The U.N.vote: Palestinians rejoice, Israel retaliates
November 29th is a day of historic triumphs for both Palestinians and Israelis. This week the Palestinian Authority became a “non-member observer state” at the United Nations. On Nov. 29, 1947, the same U.N. body paved the way for the state of Israel. Ecstatic celebrations in the West Bank and Gaza following the UN vote this week mirrored the celebrations of Jewish immigrants in the Holy Land 65 years ago. But this victory for Palestinians dealt a major blow to the Israeli government.
Israel responded Friday by announcing plans to construct 3,000 new housing units on settlements in disputed parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The move is seen by many as retaliation for the Palestinian UN bid, which Israeli and U.S. officials tried for nearly a year to thwart. The decision to expand settlements appears to be just the beginning of Israel’s following through on promises to punish the Palestinians for pursuing statehood outside of the negotiating table.
On Andrea Mitchell Reports, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad criticized the retaliation, adding that new settlement building would only further undermine the prospects for a viable two-state solution.
“I question the rationale for there to be need for retaliation,” Fayyad told Andrea Mitchell.
”What the Palestinians did yesterday was take advantage of an option that’s available under international law and architecture. That’s the United Nations–custodian of international law and legitimacy–the very same body that gave the birth certificate to the state of Israel 65 years ago.”
The Palestinians were not alone in their condemnation of Israel on Friday. Despite serving as Israel’s partner in opposing the Palestinian UN bid, Washington criticized the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem as counterproductive to achieving a two-state solution. “We’re going to be evenhanded in our concern about any actions that are provocative, any actions that make it harder to get these two parties back to the table.” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.
Israeli officials say the decision came late Thursday night to approve zoning for new homes in the contested area of East Jerusalem known as E1. The new homes would connect the settlement of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem, effectively blocking the connection of the Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem to Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk suggested on Andrea Mitchell Reports Friday that new Israeli settlement activity could lead the Palestinians to challenge Israel at the International Criminal Court, something the U.S. has been trying to avoid.
“If it produces a kind of punitive, vicious circle in which the Israelis now announce more settlement activity… and then the Palestinians decide to go to the International Criminal Court to charge Israel with some crimes, and then we get into a downward spiral, the Congress cuts the funds to the Palestinian Authority, we could be in very negative territory quite quickly.”
I can't wait until the day I wake up to the headline that Israel has been nuked and wiped off the planet.
Israel are trying to provoke them into violence - it's so obvious and crass.
Israel, the good will that your friends have for you will not last forever. Stop settling on that land.
At this point, Palestine has more of the world's sympathy than Israel does.
Israel's ethnic cleansing & apartheid system on Palestinians should be called out so the whole world can condemn it.
The Palestinians' strife have been ignored for over 60 years now. Ironic because the Jews had the same dilemma with ethnic cleansing several decades before that in Europe so you would think that history wouldnt repeat itself. Jews used to know how it feels to not have a country to call home & yet they are now so adamantly opposed to Palestine gaining statehood. They should understand more than anyone else what the Palestinians are going through. How soon we forget.
I am certain that there was a proposal in the UN not so many years ago to scrap the partition plan of 1948 and re-partition Palestine all over again with Israel getting the Negev, Gaza, the area around Tel Aviv east to include half the West Bank with the northern boundary being just barely beyond Haifa. The Palestinian state would include the eastern half of the West Bank, most of the Gallilee region, with Acre as its Mediterranean port and both would share Jerusalem as their capital. I wonder where this proposal ended up? It seemed OK to me; each side had to make concessions and the upshot was that nobody had to move anywhere.
Perhaps if Europe was actually made to pay for their own sins against the Jews and made to sacrifice their own lands rather than make those having nothing to do with the Holocaust pay for it, there wouldn't be this problem.
That's what it comes down to.
Supporting Israel is the third rail of American politics.
JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday roundly rejected the United Nations' endorsement of an independent state of Palestine, announcing it would withhold more than $100 million collected for the Palestinian government to pay debts to Israeli companies.
It was the second act of reprisal since the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to support the Palestinians' statehood initiative. The following day, Israel announced it would start drawing up plans to build thousands of settlement homes, including the first-ever residential developments on a sensitive piece of land near Jerusalem. Actual construction would be years away.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the statehood campaign, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as "a gross violation of the agreements signed with the state of Israel."
