zaterdag 6 juni 2009

Obama vraagt van Israel een nieuw vredesbeleid

Nog een artikel van afgelopen woensdag, toen Obama voor zijn Midden-Oosten reis een kort onderhoud met Barak had in Washington.
Een goed idee: Israel kan niet alleen maar blijven afwachten en zeggen dat eerst het Iraanse probleem opgelost moet worden. Door zelf met een fatsoenlijk vredesplan te komen kan Israel juist de Arabische vredeswil op de proef stellen: als men inderdaad geen vrede wil (zoals velen in Israel, niet geheel ten onrechte, beweren) kan Israel een redelijk voorstel doen, zoals Olmert vorig jaar aan Abbas deed, of Barak aan Arafat, zonder het risico te lopen dat het wordt aanvaard en men het moet uitvoeren.

Last update - 14:48 03/06/2009       
Obama to tell Israel: Form new peace policy by July
By Barak Ravid, Natasha Mozgovaya and Tomer Zarchin, Haaretz Correspondents
United States President Barack Obama intends to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu four to six weeks to provide an "updated position" regarding construction in West Bank settlements and the two-state principle.
Obama made a surprise appearance on Tuesday at a meeting Defense Minister Ehud Barak was holding in Washington, shortly before the U.S. leader was set to leave on a five-day trip to the Middle East.
Obama spoke for about 15 minutes with Barak, who was meeting with National Security Adviser General Jim Jones at the time. While Obama's official schedule did not include a meeting with Barak, he has in the past dropped into other officials' meetings with international figures.
According to an official Israeli source, Obama wants to complete the formulation of a preliminary six-month plan for progress toward a Middle East peace agreement and to present it in July.
The U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, will arrive in Israel next Monday night. He will meet with Netanyahu the day after in a bid to obtain clarifications regarding the U.S. demand to stop construction in the settlements and on the principle of two states for two peoples.
According to the Jerusalem source, Mitchell is expected to seek answers to questions raised during his meeting with the prime minister's advisors last week in London as well as to issues raised by senior administration officials following their meeting with Barak on Monday.
Mitchell is to visit the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Barak and Jones met for more than two hours privately and discussed the settlements controversy. Obama will arrive in Riyadh today, continuing on to Cairo to deliver a much-anticipated speech tomorrow Thursday aimed at repairing frayed relations with the Muslim world.
While in Riyadh, Obama is expected ask Saudi King Abdullah to give a green light to other moderate Arab countries, particularly the Gulf States, to take steps toward normalization with Israel, such as the opening of diplomatic missions or public meetings with senior Israeli officials, in exchange for a freeze on settlement construction. It is unclear whether the Saudis will cooperate.
Before Obama left for the Middle East he sent messages to both Israel and the Arab countries via interviews he to the BBC and National Public Radio.
Part of being a good friend is being honest," Obama told NPR regarding relations with Israel. "
"I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory, in the region is profoundly negative, not only for Israeli interests but also U.S. interests," he said.
Obama also said he did not rule out future talks with Hamas, but only if the organization met demands to recognize Israel, disavow violence and honor existing agreements.
Tensions between Israel and the U.S. are making pro-Israel Congress representatives uneasy. Last week 329 representatives sent a letter to Obama outlining the "right way" to peace in the Middle East, calling on Obama to be an honest broker and also a friend to Israel.
Despite tensions over the settlement issue, Israel and the U.S. are to begin high-level consultations next week on the Iranian nuclear program and the dialogue between Washington and Tehran. The Prime Minister's Bureau declined to comment on the consultation.
A government source said that the meeting would be the first of a joint working group on the Iranian issue, decided on during Netanyahu's visit to Washington. The aim of the working group is to coordinate moves on the Iranian nuclear issue and update Israel on U.S. intentions in its dialogue with Iran.
The Israeli delegation to the group is expected to be led by National Security Council head Uzi Arad and is to include officials from the Defense MInistry, the Mossad, Military Intelligence, the Foreign Ministry and the Atomic Energy Commission.
The U.S. team will probably be headed by Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon.
The first meeting is expected to deal with the upcoming elections in Iran and the possible opening of U.S. dialogue with Tehran after a victor is declared.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met yesterday in Moscow with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and stressed the need to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

Wat schortte aan Obama's toespraak over Israel en de Palestijnen

Where he, terribly, missed a vital opportunity from Israel's point of view, however, was in legitimizing our Jewish nation-state solely on the basis of our people's persecution through the centuries, which "culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust."
Yes, of course, denying the Holocaust is 'baseless, ignorant and hateful." And yes, "threatening Israel with destruction" does indeed serve "to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve."
But our rights in this land are not predicated solely, or even primarily, on the tragedies that have befallen us during our history in exile. Those rights relate, rather, to the fact that we were in exile - from this land, this historic Jewish homeland. This is the only place on earth where the Jews have ever been sovereign, the place we never willingly left, the place to which we always prayed to return.
Daarnaast had Obama uit moeten leggen dat de Joden een volk zijn en als zodanig recht hebben op zelfbeschikking. Dit wordt in de Arabische wereld meestal ontkend, en hij had iets duidelijker kunnen maken dat de Palestijnen zelf mede verantwoordelijk zijn voor hun lijden. Er is pas vrede mogelijk wanneer de Palestijnen en Arabieren erkennen dat de Joden net zo verbonden met het land zijn als zijzelf en er legitieme rechten hebben, ook in hun hoofdstad Jeruzalem. De Palestijnse Autoriteit maakte gisteren direct duidelijk zover nog lang niet te zijn.

The Jerusalem Post
Analysis: Obama's admirable, vital new beginning... and unfortunate first misstep

Astutely invoking his own personal Muslim background, and wrapping his challenge in words of appreciation for Islam as a potential force for tolerance, President Barack Obama nonetheless spoke harsh truths to the Muslim world in Cairo on Thursday. And he was applauded.

Offering, and demanding, a new beginning in relations between Islam and the West, he appealed to a respect for human life, which he said was common to all faiths but which he stressed Muslim radicals have come to disregard. "We will... relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women and children," he said. And he was applauded.

This was, of course, only a first step. "No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust," he noted. But one way to measure the achievement even this single speech constituted is to ask whether his predecessor could have conceived it, delivered it and been cheered for it. The answer, three times, is no.

From the particular, partisan perspective of the Netanyahu government, the content was as problematic as would have been expected - no more so, but certainly no less.

