Obama has done nothing to alleviate ‘explosive’ occupation — eminent Europeans

Israel/Palestine
on 48 Comments

A group of 19 eminent Europeans has written to Catherine Ashton, the foreign minister of the European Union, to say that the peace process is dead, the occupation is so harsh it is “explosive,” and Obama did nothing on his recent trip to halt the destruction of Palestinian rights. So Europe must step in and exert pressure on Israel to return to the ’67 lines, because the two-state solution is the most “just and equitable” resolution of the conflict.

The letter — reported by Ali Gharib at Open Zion– is outraged:

Later generations will see it as unforgivable that we Europeans not only allowed the situation to develop to this point of acute tension, but took no action now to remedy the continuing destruction of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

The great thing about the letter is its effect on the discourse: the cat is now completely out of the bag. The writers describe the Palestinian Authority in essence as stooges for the occupation and refer to the Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing, in so many words: “a permanent trend towards a complete dislocation of Palestinian territorial rights.”

These Europeans are evidently in the same camp as the Arab Peace Initiative. Though what will compel Israel to return to the ’67 lines? Boycotting goods from the settlements? Obama? Thanks to Peter Belmont.

Excerpts:
 

We have watched with increasing disappointment over the past five years the failure of the parties to start any kind of productive discussion, and of the international community under American and/or European leadership to promote such discussion.  We have also noted with frustration and deep concern the deteriorating standards of humanitarian and human rights care of the population in the Occupied Territories.  The security and long-term stability of Israel, an essential objective in any process, cannot be assured in such conditions, any more than the legitimate rights and interests of the Palestinian people.

President Obama made some of these points during his March 2013 visit to the region, particularly in his address to the people of Israel, but he gave no indication of action to break the deep stagnation, nor any sign that he sought something other than the re-start of talks between West Bank and Israeli leaders under the Oslo Process, which lost its momentum long ago.

We are therefore appealing to you, and through you to the members of the Council of Ministers, to recognise that the Peace Process as conceived in the Oslo Agreements has nothing more to offer. Yet the present political stalemate, while the situation deteriorates  on the ground, is unsustainable, given the disturbed politics of the region and the bitterness generated by the harsh conditions of life under the Occupation.

The concern of the European Union at this deterioration, clearly expressed in a series of statements, not least the European Council Conclusions of 14 May 2012, has not been matched by any action likely to improve the situation. The aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis and the interests of the European Union, prominently referred to in those Conclusions and in other relevant EU documents, cannot be met by the current stagnation.

It is time to give a stark warning that the Occupation is actually being entrenched by the present Western policy. The Palestinian Authority cannot survive without leaning on Israeli security assistance and Western funding and, since the PA offers little hope of progress towards self-determination for the Palestinian people, it is fast losing respect and support from its domestic constituency. The steady increase in the extent and population of Israeli settlements, including in East Jerusalem, and the entrenchment of Israeli control over the OT in defiance of international law, indicate a permanent trend towards a complete dislocation of Palestinian territorial rights.

We have reached the conclusion that there must be a new approach. Letting the situation lie unaddressed is highly dangerous when such an explosive issue sits in such a turbulent environment…

[Recommendations include]

an insistence that Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 lines are illegal, must cease being expanded and will not be recognised as one of the starting points in any new negotiations;- a clear and concerted effort to counter the erasing of the 1967 lines as the basis for a two-state outline.  This should include a clear distinction in EU dealings with Israel between what is legitimate – within the 1967 lines – and what violates international law in the Occupied Territories;

PS Journalism 101. Elliott Abrams riffs on the letter, saying it blames Israel for the occupation (!), but gives no credit to Gharib for reporting it. Noam Sheizaf does credit Gharib.

48 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    April 21, 2013, 11:48 am

    It is good to hear (once again) OUT-OF-OFFICE politicians saying sensible things that they never dared to say whilst in office.

    However, since they seem to have raised some questions, how about asking lots of questions?

    One question is this: if a single EU member state wishes to apply sanctions against the Israeli occupation, or against the (illegal) settlers, wall, settlements, and siege of Gaza, would EU rules allow that state to do it?

    • HarryLaw
      April 22, 2013, 5:34 am

      pabelmont, @ if a single EU member state wishes to apply sanctions against the Israeli occupation, or against the (illegal) settlers, wall, settlements, and siege of Gaza, would EU rules allow that state to do it? Good question Professor James Crawford attempted to answer these things in his 60 page opinion published not so long ago, part of his conclusions were “Given previous state practice it is highly unlikely that any legal consequences will eventuate should an individual state continue to engage with the occupation regime and the settlements” and then says regrettably “The political will does not exist at present to enforce principles of International Law in respect of the settlements” see “Third party obligations with respect to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories” 60 page opinion by Professor James Crawford here..link to tuc.org.uk In my opinion individual states will only act when forced to, either by public opinion or more likely when one of the many legal irons in the fire presently being contemplated, comes to fruition, then they can say”we had no choice” cowards.

