Diana Buttu — attorney based in Palestine. She has served as a legal adviser to the Palestinians in negotiations with Israel. She was previously an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Gideon Levy — Haaretz columnist and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. His new article is titled "UN Resolution is a Breath of Hope in Sea of Darkness and Despair." Levy is also the author of The Punishment of Gaza.
Secretary of State John Kerry has blasted Israel’s government, saying in a major address on Wednesday that the relentless expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank threatens Israel’s democracy and has all but ended the prospect of a two-state solution with the Palestinians. "If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or Democratic; it cannot be both," Kerry said. "And it won’t ever really be at peace." Kerry’s speech followed intense Israeli criticism of the U.S. for refusing to veto a Security Council resolution last week. The measure condemns Israel’s expansion of settlements as a flagrant violation of international law. The resolution passed in a 14-0 vote. The U.S. abstained. We speak to Palestinian attorney Diana Buttu and Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, a Haaretz columnist.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
At this point, the South Africa example is most instructive. Recall the state of that country as the campaign to abolish apartheid built up steam — a privileged white minority ruling a black majority in a violent and brutal system. Economic and trade sanctions gradually beginning to strangle this nation that had historically been Africa’s most prosperous. The arrival of worldwide consumer boycotts, campaigns to sell off stock of any company doing business with this pariah state.
David A. Andelman, editor emeritus of World Policy Journal and member of the board of contributors of USA Today, is the co-author, with the Count de Marenches, head of the DGSE, of “The Fourth World War: Diplomacy and Espionage the Age of Terrorism.” Follow him on Twitter @DavidAndelman. The views expressed in this commentary are his own.
(CNN) — Israel, and by extension the United States, are poised at the entrance to a dangerous path. The model democracy of the Middle East risks transforming into a global pariah on the scale of South Africa when it was in the depths of its apartheid nightmare.
After decades of Arab-Israeli diplomacy, the idea of a one-state solution looms anew, as conservative elements in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition see the arrival of Donald Trump and his new ambassador to Israel as an opportunity to push their agenda.
If it is realized, it would reduce Israel’s Palestinian population to a permanent underclass and mean, in the not-too-distant future, that a Jewish minority would be ruling a Muslim majority, with the world on the side of the oppressed majority.
A construction site in the Israeli settlement of Efrat in the West Bank. (Credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday joined a growing chorus warning that the so-called two-state solution, which he called “the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” could be on the verge of permanent collapse.
The two-state solution has for decades been the primary focus of efforts to achieve peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the contours of what it would actually look like — and why it has been so hard to achieve — can get lost. Here’s a basic guide.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry speaks about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the U.S. decision to allow passage of a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settler activity in the West Bank. (Andrew Harnik-Associated Press)
Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Wednesday offered a harsh and detailed assessment of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, saying their growth threatens to destroy the viability of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the United States was obliged to allow passage of a U.N. resolution condemning the activity in order to preserve the possibility of peace.
Kerry noted that the number of Israelis living in settlements has grown significantly and that their outposts are extending farther into the West Bank — “in the middle of what by any reasonable definition would be the future Palestinian state.”
“No one thinking seriously about peace can ignore the reality of the threat settlements pose to peace,” he said.
Kerry, in the hour-long speech delivered at the State Department, also condemned Palestinian incitement to violence as a barrier to direct negotiations. But his focus was on defending the Obama administration’s policies and highlighting Israel’s actions at a moment of high tension between the two governments, following the passage of the U.N. resolution.
Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, let the theological cat out of the bag. When the Security Council rebuked Israel for their land thefts (euphemized as “settlements,”) Mr. Danon replied with pious indignation: “Would you ban the French from building in Paris?”
There, in all of it effrontery, is the imperial theology that birthed Zionism. David Ben Gurion said of Palestine “God promised it to us.” Yitzhak Baer wrote in 1947: “God gave to every nation its place, and to the Jews he gave Palestine.”
Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
So in this hallucinatory theology, just as God gave Paris to France the Zionist deity gave Palestine to Jews including the right to build whatever they want wherever they want it. If the Zionist god posted a “Jews only” sign on Palestine, the presence of non-Jews is a sacrilege and their land claims are specious. If nothing is intelligible outside its history, as the Jesuit paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin put it, Ambassador Danon’s French allusion can only be understood against this theological backdrop.
