Wednesday, March 26, 2014

From Ian:

Peace Now legitimizes Assad at dictator-run UN parley
Israel’s Peace Now, represented by campaigns manager Yaniv Shacham, delivered a speech today at an international conference in Quito, Ecuador, that claims to be about peace, but which is in fact organized by a rabidly anti-Israel UN committee dominated by Syria’s Assad regime and other like-minded murderous, misogynistic and homophobic dictatorships.
Is Peace Now unaware that this latest “UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine,” taking place today and tomorrow under the innocuous-sounding theme of “Engaging for peace – the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” is run by the UN’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, whose member and observer states include the mass-murdering Syrian Arab Republic, slave-holding Mauritania, women-hating Saudi Arabia, along with tyrannies large and small such as China, Belarus, Cuba, Algeria and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic?
Peace Now's Tweet 'Supports Terror on Israel'
The terrorist, identified by Ma'an News Agency as 19-year-old Yousef Shawamrah, but reported in other sources as 15-years-old, was shot while sabotaging Israel's security fence near Hevron with two accomplices. Shawamrah ignored IDF soldiers' commands to stop and warning shots in the air, leading them to eventually shoot him, inflicting a wound he later died of at Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.
Regardless of the context, Oppenheimer opined on Twitter "another unarmed Palestinian child was killed today by soldiers' fire at the fence. If he isn't Israeli or at least a Jordanian judge, it doesn't matter to anyone."
The tweet, with its whitewashing of Shawamrah's activities, sparked ire among dozens of internet users who wrote back sharp responses.
The mythical moderate Mahmoud Abbas
When Abbas is gone, the Israeli Left will sorely miss him. There will be those who will remember him as a kindly, quiet and smiling grandfather figure and mourn his absence. Others, perhaps more sage, will remember other grandfather figures, whom at their demise, the police dug in the backyards of the deceased only to find the skeletons of young children, victims of secret acts of violence, pragmatically hidden to avoid accountability.
We are no closer to Peace today than we were nine years ago when Mahmoud Abbas became president of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas still demands the “right of return” and still refuses to recognize Israel as a the Jewish homeland and is not willing to declare the end of the conflict. In the almost prescient words of Abunimah from 2005:



