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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    

Israel worried Indyk will walkBen Caspit - Al-Monitor - "...there is no point remaining afraid, hesitating, being panicked and choking when people from all across Capitol Hill come charging. Kerry is telling the truth. Netanyahu knows that, Obama knows that, even the Republicans know that. Anyone who is so afraid of the truth is bound to drown in a pile of lies." - id 30/4/2014
Kerry apologizes for speculating that theoretically, in the distant future, Israel could do something badNoam Sheizaf - +972 - "Thus, one ends up with the “equal parties” framing (listening to American commentary might leave you with the impression that the powerful Palestinians forced the helpless Israelis to occupy them)." - id 30/4/2014
Palestinian professor’s trip to Auschwitz sparks needed debateRay Hanania - Saudi Gazette - "Unfortunately, the debate has been one-sided focusing on Arab denial of the Holocaust while ignoring Israel’s denial of its oppression of Palestinian rights." - id 30/4/2014
A whole new ball gameAdam Keller - Crazy Country - " more step which might materialize soon: a candidacy for the Palestinian presidency presented by Marwan Barghouti - the most famous Palestinian prisoner, and the leader considered as the having the greatest chance to succeed Abbas." - id30/4/2014
Interview: Diana Buttu on Palestinian unity and the way forward - Ma`an - The the interests of Fatah and Hamas coalesced. Hamas was pressured by the Sisi Government in Egypt: Palestinians couldn`t go through Rafah, goods were not coming in, tunnels being closed down. In order for the prison to get a little bit of air, Hamas needed to reach some agreement with Fatah. On the Fatah side, the April 29 deadline was coming, and Abu Mazen had absolutely nothing to show for nine months of negotiations. He needed to do something to show that he is not only legitimate but very popular. ak29/4/2014
Hamas and the Tyranny of LabelsPaul R. Pillar - The National Interest - "The Israeli and U.S. posture toward Hamas is fundamentally self-contradictory. It involves saying that a certain form of behavior is unacceptable and then making impossible the use of alternative behavior. It involves saying that we don`t like a group because it has used violence instead of peaceful negotiations, and then refusing to negotiate with it" [ry]28/4/2014
Red Rag: Passover role-reversal; Ron Pundak, RIP; Mordechai VanunuGideon Spiro - Israel is enslaved to enslavement, and to the people groaning under the yoke of Occupation, humiliation, killing and destruction, the Haggadah suggests very violent methods of struggle: blood and fire and pillars of smoke, and then the 10 plagues including biological warfare, plague, lice, locusts and the cruelest blow of all – the slaying of the first-born, mass murder of all the first-born children of Egypt. The Haggadah supports carrying out judgements against the occupier and the oppressor. The Palestinian struggle against the Israeli Pharaoh is very restrained in comparison to what the Haggadah suggests.27/4/2014
Palestinian unity exposes Netanyahu’s true faceDavid Landau - Haaretz - "Be like Ben-Gurion" was the recommendation formerly emanating from Jerusalem to Ramallah. That didn`t necessarily mean the Altalena model – the bloody, demonstrative disciplining of the opposition in 1948. Rather, it meant "One gun, one military authority" in the emerging Palestinian state. And it meant signing up Hamas even before statehood to accept the principle of the Palestinians negotiating with the Jewish state, just as the Zionist opposition parties, (some of them widely condemned as terrorist) effectively accepted (before Israel’s establishment) the Mapai-led Jewish Agency`s right to negotiate with the British on behalf of the whole Yishuv. [bz]27/4/2014
Palestinian official slams PM for nixing negotiationsAvi Issacharoff - Times of Israel "Deputy Director-General of the Fatah Central Committee Jibril Rajoub told The Times of Israel that the decision between the two bitter Palestinian rivals to form a unity government was an internal national matter, adding that “no party that believes in the solution of two states for two peoples has the right to deny it.” ca 25/4/2014
Why Fatah-Hamas reconciliation might just work this timeSamer Badawi - +972 "It’s not as if Netanyahu and Co. didn’t see it coming. After all, it was the Israeli government, which controls Palestinians’ access to Gaza from the West Bank, that had waved Fatah delegates through the Erez crossing a day earlier. The rationale must have been simple. One week ahead of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s deadline for a so-called “framework agreement,” the Israeli premier is hell-bent to pin Kerry’s failure on Abbas — even if that means pushing the latter closer to Israel’s sworn enemy, Hamas." ca25/4/2014
Report: Netanyahu agreed to talk borders, settlement freeze just before Hamas-Fatah dealJPOST.COM STAFF - Jerusalem Post "The Palestinians, for their part, responded that on the ground the public would not be able to differentiate between a freeze of new construction and the continuation of old project, rendering the offer moot. Aides to Netanyahu denied that the premier agreed to any freeze, according to Channel 10." ca25/4/2014
