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France: Jerusalem should be capital of two states

In France’s eyes, Jerusalem should, within the framework of a negotiated peace deal, become the capital of two states... In broad terms, France condemns the ongoing settlement, including in East Jerusalem. We reiterate the need for a freeze on colonization activities, including those linked to natural population growth.

Poll: “1 in 4 Israelis would consider leaving country if Iran gets nukes”

“The findings are worrying because they reflect an exaggerated and unnecessary fear,” Prof. David Menashri, the head of the [Iranian Studies] Center, said. “Iran’s leadership is religiously extremist but calculated and it understands an unconventional attack on Israel is an act of madness that will destroy Iran. Sadly, the survey shows the Iranian threat works well even without a bomb.”

Yossi Melman: Obama quashed Israel military option against Iran

The supreme tenet of Israeli defense policy states that Jerusalem must not launch any strategic initiative that stands in contradiction, or places in harm's way, the clear interests of the United States. This stance has underpinned every fateful decision taken by Israel relating to matters of war and peace... If this tenet remains the cornerstone of defense policy, then Israel once again will not act against the explicit wishes of the U.S.

Gideon Levy: A friend of Israel

We must be thankful to Obama... he is trying to rescue Israel, the Middle East, and basically the entire world... The ball is in Netanyahu's court. If he ends the occupation, he'll get peace and security; if he doesn't, he won't.

IOA Editor: Levy's unbridled enthusiasm about Obama's Middle East plans is not justifiable but may be explained as a desperate desire for someone to step in and block Netanyahu - a sincere hope, but not one grounded in reality.

Senators urge Obama to ‘mind’ risk to Israel in two-state solution

A Majority of 76 Senators urged President Barack Obama Tuesday to advance Middle East peace talks while minding the “risks” Israel faces in a two state solution to its conflict with the Palestinians.

Irene Gendzier: Past tense, present sense: considering US oil interests and the connection with Israel/Palestine – 1945-49

There was a revealing interlude in mid-September 2007, when the former Federal Reserve Chair, Alan Greenspan, was quoted in The Washington Post of Sept.17, 2007, as saying that "the removal of Saddam Hussein had been ‘essential' to secure world oil supplies...." Greenspan's statement, that "the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil," apparently shocked the White House, leading an anonymous White House official to explain, "well, unfortunately, we can't talk about oil." The former Federal Reserve Chair was already on record as conceding that he was ‘saddened that it was "politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.

Mustafa Barghouthi: Can Obama meet Netanyahu’s challenge?

I am increasingly convinced that if Obama fails to speak out now, it will doom the two-state solution forever. Further fiddling in Washington -- after eight years of it -- will consign Jerusalem, the West Bank and the two-state solution to an Israeli expansionism that will overwhelm the ability of cartographers to concoct a viable Palestinian state.

Peace Now: ’Natural growth’ – Israel’s trick for West Bank expansion

As Akiva Eldar reports,figures for 2006-07 reveal that the housing shortage in settlements stems largely from “migration” from Israel proper to communities beyond the Green Line, as well as the addition of new immigrants from abroad.

Amira Hass: The writing on the wall

We came to annihilate you; Death to the Arabs; Kahane was right; No tolerance, we came to liquidate. This is a selection of graffiti Israeli soldiers left on the walls of Palestinians' homes in Gaza, which they turned into bivouacs and firing positions during Operation Cast Lead. Here and there, a soldier scribbled a line of mock poetry or biblical quote in the same sentiment. There were also curses on the Prophet Mohammed and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, along with shift schedules and favorite soccer teams.

Amira Hass: Israel bans books, music and clothes from entering Gaza

Altogether only 30 to 40 select commercial items are now allowed into the Gaza Strip, compared to 4,000 that had been approved before the closure Israel imposed on Gaza following the abduction of Gilad Shalit, according to merchants and human rights activists.

Poll: 40% of Israeli Arabs believe Holocaust never happened

The survey shows that Holocaust denial among Israeli Arabs has become more prevalent in recent years... “This radicalization in the positions of Arabs was caused by a series of factors such as the Second Lebanon War, the stalemate in the negotiations with the Palestinians.”

Liverpool cuts funding for festival that includes ’anti-Semitic’ play

Since its February debut, Jewish leaders have condemned “Seven Jewish Children” as anti-Semitic. The play is said to tie the Nazi murder of Jews during the Holocaust with the killing of Palestinians in Gaza by Israel. It also depicts an Israeli’s decision to tell a child not to feel sorry for dead Palestinians.

UN: Israel should reveal secret torture centers, if they exist

A United Nations report published Friday by the world body’s Committee Against Torture urged Israel to reveal secret torture facilities.

Anthony Cordesman: Obama, Netanyahu, and the Future of U.S.-Israeli Relations

On the eve of Netanyahu’s While House visit on Monday, a report by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & and International Studies was released today, reiterating earlier findings (see below). It criticizes any possible Israeli military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, and it points to the potential ramifications such an attack, and the continued Israeli-Palestinian stalement, may have on U.S.-Israel relations.

“President Barack Obama’s meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raises some of the most serious issues in U.S.-Israeli relations. It is premature to judge how the Netanyahu government will deal with either the Arab-Israeli issue or Iran, but both could be major sources of tension if the two countries do not go deeper than their usual dialogue. The United States and Israel are allies, but this scarcely means that they have identical strategic interests or that U.S. ties to Israel cannot be a liability as well as an asset.”

Israeli attack on Iran: A Study of Options and Consequences

“[A]ll the declarations about developing the operational capability of IAF aircraft so they can attack the nuclear facilities in Iran, and the empty promises about the ability of the Arrow missile defense system to contend effectively with the Shahab-3, not only do not help bolster Israel's power of deterrence, but actually undermine the process of building it and making it credible in Iranian eyes.

The time has come to adopt new ways of thinking. No more fiery declarations and empty threats, but rather a carefully weighed policy grounded in sound strategy. Ultimately, in an era of a multi-nuclear Middle East, all sides will have a clear interest to lower tension and not to increase it.”

New West Bank roads jeopardizing chances for peace accord

[T]he area known as E1, linking the settlement to East Jerusalem... is the only area that [candidate] Netanyahu explicitly committed to developing... His political rival... Ehud Barak also publicly expressed support for building there... All of these developments share a single common denominator - by taking “a dunam here and a dunam there,” they are tightening Israel’s grip on the land... These steps seriously diminish the already narrow possibility of reaching a final-status agreement with the Palestinians. Over the past decade Palestinian officials have hinted that they could come to terms with Ma’aleh Adumim, but that willingness is unlikely to extend to the giant “bubble” developing around the settlement.

IOA Editor: Both Likud and Labor candidates - now government partners - share the vision, plans, and actions designed to sever the West Bank in order to make a future independent Palestinian state impossible. And, “US protest,” and “Obama’s determined veto,” recently mentioned frequently in connection with Israeli settlement expansion are, so far, entirely theoretical: indeed, mere speculations.

Letter to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund

“We, Israeli organizations, comprised of Jewish and Palestinian women and men and dedicated to building a just peace and to promoting human rights and equal civil rights in Israel/Palestine, call upon the Norwegian people to join us in our efforts and to stop investing in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory...” [Signed by 20 Israeli/Palestinian organizations]

Gideon Levy: Twilight Zone / PlayStation

Mohammed Abu Akrub returned from school one afternoon and stood in the street with a few friends, doing nothing, according to him. Six Israel Defense Forces jeeps appeared suddenly and announced a curfew in the village. That was the start of the abuse of Mohammed and his five friends - abuse that continued until dawn, when the six were tossed out of the jeeps, wounded and battered.