Kerry in Jordan in bid to salvage peace talks
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Jordan Wednesday in a fresh bid to keep his Middle East peace bid on track, amid fears Israel may renege on a promise to free Palestinian prisoners and just after Arab leaders said they would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Kerry, interrupting a visit to Rome, was due to meet first with Jordan’s King Abdullah II before holding talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over dinner in a bid to “continue to narrow the gaps” between the two sides, his spokeswoman said.
Fact Check: Release of Terrorists Depends on Progress in Talks
Statements made in public by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and forgotten by the entire media world reveal that Israel promised to free 104 terrorists in four batches on return for the resumption of peace talks “in accordance with the circumstances of their progress.”
Those are the Prime Minister’s words in an “open letter to the citizens of Israel” he wrote last year. Foreign media also reported at the time that “an Israeli official said no prisoners would be released before direct talks begin, and the process would then be dependent on the Palestinians proving they are ‘really serious and not playing games.’”
The problems with these direct quotes are that they do not fit the agenda of the Obama administration, the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations and the media establishment, which has forgotten or never learned that Journalism 101 teaches that one should check the facts.
American Suicide Bombing Victim Asks Obama Not to Free Terrorist Leader
Obama and Kerry insisted that Israel release terrorists who had murdered civilians just to get Abbas, the terrorist leader of the Palestinian Authority, to the negotiating table.
Keeping him at the negotiating table might require releasing one of the worst monsters in Israeli custody.
Now an American who was wounded along with his son in a suicide bombing masterminded by that monster is asking Obama to show some decency.
Mr. President:
I am writing for your immediate consideration. It has been reported in the press and confirmed to me by a Knesset member that President Abbas requested your assistance in securing the release of Marwan Barghouti as a condition for continued peace talks with Israel.
I sincerely request that you please not assist in any way in the release of this unrepentant mass-murderer.
Danny Danon: If more terrorists go free, I will resign
I knew that as much as we desire peace and normalcy for this region, our Palestinian counterparts have never tired in making demands without any corresponding willingness to offer concessions and prove themselves as real negotiating partners. While many Israelis viewed these talks as a harmless diversion to placate some of our allies abroad, I warned my colleagues of the dire implications these talks would have on our security.
Though I was extremely concerned that our government might concede strategically important territory or relinquish parts of our historic homeland, what angered me most was the Palestinian demand as a precursor to even coming to the table that we release more than a hundred of their prisoners — men and women with blood on their hands. In essence, the demand was that we set murderers free for the privilege of negotiating peace.
Jordanian king vows to protect Jerusalem
Abdullah’s speech to the Arab League Summit in Kuwait came as tensions between Israel and Jordan have bubbled up over demands by Knesset lawmakers that Israel impose sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
Jordan “will work to help Jerusalem’s Arab population stay on their land, support their steadfastness, strengthen their presence and stand up to address Israeli violations and measures, particularly those targeting Al Aqsa Mosque, by all available means and in coordination with our brothers in the State of Palestine,” Abdullah said, referring to the mosque atop the disputed holy site.
Arab League backs refusal to recognize Jewish state
Arab leaders fully back a Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a joint statement said on Wednesday.
“We express our total rejection of the call to consider Israel as a Jewish state,” said the final declaration of the two-day Arab summit in Kuwait.
The move was widely expected after a draft statement endorsed by foreign ministers on Sunday stressed a “categorical rejection” of the demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and rejected “all pressures exerted on the Palestinian leadership” to agree to that demand.
BBC News ‘analysis’ romanticises the Arab League
Leaving aside the fact that the utopian dream of “smashing down the border fences” promoted here by the article’s writer Gerald Butt is contradicted even by the Arab League’s founding document which states clearly in Article 8 that each member country “shall pledge itself not to take any action tending to change” the form of government of the others, Butt also misleads BBC audiences by eliminating from view one very important part of the Arab League’s raison d’etre.
That same founding document – dating from March 22nd 1945 – includes an “annex on Palestine”. At its second session in December 1945 the Arab League declared a formal boycott of “Jewish products and manufactured [goods] in Palestine”, declaring them to be “undesirable in the Arab countries” and opining that “to permit them to enter the Arab countries would lead to the realization of the Zionist political objectives”.
Abbas says ‘Jewish state’ demand not up for debate
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the Arab League Summit in Kuwait on Tuesday that he has so far refused to even discuss recognizing the Jewish State — a key demand of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — and that by raising the issue Israel was trying to disrupt the peace talks.
“Israel has not missed an opportunity to derail US peace efforts, including raising new demands, such as the demand for recognition as a ‘Jewish state,’ which we have refused to so much as discuss,” Abbas could be seen saying in video footage from the conference.
Blaming Israel Despite the Facts
The facts are no obstacle for those who are determined to stick to their narrative about Israel not wanting peace. With Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace process on the brink of failure, the New Republic’s John Judis has trotted out the familiar themes about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu being the one to blame. Judis goes on at length about Netanyahu’s perfidy but toward the end of the piece, he is forced to let drop an important nugget of information. When asked by Kerry to keep negotiating on the basis of the framework he has crafted to try and give both sides something to work with, Abbas said no. As Judis writes: "Kerry proposed that the two sides agree to the framework with reservations—a tactic that had doomed the Quartet’s framework proposal—but Abbas was not ready to agree to the proposal even with reservations."
White House: No Plans to Free Pollard
The reports say that the US also wants Israel to commit to continue negotiaions with the PA.
"There are no plans to release Jonathan Pollard at the moment,” said State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage against the United States – a very serious crime. He was sentenced to life and is currently serving his sentence.”
Psaki stopped short of clearly denying the reports that it had offered Israel a deal in which Pollard will be freed.
Slurring Israel with the Crimea Comparison
The fact that a particularly unpleasant blog post appeared on Al Jazeera pushing the Israel-Russia comparison might not be considered all that consequential. Al Jazeera may have greatly expanded its programming in the anglosphere, but as is apparent from the piece in question, the commentary given here is hardly of either a mainstream or overwhelmingly credible character. Yet, watered down versions of the same accusations made at Al Jazeera have also appeared in the Economist and are now even being made by peers in Britain’s parliament. We may well find that, wildly inaccurate as this comparison undoubtedly is, for the undiscerning it has some traction.
Apart from the fact that Vacy Valanza’s piece for Al Jazeera makes the bizarre claim that the establishment of Israel was itself a violation of international law, and that Israel is annexing the West Bank “supported by monies from Jews worldwide through rich Zionist organizations,” the main thrust of the argument is one accusing the West of “hypocrisy.” The claim is that the West singled out Russia yet turns a blind eye to Israel behaving in a highly comparable way. Of course, if the anti-Israel camp is going to now start leveling accusations about the hypocrisy of opposing some occupations but not others, then they may be inviting some rather hard-to-answer questions about their own disinterest in every other occupation from China in Tibet to Turkey in Cyprus.
Canada’s Irwin Cotler happy to be banned by Russia
Cotler said the blacklisting “only inspires me to redouble my efforts to advance the cause of human rights for all.”
“I stand in solidarity with the Russian people and those fighting for human rights and democracy. Their day will come and [President Vladimir] Putin will be no more,” he said.
Cotler suspects the ban is for introducing a bill regarding Sergei Magnitsky, who was an accountant and auditor in Moscow who uncovered a corruption scheme and testified against several senior Russian officials, according to the Huffington Post. Magnitsky subsequently was imprisoned and died in jail in 2009 at 37.
‘Iran arms ship may have been bound for Sinai, not Gaza’
The Klos-C arms shipment seized by Israeli forces on March 5 may have been bound for Sinai rather than the Gaza Strip, a US official and two Middle East analysts told Reuters on Tuesday. Israel denied the report, with a Jerusalem official dismissing it as speculation.
The report cast doubt on Israel’s assertion that the Iranian cargo was bound for the Palestinian enclave to serve terror cells there, and said that Israel may have obfuscated its real destination in order to spare Egypt the humiliation of conceding the security unrest in the peninsula.
Reuters Goes Overboard With Anonymous Sources
Which brings us to Reuters. Reporter Dan Williams gives a soapbox to claims that the Klos-C weapons ship intercepted by Israel was delivering arms to Sinai jihadis, and not, as Israel claims, to Gaza.
Unfortunately, all the voices that this report is based on are anonymous. All assess the story, but there are no hard facts that weren’t previously known.
And Israel has already denied the report.
Palestinian Unification Still Far Away Despite Televised Optimism
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Palestinian mourners marched behind the coffins of three gunmen who were killed late Friday night. Officials of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Palestinian Authority, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Hamas and other parties all marched in unison to the Jenin refugee camp’s cemetery. Sweilem said people should not read too much into that image, adding that the moment was “symbolic” and that in reality, the actual situation on the ground among Hamas, Fatah and other parties is far removed from feelings of unity.
Two reconciliation agreements signed in 2012 remain unimplemented and the bifurcation between the Fatah-ruled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip shows no sign of abating.
“None of these parties were holding the Palestinian flag,” Sweilem told said. “Everyone was holding his own flag: Fatah had their flag, Hamas had their flag, and so on. When it came to Palestinian nationalism, there was a great lack,” he said.
Hamas, Iran Reportedly Renew Alliance; Financial Support Resumes, Terror Chief Meshaal to Meet Ayatollah Khamenei
Hamas, the terror group ruling Gaza, has renewed its alliance with Tehran, after a two-year hiatus, when Cairo, under Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi, stepped up its strategic and financial backing, according to Middle East news site Al-Monitor on Tuesday.
Al-Monitor said Iranian financial support for Hamas has resumed, but at “a level lower than that which preceded the rupture between the two at the end of 2012.”
Hamas PM Haniya Extols Martyrdom, Says: We Shall Rock Tel Aviv Al-Aqsa TV

