Palestinian Fatah Liberation Movement holds party congress
Spokesman: Israel Barring Fatah Members from Leaving Gaza
A Palestinian Fatah Movement spokesman said the Israeli authorities are barring as many as 130 Gaza-based members of the Palestinian faction of Fatah from leaving the enclave to join a congress of the Palestinian faction in the occupied West Bank. Fatah’s General Conference was due to open in Ramallah on Tuesday, gathering 1,400 delegates. The event is only the seventh one to convene since 1959, when the movement was established, and the last one had been held in Bethlehem in 2009, Middle East Eye reported. “Around 1,200 members have arrived in Ramallah,” said Fatah spokesman Mahmoud Abu al-Hija. Of the 380 Fatah members supposed to arrive from Gaza, 250 have arrived, he said, adding that the congress will convene anyway.
Israel has blockaded the Gaza Strip since 2007 and generally maintains stringent control over entry into and exit from the coastal Palestinian sliver, citing “security” concerns. Abu al-Hija, however, did not offer a specific explanation on the blockage against the Fatah delegates from Gaza.
Last week, Ziad Khalil Abu Zayyad, another party spokesman, said the attendees at the congress have been so chosen as to be representative of the Palestinian population both in Gaza and the occupied territories. “Representatives of the youth, the different cities of the West Bank and Gaza, the popular resistance and civil society organizations were all included,” he said. Some observers say Israel is trying to prevent the inclusion of the representatives of Gaza in the Palestinian political arena.
Israel has also been suppressing the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas, which has been ruling Gaza. The Tel Aviv has launched several devastating wars on Gaza as well. Explaining the nature of the Fatah congress, Abu Zayyad also said delegates “will discuss Palestinian relations with Israel, the role of the youth in the movement, relations with some Arab countries, the assignment of a deputy… within Fatah and the evaluation of the popular resistance and what can be done to empower it.” The seventh congress of Fatah will last for at least five days.
‘Israel preferred Clinton as US president’_Mark Glenn
We do not yet know the policy of the next administration toward Israel and Palestine, but we do know the policy of this administration. It has been President Obama’s aim to support a negotiated end to the conflict based on two states, living side by side in peace.
That prospect is now in grave doubt. I am convinced that the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short. The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on Jan. 20 is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership.
Back in 1978, during my administration, Israel’s prime minister,
Menachem Begin, and Egypt’s president, Anwar Sadat, signed the Camp
David Accords. That agreement was based on the United Nations Security
Council Resolution 242, which was passed in the aftermath of the 1967
war. The key words of
that resolution were “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of
territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in
the Middle East in which every state in the area can live in security,”
and the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in
the recent conflict.”The agreement was ratified overwhelmingly by the Parliaments of Egypt
and Israel. And those twofoundational concepts have been the basis for
the policy of the United States government and the international
community ever since.
This was why, in 2009, at the beginning of his first administration, Mr. Obama reaffirmed the crucial elements of the Camp David agreement and Resolution 242 by calling for a complete freeze on the building of settlements, constructed illegally by Israel on Palestinian territory. Later, in 2011, the president made clear that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines,” and added, “negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine.”
Today, however, 38 years after Camp David, the commitment to peace is in danger of abrogation. Israel is building more and more settlements, displacing Palestinians and entrenching its occupation of Palestinian lands. Over 4.5 million Palestinians live in these occupied territories, but are not citizens of Israel. Most live largely under Israeli military rule, and do not vote in Israel’s national elections.
Meanwhile, about 600,000 Israeli settlers in Palestine enjoy the benefits of Israeli citizenship and laws. This process is hastening a one-state reality that could destroy Israeli democracy and will result in intensifying international condemnation of Israel.
The Carter Center has continued to support a two-state solution by hosting discussions this month with Israeli and Palestinian representatives, searching for an avenue toward peace. Based on the positive feedback from those talks, I am certain that United States recognition of a Palestinian state would make it easier for other countries that have not recognized Palestine to do so, and would clear the way for a Security Council resolution on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Security Council should pass a resolution laying out the parameters for resolving the conflict. It should reaffirm the illegality of all Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders, while leaving open the possibility that the parties could negotiate modifications. Security guarantees for both Israel and Palestine are imperative, and the resolution must acknowledge the right of both the states of Israel and Palestine to live in peace and security. Further measures should include the demilitarization of the Palestinian state, and a possible peacekeeping force under the auspices of the United Nations.
