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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

  • New Mideast Talks Hang on Old Question: Will U.S. Drop Support for Israeli Annexation of West Bank?

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    Israel and the Palestinian Authority have resumed peace talks for the first time in three years, but the two sides appear as far apart as ever on the key issues of borders, settlers, refugees and the status of Jerusalem. We’re joined by scholar and author Norman Finkelstein and Yousef Munayyer, executive director of The Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, the Palestine Center. Munayyer says the talks hinge on a major reversal of the longstanding U.S. role in the conflict. "Instead of acting as an enforcer of international law, as an enforcer of Israeli obligations in previous commitments, the United States has only acted instead as an enforcer of Israeli positions," Munayyer says. "If you’re on the Palestinian end, there’s really no interest for you to keep going back to negotiations that only act as a cover for Israel’s continued colonial activities in the West Bank." Finkelstein says the true hope for peace lies in a nonviolent Palestinian movement that can force enough global pressure on Israel to obey international law and abandon its West Bank settlements. "The Palestinians are not demonstrating any power, so of course they’re going to be clobbered by the United States and Israel," Finkelstein says. "The question is: Can you change the power equation? And I think there are realistic possibilities for changing that equation. Number one, use the instrument of international law to isolate Israel in public opinion. And number two, you need massive Palestinian civil disobedience with, unfortunately, the force and repression that Israel unleashes to galvanize international opinion. That was exactly the strategy of the civil rights movement."

  • As EU Envoy Meets with Morsi, Bloody Crackdown on Anti-Coup Protesters Deepens Egyptian Crisis

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    After being held incommunicado for nearly four weeks, ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was allowed to meet today with European Union envoy Catherine Ashton. Flown by a military helicopter to visit Morsi in an undisclosed location, Ashton described him as "well" and informed about the current crisis. The meeting comes after at least 72 people were killed Saturday when Egyptian police opened fire on a Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo. More than 100 were wounded. Speaking from Cairo, Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous says the bloody crackdown on Morsi supporters has polarized the Egyptian population. "There is a very small, but burgeoning movement that’s calling itself 'The Third Square,' distancing itself from Tahrir — which has become very pro-military in its rhetoric — and distancing itself from the pro-Morsi rallies," Kouddous reports. "They’re saying we’re against [both] the military and against the Brotherhood, trying to reconstitute what they say are the goals of the January 25th revolution."

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