Tag Archives: West Bank

View From Ankara Not Pleased With Obama Talks

The view from Ankara is rather pessimistic about the recent meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyau. There is disappointment at lack of any statement regarding the need to halt construction of settlements in the West Bank or a clear commitment from the Israel leader to support the two nation solution. Some Turkish officials hoped Obama would urged Israel to repair its damaged relations with Turkey, but all that emerged were platitudes about the “special relations” between the two nations and assurances from Netanyahu that he would discuss with Palestinians. Exactly, what is the meaning of holding talks if there is no desire to accept a compromise solution to existing problems?

Professor Mustafa Kibarogiu from Bilkent University expressed concern at failure of the Israel government to understand changes in policy on the part of the Turkish government towards Israel as a result of the Gaza invasion and attacks on the aid flotilla. He doubts if President Obama even understands the growing rift between Israel and Turkey. A tragedy of Israel is failure on the part of Israelis to have even the slightest grasp of how their nation is viewed in the world or the tendency to equate disagreement with Israel as examples of anti-Semitism. Jewish actor, Dustin Hoffman just canceled an appearance at a film festival in Jerusalem due to the flotilla attacks. Undoubtedly, Israelis will accuse him of being a self hating Jew.

Israel Accepts “College” From West Bank!

Forty years ago in the aftermath of the famous “Six Day War,” Israel took possession of the West Bank and the assumption of its nation’s leaders was seizing control of this area was a temporary step until a peace could be arranged with Arab nations. However, as years passed without any desire on the part of Arab nations to negotiate peace with Israel, forces of Jewish religious fundamentalism gained power and pushed the concept that the West Bank should become part of Israel. There can be no peace between Israel and Palestinians unless the West Bank is the core of a new Palestinian nation. Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered that a college in the West Bank town of Ariel should be recognized as a “university center” even though no such designation exists in higher education in Israel.

The Israel Council for Higher Education opposes this recognition, but the West Bank is basically controlled by the Defense Department. It appears this “university center” eventually will become a new Israel university and make even more difficult any effort at peace with Palestinians. The right wing government appointed a committee, but made certain only conservative professors were on it in order to gain support for this move.

The end result will, most probably, lead to boycotts by universities in other nations. But, of course, this is Israel which refuses to acknowledge that it lives in a world with other nations.

Israel Hardliners Threaten Violence

Israel hard liners constantly decry terrorism as a weapon used by Muslim extremists and wrap themselves in the coat of innocence. Of course, right wing Israeli extremists are responsible for the murder of a popular prime minister who was trying to work for peace with Palestinians, but that apparently will not be viewed by them as violence, but simply a matter of “protection.” Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak has received numerous death threats by West Bank settlers who oppose the government temporary freeze on housing construction. Barark made clear he would not be intimidated by threats against those working for peace. “this country has an elected government. When a government makes a decision,it must be enforced.”

It is difficult for Israeli right wingers to ever conceive that Jews could use the tools of terrorism in order to fight for their rights. Perhaps, these individuals should read the story of how Israel was created and the use of murder of innocent civilians on the part of right wing Israeli forces. Naturally, when Israeli Jews kill, it is only in the cause of liberty. But, when Palestinians kill……..

Bi-National State Or One State?

The impasse over the position of Israel settlers on the West Bank logically leads to several alternative solutions. Israel would prefer if settlers remain and the areas they control would be incorporated within the state of Israel. They could be compelled to evacuate areas they control and return the land to its rightful owners-Palestinians. Or, they could remain on the land and become citizens of a Palestinian state. After all, Arab Muslims constitute about 20% of Israel citizens so why can’t Jewish settlers become Palestinian citizens. They continually rant and rave about their love of the land which they argue should belong to Jews. Fine, let it be owned by Jews, but only by Jewish citizens of the nation of Palestine.

There is no doubt if offered this choice, settlers who insist they want to remain on the sacred soil of the West Bank would pack up their belongings and head for Israel. Their desire for the West Bank has nothing to do with religion or the Torah, it is simply their desire to get inexpensive housing at the expense of Palestinians.

God Or State-Who Rules In Israel?