There was the insistent reiteration of the two-state vision, the repeated outlawing of even natural growth in the settlements - albeit in a clause that was notable for its plainly deliberate semantic complexity - and the outlining of a future multi-faith Jerusalem. Here, Obama was setting out traditional American policy - positions that accord with president Bill Clinton's eleventh-hour effort to achieve a permanent agreement in 2000, positions that were anathema then, and are anathema now, to the Likud and the Right.

From the broader, non-partisan Israeli perspective, it was heartening to hear the president tell the Muslim world of America's "unbreakable bond" with our country, and to hear him highlight the "cultural and historical ties" at the heart of that relationship, rather than mere cold, potentially transient, American interests.

It was good to hear him make clear that the Arab League peace initiative was "an important beginning but not the end of [Arab states'] responsibilities," and to urge the Arab world "to recognize Israel's legitimacy" and stop using the Arab-Israeli conflict as a pretext "to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems."

Less encouraging was the strikingly brief portion of his speech devoted to Iran. "When it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point," he said, promisingly. But in choosing to continue by asserting Iran's right to "access peaceful nuclear power," he offered no reassurance to Arab regimes panicked by Teheran's drive to the bomb, and absolutely no reassurance to Israel.

Watching from here, his even-handed attribution of blame for the failure of peace efforts to date was jarring indeed. For more than 60 years," the president declared, the Palestinian people "have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead."

To which most Israelis, having now witnessed even Ehud Olmert's ultra-generous two-state terms being derisively brushed aside by Mahmoud Abbas, would retort: "And whose fault is that?"

But Obama used his platform, too, to insist that "Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed." And, seconds later, he repeated and elaborated: "It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered."

He said this without including a parallel criticism of Israel's military response to such killing. He said this to a Muslim audience in Cairo.

Where he, terribly, missed a vital opportunity from Israel's point of view, however, was in legitimizing our Jewish nation-state solely on the basis of our people's persecution through the centuries, which "culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust."

Yes, of course, denying the Holocaust is 'baseless, ignorant and hateful." And yes, "threatening Israel with destruction" does indeed serve "to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve."

But our rights in this land are not predicated solely, or even primarily, on the tragedies that have befallen us during our history in exile. Those rights relate, rather, to the fact that we were in exile - from this land, this historic Jewish homeland. This is the only place on earth where the Jews have ever been sovereign, the place we never willingly left, the place to which we always prayed to return.

The culminating tragedy of the Holocaust occurred only because we had been denied that rightful homeland. Six million Jewish lives were lost because that legitimacy was not internationally internalized in time. This president, in that place, should have emphasized the point - stressed the physical root of our legitimacy to a Muslim world, and especially a Palestinian populace, that overwhelmingly refuses to acknowledge it.

Instead, unfortunately, the president spoke of the "displacement" of Palestinians "brought by Israel's founding" (while making no mention of the Arab world's rejection of the Arab entity that would have been simultaneously created alongside us). In so doing, he reinforced the very portrayal of Israel as a modern colonial upstart that Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad so cynically and strategically asserts.

In so painstakingly calibrated an address, delivered in so vital and urgent a cause, this was a stark failure, and one Obama should himself recognize the need to rectify as he translates his talk into action. For Muslim recognition of our fundamental right to be here, precisely here, is central to the president's admirable quest to make a better world, a peaceful world, a new beginning.

Iran adviseert Hamas in Gazastrook

Iran heeft in de Gazastrook meer invloed dan doorgaans aan het licht komt.........

Teheran is closer than we think

According to Ha'aretz, Hamas dismissed two military commanders because of their performance during the recent  Israeli Operation Cast Lead. It shows us who really won in Gaza, and it also shows that Iran micromanages Hamas. For all intents and purposes, we have Teheran in Gaza, a few miles from Tel Aviv:
Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal recently relieved two brigade commanders in the Gaza Strip on Iranian recommendations, Palestinian sources said Wednesday. The two officers, Bassam Issa and Imat Aakel, were removed from their positions following the recommendation of Iranian Revolutionary Guard officials who participated in the investigation of the perceived Hamas military failure during Operation Cast Lead. The two officers have been known to lead military wing formations in two of the Strip's refugee camps, Nuseirat and Bureij, and became brigade commanders when the Hamas regular military force was established.
During Operation Cast Lead, Hamas forces avoided confrontation with the IDF and did not incur great casualties among the Israeli troops. Because of the perceived failure, the organization's leadership decided to initiate a thorough investigation of the conduct of its men during the operation.
Palestinian sources said Meshal consulted Hassan Mahdawi, commander of the "Jerusalem Column" in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a unit stationed in Lebanon. After the investigation was concluded, the Hamas leadership decided to change the organizational structure of the military wing and remove a number of field commanders.
Issa and Aakel have also recently been at odds with Hamas' new interior minister, Fathi Hammad, who had tried to extend his authority over the organization's military wing. The ongoing disagreements between the Hamas government and senior commanders in the military wing resulted in the unauthorized firing of a Grad-type rocket at Ashkelon about three months ago. The launch was carried out as a protest by the military wing against the constraints set by the government.
Palestinian sources said Hammad decided to prosecute any persons involved in criminal activity, including activists from the military wing. He also banned the use of dark windows in all Gaza vehicles - popular among Hamas activists. The sources said Hammad enjoyed the support of the commander of the military wing, Ahmed Al-Jabari, while some local commanders, like Aakel and Issa, disagreed. Fatah sources claim Hamas' internal crisis was further aggravated by other senior leadership figures, who blame their lack of recent promotion on Hammad.

Alternative Information Center demoniseert Israel met Europese subsidies

NGO Monitor, AIC: Demonizing Israel and Opposing �Normalization�

Het Alternative Information Center, dat tegen vrede en tegen Israel is, wordt door bijvoorbeeld Zembla als betrouwbare bron beschouwd.


June 04, 2009
NGO Monitor - Promoting Accountability in the Arab-Israeli Conflict
AIC: Demonizing Israel and Opposing "Normalization"
The Alternative Information Center (AIC) is a radical political organization run by individuals with links to the Trotskyite anti-Zionist Revolutionary Communist League (Matzpen) and the PFLP terror group. Its funders include: Diakonia (from the Swedish government), Christian Aid (Irish government), and Sodepau (Catalan government in Spain).

Examples of AIC rhetoric:
 "…Israel's colonial strategies of ethnic cleansing, systematic segregation, the denial of basic civil and human rights and the erasing of Palestinians from history…"
"Shimon Peres is definitely an enemy of the Palestinian people, of human rights and of peace, and any kind of collaboration by a Palestinian organization with the Peres Center is scandalous..."
"Only the choice of resistance can put an end to the occupation. Fighting and negotiating together."
"Barak and the rest of them – to Nuremberg!"
"[Sanctions] can provide an excellent framework to fight normalization with Israel."

