Tuesday, July 23, 2013

From Ian:

Douglas Murray: "Occupied Territories": What About Cyprus, Kashmir, Tibet?
The EU does not only have a wrong-headed view of Israel's past, it has a wholly misguided view of its future.
Today Israel is at the very bottom of the list of countries of concern, even in its own neighborhood, let alone the wider world, with nearly 100,000 dead in Syria and Egypt going through a counter-counter revolution, and with the Sunni-Shiite conflict looking likely to reach one of its intermittent boiling points as the Shiite armies of Hezbollah clash with the Sunni-armed opposition in Syria. Amid all this, the issue of where Jews should or should not live inside their historical homeland is a matter of the lowest international import.
Yet the EU -- which always likes to think of itself as such a forward-looking organization -- is once again showing itself to be stuck in a wrong-headed and bigoted past. It is not Israel which is the problem in the Middle East. Today Israel is, in fact, about the only non-problem in the region.
Yet it is this country's sovereignty upon which the EU decides time and time again that it can intrude. This latest decision tells us nothing about Israel or the West Bank. But it tells us what we need to know about the EU.
Hawks, Doves – and Ostriches
High-level poseurs, like European Union (EU) representatives, like group pictures with world leaders. Their book of achievements is never more than a picture portfolio. “We call on all sides to show restraint,” is the caption on the photo of the ostrich at the White House , the EU or the State Department preaching to the rapists and those they raped, telling Iranian protesters not to offend the ayatollahs, urging Egyptians not to insult Muslim Brothers, and bloodied Syrians not to be mean to Uncle Bashar.
US: Palestinians agreed to talks; Indyk reports premature
The State Department confirmed on Monday that the Palestinians agreed to participate in new peace talks with Israel, dismissing comments to the contrary made over the weekend by spokesmen for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Spokeswoman Jen Psaki also dispelled weekend rumors that veteran diplomat Martin Indyk had already been tapped to lead the new negotiations. Psaki said that Secretary of State John Kerry is still “putting together the right combination of players,” but denied that any decision on negotiators or envoys has been made.
Expert: The Chances of Peace Are Zero
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Professor Diskin, a professor at the Political Science Department of the Hebrew University, said that the reason that talks are doomed to fail is because the PA does not wish to reach an agreement. Already now, several days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the resumption of talks, one can see that the PA is doubtful about starting negotiations, he said, citing as proof the PA’s demand that preliminary talks be held in Washington before any negotiations.
Noting the peace agreement signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979, Professor Diskin said that in this case, both sides held serious negotiations and it was clear that both sides had the intention of reaching an agreement. The PA Arabs, however, display the opposite behavior, he added.
Ben Cohen: Kerry Must End the ‘Israel-is-to-Blame’ Game
Herein lies the risk of renewed peace talks: The Palestinians derail them, much as they did with previous attempts launched by the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations, and the Israelis get the blame.
That’s why John Kerry should be making it clear to the Europeans that the U.S. will not tolerate any EU punitive measures against Israel, should the talks collapse. And he should also make clear that final borders would be addressed at any negotiations, not in advance of them. Frankly, given the warm welcome Israel has given his peace initiative, it’s the least he can do.
PA President Abbas: ‘Jewish State Has the Right to Preserve its Security Within its Borders’
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared Monday that in any future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Jewish State must leave “Palestinian land,” while conceding that “the Jewish state has the right to preserve its security within its borders,” in comments made three days after it was announced that direct negotiations would resume between the two sides.
Abbas Admits Palestinians Are Actually Jordanians
You see, the two state solution in Abbas’ eyes are two Arab states, one for the Palestinians in Jordan, and one for the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.
Perhaps we should ask him what about the third Palestinian state in the Gaza strip…
Two States? Not at "Camp Jihad"
As Israel and the Palestinian Authority prepare to renew their negotiations for “peace” under U.S. mediation, a short but powerful documentary about UNRWA children's camps shows just what kind of "solution" the Palestinian Authority and many of its citizens have in mind.
The film is made up almost exclusively of interviews with children and instructors at UNRWA camps.
In one part, campers are encouraged to chant:
"With God's help and our own strength we will wage war. And with education and jihad we will return!"

E.U. Blacklists Hezbollah “Military Wing”, Calls Attention to Debates Over Whether Different Hezbollah “Wings” Exist
U.S. counterterrorism specialists and the U.S. intelligence community have analyzed Hezbollah’s organizational structure and concluded that Hezbollah leaders are telling the truth when they deny that there are meaningful distinctions between the various parts of the organization:
Schwarzenegger - Israel's 'Hero' on Austrian Hizbullah Vote
One of the unsung heroes of the effort to put Hizbullah's “military wing” on a European Union blacklist was none other than former Hollywood actor and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In a letter, Schwarzenegger convinced Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann to instruct the country's Foreign Minister to cast Austria's vote for the blacklist proposal, something that neither Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu nor President Shimon Peres were able to do.
Congress Okays Initial Arms Shipments to Syria Rebels
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the U.S. will use money already in the CIA’s budget and transfer it to operations in Syria, as part of a plan announced last month by the Obama Administration. The plan involves the providing of small arms and ammunition to some of the 1,200 groups of Syrian rebels, some of which have known affiliations with al Qaeda.
Head of Syrian Jihadists: We Support an Islamic Caliphate
In an audio recorded that has been disseminated over the past several days, Abu Mohammad al-Julani stresses that he strongly opposes parliamentary elections or any political settlement in the country which would be achieved through international intervention.
Four Syrians Hospitalized in Tzfat
Four Syrians including an eight-year-old girl were brought to a hospital in Israel after they were wounded by fighting in the war-torn country, a medical source said on Tuesday.
"Yesterday night an injured eight-year-old girl and her 48-year-old mother were treated for fractures to their arms and legs from shrapnel," said a spokesman for Ziv hospital in Tzfat, north of the Sea of Galilee.
Report: Assad asked Israel not to stand in the way of Alawite enclave
According to a report in The Guardian on Monday, Syrian President Bashar Assad sent a message to Avigdor Lieberman in 2012, when the latter was serving as foreign minister, asking Israel's position on the establishment of an Alawite enclave in northwestern Syria.
The Guardian reported that a mediator -- a well-known diplomatic figure -- is understood to have been asked by Assad to approach Lieberman late last year with a request that Israel not stand in the way of attempts to form an Alawite state, which could have meant moving some displaced communities into the Golan Heights area.
Top US brass: Syria no-fly zone would cost $1b. a month
Establishing a no-fly zone to protect Syrian rebels would require hundreds of US aircraft at a cost of more than $1 billion per month, with no assurance that it would change the momentum in the civil war there, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday.
Russia Affirms Commitment to Delivering S-300 Missile System to Syria
Russia is still committed to delivering the S-300 advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Syria, despite Western objections, and is also considering extending a loan to the war-torn country, Al Arabiya reported Monday.
Congress, Obama at odds over new Iran sanctions
Congress is considering a new series of hard-hitting Iran sanctions on everything from mining and construction to the Islamic republic’s already besieged oil industry, despite concern from the Obama administration that the measures could interfere with nuclear negotiations.
House and Senate bills are both advancing at a time President Barack Obama’s national security team is gauging whether Iranian President-elect Hasan Rouhani is serious about halting some elements of Tehran’s uranium enrichment activity. Those involved in the process said the administration wants to temper Congressional plans until Rouhani takes office in August and has an opportunity to demonstrate whether his government will offer concessions.

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