Monday, April 14, 2014

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians' "Anti-Normalization" Movement
Palestinian Authority security forces used force to disperse and arrest Palestinian activists who tried to prevent Indians from performing a dance in Ramallah on April 12.
The activists accused the Indian Classical Dance Performance, Kathak, of appearing before members of the Indian community in Tel Aviv, saying this was a form of "normalization" with Israel.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, an anti-Israel group that claims to be pro-Palestinian, issued a statement calling for boycotting the Indian dancers who had been invited to attend a Palestinian book fair in Ramallah.
The group said that the Indian dancers' performance in Tel Aviv came in "wake of an upsurge in the fierce onslaught against the Palestinian people by the Israeli Occupation Forces."
'A raging anti-Semite' - Who is Frazier Glenn Cross?
Frazier Glenn Cross, the man in police custody for allegedly shooting three people dead outside two Jewish community centers near Kansas City, is an avowed white supremacist who has not been shy about expressing his disdain for Jews and blacks.
According to a profile of Cross conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the man who formerly ran for a Senate seat in Missouri, once held the title of “grand dragon” of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
He was also sent to prison for operating an illegal paramilitary organization and using intimidation tactics against blacks, as well as illegal weapons possession.
Cross, who did two tours of duty in Vietnam and was also a member of the elite Green Berets, said he was indoctrinated by racist newspapers which he read in his youth.
Netanyahu condemns ‘hatred of Jews’ in Kansas shooting
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday condemned the murder of three people in a shooting attack at US Jewish institutions, saying it bore the hallmarks of anti-Semitic attacks.
“We condemn the murders, which according to all the signs were committed from hatred of Jews,” said a statement from his office, which added that Netanyahu had sent condolences to the victims’ families.
“The state of Israel, together with all civilized people, is committed to fighting this pestilence,” Netanyahu said.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz also said anti-Semitism was behind the attack that left three dead.

