State Department “Dismayed” at Israel Actions in East Jerusalem: Mitchell Makes Zero Progress

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This is a priceless exchange between journalist “Matt” and State Department spokesman Ian Kelly. Who is Matt?
Terrific job on his part — not so terrific on George Mitchell’s team’s part. . .
Daily Press Briefings : Daily Press Briefing – November 17
Tue, 17 Nov 2009 14:29:30 -0600
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2009/nov/132024.htm
Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
November 17, 2009

t1_mitchell.jpgQUESTION: On the peace process, Israel has approved today the construction of 900 new housing units in East Jerusalem. How do you view this approval at this specific time?
MR. KELLY: Well, I think, Michel, you’ve heard us say many times that we believe that neither party should engage in any kind of actions that could unilaterally preempt or appear to preempt negotiations. And I think that we find the Jerusalem Planning Committee’s decision to move forward on the approval of the – approval process for the expansion of Gilo in Jerusalem as dismaying.
This is at a time when we’re working to re-launch negotiations, and we believe that these actions make it more difficult for our efforts to succeed. So we object to this, and we object to other Israeli practices in Jerusalem related to housing, including the continuing pattern of evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes.
And – just to repeat what we’ve said all along, our position on Jerusalem is clear. We believe that the – that Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved through negotiations between the two parties.
QUESTION: Can you tell us, did this come up in Ambassador Mitchell’s meetings in London yesterday? Apparently, we were told that he met an advisor to Netanyahu, asked them to not permit these new buildings, and then that request was flatly turned down.
MR. KELLY: Yeah. Andy, I just don’t want to get into the substance of these negotiations. They’re sensitive. I think you’ve seen the Israeli – some Israeli press reports that did report that this was raised in the meetings. This is – I mean, these kinds of unilateral actions are exactly the kind of actions that we think that both sides should refrain from at a time when we’re trying to start the negotiations again. But I don’t want to get into the substance of the discussions yesterday in London.
QUESTION: Would you steer us away from not believing the Israeli press reports?
MR. KELLY: I just don’t want to get into the substance. I’m not going to steer you one way or the other on it.
QUESTION: Where’s Senator Mitchell today?
QUESTION: How long is the U.S. going to continue to tolerate Israel’s violation of international law? I mean, soon it’s not even going to be possible – there’s not going to be any land left for the Palestinians to establish an independent state.
MR. KELLY: Well, again, this is a – we understand the Israeli point of view about Jerusalem. But we think that all sides right now, at this time when we’re expending such intense efforts to try and get the two sides to sit down, that we should refrain from these actions, like this decision to move forward on an approval process for more housing units in East Jerusalem.
QUESTION: But should U.S. inaction, or in response to Israel’s actions, then be interpreted as some sort of about-face in policy – the President turning his back on the promises he’s made to the Palestinians?
MR. KELLY: You’re – okay, you’re using language that I wouldn’t use. I mean, again, our focus is to get these negotiations started. We’re calling on both parties to refrain from actions, from – and from rhetoric that would impede this process. It’s a challenging time, and we just need to focus on what’s important here, and that’s —
QUESTION: Well, what actions (inaudible) the Palestinians taken recently that would impede progress?
MR. KELLY: Well, as I say, we would discourage all unilateral actions, and I think —
QUESTION: Fair enough. But the Palestinians —
MR. KELLY: We talked yesterday —
QUESTION: — don’t appear to be taking any unilateral actions. It seems to be (inaudible).
MR. KELLY: Well, we did talk yesterday about the – and I want to make sure I get my language right here – about the – discouraging any kind of unilateral appeal for United Nations Security Council recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. That would fall in that category of unilateral actions.
QUESTION: Okay. So the Palestinian call for this, which was rejected by both the EU and yourself yesterday, you’re putting that on the same level as them building – as the Israelis building —
MR. KELLY: No, I’m not saying that. You just said that, Matt. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that —
QUESTION: Well, you’re saying you’re calling on both sides to stop doing these things.
MR. KELLY: We are.
QUESTION: Yeah. But the rhetoric from the —
MR. KELLY: I’m not saying they’re equivalent.
QUESTION: — Palestinians is not actually constructed in a —
MR. KELLY: I’m not saying they’re equivalent. I’m just saying that we – they – we have to treat these things as sensitive issues.
QUESTION: You said a little bit earlier that we understand the Israeli point of view on Jerusalem. Can you explain what you mean by that?
MR. KELLY: Well, you have to ask – I’m not going to stand up here and characterize the Israeli point of view on —
QUESTION: No. I’m just asking you, if you understand the Israeli point of view on Jerusalem, why are you saying that this is not a good thing?
MR. KELLY: I’m not saying we support the Israeli point of view. We understand it.
QUESTION: Right. And then, last one on this, you characterized this decision by the planning commission as dismaying.
MR. KELLY: Yes.
QUESTION: You can’t come up with anything stronger than “dismaying”? I mean, this flies in the face of everything you’ve been talking about for months and months and months.
MR. KELLY: It’s dismaying.
QUESTION: Yeah, you can’t offer a condemnation of it or anything like that? (Laughter.) I mean, who is in charge of the language here.
MR. KELLY: I have said what I have said, Mr. Lee.
Yeah.
QUESTION: Would you say, though, that your own envoy has – does he have any leverage at this point, given the fact that the Israelis not only refuse, but blatantly have ignored his wishes on this?
MR. KELLY: Well, let’s take a step back and let’s also recognize that both sides agree on the goal, and that goal is a comprehensive peace. That goal is two states living side by side in peace and security and cooperation. So that is why we continue to be committed to this. That is why Special Envoy Mitchell meets with both sides at every opportunity, and why we are continuing to expend such efforts on this. So let’s remember that, that we do share a common goal.
QUESTION: Well, where’s Senator Mitchell today?
MR. KELLY: I believe Senator Mitchell is on his way back today.
QUESTION: Could you give us just a brief synopsis of the progress that Senator Mitchell has made in his months on the job?
MR. KELLY: Well, I think we have – we’ve gotten —
QUESTION: Yeah, maybe if the —
MR. KELLY: — both sides to agree on this goal. We have gotten both sides —
QUESTION: Ian, they agreed on the goal years ago. I mean, that’s not —
MR. KELLY: Well, I think that we – this government —
QUESTION: You mean you got the Israel Government to say, yes, we’re willing to accept a Palestinian state? You got Netanyahu to say that, and that’s his big accomplishment?
MR. KELLY: That is an accomplishment.
QUESTION: But previous Israeli administration – previous Israeli governments had agreed to that already.
MR. KELLY: Okay, all right.
QUESTION: So in other words, the bottom line is that, in the list of accomplishments that Mitchell has come up with or established since he started, is zero.
MR. KELLY: I wouldn’t say zero.
QUESTION: Well, then what would you say it is?
MR. KELLY: Well, I would say that we’ve gotten both sides to commit to this goal. They have – we have – we’ve had a intensive round or rounds of negotiations, the President brought the two leaders together in New York. Look —
QUESTION: But wait, hold on. You haven’t had any intense —
MR. KELLY: Obviously —
QUESTION: There haven’t been any negotiations.
MR. KELLY: Obviously, we’re not even in the red zone yet, okay.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. KELLY: I mean, we’re not – but it’s – we are less than a year into this Administration, and I think we’ve accomplished more over the last year than the previous administration did in eight years.
QUESTION: Well, I – really, because the previous administration actually had them sitting down talking to each other. You guys can’t even get that far.
MR. KELLY: All right.
QUESTION: I’ll drop it.
MR. KELLY: Give us a chance. Thank you, Matt.
Yeah, in the back.
QUESTION: It seems Senator Mitchell is focusing in his meetings on the Israeli side. Is he – does he have any plans to talk with the Palestinians, or there is no need now for that?
MR. KELLY: Well, he, as I say, he had meetings yesterday with the Israelis. He’s coming back to the U.S. now. He always stands ready to talk to both sides. There are no plans at this moment to meet with the Palestinian side.
Wow. Impressive questions. Depressing responses.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

