03/24 Links Pt1: PA libel: Israel spreads drugs; WH official calls for end to ‘50-year occupation’
As policy, the Palestinian Authority demonizes Israel, libeling Jews and Israelis as evil whose goal is to harm Palestinians, destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque, abuse Palestinian prisoners and rule the world by allying themselves with terror organizations like Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Earlier this month, a newsreader on official PA TV News reiterated one of the libels used by the PA to slander Israel, accusing Israel of intentionally spreading drugs among Palestinians to destroy the young generation:
PA TV newsreader: “PA TV has exposed that the occupation is using all means to destroy our people and perhaps the most striking one is the drowning of our youth in the swamp of [drug] addiction, after facilitating the entry of all kinds of drugs for our youth.” [Official PA TV, March 1, 2015]
Last year, on an official PA TV program for youth that discussed the drug problem in Palestinian society, the Commander of the Narcotics Division in the Jerusalem District Yasser Izzat denied any Palestinian responsibility, instead blaming Israel for causing the drug problem, stating that “the occupation has stolen the people… it is stealing the people by destroying them with drugs”:
PA TV libel: Israel causes drug addiction among Palestinian youth
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough called for the end of Israel’s “50-year occupation” and doubled down on the Obama administration’s critique of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a warmly received speech to the lobbying group J Street in Washington Monday.
Speaking to the dovish group’s national conference, McDonough became the latest in a series of Washington officials to highlight the administration’s displeasure with Netanyahu, while also talking up the permanence of US-Israel ties, repeating Washington’s commitment to continued military, security and intelligence cooperation.
“No matter who leads Israel, America’s commitment to Israel’s security will never waiver,” McDonough said.
At the same time, McDonough said later, “an occupation that has lasted for 50 years must end,” referring to Israel’s 48-year hold on the West Bank. (h/t Yenta Press)
A delegation of college students attending J Street’s annual conference held a demonstration this afternoon outside the headquarters of Hillel International, the largest organization devoted to Jewish life on university campuses, to protest the decision by Eric Fingerhut, Hillel International’s CEO and President, to decline attending the conference.
Fingerhut withdrew from participating in the J Street convention because of “concerns regarding [his] participation amongst other speakers who have made highly inflammatory statements against the Jewish state,” as he said in a statement on March 9. Among those controversial figures named by Hillel International include Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator who has compared Israel to ISIS.
More than 1,000 students are attending the conference; around 200 of them attended the protest. The students listened as leaders from J Street U, J Street’s campus arm, spoke on a megaphone about the “massive failure of Jewish communal leadership” that Fingerhut’s declined attendance symbolized. Benjy Cannon, the president of J Street U, alleged that “right-wing donors” are constraining student voices. Cannon has been published in Haaretz and The Forward.
Cannon concluded his speech by demanding that the Hillel International board of directors hold an on-the-record meeting with J Street U representatives to explain their decision not to attend the J Street conference.
Following the speech, the students were ordered by protest organizers to place signed letters to Fingerhut in a box and to put Post-it notes on the windows of Hillel that complained that Fingerhut “cancelled on us.”
Due to the windy conditions, many of the Post-its immediately flew off the windows, leading one student activist to complain that the littering “wouldn’t fly at Brown.”
The letter from J Street U to Fingerhut said that despite J Street “being an integral part of the Jewish and pro-Israel communities on campus, and despite our tireless work to ensure Israel’s future, you were still unwilling to publicly engage with us at our conference,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Beinart gave recommendations on how American Jewry can take action against what the J Street crowd calls the Israeli “occupation,” particularly in light of the electoral victory by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party, which according to Goldberg is causing a depression breakout among “Jewish progressives.”
Beinart was quoted as saying, “We need to think very hard and very creatively about how we amplify Palestinian nonviolent protest in the West Bank…the best way we could do that is to be there ourselves.”
He added, “Once America’s rabbis have to face parents whose children are being tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets in the West Bank [and] once the American Jewish local newspapers have to write about it because it’s the kids from their days schools who are at those protests, then the American Jewish community will not be able to ignore it anymore.”
In other words to the Jewish children in America – forget about sleep away camp this summer, forget about swimming and campfires, instead book your flights to Israel, not to explore your heritage, but in order to go toe-to-toe with your brothers and sisters in the IDF and other security forces who 24/7 are protecting the Jewish People and all the residents of the State of Israel.
