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Old 05-09-2011, 01:22 AM   #346
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Barak: We can't have it both ways with Palestinian unity
By JPOST.COM

Israel can't have it both ways opposing holding negotiations with a unified Palestinian government all the while insisting it cannot negotiate with a divided Palestinian government, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday.

For years, Israel has been telling the world that there's a problem in negotiating with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas because he doesn't control the whole of Palestinian territories, Barak told Israel Radio in a Memorial Day interview.

Barak noted that the moment Hamas joins a Palestinian government, Israel cannot say: "'Oh no,' we can't talk to [Abbas] now" because Hamas is in the government.

The defense minister said that if Hamas accepts the principles laid out by the Quartet, that Israel would be willing to hold talks with the Palestinians.

Discussing the issue in a wider regional context, he said, "In every development, from Bahrain and especially with the Palestinians, there are dangers and there are opportunities" in the changes taking place.

Asked whether recent statements by Hamas indicating a new willingness to think in terms of a two-state solution represent a change in the terrorist organization, Barak said, "If the Hamas ceases to be the Hamas that we know [today]," then we'll be in a different situation.

An Israeli leader saying something sensible.
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Old 05-09-2011, 03:16 AM   #347
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An Israeli leader saying something sensible.
Hello Deep,

I agree with Ehud Barak about this:

The defense minister said that if Hamas accepts the principles laid out by the Quartet, that Israel would be willing to hold talks with the Palestinians.

and about this:

Asked whether recent statements by Hamas indicating a new willingness to think in terms of a two-state solution represent a change in the terrorist organization, Barak said, "If the Hamas ceases to be the Hamas that we know [today]," then we'll be in a different situation.

I remember that for 30-or-so years, way before Hamas was founded, our harshest enemy was the PLO led by Yassar Arafat who also dedicated itself to Israel's destruction (hence the name: Palestine Liberation Organization). They committed numerous atrocities and terrorist attacks against us and for all those years Israel said that it would never sit down with them and even passed a law making it a criminal offence to meet with any member of the PLO.

But then came the 90's and Arafat finally realized that Palestinian statehood would never be achieved by violent means and that Israel isn't going anywhere, and therefore decided to take the important step of face-to-face negotiations which culminated in the signing of the 1993 Oslo accords with Israel. The Oslo agreement called for the PLO and Israel to recognize each other (which they did) and for negotiations to take place that will ultimately lead to an independent Palestinian state within 5 years (i.e., 1998).

Unfortunately, Hamas not only didn't recognize Oslo as binding, but rather they stepped up their vicious attacks against us and began a bloody streak of suicide bombings which claimed the lives of scores of Israeli citizens.

Also unfortunately, Arafat rejected nearly every peace proposal put forth by Israel, including Ehud Barak's unprecedented proposal of returning 97% of the West Bank to the Palestinians (including dismantling of settlements).

Moreoever, the Oslo agreement stipulated that the newly-formed Palestinian authority would disarm Hamas and stop terrorist activities against us from other organizations as well......which Arafat didn't do.

So you see, even though the PLO was considered our mortal enemy for decades, we were willing to sit down with them because they were willing to give up their terrorist activities and negotiate peace. Therein lies the difference between them and Hamas - Hamas has made their position very clear: Israel has no right to exist and all its citizens are "fair game". How can we think of sitting with them with that kind of attitude?

Therefore, I agree with Barak - we can only talk with them if they renounce terrorism and are willing to negotiate in good faith on a two-state solution (which I totally support).
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Old 05-09-2011, 03:41 PM   #348
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Meanwhile back in Manhattan,

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...City University of New York’s decision to deny playwright Tony Kushner an honorary degree—and now perhaps reinstate it—is cutting-edge. It is cutting-edge because the debate over Kushner’s degree is, at heart, a debate over whether people who want Israel to be a secular rather than a Jewish state can be tolerated in public life. That’s a debate that Americans, and particularly American Jews, haven’t had since the 1940s. But it’s returning in a big way.
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...Well into the 20th century, many American Jews opposed the creation of a Jewish state. Many Reform Jews were anti-Zionist because they feared a Jewish state would raise questions about Jewish loyalty to the US. Many Socialist Jews were anti-Zionist because they believed the proletariat should unite across religious and ethnic lines. Many Orthodox Jews were anti-Zionist because they believed that returning Jews to the land of Israel was God’s job, not man’s. Even when Jews began arriving in Palestine in large numbers, prominent Jewish intellectuals like Martin Buber, Albert Einstein, Henrietta Szold, the founder of the American Jewish women’s organization, Hadassah, and Judah Magnes, the American-born founder of Hebrew University, argued for the creation of a secular state in which neither Jews nor Arabs would have pride of place.

