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diplomacy

  • Forget Friedman. The State Dept doesn't know how much of the West Bank is occupied either

    While disavowing the American ambassador's erroneous assertion that only 2% of the West Bank is occupied by Israel, the State Department spokesperson isn't able to answer how much of the territory is actually occupied. (Hint: All of it.) U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman caused a small stir Thursday by erroneously stating that Israel only occupies 2 percent of the West Bank. The Israeli army rules over the entirety of the West Bank under military law, of course, making it 100-percent occupied. [tmwinpost] The truth of the matter is that nobody took Friedman’s remarks all that seriously, although the whole…

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  • U.S. abstention is a message to Europe: End Israel’s impunity

    The U.S. essentially admitted that its unyielding defense of Israel in the diplomatic arena was a disastrous strategy. With Obama bowing out, Europe will need to act on this lesson. Shortly after the UN Security Council passed its resolution criticizing Israeli settlements on Friday, the U.S. State Department issued a press statement by John Kerry explaining Washington’s decision to abstain from the vote. Kerry said that their goal was to “preserve the possibility of the two state solution,” adding that “We cannot in good conscience stand in the way of a resolution at the United Nations that makes clear that…

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  • A vote for the Iran deal is a vote against war

    The nuclear deal sets back any Iranian military nuclear program by at least 10 years, and does so without sparking a regional war. That, by itself, makes the deal the best option available. One of the easiest things to forget when discussing the Iran deal is just how inevitable and nearby war seemed for so long. It seems like just yesterday that the news was dominated with headlines like: “Will this be the year that Israel goes to war with Iran?”; “How Israel's War With Iran Will Be Fought”; “Israel 'prepared for 30-day war with Iran'”; “Pentagon predicts Israel will…

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  • Nuclear deal will usher in an era of Iranian diplomatic engagement

    Put aside the details for a moment. The nuclear deal signed in Vienna today will force Iran to act through diplomacy, not violence. The other option? A nuclear Iran that acts recklessly and orders strikes on Western targets. The decision to sign a nuclear agreement with Iran this morning was the right one. At the end of the day we can only take one of two paths: either we go the way of diplomacy, or we go to war. Either a path through which Iran becomes part of the international community, or it is pushed out using sanctions and isolation.…

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  • Why Michael Oren's diplomatic plan doesn't hold water

    The esteemed historian, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and CNN commentator is now back in Israel running for public office, and he has a plan. The problem is it doesn't align with the facts. By Shemuel Meir It turns out that "spin" isn't exclusively in the Israel's prime minister’s domain. Michael Oren, Israel's former ambassador to Washington and current diplomatic poster boy for Moshe Kahlon's "Kulanu" party, recently laid out the nascent party's policies vis-a-vis the core issues of the Palestinian conflict, and how to put an end to the crisis between Israel and the U.S. According to Oren…

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  • Good Lorde! Now we're fighting New Zealand!

    In the world of Israel's 'anti-diplomacy,' anything is possible -- including the extremely improbable. There comes a time in every Israeli's life when he or she must undertake a great challenge on behalf of the Zionist endeavor. This morning I learned that my country has found itself at the center of a diplomatic debacle with New Zealand, and it appears that I may have to be the one to tie the bungee rope around my waist, step into the ravine of international relations, and resolve it. First, though, let us ask: how in the world does one run into conflict…

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  • Reward activism and diplomacy, not violence

    Far too many times Israel has mocked peace initiatives and adored violence. Altogether, it seems that the government is about to score major points in the propaganda war, only that each such victory is another step on the path to defeat. As Israeli news outlets moved to live coverage mode over the weekend, I had a chance to speak with a friend who is involved in the politics of the mainstream Israeli left. He was enraged by the Palestinians, “who are again missing an opportunity.” At a time when Netanyahu is finally cornered, blamed for the failure of the peace…

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  • The diplomatic process: There might be no Kerry proposal

    Trying to satisfy Netanyahu’s political needs might result in the Americans 'missing the moment of opportunity,' says a former Israeli official. The diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is at a crossroads as the American team, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, is said to be preparing an outline for a final-status agreement. President Obama will meet Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas in the coming weeks and later in the month, the American proposal will probably be made public. However, there is no official publication date and it is not clear what would such a…

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  • Israel as a public embarrassment

    Are the embarrassments Israel's diplomats produce truly unintentional? They appear to be part of a deliberate policy, intended to promote our sense of isolation. In an episode of the brilliant Danish television series "Borgen" ("The Castle"), Denmark's fictitious Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg travels to the imaginary African country of Kharun. Hoping to broker a peace accord between warring factions in that land, she rushes from the airport to a meeting with the local prime minister. He, however, fails to attend. Angered, Nyborg demands to be taken back to the airport. One of her ministers, the Arabic speaking Amir, turns to…

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  • Don't cheer these peace talks

    To register their recent success, Secretary of State Kerry and the Obama administration destroyed whatever was achieved in the last two decades. For the first time since the 1991 Madrid Conference, the starting point for the negotiations are the positions of the Israeli right. The headlines celebrating the fact that “Israelis and Palestinians are talking again” were misleading. The Palestinian Authority is no more than a regional council in a territory controlled by Israel. Since the PA is completely dependent on Israel for almost all of its functions, Israelis and Palestinians are talking all the time, including on the political…

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  • A recipe for diplomatic collapse

    How U.S. envoys (and others) are making their own peace missions fail. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in the final stages of his effort to resume direct negotiations between the two sides. So far, no breakthrough has been reported. In Israel, coalition members are distancing themselves, one by one, from the two-state solution, and new projects in the settlements registered a record seven-year high. At the same time, the Palestinian Authority refuses to enter direct negotiations as long as Netanyahu rejects the terms of reference agreed upon in previous rounds of talks. Kerry might eventually be able to force…

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  • The man who invented the PA calls for it to be dismantled

    Yossi Beilin, one of the architects of the Oslo Accords, calls on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to put an end to the 'fig leaf' that is the Palestinian Authority. This is as big as an op-ed gets: Yossi Beilin, the Israeli architect of the Oslo process, has published a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, urging him to shut down the Palestinian Authority and let Prime Minister Netanyahu bear direct responsibility for the fate of the Palestinians under Israeli control. Do not hesitate for a moment! Do not accept the request of President Obama, who merely wants to be left…

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  • Ending the occupation: No way around direct pressure on Israel

    In previous posts, I have argued that (a) Israel's security needs cannot be fully met, and that (b) the occupation is the Israeli rational choice - better than both the two-state and the one-state alternatives. For change to happen, there is no alternative to confronting the Israeli public. Last week marked a decade since the Arab League put forward its plan for a comprehensive peace agreement with Israel. The Saudi Plan, as it was also known, had Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders in exchange for full recognition, normalization, and an end to the conflict. Even the refugee problem – considered…

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