Netanyahu’s “explicit support or implicit consent”… .

Even Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu has now said tensions re: the Haram Al-Sharif are the cause of the October 2015 violence…  But Netanyahu boastfully says Israel did nothing wrong, and he’d never say he did something wrong.

No, the Palestinias are entirely to blame.

Chemi Shalev, US bureau chief for Haaretz, has just written this:

“just as the U.S. has been hard-pressed in the past to accept Israeli explanations that lowly civil servants are solely responsible for the announcements of massive building projects in settlements that have often enraged and embarrassed U.S. administrations – remember the March 2010 debacle during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit – they are likewise finding it difficult to digest that provocative tours by government ministers of the Temple Mount, calls by coalition Members of the Knesset to upend the status quo, religious edicts by venerated rabbis and public chanting by their disciples to burn down the Muslim mosques in order to rebuild the Jewish temple – that all of these could be going on against Netanyahu’s explicit support or implicit consent”… This full analysis by Chemi Shalev is posted here here.

Avi Issacharoff reported this afternoon in the Times of Israel that Netanyahu – who insists he’s maintaining the “Status Quo” on the Haram Al-Sharif (as he defines it, the Status Quo is unwritten) — refuses to return to the Status Quo of 28 September 2000 (when Ariel Sharon’s visit there with a massive amount of armed Israeli security forces, as a result of which the Islamic Waqf lost possession of the keys to the Moghrabi Gate where non-Muslim visitors enter:

    “Israel recently rejected a Jordanian proposal that would have seen the Hashemite Kingdom begin to oversee visits to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem instead of Israel, Arab sources told The Times of Israel on Monday. During recent meetings between officials in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Jordanian government, the latter proposed giving the Jordanian-run Muslim Waqf control over entry to the contested holy site — as it had until the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000. Since then Israel has effectively exerted control over entrance to the Temple Mount complex, which is considered Judaism’s holiest site and the third holiest to Muslims.

      The current outbreak of violence has been fueled by rumors that Israel is plotting to take over the area, where Jews can currently visit but not pray. Israel has adamantly denied the allegations, saying it has no plans to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, and accused the Palestinians of incitement by spreading the rumors.
      (In addition) According to a report in a Kuwaiti Arabic-language paper on Monday, Israeli officials proposed in a clandestine meeting with PA security officials that Palestinian plainclothes police officers be stationed on the Temple Mount. The meeting reportedly took place in Ramallah last Saturday. Undercover Palestinian police had been stationed on the Temple Mount in a similar fashion before the outbreak of the Second Intifada.
      (There is no indication in Issacharoff’s report as to whether or not Palestinian security officials agreed…)

    The Jordanian suggestion came as France submitted a United Nations proposal for an international presence on the Temple Mount, to ensure that the status quo is upheld. Netanyahu on Saturday slammed the French proposal and the Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the French ambassador in Israel over the matter”. The Issacharoff report is published here.

Yesterday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said an international presence was not necessary, as Netanyahu has declared he will maintain the “Status Quo” — “Israel understands importance of that status quo. What’s important is to make sure everybody understands what that means”, Kerry noted.

Is Kerry beginning to catch on?

After winning early elections + forming coalition, Netanyahu vows to fight… the calls for boycott

Israel’s re-elected Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has announced he’s dedicating some 100 million shekels to “to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS)”, as YNet reported here. According to the YNet report, Netanyahu will give his Strategic Affairs and Information Minister Gilad Erdan “10 new positions for employees who will deal solely with the boycott and de-legitimization activities against Israel”.

Haaretz’ veteran “Twilight Zone” correspondent Gideon Levy wrote today in Haaretz: “What are you defending? What are you fighting for? … As usual, there are questions that are not even asked. Soul-searching, after all, is a clear sign of weakness. And so an explanation has been invented that absolves us of responsibility: The boycott fell out of the sky, an unavoidable force majeure of Israel hatred, and the only way to fight it is to fight right back at them”…

Levy added:

    “Israel is now defending the preservation of the status quo. It is fighting against the whole world to preserve its advanced school of brutality and cruelty, in which it is educating generations of young people to act brutishly toward human beings, old people and children, to tyrannize them, to bark at them, to crush and humiliate them, only because they are Palestinians. Israel is defending the continuation of apartheid in the occupied territories, in which two peoples live, one of them without any rights…

    Continue reading After winning early elections + forming coalition, Netanyahu vows to fight… the calls for boycott

White House Chief of Staff: "We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made"

Almost a week after early general elections in Israel on 17 March resulted in a win for Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu after one of the ugliest campaigns in recent memory — not least of which due to Netanyahu’s election-eve remarks urging his supporters to rush to the polls because “Arabs were voting in droves”, and stating that a Palestinian state will never be established while he’s in office — the White House Chief of Staff strongly reinforced President Obama’s strong message that Netanyahu’s remarks were “troubling”.