The Holocaust and the wars that followed Israel’s creation largely obliterated that vision, and by 1967, when Israel conquered the West Bank, Zionism was as uncontroversial an element of American Jewish identity as matzo ball soup. But that’s starting to change. The reason is that for many liberal American Jews, Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state is bound up with its status as a democratic state. As former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert have acknowledged, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank imperils that. Ever since 1967—for more than two-thirds of its existence—Israel has held dominion over millions of West Bank Palestinians who lack citizenship simply because they are not Jews. Creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would remedy that, but with 300,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and an additional 200,000 in East Jerusalem, more and more close observers fear the window for creating such a state has closed. As former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg wrote last month in Haaretz, “I am not at all sure that a two-state solution formula is alive.”

Enter Tony Kushner. Kushner says he believes that Buber and Magnes were right: “that democratic government must be free of ethnic or religious affiliation.”
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Still, I think he’s wrong. Israel was created not merely to be a Jewish democracy, but to be a Jewish refuge, and even though most American Jews can’t imagine needing one, the long history of Jewish persecution suggests that we should not blithely assume that diaspora Jewish communities will always be as fortunate as us. Secondly, while there is certainly a tension between Israel’s Jewish and democratic character, Israel’s Arab citizens (those within its 1967 borders) do serve in Israel’s parliament and supreme court. Indeed, they enjoy more rights and live better lives than do their cousins in most of the Arab world, which is why most Israeli Arabs would rather live in a Jewish state than a Palestinian one. In the real world, replacing this flawed but nonetheless genuine democracy with a secular bi-national state would mean a leap into the dark. Bi-nationalism, after all, barely works in Belgium, let alone Israel, where Palestinians and Jews have been at war for a century. Does anyone really believe that an Israeli Defense Force composed half of Jews and half of Palestinians would be anything but a cloak for rival militias? As Reinhold Niebuhr often stressed, liberalism is not a utopian creed, and if you think dismantling Israeli settlements is unrealistic, think what it would mean to dismantle the IDF.
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But while I disagree with Kushner, there’s something valuable about his challenge. The American Jewish establishment has answered people like him by trying to bar bi-nationalists from the Jewish conversation. In accordance with Hillel’s national guidelines, its Brandeis affiliate recently spurned Jewish Voices for Peace, of which Kushner is a member, because it “den[ies] the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.” Maybe we should hold them to that standard. If Kushner is traif for questioning Israel’s Jewish character, shouldn’t Hillel also shun people who by entrenching Israel’s occupation threaten its democratic character? The platform of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, for instance, explicitly opposes a Palestinian state, which means Likud wants to permanently disenfranchise millions of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, which means it wants at least part of Israel to be a permanent non-democracy. Maybe Hillel should bar Likud officials until that platform is revoked? I wonder if Jeffrey Wiesenfeld—the CUNY trustee who spearheaded the anti-Kushner effort—could pass Hillel’s test.
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:00 AM   #349
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Israel is getting away with robbing Palestinian taxes - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:08 AM   #350
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Why should Israel send money to the very government who wants to destroy it? If someone puts a gun to our head should we give them the money to buy the bullets?

As long as the PA was a partner to negotiations (albeit an unwilling one), Israel kept sending the money through, but now that he has decided to turn his back on any prospect for peace and has placed his lot with terrorists committed to our destruction, we have every right to withhold these funds to make sure they're not used to buy weapons against us.

How would you feel if the U.S. aid that Israel receives was used to purchase weapons to be used against the United States?

I'm sorry that, once again, the Palestinian people are being made to suffer because of their government.

Abbas made his bed and now he must lie in it.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:11 PM   #351
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Live blog of Obama’s Middle East address – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs

I sat through President Obama's speech (which was truly stunning) and I really want to believe with all my heart that his vision of a new Middle East can actually come true.

