Personal accounts of current events in Palestine and Israel; commentary and analysis from the Middle East, the USA and Europe
Commentary & Analysis

Uri Avnery's Column

Gideon Levy articles & opinion

Avraham Burg - Opinion

Commentary by
James Wall

The Two-State Illusion
by Ian S. Lustnick

A Palestinian Pastor's Advice for President Obama
by Rev. Alex Awad

Wrestling in the Daylight: A Rabbi's path to Palestinian Solidarity  by Rabbi Brant Rosen

"Change without Progess in the Middle East"
by Ambassador Chas Freeman

"Justice Requires Action to Stop Subjugation of Palestinians"
by Desmond Tutu

"Why I Refuse"
by Moriel Rothman

Messages from Janet Lahr Lewis, UM Liaison to Israel-Palestine

Personal Accounts: Testimonies of Methodist Ecumenical Accompaniers


"Goldstone's Legacy for Israel" by Naomi Klein

"Mourning the Jewish New Year" by Prof. Marc Ellis

"Palestine Papers Expose US as Dishonest Broker"
  by Alison Weir

"Top 10 Reasons for  
Skepticism on Talks"

  by Josh Ruebner

"Boycotting the boycotters"
by Gideon Levy

"Apartheid in Holy Land"
  by Desmond Tutu

"Nakba Day is a Reminder"
    by Yousef Manayyer

"Israel's racism spreads"
   by Zvi Bar'el

Holy Land Christians' Decline
  Al-Jazeera video report

Two articles on Israel's
Independence Day 2010
  by Burston; Avnery

Presbyterian General Assembly 2010 - News and Commentary

"End US Tax Exemption 
for Settlements"

  by Sama Adnan

"A Call for Livable Futures"
  by Rela Mazali

"Israel 2007: Worse Than

Ronnie Kasrils, SoAfrican

"Israel's Greatest Loss:
Its Moral Imagination"

by Henry Siegman

Can Muslim & Jewish  
Narratives Co-exist?

Jewish Respect for Islam

Muslims & Jews Closer  

Tragedy of Monotheism

Using Qur'anic narratives

"Israel has got responsibilities. Israel must deal with the settlements. Israel must make sure there is a contiguous territory that the Palestinians can call home."

President George W. Bush – June 3, 2003 

January 24, 2011
Council for the National Interest

"Palestine Papers" Expose U.S. As Dishonest Peace Broker

Any remaining illusion that the United States has ever been an honest broker in Israel-Palestine peace talks vanished yesterday. The Arab news outlet Al-Jazeera released a nearly 1700 document dump on the negotiations for a two state solution with a promise of more to come over the next few days. It's disappointing, but too often the case, that the U.S. mainstream media has not extensively covered the story. But the explosive facts are now out there, visible for everyone to see. The papers include background memos and reports of meetings and negotiating positions focused on the time period 2008-9. Britain's Guardian newspaper describes the documents as a chronicle of “the slow death of the Middle East peace process.”

The Palestinian negotiators, it is now clear, offered far more both at Annapolis and at Taba Egypt peace talks than anyone not directly involved in the process believed at that time. They were willing to cede control over most of East Jerusalem as well as nearly all the ground on the West Bank on which the major Israeli settlements contiguous to Jerusalem were located. The major Muslim holy site the al-Aqsa mosque, Harm al’Sharif, would have been subject to what chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat described as a “creative” solution, possibly being placed under control of a special commission. Erekat described the concessions as creating the “largest Jerusalem in history” under Jewish control.

The Palestinian diaspora would have no right of return to their former homes in Israel and Israel even floated the idea of expelling its Arab citizens and resettling them on the West Bank. It was virtually a complete capitulation, the result of a powerless illegitimate entity that does not reflect the will of its people having to deal with a very powerful opponent totally supported by the world’s superpower. The Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni declared that the Palestinian concessions were not enough as the Palestinians had balked at conceding one major settlement Har Homa that blocked their access to their rump portion of Jerusalem from the West Bank. Livni wanted 100% and was supported in her obduracy by President George W. Bush and his staff.

The Palestinian people have rightly been shocked by the concessions being considered in their name, but it is a sign of the desperation of their negotiators striving for a settlement at nearly any price as they watch continuing acquisitions of land and settlement building on the West Bank by the Israeli government.

If the Palestinian people believe they have been betrayed by their leadership that is something they will have to deal with themselves. But the American people have also been betrayed by a phony process that has dragged on for years at great cost to the taxpayer while inflicting terrible damage on the international standing of the United States. Israel continues to receive $7 million a day directly from the U.S. Treasury plus much more in earmarks and tax deductible donations used to fund illegal settlements. Throw in the billions that have gone to Egypt and Jordan to keep the peace with Israel and the total costs to the United States have been staggering.

The Council for the National Interest believes that the unconscionable posturing and blank check granted to successive Israeli regimes by both Democratic and Republican U.S. Administrations acting under pressure from the Israel lobby has effectively destroyed any conceivable peace process. The United States has an interest in encouraging a just settlement for the Palestinians and Israelis but it has instead frittered away its opportunity to serve as an arbiter of the situation by consistently throwing vast sums or money at the problem while simultaneously embracing Israeli “security” positions. Security is genuinely an issue, but it is the security of the American people, who are targeted by terrorists as a result of Washington’s embrace of Tel Aviv. American soldiers overseas are likewise the targets of militant groups who use the repression of the Palestinians as a recruiting tool and morale booster. Enough is enough. Israel is not part of the United States and the damage deriving from the relationship should be suggesting to everyone in congress and in the media that it is time for a change of course.  

We are witnessing the collapse of the misguided American project in the Middle East and the specter of irreparable harm to U.S. security and international standing. The Council for the National Interest is calling for a new and rational direction. U.S. interests must come first and they demand a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian question that is rooted first and foremost in International law and consistent with American professed respect for human rights. Anything less would be another of a series of profound errors by successive U.S. administrations.

Alison Weir

Council for the National Interest

“Every time I have gone to Israel in connection with the peace process on each of my trips I have been met with the announcement of new settlement activity. This does violate United States policy. It is the first thing that Arabs--Arab governments—the first thing that Palestinians in the territories—whose situation is really quite desperate—the first thing they raise when we talk to them. I don’t think there is any greater obstacle to peace than settlement activity that continues not only unabated but at an advanced pace.”

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III – May 22, 1991 

Churches for Middle East Peace has created a collection of statements
by US officials over several decades
regarding Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
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