two-state solution

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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.

Father Dave

Father Dave

Father Dave

source: www.haaretz.com…

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

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…

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Father Dave

Father Dave

We have reached crisis point for Israel/Palestine.

Things have been moving rapidly over the last few weeks:

Operation Pillar of Cloud might have been designed to solidify Netanyahu’s electoral standing but it had some unexpected consequences. The visit of Mohamed Morsi to Gaza gave de facto international recognition to the Hamas government, and Hamas’ leader, Khaled Meshaal, has never looked stronger!

Meanwhile Mahmoud Abbas – Chairman of Hamas’ rival faction, Fatah, and President of the Palestinian National Authority – has won recognition for Palestine as a non-member state at the UN, and can now likewise work from a position of strength with regards to both negotiations with the Israeli government and in his efforts to bridge the Fatah-Hamas divide.

Netanyahu’s response was vitriolic – the withholding of revenue for government employees in the West Bank and then the announcement of thousands of new settlement blocks in the highly sensitive area known as E1!

We should not underestimate the significance of these new settlements. If they go ahead, they will lie between Gaza and the West Bank, making a contiguous Palestinian state a complete impossibility.

The Fatah spokesperson responded to Netanyahu’s announcement by saying that this was a ‘red line’, and that these settlements would be the final nail in the coffin for the long-hoped-for two-state solution. Meshaal then responded with a defiant speech before thousands of Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip, promising to take back all of modern-day Israel “inch-by-inch”, which he said he would never recognize.

Netanyahu has now responded to Meshaal with equal aggression, stating that Israel will never withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank as it did from Gaza, meaning that the Palestinians have his promise that the Occupation will never end!

And so the battle-lines are drawn, but not in quite the same way as they were in the first and second intifada.  Israel is now enjoying less support internationally than at any time since 1948! And with Avigdor Lieberman ever on the rise in Israeli politics, it is likely that Netanyahu’s government will move even further to the right in the coming days and months, and further away from any language of peace, which can only result in even greater international isolation.

So what will happen next?

God only knows!

A full-blown third intifada, complete with rockets and every form of violence that the beleaguered Palestinians can muster is certainly a real possibility.

Alternatively, it may be that Abbas in unity with Meshaal are now in a position of strength from which they can leverage for a genuine contiguous Palestinian state set along the pre-1967 borders. Certainly the two Palestinian factions could count on broad international support for such a push. We can only pray!

What cannot happen now is that business continues as usual, with Netanyahu pretending that he’s working peacefully for the establishment of a Palestinian state while simultaneously expanding the settlements so as to ensure that it can never happen.

Father Dave
www.fatherdave.org…
www.how2changetheworld.com…

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Bishop Richard E. Pates is the Chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace.   Peace, Roy 

Bishop Pates To Secretary Clinton: Moves By Israelis, Palestinians Undermine Peace, Human Dignity

November 8, 2012

WASHINGTON—Both Palestinians and Israelis have undermined the possibility of a two-state solution in recent actions and policies, said the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops(USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

These actions include rocket attacks from Gaza into Southern Israel that “spread fear among Israeli families and damage the Palestinian cause by undercutting the trust necessary for negotiations,” said Bishop Richard E. Pates  of Des Moines, Iowa, November 8. He also decried the Israeli plan to re-route the separation barrier between Israel and Palestine through the Cremisan Valley.

That plan, said Bishop Pates, would “harm 58 Christian families whose livelihoods and living conditions depend on these lands” and “cut families off from agriculture and recreational lands, other family members, water sources, and schools – including depriving Christian Palestinian youth of fellowship with their peers.”

He added, “Moving the wall and disassociating Palestinian families from their lands and livelihoods will incite more resentment against the State of Israel among residents of the West Bank, not less, increasing the frustrations that can lead to violence.”

Bishop Pates affirmed USCCB’s support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinians conflict, the end of the rocket attacks and the reversal of policies like the Cremisan Valley proposal that undermine peace.

“Our Conference reiterates its call for strong U.S. leadership that holds both parties accountable for building a just and lasting peace,” Bishop Pates said. “Leaders on both sides must give Israelis and Palestinians hope for a different future free of fear and full of promise.”

The full text of the letter from Bishop Pates to Secretary Clinton is available online: www.us…