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March 22, 2010
Posted: 1733 GMT

Hello from the newsroom,

When Hillary Clinton appeared for a speech today at the powerful pro-Israel lobby group, AIPAC, there were fears she might get booed.

America and Israel, after all, have been having some public disagreements lately. Washington made no secret of the fact that it was insulted when Israel announced new settlements in East Jerusalem just as Vice-President Joe Biden was sitting down for dinner with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

But there were cheers from the audience the U.S. Secretary of State reaffirmed that America's "commitment to Israel's security and Israel's future is rock solid."

That said, Mrs. Clinton laced her praise with a rebuke: the status quo in the Middle East is "unsustainable," she said. The U.S does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, she added.

The Israeli Prime Minister, who is in Washington, is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama Tuesday. All this is taking place against the backdrop of violence in the West Bank and the death of two Palestinian teen-agers, shot during demonstrations.
Will this special relationship get back on track? If so, will Israel take some of America's advice on the settlement building issue? It sure doesn't look like it, based on Mr. Netanyahu's recent remarks.

We are live in Washington with the latest on U.S.-Israeli relations. We will also go live to Jerusalem for more on the renewed violence.

Speaking of Washington, President Obama is no doubt celebrating a major political victory today: the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed a major healthcare reform bill. This was the centerpiece of Mister Obama's political agenda over the last year. What does its passage say about his political power just as his ratings are dipping among the general public?

Also today, we go live to Paris for analysis of this week-end's bruising political defeat for French president Nicolas Sarkozy. His party was thrashed in week-end regional elections. If this was a referendum on Mr. Sarkozy's popularity, the French leader might consider getting a bit worried. Presidential elections in 2012 aren't that far off.

Those stories and the rest of the day's top news, business and sports headlines, as always!

See you at the IDesk,

Hala

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Filed under: Israel-West Bank •Today At The I-Desk


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Pax101   March 22nd, 2010 7:52 pm ET

Booing at secretary Clinton would have achieved nothing. It is good that the audience realized that respectful dialogue has a much higher value. Civil dialogue works and leads the way to peace. Let's hope all parties keep that lesson in mind during the peace talks that must continue.
Civility. Respect. Dialogue. @pax101

A. Smith, Oregon   March 22nd, 2010 9:01 pm ET

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently stated the continued construction in East Jerusalem is going on and is not going to stop nor be interrupted. This direction runs entirely contrary to a two state Peace agreement with a portion of Jerusalem becoming the Palestinian Capitol.

Meanwhile thousands of Allied Soldiers are dieing across the Middle East because a Peace Agreement has not been signed into action.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is arriving in Washington with his hand out for Billions of taxpayer dollars and free US Military equipment. With literally zero concessions and zero help from the current Israeli government for a viable Peace Agreement in the Middle East, what is the overwhelming motivation for stripping funding for US States that are bankrupt and giving those Billions to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?

Even if America gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ZERO taxpayer dollars, America taxpayers are still spending Hundreds of Billions of taxpayer dollars to fight Middle East battles across the entire Middle East.

Perry   March 22nd, 2010 9:18 pm ET

Even those who aren't particularly sympathetic to Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, could get a good measure of satisfaction from this interview with British Television during the retaliation against Hamas' shelling of Israel.

The interviewer asked him: "How come so many more Palestinians have been killed in this conflict than Israelis?" (A nasty question if there ever was one!)

Netanyahu: "Are you sure that you want to start asking in that direction?"

Interviewer: (Falling into the trap) Why not?

Netanyahu: "Because in World War II more Germans were killed than British and Americans combined, but there is no doubt in anyone' s mind that the war was caused by Germany's aggression. And in response to the German blitz on London, the British wiped out the entire city of Dresden, burning to death more German civilians than the number of people killed in Hiroshima. Moreover, I could remind you that in 1944, when the R.A.F. tried to bomb the Gestapo Headquarters in Copenhagen, some of the bombs missed their target and fell on a Danish children's hospital, killing 83 little children. Perhaps yo u have another question?"

Apparently, Benjamin Netanyahu gave another interview and was asked about Israel's occupation of Arab lands. His response was, "It's our land". The reporter (CNN or the like) was stunned – read below "It's our land..." It's important information since we don't get fair and accurate reporting from the media and facts tend to get lost in the jumble of daily events.

"Crash Course on the Arab-Israeli Conflict."

