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Is Obama punting on Kerry’s peace plan?

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Kerry and Obama

Kerry and Obama

The view that Obama has washed his hands of the hopeless peace process in order to use all his political capital to head off a war with Iran was underscored by his State of the Union speech last night. There was one line about John Kerry’s peace process, which Obama lately handicapped at under 50 percent likelihood of success (and that the most official journalist there is describes as a “fanatical” fantasy today). And then a couple paragraphs of logrolling the Congress on his Iran deal, warning the Congress that he’d veto another round of sanctions. Some of his most forceful language in the speech warned Congress about undermining US “national security” by hurting the deal.

Though Obama did lip service to the newly-stated basis of Kerry’s talks, Israel’s recognition as the “Jewish state.”

From the transcript:

As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side.

And it is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program – and rolled parts of that program back – for the very first time in a decade. As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. It is not installing advanced centrifuges. Unprecedented inspections help the world verify, every day, that Iran is not building a bomb. And with our allies and partners, we’re engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

These negotiations will be difficult. They may not succeed. We are clear-eyed about Iran’s support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which threaten our allies; and the mistrust between our nations cannot be wished away. But these negotiations do not rely on trust; any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb. If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.

The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible. But let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed. If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon. But if Iran’s leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war.

When Obama said, “For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed,” he was pointing right at the Israel lobby. “AIPAC is terrified at the suggestion that it places Israel’s security over America’s,” MJ Rosenberg commented on the speech.

Note that yesterday, in a big win for Obama, the Israel lobby group reversed field and gave Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, political cover to support the Iran deal. Support for a new round of sanctions is surely flagging in the Congress.AIPAC is clearly feeling the heat, when liberal Zionists Lara Friedman, Melissa Weintraub, and Peter Beinart all but accuse the lobby of fueling suspicions of dual loyalty among American Jews.

And were other viewers as disturbed as I was by the display of the maimed young Army ranger Cory Remsburg last night alongside his father and Michelle Obama, capping Obama’s State of the Union speech? I found it horrifying. A beautiful young man disfigured by pointless war– this is nothing to be proud of. Remsburg’s injuries are a symbol of the injuries to the country dealt by these military adventures. We should lower our heads in shame for what we have done (and yes, I supported the Afghan invasion; I fault myself).

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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43 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    January 29, 2014, 11:06 am

    Did aipac wrote that speech obama? You are useless!

    HEzbollah? Since when is Hezbollah a threat to america? Why cant you make peace with Iran? Because Israel say no? Why cant you force israel out of OTs? Because aipac says so?

    Useless, truly useless!

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      January 29, 2014, 12:42 pm

      Obama didn’t say Hezbollah was a threat to US; he said it was “to our allies” in the region, or something like that.

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        January 29, 2014, 3:29 pm

        Citizen

        Thats the point, why would US care about hezbollah that is no threat to America. I thought it was “America first”? Apparently its “Israel first”.

  2. ToivoS
    ToivoS
    January 29, 2014, 11:23 am

    Phil, you need not apologize for supporting the Afghan invasion. That was one war that could not be stopped. The big mistake was thinking we could put in our puppet government and not leaving after 6 months. At the time that was, I thought, the big mistake.

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      January 29, 2014, 12:19 pm

      Why should we not regret Afghanistan war?

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        January 29, 2014, 1:27 pm

        The war has turned out to be a disaster. The big mistake was thinking we could run Afghanistan. At the time, deposing the Taliban from power was the right move.

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        January 29, 2014, 2:59 pm

        Toivos

        Thats the point. Why was that a “right thing” to do? Afghanistan had nothing to do with 911 and the war was as illegal as Iraq war were. It was a neocon war.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        January 29, 2014, 9:14 pm

        Out of the last several forced regime changes, Afghanistan’s is the hardest to argue against. They were brutal fundies and the Northern Alliance was comparable progressive.

        Still, it was a unilateral invasion, which is an obstacle to supporting the war, and it has been very poorly managed as well. The Powers want to keep their guys in control instead of handing the mess over to someone else, for geopolitical reasons, I suppose.

