Wednesday, May 14, 2014

From Ian:

Michael Lumish: And Peace to You, Jimmy Baby
Some say that Jimmy Carter is an anti-Semite, although I have never drawn that conclusion. What I think is that Carter remains entrenched within the kind of left-leaning, soft-hearted, soft-minded, Vietnam War era sensibility that vilified western imperialism and romanticized anti-imperialist forces of any sort – however violent, however vile – so long as they represented “people of color.”
How else to explain Carter’s equanimity with Hamas’s articulated genocidal intentions? How else to explain that he honestly believes that murderous lunatics make for good negotiating partners?
I tell you what. I have a better idea. Instead of folding Hamas into the PLO – which, itself, is a terrorist organization, of course – why do we not defeat Hamas and thereby make them go away?
I know that wishing to actually defeat one’s mortal enemies is today considered dangerously hard-right radical, but I feel reasonably certain that Franklin Roosevelt approved of the notion.
Netanyahu: In Unity Deal, Abbas Would be Held Responsible for Gaza Rocket Attacks
Speaking ahead of meeting Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, in Tokyo, as part of a state visit, Netanyahu described the unity pact as “a turn for the worst” because “Hamas is committed to our destruction.” But he said, “We remain committed to advancing the peace, preferably a negotiated peace.”
“We can only negotiate with a government whose constituent parts are committed to peace. If President Abbas goes ahead with this national unity with Hamas, a terrorist organization that regularly fires rockets into Israel, then we’ll have to hold him accountable for every rocket that is fired from Gaza, to Israel,” he said. “We hope that this pact is dissolved and we can find a way to return to genuine negotiations with a genuine peace partner.”
Missile from Gaza fired at southern Israel
A missile alert went off in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council before 7 a.m. Wednesday morning after a rocket was fired out of the Gaza Strip at southern Israel.
There were no reports of injuries or damage and security forces began searching for the impact site, apparently in an open area, Israel Radio reported.
Caroline Glick: Believing Obama on Iran
The malevolent slander of Israel’s actions and intentions is of course only the opening act in this new administration campaign to discredit Israel ahead of a nuclear deal with Iran. Speaking to The Washington Free Beacon, former Bush administration deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams said he believes the administration will frame the issue “saying that it’s this deal or war.”
He’s doubtlessly correct. After all that what the administration did in November when it signed the interim deal and when it forced the Senate to mothball its sanctions bill against Iran.
The truth is that the choice isn’t between war and an agreement. It is between doing something to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power, or doing nothing to prevent that from happening. The administration has opted to do nothing. Unfortunately for the world, the price for doing nothing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is exponentially higher – in the cost of lives that would otherwise be saved – than the price of doing something.