PLO condemns Israeli decision to end talks, UN envoy supports unityMa`an News Agency - "The executive committee of the PLO said in a statement that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu`s "announcement to end negotiations only reaffirms his lack of commitment towards a just settlement and the two-state solution." ca 25/4/2014
US unwilling to give up Mideast peace process yetYitzhak Benhorin - Ynet news "US Secretary of State John Kerry said Israeli and Palestinian leaders need to make necessary compromises so that the nine months of negotiations can continue after an April 29 deadline. If they won`t, he said, peace "becomes very elusive." ca25/4/2014
A sad evening in Washington, as Palestinians celebrate unityBarak Ravid - Haaretz "News of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation caught Kerry entirely off guard; and at very bad timing." ca25/4/2014
Palestinian threat to dissolve PA could have serious repercussionsNahum Barnea - Ynet - Should Palestinian self-rule end, hundreds of Palestinians would lose their job, and Israel would have to enter the vacuum created as a result, offering Palestinians security, education and welfare services at a cost Israel cannot afford. [bz for id]22/4/2014
If Kerry fails, what then? Sam Bahour and Tony Klug - Le Monde Diplomatique - The laws of occupation either apply or do not apply. If it is an occupation, it is beyond time for Israel’s custodianship — supposedly provisional — to be brought to an end. If it is not an occupation, there is no justification for denying equal rights to everyone who is subject to Israeli rule, whether Israeli or Palestinian. (...) Should Israel not choose the first option by the target date, it would be open to the international community to draw the conclusion that its government had plumped by default for the second option of civic equality. [bz]22/4/2014
Stand Firm, John Kerry and express fundamental U.S. positionsZbigniew Brzezinski, Frank Carlucci, Lee Hamilton, Carla A. Hills, Thomas Pickering and Henry Siegman - Politico Magazine - It’s time for the secretary of state to insist on America’s position on Middle East peace. The necessary confidentiality that Secretary Kerry imposed on the resumed negotiations should not preclude a far more forceful and public expression of certain fundamental U.S. positions. [ak] 19/4/2014
The New York Times agrees to be gagged by IsraelAli Abunimah - Electronic Intifada - Why does Rudoren believe she is bound by gag orders when two senior editors said they were unaware of the newspaper ever agreeing to be bound by such gag orders? Contrary to the claim that Israeli gags have never been challenged, I found at least one instance where the Times does indeed appear to openly defy an Israeli gag order. [bz]19/4/2014
Why the Israeli-Palestinian talks fail, though patient, serious diplomacy appears to be bearing fruit in many places Rami G. Khouri - The Daily Star - The Israeli demands from the Palestinians in areas like security, refugees and recognizing Israel as a Jewish state are so extreme that they cannot be met without totally humiliating the Palestinians. The Palestinians in turn get little respect from the Israelis or the American mediators even, who effectively ignore the core demand that the Palestinian refugee problem of 1947-1948 be acknowledged and redressed in a mutually agreeable manner. [bz] 19/4/2014
Why is Israel opposed to Palestine joining international treaties? Middle East Monitor - The anxiety in Israel stems from the fact that many of its actions - not least, settlement building - are illegal under international law. One area of particular concern is the Geneva Convention`s prohibition of colonizing occupied land. [bz]19/4/2014
In Israel, not all citizens are created equal: On selective prosecution Lisa Goldman - +972 "In Israel there is something called the Prevention of Infiltration Law, which prohibits citizens from traveling to a list of so-called “enemy states.” The law is little known and almost never enforced...This week, a 24 year-old Palestinian-Arab citizen of Israel named Majd Kayyal was accused of breaking the same law. Like me, Kayyal traveled to Beirut. He attended a journalism conference sponsored by As-Safir, a veteran Lebanese publication for which he is a contributing writer. But unlike me..." ca18/4/2014
Marwan Barghouthi; The Key To War And PeaceSaed Bannoura - IMEMC "It also said that the case of Barghouthi, the secretary-general of the Fateh movement, an elected legislator, has placed Israel in an international legal dilemma, since his abduction and imprisonment is illegitimate, and part of Israel’s war on late President, Yasser Arafat." ca 18/4/2014
UN Official Pledges to Lift the Siege on GazaChris Carlson - IMEMC "Krahenbuhl said, according to the Middle East Monitor, that all United Nations human rights reports, human rights organisations` reports and journalistic reports could not reflect the continuous suffering and isolation of the Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip." ca 18/4/2014
The final fizzling of negotiations The Economist - "FORMALLY the Israelis and Palestinians are still meeting, albeit fitfully. But in reality they are turning their backs on each other, thinking up their next strategies as if the talks had already ceased." ca18/4/2014
Why does this man want to end the U.S.-Israel special relationship? Chemi Shalev - Haaretz "In a no-holds barred conversation, Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev talks at length with Prof. Stephen Walt, coauthor of the notorious `Israel Lobby,` about accusations of anti-Semitism and U.S. foreign policy." ca18/4/2014