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        January 29, 2014, 10:38 pm

        It was the right thing because the American people wanted to go to war after 911. That desire for war was burning deep in the heart of the American people. I realize that the Afghans were not responsible but the Taliban government at that time were a vulnerable target. I felt if the US could release its desire for war against that government then it might satisfy the desire for more ruinous wars. In that I was wrong. The neocons convinced moron Bush to then invade Iraq. If Bush was not such a fool it could have stopped with Afghanistan. In any case I was wrong but I was right about one thing — the American people desired war and they got it big time.

        If we had more intelligent leaders in 2001 and 2002 the war desire might have been satiated with the Afghan war. If the goal was to satiate that desire our leaders made a humongous mistake in thinking they could rule Afghanistan for more than a few months. They then made an even more serious mistake attacking Iraq.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 30, 2014, 7:42 pm

        Overthowing the Taleban required few American troops. And the US did not try to “rule the country” after the overthrow of the T. But, of course, idiotic invasion of Iraq was G W Bush’s biggest blunder by far.

      • puppies
        puppies
        January 31, 2014, 8:57 am

        @Toivo – “It was the right thing because the American people wanted to go to war after 911. That desire for war was burning deep in the heart of the American people.”
        Jeezes. You can’t be serious. So anything our majority of murderous cavemen wants is “the right thing”? You realize that if that nonsense were acceptable it would be time to agree with anyone who says the entire nation should be destroyed.
        “They then made an even more serious mistake…” Mistake? They committed a hanging offense, a crime against humanity, which is different. Stop talking about mistakes and try to get them in the dock. How do you know it’s a “mistake”? Did you take them at their word for their real objectives?

      • Keith
        Keith
        January 29, 2014, 5:36 pm

        TOIVOS- “At the time, deposing the Taliban from power was the right move.”

        At the time, would you have supported the Russians invading Afghanistan to “depose the Taliban?” Would that have been the right move?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        January 31, 2014, 1:26 am

        Is it wrong for ToivoS to inject a note of political realism into the discussion? Please explain a scenario in which Bush (fils) avoided war with Afghanistan? A credible scenario in which republican president Bush avoided war with Afghanistan? A credible scenario in which republican president Bush who chose Cheney as his Veep and Rumsfeld as his secretary of Defense, could have avoided war with Afghanistan?

        Must we always pretend that politics is some science like math, rather than a messy fact of life like navigating traffic? Why must we expunge political reality from our conversation?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        January 31, 2014, 4:07 am

        “Please explain a scenario in which Bush (fils) avoided war with Afghanistan?”

        Surely Bush could have declared it a criminal act, and set out to prosecute the criminals on the basis of evidence.

      • Keith
        Keith
        January 31, 2014, 1:52 pm

        YONAH FREDMAN- “A credible scenario in which republican president Bush who chose Cheney as his Veep and Rumsfeld as his secretary of Defense, could have avoided war with Afghanistan?”

        There are two issues here. The first is your lack of reading comprehension. What did ToivoS say? “It was the right thing because the American people wanted to go to war after 911.” (ToivoS) He says that it was the “right thing to do.” I responded asking if it would have been right for the Russians to invade. Since Afghanistan didn’t attack either Russia or the US, why is it the “right thing?” As to what the American people wanted, that is a matter of the elite manufacture of consent rather than any innate factor. The American people were whipped into a war frenzy. To imply otherwise is tantamount to saying that the 1% was responding to the wishes of the 99%, hardly a credible argument.

        The second point concerns your argument that since Cheney and Rumsfeld were war mongers, poor Georgie had no choice. First of all, Rumsfeld initially wanted to go after Iraq right from the get-go, however, Powell talked him into going after Afghanistan first because it was an easier sell to the public because of Osama bin Laden. You are aware, I hope, that bin Laden was recruited by Pakistan intelligence and vetted by the CIA, who built all of those camps and taught him his tradecraft? And then you get into the problem of to what degree the Bush administration was willfully negligent (or worse) in allowing the attack to occur.

        In sum, the imperial attack on Afghanistan was undertaken for strategic reasons, was immoral and unjustified, and cannot be excused by any appeal to external pressure. Unlike you, I do not look for excuses to justify immoral militarism as being somehow “realistic” and unavoidable. But then, I am not a Zionist.

