Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ATFP Peace Building ... civic muscle

ATFP Ending the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Youth Factor: The Missing Element in the Middle East Peace Process
April 1, 2014

Ironically, the major problem facing us now is not the novelty, but the staleness, of the idea of peace between Israel and Palestine. We need to treat peace as an idea that is still fresh, or at least that can be refreshed.

Surrounded by fanatics
April 1, 2014

Words matter. Sensible people know that. But fanatics know it too. Those who strive for peace between Israel and the Palestinians are keenly aware of their encirclement by radical propaganda. This has been true for decades, but the intensity of mania on the fringes isn't abating.

World Press Round Up

A tiny fringe group of radical Israeli settlers, mostly teenagers and young men, have been carrying out acts of vandalism in recent years to protest what they perceive as the Israeli government's pro-Palestinian policies and in retaliation for Palestinian attacks.
People walk past Hebrew graffiti that reads, "America equals Nazi Germany," at the Deir Rafat convent, central Israel, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Israeli police say vandals have scrawled hate graffiti on a Catholic monastery in central Israel and slashed the tires of nearby cars. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
ATFP Pres. Ziad Asali’s Statement at the UN Conference on the Question of Palestine in Ecuador March 26, 2014 "...encouraging in word and deed the parties to do what they need to in order to make serious progress towards a peace agreement."

ATFP Gala 2013

 American Task Force on Palestine... A Decade of Achievement: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About ATFP

 ATFP is a vehicle and asset for those Palestinian and Arab Americans who wish to make use of it. And it can serve as an exemplar for those who want to emulate or elaborate on its approach through organizations or initiatives of their own. Others who chose a different path should make use of the openness of the American political system to advance their own agendas. The single greatest asset belonging to the Palestinian- and Arab-American communities is our citizenship in by far the most powerful country in the world, which is also a free society that imposes no structural, legal or practical barriers to our own participation as fully engaged Americans. Anyone can assert their rights to full, equal American citizenship and help to define and implement our core, indispensable national interests, which include Middle East peace based on the creation of a Palestinian state.

ATFP on facebook

Commissars of Arab-American political correctness want the community powerless 

IBISH: ‘Tough love’ can keep Israel and the Palestinians honest

Israel is used to indulgence from the West, but it’s beginning to experience unexpected and uncomfortable forms of pressure. The Palestinians are used to being pressured by the West regarding Israel, but not on internal governance. It’s high time for a period of “tough love” for both, and this seems to have begun. It’s in everyone’s interests.

Israel has been trying to get into the US visa waiver programme, meaning that citizens of Israel wouldn’t need a visa to enter the United States. But US law requires that American citizens must receive the same treatment. And it’s been clear for decades that Israel discriminates against Palestinian and other Arab Americans.

This was acknowledged by the state department last week when spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted: “The department of homeland security and state remain concerned with the unequal treatment that Palestinian Americans and other Americans of Middle Eastern origin experience at Israel’s border and checkpoints, and reciprocity is the most basic condition of the visa waiver programme.”

In other words, the Obama administration is not going to make Israel an exception in allowing it to discriminate against American citizens on the basis of their ethnicity, religion or national origin.

There has been a recent spike in the number of rejections of Israeli visa applications. In the House of Representatives, a bill that effectively exempted Israel from the reciprocity clause languished. Instead, in January, the committee on foreign affairs adopted the “US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013”, which requires Israel to “satisfy” and “continue to satisfy” section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act for inclusion in the visa waiver programme. This requires “reciprocal privileges” for Americans.

The position of the state department and department of homeland security on Israel’s well-documented discrimination against Palestinians and other Arab Americans means it clearly wouldn’t qualify under the House bill.

Legislation pending in the Senate incoherently contains language that would both require Israel to comply with Section 217 and simultaneously be allotted a special dispensation to discriminate against Americans. Given the position of the House and the administration, it now seems almost certain that Israel’s efforts to get the United States to wink at its undeniable record and practice of discriminating against Palestinian and Arab Americans just isn’t going to happen.