Israel has "put itself...outside the community of civilized countries."
Click here for the full report

NGO Monitor
1 Ben Maimon Blvd.
Jerusalem, 92262 Israel

vrijdag 5 juni 2009

Afspraken Israel met Bush over beperkte groei nederzettingen Westoever

Wat voor afspraken waren er tussen Israel en de VS wat betreft de bouw in nederzettingen? Israel beschuldigt de VS ervan met Bush overeengekomen afspraken nu te schenden. Naar blijkt, waren Israel en de VS overeengekomen dat Israel de Routekaart voor Vrede pas accepteerde als het, onder voorwaarden, in de nederzettingen mocht blijven bouwen. Het woord 'settlement freeze' uit de Routekaart heeft zo een wel heel rekkelijke definitie gekregen. Daarbij heeft Bush een brief geschreven waarin hij duidelijk maakte dat Israel zich niet geheel achter de Groene Lijn hoeft terug te trekken in een toekomstig vredesverdrag. Zoals elders uitgelegd, vind ik het de vraag in hoeverre Israel zich op dergelijke, deels mondelinge afspraken, kan blijven beroepen. Anderzijds is het wel belangrijk te weten, hoe je daar zelf ook over denkt, dat de bouw in de nederzettingen van de afgelopen jaren in overeenstemming was met afspraken en gebonden aan regels, al waren die niet tot in detail uitgewerkt.
Onderstaand artikel is van donderdag voor de speech van Obama.
New York Times - June 4, 2009
Israelis Say Bush Agreed to West Bank Growth
JERUSALEM — Senior Israeli officials accused President Obama on Wednesday of failing to acknowledge what they called clear understandings with the Bush administration that allowed Israel to build West Bank settlement housing within certain guidelines while still publicly claiming to honor a settlement "freeze."

The complaint was the latest in a growing rift between the Obama administration and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over how to move forward to achieve peace in the Middle East. Mr. Obama was in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and is scheduled to address the Muslim world from Cairo on Thursday.

The Israeli officials said that repeated discussions with Bush officials starting in late 2002 resulted in agreement that housing could be built within the boundaries of certain settlement blocks as long as no new land was expropriated, no special economic incentives were offered to move to settlements and no new settlements were built.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity so that they could discuss an issue of such controversy between the two governments.

When Israel signed on to the so-called road map for a two-state solution in 2003, with a provision that says its government "freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements)," the officials said, it did so after a detailed discussion with Bush administration officials that laid out those explicit exceptions.

"Not everything is written down," one of the officials said.

He and others said that Israel agreed to the road map and to move ahead with the removal of settlements and soldiers from Gaza in 2005 on the understanding that settlement growth could continue.

But a former senior official in the Bush administration disagreed, calling the Israeli characterization "an overstatement."

"There was never an agreement to accept natural growth," the official said Tuesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter. "There was an effort to explore what natural growth would mean, but we weren't able to reach agreement on that."

The former official said that Bush administration officials had been working with their Israeli counterparts to clarify several issues, including natural growth, government subsidies to settlers, and the cessation of appropriation of Palestinian land.

The United States and Israel never reached an agreement, though, either public or private, the official said.

A second senior Bush administration official, also speaking anonymously, said Wednesday: "We talked about a settlement freeze with four elements. One was no new settlements, a second was no new confiscation of Palestinian land, one was no new subsidies and finally, no construction outside the settlements."

He described that fourth condition, which applied to natural growth, as similar to taking a string and tying it around a settlement, and prohibiting any construction outside that string.

But, he added, "We had a tentative agreement, but that was contingent on drawing up lines, and this is a process that never got done, therefore the settlement freeze was never formalized and never done."

A third former Bush administration official, Elliott Abrams, who was on the National Security Council staff, wrote an opinion article in The Washington Post in April that seemed to endorse the Israeli argument.

The Israeli officials acknowledged that the new American administration had different ideas about the meaning of the term "settlement freeze." Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have said in the past week that the term means an end to all building, including natural growth.

But the Israeli officials complained that Mr. Obama had not accepted that the previous understandings existed. Instead, they lamented, Israel now stood accused of having cheated and dissembled in its settlement activity whereas, in fact, it had largely lived within the guidelines to which both governments had agreed.

On Monday, Mr. Netanyahu said Israel "cannot freeze life in the settlements," calling the American demand "unreasonable."

Dov Weissglas, who was a senior aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, wrote an opinion article that appeared Tuesday in Yediot Aharonot, a mass-selling newspaper, laying out the agreements that he said had been reached with officials in the Bush administration.

He said that in May 2003 he and Mr. Sharon met with Mr. Abrams and Stephen J. Hadley of the National Security Council and came up with the definition of settlement freeze: "no new communities were to be built; no Palestinian lands were to be appropriated for settlement purposes; building will not take place beyond the existing community outline; and no 'settlement encouraging' budgets were to be allocated."

He said that Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser at the time, signed off on that definition later that month and that the two governments also agreed to set up a joint committee to define more fully the meaning of "existing community outline" for established settlements.

In April 2004, President Bush presented Mr. Sharon with a letter stating, "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949."

That letter, Mr. Weissglas said, was a result of his earlier negotiations with Bush administration officials acknowledging that certain settlement blocks would remain Israeli and open to continued growth.

The Israeli officials said that no Bush administration official had ever publicly insisted that Israel was obliged to stop all building in the areas it captured in 1967. They said it was important to know that major oral understandings reached between an Israeli prime minister and an American president would not simply be tossed aside when a new administration came into the White House.

Of course, Mr. Netanyahu has yet to endorse the two-state solution or even the road map agreed to by previous Israeli governments, which were not oral commitments, but actual signed and public agreements.

In his opinion article in The Washington Post, Mr. Abrams, the former Bush official who was part of negotiations with Israel, wrote: "For the past five years, Israel's government has largely adhered to guidelines that were discussed with the United States but never formally adopted: that there would be no new settlements, no financial incentives for Israelis to move to settlements and no new construction except in already built-up areas. The clear purpose of the guidelines? To allow for settlement growth in ways that minimized the impact on Palestinians."

Mr. Abrams acknowledged that even within those guidelines, Israel had not fully complied. He wrote: "There has been physical expansion in some places, and the Palestinian Authority is right to object to it. Israeli settlement expansion beyond the security fence, in areas Israel will ultimately evacuate, is a mistake."

Helene Cooper contributed reporting from Washington.