US says Egypt's executions of 529 Muslim Brotherhood men would impact future American aid
US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the way Egypt proceeds regarding the trials and death sentences will have consequences for future American aid.
Secretary of State John Kerry said on March 12 he would decide "in the days ahead" whether to resume American aid to Egypt after suspending the funds last year over the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and a crackdown against protesters.
Obama's Turkey is Stuffed
It was once conventional wisdom among administration-friendly policy wonks that President Barack Obama's most successful foray into Middle East relations was his attempt to elevate relations with Turkey. Whatever else might be said about his confused, weak and reactive policy in the region, he had built a personal friendship with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and pulled Turkey back from forging a closer relationship with Iran.
President Obama saw Turkey as a model of Islamic democracy, where an Islamic party had been tamed by the everyday demands of governance, and had led the country to strong economic growth. Yet over the past year, Erdogan has shown increasingly authoritarian tendencies in the face of rising protests. Earlier this month, the Turkish government blocked Twitter, a self-defeating move that the White House felt compelled to criticize.
Turkish court lifts Twitter ban
A Turkish court Wednesday ordered the lifting of last week’s Twitter ban, which came after the social media site was used to spread audio recordings implicating Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in corruption.
The administrative court in Ankara will inform the telecommunications regulator TIB, which is expected to grant access to Twitter in the coming hours, private NTV television said.
Israel and Turkey Nearing Compensation Agreement for Gaza Flotilla Incident
Turkish media outlets are reporting that Turkey and Israel are getting ready to sign a compensation agreement for the families of the Turkish citizens killed on board the Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla in 2010. The signing of the agreement would restore diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said the deal is expected to be signed after the country’s local elections next week, and would then go to parliament for approval. Subsequently, ambassadors from both nations would be reassigned to each country, theHurriyet daily newspaper reported.


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