Thursday, January 30, 2014

From Ian:

The UNRWA Reform Initiative
It is universally understood that current talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will not lead to an end of the protracted Arab-Israeli war. However, there is no reason why at least one aspect of that war cannot be resolved: the continuing humanitarian crisis facing descendants of Arab refugees from 1948, who wallow in UNRWA refugee facilities under the notion they will “return” to villages from 1948 – which no longer exist.
In that context, the Center for Near East Policy Research, which has conducted news investigations and produced films on UNRWA for the past 25 years, has launched the UNRWA Reform Initiative (URI) to facilitate a policy change at UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
While UNRWA long ago adopted the slogan “Peace Starts Here,” UNRWA’s working mantra could easily be described as “War Starts Here.” UNRWA’s schools educate half a million students with the notion that they must prepare to take back their homes in what is now Israel – by force of arms.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas, Islamic Jihad Gunmen Now in West Bank
The participation of Fatah gunmen in a Hamas and Islamic Jihad rally shows that the PA and Abbas continue to face a serious challenge from their own loyalists. Moreover, it shows that there is coordination between Abbas's Fatah gunmen and Hamas and Islamic Jihad militiamen in the West Bank.
If anything, the rally that saw Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah join forces in a rare show of power means that Abbas's claim that he is fully in control of the situation in the West Bank is baseless.
Yasser Arafat allowed Hamas to operate freely in the Gaza Strip until Hamas drove the Palestinian Authority out of the area. Abbas is now committing the same mistake and could lose the West Bank to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The question is whether this will happen before or after the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Prosor calls on Security Council to recognize the signs of genocide
Prosor noted that this pattern of “defamation, degradation, and bloodshed” visibly repeated itself in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia and Darfur, and despite the warning signs, nothing was done.
“We cannot tolerate governments brutalizing their people,” he said. “We cannot rest while barrel bombs are falling on Syrian citizens, executions are on the rise in Iran, and sexual violence is rampant in the Central African Republic.”
He went on to speak about the growing anti-Semitism throughout the Middle East, including in textbooks and on state-sanctioned TV channels.
“War is not inevitable. It is not a force of nature, nor is it part of human nature. It can be prevented. But only if we stand together to denounce indifference and defend peace,” he said.

Abbas world’s No. 1 purveyor of anti-Semitism, minister says
Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas espoused more “anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli venom” than any other world leader.
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies on Wednesday, Steinitz said that “while Abu Mazen (Abbas) doesn’t fund terrorism, he who was a Holocaust denier in his youth now denies the very existence of the Jewish people and their right to a state.”
He was likely referring to Abbas’s 1982 doctoral dissertation, which was titled “The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.”
Efraim Karsh: Michael Oren misunderstands the obstacle to peace
For an accomplished historian, Michael Oren seems to have an extraordinarily short memory.
In a recent article on CNN’s website, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States argued that in the absence of a two-state solution, “One solution could be a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian population centers in the West Bank.” This, he reasoned, would allow Israel to “end the occupation of the Palestinians, preserve its security, and perhaps lay new foundations for peace.”
But this precisely what Israel did some 20 years ago.
The Importance of the Jordan Valley Corridor
Abbas says that he will control security in the Jordan River corridor, but what he more likely will do is give a free pass to terrorists and weapons on their way to the Palestinian Authority targeting Israeli civilians and territories. There is an old Arab saying, hamiha harmiha, “The guard and the thief are one and the same.” The “miracle of peace” Abbas is trying to market to an unfortunately gullible international community is nothing but fraud and slight-of-hand. He continues to harp – endlessly – on the so-called “right of return” of the Palestinians to the territory of the State of Israel, refuses out of hand to recognize the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, and has added a snag to the already twisted Gordion Knot of negotiations by demanding control of the Jordan River corridor.
He doesn’t intend to end the conflict and he is not planning to establish peace and coexistence with the State of Israel. He is planning to inundate it with a tidal wave of terrorism.
In-Your-Faces-Obama Bill Upgrading Israel Status Above Entire World
My favorite Congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL 27), along with Rep Ted Deutch (D-Fla. 21), who are the top two members on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Middle East subcommittee, have introduced a bill on Wednesday naming Israel a “major strategic partner” of the United States, a title enjoyed by no one else on the planet, and encouraging enhanced cooperation on water, energy, homeland security, and missile development.
The bill also waives visa requirements for Israelis who visit the U.S., adding Israel to the list of countries whose citizens can visit the United States for up to 90 days without a visa, provided they registered electronically before boarding a flight.
Some other provisions: the bill expands authority for forward-deployed U.S. weapons stockpiles in Israel, providing important military equipment for either to use in a crisis. It also encourages the president to transfer essential military equipment to Israel to meet current and projected strategic threats.
Report: Europe Warns Palestinian Authority Against Rejecting Kerry Framework Peace Plan
European diplomats passed this message on to senior Palestinian Authority officials during closed-door conversations that were recently held in Ramallah, Walla said.
An evolution in the European attitude towards the Palestinian Authority could be detected in remarks made over the weekend by Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, according to the report. The leader of the Israeli delegation that’s currently negotiating with the Palestinian Authority said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s continued intransigence at the negotiating table will result in “the Palestinians paying the price.”
Livni’s statement was widely interpreted as her belief that the international community will blame the Palestinian Authority for the failure of peace talks, Walla said.
"Today I will die, today I will fight" - PA TV music video