Regering Netanjahoe: 'Israel deelt Obama's hoop op vrede'

Gemengde reacties vanuit Israel op Obama's speech.

The Jerusalem Post
Jun 4, 2009 14:38 | Updated Jun 4, 2009 23:00
'Israel shares Obama's hope for peace'

The Prime Minister's Office responded to US President Barack Obama's address to the Muslim world on Thursday by expressing hope that it would help lead to reconciliation between the Muslim world and Israel.

"The government of Israel expresses hope that President Obama's important speech will lead to a new period of reconciliation between the Arab and Muslim world, and Israel. We share Obama's hope that the American effort will bring about an end to the conflict and to pan-Arab recognition of Israel as the Jewish state.

"Israel is obligated to peace and will do as much as possible to help expand the circle of peace, while taking into consideration our national interests, the foremost of which is security," the statement concluded.

President Shimon Peres praised Obama, saying that his "speech was a speech filled with a vision, [it was] a brave speech which promises hard work for all of the sides involved in advancing the peace process in the Middle East.

"The idea of peace was born in the Middle East and is a basic term [used] in the three monotheistic religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - and it is up to the children of Abraham to join hands in order to meet the challenge together - sustainable peace in the Middle East."

Meanwhile, politicians across the political spectrum reacted with both praise and condemnation to his words.

"This is a direct, significant and brave appeal, in which President Obama has formulated his vision and the important universal values he wishes to share with the Muslim world," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement from Washington, where he was meeting with Henry Kissinger. "The speech contains reinforcement and encouragement for the moderate and peace-seeking elements, as well as an affront to terror and extremist elements threatening stability in our region and peace in the world.

"We praise the president's commitment to the existence and safety of Israel, as well as his clear call for Israel's integration in the region," Barak said.

"We hope the Arab world will heed President Obama's call to bring an end to terror and violence and establish peaceful ties with Israel. We will act in coordination with the US to promote peace, while emphasizing the safeguarding of Israel's essential security interests," the defense minister concluded.

Other cabinet members had none of Barak's enthusiasm. "Obama ignored the fact that the Palestinians have not abandoned terror," Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Daniel Herschkowitz said during a tour of settlements south of Hebron. "The government of Israel is not America's lackey. The relations with the Americans are based on friendship and not submission, and therefore Israel must tell Obama that stopping natural growth in the settlements is a red line."

Another member of the same party, Zevulun Orlev, also reacted with dismay to the president's comments.

"The speech raises fears and worries about the [fate] of America's balanced relationship towards Israel," he said. "I have a bad feeling ... traditional commitments of the United States towards the security needs which ensure the existence and independence of the state of Israel are being eroded.

"The answer to this is not capitulation or flattery," Orlev continued, "but rather the negotiation" to convince the US of the Israeli position."

In contrast, Kadima MK Ze'ev Boim used the opportunity to both laud the speech and criticize the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

"Obama's speech is further proof that Netanyahu did not properly gauge the policies of the Untied States," he said. "The policies of the president on the Palestinian issue are identical to those of Kadima, and it is unfortunate that Netanyahu is unable to accept the idea of two states for two peoples for narrow political reasons."

Labor rebel MK Eitan Cabel also had words of praise for the president and condemnation for the prime minister.

"The president's words made it very clear that in Washington they are unwilling to turn a blind eye," he said. "Time is working against us, and the Israelis interest of not being a serial rejector means accepting two states for two peoples and stopping construction of settlements."

United Arab List MK Ahmed Tibi said that while he agreed with the speech, there was "no Israeli partner to implement" it.

"Obama presented a new and balanced approach and semantics in his speech, and reiterated that the settlements are not legitimate," he said. "This approach requires active steps that will be the test of his policy."

"His words of praise for Islam are a counterweight to Islamaphobia, and what he said about Palestinian suffering is an important basis for diplomatic progress," Tibi added.

Hadash MK Dov Henin joined Tibi, Cabel, and Boim in their praise of the speech.

"The whole world understands that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is essential and urgent for security and peace in the entire world," he said. "The time has come for the Israeli public to make its voice heard in a clear way against the refusal of the Netanyahu government to make peace."

Outside of the Knesset, reactions were also mixed. Aliza Herbst, resident and spokeswoman for the Ofra settlement, said that modern history has shown that the Muslim world is at war with the West. She said that Obama's vision of peace sounded nice but was not realistic.

The citizen's committees of Judea and Samaria said the speech was an expression of Israel "paying the price for the defeatism of its leaders."

"Hussein Obama chose to adopt the lying versions of the Arabs, which were always stated persistently and brazenly, over the Jewish truth, which is stated in a weak and stuttering voice," the settlers said in a statement.

It was time for Netanyahu to join the ranks of Menahem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, "arise as a proud Jewish leader and declare that he rejects with repugnance the rewritten history that Obama attempted to dictate today," they said.

AP contributed to this report.

Onderhandelingsruimte over nederzettingen tussen Israel en VS

Israel kan de kans op Amerikaanse flexibiliteit verhogen door zichzelf ook flexibel op te stellen en niet steeds keihard te roepen dat het door gaat met het bouwen in de nederzettingen.
Over de vraag hoe Obama's woorden over de nederzettingen precies geinterpreteerd moeten worden zal menige Israelische politcus zijn hoofd nog breken, maar duidelijk is dat de nederzettingen nu ook door Amerika als een groot probleem worden gezien en daarmee dient terdege rekening te worden gehouden.
Het is jammer dat Obama in zijn speech de legitimiteit van Israel slechts verbond met antisemitisme en de Holocaust, en niet met het recht van het Joodse volk op zelfbeschikking, en de verbondenheid van de Joden met het land. Misschien iets voor een volgende speech?