      • HarryLaw
        April 22, 2013, 8:51 am

        Just to add to my comment above , James Crawford thinks it doubtful that third states have any positive obligations to ensure Israels compliance with International Humanitarian Law, and quotes the principle of non recognition affirmed by the International court in its advisory opinion on”Legal consequences for states of the continued presence of South Africa in Namibia” There the court found that the continued presence of South Africa in the mandated territory of Namibia , following revocation of the mandate, was unlawful. Accordingly it held that states are under an obligation not to recognize that unlawful situation and must refrain from “lending any support or any form of assistance to South Africa with reference to its occupation of Namibia” That did not mean states could not recognize the factual situation, for instance the registering of births, deaths and marriages or help directed to the indigenous population or such like in Namibia. If my memory serves correct a French court threw out the accusation that the French Government aided the construction of the Jerusalem light rail project on the grounds that the private company involved were not in breach of the Geneva conventions [it being a private contract and the Geneva conventions where a matter for state parties] this caused great controversy a the time with UK [Daniel Machover] and French Lawyers promising an appeal.

      • Hostage
        April 23, 2013, 2:16 pm

        Just to add to my comment above , James Crawford thinks it doubtful that third states have any positive obligations to ensure Israels compliance with International Humanitarian Law, and quotes the principle of non recognition affirmed by the International court in its advisory opinion on”Legal consequences for states of the continued presence of South Africa in Namibia”

        I’m not sure what you mean by “positive obligation”, since many believe that non-recognition and “active abstention” extend to boycotts of exports from illegal settlements or nullifying the legal consequences that result from actions that are ultra vires for an occupying power.

        For some more views on the situation regarding the jus cogens prohibition against the acquisition of territory by war and the erga omnes responsibilities involved in pursuance with insuring the right of Palestinian self-determination read:
        *Professor John Dugard on the UN Charter responsibilities under Article 2 for participation in collective non-recognition regimes regarding the status of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in “Recognition and the United Nations”, Grotius, 1987, pages 81-122.
        * Professor Stefan Talmon’s comments on the duty of “active abstention” and the duty to deny violations of jus cogens the normal legal consequences in “The Duty Not to ‘Recognize as Lawful’ a Situation Created by the Illegal Use of Force or Other Serious Breaches of a Jus Cogens Obligation: An Obligation without Real Substance?” link to users.ox.ac.uk
        *The comparisons of the reception of the legitimate claims of Palestinian and other national liberation movements versus the delegitimization of the claims made by Southern Rhodesia, the Union of South Africa, et al in Vera Gowlland-Debbas, “Collective Responses to Illegal Acts in International Law: United Nations Action in the Question of Southern Rhodesia”, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1990

      • HarryLaw
        April 24, 2013, 6:31 am

        Hostage @ ” since many believe that non-recognition and “active abstention” extend to boycotts of exports from illegal settlements or nullifying the legal consequences that result from actions that are ultra vires for an occupying power.” Thanks for those links, I am not sure how much different they are to Professor Crawford’s opinions, the Jerusalem Light Rail case might illustrate in real terms what they mean here….
        The legal proceedings

        In 2007, AFPS, a French Palestinian solidarity organization, filed civil proceedings against the French companies Veolia Transport and Alstom at the Nanterre courthouse. It asked that the concession contract for the construction and operation of a light rail system in Jerusalem be cancelled.

        Following a series of postponements at AFPS’ request, the court ruled on May 30, 2011 that Veolia Transport had not committed any act that infringed upon international law in signing the contracts for construction and operations and maintenance, nor had it violated Veolia Environnement’s Ethics, Commitment and Responsibility program.

        AFPS filed an appeal on July 7, 2011.

        The Court of Appeals in Versailles upheld the original decision on March 22, 2013, reiterating that Veolia Transport had not infringed upon international law, humanitarian law or the UN Global Compact by signing and executing the concession and operations contracts for the light rail system in Jerusalem.
        On its ethical responsibilities, I think the court said, it was obliged to try to implement its ethical responsibilities, but that there was no strict liability on them to do so. see also link to electronicintifada.net. So it would appear private contracts with no state involvement are outside International Law, If the French state had been involved in the contract, International Law could have been invoked.

      • Hostage
        April 24, 2013, 2:48 pm

        In 2007, AFPS, a French Palestinian solidarity organization, filed civil proceedings against the French companies

        The problem is that civil lawsuits brought by private parties are handled under existing doctrines regarding conflict of laws. Corporations are not subject to the jurisdiction of the ICJ or the ICC. Criminal cases will be handled on a different basis and offer victims reparation, but they are matters of state responsibility, with no right of private action for solidarity organizations.

        France is a party to the Rome Statute, so it is obliged to go after the proceeds from any joint criminal enterprise that results in a conviction for an offense listed in Article 5 of the Statute. Member states have an obligation to harmonize their municipal laws with those provisions and to exercise primary responsibility for enforcement. That means the officials of those corporations can be held criminally liable for crimes committed on the territory of Palestine.

        I’ve mentioned the civil vs criminal jurisdictional dilemma elsewhere: link to mondoweiss.net

    • talknic
      April 22, 2013, 12:25 pm

      Unless the country in question has a treaty or agreement not to apply sanctions, yes. Sovereign states may act unilaterally on any matter. Never the less, they might be made to suffer for the decision

    • Hostage
      April 22, 2013, 2:36 pm

      It is good to hear (once again) OUT-OF-OFFICE politicians saying sensible things that they never dared to say whilst in office.

      I don’t think that’s the case. The letter was signed by Javier Solana, the Former EU High Representative who Ashton replaced. He was one of the co-authors of the Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee report, April 30, 2001 (aka The Mitchell Report). link to 2001-2009.state.gov

      It stated that Israel would have to withdraw from the occupied territories before the Palestinians could logically be expected to end their state of belligerency. The report also determined that the Israeli settlements beyond the Green line, including East Jerusalem, were illegal. Its findings were cited in the Middle East Quartet Road Map as the basis for ending all settlement construction, including natural growth; removal of the outposts; & etc.

