No pre-conditions, territorial concessions can only be reached through direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine. But … George Bush made commitments in name of Palestinians. Wow! Take that Abbas for a non-starter of any discussion. This Israel legal group has the arrogance to write John Kerry a letter, what a gall.

Legal group to Kerry: Pre-1967 lines as basis for talks contravenes US commitments

(JPost) – Any US guarantee to the Palestinians that the upcoming negotiations with Israel will be based on the pre-1967 lines would be a violation of written US commitments given to then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker wrote in a letter sent this week to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Baker wrote the letter on behalf of the Legal Forum for Israel, along with another attorney with the group, Yossi Fuchs. The forum, formerly called the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, was set up in the wake of the Gaza withdrawal to promote the rights of the evacuees. [In the US, a non-profit organisation American Legal Forum for the Land of Israel]

The group quotes from US president George W. Bush’s letter to Sharon on April 4, 2004, which it said was given as a political quid pro quo, in return for Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza.

According to that letter, “As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of the final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion.”

These commitments were later affirmed by a large majority of the US House of Representatives, and – as Baker and Fuchs wrote to Kerry – was “also given legal affirmation as part of an Israeli governmental decision and attached to the disengagement implementation law of October 27, 2004.”

The letter, however, has since been the source of contention, with former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton distancing the Obama administration from its commitments. In June 2009 she said, “In looking at the history of the Bush administration, there were no informal or oral enforceable agreements.

That has been verified by the official record of the administration and by the personnel in the positions of responsibility.”

But Elliott Abrams, who handled Middle East affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2008 and was involved in drafting the letter, disputed Clinton’s interpretation in an opinion piece that appeared in 2009 in The Wall Street Journal.

Corrections thanks to CIF Watch, a Technorati Top 100 Blog; BBC Watch, a sister site of CiF Watch; CiF Watch, a CAMERA affiliate; CAMERA’s Hebrew language website; CAMERA’s website for college campuses; The Commentator, A CiF Watch supporter. Further blog support from all of our graduates of the Israeli Hasbara program. In The Netherlands, a political watchdog called CIDI. More information The Case for Israel (Studies): It’s not hasbara. Honest.

Swift retaliation by Israel: ‘Ya’alon orders freeze in permits for EU projects in West Bank’

Continued below the fold …

‘Ya’alon orders freeze in permits for EU projects in West Bank’

(JPOst) – Israel has severed cooperation with the European Union in Area C of the West Bank in response to new measures the EU has taken against settlements.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the IDF’s civil administration to cease cooperation in joint projects with the EU, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

This means that the IDF will refuse to grant new permits or renew existing permits for EU construction projects in Area C, which is territory under Israeli civil and military control. It also will not issue or renew any documents that EU personnel might need for travel in the West Bank or into Gaza from Israel.

In addition, IDF offices in the West Bank, such as the civil administration and the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), will no longer hold work meetings with EU officials or personnel.

Some of the EU-led projects in the West Bank include a program to train Palestinian Authority police officers in basic and advanced policing skills, and a waste removal program.

The Civilian Policy Towards the Gaza Strip – Cabinet decision June 2010 [pdf]

Analysis: A black day for Bennett

(JPost) – Haredim use chief rabbi race to exact revenge on Bayit Yehudi for leaving them out of coalition; PM gets to see Naftali Bennett defeated.

A decade ago, Shas and United Torah Judaism took revenge against the National Religious Party for joining a coalition without haredi parties by taking away control of the institution most dear to religious Zionists: the Chief Rabbinate. Ten years later, the haredim took revenge again for being left out of the government and its coffers, but this time the victory is much sweeter.

Former chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau also emerged victorious, creating his own dynasty. His son David ascended to his former post, replacing a rabbi whom he detested, Yonah Metzger.

But the biggest winner in the race is neither Yosef, nor Lau, nor even Deri. It is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who wanted to see Bennett suffer such a humiliating loss. Netanyahu’s close ally and former campaign manager, Modi’in Mayor Haim Bibas, worked tirelessly for Lau.

When the results were announced, the prime minister immediately called the rabbis to congratulate them and invite them to Torah study sessions at his house.

So the haredim and the prime minister got their revenge by electing Lau and Yosef in a polarizing race. Now it is up to the new chief rabbis to prove themselves to not only an electorate of 150 people but to the Jewish people in Israel and around the world.

Think about it: Who needs chief rabbis?

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