A Palestinian protester holds a placard in front of Israeli soldiers during a demonstration in the West Bank village of al-Masara near Bethlehem, marking the recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state by the United Nations. Friday Nov. 30
(photo credit: AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
US Policy In Middle East Caught Between Idealism and Real Politik, Results in Confusing and Mixed Messages
Immediately before the peace talks were about to start, Israel announced plans to build more settlements, immediately threatening the peace talks, which even if the Palestinians want to continue, would have to give up even the pretense of being an equal player. This seems to be a deliberate effort at sabotage, or if that is not the case then at least rubbing the Palestinians noses in their lack of power and playing up the American’s lack of sincerity in attempting to give the Palestinians a fair break.
I am not exactly saying that is the game plan, but well, what else can it be. The US is taking hits all over the Middle East as Obama’s policies are proven to be just verbiage from Libya, to Syria, most significantly in Egypt and even the propaganda ploy in Palestine is being shown up almost immediately as little more than pretense. It is hard to understand what exactly Kerry is planning here unless the US is going to use some real leverage and remove military aid to all these players. But Obama has claimed to want to try a soft diplomatic effort, which becomes mired in the Gordian knot of the politics of the region. If the US wants to pursue some wings of Al Qaeda in say Yemen, support for others such as in Syria seems to be the price that the Saudi’s extract for the US to play on their turf.
The sad thing is that Obama with his speech in Cairo lifted expectations of the peoples of the Middle East and then the real politics of the US long term politics would leave these people high and dry, or as in the case of Egypt in a descending spiral of violence and the Syrian people engaged in a civil war that will probably end in the partition of the nation. Libya has become an Al Qaeda base for moving into the West Africa, and leading to destabilization in Mali, Nigeria, Chad and others to be seen.
Unintended consequences or simply the result of the on going game of chess that is international politics? Lives are at stake and the conclusion is still that the US should withdraw or completely change from a capitalist exploiter to some kind of a socialist people’s republic and even then there is no guarantee that national interests won’t trump international solidarity. There simply are too many factors and factions in the world today. It would behoove the US policy makers to attempt to pull back as much as possible and let international policy to be made through the UN, but that would take real change. Right now we have a muddling policy after an aggressive and pointless one under the Bush administration.
The USA when it was clearly pro Israel and pro dictators was at least consistent. Now that it is giving lip service and pseudo support to democracy, it is confusing people and causing unneeded misery throughout the region. Capitalist priorities make it impossible to implement a true democratic policy. We need to reject the control of the elite interest groups and work seriously for change or not pretend and cause people’s unwarranted deaths.
From Electronic Intifada
Quit meddling, Kerry, leave the Israel problem to the proper authorities
by Stuart Littlewood
No sooner had peace talks restarted under the warped patronage of the United States than Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu published bids for the construction of more than 1,000 new housing units in Palestinian East Jerusalem and existing illegal West Bank squats.
This and all the other unpunished illegal squatter building by Israel should have caused any sensible Palestinian to walk away from the ‘peace’ table, and never to have sat down in the first place. Of course, no sensible Palestinians are taking part in this latest peace pantomime. Instead we have to suffer the antics of Abbas and Erekat, the most obliging negotiators on the planet, who think nothing of holding talks without a popular mandate and while the thieving, blockading, lethal military force and trashing of their country continue unchecked.
John Kerry and Benjamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem, May 23.
From the Middle East Monitor
Kerry was aware of latest settlement plans
Friday, 16 August 2013 12:04
Israeli newspaper Maariv has revealed that US Secretary of State John Kerry scolded Benjamin Netanyahu about Israel’s latest plans to expand settlements; they will, Kerry said, reduce the country’s legitimacy in the international arena. The secretary of state’s telephone call was an attempt to deflect Palestinian criticisms of settlement expansion.
Maariv portrayed this news as if the US is capable of being an honest broker in the conflict, but the truth of the matter is entirely different. In reality, Secretary Kerry was well aware of Israel’s plans to expand settlements in Jerusalem prior to resuming negotiations and he did not object.
According to the newspaper, Thursday’s telephone call came after a three-way conversation between Kerry, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Netanyahu on Monday. Kerry is alleged to have urged Netanyahu to halt all settlement expansion for the first nine months of negotiations. This, said Maariv, was despite the fact that he already knew about the Israeli plans for 1,200 new housing units in occupied Jerusalem as well as another 920 units in the Gilo colony-settlement.
According to Israeli officials, Kerry’s criticism of settlement expansion was lip service for the Palestinians’ benefit.
