Wednesday, April 30, 2014

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas Pumps New Life Into Hamas
Chief PLO Negotiator Saeb Erekat this week went as far as arguing that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. "We might agree or differ with Hamas," Erekat said. "But Hamas is not a terrorist organization. The occupation, according to international law, is the worst form of terrorism."
Abbas's "reconciliation" accord with Hamas is most probably aimed at exerting pressure on Israel to make far-reaching concessions at the negotiating table.
But Abbas's move will soon prove to be counterproductive. Hamas's goal is to seize control over the Palestinian Authority and replace Israel with an Islamic empire. Abbas is deceiving himself and others when he says that a unity government with Hamas would recognize Israel and renounce violence. Hamas has already made it clear that the deal with Abbas does not mean that it would change its ideology or renounce terrorism.
Bibi Reminds Al Beeb's Bowen of the Core of the Conflict (video)
With hectoring naivety, the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen interviews Bibi Netanyahu:
And is reminded of the hard facts.

"The core of the conflict is the persistent Arab refusal decade upon decade ... to recognise the Jewish State in any boundary" ...
Benjamin Netanyahu interview - In full

'Palestinians have a pattern: Demand, delay and desert'
"When I think about the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, there is a predictable pattern on the part of the Palestinians -- demand, delay and desert," Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor told the Security Council on Tuesday, the same day that the nine-month period allotted for the latest round of peace talks elapsed.
"While Israel makes tangible concessions to advance peace, the Palestinian leadership has let every window of opportunity fly out the window. This goes to the very heart of the problem. The Palestinians pledge dialogue while fermenting hatred. They promise tolerance while celebrating terrorists. And they make commitments almost as quickly as they break them.
"As we speak, millions of dollars are being channeled to the Palestinian Authority. Now that the Palestinians have signed a unity agreement, that funding will be at the disposal of Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization.
"I wonder how taxpayers in London, Luxembourg and Paris would feel knowing that they will enable Hamas to launch more rockets into Israel, kidnap more Israelis, and send more suicide bombers into our cafés."

