Oh no, not again. Another budget impasse in Congress? This one is over disaster relief funding. FEMA is running out of money to fund on-going disaster relief programs so Congressional Republicans inserted offsets into the temporary budget bill that Democrats say are not necessary. The offsets would require raiding funds from a clean energy loan program (an obvious Democratic favourite). Senate Democrats say that the bill; which to John Boehner’s embarrassment did not pass the House the first time around, will die on the Senate floor unless the offsets are removed and FEMA is adequately funded. FEMA ran short of funds due to several recent disasters. If the two houses don’t come to an agreement another shutdown is possible.
Israel and Palestine are the big news of the week. Palestine has petitioned the United Nations Council for statehood recognition in the hopes that world sentiment is on their side. The Request includes the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. This presents an obvious problem for President Obama since Israel and Palestine haven’t exactly ironed out their differences of late. The US is expected to reject the idea because it sidesteps any meaningful negotiations for peace between the two parties.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says President Abbas appeal to the UN is an attempt to avoid any negotiations and invited him to sit down at any time while the two leaders were in New York City. Netanyahu says he is willing to make sacrifices and insists he wants there to be a legitimate Palestinian state. It will take several weeks before the UN Council can make a decision.
This could be a dangerous time for Israel with the Arab Spring in full blossom and popular sentiment on the side of Palestine. Should the US reject the idea of a Palestinian state?
Free Forum Fridays are an open discussion where commenters are invited to bring up topics that may not have been covered in the previous week. Got something on your mind? Throw your opinion out there.
- Palestinian UN bid for statehood: live coverage (guardian.co.uk)
- Mahmoud Abbas Submits Formal Request For Member State Status (Huffington Post)