Yacimovich 1st woman since Golda to lead Labor party

September 22, 2011
Peretz – Yacimovich’s former mentor – defeated by nine percent in run-off race for party’s chairmanship; Yacimovich’s election comes after contentious election rife with personal attacks.

The Labor party elected its first female leader since Golda Meir on Wednesday when MK Shelly Yacimovich bested her former mentor, MK Amir Peretz, in a run-off race for the party’s chairmanship.

Yacimovich was expected to give a victory speech at the party’s headquarters at Beit Berl Teachers’ College in Kfar Saba, in which she would call upon Peretz to remain in the party and lead it together with her. She explained that a number of party members had called to congratulate her, including Peretz, MK Isaac Herzog and Amram Mitzna.

“We’ve won,” she told supporters at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv on hearing news of the victory. “I promise that we will work together to bring about change. This is just the beginning of a new start for Israeli society.”

Yacimovich won handily by nine percentage points over Peretz. Although not all the votes were tallied, not enough ballots remained for Peretz to make up the differences.

Yacimovich’s victory came after a contentious election which saw the candidates launching personal attacks and claims of impropriety against one another.

On Wednesday, election observers representing Peretz refused to remain at four polling stations while votes were counted, but Labor’s election committee did not disqualify the votes there.

Late Wednesday morning, a Peretz supporter named Dov Shemesh was punched by a Yacimovich supporter outside her headquarters and had to be hospitalized. Yacimovich was present and video of the incident indicates that she must have seen it, but she said she was unaware of what happened, because she was giving interviews. Yacimovich called Shemesh and condemned the incident, but when she said she didn’t see it, he called her a liar.

Peretz said Shemesh “had no connection to violence,” and was “truly the salt of the earth.” He called on all Labor Party members to prevent further violence. “The day after the election,” he said, “we’ll need to unify against the Likud.”

Yacimovich filed complaints with the Labor elections committee against a Peretz organizer who she said set up a table inside a Haifa polling station, and against Peretz’s sister and brother-in-law, Flora and Sammy Shoshan, for allegedly threatening voters at a polling station in Mitzpe Ramon, where Flora Shoshan is mayor.

Earlier, Yacimovich complained that polls at several Kibbutzim and large cities were prevented from opening on time Wednesday morning due to the delayed arrival of Peretz’s election observers. She noted that Peretz’s observers only came late to polling stations in sectors where she had an advantage.

Neutral observers urged Peretz and Yacimovich to do everything possible to keep the party united following the primary. MK Isaac Herzog, who finished a strong third in the first round of voting last Monday said he was concerned that Labor could split again as it did when Defense Minister Ehud Barak and four allies left the party on January 17.

“The party is not the personal property of anyone,” said former Labor candidate Erel Margalit, who like Herzog did not endorse anyone in the run-off race. “We all must unite behind our leader. From today, there are no adversaries in this house.”
(h/t Docs Talk)
GIL HOFFMAN AND JPOST.COM STAFF
09/22/2011


Secret files: Labour lied over Gaddafi… who warned of a holy war if Megrahi died in Scotland

September 6, 2011
Friends: Former Prime MinisterTony Blair greets Muammar Gaddafi at his desert base outside Tripoli in 2007
Blair links: Saif Gaddafi
Blair links: Saif Gaddafi

GuestsThe startling extent to which Labour misled the world over the controversial release of the Lockerbie bomber is exposed today in top-secret documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday.

In public, senior Ministers from the last Labour Government and the Scottish First Minister have repeatedly insisted that terminally ill Abdelbaset Al Megrahi was freed on compassionate grounds in a decision taken by Scottish Ministers alone.
But the confidential papers show that Westminster buckled under pressure from Colonel Gaddafi, who threatened to ignite a ‘holy war’ if Megrahi died in his Scottish cell.


Friendship: Letters from Gordon Brown to Gaddafi sent in July 2007 (left) and September 2007 (right)

And despite repeated denials, the Labour Government worked frantically behind the scenes to appease Gaddafi’s ‘unpredictable nature’.
As recently as last month, a spokesman for Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond was insisting: ‘The decision was taken on the basis of Scots law and was not influenced by economic, political or diplomatic factors.’ via dailymail.co.uk
Equally damaging, the documents also suggest that as well as sharing intelligence-gathering techniques, Britain gave Libya hundreds of suggested questions for Islamic militants detained in Libya in 2004.
This will inevitably cause widespread dismay because of the regime’s systematic use of torture during interrogation. Friends: Former Prime MinisterTony Blair greets Muammar Gaddafi at his desert base outside Tripoli in 2007



Education: A letter from Downing Street reveals how Tony Blair was ‘stimulated’ by Said Gaddafi’s PHD (left), while a second document reveals Tony Blair’s New Year wishes to Gaddafi and his family (right)

The revelations come in documents – some marked ‘UK secret: UK/Libya Eyes Only’ – found strewn on the floor of the British Ambassador’s abandoned residence in Tripoli.
Many of the papers demonstrate the warmth of the relationship between Britain and Libya and, in particular, the extraordinarily close links between the Blair Government and the Gaddafi regime.


The notes show how:

  • Tony Blair helped Colonel Gaddafi’s playboy son Saif with his ‘dodgy’ PhD thesis while he was Prime Minister.
  • British Special Forces were offered to train the Khamis Brigade, Gaddafi’s most vicious military unit.
  • MI6 was apparently willing to trace phone numbers for Libyan intelligence.
  • Gordon Brown wrote warmly to Gaddafi in 2007 expressing the hope that the dictator would be able to meet Prince Andrew when he visited Tripoli.
  • MI6’s budget (£150 million in 2002) was readily disclosed to Libyan officials, along with details of how Britain’s Downing Street emergency committee Cobra operates.
  • Britain’s intelligence services forged close links with Gaddafi’s brutal security units.

Megrahi was released two years ago and transferred back to Libya, where he received a hero’s welcome from Gaddafi. Last week, it emerged he is still alive – although very ill – after he was tracked down to his home in Tripoli.
A series of documents marked ‘confidential’ and ‘restricted’ reveal that Gaddafi threatened Britain with ‘dire consequences’ if Megrahi died in Scotland.
Diplomats feared the harassment – ‘or worse’ – of British nationals; the cancellation of lucrative contracts with firms such as BP, Shell and BG; and the end of defence deals and counter-terrorism co-operation.




