two-state solution

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A powerful and pointed article from my friend, Miko Peled.

As the son of one an Israeli general, Miko knows the culture and people of Israel well. As an American citizen, he also understands American realpolitik.

Father Dave

Miko Peled and Father Dave in September 2011

Miko Peled and me in September 2011

source: electronicintifada.net…

Obama won’t bring peace to Palestine

Miko Peled 19 March 2013

If US President Barack Obama wanted to move the Palestine/Israel issue along, he would need to demand that Israel free thousands of political prisoners it holds in violation of international law, end its violations of Palestinian human rights, lift the siege on Gaza or at the very least end the indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians.

However, because the fear that retribution by Israel’s lobby will be swift and painful, none of these things will be said — much less demanded — even though they are well-documented and widely known. And so, President Obama’s planned trip to Israel will not offer any solution to the Palestine/Israel conflict.

The Israeli-Palestinian issue is, politically, a toxic wasteland that no US president in his right mind would want to clean up. It has become a vicious cycle of deceit and double standards, and it will contaminate any US politician who tries to clean it up. One may trust that President Obama, being fully aware of this, will avoid getting involved with this issue in his second term, just as he did in his first term.

Even if he does visit the West Bank city of Ramallah during his planned visit, there can be little doubt that Barack Obama will continue to stand behind Israel and place his real efforts elsewhere. It’s the cost of doing business.

Blank check

The official US stance on the Israeli-Palestinian issue is that it needs to be resolved within the framework of a two-state solution but without the US pressuring the parties to reach a resolution. The pressures placed upon politicians in the US by the Israel lobby have created a reality in which criticizing Israel constitutes political suicide.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, the Torquemada of the Israel lobby, stated recently on the satirical television program The Colbert Report that: “there are not many issues for which there is bipartisan support, the support for Israel is a true bipartisan issue” (“Obama’s Israel trip – Michael Oren,” 5 March 2013).

“Support for Israel” means a blank check. Understandably, Oren takes pride in this because it is an accomplishment for which his inquisition-style lobby has worked tirelessly. So much so, that the only vote on this issue that is acceptable in Washington is a vote that is aligned with Israel.

Reckless and destructive

The price of doing business in US politics is to applaud, encourage and pay for Israel to do whatever it wants, regardless how reckless and destructive it may be, and to ignore the plight of the Palestinians. This was true before the last Israeli elections, and now with the results of the Israeli elections clearly showing that Israelis have no interest in resolving the Palestinian issue, the president would have to go against Israeli electorate as well as the Israel lobby in the US, and all this to accomplish something no American president would even dare to articulate: peace and justice for Palestinians.

The naïve hope that Obama’s second term in office will be different than his first on this issue is just that, naïve. A just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian question will not come from an American president, nor will it come from an Israeli prime minister. The resolution of the conflict will come as a result of the fall of the Zionist state, not unlike the fall of theapartheid regime in South Africa.

No substance at all

As student groups, churches, trade unions, civil society organizations and the movement calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel increase their pressure, Western governments who are now complicit in Israel’s crimes will inevitably be forced to halt their support for Israel.

This, along with the ongoing pressure from popular Palestinian resistance, disobedience and defiance of the laws that allow the Zionist occupation of Palestine to function, will bring about a democracy in Palestine, in place of the Zionist state.

But this will not come about of its own accord. People who care about Palestinians and Israelis and who care about justice and peace need to act vigorously and demand a democracy with full equal rights in Palestine/Israel. As for the president’s planned visit, we may expect, and we will surely see no substance at all.

Miko Peled is the author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.

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It seems that the American President, in his attempt to please everybody in Israel/Palestine, is pleasing no one.

Israelis remain unconvinced that the weakened US military will be able to provide any real support should there be a real outbreak of hostilities with Iran. The Palestinians remain unconvinced that Obama is willing to apply any leverage to see a ‘two-state solution’ come into being.

