Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke bluntly when calling upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “make some difficult decisions” and proceed with peace discussions even though everything has not been worked out in detail. The PLO executive committee on Sunday approved a proposal allowing the Palestinian president to begin indirect negotiations with Israel through assistance from American mediation. Palestinian officials made clear they would walk away from any further talks unless there was real progress within four months. President Abbas had been refusing to have any talks until Israel halted further housing development on the West Bank. Barak expressed the feelings of many Israelis. “I hope that these discussions will advance the political process with the Palestinians in a manner that will enable quick resumption of actual negotiations on core issues..”
The key point made by Barak is simply this: “Israel’s leaders today have the responsibility to ensure that we don’t miss this chance and that requires leadership and the intention to make difficult decisions.” Amen!
Posted in Barack Obama, Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
The Israel Labor Party once was led by giants such as David Ben-Gurion or Golda Meier who believed in an Israel which worked with Palestinians to create a prosperous and peaceful Middle East. Yesterday, Ehud Barak, sold out his party and its soul by pushing through his Labor’s convention a proposal to join the right wing racist government of Benjamin Netanyahu who has appointed Avigdor Lieberman as the new foreign minister. Labor will now become part of a coalition government which includes representatives of every demagogue in Israel who believes acting in a bellicose manner is the path to peace with Palestinians.
The people of Israel need opposition party that stands for peace and equality with Palestinians. Now, more than ever, Israel must express a non-racist view which welcomes Palestinians as brothers and sisters. Avigdor Lieberman is a virulent racist who is a disgrace to the history of Israel and its former leaders. Many must be turning over in their graves at news that Labor has joined with the crowd now in charge of the nation.
Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned the United States to have a short time interval in its negotiations with Iran and not wait until Iran has developed its nuclear program. “There is a serious Iranian effort to make swift achievements, and time is running out.” He urged Obama to tighten sanctions and force Iran to the bargaining table. Barack also emphasized that his nation is not taking “any options off the table” and hinted there was a possibility of an Israel air attack. “We mean what we say” was his refrain.
The last people to offer suggestions concerning policy towards Iran are members of the Israel government which has repeatedly blundered due to its policy of “toughness” and “threats” and “warnings.” What exactly are the fruits of the current government of which Barak is a member? Has the process toward peace moved forward or is Israel worse off today than it was in 2001 when their beloved George Bush became president?
President Obama should proceed quietly, cautiously and with due regard for the integrity of the Iranian people. Shouting threats will only doom any chance for peaceful negotiations.
Posted in Barack Obama, Human Rights, Iran, Israel, Military, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Barak, Iran, Israel, US policy
Mohammed Shehada, head of the Islamic Jihad’s military wing and four associates were told by Egyptian mediators that a truce was now in effect and they could safely return to their homes in Bethlehem which recently had been bulldozed into rubble by the Israel military. As they left the scene, all five were killed in a hail of bullets from members of a special unit of the Israel army. Tens of thousands of Palestinians attended funerals of the men in scenes of anger and mourning that were shown all over the Middle East. Saleh Al-Naam, writing in al -Ahram, raises the question as to whether Israel is committed to the roadmap to peace or is it pursuing its own political and personal policies toward Palestinians.
He regards Defence Minister Ehud Barak as central to efforts to destroy peace efforts and quotes a recent statement: “Israel is committed to pursuing Palestinian resistance fighters who have been nvolved in opertions” that result in death to Israelis. Deputy Defense Minister Amos Harel insists “We will not allow the Palestinians to determine for us the timing, location or conditions of security operations.” Al Naami charges there is a deliberate program in effect by some members of the Israel government to destroy peace efforts in order to find justification for continued construction of housing on the West Bank as well as hoping chaos only results in continued division among Palestinians. He quotes Israel intellelctual Gideon Levy who recently wrote in Haaretz: “Barak hasn’t talked about peace for a long time and he surely doesn’t believe in the peaceful efforts of Olmert. In fact, he does all he can to destroy what little remains of them.”
Among the most important steps Prime Minister Olmert can make in the peace process is firing Barak and placing the Defence Ministry under control of someone who is committed to peace. Barak operates on the assumption Israel should retain the power to make unilateral determinations as to how the peace process will unfold. If a truce has been arranged it must include ceasing of military operations by all parties, not just one.
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Barak, Israel, Olmert, Palestinians
Secretary of State Rice, returning from a rather frosty meeting in Moscow with President Putin, began a series of meetings with Israel and Palestinian leaders. She immediately emphasized her visit should not be regarded as one which will lead to anything substantial since she was mainly trying to obtain commitments from both sides they agree on the need for an outline as to what will happen at the Annapolis meeting. Defense Minister Barak said any agreement must ensure the Israel Defense Force (IDF) retained the right of free movement on the West Bank since that was a “fundamental principle that must be demanded in the future as well.” Prime Minister Olmert did not indicate he was interested in an immediate outline for peace.
Secretary Rice has yet to develop a plan for dealing with the apparent refusal of Prime Minister Olmert to focus on developing a concrete peace agreement which will in the near future result in peace. He apparently is more interested in keeping the status quo and working for long term success. Palestinian leaders must have short term changes or forces of terrorism will grow even stronger. Is Condi Rice able to work simultaneously on such divergent agendas?
Posted in Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, United States, US Foreign Policy
Tagged Barak, Israel, Olmert, Palestinians, Peace, Rice