Tag Archives: West Bank

Hillary Clinton Talks Honest And Tough With Israel!

During the past eight years, George Bush allowed Israeli leaders to do as they wished under the pretense their actions were in the interests of “security” even though many violated international law. George Bush was the greatest enemy to the people of Israel because he supported actions that made peace in the Middle East impossible to achieve. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made clear a new administration is in power in Washington which intends to achieve Middle Eastern peace and this requires Israel to adhere to agreements and the law. Clinton sharply criticized the Israel decision to demolish homes in Arab East Jerusalem which she noted was a violation of Israel’s international obligations. “Clearly this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with obligations entered into under the ‘road map.’ It is an issue we intend to raise with the government of Israel and the government at the municipal level in Jerusalem.”

Palestinian leaders continually make clear the expansion of Israel housing on the West Bank destroys efforts to achieve peace in the region. These houses violate international law and make difficult the work of Arab moderates to achieve peace. Israel must evacuate all housing on the West Bank and reach out to Arab leaders in order to achieve peace in the Middle East. Hillary Clinton is for the first time in years proving to Muslims there is an even-handed approach to the Palestine-Israel conflict and she is urging more aid to Gaza.

Many Israelis will be upset at Clinton. They fail to realize George Bush did Israel more harm than any prior American president because he set no limits on what Israel could do. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the true friends of Israel!

Will US Pressure Israel Over Peace?

There is growing concern in the Israel Defense Ministry that Barack Obama might threaten to reduce aid for military concerns in Israel unless its government was prepared to be serious about working for peace in the Middle East. A senior official in that ministry told the Jerusalem Post, “(George) Mitchell is a known opponent of teh outposts and the settlements. The Americans might try to use the military aid as a way of pressuring the new (Israel) government into dismantling and freezing construction in settlements.” Some members of the Israel government do not believe Obama would ever say there was a reduction caused by the West Bank settlements but he might cite America’s economic situation.

The tragedy of modern Israel is a failure in leadership. The electorate splitting into small parties has made it virtually impossible for those in the middle to govern with any degree of authority. Israel’s current problems stem from relying on the “wisdom” of George Bush rather than working with moderate Palestinians.

Netanyahu To Leadership In Israel?

Tzipi Livni fought a tough battle to gain leadership of Israel and actually won one more seat in the Knesset than her main opponent, Benjamin Netanyahu, but that might not be enough to head the next Israel government. The electorate made a sharp turn to the right and it appears most likely that Netanyahu will organize a coalition of parties that will have a majority in parliament. It is unclear under Israel law who President Shimon Peres will ask to take a first crack at putting together a coalition. Most probably, the real issue is which political parties will be asked by Netanyahu to join his coalition. He has come across as a hard liner who does not wish to withdraw from the West Bank or from east Jerusalem.

In the end, the most important factor might be the willingness or lack of willingness of President Obama to exert his power and force Netanyahu to negotiate with Palestinian leaders and confront the issue of the West Bank. It is time that an American president ends the policy of regarding Israel demands as the most important in deciding the fate of the Middle East. The Arab League is ready to accept the state of Israel, but that means the end of Jewish encroachment in the West Bank. Will that scenario become a reality?

Israel And Turkey- Obama And Middle East

Ahmet Turan Ayhan, writing in the Turkish newspaper, Zaman, argues an Israel conflict with Turkey is an act of suicide since the Israelis need their friendship with a powerful Muslim nation in the region which has consistently adopted a cooperative attitude towards peace in the Middle East. He believes Barack Obama begins his presidency with the initial problem of undoing the past eight years of Bush that have caused considerable mistrust of the United States by Muslim nations. Among the issues dividing Muslim people and the United States has been the Bush policy of giving unqualified support to Israel even as that nation expanded its territory by seizing land on the West Bank and pushing into east Jerusalem. The Israel belief it could do as it pleases has even caused its friend, Turkey, to turn aside and demand an end of the oppression of Palestinians.

The invasion of Gaza was probably among the most inept blunders on the part of Israel during its entire history. It received the semblance of having accomplished something while the reality was to further antagonize Muslim moderates. Can Barack Obama stand up to the Israel government and fight for a peace that entails ending the West Bank settlements and allowing Muslims a fair share in the governance of Jerusalem?

The Middle East needs American leadership that is fair and balanced. It needs a new policy which reaches out to Iran in a peaceful manner and it requires placing barriers to Israel expansion in Palestinian areas. Can Barack Obama take that leadership role?

West Bank Palestinians Calm As Gaza Explodes

Gaza is wracked with violence and death, but West Bank Palestinians are not responding to calls from Hamas to demonstrate in support of those suffering in Gaza. Bassam al-Salihi, a leader of the Popular Party, commented: “the Palestinian population no longer has any confidence in its national leaders, that’s why there has been no mass mobilization against the Israeli operation in Gaza.” The years of feuding and inability to cooperate in the pursuit of peace has left West Bank Palestinians dejected and cynical about any effort suggested by either Hamas or Fatah to produce peace. There is no leader who can order a third intifada because no consensus on the future of Palestine is present among its people. In the 2006 elections, the people of Gaza voted for Hamas while the West Bank remained loyal to Fatah.