What's really holding up Middle East peace
Abbas, apparently, understands the same. No world leader holds him accountable for his part in the breakdown of negotiations -- but Bibi Netanyahu received thinly veiled warnings from politicians, “pro-peace” churches, NGOs and pundits of dire economic consequences and international isolation.
There is still a way out of the Holy Land morass.
It involves incentivizing Palestinian leaders and their constituents to choose peace and compromise over conflict, through economic cooperation and growth. That's precisely the kind of activity that got actress Scarlett Johansson axed by Oxfam [ScarJo quit Oxfam] for daring to support Sodastream’s West Bank operation that treats and compensates Jews and Arabs equally.
As long as civil society and church groups continually send the wrong message to the Palestinians, they will have to take responsibility for deep-sixing the work of John Kerry and all the other real peace-seekers.
The Palestinians Are to Blame for the Failed Peace Talks—But Not for the Reason You Think
Interestingly, the Palestinians seem to have been reduced to mere bit players, with all the agency of a tetherball. It’s a fact made all the more curious when one remembers that it was Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who brought this all to a head when he announced that he intended to resume the PA’s bid for international recognition by applying to a number of international conventions and organizations. Yet while Abbas surely wanted to stick it to the Israelis—and maybe to Kerry, too —the truth is that he’s got a much bigger problem much closer to home. Abbas is now in the ninth year of a four-year presidential term, and his greatest accomplishment as a political leader is simply that: longevity.
For Abbas, staying in power requires keeping his rivals at bay. In particular, there’s Mohamed Dahlan, the former Gaza-based Fatah strongman who’s been licking his wounds ever since Hamas routed his men from the Strip in 2007.
At just 52, Dahlan is still young. For the past four years, he has been living in the United Arab Emirates; my sources in the region tell me he recently spent a month in Marrakesh with Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to Washington, who was in Morocco recovering from shoulder surgery.
Liberman: Deal Almost Closed When PA Pulled Out
Speaking to foreign diplomats Sunday night, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Israel and the Palestinian Authority had been close to an agreement – until the Palestinians decided to backtrack from agreements they had already made.
“Israel was very close to a package deal with the Palestinians, a complicated deal that was about to be sent to the cabinet for a vote,” Liberman said. “But at the last minute the Palestinians went back on their commitments and applied for national standing on 15 UN panels,” he said.
The deal would have entailed Israel's releasing a fourth set of terrorists. Last year, Israel committed to releasing over 100 terrorists, many responsible for the deaths of multiple Israelis, as a “gesture” to tempt PA chief Mahmoud Abbas to restart talks with Israel after a three year hiatus. So far, Israel has released more than 75 terrorists.
Palestinians Claim Israeli Debt Collection is 'Violation of International Law'
In response to the move, PA President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of “theft”, and threatened to resist the seizures through its recent application to join 15 United Nations (UN) treaties and conventions. “It is a violation of international law and norms”, Abbas told reporters on Thursday that his administration would ask the UN to “address”.
Israeli officials were quick to point out that, while seen as a penalty imposed upon the PA for abrogating negotiations with Israel and the US last week with its UN treaty applications, that the PA’s unpaid bills would need to be addressed in any event. “We can’t allow the Palestinian Authority to bankrupt our utility companies,” said a government source. The Israeli Electric Company is a state-run enterprise whose obligations are ultimately towards Israeli taxpayers.
PA Claims Congress is Pushing for Sanctions Against It
The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Sunday pointed an accusing finger at members of the U.S. Congress, saying some of them were calling for action to be taken against the PA in response to the applications to join 15 international treaties.
The PA’s envoy to Washington, Maen Areikat, told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency that some pro-Israeli U.S. representatives have voiced their demands to impose sanctions against the PA, including ceasing financial aid.
The Guardian plays crooked lawyer for the Palestinians
First, Israel never agreed to so much as curtail the construction of homes beyond the green line (in Jerusalem or the West Bank) in the initial agreement brokered by Kerry to begin talks last July. They agreed to release Palestinian prisoners, but made no such guarantees regarding ‘settlements’.
Second, the east Jerusalem homes were reportedly a reissue of an earlier pronouncement permitting these new apartments in Gilo to be built, which, as Adam Kredo noted, means “that the substance of the decree [on new homes in east Jerusalem] had not changed for months and had not [previously] been a roadblock to the peace talks”.
Third, other such ‘settlement’ construction announcements during negotiations have been made by Israeli authorities without major incident – due, again, to the fact that Israel never agreed to curtail such activity – prior to the east Jerusalem tenders. This includes a January announcement that tenders were released for the construction of 600 homes in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in east Jerusalem.
Finally, it’s important to note that the 708 housing tenders were issued for Gilo, a neighborhood in Jerusalem which almost everyone (including the Palestinians) agrees will remain under Israeli control upon a final status agreement. In fact, the Guardian should look back at their own reports of the leaked Palestinian notes during negotiations between Abbas and Olmert in 2008 (known as the Palestine Papers), where they confirmed that Palestinians leaders agreed that Gilo would remain Israeli.
Bereaved family protests mural glorifying Israeli Arab terrorists
Israeli authorities, acting upon the request of bereaved families, ordered residents of the Israeli Arab town of Baka al-Gharbiya to remove a large roadside mural which paid homage to four convicted terrorists who could be released as part of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Army Radio reported on Monday.
The mural depicts the images of the four Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship – Walid Daka, Rushdi Hamdan Abu Mukh, Ibrahim Nayef Abu Mukh, and Ibrahim Abdel Razek Bayadseh - who in 1984 abducted and murdered IDF soldier Moshe Tamam. The four men, who had offered the hitchhiking Tamam a ride, were operating as part of a terror cell run by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Carter says Israel has stockpile of over 300 nuclear bombs
The United States should not attack Iran, even if Iran develops nuclear weapons, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said.
In a recent interview with MSNBC, Carter not only declared his absolute opposition to any attack on Iran, he also said that Israel had a stock of nuclear weapons of its own.
"Israel has, what, 300 or more, nobody knows exactly how many," Carter said. "And I know that every Iranian realizes that if they should try to use a nuclear weapon, Iran would be wiped off the face of the earth, which I think is so ridiculous, a self-destructive decision, that they would not do it."
Carter expressed doubt about Israel's ability to attack Iran.
Carter, who ushered in the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, addressed the current diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians and criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state.
"I don't think that any Arab country can agree to that. And this is something, as you know, that's been resurrected [by] Netanyahu. This never was an issue when I was in office and trying to negotiate peace," he said.
Carter praised U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, saying he believed Kerry had "done a heroic job" trying to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Gaza Terrorists Fire Mortars at IDF Troops Near the Border
No injuries or damage were reported.
The attack occurred in the Northwestern region of the Negev, near the Kissufim border crossing.
This was the second reported mortar attack on IDF soldiers in the Negev in the past 24 hours, and the second act of violence near Kissufim this week.
Pesach Shame: Hamas Conquers Temple Mount
Dozens of Hamas men have taken over the Mount, waving Hamas flags, and are "not allowing Jews and tourists into the Mount," said the activists.
“Hundreds of Jews who came to the Temple Mount for Pesach were astonished to find a police representative standing at the entrance gate and announcing that the Mount had been closed off to Jews after Hamas had taken over the Mount and threatened violence against any Jews who enter,” the Temple organizations reported in a news communique.
The Temple organizations called for the police commissioner to resign, following his failures on the Temple Mount.
PA Mufti: We will either live on the land or be buried in it as Shahids

