Father Roy writes: The New Year begins with encouraging news. The following report was published in today’s Ha’aretz. The US blocked a UNSC resolution and a presidential statement condemning Israel’s construction plans, but the US did not prevent our European allies from blasting Israel. Peace, Roy
UN Security Council members blast Israel over settlement construction plans
U.S. blocks attempts to push joint presidential statement and resolution condemning construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; In addition to thousands of new housing units, a new highway is being built that will cut the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa in two.
Fourteen members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday condemned Israel for advancing construction plans in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The council’s European Union members issued a statement saying these plans undermine their faith in Israel’s willingness to negotiate.
For the full article: www.haaretz.com….
It is hard to understand what official justification could be given for shutting down the office of the Palestinian government’s representatives in Washington in the wake of the enhanced UN status of their country. Why must elevated international status for Palestine necessitate diminished status in the US!
Reform Jews at odds with AIPAC over penalizing Palestinians for UN move
AIPAC backed congressional bids to shut PLO office in Washington, while Reforms have urged Obama not to retaliate against the Palestinians.
By Nabil Sha’ath
Two major American Jewish groups are at odds over the prospect of penalties for the Palestinians in the wake of their enhanced United Nations status.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee in recent weeks has backed two congressional bids to at least shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington in the wake of the November 29 United Nations General Assembly’s overwhelming vote that granted Palestinians non-member observer state status.
Conversely, the Reform movement has emphatically urged President Obama not to retaliate against the Palestinians, JTA has learned. The Reform movement also has resolved to oppose the shuttering of the PLO office.
For the full report: www.haaretz.com….
Father Roy writes: One must never misunderestimate the persuasive skills of Israel’s current Prime Minister. Indeed, Bibi has mastered "The Devil’s Art" (spin). How reliable are polls? Actually, it depends on whom one asks. The highlights in JPost’s report are mine. Israel’s elections are scheduled for Tuesday, January 22. On that day the people of Israel will choose the calibre of leader they want for the future. For all the world to see. According to Ha’aretz, Netanyahu is "riding to the ballots on a wave of militarism, and divisions among the other parties will give him the freedom to play one off against the other. What more could he ask for?" Peace, Roy
Poll: Majority of Israeli Jews pessimistic about peace
Israeli Jews are becoming more skeptical about a peace agreement with the Palestinians, with 83 percent saying a withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders and the division of Jerusalem would not end the conflict.
The poll was the third in a series conducted since 2005 by Dr. Mina Tzemach on behalf of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The findings are based on 500 telephone interviews conducted at the end of November with adult residents of Israel.
According to the findings, 71% of the Jewish respondents opposed giving up all of the east Jerusalem neighborhoods outside the Old City, and 79% felt it was important for the Palestinians to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state – but only 27% believed this would happen.
A summary of the findings concludes that Israeli Jews overwhelmingly support the demand that the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state. It also mentions that evidence in other surveys shows similar support for the demand that the PA renounce the right of return.
Taken together, these results show that only a third of Israeli Jews believe that the Palestinians would agree to these two stances – which are clearly understood to be demands that Israel would make before any final agreement.
Moreover, 77% of the Jewish respondents thought that both Fatah and Hamas were incapable of ending the conflict.
This pessimistic attitude seems to have been aggravated by recent violence, as a majority of the Jewish respondents thought the developments called for holding onto vital territories.
When asked, “What is preferable – defensible borders or a peace agreement?,” 61% of the Jewish respondents said defensible borders.
This represents a huge shift from the 2005 poll, where only 49% chose defensible borders. In a related question, 72% of the Jewish respondents said that strategic depth had security value, while 23% said it had none.
On Jerusalem, 78% of the Jewish respondents said they would vote for another party if the one they intended to vote for expressed willingness to return land in the capital.
On Iran, 75% of the Jewish respondents thought that sanctions would not stop Iran’s nuclear weapons drive.
And in a key question relating to a possible unilateral attack on Iran by Israel, 60% said Israel could not rely on the US, while 53% said they supported an attack against Iran
Father Roy writes: I’ve done no highlighting in the article pasted below due to the sensitivity of the subject matter. However, I invite your attention to Burston’s opening sentence (beneath the picture of the Jews who are demonstrating) and his two concluding paragraphs. Peace, Roy
Will 2013 be the year American Jews secede from Israel?
If American Jews think that what is being done in their name is self-destructive, oppressive, blockheaded and wrong, it stands to reason they would want it to stop.
by Bradley Burston
One day in the future, when it all comes horribly down, will Israelis finally realize that there were warning signs all along?
More to the point of the ultimate survival of Israel, could it be that when the real alarm sounds, when the genuine danger impends, Israelis won’t hear a thing?
The answers may lie in how Israelis react to the canary in the coal mine, their forward recon unit in the world, the American Jewish community.
In fact, as the new year dawns, there are mounting signs that 2013 may be the year in which U.S. Jews – in the main, liberal in outlook, committed to tolerance, pluralism, and a vigorous, sincere pursuit of peace – effectively secede from this state of Israel.
They remain committed to supporting the existence of an Israel which balances Israeli and Jewish culture with respect for minority rights, democratic values. They will stay active in promoting the welfare of Israel’s disadvantaged.
But many American Jews are already distancing themselves in word and deed from a government it sees as arrogant and short-sighted, enslaved to a runaway train of settlement, dismissive of the rights of Palestinians and other non-Jews, cold to the concerns of a sinking middle class and the drowning disadvantaged, contemptuous of the concerns of the larger Jewish world.
The catalysts: settlement expansion – especially as it strikes at Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects and mocks Washington – and backhanded insensitivity to the rights and ritual of non-Orthodox Jews.
In recent weeks, some of Israel’s most influential defenders in the States have warned of hardline Israeli policies and parties which could lead "to the destruction (the self-destruction) of Israel" (Jeffrey Goldberg), and "national suicide" (Thomas Friedman).
Israeli leaders lent them not so much as a deaf ear. Nothing.
Read the full article here: www.haaretz.com…