Friday, February 14, 2014

From Ian:

PA tells Kerry no to framework deal in current form
The Palestinian Authority has informed US Secretary of State John Kerry that it will not accept his framework peace proposal as it currently stands, PA officials told The Times of Israel.
The officials claimed that the Obama administration’s current proposal, which is intended to serve as the basis for continued talks on a two-state solution, includes pretty much everything Israel demanded — almost down to the last detail — but does not address vital requirements from the Palestinian side.
The Palestinian officials detailed to The Times of Israel what they said were the main clauses of the framework proposal.
The obstinancy of Abbas
If anyone out there believes that Abbas is a realistic partner (following in the footsteps of Yasser Arafat), they should listen to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who came out last week and explained what happened behind closed doors in the negotiating room. In an interview with Channel 2, Olmert said that in the 36 meetings he held with Abbas, everything was agreed The only thing that was missing was a signature.
Olmert gave up the Jordan Valley, divided Jerusalem, handed over control of the Temple Mount, returned to the 1967 lines, retreated to the settlement blocs, made territorial swaps, agreed in principle to the right of return, accepted the symbolic resettlement of 5,000 refugees, and invited Abbas to fly with him to the U.N. General Assembly, where they would jointly declare the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. He even held out a pen for Abbas to take so that he could initial the deal.
How surprising -- Abbas refused. Today, there is widespread consensus. Since Abbas didn't sign then, he won't sign ever.
Sarah Honig: A page from Barker’s playbook
The long and the short of it is that nobody will compensate the Arab realm’s Jewish refugees. Obama knows it. Kerry knows it. So why make promises that can’t possibly be kept? Well, of course Kerry’s entire misnamed peace framework is a promise that can’t be kept.
But the specific attempt to tempt Jewish refugees borrows a page from Barker’s playbook. Its premise is that the Jew will sell his soul for money. Hence, the promise of a windfall can magically transform Sephardi hawks into Ashkenazi doves – that is if you at all buy into the blanket generalization of facile (and inherently offensive) stereotypes. (h/t Norman F)