Turkey Hosts UN Israel-Bashing Conference on Jerusalem
“Some” are looking to turn Jerusalem into a city of one religion, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said May 12 in a barely-veiled attack on Israel. He made the comment during the opening ceremony of a conference in Ankara on the status of Jerusalem, organized by the United Nation’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
The conference is taking place as part of the UN’s International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The organization’s Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) issued a statement to the media on May 12 detailing some of the key quotes from the opening day.
Among the remarks UNISPAL saw fit to include in the press release was the description of Israeli “tsunami colonization” by The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs Chairman Mahdi F. Abdul Hadi, who then called for a boycott of Israel.
Islamic states use latest UN event to call for an "end" to "apartheid Israel"
The day also clarified a central feature of UN-based antisemitism: the very existence of Israel from 1948 is the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict, not the 1967 so-called occupation. These UN conferences also make no effort to mask antisemitism, and attacks on "Judaization" - the crime of a Jew on Arab-claimed land. The proceedings on the first day alone included, for example:
Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, who said that "the meeting was an important and historical one, which Turkey was pleased to host." He also said that "those living in Jerusalem had been suffering since 1948" while "Jerusalem under the dominance of Muslims was open to all faces and religions."
Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Palestinian Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs, said the meeting "came at a time when the Palestinian people everywhere, not only in Palestine, were remembering the sufferings and the Nakba, the pain felt since 1948" and that "Jerusalem had fallen to Israel in 1967 and lived in sadness and suffering ever since."
Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, Qadi and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, said Jerusalem was an issue which concerned the "Arab and Islamic world and the whole world" and that "Israel was trying to judaize the city in many ways."
Will the West reject Hamas-Fatah unity?
But the mere acceptance in principle of a Hamas-Fatah deal has prematurely raised Hamas’ regional and international legitimacy. It has also compromised Egypt’s war on the Muslim Brotherhood and specifically against Hamas terror actions on Egyptian Security forces. As Dore Gold has assessed, the Egyptian military has determined that Hamas is linked to the global jihadist network operating in the Sinai Peninsula. Hamas was also accused by the Egyptian leadership of providing logistical support for a terrorist operation that targeted Egyptian security command in 2013 in the Nile Delta in which 16 members of the Egyptian security forces were killed and 130 wounded. Gold further notes that since 2013, Hamas has been banned throughout Egypt and its offices have been closed.
Under these conditions one wonders why the US as an active mediator did not itself abruptly cease peace negotiations when the Hamas merger was announced on April 23, 2014, as opposed to leaving it to Israel to suspend the talks. This assumes one accepts the notion that Hamas as a radical Islamic terror group must not be allowed to participate in any government constellation, as long as it rejects the Quartet’s three core requirements: forswearing violence, recognizing Israel and honoring past agreements.
Top minister: Abbas torpedoed talks by refusing Kerry meet
In a strongly worded speech condemning the Palestinian leadership for its lack of commitment to the peace process and highlighting Israel’s concerns regarding the ongoing P5+1 negotiations with Iran, Steinitz sounded a critical tone while still taking care to voice support for the Obama administration’s effort in strengthening the US-Israel strategic partnership.
According to Steinitz, it was Abbas, and not Kerry, who canceled at the last minute a visit to Ramallah that represented a last-ditch effort by the American diplomat to save the peace talks which collapsed last month.
“It is quite clear to everybody involved who left the negotiations table suddenly,” Steinitz told the audience. “Who decided, two-three months ago, to leave the negotiations table and to approach the international community with requests for membership to organizations and to approach Hamas to form a unity government.”
In Wake of Corruption Treaty, Experts Warn of PA Campaign to Politicize Vital Int’l Institutions
The government of PA President Mahmoud Abbas has been blasted by analysts as riddled with corruption, and critics have cited everything from mismanagement at the highest levels to anecdotes in which Palestinian officials were caught with bags containing millions of dollars and cars filled with thousands of cell phones.
The seemingly straightforward untenability of meeting the treaty’s obligations has raised concerns that the Palestinians are engaged in what has been labeled a scorched-earth campaign, where they seek not to participate fully in international institutions but rather to politicize them into weapons of legal warfare against the Jewish state.
Doing so in the context of UNESCO – after the Palestinians joined, the body immediately moved in an anti-Israel direction – left the UN organization financially crippled and subject to censure.
Shin Bet arrests Israeli-Arab recruited to Syrian global jihad group
The suspect, named as 23-year-old Ahmed Hiri Shurbaji, traveled to Syria in January and joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the Shin Bet said. He allegedly took part in military combat training, learned how to operate light firearms and heavy machine guns, and studied the use of grenades and RPG launchers, as well as learning about hand to hand combat. He then took part in battles against Assad loyalist forces, the Shin Bet stated.
"During questioning, Shurbaji confessed to traveling to Syria in order to take part in the struggle against the Syrian army," the intelligence agency said. He fought in areas close to the Syrian-Iraqi border, it added. Haifa district prosecutors charged Shurbaji at the Haifa Magistrate's court on Thursday with security offenses.
Haifa University Cancels Convicted Terrorist's Lecture
Haifa University on Monday cancelled a planned lecture by convicted Hezbollah terrorist Mohammed Canaana.
The decision, which comes a month after Tel Aviv University cancelled a speech by the same terrorist, outraged Arab student groups who staged a demonstration in protest of the decision.
Canaana served a 30-month prison sentence after being convicted of contacting a foreign agent.
UK Awards Livni Special 'War Crimes' Immunity
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) confirmed that "since the visit meets all the essential elements for a special mission, and for avoidance of any doubt on the matter, the FCO has confirmed consent to the visit as a special mission," reports The Guardian.
A spokesperson for the British Crown Prosecution Service clarified that given the "special mission" status, "a magistrates' court would be bound to refuse any application for an arrest."
Israel Treating Free Syrian Army Commander
The commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the most moderate of the opposition groups fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, was among the wounded and ill Syrians treated in Israeli medical facilities since the civil war began, according to an Israeli security expert.
Ehud Ya’ari and Michael Morell, at an event for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that Col. Abdullah al-Bashir, who was appointed commander of the FSA in February, was among 800 Syrians who have been treated inside Israel. He did not spell out what al-Bashir was treated for but wrote that his presence inside Israel indicated a significant measure of coordination between Israel and some of the rebel militias. “Israel is extending significant amounts of humanitarian aid and perhaps other type of aid,” he wrote.

