Kerry: If Israel Doesn't Make Peace Soon, It Could Become "an Apartheid State" - Josh Rogin
If there's no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon, Israel risks becoming "an apartheid state," Secretary of State John Kerry told a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting.
Jewish leaders are fuming over the comparison.
AIPAC Statement on Kerry's Remarks
The reported remarks on apartheid by Secretary of State John Kerry are deeply troubling.
Any suggestion that Israel is, or is at risk of becoming, an apartheid state is offensive and inappropriate. The Jewish state is a shining light for freedom and opportunity in a region plagued by terror, hate and oppression.
[AIPAC Press Release]
Collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks - Jodi Rudoren
When Israel suspended the stalemated negotiations, it did so with Washington's tacit blessing.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas has recently played a variety of cards in hopes of improving his position. He took steps to join 15 international conventions, threatened to dissolve his government, and made a deal with Hamas, the militant Islamic group that is widely reviled in the West. The gambles drew repeated rebukes from Washington.
Giora Eiland, a former Israeli national security adviser, said Abbas, "by his own behavior, has pushed himself to be perceived as a very extreme person who will never be able to reach an agreement with us."
(New York Times)
What Is Abbas Trying to Achieve? - Khaled Abu Toameh
Abbas is convinced that it is only a matter of time before Secretary of State Kerry or top U.S. diplomats rush to Ramallah to try to persuade him not to make peace with Hamas. Abbas seems to be enjoying that each time he does something dramatic, the U.S. Administration launches another big diplomatic offensive to convince him to backtrack.
Abbas wants his people and the Arabs to see him as a hero who can stand up to the Americans. He is now waiting to see what the U.S. will offer him in return for rescinding his plan to join forces with Hamas.
Hamas Plans Bid for Greater Power - Avi Issacharoff
Hamas [is] ready to give up the[ir] government in the short term for the sake of ruling the West Bank and Gaza in the long run.
In the last few days, Hamas' motives have become clearer. It is a sophisticated strategic move designed to win over Palestinian public opinion in order to eventually win the parliamentary and presidential elections and gain overall Palestinian primacy. In the background, the harsh reality in Gaza, and especially Hamas' faltering relations with Egypt, have raised grave fears that if it does not give in willingly now, it might collapse financially or be ousted by its public.
(Times of Israel)
Apartheid? To Arabs, It's a Model Democracy - Evelyn Gordon
If Israel really practiced apartheid against Arabs, why do Arabs throughout the Middle East persistently cite Israeli democracy as the model they'd like their own countries to adopt? In 2011, when the Arab Spring revolutions were at their height, Ha'aretz correspondent Anshel Pfeffer reported hearing from demonstrators in both Tunis and Cairo that they wanted "a democracy like in Israel."
From 1996 to 2002, Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki asked what governments Palestinians admired. "Every year Israel has been the top performer, at times receiving more than 80% approval," the New York Times reported.
What's truly astonishing is that the Arab media routinely reports the wildest anti-Israel fabrications as fact. Hence most Arabs believe Israeli treatment of both Palestinians and Israeli Arabs to be much worse than the reality - and even so, they admire Israeli democracy.
Israel Will Never Be an Apartheid State - Michael Oren
- [T]he situation in Israel does not even remotely resemble apartheid.
- The vast majority of Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank choose to live apart because of cultural and historical differences, not segregation, though thousands of them do work side by side.
- Separate roads were created in response to terrorist attacks - not to segregate Palestinians but to save Jewish lives. And Israeli roads are used by Israeli Jews and Arabs alike.
- The separation of schools is, again, a cultural choice similar to that made by secular and Orthodox Jews and Muslim and Christian Palestinians. Many Palestinians, however, study in Israeli institutions such as Ariel University, located in a settlement. Thousands of Palestinians, many from Hamas-controlled Gaza, are treated at Israeli hospitals.
- The security barrier is no more an apartheid wall than the fence between the United States and Mexico. Palestinian leaders aspire to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza from which all Jews have been expelled. That is truly apartheid.
- In Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel, Jews and Arabs mix freely and increasingly live in the same neighborhoods. There is no imposed segregation. Go to any Israeli mall, any restaurant or hospital, and you will see Arabs and Jews interacting.
The writer was Israel's ambassador to the U.S. from 2009 to 2013.