Fatah Delegation to Visit Gaza in New 'Unification' Bid
Azzam al-Ahmad, a top Fatah leader who is responsible for the terrorist group's intra-Palestinian affairs, said Sunday that a committee that has been working on a “unity agreement” with Hamas is set to visit Gaza in the coming days. Hamas head Khaled Mashaal agreed to the visit in a phone call with Al-Ahmad, he said.
Ahmad said that Fatah and Hamas had in recent weeks held “high-level meetings” to advance the ageement between the two terror groups. He said that the situation faced by the Palestinian Authority required unity between the terror groups as a matter of “national responsibility” to deal with the challenges facing it.
Sa'eb Erekat, who is responsible for the PA's negotiations with Israel, recently called on Hamas to join with Fatah, stressing that Hamas is a “legitimate Palestinian movement, and it has not ever nor will ever be a terror group.”
Egyptian President Hopeful Threatens War with Ethiopia, Qatar, and to Revoke Camp David Accords

Lebanese Presidential Candidate Promises He Will “Not Weaken Hezbollah”
The March 14 alliance is the Lebanon’s anti-Hezbollah movement making Geagea’s deference to Hezbollah surprising. (Pro-Hezbollah forces are the “March 8 camp.”)
Geagea, however, took a more adversarial view of the Iranian-backed terrorist group, in an interview with the London based pan-Arab news site, Asharq Al-Awsat. In the interview, which was also published last week, Geagea said that “Hezbollah cannot assume that weapons are the best way to protect Lebanon. There is a clear standard all over the world: the state alone must protect its citizens.”
Why Washington needs to open its eyes to Iran's intentions
Barack Obama does not like to back his diplomacy with military force. He believes there should be a clear sequence of engagement: diplomacy, sanctions, more diplomacy, perhaps more sanctions, and only after all peaceful alternatives are exhausted, the possibility of force. Even then, the administration is loath to entertain such hypotheticals.
This explains why economic sanctions are now the default instrument of American coercive statecraft for confronting challenges to the international order. When Russia invaded Crimea in February, Mr Obama turned to his "favourite non-combatant command" at the US Treasury Department to design targeted sanctions to increase the costs of Russian revanchism.
Financial warfare has become the weapon of choice against Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Syria's Bashar al-Assad, as these men threaten to unwind the nuclear non-proliferation regime and turn Syria into even more of a slaughterhouse.
Kerry’s Iran statements ‘worrisome,’ minister says
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz on Monday criticized US Secretary of State John Kerry for recently stating that the world might not insist on significantly curbing Iran’s nuclear breakout capability, which he said indicated a “surrender” to Tehran.
“Israel opposes any solution which leaves Iran as a nuclear threshold state,” Steinitz said in an interview with Israel Radio.
“Kerry’s statements before the Senate on the matter of Iran and the current American objective were worrying, surprising, and unacceptable,” the minister said.
“We watch the negotiations with concern. We are not opposed to a diplomatic solution but we are against a solution which is entirely a surrender to Iran and which leaves it a threshold nuclear state,” Steinitz said.
Report: Iran says entitled to enrich uranium at 90% weapons-grade level
Iran's atomic energy chief said on Sunday that the Islamic Republic was entitled to enrich uranium to the weapons-grade level of 90%, and announced that Tehran was planning to construct four new nuclear plants with the help of Russia.
While Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), refrained from saying his country would implement plans to enrich uranium at the level needed to yield nuclear weapons material, he said Iran had the "right" to.
Iran Wants 30,000 New Generation Centrifuges for Fuel
Iran currently has nearly 19,000 centrifuges, including 10,000 of the so-called first generation being used to enrich uranium, noted AFP.
The country insists its nuclear activities are solely for civilian purposes.
"If we want to use the Natanz enrichment facility to produce the annual fuel of Bushehr nuclear power plant, we need to build 30,000 new centrifuges," Salehi was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying.
Under the deal with the West, Iran cannot increase its number of centrifuges, but in February it announced it was developing new ones that are 15 times more powerful than those currently used.
Roseanne Barr: ‘If Israel Doesn’t Nuke Iran, Then Nothing Makes Sense Anymore’
In a harshly worded Twitter post, Jewish comedian and actress Roseanne Barr on Saturday vehemently encouraged Israel to launch a nuclear strike on Iran.
“If israel doesn’t nuke iran, then nothing makes sense anymore,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’m so bored w Iran [Vladimir] Putin n all the nonLeaders of this s***soaked stupid world.”
NHS doctor listed Arab military attaches for Islamists to 'recruit’
An NHS psychiatrist compiled a list of military attachés working in the embassies of Arab countries in London and distributed it to fellow members of an extremist Islamist organisation, The Telegraph can disclose.
Questions were being asked over why Dr Imran Waheed, a consultant psychiatrist, had collected the names and sent them to other members of Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT).
There is no note with his email explaining why he gathered the names. But a source familiar with HT said: “There were a number of meetings where these names were discussed. These were people Hizb ut-Tahrir wanted to target and recruit.”
Tony Blair’s advisers and their 'ties to extremist group’
Tony Blair is facing accusations that his multifaith charity has links to an Islamic extremist group being investigated by MI5 and MI6.
The Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which was established in 2008 to help combat extremism, is being advised by a Muslim leader who is alleged to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation that could be banned in Britain.
The urgent review was commissioned by David Cameron, and spy chiefs will report their findings to him in the summer.

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