Monday, January 27, 2014

From Ian:

David Singer: Sharon’s Legacy Haunts Obama And Kerry
Any attempt by Obama and Kerry to resile from or circumvent Bush’s Congress-endorsed commitments to Sharon will torpedo any prospects for success in the current negotiations – leaving Obama and Kerry with no one but themselves to blame for bringing the current negotiations to an ignominious end.
The idea that any American President would not consider himself bound by the written commitments of a former President – as endorsed by Congress – would undermine America’s very democratic foundations.
Disavowing the Bush commitments would prejudice the integrity of American diplomacy world wide – ensuring any political decisions by the current administration would not be worth the paper they are written on.
Sharon has left behind a bitter pill – which Obama and Kerry must reluctantly swallow.
Ya'alon: Palestinians see destruction of Jews as realistic possibility
Speaking at an event to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the defense minister lashed out at the Palestinian Authority for claiming to seek peace on one hand yet encouraging "efforts to boycott Israel."
"In the Palestinian Authority, whose leadership presents itself as one that is striving to reach an agreement with us, the brutal, insufferable incitement against the State of Israel and the Jewish people continues," Ya'alon said.
"This incitement is manifest in the education system and the media, where the hatred and poison ought to be an affront to any human," he said. "It is creating another generation of Palestinian children who are taught to look at the expulsion and destruction of the Jews as a realistic possibility instead of educating them toward a culture of peace and co-existence alongside Israel."
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians' New Enemy: Tzipi Livni
This Palestinian escalation of rhetoric does not bode well for the future of the peace talks. The Palestinians were first unhappy with Kerry, whom they accused of being biased in favor of Israel. Now they are angry with Livni for daring to criticize Abbas. In the end, Israel and the U.S. will be blamed for the failure of the peace process. This is exactly what happened after the botched Camp David summit in 2000, when Arafat held Israel and the U.S. fully responsible for the failure of the peace process. A few weeks later, the Second Intifada erupted. The same scenario is likely to repeat itself unless the Palestinian Authority leadership stops putting all the blame on others.

Why Israelis are supporting Netanyahu this time
It appears that the Israeli public, as much as it wants a peace agreement and is willing to compromise, is unwilling to ignore the history of Palestinian negotiating intransigence.
So who would Israel side with? With their Prime Minister who is skeptical that further concessions will bring peace? Or an American President who is trying to convince Israelis to ignore their experiences of the last 20 years? (h/t MtTB)
Kerry, It’s Not the Demography!
The demography of doom distorts reality, instills pessimism, subordinates long-term strategic vision to baseless fatalism, rationalizes a policy of submission to pressure and self-destructive retreat, intensifies global pressure and radicalizes Arab demands, thus promoting violence and undermining peace.
Will Kerry embrace demographic reality, which highlights a robust Jewish tailwind and not an Arab demographic time bomb?!
Fatah: Israeli PM’s spokesman is an “angry midget”
The Israeli Prime Minister's Arabic spokesman, Ofir Gendelman, posted on his Twitter account a copy of this picture below of masked men with automatic rifles, which Fatah had put on their "Main Page" on Facebook. He wrote: "This is the photo that the Fatah Movement led by Abbas chose as its Facebook page cover photo on the eve of Kerry's arrival. The Palestinian choice is not peace."
Fatah responded on its Facebook Main Page that it is not concerned by the words of "angry midgets" and that it will continue to "struggle until the liberation of our land from the impurity of Zionism."
Lancet Editor Tweets Map Where “Palestine” Replaces Israel
The UK medical journal the Lancet has in the past been accused of having an anti-Israel bias. Our affiliate, and grassroots organizations like DARA (Doctors Against Racism and Anti-Semitism) have telegraphed the bias for quite some time.