Devastating: The stash of documents were left in the British Ambassador’s residence

As a result, the British Government ignored the anger of both America and the families of victims of Britain’s biggest terrorist outrage to push for the fastest release through the signing of a Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Libya.
Set against Britain’s role in the military intervention in Libya, and David Cameron’s description of Gaddafi last week as a ‘monster’, the revelations in the papers are bitterly ironic.
Yet during the concerted appeasement campaign, Britain was under no illusion about the nature of Gaddafi’s security forces or of what they were capable.
Another thick briefing paper points out that their primary objective was the protection of the Libyan leader, his family and their friends and to ‘defend the regime’s repressive politics inside and outside the country’.
Despite this, Simon McDonald, Gordon Brown’s foreign policy adviser, told the dictator’s son Saif in June 2008 how glad he was to hear of the first meeting between MI6’s head of station and the feared Libyan Internal Security Organisation.
What they said about Megrahi's release‘I understand that this preliminary meeting focused on training,’ he wrote. ‘I look forward to hearing of progress.’
From the police to prisons, from the health service to the high court, the documents detail links and co-operation between the two countries at every level.
What appears to underpin them all is Tony Blair’s plan to bring Gaddafi in from the cold while winning rich contracts for British businesses.
Even the Department for International Development got in on the act, drawing up plans to work with Libya in Africa.
Gordon Brown and GaddafiAmong the most enthusiastic participants were the police, despite the shadow cast by the shooting in London of WPC Yvonne Fletcher in 1984.
In November 2005 the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke met the Libyan security minister in London to agree a series of ‘security and co-operation talks’.

Embassy documents

Embassy documents

Praise: A letter from Government Foreign Policy adviser Nigel Sheinwald to Gaddafi's son Saif on March 5, 2007
Personal wishes: A letter from Tony Blair to Gaddafi on December 28, 2006

Six months later, at a meeting in Tripoli, Libyan officials asked for assistance on riot control, which they stressed was one of their ‘priorities’.
Despite the horrific reputation of Gaddafi’s jails, there was also collaboration with Libya’s prison services.
This included a trip to Libya by the former chief inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbotham, another in July 2009 by a team of British prison officials and the funding of visits to Libya by academics from King’s College, London, who were each paid £630 a day to run a two-week course in Tripoli.
Libya was notorious for corruption under the Gaddafi regime, with the dictator’s family dominating commerce and demanding a cut of most big deals.
Rivals who crossed them could have their businesses – or lives – destroyed.
But the Law Society spent 18 months working with Libyan officials to review laws on banking and the creation of a more ‘enabling’ business environment.
There were also exchange visits between British and Libyan health ministers and proposals for joint work from the Health Protection Agency.
Even former Labour leader Neil Kinnock became involved, holding discussions on education with Saif Gaddafi.
‘I am pleased that you had a successful meeting with Lord Kinnock,’ Tony Blair’s then foreign policy adviser, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, told the dictator’s son in an April 2007 letter.
The letter, updating Gaddafi on progress on several fronts, ran to four pages.
It concluded with the Prime Minister sending ‘his warm wishes to the Leader and to yourself’.
A separate cache of secret files found in Tripoli show that MI6 gave the Gaddafi regime information on Libyan dissidents living in the UK.
The documents, discovered in the Tripoli offices of former Libyan intelligence chief Musa Kusa, include a personal Christmas greeting signed by a senior spy as ‘your friend’.
They also reveal that MI6 and the CIA had a regular contact with their counterparts in Libya, in particular Mr Kusa, who became foreign minister and earlier this year defected to the UK.

HEADER HERE

British Special Forces have warned Libyan commanders hunting Colonel Gaddafi that he could be wearing a suicide vest – choosing to kill himself rather than be captured.

A senior security source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The intelligence suggests it will be packed with enough explosives to take out anyone around him.’
MegrahiThe incriminating documents were found in the wreckage of the British ambassador’s home in Tripoli, a three-storey house vandalised in April by Gaddafi loyalists.
There were several booklets filled with the faces of suspected terrorists, scores of personally signed letters sent from Downing Street and detailed intelligence data on the Gaddafi regime.
Incredibly, all this had lain amid the debris for four months, with no attempt made to secure the papers even in
the week after the rebels ousted the dictator from the city.

Mountains of shredded paper showed British diplomats tried to destroy many documents before fleeing.

One of the more intriguing proposals in the papers is the idea of founding a Centre for the Study of Meteors and Shooting Stars in the middle of the Saharan desert.

Hundreds of meteorites have been found in the Libyan desert, including rocks from the Moon and Mars.

BLAIR HELPED PLAYBOY SAIF WITH HIS DODGY PhD THESIS:


Tony Blair helped Colonel Gaddafi’s playboy son Saif with his ‘dodgy’ philosophy PhD thesis while he was Prime Minister.


The extraordinary revelation, confirmed by a leaked letter sent by Mr Blair to the tyrant’s son, demonstrates just how close the links were between the Blair Government and the Gaddafi regime.
Saif, 39, has called Mr Blair ‘a close, personal friend’ of his family. Mr Blair also had a close personal relationship with dictator Muammar, exchanging friendly notes even after he left No 10.
Typical was one sent from Downing Street on December 28, 2006. ‘Eid Mubarak!’ it begins, acknowledging a Muslim festival. ‘At this sacred time of harmony and reconciliation, recalling how our passionate God has mercy on mankind, I would like to express my personal wishes to you, to your family and to the Libyan people.’
The documents show Mr Blair’s surprising level of involvement with Saif’s 2008 London School of Economics thesis. Mr Blair sent Saif a personally signed letter on No 10 paper, addressing him as ‘Engineer Saif’ and thanking him for sending the 429-page thesis for him to read.
The PM also offered three examples of co-operation between governments, people and business ‘that might help with your studies’, including Make Poverty History, which he said worked because ‘it bought together an unusual coalition of players from Bono to the Pope . with a simple but inspiring message of hope.’
Mr Blair then discusses how to prevent corruption in oil-rich nations – even though the Gaddafis were notorious for stealing billions – and his ‘personal interest and commitment’ to the topics Saif studied.
He signed off: ‘I wish you well for your PhD and send my warm good wishes.’ Saif – who donated £1.5 million to the LSE – is said to have plagiarised much of his thesis.
A spokesman for Mr Blair said: ‘Neither Tony Blair or Downing Street officials saw Saif Gaddafi’s thesis in advance. A letter was drafted by officials giving examples of good practice which was sent in the Prime Minister’s name. It was perfectly proper to do so.’


