Barack Obama’s “two state” peace plan would not just permanently divide the land of Israel. It would also permanently divide the city of Jerusalem. It is anticipated that the “Kerry Plan”, which is expected to be revealed to the public soon, will call for a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem without specifying the exact borders. According to some media reports, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has approached Palestinian leadership with the idea of locating the Palestinian capital in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina. Of course the details of any peace agreement will change as negotiations progress, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear – the Palestinians will never accept an undivided Jerusalem and the U.S. government is going to pressure Israel to hand part of the holy city over to them. But if Israel gives in and accepts a “peace plan” that includes the permanent division of Jerusalem, it will end up being absolutely disastrous for Israel, for the Palestinians and for the United States.
In many ways, the Obama administration finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place, and the status of Jerusalem is the most “burdensome stone” of all. Obama and Kerry desperately want to cement their legacies by getting the Israelis and the Palestinians to agree to a peace plan before Obama’s term is over, but the two sides are far apart on a number of issues.
The Palestinians have convinced Obama and Kerry that they will never, ever accept a deal that does not include a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem, so Obama and Kerry have decided that their best bet is to try to get the Israelis to cave in on their demand for an undivided holy city.
It is now an open secret that the Kerry Plan is going to call for a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem. The following comes from a recent article by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times…The “Kerry Plan,” likely to be unveiled soon, is expected to call for an end to the conflict and all claims, following a phased Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank (based on the 1967 lines), with unprecedented security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley. The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Palestinians for them with Israeli territory. It will call for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
Last week Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that any sanctions introduced by Washington against Moscow will have a “boomerang” effect. And such a boomerang could have some oomph. What would such a boomerang look like? Here are five ways (beyond the one Ankit Panda pointed out last week) Putin could make life very difficult for America and its allies in Asia if tensions in Eastern Europe were to intensify and Russia sought to retaliate:
1. Russian Arms Sales to China go hog wild – Remember that deal that keeps floating around concerning Russian SU-35s and advanced conventional submarines to China? Even if things don’t get worse in Ukraine, I think we can consider that a done deal now.
2. Moscow goes all in on natural resource sales to Beijing – While large deals were announced late last year, China would love to purchase as much Russian oil, natural gas and any other natural resources it could get its hands on. While issues of price have slowed or halted other deals in the past, Russia this time might be a little more flexible, especially if it were to halt or slow sales to Ukraine or Western Europe. China clearly wins in such a deal as it would become less reliant on sea-borne natural resources imports that could be disrupted if things with America were to go really south.
3. Russian Arms Sales to Iran, Rebooted - While any analysis here must factor in P5+1 negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear deal, Moscow could seek to make trouble for Washington and its allies by rebooting arms sales to Iran. With Russia and Iran already trying to work out the aftermath of an aborted sale of the S-300 air defense system, Putin may decide to put the system back on the table for Iran.
4. Syria: Give Assad all the arms he wants:
5. The Death of the Pivot/Rebalance: So say tensions in Eastern Europe were to escalate even further with Russia formally annexing Crimea or worse—Russia taking large sections of Eastern Ukraine
Washington may simply have no choice but to reconsider its mighty pivot/rebalance to Asia.
The Israeli Air Force struck seven targets in the Gaza Strip early Friday morning in response to a second day of rocket fire on southern Israel.
According to the IDF spokesperson’s office, IAF aircraft hit four sites in the southern Strip and three in the north.
“We will continue to retaliate to the aggression emanating from the Hamas run Gaza Strip,” said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner. “Militants attacking Israel from the Gaza Strip will not feel safe, will pay the price and will find that their actions are futile.”