State Dept Can’t Name Single Benefit From Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks
The State Department press secretary offered a vacuous response, telling Lee “the benefit is talking about what the end game would be for a peace process where two parties are living side by side in peace and security.”
Some positive developments that occurred in the talks, she said, included Israel releasing convicted terrorists and the Palestinians temporarily agreeing not to pursue further international statehood recognition. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reneged on the latter pledge earlier this month, signing letters to join 15 international conventions.
Lee quickly pointed out one could construe the prisoner releases as a benefit to the Palestinians, but asked Psaki what Israel received in return. “I think there’s a larger goal and larger benefit, that’s the point I was making,” the State spokeswoman said without elaborating.
Hamas Decision Overshadows Kerry’s Slur
If the administration does violate its long-held principles about working with an entity compromised by its terrorist connection, it will mark a clear turning point not only in the U.S.-Israel relationship but also in America’s attempts to combat Islamist terrorism. Though its apologists sometimes speak of Hamas as having evolved into a government in Gaza and being ready for peace, the U.S. has always rightly drawn a bright line between even the most dubious of governments in the Middle East and open practitioners of terror. Erasing or even blurring that line will render Obama’s avowed hard line against terrorism meaningless.
If the administration should choose to walk down this road toward recognition of Hamas, it will do so to the cheers of the foreign-policy establishment and liberal mainstream media that have always chafed against the idea that Hamas was beyond the pale. But if it does, it should also expect that Congress as well as a united pro-Israel community would make them pay a high political price for this betrayal. This is not a battle Obama wants to be fighting in an already difficult midterm elections year. If Abbas is counting on the president to risk some of his scarce political capital on such a cause, then both he and Kerry may have badly miscalculated. But should the Palestinian alliance last into 2015 with a lame duck president already feeling he has little left to lose, then it is entirely possible that Obama could make Kerry’s apartheid flap look like a picnic compared to a decision to recognize Hamas.
US Repeats Threats To Pull PA Funding
US officials warned on Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) may risk losing its American funding, which constitutes $440 million in 2014, if it goes through with creating a unity government with the terror organization Hamas.
"Let me be utterly clear about our policy towards Hamas," Assistant Secretary for the Near East Anne Patterson told a House hearing.
"No US governmental money will go into any government that includes Hamas until Hamas accepts the Quartet conditions. And that's renouncing violence, recognizing previous agreements and most explicitly recognizing Israel's right to exist."
Hamas official: Abbas won’t control our forces
A top Hamas official boasted that the organization’s forces would not be bound to follow instructions from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and dismissed claims that a planned unity government would recognize Israel.
Mahmoud Al-Zahar said in an interview with the Egyptian newspaper Alyoum Sabaa on Tuesday that no militiamen in Gaza would be under Abbas’s control after a planned interim technocrat government is installed.
“The reconciliation deal won’t change the current situation, and the new government’s ministers are to have no authority over diplomacy since it is an interim government,” he said. “The reconciliation deal will not change Hamas at all, and will not bring the organization to recognize Israel’s right to exist.”
'Kerry will resume push for Israeli-Palestinian talks after pause of several months'
Instead of admitting failure, aides said Kerry would continue his Mideast negotiations push after a hiatus of several months. After an initial domestic political boost, the aide predicted, Israeli and Palestinian officials would be forced back to the table by the long-term need for a two-state solution.
"It's a matter of time before they all come back," the aide predicted, "and want to have negotiations."
The nine-month deadline for the Israeli-Palestinian talks expired on Tuesday with the sides trading blame.
“Israel would have liked to be at a different place,” said one government official familiar with the negotiations. “We would have liked to see a successful outcome to the negotiations. But what we saw was a Palestinian side that didn’t engage in good faith when the Americans put on the table principles for final status. In dealing with the core issues, the Palestinians ran away.”
Michael Lumish: Are We Intended to Believe that John Kerry is a Moron?
In the past Kerry has suggested that unless Israel does what he wants – which apparently is to stop the building of second bathrooms in Jewish homes in the eastern section of Jerusalem – then the country will likely face delegitimization and BDS “on steroids.”
We were to understand that this did not represent a threat, but merely a description of what Israel would likely face if it did not heed Kerry’s warnings, although it is entirely unclear what the Jews are supposed to do beyond releasing our murderers and cease building housing for ourselves and our children on historically Jewish land.
Many people took it as a veiled threat because it screams out like a veiled threat and acts as a green light for the Nazi-like BDS movement within the European Union and American college campuses. If it was not a veiled threat then it clearly represents diplomatic stupidity. We cannot read John Kerry’s mind. We do not know what he was thinking when he said what he said. All we know is that he said it. Now, if he said it with the intention to threaten then he said it with the intention to threaten. If he did not say it with the intention to threaten, then just why did he say it?
Are we supposed to believe that the current Secretary of State of the United States is just plain dumb?
J Street Defends Kerry’s ‘Apartheid’ Comments
J Street defended John Kerry after he said that Israel is headed toward becoming an “apartheid state” if it does not reach an agreement with the PLO and Hamas.
Kerry said last week that if Israel does not agree to a two-state solution – despite the PLO’s continuous calls for the genocide of the Jewish people and its partnership with the terrorist group Hamas – it would either become an “apartheid state” or lose its Jewish character. J Street defended this claim in a recent press release.
Carelessness or Candor? The "apartheid" slur has a long history.
The "apartheid" slur has a long history, as Joshua Muravchik explained in an article last year for World Affairs. In 1974, the U.N. General Assembly rejected the South African delegation's credentials, "which meant that the country 'was effectively expelled,' wrote America's then ambassador to the UN, Daniel Patrick Moynihan. . . . The next year, the foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference determined to have Israel expelled in the same way":
The effort to expel Israel persisted into the 1980s, and the Zionism-is-racism resolution was not repealed until 1991, amid the collapse of Soviet communism. The effort to stigmatize Israel has continued in a variety of diplomatic venues.
Surely Kerry knows this history. And by his own acknowledgment he is aware of present-day efforts to stigmatize the Jewish state. "For Israel there's an increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up," he said in that February Munich speech. "There are talk [sic] of boycotts and other kinds of things."
