Tag Archives: Palestinians

Hamas And Abbas Still Not Talking

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Hamas he would call elections early next year if the rival movement does not open reconciliation with him. At present, Abbas is in control of parts of the West Bank and other areas in Palestine while Hamas is in charge of the Gaza Strip. Hamas rejected his call for talks and compromise since they fear an election might result in their defeat. Hamas never was elected to control the Gaza area since they took power in a coup d’etat. Earlier this month this was an attempt to hold conciliation talks with Egypt serving as a mediator but Hamas canceled their appearance at the sessions.

Hamas currently has a majority in the Palestinian legislature but it is uncertain if that would hold up in a new election. Many Palestinians desire a compromise with Israel but that is hampered by constant rocket attacks from the Gaza strip. Hamas insists Abbas wants to work a deal with Israel and Hamas rejects such a solution. It is completely unclear exactly how Hamas plans to end the stalemate and get a Palestinian state.

Olmert Praises Bush For Bringing Peace To Middle East!

It is the end of the Bush era and his friends undoubtedly feel the need to make some pleasant remarks to the president about his efforts over the past few years. In his farewell comments to Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, claimed the United States had helped to create the idea of a two-state solution to the Israel and Palestinian conflict and had ensured that peace was furthered in the Middle East. Perhaps, Prime Minister Olmert is trapped in a time warp, but does he really believe the Middle East in 2008 is more peaceful and secure than it was in 2001? “I’m sure that history books,” he said, “will be written the contribution that you made to the safety and security of many people will be greatly appreciated.”

History books are written by intelligent people who carefully study what happened in order to uncover a sense of reality. Any competent historian already knows George Bush brought terrorism to the Middle East and created chaos in Iraq and other nations of the region. Perhaps, Olmert forgets, former President Bill Clinton proposed a two state solution in 2000 that was more advanced and advantageous to Palestinians than anything that has emerged from the Bush era. If Arafat had accepted that proposal there would be a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli FM Livini–We Know What We Are Doing!

Forty years have passed since Israel forces swept to victory in the 1967 war and took possession of the West Bank and thousands of Palestinians. Forty years have passed with negotiations and discussions and promises and assurances by both Palestinians and Israelis that if left alone they will figure out a solution to their problems. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke openly about her hope newly elected president Barack Obama will keep his hands off the Israel-Palestinian conflict. “You don’t need now to do anything dramatic about it. The situation is calm. We have these peace talks.” If she wins the general election in February she will become the new prime minister of Israel. Of course, if she loses, Benjamin Netanyahu who opposes giving up land or control of east Jerusalem will become the new prime minister.

Livni emphasized there was no need for outside groups to “bridge the gap between us. Don’t put new ideas on the table. We know what we are doing.” In response to a question concerning return of Palestinian refugees, Livni said they had left in 1948 and it was no longer an Israeli problem and that “not even one of them” will be allowed to return.

The comments of Foreign Minister Livni reflect the detachment from reality of some Israel political leaders. They have been talking for years without much progress. They NEED NEW IDEAS ON THE TABLE because the existing ones are not satisfying either party. A blunt statement such as “not even one of them” can return is certainly not an expression of peace that will attract the attention of Palestinian leaders. Sorry, Ms. Livni, both sides need new ideas.

Right Wing Israeli Fanatics Cause Turmoil

The current state of the Israel-Palestinian conflict is linked to decisions made by the Israel government over the past forty years to allow Jewish settlers on the West Bank. These individuals have become a thorn in the quest for peace in the Middle East. Over the past few weeks, fanatic West Bank settlers violently assaulted Palestinians during the olive harvest and created turmoil within the area. The European Union reacted sharply to these actions. “The European Union once again condemns in the strongest possible terms the acts of violence and brutality committed against Palestinian civilians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.” The EU emphasized it was the responsibility of the Israel government to halt this behavior and protect the rights of Palestinians.

Israel security forces tried tearing down illegal structures built by West Bank settlers only to have them rebuilt in defiance of law and order. Settlers even hurled rocks at Palestinian reporters and hurt several members of the IDF. There are reports these Israeli hooligans desecrated headstones at a Muslim cemetery and damaged more than 80 vehicles owned by Palestinians.

There will be no peace between Israel and Palestinians until radical groups on both sides are finally crushed.

Olmert Talks Honest- Ignored By Supporters

Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s comments that his nation had to accept the reality of 1967 borders and a Palestinian presence in Jerusalem has been greeted by silence or disbelief among many political leaders in his nation. However, European Union envoy Marc Otte, told the Jerusalem Post, Olmert’s comments represented political courage. “Everyone who has been engaged in the negotiations is bound to come to that sort of conclusion. I am encouraged that the Israeli leadership is willing to face the challenges.” Unfortunately, Foreign Minister Tzip Livni, who most probably will become the next prime minister said she did not feel compelled to agree with the Olmert proposal.

There were some initial claims that Palestinians had rejected Olmert’s proposal but Otte said there was no validity to that assertion. At least one Israel leader is dealing with reality rather than with rhetoric.

Hizbullah Stands Firm Against Israel Compromise

Hassan Nasrallah once again repeated Hizbullah rhetoric about the need to defeat Israel and restore Palestine to the Arab people. There was not a sign of any compromise or willingness to seek a realistic solution to the current conflict. Nasrallah shouted, “Palestine, from the sea to the river is the property of Arabs and Palestinians and no one has a right to give up even a single gran of earth or one stone, because every grain of the land is holy. The entire land must be returned to its rightful owners.” He made clear his group was not interested in seeking any involvement of the United States or any nation is helping the people of Palestine to attain peace and prosperity.

The tragedy of Palestinians and other Arabs is the presence of charismatic leaders who pontificate and boast for the audience at hand since they always prefer words to actual a resolution of problems. President Ahmadinejad, his fellow master of rhetoric rather than reality said similar things in his UN comments. Neither of these leaders has the slightest interest in reaching a compromise that will empower Palestinians to gain authority of their own destinies and have their own nation. As far as Nasrallah is concerned a photo op always takes precedence over discussing issues of substance.

Livni Seeks To Create Coalition Government

The exist of Prime Minister Olmert will be accompanied by the entry of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni who will soon become the new prime minister. The undecided question is whether Livni will work toward building bridges of peace with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. As a first step Livni met with Labor Party chairman Ehud Barak who is expected to play a key role in any coalition government that emerges provided Livni and he can put aside their personal conflicts with one another. Barak has been assured of a “full partnership” with Livni.

Creating a coalition government that is strong enough to withstand pressure from right wing groups which oppose meaningful compromises with Palestinian leaders is the greatest challenge confronting Livni. She is still attempting to cope with the apparent anger of Shaul Mofaz’s announcement that after losing the fight to become the party leader, he is leaving the political world.

Israel Folly Continues In Palestinian Negotiations

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made clear to the world that Israel was not engaged in any discussions with Palestinian leaders about the future of Jerusalem. His comments were a sharp rebuke to statements made by the head of the American consulate in Jerusalem, Jack Walles, who was quoted by a Palestinian newspaper as saying that Israel has agreed to discuss the future status of Jerusalem during its peace talks with Palestinians. Walles told Al-Ayyam, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had told both sides her country assumed any peace discussion included Israel return to the borders of 1967 and what would be the future of Jerusalem.

The history of Israel entails repeated delay in confronting issues in hope that time is on its side. Now, is the time to discuss Jerusalem, not a year or two years from now. Delays reinforce the power of militants and make difficult efforts by moderate Palestinian leaders to construct the bridge of peace.

Israel Rights Groups-Palestinians Forced Into Gaza

Two Israel rights groups, B’Tselem and Hamoked, issued a joint report which blames Israel policy for creating a deepening separation between the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian families are being torn apart due to Israel policies and creating turmoil and confusion. As an example, a Gaza man was barred from joining his wife who has West Bank residency when she gave birth to quadruplets. The takeover of Gaza by Hamas in June, 2007, led Isrel to impose a travel ban which now constitutes extreme hardship for thousands Palestinians. Israel refuses to register a change of address of any Gazan wo moved from Gaza to the West Bank before 2000. Under a new policy, these Gazans must obtain a special permit to allow them continue residency in the West Bank and the process of obtaining one is extremely difficult.

The Orwellian madness of Israel policy does not ensure a Gazan who marries someone on the West Bank an opportunity to leave with the spouse. The report blasts this new policy for transforming Palestinians who are working and living in the West Banks into aliens in their own country. A woman from Gaza was literally banned from her own wedding to a West Bank man because she would not put up a $5,000 deposit which would guarantee, once the ceremony was over, she would head back to Gaza! The woman who gave birth to four bouncing babies does not want to return to Gaza due to lack of medical facilities. Any Jewish person who was alive in the 1930s remembers similar behavior by nations toward their requests for moving to join a relative.

Palestinian Refugee Issue Remains Key To Peace

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters during a trip to Lebanon that all Palestinian refugees should eventually be allowed to return to Palestine. The highly contentious issue of refugees remains one of the most difficult to revolve between the parties seeking to achieve a compromise. “The refugees should have a right to return to their homeland,” said Abbas. He indicated this has been a sticking point in negotiations with Israel leaders because “we are not with permanent resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. We are against permanent resettlement.”

A sticky issue is the presence of Palestinians in Lebanon which has a tenuous balance of power between Muslims and Christians. The addition of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Palestinian refugees to the Lebanese population would benefit Muslim Lebanese political parties while hurting Christian ones. Thee are about 400,000 Palestinians and their descendants living in Lebanon.

The bottom line is no Arab nation wants Palestinians in “its territory” and just wants them sent back to Palestine. Palestinians are unwanted guests– no Arab nation is willing to grant them citizenship– living in a nation that simply wants them to leave.