Caroline Glick: Why Turkey is gone for good
It isn’t simply that Erdogan cannot reconcile with Israel because he hates Jews. As is almost always the case with anti-Semites, Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is part of his general authoritarian outlook informed by a paranoid mindset.
Erdogan sees a Jewish conspiracy behind every independent power base in Turkey. And his rejection of Israel is an integral part of his rejection of all forces in Turkey that are not dependent on his good offices.
Over the past 10 years, and with ever increasing brutality, paranoia and intensity, Erdogan has sought to destroy all independent power bases in the country. He purged the military by placing hundreds of generals in prison in his delusional Ergenekon conspiracy in which they were accused of seeking to overthrow his Islamist government.
IPT Video Report: NYC Pro-Morsi Rally Blasts Saudis as "Dirtier Than Jews"
Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR) has organized rallies throughout the country since last summer, demanding Muslim Brotherhood politician Mohamed Morsi be reinstated as Egypt's president. Those rallies normally showed a degree of discipline, with chants calling for democracy and expressing love of Morsi himself, with the Muslim Brotherhood going unmentioned.
A Feb. 8 rally outside the Saudi Arabian consulate in New York City didn't focus on the Islamist group, either. But chants and speeches in Arabic blamed the Saudis for Egypt's political situation, with some calling on God to destroy the Saudi regime, and allegations they are trying to "sell Egypt to the Jews."
Elliott Abrams: The cost of the 'peace process'
So, the question again arises: do we care, or are we indifferent to what goes on within the borders Kerry is trying to negotiate? Has the U.S. reverted to the position we had in the 1990s, when Arafat visited the White House 13 times and our policy goal was to hand him a state, no questions asked? How can it possibly contribute to the building of a decent, peaceful, democratic Palestine for the U.S. to appear -- or worse yet, to be -- indifferent to the actual conduct of the Palestinian Authority?
Kerry and other U.S. officials have spoken often about the negotiations and their goals, but I do not recall any honest discussion of the problem of growing corruption and lawlessness in the Palestinian Authority. State Department spokesmen issue statement after statement about Israeli settlement activity, seemingly whenever one brick is laid atop another, yet ignore these serious issues. What kind of Palestine is it that the United States is seeking to create?
Kerry expected to meet victims of terrorism
In an apparent attempt to reach out to Israelis who are opposed to the US-brokered talks between Israel and the Palestinians, US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to meet with victims of Arab terrorism from the Almagor organization on one of his upcoming trips to Israel.
According to Almagor head Meir Indor, US officials this week promised the meeting would take place. Indor said he wanted Kerry to see the victims of terrorism and their families so he would understand their plight.
Thousands march to demand more settlement construction
Several leading right-wing politicians addressed the gathering, including Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) and Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home).
A pamphlet handed out to the protesters called on the government to “withstand pressure from foreign entities” — a reference to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace efforts — and to assert Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank by promoting widespread settlement construction.
'Israel is not an Occupier'
Turning to the Israel-PA negotiations themselves, Franks maintained that a fundamental shift in paradigm was needed in US foreign policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict, and said that in his opinion Israel should not be forced to give up any more territory.
"If US focuses on truth and justice we'll realize that Israel has been there for 3,000 years - the same language, the same people, the same culture for 3,000 years - and it's always astonishing to me that we somehow now think that they're the occupiers."
Tensions In Jordan: Deal Must 'Return Palestinians'
As noted, Abdullah's hold over Jordan is put in doubt by the country's $25 billion plus in public debt. The US is propping up Jordan with $1 billion a year, which has yet to alleviate the kingdom's economic crisis.
Apparently Jordan's government is hoping to be spared by a popular uprising by having the repressed "Palestinians" removed and sent to Israel as part of the deal.
Mother of injured toddler faces assailants in court
Eleven months after a rock-throwing attack left her four-year-old daughter critically injured, Adva Bitton testified against the Palestinian assailants on Thursday in the Megiddo military court and pledged to take the case to international courts as well.
Adele, Adva’s daughter, has laid unconscious in the Loewenstein Hospital Rehabilitation Center in Ra’anana since the March 2013 attack. Bitton was driving near the settlement of Ariel when stones were hurled at her car, resulting in a collision between her car and a truck. Five suspects were arrested in connection to the attack and are presently standing trial.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Al-Qaeda-linked New Terrorists, DAESH, in Gaza Strip
Hamas has not hesitated in the past to confront tiny jihadi groups whose members had openly challenged its rule. Like DAESH, these groups believe that Hamas is too "moderate" and is no longer committed to the "armed struggle" against Israel.
In one of the deadliest confrontations, Hamas security forces killed and arrested a number of jihadi terrorists who found shelter in a mosque in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. At least 28 jihadi terrorists were killed and 120 wounded during the 2009 raid on members of a group called Jund Allah [Soldiers of God].
It now remains to be seen whether Hamas will be able to crush the new Al-Qaeda-affiliated group, whose members are also operating in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula.
Palestinian killed by IDF near Gaza border
A Palestinian man who approached the Gaza Strip border fence was shot dead by IDF soldiers Thursday near the Shuja’iyya neighborhood in east Gaza City. Another Palestinian was injured by Israeli fire as well, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported.
According to the IDF spokesman’s office, the two Palestinians had entered a restricted zone near the Gaza border and had attempted to sabotage the Israeli security fence.
Palestinian Authority, Hamas Cited for Widespread Human Rights Abuses
The report issued by Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) calls out the PA and Hamas for many instances of torture and oppression, according to Mosaic Magazine.
“Evidently, most Western governments, journalists and human rights organizations have chosen to endorse the Palestinian Authority’s stance that the only evil-doers are the Israelis,” Mosaic reported. “And that is precisely why the ICHR report on the anarchy, lawlessness, and human rights violations by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas will be completely ignored in the West.”
Against the Kerry Framework, PA turns to UNESCO
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has gone over the heads of Israel and the US, according to Walla!, by unilaterally turning to UNESCO, despite terms against such a move in the US framework laid out by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The PA reportedly turned to the international body over two weeks ago and requested the Palestinian Arab village of Batir be recognized as a "world heritage site" at risk, according to the Israeli daily.
Offical PA TV: Jews can live on Mars

