Miko Peled tells it as it is. To Trump’s surprise it is Netanhayu who doesn’t want the US Embassy moved to Jerusalem.
Presumably Trump inviting Abbas to Washington so suddenly has to do with the Israeli leader’s plans to survive in what will be an increasingly dangerous post-Mosul, post-Raqqa Middle East.
Allison Deger writes
In two days time, there will likely be some clarity over President Donald Trump’s ever-evolving stance on Israeli settlements, and whether or not he will pursue moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
After exchanges of mutual admiration, over social media, in relation to Israel’s wall as a harbinger of the U.S. policy with Mexico, Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are due to meet in person tomorrow for the first time since inauguration. They are expected to discuss the future of U.S.-Israel relations, and key points that could dash Palestinian aspirations for statehood. Read full article here
Here is the story that will dominate 2017. Many commentators tell us that the Russo- Turkish Syrian peace deal in Syria, based on past experience, will fail. They also say that the defining conflict in the Middle-East is between Sunni and Shi’a (Saudi Arabia vs Iran). These views are mistaken. Read full article here.
The two state solution was a figment of the Western mind conjured up and carefully maintained to assuage its conscience about the Frankenstein monster it has created and nurtured in the Middle East these past 65 years. Kerry’s speech on UNSC Resolution 2334 has set out the stark fact that Israel can no longer be considered a democratic state, even in the delusory ruminations of Western politicians.
That’s fine in the sense that it is in tune with the new neo-fascist zeitgeist and incoming Trumpism. What’s not fine is that the aggressive reaction of Israel to this clearing of the air is laying the ground for a new regional and international counter-reaction and a new conflict, the sparks of which the incoming Trump administration seem dead set to fan into all-consuming flames.
Bush Jr brought us Iraq, Obama Syria and now Trump, Israel-Iran: a new a deadlier conflict for 2017 for which Iran is preparing with deadly seriousness. UNSC Resolution 2334 is a kind of ‘non est mea culpa‘ from a dying liberal internationalist ideology, which is – if you consider the wording of the resolution carefully – entirely absorbed with the past:
The Security Council,
Reaffirming its relevant resolutions . . . Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, . . .
Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem . . . .
Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines, . . .
Recalling also the obligation . . . for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities, including the confiscation of illegal weapons,
Condemning all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,
Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders . . .
1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, . . . constitutes a flagrant violation under international law . . .
2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory. . .
3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;
4. Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution . . .;
5. Calls upon all States . . . to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;
6. Calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard, and . . . for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism;
7. Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law, . . . to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace;
8. Calls upon all parties to . . . launch credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process . . . ;
9. Urges . . . the intensification and acceleration of international and regional diplomatic efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions . . . and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967; and underscores in this regard the importance of the ongoing efforts to advance the Arab Peace Initiative, the initiative of France for the convening of an international peace conference, the recent efforts of the Quartet, as well as the efforts of Egypt and the Russian Federation;
10. Confirms its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations and in the implementation of an agreement;
11. Reaffirms its determination to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions; . . . .
Israel is a de facto two-nation state which, for a long time, has included the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Half the state’s citizens are Jewish and half are Palestinian; there are around 6.3 million of each. The Jewish half is privileged and enjoys social and civil rights, whereas most of the Palestinian half is under occupation and has few or no rights at all. This is not the way a democracy should behave.
This is increasingly recognised by liberal Jews. Omri Boehm, for instance, wrote a piece in the New York Times saying that liberal Zionism is a contradiction: liberal American Jews have “identified themselves with Zionism, a political agenda rooted in the denial of liberal politics.”
Philip Weiss writes
I can’t remember the last time I’ve cried in a synagogue, but last night was truly extraordinary: a suburban New York temple hosted a Palestinian leader making the argument for one democratic state between the river and the sea. And the Jewish audience did not contest his description of human rights atrocities.
And his Jewish hosts thanked him for opening their eyes to new ideas. If there is a glimmer of hope that the American Jewish community can be redeemed from a tragic course, and that the peoples of Israel and Palestine can be freed from a blind alleyway of history, there it was last night, at Temple Israel in New Rochelle.
Read full article here
Daud Abdulla writes
The upcoming referendum on whether Britain should remain in or leave the European Union (EU) is, undoubtedly, one of the defining political moments of this generation. With less than two weeks to go before the historic poll, though, the standard of debate has failed to rise to a level that matches the occasion. Instead, it has been overshadowed by bitter personality rows and rivalries. The result is that issues are, at best, discussed glibly or, even worse, ignored altogether.
One of the main arguments made by the Vote Leave – “Brexit” – campaign is that membership of the EU is a waste of public finances. Leading pro-Brexit campaigners like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove claim that Britain sends about £50 million per day to Brussels. A poster on the Vote Leave battle-bus sums up the grievance thus: “We send the EU £350m a week, let’s fund the National Health Service (NHS) instead.”
