Friday, July 26, 2013

From Ian:

Legal group to Kerry: Pre-1967 lines as basis for talks contravenes US commitments
Any US guarantee to the Palestinians that the upcoming negotiations with Israel will be based on the pre-1967 lines would be a violation of written US commitments given to then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker wrote in a letter sent this week to Secretary of State John Kerry.
Baker wrote the letter on behalf of the Legal Forum for Israel, along with another attorney with the group, Yossi Fuchs. The forum, formerly called the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, was set up in the wake of the Gaza withdrawal to promote the rights of the evacuees.
Kerry refers to country of Palestine
“It’s my hope that that will be able to happen as procedures are put in place by both countries in order to empower that,” Kerry told reporters.
The reference to a country of Palestine was something that a State Department spokeswoman was later obliged to disavow, assuring reporters that US policy had not changed, according to AFP.
Kerry promised all pre-Oslo prisoners will go free, claims Arab MK
US Secretary of State John Kerry has promised Palestinian officials that peace negotiations will not resume before Israel agrees to release all 100-plus pre-Oslo prisoners, an Arab member of Knesset told The Times of Israel on Thursday. He said this group included 21 prisoners who are either Israeli citizens or Jerusalem residents and whom Israel has reportedly steadfastly refused to free as a goodwill measure to boost negotiations.
Ashrawi calls for release of jailed Fatah, PFLP leaders
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi on Thursday demanded European intervention to secure the release of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Sa’dat, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Barghouti is serving five life terms in an Israeli prison for his role in armed attacks during the second intifada. Sa’dat is serving a 30- year term for his role in the assassination of then-tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001.
Jeffrey Goldberg: Want Peace? Get Rid of Hamas
Of course, the collapse of Hamas wouldn't mean instantaneous Palestinian Authority rule. But nothing at all will happen with Hamas in power.
There are more important matters in the Middle East right now than the resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians: The Syrian civil war, the turmoil in Egypt and Iran's continued march toward the nuclear threshold are three. But if Kerry insists on pushing negotiations, he might as well attempt to create conditions in which those negotiations could work.
Breaking Hamas would be one way to try to achieve his goal.
Hevron: Israelis "Fight Back" Against Anarchist, Arab Extremists
Anarchists frequently enter Israeli towns on the Jewish Sabbath along with local Arabs, they say, and engage in loud demonstrations which regularly escalate into verbal and physical abuse of Jewish residents.
Left-wing and Arab extremists have also engaged in serious acts of arson and vandalism against Jewish-owned property and agriculture.
These groups speak openly of their wish to ethnically-cleanse Judea and Samaria of Jews, and Israeli residents have complained in the past at the relative impunity with which they are able to carry out their activities.
Road Terror in Jerusalem’s Old City; Baby Hurt
More terror attacks are being reported at the entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem, with Palestinian Authority Arabs attacking buses with Israeli license plates.
The Arabs hurled large rocks at an Egged bus as it traveled past the Damascus Gate on Thursday afternoon, according to Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, who tweeted the information via the Twitter social networking site.
Egypt’s Morsi ordered held over Hamas contacts, murder
The case against Morsi is rooted in the mass jailbreak of more than 30 Muslim Brotherhood leaders from a prison northwest of Cairo during the 2011 popular uprising that toppled Morsi’s predecessor, autocrat Hosni Mubarak. There have been many reports in the Egyptian media that the Brotherhood collaborated with Hamas, its Palestinian wing, and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon to arrange the breakout.
Israel Security Officials: Weapons Smuggled Into Gaza to Attack Israel, Now Used Against Egypt
Security officials in Israel believe anti-aircraft missiles originally smuggled into Gaza from Syria have since made their way into Egypt’s Sinai via Hamas operatives supporting Muslim Brotherhood or Al Qaeda forces, which have been using the desert as a base to attack the caretaker Egyptian regime that ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, Israel’s Channel 2 reported, citing security sources.
Egypt Warns: Sinai Terrorists Planning Friday Attacks
Terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula are planning to attempt attacks on Friday, Egyptian military sources have warned. The attacks would be timed to take place parallel to protests in Cairo.
Terror groups in the Sinai have primarily targeted the Egyptian army, which is currently engaged in a large-scale operation aimed at restoring order to the region. They have occasionally attacked Israel as well.
Egypt braces for day of rival rallies
Political allies of Egypt’s military lined up behind its call for huge rallies Friday to show support for the country’s top general, pushing toward a collision with Islamist opponents demanding the return of the nation’s ousted president.
But there was widespread uncertainty over the army’s intentions — and worry that the military is whipping up a dangerous populist fervor.
Egyptian Army Gives Brotherhood a 48 Hour Ultimatum
The Egyptian army on Thursday gave the Muslim Brotherhood until Saturday afternoon to sign up for political reconciliation, according to a military-linked website.
“We will not initiate any move, but will definitely react harshly against any calls for violence or black terrorism from Brotherhood leaders or their supporters. We pledge to protect peaceful protesters regardless of their affiliation,” the statement said, according to Al Arabiya.
Al-Qaida family festival celebrates jihad with ice cream, tug-o-war
Bread and jihadist propaganda were distributed at the fair, but those were far from the only attractions. Video from the event shows children participating in an ice cream eating contest, with one boy wearing a Jabhat al-Nusra headband. There was even a tug-of-war contest between the two al-Qaida groups hosting the jihadist block party: Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Syrian Christian Describes Religious Cleansing by Islamic Extremists
Eventually, the local Sunni extremists were joined by foreign Islamic jihadists and cleansed the town of Christians, according to Fadul.
“In March 2012, many foreign jihadis came to Qusayr and surrounded Christian Street. They were joined by a mob of local Sunnis… The next day, all the Christians did leave Qusayr—870 families. Only two or three very old Christians stayed. Most left with nothing. No one helped us.”
Syrian forces launch offensive on Palestinian camp
Pro-government gunmen advanced in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus on Friday, officials said.
Fighting in the camp broke out earlier this week. It has been mostly under rebel control since late last year.
Anwar Raja, a spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, said Friday the Palestinian Popular Committees want to “cleanse” the camp of “terrorist gangs.”
The PFLP-GC is close the Syrian government.

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