170,000 rockets are aimed at Israel’s cities, says IDF intel head
The head of Israel’s most powerful intelligence agency depicted Wednesday a changing battlefield in which offensive cyber capabilities will, in the near future, represent the greatest shift in combat doctrine in over 1,000 years. For now, though, he said, the 170,000 rockets and missiles pointed by enemy states at Israel represented the most pressing threat, a danger he placed even above Iran’s rogue nuclear program.
“Cyber, in my humble opinion, and you don’t have to agree with me, will be revealed in a not very long time as a revolution greater than the creation of gunpowder or the usage of the aerial space at the start of the past century,” said Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate. Kochavi, a former infantry officer, called the possibilities inherent in cyber warfare “nearly limitless, and that is not a metaphor.”
IAF chief: Israel will destroy Hezbollah bases in Lebanon, even ones in residential areas
The unusually explicit threat by air force chief Major-General Amir Eshel appeared to be part of an effort by Israeli officials to prepare world opinion for high civilian casualties in any new confrontation with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israel says Iran and Syria have supplied improved missiles to Hezbollah, which fought the technologically superior Israeli military to a standstill in a 2006 war in Lebanon.
"We will have to deal aggressively with thousands of Hezbollah bases which threaten the State of Israel and mainly our interior," Eshel said in a speech, citing Beirut, the Bekaa Valley and southern Lebanon among the locations of the bases.
Other Israeli officials have alleged that Hezbollah uses Lebanese civilian homes as missile silos or gun nests. Eshel said the guerrillas sometimes had entire floors of residential buildings ready, under lock and key, to be used in combat.
Murderer of Israeli Students Given Cash Prize, Employed, Promoted
Rabbo was a special case – he had been imprisoned the longest of any of the murderers who will be released for this round of “peace talks.” Rabbo, now 49 years old, granted freedom instead of his two life sentences, was given $110,000. And his upcoming wedding will cost him nothing. In addition, PA leader Abbas “promoted” Rabbo to the position of Major General in the “Palestinian Army.”
So, two barely twenty-something Jewish Israeli college students were slaughtered for the crime of being Jewish. They are dead, and their blood has not been avenged.
Abbas' advisor who praised murderer now calls shooting terrorist "heroic Martyr"
Abbas' advisor who once praised a murderer as "heroic fighter" now praises another as "heroic Martyr" "who ascended to Heaven... in the battlefield while challenging the Zionist enemy."
Today, a Palestinian named Muhammad Mubarak shot at an Israeli checkpoint north-east of Ramallah. He was consequently killed in the ensuing exchange of fire with Israeli forces.
Shortly after the shooting, Abbas' advisor Sultan Abu Al-Einein praised the terrorist on his Facebook page, calling him "our heroic Martyr":
Hamas to allow 120 Fatah leaders back into Gaza
Hamas will allow more than 120 Fatah officials banished from the Gaza Strip during the Islamist group’s violent takeover in 2007 to return to the Palestinian enclave in a bid to advance reconciliation efforts with its Ramallah-based rival.
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told satellite news channel Al-Kitab Monday evening that Hamas would soon let some Fatah leaders return to the Strip, and release a number of Fatah political prisoners from Hamas prisons, in a bid to push forward the reconciliation process.
Egypt military offensive kills 8 militants in Sinai Peninsula
Egyptian military officials say that troops backed by helicopters and armored vehicles have killed eight militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula, part of a continued offensive against rising militancy in the volatile region.
The officials say that the dead included a senior member of an al-Qaida-inspired militant group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has claimed responsibility for a wave of bombings and suicide attacks since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
The Wednesday air raids and assaults in the Sheikh Zuweid border town come less than a week after militants in the area shot down a military helicopter with a shoulder-fired missile, killing all its crew and alarming authorities about the use of sophisticated weaponry.
Iran can now build and deliver nukes, US intel reports
In the “US Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment,” delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper reported that Tehran has made significant advances recently in its nuclear program to the point where it could produce and deliver nuclear bombs should it be so inclined.
“Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas — including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles — from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. “These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.”
New Statements, Published Memoirs Trigger Analyst Concerns Over Iran FM’s Ideological Extremism
Analysts are expressing increasingly pointed concerns that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif may lack either the ability or the willingness to help secure a comprehensive deal between Iran and the West that would put Tehran’s nuclear program verifiably beyond use for weaponization, with his recently published memoirs and multiple recent interviews all being marked by intransigent rhetoric and maximalist negotiating positions. Ali Alfoneh and Reuel Marc Gerecht, both senior fellows at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, reviewed Zarif’s Mr. Ambassador: A Conversation with Mohammad-Javad Zarif and flatly assessed that “the affable foreign minister turns out to be every bit as religiously ideological as the radicalized student activist he was in the late 1970s.” Zarif emerges as a dogged ideologue who remains committed to exporting the Islamic Revolution beyond Iran’s borders, even as he lacks the domestic power base that would allow him to deliver concessions being promised to the West.
IRGC Brig.-Gen. Panah: We Can Hit Any American or Israeli Target with Our Long-Range Missiles