Jeb Bush foreign policy adviser James Baker warned that Israel could lose its “democratic character” if it continues to “occupy Arab lands” in a carefully worded keynote address at the J Street conference on Monday evening.
“It seems to me Israel’s future absent a two-state solution could be very difficult at best,” said Baker at the J Street gala. “I fear Israel risks losing either its Jewish character or its democratic character as long as it occupies those Arab lands.”
The comments echoed a speech by President Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough at the conference earlier in the day. He said the Israeli “occupation that has lasted more than 50 years” could lead to “further isolation” of the Jewish state.
Baker’s scheduled speech to the left-wing Middle East lobbying group had already drawn controversy before Monday night due to his role on Bush’s foreign policy advisory team. Former President George H.W. Bush’s secretary of state weighed in on Israeli settlements and the Iranian nuclear negotiations in the keynote address, which was tepidly received by the J Street audience.
Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), speaking on Monday at the 2015 J Street convention, praised the far left “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” organization for backing her 2010 re-election campaign against Joel Pollak, Breitbart News’s Senior Editor-at-Large and Breitbart California Editor.
Schakowsky begins by thanking J Street for its backing of her positions when it comes to Israel.
“I’d like to begin with just a great thank you for J Street. I have to tell you that the courage to take positions that I’ve been able to take are [sic] really because of the space that, in a very short time, J Street had opened for members of Congress to expand political discussion about the State of Israel and our relationship to it.”
In the video—which was provided by Paul Miller, who served as a senior policy adviser for Pollak’s campaign and is now the executive director of the Salomon Center—the Democratic Rep. from Illinois rips into the Breitbart editor.
J Street, a progressive organization funded primarily by far-left individuals who are critical of Israeli policy and more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, is holding its annual conference this week in Washington.
At a morning session titled “What’s Next for Palestinian Leadership,” attendees at the annual J Street conference were treated to an interesting discussion from moderator Muna Shikaki of al-Arabiya and panelists Huda Abuarquob of the Alliance for Middle East Peace, Khaled Elgindy of the Brookings Institution, and Palestinian businessman Sam Bahour.
The Palestinian leadership is a hot mess. Everything could be better if convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti were freed from Israeli prison and allowed to succeed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. And, from the discussion, you would not know there was a violence problem in Palestinian society.
Note also his remark about how Netanyahu is “expanding settlements.” Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics just reported a 52 percent drop in housing starts in the West Bank in 2014 versus 2013. Settlements have grown a lot less in Netanyahu’s years in power than in those of his two predecessors, Sharon and Olmert. Moreover, under Netanyahu the growth in settlement population has been mostly in the major blocks. Though population in those blocks may be growing, they are not expanding physically nor are new settlements being started, so the “peace map” is not changing. It’s simply untrue, as Obama seems to imply, that settlements are expanding physically and gobbling up the future Palestinian state. Once upon a time — actually, in 2009 — Netanyahu bowed to U.S. pressure and imposed a ten-month moratorium on construction in the settlements. Hillary Clinton, secretary of state back then, praised this move as “unprecedented.” It did not bring Abbas to the negotiating table, and it seems Obama has just plain forgotten about it. It would contradict his narrative that Netanyahu doesn’t want peace and must be punished. That narrative is crucial to his threat that, in response to Netanyahu, the U.S. might stop defending Israel from vicious attacks in the United Nations, and look to “other options.” What’s happening here is not a reasonable U.S. reaction to what Netanyahu said, but an effort by Obama to find some excuse, any excuse, to change our policy toward Israel. Republicans will fight such a change. But the coming weeks and months may be a test of Israel’s self-proclaimed supporters in the Democratic party, among them Hillary Clinton. Will they let Obama get away with abandoning Israel like this?
Instead of congratulating the Israeli people for being one of the few countries in the Middle East to hold real free and democratic elections, Obama has decided to inflict collective punishment not on Netanyahu, but on all Israelis, even its Muslim and Christian citizens, for having an election that came out not the way he wanted it to.
The terrorists have also been following with great enthusiasm reports that the Obama Administration is considering reassessing its policy — that the U.S. no longer considers Israel a strategic ally in the Middle East.
In short, Obama’s anti-Israel stance is the best gift the Americans could have given to Muslim terrorists and radical Arabs.
Obama also seems not to want to face the fact that because of his withdrawals and neglect, the situation in the Middle East today, with the rise of Islamic State and other terror groups, is not the same as it was even five years ago.
