Friday, February 21, 2014

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Rousing the Americans from their slumber
In several key cases, supporting US allies will require fewer, rather than more, US oversees deployments.
For instance, as Israel’s leaders have stated since the founding of the state, Israel has no interest in having anyone else fight its wars for it. All it requires is the strength – military, economic, territorial and political – to defend itself by itself.
Rather than seek to weaken Israel by coercing it to recede to indefensible borders in order to make room for a Palestinian terrorist state in its historic heartland, the US should abandon its support for Palestinian terrorists and ensure that Israel has the power to defend itself in a region marked by unprecedented instability and danger.
A strong Israel will be a force for regional stability and so advance US security while forming the firm foundation of a renewed US alliance structure in the region.
Sarah Honig: Happy days are (almost) here
We have news for Abbas. Jordan and Egypt, unlike the Palestinians, never sought to replace the Jewish state and the UN already granted us recognition, back on November 29, 1947 – when it divided this tiny land into two entities – one Jewish and one Arab.
The Jews rejoiced. The Arabs declared genocidal war to prevent the birth of a Jewish state. All that has transpired since is the continuation of that war and the ongoing conflict still stems from the refusal to abide a Jewish state.
In 1947 the Arab world didn’t want a Palestinian state – it wanted to destroy the Jewish state. It still does. A nondescript state, temporarily called Israel, will forever remain a candidate for Arabization – one way or another. As long as the legitimacy of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people is not accepted, the Arabs will continue to wage their war to do away with what they cannot accept.
That’s why Abbas’s honeyed blandishments and professions of peaceful intent are as convincing as were Hitler’s when he inveigled Neville Chamberlain to choose appeasement at Munich. The “painful sacrifices” of September 29, 1938 – all Germany claimed to be after – hardly sated Hitler’s appetites. On March 16 1939, he invaded the remainder of Czechoslovakia. (h/t NormanF)
US: Peace framework will recognize Israel as Jewish state
US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro asserted on Friday that the framework peace deal currently being negotiated by US Secretary of State of John Kerry will include Palestinian recognition of Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish people.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recognize Israel’s Jewishness has been a sticking point in negotiations, with the Palestinians refusing to accede to a demand that would tacitly do away with Palestinian hopes for a “right of return” for refugees and their descendants.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Eight Million Refugees Must Return to Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is facing criticism from Palestinian refugees for saying that he does not want to "flood" Israel with millions of refugees.
Abbas made his statement during a meeting in his Ramallah office earlier this week with dozens of Israeli students – the first direct encounter of its kind between the Palestinian Authority president and Israeli youths.
Abbas has also come under criticism for breaking a ban by Palestinian activists on meetings with Israelis. The ban has been imposed over the past few years by "anti-normalization" activists who oppose such meetings between Israelis and Palestinians.
Abbas’s intransigence and insolence
The world judges Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his government by truly meek standards. How else can you explain the rot with which the Palestinians get away with, while supposedly engaged in a peace process with Israel? Abbas’s minions can savage US Secretary of State John Kerry, cast ugly aspersions on his motivations, organize demonstrations againvst him, brutally mock his proposals, intransigently reject any moves toward Israel, threaten renewed warfare against Israel, cozy up to Iranian officials in preparation for such future battle, and glorify terrorism against Israel – yet the Obama administration and European leaders remain mum.
The State Department doesn’t get offended when Yasser Abed Rabbo, the PLO’s secretary-general and one of the closest advisers to Abbas, accuses Kerry of seeking to “appease Israel.” No apologies were demanded by the State Department when Jamal Muhaissen, a senior Fatah official, called for Kerry to be indicted in the International Criminal Court (for supposedly spelling out to Abbas, in private of course, the implications of diplomatic failure).
Fatah Insists: Interim Agreement Only On Our Terms
The Palestinian Authority (PA) declared Thursday that it would gladly accept the US framework for peace with Israel -- but only if it was outlined on the PA's own terms.
