While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's response to the U.S. abstention on the U.N. Security Council's resolution against further settlements on the West Bank was predictable, President Barack Obama's statesmanlike stance was much needed. The world has long condemned Israel's policy of settling the West Bank, but especially under Mr. Netanyahu the settlements have become a sore issue with Palestinians. Yet Mr. Netanyahu persisted. President Obama did the only realistic thing, which was to "respect the decent opinion of mankind," to borrow a phrase from the Declaration of Independence. If progress is to be made toward a peaceful settlement in the Holy Land, which embodies the heritage of Christians, Jews and Muslims, then a negotiation must involve the needs of all parties not just the Israeli government.

When will the Israeli government learn that its own peace and security is also dependent on a just peace for all? Hopefully our new incoming president will not have to re-learn some of these bitter lessons from the region. President Obama did the right thing despite Mr. Netanyahu's opposition.

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Christopher Boardman

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