Thanks to Obama’s policies, the Iranians and their friends are now in control of Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon, and much of Bahrain, and have surrounded the oilfields of the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile the U.S. has been forced to close down its embassies in three Arab countries — Syria, Libya and Yemen.
Even Palestinians and Arabs are aware of the fact that under the current circumstances a Palestinian state would sooner or later be controlled by jihadists and Islamic terrorists, whose dream is the destruction of Israel, Europe and the U.S.
The last thing the Americans and Europeans need is another Islamic extremist country that exports terrorism — with nuclear weapons — to all parts of the earth.
The real enemy is not Netanyahu. The real enemy is Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Islamic State.
President Obama cared a lot about the outcome of the elections in Israel, so much so that he watched them “minute by minute,” which is more than he did with PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
Unnecessary, really. The outcome was never uncertain. Since the Second Intifada, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 Israeli Jews and perhaps 4 times as many Arabs, Israelis have lost interest in the left wing politicians that brought them the Oslo agreements. And it didn’t help that the withdrawal from Gaza led to a rain of rockets on southern Israel and three mini-wars. The only surprise in the election was that Netanyahu managed to move some voters for right-wing and centrist parties to the Likud, giving him a solid margin of victory.
http://rapidmoviez.com/search/Better+Call+Saul+S01E08Netanyahu pointed to the foreign money and influence, and voters, afraid of having their country sold out from under them, flocked to him.
So now the President was, yet again, enraged, furious. Netanyahu’s remark that foreign-funded activists were working to get out the Arab vote was called “divisive rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens” by spokesman Josh Earnest in a press briefing the day after the election. Unnamed ‘administration officials’ called it “racism,” ringing the bell that causes Obama partisans in race-obsessed America to salivate and jump for Netanyahu’s throat.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Times of Israel that “it’s no secret” that the Obama administration had attempted to influence the outcome of the election, having been partially motivated by a desire for revenge over Netanyahu’s polarizing speech before Congress earlier this month, which sought to undermine the president’s key foreign policy initiative – a nuclear deal with Iran.
“The White House is driven by three main motives,” the senior official said. “The first is revenge [over the Congress speech]. The second is frustration: It’s no secret that they were involved in an attempt to bring down the Netanyahu government – something that we have clear knowledge of – and failed. The third [motive] is the administration’s attempt to divert attention from the negotiations with Iran to the Palestinian issue.”
Netanyahu’s latest term in office has seen an unprecedented, unmasked animus seep into the relationship between the administration and his government, much of it over the emerging deal with Iran. On Monday the Wall Street Journal reported that Israel had spied on the talks, an accusation firmly denied by senior Israeli ministers and that Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman attributed to efforts to undermine ties between Jerusalem and Washington.
Kenneth Bob, who runs the U.S. nonprofit Ameinu, said around a year ago the group began meeting with board members, political parties, and other progressive organizations to figure out “what can we actually do to impact events on the ground in Israel.”
“It took us on a path to learn about Israeli electoral funding laws, and it brought us to a project that has now gotten a certain amount of publicity thanks to the prime minister of Israel,” said Bob. “We helped put together a get-out-the-vote effort in the Arab community.”
He said that some Americans were uncomfortable with the project, but that progressives need to embrace new tactics and ideas.
“Not everyone who people vote for in the Arab community are, as people like to say in Hebrew, ‘my cup of tea,’” said Bob. “I use that as an example because I think we have to have patience, we also have to think about new ideas that can impact what we’re trying to get done.”
Several organizations that have received funding from the U.S. State Department—including OneVoice, Givat Haviva and the Abraham Fund Initiatives—were also involved in the voter-targeting efforts. A bipartisan Senate committee launched an investigation earlier this month into whether any U.S. government funds had been used for this campaign.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu on Monday night apologized for controversial comments he made on the eve of elections last Tuesday and for any offense caused to Israel’s Arab population.
“I know that the words that I said some days ago offended Israel’s Arabs. I did not intend at all that this would happen. I am very sorry about that,” he said while hosting representatives from Israel’s minority communities at the prime minister’s residence, including the leadership of Israel’s Arab communities.
His apology was met with applause from his Israeli Arab guests and enthusiastic chants of “Bibi! Bibi!”
“My actions as prime minister, which include huge investments in the minority sectors, demonstrate the total opposite,” Netanyahu then added, explaining that his policies have been indicative of his respect for Israel’s Arabs.
