Monday, January 20, 2014

From Ian:

Abbas' terror glorification continues as he calls murderers "heroes" four times in same speech
In December 2013, Israel released 26 Palestinian terrorist murderers from prison. In his speech at the PA event celebrating their release, Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the terrorists and called them "heroes" four times during his speech:
"[The release of our prisoners] is a day of joy for our nation, for our people, for our heroic prisoners... There will be more groups of heroes who will come to us... They [the Israelis] postponed these heroes' release by 24 hours... we congratulate you and ourselves for the [release] of these heroes." [Official PA TV, Dec. 31, 2013]
Terrorist murderers are "heroes," Abbas says four times in speech

David Singer: History and Geography Can Unblock Deadlock
Agreement that Jordan comprises 78% of historic Palestine would greatly enlarge the territorial field within which the Jewish-Arab conflict can be resolved – making the conflict much easier to settle.
To achieve this end result Kerry could instruct his State Department to prepare a questionnaire for Israel, the PLO and the Arab League to complete by a specified date.
The questionnaire could possibly include these questions:
1. When was “Palestine” first so named and by whom?
2. Was the name of “Palestine” prior to its change “Eretz Yisrael”? (h/t Bob Knot)
UNRWA's Role in Middle East Peace
UNRWA has not led to the economic development that was supposed to occur, but conversely, has implanted a culture of permanent dependency.
Even though UNRWA is supposed to be an objective organization, because of the anti-Israel bias evident since its creation, through anti-Israeli textbooks, for example, or naming facilities after terrorists, it appears unwilling to encourage Palestinians to find any peaceful solution of the conflict -- not to mention what a peaceful solution would mean to its own "job security."
It would be more productive for genuine peace in the region if the office of the High Commissioner for Refugees took over the function of assisting the Palestinians as it has so ably done for all other refugees.

Barry Rubin: The Region: The hopelessness of victory
“So, let me just say, it went bad for us over there, but that was our job. That’s what we did. We didn’t complain about it.”
– Former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell
US President Barack Obama’s administration is engaging in over a dozen failed operations in the Middle East, and reason shows just why they’re failing: The Islamist philosophy is totally different from theirs. The Islamists are indifferent to the cost of victory.
Clearly, the Obama administration does not understand Middle Eastern regimes and terrorist organizations, and if it doesn’t remedy this, it will continue to meet miserable defeats.
Luttrell, on the other hand, does understand the mindset of the terrorists, and how to bring victory – at least as close an approximation as there can be to victory – to the Middle East.
The two state solution. So, Israel and...?
So Arafat, a native of Egypt, could not have been dreaming of Palestine for Palestinians. His dream was more grandiose; and for Israel, more nightmarish.
“When the time comes we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.” Arafat was winking at the leaders of Egypt and Jordan and Lebanon and Syria, and who knows what else he was winking at when he shook hands on a deal.
Well, pan-Arabism is no longer the force it was back then. Arab Spring fever has weakened grandiose Arab dreams to the point of death. Just who or what will scramble for Palestine if independence ever comes we don’t rightly know.
All we do know is that punters of the Two-state Solution may have skipped, or forgotten, a history class or three, but it is highly doubtful the Arabs did.
Obama: Less than 50% chance of Israeli-Palestinian peace
He made his remarks during a November interview with The New Yorker’s David Remnick, which was published online on Sunday.
“‘Obama told me that in all three of his main initiatives in the region—with Iran, with Israel and the Palestinians, with Syria—the odds of completing final treaties are less than fifty-fifty,” wrote Remnick.
“‘On the other hand,’ he said, ‘in all three circumstances we may be able to push the boulder partway up the hill and maybe stabilize it so it doesn’t roll back on us. And all three are connected. I do believe that the region is going through rapid change and inexorable change. Some of it is demographics; some of it is technology; some of it is economics. And the old order, the old equilibrium, is no longer tenable. The question then becomes, What’s next?’”
Abbas in Morocco: Jerusalem as Palestinian Capital is Condition for Peace Deal
Having Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state is a condition for a future peace deal with Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said at the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Committee meeting in Morocco over the weekend.
“There can be no peace without stability, nor agreement without occupied east Jerusalem being recognized as the capital of the Palestinian state,” Abbas said, according to Agence France-Presse.
Palestinian official slams Australian view on settlements
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said statements by Julie Bishop represented “dangerous shifts in Australian foreign policy” and called for an official clarification of Australian policy on the issue.
In an interview with The Times of Israel last week, Bishop said the settlements may not be illegal under international law and warned against proclaiming them illegal until their status is formally negotiated as part of the ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Haniyeh Aide: Hamas Will Never Accept PA 'Concessions'
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas can talk all they want – but the deal they make “will not be in the name of the Palestinian people,” according to top Hamas terrorist Tahar al-Nunu. According to al-Nunu, no agreement that legitimizes the “Israeli occupation will ever be valid.”
In an interview, al-Nunu, a top aide to top Hamas terrorist Ismail Haniyeh, said that the negotiations were a sign of Arab weakness. “Negotiations under these conditions enable the U.S. and Israel to take advantage of the negotiations and force the Palestinians to accept conditions they do not want.”
Video: Police Force Ambushed at Anata
A video shot in the village of Anata, north of Jerusalem, shows the difficult conditions under which Israeli security forces operate when they enter Arab concentrations to enforce law and order.
A group of young Arab terrorists can be seen as it awaits the Israeli force, which advances in a convoy of vehicles fitted with protective gear. A firebomb is thrown at one vehicle in an attempt to set it on fire, while cinderblocks are also hurled. Containers with paint are thrown at the windshields of the vehicles to try and block the drivers' field of vision.
4,000 schoolchildren stay home in Ashdod over rocket fears
The Ashdod municipality on Monday morning canceled classes in all schools that aren’t fortified against rockets, fearing an escalation in attacks on the southern city a day after the Israeli Air Force targeted a terror suspect in the Gaza Strip.
The decision meant some 4,000 students stayed home.
Palestinian Authority Residents Complain Over Foreign Workers
Workers in Israel and the Palestinian Authority now have something in common – complaints about foreign workers taking away what are supposed to be their good-paying jobs. According to a Bethlehem lawyer, workers in the city are up in arms over the arrival of a large contingent of Serbian construction workers who are building a project that they feel they should be working on.
The project is being funded by Russia, and Bethlehem residents were told that it was to generate dozens of jobs for construction workers. Because of the inability or unwillingness of the Palestinian Authority to prevent terror attacks against Israel, many PA construction workers who at one time worked in Israel have been unable to get jobs there, as Israel now prevents mass entry of PA workers out of fear that they will be recruited by terror groups to carry out attacks. As a result, most construction workers rely on PA government projects for jobs.
Russia offered to build the project in Bethlehem, partly in order to provide jobs for workers. However, Russia decided instead to supply the workers itself, and shipped in 350 workers from Serbia and Bosnia -Herzogovina.
Israel allowing Egypt army to operate in north Sinai
Israel is allowing Egyptian Apache helicopters, active in northern Sinai, to circle above the Gaza Strip to convey a menacing message to the Hamas regime.
“Cooperation is growing tighter on the intelligence and operational level — in fact, on all military levels,” an Israeli official said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of relations between Israel and Egypt.
“Both countries want to crush Hamas,” the official said. “But we need to be smart about it.”
Iran starts implementing nuclear deal, IAEA report shows
Marking the start of the deal, a team of inspectors will make their first visit to Natanz and Fordow, two of Iran’s largest uranium enrichment facilities, on Monday. They will report their findings back to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, tasked with verifying and confirming the international agreement is properly enforced.
The Geneva agreement requires Iran to begin diluting its stockpile of uranium already enriched to nearly 20% – considered the hardest part of the enrichment process, unnecessary for purposes of civilian power but required for the construction of a warhead – on the very first day of the agreement. The IAEA is tasked with not only ensuring that Iran disable its centrifuge cascades producing near-20% enriched material, but also that it begins the dilution process.
Springtime for Rouhani: Jack Straw complains that pro-Israel cash stymies US-Iran peace
Beyond Straw’s repugnant suggestion that pro-Israel elements in the US Congress take their marching orders from Jerusalem, and his failure to acknowledge that pro-Israel (and anti-Iran) sentiment is embraced by the overwhelming majority of Americans, it’s important to recall that his recent charges leveled at Jewish groups and Israel seem to reflect a broader narrative of Zionist root causes.
A few weeks after 9/11, Straw led a Western delegation to Tehran, and delivered the following message in the context of the deadly attacks by al-Qaeda which killed nearly 3,000 Americans: “I understand that one of the factors which helps breed terrorism is the anger which many people in this region feel at events over the years in Palestine.”
Of course, one of the factors which undeniably leads to violence and instability in the Middle East is Iran’s role, according to the U.S. State Department, as the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
New round of Syria talks marked by low expectations
The opening of the so-called Geneva 2 conference Wednesday in Switzerland reflects the unanimity in the international community about the urgent need to bring a halt to a conflict that has killed more than 130,000 people, touched off the worst humanitarian crisis in decades and unleashed sectarian hatreds that have sent tremors across the Middle East.
Diplomats and political leaders acknowledge that the prospects of achieving such a lofty goal any time soon are slim at best.
Some Food Reaches Starving Palestinians in Damascus
The United Nations has confirmed that food aid has finally reached some of the Palestinians in the Damascus neighborhood where dozens have perished of starvation.
Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the U.N.'s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said at the start of the weekend that 200 parcels of food aid had finally made it into the camp, reported Huffington Post.
That amount of aid, Gunness said, would provide one-third of the needed calories for 1,000 people for one month – far short of the level of need at a camp where some 18,000 people remain.
In last-minute reversal, UN's Ban invites Iran to Syria talks
The United States responded with surprise on Sunday night to United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's decision to invite Iran to a major peace conference on Syria, just two days before the summit is scheduled to begin in Geneva.
Iran promptly accepted a role in the Geneva II conference on Sunday night after Ban invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to participate in the talks based on "extensive" private communications between the two men.
Prosecutors build Hariri bomb plot case on cellphone logs
The men on trial - Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra - are accused of murder, terrorism and orchestrating the bomb attack on Hariri. They could be sentenced to life imprisonment if found guilty. The case is expected to last years.
Prosecutors said data culled from telephone networks' records of billions of calls and text messages showed that the defendants called each other from dozens of mobile phones to monitor Hariri in the months before his assassination and to coordinate their movements on the day of the attack.
"They used telephone networks that were put in place and maintained months before the actual conspiracy," said Alexander Milne, a prosecution lawyer.
BBC coverage of STL amplifies Hizballah propaganda
In the ‘Features & Analysis’ section appears an article by the BBC’s Beirut correspondent Jim Muir titled “Lebanon polarised as Hariri tribunal opens” which also includes a filmed report by Muir broadcast on BBC television news programmes. That filmed report is also included in an article titled “Rafik Hariri murder trial begins at The Hague” which appears in the news section of the website’s Middle East page.
In all three of those items, Hizballah propaganda is uncritically promoted in among the rest of the information provided.

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