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        January 30, 2014, 3:54 am

        Toivos

        Uh so if the “american people” want war, its ok? Is that what you are saying?

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        January 31, 2014, 10:54 pm

        Dear Yonah thanks for that. Yes my position was based on political realism. I have been active in antiwar politics going back to Vietam. I was arrested maybe four times in a number of demonstrations. After 911 it was clear that the US would go to war in Afghanistan. The best we could hope for is that we (i.e. the crazed Bush regime) would not think we could rule that country. We should have left after a few months. But no, we are still there fighting that war.

        Once it became clear that we decided to stay in Afghanistan and after we invaded Iraq it was clear that the psychotics had taken over the asylum. Today US policy in that part of the world in total disarray.

      • eljay
        eljay
        January 31, 2014, 11:07 pm

        >> Please explain a scenario in which Bush (fils) avoided war … in which republican president Bush avoided war … in which republican president Bush … could have avoided war with Afghanistan?

        Bush and the neo-cons didn’t fail to “avoid war” – they waged war. They weren’t victims of circumstance – they were and remain criminals.

    • eljay
      eljay
      January 29, 2014, 12:41 pm

      >> That was one war that could not be stopped.

      That was one war that should never have been started.

      • peeesss
        peeesss
        January 30, 2014, 2:42 am

        “It was the right thing to do because the American people wanted to go to war after 9/11” ? ToivoS, please you can’t mean that. The “right thing to do”?. Forget International Law. The Constitution? What did the people of Afghanistan do to warrant an invasion. The Taliban ? They allowed Osama Bin Laden access to their country. Who financed and fostered Osama Bib Laden’s entry into Afghanistan. ? The Taliban , BTW, offered taking Bin Laden to court if the US provided some information as to his guilt on 9/11. The US refused. If tomorrow a poll showed majority of Americans desired to go to war against Iran would you feel comfortable justifying that as a valid reason for wr. Please. . Is the rant USA USA USA enough to send our children to war?

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 31, 2014, 2:21 pm

        American public opinion after “9/11” made an attack on the Taleban virtually inevitable.

        The catastrophe for the US was the neocon conspiracy to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq.

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        February 1, 2014, 2:54 am

        I guess I was saying that it was the right thing to do because there was no political force inside the US that could stop it. It was not right in a moral sense, I agree with you that it was not right in that sense, It was the correct (maybe not right) in a purely political sense. It could not be stopped. Hopefully after the initial invasion and the over throw of the Taliban government we could have the withdrawn, As we know, that did not happen, but that was the point where the US made its big error.

      • puppies
        puppies
        February 1, 2014, 1:18 am

        @Toivo – “Once it became clear that … and after we … it was clear”

        Uh uh. That’s what I thought. You wrote that “realistic” imperial nonsense because you wouldn’t have known how infernally crazy the whole thing was even if it was served with noodles and beans and jumped at you from the plate. And all of you adventurers were told, again and again and again. With that level of clairvoyance and even considering that you see the problem by now, don’t expect me to take anything you say seriously. That “realism” is of the same family as that used by Zionists.

    • just
      just
      January 29, 2014, 11:42 pm

      I totally disagree with you, ToivoS. Afghanistan was a HUGE mistake and horror and worse! Look at our history there! It could have been stopped if the American people ever bothered to PAY attention, or if their government EVER told the truth.

      Our foreign policy is/has been so entirely %^%#$^^ forever that most folks don’t give a rat’s ass about it, except Israel. And that is why they have gotten away with murder and apartheid, in an unholy alliance that has killed and wounded so many and so much. Our hypocrisy and machinations have led us down the hell we have created for others in the ME and elsewhere. We are, and have been for a long time, stupidly corrupted by bravado and the MIC and our own aspirations toward hegemony in regions that we covet for $$$$$$$$ and power at the expense of others. We blame others for our failure. We have not won any of the wars we have waged in my lifetime, NOT because we cannot kill hundreds of thousands with superior weaponry, but because we’ve not had right or truth or cause on our side.