A further example of this bias occurred on January 20, when Richard Horton, the editor of the Lancet proudly tweeting out the following slide taken from the Lancet Arab Health Series to his close to 10,000 followers:
Why did the editor of a supposedly objective medical journal proudly circulate a map on Twitter that erases Israel and replaces it with “Palestine” in explaining how the refugees from Syria are being dispersed throughout the Mideast region?
Goodbye, Harriet Sherwood: Three years covering Gaza and no lessons learned.
Harriet Sherwood’s latest 3200 word report, Goodbye Gaza, accurately reflects the Guardian’s unwritten ideological ‘style guide’ which seems to dictate that even the most malevolent Palestinian political actors are framed in a sympathetic light. ”With a heavy heart”, the strap line begins, Sherwood “pays a farewell visit to Gaza and pays tribute to the resilience, creativity and humour of its people.”
Bowen on Sharon: what did BBC audiences learn?
So what have BBC audiences gained from watching these five reports by Jeremy Bowen spread over three days? They have been misled with regard to the findings of the Kahan Commission and the cause of the second Intifada. They have been presented with numerous examples of Bowen’s interpretations of what Palestinians think of Sharon, together with the views of selected interviewees, and they have repeatedly been exposed to Bowen’s use of hyperbolic language such as “butcher”, “villain”, “killer”, “criminal”, “war criminal”, “apartheid”, “lakes of blood on his hands” and “shedding their blood”.
Beyond the fact that much of this coverage cannot be said to meet BBC Editorial Guidelines of accuracy and impartiality, its overtly political nature means that, above all, in no way can it be said to meet Bowen’s job description of providing “analysis that might make a complex story more comprehensive or comprehensible for the audience”. Given that Jeremy Bowen is not just one individual reporter, but the person in charge of setting the overall tone of the BBC’s Middle East reporting, his performance in this instance must raise questions as to the efficacy of the post of Middle East editor in producing accurate and impartial coverage of Israel.
Honest Reporting: Globe Reporter: Palestinian Rockets “Protesting Israeli Policy or Just Causing a Nuisance”
In the discussion, we were struck by how Martin referred to “rockets fired from Gaza” by Palestinians who are simply “protesting Israeli policy or just causing a nuisance”.
Shooting a deadly rocket at civilians isn’t politics and it’s not just a minor inconvenience, it’s attempted murder against men, women, and children. In our professional estimation, Patrick’s flippant comment was disgraceful and was not in keeping with Globe standards.
BBC attributes rioting on Gaza border to ‘tensions’ caused by Israeli response to missile fire
The implication that the incident which is the subject of the report is the outcome of an increase in “tensions” due to the strike on two terrorists a few days previously does not make it clear to audiences that there have been numerous incidents of rioting in that area and others – particularly on Fridays – since long before the strike on Ahmad Za’anin on January 22nd. For example, the BBC itself reported on similar incidents on January 3rd and on December 20th. Additionally, that implication erases from the picture the undertaking by Hamas under the terms of the ceasefire agreement of November 2012 to prevent attacks both on the border and by missile fire.
Likewise, the claim made in that statement airbrushes the all-important context of the numerous missile attacks launched from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian targets since the beginning of the year (which averaged around one a day during the three weeks before the strike on Za’anin), the majority of which have not been reported by the BBC.
Israeli court extends detention of suspected al-Qaeda men
An Israeli court has extended by two days the detention of two Palestinian men it suspects of planning to bomb the US Embassy in Tel Aviv under instructions from al-Qaeda.
Israel accuses Eyad Abu Sara and Rubin Abu Nigma of planning a suicide bombing at the embassy and a major convention center in Jerusalem. It says they received their instructions over the Internet through a handler in the Gaza Strip who had direct ties to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.
Hamas Leader: Third Intifada 'a Matter of Time'
Just one week after he was released from an Israeli prison, Hamas leader Hassan Yousef said on Sunday that a third Arab armed uprising - or intifada - is just a matter of time.
Speaking to Channel 2 News, Yousef said that Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas does not represent anyone other than himself.
"All the organizations of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as well as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, are opposed to negotiations with Israel," he declared.
