Monday, November 04, 2013

From Ian:

Fatah: Murderer of two is Palestinian "nation's symbol"
Until he was released by Israel last week, murderer Issa Abd Rabbo was serving two life sentences for murdering two Israeli university students. Ron Levi and Revital Seri were hiking south of Jerusalem on Oct. 22, 1984, when Issa Abd Rabbo attacked them, tied them up at gun point and put bags over their heads. He then shot and murdered them both. He was released in October 2013 as one of 104 prisoners to be released by Israel, which was the PA's precondition for renewing negotiations.
The Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas, sees this murderer as:
"One of our nation's symbols and one of our greatest leaders"
Guardian columnist compares Israel to an autistic child
So, to conclude, Fraser posits that Israel is not unlike a child – with arrested cognitive development – who doesn’t play well with others!
Of course, only someone suffering from the most pronounced political myopia could fail to acknowledge that it has been Israel’s neighbors – through 65 years of war, terrorism, antisemitic indoctrination, boycotts, and other forms of racist violence and exclusion – who have been guilty of “not playing nicely with others”.
Perhaps Fraser can write a follow-up post, psychoanalyzing Arabs (and Palestinian Arabs) who clearly prefer wallowing in their malign obsession with Israel (and their own sense of victimhood) than learning to accept (and benefit from) a normal relationship with the Jewish state.
BBC suggests failure to convene Syria peace conference will be Israel’s fault
Confusingly for readers, the BBC does not seem to be able to decide how many previous air strikes it wishes to attribute to Israel. Whilst in the body of the latest version of this article it is stated that “[t]his is believed to be sixth Israeli attack in Syria this year”, the side box by Kevin Connolly states that “[t]his is thought to be the fifth or sixth such attack this year”. Another side box cites four “[a]lleged Israeli strikes on Syria” whilst earlier versions of the article used the number three, which was also the number the BBC was citing two months ago.
That confusion is of course a symptom of the fact that the BBC has no concrete information to offer its audiences on this subject and so its reports are based entirely on hearsay and conjecture. Whatever the actual facts behind this incident, it is difficult to understand how such speculative reports can be claimed to conform to editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality.
Netanyahu: Refusal to Recognize Israel as Jewish State ‘at the Root of the Conflict’
Marking the 96th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which recognized the right of the Jewish People to a homeland in then-British Mandate Palestine, Netanyahu reiterated the demand of his government that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as the Jewish state in any final status agreement between the two sides.
“In order for there to be peace between us and our Palestinian neighbors, they must recognize the right of the Jewish People to a state of its own in its homeland. This means that in a permanent agreement they will drop their national demands, including the right of return and any other national demand on the State of Israel,” he said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has continually stated that the PA will not recognize Israel as a Jewish State.
Netanyahu: PA Creating Artificial Crisis'
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rejected the Palestinian Authority (PA) contention, that recent decisions on construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria contravene agreements reached at the outset of negotiations between Israel and the PA, three months ago.
He said that the Palestinians knew full well when the talks began that Israel acepts no limitations on construction beyond the “Green Line,” which demarcates Israel's 1949 armistice borders.
US 'Will Force' Israel-PA Deal
MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) was quoted as saying Monday that senior US officials told her the US offer would be presented in January of 2014. PA sources also cited January as the month in which the US intends to propose, or impose, its plan.
The US moves comes after three months of talks between the sides which have reportedly made very little headway.
The US plan reportedly is similar to the Clinton outline, offered by President Bill Clinton in late 2000, which is based on an Israeli retreat to 1949 Armistice lines, and some swaps of territory.
Hamas Gives No Credit to Abu Mazen for Prisoner Release
While Hamas is resolutely opposed to the ongoing talks with Israel, the movement has also advocated stridently on behalf of Palestinian prisoners and made their release a priority. It would therefore be expected that it would welcome the prisoners returning to Gaza, at the very least. This is especially true considering that each of those prisoners had been sentenced to decades in prison for terrorist attacks against Israelis. In other words, their deeds align well with the Hamas worldview.
But the returning prisoners were not welcomed with a festive ceremony. Instead, Hamas chose to ignore their return, and even worse, to hide it. Hamas TV, which broadcasts from Gaza, did not report on the prisoner release, Palestinian journalists were forbidden from going to the Erez crossing point to document the newly released prisoners’ return, and those same prisoners’ families were asked to “celebrate quietly and discreetly.” Once again, Hamas gave a very public sign of the enormous crisis it is facing as a movement.
Obama Should Free Pollard Immediately
In 1985, the U.S. government discovered Pollard’s actions. At the request of both the Israeli and American governments, Pollard entered into a plea bargain agreement. He cooperated fully with the prosecution and was never convicted of harming the United States, compromising American agents or committing treason (which is legally defined as spying for an enemy state). Pollard was merely charged with passing on classified information to an allied country on one occasion.
Even though the average sentence for spying for an allied country is merely several years, Pollard was given life imprisonment. For example, Abdul Khader Helmy, who spied for Egypt, served only four years in prison after passing on information that assisted Iraq with improving the accuracy of their ballistic missiles. Michael Schwartz, who spied for Saudi Arabia, never served a day in prison out of consideration for Saudi sensitivities. He was merely reprimanded and given a dishonorable discharge. There are many such examples.