56 comments on “State Department “Dismayed” at Israel Actions in East Jerusalem: Mitchell Makes Zero Progress

  1. GREENFELD MEIR says:

    in my humble opinion Israel has to stand up for the right and develop many houses in all part of Israel if America don’t like at tough luck they are not any peace process . and if hllary clinton or obama barak dont like at the can keep 4 billion dollar .
    hillay clinton continue the same policy of bill clinton . we dont need America peace . the togther to destroy Israel we Israeli has to cool of the relationship with America ,
    but the problem isnt in usa . the problem is in israel . we easily overcome this 4 billion dollar and other problem . just not waste money . the Israeli government very wasteful . america and the European think the have the right to interfere in any other business they are wrong .
    israel has the right to build homes in all part of israel .if the arab dont like tough luck.
    with this approach usa become a terrorist country .
    let me make at clear no two country . no peace .
    if america font like at tough luck .
    Hillary Clinton and obama has economic problem 10 trillion dollar debt and other problem.
    as i said before USA is raciest country . the same as other European ,
    2000 years genocide of jewish people . in America its illegal to work . this how sick the all system . giving money to people money that dont have . i live in USA 25 years .
    in other hand the israeli government the best robbery its is Israeli IRS the were the problem start
    greenfeld
    i went to see usa stop giving money to Israel
    this kind of behavior to come to other country to tell other people that dont have houses the dont have right to the own land is typical of hillary clinto and American government

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/10/20091031142820116973.html
    Jewish directors challenge Israel
    By Sakhr al-Makhadi at the London Film Festival
    A series of controversial Israeli films are provoking outrage and plaudits in equal measure at the London Film Festival.
    The best documentary award has gone to one of the year’s most controversial films.
    Defamation is a polemic by Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir. In his expose of America’s Anti-Defamation League (ADL), he claims anti-Semitism is being exaggerated for political purposes. He argues that American Jewish leaders travel around the world exploiting the memory of the Holocaust to silence criticism of Israel.
    He gets inside the ADL, which claims to be the most powerful lobby group of its type anywhere in the world. With unprecedented access, he travels with them as they meet foreign leaders, and use the memory of the Holocaust to further their pro-Israeli agenda.
    At one point, an ADL leader admits to Shamir that “we need to play on that guilt”.
    Shamir says his film, Defamation, started out as a study of “the political games being played behind the term anti-Semitism”.
    “It became more a film about perceptions and the way Jews and Israelis choose to see themselves and define themselves – a lot of the time unfortunately choosing the role of eternal victims as a way of life.”
    Israel’s national psyche
    He wanted to find out how this mentality has become part of Israel’s national psyche.
    The film suggests that the attitude is thrust upon children from an early age. School trips to concentration camps in Poland run year-round.
    From just 500 children in the 1980s, he claims around 30,000 are now flown to Europe every year.
    He discovers that the trips are not designed to educate, but to provoke an emotional reaction. They fly out of Israel euphoric, and end their journey in tears, talking about their shared hatred.
    They are accompanied by secret service agents who prevent them from talking to any locals – they are led to believe that most Poles are anti-Semites.
    The end result is disturbing. The victim mentality is being used to justify Israel’s occupation and colonisation of the West Bank and siege of Gaza.
    In the film, one Israeli Jew tells Shamir that she refuses to get upset by Israeli aggression against the Palestinians because “we” faced worse. To her, the Holocaust justifies anything the Israeli army does.
    And for Shamir, that is the real danger. “We are experiencing the most right-wing government we’ve ever had, and there is very little room for discussion. Putting so much focus on hate and the negative, I don’t see it as a healthy thing.”
    In Israel, the film has received a mixed response. “It’s kind of a love or hate type of response to the film,” Shamir says. “It’s very hard to get people to come and watch documentaries in the cinemas in Israel.”
    continues….

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  3. nadine says:

    J-Street is walking a tightrope. They want to represent the interests of Soros and NIAC (the Iranian government PAC), their funders; but they are trying to maintain the illusion that they are somehow a “pro-Israel” group. Since they already oppose sanctions on Iran, against the will of nearly all Israelis and American Jews, it will blow their cover if they take too many other overtly anti-Israel positions. Thus the fancy footwork on the Goldstone Report.

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  4. nadine says:

    “Nadine – You provided a Jewish hack job review of Swisher’s book. Here is a respected academic review:”
    “Respected Saudi-funded think tank” would be a more accurate description of the Middle East Policy Council than “respected academic”.
    Claiming that it was Barak who walked away from the Clinton Accords (the claim you echoed) is simply falsifying history by ignoring Arafat’s official response. Even Agha and Malley, who were at the talks working for Arafat, never tried to deny that Arafat refused to accept the Clinton Accords, though they had many excuses for why he could not accept them. Once you find a lie of this magnitude, any intelligent reader knows what he is dealing with.

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  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And don’t think for one moment that “J Street” represents anything other than Israel’s interests, and a continuance of the status quo. “J Street” is just a toned down AIPAC, designed to suck in the more “moderate” American Jews. But underneath the moderated facade, one finds the same zionist agenda……..
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1258566462694&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
    ‘J Street not promoting Goldstone tour’
    By GIL HOFFMAN
    J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami denied rumors on Wednesday that the lobbying group is facilitating the Washington tour of Judge Richard Goldstone, who authored the UN Human Rights Council report that accused Israel of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.
    In a letter to Livni, Ben-Ami said J Street did not endorse the Goldstone Report’s findings but it did support the report’s call for Israel to form a commission of inquiry into alleged wrongdoing in Gaza, and opposed recent attacks on the judge.
    “The organization clearly stated its opposition to the UN’s decision and its support for the American opposition to the report,” Ben-Ami wrote.
    “We expressed support for Israel conducting an independent and trustworthy inquiry, the same position taken by ministers Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan. Judge Goldstone is coming to Washington next week to meet with government officials, Congressmen and other influential people. J Street is not organizing his meetings and is not connected to them.”
    Ben-Ami has said that the Israeli party his organization is closest to is Kadima. Kadima sent MKs Meir Sheetrit and Shlomo Molla to J Street’s conference in Washington three weeks ago.
    Livni sent in a letter that was read at the conference, in which she welcomed the conference but expressed reservations about the organization.
    Livni’s associates expressed satisfaction with the letter from Ben-Ami and used it to criticize Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for instructing ambassador the the US Michael Oren to boycott J Street’s conference.
    “This clarification we received proves that cooperating with J Street has paid off and that boycotting them has not,” a source close to Livni said.
    Hilary Krieger in Washington contributed to this report.

