With no peace process on the horizon, the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv this week is a reminder that we don't have the luxury of giving up on a future in which Palestinians and Israelis alike can feel secure in their own homes, streets and cafes. Almost six years ago, Hillary Clinton was getting ready to oversee the first face-to-face between Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas in the Obama administration’s initial foray into Middle East peacemaking. Secretary of State Clinton’s road to just getting the two sides to sit down together had been long and hard, including extracting a nine-month…Read More... | 5 Comments
The American-led peace process appears to be on the verge of collapse. The American-led peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians may not be extended after all. Following Israel's refusal to, or delay in releasing the remaining 26 Palestinian prisoners due to be freed during the negotiation period, PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced in a speech in Ramallah Tuesday that he would renew the Palestinian effort to join 15 international organizations and treaties. Secretary of State Kerry, who was due to return to the region on Wednesday in order to finalize a deal to extend talks through the end of the…Read More... | 20 Comments
Charlton Heston has been on my mind recently. That famous call during the NRA conference in 2000 after Columbine, “From my cold dead hands,” has been swirling around my head lately. Why? Because it reminds me of Benjamin Netanyahu. But in my head Bibi isn’t holding a rifle. He’s holding a hammer. A builder’s hammer. To keep on building. At any price. Heston and the NRA couldn’t care less about the lost lives of innocent people. The right to bear arms is above all. Protecting it as will continue at any cost. When Bibi promised his coalition partners from the…Read More... | 8 Comments
Though it is the establishment opinion that two states will happen, those opposing it are literally executing a plan to kill it. By Joel Braunold With President Obama visiting Israel, many groups are trying to get his attention so they can let the president know what they think he should do. Included within the pleas from the peace camp and the ‘Free Pollard’ camp is a document prepared by the Yesha Council titled, “Judea and Samaria – It’s Jewish, It’s Vital, It’s Realistic.” Questions answered within this Kafkaesque document include: why the demographics are on the settlers’ side, why the Palestinians…Read More... | 3 Comments
The appointment of Senator John Kerry as the next U.S. Secretary of State could represent a new opportunity for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. But for efforts to be successful, the U.S. will have to reconsider its message that settlement construction is a matter of negotiation. By Lorenzo Kamel The day after the UN voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state, the Israeli government approved construction of approximately 3,000 new residential units in the occupied territories, a decision that was met with strong opposition by various European leaders. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on the contrary, delivered a speech at the…Read More... | 66 Comments
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced yesterday his intention to legalize dozens of tiny settlement outposts in the West Bank, which were built over the last decade, without formal authorization by the Israeli government, reports Haaretz. At the same time, he declared his intention to dismantle “immediately” all the outposts built on private Palestinian land. According to the report, only three outposts with several hundred families will be affected, even though the number of outposts built on private land is much higher. It should surprise few that the announcement is just another smokescreen – a fraud, really – that is meant…Read More... | 11 Comments
After failing to take an incentive package from the United States in exchange for a freeze on settlement activity, Israel is asking for the incentive package anyway. Israel was reportedly offered 20 advanced war planes from the United States in exchange for a settlement freeze which would lead the way to renewed peace talks. However, Israel refused the idea of freezing settlement construction and Bloomberg is reporting today that Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, is still expecting to receive the war planes. Bloomberg reports, It was clear from the beginning that the 20 we were purchasing would not be enough and…Read More... | 1 Comment
Now that negotiations have officially failed, it's time for the U.S. to join three South American countries and endorse Palestinian unilateralism. True, a viable Palestinian state will not be ready by August 2011, but that's besides the point. This declaration is only a means to an end As expected, the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are now officially dead. Last night, Israeli and U.S. officials confirmed that the Obama administration is abandoning its effort to renew the freeze on settlement building in the West Bank. As the NY Times reports: After three weeks of fruitless haggling with the Israeli…Read More... | 7 Comments
Netanyahu’s habit of being economical with the truth was never more evident than in the building-freeze “deal”. Binyamin Netanyahu has a, shall we say, complex relationship with reality. For starters, he is given to bouts of often embarrassing fantasy, trying to attach himself to famous events. In the past, speaking to supporters of the assassinated racist Rehav’am Zeevi, he said Zeevi was one of the most important ministers of his cabinet, who used to give him private advice; problem was, Zeevi never served in Netanyahu’s cabinet. In a bizarre outburst in 2005, he claimed that Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi,…Read More... | 2 Comments
Some dailies believe Netanyahu supports the American deal on another settlement "freeze", while others are skeptical; a witch hunt to silence settlement boycotters, that would make McCarthy proud; and creative suggestions in East Jerusalem The Headlines: The American Deal and its Prospects > The US has proposed a deal to Netanyahu, that requires Israel to "freeze" settlement construction (excluding Jerusalem) for three months, including a halt to building that began since the end of the previous freeze, six weeks ago (in those six weeks settlers have managed to begin construction of more housing units than in all of 2009, when…Read More...
This is one of the rare days when all four of the Israeli dailies lead with completely different headlines. Haaretz leads with Netanyahu's trip to the United States; the PM is "set to discuss a package of benefits in exchange for extending the temporary settlement freeze." Senior administration officials slovenly remind his highness that the benefits are still on the table. This, in a nutshell, is Obama's "tough love" for Israel: When the carrot doesn't work, try... more carrots. Haaretz notes in passing the PM's flight will cost us taxpayer one million dollars. Other headlines of interest include the police…Read More...
The Headlines: Jim Crow > The Knesset’s constitution committee voted today to proceed with a final vote on a bill, which would allow small localities to establish “acceptance committees” to screen people who wish to live in that locality. Despite the law’s insistence that discrimination would not be allowed, the vague and broad criteria it permits (lack of suitability to the social and cultural fabric, or social life in the community) make its intention clear. Acceptance committees in Israel are a tool for discrimination, mainly against Arabs who wish to reside in Jewish localities. The few Arabs who have tried…Read More... | 4 Comments
The Headlines: Freeze the Settlements, or Freeze the Peace Process? > According to reports, Netanyahu is planning [Heb] a comprehensive settlement freeze for three months, to be followed by nine months of restrained construction. This will take place while negotiations with the Palestinians move forward, and might require adding opposition party Kadima to the current coalition. Senior government ministers will discuss tomorrow the outlook for the Obama administration’s policy after the mid-term elections next week. Foreign Minister Lieberman (Yisrael Beitenu) is already preparing for the day negotiations fail, and the Palestinians will make a unilateral declaration of independence. He…Read More...
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