Incriminating: The documents reveal the close ties between Gordon Brown and Gaddafi (pictured toegether on the left in 2009), and how the Libyan leader warned of a holy war if Megrahi (right) was not released

Devastating: The stash of documents were left in the British Ambassador's residenceOur spies told Gaddafi..


WE HELPED TRAIN BRIGADE BEHIND REGIME’S WORST ATROCITIES

Who Dares Wins: The SAS spent six months training Libyan elite troops two years ago

Britain developed astonishingly close ties with the Libyan military following Tony Blair’s 2007 deal in the desert with Colonel Gaddafi, despite its history of brutal internal repression and bloody foreign adventurism.
Among the deals revealed this weekend are the use of UK Special Forces to train the feared Khamis Brigade, run by one of Gaddafi’s sons and thought to have been behind some of the worst atrocities in the recent conflict.
Who Dares Wins: The SAS spent six months training Libyan elite troops two years agoThe SAS spent six months training Libyan elite troops two years ago as part of what was described by the Foreign Office as ‘ongoing co-operation in the field of defence’ between the two countries. A troop of four to 14 SAS men are understood to have trained the Libyans in counter-terrorism techniques, including covert surveillance.
The training was agreed under Tony Blair in 2004 but ‘signed off’ by Gordon Brown in 2009. British officials also proposed further military collaborations including:

  • Training Libyan officers at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
  • Dispatching a Royal Navy vessel to visit Tripoli.
  • Paying for high-ranking Libyans to visit the European Union and Nato headquarters in Brussels.
  • Sending 100 officers a year on English language courses.
  • The sale of naval ships to Libya.

It is now clear that British support for Gaddafi’s military machine went considerably further than training – and that much of it was based on ideas proposed by the deposed Libyan regime.
In April 2007, a month before the desert accord was signed, Mr Blair’s foreign policy adviser Sir Nigel Sheinwald told Saif Gaddafi that Britain was ready to develop a partnership with Libya ‘starting with some of the ideas you set out’.
Sir Nigel said he was ‘extremely pleased’ agreement had been reached on the sale of the Iskander missile system – although it was delayed by international pressure.
In February 2008, Gordon Brown wrote to the Libyan leader: ‘I am confident that our defence co-operation can grow, building on the accord signed in Sirte last May.’
Mr Brown hoped they could conclude negotiations on two arms deals: a £147 million anti-tank missile system and related £112 million communication system, plus an £85 million deal to supply radios.
In a letter to Saif in June 2008, Mr McDonald outlined the deal to train up to 90 members of the Khamis Brigade by Arturus, a UK-based private military security company. He added: ‘The MoD would then be willing to have serving personnel from UK SF [Special Forces] visit and provide quality assurance.’
Last night, Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former Army commander, said: ‘Today’s friends are tomorrow’s enemies as these deals show.’


The Solution to the Israeli Housing Problem… DUH!

August 4, 2011
These guys get it. They really get it!

A group of ‘hilltop youth,’ the kids in their teens and 20’s who go around setting up ‘outposts’ as precursors to Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, have joined in the ‘housing crisis’ protests, setting up 15 tents on the corner of Allenby Road in central Tel Aviv. Their goal is to let the other protesters know that more building in Judea and Samaria is the answer to the ‘housing crisis.’

The hilltop youth, a group of young people who were born in the settlements and who belong to the extreme right [see what I mean about the news reading like an editorial page here? CiJ], appeared on Rothschild Boulevard wearing shirts with slogans such as “Tel Aviv is Jewish” and “Jews, let us be victorious.”
The activists planned to set up dozens of additional tents in the coming days.
Meir Butler, one of the hilltop youth leaders, told Haaretz, “We are here to say ‘yes’ to the social protests, but to also say that there is a solution.” The solution, he said, “is to build in Judea and Samaria.”
Earlier on Wednesday, approximately 200 right-wing activists marched from Habima Square, shouting, “No to bringing down the government, yes to solving the crisis.”
The activists also said they want a solution to the housing crisis and called on the government to lower the price of basic products by 20 percent. Extremist Baruch Marzel also came to Rothschild Boulevard and spoke to some of the protesters.
The organizations that took part in the right-wing march included Im Tirzu, Zo Artzenu, Yisrael Sheli, Bnei Akiva, Ra’ananim, The Committee of South Tel Aviv Neighborhoods, and Yesha council representatives.

Carl: And none of them are being supported by European governments. 

I’ve been criticized for not serving in the IDF, but I want to go to Israel right now and hang out with these kids in the photo. They make me proud! They are so right! Land for Piece isn’t just a bad military position. It also hurts people who need homes. The Jews can’t go elsewhere. These youth are my heroes. I wish I were half the man these kids are.

The MYTH of the Israeli LEFT

August 2, 2011

the Leftist +972 online magazine explains why the ‘return of the Israeli Left‘ isn’t happening: It’s time to face facts: Rabin’s second government was a historical accident, no more. This was the only time in 35 years that the left won a Knesset majority – and even then, it wasn’t even close to a majority of the Jewish public. Liberalism, in the American sense, never took real hold in Israel.

The current social protest is a unique event with tremendous potential, but if it’s a return to the Jewish democracy dreamland that Americans hope for, you are up for a major disappointment. There won’t be a “return” – all we can and should hope for is something completely new.

Carl of Israel Matzav: I hadn’t quite thought about it that way, but he’s right. Both Rabin (1992) and Barak (1999) failed to get a majority of the Jewish vote. Sharon (2001 and 2004) won as the Likud candidate. Olmert 2006? Didn’t get a majority of the Jewish vote and arguably wasn’t running on a Left platform. Kadima is still not considered a party of the Left (although their platform is definitely more Left than Right).
Whatever support for the Left there was among Jewish Israelis was spooked by the terror sponsorship of the ‘Palestinian Authority’ and that started long before 2000. It’s not likely to come back anytime soon. And nearly all Jewish Israelis have become capitalists, Even the ones demonstrating in the streets of Tel Aviv.

Isn’t it funny the way opposition agrees against the New York Times? One wonders what planet the Times is on. I suppose their intent is to give the left some hope that they can dismantle Israel from within, but their leftist pals in smaller publications just don’t hold that optimism. The fact of the matter is it isn’t a matter of left and right. It is a matter of protecting people from killers… and if that is what the right is in Israel, then the left does not have a chance. Should the left decide they want to be a John F Kennedy style Left that protects the country from it’s enemies and still considers the jobs and quality of life of it’s people, then they have a chance, but the truth is the Left in Israel… what little there is of it …is not about the people. They are haters that are funded from beyond Israel’s borders.  Jobs and quality of life are merely bait… and not even good bait because Israel’s economy is doing well.  Why do you think Israel’s enemies are trying so hard to take part in BDS movements?  The haters know the one thing that keeps Israel going is success… and they certainly would not want that to happen.  As for the right, the fact remains that increasing wealth is better for the people… and in fact stealing wealth from the people to give to a government that hates it’s people is not what Jews want. It isn’t like as if the LEFT has created jobs in America.  I’m unemployed.


Israelis complain about housing prices, the sick leftists at the NYTimes have a premature ejaculation

August 2, 2011
The NYTimes is an ugly paper. People who think the left can offer changes in living standards are not about to commit suicide. But it is telling that the Times is looking to obscure their intentions already. Asking the government to take power away is a poor strategy for increasing the wealth for more people… but the NYTimes acts like there is blood in the water.

The sharks are getting ready to circle with labels like, “Peace” and warnings of doom if the Jews don’t cater to their enemies whims. the worst thing about Leftists, Progressives and Socialists is that they don’t know a thing about Revolution, they only understand violence. If you find a society with a deep schism between the poor and rich, chances are you will find the rich in bed with government and at the same time misleading the people into giving the government greater control. ; If you care about people then you need to aggressively investigate through the mechanisms of law and if the government bullies because you are putting your nose in the right place then stick to your GUNS!

and here is the analysis from within israel…
The Israeli economy has improved greatly under free-market reforms, for which PM Bibi Netanyahu, especially in his stint some years ago as finance minister, is largely responsible. The Israeli economy’s current low unemployment, low inflation, strong rate of growth, and overall stability amid the economic storm of recent years are the envy of much of the Western world.
At the same time certain problems remain, particularly prices for many commodities that are higher or much higher than in other Western countries generally. The solution is, of course, continued free-market reforms that will introduce further competition and break the power of the remaining cartels, monopolies, and capital concentrations.
Meanwhile in the last few weeks a few Tel Aviv radical leftists, actually communists–with the crucial cooperation of the lefty media–have whipped up a public storm of protest that is largely unfairly focused on the current government and largely driven by ignorance and populism.
Caroline Glick outlines this problematic development and connects it with other cases since the ’90s where the Israeli media have manipulated the populace–lacking other, corrective information–into severe blunders. Formerly it was in the security sphere, with Israeli security essentially destroyed for a time and still seriously damaged; now they’re starting in on the economy. Glick warns:

The only solution to this situation is competition. Israel’s media market is able to operate as a closed guild because government regulations on media licenses have placed the same people destroying our discourse in charge of deciding who gets a broadcast license and what broadcasters can broadcast.
This has to end. Just as Israel’s economic success owes to the government’s withdrawal from the markets, so Israel’s ability to have a rational, truthful, fact-based public debate is entirely dependent on a government initiative to deregulate the media.

But it better act fast. For if the government does not act quickly, as we see today, the media guild will manipulate the uninformed public that our best bet is to destroy our prosperity, just as they convinced us before to destroy our security. via pdavidhornik.typepad.com

The limited number of government licenses to broadcast is part of the demise of the same government. I’m not an insider here, but it makes a lot of sense.

more…


Elder Of Ziyon’s Review of Obama’s #MESpeech – Note the 1967 lines that NEVER was

