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Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, January 21, 1955, Part 4

August 25, 2010 1 comment

Compiled by San Diego Jewish World staff

In the Name of “Security” (Editorial)
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 7

The case of Wolf Ladejinsky has again brought into sharp focus the problems facing a people whose precious liberties are being threatened under the guise of “security.”

Ladejinsky, a qualified agriculturist, was dismissed as a “security risk” with no explanation. His proven anti-Communism was used to prove that he could be a spy!

The letter, released by the Agriculture Dept to bolster their stand, lauded the Department’s action on the ground that “a goodly share of those Russian revolutionaries were found among Russian Jews.”  An investigation revealed that the letter was written by a White Russian émigré who admits he never met nor had he ever heard anything derogatory about Ladejinsky.”

The earlier cases of Abraham Chasanow, reinstated after his dismissal from the Navy, and the twenty-four Ft. Monmount scientists, similarly reinstated, aroused grave suspicions that anti-Semitism and other prejudices were operating at various levels of our government.  In spite of formal statements and disavowals these suspicions were never allayed.  Ladejinsky’s dismissal with the mysterious circumstances surrounding his case, the incredible reasons advance to justify the action and the readiness to make use of anti-Semitic material confirms theses suspicions.

It took the action of Harold E. Stassen, Foreign Operations Administrator, to pull the Agriculture Department out of an embarrassing situation which would have made us the butt of international ridicule.

“Security” is the aim of man whether it be for himself or his country.  Where is “Security” for an individual who can be released after years of public service merely because of an accident of birth?

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Banks and Savings (Editorial)
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 7

Savings Week is currently being noted by banks throughout the country. The growth of banking in an Diego has been phenomenal .  Banks and saving institutions have kept pace with this growth by instituting new services to make it easier to save and bank money.  Driveby Banks, Night Deposits and the opening of a large number of branches in every part of the city and ccounties are some of the latest services instituted by the banks.

Travel clubs, Christmas clubs, Bonds and other plans for saving were designed to give the thrifty saver an incentive and a goal to accumulate funds for a specific purpose. 

January is the month for us to lay plans for the entire year. Savings Week is just a reminder that banks are doing all they can to make it easier for us to save. Benjamin Franklin whose birthday is noted this month, extolled the virtues of gathering a nest egg for the future.  He would approve our present day streamlined banking systems.

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False Faces (Editorial)
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 7

The long overdue report on neo-Fascist and Hate Groups by the House Committee on un-American Activities must have been an eye opener to the Congressional investigators. The report plainly shows that these groups invariably turn out to be basically anti-Jewish in character. To quote the forward of the report—“The organized hate group, which masquerades as a defender of our Republican form of government yet conducts hate campaigns against racial and religious minorities in the infamous tradition of the Fascist dictatorships.”

Clearly indicated in the report is the fact that “these Fascist hate groups frequently support the position of the very Communists it allegedly opposes.”  For example, the National Renaissance Party accused the United States Government of seeking to promote a world war to “carry out the economic and political ambitions of a small coterie of international Wall St. bankers.”  Does that sound familiar?  Word for word it comes from the Communist party propaganda.

One of the most virulent of these hate groups has a publication called “Common Sense,” published by Conde J. McGinley, in New Jersey. In contrast to the Fascist National Renaissance Party, the McGinley enterprise appears to be a shrewd and going business.

The report goes on to say that McGinley’s so-called anti-Communist and patriotic publication apparently is not adverse to serving the Communist propaganda cause, and further states that anti-Semitism is the chief stock in trade of “Common Sense” which defines Communism as the “false face of Judaism.”

The Committee Report concludes with the statement that they are continuing their investigation and exposure of Communist conspirators, but that they are convinced that there is also a need for further study, exposure and prosecution of the Fascist hate groups that seek to divide and disrupt the American people.

It is regrettable that any American should contribute to the perpetuation of the hate factories.  If loyal Americans wish to play an active part in protecting their country from subversion, let them remember that there exist agencies well equipped to deal with the traitors from the extreme Left and extreme Right. Beware the 20th Century Janus, who presents two false faces.

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Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 7

By Irving R. Stone, Psychological Consultant

Operation Courtship

History books tell us many interesting things—elections, economic depressions, discoveries, war, little known facts that seem to escape the attention of people, except when some Hollywood motion picture company plays it up and makes the news worthy of a potential Oscar award winner.

I refer to what might be termed “Operation Courtship.”  Those of Napoleon, Lincoln, Miles Standish and Marc Anthony are a few that we can mention.  Not that courtship isn’t a familiar happening, for it is as frequent as birth and taxes. But too often we take such things for granted.

The strange thing is that courtship is so important that even the participants are often unaware that it is happening but when they  are, they are completely different in behavior and thinking. Another  fact is that it starts, in many cases, at a tender age and during the teens may be as intense as in mature adulthood.

Courtship is usually expected to be the time for getting acquainted. Fundamental attitudes and expectations should be extended during this period to make later adjustments easier and often possible.  It is the time to work out many of the later problems which arise in every family –children, budgets, special  needs and living arrangements are but a few.

Irving Stone

As the Psychologist Sees You

Parents frequently become quite alarmed over what seems to be an involvement in the form of a courtship by their adolescent boy or girl. In almost every case, this is part of a normal condition of that age level when crushes seem to abound in every direction, and each month appears to be like New Years –“Ring out the old, ring in the new.” It is far better for the youngster to have one or more of these crushes because it gives them a better opportunity to evaluate the situation when true courtship takes place than to be unaware of the method of handling approaching marriage. Too often, the boy or girl who has not had a share in crushes jumps at the first opportunity for marriage without  evaluating its efficacy.

The only cure for hasty marriages is courtship. It affords planning, evaluation and reevaluation.  It is the intervening step between a crush and a marriage. So, when your child enters a courtship, remember that your youngster is growing up and not just getting older.

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More about Three Hundred Years in America~Jewish Contributions to American History

By Dr. Philip L. Seman, University of Judaism

The last installment of early experiences and records of the synagogue as the Jewish Community Center is an indication that the Jews have for thousands of years recognized the need for centrally located places where the community was given an opportunity to function as social human beings as well as in a civic manner.

