Friday, April 11, 2014

From Ian:

Pity the Palestinians? Count Me Out
Nor, alas, is it only the leaders of the Palestinians who harbor this evil intent. As revealed by poll after poll, as well as by the elections that led the way for Hamas to take power in Gaza, a decisive majority of the Palestinian people does so as well. No doubt this is the fruit of relentless indoctrination from above, but the damage has been done, and the end result is what it is.
Indeed, the best that can be said of both Palestinian leaders and led is that many of them no longer imagine—as did Gamal Abdel Nasser, the former president of Egypt—that they have the power to drive the Jews of Israel into the sea. Therefore they are now willing to give up pursuing the goal of genocide and to settle for the more modest objective of politicide—that is, to get rid of the Jewish state by transforming it, through various "peaceful" means like the "right of return," into a state with a Palestinian majority.
I for one pray that a day will come when the Palestinians finally let go of the evil intent toward Israel that keeps me from having any sympathy for them, and that they will make their own inner peace with the existence of a Jewish state in their immediate neighborhood. But until that day arrives, the "peace process" will go on being as futile as it has been so many times before and as it has just proved once again to be. Another thing that never changes: When John Kerry testified on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, it was the Israelis he blamed for this latest diplomatic fiasco. (h/t Herb Glatter )
Alan Dershowitz: Palestinians must come to the table for peace
It is clear therefore that the Israelis and the Palestinians do not stand in equivalent positions — morally, legally, diplomatically or politically — when it comes to negotiating Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank.
Israel captured this territory in an entirely lawful defensive war.
The Palestinians want it.
Unless they are prepared to negotiate with the Israelis, they can’t get it.
The burden is on the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table, not as equal partners, but as claimants, seeking to obtain something that they do not have.
Possession is 9/10th of the law, and in this case, 9/10th of morality as well.
Those who seek a change in the status quo have the burden of coming forward and showing a willingness to negotiate.
Inside the White House’s Secret Campaign to Scapegoat Israel
Multiple sources told the Washington Free Beacon that top Obama administration officials have worked for the past several days to manufacture a crisis over the reissuing of housing permits in a Jerusalem neighborhood widely acknowledged as Israeli territory.
Senior State Department officials based in Israel have sought to lay the groundwork for Israel to take the blame for talks collapsing by peddling a narrative to the Israeli press claiming that the Palestinians were outraged over Israeli settlements, the Free Beacon has learned.
These administration officials have planted several stories in Israeli and U.S. newspapers blaming Israel for the collapse of peace talks and have additionally provided reporters with anonymous quotes slamming the Israeli government.

Sarah Honig: St. Edward’s and the empty peace
No devotee of Yes Minister, yesteryear’s BBC’s classic, can forget St. Edward’s Hospital – that spanking new cutting edge facility that had no patients or medical personnel. Nonetheless, St. Edward’s hustled and bustled, a veritable hive of activity and creative energy. For 15-months since its much-ballyhooed inauguration, an administrative staff of 500 bureaucrats filled the hospital’s offices, pushed papers and generated red tape.
Sounds exaggerated? A bit over-the-top for real life? Not really. John Kerry’s peace project, for example, replicates the parody’s blueprints with mind-blowing precision. It is for diplomacy what St. Edward’s was for health care – an incredible lot of much-ado about absolutely nothing.
The biggest snag in Kerry’s persistent peace offensive is that it lacks the commonsense basic essentials to even begin to achieve what it was promoted to do. It couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. St Edward’s couldn’t heal the sick because none had been admitted. No doctors or nurses were on hand either. It was a hospital in name only.
Yes Minister - The empty hospital

Are we ready for 100 years of diplomatic warfare?
The PA hopes to unravel Israeli society from within by deepening the divisions between Left and Right; and to weaken Israel by driving ever-greater wedges between Israeli and Diaspora Jewries.