International treaties and the prospects for justice for PalestiniansAta Hindy - Ma`an News Agency "If the PLO wanted to provide justice and accountability, the Palestinians should enjoy greater access to justice and accountability at the international level, including through accession to those instruments providing complaint mechanisms to these treaties. This would be complemented by a robust international legal strategy." ca 18/4/2014
Why Israeli officials are chuckling: The `stable` West Bank dilemmaRamzy Baroud - Ma`an News Agency "In a recent interview with The Economist, Elkin used the familiar tone of being conceited and oblivious to such notions as international or human rights, and reaffirmed his rejection of a Palestinian state." ca 18/4/2014
In One Word: Poof!Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - "`Poof` is the sound of air escaping a balloon. It is a good expression, because the `peace process` was from the very beginning nothing more than a balloon full of hot air. An exercise in make-believe" [ry]14/4/2014
Israel is led by three wicked sons, laments left-wing leaderItamar Sharon - The Times of Israel "“I believe we can replace the coalition of Netanyahu, Bennett, Liberman and Lapid: the modern variation of the four sons – wicked, wicked, wicked and the one who does not know how to quit,” Gal-On told a gathering of Meretz’s youth movement in Kibbutz Hatzor, with the last a presumed reference to Lapid." ca 12/4/2014
Halt Peace Talks Until Israel Complies With International Law ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI - Information Clearing House "We do not know what progress the parties made in the current talks prior to their latest interruption, this time over the issue of the release of Palestinian prisoners. We are nevertheless convinced that no matter how far apart the parties may still be, clarity on America’s part regarding the critical moral and political issues in dispute will have a far better chance of bringing the peace talks to a successful conclusion than continued ambiguity or silence." ca 11/4/2014
American Studies Association adds over 700 new members since Israel boycott callAdam Horowitz - Mondoweiss "ASA President Curtis Marez stated, “Despite the backlash of the last few months, the ASA is thriving. The boycott vote is consistent with our longstanding support for human rights and opposition to war and militarism. Many Americans are now for the first time hearing about their government’s support for the occupation and discriminatory laws against Palestinians. I’m proud that the ASA helped open up discussion about BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions)..." ca 11/4/2014
Simon Schama’s Israel whitewashJerome Slater - Mondoweiss "And on contemporary Israel, Schama is something of a whitewasher. I refer to the Story of the Jews, his current five part PBS documentary and soon to be a two volume book... the omissions and distortions steadily worsen, and while somewhat balanced by criticism of Israel, the total effect of the program is to perpetuate most of the myths of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that serious historians have long discarded."11/4/2014
Israel grasps at a crumbling narrativeDahlia Scheindlin - +972 "Blaming the peace talks’ failure on Palestinian ‘rejectionism’ is nothing more than a flimsy attempt at flipping reality on its head." ca 11/4/2014
Kerry has no excuse for failure in peace talksAkiva Eldar - Al-Monitor - "The US secretary of state should now offer an accelerated timetable for the acceptance of Palestine as a member of the United Nations." - id9/4/2014
Surrounded by fanaticsHussein Ibish - Ibishblog - "Israeli and Palestinian rhetorical extremism is old hat, but it seems to be nearing a new crescendo." - id 9/4/2014
What Really Happened During the Talks - Distracted by the Peace ProcessJonathan Cook - CounterPunch - "In his meeting last month with Obama at the White House, Abbas unveiled a map showing that Israel had approved more than 10,000 settler homes since the talks began. That number has grown further, with Israel unveiling 2,000 more, including 700 last week in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo. For every settler home built, Palestinians lose territory needed not only for a state but also to keep individual families living where they are now. The innocuous term “settlements” conceals their true role: as Israel’s primary vehicle for ethnic cleansing Palestinians through dispossession and harassment" [ry]8/4/2014
Israel must change the structure of the peace process Ami Ayalon - Ynet - The Israeli government must announce that it welcomes ongoing negotiations, but that at the same time it is working independently to create a political reality based on the future agreement`s lines. In light of this, the government will declare that Israel has no aspirations for political sovereignty east of the security fence`s route, but that the final border will be determined in future negotiations. The practical move required by such a declaration is a law to allow every settler living east of the security fence to return into Israel`s borders in exchange for proper compensation and a respectable reception. [bz]7/4/2014