Here are overlooked facts in the current & past Middle East situation. These were compiled by a Christian university professor:

BRIEF FACTS ON THE ISRAELI CONFLICT TODAY

It makes sense and it's not slanted. Jew and non-Jew - it doesn't matter.

1. Nationhood and Jerusalem: Israel became a nation in 1312 BC, two thousand (2000) years before the rise of Islam.

2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BC, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand (1000) years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.

4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 lasted no more than 22 years.

5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and not one single Arab leader came to visit it from 1948 to 1967.

6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Bible, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran.

7. King David founded the city of David Solomon built the Temple Mohammad never came to Jerusalem,and wrote in the Koran that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews

8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims in Jerusalem pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.

9. Arab and Jewish Refugees: in 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left (many in fear of retaliation by their own brethren, the Arabs), without ever seeing an Israeli soldier. The ones who stayed were afforded the same peace, civility, and citizenship rights as everyone else.

10. The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.

11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.

12. Arab refugees were INTENTIONALLY not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people's lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey.

13. The Arab-Israeli Conflict: the Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won.

14. The PLO's Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them.

15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.

16. The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.

17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.

18. The UN was silent while 58 Jerusalem synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.

19. The UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

20. The UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

A. Smith, Oregon   March 22nd, 2010 11:05 pm ET

CNN war zone camerawoman Margaret Gipsy Moth dies from cancer.

Outstanding CNN photojournalist Margaret Moth, who had survived a near-fatal gunshot wound to the face while filming sniper alley in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the wars there in the early 1990s, died Sunday after she had suffered from colon cancer for three years. She was 59.

Her CNN colleagues said she inspired them with her toughness, humor and quirky style that included always wearing black clothes that went with her jet-black hair, thick black eyeliner and combat boots that she often wore while she slept in war zones.

Moth also covered the Israeli invasion of the West Bank in 2002, the rioting that followed Indira Gandhi's assassination in 1984 and other conflicts around the world, including several in the Middle East, according to CNN When militiamen opened fire on protesters in Tbilisi, Georgia, CNN said she stood her ground and kept her camera running.

RIP Margaret Gipsy Moth, Thank-you for your outstanding contributions and courage to bring CNN viewers face to face with conflicts and combat operations around the world.

T. Axelrod   March 23rd, 2010 12:24 am ET

A. Smith – Prime Minister Netanyahu's comment about Dresden and Hiroshima is, while I understand his point, not factually correct. Wikipedia is not always the best source, but they seem pretty accurate here:

1. Hiroshima bombing: Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki,[4] with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day.

2. Dresden: Today's historians estimate a death toll between 24,000 and 40,000,[7] and an independent investigation commissioned by the city council in 2006 determined a minimum of 18,000 victims with a maximum total number of fatalities of around 25,000.

T. Axelrod   March 23rd, 2010 12:30 am ET

Sorry, I meant my comment for Perry!
And I noted it because far-rightists in Germany frequently exaggerate the number of those killed in Dresden – of course, any number of civilian deaths is deplorable. But the exaggeration is a form of Holocaust relativization and denial. It is important for us to be as accurate as possible in recounting history.

Muthyavan.   March 23rd, 2010 2:17 am ET

The age Old Problem of USA foreign policy goes to Washington facing new challenges,While after Washington solves successfully another long standing historic problem of the Peoples of USA. USA foreign policy was under very difficult stress many times in the past years from the time Israel was created to the recent attempt by USA vice President and Secretary of state in an attempt to find a peaceful settlements in the long historic middle east disputes.

This time it is moving into a very positive and politically stable time the USA administration is celebrating after the success of installing a health care plan for the American peoples. It all started with a sudden set back to the Democratic party in the loss of a long held Senate seat in a by election. But regains its full strength in winning the long waited health care plan for the people's of USA. IT all happens after many years of repeated failed attempts fighting by the peoples of USA, against the Insurance giant industry of USA. But last minute of this long historic fight turned ugly into a personnel slur of obscene comments against people's government of USA with reference to abortions. It was one of a very sad times for the USA House of Representatives, when some representatives raised this issue of a women's fundamental rights, when another important human basic issue was taken up for decision. Any how it had a very good final ending for this historic basic requirement for the peoples of USA.
Likewise Washington is now immediately after this victory facing another one of its long historic challenges in the middle east conflict which has been threatening a just peace to all the conflicts in the entire middle east region. But It has come to its door steps at the correct time when washington has enough strength and power to throttle this long standing ethnic issue which is raising a bad name on USA foreign policy for a long time. This historic long dispute between the different ethnic cultural groups in the region needs a careful deep approach. That may needs a long understanding and deep give and take attitude among the various religious ethnic culture groups. It should not be given a jump start like a sudden announcing of a new construction of dwellings for a single ethnic group against the multi-cultural ethnic historical background.

An attempt to this international historic dispute in a genuine way to satisfy all the ethnic groups will be a very difficult task of any politician in history. History will be made if any body will ever succeed in finding a peaceful deal in this most difficult issue of the modern days.

Biruzz   March 23rd, 2010 3:31 am ET

If one is to turn back the clock as far back in time as as one desires then I will produce scripture to say that my people were the original inhabitants of the American continent. In line with that, everyone who is living in the continent now should leave quietly or will be brutally removed.

It is foolish to involve religion with politics. Religion is a wonderful guide for those who believe in but it should not be involved or linked with politics for a few reasons.

(1) There are people who do not believe in religion or god and their rights should always be protected as well.

(2) We cannot keep enacting laws or enforcing laws of society or governance based upon religious scripture, regardless what religion an individual belongs to.

BESIDES RELIGION IS A WONDERFUL THING (my personal belief), WE WHOULD NOT LINK IT WITH SOMETHING AS DIRTY AS POLITICS.

If the israelis and the palestinians do not learn to live and work and share everything together then they will be subjecting their future generations to more pain and chaos. Israel has to be a bit more understanding and deal with the palestinians more ethically. It is in their best interest. There is no need for israel to build anything East jJerusalem. There is a lot of other plots of land in the state of Israel.

If this act by Israel and especially Netanyahu is not cause for incitement and more trouble what is? Did he really think that this was going to take place without any consequences. Already news reports indicating that people were trying to stab soldiers and that two kids have been killed and numerous others have been arrested. One has to think about the anguish that all parents Israeli and Palestinian must be going thru seeing their kids in the front end of this escalating circle of violence. The prime minister talks about previous murderous carnage and death during the world wars, did he learn anything from it?

Does any other country in the world have a powerful lobby group such as "AIPAC" in the united states? Why does a foreign country have a lobby group to lobby the us government? I believe that consulates, embassies are there for governments to work with each other. What does lobby mean? LOBBY is to influence congress and government to favour ones proposals. Basically I will contribute to your election or reelection fund and you will be a mouth piece in congress for the entity that I represent. In other words I will bribe you to speak on my special interest. The lobby group for Israel "AIPAC" has big parts of the US congress in its grasp and how is that possible.

I love the American Constitution, it smells of freedom and liberty among all its wonderful items. But how is a bankrupt nation that borrows money from China funding the state of Israel when it cant even feed its own hungry people. Something to think about.

David   March 23rd, 2010 3:49 am ET

I am actually surprised when people defend Israel's policy in Palestine. Let me say one thing to Perry, before People from Europe came and took over America, it was Native American's land. They had been living here for more than 5000 years. If you argue that just because historically Jerusalem Jewish land then give back America to all the tribes who were here before. Israel took Palestinian land and are still craving for more. They are killing innocent people everyday, denying them of basic humanitarian conditions. The leaders of Israel should be brought to Hague and tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Jerusalem belongs to Palestine and if the US continues to support Israel, their reputation as world leader is definately going down on drain and it will only give extremists like Al Qaeda and Iran sympathy and there will be increase in terrorism.
The middle east crisis should be resolved without being bias. Let the fate of Middle East be decided in the UN general assembly rather than in White House.

Perry   March 23rd, 2010 4:34 pm ET

@David – The Native American analogy is a good one. This is why we are not carving up Washington DC. Can you imagine if Putin came to the US and insisted that we give up parts of Washington DC?!! You would think that since Israel has also defended itself and won four wars with its Arab neighbors it would be enough. At least Egypt and Jordan understand this. Half the countries on the planet exist because they were victorious in war.

Jews have been building in Jerusalem for 3000 years and will continue to do so.

– Perry

foeriedog   March 23rd, 2010 9:56 pm ET

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ahmad   April 6th, 2010 5:38 pm ET

international desk is doing fine. iam writing from lahore pakistan. i study philosophy. i desk is covering word events beautifully. we will try to provide perspective of this region.

mak.
lahore,
pakistan.
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