Though he admitted he hadn’t heard Netanyahu’s apology, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest indicated that the attempt to make amends was a step in the right direction.
“We made pretty clear the serious concerns we had with those comments,” he said referring to Netanyahu’s statements on Israel’s election day when he warned that Arab voters had gone out “in droves” to the ballots on buses funded by foreign donors. “If that’s what he said it certainly seems appropriate for him to make that acknowledgement.”
However, State Department Spokesperson Mary Harf stressed that Netanyahu’s sincerity would be measured by his future actions, not just his words. Harf indicated that the Netanyahu would need to impress not just with his regret on the Arab voters statement but also on his declaration the day before the election that he would not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state while he was still in office, if reelected.
“I think we’ve made clear our position on those comments,” she said during a press briefing. “Given his statements prior to the election, it’s going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing, when it comes to negotiations, that those are possible.”
When the United States did not speak at Monday’s UN Human Rights debate about possible Israeli war crimes during the recent Operation Protective Edge, news service Reuters was quick to point out that it was part of Obama’s threatened reevaluation of the relationship with Israel. If they had asked the U.S. or Israeli delegation they would have learned it was part of a coordinated plan between the two countries to snub the Human Rights Council.
According to Reuters it was to be the first of Barack Obama’s “punishments” directed toward Israel.
Initially, Reuters reported that the US decision was unprecedented, eliciting a denial from the Israeli foreign ministry. “Israel asks all its friends not to speak at the annual debate” so as not to accord the session any importance, the foreign ministry said. “The report is not true. The Americans don’t participate annually in the debate.”
After the initial report became big news in Europe and the Middle East, Reuters revised its story and admitted its mistake:
Last week, President Obama reached out to the people of Iran during a recorded statement in honor of Nowruz, the Persian New Year.
During his statement, Obama reiterated his belief that the nuclear stand-off with Iran can be resolved peacefully, with diplomacy.
He then explained why he believes this is possible: “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons, and President Rouhani has said that Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon.”
The problem with this statement is that Khamenei has never issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons. Obama probably based his statement about Khamenei’s ‘fatwa’ on a press release of a statement made by Iranian nuclear negotiator Sirus Naseri in August 2005.
Naseri mentioned a fatwa on the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons issued by Ayatollah Khamenei.
However, the Middle East Research Institute (Memri) reported in 2013 that no fatwa on nuclear weapons issued by Khamenei exists.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said a “bad deal” was likely to be the final outcome of nuclear talks between world powers and Iran, as Israel made a last-ditch effort to head off the controversial high-stakes agreement.
Steinitz, in France for consultations about the emerging agreement, told Reuters that Israel would do all it could to toughen any accord before talks resume this week.
“We think it’s going to be a bad, insufficient deal,” Steinitz said before meeting French officials in Paris. “It seems quite probable it will happen, unfortunately.”
Unable to find support from its US allies, Israel is turning to France to help head off what it sees as a bad and dangerous nuclear deal with Iran.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) forbids any of it signatories to have nuclear weapons. Full stop.
Under the terms of the NPT, the P5+1 have no legal authority to amend the treaty unilaterally, to abrogate the treaty, or to allow nations that are signatories to the NPT to abrogate the treaty.
Since when can the UN Security Council amend U.S. treaty law? The UN can certainly propose amendments, but it cannot approve such changes on behalf of the U.S. Congress and the American people.
If Iran is allowed nuclear weapons capability, other nations — especially throughout South America, already infiltrated by Iran — will doubtless follow suit.
In Iran, would this agreement have the force of law, or would the Supreme Leader — who just this week said, “Death to America” — be allowed to change its terms unilaterally? And what would be the consequences to him if he did?
Senate critics of the pending deal seem opposed to an agreement that comes with a note saying, “Trust us,” as an adequate substitute for the Senate scrutiny such a deal would require.
On the date the agreement would “sunset,” or expire, Iran could return to being an ordinary member of the NPT again, despite its centrifuges, despite its terrorism and missiles. It will then be free to enrich uranium to its heart’s content — a “right” that is not in the NPT.
Iran also happens to be the country with which North Korea most cooperates on ballistic missile development.
The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency still cannot conclude whether all nuclear material in Iran is being used for peaceful purposes, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said on Monday.
“We continue to verify the non-divergence of nuclear material declared by Iran but we are still not in a position to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful purpose,” Amano said at a conference in Washington.
