Tuesday, October 22, 2013

From Ian:

Iran fear is not enough to push Israel, Arab states closer
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping the enemy of one’s enemy truly does become a friend.
In recent years, Netanyahu has said the enmity for Iran shared by Israel and the Arab states could become a spur to regional reconciliation. Last week, in a speech to the Knesset, he noted the “many issues” on which Israel and the Arabs have shared interests could open up “new possibilities,” including a peace accord with the Palestinians.
But while experts say that intelligence sharing between Israel and the Persian Gulf states has grown in recent years, thanks in large part to the facilitation of the United States, the possibility of a breakthrough appears to be overstated.
Kerry: The Peace Talks Are Intensifying
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared on Monday that talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority were intensifying and that all issues were on the table.
According to a report in the AFP news agency, Kerry also announced that Qatar had agreed to provide $150 million in debt relief to the Palestinian Authority.
The burden of proof is on Abbas
Bottom line, the Palestinian leader still has much to do to convey the Palestinian commitment to reaching a true peace and acknowledging the State of Israel, its history and its concerns. While Abbas' speech was an improvement over past displays, the Palestinian president must now demonstrate how his affirmation of peace and partnership will be implemented at the negotiating table.
30 more Palestinian prisoners to be released, sources say
Israel is expected to release a second group of 30 Palestinian prisoners on October 29 as part of ongoing peace efforts, Palestinian and Israeli sources told The Times of Israel Monday.
The batch will include more members of the group of 104 pre-Oslo Peace Accords inmates Israel has pledged to release, contingent on progress in the talks. Twenty-six prisoners were released in the first wave on August 13, just after talks started.
Khaled Abu Toamed: Palestinians slam Israeli 'incitement' against Abbas, say it hurts peace talks
The report referred to op-eds criticizing Abbas, written by various writers and published in a number of Israeli media outlets. One article, published in the daily Israel Hayom, said that the return of Palestinian refugees would lead to the destruction of Israel.
In response to these various cries of “incitement,” an Israeli official said that the Palestinians had confused legitimate political criticism with incitement.
“It is clear that the Palestinians fail to understand what incitement is,” he said.
“Incitement is demonizing the other side. It is denying the legitimacy of the other side. Incitement is putting terrorists up on pedestals and calling them heroes.
It is dehumanizing the other side. Incitement is calling to violence. Incitement is encouraging to hate. The PA does all these things. Criticizing this or that aspect of President Abbas’s politics is legitimate political criticism and is not incitement,” the official said.
Netanyahu: Wave of terrorism disturbs 'quietest year in a decade'
The relative silence of the "quietest year in over a decade" has been disturbed by the increase of terrorist activities in recent weeks, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday morning, just after a Palestinian tunnel from Gaza into Israel was uncovered.
"I want to commend the IDF for exposing the terror tunnel," Netanyahu said.
"Its part of our policy, a policy of aggression against terror, with elimination, with intelligence work, with activities that we initiate and react to and of course with Operation Pillar of Defense," Netanyahu said.
IDF soldiers kill Palestinian planner of Tel Aviv bus bombing in West Bank raid
An Islamic Jihad member who planned a 2012 Tel Aviv bus bombing during Operation Pillar of Defense was killed in an exchange of fire with IDF soldiers at a cave hideout near the West Bank village of Bil'in, security forces announced on Tuesday.
Muhammad Asi, of the Palestinian village of Bet Likia, plotted the bombing of a bus that injured 29 civilians in Tel Aviv, the IDF said.
IDF Finds Large Bomb on Gaza Fence
A week after the IDF exposed a terror tunnel that led from Gaza to a Jewish community, IDF forces on Monday found and defused a powerful explosive charge that had been planted by terrorists near the security fence that separates Israel from the central part of Gaza.
During routine morning activity on the security path that the IDF patrols along the border, Engineering Corps soldiers from the Southern Regiment discovered the hidden charge. Large forces were summoned and the explosive was neutralized.
Five Injured in Rock Barrage Near Jerusalem
Voice of Israel pubic radio reported that dozens of Arabs were hurling rocks at cars on the Tekoa – Har Homa road south of the capital.
The Shin Bet summary for September counted 133 terror attacks, compared to 99 in August. Most of the attacks were in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, where there were 104 attacks, compared to 68 in August.
Jerusalemite gets 3½ years for conspiring with Hezbollah
In June, the court found Issam Hashem Mashahara guilty of contacting a foreign agent and conspiring to transfer information to the enemy.
Mashahara pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charges in a plea bargain that saw earlier accusations of espionage dropped. In November 2012, Mashahara was indicted for spying on behalf of Hezbollah.