This sober reality raises the critical question: Is Israel geared-up, societally and diplomatically, to repel the Palestinian assault? Do we have the necessary social solidarity and political unity of purpose to withstand a long, delegitimizing Arab offensive? Do we believe deeply enough in the righteousness of our case and our cause? Or has the Israeli public been so saturated with Oslo-era fantasies that it no longer has the stamina for sustained diplomatic warfare against the ill-intentioned Palestinian national movement? Has the drumbeat of “Peace Now” and “peace-very-soon” and “peace-is-justaround- the-corner-if-we-only-try-a-bitharder- and-concede-a-bit-more,” sapped Israelis and Diaspora Jews of their capacity to abide protracted conflict with the Palestinians? Is struggle against a revanchist, revolutionary and irreconcilable Palestinian national movement – one that will not be satisfied with a Palestinian statelet in the West Bank and Gaza that is hemmed-in by Israel – beyond Israel’s capabilities and energies? Have Israelis so thoroughly bought into the bogus belief that the “occupation is corrupting” that they don’t have sufficient sense of moral superiority to resist Palestinian slander? Have Israelis so completely accepted the defeatist line that “Israel is doomed” unless the two-state solution is rapidly realized, that in the absence of this Holy Grail solution they can’t hack the fight? The Palestinians are hoping so. They are counting on Israeli weakness; on an Israel too dependent on Western love, Western comforts and Western markets; on a post-ideological, sedentary Israeli society that is no longer geared for war, diplomatic or otherwise; and on a liberal Jewish Diaspora increasingly distanced from Israel.
They are counting on an Israeli society that knows only how to blame itself or blame the rival Israeli camp, not to unify in battle against an implacable and determined external adversary.
Terror victims' families stage protest outside US Consulate
Bereaved families and victims of terrorist attacks staged a mock Passover Seder as part of a demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem on Thursday.
The families and members of the Almagor Terror Victims Association arranged the table with matzot, wine, food, and Seder plates, but instead of people sitting at the chairs there were pictures of the 183 victims of the terrorists freed in the last three stages of Palestinian prisoners' release by Israel, as part of the ongoing U.S. brokered negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
At the center of the table was a picture of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, whom the bereaved families hold responsible for releasing the terrorists.
Is It Time for Israel to Annex Some West Bank Territory? — Judith Levy
Now this might, of course, prove hopeless: for all the plan’s bracing practicality and neat handling of the demographic problem, it’s not necessarily in Israel’s best interest to entrench her position as pariah state even more solidly than it is already. We’ll see how far this goes.
Still, the landscape is not quite the same as it was before the most recent collapse of the talks. Abbas’s position in particular grows ever more tenuous. Israel is said to be turning her attention away from him and toward his bitter rival Mohammad Dahlan, and to be “seeking rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt in its attempts to make Dahlan the point person for any future dialogue with the Palestinian Authority.” According to the Jerusalem Post, this prospect makes the Americans very uncomfortable, because “the aforementioned Arab states are currently in conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood – and involving these parties in negotiations would incorporate Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, into the greater regional conflict.”
Khaled Abu Toameh: Can Barghouti Save the Peace Process?
According to Palestinian sources, Abbas's biggest concern is that Dahlan may have been trying to forge an alliance with Barghouti to topple him.
Those who believe that Barghouti would be more flexible in the peace process are living in an illusion. Barghouti's position regarding the peace process with Israel is no different than that of Abbas, and possibly even less flexible.
No Palestinian leader would ever be able to come back to his people with a deal that includes less than 100% of Palestinian demands. As former Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat is reputed to have said after abandoning the failed Camp David talks, "Do you want me to be up there having tea with Sadat?"
Switzerland: Palestinians join Geneva Conventions on war
The Palestinian Authority has signed up formally to the Geneva Conventions, which set down the rules of warfare and humanitarian operations in conflict zones, the treaties’ guardian Switzerland confirmed Friday.
Swiss foreign ministry spokesman Pierre-Alain Eltschinger told AFP that the Palestinian Authority had declared itself party to the conventions on April 2.
