The resignation of the Palestinian Authority's relatively popular but unsupported Prime Minister Salam Fayyad ends a story of frustration, progress and hope. Who killed the prime minister of Palestine? Well, no one killed Salam Fayyad, of course. But the idea of a prime minister of Palestine, the political leader of a someday-democratic state-coming-into being who would lead with cosmopolitan pragmatism, international credibility, and state-building savvy, seems now officially dead. After warnings and false starts, Fayyad has turned in his resignation and it has apparently been accepted by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – according to reports. The resignation was precipitated…Read More... | 14 Comments
palestinian UN statehood
Protest against prisoner conditions in Israeli jails will not prevent anger and delegitimization of PA law enforcement system for its own violations. A Palestinian prisoner being held on charges connected to a stabbing died in a Palestinian Authority jail in Jericho on Friday, according to a Jerusalem Post and Ma’an News Agency. The articles report that the Palestinian attorney general ordered and launched an investigation into the death and an autopsy. Palestinian officials have said that Ayman Samarah, 40, was not tortured, but suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure and was taken to a hospital on Friday after being…Read More... | 2 Comments
Palestinians throughout the West Bank gathered, first in anticipation, then in celebration of their bid for upgraded status at the United Nations. In a 138-9 vote, with 41 abstentions, the UN General Assembly voted to change Palestine's status from "nonmember observer entity" to "nonmember observer state." The landslide victory, including many European nations that changed their vote in the final days from opposing to supporting or abstaining, handed a major diplomatic triumph to President Mahmoud Abbas despite fierce opposition from the United States and Israel. The only other UN members who voted against the bid were Panama, Palau, Canada, Marshall…Read More... | 2 Comments
As if the heartache over the escalation and its appalling predictability isn’t enough, as if the pain of watching whole communities cower under rockets while planning the next decade of psychotherapy for children isn’t enough, as if fresh Israeli and Palestinian deaths isn’t enough, the IDF sent the following message on its Twitter feed: Here’s what this poster says: 1. The IDF promotes extra-judicial killing as punishment for crimes committed with no due process (past terror attacks and kidnapping) 2. The IDF thinks that portraying Israel as the Terminator is a GOOD thing, showing fundamental disconnect with the language of…Read More... | 33 Comments
2011 is drawing to a close and it has been a year full of expectation and suspense regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I admit that I thought it was a year in which significant things might change. But after a weekend trip to some of the hottest spots in the hot spot, I reflected that a few things may always remain stable. Both sides have dreams that will probably not be fulfilled. Both sides have elements - people - who seek a maximalist position. The dreams of those extremes are ultimately likely to be foiled by reality. Despite the asymmetry of…Read More... | 5 Comments
America's war on the world continues: After threatening to cut funds from the United Nations if the organization promotes the Palestinian delegation's status, the State Department decided to freeze its support for the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of the United Nation (UNESCO) because the latter defied Washington's order and accepted Palestine as a member state. Israel has added a threat of its own – to completely withdraw from UNESCO. In recent years Israel took pride in the fact that UNESCO recognized World Heritage Sites within its borders – Tel Aviv's white city being one of the latest additions –…Read More... | 24 Comments
The emotional victory may not be a game-changer, but to consider it merely symbolic is missing deep potential consequences of full acceptance into a UN club. This post has been updated, 31 October, 8:40pm The Palestinian Authority won a major victory on Monday by being accepted to UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The acceptance is a critical moment, not so much because it will really affect the lives of most Palestinians, but for what it says about the unfolding international attitudes and policy, and for Palestine and Israel. Here are a few possible implications. 1. UNESCO…Read More... | 18 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
SAVE THE DATE: September 23, 2011. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will give his “truth” speech at the UN General Assembly. The “truth” will actually be the annihilation of a two-state solution, and thus with it, the end of Zionism In October 2010 I started writing the “Wild card” campaign. To make a long story short, it was an effort to convince people of the need for the U.S. to support a unilateral declaration of independence at the UN. The reasoning behind the campaign was that a unilateral declaration would not immediately bring about a Palestinian state, but that American support…Read More... | 26 Comments
It has got to be pure, sheer coincidence that I received a notice from the post office today urging me to renew my gas mask/defense kit. It must be coincidence. Even with a Palestinian state declaration looming, which is terribly frightening, nobody would cynically misuse such a serious issue as protecting every Israeli citizen from SCUD missiles...Oh wait, that was 20 years ago. There's also that minor point that Saddam died five years ago. But maybe since then the kits were supposed to protect us against the stuff Syria was cooking up in that secret site...which was, er, bombed in…Read More... | 3 Comments
By presenting strategically calculated messages for all relevant audiences, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas used yesterday's speech to outline the identity of the new Palestinian state he is to seek at the UN. This post has been updated, 19 September, 2011 When Palestinian President and Chairman of PLO Mahmoud Abbas ended his speech on Friday to an audience of Palestinian dignitaries by stating that he was going to the present the Palestinian statehood bid to the United Nations Security Council, he received a heartfelt standing ovation. Yet going to the UNSC might be the biggest gambit yet in the whole diplomatic game…Read More... | 4 Comments
My colleague Noam heavily castigated J Street’s announcement that it would oppose the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN in a few weeks. He qualified this by saying that he isn’t entirely convinced of the statehood plan itself; but saw political and moral failings in J Street’s position nonetheless. I, on the other hand, am not convinced of J Street’s opposition, but I respect the logic and the legitimacy of the approach. My main reservations are emotional: the Palestinians need and deserve a state, with all the problems it will face, and I want the world to be swept…Read More... | 11 Comments
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