Israel Musings January 13, 2013: World, Israeli leaders react to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s death

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

After over a week of where his health rapidly deteriorated, Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (2001-2006) died at age 85 Saturday afternoon 2 p.m. Israel time on Jan. 11, 2014 eight years after entering a coma from…READ MORE
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Israel Musings January 11, 2013: Polls show Israelis are skeptical of a peace deal and Kerry but trust Netanyahu

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Polls show Israelis are skeptical of a peace deal and Kerry but trust Netanyahu

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Four polls were released this past week in Israel demonstrate how unpopular the Israeli-Palestinians peace talks and United States Secretary of State John Kerry’s involvement is to the Israeli public. On Friday, Jan. 10, 2014….READ MORE

Israel Musings August 2, 2013: President Barack Obama steps up involvement in peace talks, phones Netanyahu and Abbas

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama steps up involvement in peace talks, phones Netanyahu and Abbas

By Bonnie K. Goodman

United States President Barack Obama stepped up his personal involvement in the peace process by calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, August 1, 2013. This is the second time this week Obama….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 30, 2013: US Secretary of State John Kerry leaves Israel without deal for peace talks, sees progress

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Kerry leaves Israel without deal for peace talks, sees progress

Source: JTA, 6-30-13

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry left Israel without bringing Israeli and Palestinian officials back to the peace negotiating table….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 12, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Poland: Stop Negotiating About Negotiations

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF


ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu in Poland: Stop Negotiating About Negotiations

Source: Arutz Sheva, 6-12-13

Speaking during inter-governmental consultations in Poland, Netanyahu called on PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has refused to talk to Israel for nearly three years, to come to the table without preconditions….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 6, 2013: Palestinians slam Israel despite move to restore UNHRC ties

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Palestinians slam Israel despite move to restore UNHRC ties

Source: Jerusalem Post, 6-7-13

At UN Human Rights Council debate, US, Canada welcome Israel’s letter expressing a desire to re-engage with council after having cut ties; PLO representative: An exchange of letters can not be considered effective engagement….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 2, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu says would put peace deal to referendum

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel’s Netanyahu says would put peace deal to referendum

Source: Reuters, 5-2-13

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he would put any peace deal with the Palestinians to a referendum, raising expectations that direct negotiations might soon resume following a two-year stalemate….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 1, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: Conflict over recognition, not territory

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF


ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu: Conflict over recognition, not territory

Source: Ynetnews, 5-1-13

The Palestinians have rejected Netanyahu’s demand to recognize Israel as the Jewish state, saying it would undermine the rights of Israel’s Arab minority as well as millions of refugees scattered throughout the world whose families lost properties….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief September 23, 2012: Mitt Romney’s peace pessimism draws muted response from Jewish groups

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Romney’s peace pessimism draws muted response from Jewish groups

Source: JTA, 9-23-12

Mitt Romney’s pessimistic take on Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects drew some media attention but not much noise from centrist Jewish groups….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 27, 2012: Deputy PM Shaul Mofaz to Meet PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah

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ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Mofaz to Meet Abbas in Ramallah

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will meet Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz in Ramallah next Sunday, reports say.
Shaul Mofaz

Shaul Mofaz
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will meet Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz next week, Channel 2 News reported on Tuesday.

It will be Abbas’ first meeting in months with an Israeli cabinet minister. The report said that Mofaz will arrive in Ramallah on Sunday for the meeting.

The meeting comes after many attempts by Mofaz to bring Abbas to meet with him. He recently indicated that he means to meet with Abbas in order to get the peace process going, which is one of the four major issues to be addressed as part of the recent coalition agreement between Likud and Kadima….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief October 3, 2011: Israel accepts Middle East Quartet’s peace process proposal

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel accepts Quartet’s peace process proposal

Source: JTA, 10-3-11

Israel has accepted the Mideast Quartet’s proposal to renew peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

The plan accepted Sunday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his eight senior Cabinet members would restart negotiations within a month without preconditions.

“Israel welcomes the Quartet’s call for direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions, as called for by both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu,” read a statement issued Sunday by the Prime Minister’s Office.

“While Israel has some concerns, it will raise them at the appropriate time. Israel calls on the Palestinian Authority to do the same and to enter into direct negotiations without delay,” the short statement concluded.

The concerns included the short timetable for negotiations on border and security issues, and the issues of Palestinian refugees and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, Haaretz reported.

The inner Cabinet met last week for five hours and failed to agree to support the plan at that time.

The PA has balked at the Quartet plan, saying it will not return to talks until Israel freezes settlement building. The Palestinians recently submitted a bid for statehood in the United Nations Security Council, which the council is now considering. The United States has said it will veto the bid.

A U.S. State Department statement welcomed the Cabinet’s decision, but called on both sides to fully embrace the Quartet proposal. The State Department missive alluded both to Israel’s reluctance to accept the timetable and the Palestinian refusal to talk until settlement stops.

“The U.S. once again calls on both parties to resume negotiations without preconditions, on the timetable proposed by the Quartet, as the best means to advance their interests, resolve their differences, and fulfill the President’s two-state vision,” it said.

Israel Political Brief September 21, 2011: President Barack Obama Addresses the (UN) United Nations General Assembly About Israel & Opposing Palestinian Statehood — Obama Meets with Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu Deserves ‘Badge of honor’

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings and JBuzz. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish Studies at Concordia University.

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

IN FOCUS: UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN BID FOR STATEHOOD

“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N. – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and Palestinians, not us, who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them, on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.” — President Barack Obama Speaking at the UN

Full Text September 21, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the (UN) United Nations General Assembly About Israel & Opposing Palestinian Statehood (Transcript) WH, 9-21-11

Full Text September 21, 2011: Statements by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as They Began their Meeting at the UN General Assembly (Transcript) WH, 9-21-11

Obama: No short cut to peace in Middle East: President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that there could be no short cut to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as he sought to head off a looming diplomatic crisis for the Middle East and U.S. policy there…. – AP, 9-21-11

    • Obama seeks to save Mideast policy from U.N. debacle: Addressing world leaders at the opening of a U.N. General Assembly session, Obama — whose earlier peace initiatives accomplished little — put the onus on the two sides to break a yearlong impasse and get back to the negotiating table…. – Reuters, 9-21-11

“I want to thank you Mr. President for standing with Israel and supporting peace. We both agree that Palestinians and Israelis should sit down and negotiate. … This is the only way to get a stable and durable peace.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“The bonds between the U.S. and Israel are unbreakable. Peace cannot be imposed on the parties. It’s going to have to be negotiated. … The ultimate goal of all of us is two states side-by-side living in peace.” — President Barack Obama

