Setting the Record Straight: U.S. Law & the new PA government

There’s a lot of talk these days – from pundits, lobbyists, members of Congress, and others – to the effect that according to U.S. law, the Obama Administration must cut off all aid to the Palestinian Authority now that a new government is in power, a government that was produced out of a PLO-Hamas reconciliation agreement.

Regrettably, most of this talk appears to be informed more by anger, opinion, or wishful thinking than a careful analysis of the actual laws in question.   And as always, while every person is entitled to his or her own opinion, there is only one set of facts.  So now it's time to set the record straight.

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The Illusion of the Unilateral Solution

Walla.co.il (online service) by Shaul Arieli -- The author is a member of the Economic Cooperation Foundation [as well as a retired IDF colonel and a board member of the Council for Peace and Security].
Translation via Israel News Today, May 27, 2014.

   Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s remarks about the need for unilateral measures in the aftermath of the collapse of the talks with the Palestinians could have been referring to two possible courses of action. The first, which is rooted in his concern that Israel might “turn into a bi-national state,” would be to continue down the road that Ariel Sharon took. Namely, it would entail complementing the disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria with additional actions that during Ehud Olmert’s term in office were given the slightly whitewashed name of the “convergence plan.” The second possible course of action would be for Netanyahu to openly endorse the three-phased messianic plan to annex the West Bank that was presented by Naftali Bennett, the first stage of which is to annex the settlement blocs to Israel.

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ADL's Foxman pens strong condemnation of "Price Tag"

Price_Tag_withCaption350Following the recent increase in “Price Tag” hate-crimes in Israel, including the desecration of Christian and Muslim houses of worship, we called on American friends of Israel to join APN in urging the Israeli authorities to seriously confront this ugly phenomenon.

On Sunday, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman published a powerful article in Israel’s Haaretz, headlined “Israel cannot wait any longer to crush price tag attacks.”

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Ambassador Martin Indyk: Remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations

Ambassador Martin Indyk
Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations 
The Washington Institute's Weinberg Conference
Washington, DC
May 8, 2014

…. Last July, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry launched a vigorous effort to reach a final status agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Now it is early May, we have passed the nine-month marker for these negotiations, and for the time being the talks have been suspended. Some have said this process is over. But that is not correct. As my little story testifies. As you all know well— in the Middle East, it’s never over.

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The American Prospect: The Bitter Truth about the Settlements

by Matthew Duss

How can talks succeed when, throughout the negotiations, Israel is building on the very land that would comprise a Palestinian state?

There are a lot of reasons for the peace effort's failure, but people in Israel shouldn't ignore the bitter truth—the primary sabotage came from the settlements.” This is what anonymous U.S. officials told journalist Nahum Barnea, a prominent columnist in Israel’s most-read newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, in a candid interview about the collapse of Secretary of State John Kerry’s nine-month-long effort to broker talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. 

It’s not just people in Israel who shouldn’t ignore this bitter truth; it’s people in America, and particularly in Washington, where there’s an entire industry dedicated to casting the Palestinians as eternal rejectionists and downplaying the impact of the settlements and occupation that sustain them. Basically, these officials are telling us more explicitly what both Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama have told us more diplomatically: Netanyahu’s unwillingness and/or inability to reign in the settlements poisoned the negotiations, and is killing any chance of a final, two-state agreement.

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Peace Now's Hagit Ofran is One of Haaretz's 66 Israeli Influential Women

As Israel marks 66 years of independence Ha'aretz daily compiled a list of "66 Israeli women you should know". Those women are "breaking barriers, defying stereotypes and wielding influence to great effect in the corridors of power and behind the scenes. Each and every one of these outstanding achievers, we believe, is a woman worth watching."

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North by Northwestern: J Street U Northwestern speakers speak on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

By Rachel Fobar

 J Street U Northwestern hosted a discussion and Q-and-A session tonight with Ori Nir and Ghaith al-Omari, who argued that a peaceful two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is possible.

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The Jewish Journal: The West Bank is under military occupation, and that’s a fact

by Jessica Montell, JTA

According to press reports, the crowd at a recent Republican Jewish Coalition conference “noticeably gasped” when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie referred to the West Bank as “occupied territories.” Christie promptly apologized to the event’s host, mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, clarifying that his remarks “were not meant to be a statement of policy,” a source said.

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Politico: Stand Firm, John Kerry

It’s time for the secretary of state to insist on America’s position on Middle East peace.

By ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI, FRANK CARLUCCI, LEE HAMILTON, CARLA A. HILLS, THOMAS PICKERING and HENRY SIEGMAN

We commend Secretary of State John Kerry’s extraordinary efforts to renew Israeli-Palestinian talks and negotiations for a framework for a peace accord, and the strong support his initiative has received from President Barack Obama.

We believe these efforts, and the priority Kerry has assigned to them, have been fully justified. However, we also believe that the necessary confidentiality that Secretary Kerry imposed on the resumed negotiations should not preclude a far more forceful and public expression of certain fundamental U.S. positions:

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YNet: Ex-Palestinian prisoner teaches Hebrew and tolerance

Esmat Mansour, who helped 3 older teens stab an Israeli man to death in 1993, was freed in August 2013 in the first of the prisoner releases.

by AP

Facing a classroom of Palestinian 10th graders, Hebrew teacher Esmat Mansour asks his students who is for and against learning the language. A few raise their hands in favor, others against and he asks both sides to explain.

Mansour believes such debates will help motivate young Palestinians to study Israel's dominant language. They need to know Hebrew to be able to deal with "the Israeli occupiers," but also to build bridges in the future, he says.

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