Analysis: No pity for the disappointed diplomatReuven Kaminer - Ma`an - He is not honest and he is not too smart. He was warned that there could be no progress in these negotiations as long as the US refused to ruffle the feathers on the head of the settler annexationists and challenge their veto power. (...) It is the height of hypocrisy to blame both sides for the crisis in the talks (while US-Israel is one of the sides) as the US throws the Palestinians under the bus and opens the way for new rounds of vicious sanctions against the Palestinians. [bz] 7/4/2014
The rejectionist: Netanyahu and the peace talksNoam Sheizaf - +972 - Polling on political image and perception can be tricky, so one should take them with a grain of salt. But Kerry’s team might have saved itself some time and trouble if it had taken those numbers into consideration. At the talks’ most optimistic moment, a clear majority of Israelis believed Bibi was bluffing. As the negotiations moved forward – in time, not in substance – Netanyahu insisted on preparing the public for failure. If he made any concessions to the American team, they remain a tightly kept secret. Netanyahu rejected the idea of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, rejected Palestinian sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, rejected even symbolic recognition of the right of return (while placing a very central demand for symbolic recognition of Israel as “a Jewish State”). [bz]7/4/2014
Moscow and Ramallah: The new alliance (?)Sever Plocker - Ynet - Today, Secretary of State Kerry can threaten the Palestinians (and Israel) by warning that America will wash its hands off the attempt and effort to bring about a solution to the conflict. Tomorrow, the Palestinians will be the ones to threaten Kerry (and Israel) by inviting Russia to the negotiating table as a partner and mediator. Who knows, perhaps Russia will be a better mediator after all. [bz]7/4/2014
On the collapse of the Kerry talks: The `outrageous hypocrisy` of Tzipi Livni & Yair LapidLisa Goldman ( +972 ) publishes the translation of Raviv Drucker`s blog in response to the claim, put out by Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, that the (still unofficial) collapse of the Kerry-sponsored talks is all the fault of Mahmoud Abbas: "These two representatives of the governing coalition’s so-called peace camp have set a new record in hypocrisy and revulsion. Their spin and self-delusion are nauseating, and are for only one purpose — strengthening their positions in the government. [bz] 5/4/2014
Red Rag weekly column: false-flag naval operation? Baby Doc Lapid; Meir Har-Zion, 1934-2014; Victor Shem-Tov, RIPGideon Spiro: "The more time passes the less I understand what distinguished Meir Har-Zion from the others. Gradually I arrived at the conclusion that the secret of the legend was not his military activities but rather his blood-curdling cruelty." 5/4/2014
The danger of peace has recededAdam Keller - Crazy Country - Where Kerry`s efforts foredoomed in advance to inevitable failure, or was there a moment where a real chance for success was missed? If at all, one specific moment can be pointed at: afternoon of Saturday, February 1st, 2014, [bz]5/4/2014
Over 1,000 rabbis urge Jerusalem mayor not to pick Islamophobe for chief rabbiHaaretz - "The letter notes that Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safed, "made a halakhic ruling barring Jews from renting apartments to Arabs, opposed military service for women, characterized Arabs and Muslims in racist and humiliating terms, while the attorney general said his candidacy for [Sephardi] chief rabbi was inappropriate." ca4/4/2014
The Peace Process IndustryRamzy Baroud - Counterpunch "Chances are the Americans knew well that peace under the current circumstances is simply not attainable. The Israeli government’s coalition is so adamantly anti-Arab, anti-peace and anti any kind of agreement that would fall short from endorsing the Israeli apartheid-like occupation, predicated on colonial expansion, annexations of borders, land confiscation, control of holy places and much more." ca 4/4/2014
Peace process as an obstacle to peaceA. B. Yehoshua - Ynet - It`s interesting that the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians, and all the mediators too of course, will outline more or less the same realistic content of the appropriate and proper peace process between Palestine and Israel; but in the meantime, it is this infinite peace process which is creating all kinds of imaginary fantasies of further possible concessions each side can get from the other side, and so within the infinite and inexhaustible creation of illusions in regards to the concessions each side might be able to achieve in the "peace process" negotiations, peace itself is wearing out and moving farther away. [bz] 1/4/2014
How Harry Truman learned to love IsraelRod Such - EI - "Harry Truman opposed the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine early during his presidency, believing a state should not belong to any one people and that a religious state violated the principle of church-state separation." - id 2/4/2014
Israeli-Palestinian talks are going nowhereNahum Barnea - Ynet - "Instead of peace, time. Netanyahu wants to play for time; Abbas wants to play for time too." - id2/4/2014
Riding missiles on the Rabin SquareAdam Keller - Crazy Country - "On the occasion of The Israeli Science Day, the military exhibition for the pleasure of the city`s children returned this week to the square in the heart of Tel Aviv." - id 2/4/2014
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