    Reply

  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    We can now count on people like Nadine to advocate for this feckless idiot Palin. No matter how disastrous Palin would be for the United States’ interests, the American Zionist fanatics would tolerate it, as long as it was good for Israel.
    These are Americans? Reading the commentary of these propagandists such as Nadine, or zionist “true believers” like Wig-Wag, who can doubt that they’d sell our country out in a hot flash if Israel was to benefit from such treason? There is the danger of the extreme Zionist right. To them, the United States is not an “ally” with Israel but instead a vassal or factotum, existing only to serve the interests of Israel.
    Palin’s message resonates with brainless middle America, fed decades of false information, propaganda, and outright lies about our “alliance” with the racist and criminal state of Israel. Palin’s comments went straight out to Joe Nascar and Betty Walmart, lapped up like a 50’s Southerner reading about deficient negro genes. Worse, the message is multiplied by the left, Berman, Reid, Hoyer, all reinforcing Palin’s ignorant and damaging spew.
    The “plight of the Palestinians” has become worse under Obama, not better. His ineptitude and inability to marshall his party has created disaster, and utterly ruined the prospects for constructive dialogue.
    This president is going to be a one termer, and his inexperience and incompetence is going to open the White House doors to the likes of Palin or Steele. God help us.
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/11/palin-on-israel.html
    Palin On Israel
    Her position helps clear up another reason why so many of us were terrified last year that she might get her hands near a nuclear button, thanks to John McCain. Since Obama took office, the White House has for the first time in many, many years actually tried seriously to get Israel to stop engaging in daily provocation of the people they will one day have to make peace with by stopping settlement construction. The Israeli government, contemptuous of the new administration, has given the US the finger again.
    Today, in an even more brazen act of anti-American defiance, we read this:
    The cornerstone-laying ceremony at Nof Zion took place a day after the Israeli authorities moved ahead with plans for the expansion of Gilo, a Jewish residential district in south Jerusalem also on land captured in the 1967 war. The plans for 900 more housing units drew a sharp rebuke from the White House.
    The contempt for the US president and contempt for the Palestinians is revealed in this Goldblog email:
    “Gilo is so much a part of the Israeli consensus that even a Meretz member of the Jerusalem City Council told Army Radio this morning that it is integral part of Jerusalem and that Israel has every right to build there”
    The criterion here is not what America might think, or the Palestinians might think, but just where the Israeli consensus is. That’s all that matters – even to American commentators. And all this is designed, of course, to prevent any future two-state solution.
    Those who say they are for a two-state solution also somehow always find a reason why, in this case, the US should bow to Israel again. Take my colleague Jeffrey Goldberg who – surprise! – writes this:
    It doesn’t matter, then, if the Israelis build 900 housing units in Gilo or 900 skyscrapers: Gilo will be kept by Israel in exchange for a one-to-one land swap with Palestine. All “settlements” are not created equal: Better for the Obama Administration to talk tough to Israel about the settlements ringing Nablus, for instance, because these are communities whose existence makes it impossible to create a contiguous, viable Palestinian state.
    But why should we tolerate any such settlements? Why should we continue to enable the Israelis’ persistent desire to seize more Palestinian land, evict more Palestinian families, and create yet more facts on the ground that make any final deal more and more outside our reach? The settlements are a constant humiliation for the Palestinians, they inflame Arab opinion, and these actions have been designed in part to humiliate Obama and show the Arab world who really dictates the boundaries of US foreign policy in the Middle East. It isn’t the president of the United States.
    Things are bad enough with Obama, whose humiliation at the hands of a thrilled Netanyahu is not unnoticed across Europe and the Middle East. But imagine – just imagine – if John McCain had been elected, had fallen ill, and we had his beloved Sarah Palin in the White House. Right now.
    WIth Bill Kristol and Dick Cheney at her side, we’d get this:
    PALIN: I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon, because that population of Israel is, is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead. And I don’t think that the Obama administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand.
    WALTERS: Even if it’s [in] Palestinian areas?
    PALIN: I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expand.
    If you’d ever wondered why Kristol has tried to put this know-nothing whack-job in the White House, you know now.
    Andrew Sullivan

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “You provided a Jewish hack job review of Swisher’s book”
    Well, of course. Did you expect different? Some people live in a wonderful world of fantasy, where no Palestinians are going hungry, they all have access to medical care, and Israel would embrace them with open arms if they’d just roll over and play dead. (After handing over the deed to their land, of course.)

    Reply

  8. jdledell says:

    Nadine – You provided a Jewish hack job review of Swisher’s book. Here is a respected academic review:
    http://www.mepc.org/journal_vol12/0503_csbkr.asp

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    I had never heard of Clayton Swisher, so I did some Googling and found this from a review of his book. Is this where you got the idea that Arafat didn’t refuse the Taba Accord, from an account that literally omits mentioning Arafat’s final, official response to the Clinton Accords? LOL, no wonder you believe such crap. I at least got the Palestinians side from readying Agha and Malley, who were there.
    “Swisher’s own dishonesty is most evident at the very end of his book, in which he attempts to deliver his coup de grace. He discusses the Palestinian reaction to the Clinton Parameters of December 2000, trying to show that the Palestinians did not in fact reject them.
    On the Palestinian side, Arafat showed detailed interest while listing his own reservations in a letter faxed to Clinton on December 28. It is worth reprinting the letter in full, in order to puncture yet another myth of Palestinian rejectionism, this one regarding the Clinton Parameters; namely, that the Israelis accepted them while the Palestinians rejected them.
    On the same page (399) Swisher slams Ross for spreading the “fairy tale” of Palestinian rejection. He then reprints a letter from Arafat to Clinton dated December 28, in which Arafat expresses several reservations about the Clinton ideas but does not seem to reject them outright.
    But this was not Arafat’s last word on the matter. Five days later Arafat met with Clinton at the White House, informed Clinton that his reservations still stood, and presented Clinton with a response that rejected virtually every provision of the Clinton Parameters (see Camp David 2000). Swisher makes no mention of this document, the Official Palestinian Response to the Clinton Parameters,(6) an extremely odd omission considering that he saw fit to reprint in full the much less significant text of Arafat’s earlier letter.
    Swisher’s attempt to show that the Palestinian rejection of the Clinton Parameters was a “fairy tale” flies in the face of logic. Israel had accepted the Parameters. Had the Palestinians done likewise, we would have a deal today. Swisher leaves the impression that the process failed because time ran out on the Barak and Clinton administrations. Yet had the Palestinians truly accepted the Clinton Parameters, there would have been a basis to continue. Instead, at Taba the Palestinian position hardened even more. Ahmed Qurei admitted what Swisher will not, that the Palestinians indeed rejected the Clinton Parameters while Israel accepted them:
    “We refused to accept the Clinton initiative as a basis for the negotiations. The Israelis said that the Clinton proposals should be the basis, but we rejected it.”(7)
    By his manipulation of the sources and omission of the most significant material, Swisher leaves the uninformed reader with an impression that is contrary to the truth. A closer look demonstrates that Swisher has no credibility. All that is left is to speculate on Swisher’s possible motives. ”
    http://www.peacewithrealism.org/pdc/swisher.htm

    Reply

  10. nadine says:

    Say jdledell, if you’re so big on maps, why don’t you ever ask the Palestinian side to print THEIR maps? How come we have never seen the Palestinian demands in black and white? Why in all these years have we never seen the Palestinian demands which if met, would end the conflict?
    I’ll tell you why: because they don’t want the map to negotiate a compromise. They only want maps so they can pocket the Israeli concessions, and demand that the next round of talks START where the last Israeli offer left off. They have pulled this trick over and over. That’s why Abu Mazen doesn’t want to talk now. He knows Bibi is onto him and won’t play.

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  11. nadine says:

    “Nadine – You take Dennis Ross as the absolute truth? You are more naive than I thought. ”
    Who should I take then? Yasser Arafat? That would be naivite to the hundredth power! He never told the truth to anyone, ally or enemy!
    I know whose story stayed the same after the talks failed, and whose story changed. And why.
    The talks broke down over right of return. They remain broken down over it. The rest is excuses.