      Solana also caused a subsequent uproar when he recommended that the Security Council should only give the parties a brief period of perhaps one or two more years to conclude an agreement before it imposed its own settlement that would address recognition of Palestine, border parameters, refugees, control over the city of Jerusalem and security arrangements. — See EU’s Solana calls for UN to recognise Palestinian state. link to reuters.com

      • pabelmont
        April 24, 2013, 1:19 pm

        Hostage: Very good indeed to hear that an IN-OFFICE international politician, Javier Solana, acted to secure international action — rather than mere words — on I/P. Thanks for the info.

        It appears that even the ICJ’s 2004 opinion neither creates nor recognizes existing obligations which require nations to “ensure respect” for the Geneva Conventions (that is, pressure Israel to comply). The nations certainly act that way — to say nothig of acting as if there were positive disincentives [presumably USA] to action.

  2. just
    April 21, 2013, 12:13 pm

    “Obama has done nothing to alleviate ‘explosive’ occupation”

    True, and as a matter of fact, his recent trip made things worse by validating the Israeli government and their intransigence, imho.

    One of the two biggest disappointments that I have with Mr. Obama.

    The other is ‘Gitmo’.

  3. Nevada Ned
    April 21, 2013, 12:30 pm

    I had to read the letter to discover who these Eminent Europeans are: mostly former foreign ministers or former prime ministers.

    Of course, the letter is right, that statements by EU politicians are totally disregarded by Israel. What is badly needed is action: sanctions, diverstment, and boycott.
    That would definitely get Israel’s attention.

    Unfortunately, the EU is a very weak reed for anybody to lean on. Too divided. Too easily pressured by the US and Israel.

    Will the EU defy the US? They never have.

  4. Stephen Shenfield
    April 21, 2013, 12:39 pm

    To show how eminent these Europeans are, be it noted that they include 4 former prime ministers, 2 former deputy prime ministers, 5 former foreign ministers, and a former secretary general of NATO. Here is the full list of signatories:

    Guiliano Amato, Former Prime Minister of Italy
    Frans Andriessen, Former Vice-President of the European Commission
    Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, Former Vice-Prime Minister of the Netherlands
    John Bruton, Former Prime Minister of Ireland
    Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Former European Commissioner and Former Foreign Minister of Austria
    Teresa Patricio Gouveia, Former Foreign Minister of Portugal
    Jeremy Greenstock, Former UK Ambassador to the UN and Co-Chair of the EEPG
    Lena Hjelm-Wallén, Former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden
    Wolfgang Ischinger, Former State Secretary of the German Foreign Ministry and Co-Chair of the EEPG
    Lionel Jospin, Former Prime Minister of France
    Miguel Moratinos, Former Foreign Minister of Spain
    Ruprecht Polenz, Former Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag
    Pierre Schori, Former Deputy Foreign Minister of Sweden
    Javier Solana, Former High Representative and Former NATO Secretary-General
    Peter Sutherland, Former EU Commissioner and Director General of the WTO
    Andreas van Agt, Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands
    Hans van den Broek, Former Netherlands Foreign Minister and Former EU Commissioner for External Relations
    Hubert Védrine, Former Foreign Minister of France and Co-Chair of the EEPG
    Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Former President of Latvia

    • seafoid
      April 22, 2013, 6:26 am

      Reading Philip Stephens in the FT it’s clear that only the lobby stands between the Zionists and collapse. Elites in europe are turning away from zionism. Too many lies. The ideology is now incoherent. Once the hasbara stops working they rely on brute power to get their way.

      Even Thatcher , no friend of lefties of human rights defenders, told them that YESHA was nuts.

      It will all blow up at some stage and they will have nobody to blame.

  5. HarryLaw
    April 21, 2013, 1:05 pm

    A very heartening letter and not the first one from former European diplomats, which proves that no matter how much easier it is in the short term to take the path of least resistance i.e to give in to the stronger side, and Israeli intransigence, International Law will trump it, gives Mondoweiss people the knowledge and encouragement [if in any doubt] that they are on the right side of history.

  6. pabelmont
    April 21, 2013, 1:11 pm

    Funny how people protect themselves from criticism by refusing — after their bad acts — to accuse themselvs of the worst. Imagine the increased impact of this statement if the former hot-shots had said something like this:

    In all the years since 1967, we were mesmerized by talk of peace and peace making to the point that we forgot other things were occurring. We forgot that the settlements were illegal, that the wall was illegal, that the siege of Gaza was illegal collective punishment; we believed — or made as if we believed — that peace was right around the corner to such an extent that we forgot, first, that peace was by no means just around the corner or even in prospect at all, and, second, that the illegal actions taken by Israel were important human rights violations in their own right independent of their capacity to prevent peace. And, indeed, we forgot that these illegalities triggered our own national responsibilities as High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to “ensure” that Israel “respect” the convention “under all circumstances”.

    In short, while we said “peace, peace”, we were complicit in “crime, crime”. And it is time we stopped.

    These tepid world leaders are still in the trap, for they still speak of stopping the building of new Israeli settlements and fail to adopt the language of extirpating the existing settlements — root and branch. Finding bravery and clarity is going to be a slow process if no-longer-serving world leaders can be so timid. Or so knowingly and intentionally complicit.