May 19, 2011
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The Obama speech was clearly wordsmithed to keep Zionists as happy as possible while he slipped in a major US policy change. As far as I can tell, this is the first time that a US president has announced that the solution must be based on the so-called “1967 lines” as opposed to the previous position that the borders must be determined through negotiations.
Now, this has been the Israeli position–or at least the Labor and Kadima position–since 2000, and it is hard to ask the US to be more righteous than the Pope. But it is still a change in policy and it makes it much more difficult for Jews to believe that they will continue to have free access to their holiest sites.
On the other hand, he did have quite a few good things in the speech in regards to Israel. (Of course,  my [EOZ] speech for him would have been better!)
Let me conclude by talking about another cornerstone of our approach to the region, and that relates to the pursuit of peace.
For decades, the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region. For Israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could get blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own. Moreover, this conflict has come with a larger cost the Middle East, as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security, prosperity, and empowerment to ordinary people.
Mentioning incitement is important. It was a bit underemphasized but at least it was there.
My Administration has worked with the parties and the international community for over two years to end this conflict, yet expectations have gone unmet. Israeli settlement activity continuesPalestinians have walked away from talks. The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on for decades, and sees a stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward.
Israel has been very bad at telling the world that the “settlement activities” have all been within the existing boundaries of the villages and towns for years now. In short, no new land is being taken. I would argue that this is a mistake–only if Palestinian Arabs see land actually disappearing will they have incentive to negotiate; right now the status quo is not a danger to them.
But it was good that Obama mentioned exactly who walked away from negotiations.
I disagree. At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever.
For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.
Here Obama is implying that the US will not support the September stunt, which is a huge blow for Abbas.  And he is bringing the Hamas issue to the forefront.
As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums. But precisely because of our friendship, it is important that we tell the truth: the status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.
Again, at least he isn’t framing it as “Israel alone” must take steps for peace.
The fact is, a growing number of Palestinians live west of the Jordan River. Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself.A region undergoing profound change will lead to populism in which millions of people – not just a few leaders – must believe peace is possibleThe international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.
I assume that he is referring to rockets with the “technology” sentence. In fact, nothing can really stop that except a serious security presence.
Saying that all Arabs must accept peace is important.
The international community being tired seems a curious reason to move forward.
Ultimately, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them, nor can endless delay make the problem go away. But what America and the international community can do is state frankly what everyone knows: a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.
Again, a key phrase–especially since so many, like J-Street, insist that the US must do exactly that: impose peace. This is a welcome indication that Obama is not blindly following the J-Street/Tom Friedman line.
At least until the next election.
So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
He quotes UN Resolution 242 here, which is good. How it is possible is a completely different question.
As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign,non-militarized state. The duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.
The “by itself” is a nice response to those who claim that American lives are being put at risk by Israel.
The “non-militarized state” part has been Netanyahu’s mantra, and it is  nice to hear it from Obama. Realistically, however, for how long can we expect a “Palestine” to be non-militarized if it is independent? It sounds nice, it is necessary, but I cannot see it lasting more than a decade. Which is an eyeblink in Middle East terms.
These principles provide a foundation for negotiations. Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I know that these steps alone will not resolve this conflict. Two wrenching and emotional issues remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians.
Actually, the Jerusalem issue and the idea of “secure and recognized borders” issue are pretty much mutually exclusive.
It would have been good if Obama mentioned the obvious: that Arab states will have to be part of the solution for “refugees.” By staying away from that he is ensuring more misery. The truth must be stated.
Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel – how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist. In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. Meanwhile, the United States, our Quartet partners, and the Arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse.
The Hamas issue shouldn’t just worry Israel–it should worry the Quartet as well.  This makes it sound like he is putting daylight between the prior insistence of Hamas accepting the Quartet pre-requisites for being accepted and the current thinking. This is something to be concerned about.
I recognize how hard this will be. Suspicion and hostility has been passed on for generations, and at times it has hardened. But I’m convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past. We see that spirit in the Israeli father whose son was killed by Hamas, who helped start an organization that brought together Israelis and Palestinians who had lost loved ones. He said, “I gradually realized that the only hope for progress was to recognize the face of the conflict.” And we see it in the actions of a Palestinian who lost three daughters to Israeli shells in Gaza. “I have the right to feel angry,” he said. “So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate…Let us hope,” he said, “for tomorrow”
That is the choice that must be made – not simply in this conflict, but across the entire region – a choice between hate and hope; between the shackles of the past, and the promise of the future. It’s a choice that must be made by leaders and by people, and it’s a choice that will define the future of a region that served as the cradle of civilization and a crucible of strife.
I expected much worse. But I think that the Palestinian Arabs expected much, much more. Their tweets so far are reflecting sheer anger. Given that they regard everything as a zero-sum game, then at least from their perspective this is a huge win for Israel and Netanyahu.

Following is a text of President Obama’s speech on the Middle East, delivered on Thursday in Washington, as released by the White House:

Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you. Please, have a seat. Thank you very much. I want to begin by thanking Hillary Clinton, who has traveled so much these last six months that she is approaching a new landmark — one million frequent flyer miles. (Laughter.) I count on Hillary every single day, and I believe that she will go down as one of the finest Secretaries of State in our nation’s history. The State Department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in American diplomacy. For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change taking place in the Middle East and North Africa. Square by square, town by town, country by country, the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights. Two leaders have stepped aside. More may follow. And though these countries may be a great distance from our shores, we know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security, by history and by faith. Today, I want to talk about this change — the forces that are driving it and how we can respond in a way that advances our values and strengthens our security. Now, already, we’ve done much to shift our foreign policy following a decade defined by two costly conflicts. After years of war in Iraq, we’ve removed 100,000 American troops and ended our combat mission there. In Afghanistan, we’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum, and this July we will begin to bring our troops home and continue a transition to Afghan lead. And after years of war against al Qaeda and its affiliates, we have dealt al Qaeda a huge blow by killing its leader, Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was no martyr. He was a mass murderer who offered a message of hate –- an insistence that Muslims had to take up arms against the West, and that violence against men, women and children was the only path to change. He rejected democracy and individual rights for Muslims in favor of violent extremism; his agenda focused on what he could destroy -– not what he could build. Bin Laden and his murderous vision won some adherents. But even before his death, al Qaeda was losing its struggle for relevance, as the overwhelming majority of people saw that the slaughter of innocents did not answer their cries for a better life. By the time we found bin Laden, al Qaeda’s agenda had come to be seen by the vast majority of the region as a dead end, and the people of the Middle East and North Africa had taken their future into their own hands. That story of self-determination began six months ago in Tunisia. On December 17th, a young vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi was devastated when a police officer confiscated his cart. This was not unique. It’s the same kind of humiliation that takes place every day in many parts of the world -– the relentless tyranny of governments that deny their citizens dignity. Only this time, something different happened. After local officials refused to hear his complaints, this young man, who had never been particularly active in politics, went to the headquarters of the provincial government, doused himself in fuel, and lit himself on fire. There are times in the course of history when the actions of ordinary citizens spark movements for change because they speak to a longing for freedom that has been building up for years. In America, think of the defiance of those patriots in Boston who refused to pay taxes to a King, or the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat. So it was in Tunisia, as that vendor’s act of desperation tapped into the frustration felt throughout the country. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets, then thousands. And in the face of batons and sometimes bullets, they refused to go home –- day after day, week after week — until a dictator of more than two decades finally left power. The story of this revolution, and the ones that followed, should not have come as a surprise. The nations of the Middle East and North Africa won their independence long ago, but in too many places their people did not. In too many countries, power has been concentrated in the hands of a few. In too many countries, a citizen like that young vendor had nowhere to turn -– no honest judiciary to hear his case; no independent media to give him voice; no credible political party to represent his views; no free and fair election where he could choose his leader. And this lack of self-determination –- the chance to make your life what you will –- has applied to the region’s economy as well. Yes, some nations are blessed with wealth in oil and gas, and that has led to pockets of prosperity. But in a global economy based on knowledge, based on innovation, no development strategy can be based solely upon what comes out of the ground. Nor can people reach their potential when you cannot start a business without paying a bribe. In the face of these challenges, too many leaders in the region tried to direct their people’s grievances elsewhere. The West was blamed as the source of all ills, a half-century after the end of colonialism. Antagonism toward Israel became the only acceptable outlet for political expression. Divisions of tribe, ethnicity and religious sect were manipulated as a means of holding on to power, or taking it away from somebody else. But the events of the past six months show us that strategies of repression and strategies of diversion will not work anymore. Satellite television and the Internet provide a window into the wider world -– a world of astonishing progress in places like India and Indonesia and Brazil. Cell phones and social networks allow young people to connect and organize like never before. And so a new generation has emerged. And their voices tell us that change cannot be denied. In Cairo, we heard the voice of the young mother who said, “It’s like I can finally breathe fresh air for the first time.” In Sanaa, we heard the students who chanted, “The night must come to an end.” In Benghazi, we heard the engineer who said, “Our words are free now. It’s a feeling you can’t explain.” In Damascus, we heard the young man who said, “After the first yelling, the first shout, you feel dignity.” Those shouts of human dignity are being heard across the region. And through the moral force of nonviolence, the people of the region have achieved more change in six months than terrorists have accomplished in decades. Of course, change of this magnitude does not come easily. In our day and age -– a time of 24-hour news cycles and constant communication –- people expect the transformation of the region to be resolved in a matter of weeks. But it will be years before this story reaches its end. Along the way, there will be good days and there will bad days. In some places, change will be swift; in others, gradual. And as we’ve already seen, calls for change may give way, in some cases, to fierce contests for power. The question before us is what role America will play as this story unfolds. For decades, the United States has pursued a set of core interests in the region: countering terrorism and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons; securing the free flow of commerce and safe-guarding the security of the region; standing up for Israel’s security and pursuing Arab-Israeli peace. We will continue to do these things, with the firm belief that America’s interests are not hostile to people’s hopes; they’re essential to them. We believe that no one benefits from a nuclear arms race in the region, or al Qaeda’s brutal attacks. We believe people everywhere would see their economies crippled by a cut-off in energy supplies. As we did in the Gulf War, we will not tolerate aggression across borders, and we will keep our commitments to friends and partners. Yet we must acknowledge that a strategy based solely upon the narrow pursuit of these interests will not fill an empty stomach or allow someone to speak their mind. Moreover, failure to speak to the broader aspirations of ordinary people will only feed the suspicion that has festered for years that the United States pursues our interests at their expense. Given that this mistrust runs both ways –- as Americans have been seared by hostage-taking and violent rhetoric and terrorist attacks that have killed thousands of our citizens -– a failure to change our approach threatens a deepening spiral of division between the United States and the Arab world. And that’s why, two years ago in Cairo, I began to broaden our engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. I believed then -– and I believe now -– that we have a stake not just in the stability of nations, but in the self-determination of individuals. The status quo is not sustainable. Societies held together by fear and repression may offer the illusion of stability for a time, but they are built upon fault lines that will eventually tear asunder. So we face a historic opportunity. We have the chance to show that America values the dignity of the street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator. There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity. Yes, there will be perils that accompany this moment of promise. But after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be. Of course, as we do, we must proceed with a sense of humility. It’s not America that put people into the streets of Tunis or Cairo -– it was the people themselves who launched these movements, and it’s the people themselves that must ultimately determine their outcome. Not every country will follow our particular form of representative democracy, and there will be times when our short-term interests don’t align perfectly with our long-term vision for the region. But we can, and we will, speak out for a set of core principles –- principles that have guided our response to the events over the past six months: The United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region. (Applause.) The United States supports a set of universal rights. And these rights include free speech, the freedom of peaceful assembly, the freedom of religion, equality for men and women under the rule of law, and the right to choose your own leaders -– whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus, Sanaa or Tehran. And we support political and economic reform in the Middle East and North Africa that can meet the legitimate aspirations of ordinary people throughout the region. Our support for these principles is not a secondary interest. Today I want to make it clear that it is a top priority that must be translated into concrete actions, and supported by all of the diplomatic, economic and strategic tools at our disposal. Let me be specific. First, it will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy. That effort begins in Egypt and Tunisia, where the stakes are high -– as Tunisia was at the vanguard of this democratic wave, and Egypt is both a longstanding partner and the Arab world’s largest nation. Both nations can set a strong example through free and fair elections, a vibrant civil society, accountable and effective democratic institutions, and responsible regional leadership. But our support must also extend to nations where transitions have yet to take place. Unfortunately, in too many countries, calls for change have thus far been answered by violence. The most extreme example is Libya, where Muammar Qaddafi launched a war against his own people, promising to hunt them down like rats. As I said when the United States joined an international coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in Iraq just how costly and difficult it is to try to impose regime change by force -– no matter how well-intentioned it may be. But in Libya, we saw the prospect of imminent massacre, we had a mandate for action, and heard the Libyan people’s call for help. Had we not acted along with our NATO allies and regional coalition partners, thousands would have been killed. The message would have been clear: Keep power by killing as many people as it takes. Now, time is working against Qaddafi. He does not have control over his country. The opposition has organized a legitimate and credible Interim Council. And when Qaddafi inevitably leaves or is forced from power, decades of provocation will come to an end, and the transition to a democratic Libya can proceed. While Libya has faced violence on the greatest scale, it’s not the only place where leaders have turned to repression to remain in power. Most recently, the Syrian regime has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens. The United States has condemned these actions, and working with the international community we have stepped up our sanctions on the Syrian regime –- including sanctions announced yesterday on President Assad and those around him. The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy. President Assad now has a choice: He can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests. It must release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests. It must allow human rights monitors to have access to cities like Dara’a; and start a serious dialogue to advance a democratic transition. Otherwise, President Assad and his regime will continue to be challenged from within and will continue to be isolated abroad. So far, Syria has followed its Iranian ally, seeking assistance from Tehran in the tactics of suppression. And this speaks to the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime, which says it stand for the rights of protesters abroad, yet represses its own people at home. Let’s remember that the first peaceful protests in the region were in the streets of Tehran, where the government brutalized women and men, and threw innocent people into jail. We still hear the chants echo from the rooftops of Tehran. The image of a young woman dying in the streets is still seared in our memory. And we will continue to insist that the Iranian people deserve their universal rights, and a government that does not smother their aspirations. Now, our opposition to Iran’s intolerance and Iran’s repressive measures, as well as its illicit nuclear program and its support of terror, is well known. But if America is to be credible, we must acknowledge that at times our friends in the region have not all reacted to the demands for consistent change — with change that’s consistent with the principles that I’ve outlined today. That’s true in Yemen, where President Saleh needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power. And that’s true today in Bahrain. Bahrain is a longstanding partner, and we are committed to its security. We recognize that Iran has tried to take advantage of the turmoil there, and that the Bahraini government has a legitimate interest in the rule of law. Nevertheless, we have insisted both publicly and privately that mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens, and we will — and such steps will not make legitimate calls for reform go away. The only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail. (Applause.) The government must create the conditions for dialogue, and the opposition must participate to forge a just future for all Bahrainis. Indeed, one of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides need not lead to conflict. In Iraq, we see the promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy. The Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence in favor of a democratic process, even as they’ve taken full responsibility for their own security. Of course, like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. And as they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner. So in the months ahead, America must use all our influence to encourage reform in the region. Even as we acknowledge that each country is different, we need to speak honestly about the principles that we believe in, with friend and foe alike. Our message is simple: If you take the risks that reform entails, you will have the full support of the United States. We must also build on our efforts to broaden our engagement beyond elites, so that we reach the people who will shape the future -– particularly young people. We will continue to make good on the commitments that I made in Cairo -– to build networks of entrepreneurs and expand exchanges in education, to foster cooperation in science and technology, and combat disease. Across the region, we intend to provide assistance to civil society, including those that may not be officially sanctioned, and who speak uncomfortable truths. And we will use the technology to connect with -– and listen to –- the voices of the people. For the fact is, real reform does not come at the ballot box alone. Through our efforts we must support those basic rights to speak your mind and access information. We will support open access to the Internet, and the right of journalists to be heard -– whether it’s a big news organization or a lone blogger. In the 21st century, information is power, the truth cannot be hidden, and the legitimacy of governments will ultimately depend on active and informed citizens. Such open discourse is important even if what is said does not square with our worldview. Let me be clear, America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard, even if we disagree with them. And sometimes we profoundly disagree with them. We look forward to working with all who embrace genuine and inclusive democracy. What we will oppose is an attempt by any group to restrict the rights of others, and to hold power through coercion and not consent. Because democracy depends not only on elections, but also strong and accountable institutions, and the respect for the rights of minorities. Such tolerance is particularly important when it comes to religion. In Tahrir Square, we heard Egyptians from all walks of life chant, “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” America will work to see that this spirit prevails -– that all faiths are respected, and that bridges are built among them. In a region that was the birthplace of three world religions, intolerance can lead only to suffering and stagnation. And for this season of change to succeed, Coptic Christians must have the right to worship freely in Cairo, just as Shia must never have their mosques destroyed in Bahrain. What is true for religious minorities is also true when it comes to the rights of women. History shows that countries are more prosperous and more peaceful when women are empowered. And that’s why we will continue to insist that universal rights apply to women as well as men -– by focusing assistance on child and maternal health; by helping women to teach, or start a business; by standing up for the right of women to have their voices heard, and to run for office. The region will never reach its full potential when more than half of its population is prevented from achieving their full potential. (Applause.) Now, even as we promote political reform, even as we promote human rights in the region, our efforts can’t stop there. So the second way that we must support positive change in the region is through our efforts to advance economic development for nations that are transitioning to democracy. After all, politics alone has not put protesters into the streets. The tipping point for so many people is the more constant concern of putting food on the table and providing for a family. Too many people in the region wake up with few expectations other than making it through the day, perhaps hoping that their luck will change. Throughout the region, many young people have a solid education, but closed economies leave them unable to find a job. Entrepreneurs are brimming with ideas, but corruption leaves them unable to profit from those ideas. The greatest untapped resource in the Middle East and North Africa is the talent of its people. In the recent protests, we see that talent on display, as people harness technology to move the world. It’s no coincidence that one of the leaders of Tahrir Square was an executive for Google. That energy now needs to be channeled, in country after country, so that economic growth can solidify the accomplishments of the street. For just as democratic revolutions can be triggered by a lack of individual opportunity, successful democratic transitions depend upon an expansion of growth and broad-based prosperity. So, drawing from what we’ve learned around the world, we think it’s important to focus on trade, not just aid; on investment, not just assistance. The goal must be a model in which protectionism gives way to openness, the reigns of commerce pass from the few to the many, and the economy generates jobs for the young. America’s support for democracy will therefore be based on ensuring financial stability, promoting reform, and integrating competitive markets with each other and the global economy. And we’re going to start with Tunisia and Egypt. First, we’ve asked the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to present a plan at next week’s G8 summit for what needs to be done to stabilize and modernize the economies of Tunisia and Egypt. Together, we must help them recover from the disruptions of their democratic upheaval, and support the governments that will be elected later this year. And we are urging other countries to help Egypt and Tunisia meet its near-term financial needs. Second, we do not want a democratic Egypt to be saddled by the debts of its past. So we will relieve a democratic Egypt of up to $1 billion in debt, and work with our Egyptian partners to invest these resources to foster growth and entrepreneurship. We will help Egypt regain access to markets by guaranteeing $1 billion in borrowing that is needed to finance infrastructure and job creation. And we will help newly democratic governments recover assets that were stolen. Third, we’re working with Congress to create Enterprise Funds to invest in Tunisia and Egypt. And these will be modeled on funds that supported the transitions in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. OPIC will soon launch a $2 billion facility to support private investment across the region. And we will work with the allies to refocus the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development so that it provides the same support for democratic transitions and economic modernization in the Middle East and North Africa as it has in Europe. Fourth, the United States will launch a comprehensive Trade and Investment Partnership Initiative in the Middle East and North Africa. If you take out oil exports, this entire region of over 400 million people exports roughly the same amount as Switzerland. So we will work with the EU to facilitate more trade within the region, build on existing agreements to promote integration with U.S. and European markets, and open the door for those countries who adopt high standards of reform and trade liberalization to construct a regional trade arrangement. And just as EU membership served as an incentive for reform in Europe, so should the vision of a modern and prosperous economy create a powerful force for reform in the Middle East and North Africa. Prosperity also requires tearing down walls that stand in the way of progress -– the corruption of elites who steal from their people; the red tape that stops an idea from becoming a business; the patronage that distributes wealth based on tribe or sect. We will help governments meet international obligations, and invest efforts at anti-corruption — by working with parliamentarians who are developing reforms, and activists who use technology to increase transparency and hold government accountable. Politics and human rights; economic reform. Let me conclude by talking about another cornerstone of our approach to the region, and that relates to the pursuit of peace. For decades, the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region. For Israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could be blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own. Moreover, this conflict has come with a larger cost to the Middle East, as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security and prosperity and empowerment to ordinary people. For over two years, my administration has worked with the parties and the international community to end this conflict, building on decades of work by previous administrations. Yet expectations have gone unmet. Israeli settlement activity continues. Palestinians have walked away from talks. The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on and on and on, and sees nothing but stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward now. I disagree. At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever. That’s certainly true for the two parties involved. For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist. As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums. But precisely because of our friendship, it’s important that we tell the truth: The status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace. The fact is, a growing number of Palestinians live west of the Jordan River. Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself. A region undergoing profound change will lead to populism in which millions of people -– not just one or two leaders — must believe peace is possible. The international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation. Now, ultimately, it is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them — not by the United States; not by anybody else. But endless delay won’t make the problem go away. What America and the international community can do is to state frankly what everyone knows — a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace. So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state. As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself -– by itself -– against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism, to stop the infiltration of weapons, and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. And the duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated. These principles provide a foundation for negotiations. Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I’m aware that these steps alone will not resolve the conflict, because two wrenching and emotional issues will remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. Now, let me say this: Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel: How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist? And in the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. Meanwhile, the United States, our Quartet partners, and the Arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse. I recognize how hard this will be. Suspicion and hostility has been passed on for generations, and at times it has hardened. But I’m convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past. We see that spirit in the Israeli father whose son was killed by Hamas, who helped start an organization that brought together Israelis and Palestinians who had lost loved ones. That father said, “I gradually realized that the only hope for progress was to recognize the face of the conflict.” We see it in the actions of a Palestinian who lost three daughters to Israeli shells in Gaza. “I have the right to feel angry,” he said. “So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate. Let us hope,” he said, “for tomorrow.” That is the choice that must be made -– not simply in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but across the entire region -– a choice between hate and hope; between the shackles of the past and the promise of the future. It’s a choice that must be made by leaders and by the people, and it’s a choice that will define the future of a region that served as the cradle of civilization and a crucible of strife. For all the challenges that lie ahead, we see many reasons to be hopeful. In Egypt, we see it in the efforts of young people who led protests. In Syria, we see it in the courage of those who brave bullets while chanting, “peaceful, peaceful.” In Benghazi, a city threatened with destruction, we see it in the courthouse square where people gather to celebrate the freedoms that they had never known. Across the region, those rights that we take for granted are being claimed with joy by those who are prying lose the grip of an iron fist. For the American people, the scenes of upheaval in the region may be unsettling, but the forces driving it are not unfamiliar. Our own nation was founded through a rebellion against an empire. Our people fought a painful Civil War that extended freedom and dignity to those who were enslaved. And I would not be standing here today unless past generations turned to the moral force of nonviolence as a way to perfect our union –- organizing, marching, protesting peacefully together to make real those words that declared our nation: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Those words must guide our response to the change that is transforming the Middle East and North Africa -– words which tell us that repression will fail, and that tyrants will fall, and that every man and woman is endowed with certain inalienable rights. It will not be easy. There’s no straight line to progress, and hardship always accompanies a season of hope. But the United States of America was founded on the belief that people should govern themselves. And now we cannot hesitate to stand squarely on the side of those who are reaching for their rights, knowing that their success will bring about a world that is more peaceful, more stable, and more just. Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.) Thank you.