"The strong and consistent position of the Palestinian Authority is the same as the position of President Mahmoud Abbas, that there will not be a (Palestinian) state without East Jerusalem as the capital city, that we will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, that settlements are illegal, that the Palestinian state will be along 1967 lines, that we must find a just solution to the refugee problem and that Israel must release the prisoners."
PLO's Ashrawi: Israel is Sabotaging Peace Efforts
"The Jewish American community, particularly as represented by J Street, faces the dual challenge of influencing both the U.S. administration and the hardline and extremist Israeli government; for there to be peace and stability, we must move rapidly," she added.
J Street prides itself as being “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace” but many Jewish Americans believe that the organization actually undermines the interests of the State of Israel and Jewish people. Numerous Jewish leaders and organizations have publicly disassociated themselves, altogether, from J Street’s rhetoric and policies.
J Street has endorsed terror groups and one of its co-founders has even claimed that Israel’s creation was “an act that was wrong.”
Hamas: US Framework a 'Conspiracy' Against Palestinian Arabs
Hamas's propaganda campaign against ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) continued Thursday, after the government insisted that the talks are a "conspiracy" against the Palestinian Arab people.
Taher Al-Nunu, Hamas's PR consultant, stated vehemently Thursday that the US's framework for an agreement between the two sides in talks "would not pass" and claimed that "the plot to destroy the 'Palestinian problem' would not succeed."
King David's Tomb to Remain in Israel's Hands
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Office (PMO) released a statement Thursday affirming that Israel will not, despite earlier reports, give away Mount Zion -- including King David's tomb -- to the Vatican.
"All publications claiming that Israel was considering giving away all or part of Mount Zion to the Catholic Church are not true and are fundamental lies," the PMO stated. "The Israeli government does not have and has never had any intention of doing so."
Police arrest Waqf employees at Temple Mount
Israeli police arrested on Thursday two members of the Islamic Waqf, which oversees Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount, after they refused to halt unauthorized construction work, according to police.
According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, the Waqf said that three men were arrested after Bassam Hallaq, the engineer in charge of restoration and renovation of al-Aqsa Mosque, told his two workers to ignore the police order because Israeli authorities had no permission to interrupt work on a water pipe.
Canada: Anti-Israel Groups Attempt to Prevent Ehud Barak Visit
Pro-Palestinian and leftist Jewish groups are spearheading a campaign to prevent former Defense Minister Ehud Barak from visiting Canada, according to Shalom Toronto.
Barak is currently set to visit Surrey, British Columbia, on February 27. However, the groups sent a strongly worded letter to the mayor and members of the city council asking that the visit be cancelled - on grounds of him being "a war criminal" and a "terrorist."
Largest tourism project in West Bank gets underway
The ambitious plan will include the establishment of a series of hotels that will include hundreds of rooms, swimming pools, water slides, restaurants and cafes.
The Gate of Jericho project will stretch across a huge area, about 740 acres wide, south of Jericho, toward the Dead Sea, over a swath of land in the Palestinian-controlled Area A. In recent years, the land was covered in palm trees belonging to Padico.
The holding company’s new plan was approved by Israel, partly because the construction in its entirety is taking place in Palestinian-controlled area. Padico, the largest Palestinian company in the West Bank, is owned by the billionaire Munib al-Masri, who lives in Nablus. The company oversees dozens of projects throughout the Middle East.
Fatah: Israel and Hamas Holding High Level Contacts
A Fatah spokesperson said Wednesday that it was clear to the terror organization that Israel was in contact with Hamas terrorists. In an interview with the Palestinian Authority-controlled Ma'an news service, Ahmad Assaf, commenting on reports that “messages” had been exchanged between Israel and Hamas, said that the contacts were actually more extensive than previously reported, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu himself in contact with top Hamas terrorists.
