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Lieberman: U.S. demand to end East Jerusalem building is ‘unreasonable’


Last update – 09:54 31/03/2010

By Barak Ravid, Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Service and Agencies
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday deemed unreasonable the demands of the United States and the international community over Israel’s construction in East Jerusalem.

“This demand from the international community is mainly an opportunity to increase pressure on Israel and to demand unreasonable things,” the foreign minister said at a joint press conference with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Meanwhile, the government’s top seven ministers deliberated late into the night on Wednesday over Israel’s response to the demands put forth by the Obama administration regarding construction in East Jerusalem and the future of the peace process.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had anticipated an official reply to the demands from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as early as yesterday, but none was forthcoming.

Israeli diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said a further delay in responding to Clinton could exacerbate the rift between the two countries. They said it may compel U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to cancel a scheduled meeting with Netanyahu in Washington next week.

The “forum of seven ministers” was unanimous in agreeing on the need to resolve the crisis with the United States. Still, a majority of the ministers expressed serious reservations over Clinton’s demands, including the cancellation of the Ramat Shlomo housing plan in East Jerusalem.

Netanyahu will make every effort to formulate an Israeli response that will be both agreeable to the ministers and mollify the Obama administration.

During their telephone conversation late Tuesday, Biden failed to persuade Netanyahu to agree to the administration’s demands. “There was a difficult air to the conversation, and it ended with no results and no agreements,” a senior official in Jerusalem said.

The American administration said yesterday that it was still waiting for a reply from Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, Clinton departed for Moscow on Wednesday to participate in a conference of the Quartet for Mideast peace. Washington has made clear that it would behoove Israel to submit a response before the Quartet convenes its meeting tomorrow.

The U.S. envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, delayed his visit to the region this week due to the rift, though Mitchell is now considering whether to arrive on Sunday to advance indirect “proximity talks” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu is scheduled to fly to Washington on Sunday for pro-Israel lobby AIPAC’s annual conference. An Israeli diplomatic source said the Americans are considering a high-level boycott of the prime minister – namely, no meeting with either Biden or Clinton – if he fails to issue an official reply to Clinton’s demands by tomorrow.

U.S. President Barack Obama will not be in Washington during Netanyahu’s visit.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1157109.html

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OpEd from Alan Hart: Zionism’s Dark Forces Don’t Want the Lights On


By Alan Hart

March 22, 2010 “Information Clearing House” – – At the opening of AIPAC’s annual foreign policy conference its new president, Lee Rosenberg, was not a happy man. As he put it, “In recent days we have witnessed something (the Obama administration’s initial public anger with Netanyahu and his government) very unfortunate.”

The Biden “incident”, Rosenberg said, was “regrettable”, but Netanyahu had apologized “four separate times” and said “the announcement” (of more Jewish construction in occupied Arab East Jerusalem) was “hurtful and should not have been made.” Quite so, Mr. Rosenberg. It would have been much better from Zionism’s point of view if the announcement had not been made and Israel had just got on with the business of de-Arabizing East Jerusalem.

In any relationship even the best of friends were going to disagree, Rosenberg said, but it was “how friends disagree, how they react when missteps occur, that can determine the nature of the relationship.”

Then he made his three key points:

“Number one, the people of Israel and the democratically elected government of Israel passionately believe in peace. And Israel is committed to its alliance with America.

“Number two, the United States and Israel both have a responsibility to work with one another and achieve that peace. That is what allies do.

“And three, allies should work out their differences privately.”

That brought AIPAC’s new president one of three standing ovations.

Why should disagreements between American administrations and Israeli governments be kept from the public?

Rosenberg’s answer was: “History shows that when America pressures Israel publicly, it provides an opportunity for those who wish to derail the peace process to have their way.”

Ah, so it’s not Israel that is making peace impossible?

Rosenberg could not have been more explicit with AIPAC’s take on that aspect of the matter.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let us be clear, the reluctant partner in this peace process is not Israel’s elected leader Prime Minister Netanyahu. (Another standing ovation).

“The recalcitrant partner is the Palestinians and their leader – President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The Palestinians are bitterly divided between Hamas and Fatah – that is a problem. The failure of President Abbas to end his nay-saying and come to the table for direct talks which Prime Minister Netanyahu has been committed to from the start – that is a problem. The failure of the Arab world to begin normalizing its relationships with Israel – that is a problem.

“Israel is not the problem. Israel is America’s partner. (The third standing ovation).

When I was a child my father often said to me, “Boy, there are none so blind as those who don’t want to see.”

But blind though AIPAC is for that reason, it’s not completely out of touch with reality. It knows that the more Zionism’s on-going colonisation is exposed to the light, the more the world understands that Israel is the obstacle to peace. (The world now includes some of the U.S.’s top military men who are going on the public record with their view that support for Israel right or wrong is not in the best interests of America).

If you are a Zionist, the case for keeping the lights off is a very strong one.

At the time of writing, I’m waiting, as no doubt many others are, to see if President Obama returns to his surrender mode when he meets with Netanyahu tomorrow.

Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and their global consequences and terrifying implications – the possibility of a Clash of Civilisations, Judeo-Christian v Islamic, and, along the way, another great turning against the Jews – for nearly 40 years.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25048.htm

UN and WHO concerned with Gaza healthcare


UN, WHO concerned with Gaza healthcare
Wed, 20 Jan 2010 17:48:06 GMT
Palestinian children hit a poster showing Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (R) and the head of Kadima Party Tzipi Livni.
The United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) voice concern about the blows the Israeli-imposed blockade have dealt to the Gazan healthcare system.

“We are deeply concerned about the current health system in Gaza and in particular its capacity and ability to deliver proper standards of healthcare to the people of Gaza,” the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Max Gaylard was quoted by AFP as saying on Wednesday.

“This adverse situation is not like Haiti. Haiti has been destroyed by an earthquake…. The circumstances here are entirely man-made and can be fixed accordingly,” he added in an apparent reference to the iron-cast Israeli blockade which has deprived the Gazans of their basic needs since mid-June 2007.

The comments were echoed by those of WHO, which says the embargo has made certain medication scarce, delayed or blocked the entry of vital equipment and spare parts, and kept doctors and nurses from pursuing advanced training, AFP added.

Referring to Israel’s refusal to allow many Palestinian requests for decent medical attention, Tony Laurence, the organization’s head for the Palestinian territories said, “If that happened in my country, in the UK, in Europe, in Israel, if an individual who needed urgent treatment was unable to get out because of a bureaucratic obstacle, it would be a scandal.”

“Here it happens to 300 or 400 people every month,” he added.

The WHO figures show that some 231 such applications were denied by the Israeli officials last month. The world body claims 27 Palestinians died last year, queuing up for the permission.

Gaza’s main Al-Shaifa hospital is reportedly in a near-collapse condition, as patients die because of a lack of specialist doctors and basic medical equipment. The hospital is not safe from the threat of Israeli offensives amid claims by Israeli intelligence sources that Palestinian fighters were hiding in its basement.

The three-week-long Israeli raids on the enclave in December 2008-January 2009, which left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, and the Zionist regime’s sporadic attacks ever since have worsened the humanitarian catastrophe, which threatens the lives of some 1.5 million Gazans.

Last week, Israeli forces attacked a clinic and children’s hospital. The attack on the al-Dorra children’s hospital was in defiance of a UN Security Council call for ceasefire.