Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Chair of Israel coalition government opposes Palestinian state

 (June 14) Likud MP Miki Zohar, chair of the Israeli coalition, says he is opposed to the Palestinians having a state. He claimed that as long as he chaired the coalition government he would not permit the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Zohar favors annexation of the occupied West Bank
Zohar says that Israel must declare sovereignty over the West Bank territories it occupies through annexation. The Holy Land he claims "is ours alone". The annexation would cut deep into territory claimed by the Palestinians. Under International law the West Bank is considered occupied territory but the Israelis consider it disputed territory and claim the laws of occupation do not apply. Israel has built Israeli settlements in the territory violating occupation laws.
Zohar said to the Hamevaser newspaper: "I am in favor of applying sovereignty to all Jewish communities in all parts of the Land of Israel. This is a historic opportunity that it is not certain we will have in the future - to apply sovereignty to at least 30 percent of Judea and Samaria. We should not be afraid to acknowledge the fact that this is our holy land and ours alone. On the other hand, I strongly oppose the principle of a Palestinian state. I will not allow any situation in which the government or Knesset commits itself to the establishment of a Palestinian state. As long as I am the chairman of the coalition, I will ensure these matters, as these are ideological and principled matters on which I will not compromise." Zahar admitted that there were will issues to be resolved, including roads, enclaves and more but that these issues were capable of resolution but he would in no way agree to the Palestinians having a state.
Annexation is supported by the US Trump administration
Back in late April Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it clear that annexation was a matter for Israel to decide: "As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions. That's an Israeli decision. And we will work closely with them to share with them our views of this in [a] private setting."
An anonymous US State Dept. spokesperson 
said in late April: "As we have made consistently clear, we are prepared to recognise Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the West Bank that the vision foresees as being part of the State of Israel." The annexation would accompany an agreement by Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines of "President Trump's Vision" she said. However, the Palestinian's have already rejected Trump's plan that did not involve any negotiations or even consultations with Palestinians. A BBC article at the end of January described the Palestinian reaction: "Palestinians have dismissed US President Donald Trump's new Middle East peace plan as a "conspiracy". It envisages a Palestinian state and recognition of Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the occupied West Bank."
Previously published in the Digital Journal

Trump wants to cut troop levels in both Japan and South Korea

 (June 13) Richard Grennel the outgoing US Ambassador to Gemrany said that the 9,500 troop withdrawal from Germany was in keeping with Trump's position and that he also wants to withdrawn troops from Japan and South Korea.

Trump wants more money to pay for troops
Grennel noted that the withdrawal simply sends the signal that Trump thinks that US deployments are too costly and those countries where US troops are stationed need to pay more of the costs of supporting the troops that are there. The withdrawal from Germany was about 30 percent of the over 34,000 troops stationed in the country.
Grenell was quoted as saying: "This is a hotly contested issue in the United States. Donald Trump was very clear, we want to bring troops from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, from South Korea, Japan, from Germany. It doesn't feel like something that gives too powerful a message, other than Americans ... are getting a little tired of paying too much for the defense of other countries. And this has been a very political point that President Trump has made for a long time."
Polls show that the German populace would rather see US troops withdraw than face increased expenditures for their upkeep. Trump may end up still having to pay for the upkeep of the troops he withdraws without any extra funds whatsoever if the withdrawn troops return to the US.
US trying to get even more money from South Korea
The talk of US troop withdrawal comes as the US is also putting pressure on South Korea to increase its financial contributions to pay for the 28,500 strong force there under the bilateral cost sharing deal called the Special Measure Agreement. There have been months of failed negotiations.
South Korea offered considerably more to the US and already pays more than many countries but the offer did not come close to Trump's unprecedented demands. The Koreans are unlikely to give in to Trump's demands. Japan is also unlikely to accept Trump's massive new demands.
The enclosed video notes that Trump is asking for more money to sustain troops stationed in foreign countries.

Chair of Israel coalition government opposes Palestinian state

 (June 14)  Likud MP Miki Zohar, chair of the Israeli coalition, says he is opposed to the Palestinians having a state. He claimed that as l...