Posts Tagged ‘Netanyahu’

In August, 1999 I landed in Tel Aviv late on a Sunday afternoon having been sent by my dean and assured that my credit card would be good.  By the time I got to the hotel  it was early evening,  and I discovered that to Israelis, Discover is not a credit card.  I was shocked, almost distrustful of my own ears when the hotel clerk told me to go down to the bank and use my ATM card.  “It’s open.  Go down the block.”  A bank open on a Sunday night?  Shalom!  Welcome to Israel!  In Israel, Saturday is the Sabbath, and Sunday is the equivalent of Monday here – first day of the work week.

If I remember correctly, during daylight savings time, there is a seven-hour difference between Tel Aviv time and EDT.  It is going on 6 p.m. there now.  The moratorium of the settlement freeze expires in about six hours.  I can tell you that Israel is finishing off an active work day.  There are a few possibilities.
1. Cranes are back in place for building to continue.
2. The moratorium expires, and building does not continue.
3. There is a political dust-up in Israel, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman inappropriately leading the movement to continue the building.  In my opinion this domestic issue is not his purview unless he is willing to go ahead and admit he is advocating the confiscation of Palestinian land.

If that last happens,  speculation is that Netanyahu loses his majority but joins forces with Tzipi Livni’s Likud party.  I admit, I do not understand much about how these parliamentary democracies work.

Anyway, this lovely Sunday, Bill Clinton is making a whirlwind tour of campaign stops in New England for friends of Hillary.   He will be in Connecticut for Blumenthal, Massachusetts for Barney Frank, Maine for Libby Mitchell.  If you think the turbo-Secretary is kicking back this Sunday, most assuredly, she is not.  She might be home, but she is certainly working the phones.  She met with Mahmoud Abbas on Friday and is doing her best to keep him at the table.  I honestly do think Bibi wants to make this work as well.  But there is no doubt that right in the middle is a pretty little angel of peace, and all of our prayers are with her and with all of them

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Since last night I have tried to keep my fingers duct-taped against writing about this subject at all, but it is a big wedge of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy pie,  and conflicting articles are flying all over the internet like a swarm of killer bees, so I guess I have no choice.

As you know, and saw here earlier this week, Secretary Clinton addressed the AIPAC Conference on Monday reiterating the administration position on the issue of building settlements in East Jerusalem, a position that mirrors that of The Quartet, of which the United States is a member, and which the previous Friday issued its own policy statement on the same issue posted here.  The evening of the same day Secretary Clinton spoke to AIPAC, Prime Minister Netanyahu also spoke to the same audience and rejected the U.S. position.

He met with President Obama the next day, at length, and all through the time that has followed, there has been no indication that the U.S. has shifted its position.  I really cannot see how we can since we are signatories of the Quartet Statement.  Yet, this weekend, news is breaking that there is a letter circulating in Congress (and a similar letter in the Senate) asking the administration to revise its position.

Conflicting reports abound.  I have two examples to offer.  MJ Rosenberg at HuffPo appears to believe the letter is addressed to President Obama.  He offers a quotation from George Washington on the issue of favored states.  It is a quote that is read in Congress every year on Washington’s birthday.   A link at the bottom of the article provides a list of Representatives who have signed said letter.

Heckuva Job, AIPAC ++ Names of Members of Congress Backing Netanyahu

He also states the following:

…the 7,800 delegates were warned in advance not to boo or hiss Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she discussed achieving peace with the Palestinians — and they didn’t.

My goodness!

This article, however, has the letter addressed to Secretary Clinton, with a header that just put me in the Hot Tub Time Machine right back to the 2008 primaries when remarks were made about her temperament.

House Majority to Clinton: Calm Down on Israel

(IsraelNN.com) More than 75 percent of Congressmen in the U.S.House of Representatives have signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing support for Israel and demanding an end to the highly-publicized state of tensions with Israel.

I admit that I am not familiar with this source, but that really is not important.  I watched Secretary Clinton’s AIPAC speech, and I believe it is irrefutable that she was very calm and reasoned.  She has been throughout this entire dust-up, including her remarks to the media about the insulting nature of the announcement while VP Biden was on the ground seeking a way to get a peace process off the ground.  She has been most even-tempered.  We have not seen flashing anger (yet).

According to Rosenberg:

300 House Members have signed the letter which contains not one word of criticism of Israel — not one — while calling on the President to keep differences with the Israeli government quiet and away from public scrutiny.

It quotes AIPAC’s mantra (actually uttered by Biden in Israel before he understood the trap that Netanyahu had set for him):

“Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to security, none. No space.”