At first glance the figures seem compelling enough. However, the head of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Andrew Dilnott, has warned that they are not only suspect but “potentially misleading.” If they were inflated, as the Remain camp argues, it would not be the first time that politicians have “sexed up” data to force the nation to adopt a certain position. In 2003, the government of Tony Blair did it, scandalously so, with an intelligence dossier to make the case for war against Iraq, claiming that Saddam Hussain had the capability to use weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes of the order being given.
To the same degree that campaigners do not hesitate to deploy misinformation in order to sway public opinion, they are never keen to discuss issues beyond their comfort zones. Israel’s destruction of EU-funded projects in Palestine is a case in point. Why, it is fair to ask, should British taxpayers support the EU when it cannot safeguard its own aid projects? And why do Gove and Johnson not highlight this as an example of EU waste? They are both pro-Israel, of course, and unable to bring themselves to criticise the Zionist state.
A report published this week by the Euro-Mediterranean Monitor for Human Rights revealed that since the 2015 EU decision to label products from Israel’s illegal settlements, the Israeli security forces have increased dramatically their demolition and confiscation of EU-funded projects in occupied Palestine. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (UN OCHA) there were 120 demolitions of EU-financed buildings during the first three months of 2016 alone.
The Euro-Med report – Squandered Aid – estimates that between 2001 and 2016 the EU has lost about €58 million as a result of Israel’s destruction and damage of property. Some may argue that this figure is too little to merit a place in the referendum debate as it might risk a diplomatic spat with a special ally.
What is at stake here, however, is much more than finance. It is the principle of due diligence in the use of EU funds and accountability for what happens to them. Sadly, neither the EU, the Remain campaign nor “Brexiteers” are prepared to discuss the issue because they are too embarrassed by it all.
The fact is that they all view Israel as an exception; it is seen as a member of their exclusive club. Former EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, gloated famously in 2009 that Israel is a member of the European Union without being a member of the institutions; that it is “a member of all the EU programmes, including the research and technology programmes.”
On principle alone, surely membership of the EU does not come with a licence for a state to act with impunity or commit grave violations of international law. Israel’s wilful and indiscriminate destruction of Palestinian homes and livelihoods falls within this category. It is inexcusable and unacceptable and it sets a very worrying and dangerous precedent. If one member of the club — in this case, Israel — can get away with “squandering” EU funds, who or what is going to stop other members from doing the same in future?
As it stands, neither of the opposing camps on Britain’s EU membership have the moral upper hand for neither have had the courage or audacity to step out of their comfort zones. While the Brexiteers have focussed much of their campaign on the “threat” of unlimited immigration, the In Campaign has chosen to highlight the economic benefits of EU membership.
The narrative from the two camps provides only half of the story. The fact is that a lot of EU funds accrued from hard-working taxpayers are being wasted knowingly and, it seems, willingly, in order to assuage European consciences on one hand while not upsetting Israel on the other. If the leaders of the Vote Leave campaign and the Remain camp are too scared to challenge Israel about its destruction of EU-funded projects in Palestine, what hope is there that they would do any better when faced with similar challenges elsewhere, either as a member of the union or not? There is, frankly, no hope at all. The attitude towards Israel’s wanton destruction is both shameful and dangerous no matter which way the British public vote on 23 June.
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Andrew Levine writes
Nobody knows yet what will become of the Republican Party after Donald Trump is through with it. He probably doesn’t know himself what he would like to happen. In any case, it isn’t entirely up to him.
It depends too on what real Republicans do once Trump becomes their standard bearer. Will some or all of the Party’s blue bloods, theocrats, and libertarians bolt or will they buck up and go along? We will find out soon enough.
No one knows either what effect the Sanders insurgency will have on the Democratic Party.
This will depend a lot, though not entirely, on what Sanders does: on whether he caves into the Clintonites (neoliberals, liberal imperialists, BFFs of the military-industrial complex); leads his followers out of the party altogether, perhaps by making common cause with the Greens; or, more likely, encourages them somehow to disengage from Clintonism without opposing Hillary Clinton.
The idea, then, might be to lay the groundwork for taking the party over in much the way that the Tea Party took over the GOP in the years between 2010 and 2015. But with the party poised to squeeze all the benefits it can from the Trump takeover of the GOP, and with Clinton as its nominee and Clintonites calling the shots, this would not be easy to do.
Would it be the wisest way to go? I, for one, don’t think so; but, for the time being, it may be the only feasible way forward – inasmuch as indications now are that Sanders and many of his most ardent supporters will not go for a clean break, not with the Trump menace in the offing.
At this point, though, it is anybody’s guess what will happen.
However, on matters of interest to the Israel lobby, some things are already clear.
For one, on the Republican side, it is plain that, thanks to Trump, the neocons have suffered a serious defeat. They have no time for the Republicans’ “presumptive” nominee, and neither does he have time for them. For the Israel lobby, this is bad news indeed.
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