What Do Americans Know – and Want To Know – About Palestine?

The Palestinians have continued to refuse to just simply sit down and enter into negotiation based on President Trump’s Vision for Peace there. 

~ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, May 20, Remarks to the Press

Pompeo was responding to a two-part question: Could he comment on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s statement the previous night ending agreements with Israel and the United States, including security arrangements; and could he comment on the process or progress of Israel annexing West Bank/Occupied Palestinian Territory by July 1 – constituting 30 percent of that land – as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had announced unilaterally in January.

Pompeo answered the first question but ducked the second; it was Netanyahu’s plan, Abbas had explained, that prompted him to end some agreements dating back to the Oslo and other accords of the 1990s.

Why would the Secretary of State portray Palestinians as refusing to negotiate peace? Why would he refer to the Palestinian leader as "Abbas," dispensing with the civility of "Mr." let alone the diplomatese of "President"? And why would Pompeo explain he had been "in communication with our teams there that very morning," and that he had been to Israel the previous week, yet demur when asked directly if he had spoken with Palestinians, "I don’t have anything to say on that."

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After Hiroshima and Nagasaki

On August 6 each year, the world commemorates the dawn of the atomic age by remembering the obliteration of Hiroshima. In May, President Obama laid a wreath in the Peace Park that marks ground zero there.

This is also the time each year when politicians, historians, veterans, and peace activists revisit the decision to use this new weapon for the first time, then for the second three days later at Nagasaki. The rationales are familiar: nukes would shorten the war, save American lives, and demonstrate the country’s overwhelming military and technological superiority. It did not last long. Stalin mobilized Soviet resources to break the American monopoly soon after receiving intelligence reports on the successful Trinity test in New Mexico. The arms race began to sprint before the nuclear dust settled in Japan.

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