1:01 p.m. Update:The live video stream of President Barack Obama’s speech on the Middle East has just concluded. (The the complete text of Mr. Obama’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, was released as Mr. Obama spoke.) Readers can follow an interview with one of Mr. Obama’s speechwriters in the Twitter module to the right of this post.
Original Post:The White House recruited two journalists who are active on Twitter, Andy Carvin of NPR and Marc Lynch of Foreign Policy, to sort through reaction to the speech on the social network, in real time. Readers can follow their feeds in the Twitter widget in the right column of this blog. The Twitter stream here on The Lede will also include interesting comments we spot before, during and after the speech.
Immediately following the president’s speech, Mr. Carvin and Mr. Lynch will be joined online by Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, who was spotted working on Mr. Obama’s speech in a Washington Starbucks on Friday night.
The journalists will ask Mr. Rhodes about the speech and pose several questions submitted to them by other users of Twitter, where the White House asked bloggers to comment on the speech using the hashtag #MEspeech.
The White House is also streaming video and gathering reaction on Facebook.

image via mideastweb.org

Israel Says It’s Ready to Divide Jerusalem…

September 1, 2010

Huh?…

JERUSALEM, Sept. 1 (UPI) In the framework of a peace deal with the Palestinians, Israel is willing to partition Jerusalem, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.
In an interview with Haaretz newspaper Wednesday, Barak said while the gaps remain wide and are of a “fundamental nature,” he believes there is a real chance to achieve peace with the Palestinians, based on a two-state solution and the division of Jerusalem.
“I’m not saying that there is a certainty for success, but there is a chance. This chance must be exploited to the fullest,” he told the newspaper.
Outlining the principles of a peace deal, the Israeli defense minister revealed his vision concerning Israel’s capital city.
“West Jerusalem and 12 Jewish neighborhoods that are home to 200,000 residents will be ours. The Arab neighborhoods in which close to a quarter million Palestinians live will be theirs. There will be a special regime in place along with agreed upon arrangements in the Old City, the Mount of Olives and the City of David.”
The conclusion of talks he said must achieve two states for two nations, an end to the conflict and the end of all future demands. The demarcation of a border that will run inside Israel where a solid Jewish majority will remain for generations, and on the other side a demilitarized Palestinian state, he said. Comprehensive security arrangements must also be made, he added.
The future Palestinian state must be viable politically, economically and territorially, he said.
All the settlement blocs will remain in Israel’s hands and isolated settlements will be relocated into the larger blocs or inside Israel, he said.

…um… this isn’t Bibi talking though. this is the guy who already offered this and isn’t a leader anymore