In this case it’s not escaping horses we’re concerned about, but positions of the US government that have to be discouraged before the damage is done.
I have two matters in mind:
The first is US participation in Durban 2. To review: The US, under the administration of President Obama, reversed prior Bush policy and decided to send a delegation to participate in the planning committee, operating in Geneva, to construct a document that would serve as a basis for Durban 2. When it was recognized that the planning was going in a direction decidedly and overtly hostile to Israel, the US delegation pulled out.
But that pullout wasn’t absolute: room was left for participating again if improvements were made in the draft document. One proviso had to do with a clean-up of the language but another proviso dealt with the document not re-affirming in toto the Durban Declaration from 2001.
What happened was that additional anti-Israel language had been added to the document and was then withdrawn. This made it look as if major concessions had been made and the tone had changed. But the very anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Durban 1 Declaration is still being re-affirmed in toto. Anne Bayefsky referred to this, by its legal terminology, as “incorporation by reference.”
This brings us to the present.
On Friday, France’s Ambassador for Human Rights Francois Zimeray told The Jerusalem Post that the changes were welcomed by the EU, although a decision had not yet been made as to whether France specifically and the EU more broadly would participate in Durban 2.
The US State Department, on the other hand, has indicated that the changes have been insufficient and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs James Warlick said that, “There’s certainly been no decision for us to rejoin the negotiating process on the basis of this document.”
What we want to do is keep it this way. Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama need to hear this. Tell them that there is strong approval for the pullout from the preparatory committee, and that there is great opposition to US participation in the planning of the document for the conference or in the conference itself, as the entire process is still inherently unfair and grossly anti-Israel.
Then there is the issue of whether Hamas will be held to former conditions for acceptance: renunciation of terrorism, acceptance of Israel’s right to exist, and commitment to agreements previously made between the PLO and Israel.
At present there is an attempt by Egypt to get the US to reduce its terms, and permit Hamas to simply say it “respects” previous agreements. This attempt to water down the terms is both outrageous and worrisome. Egypt’s goal is to establish a unity government so that there will be one administrative authority for overseeing re-construction in Gaza. Following this there would be attempts to push Israel to negotiate with the new unity government, even if it was not on board with full recognition of Israel and commitment to prior agreements.
Both Obama and Clinton need to know that there is fierce opposition to watering down the requirements for accepting Hamas. It would be counterproductive, as the unity government that would be formed would still promote terrorism and resist recognition of Israel, but it would be more broadly accepted internationally.
And so, my friends, I ask you please to contact Obama and Clinton, with messages regarding the two issues above. Offer praise for decisions that have been made that are proper, and demand that the government stand strong now. Tell them that it’s excellent that the US pulled out of Durban planning and demand that there be no US participation in Durban. And demand that the terms for accepting Hamas as part of a unity government not be weakened.
Simple messages are good. Phone calls and faxes are most effective.
President Barack Obama
White House Comment line: 202-456-1111 Fax: 202-456-2461
e-mail form via http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Public Communication Division (accepts opinions from the public):
Phone: 202-647-6575 Fax: 202-647-2283
The terrorist attack averted in Haifa last night would have been of huge proportions. The amount of explosives — some 90 to 100 kilograms — found in a stolen car parked adjacent to the Lev HaMifratz shopping mall would have generated a disaster, as it would have set up a chain reaction causing the fuel tanks in other cars in the lot to explode.
The car, which is said to have been registered to a Jewish woman living in Jerusalem who was not involved, was parked in the exterior lot of the mall. And, it turns out, there was security only for the internal parking area, not for this particular parking lot.
It is felt that the planning for this attack originated in Judea-Samaria. An unknown group called “Free Men of Galilee” claimed responsibility for the attack; there is currently speculation as to whether this group actually exists or is a front for another group. While there was considerable planning put in place for the attack, and the amount of explosives secured was large, because of the way in which the explosive partially misfired, it is suspected that novices executed the set-up. For which we can thank Heaven.
A major investigation is underway, with little revealed to the press; there is determination to find those behind this effort.
A high alert has been put in effect for the northern part of the country.
Tuesday is the day set for a Labor convention to vote on the issue of whether to join the Likud-run coalition. (Yes, it’s being held in less than the three weeks that were indicated.) The majority of the Labor faction is opposed to joining, but how the Central Committee votes remains to be seen.
There were tense words today between Barak and Olmert, who leveled criticism at the idea of joining a unity government with Likud.
In the meantime, Barak has appointed a negotiating committee to start talking to Likud in case the decision of his party is positive. He has pledged to abide by the vote of the committee and not break away from the party or split the party.
Likud, for its part, was negotiating coalition deals with Shas and UTJ today, with the Shas deal said to be on the verge of completion.
It was announced today that Netanyahu was appointing attorney Zvi Hauser, formerly a PR adviser, to the office of cabinet secretary.
Again we’re in the realm of rumors and accusations. But, in a nutshell, it’s being said in various quarters that the negotiations for Shalit are not over. Certainly, with Netanyahu seeking additional time to form his government, Olmert still has a window for acting — if acting is possible.