As the Washington Post reported at the time: "A chorus of Israeli politicians warned Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Sunday that they would not be bullied into a peace deal with the Palestinians by growing threats of boycott and isolation."
Palestinians Echo Kerry on ‘Apartheid’
Lead Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, taking a cue from Secretary of State John Kerry, accused Israel of being an “apartheid” state on Tuesday.
“We believe that the international community must clarify to Israel that it’s choice of settlements and apartheid over peace will have political, legal, and financial ramifications,” Erekat said according to Ynet news.
Hamas-linked Palestinian-Israeli terror cell arrested
Israeli security forces arrested a Hamas-affiliated, Palestinian terror cell, which included an Arab citizen of Israel and aimed to carry out attacks within Israel, the Shin Bet security service said Wednesday.
Several members of the seven-man squad were arrested by Palestinian security forces prior to their arrest by the Shin Bet, but were released, after interrogation, even though a remote control switch designed to activate an explosive device was found in their possession, the Shin Bet said in a press release.
The seven men, including Khaled Daoud, a 21-year-old Israeli citizen, were arrested over the course of the past several months – a period during which the fate of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations often revolved around the release of convicted Arab citizens of Israel from Israeli jails.
Ministry looking to allow Jewish prayer on Temple Mount
“We have drafted regulations that will regulate prayer on the mount,” said Ben Dahan, of the nationalist Jewish Home party. “I expect the prime minister and the government of Israel to adopt and validate these regulations and allow all Jews who desire so to go up to the Temple Mount and pray there,” he told a conference of Liba, an organization that encourages Jews to visit the Temple Mount, via video address.
The regulations would reverse longstanding orders banning Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. The rules have garnered backlash over the last several months amid a renewed interest in visiting the site by Jewish groups, which has served to stoke heated tensions at the site, holy to both Jews and Muslims.
Terrorist 'Lawyer' Commits Suicide Under House Arrest
A terrorist "lawyer" from eastern Jerusalem, who had been charged with passing messages to jailed terrorists, committed suicide in his home on Tuesday.
The "lawyer," Safadi Amjad, was on house arrest on a local court's orders when he put an end to his life.
Amjad had been charged for transferring money and messages from Hamas terrorists imprisoned in Israel to their family members.
Fatah depicts unity with Hamas as unity between two terror organizations
On Facebook, Fatah welcomes the unity with terror organization Hamas, depicting it as a unity between two military organizations. On Fatah's "Main Page" a picture shows two masked men carrying machine guns. One wears the yellow headband of Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, while the other wears the green headband of Hamas' military wing, the Izz A-Din Al-Qassam Brigades. Both organizations are listed as terror organizations in the US, the EU and in other countries. The administrator of the page wrote, "Yes to unity and to ending the rift," while the text on the photo proclaims:
"Men's shoulders were created only to carry rifles. Either we will be mighty above the earth, or we will be bones in it." [Facebook, "Fatah - The Main Page" April 24 and 30, 2014]
Fatah leader calls for Israel’s destruction
Following the unity agreement between the Palestinian Authority and the terror organization Hamas, many have expressed concern that Hamas ideology may now become part of the PA government's policy. However, even before the unity agreement, PA and Fatah officials have consistently expressed many of the same messages of terror, hate and denial of Israel's right to exist.
Several times recently, Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi has openly rejected coexistence with Israel and called for a "return to the option of one Palestine from the river to the sea." During an interview on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV, he stated that "the only solution before us is the historic solution presented by Fatah in 1968."
Canada Raids, Designates Hamas-Tied Charity
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has conducted searches in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec as part of an investigation into a Muslim charity organization. Canadian federal auditors accuse the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN-Canada) of sending nearly $15 million to Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization. On Tuesday, the Canadian government officially added the organization to its list of banned terrorist organizations.
"As a consequence, any property or asset belonging to IRFAN is now frozen," said a letter from the RCMP said.
IRFAN-Canada lost its charity status in 2011 following a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audit that exposed the organization as an "integral part" in Hamas' international fundraising infrastructure. The donations in question were sent between 2005 and 2009.
Hamas could field PA presidential candidate
Hamas lawmaker Khalil Haya said that Hamas had already started making preparations for taking part in the elections for president of the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas also wishes to help decide the makeup of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Palestinian National Council in order to ensure that those bodies reflect the “true desires” of the Palestinian people, Haya explained.
Al-Qaeda-linked group bashes Hamas over reconciliation
The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, a group associated with al-Qaeda involved in multiple rocket attacks on southern Israel, published a statement Wednesday calling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a “traitor” and accusing Hamas of violating Islamic law by collaborating with him.
“This ‘reconciliation’ was based on a number of serious violations of Sharia accepted by Hamas, which scandalously ignored widespread calls within its ranks to reject it,” read the statement.
“The most flagrant transgression is accepting democracy and the ballot box as arbiter between the sides, vying for a portion of power, as well as affirming the presidency of the traitor Mahmoud Abbas and his right to determine the fate of Muslims in Palestine.”
Scientific Analysis Confirms Use of Chlorine in Syria
A new scientific analysis conducted for the British Telegraph newspaper has found that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is still using chemical weapons against civilians.
In the first independent testing of its kind, soil samples from the scene of three recent gas attacks in Syria were collected by trained individuals and analyzed by a chemical warfare expert.
The results, reported by the Telegraph on Tuesday, show sizeable and unambiguous traces of chlorine and ammonia present at the site of all three attacks.
Israel is our last hope, indicates Syrian dissident
It is extremely rare for a Syrian dissident to speak openly with Israeli media, but Labwani, who has sought political asylum in Sweden, believes the Syrian uprising has shattered many Arab taboos, including the cultural Arab taboo on engaging Israel.
“I am not the only one [who speaks to Israelis]; there are many others like me. Three years of revolution have destroyed many intellectual and cultural principles,” he said. “People today have begun thinking outside the box, exploring two fundamental things: changing ourselves and seeking help.”


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