Monday, November 18, 2013

From Ian:

David Singer: No Elections, No Solutions
Kerry obviously fails to appreciate that it is Hamas and its backers that will instigate a third intifada – especially if Israel and the PLO look like miraculously agreeing on anything.
Kerry should be focusing on the common denominator that has virtually guaranteed the failure of negotiations during the last seven years – the refusal of both Hamas and the PLO to allow the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank to hold fair and transparent triennial elections to determine who should represent them in final status negotiations with Israel.
Elections will end the culture of political impotency which has proved an impenetrable barrier to the Palestinian Arabs claimed right to self determination.
Without such elections – no final and binding agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is possible.
Abbas rejects resignation of Palestinian peace negotiator Erekat
A PA official said that Abbas would urge Kerry during their meeting this week to “step up pressure” on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to change his policies regarding settlement construction.
The official said that Abbas would make it clear to Kerry that Netanyahu’s policies severely undermine the credibility of the PA and the entire peace process.
In a related development, Hamas called on the PA negotiators to “effectively” resign.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement: “We call on the negotiators to stop playing games and to resign effectively and immediately.”
Yaalon: The PA is No Different from Hamas
"I supported Oslo but smartened up when I realized that Arafat considered it to be yet another stage in the negotiations,” Yaalon said at an event in memory of former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.
“To date, I’ve never heard any Palestinian leader, including Abbas, who was willing to say that a territorial compromise, even along the borders he dreams about, is the end of the conflict and an end to the demands, a recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a waiver of the right of return,” Yaalon added. “Their unwillingness to recognize our right to exist as the national homeland of the Jewish people in some border, this is the obstacle to peace and is the root of the conflict.”
PMW: Jewish medallion artifact is Arab, not Jewish - Al-Aqsa Mosque Director on PA TV

