"The only clear analytical conclusion one can draw from this exchange, then, is that the Palestinian prisoner issue must be a component of any future agreement with Israel. The joy felt in all Palestinian towns and villages this week showed just how dear the plight of the prisoners is to most Palestinians. Indeed, it is difficult to find a Palestinian family that has not had a member imprisoned in Israel, experiencing the grief, fear and loss endured by the family of now-released Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit."
"While the situation in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip is very different, this regional wave hit Palestinians as well. Palestinian youth, also encouraged and inspired by the sprit and tools of the movements in Arab countries, especially Egypt, translated their anger and desire for freedom into the issue that they identified as the greatest domestic priority: the reconciliation of Palestinian factions."
"...it should come as no surprise that the stalling of these most recent peace talks can easily be understood when one considers the leadership personality of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the effect of that leadership personality on the process. It was, of course, Binyamin Netanyahu who boldly claimed responsibility for torpedoing the Oslo peace process on video and further claimed that the United States could easily be manipulated."
"A siege by its very definition is an act of war. In the case of Gaza, the Egyptian/Israeli siege amounts to collective punishment against an innocent population that committed the unpardonable sin of electing a leadership that is anathema to Cairo and Tel Aviv. It is an act of war that is not sanctioned by the international community. Moreover, it is an extension of last year’s barbarous Israeli invasion of Gaza. The scribes at Al Ahram and other Egyptian government papers can’t have failed to notice that the former Israeli Prime Minister, Tzipi Livni, and other Israeli officials are now facing prosecutable war crime charges as a consequence of the illicit and unjustifiable murder of nearly 1,600 civilians. And there is no arguing the fact that the Egyptian regime gave tacit approval to that invasion."
"The US administration will now face the inevitable contradiction between its refreshingly strong insistence that Israel stop all settlement expansion and the continuous construction underway in the settlements--nails driven in place and cement poured at the very moments that Obama was speaking. In other words, the credibility of the US president is on the line in the region--first and foremost over the issue of Israeli settlements."