However, with the growth of our American communities, the question of the Community Center became a problem. The real problems, so far as the Jew in America is concerned, were not aggravated, however, until 1881, when the Jews of this country were confronted with a large immigration as the result of the pogroms of 1881 in Russia and Poland, and similar atrocities in Rumania in 1902 and 1903.  It was during these years that the number of immigrants arriving in the United States kept increasing in almost impossible proportion to the ability to assimilate them, and meet the many social and economic problems that congestion and large numbers of new comers into a comparative complacent population create.  The immigration, reports show that beginning with the year 1820 to the year 1912 the total number of immigrants that arrived in the United States was 29,000,000 of which approximately 3,000,000 represented Jews. The high water mark was in 1907 when the total immigration was 1,285,000 of which 150,000 represented Jewish immigrants. From the year 1900 to the year 1912, there came to the United States a total of 10,000,000 immigrants of which number approximately 1,500,000 were Jews.  In other words, one-third of this country in 1912 came within a period of 10 or 12 years. These facts alone indicate what an enormous problem American Jewry was confronted with in the matter of adjusting such a huge army of newcomers to an entirely new environment.

It was during these years when the communal workers particularly in New York, but likewise in other large American cities throughout the country, realized the importance of providing facilities for the construction educational, recreational and social life of those who made up in a large measure the congested sections of these cities.  It was during this period that there was developed such agencies as the Educational Alliance in New York; the Young Men’s and Women’s Hebrew Association (now known as the Jewish Community Centers), the Hebrew Technical Institutes and many other similar institutions all over the country where Jews settled in large numbers.  (To Be Continued).

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(Reputation and business)
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 7

A good reputation always proves to be a good business capital.
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(Resolutions)
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 7

Often a man and his New Year’s resolutions go broke together.
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(Spare time)
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 7

The man who makes the best use of his time has the most to spare.

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Famous Group of Jewish Artists Here Sunday March 6th
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 8

Dora Kaliowna and Schmuel Fisher in their first American appearance and also Pola Kadison, talented pianist, will appear in a program of Jewish songs, sketches and comedy.  The Concert will take place at Beth Jacob Center of Sunday, March 6th at 8 p.m. under the sponsorship of Jewish Labor Committee

Dora Kaliowna was born in Lodz, Poland. After she graudated from the government dramatic school in Warsaw, she remained for the theatre a short while and later devoted her talents to solo appearances.

Schmuel Fisher, who is called the Jewish Charlie Chaplin, lived in Israel since 1930, was educated in the University of Art and Literature at Tel Aviv.  He was in the army and gave 500 of his outstanding performances on the fronts during the historical battles of the Israel liberation.  His source of humor and song is unique.

Pola Kadison, the renowned concert pianist, has appeared in many cities in the United States.  She has been acclaimed by the critics as one of the finest interpretes of Folk and Classic music.

For an evening of nostalgic Jewish humor, drama and songs, call Ben Feinberg at Belmont 2-5525 or Belmont 2-3524.  Mrs. Ira Gordon at Cypress 8-6230 or Morris Penn at Hudson 8-5906.

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Dog Show
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 8

The Annual All-Breed Dog Show will open on Sunday, Feb. 13, in the Electric Bldg., Balboa Park.  Entries will come from Canada, Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska and South America.  Entry blansk may be obtained at any pet shop or phone HI 4-4714.

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Golf Greats To Appear At Mission Valley

Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 8

La Jolla, Calif – The best playing conditions in years are anticipated this week when two annual golf classics are staged in the San Diego area.

Clear skies and gentle breezes are predicted for the four-day Convair-San Diego Open Tournament starting January 20 in Mision Valley.

The tournament is sponsored by Convair Division of General Dynamics Corporation on behalf of the San Diego Society for Crippled Children.

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Demos Dance on Valentine’s Day February 12th
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 8

“Music in the Morgan Manner,” Russ Morgan and his internationally famous band will be featured in the St. Valentine’s Day dance planned by the Democratic County Central Committee which is to be held February 12 at 8:30 p.m. in the Mission Beach Ball Room.

The dance will be open to the public at popular prices and tickets are available by contacting D.G. Hamilton, chairman of ticket sales, Room 412 Orpheum Theatre Bldg.  Ticket reservations may be had by mail or call BE 9-4070.

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Settlement Cook Book Supports Center

Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 8

Milwaukee, Wis – The Jewish Community Center of Milwaukee, whose first home was made possible by a cook book, dedicated its new $1,750,000 building on January 16th.  It was profits from the now world-famous Settlement Cook Book which paid for the site on which the local Center’s forerunner, the Abraham Lincoln Settlement House, was erected at the turn of the century. In the dining room of the new building there is a picture of Mrs. Simon Kander, the mother of the original settlement house, whose pioneering book of recipes for Jewish immigrants first appeared in 1901.

It has since become a perennial best-seller.  The sale of 1,250,000 copies of the cook book in its 34 editions has netted the Jewish Community Center of Milwaukee $350,000 over the years, including $50,000 for the new building, as well as substantial sums for scholarships, day care and other community needs.

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(Consideration)
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 8

Consideration for the rights of others is the strongest link in the chain of human friendships.

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Blanc Qualifies In Mayor’s Race
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 8

Sol Blanc, veteran Broadway businessman and former realtor, today filed for qualification papers in the race for mayor of San Diego.

In announcing his candidacy, the Broadway restaurateur and long-time auctioneer pointed to his long record in public life as qualifying him for the top city office.

He said his platform will include such progressive measures providing more downtown parking, critical and hospital care for indigent and service families, inducing industry to move to san Diego, providing more docking facilities for commercial craft and generally working toward “more jobs for the working people, and therefore more business for the businessmen.”

He said he will concentrate on a “good neighbor” policy between San Diego and its neighboring south-of-the-border towns of Tijuana and Ensenada.

He pledged a “two fisted fight, but no mud slinging” in his bid for the mayor’s post and said he already has been assured the backing of several groups in the city.

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(Past and Future)
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 21, 1955, Page 8

You can get rid of your past by building a future out of it.

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“Adventures in San Diego Jewish History” is sponsored by Inland Industries Group LP in memory of long-time San Diego Jewish community leader Marie (Mrs. Gabriel) Berg. Our “Adventures in San Diego Jewish History” series will be a regular feature until we run out of history.  To find stories on specific individuals or organizations, type their names in our search box.

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Ahmadinejad calls Iran’s new drone ‘a messenger of death’

August 24, 2010 Leave a comment

TEHERAN (WJC)–President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has unveiled Iran’s first bomber drone and said it would serve as a “messenger of death” to Iran’s enemies.

The ‘Karrar’ unmanned fighter plane can carry two 115-kilo bombs, or one precision bomb twice that weight. The drone reportedly has a range of 1,000 km, not enough to reach Israel.

On Monday, state television reported that the Iranian military had opened production lines for two new types of assault boats. Iran frequently announces advances in military technology, boasting of self-sufficiency in the face of international sanctions and efforts by the West to isolate the country. However, US State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley warned the new weapons could reduce Iran’s security as Washington partners with allies in the region to counter a potential Iranian threat.

“This is one of the reasons why we believe that if Iran continues on the path that it’s on, that it actually might find itself less secure,” he told reporters in Washington.

The Iranian announcements came amid growing international concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. On Saturday, Russian experts began loading fuel rods into the reactor at the Bushehr nuclear power station. Iran has maintained all along that the site will produce energy, but the United States and some other international observers remain unconvinced.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Mubarak, King Abdullah invited to help launch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)–Following is a transcript of the news conference at which Secretary of STate Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell outlined the agreement between Palestinians and Israelis to directly negotiate for peace.  The news conference was moderated by Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley:

MR. CROWLEY: Good morning and welcome to the Department of State. We have Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here along with our Special Envoy George Mitchell to tell you about the most recent developments in our pursuit of Middle East peace. The Secretary will begin with a brief statement. George Mitchell will stay behind to answer your questions. And we are joined today by your colleagues in the White House Press Corps up in Martha’s Vineyard and we’ll be sharing the – they’ll be sharing the Q&A duties with you.

But we’ll start with Secretary Clinton.

QUESTION: I don’t like that idea. They’re in Martha’s Vineyard. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I will appoint a negotiator to deal with that. (Laughter.)

Since the beginning of this Administration, we have worked with the Israelis and Palestinians and our international partners to advance the cause of comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including a two-state solution which ensures security and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians. The President and I are encouraged by the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas and fully share their commitment to the goal of two states – Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

After proximity talks and consultations with both sides, on behalf of the United States Government, I’ve invited Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Abbas to meet on September 2nd in Washington, D.C. to re-launch direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues, which we believe can be completed within one year.

President Obama has invited President Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan to attend in view of their critical role in this effort. Their continued leadership and commitment to peace will be essential to our success. The President will hold bilateral meetings with the four leaders followed by a dinner with them on September 1st. The Quartet Representative Tony Blair has also been invited to the dinner in view of his important work to help Palestinians build the institutions of their future state, an effort which must continue during the negotiations. I’ve invited Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas to join me here at the State Department on the following day for a trilateral meeting to re-launch direct negotiations.

As we move forward, it is important that actions by all sides help to advance our effort, not hinder it. There have been difficulties in the past; there will be difficulties ahead. Without a doubt, we will hit more obstacles. The enemies of peace will keep trying to defeat us and to derail these talks. But I ask the parties to persevere, to keep moving forward even through difficult times, and to continue working to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region.

As we have said before, these negotiations should take place without preconditions and be characterized by good faith and a commitment to their success, which will bring a better future to all of the people of the region.

George. Thank you all.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, are you traveling to Pakistan (inaudible) concern, Madam? Thank you, Madam.

MR. MITCHELL: I’ll be pleased to respond to any of your questions.

QUESTION: As tempted as I am to ask you about Roger Clemens, I’d rather – or P.J. perhaps. (Laughter.)

MR. CROWLEY: I predicted that.

QUESTION: Can you tell us what was the turning point here? What was it that got the – that overcame the final snags to get them to come back to direct talks?

MR. MITCHELL: We believe it’s the recognition by the parties themselves, by their leaders – Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas – that the best outcome is an agreement which results in two states living side by side in peace and security, and that the only way that can be achieved is through direct negotiations between the parties in which the United States will be an active and sustained participant, and with the full support of our many friends and allies around the world, including, of course, specifically, the Quartet.

QUESTION: But what was it that got them to – I mean, you’ve been trying to do this for months now.

MR. MITCHELL: Yeah.

QUESTION: And why – so why – how is it that today, you’ve gotten to this point, whereas three days ago, you weren’t at this point?

MR. MITCHELL: Yeah. I think it’s the cumulative result of the efforts made over that time and the recognition by the parties that this is the right time. We will be active participants and there is broad support, as you know, by members of the Quartet and others around the world. But in the end, these decisions will be made by the parties themselves.

MR. CROWLEY: And (inaudible) Senator Mitchell —

QUESTION: Senator Mitchell, could you —

MR. MITCHELL: I’ll let – why don’t I let P.J. —

QUESTION: Could you talk about the sequencing of the talks? Will they discuss territory, refugees, or Jerusalem first, or will this all be in parallel?

MR. MITCHELL: All permanent status issues will be on the table. It will be for the parties themselves to decide the manner by which they should be addressed.

QUESTION: Senator Mitchell —

QUESTION: Yes. Madam Secretary mentioned without doubt there will be more – without doubt, there will be more obstacles. What will these obstacles be? What are the main sticking points that are going to be going forward?

MR. MITCHELL: We are all well aware that there remains mistrust between the parties, a residue of hostility developed over many decades of conflict, many previous efforts that have been made to resolve the conflict that had not succeeded, all of which takes a very heavy toll on both societies and their leaders. In addition, we all know that, as with all societies, there are differences of opinion on both sides on how best to proceed, and as a result, this conflict has remained unresolved over many decades and through many efforts. We don’t expect all of those differences to disappear when talks begin. Indeed, we expect that they will be presented, debated, discussed, and that differences are not going to be resolved immediately.

But we do believe that peace in the Middle East, comprehensive peace, including, but not limited to, an end to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, is very much in the interests of Israelis and Palestinians, of all people in the region; it’s in the national security interests of the United States, and therefore, we are going to continue to pursue that objective with patience, perseverance, and determination. We know that will be difficult. We know, as the Secretary said, there will be obstacles. But we’re going to proceed, as I said, with patience, perseverance, and determination.

MR. CROWLEY: Go ahead.

QUESTION: Senator Mitchell, sir, the Palestinians, the Israelis, and the United States have been down that road many times before. Now, what is in your opinion, sir, this time around that engenders – or should engender hope and optimism to get these talks into its intended end? And what kind of incentive did you offer President Abbas to entice him into the direct talks?

MR. MITCHELL: I don’t want to repeat everything I said in response to prior questions, but I will say that I believe that it is very much in the interest of people in both societies that there be an end to this conflict enabling both to live in peace and security. And I believe that their leaders believe and understand that, and therefore, notwithstanding the many difficulties that they face – and we recognize those difficulties – this is the best course for them.

On the question of past efforts in failing and succeeding, I’ll return, if I might, to my experience in Northern Ireland. I chaired three separate sets of discussions in Northern Ireland, spanning a period overall of five years. The main negotiation lasted for 22 months. During that time, the effort was repeatedly branded a failure. I was asked at least dozens, perhaps hundreds, of times when I was leaving because the effort had failed.

And of course, if the objective is to achieve a peace agreement, until you do achieve one, you have failed to do so. In a sense, in Northern Ireland, we had about 700 days of failure and one day of success. And we approach this task with the same determination to succeed notwithstanding the difficulties and notwithstanding the inability to get a final result so far, including past efforts. But past efforts at peace that did not succeed cannot deter us from trying again, because the cause is noble and just and right for all concerned.

MR. CROWLEY: Let’s take Michele and then Kirit and then we’ll go up to Martha’s Vineyard and come back.

Michele.

QUESTION: I wanted to get a sense of this timeline, this 12 months that the Secretary talked about. Do you see that as a deadline or is that – or is it looser than that? And also, just following up on this other question. I mean, what makes this peace process any different from all other peace processes?

MR. MITCHELL: We will only know the answer to your second question when it is completed. But I believe that, as I said in response to the previous question, that the cause is so important, so right, so just, that our continued effort is the right thing to do, and we are going to pursue it with determination. I believe that the two leaders themselves, President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu, are sincere and serious and believe that it can be done, and we will do everything humanly possible to help them see that it is done.

With respect to your first question, Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a public appearance in this country on his most recent visit to Washington that he believed it could be done within a year. President Abbas has expressed similar sentiments to me, and I hold strongly to that belief, having now been involved for some time in the region. So, we believe it can be done within a year and that is our objective.

QUESTION: But it’s not a deadline then?

MR. CROWLEY: Kirit, one more and then we’ll go up to Martha’s Vineyard.

QUESTION: It took you about nine months to get to the point where these guys were willing to sit down and talk to each other. What makes you think that you can get them to agree to peace in one year? At what point during this process is the U.S. willing to put its own ideas on the table to help move this forward? And after the initial set of talks here in D.C., where do you expect the talks to take place?

MR. MITCHELL: I’ll take your questions in reverse order. One of the subjects to be discussed in the meeting on September 1st and 2nd, and also in preparatory meetings that have been occurring on a regular basis and will continue between now and then, will be the timing and location of subsequent meetings, and we certainly expect some of those meetings to occur in the region.

With respect to the timing and nature, how long it took to get here and how long will it take to get in, I don’t think one is a necessary determinant of the other. It’s – I liken it to the first time I owned a house and had it painted. It took the painters seemingly forever to prime the building and the walls. I kept asking myself, “When are they going to start painting? We’re paying by the hour and we want some progress.” (Laughter.) And after this seemingly endless priming, they painted it very quickly.

Now, I don’t want to suggest one year is quickly, but I don’t think that events leading up to the negotiations are themselves decisive in terms of the negotiations themselves. We believe that the statements by the prime minister regarding within one year are credible and appropriate. We believe that President Abbas shares a similar view, as do we. And that’s what we’re going to pursue.

QUESTION: And at what point does the U.S. put its own ideas on the table in this process?

MR. MITCHELL: We will be active and sustained partners, although we recognize that this is a bilateral negotiation and we have indicated to both parties that, as necessary and appropriate, we will offer bridging proposals. But I repeat: This is a direct bilateral negotiation between the parties with our assistance and with the assistance of our friends and allies. And although nobody has asked it, I do want to take a moment to acknowledge and recognize the enormous support and assistance we have received from many of our friends and allies: Egypt, under President Mubarak; Jordan, under King Abdullah; many of the other Arab states; the other members of the Quartet; the United Nations under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has been extremely helpful in this process; the European Union, with Lady Ashton as the foreign minister; and the – Russia, with Foreign Minister Lavrov, have all been active and very helpful along with other European states.

So it’s important to understand that while the United States is playing an important and active and sustained role, we do so with full participation, full input, full consultation, full discussion, and we hope full support, from a wide variety of allies whose efforts have been extremely important getting us to this phase and will be extremely important in reaching a conclusion. 

MR. CROWLEY: Operator, we’ll go to take two or three questions from White House press corps.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Our first question comes from Philip Hartley with Washington Today. Please ask one question.

QUESTION: Good morning. Actually, it’s two; I apologize. Have all the invited parties accepted the United States’ invitation to weigh in next month? And the Secretary had mentioned references to peace in the world, and as an envoy of peace, I wanted to know what your thoughts are on whether the proposed mosque be built at the Ground Zero site.

MR. MITCHELL: I’m sorry, I didn’t understand.

MR. CROWLEY: We’re not here to talk about that latter subject. We’ll take the next question. What was the question?

QUESTION: Wait —

QUESTION: The first part was —

MR. CROWLEY: Have they accepted.

MR. MITCHELL: What was the first question?

MR. CROWLEY: Have they accepted the invitation?