“We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made”, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said in an address to the JStreet.org annual conference in New York [#JSt2015].

The text of McDonough’s remarks are now posted on the White House website, here.

Here are some selected excerpts:

    “In his call to congratulate Prime Minister Netanyahu last Thursday, President Obama committed to continuing consultations on a range of regional issues, including resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The process of forming a new Israeli government is now underway, and in the coming days and weeks, we’ll see what that looks like…I’d like to share with you how President Obama sees the road ahead.

    “First, no matter who leads Israel, America’s commitment to Israel’s security will never waver. As we all know, Israel faces real dangers in a tough neighborhood. I traveled with then-Senator Obama to Israel in 2008. I will never forget our time in the holy city of Jerusalem and following behind him as he approached the Western Wall—and even in the dark hours of that very early morning, it was a place bustling with energy afforded by one’s faith. On that trip, the President toured Sderot and saw the devastation wrought by Hamas-launched rockets. He met with Israelis living under the threat of rocket attacks. And, since then, I’ve seen President Obama’s personal commitment to increasing our security cooperation with Israel to unprecedented levels.

    Today, our security, military, and intelligence cooperation is stronger than it’s ever been, and that’s not going to change. The U.S.-Israel consultative group will continue to ensure cooperation at the highest levels of our governments. Under President Obama, we’ve spent hundreds of millions helping to develop David’s Sling and the Arrow missile defense systems. I recall very clearly a call with the Israeli Ambassador at 5:00 PM on a Friday evening last July, when he requested – and shortly thereafter the President and Congress delivered – an additional $225 million for Iron Dome missiles and batteries. That on top of the nearly $1 billion we had invested in Iron Dome already, which saved so many Israeli lives during the conflict with Hamas last summer. And, next year, when we deliver the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Israel will be the only country in the Middle East with a fifth-generation aircraft. In other words, we will continue to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge. As the President has said so many times, we have Israel’s back.

    “Second, we continue to believe that the best way to safeguard Israel’s long-term security is to bring about a comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples, living side-by-side in security and peace. To achieve this, the United States has long advocated direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. In 2009, Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly endorsed a two-state solution. Over the course of President Obama’s administration, most recently with the tireless efforts of Secretary Kerry, the United States has expended tremendous energy in pursuit of this goal. That is why the Prime Minister’s comments on the eve of the election—in which he first intimated and then made very clear in response to a follow up question that a Palestinian state will not be established while he is prime minister—were so troubling.

    “After the election, the Prime Minister said that he had not changed his position, but for many in Israel and in the international community, such contradictory comments call into question his commitment to a two-state solution, as did his suggestion that the construction of settlements has a strategic purpose of dividing Palestinian communities and his claim that conditions in the larger Middle East must be more stable before a Palestinian state can be established. We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made, or that they don’t raise questions about the Prime Minister’s commitment to achieving peace through direct negotiations.

    “In recent days, some have suggested our reaction to this issue is a matter of personal pique. Nothing could be further from the truth. America’s commitment to a two-state solution is fundamental to U.S. foreign policy. It’s been the goal of both Republican and Democratic presidents, and it remains our goal today…

    Continue reading White House Chief of Staff: "We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made"

The US says it "does not believe the ‘State of Palestine’ qualifies as a sovereign State"… re: ICC

The US Mission to the UN writes “regarding the purported accession of the ‘State of Palestine’ to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court”… that, well, the US Government just simply “does not believe the ‘State of Palestine’ qualifies as a sovereign State”…

US sends letter to UN saying it believes that Palestine is not a state – 16 Jan 2015 = CN.64.2015-Eng (1)

From a comment on Twitter

Shorter USG: #Palestine isn’t a state because we’re the United States and we say it’s not. https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/CN/2015/CN.64.2015-Eng.pdf … #NotKidding #ICC

 

State of Palestine postage stamp [unveiled January 2013 already]

Former Palestinian PM Fayyad unveils postage stamp for State of Palestine Jan 2013
Former Palestinian PM Fayyad unveils postage stamp for State of Palestine Jan 2013

So, there is a postage stamp…
The photo graces an article, published here by the Times of Israel, assessing the current Palestinian diplomatic moves. [Photo by Issam Rimawi-Flash90]

Today is the 97th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration…

Here it is –>

mfaj0ca10.jpg

We’ve written about this earlier, see here

The Balfour Declaration was incorporated, word for word, into the Palestine Mandate, under the jurisdiction of the League of Nations, created by the Allied victors, as a forum for the international community at the end of World War One, to “to promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace and security”…

The Palestine Mandate, significantly, gave international recognition to the Jewish people … as a people.

    The Balfour Declaration [and the Palestine Mandate] also said: “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”…

The Balfour Declaration and the subsequent Palestine Mandate led, 25 years later, to the Declaration of Independence, made on May 15 1948 in Tel Aviv, of the state which announced its name as Israel.

It took another 26 years after that for the Palestinian people to obtain international recognition [in the United Nations, created as successor of the defunct League of Nations] of their right, as a people, to self-determination…in UN General Assembly resolution 3236 of 22 November 1974, which

    Recalled its relevant resolutions which affirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,
    Recognized “that the Palestinian people is entitled to self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations”, and
    Expressed “its grave concern that the Palestinian people has been prevented from enjoying its inalienable rights, in particular its right to self-determination”
    1. Reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine, including:
    (a) The right to self-determination without external interference;
    (b) The right to national independence and sovereignty;
    2. Reaffirmed also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return;
    3. Emphasized that full respect for and the realization of these inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are indispensable for the solution of the question of Palestine;
    4. Recognized that the Palestinian people is a principal party in the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East;
    5. Further recognized the right of the Palestinian people to regain its rights by all means in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations;
    6. Appealed to all States and international organizations to extend their support to the Palestinian people in its struggle to restore its rights, in accordance with the Charter;
    7. Requested the Secretary-General to establish contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization on all matters concerning the question of Palestine;
    8. Requested the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its thirtieth session on the implementation of the present resolution;
    9. Decided to include the item entitled “Question of Palestine” in the provisional agenda of its thirtieth session.

The Palestine Mandate, awarded by a decision of the Council of the League of Nations [predecessor of the United Nations] to Britain [which had administered Palestine after defeating the Ottoman army there at the end of 1917], did not actually go into effect, formally, until Turkey finalized [in Lausanne in 1923] the Ottoman surrender after its defeat in the First World War…

The Palestine Mandate can be read in full here, among other places…

Continue reading Today is the 97th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration…

The long-awaited Mahmoud Abbas speech to the UN General Assembly …

Well, it was very angry — but also a bit of a let down, this long-awaited and much-touted speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the UN General Assembly, just before 7 pm in Ramallah or Jerusalem [but still part of the “morning” at the UN HQ/NY this Friday].

Describing the months of American-led negotiations brokered by a team assembled by US Secretary of State John Kerry, Abbas mimicked Israeli critics by saying:

“…as usual, the Israeli government did not miss the opportunity to undermine the chance for peace”…

The full text of Abbas’ speech can be consulted here.

He did not use the word “Judaization” — but he used words that describe what Palestinians mean when they do use the term:

“Throughout the months of negotiations, settlement construction, land confiscations, home demolitions, killing and arrest campaigns, and forced displacement in the West Bank continued unabated and the unjust blockade on the Gaza Strip was tightened. The occupation’s campaign specifically targeted the City of Jerusalem and its inhabitants, attempting to artificially alter the spirit, identity and character of the Holy City, focusing on A1-Aqsa Mosque, threatening grave consequences. At the same time, racist and armed gangs of settlers persisted with their crimes against the Palestinian people, the land, mosques, churches, properties and olive trees”…

Continue reading The long-awaited Mahmoud Abbas speech to the UN General Assembly …

Israeli PM Shamir didn't want to withdraw, either – he said it in 1988

An interesting blog post this week [August 25 ] by MJ Rosenberg on something that happened when he worked as “a foreign policy aide to Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI). One February day, Levin called me into his office to say that he was disturbed at a quote he saw in that day’s New York Times. An article quoted Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir saying that he rejected the idea of withdrawing from any of the land Israel captured in the 1967 war”… This blog post can be read in full here.

I highlighted the interesting points on Twitter:  @Marianhouk · NYTimes 1988: “Mr. Shamir said in a radio interview, ‘It is clear that this expression of territory for peace is not accepted by me’.”

MJ Rosenberg wrote, in his blog post, that:

“Levin instantly understood what Shamir was saying. He was repudiating U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which provided for “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent [1967] conflict” in exchange for peace and security. Those resolutions represented official U.S. and international policy then, and they still do.

