Talks between Israel and PA postponed past US midterm elections despite alleged US concessions.
While on a North America tour promote his new book, The Punishment of Gaza renowned Israeli journalist Gideon Levy spoke in Canada. The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky caught up with him in Toronto to ask him about the expiration of the so-called settlement construction freeze, or moratorium, and the lull in the peace talks between Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. According to David Makovsky of the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, Obama sent Netanyahu a letter offering him major concessions if the Israeli prime minister extends the settlement construction freeze past the U.S. midterm elections. One concessions Obama supposedly offered Netanyahu is the long-term stay of Israeli troops on the soil of the future Palestinian state in the Jordan Valley, a region central in the fight for water and land. However, both Netanyahu and Abbas refused to take a position, passing the ball into the court of the Arab League which in turn postponed taking a position until after the U.S. elections.
Time is running out for Israel. And the Israeli government knows it. The Jewish Diaspora, especially the young, has a waning emotional and ideological investment in Israel. The demographic boom means that Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories will soon outnumber Jews. And Israel’s increasing status as a pariah nation means that informal and eventually formal state sanctions against the country are probably inevitable.
Here’s the Washington Post on the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, emphasis added:
Ever since the administration was blindsided by Israel’s March 9 announcement that it intends to build 1,600 housing units in a disputed area of Jerusalem, U.S. officials have pressed Israel to take actions to encourage Palestinians to attend indirect talks, including canceling the project, making concrete gestures such as a prisoner release and adding substantive rather than procedural issues to the agenda for talks. Some U.S. requests have not been made public.
That was the heading on the leaflet distributed at the Iper Coop in Rome, Italy on July 9, 2010, marking the fifth anniversary of the launch campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. While the systematic demolition of Palestinian homes by Israel continues, the Italian hypermarket instead sells colorful and cheerful plastic toy houses, in addition to children’s chairs, tables and slides, produced by the Israeli company Keter and marketed in Italy by Giochi Preziosi and Grand Soleil.
The fact that the Israel-Palestine conflict grinds on without resolution might appear to be rather strange. For many of the world’s conflicts, it is difficult even to conjure up a feasible settlement. In this case, it is not only possible, but there is near universal agreement on its basic contours: a two-state settlement along the internationally recognized pre-June 1967 borders — with “minor and mutual modifications,” to adopt official U.S. terminology before Washington departed from the international community in the mid-1970s.
“They’re building a wall. A wall to keep distant the terrible sound of the houses that crumble and the children that die. A wall to keep separate the truth from the lie.” — Dave Rovics, “They’re Building a Wall”
The fifth Bil’in International Conference “on popular resistance to network and strategize in support to end the Israeli occupation and free Palestine” concluded on Friday, April 23rd with five demonstrators arrested and one Israeli activist taking a direct hit into the forehead which fractured his skull after Israeli soldiers shot him with a tear gas projectile.
Yet again the flashpoint is East Jerusalem, seized by Israel in the 1967 war—this time, a proposed 1,600-apartment complex in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood. And yet again the aftermath has led to the death of Palestinians by Israeli gunfire.
On March 9, the Israeli interior ministry announced the new project during U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s visit to Israel. President Obama had called for curbing settlement expansion in occupied territory.
Reaction was immediate and intense. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly apologized for the announcement’s “regrettable” timing but insisted that Israel could build freely in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the territories it intends to annex.