MR. MITCHELL: We have been in consultation with both. We expect to hear from them shortly, but it will be their decisions on whether to accept.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll take the next question, Operator.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Jonathan Broder with Congressional Quarterly.

QUESTION: Yeah. Do both parties have to ask for the U.S. to step in with its bridging proposals, or is it enough for one party to ask for that bridging proposal?

MR. MITCHELL: We’re getting a little bit ahead of the game now to be speculating on what may or may not occur well into the process. As I stated earlier, this is a direct bilateral negotiation with the active and sustained support of the United States. And we will make bridging proposals at such time as we deem necessary and appropriate. But I don’t want anyone to have the impression that we are somehow going to supplant or displace the roles of the parties themselves, nor do we have any view other than that this must, in the end, be an agreement by the parties themselves.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll take one more, Operator, then we’ll come back here to this.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Ron Kampeas with JTA.

QUESTION: Thank you. One technical question and then a real question. On September the 2nd – is that – are they actually – are you actually launching direct talks on September the 2nd, or are the leaders getting together with the Secretary to discuss the re-launching of direct talks? And the other thing: What role, if any, does Hamas have in this process?

MR. MITCHELL: The first question is yes, we are launching direct negotiations beginning on September 2nd. And the second question is: None.

QUESTION: Senator, is re-launching the direct negotiations without preconditions means that we are re-launching the direct negotiations without terms and references?

MR. MITCHELL: Only the parties can determine terms of reference and basis for negotiations, and they will do so when they meet and discuss these matters. As you know, both we and the Quartet have previously said that the negotiations should be without preconditions.

QUESTION: Thank you. Can you tell us whether they’re going to start from scratch, or will they build on what talks that – during the Olmert period? And the second question is whether Israel is expected to continue the freeze. Do you think that they’ll continue the freeze? Do you think the Palestinians will continue their boycott of settler goods?

MR. MITCHELL: The parties themselves will determine the basis on which they will proceed in the discussions, in response to your first question. In response to the second, our position on settlements is well-known and remains unchanged. We’ve always made clear that the parties should promote an environment that is conducive to negotiations. And as the Secretary said in her statement a few moments ago, it’s important that actions by all sides help to advance our effort, not hinder it.

MR. CROWLEY: Charlie.

QUESTION: Senator, just to follow up on that and a previous question, your position is well-known on settlements, but the Israelis, when they’ve chosen to, have ignored it and gone ahead with settlement construction as they’ve seen fit to do. Do you have any understanding from them that they will not do that this time?

And referring to the earlier question on Hamas and your quick answer that they will have no role, how do you get around the fact, even in the best of all circumstances that you negotiate an agreement, how do you get around the fact that Hamas is playing a huge role in Gaza?

MR. MITCHELL: With respect to the first question, let’s be clear that the declaration of the moratorium itself last November was a significant action, which has had a significant effect on new housing construction starts in the West Bank. And as I said, our position on settlements is well-known, remains unchanged, and we expect both parties to promote an environment conducive to negotiations.

With respect to Hamas, let’s be clear. Hamas won a legislative election. They acknowledge the continued executive authority of President Abbas and his team, and it is entirely appropriate that we negotiate with the executive head of that government. When Democrats regained control of the Congress in 2006, that didn’t end President Bush’s tenure as president, and others who wanted to negotiate with the United States negotiated with the legally elected and then-chief of our executive branch of government. And that is the situation here.

QUESTION: So you expect Hamas to accept any decision made by President Abbas at these negotiations?

MR. MITCHELL: It is not for me to make decisions for others.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll take one more here, then we’ll go back up to the phones.

QUESTION: Senator Mitchell, is it your understanding that this would be a shelf agreement, something to take effect at a later date when political conditions in the Palestinian territories allow, or is it your understanding that this is something that would take effect in a very short period after it was agreed?

MR. MITCHELL: That’s obviously subject to the results of the negotiations. We are not creating limitations or restraints upon what the parties may agree to. Our hope is that there will be an agreement that will end the conflict for all time and will result in the establishment of a viable, democratic, and independent state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel.

MR. CROWLEY: Operator, we’ll take one or two more from the phones.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question on the phone is Margaret Talev with McClatchy newspapers.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks for taking our questions. The Palestinian press has reported that the U.S. put the harshest pressure to date on the Palestinians to get them into the talks. What I want to know is why did the U.S. feel that this was the time, in the Palestinians’ view, to bully the Palestinians into talking, considering the politics of the Israeli administration right now?

MR. MITCHELL: The United States position has been well-known from the time that this administration entered office. We have and we do favor direct negotiation between the parties to resolve the conflict and to produce an agreement that results in two states living side by side in peace and security. We have encouraged the two parties to enter into such negotiations and they have now agreed. And we are – we believe it’s the right thing to do, we think that both of the leaders believe it’s the right thing to do, and we believe it’s in the best interests of the people they represent.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll take one more, Operator, from the phone.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Susan Garraty with News Talk Radio.

QUESTION: Hello, Senator Mitchell. You harkened back to the Northern Ireland peace process, and as you certainly recall, the President then played a very intimate role in that. Considering that many Americans themselves are even confused about President Obama’s religious affiliation, do you feel like the people of the Middle East on both sides of this issue will see President Obama as an honest broker and someone that they can actually reach out to in that same intimate fashion?

MR. MITCHELL: Yes, I do believe that they do and will continue to regard President Obama in that fashion. I will say that from the outset, both he and the Secretary of State have played an important, indeed critical, role in this effort. Both are deeply involved on a regular basis and deeply, personally committed to the cause of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. I think that is not only widely recognized throughout the region and the world, but very much appreciated, and in particular, throughout the region.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll take a couple of wrap-ups. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes. Senator Mitchell.

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: The total settlement freeze never happened, so I was wondering, how can these talks be considered authentic in the region when that demand was never met?

MR. MITCHELL: We believe that there is a basis for proceeding and achieving a successful result, and we’re going to pursue that. We do not take the position that if you don’t get everything you want the first time you ask for it, you pack up your bags and go home. If that had been the standard applied in South Africa, there would never have been peace there; in Northern Ireland, there would never have been peace there; in Bosnia, there would never have been peace there.

It takes patience, persistence, a willingness to go back again and again, to not take the first no as a final no, to not take the 50th no as the final no or the 100th no. We are patient, we are persevering, and we are determined, and we believe there is a basis for concluding a peace agreement in the region, and that’s what we’re going to pursue.

MR. CROWLEY: Samir.

QUESTION: Senator, do you understand that – you expect Abbas to accept entering these talks without preconditions?

MR. MITCHELL: Both the United States and the Quartet have said that we believe there should be direct talks without preconditions. And we also have said many times that we think that these talks should be conducted in a positive atmosphere in which the parties refrain from taking any steps that are not conducive to making progress in the discussions, that negotiate seriously and in good faith. And in all of these respects, we think that there is a basis for making progress.

QUESTION: So the talks won’t be based on the Quartet statement of March 19?

MR. MITCHELL: The parties are the only ones who can determine what the basis of their discussions are, and that is the case.

QUESTION: Yes, thank you. Senator, so many Palestinians, as you know, and Arabs believe peace with the actual Israeli Government is practically impossible because of its nature, past statement regarding refugees, Jerusalem, et cetera. Aren’t you concerned that by setting this one-year deadline, you’ll probably be raising expectations just like a la Camp David and all what happened after that?

MR. MITCHELL: The reality is, of course, that there are some in both societies who do not believe that the other side is serious, who do not trust the other side, who do not wish to proceed with the other side. And if we accept the premise that because some in one or both societies hold these views that we cannot proceed, then of course, what we are doing is consigning all of those people to never-ending conflict, never-ending difficulties. We simply don’t believe that’s a proper basis for any country, and certainly not ours, the United States, on which to base its policy.

We believe that the best course of action is the direct negotiations that result in a peace agreement ending this conflict and resulting in two states living side by side in peace and security. We believe the only way to achieve that is through direct negotiations. We believe that if those negotiations are conducted seriously and in good faith, they can produce such an agreement within 12 months. And that is our objective. We acknowledge, we recognize, as you have just stated, that there are many who don’t believe that, many who don’t want that, many who will act to prevent that.

But their lack of belief, their contrary views, their contrary actions cannot serve to prevent us from trying to deal with this conflict, nor can it prevent the leaders of those countries who both recognize that the interests of their people, the future of their societies rests upon resolving this conflict and achieving the kind of peace and stability and security from which they will all benefit.

MR. CROWLEY: Last question, Mark Landler.

QUESTION: Senator, this Administration believed from the early days that its Middle East strategy and its Iran strategy were linked in the sense that if you could make progress in one, you might help make progress in another and vice versa. You now are moving into a period of less engagement and more confrontation with Iran. I’m wondering whether you think that is an added hurdle to a peace agreement or is it something that could actually help in the sense that the Israelis may feel that the U.S. is going to be tough on Iran and it allays their fears somewhat in that regard.

MR. MITCHELL: That extends somewhat beyond the area of my involvement in this process, and so I would defer for a more full and thoughtful answer to those who are directly engaged on the broader issues. I will simply say that if you look at the Middle East and review its history over just the past half century, never mind several millennia, you will conclude that there is no really, quote, “right time” to do this, that there always have been and always will be issues external to the immediate parties that have an effect upon what is occurring.

And in my judgment, what is occurring in the – throughout the region, not just in Iran but in other areas, all add compelling, cumulative evidence to the need to act with respect to this conflict. That is to say, whether or not the circumstance you describe produces the result you describe, it still remains a compelling argument that it is very much in the national security interest of the United States, in terms of dealing with other conflicts, to assist, to do all we can with the help and support of our allies, to bring about a resolution of this conflict. It helps in so many ways, and most importantly, it’s the best thing for the Palestinian people and for the people of Israel. And it is in our national security interest and in that of others.

Thank you all very much. It’s been a pleasure to be with you.

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Preceding provided by the U.S. State Department

World reacts to resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Quartet calls on Israelis, Palestinians to exercise restraint as talks proceed

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)–The following statement was issued today by the Middle East Quartet (United Nations, Russian Federation, United States, and European Union).

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The representatives of the Quartet reaffirm their strong support for direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve all final status issues. The Quartet reaffirms its full commitment to its previous statements, including in Trieste on 26 June 2009, in New York on 24 September 2009, and its statement in Moscow on 19 March 2010 which provides that direct, bilateral negotiations that resolve all final status issues should “lead to a settlement, negotiated between the parties, that ends the occupation which began in 1967 and results in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.”

The Quartet expresses its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations, which can be completed within one year, and the implementation of an agreement. The Quartet again calls on both sides to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric. Welcoming the result of the Arab Peace Initiative Committee in Cairo on July 29, the Quartet notes that success will require sustained regional and international support for the negotiations and the parallel process of Palestinian state-building and the pursuit of a just, lasting and comprehensive regional peace as envisaged in the Madrid terms of reference, Security Council resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. The Quartet Principals intend to meet with their colleagues from the Arab League in September in New York to review the situation. Accordingly, the Quartet calls on the Israelis and the Palestinians to join in launching direct negotiations on September 2 in Washington, D.C. to resolve all final status issues and fulfill the aspirations of both parties.

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Preceding provided by U.S. Department of State

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J-Street welcomes talks, Urges U.S. to stay involved

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Hadar Susskind, J Street’s Vice President for Policy and Strategy, released the following statement upon the announcement of direct talks between the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority:

J Street welcomes today’s announcement of direct talks between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with the United States closely shepherding the process. We applaud President Obama’s leadership and the work of Secretary Clinton and Senator Mitchell in bringing the parties to the table.

But bringing the parties together is only the starting line on a difficult road that will demand real political leadership and courage from the parties and from the United States and the international community.  President Obama has said before that talks and process are not the goal – the goal is two states living side-by-side in peace and security, with defined borders and an end to the conflict. We urge President Obama and his team to continue to actively lead the way toward that destination.

J Street is pleased by the announcement of a one year timeline for talks and by the assurances given by U.S. officials that the United States will be actively engaged in the process, helping the parties close gaps and keep moving forward.