      Last night as I watched that wounded man at the SOTU stand and receive that thunderous applause, I felt sick. Lots of the “leaders” want war with Iran and anyone who would make Israel/US feel wobbly. It was the only nonpartisan moment that our “leaders” could stand for. A broken body, after 10 deployments, standing for the thousands. How about all of the millions whose lives we destroyed that don’t wear the uniform– the ones who did us no harm and will never be heard from or seen???
      How about the dysfunctional system we have that doesn’t even take care of our “vets”? How about the many who come home after killing and commit suicide or murder right here?

      Below, you write:

      “It was the right thing because the American people wanted to go to war after 911. That desire for war was burning deep in the heart of the American people.”

      I remember that on 911 and in the ensuing days, there was a deep respect and quiet and hurt. Bush and the PNAC crowd ginned everybody up and so, the war machine was back in business — on steroids! Wrong, wrong, wrong– and we will pay for this for a long time to come. Not just in money, but in other kinds of intangible “treasures” and losses to our misbegotten/warped persona that we have yet to imagine. I worked so hard for a change from Bush, primarily because of our incredibly stupid FP– and some things have changed, but more remains the same.

      It’s heartbreaking & frustrating. I won’t give up, though. Too many people have died and die for our and others’ lies. I think back on that sad and frightening day of 9/11 and think of the friends I lost. Then I think of the millions we have targeted because of revenge. “Revenge” that was/is completely misplaced, imho.

      • gamal
        gamal
        February 1, 2014, 6:16 am

        just to interject, Washington was involved in his departure from Sudan to Afghanistan, actually to such an extent that, you know I am not sure that America always plays with a straight bat, the net isnt what it used to be all I could find after moderate efforts was, at the time I heard on the grapevine that the US had been instrumental in getting the Taliban to accept him, but just gossip however well founded, i can remember reading some articles that were open about it, but that was then and I cant find a trace so perhaps I am imagining it:

        “Resigned to Mr. bin Laden’s departure from Sudan, some officials raised the possibility of shooting down his chartered aircraft, but the idea was never seriously pursued because Mr. bin Laden had not been linked to a dead American, and it was inconceivable that Mr. Clinton would sign the “lethal finding” necessary under the circumstances.
        .
        “In the end they said, ‘Just ask him to leave the country. Just don’t let him go to Somalia,'” General Erwa said in an interview. “We said he will go to Afghanistan, and they said, ‘Let him.'” On May 15, 1996, Mr. Taha, the foreign minister, sent a fax to Mr. Carney in Nairobi, giving up on the transfer of custody. Sudan’s government had asked Mr. bin Laden to leave the country, Mr. Taha wrote, and he would be free to go.
        .
        Mr. Carney faxed back a question: Would Mr. bin Laden retain his access and control to the millions of dollars of assets he had built up in Sudan?
        .
        Mr. Taha gave no reply before Mr. bin Laden chartered a plane three days later for his trip to Afghanistan.”

        http://prisonplanet.com/sudan_offered_to_arrest_bin_laden.html

  3. geofgray
    geofgray
    January 29, 2014, 11:29 am

    the mawkish display of the wounded soldier was cheap grace, a tawdry feel good moment that would bring us together: we could feel good about ourselves because we felt bad about the wounded soldier and we could all feel this together, not as red state people or blue state people, and our feeling bad about the soldier was proof that we are good, caring americans. not necessary to ask questions like was the war necessary.
    beyond that, the speech was an insult–nothing about surveillance or the 80% of americans living in a depression, a kind of dumbed down (is it possible?) reality tv show .

  4. Bumblebye
    Bumblebye
    January 29, 2014, 11:48 am

    Phil, I think Obama wanted people to find the Cory Remsburg anecdote horrifying. I detected a definite anti-war theme. He met Cory hale and hearty, and now look (and see for yourselves) what war has irretrievably wrought.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      January 29, 2014, 12:53 pm

      Obama trotted out that poor Cory, who had endured, Obama said, 10 or 12 deployments to the ME, he should have followed up on that–10 deployments! Instead he used the poor Sergeant as a metaphor for how we Americans need to keep getting over obstacles, pluck, We can do it! Cory does it–and just look at him!
      Stiff upper chin! But Sergeant didn’t have much of a head left on one side, one-eye, and little control over his limbs or mouth! Who cares? Only American families with kids in the combat units suffer directly for all these wars–1% of the population, the negative other side of the coin reflecting those who profit most, the other 1%. Seeing Cory was just disgusting; he was trotted out as Obama’s form of wrapping himself in the flag; otherwise he would have gone into the need for all Americans to reflect on how much we spend in the military (more than the next dozen big-military spending countries combined, all but two of which (China & Russia) are allies of US), and why, and pointed out that very few in WH or Congress have ever put on a combat unform, especially regular infantry’s.

