The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
We initially thought it rather odd that President Obama chose an audience of mostly students to deliver an important speech during his visit to Israel last month. Indeed, his message was a call for them to change the Israeli system from within so that the government might be more receptive to peace proposals.
What was perplexing was that any prospect for that sort of change necessarily would have to await the maturing of his audience, which, in any event, numbered a just few hundred. This was hardly an urgent plan for the here and now. In fact, the administration had been signaling for weeks prior to the trip that the president was not bringing any specific proposals with him and tried to lower expectations of a breakthrough.
Now Secretary of State John Kerry seems to be following in the president’s footsteps with his touting of a long-term economic development package for the Palestinians to encourage them to agree to resume negotiations with Israel. Significantly, he has also urged PA President Mahmoud Abbas to agree to a resumption of talks without any preconditions, which, of course, is the Israeli position.
According to an article last week in The Wall Street Journal,
The Obama administration is mapping out an economic strategy in the Palestinian areas of the West Bank, using both U.S. government funds and private-sector involvement, in a bid to restart direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
The effort will involve the U.S. Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corp., and U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as private American companies, Secretary of State John Kerry said at the end of a three-day visit to Israel.
The Obama administration is betting that economic improvements will encourage Palestinians to view peace talks positively. It plans to pair the investment with a focus on allowing greater freedom of movement by Palestinians throughout the West bank and an easing of Israeli restrictions on business.
To be sure, the WSJ piece and similar stories in The New York Times and The Jerusalem Post have Mr. Kerry saying the economic plans were not in lieu of a political track and that there could be some quick benefit to the Palestinians. But in all three reports there is clearly no sense of immediacy to the overall plan.
Mr. Abbas certainly seems to get the drift and greeted Mr. Kerry’s proposal with a reiteration of his preconditions for a resumption of talks and the addition of some more. According to most accounts, his list now includes a halt to all construction and renovation within the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem; the prompt release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails; receiving an Israeli map of final borders; Israel’s turning over parts of Area C to Palestinians; and a commitment from Israel to never again withhold tax revenues.
One is reminded of President Obama’s observation about substantive preconditions during his Mideast trip: “If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time, then there is no point for negotiations…”
But Mr. Abbas knows this and he knows that Prime Minister Netanyahu could never agree to his preconditions. He persists, though, in signaling to President Obama that he must pressure Israel to make concessions rather than continue his arms-length approach. In the interests of true peace, let us hope the president does not bend.
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Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?
American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”
“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”
Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims
The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
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