    • MHughes976
      April 22, 2013, 12:36 pm

      Very eloquent, pabelmont! But I would say we forgot and misrepresented many things after 48, not only after 67. We were mesmerised then, I speak for myself, by a kind of fatalism about inevitable fall-out from WW2 and by a kind of semi-religious propaganda that washed over us.

    • Hostage
      April 22, 2013, 4:38 pm

      In short, while we said “peace, peace”, we were complicit in “crime, crime”. And it is time we stopped.

      It’s an interesting dilemma. When Palestine filed its Article 12(3) Declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC, the majority of the member states had already formally recognized the State of Palestine. Simple comity requires that they accept Palestine’s right to legislate upon its own interests, administer its own services, and to define the jurisdiction and competence of its own courts.

      The 130 countries that have already recognized Palestine have the primary responsibility for the enforcement of the prohibitions contained in international laws, including the Rome Statute. By the time that the central Court in the Hague exercises its complimentary jurisdiction, action by the individual member states will be long overdue.

      Our national courts have a built-in tendency to send private actions for civil damages to the courts in Israel for a remedy, instead of the Palestinian Courts. So civil lawsuits against firms that collaborate with Israel to violate international laws on the territory of Palestine have been unsuccessful in the past. See for example Palestinian village sues Canadian builders over Israeli settlement link to cbc.ca

      On the other hand, our criminal codes prohibit those same firms from enjoying profits or proceeds from their criminal enterprises, but provide individuals with no private right of action. See Proceeds of Crime Offences in Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act link to international.gc.ca

      At the same time, the ICC’s jurisdiction is limited to “natural persons”. So it can’t go after corporate or state-owned assets, just the personal assets of those it finds responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity. The obvious bottom line is that Zionists have only needed to control or influence a handful of Prosecutors to prevent or obstruct the international criminal justice system in the past. Any unilateral attempt by Palestine to upset the status quo is met with threats or the use of force.

      Larry Defner has a good article which explains that Israel’s rejection of Kerry’s peace talk proposals will only hasten a showdown in the international courts (which will never act until all other options have been exhausted).

  7. James Canning
    April 21, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Great piece. More people of power and influence in Europe need to comprehend the inability of the President of the US to act intelligently, on a sustained basis, in matters pertaining to Israel, and Israel/Palestine. Brutal fact. And highly dangerous.

  8. James Canning
    April 21, 2013, 1:51 pm

    Elliott Abrams in his rebuttal (linked at end of above piece) states: “The Formerly Eminent Persons wish above all to erase the letter to Prime Minister Sharon from President Bush in 2004, where he called the major settlement blocks [in West Bank] ‘new realties on the ground’ that all efforts at negotiation had acknowledged Israel would keep.”

    Abrams does finger Bush accurately, though for astounding stupidity rather than statesmanship.

  9. Citizen
    April 21, 2013, 2:05 pm

    Abrams is an American traitor. He should be hanged.

    • piotr
      April 22, 2013, 8:54 am

      Abrams is just being Abrams.

      Abrams is perhaps best known for denying one of the worst atrocities of the war, the massacre at El Mozote, where in December 1981 U.S-trained government soldiers marched into a village and murdered around 800 civilians, many of whom were women and children. The men were tortured before being shot, and girls as young as 10 were raped before having their throats slit. Abrams, who at the time was Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, dismissed reports published in the New York Times and Washington Post about the massacre, telling a Senate committee tasked with certifying the Salvadoran government’s human rights record that the reports of deaths “were not credible” and suggesting the guerrillas had “significantly misused” the stories for propaganda.

      Publishing such a despicable person is moral obtuseness if not worse. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. He was not an underemployed loner hatching plots in the basement but a representative of the American people. His depravity is our depravity.

      • kalithea
        April 23, 2013, 12:49 pm

        “His depravity is our depravity.”

        Ditto.

  10. American
    April 21, 2013, 2:50 pm

    Don’t believe this will move them to action.
    There are three ways to change Israel’s path:
    1) The US telling Israel and announcing publcially it withdraws support of Israel….the now you really are ‘alone’ bomb.
    2) Cut it’s legs off economically with trade sanctions
    3) Military action against it in the occuped territories….. predicated on ICC /UN ruling that legitimizes use of force by internatonals or any willing Palestine ally/allies.

    For the first two options you would have to wipe out all US zionist influence in US.
    That makes the third, the ICC the best option.

    • pabelmont
      April 22, 2013, 9:24 am

      ICC would act — at best and at most — against individuals, such as the former leaders now (perhaps still that is) under indictment in Turkey for the Mavi Marmara outrage. It would not authorize anyone to take military action. NATO might be able to take military action, as it has elsewhere, but last time I looked, the USA had its thumb on the NATO scale, same as UNSC.

      So sanctions looks best. Gradual and increasing. Withdrawal of embassies. Cessation of commercial air traffic. Ending of VISA permissions and sending Israeli nationals home. Ending agricultural trade. Ending or curtailing tourist traffic to Israel.

      Sanctions as an enforcement tool for a demand. What demand? For me the right demand is that, within one year, Israel remove all settlers, raze or dismantle all settlements buildings and the wall, and lift the siege on Gaza.

      This demand would either produce very costly Israeli action (acquiescence in the demands) or result in great pain in Israel. Probably backfire for a while in the form of evfen wiorse pressure on Palestinians. But even if the USA did not join in the pressure, the American public would learn a lot that they do not now know. And Education is everything in this matter.

      • Hostage
        April 23, 2013, 1:06 pm

        Sanctions as an enforcement tool for a demand. What demand?