US official to 'Post': We can find deal on West Bank settlements
Jun. 5, 2009
HERB KEINON and Jerusalem Post staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
Washington feels "an arrangement that works" can be hammered out with Israel on the settlement issue, a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, indicating the US recognizes some wiggle room in defining a "settlement freeze."
"There's a professional, constructive dialogue on this issue," the official said, shortly after US President Barack Obama delivered his speech in Cairo. "We have differences, but believe we can find an arrangement that works."
The official said that some of the comments reportedly made on the issue by anonymous officials both in Israel and the US had been "heated" and not always credible.
"We're working this through, consistent with the relationship between strong allies," he said.
Israeli officials, meanwhile, were struggling to understand what precisely Obama meant when he discussed the settlement issue in his speech.
"The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace," he said. "It is time for these settlements to stop."
One diplomatic official said the construction of this paragraph seemed intentionally vague, enabling further discussion on the matter with the US.
US Middle East envoy George Mitchell is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday, to continue discussing the matter.
The senior US official said Washington and Jerusalem were also continuing to have a conversation about a two-state solution, something Obama forcefully backed in Cairo but which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has still not endorsed.
The official stressed that Obama's speech was not a one-time effort at outreach to the Islamic world, and that the idea was now for continuous dialogue with Muslims. He added that this candid dialogue would help the US "get a fair hearing" in the Islamic world regarding its "unshakable" backing for Israel.
The official acknowledged that Obama may have missed an opportunity during his speech to speak about the Jews' historical connection to Israel, framing Israel's legitimacy instead only within the context of persecution and the Holocaust.
He stressed that Obama had spoken about the Jews' historic connection to the land in the past.
"It was certainly not a deliberate omission this time," he said.

PA hoorde Obama zeggen dat Jeruzalem voor moslims en christenen is?

Ook Ami Isseroff wijst op de wel vreemde vertaling door Abu Rdeina van Obama's speech die gericht was op verzoening.
Abu Rdeina continued on: we believe that Israel must take Obama's Speech today seriously. He pointed that the US President's call for Israel to stop colonization and for establishing a Palestinian state, and that Jerusalem is for Muslims and Christians is a clear message to Israel that it should choose between peace and the continuation of tension.
Wat hij ook vergeet is dat Obama ook een boodschap had voor de Palestijnen:
Threatening Israel with destruction - or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews - is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.
Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed.
It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.
Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist.

Abu Rdeina: Obama's Speech Contains Clear Message to Israel
Date : 4/6/2009
Time : 16:55

RAMALLAH, June 4, 2009 (WAFA - PLO news agency) - Palestinian Presidency Spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeina, said that US President Barack Obama's speech is a new American beginning, and a clear message to the Israelis.

Abu Rdeina told WAFA that President Obama's preparedness for partnership, establishing confidence and facing tensions, and his words about the suffering of Palestinians and him saying that the time has come to establish a Palestinian state is the first essential step towards building a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

Abu Rdeina continued on: we believe that Israel must take Obama's Speech today seriously. He pointed that the US President's call for Israel to stop colonization and for establishing a Palestinian state, and that Jerusalem is for Muslims and Christians is a clear message to Israel that it should choose between peace and the continuation of tension.

War and Peace Index: 60% Israëli's vertrouwt Obama niet

Israëli's zijn bezorgd om het beleid van Obama en de kritische toon die hij aanslaat naar Israël.

60% of Israelis don't trust Obama
War and Peace Index reveals 55% of Israeli Jews believe US president leans in favor of Palestinians, while only 5% say he supports Israeli position.
Majority of respondents say Netanyahu's Washington visit was unsuccessful.
Even before Barack Obama's historic "reconciliation speech" in Cairo on Thursday, the majority of the Israeli public - 55% - felt the US president leans in favor of the Palestinians.

Only 5% said Obama supports the Israeli stance, while 31% said they feel he is neutral, a poll published on Thursday showed.

Sixty percent of Israelis don't trust the president to consider and protect Israel's interests during his efforts to improve relations between America and the Muslim world.

The War and Peace Index, published on Ynet once a month, showed that 65% of the respondents feel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to Washington was unsuccessful, while 19% feel it was successful.

Nonetheless, the majority of the respondents - 56% feel the stance Netanyahu presented to the US was neither too rigid, nor too lenient, but just right. Thirteen percent said the prime minister's position was too rigid, while 9% said it was too lenient. The rest said they didn't know.

The sweeping majority (67%) of the Jewish public in Israel still believes there is not chance for an agreement with the Palestinians that doesn't include the two states for two people's formula, while only 18% think there is a chance for an agreement without this formula.

The Jewish Israeli population is spilt on the matter of settlements, with a small majority of 48% saying they weaken the Israeli interest, as opposed to 43% who said settlements actually contribute to the State's interests.

A majority of 53% said Israel should not agree to evacuate all settlements, even if a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians depended on it, while 41% said they support evacuation.

A breakdown to the types of settlements in question yields different results. With regards to illegal outposts and isolated settlements located in the heart of the Palestinian population, as opposed to the major settlement blocs, 53% of the respondents said Israel should agree to evacuate them. Only 29% disagreed.

The survey is funded by two academic bodies belonging to Tel Aviv University: The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution. The surveys are conducted by the B. I. Cohen Institute of Tel Aviv University. The joint academic responsibility for the project, including formulation of the questionnaires and analysis of the findings, is held by Prof. Ephraim Yaar of Tel Aviv University and Prof. Tamar Hermann of the Open University.

Toespraak president Obama in Cairo over Midden-Oosten conflict

Barack Obama hield in Cairo een in diplomatiek opzicht vrij stevige maar redelijk evenwichtige speech, die al als 'historisch' wordt gekwalificeerd. De internationale reacties waren overwegend positief. Er zat dan ook, zo te zeggen, voor elk wat wils in, behalve voor de echte fanaten.
Hieronder het deel dat Israel en de Palestijnen en Iran betreft.
Zie ook over Obama en het Israelisch-Palestijnse conflict: Een frisse bries uit Amerika
Twee blogs met eerste reacties op de toespraak van Obama:


Transcript: President Obama Addresses Muslim World in Cairo
CQ Transcriptwire
Thursday, June 4, 2009; 6:32 AM
[the part about Israel, the Palestinians and Iran:]
America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.
Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction - or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews - is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.
On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.
For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers - for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel's founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.
That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them - and all of us - to live up to our responsibilities. Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed.
For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered. Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist.
At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.
Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.
Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel's legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.
America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true. Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.
The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.
This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically- elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.
It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America's interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.
I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation - including Iran - should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

donderdag 4 juni 2009

Twee roadblocks bij Ramallah verwijderd door IDF

Dit soort nieuws wordt altijd volkomen genegeerd door onze media, in tegenstelling tot de kleinste verbeteringen aan Palestijnse kant.

IDF Spokesperson
June 3rd, 2009
Additional Roadblocks Removed in Judea and Samaria

Yesterday, June 2nd, 2009, the Rimonim and Bir Zeit roadblocks located in the Binyamin region, near Ramallah were removed. This step was taken following a meeting held the day before between the GOC Central Command, Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni, the Head of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Noam Tibon, the Head of the Civil Administration, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, and the Head of the Palestinian Security Forces in charge of civilian affairs in the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, Hassin el-Sheik.