The statement comes days ahead of an approaching deadline for a framework deal between Iran and world powers over the disputed program.
The IAEA has a long-standing inquiry into some aspects of Iran’s nuclear program. Part of the its investigation aims at establishing whether any nuclear material, such as uranium, has been diverted from peaceful purposes such as power generation to military means, such as a nuclear bomb.
Since Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) conducted the Great Prophet 9 maneuvers on February 25-27, 2015, which culminated in a takeover and sinking of a model of an American Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the Iranian regime has escalated its naval threats against the U.S. These have included threats to take over and sink American aircraft carriers and other warships; to close the Strait of Hormuz and Bab El-Mandeb; to carry out large-scale missile attacks inside and outside the Persian Gulf; and to mine the Persian Gulf.
Tehran’s recognition of its technological inferiority vis-à-vis the West has long since led it to adopt an asymmetric strategy, including a naval aspect; this naval strategy relies, inter alia, on the use of suicide attacks and on Iran’s missile capabilities.
During the Great Prophet 9 maneuvers, IRGC deputy commander Hossein Salami said that according to Iran’s strategic plan, Iran would attempt to take over aircraft carriers, and that if these attempts were met with resistance, but it would sink them if it encountered resistance. He noted that Iran would fire missile barrages, and that since it has accurately hit a vessel 60 meters long, it could easily target American aircraft carriers. IRGC naval commander Ali Fadavi said that vessels in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, and the northern Indian Ocean are all within range of Iran’s missiles and under the threat of its warships.
A pact with Iran sends a clear message to Arab liberals: No one will help you
Democracy, freedom, self-determination, human and individual rights are values that Arab liberals like myself thought we shared with the United States. That’s what you told us. For years, we’ve received training and attended workshops on democracy and freedom of expression sponsored by international NGOs and NGOs funded by the United States and the Europeans. We’ve been preached to by visiting American diplomats and think-tankers and journalists about the virtues of citizenship and democracy. We took plenty of notes. We’ve been told that if we speak out to defend our rights, we will be supported by America. And now we’ve been betrayed.
For many liberal Arab citizens like me, it looks like the United States is now taking sides in a sectarian conflict and turning a deliberate blind eye to violations of rights and values which are supposedly the core of what the United States represents. The United States is siding with the Shiites against the Sunnis. It is helping Assad, Hezbollah, and other allies of Iran stay in power. The United States has picked the Resistance axis over helping potential democracies to grow.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal made comments critical of any potential deal concerning Iran’s nuclear program, insisting that the Islamic Republic not get “deals it does not deserve,” Al-Arabiya reported on Monday.
Speaking beside Britain’s own Foreign Secretary, Phillip Hammond, in Riyadh, the Saudi Kingdom’s top diplomat was referring to the ongoing negotiations between France, the United States and four other world powers and Iran, taking place in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Al-Faisal’s remark echoes Israel’s own reservations on the possibility of a “bad deal” with Iran, and comes in light of France’s statements downplaying what was seen as progress in the talks.
“We are discussing many issues and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,”, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the press last week, adding that “there won’t be an accord if the Iranians don’t back down.”
Riyadh’s foreign minister also sharply attacked Iran for its involvement in its own backyard, voicing deep anxiety over the “dangerous escalation in Yemen” which it see’s as a result of Iranian meddling.
The Obama administration has vented its fury at Israel based on Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, and pre-election statements.
None of those issues justified the complete fury coming from the administration. It just didn’t add up.
Now The Wall Street Journal reveals the back story — one in which the Israelis found out about secret negotiations and secret details concealed from Congress, and told Congress. Now the administration is promising long-term damage to Israel that will last beyond this administration.
It also becomes obvious that the meme that Netanyahu has been acting to help his reelection is wrong. There is a long history of Israel trying to stop a disastrous deal being negotiated in secret. Netanyahu’s opposition has been based on security concerns for years, not the recent election.
The Wall Street Journal’s article is titled Israel Spied on Iran Talks.
That title, however, is not really the story. The story is that Israel learned not only that Obama was hiding secret Iran nuclear negotiations from Israel, but also later found out details that Israel shared with Congress.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued a denial on Tuesday in response to a report that appeared in The Wall Street Journal, which said that Jerusalem spied on the US’s nuclear talks with Iran and passed on the information to lawmakers in Congress.
Referring to the report during a visit to Nesher, Ya’alon said, “I can tell you, as someone who knows the intelligence community from very up close for twenty years, since I was head of Military Intelligence in 1995, that there is no way, was no way, that Israel would spy on the Americans.”
