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Jewish Voice for Peace Statement on Secretary of State Kerry’s Announcement of Peace Talks PDF Print E-mail
Jul 19, 2013 at 04:56 AM

http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/blog/jewish-voice-for-peace-statement-on-secretary-of-state-kerry-s-announc

Today Secretary of State John Kerry announced that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have “established a basis” for resuming formal peace talks, and may meet in Washington D.C. as early as next week.

We understand why Secretary of State Kerry and others caution against cynicism. Yet it is impossible to ignore the reality that conditions for productive talks are far from ideal.  In fact, none of the conditions that have doomed peace talks over the last twenty years have fundamentally changed.

The Israeli government is extremely right-wing, with several Ministers that lead powerful factions declaring their satisfaction with the status quo or outright opposition to talks.  The Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, has a credibility problem, given that it represents only a portion of the Palestinian people, and faces tremendous economic pressure from donor nations to return to negotiations.

Fears that the Israeli government will use the possibility of talks only to find political cover are justified, especially as the EU has newly announced policies on settlements and as public opinion worldwide becomes more impatient with its ongoing occupation and rights violations. The number of settlers living over the Green line has tripled since Oslo began in 1993, and less than 24 hours ago the Israeli government approved over 700 new homes in Modi’in Ilit, on land illegally taken from the Palestinian village of Bil’in.

Perhaps the greatest concern is that the U.S. will continue its decades-long practice of acting, in the words of Aaron David Miller, a 25-year veteran of the peace talks, as “Israel’s attorney.” Just a few days ago, the Obama administration’s nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, said in her confirmation hearings that “the United States has no greater friend in the world than the state of Israel”—while simultaneously vowing to work to get Israel a seat at the Security Council.

Jewish Voice for Peace would welcome moves by Secretary of State Kerry to use the tools at his disposal—including the generous military aid the U.S. provides Israel annually, more than to any other country in the world—to hold Israel accountable to the U.S.’s stated policies on settlements and international law.  We can only hope to see any progress toward equality, freedom, and security for all the people of Palestine and Israel if he shows a willingness to actually enforce those positions in the negotiations process.

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Launch of the "Nakba-60 Campaign"

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights

29 November 2007

60 Years After the UN Partition Plan

Launch of the "Nakba-60 Campaign" - a Global Campaign for the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

"We had a country, but they they came and stole our country", members of the old generation of Palestinian refugees from towns and villages in what is now Israel summarize what happened between 1947 - 1949, and they call it the "Nakba" (catastrophe). "Look, they are stealing our country", say Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank today. They point at Israel's Wall, roads, military checkpoints and Jewish colonies which deprive them of access to some 40 percent of the land and cause more displacement. "This is our Nakba; the Nakba is ongoing", they say.

Today, 60 years after the UN Partition Plan, Palestinians and people of conscience worldwide launch a year-long campaign of public awareness-raising and education about the Nakba and Israel's discriminatory Apartheid-like regime over the Palestinian people in the 1967 OPT, Israel and in exile.

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