Monday, October 21, 2013

From Ian:

Former Shin Bet head warns of ‘Palestinian Spring’
Diskin also called for Israel’s neighbors to be given an active role in the negotiations with the Palestinians.
“We must bring in Egypt and Jordan to the early stages of the negotiation process. Their entrance into this story will give [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas legitimacy to make critical decisions.”
Desperate Hamas
On Saturday, Haniyeh called on Arabs and Muslims to prepare for what he referred to as “the great al-Aksa intifada” against Israel. Apparently speaking out of a sense of desperation, Haniyeh resorted to the tried and true tactic of Arab leaders of redirecting frustration at Israel.
Haniyeh blamed the Jewish state for taking advantage of the peace talks to Judaize Jerusalem and the Aksa Mosque and warned that Israel would not be able to bear the “fire and rage” that could erupt as a result of its “crimes” against Jerusalem and the mosque.
As the government continues to work toward a negotiated peace agreement with the PA, we must also be wary of a Hamas that is becoming increasingly isolated and desperate and therefore increasingly more dangerous.
Even Weakened Hamas Retains Peace Veto
The bottom line is that for all of the ridicule now being heaped on Hamas’ boasting; it retains a veto over peace. That means even if Abbas and Fatah were to transcend their origins in terrorism, something that highly unlikely, the Islamist tyrants of Gaza are still capable of overturning any movement toward a solution. That’s why Israel would do well to ignore any American pressure to make concessions on borders, Jerusalem or refugees that would be pocketed by Abbas but never reciprocated. Nor, given the recent developments in the P5+1 negotiations, should the Israelis assume that they could trade a Palestinian state for an American guarantee against a nuclear Iran. So long as Hamas remains in power in Gaza, no matter how bankrupt or precarious they might be, they are the guarantee that peace is not in the offing.
Iran vs. the West: Endgame?
Iran continues to strive for a regional hegemonic status. It wants to supplant the United States and make the most of its own military power and geostrategic position, along with its oil and gas reserves and the economic opportunities these offer to both the West and the East. Iran was a partner to the chemical-weapons deal that was reached in Syria; the nuclear umbrella Iran aims to provide to its allies is supposed to compensate for the loss. Iran also wields influence in Bahrain, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, countries where the United States and the West have political, economic, and military assets. Iran anticipates that nuclear weapons will buy it the sort of immunity from attack that North Korea now enjoys. It also seeks long-term stability so that it can promote its revolutionary objectives abroad (particularly in Bahrain but also in other areas with a Shiite population) and assume its place in the regional and international power equation as the one who sets the agenda and influences the reshaping of the Middle East in a way that counters and curbs U.S. influence.
In sum, Iran, which has hoodwinked the international community, is preparing a further campaign as it draws toward the final stages of its nuclear program. It needs an abatement of pressure so that it can complete the military components while maintaining the regime’s stability and promising relief for the economy. Rouhani, who previously succeeded as a negotiator to buy Iran the time required to complete the nuclear fuel cycle, now needs to traverse the last mile to the bomb. As president of Iran, he stands resolute and strong before a divided region and international community.
‘Comment is Free’: The West’s militarism inspired by “blind support for Israel”
So, the West’s failure to pursue diplomacy in the Middle East (in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Libya), and their adoption instead of an ethos of “total destruction of the enemy” is based, in large measure, on “blind support for…Israel.”
According to these ‘CiF’ contributors, Israel and its blind supporters in the West are in the ‘Roman destruction of Carthage’ camp.
Up to 110,000 have been killed in Arab on Arab violence in Syria since 2011, thousands of Iraqis continue to die as the result of Islamist inspired terror attacks which continue to ravage the country, and ‘Comment is Free’ contributors look around the region and see the ideological footprint of Zionism.
Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann is a Marxist ideologue – whose ‘special advisors‘ as UN president included Noam Chomsky and Richard Falk – so the extreme nature of the commentary he co-authored is not surprising. However, the licensing of such hateful anti-Zionist agitprop by ‘Comment is Free’ editors again demonstrates how the Guardian continues to make mockery of their claim to represent ‘liberal’ values.
Palestinian pulls knife on bus, no injuries
A Palestinian man pulled a knife on a public bus outside Jerusalem Sunday night, threatening passengers before hopping off the bus and fleeing.
Terrified passengers scrambled for cover as the man ran down the length of a bus trying to stab fellow travelers.
There were no injuries in the incident, but one ultra-Orthodox man said the attacker sliced off one of his sidelocks.
Palestinian Attempts to Stab Israeli Civilian on Bus near Bethlehem