The United States and the broader international community – including the Quartet and the Arab League – will have to help the parties to overcome the many obstacles and challenges they will face. We hope that this will include taking an approach that is regional and comprehensive in nature, placing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a regional framework that attempts to end the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole.

The window of opportunity for progress is brief and closing. This could well be the last opportunity to save the two-state solution. We believe that Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic home, not to mention vital American interests in the region, hang in the balance.

We urge the United States, Israel, the Palestinians, and the greater Arab world to approach these negotiations with a seriousness of purpose suited to the urgency of the moment. The stakes are high, and the status quo unsustainable.

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Preceding provided by J Street
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ADL warns violence by others could sabotage peace talks

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NEW YORK — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Friday welcomed the announcement that Israel-Palestinian direct talks will resume in September.   

Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:

“Today’s announcement that Israel and the Palestinians will begin direct talks is a welcome development. Progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations has always only resulted from direct face-to-face negotiations.
 
“The Government of Israel has made clear its commitment to a negotiated agreement, and has made numerous gestures to the Palestinians in order to bring them to the table, including the current freeze on settlement expansion. 
 
“We wish the parties well as they embark on these negotiations. Certainly, no one is under the illusion these talks will be easy or that success is guaranteed.   Both sides will need to make difficult and painful compromises in order to realize the hopes for peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.   There continue to be those who wish to undermine this development through the use of violence, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and others, and it will be up to the international community to ensure this doesn’t happen.
 
“We express our appreciation to the Obama Administration for its tireless efforts in facilitating the beginning of these talks.” 
 
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Preceding provided by Anti-Defamation League

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NJDC credits President Obama for moving process forward

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)- National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) President and CEO David A. Harris issued the following statement in response to the announcement that direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians are set to begin in early September:

“Today’s announcement of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians is an important step forward, and we applaud President Barack Obama’s leadership in working to foster these negotiations.

As an extension of this President’s constant commitment to Israel’s security, he has been tireless in his pursuit of the lasting peace that all Israelis yearn for — working towards the direct talks that Prime Minister Benjamin Nentanyahu has welcomed all along. More recently, President Obama’s persistence in pressing President Mahmoud Abbas has helped to finally get us to these direct talks, and we all owe President Obama and his team a tremendous debt of gratitude for their pursuit of this most worthy cause.”

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Preceding provided by National Jewish Democratic Council

NEW YORK (Press Release) — The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations welcomed today’s announcement of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will begin on September 2nd, in Washington, D.C. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Special Envoy former Senator George Mitchell made the announcement noting that the talks would convene without preconditions and with a goal of completion within one year.

“We welcome the beginning of direct, face-to-face negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will address the complicated and difficult issues in the hope of bringing about an end to the long-standing conflict. History shows that only an agreement arrived at by the parties involved can succeed. Even as goals are set to expedite this process, there should be no artificial deadlines. The talks should be allowed to take their course while all parties are held accountable to their commitments.

“We hope the atmosphere and commitment to these direct talks will be conducive to meaningful negotiations that will meet the needs of all parties. To achieve this, it is essential that there be an end to incitement, including in the media, mosques, classrooms and public pronouncements. We note that Israel has made many significant gestures including removing hundreds of roadblocks, releasing many prisoners, aiding economic development and working with Palestinian Authority security forces to improve the security cooperation in the West Bank.

“We appreciate the effort led by the U.S. to broker these direct talks, which we hope will bring a just and lasting peace in the region,” said Conference of Presidents Chairman Alan Solow and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein.

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Preceding provided by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Commentary: Some important concerns about Russia-Iran nuclear power cooperation

August 18, 2010 Leave a comment

By Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C. –It isn’t exactly Iran’s Bushehr reactor that is making people really nervous this week, and it isn’t exactly the Russians. It is the understanding that no matter what the United States and the West say about Iran with nuclear technology, Iran is moving toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons technology and capability – and moving on the path toward the creation of an actual nuclear weapon(s).

That is coupled with the possibility that Russia will next deliver the S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran, providing a serious new level of protection for the regime and its illegal uranium enrichment program.
 
The Russians, who took over construction of the reactor in 1995, twenty years after Germany started the project, delivered the fuel in 2007 and 2008, but held off installing it. They say they are now preparing to install the fuel rods and plan to have the reactor up and running within weeks, bringing it up to speed over the next six months. According to public reports, it will be tied to the Iranian electricity grid, monitored by the IAEA, and appears to have no link to Iran’s uranium enrichment program. In addition, the Russians claim to have struck a deal with Iran for the return of spent fuel to preclude production of weapons-grade plutonium.
 
On its face, the Russian position seems reasonable – since Iran repeatedly said it wouldn’t cooperate with the IAEA on enrichment activities because Tehran was being prevented from having even civilian energy reactors, the Russians took away that excuse. They also contrived to retain control of the spent fuel. The Russians appear smug about the arrangement and their role as Iran’s energy partner. And as long as the Russians have control, there appears to be no problem.
 
At least that’s what the State Department implied. Unwilling, perhaps, to “re-reset” relations, a State Department spokesman said the United States does not regard Bushehr as a proliferation risk. “Russia’s support for Bushehr underscores that Iran does not need an indigenous enrichment capability if its intentions are purely peaceful,” and the Russian fuel deal mirrors the failed Western offer for a broader fuel swap.
 
But what if its intentions are not “purely peaceful”? The United States had previously expressed three concerns about Bushehr: 

Weapons grade plutonium could be processed from the reactor’s uranium allowing the Iranians to construct nuclear weapons. 

The Russians and Iranians could use Bushehr as a cover for the transfer of sensitive technology.

The knowledge gained by Iranian scientists working at Bushehr could further Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Even assuming the Russians have the first covered, what about the others? 
 
As recently as May, two German men were arrested for trying to buy dual-use parts prohibited under EU sanctions for use at Bushehr. And Iranians working at Bushehr would certainly gain important understandings about nuclear technology that can be transferred to other parts of Iran’s program – secret parts. The State Department spokesman did note, “the world’s fundamental concerns with Iran’s overall nuclear intentions,” and the fact that “Iran remains in serious violation of its obligations to the IAEA, particularly as regards separate enrichment.”
 