- See more at: http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/6939-kerry-was-aware-of-latest-settlement-plans#sthash.Y4Sbw1YQ.dpuf
Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel announced Sunday that he has given final approval for the construction of 1,187 apartments in settlements
From the Independent
Peace talks at risk as Israel approves 900 more settlement homes despite Palestinian prisoners release
Long-awaited negotiations near collapse before they start - even as release of Palestinian prisoners begins
Wednesday 14 August 2013
Close to 560,000 Israeli nationals now live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel occupied those areas in the 1967 war and considers its rule of East Jerusalem as reflecting a “liberation” of the area and its Jewish holy sites.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior official with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said the approval of thousands of homes for Jewish settlers could bring about the “collapse” of the talks. “This settlement expansion is unprecedented,” Mr Abed Rabbo said. “It threatens to make talks fail even before they have started.”
The surge in construction plans is intensifying Palestinian criticism of President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to return to peace negotiations with Israel without securing a freeze on further settlement.
The 900 homes will include an extension of East Jerusalem’s Gilo settlement towards the West Bank town of Beit Jala. Israel considers Gilo, which is built on land expropriated from the Palestinians of Beit Jala, an integral part of its capital.
Palestinians believe the new buildings will reinforce a wedge of settlement that separates Arab areas of East Jerusalem and the Bethlehem area in the West Bank. “This [move] means that Israel is determined to force its position,” said Jad Ishaq, director of the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem, a non-governmental organisation that monitors settlement activity. “There is a shortage of land in Beit Jala and this should be land on which Beit Jala expands.”
Efrat Orbach, a spokeswoman for the Israeli interior ministry, confirmed that approval had been given to expand Gilo. She said more approvals were needed and it could be years before building began. But Israel’s Peace Now organisation disputed this, saying that construction could begin within weeks.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Palestinians should not be surprised by the plans since Israel had rejected Mr Abbas’s demand for a freeze on settlement building as a precondition for talks. “They knew that a freeze was unacceptable and they entered the talks nevertheless,” he added.
Map shows Disappearing Palestine
From the International Middle East Media Center
Israeli-Palestinian Officials Meet In Budapest
Sunday August 18, 2013
by IMEMC & Agencies Report post
Israel and Palestinian officials held a meeting, last week, in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, and discussed the efforts to ensure the continuation of the recently resumed direct peace talks, mediated by the United States.
Israeli daily, Maariv, reported Sunday that members of Knesset (MK’s) of the Yesh Atid Party (There is Future) Dov Lipman, Boaz Toporovsky, and Yifat Kariv, in addition to MK Moshe Mizrahi of the Labor Party, and David Tsur of the Hatenua Party, met with Fateh officials Qaddoura Fares and Sameeh Al-Abed, legislators Abdullah Abdullah, and Jamal Zaqqout.
MK Kariv stated that the meeting was held to help boost direct peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.
“The sooner we achieve the two-state solution, the better it is for both sides”, she said, “I left the meeting knowing we can talk with them”.
“Any support to a one-state solution from the river to the sea harms the peace process”, Kariv added, “The Israeli government also needs to make some responsible and brave decisions”.
Responding to a question regarding the effects of political stances of her party on the coalition with the Jewish Home Party, she said that “the two parties helped form the current government in Israel”, and added that “whenever a difference in political stances emerge, we need to find common ground”.
The convening Palestinian and Israeli officials agreed on issuing a joint statement that would “pressure Israeli and Palestinian leaders to reach an agreement”, and expressed support to the Geneva Initiative for peace.
On his part, Fares confirmed the meeting took place, but did not give any further statements or details.
Netanyahu: “Israel Will Always Maintain Sovereignty On Settlements, New ‘Jewish Neighborhoods”
Saturday August 17, 2013 by IMEMC & Agencies
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated during his recent meeting with UN General-Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, that Israel will continue to build and expand settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, and that settlements, and what he labeled as “new neighborhoods”, and settlement blocs will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.
During his meeting with Ki-moon two days ago, Netanyahu said that there is nothing to discuss or negotiate on regarding Israel’s settlements.
“Everybody knows new Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, all settlement blocs, will always remain under Israeli control”, he said, “There is nothing to talk about, there will be no discussion on the issue”.
The Israeli Prime Minister also claimed that “it is clear everybody known that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not the core source of tension in the Middle East”, and alleged that “the fundamental issue, the core problem in the region, is not recognizing Israel is a state for the Jewish people”.
After taking a break from describing my meals, I have decided to add them again. I would really like to figure out how to transfer images from my cell phone to my wordpress account. It would make this a lot more graphic.
I had an egg free breakfast August 18th. Chorizo, plantain, nopales, onion, garlic, two strips of Turkey bacon with hing and ginger, half a potato, a decent chunk of Panela cheese, chili powder, basil, Thai sweet chili sauce and turmeric. Corn Tortillas, fresh lettuce pieces, cilantro and New Mexican Salsa. Tastes good and has plenty of protein.