PMW: PA minister: Hamas founder Yassin is role model for children
A senior Palestinian Authority minister has presented arch-terrorist and founder of Hamas, Ahmed Yassin, as a role model for Palestinians. In a Friday sermon recently broadcast on official PA TV, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash stated that Yassin is an "exalted national Palestinian figure," an "icon," and that Palestinian children are taught about his "legacy, Jihad, actions, and morality."
Arab Journalists Demand that Hamas Stop Censoring Media
A group of journalists rallied in Ramallah on Sunday to launch a petition to reopen the Gaza bureaus of the Ma'an News Agency and the Al Arabiya network.
Ma’an reported that the petition states that the closure of the media offices violates Article 19 of the Palestinian Basic Law, which entitles the freedom of opinion, and Article 27, which allows anyone to operate a media outlet.
Hamas officially admits to digging tunnel under Israel-Gaza border
In a radio broadcast, Abu Obaida, a spokesman for Hamas’ military wing, said its members “dug the tunnel, they were responsible for it.”
He referred to the underground structure as the “Khan Younis tunnel,” adding that it was dug for the purpose of forcing Israel to release Palestinian prisoners, as it did two years ago in the prisoner exchange deal for Gilad Shalit in which 1,027 Palestinians were released from Israeli prisons.
Kibbutz Residents Say Living Near Hamas Tunnels on Gaza Border is Like ‘Russian Roulette’
Residents of southern Israel’s Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha compared living in the Western Negev, adjacent to Gaza and Khan Yunis, to “Russian roulette.” Life under regular falling shrapnel from Hamas rockets was recently made worse, they said, by the discovery revealed last week that they are living above a vast tunnel network dug out by the Gaza based terror group along the border.
PM: More than 100-fold increase in Iranian centrifuges since 2006
Iran has increased its number of centrifuges by over a hundredfold since 2006, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
"Last week saw the start of an additional round of talks between the major powers and Iran," Netanyahu said at Sunday's cabinet meeting. "We must not forget that the Iranian regime has systematically misled the international community. In 2006, Iran had 167 centrifuges. Today, despite all the bans and all the promises, they have over 18,000 centrifuges, i.e., the number of centrifuges has increased over a hundredfold during the talks in which they have been called upon to halt the production of centrifuges related to enrichment."
Signs of rift between Israel and US over Iran
Over the weekend, US officials said the White House was debating whether to offer Iran the chance to recoup billions of dollars in frozen assets if it scales back its nuclear program. The plan would stop short of lifting sanctions, but could nonetheless provide Iran some relief.
Missing Pace: Who is general al-Sisi and what will he do with Egypt
Egypt’s new de facto pharaoh, General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, is a man of mystery. Is he an Islamist, or a nationalist? Is he a person of high principle, or a lowly opportunist? And in a land which has known five thousand years of mainly centralized, one-man rule, with limited experience of democracy, when have we seen his type before, and where will he lead the troubled, ancient nation now?
Egypt prime minister condemns attack on Copt wedding
Egypt’s interim prime minister condemned an attack outside a Cairo Coptic church that killed three people, including an 8-year-old girl, pledging police would do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said in a statement on Monday that the attack on Sunday night was a “callous and criminal act.”
He said such attacks will “not succeed in sowing divisions between the nation’s Muslims and Christians.”
Now we know why Netanyahu wouldn’t apologize for the Gaza flotilla raid
Ironically, we've now got another mystery: Why did the Turkish government out these Israeli spies? We can speculate -- revenge for the flotilla raid; to secure leverage with Israel or with Iran; perhaps simply a crude reminder that Turkish support for Israel doesn't come free -- but we don't really know. That unknowability is just part of how international relations works.
Did Saudi Arabia reject UN Security Council seat to uphold honor?
Brandon Friedman, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University and a researcher at its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, told the Post that he believes the Saudis are registering their dissatisfaction at the UN for not stopping the slaughter of Sunni Arabs in Syria. The Saudis see things through the prism of the US-Russian agreement of non-intervention, he said.
“It is hard to overstate how upset the Saudis were with that decision,” Friedman said.
The Saudis: brave and moral or manipulative and self-serving?
The Saudi regime prefers operating behind the scenes, wielding influence in secret, away from the public eye. That is where its strength lies. A seat on the Security Council will place Saudi Arabia in the spotlight, and this, too, goes against the grain of their preference for wielding influence without exposing themselves. They have everything, and they have much to lose. Membership in the Security Council will not enhance their reputation and will only create friction with the countries of the world, a friction with which they are uncomfortable given their traditional and sectarian world view.
The culture of the Middle East plays an important role in the international arena. It’s important to learn it.
Stoning is good for your soul, says Canadian cleric
The sheikh explained that a Muslim who is sentenced to death by stoning under Sharia law actually benefits from this gruesome punishment as her soul is being purified even as the stones rain down on her sinful head.
It would possibly be funny if it were in a Monty Python movie. Almost, but not quite. There is no joke to be had in a medieval form of punishment like stoning. Nor should it be condoned.
In New Video, Al-Shabab Justifies Woolwich Attack, Urges Muslims In West To 'Make Their Choice Today,'
On October 17, 2013, the Somali Al-Qaeda-affiliated group Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen released an hour long video titled "Woolwich Attack: It's an Eye for an Eye." The video is about the May 22, 2013, Woolwich (London) attack in which British soldier Lee Rigby was murdered in daylight by two men. In the video, Al-Shabab portrays the attack as a logical response to the U.K.'s crimes against Muslims around the world. Al-Shabab urges Muslims living in the West to follow the footsteps of the Woolwich attack perpetrators, as well as the perpetrators of other attacks in the West, such as Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter; Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber; and Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, the "Underwear Bomber."

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