Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Why Obama will not change gears
Since its inception, the Iranian regime has been at war with the US. It has carried out one act of aggression after another. These have run the gamut from the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and holding hostage US diplomats for 444 days, to the use of Lebanese and Palestinian proxies to murder US officials, citizens and soldiers in countless attacks over the intervening 35 years, to building a military presence in Latin America, to developing nuclear weapons.
And from its earliest days, the same Iranian regime has been courted by one US administration after another seeking to accommodate Tehran.
A similar situation obtains with the Palestinians. Like the Iranians, the PLO has carried out countless acts of terrorism that have killed US officials and citizens.
From the 1970 Fatah execution of the US ambassador and deputy chief of mission in Khartoum to the 2003 bombing of the US embassy convoy in Gaza, the PLO has never abandoned terrorism against the US.
No less importantly, the PLO is the architect of modern terrorism. From airline hijackings, to the massacre of schoolchildren, from bus bombings to the destabilization of nation states, the PLO is the original author of much of the mayhem and global terrorism the US has led the fight against since the 1980s.
Obama’s Middle East fallacy
In short, Netanyahu has resigned himself to the likelihood that the U.S. framework will include provisions he’s not ready to endorse. Abbas has not. “There is no way. We will not accept,” the Palestinian news agency quoted him as saying of the Jewish-state principle on March 7. Two days later, Abbas persuaded the moribund Arab League to adopt a resolution backing him up. He’s said much the same about Israeli troops on the border.
Why does Abbas dare to publicly campaign against the U.S. and Israeli position even before arriving in Washington? Simple: “Abbas believes he can say no to Obama because the U.S. administration will not take any retaliatory measures against the Palestinian Authority,” writes the veteran Israeli-Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. Instead, Abbas expects to sit back if the talks fail, submit petitions to the United Nations and watch the anti-Israel boycotts mushroom, while paying no price of his own.
Perhaps Obama will disabuse him of that notion at their meeting Monday. If not, another “peace process” breakdown is surely coming.
Obama: Abbas Has ‘Consistently Renounced Violence’
Obama omitted all references to Palestinian terrorism and last week’s rocket attacks, many of which were claimed to have been launched by a militant branch of Abbas’ own Fatah political party.
Obama also did not mention Abbas’ efforts to honor Palestinian terrorists and more recent remarks by his senior adviser calling on Allah to kill the Israelis.
The meeting comes at a critical time in the Middle East peace process, a priority for Secretary of State John Kerry.

Gaza's Hamas government critical as Abbas meets Obama
As on previous occasions, Mr Abbas has said he has a mandate to conduct the negotiations on behalf of all the Palestinian factions, including Hamas.
He traces this back to a national agreement document that was reached by all Palestinian factions, with the exception of Islamic Jihad, signed in June 2006.
This states that “administration of the negotiations falls within the jurisdiction of the PLO and the President of the PNA (Palestinian National Authority)” and sets the condition that any final agreement must be ratified by the Palestine National Council – the highest decision making body in the PLO – or a general referendum.
However, there are questions over whether this document is still relevant. The rift between Hamas and Fatah means general elections have been delayed and Mr Abbas’s presidential term technically ended in 2009 . . .
Analysts point out that other aspects of the 2006 agreement have not been implemented.
Obama to Abbas: Palestinians must take risks for peace
US President Barack Obama on Monday told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he would have to make tough political decisions and take “risks” for peace, as would Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Abbas, for his part, reiterated his rejection of Israel’s demand that its status as a Jewish state be enshrined in a future peace accord, asserting that previous Palestinian recognition of Israel was sufficient.
“Everyone understands the outlines of what a peace deal would look like,” Obama said, describing an agreement that reflected the pre-1967 lines with agreed land swaps. He said that he would continue to emphasize “the importance of rule of law, transparency, and effective reform so that not only do the Palestinians ultimately have a state on paper, but, more importantly, they have one that actually delivers on behalf of their people.”