A strong Security Council resolution would underscore that the Geneva Conventions and other human rights protections apply to all parties at all times. It would also support any agreement reached by the parties regarding Palestinian refugees.
The combined weight of United States recognition, United Nations membership and a Security Council resolution solidly grounded in international law would lay the foundation for future diplomacy. These steps would bolster moderate Palestinian leadership, while sending a clear assurance to the Israeli public of the worldwide recognition of Israel and its security.
This is the best — now, perhaps, the only — means of countering the one-state reality that Israel is imposing on itself and the Palestinian people. Recognition of Palestine and a new Security Council resolution are not radical new measures, but a natural outgrowth of America’s support for a two-state solution.
The primary foreign policy goal of my life has been to help bring peace to Israel and its neighbors. That September in 1978, I was proud to say to a joint sessionof Congress, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” As Mr. Begin and Mr. Sadat sat in the balcony above us, the members of Congress stood and applauded the two heroic peacemakers.
I fear for the spirit of Camp David. We must not squander this chance. Jimmy Carter,
Lame duck US President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have “nothing to lose” if recognition is extended to Palestine in the final days of the administration, a move that could have significant impact on the future of the Muslim nation, investigative journalist Wayne Madsen suggests.
The Tampa-based author and columnist, who specializes in intelligence and international affairs, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Tuesday, while commenting about an op-ed by former President Jimmy Carter on why the US must recognize Palestine soon before President-elect Donald Trump takes control of the White House.
“I am convinced that the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short,” wrote the 92-year-old former president in the article published by the New York Times on Monday. “The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on January 20 is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership.”
The Obama administration has been engaged in efforts for a so-called two-state solution during his tenure but to no avail as the Israeli regime has remained intransigent in its expansive policies as well as the harsh crackdown on the Palestinian population.
US recognition of a Palestinian state could bring about achievements for the nation although the future president “can always reverse” such a move, Madsen suggested.
“President Carter is absolutely correct,” said the political commentator, adding that Trump’s mass reversal of the previous administration’s policies, like the one towards Cuba, comes at a “political cost.”
Dems will have to ‘bury the action’
While campaigning for the 2016 presidential election, Trump took a different approach towards the situation in Palestine than Obama, saying he would recognize East Jerusalem al-Quds as the “undivided capital of the state of Israel,” and vowing to move the US embassy in Israel to the city, which Palestinians want as their capital.
Apart from being considered a blow to the so-called two-state solution, the comments reflected Trump’s close ties with the ruling party in Israel, Likud, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at its helm.
“He has very close relations with Netanyahu. His son-in law, Jared Kushner, comes from an orthodox Jewish family in New York that has very close links with the Likud party of Israel,” Madsen said, further referring to other pro-Israel figures in the Trump administration, set to gain power on January 20, 2017.
Considering the appointments Trump is making and the fact that he has “surrounded” himself by his family members, including Kushner, “Carter is essentially right,” he noted.
“There is a short window now for President Obama to extend recognition of Palestine and Obama has nothing to lose,” he said. “Democrats won’t have another election for four years, so there won’t be a major political price to pay amongst the Israel lobby if Obama goes ahead and recognize Palestine.”
He argued that during his first term as president, Obama was “obviously concerned about the power of the Israel lobby” over his reelection in 2012.
“It makes sense that if he is going to do it, he would do it as a lame duck president… and the Democrats have two years to basically bury the action.”
Still, Carter has a point
The United States recognition of Palestine would mean Washington will “drop its veto” on the Muslim nation’s membership at the United Nations and that may be what the 39th American commander-in-chief “may be getting at.”
“If the US does not veto Palestine’s membership in the Security Council, there is nothing President Trump can do to change what the UN has done; He could de-recognize Palestine by the United States but this may be a way to get Palestine as a permanent [member] in the UN and I think that’s maybe what President Carter has in mind,“ said the author of the blog Wayne Madsen Report.