The Arutz Sheva article states:

Obama’s One-Sided Demands on Israel
Obama demands that Netanyahu stop building in eastern Jerusalem and make a series of other gestures to the Palestinian Authority, while not demanding anything from the other side.

This is not true, as a signatory of the Quartet Statement, we endorse demands on the Palestinians as well.

It is unclear to whom this letter is addressed.  I looked at the list of Reps who signed, and my guy is there.  *sigh*  I guess I will have to send him a letter.  We cannot have Congress undermining foreign policy set in agreements we sign with our allies and friends.  All of the parties in the Quartet want peace in the Middle East and a two-state solution.   Bibi is not at odds with the U.S. alone with his intransigence.  He is at odds with Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations, as well as the 4th member, the United States.  That AIPAC has the ability to influence Congress against American foreign policy feels really wrong when you read that quotation from George Washington.  Of  course we are Israel’s friend.  Sometimes, though, your friend does something that is not helpful or smart, like dating the wrong guy or talking on the cell phone while driving.  Then you do want to say something.

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I waited patiently for the schedule.   Now I am waiting patiently for the AIPAC speech which I could not watch. There (obviously – this one is from this morning) are pictures up, but no text or video yet.

Daily Appointments Schedule for March 22, 2010

Washington, DC
March 22, 2010


9:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton delivers Remarks to the 2010 AIPAC Policy Conference, at the Washington Convention Center.

10:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton delivers Remarks on World Water Day, at the National Geographic Society.

11:00 a.m.
Secretary Clinton attends a Principals Committee Meeting, at the White House.

12:10 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Swearing-In Ceremony for Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, at the Department of State.

1:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with President Obama, at the White House.

2:45 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Bilateral Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the Department of State.

4:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton holds a Secure Video Conference with the staffs and families of Embassy Mexico City and the Nine Consulates in Mexico, at the Department of State.

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Well, we really do not get a lot of detail out of this. In a earlier post today, there was a tweet from Andrea Mitchell saying that Joe Biden had called Netanyahu and told him to call Hillary. Oh this is so complex I could get a migraine.

Let me get this straight. The settlement announcement occurred while VP Biden was in Israel. The State Department regarded it as an insult. SOS Clinton called Netanyahu a week ago tomorrow and talked to him for almost 45 minutes and from that moment on we have been waiting for a “formal response” which, as the week rolled on we were more or less led to expect would come in the form of a phone call. So now this. Clearly he does not have her on speed dial.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Call to Secretary Clinton

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
March 18, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called Secretary Clinton to follow up on their conversation last Friday. They discussed the specific actions that might be taken to improve the atmosphere for progress toward peace. We are going to review the Prime Minister’s response and continue our discussions with both sides to keep proximity talks moving forward. Senator Mitchell will visit the region later this weekend to meet with President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

# # #

OK, then! On the heels of this a report from the BBC provides some details released by Netanyahu’s office. To be sure this is framed so as to put Bibi in the best possible light and Crowley’s Bureau of Public Affairs has confirmed nothing. Here is some of the BBC article including what Bibi purportedly put forth.

Netanyahu offers Clinton ‘trust-building measures’

In a telephone call last Friday, Mrs Clinton asked Israel’s prime minister to agree to a number of US demands, reportedly including a halt to construction in East Jerusalem and a commitment to substantive negotiations with the Palestinians.

Mr Netanyahu did not respond until Thursday evening, when he is said to have “clarified” Israel’s position on Jerusalem and conveyed a detailed list of steps he was willing to take in order to revive the peace process.

Mr Netanyahu’s office said the steps represented “a real effort by Israel to aid the US administration in renewing negotiations though trust-building measures with the Palestinian Authority”.

Read the article here>>>

I still think he only called because all the men were trembling about the foot-tapping, “I’m waiting!” on Hillary’s part. Andrea Mitchell said Biden called Bibi yesterday and said “Call her!” Yikes! I do not know how much substance she got from him, but I hope that this time we stick to our guns on the freeze. Bibi is slippery, but Hillary can be pretty firm.

Two things I want from Bibi:  stop buiding in East Jerusalem,  more importantly, and secondly,  stop swaggering like you just screwed Hillary  Clinton.  You don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell!

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Aha! Here is the press briefing Andrea Mitchell was referring to!