        In general terms, see Article 75: “Reparations to victims” and Article 93(k) “[I]dentification, tracing and freezing or seizure of proceeds, property and assets and instrumentalities of crimes for the purpose of eventual forfeiture” in the Rome Statute of the ICC. link to untreaty.un.org

  11. Blownaway
    April 21, 2013, 3:20 pm

    The whole world is powerless in the face ofIsraeli oppression. Governments and son colleges have been infiltrated and all types of dissent are crushed immediately. Even when they go to full blown official apartheid western governments will rationalize why Israel is different. Like So Africa it has to be grassroots movement ex governments. And it’s about equal rights in one state.

  12. seafoid
    April 21, 2013, 3:33 pm

    “Later generations will see it as unforgivable that we Europeans not only allowed the situation to develop to this point of acute tension, but took no action now to remedy the continuing destruction of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination” or indeed the destruction of mainstream Judaism.

    It is very hard to see the rabbinical elites pulling this one off.

  13. seafoid
    April 21, 2013, 4:48 pm

    Obama is bought and paid for. Sure he’s better than Romney would have been but not by much.

    • aiman
      April 22, 2013, 10:08 am

      Reminds me of:

      “How do you take your poison? We can take it from nurse Romney, who will tell us not to whine and play the victim, or we can take it from nurse Obama, who will assure us that this hurts him even more than it hurts us ….” – Chris Hedges, Truthdig, Sept 24 2012

  14. Blank State
    April 21, 2013, 4:50 pm

    There is nothing in Obama’s tenure that so perfectly defines him as a fake and a fraud as his Cairo speech does. Of course, we have many other examples of his insincerity; for example, rendition, military aggressiveness, Gitmo, signing statements, the “public option”, etc.. But really, the Cairo speech is epic in its clear representation of what this empty oportunistic piece of sh*t is actually made of. At least that embarrassing monkey Bush was the real deal. We expected a monkey, and we got a monkey. But we sure didn’t expect to get what Obama has ended up being……(A SNAKE).

  15. German Lefty
    April 21, 2013, 6:11 pm

    The two-state solution is the most “just and equitable” resolution of the conflict.

    Nope, it’s not!

    • MHughes976
      April 22, 2013, 12:42 pm

      Thanks for saying that. The 2ss is – at least as we meet it in its ‘classic’, oft-repeated form – one of the most screamingly unfair allocations of lands, resources and (especially) rights that ever was heard of. But I think it will never really be on the table for negotiation since however modified it cannot erase the idea that somehow the Palestinians have a right to be there absolutely, not only by the grace and generosity of others. So it negates Zionism, so it won’t happen until there is more justice and humanity in the world.

  16. southernobserver
    April 21, 2013, 7:08 pm

    thanks for the update; I see that the new party line is that failing to blame the palestinians for being brutally occupied and driven out is to treat them as children. The “evidence” from Mr Abrams remains the same old horrible lies:
    “Five years ago, in the spring of 2008, the parties were negotiating, apparently seriously, as part of what was then called “the Annapolis process.” That failed when Mahmoud Abbas refused an extremely generous offer from Israeli Prime Minister Olmert. The Formerly Eminent Persons appear to have forgotten this, or far more likely to be seeking to avoid that truth. “

  17. Sumud
    April 21, 2013, 10:03 pm

    Elliott Abrams riffs on the letter, saying it blames Israel for the occupation (!), but gives no credit to Gharib for reporting it.

    Abram’s article is titled “Why Europe Can’t Bring Peace To The Middle East”, as if they have been in charge of the peace process since Oslo, and they have failed in their mission.

    It’s ridiculous – reminds me of that absurd TIME cover from 2010 with the disfigured Afghani women, and the text “What happens if we leave Afghanistan”, as thought she got in her time machine and was visiting us from some post-US-occupation future Afghanistan, which was going Just Fine until the US left.

    Abrams writes (on Annapolis, where no serious offer or map was ever forthcoming):

    That failed when Mahmoud Abbas refused an extremely generous offer from Israeli Prime Minister Olmert.

    These tired old politician and pundits are responsible for one FAILURE after another and should be treated as such.

  18. Krauss
    April 21, 2013, 11:13 pm

    The main problem with the Europe is that it is ruled by a bunch of idiots. From their economic policies to their foreign policy.

    Also, Europe is basically America’s puppy. Whatever America does, Europe follows(but much more meekly).

    This is why it’s following America’s lead on I/P but, again, much more meekly.

    • Ecru
      April 22, 2013, 11:17 am

      I’m not too sure we’re ruled by idiots – they just seem to know what to do and say to ensure themselves those well paying directorships after they’ve left office. Look at their financial policies gutting various social security programs – geared with only one thing in mind, pleasing Wall Street and the City of London. That’s probably why they don’t do anything real as regards Israeli crimes against humanity – it doesn’t do to upset those who’ll give you a job when the public’s had enough of you.

  19. DICKERSON3870
    April 22, 2013, 4:50 am

    RE: “It is time to give a stark warning that the Occupation is actually being entrenched by the present Western policy.” ~ letter to Ashton from a group of 19 eminent Europeans

    IN OTHER WORDS: Israel’s occupation and colonization of the West Bank is being “enabled” by Western (mostly American) “two state fakers”*! ! !

