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Thursday, December 29, 2016

SecState on Israel

For John, BLUFI believe the sticking point is concern about what the Palistinians will accept.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The source is Time Magazine.  It is a long speech and I have extracted interesting quotes.

It is also an interesting speech in terms of timing.&Nbsp; Mr Trump's Inauguration is less than a month away.  Is this about a final public plea to the incoming Administration or is it an effort to sum up the current Administration's position for when Mr Trump and Cabinet fail in their own efforts ti bring peace to the Middle East?

With all the external threats that Israel faces today, which we are very cognizant of and working with them to deal with, does it really want an intensifying conflict in the West Bank?  How does that help Israel’s security?  How does that help the region?  The answer is it doesn’t, which is precisely why so many senior Israeli military and intelligence leaders, past and present, believe the two state solution is the only real answer for Israel’s long-term security.
Here is SecState Kerry's point the situation.
And that raises one final question.  Is ours the generation that gives up on the dream of a Jewish-Democratic state of Israel, living in peace and security with its neighbors?  Because that is really what is at stake. Now that is what informed our vote at the Security Council last week.  The need to preserve the two state solution and both sides in this conflict must make response ability to do that.  We have repeatedly and emphatically stressed to the Palestinians that all incitement to violence must stop.
Here SecState Kerry defends the US Abstention on the UN Security Council vote a few days ago.
On the contrary, it is not this resolution that is isolating Israel, it is the permanent policy of settlement construction that risks making peace impossible.  And virtually every country in the world other than Israel opposes settlements. That includes many of the friends of Israel, including the United Kingdom, France, Russia, all of whom voted in favor of the settlements resolution in 2011 that we vetoed, and again this year along with any other member of the council.
East Jerusalem is a problem, a sticking point.  Here is what SecState Kerry says.  I think this is weasel worded Diplospeak, open to various interpretations.
And remember that every U.S. administration since 1967, along with the entire international community, has recognized east Jerusalem as among the territories that Israel occupied in the Six-Day War.

Now, I want to stress this point.  We fully respect Israel’s profound historic and religious ties to the city and to its holy sites.  We’ve never questioned that.  This resolution in no manner prejudges the outcome of permanent status negotiations on east Jerusalem, which must, of course, reflect those historic ties and the realities on the ground.  That’s our position. We still support it.

Here are the six principles SecState Kerry laid out.  At the link are details, but these lead sentences give us the broad view.

  • Principle number one; provide for secure and recognized international borders between Israel and a viable and contiguous Palestine negotiated based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed equivalent swaps.
  • Principle two; fulfill the vision of the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 of two states for two peoples, one Jewish and one Arab, with mutual recognition and full equal rights for all their respective citizens.
  • Principle number three; provide for a just, agreed, fair and realistic solution to the Palestinian refugee issue.
  • Principal four; provide an agreed solution for Jerusalem as the internationally recognized capital of the two states and protect and ensure freedom of access to the holy sites consistent with the established status quo.
  • Principle five; satisfy Israel’s security needs and bring a full end, ultimately, to the occupation.
  • Principle six; end the conflict and all outstanding claims, enabling normalized relations and enhanced regional security for all as envisioned by the Arab peace initiative.
It all sounds good, but the question is, what will the Palistinian Authority (1) agree to and (2) be able to deliver?

Here is Secretary Kerry's pitch for "do it our way".

That is the future that everybody should be working for.  President Obama and I know that the incoming administration has signaled that they may take a different path.  And even suggested breaking from the long-standing U.S. policies on settlements — Jerusalem and the possibility of a two-state solution.

That is for them to decide, that’s how we work.  But we cannot, in good conscience, do nothing and say nothing, when we see the hope of peace slipping away.  This is a time to stand up for what is right.  We have long known what two-states, living side by side and peace and security looks like.  We should not [be] afraid to say so.

Good luck to the Israelis and the Palistinians.

Good luck to us.

As a final thought, from Massachusetts Blogger neoneocon, when running in 2008, then Senator Obama did say that Jerusalem belongs to Israel.  Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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