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  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Nadine-I have to laugh at you. Simply stated, you buy hook, line and sinker everything the Israeli government feeds you”
    You are mistaken. Nadine KNOWS Israel is lying, and parrots those lies. Thats what a propagandist does.

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  13. jdledell says:

    Nadine – You take Dennis Ross as the absolute truth? You are more naive than I thought. Camp David should have involved several hundred of pages of detailed points. If Israel is convinced that was their offer – why not publish them? You know why, because the offer was NEVER 95%. As long as Israel can get people to repeat a lie often enough, it maybe will stick.
    Rather than just reading Dennis Ross’ book, try Clayton Swisher’s book on the same subject. Until the actual facts are published, Camp David and Taba, and Olmert’s offer will remain myths of He said, she said.

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  14. nadine says:

    “Simply stated, you buy hook, line and sinker everything the Israeli government feeds you. …First of all, the offer at Camp David was NOT 95%…Taba was theoretically a good offer but it was never codified before Barak walked away”
    I don’t have to listen to any Israelis about Camp David or Taba. Dennis Ross says it was 95% and he published the maps. Ehud Barak didn’t walk away from Taba, Yasser Arafat did. Arafat went home and proudly declared that he had “turned over the tables” and utterly refused the offer. When Taba failed, Saeb Erekat said that the negotiators had agreed on borders but the deal failed because Arafat demanded the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees to Israel.
    Later, the Palestinians realized that they were doing their cause diplomatic damage and then the story changed. Then we began to hear about “bantustans” and such claims. Malley and Agha churned out a whole series of articles to explain how it really wasn’t Arafat’s fault after all that he had refused without a counter-offer and how he shouldn’t be blamed for the suicide bombers of the intifada (at that time, Arafat still claimed that the terrorists weren’t his men). But at the beginning, the Palestinians told a different story. I remember.
    “I think any future negotiations should be absolutely transparent to the outside world. It would settle a lot of disagreements”
    This suggestion is even more ridiculous and impractical than your others. It is a 100% guaranteed way to prevent either side from ever making a concession.
    “While never officially approved by their respecive governments, there is no question that both sides understood that the Geneva Accords stipulated refugges get resettled in Palestine.”
    Who cares what Yossi Beilin agreed to in Geneva? He wasn’t speaking for Israel nor were his Palestinian interlocutors speaking for Fatah. If he wants to speak for Israel, let him win office — though with Meretz down to 3 seats in the Knesset, it’s clear that the Israeli electorate has decided that his ideas have been tried and found wanting.

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  15. jdledell says:

    Nadine – I have to laugh at you. Simply stated, you buy hook, line and sinker everything the Israeli government feeds you. Do you think it might be possible for Israel to give out any disinformation??????
    First of all, the offer at Camp David was NOT 95%. It was something slightly over 70%. It excluded the Jordan Valley. Now there was some discussion that “eventually” another 20% or so would be turned over to the Palestinians eventually but even then control of the Jordan border would remain with Israel.
    Nadine, have you ever wondered why Israel never publishes any of these “plans and offers” that were so generous to the Palestinians? If they were so proud of their magnaimous offers why would they not show the world the details and PROVE their point. I’ll tell you why, what all the offers give in the bold print, is taken away in the fine print.
    Taba was theoretically a good offer but it was never codified before Barak walked away. While never officially approved by their respecive governments, there is no question that both sides understood that the Geneva Accords stipulated refugges get resettled in Palestine. The Clinton parameters also limited the right of return.
    I think any future negotiations should be absolutely transparent to the outside world. It would settle a lot of disagreements.

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  16. nadine says:

    Barry Rubin comments on the Ian Kelly/Matt Lee exchange posted above:
    “The spokesman insists that the Obama Administration succeeded in getting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept a two-state solution. But, asks the reporter, didn’t that happen under the Bush Administration (actually, it took place in 1996 under the Clinton Administration).
    Within a few minutes, the spokesman backs down entirely. Even he cannot think of a credible achievement for the Obama Administration. It reminds one of the famous essay about the snakes of Ireland whose whole text reads: There aren’t any. In this case, the progress–to use the euphemistic language of Washington government–has been all in a backward direction. The exchange is also a great metaphor for the gap between what the Administration has done and what it gets away with claiming on lots of issues.”
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/
    Barry Rubin calls Obama’s Mideast policy “frolicking in quicksand.” Abu Mazen is throwing around empty threats about quitting, etc., so Obama stops praising Israeli cooperation and starts yelling at Bibi instead. All the while, Abu Mazen and the Arab States have given Obama ZERO cooperation, while Bibi gave Obama SOME cooperation. But Obama can’t stand even verbal pressure.
    Obama is like a parent who thinks that by giving his kid an ice cream cone every time he throws a tantrum, he will get the kid to sit quietly and finish his homework, lol.

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  17. nadine says:

    jdledell, I find it curious that you can manage to listen to what Livni says in Hebrew but totally ignore what Abu Mazen says in Arabic. Peace is not something that the poor helpless babies of Palestine deserve to be given; it is an accord that must be negotiated between two sets of politicians who are both prepared to make the hard compromises that reality requires.
    I “naively” believe that the Israelis want peace because I believe that the offers at Taba and by Olmert actually happened. These offers included a contiguous 95% West Bank, according to Bill Clinton and Dennis Ross. They would have been tremendously painful for Israel to implement because 80% of the settlements would have had to be destroyed. The deal breaker was and is “the right of return”, not the border.
    To read your comments, these offers never existed.
    Palestinians will not give up the idea that they can destroy Israel by flooding it with Arab refugees. If the Israelis are trying to send a message that if the Palestinians are mistaken if they think another 20 years of shoot’n’whine tactics will improve their position, I don’t blame them.
    There’s a reason that almost nobody in Israel agrees with you anymore, not even the “yesha nefesh” crowd in Tel Aviv.

    Reply

  18. DonS says:

    Nadine betrays her total insensitivity to the mutual nature of a possible peace accord, as far as a half kilometer here or there when ALL of the kilometers being expropriated are by the Israelis. So easy to be seemingly gratuitous when it’s someone else’s land and heritage that is at stake.

    Reply

  19. jdledell says:

    Nadine – You are naive if you think a kilometer here or there does not matter. It makes the difference in whether or not there is contingious Palestinian territory on the West Bank. Do you understand that Israel is still following Sharon’s “finger strategy” that breaks up the West Bank into reservations. Why do you think the new settlement of Adam East was started 1.5 kilometers away from Adam. Why are outposts strung between Ariel and Eli and Shilo?
    When I was in Israel for the elections, I heard Livni tell an audience that in Olmert’s plan the Jordan Valley was “leased” on a 99 year basis, like Hong Kong. Beware of what Israelis say in Hebrew versus English. Has Netanyahu every fessed up to his promise to the settlers in Maskiot that he would annex the Jordan Valley? Both the Kadima and Likud plans would lead to reservations.
    You naively believe that Israel wants peace. They do but only on their terms which is the maximum land with a minimum of Palestinians. Justice and fairness are not part of the equation. That may be acceptable to your brand of the Jewish faith but it is not acceptable to my Jewish faith.
    Until you are willing to put your name to a specific peace proposal, you are not a serious player in this drama. From what I can tell you could care less if peace ever comes to Israel.

