Israel News for December 28, 2016

Secret Leaked
An Egyptian news backed by the government has published a secret report, apparently leaked by Palestinian officials, documenting a December 12th meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and a Palestinian delegation headed by senior PLO member Saeb Erekat in Washington.

According to the report, Kerry and Rice told Erekat that the Obama administration was prepared to cooperate with them in the Security Council given that the resolution against Israeli settlements was a “balanced” one. Kerry and Rice were reportedly both severely critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing him of wanting to destroy the possibility of a two-state solution.

Kerry said that he could present ideas for a possible permanent solution on the condition that the Palestinians would endorse them upon their publication. Rice was critical of Kerry’s plan, since she felt that incoming president Donald Trump was categorically reject it. She called Trump dangerous and said that she was convinced that he would stick to everything he said during the campaign relating to settlements and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Kerry and Rice then asked the Palestinians how they would respond if the US embassy was moved. Erekat responded that they was annul their recognition of Israel, dismantle the PA and place responsibility of administrating the West Bank on Israel, and enlist Arab and Muslim countries to help move the embassy out of Jerusalem.

Kerry and Rice advised the Palestinians not to take these drastic actions, since they would just be viewed by Trump as provocative. Instead, they told the Palestinians to prevent terror attacks, which harm their negotiating position. They also advised them to seek the help of Jewish businessman Ronal Lauder in order to establish a connection with Trump.

Finally, Kerry and Rice asked the Palestinians to keep their meeting secret.


For further reading click here.

Kerry Speech
John Kerry is scheduled to speak at the State Department today at 11am EST. He will discuss the US abstention and the accusations made by Israel that the Obama administration drafted and forced the resolution to a vote. Kerry is expected to lay out the administration’s vision of a two-sate solution. What the repercussions of that will be is unknown. Another UN resolution?

In a related event, the Jerusalem municipal council has cancelled a meeting this morning during which it was expected to approve the construction of 490 housing units in the Ramot and Ramat Shlomo neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem. The meeting was cancelled at the request of the PM.

For further reading click here.

Diplomatic Drama
What happened in the hours before the UN Security Council vote last Friday? PM Netanyahu called New Zealand’s Prime Minister to try and get him not to continue sponsoring the resolution. New Zealand was one of the four countries to push the resolution after it was withdrawn by Egypt. The other countries were Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela.

In his conversation with the New Zealand PM, Netanyahu is reported to have said, “This is a scandalous decision. I’m asking that you not support it and not promote it.” He added, “If you continue to promote this resolution from our point of view it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences. We’ll recall our ambassador to Jerusalem.” New Zealand ignored his “request”.

Western diplomats have revealed that Great Britain played a major role in the drafting of the resolution, by softening it to make sure it would be acceptable to the US. They claim that the British encouraged New Zealand to push forward with the resolution despite the pressure against it. The UK also worked with the Palestinians and the Gulf States to lobby for the resolution.

A few hours before the vote Netanyahu called Russian President Putin to ask him to help prevent the vote. Less than an hour before the vote the Russian UN ambassador unexpectedly asked for a postponement of the vote until after Christmas, claiming that more discussion was required and that the vote was happening much too quickly. His request was rejected.

So it looks like the Russians were the only ones to at least make an effort to stand with Israel this time around. Of course, they voted for the resolution.

For further reading click here.

Hanukkah Treat
In our attempt to share videos to help inspire you or just brighten up your Hanukkah, we couldn’t not share this viral hit from the singing group The Maccabeats as they apply their unique twist to the award winning Broadway musical Hamilton. To watch the video click here.