Al-Qaeda biological weapons expert held in Israel for three years
According to the report, al-Barq was involved in planning attacks on Jews and Israelis in Jordan and also planned to teach Palestinian terrorists how to manufacture poisons.
“He has great knowledge in the field of unconventional weapons, with a focus on biological [weapons],” the State Attorney wrote in his response to the court against al-Barq’s release. “The army command is convinced that his release at this time will be a point of no return for the development of a significant global jihadist infrastructure in the area.”
'Abbas Involved in Arafat Poisoning'
Fahmi Shabane, a former officer in the intelligence service of the Palestinian Authority (PA), blames the PA leadership, including its chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, of being complicit in the "murder" of former chairman Yasser Arafat.
Speaking to Hamas's Al Quds channel, Shabane said that the data and evidence point to the involvement of Abbas and other PA leaders in the alleged poisoning of Arafat.
Honest Reporting: New York Times Continues Anti-Israel Crusade
So according to the NY Times, if the Iranians cheat, then the West can impose sanctions after the event. Maybe even after the Iranians have reached nuclear weapons capability. Does the NY Times consider the possibility that imposing more sanctions at that point might be too late?
But worse, the NY Times places all of the blame for any failure of negotiations on Netanyahu. To be clear, the Israeli PM is not opposed to the talks. He is opposed to a bad deal while the NY Times appears to be hell-bent on accepting any deal. If talks do indeed fail, perhaps this may be influenced by Netanyahu’s lobbying. Ultimately, however, the results of talks with the Iranians will be down to those sitting around the table and certainly dependent upon the credibility of Iranian intentions.
Guardian propagandist Jonathan Steele egregiously distorts the Israeli position on Iran
The politics of veteran Guardian “journalist” Jonathan Steele are so off-the-charts that he’s accused Muslims who opposed Islamist rule in Tunisia of ‘Islamophobia’, written a spirited defense of the ‘tragically misunderstood’ Robert Mugabe and has even run interference for Kim Jong Un’s totalitarian cult in Pyongyang. And, not surprisingly considering the ideological package he shows fealty towards, he’s also warned darkly of the Zionist influence on the U.S. media.
So, whilst nothing he writes anymore can surprise us, it’s nonetheless important to note that his Nov. 11 ‘Comment is Free’ essay (Iran: don’t let the naysayers prevail) blatantly misrepresented Israel’s position on the current talks to reach an interim nuclear deal with Iran.
BBC quietly removes misleading claim on Israel’s stance on P5+1 talks
On November 11th we noted here that an article appearing on the BBC News website the previous day included a misrepresentation of Israel’s stance on the P5+1 talks with Iran in Geneva, stating:
“Peace talks in Geneva have centred on a proposal to freeze the expansion of Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for relief from tough international sanctions.
Israel, which regards Iran as a security threat, has opposed the talks.
Netanyahu to Hollande: Israel will not be bound by 'bad' agreement on Iran
Israel will not be bound by a “bad agreement” with Iran, and when it says “never again,” it means it, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday night at a press conference with French President François Hollande.
The press conference followed a visit Hollande, accompanied by Netanyahu, paid to Yad Vashem, and the prime minister evoked the Holocaust in explaining his thinking on Iran.
French President Francios Hollande and Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu visit Yad Vashem museum, Nov. 17 2013.
“You said when you came out [of Yad Vashem] that the experience of the Holocaust places a very special responsibility on all of us,” Netanyahu said. “François, I want to tell you the burden it places on me. It is my duty to prevent anyone who credibly threatens to execute another Holocaust against the Jewish people. This is my obligation, but our common obligation for mankind and for our common future.”
Ex-IDF intel chief: Regional war unlikely if Israel strikes Iran
A regional war, coupled with a closure of the Strait of Hormuz and a series of terror attacks — the horror scenario commonly depicted by Western powers if Israel were to launch a limited strike against Iran — is highly unlikely, a former head of military intelligence wrote this week in advance of a third round of nuclear talks between Iran and the six world powers. He also said talk of such a scenario was harmful to global diplomacy and, ironically, increased the likelihood of Israeli military action.
“Those who overestimate the threat of regional escalation damage the credibility of the military option and encourage a situation in which this becomes the only available option for preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” wrote Maj. Gen. (ret) Amos Yadlin, the director of the INSS think tank, and research assistant Avner Golov in a recent issue of Strategic Assessment.
Israel can strike Iran alone, says PM’s former security aide
Speaking to the Financial Times, Amidror said the Israeli Air Force has been conducting “very long-range flights…all around the world” in preparation for a potential strike on Iran, which could set back its nuclear program “for a very long time.”
Netanyahu’s former national security adviser, who stepped down earlier this month, said that there was “no question” the prime minister would make the unilateral decision to use military force should it become necessary.
Hezbollah Wants Iran Deal Almost as Much as Obama
So we are now confronted with a bizarre situation where Hezbollah and the United States are advocating the same cause and using the same panicky language, while the French, the traditional authority figures on appeasement, are showing some backbone. If that isn’t strange enough, the leadership void created by the administration’s vacillation and appeasement has generated a peculiar realignment of realpolitik whereby the Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qataris and other Gulf nations are looking to their traditional enemy, the Israelis, to protect their security interests.
Iran unveils what it says is its biggest drone yet
Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said the reconnaissance and combat drone Fotros has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles). That would cover much of the Middle East including Israel. The earlier Shahed-129 (Witness-129) drone is reported to have a similar range, but can only stay aloft 24 hours.
“This drone is able to carry out reconnaissance missions and carry air-to-surface rockets for combat operations,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Dehghan as saying.
Plan okayed to destroy Syrian chemical arms by July 2014
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said its council had approved a plan submitted by Damascus to remove chemical substances and precursors used to make arms by June 30, 2014, with the most dangerous elements taken care of by the end of 2013.
Under the plan, the weapons will be transported for destruction outside Syria to ensure their destruction in the “safest and soonest manner,” the group said in a statement.
Gunmen kill senior security officer in Cairo
A statement from the ministry said gunmen opened fire on a car carrying Lt. Col. Mohammed Mabrouk of the national security agency, killing him on the spot near his home in the eastern Cairo suburb of Nasr City. Mabrouk worked in the agency’s branch in charge of monitoring Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, a security official familiar with Mabrouk’s work said.
Mabrouk is one of the most senior security officers to be targeted and killed in Cairo during the violence that has gripped Egypt since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July.
Nasrallah gets a new security blanket
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, famously on guard against assassination attempts ever since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, made a rare appearance in public last week and was, for the first time, guarded both by an outer ring of Lebanon Army personnel and, within the inner ring of personal bodyguards, a suitcase that can pop open and provide a ballistic shield against gunfire.
The suitcase, he said, “was first seen on Wednesday, at an event in Beirut, and it serves as a sort of shield against gunfire and grenade shrapnel.”
Lebanon misspells independence
The 50,000-pound bill, worth almost NIS 117 (or roughly $33), features Arabic and French, but the French word independance is spelled with its English spelling, “independence.”
Banque du Liban, the country’s central bank, will roll out the banknotes on November 22, Lebanon’s Independence Day. The bank blamed the printing company for the error.
Jordan seeks UN Security Council seat after Saudi rejection
Jordan, which closely follows regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia on most foreign policy issues, wants to raise its international profile and win more recognition of its role in accommodating Syrian refugees, the officials said.


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