Think tank finds education in Arab countries is falling short
More than half of Arab youth are not learning while in school, concluded a new report released by the Brookings Institution’s Center for Universal Education.
The report, titled “The Arab World Learning Barometer,” found that 56 percent of primary level children and 48% in lower secondary schools are not learning.
Syria talks looking bad, very bad
Pessimism seems to prevail in the talks between Syrian government and opposition negotiations held in Geneva this week, with Arab media focusing on statements by special UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi expressing little hope of a breakthrough.
“Brahimi: We are looking for a glimmer of light in a dark tunnel and failure is always before our eyes,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, featuring a photo of the Syrian envoy at the negotiating table in Geneva on Thursday surrounded by Russians and Americans.
Human Rights Group: More Than 230 Killed in Syria Daily Since Peace Talks Began
Reuters on Wednesday conveyed statements from the UK-based Observatory for Human Rights assessing – per the outlet – that ‘more Syrians have been killed in the three weeks since peace talks began than at any other time in the civil war,’ amid an ongoing offensive that has seen Hezbollah-backed Syrian troops consolidating control over critical border towns.
Islamic Judge Orders Syrian Girl Stoned to Death for Facebook Account
Fatoum Al-Jassem, a Syrian girl in the city of Rakka, apparently ran afoul of Islamic law and Al Qaeda in Iraq (known as ISIS or ISIL). Taken to a Sharia court, the judge ruled that having a Facebook account was Zina or immoral behavior and penalized the same way as adultery. (In Islam, many acts of immorality are referred to by a word that translates as adultery.)
The Facebook account was described as an act of great wickedness that merited severe punishment. Hypocritically the Al Nusra Front has a Facebook page and ISIS probably does too. But Muslim men tend to have different standards for women.
Israel Calls for Iran to be Held Accountable for 2012 Attack on Diplomat in India
Two years ago, Tal Yehoshua Koren, an Israeli diplomat, was on her way to pick up her two children from school when, “in the heart of New Delhi, she was targeted by agents of the Government of Iran who attempted to assassinate her,” according to a statement from the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi.
“Immediately after the attack in Delhi, the external affairs minister of India assured the Israeli leadership that the culprits will be brought to justice at the earliest, that the law of land will take its course and that India will continue with the investigation.”
Iranian official: Hezbollah's arsenal has deemed Israel's Iron Dome a joke
A senior Iranian official said Monday that Hezbollah's arsenal of weapons in Lebanon has deemed Israel's Iron Dome rocket defense system "a theoretical joke."
Iran's Fars News Agency quoted the Iranian Parliament Speaker’s top adviser for international affairs, Hossein Sheikholeslam as saying, “Now Hezbollah has tens of thousands of missiles ready to be fired at Israel.”
Sheikholeslam said that Hezobollah has been able to build its "deterrence power" with the help of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and his late father Hafez Assad, Syria's former president.
Israel to Preemptively Strike Iran with Gay-Bomb (satire)
Logistical moves in Israel’s military point to preparations for a “gay” assault on Iran, according to reports obtained by PreOccupied Territory. The preparations come amid heightened tension over Iran’s nuclear capabilities and intentions, as well as its call for destruction of the Jewish State.
The reports, citing unnamed officials in Israel’s Ministry of Defense, said Israel is preparing an attack in several waves to ensure that in its aftermath, Iran would no longer be a nuclear threat. But while previous analyses have all agreed that Israel lacks to firepower to permanently disable Iran’s nuclear facilities, the “gay” attack is aimed at transforming Iranian society into a firestorm of homosexual desire and activity. As an anticipated result, say the officials, Iran would no longer focus on developing weapons of mass destruction, instead pursuing ever-more-fabulous and flamboyant military uniforms.

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