The 38-year-old Israeli-Arab bus driver is a resident of Jabel Mukaber, an Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
Haniyeh: There's No 'Palestine' Without Gaza
In a speech he gave Sunday in front of members of the Hamas student union, Haniyeh declared that “there will not be a Palestinian state without Gaza and there will not be a state without a Gaza that stands firm and which was released by the warriors.”
He said that Gaza is a "valuable part of Palestine and its administration and regime are an integral part of the Palestinian political regime."
Report: Erdogan Won't Let Hamas Reconcile with Egypt
According to the report, Erdogan advised the leaders of Hamas not to make any concessions to Egypt at this stage, given the fact that the region is still unstable, and that it is possible to change the current regime in Egypt using the pressure exerted by Turkey, Qatar and the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.
It was also reported that the Turkish prime minister pressured Haniyeh not to recognize the “military coup” and reject the Egyptian demand to extradite any Gazans suspected of involvement in the terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula.
Israel: We May Export Gas to Egypt
Israel is considering export gas to Egypt, according to Minister of Energy and Water Silvan Shalom (Likud). Shalom spoke on IDF Radio Tuesday morning.
"Egypt, which is currently experiencing a shortage of gas, is showing interest in buying gas from Israel,”
he said. “If it turns out that they do want gas and that these things are real, I see no reason why not to [sell it],” he said, adding that "When it reaches us, we will examine the details.”
Popularity of Egypt’s General El-Sisi Soars
Guardian – Egyptian chocolate-maker Bahira Galal does not hide her support for Egypt‘s army chief, General Abdel Fatah el-Sisi. Customers at her plush boutique in central Cairo are offered a choice between chocolates coated with his face and others embossed with messages of adulation. One carries his official portrait. Another shows him in sunglasses. “Thank you, Sisi, from the bottom of our hearts,” reads a third.
Egyptian writer may face jail for accusations of defaming religion
Egyptian writer and human rights activist Karam Saber will stand before a Beni Suef misdemeanor court on Tuesday to hear the decision regarding his appeal of a five-year sentence received last May on charges of defamation and contempt of religion.
The case began in April 2011, Saber told Ahram Online, when individuals related to Islamist currents in Beni Suef filed a lawsuit accusing Saber of defaming religion in his short stories collection entitled Ayna Allah (Where's God?).
Turkey Blasted As U.S. Officials Confirm Islamist Govt Deliberately Burned Israeli Spies Working in Iran
U.S. officials have confirmed to the Daily Beast the details of a Washington Post report revealing that Turkey last year deliberately burned roughly 10 Israeli spies who were working in Iran on the country’s nuclear program. The Daily Beast quotes former Israeli Mossad chief Danny Yatom describing the move as “an act that brings the Turkish intelligence organization to a position where I assume no one will ever trust it again,” while a CIA officer compared the incident to the betrayal of the Cambridge Five, the network of Soviet moles who provided highly sensitive intelligence to Moscow at the dawn of the Cold War. Ankara has categorically denied that it shopped the Iranians to Tehran, but over the weekend Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu lashed out at critics and declared that – if the story is true – then Turkey’s intelligence chief Hakan Fidan would have been just “doing his job.
‘US canceled deal to supply Turkey with drones’
The US drones were to be delivered to Turkey in mid-2012, but according to the report, Congress canceled the deal because of the growing cooperation between the Turkish and Iranian intelligence services.
Breaking the story of the Iranians and their alleged Mossad handlers last Thursday, the Washington Post cited “knowledgeable sources” who said the “deliberate compromise” of Israel’s agents by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government constituted a “significant” loss of intelligence and can be interpreted as “an effort to slap the Israelis.”
Al Qaeda group is operating on ransom money from the West
Over the last two years, AQAP, as Western officials refer to the group, has extorted $20 million in ransom money, according to an estimate by Alistair Burt, who until this month was the top British diplomatic official for the Middle East.
If those payments continue, "AQAP's attack capability in Yemen and against its friends and neighbors will only strengthen," he said at a recent diplomatic meeting in New York. Kidnapping has become the group's single largest source of funds, U.S. and European officials say.
Rights Group Slams Saudi Arabia's 'Hot Air' Over Human Rights
Human rights group Amnesty International has released a scathing report which levels harsh criticism against Saudi Arabia, accusing the Gulf Kingdom of failing to live up to its pledge to improve human rights.
That pledge was made in 2009 to the UN Human Rights Council, but Amnesty has slammed the government's broken promises as nothing but "hot air", claiming that in some cases, human rights abuses have actually gotten even worse since then.
Persecution of minorities, women and political dissidents are just some of the human rights violations documented in the 18 page report.

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