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Obama Resorts to Desperate Measures to Keep Negotiations Alive

October 13th, 2010

U.S.-sponsored direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, launched with much fanfare just last month, appear to be at a standstill.

Sign our petition to President Obama: Negotiations Based on Human Rights, Int. Law

Israel's self-declared settlement "moratorium," which did not halt its colonization and ethnic cleansing of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem, expired on September 26. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to extend it. 

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, with the backing of an Arab League meeting that ended on October 10, has refused to continue negotiations as long as Israel continues to build its illegal settlements.

This construction violates Israel's obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention, contradicts established U.S. policy, and flouts Israel's promises made in the 2003 "road map." Rather than hold Israel accountable,
the Obama Administration is offering Israel a huge package of incentives to extend the sham "moratorium" for just two more months.

According to the Israeli newspaper
Ma'ariv, these incentives include:

* Supplying Israel with additional sophisticated weapons systems, including additional F-35 fighter jets, missiles, missile defense systems, and satellites--all financed, of course, by U.S. taxpayers;

* Agreeing to an ongoing Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley even after Palestinian statehood is established, and stringent measures to prevent Palestinians from obtaining weapons;

* Blocking Arab countries from pushing for a UN Security Council declaration of Palestinian statehood; and

* Ensuring that Palestinians stop complaining in public about Israel's colonization of its land

Not even these incentives are enough for Netanyahu to extend the "moratorium"; he now insists that
Palestinians recognize Israel as a "Jewish state" as a precondition for extending the "moratorium." Doing so would prejudice the rights of Israel's Palestinian citizens and Palestinian refugees ethnically cleansed from their homes in what is today Israel.

This demand is a non-starter, as Netanyahu knows full well that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) recognized the State of Israel in 1993 and that Palestinians are not obligated to recognize any specific characteristic of that state in order to negotiate with it.  Israel's latest demand appears to be designed to continue illegal settlement building, scuttle negotiations, and blame Palestinians for their breakdown.

Having launched these negotiations without any reference to human rights, international law, or UN resolutions,
the Obama Administration is now strategically adrift and is resorting to desperate measures to keep negotiations alive at any cost.

Help right the President's veering foreign policy by
signing our petition to him, which states that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations must be based on human rights, international law, and UN resolutions to be successful.  Sign today and then spread the word by clicking here.

Nearly 8,000 people have already signed this petition. 
Help us reach our goal of 10,000 signatures today by clicking here.

Ultimately, the Obama Administration will never succeed in its stated desire for a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian peace until it cuts off
$30 billion in military aid to Israel.  This sanction, more than any other policy tool the United States could employ, would be most likely to bring Israel to the negotiating table in good faith.

You can help us to put pressure on the Obama Administration to sanction Israel by
signing up to receive an organizing packet to end military aid to Israel.  Each packet contains everything you need--postcards, fliers, fact sheets, and more--to educate and organize people in your community.  Sign up today by clicking here