      The best part of Obama’s message was:

      “When Obama said, “For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed,” he was pointing right at the Israel lobby. “AIPAC is terrified at the suggestion that it places Israel’s security over America’s,” MJ Rosenberg commented on the speech.”

    • kalithea
      kalithea
      January 29, 2014, 8:59 pm

      “I detected a definite anti-war theme.”

      Oy, are you that gullible? Obama’s the one that escalated that war. It’s his fault that soldier ended up that way.

      Who would deploy 10 times? Someone who’s been brainwashed to think that patriotism = never questioning the point of killing others with the excuse called war.

  5. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    January 29, 2014, 1:17 pm

    He may merely be lowering expectations in order to make a greater impression later. The President of the United States holds the most important office on earth and if he calls for a certain plan to be put to referendum it will be very hard for anyone to refuse and from that point international pressure for Yes, born not of great yearning for justice but of a desire just to get rid of a problem that buzzes around and annoys people like a gnat and causes governments endless problems, would become enormous and perhaps irresistible.

  6. James Canning
    James Canning
    January 29, 2014, 2:28 pm

    Aipac in fact has helped to create the problem Israel has, in getting out of the West Bank. Aipac has done its best to make this politically difficult, for Israel itself.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    January 29, 2014, 3:43 pm

    RE: “AIPAC is terrified at the suggestion that it places Israel’s security over America’s,” MJ Rosenberg commented on the speech. ~ Weiss

    SEE: “Obama Sticks it to AIPAC & Pete Seeger Does Too”, by M.J. Rosenberg, mwcnews.net, 1/29/14
    LINK – http://mwcnews.net/focus/politics/35959-obama-sticks-it-to-aipac.html

  8. ToivoS
    ToivoS
    January 29, 2014, 4:11 pm

    I have felt for a few months that Obama is not taking the IP negotiations seriously. I think their purpose is to distract Israel from interfering in the negotiations with Iran. The harder Kerry pushes Netanyahu the more he have to concentrate his energies on managing the ruling coalition. Also AIPAC may feel the threat and realize that they cannot win on both issues and will save their energies to make sure Israel will get to keep its stolen land in the WB.

    It is a worthwhile trade. War with Iran is out of the question. If Israel thwarts efforts at building a Palestinian state then the only alternative is going to be a one state solution. That might put off justice for the Palestinians for another few decades but in the long term it might be the best solution. The US needn’t worry about that since it is Israel that is making the decision. The US did its best and now we should sit back and let nature take its course.

    • peeesss
      peeesss
      January 30, 2014, 3:03 am

      “put off justice for the Palestinians for another few decades” “might be the best solution”. “The US did its best and now we should sit back and let nature take its course.” If not for the outrageous support the US has given the State of Israel these past 50-60 years , economic, military, and diplomatically, and a veto over any just solution, there would be a Palestinian State some many years ago. Let “nature” take its course, the gradual destruction , genocide of the Palestinian people and its land .

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 31, 2014, 2:19 pm

        Illegal Jewish settlers in West Bank clearly hope the Palestinians will leave Palestine. Not likely, however. Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times today says Israeli annexation of the West Bank is a “daydream”.

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        January 31, 2014, 10:37 pm

        yep as ugly as it sounds that is what I am saying. The alternative here is war with Iran. On the other hand I do not think the Palestinians will be defeated but they will be controlled and oppressed by the Israelis for a few more decades.

      • peeesss
        peeesss
        February 1, 2014, 1:22 am

        Just like the Native Americans. “Controlled and oppressed by the Israelis for a few more decades”. How many, 3, 5 , 10 decades. ? That is what you are saying ,proudly. Your lack of compassion and any semblance of justice is stunning. I don’t believe the Zionists on this site can match your lack of empathy for a people who have lost everything and face, daily, a most oppressive , violent, humiliating occupation.