Abbas Suggests Obama Promised ’67 Lines, E. Jerusalem Capital
Obama uttered his standard “everybody understands the outlines of what a peace deal would look like, involving a territorial compromise on both sides based on ’67 lines with mutually agreed upon swaps,” and never said a word about Jerusalem.
In Abbas’s responsive remarks, he transformed what Obama said into something quite different. Abbas made it sound as though Obama said that there would be a Palestinian State with the “’67 lines” (actually, the 1949 Armistice Lines) as its western border, and with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.
Abbas also managed to shoehorn in a reference to the refugee issue, as if Obama had acknowledged a connection between eastern Jerusalem and the refugees. And Abbas also created a link to the “promise” of the release of still more convicted murderers as part of the “peace process.”
Lying About Abbas Won’t Bring Peace
In short, peace process advocates believe the only way to plow ahead to an agreement is to keep the pressure up on Netanyahu to give the maximum while treating Abbas with kid gloves, all the while fearing to offend him or to give his enemies within Fatah, not to mention Hamas and Islamic Jihad rivals, any ammunition with which to attack him as soft on the Israelis. Anything else, they tell us, risks blowing up the process leaving no hope for peace.
But the problem here isn’t so much the double standard for Netanyahu or even the blatant dishonesty involved in American and Israeli officials attesting to the sincerity and good intentions of the Palestinian leader. It’s that this theory of peace negotiating has already been tried and failed with disastrous results.
Ashton: The EU is Against Boycotts of Israel
At the same time, she also reiterated the EU’s objection to Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria.
''The European Union opposes a boycott of Israeli companies and businesses. We don't want to see Israel isolated,” Ashton said at a press conference after a meeting of the 28 EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels, according to the European Jewish Press (EJP).
“The EU fully supports U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts as well as the Israeli and Palestinian engagement in the current negotiations,” she added, reiterating that the EU is ''determined'' to offer Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) with an “unprecedented” package of support measures for both parties if an agreement is reached.
Bennett: Fourth Palestinian prisoner release uncertain to happen
In an interview with Israel Radio, Bennett slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as having acted only in accordance with the policies that the Palestinians have accepted.
Bennett cited Abbas's firm refusal of Israel's demand for a public declaration that Israel is a Jewish state.
"Whoever is unwilling to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people is not a partner in dialogue," he said.
Does Abbas See Arch-Terrorist as a Successor?
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas revealed a new demand this week: the release of arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who is serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison for his role in several deadly terrorist attacks.
Abbas is reportedly defending the demand as a step that will be popular with the “Palestinian street,” thus reducing opposition to talks with Israel.
In a conversation with Arutz Sheva, analyst Baruch Yadid revealed a deeper reason behind Abbas’ request: the aging Fatah leader is seeking to replace himself, and sees the highly popular Barghouti as a likely candidate.
Senior PA Negotiator Reiterates: We Will Never Recognize Israel as a Jewish State
Nabil Sha’ath, known to be a confidant of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, brushed aside allegations that the PA’s intransigence on the issue of recognition is the reason for the current impasse between Ramallah and Jerusalem.
The Palestinian official said, “Due to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s fixation on us recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, none of the other unresolved questions have been addressed.”
Dahlan: Mahmoud Abbas is a Catastrophe; Negotiations Are "One Big Lie"
Mahmoud Abbas was against the Clinton document. I supported it. Today, Mahmoud Abbas wants a third war, in order to achieve the same Clinton document. What he is negotiating about today does not amount to 50% of the Clinton document.
Why did they prevent Yasser Arafat from signing the Clinton document? In order to present him as if he did not want a peace agreement. Today, half of them say that they supported the Clinton document, but that Yasser Arafat refused. That’s not true. You were all against the Clinton document. Yasser Arafat wanted it, but you instilled fear in him. We would have gotten 100% of the land, East Jerusalem as the capital, and a reasonable solution for the problem of the refugees, 200,000 of whom would have returned, in keeping with understandings.
What Mahmoud Abbas is negotiating about today does not amount to 50% of the Clinton document that we rejected. Does that not constitute a political corruption and political crime?