U.S. Treasury Officials Warn Turkey Over Economic, Diplomatic Rush Back Into Iran
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodgan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) had for the better part of a decade cultivated close ties with the Iranian regime, providing valuable economic and diplomatic lifelines to Tehran in the face of Western efforts to isolate the Iranians. Bilateral relations between the two countries were severely strained during the opening years of the Syrian conflict, though Turkey’s role as a sanctions-busting pipeline for Iranian assets remained. Turkey’s rush to fully reenter Iran’s markets since the announcement of the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) has come at such a pace that it has wholesale threatened the White House’s insistence that the relief provided to Iran was “limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible.” Turkey has pursued diplomatic rapprochement at a similar pace, and Turkish media announced Tuesday that Iran and Turkey will establish a high-level cooperation council during a Tehran visit that Erdogan will leave for Wednesday.
Hackers attack European Jewish Press website
Turkish hackers breached the European Jewish Press’s news website Wednesday night, paralyzing the site and replacing the homepage with a picture of a Turkish flag shaped like a mushroom cloud, according to the EJP.
“This is not the first time a Jewish site is hacked by hackers on the Internet,” EJP editor-in-chief Yossi Lempkowicz said. “This is clearly an attempt to silence a Jewish information site.”
Why has US not designated IHH as a terror group?
It has been implicated in the millennium bomb plot targeting Los Angeles International Airport. It openly led a campaign to break Israel's blockade on Gaza -- meant to block supplies and weapons from reaching Hamas terrorists. It has also been implicated in a Libyan gunrunning operation aimed at supplying Syrian rebels that allegedly involved an al-Qaida linked figure.
And now, six of its offices were raided Jan. 14 by Turkish authorities in connection with an investigation of al-Qaida.
The Turkey-based IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation has been designated as a terrorist group by U.S. allies Israel, Germany and the Netherlands.


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