Father Dave

source: www.haaretz.com…

Palestinians still waiting for Obama to prove commitment to two state-solution

Many Palestinian lives and much political capital could have been saved over the last four years if President Obama had shown the determination to facilitate two-state solution negotiations. Now, rather than calling for the resumption of a meaningless ‘peace process,’ we Palestinians expect real action on the ground.

By Nabeel Sha’ath | Mar.20, 2013

Unfortunately, after that landmark speech, President Obama appeared to give up on his goal. This meant going back to business as usual: Putting pressure on an occupied people and rewarding the occupying power. In the past four years, Israel has added almost 50,000 settlers to the Occupied State of Palestine, almost 3000 attacks have been conducted by settler terrorists and over 1000 Palestinians have been killed. We could have saved lives and political capital if President Obama had shown the determination to create the right environment for meaningful decisions leading to a two-state solution.Four years ago, Mr. Obama was elected President of the United States of America. He won the hearts of Palestinians and other peoples of the world with his principled positions, vision and courage. Later on, he stood up in Cairo and gave us hope. His moral convictions showed us that he understood our quest for freedom, justice and peace. His strong statements, especially his request that Israel cease all settlement activity, gave us hope that the U.S. could help us to achieve these ideals in reality. Both Palestinians and Israelis who believe in a two-state solution saw President Obama as a real opportunity for change.

We have tried every possible venue to get closer to peace, but we have been always met with Israeli intransigence and a lack of commitment to implement its obligations. It’s been Israel’s unilateral actions, mainly settlement construction and the imposition of an apartheid regime, that have undermined the entire goal of the peace process to a point that leave very few people optimistic.

Israeli unilateralism turned the peace process into a smoke-screen to cover its systematic policy of colonization. Today, in the Occupied State of Palestine, we have homes that are being demolished and families evicted by an occupying power at the same time that the number of settlers went up almost three times since the beginning of the peace process, with a total of over half a million settlers today.

What has allowed Israel to get away with its severe violations? It is an unprecedented culture of impunity that keeps treating Israel as a state beyond the law. But it is also the fact that rather than peace, Israel’s goal is to increase colonization as much as possible. The two-state solution is not part of the agenda of Israel’s government and that’s a primary reason why negotiations failed.

When last year we went to the United Nations we aimed to revive hope. This courageous and rightful step meant, for Palestine, a reaffirmation of our rights in a non-violent manner. Recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border meant also to create a positive initiative to open a meaningful political horizon by salvaging the internationally endorsed two-state solution.

We felt that after twenty years of Israeli violations to every single agreement, it was time for the international community to participate in the resolution of the conflict, whilst aiming to respect and honor the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. It is in this spirit that we have committed as well to respect all our obligations, international treaties and international law in general.

But instead of welcoming this step, Israel led an unprecedented campaign of colonization with over 11,500 settlement units approved within a very few months following the UN vote. This act isn’t only a war crime, but it is also in open defiance of the stated U.S. policy regarding Israeli settlements. Acts like this, including approving hundreds of settlement units during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit, are Israeli messages to the U.S. and the rest of the world that it is not interested in peace: So far, Mr. Netanyahu has been able to get away with it.

Unfortunately, President Obama is not able to visit Palestine for more than a few hours. On March 21st, he will meet with President Abbas. He will be respectfully welcomed by our President and our people. We understand that he wants to listen, read and see for himself.

It would have been a great opportunity for President Obama to visit more of Palestine and see the current reality twenty years after the beginning of the peace process. Starting by the fact that we would have love to welcome him at Orient House, the closed PLO headquarters in Occupied East Jerusalem. He would also see segregated roads, just one example of one of the worst combinations possible: Apartheid under a belligerent occupation.

Next week marks the beginning of Holy Week for millions of Christians around the world. In Palestine, the oldest Christian community will be separated from their spiritual heart, Jerusalem, by Israeli checkpoints, walls and fences aimed at consolidating the illegal annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem. President Obama is welcome to see this reality and understand that the window of opportunity is closing. We don’t need another twenty years of negotiations to change this reality. We need tough and courageous decisions before it is too late.