3 soldiers injured in explosion near Syrian border
Three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were lightly to moderately injured on Tuesday when their patrol jeep apparently ran over a bomb near the Israel-Syria border.
The incident occurred near Majdal Shams, and the soldiers were evacuated to Rambam Hospital in Haifa.
Light arms fire was also apparently directed at the patrol, according to a report on Israeli news site NRG.
The military reportedly returned artillery fire into Syria, hitting two sites on the nearby city of Quneitra, including a Syrian army base.
Fighters penetrated into Israel in Friday attack
Militants carrying out an attack on an Israeli jeep last week penetrated hundreds of meters into Israel from Lebanon, military authorities now believe.
The terrorists managed to bypass border security and infiltrate deep into Israeli territory before they planted two small IED bombs in front of the jeep in the Friday attack, news site Walla reported Tuesday, citing military sources.
The Friday blasts, which took place in the Har Dov area in the north, damaged the jeep and caused light injuries to its occupants. Three soldiers were taken to a hospital to rule out any internal injuries from the blast, according to Israel Radio.
Study: Civil defenses cut 86% of deaths from Gaza rockets
The thousands of Palestinian rockets fired at southern Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip over the years would have caused an average of seven times more casualties had Israel not developed a set of effective, life-saving civil defenses, a new study has found.
The study’s authors, Prof. Edward H. Kaplan, a specialist in engineering and public health from the Yale School of Management, and his former student Lian Zucker, began the research after encountering several instances in which international media dismissed the threat of Gazan rockets.
“Many critics of Israel point out that while there have been thousands of Kassams fired into Israel, the resulting number of casualties is very small,” Kaplan told The Jerusalem Post this week. “There has been a concerted attempt by many to portray Kassam rockets as essentially harmless, symbolic weapons.
Terrorist Released in Shalit Deal Caught with Knife
The terrorist, in his 20s, was caught at the Qalandiya checkpoint and was taken in for questioning. During interrogation he admitted that he had planned a stabbing attack.
The terrorist had been in an Israeli prison for three years after being convicted of opening fire towards a Jewish community in Judea and Samaria. He was one of over 1,000 terrorists who were released in October of 2011 in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
PA Blames Debt on 'Area C' of Judea, Samaria
The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced Monday that their total debts had topped a staggering 4.8 billion dollars, and that the current year's budgetary deficit was 1.5 billion dollars, according to PA "Finance Minister" Shukri Bishara.
Bishara noted that the deficit amounts to 13% of the PA's GDP and grows by 125 million dollars per month. To combat this, the PA is working on "a strategy" to increase revenues by 550 million dollars annually over the next two years, according to the official.
The main task: accruing extra income tax - which, according to Bishara, could mean hundreds of millions to the PA every year based on each percentage point added to the current income tax rate.
Documenting Palestinian Violations Of Human Rights is Just Too Darn Complicated (satire)
If a mysterious explosion rocks a Palestinian home and children are killed because a militant’s bomb went off as he was trying to assemble it, our policy is silence; Palestinian rights are only important vis-à-vis Israel. Behaving otherwise would require us to have principles, and principles have no place in this arena. International donors aren’t interested in principles; our continued funding rests on providing donors what they want, which most assuredly does not involve good guys who aren’t really good.
We do always have the fallback of attributing all the problems in the Gaza Strip to the Israeli blockade. Except for the ones stemming from the Egyptian blockade, which we try as hard a we can to ignore, because Egyptians are Arabs, not Jews, and placing blame on Arabs would be too complex. Better to adhere to the Israel-bad/Palestinians-good narrative.
You asked about starving Palestinians in Syria? Well, can Israel be directly blamed? No? Then why are you bringing it up?
State Dept. Slaps Iran, Says Tehran “Very Actively” Evading Sanctions, Developing Nukes & Ballistic Missiles
With unusual candor and stark language, a top State Department official is accusing Iran of ongoing illicit nuclear-related activity in violation of international obligations. The shift in tone suggests an early beginning to establishing blame for a failure of international talks designed to remove the nuclear threat posed by Iran.
