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American “National-Security Leaders” Rally for Mahmoud Abbas

March 15 2018

Recently a group of former government officials, most of whom have held prominent foreign-policy positions, bought advertising space in the New York Times to call for the establishment of a Palestinian state and to set forth some parameters for the peace treaty that would create it. These self-styled “national-security leaders” also urged the U.S. and Israel to respond favorably to Mahmoud Abbas’s recent UN speech calling for an international conference to resolve the Israel–Palestinian conflict. Although their statement claims to follow established U.S. policies, writes Elliott Abrams, it is in fact “radical”:

The statement is radical . . . in embracing the Palestinian view that only Israel is to blame for the failure of peace negotiations. . . . Nowhere does it note that for nine years running, the PLO has refused to come to the table and negotiate. . . . [N]owhere does the statement actually demand that the PLO do the single thing that should be most obvious: agree to get back to the negotiating table. . . .

The statement is [also] radical in holding that the American role over the years is blameworthy. . . . The statement is, [finally], radical in backing fully the Palestinian demand that the traditional American role in fostering negotiations must be usurped by others. . . .

Clearly the signers believe the United States has long been much too pro-Israel. And now the dreaded Trump administration has gone even farther in that direction (for example, one must suppose, by recognizing that Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, is Israel’s capital)—and this is intolerable. Therefore the signers demand that the “International Community” take over. This is not entirely unreasonable in one way: we can surely count on the “International Community” to abandon the support of Israel that has characterized American foreign policy, and to try to force a solution unfavorable to Israel. Israel has 70 years of experience with the “International Community” and it is bitter.

After all, that “International Community” includes 57 Islamic states, the EU, and countries hostile to Israel such as Sweden and Cuba. The statement is, then, is a cry of anguish about the Trump administration’s strong support of Israel and a demand that someone, somewhere, start meeting to take the Palestinian side and pressure Israel for concessions.

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Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

As a good-faith gesture, the Western European and Others Group promised Israel that it and Belgium would run uncontested for the two open 2019-20 [Security Council] seats. Then, in 2016, Germany announced it would also run—even though it already served as a council member [multiple times, including] as recently as 2011-12. . . . [U]nless Belgium yields, Israel’s hopes for UN respect seem doomed for now—and maybe for the foreseeable future.

Why? Diplomats have been telling me Israel violates too many Security Council resolutions to be a member—as in the one passed during the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, which marked Jewish holy sites as occupied Palestinian territory. But is building a porch in [the West Bank town of] Ma’ale Adumim really such a huge threat to world peace?

How about, then, a report released last week by UN experts on the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions? It found Germany violated a council ban on sparkling wines, exporting $151,840 worth of bubbly and other luxury goods to Kim Jong Un’s cronies. Or how about, as the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reports, German companies exporting to Iran banned materials that were later used in chemical attacks in Syria?

Never mind. Germany (and Belgium) will surely benefit from the UN’s habit of magnifying Israel’s violations beyond all proportion. Thus, Israel’s petition to join the most prestigious UN club will likely be rejected, thanks to a late entry by a shameless [and] cynical German power play against the Jewish state.

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Read more at New York Post

More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations