Posts Tagged ‘Arab Peace Initiative’


Reaction to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the UN General Assembly today was swift and sharp. One of the most incisive

Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN general Assembly, 9/26/14

Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN general Assembly, 9/26/14

Israeli columnists, Chemi Shalev of Ha’aretz, broke it down very well. He considered Abbas’ speech to be a welcome gift to the Israeli right. And I agree with him. But that’s not really the point.

Abbas has often used the UN podium as a way to be more direct and combative than he usually is regarding Israel, de-emphasizing the “partner for peace” charade and instead being more of an advocate for and leader of the Palestinian cause. But this time, he really turned up the heat. His reference to the attack on Gaza as “genocide” was calculated to play very well in Ramallah and Gaza City, and he willingly sacrificed the rest of the world’s approval. (more…)

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For those who haven’t seen it, I paste below the text of the “Israeli Peace Initiative.” It may not satisfy everyone, but it’s an eminently practical document. It’s well worth consideration as a pragmatic way to move forward. If something like this were put forth years ago, it would have been a monumental breakthrough. Today, it may well be too little too late. Still, if there is to be a negotiated resolution to this conflict, the IPI and API are the path toward it. It seems beyond belief that the Netanyahu government will support it, and much more likely that it will ignore it, just as the Sharon, Olmert and Bibi governments have done with the Arab Peace Initiative (API). It may be, however, the prime tool to push with Obama, and is certainly the kind of thing the status quo devotees, led by AIPAC will attack in any way they can.
The drafters of the plan include includes ex-army chief Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, former Mossad head Danny Yatom and Shin Bet directors Yaakov Perry and Ami Ayalon, as well as ex-general and Labor Party chief Amram Mitzna. That should lend it some credibility, though arch enemies of peace have already dismissed these names.
In any case, it is worth pursuing.  (more…)

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Did Benjamin Netanyahu overplay his hand?

Probably not, but he’s definitely testing the boundaries. That is the only way to explain his going beyond even his own usual hubris and obnoxiousness this week.

What looked at first like more of the same old Bibi nonsense – he comes to the US, Israel announces more building in both East Jerusalem and Ariel – has morphed into something more. The Obama Administration, displaying what is by now its customary weakness in the face of Israeli intransigence, merely said it was “disappointed” with the new construction.

There was little else there of substance, and Israel could simply have gone along its merry way, continuing to build while Bibi whipped the zealous masses into a frenzy in New Orleans. Instead, Netanyahu decided to escalate the matter by stating that building in Jerusalem is completely separate from peace negotiations.

This is a total re-framing of the issue, and one the Americans could not just ignore. They directly contradicted Bibi’s statement, drawing a line in the sand. Again, though, it was a mere statement; there seems to be no consequences from Washington if Bibi continues to defy them. That may change in the next few days, but thus far, Bibi seems to be making it even clearer than before that he will do what he wants with the full knowledge that the United States will do nothing to stop him, even if it makes America look absolutely impotent.

Some see Bibi’s move here as a test of the post-election Obama, a sort of poke to see if Obama is going to be even weaker with an incoming Republican House and smaller Democratic majority in the Senate than he was with the Democrats in full control of Congress. I think it’s actually directed at that incoming Congress and to the Jewish and Christian activists who will bring the pressure next year to prevent any move toward peace.

Bibi is sending a message that he believes the time is ripe, with the incoming Congress, to put the final nail in the coffin of the idea of a Palestinian state. He’s doing it on two fronts: Jerusalem and the major settlement blocs.

Bibi is hoping to re-orient American policy on both of these issues by bringing them more out into the open. (more…)

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In my latest piece at the Meretz USA blog, I look at some of the interpretations out there of the mid-term elections and offer my own view of them.

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