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US says ‘both sides will be forced to compromise’ for Mideast peace deal as Trump has made Israeli-Palestinian accord ‘one of his top priorities’
Times of Israel
A State Department official said Tuesday that Israelis and Palestinians will “be forced to compromise” in order to achieve US President Donald Trump’s goal of brokering peace between the two sides.
In her first press briefing as the department’s spokesperson, Heather Nauert wouldn’t address a question about UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s statement lamenting 50 years of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but pivoted to say that both Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were committed to forging an agreement despite the inevitable challenges that will arise.
“Middle East peace is something that’s very important to this administration,” Nauert told reporters. “The president and the secretary have both said they recognize that it will not be easy and that both sides will be forced to compromise.”
Tillerson, for his part, recently told reporters that Trump was “very forceful” with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his trip to the region last month, in which he sought to jumpstart negotiations.
“He put a lot of pressure on them that it’s time to get to the table,” Tillerson said.
Since taking office, Trump has repeatedly emphasized his intent to succeed where other presidents have failed by striking a final status Israeli-Palestinian accord.
Nauert reiterated this point Wednesday. “The president has made this one of his top priorities, and we are willing to work with both of those entities to try to get them to come together and make some — and to finally bring about Middle East peace,” she said.
Indeed, Trump has already hosted both Netanyahu and Abbas at the White House and has tasked his son-in-law Jared Kushner and former real estate lawyer Jason Greenblatt with charting a course forward.
Greenblatt, Trump’s Special Envoy for International Negotiations, has gone on multiple “listening tours” throughout the region. On these trips, he has listened to multiple stakeholders in the conflict, including other Arab leaders.
During Trump’s first foreign trip last month, which included stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West Bank, he gave a speech at the Israel Museum calling on both sides to put aside the “pain and disagreements of the past” and work toward peace.
Major Chilean universities heed BDS call, cancel events sponsored by Israeli embassy
Two Chilean universities cancel events sponsored by the Israeli embassy which featured a speaker directing illegal archaeological digs in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
Students at the University of Chile call for an end to ties with Israeli academic institutions
June 9, 2017 at 8:12 am
Student-led BDS campaigns resulted in two major Chilean universities cancelling events co-sponsored by the Israeli embassy and featuring the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Joe Uziel. On Monday, Alberto Hurtado University’s Anthropology Department announced the cancellation of the event, and yesterday the University of Chile’s Social Sciences Faculty did the same.
BDS Chile highlighted the reasons behind the campaign to cancel the event:
Universities cannot be passive accomplices in grave human rights violations. The State of Israel maintains an illegal occupation, colonisation and apartheid regime against the Palestinian people, and the Israeli Embassy is this regime’s representative in Chile. In addition, the Israel Antiquities Authority is a government entity illegally based in occupied East Jerusalem that carries out illegal excavations in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Some of these illegal excavations are directed by the invited speaker, Joe Uziel.
The confiscation and theft of Palestinian cultural heritage are part of Israel’s attempts to erase Palestinian memory and cultural identity. Since 1967, the IAA has been deeply involved in cultural crimes and serious violations of international law, such as illegally removing and plundering hundreds of thousands of precious artefacts from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem. Fearing BDS campaigns, Israel has been trying to prevent information about archaeological work in the OPT from being made public and to whitewash these violations by promoting events like these abroad.
Sharaf Qutaifan, from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said:
Through the Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel attempts to bury the history of the indigenous people of Palestine, which was always home to groups with diverse cultures and religions. This is an extension of Israel’s policies of expulsion and cultural theft that it has carried out against Palestinians since its establishment. Israel has a troubling record of systematically looting Palestinian lands and properties, cultural treasures and even books and artworks, which continues until today.
We salute the Chilean students for pressuring the Anthropology Department of Alberto Hurtado University and the Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Chile to take principled positions. Academic institutions should not lend their good names to Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights. We hope to see all Chilean universities fully free of Israeli apartheid.
BDS Chile celebrated the victory:
We welcome the decisions of Alberto Hurtado University and the University of Chile. The Palestinian people expect principled acts of solidarity in support of their human rights and the respect of international law. These cancellations demonstrate Chilean students’ determination to denounce Israel’s oppression and to work towards interrupting our universities’ ties with institutions complicit in Israeli apartheid.
This latest news is another stride in the growing academic boycott of Israel in Chile. Last year, law faculty students at the University of Chile overwhelmingly voted in support of BDS, as did more than 90% of the social sciences students. At the Catholic University of Chile, the Student Council also passed a BDS resolution by a large majority.
The cancellations are also another strike against the Israel Antiquities Authority. At the end of 2016, the 8th World Archaeological Congress published a resolution condemning Israel’s excavations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and called on international academic publishers to refuse publishing works related to archaeological research in those areas.