    • Netanyahu to Obama: ‘Badge of honor’ on Palestinians: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Obama today that his opposition to United Nations recognition of Palestinian statehood is “a badge of honor.”
      Obama met with Netanyahu after speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, where he urged members not to recognize a new Palestinian state so that the Palestinians and Israelis could work out difficult issues…. – USA Today, 9-21-11
    • “Standing Your Ground (On Israel) Is A Badge of Honor”: Before meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning at the UN, President Obama said that “the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable.”
      The president, who has publicly clashed with Netanyahu in the past, delivered a message at the UN today that contained little to rankle the conservative Israeli leader, given their mutual opposition to the Palestinian bid for statehood before any peace treaty has been worked out…. – ABC News, 9-21-11
    • Benjamin Netanyahu: President Obama deserves ‘badge of honor’: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised President Barack Obama’s efforts to dissuade Palestinian leaders from pushing for a United Nations vote on statehood, calling Obama’s actions a “badge of honor” for the president. … – Politico, 9-21-11
    • Netanyahu tells Obama Palestinian UN bid doomed: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said that direct negotiation was the only way to achieve a stable Middle East peace and the Palestinian effort to secure UN recognition of statehood “will not succeed.”…. – Ynetnews, 9-21-11
    • Obama, at U.N., Explains Rationale for Opposing Palestinian Statehood Bid: President Obama declared his opposition to the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood through the Security Council on Wednesday, throwing the weight of the United States directly in the path of the Arab democracy movement even as he hailed what he called the democratic aspirations that have taken hold throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
      “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.,” Mr. Obama said, in an address before world leaders at the General Assembly. “If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.”
      Instead, Mr. Obama said, the international community should continue to push Israelis and Palestinians toward talks on the four intractable “final status” issues that have vexed peace negotiations since 1979: the borders of a Palestinian state, security for Israel, the status of Palestinian refugees who left or were forced to leave their homes in Israel, and the fate of Jerusalem, which both sides claim for their capital…. – NYT, 9-21-11
    • Obama urges U.N. to stay out of Israel-Palestinian conflict: President Obama urged world leaders Wednesday morning to stay out of the conflict over Palestinian statehood as American diplomats pushed to delay a vote on the question during this week’s general assembly of the United Nations.
      Speaking to the full assembly, Obama argued that the two sides will never live in peace unless they work it out themselves.
      Obama was scheduled to meet privately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately after his morning address, and then to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas late in the afternoon…. – LAT, 9-21-11
    • Obama: No ‘Shortcut’ to Peace Between Israelis, Palestinians: AP President Obama speaks during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters Sept. 21. President Obama said Wednesday there is no “shortcut” to Middle East peace, as he urged the Palestinians to abandon their push for a state…. – Fox News, 9-21-11
    • Obama U.N. speech: ‘No shortcut’ to Mideast peace: President Barack Obama told a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday that Mideast peace “will not come through statements and resolutions” by the world body, arguing against a proposed resolution calling for U.N. recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state.
      “I am convinced that there is no shortcut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now,” he told the UN General Assembly. “Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians — not us — who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.”… – Politico, 9-21-11
    • Obama Says ‘No Shortcut’ to Palestinian Statehood: President Barack Obama appealed to a United Nations General Assembly packed with supporters of Palestinian statehood to hold off UN recognition until the Palestinians and Israelis can work out a peace deal…. – WSJ, 9-21-11
    • Obama Confronts Palestinian Bid for Statehood at UN: ‘Peace Is Hard’: In a last-ditch attempt to prevent a showdown with the Palestinian territorities over their bid for statehood at the United Nations later this week, President Obama argued his case for a two-state Middle East solution before the General Assembly today…. – ABC News, 9-21-11

“Once again it’s been proven to all the doubters, President Obama is an ally and friend of Israel. The Obama administration gives backing to Israel’s security in a wide, all-encompassing and unprecedented manner.” — Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a statement

    • Ehud Barak: Obama’s speech again proves that he is a true ally: Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday responded to US President Barack Obama’s speech at the UN General Assembly, saying the address was proof of the strong relationship between the American leader and Israel…. – Jerusalem Post, 9-21-11
    • Barak: Obama Speech Proves His Friendship with Israel: Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Atzmaut) responded to United States President Barack Obama’s United Nations General Assembly address on Wednesday, saying the speech was proof of the strong relationship between the American leader and Israel.
      Barak expressed hope that Obama’s speech and developments at the UN would lead to to the resumption of talks with the Western-backed Palestinian Authority…. – Israel National News, 9-21-11

“I congratulate President Obama, and I am ready to sign on this speech with both hands.” — Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

    • Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman praises Obama’s UN General Assembly speech: FM states that he does not resort to ‘threats’ against the Palestinians in light of their UN statehood bid; Opposition leader Livni says Obama correct to demand negotiations, emphasizing that UN speeches will not ‘change a thing’…. – Ha’aretz, 9-21-11

“Let us cease our endless debates on the parameters. Let us begin negotiations and adopt a precise timetable.” — President Nicolas Sarkozy of France

