Is this Mahmoud Abbas’ attempt to rescue his credibility after years of submissive acquiescence to his Israeli and US overlords? However we understand it, Abbas’ demand – the the Israeli Prime Minister provide an outline of his vision for a two-state solution – was entirely reasonable, and Netanyahu’s refusal to comply exposed his government’s peace talk as entirely disingenuous.
Palestinian president slams Israel for not presenting negotiations’ vision
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday slammed Israel for refusing to present its vision regarding the borders of the future Palestinian state.
Abbas made his protest during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in the West Bank city of Ramallah, a source told Xinhua.
“This doesn’t help prepare for new peace negotiations between the two sides,” Abbas said, adding that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “seems to be blocking the peace process and destroying the two-state solution through settlements.”
Abbas stressed that the negotiations should resume.
The source said Kerry’s efforts faced the first obstacle when Netanyahu refused to show his government vision for the process of the talks and halt settlement constructions in East Jerusalem.
Earlier in the day, a Palestinian official said the Palestinian leadership halted plans to join any UN organization to give time for Kerry’s mission.
“Kerry asked for two months appointed time to move forward the peace process before we go to the UN organizations, and we have agreed on this,” said Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Al- Maliki.
“If Kerry fails in this, we will not abide by our commitments and will start moving toward the international organizations and specialized agencies” for membership and to sign international treaties, Al-Maliki told Voice of Palestine radio.
The answer to this rhetorical question of course is ‘NO’!
The following article that appeared in ‘The Times of Israel‘ is as ludicrous as it is unfounded. The US is not going to attack Iran as it would be suicidal – economically as well as militarily!
If Iran is attacked, the Straits of Hormuz are closed and the US starts losing valuable petro-dollars. The only option it then has it to send in a ground force and create another terrible quagmire like Iraq and Afghanistan, except that the Iranian resistance to invasion will likely be stronger than both of these other countries put together.
The US is not going to attack Iran, and if she was considering such an insane move it would be for the sake of her own strategic interests and not Israel’s. Enough said.
Obama to tell Netanyahu US gearing up for Iran strike
During upcoming visit, president will convey message that window for American military operation opens in June, TV report says
When he visits Israel next month, US President Barack Obama will tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June, according to an Israeli TV report Monday evening.
Obama will come bearing the message that if diplomatic efforts and sanctions don’t bear fruit, Israel should “sit tight” and let Washington take the stage, even if that means remaining on the sidelines during a US military operation, Channel 10 reported. Netanyahu will be asked to refrain from any military action and keep a low profile, avoiding even the mention of a strike, the report said, citing unnamed officials.
In London Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry said an Iran with nuclear weapons was “simply unacceptable” and warned the time limit for a diplomatic solution was running out.
“As we have repeatedly made clear, the window for a diplomatic solution simply cannot remain open forever,” said Kerry, on his first international tour as America’s top diplomat. “But it is open today. It is open now and there is still time, but there is only time if Iran makes the decision to come to the table and to negotiate in good faith.
“We are prepared to negotiate in good faith, in mutual respect, in an effort to avoid whatever terrible consequences could follow failure, and so the choice really is in the hands of the Iranians. And we hope they will make the right choice,” Kerry added.
A fresh round of high-level diplomatic talks were set to begin Tuesday in Kazakhstan — the first since last June’s meeting in Moscow failed to convince Iran to stop enriching uranium to a level close to that used for nuclear warheads.
You can read the rest of this article here: www.timesofisrael.com…
Perhaps the US does still have a role to play as a peace-broker in the Israel/Palestine stand-off? Certainly a visit by Obama to the West Bank would be a healthy start!
Certainly this will be a boost for Mahmoud Abbas. Lately all the kudos has gone to his counterpart in Gaza, with visits from dignitaries around the Muslim world. Even so, the visit could further entrench the divide between the two Palestinian factions, with Hamas being seen as representing the Muslim world while Fatah remains a puppet of Western interests.
It will all depend on how Obama manages the situation. Personally, I hold out little hope. Israel and the US have been blocking the path to a negotiated peace settlement for many years now. Is this really likely to change overnight?
Obama to make first visit to Israel ‘in the spring’
President Barack Obama will visit Israel “in the spring” for the first time since taking office in January 2009, the White House said on Tuesday. Israeli media reports said the trip was set for March 20. Possible military action against Iran and the crisis in Syria seem sure to top the agenda.
Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the possibility of a visit during a Jan. 28 telephone call, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. Carney said Obama would also visit Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and make a stop in Jordan, and that dates would be released later.
Obama visited Israel in July 2008, when he was running for office, but he has not been back since. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign—and Republicans in general—have sought to use that as a political weapon, suggesting it shows he’s willing to shortchange the staunchest U.S. ally in the region. But both of George W. Bush’s visits to Israel came in 2008, when his second term was nearly up, and Republican icon Ronald Reagan never went.
The visit will come as Obama and other world leaders, notably Netanyahu, have warned that time is running short for a diplomatic end to the tense standoff with Iran over that country’s suspect nuclear program.
“When the president spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu on January 28, they discussed a visit by the president to Israel in the spring,” Carney said. “The start of the president’s second term and the formation of a new Israeli government offer the opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel and to discuss the way forward on a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including Iran and Syria.”
According to the article from gulfnews.com… featured below, a proposal for Israel to officially annex all of Gaza and the West Bank is back on the agenda!
It seems that only last Tuesday various political candidates, including members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, publicly debated the issue before an audience dominated by settlers!
What sort of a bubble do these people live in? They would do well to heed the words of their 8th Century prophet, Hosea: “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7)
Serious talk in Israel about annexing Palestine
Occupied Jerusalem: Three Israeli right-wing parties, including two that are expected to be part of the next government after elections this month, are talking seriously about annexing all or part of the occupied West Bank.
Seized by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, the West Bank is now home to hundreds of thousands of Israeli colonists, as well as about 1.7 million Palestinians.
Talk of annexing the territory, as Israel did with Occupied east Jerusalem — in a move never recognised by the international community — is not new.
But as rightwing parties battle for the colonist vote ahead of the January 22 elections, the idea is being discussed increasingly seriously by mainstream parties.
On Tuesday, candidates from three factions, including the Likud party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, debated the issue before an audience dominated by colonists.
“We must begin to talk about it because this question will, I hope, be the order of the day for the next government,” Netanyahu’s information minister Yuli Edelstein told AFP.
Annexation of the entire West Bank is not part of the Likud party platform, but Edelstein’s views are shared by a number of the party’s electoral list, which skews to the right wing of the party.
“Our historic right to this region should be cemented by the application of Israeli law in Judea and Samaria [West Bank],” Likud deputy Yariv Levin said.
Annexation has never been a Likud policy, but is now increasingly mentioned by its representatives, as well as those from the rival national religious Jewish Home party.
“No one has talked about it for five years and now it could be a subject of debate in the next parliamentary session,” said Yehuda Glick, a rightwing activist who helped organise the Tuesday discussion.
For Jewish Home, the decision to adopt the annexation policy is directly linked to its new leader, Naftali Bennett, who is being credited with the formerly tiny faction’s meteoric rise in the polls.
He is the author of the Bennett Plan, which he promoted before joining Jewish Home, a road-map for the annexation of the 60 per cent of the West Bank designated as Area C, where Israel has administrative and security control.
The area includes Israeli colonies, but is also home to around 150,000 Palestinians.
The extreme right-wing Otzma LeyIsrael (Strength to Israel) party advocates the annexation of the entire West Bank.
“We will present a project for a proposed law to annex all of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley in the next Knesset,” said Aryeh Eldad, who heads the party’s list.
Edelstein is more cautious, and warns “there are many necessary steps before the annexation, because doing it won’t solve the problem of the territories.”
“We have to create an atmosphere in the international community to be able carry out this annexation bit-by-bit,” he said.
The organisers of the debate estimate that 73 per cent of those voting for Likud, Jewish Home or Otzma LeyIsrael favour annexing the West Bank, either in full or in part.
Many of those are colonists, whose votes are up-for-grabs and the subject of a fierce battle between Likud and Jewish Home.
Bennett’s faction estimates they will win the majority of the settler vote, which in 2009 went strongly for Likud.
The battle has prompted some members of Likud to push Netanyahu to adopt the conclusions of the Levy Report, issued last year, which recommended that the government legalise unauthorised colony outposts.
It also deemed Israeli colony construction in the West Bank legal, despite the opinion of the vast majority of the international community to the contrary.
The report has been criticised by the international community, but won support among Israel’s right-wing.
“Adopting this text is the best way to show the world our right to this land,” Bennett said.