Palestinian Unity Talks Break Down Again, as Hamas Recommits to Destroying Israel
Unity talks between the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas factions have reportedly stalled amid Fatah demands – and Hamas refusals – that new elections be held to provide Palestinian lawmakers with a mandate to rule over some of the areas that they claim for a future Palestinian state.
The deadlock is a symptom of a fundamental dynamic that has consistently blocked reconciliation efforts: Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and Fatah controls portions of the West Bank, and elections that unified the two territories would by definition require one faction to yield its power. Meanwhile Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reiterated the terror group’s commitment to the eradication of Israel, with a Hamas outlet conveying further comments from him declaring that ‘the Palestinian people have elements of strength including faith, fortitude and weaponry.’
Hamas Tests Missiles Against Israel
Hamas has tested anti-aircraft missiles against Israel, Al-Monitor reports.
Israel said in 2012 that 10 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles had targeted its warplanes, marking an enhancement of Hamas’ military capabilities.
Al-Monitor found that Palestinian fighters conducted a field test of anti-aircraft missile in January 2014. The missile missed its target, but the test went unreported in Israeli papers.
Iran Has the Bomb
The Congressional EMP Commission warned that Iran has several times detonated its Shahab III missile at high altitudes, apparently simulating a nuclear EMP attack. Iran has also demonstrated the capability to launch a ballistic missile from a freighter and make a nuclear EMP strike anonymously, and so perhaps escape retaliation. Iran has also orbited several satellites on trajectories consistent with practicing a surprise nuclear EMP attack against the United States.
Iran has not conducted a nuclear test because its theocracy is not interested in diplomatic "signaling" or Western theories of nuclear deterrence and arms control bargaining. When the mullahs are ready, they will make a surprise nuclear attack. The vaporization of New York City and an EMP attack that crashes American society will be their nuclear tests.
The bottom line is that Iran is a nuclear truck bomb headed our way.
Propping up Assad: Iran increases military support to Syria
Assad is now benefiting from the deployment by Tehran of hundreds more military specialists to Syria, according to Iranian sources familiar with deployments of military personnel, Syrian opposition sources, and security experts.
These include senior commanders from the elite Quds Force, the external and secretive arm of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as IRGC members.
Their function is not to fight, but to direct and train Syrian forces and to assist in the gathering of intelligence, according to sources in Iran and outside.
State Dept. Pressed on Snubs Toward Egypt Amid Boost in Cairo-Moscow Relations
The State Department last week put itself on the defensive over the Obama administration’s policy toward Egypt’s army-backed government – which has ranged from a controversial aid freeze last October to a pointed diplomatic snub as recently as two weeks ago – with State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf being pressed for the second day in a row to account for what very much seems to be an Egyptian pivot away from the U.S. and toward Russia.
Is another Mideast democratic experiment over?
Discussions of democracy in the Middle East were the fad among many commentators at the onset of the Arab Spring, only to give way to more measured analyses calling for stability as Islamists filled the power vacuum.
Before Turkey’s ruling Islamist AKP party came to power by winning elections in 2002, the country was under the rule of the more secular nationalist Republican People’s Party, which Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded in 1924. While appearing to be an Islamist who showed tolerance for democracy in his early years of rule, the AKP’s leader, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, slowly Islamized society and became more authoritative.
Now it seems that Erdogan is having difficulty staying disciplined and is moving to take control of the state at a pace that recalls similar actions by former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.
Analysts, Journalists Now Openly Worrying About Functional End of Turkish Democracy
Arabic, American, and Israeli outlets have all in recent days published pointed analysis questioning the degree to which Turkey can still be called a genuine democracy, as the country’s government moved to consolidate recently-passed measures that severely censor Internet use and empower Ankara to conduct broad online surveillance. Writing in Al-Arabiya, Istanbul-based journalist Mahir Zeynalov blasted the “authoritarian rule” of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, citing among other things a “storm of blatant lies” targeting Erdogan’s political opponents and efforts by the Islamist leader to “speed up the process of burying Turkey’s hard-won democracy.”

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