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Democrats Reject Platform Proposal Calling for 'End to Occupation and Illegal Settlements'

Members of a Democratic National Convention drafting committee considered the amendment pushed by James Zogby, who said Bernie Sanders helped craft the language of the amendment.

AP - Democrats on Friday voted down an amendment to the party's platform that would have called for providing Palestinians with "an end to occupation and illegal settlements" and urged an international effort to rebuild Gaza.
Members of a Democratic National Convention drafting committee considered the amendment pushed by James Zogby, a supporter of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, before voting it down. Zogby said Sanders helped craft the language of the amendment.
The current platform draft advocates working toward a "two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict" that guarantees Israel's security with recognized borders "and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity."
An amendment was also rejected that would have opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, avoiding an awkward scenario that would have put its statement of values at odds with President Barack Obama.
Members of a Democratic National Convention drafting committee defeated a proposal led by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., that would have added language rejecting the Pacific Rim trade pact, which has been opposed by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sanders.
The panel, which is developing the party's platform ahead of next month's Philadelphia convention, instead backed a measure that said "there are a diversity of views in the party" on the TPP and reaffirmed that Democrats contend any trade deal "must protect workers and the environment."
Allies of Clinton and Sanders pored over the 15,000-word draft of the platform at a St. Louis hotel. It was the result of late nights and long hours of policy exchanges between the two campaigns and the Democratic National Committee, reflecting both the party's divisions and areas of consensus.
In some cases Clinton's side gave ground to Sanders. The panel approved language calling for the abolition of the death penalty, calling it "a cruel and unusual form of punishment which has no place" in the nation. Clinton said during a debate earlier this year that it should only be used in limited cases involving "heinous crimes," while Sanders said the government should not use capital punishment.
Reflecting Sanders' advocacy, the platform also calls for the expansion of Social Security and says Americans should earn at least a $15 an hour, referring to the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour as a "starvation wage," a phrase the Vermont senator often uses. Sanders has pushed for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, while Clinton has supported efforts to raise the minimum wage to that level but has said states and cities should raise the bar as high as possible.
Sanders' allies wanted the draft to specify that the $15 minimum wage should be indexed with inflation. But Clinton's side struck down the amendment, noting that the document already included a call to "raise and index the minimum wage."
The committee also adopted language that said it supports a variety of ways to prevent banks from gambling with taxpayers' bank deposits, "including an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall." Sanders supports reinstating the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited commercial banks from engaging in investment banking activities. Clinton does not support reinstating the law but said her proposed financial reforms would cast a wider net by regulating the shadow banking system.
Working into the evening, the panel narrowly rejected amendments offered by environmentalist Bill McKibben, a Sanders supporter, that would have imposed a tax on carbon and imposed a national moratorium on fracking.
The document will be debated and revised before the party's July convention and includes a dozen themes, including sections dealing with the economy, climate change, education, health care, national security and other issues.
On trade, Obama has promoted the TPP despite opposition from rank-and-file Democrats. Members of the panel said it would be wrong to undercut the outgoing president in the platform.
"What I don't want to do is leave this place disregarding the position of the President of the United States," said Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a Clinton supporter who noted his opposition to trade deals.
But Cornel West, a civil rights leader and Sanders supporter, said it was important for the party to take a stand against the trade deal, which Sanders has opposed because of his concerns about the loss of manufacturing jobs.
Sanders, in a statement, said he was "disappointed and dismayed" that the committee would vote down a measure on trade that both he and Clinton supported but added that he was pleased with the proposals on Glass-Steagall and the death penalty.
Clinton has secured enough delegates to receive the Democratic nomination, but Sanders, her primary rival, has said he hopes to influence the platform to reflect the views of his supporters. The platform is a statement of the party's values and positions on a wide range of issues. While it does not bind the Democratic nominee to stances, it serves as a guidepost for the party moving forward.
Sanders said Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he would vote for Clinton. But he has not yet endorsed her or encouraged his supporters to back her campaign. The Vermont senator has said he wants the platform to include many of his positions on income inequality, education and health care.
The convention's full Platform Committee will consider the draft document in Orlando, Florida, next month.
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read more: http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/u-s-election-2016/1.727025Schermata 2016 06 27 alle 10.14.37

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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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