Racial segregation, including those enforced on public transportation, was a dark period in U.S. history. This is happening today in Palestine, a symptom of how severe the current situation is. Rather than calling for resumption of a meaningless “peace process,” we expect real action on the ground. Such action should lead to ending the Israeli government’s impunity as well as to take the political steps needed. The future of millions of Palestinians and Israelis as well as the rest of the peoples of the region as a whole depends on the U.S. administration’s will to push for justice and peace.

For decades Palestinians have been waiting for a miracle. Maybe President Obama’s visit to the Holy Land can provide us with one. Maybe the bells of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem will ring once he visits this Friday announcing clear goals and actions to bring an end to decades of occupation, segregation and colonization. This is the road to justice, security and peace.

Dr. Nabeel Shaath is the Fatah Foreign Relations Commissioner and former Palestinian foreign minister. He was a member of the Madrid Peace Delegation and later was involved in negotiations with Israel that led to the signing of the Oslo Agreements. From 1993-1995, he served as the head of the Palestinian negotiation team, participating in the talks at Camp David (2000) and Taba (2001). He has also represented Palestine at the World Economic Forum.

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It would be interesting to know the reasoning behind the results in this survey. Why do Americans want ‘out’ of Israel/Palestine? Do they think they need their President focusing on domestic issues or is Israel/Palestine just all too hard?

The even more significant question is ‘what would it take for the American politicians to lose interest in Israel/Palestine? One suspects that even a vast and vocal majority called for disengagement, Congress would be unlikely to listen.

Father Dave

source: reason.com…

Covered at Reason 24/7: Majority of Americans Support Israel Over Palestine, Much Larger Majority Want U.S. Out of Peace Process

Ed Krayewski|

Israel can often be a third-rail in American politics. In 2002, George W. Bush became the first president in U.S. history to support a so-called “two-state solution.” When Barack Obama followed that up in 2011 by supporting Israel’s pre-1967 borders as a starting point for that solution, it wasn’t anything new, even though the reactions might have been. What does this have to do with the United States? Americans are increasingly asking that question.

From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

A new poll shows that most Americans support Israel, but do not want the U.S. to take the lead in an Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Fifty-five percent of Americans, according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday, sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinian Authority. Nine percent sympathize more with the P.A., 14 percent sympathize with neither side and 18 percent had no opinion on the question.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents, though, said the U.S. should leave peace talks to the Israelis and Palestinians, while 26 percent said the U.S. should lead the negotiations.

Leaving the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to the Israelis and Palestinians, though it might sound like common sense (and apparently more than two-thirds of Americans agree) is not something any mainstream presidential candidate has ever suggested.

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The following article appeared today on the website of the Kuwait News Agency. Palestinian negotiators are attempting to use their enhanced status to leverage some response from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

But what sort of response can they expect when the United States holds veto power in the UNSC? It’s not as if the UN is ever going to institute a campaign of sanctions against Israel as it does with Iran. It all looks like an exercise in futility. Perhaps I’m missing something?

Father Dave 

source: http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2296363&language=en

Palestine urges UNSC to advance achievement of two-State solution this year

Palestine urges UNSC to advance achievement of two-State solution this year

UNITED NATIONS, March 4 (KUNA) — Palestine on Monday urged the Security Council to advance the achievement of the two-State solution this year and to put an end to Israel’s “war crimes, acts of State terrorism.”

Palestinian Charge d’Affaires Feda Abdulhady Nasser said in a letter to Council President Vitaly Churkin of Russia “serious efforts are required, foremost by the Security Council, to uphold the law and to hold Israel accountable for its violations.

The immediate aim must be to defuse the current volatile situation and to foster a proper environment for advancing this year the achievement of the two-State solution.” This, she added, should be based on the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Arab Peace Initiative, and Quartet  Roadmap, “before the viability of that solution is completely destroyed by the occupying Power.”