I want to believe the the newly created state of Palestine will co-exist peacefully with Israel. I want to believe that the forces of terrorism will be routed from the region and that the influences of Iran and Al Qaida will be replaced by forces for good and prosperity.

I want to believe that the Palestinian people will see a way in which our two states can help each other to prosper and grow in a region flourishing with growth and hope rather than drowing in seas of blood, tears and despair.

At this moment, I will be as naive as a two-year old and I will say with a hopefull voice: I embrace Pres. Obama's vision and I will do everything I am able to do within my limitations to help facilitate this change for the better.

I LOVED this speech - I actually had visions of blue skies, birds chirping, sun shining, and me actually going to work in the morning, knowing that there are no terrorists waiting to shoot me in the street or plant a bomb on my train or run me down in a car......and that I don't cringe in fear when an Arab man or woman gets on the train and sits next to me.

It is a wonderful vision....and I support it entirely. One can only hope that someone in Gaza or Ramallah or Damascus or Tehran or Beirut listened as attentively as I did and is thinking the exact same thing.

Only time will tell and only concrete actions will make the change.

Peace to all of you.

Shalom
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:23 PM   #352
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In order to truly believe, you must drop the "I will be naive as a two-year old..." preface to your statement, and be an adult that believes.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:27 PM   #353
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In order to truly believe, you must drop the "I will be naive as a two-year old..." preface to your statement, and be an adult that believes.
As an adult, I've seen two many hopes dashed, I've seen too many innocents killed and I've been disappointed time and time again.

This time I choose to be a child, to see the world through fresh eyes and put all cynicism aside. I choose to trust in a better way of life for everyone in the region. I choose to believe that it is truly possible this time.

The child is hope for the future, the adult is the reality of the present - I choose the hope for the future.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:29 PM   #354
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I understand what you are saying, my point is that hope and optimism doesn't need to be "naive".
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:38 PM   #355
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I understand what you are saying, my point is that hope and optimism doesn't need to be "naive".
Unfortunately it does in this region....but my naivite(sp?) is fused with a healthy dosage of hope and promise.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:19 PM   #356
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One of the most important things to come out of the speech is that the 1967 borders are the basis for the Palestinian State.

Building settlements in the West Bank is a Roadmap straight to more abandonment for legitimacy for the State of Israel.

Israel Ehud Barak: Israel's Barak says Netanyahu must take 'daring' steps toward peace - latimes.com
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:04 AM   #357
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Kind of on topic - so many of the commentators/shouters on the right in the US really don't seem to bother to read or watch something like this, do they? It seems so much of it is just based on a Drudge headline, and that's it? The only new thing Obama really dropped in there in regards to Israel-Palestine was to do with borders with Jordan. The whole 1967 + Land Swap is nothing new, at all. Yet everyone on the right seems to be screaming about this treacherous back stabbing over him mentioning '1967'. Bush did. Clinton did. Bush the elder did. What of it? They're also leaping all over Obama saying that Israel needs to be able to defend itself 'by itself' and saying that this means the US is leaving them hanging. I read that like this Isreal needs to defend itself - by itself***




***i.e. we're going to continue arming them to the teeth, so STFU about all of that.
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Old 05-20-2011, 11:00 AM   #358
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It seems so much of it is just based on a Drudge headline, and that's it?[/I]


this is what happens when you're a political party that has mastered the tactics, but has no actual strategy.

who wins the day? that's what matters.
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:13 PM   #359
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Netanyahu addresses AIPAC tonight and Congress tomorrow; will be interesting to see if he revises his tone towards Obama's speech any.


Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast, May 23:
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In a few months, the UN General Assembly will vote, probably overwhelmingly, to recognize a Palestinian state along Israel’s 1967 borders. No one knows exactly what will happen after that, but from the Israeli government’s point of view, it won’t be good. According to international law, Israel will be occupying a sovereign nation. The result will likely be a bonanza of lawsuits, divestment campaigns and cancelled business deals. Israelis will feel more and more besieged. More and more of the country’s educated, tech-savvy young will realize you can get pretty good falafel in Menlo Park.

Last week, Obama threw Netanyahu a lifeline. He outlined the parameters that should guide Israeli-Palestinian negotiations: the 1967 border, plus land swaps. Obama’s strategy was clear: He promised to veto the Palestinians’ bid for statehood at the UN Security Council, but also hoped that by getting the Israeli government to endorse a contiguous Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, he could persuade the Palestinians to abandon their United Nations strategy in favor of a return to negotiations. And even if the Palestinians wouldn’t budge, Israel’s acceptance of Obama’s guidelines would make it easier to persuade European governments to oppose the Palestinians at the UN.
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Netanyahu’s response was, on its face, bizarre. The 1967 borders, he shot back, were “indefensible.” But Obama had not demanded a return to 1967 borders; he had very explicitly endorsed the 1967 borders with land swaps, which is essentially what Bill Clinton endorsed in late 2000 and Ehud Olmert endorsed in 2008. (In fact, Clinton and Olmert went further than Obama: Both endorsed a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem and in different ways, signaled an openness to the return of small numbers of Palestinian refugees to Israel). But that was only the beginning of the weirdness of Netanyahu’s response, because if Israel’s 1967 border is indefensible against conventional attack, land swaps of the sort that Clinton and Olmert envisaged actually make the problem worse. The settlement of Ariel, which Olmert hoped to swap for land inside Israel, juts like a bony finger 13 miles into the northern West Bank. According to the 2003 Geneva Initiative, keeping Maale Adumim, another large settlement for which Israel might swap land, requires a thin land bridge across a Palestinian state to Jerusalem. How on earth would keeping these islands of Jewish settlement make Israel’s borders more defensible? To the contrary, if Israel ever did suffer a conventional attack from the West Bank, one of the first things it would do is evacuate places like Ariel and Maale Adumim, precisely because their location makes them, well, indefensible.

Over the course of his career, Benjamin Netanyahu has written a lot about what he considers “defensible borders” for Israel, and his definition has always included far more than just a few land swaps. Again and again, he has demanded an Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, Israeli control of the hills overlooking key Palestinian cities, and Israeli access to the major thoroughfares of the West Bank. In other words, Netanyahu’s long career offers no indication that he would support a sovereign, contiguous Palestinian state along 1967 lines even with land swaps. What’s more, he has ruled out negotiating with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas, ruled out the return of even one Palestinian refugee, and demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” something Ehud Barak never demanded in 2000. The result is that he has made it easy for the Palestinians to eschew negotiations and stick with their UN strategy. Obama threw him a lifeline and he has defiantly tossed it back.
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It makes you wonder whether Netanyahu has any grasp of the world in which he is living. Does he seriously believe that the Obama administration, having ignominiously failed to get Israel to accept negotiations based upon the 1967 lines, can strong-arm the Europeans into opposing a Palestinian state at the UN? Does he have any strategy for the “diplomatic tsunami”—in Ehud Barak’s words—that is about to hit? He talks a lot about Palestinian violence, but he seems utterly flummoxed by Palestinian nonviolence. Yes, the Palestinians still produce rockets and suicide bombers. But in the Netanyahu era, their focus has moved decisively toward peaceful marches, boycotts and appeals to international law. They are playing on the world’s sympathy and the world’s impatience, and in that effort, this Israeli prime minister is the best friend they could have.

Over the last few days, Netanyahu has defied the president of the United States and forced him, once again, to retreat. He has won Washington. If only he realized that Washington is no longer the world.
Per usual with this topic, the reader comments make for some highly entertaining reading.
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Old 05-24-2011, 04:52 PM   #360
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Netanyahu addresses AIPAC tonight and Congress tomorrow; will be interesting to see if he revises his tone towards Obama's speech any.
Yeah, well, guess not...


ABC News, May 24
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Speaking to a packed House chamber with Speaker Boehner and Vice President Biden over his shoulders, Netanyahu was repeatedly interrupted by applause--including 29 standing ovations.

One of his biggest applause lines was aimed directly at President Obama. “Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967,” Netanyahu said, prompting a big standing ovation.

...Netanyahu also got big ovations with hard-line statements on two other perennial sticking points to Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements: No right of return for Palestinian refugees, he insisted, and “Jerusalem will never again be divided. Israel must remain the united Capital of Israel.”

Netanyahu arguably got a warmer reception than President Obama received during his last State of the Union and certainly a warmer reception than he’d received at the Knesset.
Ironically, on this issue I find it increasingly hard to remember that most Americans are considerably further to the right than I am.
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