State Dept rejects Palestinian statehood bid, blasts unilateral moves for undermining peace efforts

 

The United States on Monday signaled that it would oppose unilateral Palestinian efforts at the United Nations, with State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke telling reporters that a new draft Palestinian proposal “fails to account for Israel's legitimate security needs, and the satisfaction of those needs, of course, integral to a sustainable settlement.” Rathke, speaking at the State Department’s daily press briefing, blasted the resolution for “set[ting] arbitrary deadlines for reaching a peace agreement and for Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank.” Reports surfaced Monday morning that Secretary of State John Kerry had, in a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, hinted that Washington would veto the proposal and consider imposing economic sanctions on the Palestinians should Ramallah move forward with the bid. Foreign Policy earlier this month assessed growing tensions between Palestinian officials and the administration, noting that a unilateral statehood bid “risks a serious rupture with the United States." The outlet cited a range of statements to the effect that relations between Ramallah and Washington may become strained should the Palestinians continue to press unilateral moves at the United Nations Security Council. The administration has long opposed Palestinian moves that aim to prejudge the outcome of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, which violate among other things Oslo Accords and Wye Agreement obligations and risk triggering U.S. legislation that conditions assistance on the Palestinians meeting treaty requirements banning unilateralism. Palestinian failures to establish robust domestic institutions have long plagued efforts to achieve statehood -- the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which is controlled by Abbas’s Fatah faction, has failed to secure political legitimacy, with Abbas in the tenth year of a four-year term. The PA has also failed to achieve economic stability and has been unable to establish sovereignty over territory it declares as Palestinian, with Fatah and the opposing Hamas faction in control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip respectively.

 

Preserved remains of a prehistoric submerged village off the coast of Haifa yields amazing archaeological finds. A water well that may be the oldest wooden structure ever found, and the oldest evidence of an ancient olive-oil industry, are among the preserved remains of a prehistoric village discovered underwater by Israeli researchers off the coast of Haifa. These and other fascinating clues into New Stone Age culture from about 7,700 years ago were uncovered beneath 100 cubic meters of sand. “The State of Israel is a pioneer in the study of prehistoric underwater villages flooded by the sea, and is at the cutting edge of research in this area in terms of conservation status and quality of results,” said University of Haifa and Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Ehud Galili, who headed a team of academics, students and volunteers.  (viaIsrael21c)


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