It was fascinating to see Sen. Lieberman (I-srael) say with a straight face that the Settlements aren’t the problem in that above clip. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that they’re not the only problem, but, his wild claim that it’s ‘not so clear’ on international law, and, it’s only international ‘politics’ is a bald faced lie…

The last UN General Assembly meeting concluded:

…Convinced that a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the question of Palestine — the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict — was imperative for lasting Middle East peace, the General Assembly today stressed the urgent need for sustained international involvement, including by the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, to support both parties in resuming stalled peace negotiations.

That position was echoed in a broad-based resolution on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, adopted by a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and United States), with 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Tonga). (See Annex VI) The text was one of six adopted by recorded vote in a flurry of action that capped the Assembly’s two-day discussion of that issue along with the broader quest for peace in the Middle East.

By the terms of the text, the Assembly reaffirmed the illegality of Israeli actions intended to change the status of Jerusalem, and expressed deep concern at closures and severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, the establishment of checkpoints and the imposition of a permit regime throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, which had created a humanitarian crisis. Reaffirming its commitment to the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, the Assembly also stressed the need for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.

I should also add that UN Sec.Gen. Ban Ki Moon holds Israel responsible for the political impasse…

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has blamed Israel for the “current impasse” in the Middle East peace process. Ban Ki-moon expressed his regret in a statement “for the failure of the Government of Israel to comply with the call of the international community to extend the period of a partial freeze on the settlement activities in the West Bank”. He renewed his call for the Zionist state to fulfil its obligations under the so-called “road map” and freeze all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.

Expressing his hope that progress can still be made towards a two-state solution, Mr. Ban stressed the importance of strengthening the negotiation process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. According to Hebrew radio sources, the Secretary-General was due to meet Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak in New York on 9th December to discuss the latest developments.

Interestingly, what Ehud Barak had told Ban Ki Moon and Madame Hillary was quickly dispelled by Bibi…

Barak views on Jerusalem not official, says Netanyahu

…Netanyahu has made clear that comments by defence minister Ehud Barak in favour of dividing Jerusalem were not the policy of the Israeli government.

Addressing the Saban Center for Middle East policy in Washington at the weekend, Mr Barak had said Jerusalem’s Jewish neighbourhoods should remain part of Israel, but Arab sectors should come under the sovereignty of an independent Palestinian state.

The comments were in line with the “Clinton parameters” – proposals for the city’s future outlined by former US president Bill Clinton in 2000, after the failure of the Camp David peace summit.

After a number of ministers had publicly criticised Mr Barak’s comments, Mr Netanyahu clarified that they were issued by Mr Barak in his capacity as the head of the Labor party, and not as a representative of the government.

Now, even Tzipi Livni made a plea for saner minds to prevail…

…Livni said she believes that “a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians is in (the) Israeli interest, it’s not a favor to President Obama.”

“I believe that the relations between Israel and the United States are existential to the future of the state of Israel,” the Kadima party leader and former foreign minister told ABC.

Livni noted that during her meeting with Hillary Clinton on Friday, the secretary of state said the Americans would continue discussing the core issues with Israel and the Palestinians.

The opposition leader said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu erred when he rejected a set of American guarantees in exchange for imposing another construction moratorium in the West Bank. “In choosing between building more buildings or making peace, I prefer to make peace,” she said.

To Hillary’s credit, hope does spring eternal…

Clinton: Palestinian state achieved through negotiations is inevitable

…Clinton said that the United States is serious about pushing forward a peace agreement and laying the foundations for a future Palestinian state.

“We will deepen our support of the Palestinians’ state-building efforts,
because we recognize that a Palestinian state, achieved through negotiations, is inevitable,” Clinton said, adding that “the long-term population trends that result from the occupation are endangering the Zionist vision of a Jewish and democratic state in the historic homeland of the Jewish people.” [...]

“The position of the United States on settlements has not changed and will not change,” said Clinton. “We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity. We believe their continued expansion is corrosive not only to peace efforts and the two-state solution, but to Israel’s future itself.”

The Palestinians aren’t so hopeful…

…But Palestinian negotiators and analysts said Washington’s failure to win a new settlement freeze was a sign of Israeli intransigence and US weakness, and that they held out little hope for the future of negotiations.

“The United States has once again proposed indirect talks with Israel, which means they don’t have anything to present,” Palestinian negotiator Mohammad Estayeh told AFP.

“It is unreasonable for the United States to not have a position and leave the parties to negotiate without an endpoint, we need a clear role from Washington, and we want to know if you are a mediator or a judge or facilitator of the negotiations.”

Speaking to Al-Hayat newspaper, Yasser Abed Rabbo, an aide to the Palestinian president, said it made no sense to resume so-called proximity talks, and suggested that the Palestinians were considering abandoning negotiations altogether in favor of a unilateral declaration of statehood.

“The old way did not achieve any results and we will not accept a return to it,” he said.

“We want to know, will the US side return to the old approach [of proximity talks or direct negotiations], or will they recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital?” [...]
“It is clear from Clinton’s speech that the US administration will aim to reach a framework agreement covering a temporary solution that will lead to a temporary state, which the Palestinian leadership has rejected,” he told AFP.

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell was expected to hold talks with Abbas on Tuesday, but Masri said the talks were unlikely to yield much.

“Mitchell is not coming with anything up his sleeve except for trying to reach a framework agreement, which means a deal without any details which will take years to resolve because of the political gulf between the sides.”

I did find it amusing that Bibi refrained from criticizing Hillary’s speech, but, was quick to jump on Barak…

…Officials at the Minister’s Office refused to comment on the speech, but a source close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “the important thing is not what the Americans say, but what they do. We must watch their next moves in the near future.”

Although the secretary of state did not use harsh words, she was critical of Israel. She slammed the settlement construction, addressed each of the negotiations’ core issues – including Jerusalem and the refugees – and demanded a clear stand from both Israel and the Palestinians on these matters shortly.

Jerusalem is now waiting for US special envoy George Mitchell’s return to the region for another round of shuttle diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Mitchell is trying to form an outline for the talks and receive the sides’ stance on the core issues, including Jerusalem and the borders.

Take a gander at the Bantustans that are the current West Bank… Note that the white areas on that UN map are under complete Israeli control…!

‘Apartheid’ is what the Palestinians are looking at inside of Israel or in the Occupied Territories…