The move was registered formally by Switzerland on Thursday, he added.
UN Chief Approves PA Breach of Talks
Abbas's requests, submitted last Tuesday, are in breach of the conditions for peace talks between Israel and the PA. The requests have effectively brought the talks to a dead end, even more so than his adamant refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
Ban wrote in the official documents that the "State of Palestine" would added to the international conventions on May 2, marking 30 days from Abbas's request, reports Channel 10.
"The secretary general has ascertained that the instruments received were in due and proper form before accepting them for deposit," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, adding that all member states of the conventions had been informed.
"It is important to emphasize that it is for states to make their own determination with respect to any legal issues raised by instruments circulated by the secretary general," Dujarric remarked.
US tells Israel: Pollard's release is still on the table
A diplomatic source said that "if the Palestinian Authority agrees to stop its plans to join a number of international treaties and conventions, Israel will agree to a new prisoner release package in return for the continuation of negotiations until the end of the year at a minimum."
According to the source, the Palestinians expressed willingness to consider the compromise offer put on the table by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.
The emerging deal will allow both sides to "come down from the tree" and appear publicly as if they did not compromise on their positions.
"This is part of the Israeli suggestion which is now being considered by the Palestinian side, while at the same time the US mediator sent a message to Israel - the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard from a US prison is still a possibility the US administration will consider, if the sides reach a deal that includes Israel freeing terrorists," the sources said.
Arab League head: Peace talks will continue after deadline
Nabil Elaraby told The Associated Press that the April 29 deadline would be extended and rejected the idea that the talks have failed to make progress.
“I believe that negotiations are going to be resumed for several months and we hope that this will be the end of it,” Elaraby said at the Nile-side Cairo headquarters of the Arab League.
Erekat: Reports on progress in talks ‘are false’
“Reports of progress are false,” Erekat said in an interview with the Palestinian newspaper al-Ayyam. “The gaps remain very wide.”
Channel 2 reported Thursday, based on a source in Washington, that Israel and the Palestinians were close to finalizing a deal that would see peace talks extended by nine month
Court: Wounded 4-year-old to remain hospitalized
A Kfar Saba court denied a request from the Loewenstein Hospital Rehabilitation Center Thursday to enforce a decision to discharge a girl who was wounded when Palestinians threw rocks at her family’s car in the West Bank last year.
Four-year-old Adele Bitton will remain hospitalized for at least another month until the May hearing that will reevaluate the case, in light of continued efforts to equip the Bitton home to meet the girl’s medical needs.
Chair of European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control Calls for Tying PA Aid to Human Rights, Economic Benchmarks
The Palestinian Authority is the only body receiving European Union funds regardless of its human-rights record or economic performance, according to the Chair of European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control, who on Thursday called for tying future aid to Ramallah to it achieving defined benchmarks.
In an Op-Ed published by The Wall Street Journal, Michael Theurer wrote: “EU assistance to the developing world serves European values and objectives—but only if EU institutions abide by the highest standards of accountability in managing European taxpayers’ money. As a recent report by the European Court of Auditors found, that hasn’t always been the case with respect to EU aid to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.”
“Since the 1994 Oslo Agreement, which created the Palestinian Authority, the EU has offered generous financial assistance to Ramallah to help advance a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis. The EU is today the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority, which relies mainly on foreign donations. But European lawmakers have a duty to ensure that EU funds aren’t diverted from the noble purpose for which they’re intended.”
Theurer cited a December report from the European Court of Auditors that “revealed major dysfunctions” in managing EU aid by the PA, and “called for a serious overhaul of the funding mechanism.”
Prosor to UN: Get Hezbollah under control
Prosor said Nasrallah was admitting that Hezbollah was in violation of the UN resolution that bans the group from operating in southern Lebanon.
“Nasrallah’s declaration is additional proof that Hezbollah continues to operate south of the Litani River, in violation of UN Resolution 1701,” Prosor wrote. The resolution was unanimously adopted on December 19, 2007, following the Second Lebanon War.
