The United States views East Jerusalem as no different than an illegal West Bank outpost with regard to its demand for a freeze on settlement construction, American sources have informed both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
This clarification came in the context of a growing crisis in U.S.-Israel relations over the planned construction of some 20 apartments for Jews in the Shepherd Hotel, in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The U.S. has demanded that the project be halted, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet meeting Sunday that “Israel will not agree to edicts of this kind in East Jerusalem.” [continued…]
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled meeting with US Mideast envoy George Mitchell has been postponed at least until the end of the month.
Another meeting between the two, which was set to take place in Paris last month, was also cancelled.
Mitchell was originally scheduled to arrive in Israel on Sunday and later hold meetings with senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah. Jerusalem did not state the official reason for the delay, but some officials suspect it relates to the fact that the Netanyahu and Obama administrations have yet to resolve their differences on the issue of settlement expansion in the West Bank, among other things. [continued…]
Who is to blame for the latest dispute with the United States over the new neighborhood going up in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah area? Mayor Nir Barkat? Certainly not. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who stood behind him? Ridiculous. Any child knows that everything is the fault of other Jews: Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, two American administration officials who are inciting President Barack Obama against their own people.
This is not the first time that “self-hating Jews” have given us trouble. In negotiations over the separation of forces agreement in the 1970s, U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, the scion of a family of Jewish refugees who had escaped from Nazi Germany, earned the anti-Semitic epithet “Jewboy” in Israel. At the end of the 1980s, when president George H.W. Bush dared to argue that the peace process does not jibe with settlement expansion, the Shamir government instigated a campaign against “the ‘Jewboy’ trio”: Dennis Ross, Aaron Miller and Dan Kurtzer. Now it is the turn of Obama’s Jewish confidantes to be the scapegoats.
It is easy to imagine what an uproar there would be in Jerusalem if an Arab leader or newspaper dared to claim that an American president was favorable to Israel because of the influence of a Jewish adviser. Netanyahu, who spent many years in the United States, knows very well the extent to which Jewish administration officials in key positions are sensitive to the slightest hint of dual loyalty – to their birthplace and their historic homeland. It turns out that for him, politics bends the iron-clad rule that “all Jews are responsible for one another.” [continued…]
In a hilltop suburb South of Jerusalem called Efrat, Sharon Katz serves a neat plate of sliced cake inside her five-bedroom house, surrounded by pomegranate, olive and citrus trees that she planted herself. She glances out the window at the hills where, she believes, David and Abraham once walked. “We are living in the biblical heartland,” she sighs.
It is a heartland the prophets would not recognize, replete as it is with pizza parlor, jazz nights at the coffee shop, grocery store and yellow electronic gate with machine-gun-wielding guards. Efrat is one of 17 settlements that make up a bloc called Gush Etzion, located not in Israel but in the occupied West Bank. The Katzes (Sharon, husband Israel and five children) consider themselves law-abiding citizens. They publish a small community magazine and take part in civic projects. Sharon raises money for charity by putting on tap-dancing and theater shows. And yet to much of the outside world, the Katzes are participating in an illegal land grab forbidden by the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit an occupying power from settling its own civilians on militarily controlled land. Some Israelis have admitted as much. While Benjamin Netanyahu, then as now Prime Minister, was negotiating with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1998, Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon got on Israeli radio and urged Israelis to settle more land fast. “Grab the hilltops, and stake your claim,” he said. “Everything we don’t grab will go to them.” [continued…]
The Pope and the cardinals of the Vatican help organize tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to wipe out Jews, according to a booklet being distributed to Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
Officials encouraging the booklet’s distribution include senior officers, such as Lt. Col. Tamir Shalom, the commander of the Nahshon Battalion of the Kfir Brigade. [continued…]