Germany has turned! It seems that Angela Merkel has had enough! Four years of humiliation by Netanyahu has taken its toll.
But how far will Germany push the envelope? Is it possible that Germany could become a leading voice in Europe for the rights of the Palestinian people? That is surely too much to hope for, and yet who expected the German Chancellor to go this far?!
(nb. highlights are courtesy of Father Roy)
source: Haaretz Daily Newspaper
Merkel to warn Netanyahu: Promote peace process or face world seclusion
Prime minister to meet German chancellor in Berlin on Wednesday evening.
By Barak Ravid | Dec.05, 2012 | 1:02 AM
With Israel and European Union states embroiled in a diplomatic crisis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday night in Berlin.
Merkel, who has had a rocky relationship with Netanyahu over the past four years, is expected to stress that the Israeli leader must choose between promoting the peace process, including establishing a Palestinian state, or facing international seclusion.
Despite the diplomatic crisis and the tension with Netanyahu, Merkel insisted on holding the government summit with Israel in Berlin. A senior German official said that Merkel had never considered a sanction as severe as halting the supply of nuclear submarines to Israel, since “as far as she’s concerned, Israel’s security is sacred.”
The official added that the government summit was Merkel’s idea of cementing and constitutionalizing the German-Israeli relationship so that it is not dependent on the politics of either state.
This main issue of this year’s government summit is science. Leading scientists from both countries are scheduled to join senior ministers.
Netanyahu arrives in Berlin less than one week after the United Nations General Assembly recognized Palestine as an observer state. In contrast to recent years, Germany refrained from assisting Israel’s diplomatic efforts at the UN. The chancellor was raging at Netanyahu’s conduct and decided, at the last moment, to abstain instead of voting against the resolution. Netanyahu reacted angrily to Germany’s vote, and his national security adviser, Yaakov Amidror, had a heated phone call with Merkel’s senior adviser, Christoph Heusgen.
Merkel reversed course on the UN vote for at least two reasons. First, for four years she has repeatedly requested gestures of goodwill from Netanyahu on the settlement issue – but he has refused. Second, Merkel apparently felt her support was being taken for granted and used as a tool to manipulate other European states on the Palestinian issue.
Der Speigel reported on Monday another possible reason. On the eve of the vote, she received a phone call from Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim, musical director of the Berlin Opera. Barenboim, known for his severe criticism of Israel’s policies in the Palestinian territories, requested that the chancellor not oppose the Palestinian move, and noted that the resolution mentions the two-state solution and Israel’s right to exist.
From the start, Netanyahu and Merkel have clashed on the question of settlements. Merkel apparently often felt she was misled by Netanyahu, such as when he leaked specific parts of their conversations and did not fulfill promises on the Palestinian issue.
It is commonly known in Berlin that Merkel has no illusions regarding Netanyahu’s intentions as far as the peace process goes, and no longer believe he will surprise anyone with a sudden change of direction. Apparently, as far as Merkel is concerned, Netanyahu cares more about tactics and political survival than about a long-term strategy that would secure the future of Israel and the Jewish state.
Netanyahu should expect to hear some unequivocal messages concerning the punitive measures Israel announced against the Palestinian Authority, as well as his plans to promote construction in the E-1 area, which would connect Ma’aleh Adumim settlement with Jerusalem, and to add 3,000 units in the West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem.
In contrast to France and Britain, Germany did not summon the Israeli ambassador; Merkel apparently prefers to hold a tough discussion directly with Netanyahu. The chancellor is expected to demand that Netanyahu cancel the settlement decision, or at least commit to freezing its implementation immediately after the elections in Israel.
Merkel is expected to tell Netanyahu that he must choose between promoting the peace process and establishing a Palestinian state, a move that would secure the existence of Israel as a Jewish democratic state, or continue expanding settlements, thus leading to the transformation of Israel into an apartheid state that is isolated internationally.
Father Roy writes: A “moment of truth” is approaching. The highlights in this article are mine. Peace, Roy
Palestinian leaders plan to shake up the 19-year-old peace process and proceed with a United Nations statehood bid next month over US objections, chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said.
“It’s a moment of truth,” Erakat said in an interview at his West Bank office in Ramallah. “We’re determined to change the status quo.”
The move to upgrade the Palestine Liberation Organization’s status to that of a “non-member state” in the UN General Assembly comes a year after the failed effort to obtain full membership through the Security Council, a step the Obama administration blocked.
By forcing the statehood issue Palestinians risk jeopardizing international aid that accounts for about 14 percent of gross domestic product and inviting retaliatory measures from Israel, which captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza in the 1967 Middle East war.
The Palestinian bid to upgrade its observer status at the UN is likely to pass the General Assembly, where the US has no veto as it does in the Security Council, Erakat said.
If the vote succeeds, “Palestine will become a nation under occupation,” Erakat said. “The moment we get this, every single thing Israel does in east Jerusalem or the West Bank will become null and void.”
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, told campaign donors that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is going to “remain an unsolved problem” and that the Palestinians are uninterested in peace. Romney made the comments at a closed fundraiser in May and they became public when a video of the event was posted September 18 by Mother Jones magazine.
Upgrading their status in the General Assembly would enable the Palestinians to join other UN agencies, including the International Criminal Court, where they could ask for Israel to be tried for war crimes, Erakat said.
“Israel’s main worry is the ICC,” said Erakat, who declined to specify whether they would proceed with the action. “They don’t want me to have a sword on their neck.”
Israeli leaders are concerned that a Palestinian victory at the General Assembly will bring a “new onslaught” against the Jewish state, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a telephone interview when asked about Erakat’s comments.
“It will accomplish nothing except for poisoning the atmosphere so that it will be impossible to resume negotiations,” he said.
If the two-state solution fails, Erakat says Israel will find itself by 2018 in control of a single “apartheid” state in which Palestinians outnumber the Jewish population.
“Mr. Netanyahu can’t maintain the status quo,” he said. “We aren’t going anywhere.”
Thank God for Jimmy Carter. He continues to shine out like a light in dark the world of international politics.
What Carter says is what everybody already knows, of course – that the current Israeli government has no intention of granting the Palestinian people their own state. The fact though that Carter and the Elders are saying it openly is of great significance.
Having said that, how many people will listen? And will Obama be one of them?
Jimmy Carter: Israel not committed to two-state solution
Former US President Jimmy Carter on Monday said the Israeli-Palestinian peace process had reached a crisis point and that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government was not pursuing a two-state solution.
“That policy of promoting a two-state solution seems to be abandoned now and we are deeply concerned about this move towards this catastrophic so-called one-state choice … this is a major concern,” Carter told a news conference.
Carter helped forge Israel’s peace deal with Egypt in 1979, the first between the Jewish state and an Arab country but has been a strong critic of Israeli settlement policy in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
“Every (Israeli) prime minister that I have known has been a pursuer of the two-state solution and I don’t know that (US President Barack) Obama has found that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been willing to go that route,” Carter added.
He spoke during a visit along with other members of “The Elders”, a group of former world leaders, to Israel, the West Bank and Egypt.
“All indications to us is that this two-state solution has basically been abandoned and we’ve had a moving forward towards a ‘greater Israel’ which I think is contrary to the two-state solution concept,” Carter said.
Netanyahu has voiced support for a two-state solution, but has said a future Palestinian country must be demilitarized and accept an Israeli military presence along the Jordan River, its likely eastern frontier.
Father Roy writes: The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is a woman who flies an airplane: Katharine Jefferts Schori. The PB calls for peace in the Middle East to become an election issue. The text of her letter is pasted below. Peace, Roy
Presiding bishop writes to presidential candidates
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to the presidential candidates, urging President Barack Obama and the Hon. Mitt Romney “to use the debate forum to articulate strong support for a just and peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as a clear plan for how you would work to support that goal in the next four years.”
The following is the text of the letter:
October 12, 2012
The Hon. Barack Obama The Hon. Mitt Romney
c/o Obama for America c/o Romney for President
P.O. Box 803638 PO Box 149756
Chicago, IL 60686 Boston, MA 02114-9756
Dear Mr. President and Governor Romney,
As each of you prepares for the two remaining presidential debates, I write to urge you to use the debate forum to articulate strong support for a just and peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as a clear plan for how you would work to support that goal in the next four years.
While the volatile political nature across the Middle East has emerged as a key theme in this year’s campaign, I am concerned by the relative absence of discussion of a conflict that is central to that region’s future. This week Palestinian leaders have signaled their willingness to consider a return to the negotiating table, and it will be vital for the next President to prioritize the re-launch of the peace process and to articulate a clear vision for how American diplomatic leadership can assist and encourage negotiations.
Support for a two-state solution is the shared policy of the United States government, the government of Israel, and the Palestinian National Authority. The contours of such a solution should be clear to all: a secure and universally recognized Israel, the homeland for the Jewish people, standing alongside a viable, contiguous, and independent Palestinian state with a shared Jerusalem as the capital for each state. Despite widespread recognition that a solution should reflect this goal, progress toward it has remained elusive.
In the meantime, the level of strife in the conflict has grown. Several current trends give significant cause for alarm, including the threat to Israel’s security from others in the region, most especially a nuclear Iran; continued Israeli settlement building, particularly in and around Jerusalem, at a pace and pattern that complicates the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state; unacceptable levels of violence on all sides; and the humanitarian disaster of the Gaza Strip. Each of these complicates the task of peace negotiations, and each passing day makes a final solution more difficult to achieve.
While it remains fundamentally true that only direct bilateral negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians themselves can bring about a just and lasting peace, history is clear that American political leadership has the power to play a catalytic role in supporting the work of peacemakers. As you present your foreign-policy plans to the American people, I urge you to discuss specifically how you would work with our nation’s partners in the Quartet for Middle East Peace to support the resumption and successful completion of negotiations. I urge you to be as specific as possible, considering not just the complexities of the issues to be resolved by the parties, but also the impact of such factors as the upcoming Israeli elections, Palestinian political division, rising unrest and extremism in the region, and the tragic humanitarian dimensions of the conflict.
As Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, I lead a faith community with a particular concern for peaceful resolution of this long and devastating conflict. Our Church’s partner in the region, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, has stood for decades as a voice of peace and moderation – and a significant provider of healthcare, education, and social services – in the midst of the various instabilities of the region. The Diocese of Jerusalem, together with its Episcopal and Anglican partners in the United States and throughout the world, works to build understanding and reconciliation through these forms of human service – in Israel and the Palestinian territories, as well as Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, has described the role of Christians in the Holy Land as to “work together with people of other faiths to encourage the politicians to put politics aside and meet midway, where all people are equal.”
I believe that the next American President has an opportunity and a responsibility to help make this vision of reconciliation a reality. The peace and stability of the region, the safety and human dignity of those who live in the midst of this conflict, and the moral character of our own nation all require the full engagement of the United States and its President in the resolution of the conflict. Would that we were again known as builders of peace on the global stage!
Please know that my prayers are with each of you, and with our nation, in these undoubtedly challenging and personally costly final days of the campaign. I remain
Your servant in Christ
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
The Episcopal Church
Father Roy writes: There’s an interesting article from Ha’aretz pasted below. Let’s take a closer look at Hezbollah. Have you noticed? There’s something about Muslim Militant Groups that’s refreshingly honest. Muslim Militant Groups tend to take responsibility for their militant activities. Not so with the CIA. Not so with the Mossad. Muslim Militants generally don’t engage in covert activities such as false flag operations. I’m not making an unpatriotic statement here. I’m merely suggesting that all of us should consider the speck and the mote before we presume to pass judgement on our neighbors. Because hypocrisy does not facilitate the peace process.
Israeli aircraft penetrate Lebanon’s air space all the time: israeli planes lebanon airspace – AOL Search Results. It was Hezbollah … in the year 2000 … that ended Israel’s 18-year occupation of the southern 1/10th. of Lebanon. Hezbollah is an integral part of Lebanon’s government now. Israel still occupies Sheeba Farms. Bibi wants the EU to put Hezbollah on their list of terrorist organizations as the US has done. The EU has resisted doing that … so far.
Is everybody on the mailing list aware that Hezbollah maintains a vast social services network? hezbollah social services network – AOL Search Results. Please read on … about the drone.
Hezbollah chief claims responsibility for drone that entered Israeli airspace
Nasrallah says drone aircraft flew over ‘sensitive installations’ and was shot down near the Dimona nuclear reactor.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday claimed responsibility for a drone that was shot down by Israel after it had entered its airspace last week.
Israeli officials had previously hinted that the drone might have been the work of the Shiite movement, which is believed to have advanced Iranian weapons and has sent drones over Israel in the past.
Nasrallah said on Thursday the drone aircraft which his group sent into Israel was shot down near the Dimona nuclear reactor.
“The drone flew over sensitive installations inside southern Palestine,” he said in a televised speech.
“The Resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah) sent a sophisticated reconnaissance drone from Lebanon toward the [Mediterranean] Sea … before it entered [Israeli airspace] and hovered over many important locations before it was discovered by the Israeli air force,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech on the movement’s al-Manar television.
He said the unarmed drone was not Russian made, but Iranian and was assembled in Lebanon
“The drone managed to arrive in an area close to the Dimona plant,” Nasrallah said.
The Hezbollah chief said that the main achievement of the drone was to fly that far in an area secured by U.S.-Israeli air defense systems.
“We will leave it for the Israelis to sit down and discover the drone’s abilities … We are only revealing part of our capabilities and concealing many others,” Nasrallah added.
The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon denied earlier this week that the drone had come from Lebanon.
Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hezbollah of sending the drone.
In a statement from his office, Netanyahu said during a tour of the southern frontier with Egypt that Israel would “act with determination to defend its borders”, just as “we thwarted over the weekend Hezbollah’s attempt” to penetrate Israeli airspace.
Under surveillance by Israeli fighter jets, it was shot down on Saturday over a forest near the West Bank.
On Saturday, the Israeli Air Force shot down an unidentified aerial vehicle that penetrated Israel’s airspace.
The IDF said Saturday that the drone arrived in Israel from the west after flying over the Mediterranean and the Gaza Strip.
After the drone traveled east some 35 miles (56 km) across Israel’s southern Negev desert, the drone was shot down above a forest in an unpopulated area near the border with the West Bank, the IDF spokesperson said.
On at least one previous occasion, Hezbollah has launched a drone into Israel across its northern border with Lebanon.