Posted by: Audiegrl
Jordan King Tells Biden Israeli Settlements Threaten Peace
Vice President Joe Biden (3rd L), meets with Jordan's King Abdullah II (3rd R) at the Royal Palace on March 11, 2010 in Amman, Jordan. Biden's currently on tour of the middle east which has so far seen him meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Getty Images Europe)
~ Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Thursday told visiting US Vice President Joe Biden that Israel’s new settlements plans threaten peace efforts and could lead to more regional violence.
“The king renewed Jordan’s condemnation of Israel’s decision to build new settlements in east Jerusalem,” a palace statement quoted the king as telling Biden at a meeting.
He said “such unilateral actions, which are internationally rejected, threaten the peace process and put the entire region at risk of getting into a new cycle of conflict,” according to the statement.
“Achieving peace in the Middle East requires a leading US role. The entire world is paying the price for the troubled peace process,” said the king, whose country, a key US ally, signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.
Israel said on Tuesday it would build 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers in mainly Arab east Jerusalem, and the announcement coincided with a visit by Biden to the disputed holy city.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly apologized to the vice president on Thursday in a bid to defuse the row over settlements, which prompted a Palestinian boycott of indirect peace talks.
posted by: Audiegrl
Vice President Joe Biden meets with U.N Special Representative for Iraq, second from left, Ad Melkert, in the Roosevelt Room, January 5, 2010
The Vice President met with the U.N. Secretary General’s Special Representative for Iraq Ad Melkert, to discuss developments in Iraq. The Vice President offered continued U.S. government support for the indispensable role of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq and thanked Mr. Melkert for his leadership, highlighting his recent support for Iraqi efforts to approve an election law. They discussed preparations for the upcoming national elections and pledged to help the Iraqis resolve outstanding national unity issues.
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The Legacy of 1989 Is Still Up for Debate
New York Times/Steven Erlanger—The historical legacy of 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and the cold war thawed, is as political as the upheavals of that decisive year.
The events of 1989 spurred a striking transformation of Europe, which is now whole and free, and a reunified Germany, milestones that are being observed with celebrations all over the continent, including a French-German extravaganza Monday evening on the Place de la Concorde.
But 1989 also created new divisions and fierce nationalisms that hobble the European Union today, between East and West, France and Germany, Europe and Russia.
Some of the intensity of those divisions is evident in the tug of war, in both Europe and the United States, over the achievements of 1989 — whether they owe more to the resolute anti-Communism of Ronald Reagan or its inverse, the white-glove embrace of the East by many in Western Europe.
From left, Mikhail Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger and former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher next to a piece of the Berlin Wall.
And while many in the West saw the wheel of history spinning inevitably, causing the rise of democracy and banishing serious rivals to American power, China forestalled its own revolution in 1989 and catapulted itself to prominence through an authoritarian capitalism that the leaders of Russia are now studying.
“The Chinese ended up with a Leninist capitalism, which none of us imagined in 1989, and which is now the main ideological competitor to Western liberal democracy,” said Timothy Garton Ash, a chronicler of 1989 in his book “The Magic Lantern.”
It is a tribute to 1989, not unlike the French Revolution 200 years before it, that its meaning is hotly contested. Different groups in different countries see the anniversary differently, usually from their own ideological points of view.
In general, said James M. Goldgeier of George Washington University, a historian of the period, “the big question out there for 20 years is who gets the credit.”
A group of Russian tourists gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Friday.
For many in the United States, he said, most of the credit now goes to President Ronald Reagan and his aggressive military spending and antagonism toward Communism. That view has largely eclipsed another American perspective, which was that globalization and democratization were so powerful that a Mikhail Gorbachev was inevitable, and that the cold war ended through “soft power” — propaganda, diplomacy and the Helsinki accords.
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Time/Joe Klein—It was Halloween night in Jerusalem, and Benjamin Netanyahu came dressed as a peacemaker.
“We’re prepared to start peace talks immediately,” the notoriously reluctant Israeli Prime Minister proclaimed, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton standing at his side, poker-faced. “I think we should … get on it and get with it.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
It was a ploy, of course. The Palestinians were tangled up in themselves, yet again. They had elections looming, and their leader, Mahmoud Abbas, had to hang tough: he was demanding a total freeze to Israeli settlement-building on the West Bank — which was precisely what the Obama Administration had previously said it favored. Netanyahu was offering a partial freeze, not including new settlements in East Jerusalem, the desired capital of a future Palestinian state. This was a nonstarter for the Palestinians, but it had the holographic glow of a step forward. It was an “unprecedented” offer, Netanyahu trumpeted, with the joy of a chess master springing a trap.
It was a tough moment for Clinton, playing second fiddle at the Bibi-does-Gandhi show. President Barack Obama had softened his language on the settlements a few weeks earlier: instead of a total freeze, he had talked about Israeli “restraint” in settlement-building. And now Clinton seemed to cement the Administration’s retreat, agreeing that Netanyahu’s proposal was, indeed, “unprecedented,” even though the U.S. still favored a total freeze. The most important thing, she added, was for the parties to get to the table as quickly as possible. The onus was back on the Palestinians — and the Palestinians quickly expressed outrage at the Obama Administration’s retreat. Their Arab neighbors soon joined in, causing Clinton to backtrack two days later, telling reporters the Israeli plan “falls far short” of U.S. expectations, although she still insisted on calling it “unprecedented,” which was neither diplomatic nor wise.
Warning: This video contains graphic language and imagery and NSFW
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