    * REGARDING “TWO STATE FAKERS”, SEE: “Flotilla 3.0: Redeeming Obama’s Palestine Speech with Gaza’s Ark”, By Robert Naiman, truth-out.org, 3/25/13

    [EXCERPT] . . . Bibi doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; Bibi’s government doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; AIPAC doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; and Congress – which defers to AIPAC – doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state. Of course, many of them mouth the words – not Bibi’s government, they don’t even do that – but those who mouth the words oppose any practical measure that would help bring an independent Palestinian state into existence. They’re “two state fakers.” Settlement freeze? Impossible. UN membership for Palestine? Can’t be done. No, according to the two state fakers, the only option on the menu in the restaurant for the Palestinians is to return to negotiations without a settlement freeze, negotiations that for 20 years have brought more land confiscation, more settlements, more restrictions on Palestinian movement and commerce, more oppression. And so, Obama was saying, my hands are tied. Don’t look at me. . .
    . . . So, …the question boils down to this: Can we engage the multitude in civil society initiatives to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine . . . ?
    A compelling effort to do this is a project called Gaza’s Ark.
    Gaza’s Ark is a logical next step to follow the Gaza freedom flotillas, and some of the folks who helped organize previous flotillas are helping to put it in place. Unlike the flotillas, Gaza’s Ark isn’t going to sail into Gaza. It’s going to sail out from Gaza, carrying Palestinian exports. . .
    . . . Gaza’s Ark is starting a campaign to support Gaza’s economy by encouraging people to buy Gaza’s exports: “trade not aid,” as they say. It’s a “procott.” Don’t support the blockade? Put your money where your mouth is.
    I claim that by supporting Gaza’s Ark, you can support a civil society initiative to oppose the occupation without giving up any evenings. Put your money where your mouth is. Buy Palestinian goods from Gaza. If the Israeli government tries to stop you, then they’re interfering with your commerce.
    I claim that by supporting Gaza’s Ark, you can support a civil society initiative to oppose the occupation without giving up any evenings. You can sign up [I.E. SIGN THE PETITION] here. – link to gazaark.org

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to truth-out.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 22, 2013, 11:21 am

      P.S. RE: Israel’s occupation and colonization of the West Bank is being “enabled” by Western (mostly American) “two state fakers”! ! ! – me (from above)

      AS MUCH CONTEMPT AS I HAVE FOR “PASTOR” JOHN HAGEE, I FEEL COMPELLED TO GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE, AND “PASTOR” JOHN HAGEE IS DEFINITELY NOT ONE OF ROBERT NAIMAN’S “TWO STATE FAKERS”!

      SEE: “A Serial Obstructionist”, By Rachel Tabachnick, ZEEK – Forward, 3/15/10

      [EXCERPTS] . . . Shortly after Vice President Joe Biden’s arrival in Israel, Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat were the headliners at Pastor John Hagee’s two-hour Christians United for Israel (CUFI) extravaganza at the Jerusalem Convention Center. . .
      . . . Monday’s CUFI production was based on the concept of “biblical Zionism,” or the belief that God mandates nonnegotiable borders of Israel, and any leader or nation who thwarts this divine plan will be cursed. Before introducing Netanyahu, Hagee stated, “World leaders do not have the authority to tell Israel and the Jewish people what they can and can not do in Jerusalem.” He added, “Israel does not exist because of a decree of the United Nations in 1948. Israel exists because of a covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. . . The settlements are not the problem.”
      In his books and sermons Hagee has promoted a “greater Israel,” that will reclaim all of Israel’s former biblical territory, stating “In modern terms, Israel rightfully owns all of present-day Israel, all of Lebanon, half of Syria, two-thirds of Jordan, all of Iraq, and the northern portion of Saudi Arabia.”
      At the Jerusalem CUFI event Hagee described Ahmadinejad as the Hitler of the Middle East who could turn the world upside down in 24 hours, words similar to those he made when lobbying for the attack on Iraq. . .
      . . . During a performance by singer Dudu Fisher, the God TV camera panned to the audience and centered on Joel Bell, leader of Worldwide Biblical Zionists. WBZ is currently building a center in Sha’ar Benjamin for “facilitating absorption” of Christian Zionists into the West Bank. It was established after a joint meetingheld in Texas of the Board of Governors of World Likud led by Danny Danon, and World Evangelical Zionists led by Joel Bell. Speakers included ZOA’s Morton Klein. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to zeek.forward.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 22, 2013, 11:35 am

      P.P.S. ALSO RE: “‘PASTOR’ JOHN HAGEE IS DEFINITELY NOT ONE OF ROBERT NAIMAN’S ‘TWO STATE FAKERS’ ”! – me (from above)

      SEE: “Netanyahu and Pastor Hagee’s Lovefest on Eve of Biden’s Arrival in Israel”, by Max Blumenthal, maxblumenthal.com, 3/09/10

