Tag Archives: Palestine

Palestinian Leader Urges Peace With Israel

President Mahmud Abbas urged Israel to reach out to the Palestinian Authority government and work for peace between the two nations. “An independent Palestinian state is a vital interest to Israel.” Abbas argued peace between Palestinians and Israel would change the entire Middle East and relieve tension in the region. It would also create the basis for an extended peace between Israel and other Arab nations such as Syria. However, the Abbas message included a warning that no peace could be achieved until Israel halted further construction of settlements in the West Bank and in Jerusalem.

The European Union in December supported the idea of Jerusalem becoming the capital of two nations-Palestine and Israel. Such a step would be symbolic of the importance of peace between the two nations.

Independence for Palestine?

The clock is running out on opportunities to resolve the Israel - Palestinian conflict as right wing Jewish fundamentalists refuse to accept the reality of an independent Palestinian state. Saeb Erakat, chief Palestinian negotiator, confirmed there has been a formal request from his government to the European Union seeking its support for a unilateral declaration of independence. Erakat bluntly accused the Israel government of “stealing Palestinian lands and building settlements and barriers aiming to finish off the two-state project.” His comments resulted in threats from Israel officials that any unilateral action might lead to reprisals such as annexing more of the West Bank.

Palestinians and Arab nations are frustrated at the refusal of the Netanyahu government to halt settlement construction and the apparent back-sliding of Barack Obama to carry out his promise of being an independent mediator. Right wing bully, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned of a “unilateral move on our part.” But, Israel has been making unilateral decisions for over a decade! It is time for the European Union to stand behind the legitimate rights of Palestinians.

Israel Nightmare– One State Nation?

Perhaps it is time for Palestinians to present Israel with its worst nightmare– a one state nation in which Muslim birthrates are higher than those of Jews. Palestine’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, expressed the growing fatigue of Arabs who attempt to enter into negotiations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israel prime minister does agree to negotiate with Palestinians provided they accept: Jews can take over any part of the West Bank as they desire, Jerusalem will be a Jewish city which allows Muslims to live in it provided they keep their mouths shut, Israel will control an “independent” Palestine’s air space, its armed forces, its water, and so on. He does agree to allow Palestinians to eat in their own homes provided they eat kosher meals.

Erekat has reached the point of saying to Israel– if you refuse to engage in honest negotiations, the process ceases and Israel can now incorporate Palestinian areas into the state of Israel. Just wait twenty years when there are more Muslims than Jews and see who is really ready to negotiate! According to Erekat, Netanyahu told President Abbas: “that Jerusalem will be the eternal and united capital of Israel, that refugees won’t be discussed, that our state will be demilitarized, and that we have to recognize the Jewish state, that it’s not going to be the 1967 borders, that the skies will be under his control.”

One state is the only solution and allow birthrates to determine the future.

Palestinians Argue Over Unity Which Prevents Unity!

President Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority has issued an ultimatum to the rival Hamas organization of either agreeing to a unity settlement that was negotiated with the aid of Egypt or he would call a new election for president and the legislature as early as January, 2010. Hamas termed his warning as illegal and argued they were not to blame for the lack of unity, but it was all the fault of Egypt or the Fatah organization led by Abbas. Hamas had won a surprise majority in the last election held for the legislature and presently controls Gaza. Abbas is determined to forge a united Palestinian government in order to achieve peace with Israel. The lack of unity only encourages the Israel government to dither and dally and refuse to move toward a peace settlement.

Israel commits many blunders such as the ill devised Gaza invasion last year, but Palestinians continue arguing with one another and the result is Israel does not feel any pressure to move toward a peace agreement. It is time for Palestinian leaders to put aside differences and find a common unity stance that will finally lead to peace in the Middle East.

DOES ISRAEL WANT PEACE?

For decades Israel has argued that Arab nations refuse to accept its existence and if they would peace accords could be reached. However, although the Arab League has announced its willingness to recognize Israel and the Palestinian Authority has expressed its desire to live in peace with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects every attempt to attain peace. Obama’s Middle Eastern envoy, George Mitchell, offered Israel an opportunity to end the current impasse. He had secured agreement from Oman and Qatar to establish relations with Israel on condition of a one year freeze on West Bank settlements. Of course, Netanyahu refused to agree and argued you can’t trust Arabs because the past is filled with failed peace attempts.

Israel has demanded from the Palestinian Authority a statement which agrees that Israel is a Jewish state. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad responded that “Israel’s character is Israel’s business and nobody else’s” Why this statement is required of Palestinians makes no sense. Of course, about 20% of Israelis are Muslims so it would be inappropriate for Arab nations to state the state of Israel is composed of Jews.

Obama Works For Peace In Middle East-Termed “Racist”

George Mitchell, the Middle East envoy sent by President Obama in order to work with Palestinians and Israelis for peace, told Palestinians he is still on the task, but has not yet reached the end of the process. He told President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority Israel has yet to agree on the West Bank settlement issue. “We are discussing the issue but we didn’t conclude an agreement yet with the Israelis.” Unfortunately, the former US senator might talk and talk but he is dealing with Benjamin Netanyahu who would run in the opposite direction if given an actual plan that would bring peace to the people of Israel. Mitchell emphasized that President Obama is not backing away from the peace process and intends to work toward resolution of the West Bank settlement problem.

A Rabbi Eliezer Waldman from the West Bank told the press that President Obama was “a racist.” This comment exemplifies the level of intellectual discourse within Israel on the topic of peace. I am perplexed. How can Obama be a “racist” in regard to Israelis? Is the assumption of the good Rabbi that Jews are “a race?” If so, perhaps he can explain to the world to which race do Jews belong.

Israel must compromise in order to achieve its half century goal of peace.

Israel PM: Recognize Us-But, We Won’t Recognize You!

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has an interesting approach to negotiations which consists of compelling the other side to agree to his demands, PRIOR to negotiations! One again, he insisted the “key to peace lies in explicit and unequivocal recognition of Israel as the Jewish state… They must once and for all give up the demand to resettle inside of Israel the descendants of the refugees.” He claims “as soon as that is settled, a huge window to peace be opened.” Of course, there is no statement on his part that the West Bank is part of the state of Palestine nor does he agree that east Jerusalem is the capital of the independent nation of Palestine. If President Abbas made demands of such recognition, we can assume Netanyahu would respond he could not make any such commitment since they belong on the negotiating table.

The purpose of “negotiations” is for two parties to discuss issues and to reach compromises both can accept. The issue of Palestinians recognizing Israel as the “Jewish state” ignores that 20 percent of the people in Israel are Muslim Palestinians. It is not as simple as Netanyahu attempts to present with the issue being refugees. There is probably several compromises which could resolve the issue of return of refugees. Perhaps, if Netanyahu got to a negotiating table and discussed these options, the road to peace would no longer have barricades established by Israel.

Does Netanyahu Have A Valid Argument?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his explanation as under which conditions Israel would recognize the existence of an independent Palestinian state. He insisted Palestine must be demilitarized and not be allowed to control its own air space or to have the capability of militarily threatening Israel. On this point, the Israel prime minister has a valid argument. Given the size of Israel, if a Palestinian state came under the control of radical groups and had access to rockets and planes it would pose a serious threat to Israel. On the other hand, Israel must give iron clad guarantees to Palestine that it will not interfere in the internal affairs of that nation.

However, Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognize the existence of a “Jewish state” raises serious questions. One out of five people in Israel are Muslims and to accept the concept their country is not representative of their existence is simply not tolerable. Jews in America constitute less than two percent of the population and would be furious if America was termed a “Christian nation.” This is a semantic argument and has no place in serious negotiations.

The West Bank continues to be ignored by Netanyahu, but no nation of Palestine could simply surrender a large portion of their territory because some Jewish settlers want to live there. The West Bank was awarded to Arabs, not the new nation of Israel. The land was illegally seized and must be returned.

Perhaps, in surrendering the complete right of return of Arab refugees a compromise could be worked out allowing a small piece of the West Bank to be exchanged for land in Israel such as a road connecting Gaza to the remainder of the country.

US Tells Netanyahu To Speak Honestly On Sunday

Even before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened his mouth on Sunday for his expected speech on the future of Israel and Palestinian leaders, the Obama administration said what he intends to say is not sufficient in terms of moving the Middle East towards peace. Netanyahu supposedly told envoy George Mitchell that he would not be able to express the ideas desired by Obama about moving quickly to work with Palestinians about establishing an independent state. He refuses to halt further housing on the West Bank and he refuses to accept the concept of an independent Palestine. Netanyahu is caught in the trap of having created a government in which right wing fanatics hold important positions. If he accepts the American position it might lead to the collapse of his government.

There are moments in history when a leader has to speak the truth to his nation. There are moments in history when a leader has to be prepared to lose power if the end result is saving his nation from disaster. This is one of those moments for Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel Refuses To Halt Settlement Building

The issue concerning continued building of housing in West Bank settlements continues to create a bridge between the United States and Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Obama’s special envoy, George Mitchell, that his government would not halt what he termed “natural growth” of housing in the settlements. He also expressed the view, “Israel is working to promote peace and security with our Palestinian neighbors and the wider Arab world.” However, the refusal on the part of Netanyahu to even say he was in favor of an independent Palestinian state most probably reflects his real aim which is to delay and hamper any efforts on the part of the United States, Palestinians, and the wider Arab world for a peaceful solution.

The West Bank was seized by Israel forces in 1967 and thus is occupied territory. Neither the UN or any international body has ever awarded that area to Israel which makes the settlements illegal under any definition of international law.