Friday, January 8, 2010

US Special Envoy George Mitchell Threatens Israel with Sanctions

Curt Here...

Happy New Year everyone. I wish I had better news to be reporting on, but I don't.

According to the article posted below US special envoy George Mithell has threatened the state of Israel with sanctions, which would include cutting off American financial aid, if Israel fails to advance peace talks and make progress towards a two-state solution. Mitchell, with the help of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton are trying to convince Israel to resume peace talks immediately without preconditions.

My immediate observation of this news is that the US and the world are getting very impatient with the lack of peace in the Middle East, and because of their lack of patience they are trying to force peace on the region. The obvious question to me is, what has changed over the last few months in the positions of Israel or the Palestinians that would allow peace to occur? The Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as state and they demand East Jerusalem as their future capital. Israel refuses to give up East Jerusalem, they will not stop settlement construction in the West Bank and Israel refuses to seriously negotiate with a people that will not acknowledge their right to exist. These are all deal breakers for both sides.

Something has to give, and I honestly don't see either side giving in on their demands. When the world leaders realize this and there is no patience left, that is when the fireworks start. My guess is this could happen much sooner than many think.

Stay Tuned



Mitchell: Mideast stagnation endangers US aid

On eve of visit to region, American special envoy threatens Israel with sanctions if it fails to advance peace talks, two-state solution. Secretary of State Clinton says working to restart negotiations 'without preconditions'

WASHINGTON – On the eve of his visit to the Middle East, US special envoy George Mitchell threatened that his country would freeze its aid to Israel if the Jewish state failed to advance peace talks with the Palestinians and a two-state solution.

Mitchell clarified in an interview to the PBS network that the United States would use incentives or sanctions against both sides.

According to American law, Mitchell said, the US can freeze its support for aid to Israel. He added that all options must remain open and that the sides must be convinced about what their important interests are.

The US envoy noted that some progress had been made and that his country would continue its efforts to resume the negotiations.

The American guarantees allow Israel to raise funds at low interest rates and improve the Jewish state's credit rating. The last time the US threatened to freeze the guarantees was during the term of President George Bush Sr. and former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Ahead of Mitchell's visit, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks Friday with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman is also in Washington.

Clinton's aim is to recruit Egypt to host a possible meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in which a resumption of direct negotiations will be declared.

The secretary of state Hillary Clinton said after meeting with her Jordanian counterpart that she was working to restart peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis "without preconditions."

"We are working with the Israelis, the (Palestinian Authority), and the Arab states to take the steps needed to relaunch the negotiations as soon as possible and without preconditions," she said.

Clinton and Judeh said that resolving those matters first would eliminate Palestinian concerns about continued construction of Jewish settlements in disputed areas. They said negotiations should begin as soon as possible and be bound by deadlines.

"Resolving borders resolves settlements, resolving Jerusalem resolves settlements," Clinton said after meeting Judeh at the State Department. "I think we need to lift our sights and instead of being looking down at the trees, we need to look at the forest."

Peace efforts in the past have tended to focus on broader issues, including settlements, the fate of Palestinian refugees and water, with even more contentious matters like borders and Jerusalem being left for so-called "final status" talks.

"If you resolve the question of borders then you automatically resolve not only settlements and Jerusalem but you identify the nature on the ground of the two-state solution and (what) it looks like," Judeh said.

Both Clinton and Judeh spoke out against new Israeli housing construction in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim as their capital, saying it was damaging to the process.

For more click the link...,7340,L-3831661,00.html

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