Release of this startling information is especially explosive given its timing — on the eve of ongoing nuclear talks with the P5+1 resuming in Vienna today — and in the face of Tehran’s claims it is engaged in those negotiations in good faith, despite its long record of using talks as a cover for precisely the kind of nuclear deception being exposed.
Israel can’t rely on ‘weak’ US to deal with Iran, Ya’alon warns
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued a scathing critique of the Obama administration, an Israeli newspaper reported Monday, declaring that Israel cannot rely on the US to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, accusing the administration of broadcasting weakness throughout the world, and warning that its perceived weakness was inviting further terrorism against US targets.
Speaking at a Tel Aviv University event on Sunday reported by the Haaretz daily, Ya’alon said Israel could not afford to rely on the Obama administration to lead an action against Iran’s nuclear program, and that Israel could only rely on itself. Israel had believed that “the one who should lead the campaign against Iran is the US,” but instead, “the US at a certain stage began negotiating with them, and unfortunately in the Persian bazaar the Iranians were better,” he said. Therefore, “we (Israelis) have to look out for ourselves.”
Congressman Pete Hoekstra: Iran Bent on Sponsoring Terrorism During Nuclear Talks
Iran’s support of Islamist terror groups, its role in Syria, its cyber warfare capabilities, and a closer relationship with Russia will radically change the national security calculus for the U.S. and its allies.
We always need to keep in mind that Iran is a ruthless killing machine that flagrantly and routinely mocks international laws and norms.
Can we really expect Iran to fulfill any of its unenforceable commitments reached during the ongoing negotiations over its nuclear program, especially keeping in mind that to this day it has never really been held accountable for its actions?
Iran doesn’t expect deal in coming nuclear talks
Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke to reporters after meeting his visiting Belorussian counterpart, Vladimir Makei.
“We don’t expect to reach a deal in this round of talks. Nor was a deal on the agenda for this round of talks. We have agreed to discuss a number of issues in this round,” Zarif said.
US official: Iran buying nuclear parts on black market
Vann Van Diepen, who oversees non-proliferation issues for the State Department, told Reuters that while the parts are not expressly forbidden by the nuclear deal, a UN embargo on selling nuclear military or nuclear materials to Iran remains in place.
“They still continue very actively trying to procure items for their nuclear program and missile program,”
said Van Diepen, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation.
Iranian exile to ‘Post’: Israel, Iran should become allies after regime falls
Asked if Iranians really cared so much about the Palestinians, Parham said that aside from government-sponsored protests and those organized by pro-Palestinian activists, “have you ever seen any public Iranian protests” on the issue? He said that during the anti-government unrest in 2009 there had been two slogans: One called for a non-Islamic “Iranian republic,” and the other said: “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, I give my life for Iran.”
“Despite all the propaganda and money, there has never been in 35 years outside the revolutionary chaos of February 1979 a genuine, spontaneous demonstration by the Iranian people in the streets for Palestine or some Arab cause,” Parham claimed.
Turkish Treachery Exposed As Iran Sanctions-Busting “Gas-for-Gold” Scandal Engulfs Erdogan, AKP
The Hamas supporting Prime Minister of Turkey and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) continue to find themselves on the uncomfortable end of a growing anti-government backlash. Street protests have swelled in recent weeks as the Islamist-Authoritarian regime has brutally jailed critics and political rivals, and continued to deploy force against peaceful demonstrators.
Now, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his cronies find themselves rocked by a scandal analysts describe as “the most damaging” of the corruption charges yet, exposing not only their financial corruption, but Erdogan’s betrayal of NATO allies, and the Islamist AKP leader’s deep collusion with the nuclear weapons seeking Mullah regime in Iran.
Turkish doctors question PM Erdogan’s mental state
In a written statement, the association, which includes a majority of the country’s doctors, said Erdogan’s use of “polarizing, excluding and ‘otherifying’ language” suggested the premier was unwell.
The association noted Erdogan’s recent comments about 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died last week after a nine-month coma cause by being hit in the head by a tear gas canister shot by a police officer last summer. (h/t Yenta Press)

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