The follies of US policy in Palestine

Jeffrey D. Sachs

American foreign policy in the Middle East experienced yet another major setback this month, when Hamas, whose Palestinian government the United States had tried to isolate, routed the rival Fateh movement in Gaza. In response, Israel sealed Gaza’s borders, making life even more unbearable in a place wracked by violence, poverty and despair.

It is important that we recognise the source of America’s failure, because it keeps recurring, making peace between Israel and Palestine more difficult. The roots of failure lie in the US and Israeli governments’ belief that military force and financial repression can lead to peace on their terms, rather than accepting a compromise on terms that the Middle East, the rest of the world and, crucially, most Israelis and Palestinians, accepted long ago.

For 40 years, since the Six-Day War of 1967, there has been one realistic possibility for peace: Israel’s return to its pre-1967 borders, combined with viable economic conditions for a Palestinian state, including access to trade routes, water supplies and other essential needs.

With small and mutually acceptable adjustments to those borders, these terms would enable peaceful co-existence of two states side by side. Perhaps three-fourths of both Israelis and Palestinians support this “land for peace” compromise, while one-fourth holds out for complete victory over the other side.

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Blair Is Appointed Mideast Envoy

Tony Blair resigns and is made envoy to the Middle East. What makes you think he would succeed in Palestine when he had failed in Iraq?

Tony Blair, who stepped down today as the prime minister of Britain, has been appointed a new senior peace envoy for the Middle East, working on building the framework for a Palestinian state, officials said today.

The widely expected announcement was made at the United Nations in New York and at the State Department, on the same day that violence surged in the Gaza Strip with the killings of at least 13 Palestinians, 11 of them fighters, during Israeli military incursions.

Mr. Blair, who handed his office over to Gordon Brown in London, becomes a senior envoy for the “quartet,” diplomatic shorthand for the four leading outside forces working on peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians — the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

Egyptian bank sues Israel for dividends

The National Bank of Egypt is suing the State of Israel for unpaid dividends. Perhaps they would be successful enough to bring Israel into bankruptcy?

A state-owned Egyptian bank is suing the State of Israel for $78 million in unpaid dividends for its investment seven decades ago in the company that built Jerusalem’s landmark King David Hotel, an attorney representing the bank said Wednesday.

The National Bank of Egypt claims that Israel’s Custodian General expropriated shares that it purchased in the company seven decades ago, without ever sharing any profits or dividends with the bank, said attorney Jasser Ashraf, who filed the suit on behalf of the Egyptian bank in the Jerusalem District Court last week.

News of the unusual lawsuit was first reported in Yediot Aharonot.

Israeli Expert: Defense budget demands could set back standard of living 20 years

“If the Defense Ministry demand for an additional NIS 30 billion in 2007 to 2010 is accepted, Israel will return to the ‘Lost Decade,” – 1974-85 after the Yom Kippur War, when defense budgets dwarfed civil budgets and hyperinflation ran in triple digits, the official said yesterday.

“The government economist claims the demands are extravagant and would push Israel 20 to 30 years back economically, including a sharp drop in the standard of living.”

“The economist believes it is time for a civilian review of the tremendous defense spending in recent years, calling it inconceivable that with such large budgets, soldiers and reservists serving in Lebanon faced shortages of equipment, supplies, food and beverages.”

Expert: Defense budget demands could set back standard of living 20 years
27.8.06 | 08:32 By Moti Bassok

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Finance Minister Abraham irchson are to meet this morning to discuss defense establishment budgetary demands through 2010.

Defense officials are seeking NIS 30 billion, mostly in fiscal 2007 and 2008, for resupplying, reacquiring weapons systems damaged during the war and preparing for the next war based on the lessons of recent hostilities, including developing new arms. The defense establishment is working under the assumption the Israel Defense Forces needs to be prepared quickly.

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Egyptian gets life on Israel spy charge

Well this traitor certainly got what he deserved. Nothing else to say.

CAIRO, Egypt – A state security court sentenced an Egyptian nuclear engineer to life in prison Monday after convicting him of spying for Israel, a court official said.

Two others, one Japanese and one Irish, who were tried in absentia on spying charges, also received life imprisonment, the court official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.