A first-of-its-kind bill introduced this week focusing on the rights of Palestinian children could pave the way for greater transparency and accountability in America's dealings with Israel. Members of Congress on Tuesday introduced a bill requiring the U.S. Secretary of State to certify that funds bound for Israel "do not support military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children." The proposed legislation, put forward by Minnesota Representative Betty McCollum, had ten co-sponsors when it was announced. [tmwinpost] Although that number may seem small, especially when measured against the 268 current co-sponsors of the so-called Israel Anti-Boycott Act, the "Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act"…Read More...
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…Read More... | 10 Comments
As long as Washington views ending the occupation as an Israeli problem instead of a Palestinian problem, it will never even consider using its leverage to do so. The United States issued an unusually sharp rebuke on Wednesday to news that Israel is building a brand new settlement in the West Bank. The State Department sounded mad. The White House sounded mad. Nobody is going to do anything about it. [tmwinpost] It’s not that the United States is powerless in the face of an Israeli government that for nearly four decades has refused to heed Washington’s and the entire international…Read More... | 7 Comments
The prime minister shoots off a sharply worded letter to a senior American senator who dared question Israel's human rights record. That Netanyahu thinks anyone reading it will do anything but howl is worrying sign about his judgement. In mid-February, Senator Patrick Leahy, together with 10 other Democratic Senators, wrote a letter asking U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to investigate the possible violation of human rights by Israel, as a U.S. foreign aid recipient. The letter, which only made news in Israel on Wednesday, was prompted by suspicions of numerous extrajudicial killings of Palestinian suspected attackers over the last…Read More... | 9 Comments
Up against extraordinarily harsh diplomatic pressure from its closest allies, Israel seems to have found a way to save face without creating too much of a fuss — at least temporarily. With more or less the entire Western world warning Israel not to demolish the Palestinian village of Susya and forcefully displace its residents, it is no surprise that the Israeli army might be seeking a way to climb down the tree it is stuck on. So how does one announce that it might not demolish that village which it has been claiming for years has no right to exist?…Read More... | 105 Comments
Unnamed Israeli guards working for the American consulate in Jerusalem say it is irresponsible for the U.S. to train its Palestinian guards in tactical driving, weapons use, accuse it of 'raising a Palestinian militia,' Ynet reports. A number of Israeli guards working for the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem quit in protest of a decision to arm and train Palestinian guards employed by the Consulate recently, according to Ynet. Unnamed “sources,” presumably the disgruntled Israeli guards themselves, accused the Consulate’s chief security officer of “raising an armed militia of Palestinians,” according to the report. The U.S. State Department has refused to…Read More... | 17 Comments
The U.S. State Department spokesperson and her deputy are finding it difficult to continue condemning Israeli plans to build more settlements in the West Bank. Marie Harf, Deputy State Department Spokesperson: Hi Jen. Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson: Hi Marie, sup? Harf: Not much. Hey, did you see Obama’s suit? Psaki: I know, right?? What’s UP with THAT? Harf: I literally spilled my vente pumpkin spice latte. Psaki: I know, right?? Anyway, sup? Harf: So, the Israelis announced they’re gonna do this huge land appropriation. Psaki: Fuck. Not again. Harf: I know, right?? Psaki: So listen, type me up something…Read More... | 14 Comments
Asked what word Secretary Kerry would have used in place of 'apartheid,' his use of which stirred up a small storm in the U.S. this week, the State Department is hard pressed to give an answer. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the State Department on Tuesday were scrambling to diffuse the storm that erupted following Kerry’s warning that absent a two-state solution, Israel risks becoming an apartheid state. Following the publication of that speech, Kerry put out a statement that fell far short of a retraction: I have been around long enough to also know the power of…Read More...
By suspending talks over Hamas’s inclusion in the Palestinian leadership, Netanyahu is proving that he was never seeking either a legitimate partner, or a legitimate peace. The Israeli government announced that it is suspending peace talks with the Palestinians on Thursday as a response to the reconciliation deal signed a day earlier by Hamas and the Fatah-dominated PLO. In choosing to disconnect from the already flailing peacemaking process, Israel is demonstrating that it never intended to make peace with the Palestinians, but rather with the “good Palestinians.” Refusing to conduct peace talks with Hamas is one thing, but Netanyahu has decided…Read More... | 10 Comments
On both sides of the Atlantic, the consensus on the need to avoid and resolve confrontations with Israel at all costs guarantees that diplomacy will not change the trends on the ground in the foreseeable future. There are more and more signs that Israel and the EU are about to resolve the mini-crisis created by the publication of a commission notice that would have limited EU loans to Israeli entities that operate beyond the Green Line and set stricter rules regarding the use of EU grants and prizes. Some initial media reports (including on this site) were not accurate in…Read More... | 18 Comments
Considering the U.S. sees East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state within the framework of any viable two-state solution, mainstream American Jewish leaders' insistence that Israel should be listed as the birthplace in Jerusalem-born American citizens' passports undermines U.S. foreign policy and the two-state solution. This article was originally published in The Daily Beast's Open Zion on Friday July 26, 2013. On Tuesday, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled that Americans born in Jerusalem cannot list Israel as their birthplace on their U.S. passports, in accordance with long-standing U.S. policy. The reason the judges provided is that doing so…Read More... | 14 Comments
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