minister benjamin netanyahu
I guess it should not surprise us to see both the Israeli and the Palestinian governments vying for support from the Christian West by demonstrating their love for Christmas.
Both governments released official videos this Christmas (featured below), highlighting how Christmas-friendly (and Christian-friendly) their governments are.
Netanyahu’s video is very explicit about the way his country embraces religious minorities in contrast to so many of his intolerant neighbours. Frankly, I find his rhetoric as sickening as it is misleading.
Certainly I would prefer to be a Christian living in Israel than in some of the West’s other staunch Middle-Eastern allies, such as Saudi Arabia or Jordan, but the truth is that the current Israeli government has done little to stop the recent ‘price tag’ attacks by settlers against churches and monasteries. Netanyahu has voiced official disapproval but at the same time he has enlarged the settlements from which these attacks are carried out!
(click here if you can’t see the video)
The Palestinian video is wordless. I wish it said more. At least it does illustrate what the majority of Christians in the West seem to have forgotten – namely, that the Christian population of Israel/Palestine is almost entirely Palestinian.
(click here if you can’t see the video)
The results of these polls surprised me. I wonder if they surprised the Israeli government?
The significance of these results is not simply that most Israelis support a two-state solution (which has always been the case) but that most of those at the extreme right do too! This certainly illustrates a growing gap between the Israeli government and its citizens – a pattern reflected in other recent polls that showed that the majority of Israeli voters simply don’t trust any of their political leaders (see here)!
A two-state solution is simply not on the agenda of Mr Netanyahu at the moment, and with his government almost certain to be returned in the upcoming election, he is not displaying any indications that he is about to change his stance. On the contrary, the growing power and influence of Lieberman and his allies suggests that his government will become increasingly hardened in its opposition to any Palestinian State.
Poll: Most right-wing Israelis would support Palestinian state, division of Jerusalem
The principles of the agreement as presented to respondents were for two states – Israel for the Jewish people and Palestine for the Palestinians, with Palestinian refugees having the right to return only to their new country.
By Barak Ravid
Two opinion surveys conducted by different Israeli pollsters in December show that most Likud-Beiteinu and the further-right Habayit Hayehudi voters would support a peace agreement establishing a demilitarized Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, Israel’s retention of major settlement blocs and a division of Jerusalem. The two polls also revealed that two thirds of all Israelis support such an agreement.
The principles of the agreement as presented to respondents were for two states – Israel for the Jewish people and Palestine for the Palestinians, with Palestinian refugees having the right to return only to their new country. The Palestinian state would be demilitarized and its boundaries would be based on the 1967 lines with exchanges of equal-sized territory. Those exchanges would take into consideration Israel’s security needs and would retain the large settlement blocs in Israeli hands.
Another principle presented by the pollsters was that Jewish Jerusalem would be under Israeli sovereignty and the Arab neighborhoods would be under Palestinian sovereignty. The Old City would be under neither side’s sovereignty, but rather would be administered jointly by Israel, the Palestinians and the United States. The holy places would remain under religious sovereignty as they are now.
The responses of Likud-Beiteinu and Habayit Hayehudi voters to the two surveys were surprising. The Dahaf poll showed 57 percent of the voters of these two parties as supporting such an agreement, with 25 percent opposed. Rafi Smith’s poll showed 58 percent in favor and 34 percent opposed. Among Habayit Hayehudi respondents to the Dahaf poll, 53 percent said they would support such an agreement and 43 percent said they would not.
When it came to the general public, Mina Tzemach’s poll revealed that 67 percent supported such an agreement and 21 percent opposed it, while Rafi Smith’s poll showed 68 percent in favor and 25 percent against. The surveys found that the general public’s support for the agreement rose to 75 percent (Dahaf ) and 80 percent (Rafi Smith ) when augmented by various other “improvements” such as a defense alliance with the United Sates, disarmament of Hamas and an end to its rule in Gaza, and Arab states’ willingness to enact full diplomatic relations with Israel.
read full article here: www.haaretz.com…
Mr Netanyahu seems to be unconcerned that Israel is increasingly isolating itself from the rest of the world! More than that, he seems to be happy to take responsibility for putting the final nail into the coffin of the two-state solution!
It has been obvious for some time that Mr Netanyahu was never serious about a two-state solution, and yet it seems to have been essential to his rhetoric to give the impression that it was something he was always working towards. Apparently he now no longer cares what the rest of the world thinks?
Perhaps he is counting on the US to remain loyal and considers that sufficient? Perhaps he feels secure on account of his nuclear arsenal? In truth, it is hard to know what is going through his mind!
Israel’s Latest Plan to Punish Palestinians Gets Worldwide Rebuke
UK, Sweden, France –even the US– call latest settlement announcement in West Bank an assault on peace process
– Common Dreams staff
Israel’s retaliatory moves against the Palestinians for receiving new statehood status at the UN last week have now earned their own rebuke, as world governments say that the Israeli’s newly announced plan to build more than 3,000 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank is a threat to the peace process.