But, in 1988, Shamir tried to declare them null and void.

Levin asked me to draft a letter to Secretary of State George Shultz stating that it was the view of the Senate that the U.N. Resolutions remained the policy of the U.S. whether Shamir liked it or not. Of course, the letter wasn’t written in that kind of language. It was more than polite. Additionally, Levin wanted it addressed to Shultz, not to Shamir, to avoid ruffling too many feathers in Israel”…

Continue reading Israeli PM Shamir didn't want to withdraw, either – he said it in 1988

Netanyahu rejects a Palestinian State because it would 'violate' Israel's 'security'

Where to begin? With this:

Yarden Katz, a post-doctoral fellow at Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, has written an analysis of Israeli media coverage of the war on Gaza,  entitled “Israel’s Iron Dome For Information”.  It’s published on the Mondoweiss website, here.  Here is an excerpt:

“The inability of the Israeli press to criticize the government in a time of war is exploited by Israeli leaders. Israeli television’s Channel 2 covered a press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu on July 11, where Netanyahu described his goal of ‘restoring peace’ to Israeli citizens who are under rocket attack — and vowed to ‘strike Hamas’ until peace is restored. Netanyahu’s main points were not new, and were summarized in Channel 2’s report.

What went unreported, and uncontested by journalists in the room, was Netanyahu’s strong rejection of a Palestinian state. In response to a question from a journalist, Netanyahu argued that disengagement from Gaza was a mistake whose consequences are now dealt with by IDF.

Netanyahu said that Israel will not, under any condition or agreement, give up ‘security control’ of the area ‘west of the Jordan river’ (i.e., the West Bank). He warned that relinquishing this control would create another front of war, a situation of ‘twenty Gazas’ and ‘thousands of tunnels’ in the West Bank (which he referred to as the biblical ‘Judea and Samaria’). Netanyahu revealed a simple policy: Israel will not allow Palestinian autonomy in Gaza or the West Bank, much less a Palestinian state, as this would violate Israel’s ‘security’.

The English-language right-wing newspaper Times of Israel, glowing about Netanyahu’s promise to forever occupy the territories, did report this part of the press conference. But the mainstream Israeli press let Netanyahu’s most informative statement escape unnoticed…”

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/israels-information-dome.html#sthash.yOvv4gF8.dpuf

Was Mahmoud Abbas in a hurry to form his new "national consensus" Palestinian government ahead of Sisi's inauguration today?

Here is a screenshot photo of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walking into the post-inaugural reception of Egypt’s newly-installed President AbdelFattah Sisi, in Cairo today — the screenshot was Tweeted here:

Hany Rasmy ‏@hany2m — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, arrives at Ittihadiya palace – pic.twitter.com/Firhbp1a63

President Mahmoud Abbas followed by security + by Saeb Erekat attend Sisi inaugural reception in Cairo
President Mahmoud Abbas followed by security + by Saeb Erekat attend Sisi inaugural reception in Cairo

Samer Al-Atrush @SameralAtrush · Abbas arrives at Ittihadiya with Erekat in tow [n.b. – Erekat is wearing blue shirt, walking behind security men who are behind Abbas…]

Alex Ortiz ‏@azortiz — #Egypt’s presidential palace is crowded with well-wishing Gulf monarchs. Tahrir seems to have a couple hundred #Sisi supporters celebrating.

 

Sisi’s inauguration comes just a week after Abbas’ ceremony to swear in the new Palestinian government — and it seems that having the new government [later dubbed a government of “national conciliation”] in place by the time of Sisi’s inauguration was a significant consideration in pushing it through.  That it’s also in Hamas’ higher interest — to repair damaged relations with Egypt’s govenment and to reopen Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt’s Sinai — explains why Hamas went along with Abbas’ big push, despite differences and reservations on several points of the arrangements.

Big things are expected to come out of discussions between Abbas and Sisi [and probably some of the Gulf VIPs] during these inauguration festivities in Cairo.– even though Abbas is expected at the Vatican this evening for a joint prayer for peace in the Middle East with Israel’s State President Shimon Peres, at the suggestion and invitation of Pope Francis.

In preparation for these discussions, it is being reported by Al-Quds newspaper in Jerusalem that President Abbas yesterday [Saturday] received Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy and the Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil elAraby, and held discussion about the region but focussed particularly on the new Palestinian government.

These may have been two separate meetings, because Egypt’s The Daily News is reporting on Abbas’ meeting with Fahmy here

Continue reading Was Mahmoud Abbas in a hurry to form his new "national consensus" Palestinian government ahead of Sisi's inauguration today?