Remarks With Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Moscow, Russia
March 18, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Sergey. Thank you for hosting me and my delegation today in Moscow and thanks to the Russian Government for hosting the Quartet meeting that we will be attending.
Since our first meeting in Geneva, a little more than a year ago, Minister Lavrov and I, along with our respective governments under the leadership of both President Medvedev and President Obama, have worked toward a new beginning in the relationship between the United States and Russia. We believe that this reset of the relationship has led to much greater cooperation, coordination, and a constructive ongoing consultation on numerous issues that are important to our bilateral relationship and to the global issues that we both are facing.

I think it’s critical that Minister Lavrov is hosting the Middle East Quartet. When we begin our meetings with Quartet members this evening, we’ll have the chance to explore in depth the way forward in the Middle East, but these talks are yet another reminder that the United States and Russia, together, face global challenges, and that there are many people not only in Russia and the United States, but, literally, throughout the world who depend upon the ability of the U.S. and Russia to work together.
We discussed the upcoming nuclear security summit. Fifty heads of state, including President Medvedev, will be in Washington. And it especially is important for the United States and Russia, who bear the responsibility, to continue the way forward on nonproliferation and to work as partners in the global effort to secure fissile materials and counter the threat of nuclear terrorism. So this is another initiative that both President Obama, who suggested it, and President Medvedev, who embraced it, can see the cooperation between us. We are making substantial progress on the new START treaty; that’s the word from our negotiators in Geneva. And the results from the latest negotiating rounds lead us to believe we will be reaching a final agreement soon.

We discussed at length Iran’s nuclear program, which remains an issue of grave concern for the international community. We are still committed, as we have been, to a diplomatic solution, but there must be a solution. Iran is not living up to its international obligations and, therefore, we’re working together with our other partners in the P-5+1 to bring together a very clear international consensus in the Security Council that gives Iran the message it needs to hear that its behavior does have consequences and that its pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a direct threat both to regional and global security.
I thanked Sergey for the cooperation between the United States and Russia with respect to Afghanistan. The transit agreement that our two presidents announced has resulted in troops and material now moving across Russia in support of coalition operations in Afghanistan. As of this week, 111 flights have ferried more than 15,000 soldiers. And we have also increased our cooperation and launched a joint exercise to share financial intelligence related to the flow of narcotics into Russia, an issue that is very important to the Russian people, and that we have pledged to work with the Russian Government to address.
We are also looking for ways to increase our cooperation on disaster response. The devastating earthquake in Haiti was a clear indication of why we need to be working more closely together. Russian emergency relief teams were among the very first on the ground in Haiti after that disaster. This is a particular concern of Minister Lavrov’s, and I believe it’s another area where we should deepen and broaden our working together.
The Bilateral Commission that our two presidents established is working well, and we’re pleased by the results of the efforts of the working groups. This goes far beyond traditional foreign issues. We are exploring new opportunities for collaboration in the fields of energy efficiency and nanotechnology. A United States delegation made up of executives from the information technology companies recently visited Russia to explore joint private sector-led initiatives in education, e-government, and other fields. We’re increasing partnerships between Russian and American universities. And there are growing interactions between American and Russian people, including an upcoming sports exchange for young people using basketball as the means of communications.
Now, there are differences in our relationship. We know that. We’ve raised them and we have had very frank conversations about them. But they are raised within the context of an overall approach that looks for ways to narrow the areas of difference and disagreement, that looks to enhance the cooperation and partnership between our two countries that we are building.
So let me conclude by saying that we have made real strides in the relationship over the past year, but we still have a lot to do. And many of the challenges facing the world today can only be addressed through greater cooperation between Russia and the United States. That’s the commitment of our two presidents. That’s the commitment that Sergey and I have made over and over again. And we look forward to continuing to work together in the months ahead.