She complained that the number of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel “regrettably continues to grow as the occupying Power has persisted with its arrest campaign, including of children and civilians partaking in protests against the occupation.” During the month of February alone, she noted, Israel arrested at least 382 Palestinians, including 10 women.

The Palestinian official also complained about the Israeli treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, which pushed thousands to go on hunger strike.

“All these illegal Israeli practices are exacerbating tensions and casting grave doubts on Israel’s claims of commitment to achieving a peace that brings an end to this grotesque military occupation and ensures justice and freedom for the Palestinian people and peace and security between Palestine and Israel,” she said.

“For all of these war crimes, acts of State terrorism” and systematic human rights violations being committed against the Palestinian people, she stressed, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

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According to the following article in today’s Jerusalem Post, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has publicly confirmed that he still supports the idea of a ‘two-state solution’ to the Israel-Palestine conflict, along the lines spelled out in his Bar-Ilan speech of 2009.

Apparently others within the ranks have been saying publicly that Netanyahu’s  Bar-Ilan speech had been “tactical” and directed to international ears (in other words, that it was a blatant lie). This latest statement is designed both to salvage Netanyahu’s reputation for honesty and his international standing as a man of peace.

But when we look at the details of the Bar-Ilan proposal, it’s a little difficult to distinguish between Netanyahu’s concept of a Palestinian state and no state. The requirements he spelled out then included:

  • That the Palestinian state be allowed no military
  • That Israel must retain control of all its borders
  • That no portion of Jerusalem be a part of this new state

Such an entity could hardly be considered a ‘sovereign state’ and Netanyahu knows full well that this form of ‘statehood’ is something that the Palestinians will never accept.

So perhaps Netanyahu’s rivals in the Likud party are simply being more honest? They are not interested in a Palestinian state and they don’t pretend to be.  Perhaps their rise to power will (ironically) hasten the day of peace?

Father Dave

Father Dave

Father Dave

source: www.jpost.com…

PM reiterates support for demilitarized ‘Palestine’

By LAHAV HARKOV
12/31/2012 21:32

Contrary to claims by top Likud candidates, Netanyahu stands behind his words in Bar-Ilan speech, spokesman says.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stands by his support for a Palestinian state under the conditions described in his 2009 Bar-Ilan speech, despite claims to the contrary by other Likud Beytenu candidates, a spokesman for the joint election list said on Monday.

The Likud-Yisrael Beytenu slate does not have a platform, and several candidates have spoken out recently against Palestinian statehood and a two-state solution.

“A Palestinian state will be established when the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, will declare the end of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict and only if arrangements ensuring the security of Israeli citizens are made,” the Likud Beytenu spokesman stated.

Netanyahu, according to the spokesman, does not see a Palestinian state at the top of his agenda, with Hamas ruling Gaza and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas working with Hamas and taking unilateral actions. The prime minister’s priority, he said, is to lead Israel while it is faced with a growing Hamas and the Iranian threat.

“The Left brought up questions [about Palestinian statehood] because they are ignoring the true, immediate threats of what is happening around us in the Middle East,” he added.

The comments came a day after President Shimon Peres, addressing Israeli ambassadors gathered in Jerusalem, called Abbas a “partner for peace” and argued that there is no alternative to the two-state solution.

In response, Likud Beytenu blasted Peres as being disconnected from public opinion.

“A Palestinian state would not only fail to bring peace and stability to the region, but would increase the tension and usher in permanent instability,” Yair Shamir, fourth on the Likud Beytenu list, said on Monday.

“The long and determined effort by Israeli leaders to promote a Palestinian state and to soften the Palestinian Authority’s harsh features cannot change the fact that a Palestinian state would add fuel to the fire of terrorism in the region,” Shamir added. “We must remove the idea of a Palestinian state in our area from the Israeli agenda immediately if not sooner.”

read the complete article here: www.jpost.com…