“Resolution 2334 shatters the [Israeli] government-induced illusion that the settlement project has been normalised, that it passed the point of no return, that it is now a fait accompli that will remain unchallenged”
The security council adopted the landmark resolution demanding Israel halt all settlement building and expansion in the occupied territories after Barack Obama’s administration refused to veto the resolution on Friday.
A White House official said Obama had taken the decision to abstain in the absence of any meaningful peace process. The resolution, which passed by a 14-0 vote, was met with loud applause in the packed chamber after the US ambassador, Samantha Power, abstained.
The move was immediately condemned as “shameful” by the office of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. A spokesman pointedly referred to Israel’s expectation of working more closely with the US president-elect, Donald Trump.
Israel has bitterly denounced the resolution
They warn it harms, not helps, the peace process
Jerusalem (CNN) — The United Nations Security Council on Friday passed a resolution condemning Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The United States abstained on the resolution, allowing it to pass, rather than vetoing it — as it usually does with resolutions it sees as overly critical of Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned the US ambassador and launched a scathing attack Sunday on the Obama administration.
Here are nine questions about the vote at the UN.
1. What are the immediate effects of the UNSC resolution?
The resolution may have no immediate practical effects on Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or the peace process. That’s because the resolution is non-binding, effectively creating guidelines and recommendations. The resolution would require follow-up action at the United Nations for it to have an immediate effect.
Israel is concerned about exactly that type of action. Specifically, Israel is worried about a resolution that would set conditions for negotiations. Such a resolution would issue parameters for some of the most sensitive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including borders, the status of Jerusalem as a contested capital, Palestinian refugees, and a time-limit for negotiations.
Mark your calendars for something different: the Freeze for Peace Run sponsored by Colombia Support Network with support from MRSCP, to fund food programs that benefit the citizens of the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado in Colombia.
This very important annual fund raiser for Dane County’s sister community will take place on Saturday, January 28. starting at the Vilas Park Shelter. There are both 5K run/walk (12 noon start) and 10K run (1 pm start) options. (More info). Both runners and race-day volunteers are needed.
Here is the latest update from Open Doors for Refugees about the expected Syrian refugees coming to Madison. Open Doors is looking for furniture, household items, and gift certificates for the families.
There’s been a tremendous outpouring of support for Open Doors, especially since the election. Thanks to all of you who’ve contacted us. Keeping you informed and engaged, our third-Wednesday-of-the-month general meeting is next week, December 21st,at 7:00 PM. This time it’ll be at Beth Israel Center, 1406 Mound St. Everyone is invited.
160 refugees are slated to come to Madison this fiscal year (October-September), 110 through Lutheran Social Services and 50 through Jewish Social Services. LSS has already settled several families this year (and many in years past), while JSS is about to receive their first family. While the future of the refugee program is very uncertain, it looks like it’ll be very busy for the next few months.
And with the influx of refugees, we need donations of furniture and household items. The number of refugee families coming in the next few weeks will more than deplete the donations we have on hand (which we had to stop collecting because we had run out of storage room). However, we’ve recently received additional storage space, we especially need furniture at this time, and we have room to put more of it. If you’d like to donate either furniture or household items (sorry no clothes), please email us at OpenDoorsForRefugees@gmail.com for more information about what we need, pacing the donations, and scheduling a pickup of larger items.
Finally we’ve set up a gift certificate program, which is a great and more direct way to help refugees. Donors get a choice of where to get gift cards, all gift cards will go directly to refugees, and refugees will get purchase choice, which they don’t otherwise often get.
Interested in getting involved? We have our December meeting coming up and would love to see you there!
Date: December 21st
Time: 7:00-8:30 PM
Location: Temple Beth Israel
1406 Mound St.
Madison, WI 53711
I hope you, your family and friends are doing well.
Special thanks to our old and new donors for your contributions to our winter project “Keep Children Of Gaza Warm.”
Alhamdulillah (Thanks to God) we have achieved our goal within a few days and finally we received the whole donation today. We started the process of delivering the coats as a gift from you to our children – please check the pictures down below.
We also decided to extend the project goal to cover more children of Rafah/Gaza. So please don’t hesitate to support if you can at: