defending itself is one thing, and I'm glad that the U.S. government acknowledges that right verbally. But at the same time, eradicating Hamas' infrastructure to conduct future attacks may be even more advantageous for Israel's long-term peace and security. Israeli Defense Forces reportedly found a Hamas manual on urban warfare called “Introduction to the City War.” This manual outlines the benefits on civilian deaths and how Hamas knows Israel tries to avoid civilian causalities. In other words, Hamas views of the death of civilians as propaganda. It's hard to imagine how a long-term truce can be struck with people so barbaric in their war tactics.
Fed Up with Washington
Brand new polling from the WSJ/NBC News should be cause for concern for every politician in Washington. Americans are fed up when it comes to the state of the American economy. More than 70% of Americans feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Tragically, 76% of American adults do not believe that their children's generation will be better off than their own.
Even more Americans – close to 80% – are upset with our political system in Washington and consider it to blame for the current state of affairs. This is troubling for politicians who are now assumed to blame for Americans struggles, particularly economically.
As a result, Barack Obama's poll numbers have suffered. His approval rating sank to an all-time low of 40%.
But Congress fares even worse with just a 14% approval rating...(continue reading)