The UK Daily Telegraph reports that Iran has announced plans for ten new enrichment plants “within protected mountain strongholds… The move is a response to sanctions imposed on Iran in an attempt to stop it from producing enriched uranium, which can be used as fuel for nuclear power plants but for weapons if produced in higher levels. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also issued an edict ordering the government to offer only ‘minimum levels of co-operation’ with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog.”
 
It is that – “minimum levels of cooperation,” new enrichment facilities in “mountain strongholds” and the clear determination of Iran to move ahead on the nuclear front coupled with threats well understood by Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Israel – which makes us very nervous about the possibility that Russia will, in fact, load up Bushehr.

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Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member.

Commentary: Palestinians, Israelis ever so slowly being pushed by U.S. into direct talks

August 17, 2010 Leave a comment

By Ira Sharkansky

Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM– Israel and Palestine may be inching, crawling, or sidestepping toward direct, face to face negotiations. 

We have heard this before. It is a long and contorted road even to the beginning of talks. Neither side appears to be enthusiastic. They are being pushed by the pathetically naive, led by the champion of brazen optimism who is trying to outdo his predecessor by choosing peace in the Holy Land over democracy in Iraq as an icon of foreign policy. European leaders can do no less than add their voices to that of a president with the status to define what is politically correct. Those in power hope that a miracle will occur quickly enough for them to claim credit.

What is shaping up is a call to negotiations from a quartet that includes representatives of Europe, Russia, the US and the UN with parameters favorable to the Palestinians. It is said to include the 1967 boundaries as the basis of negotiations, and a continuing freeze on Israeli construction over that line. Israel has already rejected those conditions, but may be willing to accept an invitation from the United States that is less unfriendly.

One can guess about the prospects of discussions that neither side wants, and which begin with each claiming to be operating according to different invitations. For Palestinians, the 1967 lines represent their major hope of rescuing something from an area shrinking and cut up with the settlements of Jews they do not want living among them.

Also important to the Palestinians is a continuation of a freeze in the building of settlements. They are also talking about a freeze in what they call Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, but one can reach a high level of skepticism about any chance of achieving that detail. A continuation of the freeze over 1967 boundaries outside of Jerusalem will be difficult enough, given the intensity of the opposition in the polity that counts for more than the Palestinian and perhaps more even than that in Washington.

Recent news is that settlers and their friends have approvals for 5,000 housing units ready to be unfrozen in September, and will not tolerate a continuation of a freeze that has failed to show any tangible results with respect to its contribution to peace.

One can only wonder at the importance of 1967 or any other date in a conflict between peoples that was already apparent to the authors of the Books of Joshua and Judges, whenever it was that they began to tell their stories.

“The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.” (Judges 3:5)
Today there are considerable personal interactions, cooperation in the workplace and the universities, more mutual tolerance in Jewish than Arab neighborhoods, along with few romances or conversions in the directions of Islam or Judaism.
The boundaries of Jerusalem have changed several times since the British arrived in 1917, and many times before then. The walls around the Old City reflect the lines defined by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the 1530s. They are only one of several walled arrangements meant to protect a city whose shape changed going back at least to the time of David.

Conceptions of “Palestine” are fuzzier. The bombast of activists represent their efforts to find some basis for a national claim in what can fairly be described as a backwater of empires thinly populated by diverse and quarreling families.

No doubt that all national claims–including those of the Jews–rest on contentious narratives more often spiritual than factual in nature. The Bible, Talmud, numerous other writings, and the success of modern Israel represent the Jews’ claims to legitimacy. It will take some time to see if the Palestinians can achieve the status of other Arab countries. The records achieved by Gaza and the West Bank indicate that the phrase “Arab democracy” will remain an oxymoron even if the Palestinians do accomplish something.

We should expect maneuvering rather than anticipate anything like a breakthrough. Part of the playbook we can write already. There will be some further hemming and hawing by the principals, with each adhering to its own rules of the game. Palestinians will emphasize those 1967 boundaries and maybe a settlement freeze; Israelis will insist that they are beginning negotiations without preconditions. If things go well, overseas sponsors may invite the principals to a party on the White House lawn, or some other ceremonial venue where they declare a breakthrough and their commitment to helping the parties reach an agreed solution within a short period of time.

The principals will put on their  frozen smiles and express mutual commitments to settling disputes peacefully, or maybe their stern faces and commitments to what those loyal to each side will see as a reaffirmation of well known principles.

Given Muslim sensitivities, the refreshments will feature fruit juice rather than wine.

Beyond these details, my predictive capacity weakens. After a brief flurry of daily bulletins, it is likely that the weather will provide more interesting news. Americans will concern themselves with who will win and lose by how much thanks to the president’s health reform, as well as the World Series and the endless parade of college sports. For Europeans there will be a new season of football.
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Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University.

Mountain interior nuclear plant planned by Iran

August 17, 2010 Leave a comment

TEHERAN (WJC)–Iran has announced that it will start building the first of ten new uranium enrichment plants at a secret location “inside the mountains” in the spring of 2011.

Iranian Vice-President Ali Akbar Salehi, who also heads the country’s Atomic Energy Organization, announced that the search for sites for the facilities had ended. “The construction of one of these sites will start by the end of this [Iranian] year [March 2011] or the beginning of the next year.”

Iran is already enriching uranium at its main plant at Natanz and last year was forced to admit it was building a second enrichment facility run by the Revolutionary Guard inside a mountain near the city of Qom. The regime in Tehran insists its nuclear activities are peaceful and argues that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it has the right to peaceful nuclear technology. But the United Nations last month imposed a fourth round of sanctions because of fears Iran may be secretly developing nuclear weapons.

Tehran also announced that it will start operating the Bushehr nuclear reactor in the coming weeks. Russian experts are to load it with nuclear fuel from next week. On Tuesday, Iranian news agency reported that an F-4 fighter jet of Iran’s Air Force had crashed four miles near the Bushehr plant.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress