Bernie Sanders: Justice for the Palestinians and Security for Israel

Read the full opinion piece by Bernie Sanders on the NY Times

Finally, if Palestinians are to have any hope for a decent future, there must be a commitment to broad peace talks to advance a two-state solution in the wake of this war. The United States, the international community and Israel’s neighbors must move aggressively toward that goal. This would include dramatically increased international support for the Palestinian people, including from wealthy Gulf States. It would also mean the promise of full recognition of Palestine pending the formation of a new democratically elected government committed to peace with Israel.

Let’s be clear: this is not going to happen on its own. Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party was explicitly formed on the premise that “between the Sea and the Jordan [River] there will only be Israeli sovereignty,” and the current coalition agreement reinforces that goal. This is not just ideology. The Israeli government has systematically pursued this goal. The last year saw record Israeli settlement growth in the West Bank, where more than 700,000 Israelis now live in areas that the United Nations and the United States agree are occupied territories. They have used state violence to back up this de facto annexation. Since Oct. 7, the United Nations reports that at least 208 Palestinians, including 53 children, have been killed by Israeli security forces and settlers. This cannot be allowed to continue.

Mr. Netanyahu has made clear where he stands on these critical issues. So should we. If asking nicely worked, we wouldn’t be in this position. The only way these necessary changes will happen is if the United States uses the substantial leverage we have with Israel. And we all know what that leverage is.

For many years, the United States has provided Israel substantial sums of money — with close to no strings attached. Currently, we provide $3.8 billion a year. President Biden has asked for $14.3 billion more on top of that sum and asked Congress to waive normal, already-limited oversight rules. The blank check approach must end. The United States must make clear that while we are friends of Israel, there are conditions to that friendship and that we cannot be complicit in actions that violate international law and our own sense of decency. That includes an end to indiscriminate bombing; a significant pause to bombing so that massive humanitarian assistance can come into the region; the right of displaced Gazans to return to their homes; no long-term Israeli occupation of Gaza; an end to settler violence in the West Bank and a freeze on settlement expansion; and a commitment to broad peace talks for a two-state solution in the wake of the war.



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley today released the following statement regarding the Israel-Hamas war.

In his statement, the Senator calls for a ceasefire, to include the immediate cessation of hostilities by both sides. He also notes that a ceasefire will not endure unless the ceasefire and the negotiations that follow accomplish a number of objectives, including the release of all hostages and a massive influx of humanitarian aid.


Sharing the Losses: Poems for Palestine

From Gilbert Schramm, he has written some excellent poetry over many years, include many concerning the Middle East…
He is offering these for sale, all proceeds go towards humanitarian relief in Palestine. A sample is below.
My book is published! It is a benefit for promoting peace in the Middle East in two ways: any profits will go toward humanitarian relief in Palestine, and it is also a way of promoting awareness of this issue. Please share with friends and networks. It is always difficult promoting a self-published book. If, after reading it, you feel it is informative and useful, it would really help to make a brief review= on Amazon. It would be preferable to comment on the work itself- it's not a place for airing general feelings about the conflict. If anyone has connections to groups involved in similar work, please try to make them aware of it.

Jerusalem in the afternoon is the bitterness of two hundred winter-bare olive trees fallen in the distance.--Deema Shehabi

Jerusalem/ Gaza


If there were no separation between
Events in space because of time
How would we order our world?
We would have to live with our history then
And live with our acts always

Ancient walls would be
Obscured by the images of the hands
That lifted the stones, again and again
And we would see those hands
Like a cloud of birds, rising, fluttering.

And we would also see the hands
That cast those stones down
And the shape of each stone falling.
Perhaps seeing that appalling waste
would teach us something.

Some places in the world
Would be thick always
With the images of the slain
Heaped in the roads and gutters like leaves
Fall, the gurgling of clotting drains.

And from on high the view would seem
Like something from a crazy Escher dream
Outlines of the bodies, chalked in as at the scene
Of a crime of such brutal magnitude
No absolution could ever intrude.

-- Gilbert Schramm

The March for Israel Was a Hate Rally

"What kind of gathering against anti-Semitism invites anti-Semites?"
Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Hakeem Jeffries attend this pro-war rally in DC. They shared the stage with Christian Zionists like extremist John Hagee and Christian Nationalist Trump supporters like Mike Johnson, new Speaker of the House.
David Zirin notes: "... Democrats sacrificing their party’s presidential hopes on the altar of a war crime deserve nothing but contempt. If young people don’t turn out to vote, remember this rally, and remember how Schumer and Jeffries locked arms with Johnson, looked at 80 percent of their voters, and spit in their faces."

The Israeli public has embraced the Smotrich doctrine

The internalization of the far-right minister's 'Decisive Plan' is evident in the popular support for a new ultimatum for Gaza: emigration or annihilation.


Six years ago, Bezalel Smotrich, then a young Knesset member in his first term, published his “Decisive Plan” — a kind of “endgame” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to the far-right lawmaker, who now serves as Israel’s finance minister and the government’s West Bank overlord, the inherent contradiction between Jewish and Palestinian national aspirations does not allow for any kind of compromise, reconciliation, or partition. Instead of maintaining the illusion that a political agreement is possible, he argued, the issue must be unilaterally resolved once and for all.

The plan makes only passing references to Gaza, with Smotrich seeming content with Israel’s encagement of the enclave as an ideal solution to what he calls the “demographic challenge” posed by Palestinians’ very existence. Vis-à-vis the West Bank, however, he calls for annexing its entirety.

In the latter territory, demographic concerns will be ameliorated by offering the 3 million Palestinian residents a choice: to renounce their national aspirations and continue living on their land in an inferior status, or to emigrate abroad. If, instead, they choose to take up arms against Israel, they will be identified as terrorists and the Israeli army will set about “killing those who need to be killed.” When asked at a meeting, in which he presented his plan to religious-Zionist figures, if he also meant killing families, women, and children, Smotrich replied: “In war as in war.”

Insofar as it has received any public attention at all, the Decisive Plan has been perceived since its publication as delusional and dangerous even among mainstream Israeli political commentators. Yet an examination of the current Israeli media and political discourse shows that, when it comes to the army’s current assault on Gaza, large parts of the public have completely internalized the logic of Smotrich’s plan.

In fact, Israeli public opinion regarding Gaza, where Smotrich’s vision is being implemented with a cruelty that even he may not have foreseen, is now even more extreme than the text of the plan itself. That’s because, in practice, Israel is removing from the agenda the first possibility on offer — of an inferior, de-Palestinianized existence — which until October 7 was most Israelis’ chosen option.

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