15 April 2019   Leave a comment

We still do not know what US President Trump’s plan for Middle East peace is, but, now that the Israeli elections are over, details about the plan are beginning to leak. The Washington Post has published an article about the plan which seems to be well-informed. Reuters is reporting that very few officials know the specifics of the plan, and that even President Trump has not been informed of many of the details. But it seems to be the case that the plan does not foresee an independent sovereign Palestinian state, ending many years of US support for that outcome. It also seems to be the case that the emphasis will be on economic development in the region, including Jordan and Egypt. But there are no plans for a substantial US monetary commitment which would be difficult to pass in the current Congress. The Palestinian Authority cut off all dialogue with the US after the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and it is highly unlikely that it would support anything that did not include a Palestinian state. Indeed, high-ranking European officials have sent a letter toThe Guardian condemning any plan that does not include an independent Palestinian state:

“High-ranking former European politicians have condemned the Trump administration’s one-sided Israel-Palestine policy and called in a letter for Europe to reject any US Middle East peace plan unless it is fair to Palestinians.

“The letter, sent to the Guardian, the EU and European governments, was signed by 25 former foreign ministers, six former prime ministers, and two former Nato secretary generals.

“’It is time for Europe to stand by our principled parameters for peace in Israel-Palestine,’ read the letter, calling for a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestinian states live side by side.

“Europe, it said, should reject any plan that does not create a Palestinian state alongside Israel with Jerusalem as the capital for both countries.

“’Unfortunately, the current US administration has departed from longstanding US policy,’ it said, criticising Donald Trump’s 2017 recognition of ‘only one side’s claims to Jerusalem’.

“Washington had also ‘demonstrated a disturbing indifference to Israeli settlement expansion’ in the occupied West Bank and cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Palestinians, a move the letter said was ‘gambling with the security and stability of various countries located at Europe’s doorstep’”.

We shall have to wait for the details of the plan, but it seems to be a non-starter at this point, and it is unlikely that the outcome of the recent Israeli election will make it any more likely.

A group called Extinction Rebellion brought parts of London to a standstill in protests over the lack of action on the issue of climate change. The group represents an escalation in the tactics of environmentalists to bring about a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. I have been expecting this change for some time as a sense of desperation has set in over the inaction of many governments. The BBC describes the group and its objectives:

“Since its launch last year, members have shut bridges, poured buckets of fake blood outside Downing Street, blockaded the BBC and stripped semi-naked in Parliament.

“It has three core demands: for the government to ‘tell the truth about climate change’, reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025, and create a citizens’ assembly to oversee progress.

“Controversially, the group is trying to get as many people arrested as possible.

“One of the group’s founders, Roger Hallam, believes that mass participation and civil disobedience maximise the chances of social change. “

I would not be surprised to see similar and more dramatic protests in the future. Non-violent but disruptive protests are probably the only way to prod governments into taking the necessary steps to avoid the worst outcomes of climate change.

Extinction Rebellion Protester

Posted April 15, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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