Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Exploring Diplomacy

Secretary of State John Kerry insists: “We will always stand by Israel and we continue to support Israel as firmly as any administration in history." 
The Obama administration and Israel continue to disagree over the growth of Jewish settlements on land Palestinians want for a future state.  Just before Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat down to discuss the potential for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, Israel announced it was seizing about 380 acres of land close to Jericho in the West Bank.  Reportedly, Netanyahu told Kerry the move was part of a "planning exercise" and there would be no settlement construction there.
Our Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro announced at a high-profile security conference: "Continued settlement growth raises honest questions about Israel's long-term intentions."  He was referencing Israel's stated desire for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.  At Davos, Netanyahu had reiterated his support for a peace deal with the Palestinians that results in a two-state solution, blaming Palestinian unwillingness for the lack of results.
Shapiro also pointed out:"too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities, too much vigilantism goes unchecked, and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians."  Netanyahu insisted: Shapiro's remarks "unacceptable and untrue."
Kerry travelled to Riyadh, where he met with Saudi and Gulf leaders who are nervous about warming ties between the Obama administration and Iran.  Kerry wants to secure Saudi support for Syria peace talks between regime officials and members of the Syrian opposition. Disagreements between Saudi Arabia on one side and Russia and Iran on the other about who should represent the opposition at the bargaining table threaten to delay the start of talks.


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