"Accordingly, the government of Israel rejects the U.N General Assembly decision," he said. Israel, backed by the U.S., campaigned against the statehood measure, arguing that only negotiations can deliver a Palestinian state.
Abbas returned home Sunday to a hero's welcome in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Some 5,000 people thronged a square outside his headquarters, hoisting Palestinian flags and cheering. Large posters of the Palestinian leader, whose popularity had plummeted in recent months, adorned nearby buildings.
"We now have a state," he said to wild applause. "The world has said loudly, `Yes to the state of Palestine.'"
Abbas warned of "creative punishments" by Israel. Referring to the latest settlement construction plans, he said, "We have to realize that your victory has provoked the powers of war, occupation and settlements because their isolation is deepened."
The U.N. resolution endorsed the Palestinian position that its state include the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.
Israel rejects a full pullback to its 1967 lines and says the resolution is a way to bypass negotiations.
In Sunday's response, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said the government would withhold taxes and customs collected from Palestinian laborers and businesses on behalf of Abbas' Palestinian Authority, which led the statehood campaign.
The money will be used to help pay off the authority's debts to Israel, including $200 million owed to the state-run Israel Electric Corp., government officials said. This month, more than $100 million was to have been transferred. Steinitz said Israel would decide later whether to withhold future transfers as well.
The General Assembly decision late Thursday to accept "Palestine" as a non-member observer state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza did not grant actual independence to the 4.3 million Palestinians living in those areas.
Israel remains an occupying force in the first two territories and continues to severely restrict access to Gaza. The coastal strip, located on the opposite side of Israel from the West Bank, is now controlled by the militant Hamas. Israel withdrew in 2005.
Netanyahu sounded defiant on Sunday.
"Today we are building and we will continue to build in Jerusalem and in all areas that appear on Israel's map of strategic interests," he told his Cabinet.
Half a million settlers live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, the result of a decades-long strategy aimed at blurring the borders between Israel and the occupied territories.
Israel announced Friday that it would press ahead plans to build 3,000 housing units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, the core of the Palestinians' hoped-for state.
More worrisome for the Palestinians, it vowed to dust off a master plan to build 3,600 apartments and 10 hotels on the section of territory east of Jerusalem known as E1. The Palestinians have warned that such construction would kill any hope for the creation of a viable state of Palestine.
Building there would sever the link between the West Bank and east Jerusalem, the sector of the holy city the Palestinians claim for a future capital, and cut off the northern part of the West Bank form its
[quote]Supporting Israel is the third rail of American politics.
You mean "NOT"
Israel is a war-mongering, land-stealing, ungrateful, piece of shit country that is a giant mother-fucking thorn in the side of the entire world to which the U.S. should cut off all foreign aid.
I don't get why Israel and Palestine can't share a capital. Other countries have done this over the years.
Typical religious nuts ruining the world.
B.B. Netanyahu doesn't give a sh*t what the world thinks. Netanyahu firmly believes that every Gentile is anti-Semitic and hellbent on destroying Israel.
Will and Ariel Sharon
[quote]I don't get why Israel and Palestine can't share a capital.
Ehud Olmert offered a plan to Abbas that included sharing Jerusalem. It also included land swaps. Abbas did not bother to respond.
The Palestinians were given back Gaza. They rewarded Israel for that unilateral gesture by increasing the rate of rocket attacks. It would be pretty ridiculous to request Israel to withdraw any further without a final settlement in place.
With the Oslo Accords, the PLO agreed to resolve matters of settlements, withdrawal, and borders via negotiation. The PLO also agreed not to seek recognition as a nation outside the negotiation process.
It has been years now since Palestinian leaders have been willing to sit down with Israelis to negotiate. Netanyahu even agreed to the Palestinian precondition of halting construction within settlements. Even that didn't bring Abbas back to the table for meaningful negotiations.
If you want this finally to be resolved, ask your national leaders to pressure the Palestinian leadership to resume negotiations.
Fuck Israel, lol. They shot their own fuking balls. Fucking greedy zionist losers.
"Will and Ariel Sharon"
Who really cares?
America's strategic concerns are increasingly in the Pacific Rim.
And as America achieves energy independence (which is likely to occur over the next 15 years), the Arab nations will revert to their former status as third world carpet salesmen.
And by then, anyone with any brains in Israel will have emigrated to NYC or Berlin because they no longer relish the idea of being part of a Jewish minority in the Zionist State.