The apparent collapse of efforts to include Israel in the US visa waiver programme is only the latest instance of what might be termed “tough love” coming from its western allies. This particular instance is pursuant to American anti-discrimination legislation and the rights of all Americans.

But many recent comments from both Barack Obama and John Kerry, the US secretary of state, have been much more blunt about the dangers facing Israel in the event of a collapse of peace talks with the Palestinians, and the limitations of what the US might be able, or implicitly interested, in doing to prevent the “international fallout.”

Among the key examples of this is an even “tougher” form of “love” coming from the European Union and individual European states, who are beginning to put substance into their long-standing policies objecting to Israel’s illegal settlement project.

They have already insisted that multilateral and public sector projects don’t include funding or support for any settlements. And Germany, Israel’s closest friend in Europe, is pushing to extend those restrictions to bilateral and private sector projects in any territories “not under Israel’s jurisdiction before June 1967”. If that happens, most other European countries will quickly follow suit.

For their own purposes, both the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) that seeks to target Israel as a whole rather than the occupation and settlements, and the Israeli government are trying to conflate the emerging European policy with BDS.

Benjamin Netanyahu spent a good deal of his recent speech at the American pro-Israel  organisation  AIPAC doing just that, with the overt purpose of making Europe’s actions seem anti-Israel, if not anti-Semitic. But in truth, the two are totally unconnected and pursuant to different goals.

Whatever BDS activists may imagine, European statesmen don’t read their blogs or Twitter feeds, and are not inspired by their rhetoric. The Europeans are pursuing the logic of their own policies and – since the United States does not appear to object to any of this – also potentially giving the Americans at least additional rhetorical leverage with Israel.

Europe’s policies aren’t anti- Israel. They are pro-peace and pursuant to international law. This is friends doing what friends should do: helping each other see what’s in their best interests and refusing to cooperate with self-destructive behaviour.

The Palestinians, too, require some “tough love.” The “love” they need is much greater aid and technical support from the West and the Arab world.

The “tough” part would be for the donor community to demand, as they can and should, that Palestinian advancements in recent years in good governance, transparency and security professionalism – many of which have frayed over the past 12 months – be at least restored to their former standards. The Palestinian people clearly want effective and accountable governance, and the donor community has unique leverage to help them ensure they get it.

The Palestinians and Israelis need their friends to help them achieve peace. But, like everyone, they also need their friends to help keep them honest. That’s what real friends do.

Hussein Ibish is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, a columnist for Now Media and blogs at On Twitter: @ibishblog.

ATFP's fundamental mission is to advocate that a conflict-ending solution that allows two states, Israel and Palestine, to live side-by-side in peace, security and dignity is in the American national interest. ATFP emphasizes its role as an American organization serving American interests first and foremost. ATFP sees those interests as directly and indispensably served by the creation of a Palestinian state in the territories occupied in 1967. It believes such an arrangement is the only potential conflict-ending solution and supports negotiations to achieve it. ATFP also seeks to bring Americans and Palestinians closer together at every level, and to mainstream Palestine, Palestinians, Palestinian Americans in the American policy and broader national conversations.

ATFP also stands for the continuous improvement of the Palestinian quality of life despite the political and diplomatic variables. ATFP strongly supports Palestinian economic development, institutional-building and reforms aimed at good governance, accountability, transparency and the rule of law. ATFP supports the creation of a state of Palestine that is democratic, pluralistic, tolerant and peaceful. ATFP believes that resolving the Palestinian issue is inextricably linked with developments in the Arab world and the broader Middle East. It also holds that American interests and values are complementary rather than contradictory in the Middle East, and especially with regard to Palestine.

Ziad Asali


President and founder of American Task Force on Palestine. ____RTs are interesting!
Washington D.C. ·

No comments:

Post a Comment