There are too many religious fanatics in the world who insist that religious doctrine must over rule that of any government directive. The issue of settlements in the West Bank is interpreted by some Jewish religious leaders as one entailing religious doctrine. The Israel government and the Israel Defense Force(IDF) believe who should establish settlements in the West Bank is a political one which must be resolved by the government. Rabbi Eliezer Melamed sent a letter to students who were in the IDF making clear that a soldier must refuse to obey an order which required them to evacuate settlers from the West Bank. This led the IDF to cut ties with the rabbi.

Informing members of the IDF that orders should be disobeyed is simply not kosher when orders refer to military actions. The attempt to claim that the West Bank is sacred Jewish land is false. The Israel government in 1948 accepted the West Bank would NOT be part of Israel and the current government must adhere to that decision.

Netanyahu-Settlement Freeze Is Temporary

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear his decision to halt further housing on the West Bank was only a “one-time, temporary move” which apparently is his attempt to placate concerns of Jewish settlers that the government was abandoning them. “We shall resume building once the moratorium is over. The final status accord in Judea will be determined at the end of negotiations–not a day earlier.” Once again, Netanyahu offers confusion rather than clarity. President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has refused to attend any conference until all housing ends, including any in east Jerusalem. Netanyahu insists he is against preconditions even as he sets preconditions that Palestinians must accept such as no discussion about east Jerusalem.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak says he will enforce the temporary freeze on housing. Again, an Israel leader makes a positive statement and then clouds over its meaning by adding, “on the other hand, it(freeze) will be carried out in a way that ensures as much dialogue as possible with residents.” Perhaps, it is time to make clear to Jewish settlers they have no right to impede a peace process and further construction must cease. Until that is accepted by all Israelis, we can expect protests and attempts to violate the no building freeze.

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.

Clinton Told To Support Palestinians Or No Progress!

Palestinian and Arab leaders throughout the Middle East are furious at the backsliding on the part of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding the issue of halting further west bank settlements. Arab League Secretary-General, Amr Moussa said he feared there would be no peace in the Middle East until the United States supports the issue of halting further west bank settlements. President Abbas is furious because just a few months ago, President Obama was making sounds about taking a firm stand to halt settlements and now the American government appears to be more interested in placating Israel than in attaining peace. Hillary Clinton defended her position by saying: “The Israelis have responded to the call of the U.S., the Palestinians and the Arab world to stop settlement activity by expressing a willingness to restrain settlement activity.”

There is a vast difference between “restraining” and “ending.” How about compelling Israel to cease and desist and stop worrying about “restraint?

Hillary Clinton Meets Israel Stubborn Policy

It is now nearly a half century since Israel troops swept into the West Bank during the Six Day war of the 1960s. The assumption of the Israel government and Arab nations is that at some point in the near future, the status of the West Bank would be resolved. However, first years, then decades past of inaction on the part of the world, but plenty of action on the part of Israel governments. Now, over 300,000 Israelis live in the area and new buildings continually go up. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Palestinian leaders only to be met with a determination on their part of refusing to accept any further Israel house construction in the West Bank. Clinton urged President Abbas to allow Israel to complete building in progress and was met with a resounding, “no.”

Palestinians can not allow further West Bank construction to proceed without, in a sense, surrendering that area to the state of Israel. It is up to Israel to take the first step toward peace in the Middle East by ending all present and future construction. Abbas put in bluntly: “peace must have its commitments-(that) being the complete halt to settlement building.” Israel leaders can claim to seek peace, but until they deal with the west bank settlement issue, there can be no peace in the Middle East. The ball is in the court of Israel.

Spain Prevents Israel Scientists To Work

The Spanish government has decided to expel a group of Israeli scientists from a state-funded competition because they were based in occupied areas of the West Bank. The Israel team had been selected as one of the 20 finalists in a competition to design solar-powered housing that is part-sponsored by the US energy department. A Spanish spokesperson said: “The EU does not recognize the occupation of the West Bank which is where this university is.”

This decision is in line with numerous complaints from European academics about boycotting Israel university professors and scientists. One can ask if Spain will expel Chinese scientists who work in a nation with a notorious human rights record, Russian scientists whose government has done nothing to prevent the death of human rights activists, east European scientists many of whom live in countries with blatantly anti-Roma laws and violence, etc…

Evaluate the scientist, not his/her nation. Now, if we want to discuss human rights violations, Iran, Saudia Arabia, Egypt, etcc.