During the meeting, in which the senior officers discussed various security and civilian related issues, it was decided, in accordance with decisions made by the Israeli government, to take various steps which would significantly improve the daily life of Palestinian civilians in the Judea and Samaria region. A number of security coordination meetings have taken place this year, resulting in a range of steps designed to widen Palestinian free movement, to strengthen the Palestinian Security Forces and the Palestinian economy.

The Rimonim roadblock, located east of Ramallah was completely removed yesterday, allowing free passage from the city to the Jordan Valley area. The Bir Zeit roadblock, located north of Ramallah, which was also removed yesterday, now allowing quick passage from the city to the villages to the north.

Furthermore, Atzira A-Shamalia, a central checkpoint located near Nablus, will now operate 24 hours a day, easing movement in the area.

These steps were taken to widen the free movement of the Palestinian population and are in addition to the 145 roadblocks which were removed in the past year.

During the meeting, it was also decided to finalize the process granting Palestinian businessmen permits to pass through Israeli crossings into Israel. This will allow the businessman and public figures who play an important role in the Palestinian economy greater freedom to conduct their business. These permits will be granted in accordance with authorization by the Civil Administration.

The IDF will continue to operate according to the decisions made by the Israeli government and on the basis of ongoing security assessments, in order to further ease the daily  life of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria while continuously fighting terror and maintaining the safety of the citizens of the State of Israel.

Open brief Knessetleden Arbeidspartij aan Barack Obama

Vier Knessetleden van coalitiepartij Labor, waaronder oud-minister Amir Peretz, schreven ook een brief aan Obama; welke vredesgroep gaat deze bezorgen?

The Jerusalem Post
Jun 3, 2009 21:27 | Updated Jun 3, 2009 21:30
An open letter to President Barack Obama

Dear President Obama,

We write this open letter with great hopes and out of deep concern that Israel is about to miss the opportunities that your presidency offers the Middle East.

We welcome the fact that you are about to arrive in our region. Your forthcoming speech in Egypt, we are sure, will sow the seeds of a new era grounded in an emphasis on negotiation, attempting to bridge cultural and religious gaps, exchanging a culture of war with a culture of dialogue.

We believe that a process of reconciliation with the Arab world, as well as the beginning of an immediate and intensive process of negotiation with our Palestinian neighbors will strengthen Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, a state that treats all its citizens with justice and respect and lives with its neighbors in a political atmosphere of acceptance and stability.

We know that you are deeply committed to Israel's security and well-being. Like many in Israel and abroad, we believe that a two-state solution - grounded in a painful territorial compromise and mutual recognition - is the only solution that can sustain the Zionist dream of establishing a national homeland for the Jews.

It is for this reason that we deeply regret the fact that you are not paying a visit to Israel.

Such a visit would have been received with great enthusiasm by all those who wish to see your leadership and vision paving the way for a better future for the next generations in Israel and its neighbors.

The writers are Labor MKs.

Hamas stuurt Obama uitnodiging voor Gaza

De houding van Hamas tegenover Obama.
Hamas is net zo fel tegen vrede als de radikale Israelische kolonisten, die 'hun' land voor geen goud willen verlaten en tegen ieder compromis gekant zijn. Hamas is minstens net zo erg, en doet geregeld agressieve, opruiende en antisemitische uitspraken. Ook zegt men keer op keer duidelijk Israel nooit te zullen erkennen:
Ismael Haniya, the legitimate Palestinian Prime Minister, told foreign dignitaries visiting Gaza last month that Hamas wouldn't abandon its principles under pressure.
"We will not cave in to pressure, we will not betray our people's trust, we will not recognize the illegitimate Zionist entity. This has always been our stance, and it will never change."
Haniya suggested that when it comes to recognizing the evil Zionist entity, the PLO represented only itself, not the entire Palestinian people.
He pointed out that acknowledging the legitimacy of the Zionist regime effectively meant a tacit recognition of all the hideous crimes committed by Israel, including the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of millions of Palestinian refugees from their ancestral homeland.
Maar dat zegt Hamas niet tegen Obama, niet tegen Westerse journalisten en ook niet tegen Westerse 'vredesactivisten'.
Onderstaand een gelikte en vrij slijmerige brief van Hamas aan Obama over Israelische oorlogsmisdaden, Palestijnse mensenrechten en wederzijds respect. Wie de staat van dienst en retoriek van Hamas kent, kan zich alleen maar verbazen. Ook over de naiviteit van de Amerikaanse vrouwenvredesgroep die bereidwillig voor postbode speelt.
En dan nog zijn er mensen die beweren dat Israels hasbara zo gelikt is, dat zij alles recht kan praten wat krom is en zich altijd als het slachtoffer en de redelijke partij weet voor te doen.

Exclusive: Hamas invites Obama to Gaza in letter
Date: 03 / 06 / 2009 Time: 18:19

Bethlehem - Ma'an Exclusive - An American group returning from Gaza says it will deliver a letter from Hamas to US President Barack Obama who is to give a landmark address to the Muslim world in the Egyptian capital on Thursday.

Hamas official Ahmad Yousef confirmed that he wrote the letter, which the US women's antiwar group CODEPINK plans to deliver on Thursday.

Yousef sent a copy of the letter, in Arabic, to Ma'an. The following is a translation:

            Mr. President Barack Obama,

            President of the United States of America,

            June 3, 2009

            We welcome your visit to the Arab world and your initiative to break the problems between you and the Muslim world. One of the most important points causing tension between the United States and this part of the world is the failure to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

            Unfortunately, you won't visit the Gaza Strip and listen to our point of view during your visit to the Middle East. The minister of foreign affairs and [envoy to the Middle East] Mr. George Mitchell also will not visit the Gaza Strip.

            We have received in the recent period many foreign delegations of different political backgrounds, including representatives from the US Congress and European parliamentarians, as well as the Chairman of the [UN] Fact-Finding Commission Mr. [Richard] Goldstone, in addition to many groups. The latest was CODEPINK from America.

            It is very important to visit the Gaza Strip and to witness the results of the Israeli war and these crimes that lasted 22 days. So many people were killed by Israel, which has the encouragement of the United States.

            Human Rights Watch documented that the use of the white phosphorus by Israel against United Nations schools and it was discovered that it is made in the US . they concluded by stating that Israel's use of white phosphorous is a war crime ... The question is for Americans: If you are the makers of such weapons and you are the owners of this weapon and you support Israel, how did Israel violate international law and used this weapon!?

            Mr. President,

            Before becoming the president of America you were a distinguished university professor in law, and your administration has indicated that it will work to strengthen the rule of law in the Arab and Islamic world.

