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The Day In Israel: Sun Apr 19th, 2009

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The US State Department has said that the Obama administration will boycott next week’s UN “anti-racism” conference over “objectionable” language about Israel and the West in the meeting’s final document.

On the other hand, the State Department has also said that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s (reasonable) demand that the palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people as a condition for renewing peace talks is unacceptable to the United States.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:02PM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has caved to Obama, with his office saying he is willing to begin negotiations with the palestinians without demanding they first recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

10:33PM: US President Barack Obama has explained his decision to boycott Durban II.

“I would love to be involved in a useful conference that addressed continuing issues of racism and discrimination around the globe,” Obama said in Trinidad on Sunday after attending the Summit of the Americas.

But he said the language of the UN’s draft declaration “raised a whole set of objectionable provisions” and risked a reprise of the 2001 predecessor summit in Durban, “which became a session through which folks expressed antagonism toward Israel in ways that were often times completely hypocritical and counterproductive.”

Meanwhile, not everyone is happy with Obama’s decision.

The Congressional Black Caucus said it was “deeply dismayed” by the decision made by the nation’s first African-African president, saying it was inconsistent with administration policies.

“Had the United States sent a high-level delegation reflecting the richness and diversity of our country, it would have sent a powerful message to the world that we’re ready to lead by example,” a statement from the group said.

“Instead, the administration opted to boycott the conference, a decision that does not advance the cause of combating racism and intolerance, but rather sets the cause back.”

9:04PM: Random, alternative caption:

Reuters

A Palestinian woman holds up a picture of her son jailed in Israel during a protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah April 19, 2009 marking Palestinian Prisoners Day Ron Jeremy. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri (WEST BANK POLITICS CONFLICT)

8:50PM: A day after it was reported that Swiss President Hans Rudolf Merz  planned on meeting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad comes news that Sweden is also going to boycott the Durban II conference (hat tip: LGF). Which goes to show that you can’t lump all of Scandinavia in the one basket.

 

7:58PM: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman – accused by all and sundry of being racist because he demands loyalty from Israel’s citizens – has named Bedouin diplomat Ismail Khaldi as his Middle East advisor.

Meanwhile, Lieberman has once again nailed it. Here is what he had to say about the upcoming “Durban II” conference.

“An international convention that invites a racist such as Ahmadinejad, – who preaches the extermination of the State of Israel day and night – and which allows him to make a central speech, demonstrates both its goal and its character.”

4:43PM: This Hamas cleric apparently once participated in an international conference of “Imams and Rabbis for Peace” — whose delegates vowed to “condemn any negative representation” of each other’s religions (hat tip: PMW).

4:40PM: Britain is set to participate in the upcoming United Nations-sponsored Durban II anti-racism conference, unlike other key Western nations. Which I guess will win it some brownie points from its Islamic overlords, once Britain is overrun in the not too distant future.

1:58PM: Our “peace partners” in the PA have joined Hamas in rejecting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s demand that the palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people as a precondition for resuming the stalled peace talks between the two sides.

Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state was “an admission by the Israeli prime minister that he cannot deliver on peace.” Erekat pointed out that the PLO had already recognized Israel’s right to exist when it signed the Oslo Accords, while Netanyahu was refusing to mention a Palestinian state.

Typical Erekat dishonesty. For a start, recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is at the core of the conflict. If the palestinians cannot bring themselves to do this, then there is no chance for peace.

Furthermore, I would like to remind everyone about where the so-called “moderate” palestinians stand on recognizing Israel’s right to exist (let alone our right to exist as Jewish state).

Former Fatah security commander Muhammad Dahlan on Tuesday called on Hamas not to recognize Israel’s right to exist, pointing out that Fatah had never recognized it.

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Dahlan’s remarks were made in an interview with the Palestinian Authority’s official Palestine TV station.

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Dahlan confirmed that he was “providing advice and ideas” to Abbas, especially regarding to the reconciliation talks with Hamas that were launched in Cairo last week.

In the interview, Dahlan was asked about reports that Fatah was demanding that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist as a precondition for the establishment of a Palestinian “unity government.” He called the reports “misleading” and said Hamas was “putting words in our mouths.”

Dahlan added: “They say that Fatah has asked them to recognize Israel’s right to exist and this is a big deception. For the one thousandth time, I want to reaffirm that we are not asking Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Rather, we are asking Hamas not to do so because Fatah never recognized Israel’s right to exist.”

He explained that it was the PLO, and not Fatah, which recognized Israel’s right to exist when the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.

Fatah is the largest faction in the PLO. The second largest faction is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“We acknowledge that the PLO did recognize Israel’s right to exist, but we are not bound by it as a resistance faction,” he added.

1:45PM: Australia and Holland have joined the US and Canada in boycotting this week’s “Durban 2” UN conference on racism, saying it was concerned the conference would be used as a platform for anti-Semitic views.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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