  9. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    January 29, 2014, 4:24 pm

    RE: “The view that Obama has washed his hands of the hopeless peace process in order to use all his political capital to head off a war with Iran was underscored by his State of the Union speech last night.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: So it was prophesied by Uri Avney.*
    “So it was prophesied, and so it has been done.”

    * SEE: “Kerry and Chutzpah”, by Uri Avnery, CounterPunch, 6/28/13

    [EXCERPTS] We have watched this procedure for many years. Successive American presidents have undertaken to bring the two sides together. It is an American belief, rooted in Anglo-Saxon tradition, that if two reasonable, decent people get together to thrash out their differences, everything will fall into place. It’s almost automatic: meet – talk – agree.
    Unfortunately, it does not quite work this way with conflicts between nations, conflicts that may have deep historical roots. In meetings between leaders of such nations, they often just want to hurl old accusations at each other, with the aim of convincing the world that the other side is utterly depraved and despicable. . .
    . . . What can the Palestinians do to put pressure on the Israeli government? Very little. There is the threat of a Third Intifada. It worries the army, but does not frighten it. The army’s answer is more repression and bloodshed. Or another resolution of the UN General Assembly, elevating Palestine to the rank of a full member of the world organization. Netanyahu would be furious, but the actual damage would be limited.
    . . . ANY PRESSURE to start meaningful negotiations that would lead to a peace agreement in – say – a year must come from the President of the United States of America.
    That is so obvious that it hardly needs mentioning.
    This is the crux of the matter.
    Kerry can bring cash, a lot of cash, to bribe the Palestinians, or whisper into their ears dire threats to frighten them into meeting Netanyahu in his imaginary tent – it will mean next to nothing.
    The only chance to start real negotiations is for Barack Obama to put his full weight behind the effort, to confront Congress and the hugely powerful pro-Israel lobby and dictate to both sides the American peace plan. We all know what it must look like – a combination of the (Bill) Clinton outline and the pan-Arab peace initiative.
    If John Kerry is unable to deliver this pressure, he should not even try. It really is an imposition to come here and shake things up when you have no means to impose a solution. Sheer impertinence.
    Or, as you say in Hebrew, Chutzpah.

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/06/28/kerry-and-chutzpah/

  10. Hostage
    Hostage
    January 29, 2014, 6:51 pm

    Is Obama punting on Kerry’s peace plan?

    No, it has always been presented as a trial by ordeal that the Palestinian side is required to endure for a period of 9 months. I’ve always assumed that the Palestinians obtained a letter of assurance from the State Department that there will be no more US sandbagging on Palestine’s UN membership application if they keep their end of the deal.

    It’s doubtful the Palestinians would agree to wait nine months for the US to “yet again” violate its own Phase II Road map obligations to promote recognition of Palestinian statehood and UN membership, when Kerry and Obama started out by promising to conclude the final Phase III settlement in that very same time frame.

    So long as there is a political stalemate, the armistice demarcation lines remain the legally binding provisional or interim borders in accordance with the terms of Article 40 of the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions 62 and 73.

    Though Obama did lip service to the newly-stated basis of Kerry’s talks, Israel’s recognition as the “Jewish state.”

    That isn’t a newly-stated basis. Kerry is artlessly trying to drag that dead cat through the back door after the Middle East Quartet reject it when Secretary Clinton proposed it as a precondition for talks and a term of reference for the settlement, i.e. See Haaretz: Russia’s refusal to refer to Israel as a “Jewish state” leads to failure of Quartet meeting http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/2621-haaretz-russias-refusal-to-refer-to-israel-as-a-qjewish-stateq-leads-to-failure-of-quartet-meeting

    FYI, Francis Boyle, Abbas, and Erekat have all pointed out that the 1988 Declaration of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council deliberately acknowledged that General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 1947 partitioned Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish State. It said that the resolution still provides the basis for international legitimacy and guarantees the Palestinian Arab people the right to sovereignty and national independence. http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/6EB54A389E2DA6C6852560DE0070E392

    The PLO subsequently advised both the Security Council (S/1999/334) and General Assembly (A/53/879) on 25 March 1999 that:

    For the Palestinian side, and since the strategic decision to forge a peace on the basis of coexistence, resolution 181 (II) has become acceptable. The resolution provides the legal basis for the existence of both the Jewish and the Arab States in Mandated Palestine. According to the resolution, Jerusalem should become a corpus separatum, which the Palestinian side is willing to take into consideration and to reconcile with the Palestinian position that East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territory and the capital of the Palestinian State. The Palestinian side adheres to international legitimacy and respects General Assembly resolution 181 (II), as well as Security Council resolution 242 (1967), the implementation of which is the aim of the current Middle East peace process.

    http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/53/879

    The same document noted that for it’s part, Israel has unilaterally declared that resolution 181(II) is null and void and has never explained to the international community the measures it took illegally to extend its laws and regulations to the territory it occupied in the war of 1948, beyond the territory allocated to the Jewish State in resolution 181 (II). The same question obviously applies to the application of Israeli laws in the rest of the territory allocated to the Arab state that was captured in 1967.

    The General Assembly request for an Advisory Opinion in the Wall case recalled “the relevant General Assembly resolutions, including resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, which partitioned mandated Palestine into two States, one Arab and one Jewish”. The General Assembly asked the Court to answer the following question:

    What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?

    The Court answered that resolution 181(II) was still the source of the UN Organization’s permanent responsibility for the Question of Palestine, until it is resolved in accordance with international legitimacy. Judge Higgins said that responsibility includes the right of Palestinians to their territory and their own state:

    This is not difficult – from Security Council resolution 242 (1967) through to Security Council resolution 1515 (2003), the key underlying requirements have remained the same – that Israel is entitled to exist, to be recognized, and to security, and that the Palestinian people are entitled to their territory, to exercise self-determination, and to have their own State.

    link to icj-cij.org

    Kerry and Netanyahu obviously have no legal basis to declare Israel “a Jewish State” on territory allocated to the Arabs by the UN or to continue to occupy Palestine’s territory until it agrees to US and Israeli ultimatums.

    So far as I can tell, the US hasn’t even included the UN’s “inadmissibility”; “Article 2 of the Charter”; and “withdrawal” clauses from resolution 242 or the “immediately implement 242” clause from resolution 338 in its non-binding formula for the framework for talks. That isn’t progress, it’s an abysmal failure and oversight. There’s always “the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem” clause from resolution 476 that ought to be implemented if we are going to discuss an unfulfilled obligation regarding recognition. Those resolutions really do contain the legal criteria that is supposed to govern the terms of any possible settlement.

  11. Blownaway
    Blownaway
    January 29, 2014, 7:27 pm

    Hmmmm i wonder if Obama would endorse the US as a white Christian state? And how would our Jewish friends react?

  12. RoHa
    RoHa
    January 29, 2014, 8:54 pm

    What does “punting on” mean?

  13. kalithea
    kalithea
    January 29, 2014, 9:48 pm

    Forgive this aside, Here’s what I think of U.S. “intelligence”: Now that European pharmaceutical co’s are thinking of cutting their supply of lethal injection drugs to the U.S. on moral grounds, some states are considering bringing back: the firing squad, the gas chamber and electrocution. Oh yeah, cause that’s the solution right? GOING BACKWARDS will no doubt solve everything.

    Now that I got that off my chest. There’s nothing honest about the “honest” broker. Therefore the U.S. will NEVER cook up a two-state anything. So the can will again be kicked down the road, perhaps to Hillary or the next guy that bows to the Lobby before he’s annointed Israel’s defender-in-chief.

    The Palestinians’ freedom is unfortunately in the hands of people whose tribalism keeps them from empathy with the oppressed by Zionism.

    I dedicate this song to the oppressed of Palestine. It will be yours one day: FREEDOM!

  14. American
    American
    February 1, 2014, 12:29 am

    No intelligent person can do anything but shake their head at all the sound and fury that signifies nothing.

    Not one person in government or the media explains to the public that Iran nukes would not be a threat to the US even if they had nukes.
    Not one person in the goverment or the media explains that the US ‘allies’ in the ME politicians refer to are only Israel and Saudi and neither are actual allies.

    The entire madeup crisis of Iran is an Orwellian joke.

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