            The International Court of Justice ruled in June 2004 that all of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem belong to Palestinians and they are the ones who have the right to decide the future of their political existence and that the settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal. Fifteen judges and representatives of the highest international judicial authority did not add any conditions or dissent to these statements.

            We have also noted that the most important and international organizations; such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, supported the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and receive compensation.

            The human rights organizations noted also that the siege imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip is a punishment that violates international law.

            We are, in the Hamas government, committed to a just solution to the conflict in keeping with international law and the rulings of the International Court of Justice and the [UN] General Assembly and human rights organizations. We are ready to continue with all parties on the basis of mutual respect, without any prior requirements or conditions.

            Again, we would welcome President Obama to the Gaza Strip, in order to see the damage done. Such a visit will put the United States in a higher position in the view of the entire world in order to solve the conflict.


            Dr Ahmed Yousef

            Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

            At 9am on Thursday the delegation of journalists, social workers, professors and activists will carry the letter to the US Embassy in Cairo along with a petition signed by more than 10,000 Americans asking Obama to go to Gaza to witness the impact of the recent Israeli invasion there and its ongoing blockade.

            "Obama should go to Gaza and see the devastation for himself, or send envoy George Mitchell," said Medea Benjamin in a statement.

            Benjamin is co-founder of CODEPINK, which led the group through Gaza. "There will be no significant improvement in relations between the United States and the Arab world until the U.S. begins to deal directly with Hamas and shows its commitment to the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis."

            Egypt allowed the 66-person delegation through the Rafah crossing into Gaza on 30 May. The group brought toys, school supplies and playground building supplies, and built three small playgrounds there.

            The group said in a statement that it was "shocked by the brutality of the Israeli invasion that killed more than 1,400, displaced more than 50,000 people and destroyed approximately 4,000 homes." They were also appalled by the effects of the 21-month siege that has "virtually sealed the borders and constitutes a form of collective punishment, which is illegal under international law."

            Approached by Ma'an, US officials in Jerusalem have not yet responded to this report. The US officially considers Hamas a "terrorist" organization and thereby refuses to deal directly with it.

Israelische minister fel tegen bevriezing Joodse nederzettingen

Israels houding tegenover Obama, althans die van de (Shas) minister van binnenlandse zaken. Tenminste betreffende de buitenposten staat deze haaks op het voornemen van Barak (die erover gaat) en uitspraken van Netanjahoe, die benadrukte dat de Israelische wet moet worden gehandhaafd.
Anders dan we in Nederland gewend zijn, spreekt de Israelische regering niet met één mond. Het belooft dan ook een echt 'vechtkabinet' te worden.
Of Yishai zijn zin krijgt, is nog maar zeer de vraag, maar zijn felle uitspraken zijn bepaald niet bevorderlijk voor de relatie met de Amerikaanse regering, of voor het toch al beroerde imago van Israel in het Westen.

Yishai vows to use power of his ministry to expand settlements
Gil Hoffman and staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
On the eve of US President Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced Wednesday that he will respond to Obama's outreach to the Arabs by expanding West Bank settlements.

In a meeting with leaders of Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria at his Jerusalem office, the Shas chairman said he invited them while Obama was in the region, because the US president's speech reinforced the need to consolidate Israeli society.

"The American policies are not coincidental and everyone must know that the bad situation will only get worse in the near future," Yishai told the settler leaders.

"I promise to use my ministry, all the resources at my disposal and the ministry's impact on local authorities for the good of expanding settlements," he said.

Yishai told the settler leaders that he would not tolerate the removal of even a single outpost in Judea and Samaria. He said he did not understand why nothing was being done against some 57,000 illegal Arab buildings in the Negev, east Jerusalem and the Ramle-Lod area.

"In this difficult time, it's important to meet and strengthen one another and set policies accordingly," Yishai told The Jerusalem Post after the meeting. "We respect the United States and we want to maintain a positive relationship with the Americans, but we must stand up for our principles and we cannot accept dictates that the public cannot tolerate."

He called on the West Bank leaders to pressure other cabinet ministers to make their views in favor of supporting the settlements known to the public.

The leaders said after the meeting that they appreciated his help, but that they needed backing from other key ministers, especially Defense Minister Ehud Barak of Labor.

"We didn't ask Yishai for more funding than any other regions are getting," Gush Etzion Regional Council Chairman Shaul Goldstein said.

"We did ask him to stop the discrimination against Judea and Samaria in his ministry's funding and we received that commitment from him. But the defense minister has the real power over building in Judea and Samaria and he's not from Shas," Goldstein noted.

The settler leaders said Obama's statement about America being one of the largest Muslim countries(*) reinforced to them how difficult their current situation was.

The head of Habayit Hayehudi, Science Minister Daniel Herschkowitz, will tour settlements south of Hebron during Obama's speech on Thursday, to strengthen Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's hand in his objections to Obama's insistence on stopping natural-growth construction in the settlements.

"That's a red line that we won't allow to be crossed," Herschkowitz said.

Also Wednesday, Yishai ordered Shas MK David Azoulay to submit a bill according to which the interior minister would have the power to revoke citizenships without the authorization of the attorney-general or the court.

Currently, Citizenship Law stipulates that revoking citizenship requires the attorney-general's authorization and the court's consent.

Yishai is pushing for the amendment in the wake of delays in revoking the citizenships of four Arab Israeli terror suspects currently residing abroad.

(*) What Obama actually said:

Now, the flip side is I think that the United States and the West generally, we have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam. And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslims Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. And so there's got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples.

[PS: schattingen variëren sterk, maar met 2 tot 5 miljoen moslims in de VS lijkt die uitspraak van Obama toch wat overdreven...]


Joodse organisaties VS afwachtend naar beleid Obama over nederzettingen

De meeste Ameriaanse Joodse organisaties vinden het te vroeg de alarmklok te luiden over Obama's druk op Israel.
Een Joods democratisch congreslid verwoordt zijn houding als volgt:

Wexler offered his own idea for a compromise, suggesting that the Jewish state offer to freeze all natural growth of settlements on the Palestinian side of the security fence as a "credible first step." He said Israel needed to make some sort of movement on the settlement issue as a way to test whether the Arab world is serious about peace with Israel.

Israel zal op zijn minst enige flexibiliteit moeten tonen in plaats van alleen maar te klagen over de Amerikaanse kritiek.
Groups silent in face of Obama calls for settlement freeze
Eric Fingerhut
Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
June 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Even as it publicly stakes out a hard-line position against Israeli settlement expansion, the Obama administration is avoiding serious criticism from most U.S. Jewish groups and pro-Israel Democratic lawmakers.