    Reply

  20. nadine says:

    jdledell, Being afraid to expose my real views is one thing I have never been accused of before!
    I do not believe that the fundamental stumbling block is whether the border is exactly here, or half a kilometer over there. The fundamental stumbling block is whether both sides are prepared to live with the existence of the other – and the primary stumbling block is on the Arab side.
    It’s what sort of leadership exists on either side of the border, and what is their aim, prosperity for their people or their own personal power forever, regardless of the cost? If the aim is prosperity, a compromise will be found. If it’s personal power, for that an enemy works better.
    We may now return the thread to howls of leftists outraged that someone not following The Party Line dares to post here. In the 30s when you told the truth against the Party Line, they called you a counterrevolutionary and a fascist. Today they call you a neoconservative and a racist. Same difference.

    Reply

  21. samuelburke says:

    “The focus on war by other means over the internet is important, if only because it means that governments are using their vast resources to spread propaganda in a deliberate effort to confuse the debate over important foreign and domestic policy issues.
    http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2009/11/18/internet-under-siege/
    “Israel is at the forefront, exploiting its cutting edge telecommunications industry and enabled by its large and powerful diaspora to get out its message. Not surprisingly, its lobbies including AIPAC are also leaders in the effort, sometimes acting openly and sometimes covertly.
    Israel became heavily engaged on the internet during its devastating assault on Gaza last January, when world opinion came down strongly against it, recruiting teams of young soldiers and students to blog in support of Operation Cast Lead. It has recently focused on the UN’s Goldstone Report that claimed that Tel Aviv had committed numerous war crimes in Gaza, supporting a worldwide organized campaign to discredit anyone promoting the report. The latest victim of the smear has been the respected and nonpartisan group Human Rights Watch (HRW). In June Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister pledged that his government would “dedicate time and manpower to combating” human rights organizations. Shortly afterwards Ron Dermer of the Israeli Prime Minister’s office named Human Rights Watch as one of the offending organizations. Many attacks on HRW were subsequently carried out openly using various front organizations, including NGO Monitor which is based in Jerusalem and funded by wealthy Americans. Elie Wiesel, who cashes in on his humanitarian credentials while remaining notably silent over Israeli war crimes, is on the Monitor board and has written a letter attacking HRW. Critical pieces in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times soon followed the initial attacks, commentary that was distributed widely by AIPAC on Capitol Hill and also all over the internet.
    Israel’s Foreign Ministry, headed by right-wing extremist Avigdor Lieberman, runs a semi-covert program which is openly funded by the government as the “internet fighting team” but which deliberately conceals the affiliation of the “talkbackers.” Ilan Shturman coordinates the Ministry effort, which is run out of the Hasbara Department, “hasbara” being a Hebrew word that is normally translated as propaganda. Shturman’s young and enthusiastic employees work from a prepared script of official Israeli government positions. They are instructed not to identify themselves either as Israelis or as government employees. There have been numerous applicants to work for Shturman. An Israeli source reports that one applicant emphasized his own qualifications, writing “I’m fluent in several languages and I’m able to spew forth bullsh*t for hours on end.”

    Reply

  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Just lie about whether or not a property is in Jerusalem, and voila, instant expansion.
    “West Is East, When Israel Decides”
    by Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler,
    November 19, 2009
    JERUSALEM — Along a wall not about to come down —a hotel no longer a hotel, but an outpost.
    The three-story, 36-room Cliff Hotel used to be a favorite for Western pilgrims in search of the “authentic Holy Land flavor” because of its extensive gardens; it was a favorite also among Jerusalem Palestinians for wedding parties.
    Perched on a hillock opposite the biblical Mount of Olives, The Cliff offered (still offers) imposing views — eastward through the Judean desert down to the Dead Sea and up the mountains of Moab across the Jordan River; southwards to the church spires of Bethlehem; and westwards to the walled Old City and the Golden Dome of the Rock.
    Five years ago, in the wake of the Palestinian Intifadah uprising, Israel began to build its concrete security wall to fend off would-be bombers coming into Jerusalem. Border police seized the hotel and turned it into a security outpost.
    Last week, the world united in celebration of the coming down of another infamous wall.
    Palestinians tried to draw a parallel with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. On the northern outskirts of the city, at another site where Israel’s security wall cuts the West Bank off from Jerusalem, the protestors briefly managed to tumble one of the concrete eight-meter high slabs.
    The victory was short-lived, and hardly symbolic.
    Precious few Palestinians — if any — believe that kind of action can create a precedent. “Even 40 years from now, this wall won’t follow Berlin down,” says Deif Ayyad. His family home lies in the shadow of the barrier and of The Cliff.
    The hotel, now the outpost, belongs to his uncle Walid. His family built it in 1955.
    The wall dips behind the hotel and carves its way summarily between houses at the edge of what Israel designates “east Jerusalem” and the adjacent Palestinian homes across the street in the suburb of Abu Dis which Israel decrees is part of the West Bank.
    In 2004, when the Israeli government was re-surveying Jerusalem’s municipal boundary, it ruled that the hotel was not actually in the West Bank but inside the city. Deif stresses that the hotel had always paid property taxes to the West Bank town of Bethlehem, never to Jerusalem.
    continues….
    http://original.antiwar.com/kessel-klohendler/2009/11/18/west-is-east-when-israel-decides/
    Defending these kinds of actions has no foundation in a desire for “fair and just” resolution. Israel has become a facist racist state. There is no getting around it, unless one wants to assume the cowardly stance of fearing accusations of anti-semitism, or if one profits by distorting the truth in Israel’s favor, which seems to be the motivation of Congress and our national leaders.
    Let me repeat the OBVIOUS; Israel has become a facist racist state. Our support of such a regime is despicable. The money we give them is blood money, and the arms we give them are used to commit horrendous war crimes. The current leadership on the left, in derailing the peace process, blatantly opposing their President, has sunken any chance that we will see a two state solution. Basically, Reid and Hoyer, leading and in league with Congress, have signed the death warrants for thousands of Palestinians, for there is no destination on this road except violence.
    If you are not ashamed of our government, you are not paying attention.

    Reply

  23. jdledell says:

    Nadine – You are a coward. I asked a specific question and you responded with some generalized BS. Are you afraid of exposing your real views?

    Reply

  24. ... says:

    i don’t know why folks bother interacting with her… it is a complete waste of time… the upside might be that she is such a good example of a person out of touch due her zealous zionist zignorance…

    Reply

  25. nadine says:

    “Nadine – You obviously do not know many East Jerusalem Palestinians. The VAST majority identify with their Palestinian brothers and NOT Israel. They are only considered Permanent Residents of Israel – NOT citizens.”
    I notice they vote with their feet to crowd into East Jerusalem rather than stay in Bethlethm or Ramallah and they don’t take part in Palestinian elections, even though they have the right to do so. These choices speak more eloquently to me than whom they self-identify with when asked (and frankly, if any of them don’t identify with the Palestinian cause they are probably wisely staying silent. Palestinian culture is way less forgiving of dissent than Israeli culture.). They may not love Israel but they prefer to stay inside it. Who in their right senses wouldn’t, considering the low quality of governance in the PA?
    I don’t think there can ever be a “fair and just” settlement because the Israelis think it will only be fair and just only if Israel survives, and the Arabs think it will be fair and just only if Israel does not survive.
    There can be a working compromise, however, if the Palestinians decide that they want a state more than they want to destroy Israel. (That’s my update of Golda Meir’s line: “We will have peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us”) But they can’t do that with their present leadership, which is paid from abroad to destroy Israel.
    I think if donors actually wanted to see a solution, they should make it clear that they expect to see Finance Minister Fayad really build the institutions of a state as he says he wants to, and condition the aid on his being allowed to do so. If the Israelis could be persuaded they had a peace partner, you would soon find something like Taba/Olmert’s offer back on the table.
    The content of a state is more important than its borders. If it were not, Israel could not possibly have survived and flourished.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “What do you think is a Fair and Just settlent of this conflict?”
    If Nadine answers anything other than “No more Palestinians”, I would be strongly in doubt about the sincerity of her answer. Her commentary, thus far, does not seem to consider “fair and just” a neccesary component to the final solution.

    Reply

  27. jdledell says:

    Nadine – You obviously do not know many East Jerusalem Palestinians. The VAST majority identify with their Palestinian brothers and NOT Israel. They are only considered Permanent Residents of Israel – NOT citizens. As such they cannot vote in national elections. The only advantage to being an East Jerusalem Palestinin is the relative ease of working in Israel. However, I’m sure you are aware of how few job opportunities Jewish businesses give to Palestinians in the area.
    East Jerusalem Palestinians hardly get any municipal services – schools are jammed and inadequate, garbage collection is almost non-existent. Theoretically, East Jerusalem Palestinians can apply for citizenship but as my niece who works in the Interior Ministry says, those applications “always seem to get lost”.
    I don’t understand what your position is on what the ultimate Peace Agreement would entail but I suspect the Palestinians in your scheme would not get a viable state of their own. The Likud plan has always been that the Palestinians would eventually end up on four West Bank “reservations”. Each reservation would be totally surrounded by Israeli territory and all egress and ingress of all materials and people would be subject to Israeli control.
    This is the fate of East Jerusalem Palestinians in the near term. Har Homa and other “Jerusalem” settlements were contructed specifically to cut off these Palestinians from their fellow countrymen. As soon as the E-1 corrider building commences the encirclement will be complete. East Jerusalem will be a ghetto of stateless people. Very humane.
    So Nadine to you visualize the future of Palestinians on reservations? Or do you see ultimately their transfer outside of Eretz Israel? Do you see some tiny rump of a state made up of West Bank Land unwanted by Israel, done by annexing the Jordan Valley as Netanyahu wants and has promised to the people in Maskiot?
    What do you think is a Fair and Just settlent of this conflict?

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So basically, what Nadine is admitting, is that the TRUE “precondition” is that peace negotiations can resume, as long as Israel can continue its ILLEGAL settlement expansion.
    Of course, another “precondition” is that any Palestinian state must be defenseless, without a military. With Israel as a nieghbor, would YOU want to know your government can’t defend you?

    Reply

  29. nadine says:

    “Right models have no predictive power either because you don’t know that they are right until you execute the policy, duhhh. ”
    Brian, what part of the concept of “prediction” do you not understand? Of course you don’t get to see if you were right until after you test your model against reality. But once you do test it, you have empirical results to compare against the results you predicted.
    Obama’s model was that if he made concilliatory speeches to the Muslim world and picked a fight with Israel, he could get assistance in changing the tone from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, reposition the United States as an “honest broker”. This hasn’t worked on either count. The Arab response to the Cairo speech was not, “how can we help you?” but “so what are you gonna give us?” Obama’s approach to Egypt was met with a lecture and to Saudi Arabia with a tirade. He got nothing, not even a gesture.
    His approach to Israel was complicated by the fact that he picked a really stupid fight – Jerusalem. If he had demanded dismantling of illegal outposts and maybe of some far-flung settlements, half of Israelis would have agreed with that and Bibi might have been forced into full compliance. But Jerusalem? Bibi has full public support on the issue and so was free to offer a moratorium on WB construction (Israel does not consider that Jerusalem is in the WB).
    Thus of everybody of whom Obama asked something, only Bibi complied at all, which is what Hillary was forced to acknowledge. This was the opposite result to what Obama had expected. Meanwhile Abu Mazen not only gave nothing, he adopted Obama’s pre-condition as his own, which Obama ought to have foreseen but plainly did not.
    So the upshot is that instead of re-starting talks, Obama has prevented talks. His model of the Mideast had no predictive power.

    Reply

  30. Brian B says:

    Nadine, are you listening to what you are saying. Yes you can have a wrong model, but how do you know it’s going to work unless you try it out? I’d also correct your statement that “wrong models have no predictive power.” Right models have no predictive power either because you don’t know that they are right until you execute the policy, duhhh.
    Brian, what’s wrong is that the model Obama has in his head of the Mideast situation is wrong. Plainly, provably wrong, because Obama took a step expecting one thing to happen, and just the opposite happened instead. Wrong models have no predictive power. That’s how you can objectively observe that they are wrong models.
    As someone who studies this region, I am firmly behind what the Obama administration was originally doing. However, there seems to have been a decision by the Israeli’s that caused the US to back out of its stance. I think the conservative government in Israel threatened to take its business elsewhere with regards to arms shipments. I think its looking at France and/or Germany who supplied Israel before the US took over in the 50’s. The down side to this flip by the administration is that it leaves the Arab world open to infiltration by the Russians.

    Reply

  31. MNPundit says:

    Israel should be seen as a neutral party aligned against us and for itself. This is a normal stance of a state whether friendly or unfriendly to us. But with the state of the political climate it is an impossible option.

    Reply

  32. nadine says:

    Steve, I stand corrected then. Does “toughest” mean toughest, or does it mean “furthest left”? Even from an AP which has been sliding ever leftward in recent years, this was pretty far left.

    Reply

  33. samuelburke says:

    this is so f-n rich coming from a zionist.
    “The two state solution ended in 2000, when it became clear that Arafat could not give up the dream of destroying Israel no matter what he was offered.”
    the zionist dream is dying a slow death as it should.
    the dream is slowly turning into a nightmare but you do not recognize it yet.
    good for the palestinians…they have proven as intransigent as the israelis.
    enjoy the nightmare nadine et al.

    Reply

  34. nadine says:

    “Are we not witnessing the end of the two state solution?”
    The two state solution ended in 2000, when it became clear that Arafat could not give up the dream of destroying Israel no matter what he was offered. Everything since is merely a kind of zombie peace process, because Abbas could not sign or uphold any deal, no matter the terms, esp. since he lost Gaza. It’s a charade.
    You must understand that while individual Palestinians may want a state, the Palestinian leadership never has. If you have a state, you have to make compromises. You have to govern. But Palestinian politics declares that compromises are treachery, so step one of any Palestinian state would be a civil war. Not very appetizing, esp. if you are as weak and corrupt as Fatah. Much better to whine to your patrons about your suffering, unprecedented in the whole history of the world, and collect more billions in aid.
    If Abbas has any interesting in peace-making, it’s with Hamas, not Israel. But Hamas won’t compromise with him anymore than they will with Israel. Egypt tried hard to mediate. They even threw the wives of the Hamas honchos (who live in Cairo) into jail as a persuader. Still didn’t work.

