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6 DC heavyweights tell Kerry, Netanyahu in West Bank is like Putin in Crimea

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Benjamin Netanyahu with British Labour leader Ed Miliband, from the p.m.'s twitter feed
Benjamin Netanyahu with British Labour leader Ed Miliband, from the p.m.’s twitter feed

In a refreshing break from the usual noises inside the Beltway, here’s a piece by six heavyweights at Politico called “Stand Firm, John Kerry,” that likens Israel’s occupation of the West Bank to Russia’s occupation of Crimea. The piece contains one condemnation after another of Netanyahu and the Israelis for “morally unacceptable” positions and says that the U.S. is complicit in its failure to speak out.

The heavyweights are Zbigniew Brzezinski, Frank Carlucci, Carla Hills, Lee Hamilton, Thomas Pickering, and Henry Siegman (former national security adviser, Defense secretary, secretary of Housing and trade rep, congressman, ambassador, and Jewish leader).

Here’s some of their series of condemnations. On settlements and U.S. acceptance:

U.S. disapproval of continued settlement enlargement in the Occupied Territories by Israel’s government as “illegitimate” and “unhelpful” does not begin to define the destructiveness of this activity. Nor does it dispel the impression that we have come to accept it…

On incitement and U.S. silence:

Surely the “incitement” of Palestinian rhetoric hardly compares to the incitement of Israel’s actual confiscations of Palestinian territory. If the United States is not prepared to say so openly, there is little hope for the success of these talks.

On the Jewish state demand. Notice the affirmation of the Palestinian narrative.

Israeli demands that Palestinians recognize that Israel has been and remains the national homeland of the Jewish people is intended to require the Palestinians to affirm the legitimacy of Israel’s replacement of Palestine’s Arab population with its own. It also raises Arab fears of continuing differential treatment of Israel’s Arab citizens.

On the obstructionism of the Israelis:

The terms for a peace accord advanced by Netanyahu’s government, whether regarding territory, borders, security, resources, refugees or the location of the Palestinian state’s capital, require compromises of Palestinian territory and sovereignty on the Palestinian side of the June 6, 1967, line. They do not reflect any Israeli compromises, much less the “painful compromises” Netanyahu promised in his May 2011 speech before a joint meeting of Congress. Every one of them is on the Palestinian side of that line.

Here the authors compare the Israeli occupation to the Russian occupation of Crimea and say the U.S. is complicit because it doesn’t say a word:

Netanyahu’s unrelenting efforts to establish equivalence between Israeli and Palestinian demands, insisting that the parties split the difference and that Israel be granted much of its expansive territorial agenda beyond the 78 percent of Palestine it already possesses, are politically and morally unacceptable. The United States should not be party to such efforts, not in Crimea nor in the Palestinian territories…. [C]larity on America’s part regarding the critical moral and political issues in dispute will have a far better chance of bringing the peace talks to a successful conclusion than continued ambiguity or silence.

P.S. Ali Abunimah has the most incisive line on the Jewish state demand I’ve seen recently. From his book, The Battle for Justice in Palestine:

Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians must accept Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state,” is an implicit recognition that the Zionist project can never enjoy legitimacy or stability without the active consent of the Palestinian people. Palestinians have steadfastly resisted granting such recognition because to do so would negate their rights and indeed threaten their very existence.

Thanks to Phyllis Bennis.

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Wow, I am impressed by these great people. I always found Zbigniew Brezezinski, a very intelligent official, who spoke his mind, and was very rational in his thinking. It is up to these distinguish Americans, to speak out, and try drive some sense into our leaders, who still dare not… Read more »

Pathetic, they cant even get it right.

Crimea wanted to be part of Russia.
Does Westbank want to be part of Israel?

Good to hear these foreign policy experts weighing in with such sensible arguments. There is a big difference with the Russia/Crimea situation, however: In I/P, we have been actively supporting and enabling the occupation, which not only makes us complicit, but we can influence the situation by simply withdrawing that… Read more »

None which is better than to use lies.

Is it any wonder that Israel refused to back the U.S. in its efforts to isolate Russia diplomatically at the UN a few weeks ago over Crimea? Israel abstained in the vote condemning Russia.