By Jaya Ramachandran

NEW YORK (IDN) - Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have rejected a report by the so-called Middle East Quartet – comprising the UN, Russia, the United States and the European Union – urging both parties to indulge in “meaningful negotiations that resolve all final status issues”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the report, saying that it “perpetuates the myth that Israeli construction in the West Bank is an obstacle to peace.” The Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly said the report doesn't meet the Palestinians' expectations 'as a nation living under a foreign colonial military occupation.'

The report was released on July 1, two days after the killing of a 13-year old girl by a Palestinian youth. It calls on Israel and Palestine to “independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution” and to “refrain from unilateral steps that prejudice the outcome of the final negotiations”.

- Photo: 2020

Thomas-Greenfield Expected as New US Ambassador to the UN

By Mark Leon Goldberg, UN Dispatch

NEW YORK (IDN) – Linda Thomas-Greenfield will be nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield is a veteran diplomat who most recently served as Assistant-Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Obama administration. Prior to that she served as the US Ambassador to Liberia during a critical time in that country’s transition to democracy.

Her experience in African affairs will serve her well at the United Nations. The majority of the work of the Security Council pertains to peace and security issues in Africa and many recent American ambassadors have had deep experience in conflict management issues in Africa, including Susan Rice (also a former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs) and Samantha Power.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield left the State Department in 2017, amid a wider purge by the Trump administration of senior career diplomats. Not long after, she sat down with me for a long interview about her life and career.  We cover a lot of ground in this interview, which alternates between a discussion about policy and her own fascinating life story.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who is African American, was born in a small segregated town in Louisiana, the oldest of eight children. Her father was a day laborer, and not literate. Her mother was a cook. She graduated from a segregated high school and was one of the few African American women to be accepted into Louisiana State University in the 1970s, which was a deeply racist institution at the time. (The notorious KKK leader David Duke was a fixture on campus at the time, she explains).

After LSU, Linda Thomas-Greenfield went to graduate school in Wisconsin before joining the Foreign Service in the early 1980s. She served in several posts throughout Africa and in senior positions in the State Department before becoming Ambassador to Liberia in 2008.

At the start of the interview, Linda Thomas-Greenfield tells me that her second career choice is to be a famous Louisiana chef. To that end, she explains to me her theory and practice of Gumbo Diplomacy — which she is sure to bring to the United Nations.

If you want to learn the fascinating life story of the next US Ambassador to the United Nations, have a listen.

The dish personifies the word ‘Creole’; like its human counterparts, gumbo was born in the New World and took cues from the old but adapted to the new. — Cynthia Lejeune Nobles. (Wikipedia) [IDN-InDepthNews – 23 November 2020]

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