In February 2017, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked expressed concern about “decreasing support for Israel in the Democratic party”, telling her Jewish American audience that the problem was “a strategic issue” for Israel.
“I couldn’t sleep after I saw a poll two weeks ago”, she added.
A new US poll on the same topic will not help Shaked rest easy. The results indicate that key trends identified in recent years show no signs of slowing; Israel’s reputation is deteriorating among demographics such as Democrats, younger voters, African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Read more
A eulogy for the two-state solution? Maybe – but Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech Wednesday sounded suspiciously like yet another desperate attempt to sustain the so-called ‘peace process’.
It is only possible to understand the Security Council resolution and Kerry’s speech, how to view them – their weaknesses, and the opportunities they represent – by beginning with a reality check about the two-decade old, US and internationally-led peace process. Read more
As world leaders reacted to Donald Trump’s US presidential election victory, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did not want to be left out. “Abbas congratulates the elected American president, Donald Trump, and hopes that peace will be achieved during his term,” said a statement on the official Palestinian news agency. Read more
The new military aid deal formalised by the United States and Israel on September 14 could serve to boost an intransigent, right-wing Israeli government that has already shown little appetite for substantial concessions to the Palestinians, analysts say.
“The primary lesson that the increasingly extremist Israeli right will draw from this agreement is that there are no significant international consequences, but rather, significant rewards for their behaviour,” Mouin Rabbani, a senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies, told Al Jazeera. Read more
The day after the Iran deal was concluded in Vienna, Labour MP Ian Austin accused UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond of backing an “absolutely terrible deal” that had left “people…utterly dismayed in Tel Aviv”. Hammond’s response was blunt, and worth quoting in full:
The question we have to ask is what kind of a deal would have been welcomed in Tel Aviv. The answer, of course, is that Israel does not want any deal with Iran. It wants a permanent state of stand-off, which I do not believe is in the interests of the region or in our interest.
It was a brief exchange – but a telling one. For here was a Conservative foreign secretary telling Parliament in no uncertain terms that not only does Israel want “permanent” conflict with Tehran, but that, on this occasion at least, Israel’s perceived strategic interests diverge from those of the UK. Read more
Speaking to the Security Council on Tuesday shortly after voting against the doomedPalestinian-drafted resolution on statehood, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power referred three times to an “unsustainable status quo” between Israel and the Palestinians.
It is of course Washington itself that bears most responsibility for this status quo, through its diplomatic, military, and economic support for the occupier, and leadership of a decades-long ‘peace process’ that has given Israel the cover to de facto annex its way to a permanent occupation. Read more
“Like a shot heard around the world, like the only piece of news
It choked any other thing that might have spoken true”
‘Josephine’, Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald (Ruby Eyes Publishing)
The mantra is “September 11 changed everything”. But this was, and remains, a lie – unless of course your father or sister or lover died that day in the fires of lower Manhattan, in the Pentagon, or in a Pennsylvanian field. It was a lie, crafted by the speech-makers and deployed with gusto by our politicians and ‘opinion-formers’ in order to create a state of exception – a framework for new colonial expeditions and occupations, and a justification for torture and extraordinary renditions. Read more
Ten years ago this month, Israelis and Palestinians gathered at Camp David, under the guidance of President Bill Clinton, for negotiations aimed at reaching a final agreement. The talks ended in failure, and by the end of September, the second intifada had begun.
The Camp David talks have largely been remembered in the context of apportioning blame. This was particularly true in the first months and years of the Palestinian uprising, as Israel spun the narrative of a rejectionist Palestinian leadership that had turned down an incredibly “generous offer” and instead opted for a campaign of violence. Read more
In September 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ushered in a much-trumpeted “freeze” on West Bank settlement construction, as a supposed goodwill gesture to revive the defunct peace process. The freeze did not apply to Occupied East Jerusalem, territory which the government argues is part of the Israeli state and not subject to negotiation with the Palestinians. Even in the West Bank, however, the initiative was more a public relations ploy than a sign of changing Israeli policy. Explicitly intended to last a matter of months, the ‘freeze’ excluded both “2,500 housing units already under construction”, as well as “hundreds of new units” announced just prior to the start of the “freeze”. After the announcement, George Mitchell, the U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East, was dispatched on a trip described as “a final push to revive Middle East peace talks”. But the transparently disingenuous approach of the Netanyahu government meant that Mitchell’s mission to restart negotiations between Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has overseen good relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) on “security issues”, would be doomed to failure. Read more