MODERATOR: (In Russian.)
QUESTION: (In Russian.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have a saying in the United States – “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” And that means that we are beginning our discussions about where and when our two presidents will sign the START agreement. But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. First, our negotiators have to sign on the dotted line, so to speak, that they have completed the negotiations. And we’re looking forward to getting that word soon and then we will move on to setting a time and a place for this very important event.
MODERATOR: (In Russian.)
QUESTION: Good evening. Bob Burns from Associated Press. Madam Secretary, the first part of my question is premised on an assumption that you have not spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu today. Would that be correct?
SECRETARY CLINTON: And what’s the second part of your question? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: It depends on what your answer is.
SECRETARY CLINTON: We are engaged in ongoing conversations between our two governments. And when there is something to announce, Bob, you’ll be the first to hear.
QUESTION: I was going to follow up by saying that it’s now been about a week, nearly a week since you spoke to him and expressed your unhappiness with what happened when Vice President Biden was there. And you’re now here to speak to your Quartet colleagues this evening and tomorrow, and I’m wondering if you could tell us what you are able to tell your partners about what Israel needs to do and what the U.S. next steps will be, including George Mitchell’s plans. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, certainly, we intend to have a very broad-ranging discussion with our Quartet partners. Our goals remain the same. It is to re-launch negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians on a path that will lead to a two-state solution. Nothing has happened that in any way affects our commitment to pursuing that. Senator Mitchell arrived here in Moscow just a few hours ago to join the Quartet meeting. And as we have seen not only over this past year, but over years past, there are some challenges along the way. We meet them as they come.
And we continue to move forward because we believe it is in the best interests of both the Palestinian and the Israeli people for the Palestinians to have a state of their own that fulfills their aspirations, and for the Israelis to have the security that they deserve to have within their own state. It is also within the regional and global best interests to pursue this, and that’s what we intend to do.
MODERATOR: (In Russian.)
QUESTION: (In Russian.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: We are very committed to working with Russia, other countries, and international organizations like the United Nations to stop the flow of illicit drugs from Afghanistan, along with the criminal activity that accompanies it, particularly the narco-traffickers and the drug cartels. We have made that commitment of cooperation to Russia and we intend to work closely with them. And as Sergey said, we have some new mechanisms that we are developing and new ways of cooperating between our two countries that we hope will even add to our efforts and limit the amount of illicit drugs that gets out of Afghanistan and gets into any country, including Russia.
MODERATOR: (In Russian.)
QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary Clinton, just to make sure I understood correctly, so you have spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu?

SECRETARY CLINTON: When I have something to report, I will report it to you too, Mary Beth.
QUESTION: Okay. On Iran, Minister Lavrov, clearly, Russia has a certain amount of influence with the Chinese. And I’m wondering what message you’re giving the Chinese about how urgent it is to have a new round of sanctions on Iran. And a second question: What type of sanctions do you think are appropriate? Would you consider economic sanctions, for example, on, you know, insurance and banking and so on?
And Secretary Clinton, in a related question, the Russians announced today that they will start up the Bushehr – their nuclear reactor, Bushehr, this summer. Are you concerned about the signal that sends? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to your question to me, that is something that we will be discussing not only with Russia, but with our other partners. But we have consistently said that Iran is entitled to civil nuclear power. It is a nuclear weapons program that it is not entitled to. And if it reassures the world, or if its behavior is changed because of international sanctions, then they can pursue peaceful, civil nuclear power. In the absence of those reassurances, we think it would be premature to go forward with any project at this time, because we want to send an unequivocal message to the Iranians.
MODERATOR: (In Russian.)

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I was looking through my Hillary Clinton news feeds and found this from MSNBC.

Waiting for that phone call
Posted: Thursday, March 18, 2010 12:42 PM by Domenico Montanaro

Filed Under: Andrea Mitchell, State Dept.

From NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Courtney Kube
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton TWICE brushed off questions about whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called her yet with a response to U.S. objections to a new housing development in East Jerusalem.

Asked whether Netanyahu has called yet, Clinton said, “When there is something to announce … you’ll be the first to hear.”

Despite the fact that Netanyahu continues to brush off Clinton, she said that the ongoing disagreement between the U.S. and Israel will not impact her end goal at the quartet meeting.

“Our goals remain the same, it is to re-launch negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians on a path that will lead to a two-state solution,” she said, adding, “nothing has happened that in any way effects out commitment to pursuing that.”

I went to Andrea Mitchell’s Twitter feed and found this thread from this morning.

# Clinton holds newser in Moscow this morning, might try to dial down tensions with Israel. U.S needs to get mideast talks back on track about 5 hours ago via web
# Maybe PM’s too embarrassed after his brother in law called Obama an “anti-semite” on radio?Netanyahu apologized for his kin yesty about 5 hours ago via web
# #SecState asked Netanyahu last week abt settlements/ Biden called Bibi yesty said:call her! As of Clinton flight to Moscow last nt no call about 5 hours ago via web
# How long does #SecClinton have to wait for Bibi to return her call? clock’s running: she’s in Moscow talking mideast and Iran, no call yet about 5 hours ago via web

Well, I am not finding anything from the newser except what Andrea filed, but I have to say that I feel relieved. All through Tuesday and Wednesday I was seeing reports that SHE was going to call HIM before leaving for Moscow. That made no sense to me and  would have weakened her position exponentially. What an idea! She is the one waiting for a response. Why on earth would she then be calling him?

According to Andrea’s tweets (I am now following her), not only is Secretary Clinton NOT going to go bowing and scraping after Bibi, she is still tapping her kitten-heeled foot and waiting.

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