Friday, October 01, 2010

The settlement freeze and its aftermath

PIAG’S dispatch for October reports on the latest developments in the struggle for peace with some kind of justice in Palestine. Political analysts, diplomats, and activists “on the ground” give their perspectives on the settlement freeze, which expired on September 27th:

U-M Professor Juan Cole is alarmed that Israeli PM Netanyahu could so blithely “blow off” President Obama’s plea to extend the settlement freeze. This “bespeaks diplomatic amateurism on Obama’s part,” says Cole. “Obama should not have put himself in a position where he had to plead with Netanyahu! Now that the United States has been arrogantly blown off by Tel Aviv, it just looks weak and pathetic, a helpless giant — a posture that could well encourage its enemies to attempt to inflict their own humiliations on it.”

“Adding to the pressure,” says the New York Times, "is a meeting in Cairo next week of the Arab League, at which the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmood Abbas has promised to deliver a speech in which he will 'declare historical decisions.' That sparked rumors that he might threaten to resign, something he has done before."

Rumor also has it that the Arab League may bring the settlement freeze issue to the United Nations, reports the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz:

While politicians wrangle, David Shulman of Jewish Voice for Peace reports from the West Bank village of An-Nabi Salih, where he is participating in a demonstration on International Peace Day. “Take a helmet,” his friends had advised. The Jewish settlers, the IDF, the Palestinians -- they’re all violent there. Yet despite the passions on all sides, Shulman hears “tough words of peace and hope” from Palestian leader Ali Abu Awad of the Palestinian Movement for Non-Violent Resistance at “the bravest and most dignified demonstration” he has ever seen. “I bow my head to all the volunteers who came to An-Nabi Salih today, who struggled past the soldiers and the roadblocks and didn’t turn back,” Awad tells the crowd. “Our struggle is complicated and hard, a struggle that we all share—local leaders of the villages, women, children, families—the first large-scale Palestinian non-violent movement on the ground, aimed at building a just peace with Israel. When I see Israeli activists coming here to the village, my heart cries with happiness; I am honored to have these people with us. To all the Jews I say: you are not my enemy. The occupation is your enemy, as it is ours. . .”

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