IDF officer injured in tunnel blast regains consciousness
An engineering corps officer who was seriously wounded Thursday night in an encounter with gunmen in the Gaza Strip regained consciousness Sunday after intense efforts by doctors to save his life and his eyesight. Second Lieutenant Ahiyah Klein was taken off a respirator and was able to interact with his surroundings.
Klein was seriously injured when soldiers operating to destroy part of a tunnel east of Khan Younis, just inside the Gaza Strip, were targeted by Hamas. Five soldiers were wounded when an explosive device planted by Hamas detonated, the IDF said in a statement.
On Iran, a decisive two months
And they reason that if, at the end of those two months, the US and the other P5+1 countries have sealed or are closing in on the only deal that Iran would conceivably take — one that leaves the regime with enrichment capabilities, however constrained, and thus the capacity to attain nuclear weapons; precisely the type of “bad deal” that the US has promised it will not approve – any subsequent Israeli military intervention would constitute an act of open, all but untenable defiance of the entire, US-led international community.
In contrast to the United States approach, Jerusalem does consider that there is a military solution — a last-resort military solution, it must be stressed — to Iran’s nuclear weapons drive. No, Israel does not believe that it can destroy the rogue Iranian nuclear program once and for all. Rather, it is confident that it could, if all else failed, thwart the Iranians for now. And if and when the Iranians started up the program again, they could be thwarted, again. And again. And again.
Obama just paying ‘lip service’ on Iran military option, says top MK
When Netanyahu threatens the use of force if all else fails to stop Iran, said Hanegbi, “he’s not making empty threats.” By contrast, “When the speaker is [Secretary of State] Kerry or the White House spokesperson, or even the president and other people, you see that they’re just paying lip service.”
The Americans are full of “good intentions,” they have military systems prepared and deployed for tackling the Iranian nuclear program, and it’s clear that Obama understands that the way Iran’s rogue nuclear program is handled will be central to his legacy, Hanegbi told The Times of Israel. Nonetheless, he said, that did not guarantee that the US would show the necessary decisiveness in negotiations with the Iranians.
Chanting ‘death to America,’ Iran protesters rally against US
Such protests occur every year outside the former embassy compound to mark the anniversary of its 1979 takeover following the Islamic Revolution. A total of 52 US hostages were held for 444 days by a group of Iranian students who took control of the compound.
But Monday’s rally was the largest in years after calls by groups such as the Revolutionary Guard for a major showing, including chants of “death to America” that some of Rouhani’s backers have urged halted.
Iran Talks Move Ahead Despite N. Korea Cooperation
However, reports from the day before (Saturday) reveal that Iran has pledged to continue cooperation with North Korea on its nuclear missile program, bringing the validity of nuclear talks into question as anything more than a mechanism to buy time.
Sherman, the State Department's third-ranking official, said in an interview with Israeli television's Channel 10, that there is a "great deal of mistrust on both sides," reaffirming that President Barak Obama's position is to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon.
Syrian opposition sets preconditions for Geneva talks
The US and Russia have been trying to bring the Damascus government and Syria’s divided opposition to the negotiating table for months, but the meeting has been repeatedly delayed.
The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition said Sunday that it will attend only if there was a clear time frame for Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power, adding that Iran’s presence at the conference was unacceptable.
Palestinians lose more than most in Syrian exodus
Palestinians Mahmoud and Ahmed fled Syria last month for Egypt, where they paid smugglers to bring them to Europe. Once at sea, they were robbed at knifepoint and herded onto an overloaded boat that sank, pitching over 100 into the sea.
The brothers made it back to shore while others drowned, then to be deported in days from a volatile Egypt where anti-Palestinian sentiment runs high. Now at the Lebanese camp of Ain al-Helweh, they face as Palestinians restrictions on their lives far more severe than any other refugees from Syria.
Russia Sends Most Powerful Ships to Mediterranean
On Saturday, Russian news agency RT reported that the "Varyag," flagship of Russia's Pacific Fleet, and "Pyotr Veliky" ("Peter the Great"), the nation's most powerful nuclear-powered battleship, were moved into the Mediterranean Sea.
The Varyag, which has been dubbed the "aircraft carrier killer," will perform a number of maneuvers, some in coordination with the Russian naval forces currently stationed on the Mediterranean.
Turkish president: Syria may become ‘Afghanistan on the Mediterranean’
Speaking to the British daily The Guardian, the Turkish president warned that the Syrian crisis posed a serious security threat to Turkey as well as to Europe, and lamented the disappointing response of the international community to the civil war taking place in the country.
I don’t think anybody would tolerate the presence of something like Afghanistan on the shores of the Mediterranean. For that reason, the international community must have a very solid position with respect to Syria,” Gul told The Guardian.
Judge halts Morsi trial after protests by defiant ex-president
The trial will resume January 8, giving defense lawyers time to review documents.
Morsi told the court trying him for inciting violence and murder that he remains the “legitimate president” of the country.
Morsi says situation in Egypt ‘serves Israel’
“[Israel] does not have our best interests at heart at all,” Morsi said, according to transcripts of conversations published by the daily al-Watan Sunday, a day before his trial was set to begin. ”It’s possible that in time it may prove that they are behind the predicament we are in now. It’s possible, and I have no certain information to accuse anyone, that the situation serves Israel.”
In a separate excerpt, Morsi stated that “your children will pay the price” and later clarified that this statement was directed at “your children in the conflict between us and Israel,” in light of the strained relations between the two countries.

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