    Reply

  35. nadine says:

    Brian, what’s wrong is that the model Obama has in his head of the Mideast situation is wrong. Plainly, provably wrong, because Obama took a step expecting one thing to happen, and just the opposite happened instead. Wrong models have no predictive power. That’s how you can objectively observe that they are wrong models.
    “It was either or both arrogance or naivete (I don’t think he is stupid)”
    DonS, arrogant+naive=stupid for all functional purposes

    Reply

  36. Outraged American says:

    The vehemently pro-Israel, “progressive” Congress-people,
    don’t put “blinders on” when they support Israel over US
    interests, they do it in your face.
    Dan’s going to complain (prunes, Dan, prunes) that I say yet
    again that I have lived in Waxman, Sherman, Harman and
    Bermans’ districts. Gee whiz-what do they all have in common
    beyond the last syllable in their names?
    I have taken each of those people’s offices to task about their
    support of Israel over the interests of the US.
    What did I get in return? Calls from the Capitol Police, which
    appears to have moved from Washington to Tel Aviv. And this as
    a TV news producer calling as a member of the press.
    This is all a horrible joke.
    My parents used to invite an elderly, childless, couple over for
    Thanksgiving and Christmas, to give them a family sense on the
    holidays. Maybe I’m remembering this because I’m making my
    own Thanksgiving menu plans.
    The man had been one of the first US GIs into Hiroshima after
    we dropped That Thing. He was this good, honest, plain spoken
    American who couldn’t really talk about what he saw because it
    tore him up too much.
    But one Christmas his wife told us a story that I will never get
    over — that she and her parents and siblings had just brought
    in the Christmas tree when they got a knock on their door and a
    man told them that their brother had died in WW II. 40 or so
    years later she was still crying.
    I hate war. And to be completely honest, I hate Israel for lying
    us into Iraq and now lying us into Iran, which will be WW III.
    I HATE WAR. I might never need to post anything else again
    beyond this, which just says it all about what a waste of blood
    and treasure Iraq was, and that IRAQ WAS NOT ABOUT OIL:
    Rebuilding Its Economy, Iraq Shuns U.S. Businesses
    From the New York Slimes who helped, by its outright lies, get
    us into Iraq in the first place:
    http://tinyurl.com/yj24rvo

    Reply

  37. ... says:

    John Waring, the usa has not been a part of the solution.. it has been a part of the problem with regard to the i/p issue… most folks can see this… the more americans that do, the more likely the usa can either get out of the way, or change it’s ways so as to be of some help…
    at this point if the usa stopped rubber stamping everything israel did, or vetoing any recognition of it’s illegal actions from goldstone down to every bill the usa has vetoed at the un, it would be one step in the opposite direction it has consistently taken towards the i/p issue..
    to reverse all this will take more then a few steps in the opposite direction.. even if the usa got it’s ass out of this area it would be a step in the right direction… i see the likelihood of any of this very slim at this point… us politicians are too spineless and incapable of leadership at this point… obama fits this same mold perfectly… all of them are pussyfooting around until the next catastrophe… that is a sign of a complete negation of responsibility and leadership… this is why i maintain the usa is a big part of the problem, not the solution..

    Reply

  38. downtown says:

    Whatever Obama might (have been) willing / able to do employing a less one-sided strategy has been torpedoed over and over by people in both houses. He seems now very afraid to engage in a policy not signed off on by certain special interest groups. The problem are the Engels, Nadlers, Berkleys, Schumers and Weiners, who, while being progressives on most other fronts, prefer to put on blinders when faced with Israeli intransigence.

    Reply

  39. ... says:

    the usa keeps rubber stamping these illegal zealots… i’d be embarrassed if i was an american..
    “In August, Israel’s Knesset passed a bill legislating the sale of absentee Palestinian property to private buyers. Full story at IMEU and Guardian UK.
    What it means is, if you are a Palestinian refugee (or an internally-displaced “present absentee” as some are), who, say, owned property in Jaffa pre-1948, that property can now be legally permanently sold by a special government agency to a private buyer.
    Up till now the Israeli government held such property in a special bracket and only leased it, so that Israel is not perceived internationally to be dispossessing refugees. But now this, um, unprecedented legal move sheds such reservations and enables a more complete severance between an original Palestinian owner and his/her land.
    Above photo: Canada Park, outside Jerusalem, is absentee property. From badil.org’s Nakba education center.”
    http://mondoweiss.net/2009/11/while-the-dispossessed-were-sleeping.html

    Reply

  40. ... says:

    this is usa foriegn policy as it pertains to israel : stick foot in mouth…. or worse….
    mr kelly did an awesome job of it!

    Reply

  41. DonS says:

    POA I totally agree with you that Hillary, at the very least is not breaking her neck to champion the peace process and in any case if it is turning into an albatross is not going to be caught on the ‘wrong’ side of the issue.
    I also agree that much of the blame for sabotaging any leverage Obama may have had can be laid at the doorstep of Hoyer but I don’t understanding why you find this surprising, albeit under reported (no surprise there). Congress is as much or more or an enemy to rational Is/Pal policy as is Israel.

    Reply

  42. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And again, there is no understating the role that Reid and Hoyer had in undermining any “leverage” that Obama may have had. Obama’s failure can be laid, in a very large part, right smack dab in Reid and Hoyer’s laps. There is simply no way around it.
    And personally, it would really suprise me if Hillary, behind the scenes, wasn’t working equally as dilligently as Reid and Hoyer to undermine Obama on the settlement “demands”.

    Reply

  43. Brian B says:

    that was a very impressive round of questions. It gets to the heart of the matter that the US is going to back to its defference towards Israel. This is not constructive for peace arrangements in the region. I would like to know why this occured. It seemed as if the US was trying to move the Arabs in the direction of supporting the US on the Palestenian issue and moving the Arabs to take more of a role in curbing violence. When that seemed to be moving in the right direction, the US then moves back to its Cold War stance of deffering to the Israeli position. Is the US going to let Russia enter the ME to take on the role that it had in the region during the Cold War. Is the US going to abandon its engagement with the Arab states? Something does not seem right here. Is France starting to be a bigger player in Israel than the US would like it to be with respect to the arms trade? What casued the 180? I think it’s the latter question I asked.

    Reply

  44. Steve says:

    The reporter is Matt Lee, from AP, the toughest of the State Department reporters.

    Reply

  45. DonS says:

    John, Barack could never have peen “lead negotiator” in the sense of honest broker anymore than previous presidents. His only positive role cold have been behind the scene pushing Israel, since he had compromised his public position by acknowledging that anything Israel did or didn’t do would not affect US behavior.
    It was either or both arrogance or naivete (I don’t think he is stupid) that led him to think he could obtain different results with the same enabling attitude.
    But you know what? Despite the ridiculously obvious recipe for “failure” (giving him perhaps undeserved credit for honest, if inconsistent, goals), the Arab and Muslim world was willing to give him a chance, his superficial attributes winning over their hope that just maybe this would be a different play.
    But that window of opportunity is pretty much gone now too.
    Obama can orate this one to death, or try to let it fall below the radar, but his stature and possibilities on the international scene have taken a huge hit.

    Reply

  46. doris says:

    what’s truly apalling is the outrage over Obama’s bow to the emperor shown repeatedly on certain wingnut media outlets and the utter lack of coverage AT ALL on this blowjob given by the Obama administration – from top to bottom – to Netanyahu et. al.

    Reply

  47. John Waring says:

    I think Nadine and Wig Wag have a better feel for the reality of the USA/Israel/Palestine dynamic than I have had.
    POA, consider fully what you have just written. Has the United States not fatally compromised its position as lead negotiator? Should we not surrender this position and refer the entire matter back to the Security Council? Should we not “Be gone for the little good we are doing?” The USA is simply not a disinterested party, in light of the preferential treatment we give to Israel, as you so commendably document.
    I think Abbas should resign. I think the Palestinians should give the keys back to their Israeli jailers and demand equal rights and equal citizenship within greater Israel.
    I think if the United States got out of the way, the rest of the world would coerce Israel in granting “one man, one vote”.
    I see little life in the two state solution.
    Comments, please.

