Trump has “every intention” of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

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Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO / EPA

Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders hail election of Donald Trump, whose campaign promises would overturn decades of US foreign policy

By Peter Beaumont / The Guardian
November 9, 2016


“Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country. This is the position of the president-elect: the era of a Palestinian state is over.”
— Naftali Bennett, Israeli Education Minister


Israeli government ministers and political figures are pushing the U.S. president-elect, Donald Trump, to quickly fulfill his campaign promise to overturn decades of US foreign policy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv.

Their calls came as one of Trump’s advisers on Israel and the Middle East, David Friedman, told the Jerusalem Post that Trump would follow through on his promise.

“It was a campaign promise and there is every intention to keep it,” Friedman said. “We are going to see a very different relationship between America and Israel in a positive way.”

Other political figures — including Israel’s controversial far-right education minister, Naftali Bennett — went further, suggesting that Trump’s election should signal the end of the two-state solution and aspirations for a Palestinian state.

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Why Israel Refuses to Choose

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Photo courtesy of Rina Castelnuovo / The New York Times

By Roger Cohen / The New York Times
October 28, 2016


“Two states are not achievable in the foreseeable future,” the former Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, told me. “It has become a process about a process, and not real.”


There is agreement on very little in the fractious Holy Land, but on one issue there is near unanimity these days: A two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more distant than ever, so unimaginable that it appears little more than an illusion sustained by lazy thinking, interest in the status quo or plain exhaustion.

From Tel Aviv to Ramallah in the West Bank, from the largely Arab city of Nazareth to Jerusalem, I found virtually nobody on either side prepared to offer anything but a negative assessment of the two-state idea. Diagnoses ranged from moribund to clinically dead. Next year it will be a half-century since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank began. More than 370,000 settlers now live there, excluding in East Jerusalem, up from about 249,000 in 2005. The incorporation of all the biblical Land of Israel has advanced too far, for too long, to be reversed now.

Greater Israel is what Israelis know; the smaller Israel west of the Green Line that emerged from the 1947-49 war of independence is a fading memory. The right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with its contempt for Palestinians and dissenting voices in general, prefers things that way, as the steady expansion of settlements demonstrates. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, has lost the legitimacy, the cohesion and the will to do much about it. The cancellation of municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza that had been set for this month was another sign of paralyzing Palestinian infighting. . . .

Within Israel, where Netanyahu has now amassed more than a decade in power, the political and cultural drift is toward ever more assertive and intolerant nationalism. Criticism is increasingly equated with treason. Groups like B’Tselem, which focuses on allegations of human rights violations against Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territories, are under withering attack. The Messianic religious Zionism that holds all the West Bank to be Israel’s by biblical decree is ascendant. The left is in feeble disarray.

[Continue reading here . . . ]

American Weapons Are Blocking Peace

Obama’s $38 billion weapons deal is the nail in the coffin for a two-state solution

By Sandy Tolan, The Nation
October 18, 2016


“The military alliance between the United States and Israel has long been at odds with the stated intentions of successive administrations in Washington to foster peace in the Holy Land. One White House after another has preferred the “solution” of having it both ways: supporting a two-state solution while richly rewarding, with lethal weaponry, an incorrigible client state that was working as fast as it could to undermine just such a solution.”


Washington has finally thrown in the towel on its long, tortured efforts to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians. You won’t find any acknowledgement of this in the official record. Formally, the United States still supports a two-state solution to the conflict. But the Obama administration’s recent 10-year, $38 billion pledge to renew Israel’s arsenal of weaponry, while still ostensibly pursuing “peace,” makes clear just how bankrupt that policy is.

For two decades, Israeli leaders and their neoconservative backers in this country, hell-bent on building and expanding settlements on Palestinian land, have worked to undermine America’s stated efforts—and paid no price. Now, with that record weapons package, the United States has made it all too clear that they won’t have to. Ever.

[Continue reading here . . . ]

At the Boiling Point with Israel

The New York Times Editorial Board
October 6, 2016


“The ever expanding settlements have poisoned Palestinian hopes and functioned variously as a spark, a target and an excuse for violence, intensifying the conflict.”


If the aim of the Israeli government is to prevent a peace deal with the Palestinians, now or in the future, it’s close to realizing that goal. Last week, it approved the construction of a new Jewish settlement in the West Bank, another step in the steady march under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to build on land needed to create a Palestinian state.

The Obama administration, with every justification, strongly condemned the action as a betrayal of the idea of a two-state solution in the Middle East. But Mr. Netanyahu obviously doesn’t care what Washington thinks, so it will be up to President Obama to find another way to preserve that option before he leaves office. [Continue reading . . . ]