  • France Breaks With Obama on Palestinian Statehood Issue: President Nicolas Sarkozy of France broke sharply on Wednesday with the effort by the Obama administration and some Europeans to quash the effort by the Palestinians for recognition here, instead calling for enhancing their status in the General Assembly to that of an observer state.
    The French leader, speaking from the famous green marble podium of the General Assembly barely an hour after President Obama, also said it was time to change the formula in trying to negotiate an Arab-Israeli peace, taking an indirect swipe at the United States by saying the efforts so far were a complete failure…. – NYT, 9-21-11
  • Obama stands firm against Palestinian statehood plan: U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday rejected Palestinian plans to seek UN blessing for statehood and urged a return to peace talks with Israel as he tried to head off a looming diplomatic disaster.
    Addressing the UN General Assembly, Obama — whose earlier peace efforts accomplished little — insisted Middle East peace “will not come through statements and resolutions” at the world body and put the onus on the two sides to break a yearlong impasse.
    “There is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace is hard work,” Obama told an annual gathering of world leaders.
    Grappling with economic woes and low poll numbers at home and growing doubts about his leadership abroad, Obama is wading into Middle East diplomacy at a critical juncture for his presidency and America’s credibility around the globe…. – National Post, 9-21-11
  • Palestinians rally in West Bank while others clash with Israeli soldiers nearby: Palestinians take part in a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron September 21. Flag-waving Palestinians filled the squares of major West Bank cities on Wednesday to rally behind President Mahmoud Abbas’s bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations…. – MSNBC, 9-21-11
  • Baby girl injured during violent clashes in W. Bank: Demonstrators burn tires, throw stones at security forces; IDF uses new non-lethal sonic crowd dispersal weapon; injured man treated on scene. Clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank…. – Jerusalem Post, 9-21-11

Full Text September 21, 2011: Statements by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as They Began their Meeting at the UN General Assembly

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Statements by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as They Began their Meeting at the UN General Assembly

Source: Israel PMO, 9-21-11

President Obama:  As I just said in the speech that I gave before the UN General Assembly, the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable, and the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security is unbreakable.  Indeed, I think it’s fair to say that today our security cooperation is stronger than it has ever been.  I’m  looking forward to a good discussion with Prime Minister Netanyahu about the events not only here in the United Nations, but also of the developments that have been taking place in the region.

As I just indicated, peace cannot be imposed on the parties.  It’s going to have to be negotiated.  One-sided declarations in the United Nations will achieve neither statehood nor self-determination for the Palestinians, but

Israelis and Palestinians sitting down together and working through these very difficult issues that have kept the parties apart for decades now…  the ultimate goal of all of us, which is two states, side by side, living in peace and security.  Recent events in the region remind us of how fragile peace can be and why the pursuit of Middle East peace is more urgent than ever.  I think we need to pursue that peace, and know that the Prime Minister recognizes that America’s commitment to Israel will never waiver and that our pursuit of a just and lasting peace is one that is, not only compatible, but we think puts Israel’s security at the forefront.

So, it is a great pleasure to have the Prime Minister here.  I want to thank him for his efforts…

PM Netanyahu:  I want to thank you, Mr. President, for standing with Israel and supporting peace through direct negotiations.  We both agree this is the only way to achieve peace.  We both agree that Palestinians and the Israelis should sit down together and negotiate an agreement of mutual recognition and security.  I think this is the only way to get to a stable and durable peace.  You’ve also made it clear that the Palestinians deserve a state, but it’s a state that has to make that peace with Israel, and therefore their attempt to shortcut this process, not negotiate peace – that attempt to get state membership in the United Nations will not succeed.  I think the Palestinians want to achieve a state in the international community, but they’re not prepared yet to give peace to Israel in return.

And my hope is that there will be other leaders in the world, as part of the UN, who will meet your call, Mr. President, and oppose this effort to shortcut peace negotiations – in fact to avoid them – because I think that avoiding these negotiations is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians and bad for peace.  I know that these leaders are under enormous pressure and I know that they are also in this house which has, from personal experience I can tell you, automatic majorities against Israel, but I think that standing your ground, taking this position of principle, which is also, I think, the right position to achieve peace – I think this is a badge of honor and I want to thank you for wearing that badge of honor, and also to express my hope that others will follow your example, Mr. President.  So I want to thank you.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו והנשיא אובמה בפתח פגישתם באו”ם (תרגום מאנגלית):

הנשיא אובמה: כפי שאמרתי כרגע בנאומי בפני עצרת הכללית באו”ם, הקשרים בין ארצות הברית לבין ישראל הם בלתי שבירים, והתחייבותה של ארצות הברית לביטחונה של ישראל בלתי שבירה אף היא. אכן, אני סבור שאפשר לומר שכיום שיתוף הפעולה הביטחוני בינינו איתן מתמיד. אני מצפה לשיחה טובה עם ראש הממשלה נתניהו לא רק לגבי האירועים שמתרחשים כאן בעצרת האו”ם, אלא גם לגבי ההתפתחויות האזוריות.

כפי שציינתי, אי אפשר לכפות שלום על הצדדים. חייבים לנהל משא ומתן. הצהרות חד-צדדיות באו”ם לא ישיגו מעמד של מדינה ולא הגדרה עצמית לפלסטינים. ישראלים ופלסטינים חייבים לשבת ולעבוד ביחד כדי לדון בנושאים הקשים הללו שמפרידים בין הצדדים במשך עשורים רבים. זוהי המטרה המשותפת של כולנו – שתי מדינות, זו לצד זו, החיות בשלום וביטחון אחת עם השנייה. אירועים שהתרחשו באזור לאחרונה ממחישים לנו עד כמה השלום יכול להיות שברירי ומדוע החתירה לשלום במזרח התיכון חשובה היום יותר מאי פעם. עלינו לחתור לשלום הזה. אני יודע שראש הממשלה מודע לכך שמחויבותה של ארצות הברית לישראל בלתי ניתנת לערעור וששאיפתנו לשלום צודק ובר קיימא איננה רק נכונה, אלא גם מציבה את ביטחונה של ישראל בעדיפות העליונה.

לכן, עונג רב לי לארח את ראש הממשלה כאן. ברצוני להודות לו על מאמציו.

רה”מ נתניהו: ברצוני להודות לך, אדוני הנשיא, על תמיכתך בישראל ועל תמיכתך בשלום שיושג דרך משא ומתן ישיר. שנינו מסכימים שזוהי הדרך היחידה להשיג שלום. אנחנו מסכימים שעל הפלסטינים והישראלים לשבת יחד ולנהל משא ומתן על הסכם של הכרה הדדית וביטחון. בעיניי, זוהי הדרך היחידה להשיג שלום יציב ובר קיימא. הבהרת גם שהפלסטינים זכאים למדינה, אבל על המדינה הזו לעשות שלום עם ישראל, ולכן הניסיון שלהם לקצר התהליך ולא לנהל משא ומתן, הניסיון לזכות בחברות מדינית באו”ם לא יצליח. לדעתי, הפלסטינים רוצים להשיג מדינה בקהילה הבינלאומית, אולם הם אינם מוכנים להעניק לישראל שלום בתמורה.

לכן תקוותי שיהיו מנהיגים אחרים בעולם, כחלק מהאו”ם, שיענו לקריאתך, אדוני הנשיא, ויתנגדו למאמץ זה לקצר את תהליך המשא ומתן לשלום – למעשה להתחמק ממנו. בעיניי, הימנעות ממשא ומתן מזיקה לישראל, מזיקה לפלסטינים ומזיקה לשלום. אני מבין שהמנהיגים הללו נמצאים תחת לחץ כבד ואני מבין שהם גם נמצאים בבית הזה, שמניסיוני האישי אוכל לומר שקיים כאן רוב אוטומטי נגד ישראל. אבל בעיניי עמדתך האיתנה, עמדתך העקרונית – שהיא גם לדעתי העמדה הנכונה כדי להשיג שלום – היא אות של כבוד. ברצוני להודות לך על כך שאתה ענוד אות כבוד זה. ברצוני גם להביע את תקוותי

Israel Political Brief September 19, 2011: PM Netanyahu Calls on Palestinian Authority Chairman to Open Direct Negotiations

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu Calls on Palestinian Authority Chairman to Open Direct Negotiations

Source: PMO, 9-19-11

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this evening said that he is interested in meeting with the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, in New York.  “I call on the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority to open direct negotiations in New York, which would continue in Jerusalem and Ramallah.  I propose to President Abbas to begin peace negotiations instead of wasting time on futile unilateral measures,” the Prime Minister said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that unilateral measures are not the way to advance peace between us and added that the way to achieve peace is through direct negotiations and not via declarations at the UN.

Featured Op-Eds Gov. Rick Perry in the Wall Street Journal: The U.S. Must Support Israel At the U.N.

FEATURED OP-EDS

Governor Rick Perry submitted this op-ed, which appears in the Wall Street Journal:

Obama policies have encouraged the Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations with Israel.

The historic friendship between the United States and Israel stretches from the founding of the Jewish state in 1948 to the present day. Our nations have developed vital economic and security relationships in an alliance based on shared democratic principles, deep cultural ties, and common strategic interests. Historian T.R. Fehrenbach once observed that my home state of Texas and Israel share the experience of “civilized men and women thrown into new and harsh conditions, beset by enemies.”

Surrounded by unfriendly neighbors and terror organizations that aim to destroy her, the Jewish state has never had an easy life. Today, the challenges are mounting. Israel faces growing hostility from Turkey. Its three-decades-old peace with Egypt hangs by a thread. Iran pursues nuclear weapons its leaders vow to use to annihilate Israel. Terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians from Hezbollah and Hamas continue. And now, the Palestinian leadership is intent on destroying the possibility of a negotiated settlement of the conflict with Israel in favor of unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations.

The Palestinian plan to win that one-sided endorsement from the U.N. this month in New York threatens Israel and insults the United States. The U.S. and the U.N. have long supported the idea that Israel and its neighbors should make peace through direct negotiations. The Palestinian leadership has dealt directly with Israel since 1993 but has refused to do so since March 2010. They seem to prefer theatrics in New York to the hard work of negotiation and compromise that peace will require.

Errors by the Obama administration have encouraged the Palestinians to take backward steps away from peace. It was a mistake to call for an Israeli construction freeze, including in Jerusalem, as an unprecedented precondition for talks. Indeed, the Palestinian leadership had been negotiating with Israel for years, notwithstanding settlement activity. When the Obama administration demanded a settlement freeze, it led to a freeze in Palestinian negotiations. It was a mistake to agree to the Palestinians’ demand for indirect negotiations conducted through the U.S., and it was an even greater mistake for President Obama to distance himself from Israel and seek engagement with the hostile regimes in Syria and Iran.

Palestinian leaders have perceived this as a weakening of relations between Israel and the U.S, and they are trying to exploit it. In taking this destabilizing action in the U.N., the Palestinians are signaling that they have no interest in a two-state solution. The Palestinian leadership’s insistence on the so-called “right of return” of descendants of Palestinian refugees to Israel’s sovereign territory, thereby making Jews an ethnic minority in their own state, is a disturbing sign that the ultimate Palestinian “solution” remains the destruction of the Jewish state.

The U.S.—and the U.N—should do everything possible to discourage the Palestinian leadership from pursuing its current course.

The U.S. should oppose the statehood measure by using our veto in the Security Council, as President Obama has pledged to do, and by doing everything we can to weaken support for the unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood in the General Assembly. The U.S. must affirm that the precondition for any properly negotiated future settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is the formal recognition of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state behind secure borders.

Since the Oslo accords were signed in 1993, the U.S. has provided more than $4 billion in aid to the Palestinian Authority. This year alone, the Obama administration is seeking to secure $550 million in funding for Palestinians. The U.S. has an interest in the development of Palestinian civil society and institutions. We should encourage Palestinians who are more interested in building a prosperous future than in fueling the grievances of the past.

Our aid is, and must remain, predicated on the commitment of the Palestinian leadership to engage honestly and directly with the Israelis in negotiating a peace settlement. Their threatened unilateral action in the U.N. signals a failure to abide by this commitment.

We must not condone and legitimize through our assistance a regime whose actions are in direct opposition to a peace agreement and to our vital interests. The Palestinian people should understand that their leaders are now putting this much-needed support in jeopardy and act in their own best interests—which are also the interests of peace.

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