Clifford May: 'World Powers Surrender to Iran'
The Geneva agreement does slow Iran's timeline for the development of nuclear weapons — by a month. Yes, that's right: If Iran's rulers faithfully comply with every commitment they have so far made, at the end of this six-month period, they will be about three months — instead of two months — away from breakout capacity.
In exchange, the U.S. and other "world powers" have given the revolutionary regime, long the world's leading sponsor of terrorism, additional time — perhaps as much as a year — to continue developing nuclear warheads, triggers, and ballistic missiles. Plus there is sanctions relief sufficient to remove the threat of an impending Iranian economic crisis. Iran's economy already is recovering.
If such "doing," in addition to "saying," does not justify Rouhani's claim of a "surrender" to Iran, what would? Perhaps this: The same day Rouhani was using social media to announce Iran's defeat of the West, Reuters was publishing photos of Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, laying a wreath at the Beirut grave of Imad Mughniyeh.
PM: Final Iran deal can’t work if enrichment doesn’t stop
Netanyahu made his remarks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, denouncing for a second time Rouhani’s address at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“We know the truth — there is a regime that under the guise of a charm offensive is attempting to arm itself with nuclear weapons, to become a threshold state that can obtain nuclear weapons very quickly, and one that hasn’t changed a whit of its true ideology,” he continued.
Iranian official confirms country sought to build nuclear weapons
Iranian officials have for a long time denied that there ever was a nuclear bomb program and have consistently insisted that the country’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes to help feed its only existing nuclear power plant and ones the country plans to build.
This author, who spied for the CIA in the Revolutionary Guards, revealed in the book “A Time to Betray” that during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the Guards’ intelligence division had received information that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was trying to acquire nuclear weapons. That’s when Rezaei received Khomeini’s approval to do likewise. Another Guard commander, Ali Shamkhani, then approached Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, offering billions of dollars, which helped access the nuclear blueprint and Iran’s first centrifuges.
Europe Woos Iran as it Shuns Israel
Nobody does double standards quite like the Europeans. And if recent developments are anything to go by, they will remain the market leader in this field of human endeavor for quite some time.
Where the Middle East is concerned, there are two complementary messages coming out of the European Union at the moment. The first proclaims that Israel is a legitimate target for boycotts and divestment for as long as the “occupation” continues—and here, “occupation” principally refers to the West Bank and the eastern half of Jerusalem, feebly eliding the fact that the Palestinian leadership, through its insistence on the so-called “right of return,” regards the entire territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan as “occupied.” As for the second message, that can be neatly summarized in a potential advertising slogan: Iran is open for business!
Theater of the absurd in Switzerland
The Syrian regime is fighting a multipronged opposition, complete with a fundamentalist, jihadist core -- that much is true. Still, one would think that after over two years of fighting, the U.S. would have been able to come up with a more sophisticated and vigorous strategy that would lend its full diplomatic and military support to the pro-Western elements within the Syrian opposition's ranks, thus having an actual impact on the ground.
Instead, all we are seeing are eloquent speeches by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, whose call from Montreux to Assad to step down sounded even more hollow than before.
Lebanese media: Israeli soldier injured in border blast
Al Manar, a Hezbollah-owned TV station, broadcast pictures of what it said was the scene of the blast. The channel reported that the soldier was wounded carrying out digging work in a trench on the border.
There were no details on the extent of the soldier’s injuries.
Israeli media reported that the IDF it knew of no such incident and that none of its forces were hurt.
WATCH: Jihadists in Sinai down Egyptian air force helicopter
Terrorists from the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis jihadist organization operating in the Sinai Peninsula released a video on Monday showing one of its operatives downing an Egyptian air force helicopter with a shoulder-fired missile in the Haruba district, not far from the border with the Gaza Strip.
The video clip clearly shows the helicopter damaged and giving off smoke as it descends to the ground before finally exploding. Five Egyptian soldiers died in the attack.

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