Monday, March 23, 2015

White House Official Calls For End To '50-Year Occupation', UK's Cameron Urges Netanyahu To Pursue Two-State Solution

Top White House Official Calls For End To '50-Year Occupation

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough called for the end of Israel’s “50-year occupation” and doubled down on the Obama administration’s critique of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a warmly received speech to the lobbying group J Street in Washington Monday.

Speaking to the dovish group’s national conference, McDonough became the latest in a series of Washington officials to highlight the administration’s displeasure with Netanyahu, while also talking up the permanence of US-Israel ties, repeating Washington’s commitment to continued military, security and intelligence cooperation.

“No matter who leads Israel, America’s commitment to Israel’s security will never waiver,” McDonough said.

At the same time, McDonough said later, “an occupation that has lasted for 50 years must end,” referring to Israel’s 48-year hold on the West Bank.

The statement represented an unusually harsh repudiation of Israel’s control over the Palestinian territories, using a term the administration generally avoids.

Washington, he said, “has long advocated direct negotiations” toward a two-state solution — a position, he noted, that Netanyahu embraced in his 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University.
“That’s why the prime minister’s comments on the eve of the election, [which] made very clear that a Palestinian state will not be established while he is prime minister, were so very troubling,” McDonough said, referring to comments made by Netanyahu in a preelection interview with the NRG website in which he seemed to take a Palestinian state off the table.
McDonough did not, however, address the first precondition that Netanyahu stipulated earlier this week for Palestinian statehood — that the Palestinian Authority renounce its nearly year-old alliance with Hamas.

“We will look to the next Israeli government to match words with action and to policies that demonstrates a commitment to a two-state solution,” McDonough continued.

“In the end, we know what a peace agreement should look like. The borders of Israel and an independent Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps. Each state needs secure and recognized borders, and there must be robust provisions that safeguard Israel’s security.”

As the deadline for a political framework agreement with Iran approaches at the end of the month, McDonough said that “diplomatic engagement with Iran has already delivered concrete results. Through the Joint Plan of Action, we’ve succeeded in stopping the advance of Iran’s nuclear program and even rolling it back in key areas.”

Britain’s prime minister spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone on Monday, urging him to pursue a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

David Cameron told Netanyahu that a negotiated solution that created a Palestinian state was the best way to “achieve a lasting peace and to secure Israel’s long-term security and prosperity,” the British Guardian reported.

A Cameron spokesman said the British leader “congratulated [Netanyahu] on winning the recent Israeli elections, and looked forward to working with the new government when it was formed.”

Earlier in the day, Cameron told MPs in the House of Commons that he would lean on Netanyahu to re-start talks with the Palestinians.

“We must put pressure on both sides to make sure talks get going on a two-state solution,” Cameron said to the lawmakers. “I think that’s in the long term interest not just to the Palestinians, but also to the Israelis, and Britain’s policy on that will not change.”

“If there isn’t a two-state solution you end up moving towards a one-state solution which I think will be disastrous for the Jewish people in Israel,” Cameron added Monday. “So I really do believe in the two-state solution and we’re very much opposed to the settlement building that there has been and been very clear about that and will continue to be clear about that. It makes a two-state solution more difficult and that in turn will make Israel less stable rather than more stable.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said during his weekly radio show that he shares “President Obama’s views much more than David Cameron’s. It is extremely worrying – it cannot be more alarming – to have seen Binyamin Netanyahu do something which no leading Israeli politician has ever done – to rule out the prospect of a two-state solution.”

With allies migrating en masse to China's new infrastructure bank (and even the US having to admit it will 'cooperate'), it appears America has fallen back on what has worked for it in the past to ensure the world's largest creditor remains the world's reserve currency ad inifinitum - rattle its nuclear missile sabre... As the following clip shows, The US Air Force just test-fired a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from California, providing a "visual to the world."

As RT reports, an intercontinental ballistic missile was fired early Monday from a facility in California, the US Air Force announced, saying the tests were a message to the world about Washington's nuclear capabilities.

The Minuteman III missile was fitted with a “test re-entry vehicle” instead of a live thermonuclear warhead, and was test-launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB) in California at 03:36 local time (10:36 GMT), according to the Air Force statement.

"With these launches, we not only verify our processes and the ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) weapon system, we provide a visual to the world that the Minuteman III is capable of striking pretty much anywhere with extreme precision," said Lt. Col Tytonia Moore of the 90th Missile Wing, based out of the Francis E. Warren AFB in Wyoming, according to the statement.

The "Mighty Ninety" is one of the USAF’s three missile wing commands – the other two being the 91st at Minot AFB in North Dakota and the 341st at Malstrom AFB in Montana. There are roughly 450 ICBMs between the three.

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