Nothing will change until a Palestine government finally focuses on a solution that entails compromise and moves away from positions from which there is no movement. The people of Palestine need a Nelson Mandela who has a vision of the future that requires taking the first step in hope it will result in future steps toward peace and prosperity.

Israel May Suggest Land For Land

Danny Ayalon, former Israel ambassador to the United States believes Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton might endorse a plan under which Israel would retain a larger area of the West Bank in exchange for giving up land i the Gaililee which contains a large Muslim population. He claimed to have discussed the idea with high officials of the Bush administration and believes they were supportive of the idea. Ayalon also expressed surprise that Palestinians do not want any Israeli settlers on the West Bank and termed such feelings as reflective of a refusal to compromise. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently proposed returning virtually all of the West Bank to Palestinians.

The bottom line is that Israeli settlers seeking inexpensive homes ventured into the West Bank and took land that did not belong to Israel. There is nothing to “exchange”because Israel can not exchange what it does not possess.

Will Disbanding West Bank Settlements Lead To War?

There are decisions made by nation’s which come back to haunt future leaders who must live with failure to act in the past. For nearly forty years, some Israel leaders have warned of dangers that might arise from continuing to allow settlers to expand their building on the West Bank. President Shimon Peres told members of the British Parliament that his nation would encounter difficulty dismantling West Bank settlements and such action might readily turn into violence, if not war within Israel. Despite anti-Israel demonstrations by supporters of the Palestinians, Peres told Oxford University students recent peace proposals by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia might be the basis of peace, but it would require action by Arab nations to make Hamas abide by the provisions of such an agreement.

Peres raises an important point in emphasizing any agreement must be implemented and responsibility for that rests in the hands of Arab leaders. On the other hand, the Israel government must be prepared to deal with angry West Bank settlers in order to ensure that agreements are respected. Most probably, there might have to be some minor modifications about the West Bank that would allow a small portion to remain in the hands of Israel. Such, might be reality.

Israel Blames Hamas For Gaza Troubles

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, called on world leaders to take action against Hamas for creating turmoil in Gaza. “As we speak, Israel citizens are being attacked by Hamas. Israel can not stand idly by while its citizens are being attacked. When Israel is attacked, it must respond. No nation asks Israel to stand idly by while its citizens are attacked, but Livni ignores attacks by Israel West Bank settlers on Palestinians who are trying to harvest their crops or restrictions which economically damage the ability of Palestinians to carry out their work. David Miliband, foreign secretary, called on both sides to seek peace in Gaza but also asked Israel to cease expanding West Bank settlements.

Many European nations want pressure to be exerted on West Bank settlements in order to remove a barrier to peace in the Middle East. In a speech earlier this month, Miliband expressed his concerns: “Settlement activity is illegal, it also makes a Palestinian state more difficult to achieve.”

Jewish Settlers Defies Logic And Judaism On West Bank

Nadia Matar, leader of the radical Jewish settler movement, Women in Green, expressed her anger at Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who changed his nation’s policy by switching to support a UN resolution calling on Israel to cease building more settlements in the West Bank. However, according to Ms. Matar, “who are you to tell me I am not allowed to build here, in my homeland? Jews are allowed to build in France, in New York, in Australia, but I am not allowed to build here?” She believes the Oslo accords with Palestinians was a “criminal betrayal” of Jews and the peace treaty with Egypt w as a “tragic mistake.” Perhaps, one could smile at the stubborn refusal of Ms. Matar to come to grips with reality, but her attitude is also found among many Israeli citizens who continue believing their nation does not have to compromise.

In 1972, there were 1182 Jewish settlers in the West Bank, today, there are about 282,00. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has come the full cycle and now accepts the need for compromise and evacuation of the West Bank if Israel is to achieve lasting peace. If people like Ms. Matar have power, Israel is condemned to another fifty years of fighting and anger and killing.

Israel Security Chief Warns Of Violence

Israeli Shin Bet chief, Yuval Diskin, warned the Cabinet that action to remove West Bank settlers would most probably result in conflict that could turn violent. The Cabinet voted to end any support either direct or indirect to the illegal outposts which are constructed by extreme minded settlers who want Israel to rule the West Bank and have scant interest in the needs of Palestinians. “The scope of the conflict will be much larger than it is today and than it was during the disengagement,” warned Diskin. ‘Our investigation found a very high willingness among the public to use violence– not just stones, but live weapons– in order to prevent r halt a diplomatic process.”

There is evidence the settlers are trapped in messianic, mystic views that endow their actions with support from God. Right wing Israel fanatics believe they must fight to retain control of the West Bank as though it was something ordained in Heaven. Reality is there will not be peace between Israel and Palestinians without ending West Bank settlements as they presently exist.