End the killing: Israelis and Palestinians must come to terms

The Israeli-Palestinian situation is approaching the point where the United States and other countries must ask how long can this destructive course continue before intervention is needed.

Talks between the Israelis and Palestinians were underway, launched by President Barack Obama in his first year in office, then halted on the basis of different views on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The talks were resumed in his second term with a burst of energy from new Secretary of State John Kerry, then torpedoed again by the participants a few months ago. That time the Israelis again were full steam ahead on settlements in the West Bank, reneged on a pledge to free Palestinian prisoners and took offense at Palestinian efforts to form a unity government between Fatah and Hamas to face the Israelis across the table, which prompted the Palestinians to insist on their right to do so, ending the Kerry round of talks.

Things are getting really nasty now. Three Israeli teenagers, including one with dual U.S. citizenship, were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank. A Palestinian teenager was subsequently captured and burned alive, and three Israeli suspects confessed to the crime on Monday. Mr. Netanyahu has promised they will face "the fullest extent of the law."

The killings of the Israeli and Palestinian teenagers has been followed by, most recently, 20 rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, and Israeli air strikes on 14 sites in Gaza, killing seven Palestinians.

Matters are at a sorry state when two groups are reduced to killing each other's children. The risk is that the situation will deteriorate into a third intifada, extended violent street confrontation between the Israelis and Palestinians, as began in 1987 and 2000.

—The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday, July 8

 

Compassion and strength at the U.S. border

The images of children who have crossed into the U.S. illegally are heart-rending portraits of desperation.

Yet, they also are vividly illustrative of how a well-intentioned law can result in an unintended dilemma.

President Obama announced Tuesday he is seeking $3.7 billion to deal with what he appropriately calls a humanitarian crisis. But the president also must buck the left wing of his party and seek changes to speed up and ease deportations.

One should not come without the other.

The approximately 50,000 unaccompanied minors who have been caught this year illegally crossing the U.S. southern border are doing so for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the protection offered by a 2008 law.

Passed by unanimous consent in both chambers of Congress and signed by then-President George W. Bush, it was intended to address child victims of sex trafficking. The law laid out exactly how such children were to be treated, and how they might seek asylum. The process, which could include hearings before immigration courts, often takes years.

The full story behind the wave of kids seeking protection under a law enacted five years ago is a matter of debate, but surely violence and poverty in their home countries are contributing factors.

And we have no small amount of sympathy for them. Some of the money the president has requested will be used to ensure humane treatment of detainees, and we're glad to see that.

However, policymakers should not allow the improper use of the 2008 law to substitute for comprehensive immigration reform addressing these children and others who want to come here. This situation is a stark example as to why change is needed.

In the meantime, lawmakers should pass legislation streamlining the process of returning these children to their home countries as both a matter of principle and as a deterrent to others contemplating the dangerous journey.

—The Denver Post, July 8