U.S. won’t participate in Durban III, State Dept. says

Source: JTA, 6-1-11

The United States will not participate in  Durban III, this September, the State Department said.

In a letter to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Joseph E. Macmanus, acting assistant secretary for legislative affairs, confirmed the United States would not attend the conference, which in its previous iterations has been a forum for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment.

In November, the U.S. voted against a United Nations resolution to establish the conference. The following month, Gillibrand led a coalition of 18 senators in signing a letter to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, urging the U.S. not to participate in the conference, scheduled for Sept. 21 in New York City.

The Durban Commemoration is meant to mark the ten-year anniversary of Durban I, during which the delegations from the United States and Israel walked out in protest as the tenor turned increasingly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.

“The United States will not participate in the Durban Commemoration. In December, we voted against the resolution establishing this event because the Durban process included ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism, and we did not want to see that commemorated,” Macmanus wrote….

In November, Canada was the first country to announce it would not participate in Durban III. Israel announced it would boycott in the conference in December.

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Republicans Introduce “Unrealistic” ’67 Lines Resolution Supporting Israel

Source: JTA, 6-1-11

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representative introduced a bill reaffirming Bush administration principles on an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.house of representatives 67 lines unrealistic

The non-binding resolution, initiated May 23 by Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) and so far sponsored by another 36 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, reaffirms congressional resolutions in 2004 that backed up President Bush’s letter to Israel’s government that year that it was “unrealistic” that Israel return to 1967 lines.

Those resolutions were approved overwhelmingly in both the House and the U.S. Senate.

Dold’s initiative comes in the wake of disagreements between the Obama administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over President Obama’s policy of basing negotiations on the 1967 lines, with land swaps.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) is contemplating a similar Senate resolution. According to The Hill, a daily covering Congress, Lieberman may garner the backing of some Democrats, as well as broad Republican backing.

30,000 Israelis march through East Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day

Source: JTA, 6-1-11

Some 30,000 Israelis gathered for the annual flag march through eastern Jerusalem in honor of Jerusalem Day, as at least 3,000 police took up patrols throughout the city.march of flags eastern jerusalem

The annual march led by the religious Zionist community, in which participants march and dance with flags throughout the city, culminating in dancing at the Western Wall, is set to make its way Wednesday afternoon through the largely Palestinian eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Jerusalem Day marks the reunification of the city under Israeli control during the Six Day War 44 years ago.

While the parade in previous years took place largely in the western Jerusalem, this year the parade was rerouted through the eastern sector in order to avoid the new light rail tracks.

Young Israelis walking through the streets of Jerusalem and waving Israeli flags during a 2011 celebration of Jerusalem Day.

“Jerusalem will never be divided,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday night during a speech in the Merkaz Harav yeshiva in honor of Jerusalem Day. “There’s nothing more holy to us than Jerusalem, we’ll protect Jerusalem, its unity, and we’ll build and develop it.”

The yeshiva was the site of a terror attack in 2008 in which a Palestinian gunman killed eight students.

“Next year in a more built up Jerusalem,” Netanyahu added, a play on the Jewish prayer of ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’

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