1. Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Fla. - This beach gets big points for its unusual bright white sand and its gentle currents. 'It's an idyllic place,' said Stephen Leatherman, director of Florida International University's Laboratory for Coastal Research in Miami. Bernard Friel / DanitaDelimont.com "Danita Delimont Photography"/Newscom/File
2. Coronado Beach, San Diego, Calif. - A photographer and her subject use wide and flat runner-up Coronado Beach as a backdrop for a photo session. H. Lorren Au Jr./Orange County Register/MCT/Newscom/File
3. Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki, Hawaii - A statue of Hawaiian swimmer Duke Paoa Kahanamoku stands guard at Waikiki Beach. Newscom/File
4. Main Beach, East Hampton, N.Y. - This beach has been praised for its beautiful views and its soft sand. ZUMA Press/Newscom/File
5. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks, N.C. - North Carolina's Cape Hatteras beach boasts some of the best surfing on the east coast and one of the country's most famous lighthouses. Scott T. Smith/Danita Delimont/Newscom/File
6. St. George Island State Park, Fla. - This long barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico is home to nine miles of peaceful beach. When it's time to get out of the water, visitors can pass the time by birdwatching and fishing. Zuma/Newscom
7. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C. - Beachwalker park is great for nature lovers. 'Visitors should pack their canoes and kayaks to paddle through the tidal inlets, or walk down to St. Sam's Inlet to see thousands of birds,' said listmaker Stephen Leatherman, director of Florida International University's Laboratory for Coastal Research. Newscom/File
8. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass. - Picturesque Coast Guard Beach may not be the warmest on the list, with water temperatures peaking at 60-70 degrees, but its steep slopes, beautiful views, and New England charm continually earn it a place on this list. Zuma/Newscom/File
9. Waimanalo Bay State Park, Oahu, Hawaii - This long, white beach sits beside an ironwood forest and boasts some of the safest swimming in Hawaii. Karl Lehmann / Lonely Planet Lonely Planet Images/Newscom/File
10. Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Fla. - This beach near Miami is home to some of the best sunbathing swimming and picnicking in Florida. The lighthouse on this beach is the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade county. Maresa Pryor/Danita Delimont/Newscom/File
With Israel's occupation of the West Bank grinding on toward the half-century mark, and with Prime Minister Netanyahu's election-week declaration that no Palestinian state would be established on his watch, hard questions arise.
ByDan Perry, Associated Press
Is Israel a democracy? The answer is not so straightforward, and it increasingly matters given the diplomatic fallout over hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election last week.