President Obama has a new guest column in the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, making an appeal for renewed peace negotiations with the Palestinians, as the region itself is spiraling into yet more conflict.
The column comes amid a new wave of violence, after the murder of three Jewish teenagers by what are believed to have been Palestinian assailants, followed by a separate murder of a Palestinian teen for which a group of Jewish extremists have been arrested. In addition, the Israeli military is engaged in airstrikes in Gaza against Hamas rocket-launching targets.
In the column, Obama restates the dedication of the United States to Israel's security. He then writes:
Peace is necessary because it's the only way to ensure a secure and democratic future for the Jewish state of Israel. While walls and missile defense systems can help protect against some threats, true safety will only come with a comprehensive negotiated settlement. Reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians would also help turn the tide of international sentiment and sideline violent extremists, further bolstering Israel's security.
Peace is also, undeniably, just. Just as the Israeli people have the right to live in the historic homeland of the Jewish people, the Palestinian people deserve the right to self-determination. Palestinian children have hopes and dreams for their future and deserve to live with the dignity that can only come with a state of their own. And, in President Abbas, Israel has a counterpart committed to a two-state solution and security cooperation with Israel. Eric Kleefeld
In his first full day in Mexico, Pope Francis spoke directly to the issues facing the nation Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"I beg that you not underestimate the moral and antisocial challenge which the drug trade represents for Mexican society as a whole, as well as for the church," he told church leaders at a Mexico City cathedral.
The pope also delivered a speech to politicians alongside President Enrique Peña Nieto. Francis stressed the need to care about the common good, not just those who are privileged.
"Each time we seek the path of privileges or benefits for a few, to the detriment of the good of all, the life of society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, drug trade, exclusion of different cultures, violence, and also human trafficking, kidnapping, and death, bringing suffering and slowing down development," Francis said. Julie Kliegman
In 2015, 3,545 civilians were killed due to war in Afghanistan, while 7,457 were injured, the United Nations said in a report released Sunday, The Associated Press reports.
That's a 4-percent decrease in deaths, but a 9-percent increase in injuries. The majority of the violence can be attributed to civilians caught in the ongoing crossfire between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Julie Kliegman
Donald Trump is backed into a corner in South Carolina, where he has been routinely booed by the debate audience for everything from insulting Jeb Bush to insinuating 9/11 was George W. Bush's fault. Perhaps as a result, when Ted Cruz turned his criticism on Trump, Trump came back swinging with a particular vengeance.
"You are the single biggest liar, you're probably worse than Jeb Bush," Trump said — a mighty insult in his book. Trump added that Cruz is a "nasty guy."
"This guy lied about Ben Carson…and he just continues," Trump went on.
However, Trump was met with what is becoming a familiar sound this Saturday: Boos. Watch below. Jeva Lange
— POLITICO (@politico) February 14, 2016
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are the only Cuban-Americans on the South Carolina Republican debate stage, and things got especially heated and personal when Cruz criticized a time Rubio went on Univision to speak in Spanish about his immigration policy.
When Rubio was given the chance to respond, he snapped, "I don't know how [Cruz] knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish."
Cruz countered by shouting in Spanish at Rubio. "We can do this in Spanish, if you want," he roughly said.
Some Spanish speakers took issue with Cruz's reply, however:
Spanish-speaking person here. Whatever gibberish Cruz uttered to Rubio wasn't Spanish. Gracias. #GOPDebate
— Alex Beech (@alexbeech) February 14, 2016
Anyone who heard Ted Cruz's gibberish and thought it was Spanish... Sorry you also you don't know Spanish.
— Aura Bogado (@aurabogado) February 14, 2016
Nevertheless, Rubio didn't take Cruz up on the challenge, continuing on in English — but it was a moment for the books. Watch below. Jeva Lange
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) February 14, 2016
Jeb Bush and Donald Trump locked horns for the second time in the South Carolina Republican debate when Trump took a swing at one of his favorite subjects of ridicule — the Bush family.
"I am sick and tired of him going after my family," Bush began in response, going on to say that, "While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe."
Trump interrupted, pointing out that 9/11 happened while George W. Bush was in office — and was greeted with a round of angry boos.
"He had the gall to go after my mother," Bush went on. "My mom is the strongest person I know."
But Trump, never one to cede the last word, quipped, "She should be running." Jeva Lange
After Jeb Bush explained his policy for going after ISIS at the GOP presidential debate in South Carolina Saturday night, Donald Trump ripped into the former Florida governor — and was met with ferocious boos from the audience. "Jeb is so wrong, Jeb is absolutely so wrong," Trump said of Bush's call to dispose of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, only to get the audience hissing.
Trump wasn't put off. "You know who that is? That's Jeb's special interest and lobby talking," he said, drawing his second round of boos.
"I only tell the truth, lobbyists," Trump replied. Jeva Lange
The opening questions of the CBS Republican debate naturally surrounded the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, with Donald Trump being the first up to bat. Responding to the question of appointing Justice Scalia's replacement, Trump said he believed Obama would pick a successor within the remaining 11 months of his presidency— and if Trump were in the president's shoes, he would do the same.
Nevertheless, Trump had some advice to those interested in protecting Scalia's legacy of conservatism: "Delay, delay, delay." Watch below. Jeva Lange
Trump on Scalia replacement: "Delay, delay, delay" pic.twitter.com/QYL34Uluu9
— Mashable News (@MashableNews) February 14, 2016