      [EXCERPTS] Vice President Joe Biden was greeted in Jerusalem with the announcement that the Israeli Interior Ministry approved the construction of 1600 new homes in Occupied East Jerusalem contrary to U.S. wishes and complicating Biden’s mission to help jump start the peace process. But Biden should have known that Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu intended to upset his plans by Netanyahu’s appearance with John Hagee.
      The day after a series of talks between US Special Envoy for the Middle East George Mitchell and Netanyahu, and a day before Biden’s arrival, Netanyahu appeared onstage with Pastor John Hagee in Jerusalem.
      The occasion was Hagee’s Night To Honor Israel, an event the far-right Texas-based preacher arranged to tout his ministry’s millions in donations to Israeli organizations and to level bellicose rhetoric against Israel’s perceived enemies.
      At the gathering, Hagee called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “the Hitler of the Middle East” and denounced the Goldstone Report as “character assassination by an unbiased and uninformed committee.”
      Netanyahu welcomed the crowd of 1000 American evangelicals to Jerusalem, a city he described as “the undivided, eternal capitol of the Jewish people. Then, he told them, “I salute you! The Jewish people salute you!” He used the rest of his speech to call for “tough, biting sanctions” against Iran that “bite deep into its energy sector.” . . .
      . . . Hagee’s ceremony featured a 15-minute film highlighting the recipients of donations from John Hagee Ministries that totaled $58 million since 2001. The recipients included Jewish settlements from the West Bank like Gush Etzion and Shomron, which was involved in promoting an “Obama Hilltop project” that promoted more settlement building and compared Obama to Pharoah. Hagee also announced funding for a pressure group run by the settlers evacuated from Gush Katif in Gaza in 2005. During Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2009, a group of Gush Katif residents lobbied the Israel government to allow them to resettle the Palestinian coastal region. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to maxblumenthal.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 22, 2013, 12:06 pm

      P.P.P.S. ALSO RE: “‘PASTOR’ JOHN HAGEE IS DEFINITELY NOT ONE OF ROBERT NAIMAN’S ‘TWO STATE FAKERS’ ”! – me (from above)

      MY COMMENT: But the Houston Jewish Federation (that assists Hagee in his funding the settlers and other far right-wing groups in Israel) almost certainly is one of Robert Naiman’s “two state fakers”.

      SEE: “Houston Jewish Federation, Jewish Agency Fund Im Tirzu’s Assault on Israeli Universities” ~ by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/17/10

      [EXCERPTS] What do the Houston Jewish federation, the Jewish Agency, John Hagee, and Im Tirzu have in common? They’re all either directly or indirectly funding a major assault on academic freedom on Israeli campuses. . .
      . . . The Israeli finance website, Calcalist, reports that John Hagee donated $120,000 to Im Tirzu in 2009 through the Jewish Agency. The money had been transferred to the [Jewish] Agency by the Houston Jewish Federation as part of an overall $5-million gift. $3-million of that came from [John Hagee’s] CUFI and went towards its largely pro-settler Israel philanthropy. Hagee passed the gift through the Agency in order to qualify for a U.S. tax deduction. . .
      . . . A second article in the “Calcalist” makes this important point:
      “The Jewish Agency [funded by the Jewish Federations with the help of John Hagee & CUFI ~ J.L.D.] supports organization’s from the Israeli lunatic right, which are attempting to destroy the values of academic freedom in Israeli higher education.”

      The Agency, a body whose mission it is to bring new immigrants to settle in the Holy Land, instead transfers very large sums to poisonous organizations which seek legitimacy in attacking academics who’ve actually done something in their lives, having not just written propaganda exposes divorced from any reality.
      The columnist concludes by noting the absolute insanity of the Jewish Agency [funded by John Hagee with the help of the Houston Jewish Federation ~ J.L.D.] providing funding to an organization that wishes to unleash the thought police on Israeli universities. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to richardsilverstein.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 22, 2013, 12:36 pm

      RE: “But the Houston Jewish Federation probably is a one of Robert Naiman’s ‘two state fakers’.” – me (from above)

      SPEAKING OF HOUSTON: I recently came across a 46 page PDF that is a summary of the book Charlie Wilson’s War, and Houston is mentioned.

      THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 46 PAGE SUMMARY:
      • 1973 he [Charlie Wilson] went to Washington
      He won a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee and discovered the cause of Israel
      • 1973: Became obsessed with trying to help the Israelis despite not being a Jew nor having Jews in his district; was championed by the Israeli embassy in Washington
      who flew him out to see the war first hand accompanied by another representative Ed Koch
      • It was the beginning of a ten-year love affair with everything to do with Israel. ‘I bought the whole thing – the beleaguered democracy surrounded by Soviet-armed barbarians – survivors of Nazi concentration camps – David versus Goliath’ P31
      [The] Jews of Houston and Dallas began bankrolling his re-election campaigns, and Ed Koch helped mobilise his campaign in 1984, when a typical Wilson drug scandal threatened his chances of re-election. Jews of New York and backers from Israel paid his campaign funds
      The Jews in Congress also rallied to put Wilson on the all-powerful Appropriations Committee where he could help make sure the $3billion in aid to Israel continued to flow
      The Israelis had shown him the vast stores of Soviet weapons they had captured from the PLO in Lebanon. The weapons were perfect for the mujahideen. If Wilson could convince the CIA to buy them . . .
      He visited the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps. ‘In my usual knee-jerk fashion I assumed there was a certain amount of sensationalism in the press and assumed Israel’s culpability had been exaggerated, but I also felt it my duty to see for myself.’ P98. ‘When we got into the camps,’ he recalls, ‘the grief and mourning was still going on. It had been maybe a week since the attack, and we walked down and ran into this woman who was an American Jew…she told me that her people had done something terrible.
      She walked us down to where the victims had been buried in a mass grave…. And I began to get a really terrible feeling in my stomach about it. And what was hanging over me was the Israeli guilt.’
      ‘But when we walked about fifty feet and one of the American embassy people showed me where the Israeli command post was, and I looked at it and at that moment I lost it. My heroes were forever blemished because they would have had to be blindfolded not to have seen and heard what was happening. And then it was clear that they set up the whole thing and sat there and watched it.’