Israel is to press ahead with development in the area known as E1 east of Jerusalem, above. The move would cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank. Following remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday that settlements would be built in “all the places that are on the map of Israel’s strategic interests”—including new areas in Jerusalem and in the E1 area in the occupied West Bank—several European countries on Monday, including the UK, France, and Sweden, called back their diplomatic envoys from Israel as a show of dismay.
The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, condemned the settlement expansion, saying the move “would represent an almost fatal blow to the remaining chances of securing a two-state solution.”
These sentiments were echoed by Palestinian leaders as well. As Reuters reports:
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said building in E1 “destroys the two-state solution, (establishing) East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and practically ends the peace process and any opportunity to talk about negotiations in the future”.
Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman for the Hamas Islamist movement that governs the Gaza Strip, said the settlement plans were “an insult to the international community, which should bear responsibility for Israeli violations and attacks on Palestinians”.
In a clear sign that the settlement announcement was a punitive and provocative move, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israeli Army Radion that his country had warned of reprisal and said Israel could not have “remained indifferent to the Palestinians’ unilateral move” at the United Nations. He did not back down from the criticism his government has received from European governments, or even the softer warnings coming from the United States.
“I want to tell you that those same Europeans and Americans who are now telling us ‘naughty, naughty over our response, understand full-well that we have to respond, and they themselves warned the Palestinian Authority,” Steinitz said.
Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, had sent signals of dissaproval following the announcement, though she did not specifically discuss the new settlements. She said, however, that the Obama administration “has been very clear with Israel that these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace.”
“Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and undermine trust between the parties,” UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.
“If implemented, these plans would alter the situation on the ground on a scale that makes the two state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, increasingly difficult to achieve. They would undermine Israel’s international reputation and create doubts about its stated commitment to achieving peace with the Palestinians.”
Most world powers consider Israel’s settlements to be illegal. Israel cites historical and Biblical links to the West Bank and Jerusalem and regards all of the holy city as its capital, a claim that is not recognized internationally.
Approximately 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Father Roy writes: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to comment on the decision, but many observers view it as a deliberate impediment to the two-state solution. Also note: U.S. condemns Israel’s settlement expansion plan in Jerusalem, West Bank and Hillary Clinton warns Israel on settler homes. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert calls the decision A slap in Obama’s face… JPost. The International Debate about the Holy Land issues is growing more robust every day. Peace, Roy
Israel Authorizes Controversial New Settlements in Revenge for Palestine’s UN Bid
The location of the new settlements are intended to break the contiguity of Palestinian territory in the West Bank, negating two-state solution
by John Glaser, November 30, 2012
Following the overwhelming UN vote for implicit recognition of Palestinian statehood, Israel has authorized the construction of 3,000 more housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and is also speeding up the processing of 1,000 additional planning permissions.
According to the New York Times, the bulk of the new housing units are set to be built “in a controversial area of East Jerusalem known as E1, where Jewish settlements have long been seen as the death knell for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Other parts of the construction projects will connect Jerusalem and the illegal Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, and “therefore make it impossible to connect the Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem to Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.”
Connecting Jerusalem to Maale Adumim “will create geographical continuity between the capital and its northern suburb, a move that the US and European countries have warned against,” Haaretz reported.
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to comment on the decision, but many observers view it as a deliberate impediment to the the two-state solution, in revenge for the Palestinians’ peaceful diplomatic efforts to national self-determination at the UN, which was supported by an overwhelming international consensus.
Israel, and especially the administration of Benjamin Netanyahu, simply refuses to accept a Palestinian state. Their efforts, including this latest settlement authorization, to colonize Palestinian territory and undermine the viability of a Palestinian state is representative of their refusal to give up the prospect of a Greater Israel with full sovereignty over all of historic Palestine.
This press-release just in from Gush-Shalom – the Israeli ‘Peace Bloc’. It’s a cynical reading of the situation – accusing the politicians of deliberately trading blood for votes – but how else are we supposed to make sense of this fresh outbreak of hostilities? Father Dave
Press Release 11/14/2012
Avnery: Netanyahu and Barak have decided to deliberately violate a cease-fire which had just been stabilized.
At the price of great and ongoing suffering on both sides of the border, the government’s aim had been accomplished: social issues will be removed from the public agenda and the election campaign
“Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak have decided – for the second time in a row the State of Israel will conduct general elections under the shadow of war in the Gaza Strip. The cease-fire which already started to stabilize has been broken deliberately and shattered to pieces. The inhabitants of the communities of southern Israel, who just started to breathe freely, are sent right back to air raid alarms and to running to shelters” said former Knesset Member Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom.
“At the price of great suffering on both sides of the border, the government’s aim has been accomplished: the social issues, which threatened to assume prominence in these elections, have been pushed aside and removed from the agenda of the elections campaign. Forgotten, too, is the brave attempt of Mahmoud Abbas to address the Israeli public opinion. In the coming weeks, the headlines will be filled with constant war and death, destruction and bloodshed. When it ends at last, it will be revealed that no goal has been achieved and that the problems remain the same, or perhaps exacerbated. “
Details:Adam Keller, Gush Shalom +972-54-2340749