Ya’alon added that a ban on spying activities against the US has been in place and enforced by all governments he has known for two decades, and that this certainly remains the case. “No Israeli intelligence organization spies on the Americans,” Ya’alon affirmed.
Ya’alon asked the intelligence community whether they received a complaint about improper conduct from the US, adding, “We did not receive any complaint. But someone apparently has an interest in stoking conflict, or bringing a negative twist to relations between us, which are strategic relations from our perspective.”
The deal currently being negotiated between Iran and the P5+1 powers is designed to leave Iran permanently one year away from obtaining a nuclear bomb. But a group of nuclear and geopolitical experts argued in an op-ed published Sunday in The Washington Post that one year is not enough time to respond to Iranian violations of the deal.
The op-ed was written by Gen. Michael Hayden, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Olli Heinonen, former former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency; and Ray Takeyh, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
While Iranian violations of an emerging nuclear deal could possibly be identified quickly, the required coordination among different bodies and governments required to take decisive action in case of such violations would not allow for a speedy response time. Hayden, Heinonen, and Takeyh criticized a argument frequently made by the Obama administration that forcing Iran to a one-year breakout time would give the world sufficient time to response and reverse Iran’s violations.
A major theme of my recent book about the history of negotiating with rogue regimes (a new, paperback edition of which came out last week) is that American leaders’ habit of projecting Western motivations and sincerity onto partners often opens the door for adversaries to outplay the State Department at the bargaining table. It’s important to consider Iranian motivations and how Tehran’s decision-making and strategic goals differ from those of the United States.
There’s a certain pattern with regard to Iranian willingness to engage in talks that is deeply troubling: Whenever Iranian leaders demonstrate behavior that, under any honest and dispassionate reading of diplomatic norms or international law would constitute an act of war, those Iranian leaders either solicit or rush to accept offers to engage in a diplomatic process.
Within days of the original Iran hostage crisis, for example, Iranian intermediaries—foreign ministers Abulhassan Bani Sadr and Sadegh Qotbzadeh—accepted offers to negotiate with the Americans, and the Carter administration kept military action off the table. There was absolutely no progress, however, nor did Tehran mean there to be. The only thing that ultimately brought the hostages home was a combination of the Iraqi invasion of Iran—an event that raised the cost to Iran of its international isolation—and the election of Ronald Reagan, who Iranian leaders seemed to fear was stronger and not as indecisive as Jimmy Carter.
Britain’s prime minister spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone on Monday, urging him to pursue a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
David Cameron told Netanyahu that a negotiated solution that created a Palestinian state was the best way to “achieve a lasting peace and to secure Israel’s long-term security and prosperity,” the British Guardian reported.
A Cameron spokesman said the British leader “congratulated [Netanyahu] on winning the recent Israeli elections, and looked forward to working with the new government when it was formed.”
The European Union (EU) joined Palestinian and other Arab delegations on Monday in calling on Israel to allow a UN human rights investigator to visit Gaza, Reuters reported.
The call came in a debate in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which both the United States and Israel did not attend.
Israel has not cooperated with the UN’s special rapporteur Makarim Wibisono, who presented his first report to the UNHRC based on interviews with people in Amman and Cairo, or witnesses on video calls in Gaza.
His report urged Israel to investigate the deaths of more than 1,500 Gazan civilians, one third of them children, during the 2014 Gaza war.
“We call on Israel to grant access to the Special Rapporteur without delay,” EU policy officer Jerome Bellion-Jourdan told the Geneva forum, according to Reuters.
Europe might be a riper fruit to pick for Israel than most people think. For all the threats of sanctions and leaked reports recommending punishing Jerusalem for, well, building in Jerusalem, it is far less likely the European Union will achieve a consensus to implement anything. The reason? That emerging consensus is now eroding.
Counterintuitively, it might be thanks to ISIS that Europeans are beginning to see Hamas and even Fatah as irresponsible actors in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to Esther Lopatin of the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzilya, there are winds of change blowing through Europe.
“Although I’d have to say that both sides are very critical, we’re starting to see the beginning of a change. Criticism against Israel is as homogenous as it used to be.”
This is not something automatic, however. Additionally, the changes that Lopatin is seeing moving through Europe are mainly on the right side of the political spectrum.
Even as new views develop, Israel will have to ensure they nurture them.