    Reply

  48. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And what emboldened Israel to act in this manner? Why isn’t anyone asking that question?
    Hillary’s disasterous “diplomatic” rhetoric?
    Reid and Hoyers direct efforts to undermine Obama and tacit support for settlement expansion?
    The public castration of Freeman?
    Our complete and utter non-engagement and silence on the Tristan Anderson affair?
    Our complete and utter non-engagement and silence when McKinney was kidnapped off the high seas?
    Cantor and Hoyer’s public fellation of the far right zionist agenda?
    The vote to ignore, discredit, and hide the Goldstone report?
    Accelerated arms sales to Israel, coupled with ever increasing amounts of monetary “aid”, loan gurantees, and outright handouts?
    Our refusal to register an agency that repeatedly engages in espionage against us as a foreign agent?
    Ignoring, punishing, and demonizing whistle blowers, such as Sibel Edmonds, that dare speak out about the treasonous actions of our politicians in abetting and assisting covert actions committed against us by the State of Israel, and other nations?
    What incentive does Israel have to make concessions?
    Read the defense Nadine offers. 100% bullshit. Doesn’t it tell us anything when our “alliance” with another nation is defended by lies and the active effort to conceal truths, both on the street level, as well as in the halls of Wasington??
    The check is in the mail. Israel doesn’t give a fuck what the likes of Mitchell has to say. Why should they? Give me one single incentive Israel has to change their ways. There is absolutely NO negative consequence to Israel’s continued expansion. They get the land, they keep the nasty heathen sub-human Palestinian oppressed, they get the money, they get the arms, and they get the veto power of the US in the UN. And they get to bribe, blackmail, and intimitate the United States government without fear of consequence or media attention.
    Pretty sweet deal, if ya ask me.
    And there ain’t no way this posturing fraud Obama has the balls to change this dynamic.

    Reply

  49. John Waring says:

    Are we not witnessing the end of the two state solution?
    Please share your views.

    Reply

  50. nadine says:

    “Why did Obama stake so much of his capital on solving Is/Pal unless he thought he could accomplish something more than grandstanding?”
    Um, because he’s an idiot? As Matt Frei pointed out, the parties were talking to each other under Bush, before Obama introduced the precondition that is preventing the talks now.
    “So if Mr. Obama cannot bring himself to actually put the screws to Israel”
    Obama hasn’t got any screws. What, he’s going to threaten to break the alliance with Israel over Israel building inside Jerusalem? This from the candidate who told AIPAC that Jerusalem must remain undivided? Maybe he meant, undivided, but nobody can build a house in the whole city.
    You can say bye, bye to Florida. Congress wouldn’t back him either. Obama picked this fight, and if he had any sense he would have realized by now that it’s not a fight he can win without paying a lot more than it’s worth to him.
    “what is Mr. get-talks-underway-by-the-end-of-the-year Obama going to do for an encore? Express more dismay? ”
    Yup. Or more optimism. It doesn’t matter. Abbas already turned down 95% of the West Bank when Olmert offered it to him; he won’t get more than that from Bibi. Plus Hamas retains veto power over any deal.

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  51. DonS says:

    Wouldn’t it be something, isn’t it something, that this sorry spectacle really represents an expression of the US government, of Obama. Now it’s not going to upset Congress much, certainly not in the rostrum thumping way Congress would express outrage at some other foreign power thumbing it’s nose at the US.
    But one has to ask, if there is not a Plan B, exactly what is Mr. get-talks-underway-by-the-end-of-the-year Obama going to do for an encore? Express more dismay? Clearly the lesson here is that more talk talk produces the same results as ever.
    So if Mr. Obama cannot bring himself to actually put the screws to Israel, we will be witness a very sad and demoralizing sight. Likewise, one has to wonder, politically, how it looks for big aurora Obama, to be stiffed, one might say humbled and emasculated by the thug Netanyahu.
    Why did Obama stake so much of his capital on solving Is/Pal unless he thought he could accomplish something more than grandstanding?
    In the cliched words of so many politicos, “this cannot stand”, or can it?
    Obama must apply some leverage and clout if he is serious. Or let it fall off the radar screen. After all, no one would care except a bunch of ragheads and brown people. Oh wait.

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  52. nadine says:

    …particularly when your boss has ordered you to pursue a course that makes no sense and you know cannot work, but you must defend it anyway.

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  53. Dan Kervick says:

    Some days it really sucks to be a State Department spokesman.

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  54. jonst says:

    Nadine wrote: “Hamas is an Islamist terrorist group armed by Iran, ideological brothers to Al Qaeda,…”.
    Let the ‘logic’ of that sentence sink in folks.
    “. It’s idiotic of Obama to scold Israel on an issue where he has no leverage; but it’s par for the course.”
    Think about that one too for a second folks. “No leverage”? And I have no doubt, none whatsoever, that she believes that statement.
    It is not aid we dole out anymore. It is their birthright. As if it were commanded by God. ‘Now and for all time, ye shall pay tribute to Israel’ (and your Lord will see to it to adjust the tribute owed to the inflation rate).

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  55. nadine says:

    Here’s a note from Politico quoting Obama on the subject of leaks which you may find interesting. My question to you is, is Obama managing this way for plausible deniability? or does he really not have control over Rahm Emmanuel?
    Ben Smith: Political News and Analysis: A firing offense?
    Obama, speaking to CBS in Beijing, says he’s “furious’ about the stream of leaks characterizing the Afghanistan deliberations.
    THE PRESIDENT: “I think I am angrier than Bob Gates about it, partly because we have these deliberations in the Situation Room for a reason – because we are making decisions that are life-and-death, that affect how our troops will be able to operate in a theater of war. For people to be releasing information during the course of deliberation — where we haven’t made final decisions yet — I think is not appropriate.”
    CHIP REID: “Firing offense??”
    THE PRESIDENT: “Absolutely”
    What’s odd about this is that many of the leaks (though certainly not all) have seemed deliberate, in tandem with Flickr photo releases from the meetings and in line with a message that Obama is considering deeply. And indeed, leaking has been a signature of the transition from the Plouffe/campaign era to a governing era run by Rahm Emanuel, who talks frequently to the press and whose hiring was one of the first major Obama leaks. Leaks from more senior officials make lower-level staffers, in turn, feel that it’s not actually a firing offense.
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/

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  56. nadine says:

    From the style and tone of the questions, I would guess the journalist is Matt Frei, the BBC Washington correspondent.
    Utterly pro-Palestinian, as usual
    “Well, what actions (inaudible) the Palestinians taken recently that would impede progress?”
    Gee, that’s a toughie. Let me think.
    Abu Mazen just appointed Mohamed Ghaneim as his successor – a hardliner who never accepted Israel. Fatah has just “unrecognized” Israel and committed itself to jihad. Could that impede progress? Possibly, if BBC ever reported Fatah politics, which it never has.
    Palestinian rule in Gaza remains in the hands of Hamas, despite lengthy efforts at Fatah/Hamas mediation by both Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Hamas is an Islamist terrorist group armed by Iran, ideological brothers to Al Qaeda, absolutely committed to solving the problem of Israel with a second Holocaust. Would that count as impeding progress? It might, if the BBC didn’t always know that only Israel is responsible for the lack progress in the “peace talks”, they being – ah, what’s the phrase – “the stronger power.”
    Of course, Israel annexed E. Jerusalem in 1967 and has no intention of giving it to a Fatah that doesn’t even recognize its right to exist. Bibi never promised to stop building in Jerusalem. The Israeli public is solid behind Bibi on this. Heck, even the Arabs of E. Jerusalem are behind Bibi; they don’t want to find themselves in Palestine. It’s idiotic of Obama to scold Israel on an issue where he has no leverage; but it’s par for the course.

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