Tehran Continues to Lash Out Against EU Criticism on Human Rights
Iranian officials continued through the weekend and on Tuesday to lash out against a recent European Parliament (EP) resolution that criticized Iran over its human rights record, with Tehran’s top diplomat threatening to ban EP delegations and Iranian lawmakers crafting a range of responses and resolutions.
The EP’s resolution, passed last week, had among other things called for parliamentary delegations to Iran to “be committed to meeting members of the political opposition and civil society activists, and to having access to political prisoners,” and criticized Iran for violating basic rights:
American study: Iran’s military capabilities do not match its ambitions
Despite Tehran’s efforts to export its Islamic revolutionary ideology, history shows that the lack of following through with its belligerent rhetoric “is due as much to experience as to realism about its own limits,” according to Shahram Chubin.
Chubin is a nonresident senior associate at the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace organization and the former director of studies at the Geneva Center for Security Policy.
“But where Iran excels is in the more subtle areas of indirect diplomacy, menace and intrigue,” he said.
Congress votes to bar Iran’s new UN envoy from US
The move is not without precedent. Last year, the US dragged its heels on the visa application by Sudan’s president, alleged war criminal Omar al-Bashir, who hoped to address the UN General Assembly. In the past, however, the US has allowed entry to attend the UN for highly controversial leaders including Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also an alleged participant in the embassy takeover.
“Congress has voted unanimously in support of a bill to reject Iran’s deliberately insulting nomination of a known terrorist – one of the 1979 hostage-takers – to be their ambassador to the United Nations,” Cruz wrote in a statement shortly after the House decision. “I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting it, and urge the President to act quickly. We, as a country, can send an unequivocal message to rogue nations like Iran that the United States will not tolerate this kind of provocative and hostile behavior.”
U.S. Threatens Russia with Sanctions Over Oil Deal with Iran
Reuters reported that U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told his Russian counterpart on Thursday that any oil-for-goods deal Moscow might strike with Iran could run afoul of U.S. sanctions.
"Secretary Lew reiterated our serious concerns regarding reports of a possible deal between Russia and Iran involving oil-for-goods," a Treasury representative said in a statement, after Lew met with Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.
"He made clear that such a deal ... could trigger sanctions against any entity or individual involved in any related transactions," the representative said, according to Reuters.
US, UK said probing fresh Syrian chemical attack claims
Officials in Britain and the United States are reportedly investigating new claims that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, less than a year after Damascus staved off Western military intervention by vowing to destroy its chemical arms stockpile.
British officials told the London Times they were looking for more information regarding four alleged attacks around Damascus from January to April. The paper also reported that US and Turkish officials were looking into the claim that chlorine and pesticides were used against the opposition.
UN Human Rights Chief: Assad Regime Atrocities “Far Outweigh” Rebel Actions
Speaking Tuesday, the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, flatly declared that war crimes and atrocities committed by the regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad far outweigh” what have been sometimes been treated as parallel actions by opposition elements:
"High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said both sides’ abuses should be documented and brought to the International Criminal Court, “but you cannot compare the two. Clearly the actions of the forces of the government far outweigh the violations – killings, cruelty, persons in detention, disappearances, far outweigh” those by the opposition."
Israeli doctors confront Syrians’ complex injuries, cultural gaps
When an Israeli army ambulance brought an injured Syrian man to Ziv Medical Center in this northern Israeli city two months ago, the doctors didn’t know where exactly he was from.
They saw that his leg had been amputated, and based on his own fragmented account and the physical evidence, the doctors surmised he had been hit by a shell.
But they didn’t know exactly how he had gotten there. And when he leaves the hospital later this month, they don’t know where he’s going.
“I’m not scared,” said the Syrian, whose name was withheld by the hospital because Israel and Syria are in a state of war. “Nothing worse will happen to me, so who cares if I’m in Israel?”


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