Key pro-Israel Jewish Democrats have backed the president on the importance of an Israeli settlement freeze while also suggesting there is room for a compromise between the Netanyahu government and the White House.

Meanwhile, the major Jewish centrist organizations -- including the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and AIPAC -- have refrained from issuing statements criticizing the Obama administration on the issue.

Some Jewish leaders said that while worries had been growing in recent days, the community wanted to wait until after President Obama's speech Thursday in Cairo to fully assess the situation.

Their concern spiked after what they saw as "stark" comments by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton last week in which she said that "with respect to settlements, the president was very clear when Prime Minister Netanyahu was here: He wants to see a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions."

In subsequent interviews, Obama has reiterated the call for a settlement freeze, but also stressed that "it's still early in the conversation" and that "patience is needed." The president also has stressed the White House's continuing commitment to Israel's security, isolating Hamas and fighting to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

While the Bush administration also called for a settlement freeze, observers said the Obama administration's tone and seeming willingness to follow up marks a significant change from the previous White House. The key flashpoint surrounds the issue of "natural growth," which often is understood to encompass any kind of building and construction to accommodate growing families -- from building an extra room to a house to additional schools, community services and synagogues in growing neighborhoods.

Last month, former deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams publicly confirmed the existence of an unwritten agreement that then-President George W. Bush and then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reached in 2004, stating that Israel could continue to build in large Israeli settlements in the West Bank that the Jewish state was likely to keep in any final peace deal.

The Obama administration reportedly has backed away from that understanding -- but, as some observers and unnamed U.S. officials have pointed out, only after Netanyahu refused to echo his predecessors' endorsement of a two-state solution.

"There would usually be a great deal of deference if he did his part," said the Middle East Forum's Steve Rosen, formerly the longtime foreign policy director at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. But without such an affirmation for a two-state solution by Netanyahu, "it weakened his ability to play that card."

Abraham Foxman, the ADL's national director, said the organized Jewish community was still treading cautiously, not wanting to "push any buttons and exacerbate the situation" in order to see what the president says in his speech to the Muslim world this week.

"It's a crisis in formation" -- but not yet a crisis, said Foxman.

"Everybody is holding their breath until after Thursday," he said.

The chairman of the Conference of Presidents, Alan Solow, also said it was "too early to come to any conclusion" on how the settlement discussions will play out.

"I'm watching very carefully to see that the American leadershp and the Israeli leadership have a candid exchange of views," said Solow, an early Obama supporter during the campaign.

While Jewish lawmakers and centrist Jewish organizations have steered clear from directly critcizing the Obama administration, more than 75 percent of the members of the House of Representatives have signed on to an AIPAC-backed letter to the president stating, among other things, that the United States should seek to settle its disputes with Israel in private.

Some Jewish leaders have expressed puzzlement at the administration's willingness to bring the argument out in the open so quickly.

"It's not clear what's to be gained by this public exchange on settlements, especially because there's not much likelihood of a deal at this point" and "a private channel exists," said an official at one Jewish organization who did not want to be identified.

Even Republican Jews, who attacked Obama throughout the presidential campaign for his positions on Israel, have been relatively quiet in recent days.

Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said his organization was waiting until after the Cairo speech to make a formal statement in order to have a "full sense of what's going on," although he said the group was "deeply concerned about the path this administration is taking."

Left-wing pro-Israel groups, which have been encouraging Obama to press for a settlement freeze since his inauguration, were pleased that the White House appears to be sticking to its demands.

Americans for Peace Now spokesman Ori Nir said the shift is "sweeping, if in fact the administration will stand behind its words and enforce these positions."

The Zionist Organization of America criticized the settlement freeze proposal immediately after last month's Obama-Netanyahu meeting, saying "it simply penalizes Jews, because they are Jews, from living in the ancestral heartland of the Jewish people."

Late Tuesday, the Orthodox Union weighed in with a letter to Obama, saying it was "deeply troubled" by his approach to settlements because his typical "nuanced approach" was "glaringly absent."

"To the contrary, this policy has, to date, reflected a blunderbuss, one-size-fits-all attitude toward everything from building a new house on an empty lot in the midst of the city of Ma'ale Adumim, to erecting new houses on an empty hilltop in Samaria," wrote leaders of the Orthodox Union, which has increasingly aligned itself publicly with the settler movement in recent years.

According to multiple reports, Netanyahu and his aides were shocked to discover in a meeting last month with Jewish members of Congress the degree to which they sided with Obama. Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) said it was the first time during such a meeting that he recalled an Israeli prime minister being pressed on the settlement issue in his 13 years in the House.

"Those people who have been some of Israel's staunchest and most vocal supporters in the past and would be in the future are advocating this policy and supporting the president because it is a policy in best interests of the United States and Israel," said Wexler, an early supporter and outspoken Jewish surrogate for Obama during the presidential campaign. "I'm convinced Netanyahu feels the same way. He just has to figure out the dynamic that will support it and we have to give him the time and room to do that."

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) said he still wanted the Obama administration to more clearly define what exactly it meant by "natural growth," but generally backed the idea of stopping settlements.

"We're not talking about dismantling settlements, we're talking about a settlement freeze," said Ackerman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. "Settlements have proven to be one of the things that have been problematic."

Ackerman said he still wanted to hear specifically whether the administration's definition of natural growth was all about buildings, or also included people.

"I don't know how you can tell families they can't have children," he said, but expanding the "footprint" of a settlement through building or other construction was problematic.

"I think there is room for compromise," he said.

Wexler offered his own idea for a compromise, suggesting that the Jewish state offer to freeze all natural growth of settlements on the Palestinian side of the security fence as a "credible first step." He said Israel needed to make some sort of movement on the settlement issue as a way to test whether the Arab world is serious about peace with Israel.

"American Jews or Israel should not be concerned" by the recent tension over settlements, he said.

"All of this is within the context of empowering the president of the United States to extract from the Arab world normalization measures that the Arab world has never contemplated before," Wexler said.

Two of the more hard-line Jewish Democrats in Congress, Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Shelly Berkley (D-Nev.), did voice some concerns this week.

"My concern is that we are applying pressure to the wrong party in this dispute," Berkley said in an interview with Politico. "I think it would serve America's interest better if we were pressuring the Iranians to eliminate the potential of a nuclear threat from Iran, and less time pressuring our allies and the only democracy in the Middle East to stop the natural growth of their settlements.

"When Congress gets back into session," she added, "the administration is going to hear from many more members than just me."