      IRAN-CONTRA: In the beginning the Agency [the CIA] was only indirectly involved. The Israelis were pushing the scheme. They had convinced Bud McFarlane and North that there were moderates in Iran who
      could be dealt with.

      ● 46 PAGE PDF SUMMARY of Charlie Wilson’s War
      link to fruitfulresearch.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 22, 2013, 1:03 pm

      P.P.P.P.S. FROM WIKIPEDIA [Charlie Wilson (Texas politician)]:

      [EXCERPT] Charles “Charlie” Nesbitt Wilson (June 1, 1933 – February 10, 2010) was a United States naval officer and former 12-term Democratic United States Representative from Texas’s 2nd congressional district.
      Wilson is best known for leading Congress into supporting Operation Cyclone, the largest-ever Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) covert operation which, under the Reagan administration, supplied military equipment including anti-aircraft weapons such as Stinger antiaircraft missiles and paramilitary officers from their Special Activities Division to the Afghan Mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. His behind-the-scenes campaign was the subject of the non-fiction book Charlie Wilson’s War by George Crile . . .
      . . . In 1972, Wilson was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Texas’s 2nd congressional district . . .
      . . . Despite not having many, if any, Jewish constituents, Wilson developed a strong relationship with Israel during his entire congressional career.
      This bond began during Wilson’s first year in Washington when the Yom Kippur War occurred. From a young age, Wilson had always supported the “underdog,” and Wilson quickly went to Israel’s defense as a self-proclaimed “Israeli commando.” While on the Appropriations committee, Wilson increased U.S. aid to Israel to $3 billion annually and in return got continuous campaign contributions from Jews throughout the country. Later, Wilson’s close ties with Israel enabled him to collaborate with Israeli defense engineers to create and transport man-portable anti-aircraft guns into Pakistan to be used in the Soviet-Afghan War.[13]
      In 1980, Wilson read an Associated Press dispatch on the congressional wires describing the refugees fleeing Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. The communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan had taken over power during the Afghan Civil War and asked the Soviet Union to help suppress resistance from the mujahideen. According to biographer George Crile III, Wilson called the staff of the House Appropriations Committee dealing with “black appropriations” and requested a two-fold appropriation increase for Afghanistan. Because Wilson had just been named to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense (which is responsible for funding CIA operations), his request went through.[22]
      That was not the last time he increased the CIA budget for its Afghan operation. In 1983, he won an additional $40 million, $17 million of which was allocated for anti-aircraft weapons to shoot down Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopters. [FROM THE “CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR” SUMMARY ABOVE: The Israelis had shown him the vast stores of Soviet weapons they had captured from the PLO in Lebanon. The weapons were perfect for the mujahideen. If Wilson could convince the CIA to buy them – J.L.D.]

      • “Good Time Charlie” – Wilson unashamedly lived an extravagant and flamboyant life. . .
      . . . Throughout the course of his life, Wilson drank heavily, which may have been a factor in his divorce from Jerry.[35] While in Washington Wilson became a functioning drunk and suffered from severe bouts of depression and insomnia, and his drinking intensified during his involvement in Afghanistan. Wilson’s drunkenness also led to a scandal in 1980 when an eyewitness reported that Wilson’s Lincoln Continental hit a Mazda in a hit-and-run accident on the Washington DC’s Key Bridge the night before his first trip to Pakistan. Although never convicted, this accident illustrates Wilson’s recklessness with alcohol during his involvement in Afghanistan.[36] . . .
      . . . Wilson has been said to have lived life as “one big party”, and lived by the mantra that he could “take his job seriously without taking himself seriously.”[45] . . .

      SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

  20. upsidedownism
    April 22, 2013, 5:10 am

    I don’t think the present crop of leaders are any more idiots than those ‘former’ ministers listed in the letter to Catherine Ashton. In another decade or two, similar letters might be written by a bunch of current European politicians when they are in retirement.

    The USA has its own former President, Jimmy Carter, who has echoed many of the same things as in the Ashton letter. It all seems pretty meaningless and hopeless; all these people are out of power.

    • MHughes976
      April 22, 2013, 12:47 pm

      Obama’s memoirs will be interesting – or maybe not. But I share the sentiment that we face such massive odds in political support, in mass opinion, in power of all sorts, that the prospect is very bleak. Except that Israel is every day losing the demographic battle a bit more. Except that our sole advantage, that we’re right and that we’re the real anti-racists, will one day be worth more than all the other things piled up against us.

  21. Citizen
    April 22, 2013, 11:55 am

    Nothing illustrates Obama’s, indeed any POTUS’s weakness as the current attempt by Obama to reconcile Turkey and Israel. What’s the hang-up? What else: Israel’s treatment of the natives and on-going land-grabs: link to nytimes.com

    Yet this does not matter, no more than that the 9/11 motivation was told by the Commission, but the Commission itself turned the specific into the generic, that is, that all foreign policy has blowback. Still, the specifics do remain inside the Commission’s Report–but no US reporter in mainstream will ever mention it.

  22. kalithea
    April 23, 2013, 12:54 pm

    Why don’t they write: DON’T DO WHAT WE DID; DO WHAT WE SAY; DO SOMETHING WHILE YOU HAVE A CHANCE?

    Sheesh…while it’s encouraging they FINALLY spoke their minds; they were spineless while they were actually able to influence the situation.

    Will we find Obama too as a signator to a similar letter 5 years from now???

    QUIT FEARING ZIONIST POWER AND ENABLING INJUSTICE!

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