In a diplomatic surprise, the Palestinians have threatened to turn to the International Criminal Court if no date is set for a withdrawal to the 1967 borders – a move that +972 writers predicted more than a year ago. The PLO will demand that the UN Security Council announce a deadline for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank, to the 1967 ceasefire lines, reported Haaretz today. Ma’an News Agency writes that Nabil Shaath, a senior Fatah figure and veteran negotiator, has said the bid will be submitted on September 15, 2014. If it is not accepted, he told Ma’an…Read More... | 46 Comments
The pain Israelis feel over the three missing boys must be respected, but the fight to end the occupation – including a major BDS effort in America this week – must not stop. The three boys kidnapped in the West Bank Thursday night are innocent victims. And given their youth (Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaer are both 16, Eyal Yifrah is 19), there’s absolutely no justifying this attack. Youngsters should never be targeted, no matter the political cause. But while the three boys are innocent and their kidnapping wrong, that doesn’t mean Israel is innocent or right in what it…Read More...
The details of the unprecedented offer Israel got from the Palestinian leadership have been revealed – along with the Israeli response. Still, if you only listen to the Israeli media, you might think it was Abbas who got cold feet. A new theory is taking shape in Israel these days: according to some heavyweight analysts and politicians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indeed went through a “personal transformation” in the months leading to the peace talks, and it was PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas who got cold feet at the last moment, turning instead to unilateral moves like his request to join…Read More... | 19 Comments
The U.S. and Israel want to limit Palestinian sovereignty, to demilitarize their state, to prevent a Palestinian return and to implement any agreement in stages. But in order for the two-state solution to have a chance at working, they need to do the exact opposite. The deadlock in the peace talks has generated another American diplomatic push, one that seems like the first stage in the administration’s proposal for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (or, more accurately, the Ramallah-based half of the Palestinian Authority). According to reports, the American team led by Secretary of State John Kerry…Read More... | 16 Comments
I wish there was a kinder, gentler way than acts of ostracism to get Israel to end the occupation, but those ways have failed terribly. I would not join a BDS protest; I'm a "two-stater" who believes Israel should remain a Jewish state because the alternatives would be worse, who believes Israel's "original sin" is the occupation, not Zionism, and so I don't think I'd really feel at home at your average BDS demonstration. There seems to be way too much loathing for everything about Israel in the movement - which is not to say everyone in the movement…Read More... | 54 Comments
Given the likely options, I'm glad Obama is coming here tomorrow to do nothing rather than to try to revive the peace process. Today, reviving the peace process, Obama-style, would mean coercing Mahmoud Abbas to enter negotiations with Netanyahu in return for nothing, or next to nothing, such as a token prisoner release, some musical chairs with a few checkpoints and a vague statement of good intentions. And for that, Netanyahu would get what he very much wants: "peace negotiations" with no end, which would provide diplomatic cover for his terribly right-wing, settlement-crazy new government. At the same time, Abbas…Read More... | 23 Comments
The unequal dynamic in the negotiating room guarantees that neither peace nor justice will come out of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said this week that without a complete settlement freeze, talks with Israel will not resume. In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that "Abbas has turned his back on peace with Israel." Both statements, it seemed, were directed at international listeners, those who still repeat every now and then the mantra that "direct negotiations are the key to resolution of the conflict." In fact, right now, direct negotiations are the exact recipe…Read More... | 35 Comments
In defending their hold on the West Bank, the Israeli government and public often present arguments relating to its purported religious significance or to security considerations. A historical and pragmatic analysis of those arguments prove they fail to stand the test of reason. By Lorenzo Kamel Ramallah -- With settlements in the West Bank expanding continuously, any vision for a feasible agreement in the region is fading. The solution of the settlement issue would not automatically bring about a full-fledged peace, but it is a necessary step in that direction. And even though no state recognizes Israel beyond the 1967 “lines,”…Read More... | 43 Comments
Dennis Ross was the architect of a policy that centered on shielding the Israeli government from pressure while hoping that it would decide to end the occupation on their own. The result was an epic, two-decade long failure Dennis Ross, president Obama's top adviser on Israel-Palestine, is leaving the White House by December. Ross, a veteran diplomat who took part in the negotiations through the 90's and until the failed talks between PM Barak and Arafat at the beginning of the previous decade, has let his decision be known in a lunch with Jewish leaders. This is not surprising: Ross…Read More... | 5 Comments
An assertive Palestinian diplomatic strategy exposes the obsolete nature of America’s foreign policy with relation to the Middle East. Eyal Clyne argues that the US is increasingly isolated and faces worse if it fails to provide more support to the future Palestinian state. By Eyal Clyne The anticipated American veto of the vote to admit Palestine as a full member of the UN is not surprising. Since 1972, the US has vetoed 80 resolutions of the Security Council; almost 54% of those vetoes have been in defence of Israeli interests (mostly countering resolutions condemning settlements, and investigations of Israel’s violations…Read More... | 23 Comments
Hours after UNESCO votes to grant membership to Palestinians, the US moves to cut its funding of the UN organization. The Obama Administration demonstrated this evening that even the pettiest grudge by Israel outweighs in its eyes the cultural, scientific and educational needs of all its other allies combined, as it moved to withdraw its share - $70 million - from the UNESCO budget. The administration is legally bound to commit this folly, true; but rather than stress that the incredibly disproportionate move reflects US law but not US policy, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland chose to attack UNESCO itself.…Read More... | 37 Comments
The Palestinian Authority's statehood bid is portrayed as a crucial step on the way to the two state solution, yet an independent Palestinian state appears to as distant as ever. Watch below as Gershom Gorenberg and I engage in a Bloggingheads diavlog to discuss whether it's time to begin considering other options. One sneaky note - you'll notice I'm having considerable issue with Gershom's portrayal of the one-state approach: He argues that this is akin to being on a sinking ship (the status quo) with the shore (the two state solution) too far to swim to, and suggesting we flap…Read More... | 182 Comments
The United States Congress is set to withhold upwards of 200 million USD from the Palestinian Authority according to The Independent. On the surface this sounds like a blow to the Palestinian Authority but it will be the Palestinian people which suffer the most. It is unlikely that the Palestinian Authority will not be fully cut off from US and Israeli aid in the foreseeable future. The Independent is reporting that the United States Congress is going to withhold 200 million dollars in aid money earmarked for the Palestinian Authority (PA). The move is a response to the unilateral PA…Read More... | 18 Comments
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