AP: UN Probe into Iranian Weapons Activity “Faltering”
The Associated Press (AP) on Monday reported that what it described as “a once-promising U.N. attempt to probe suspicions that Tehran worked on atomic arms” – a reference to long-standing United Nations Security Council demands that the Islamic republic among other things disclose possible military dimensions (PMD) of its nuclear work – was “faltering” amid Iranian foot-dragging on its obligations.
A full accounting of PMD activities is considered a vital prerequisite to ensuring that the West has even the minimal awareness necessary to detect a future Iranian attempt to dash across the nuclear finish line, and Washington Institute Managing Director Michael Singh assessed the situation last November:
"The interim agreement permits Tehran to retain all of its nuclear capabilities without requiring it to disclose all about its nuclear weapons-related work, past or present. This is a dangerous combination. Without insight into the full extent of Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities, no amount of monitoring and inspection can provide true confidence that Iran lacks a parallel program beyond inspectors’ view."
The Monday AP report bluntly noted that, despite the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPA) agreement that was aimed at facilitating a comprehensive agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog (IAEA) has in recent months come “no nearer to closing the books on persistent allegations that Iran worked on nuclear arms in the past”:
Upending Conventional Wisdom, ISIS Spokeman Confirms Al-Qaeda–Iran Cooperation
Though conventional wisdom holds that “that Sunni al Qaeda couldn’t possibly cooperate with Shia Iran,” another piece of evidence has emerged that Iran does indeed cooperate with the Sunni terror group. A recent statement made by a spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Abu Muhammad al Adnani, claims that “Let history record that Iran owes al Qaeda invaluably.” An article in the Long War Journal explains that “Al Qaeda has ordered its fighters and branches to refrain from attacking the Iranian state in order to preserve the terror group’s network in the country.”
Netanyahu: Iran, North Korea sharing nuclear technology
Netanyahu, who is in Japan this week for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and other officials, said Iran “would share whatever technology it acquired with North Korea,” the Mainichi Shimbun reported in a front-page piece.
Asked if Pyongyang is receiving technologies linked to nuclear and missile development from Iran, Netanyahu said: “Yes, that’s exactly the case.”
In a separate interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK aired Tuesday, Netanyahu said Iran would use a nuclear deal with world powers as a diversionary tactic to shift world attention before attacking Israel.
Hanging Iranian Featured in Netanyahu Facebook Campaign Against Ayatollah Tyranny
A gruesome photo of an Iranian hanging in a public execution was being promoted on Tuesday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Facebook account in a campaign against Iran’s religious and political leaders, the unelected Ayatollahs.
The caption of the photo said, “Don’t Let the Ayatollah’s WIN,” underlined in blood, that matched the trickle coming from the hanging man’s head. At the bottom of the graphic, the caption read, “Don’t give Iran the capability to build an atomic bomb.”
Iranians React To European Parliament Resolution On Iran: 'Europe's Story Is Over' And 'Europe's Way Is Monstrous And Bestial'
During an April 8 protest by religious students in Qom, Tehran Friday prayer leader and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said that Iran would not allow the EU to open an official espionage office in the country: "The Europeans support the men of fitna, which is why they issued this resolution, but the men of fitna should know that this resolution is shameful for them, because anyone who supports them supports homosexuality. They insolently demand that Iran grant freedom to homosexuals and seek to infect us with that filth... but they will take those wishes to their grave."
IRGC Commander Jaafari: We Support Resistance to US and Israel in Syria and Elsewhere in the Region

Iran Threatens to Mobilize 130,000 Troops in Syria
A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander reportedly made a revealing remark last week, saying Syrian President Bashar Assad is "fighting this war (in Syria) as our deputy."
The comment, made by Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani, clearly implies that Iran is orchestrating what happens in Syria. Hamedani further said 130,000 Iranian fighters are "ready to be deployed" in Syria if the war rages on.
Hamedani's statements were reported by the Iranian state-controlled Fars News last Sunday, but were quickly removed from the website. Naame Shaam, an independent news site opposing Assad's regime, revealed the deleted report last Thursday.
France: Syria launched 14 toxic attacks since October
Fabius also signaled some frustration with US and British refusals to launch airstrikes against Assad after a massive chemical weapons attack last August that killed at least several hundred people, and potentially as many as 1,400. He cited President Barack Obama’s “red line” pledge to order a harsh response if Assad launched toxic chemicals against his own people, but said Paris could not alone respond once Washington and London backed off the threat.
“It was out of the question for France to act alone,” Fabius said. “We regret that, because we believe it would have changed many things, in many respects.”
France Asks UN to Refer Syrian War to ICC
The draft resolution would "refer the situation in Syria" since March 2011 to the ICC prosecutor, noting the violations by all parties.
Several diplomats said Russia, Syria's closest ally and a permanent council member, is likely to veto the resolution. The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the council has not yet discussed the draft, said discussions are expected this week and France is pressing for a vote next week.
Syria is not a state party to the Rome statute that established the International Criminal Court so the only way it can be referred to The Hague, Netherlands-based tribunal is by the Security Council. The council has previously referred conflicts in Darfur and Libya to the ICC.
US president meets Syrian opposition leader
President Barack Obama met Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba Tuesday in a show of support for moderate, embattled foes of President Bashar Assad.
The meeting however came as the administration again voiced concerns that any deadly aid that was provided at the request of rebels in Syria could end up in the hands of extremists.
Obama dropped by a meeting between Jarba, president of the Syrian National Coalition, and his national security advisor Susan Rice.
Turkey Refuses to Pay Cyprus Compensation
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered Turkey to pay Cyprus $124 million as compensation for invading the island in 1974. Cyprus has remained divided into an internationally-recognized Greek section in the south, and a Turkish section in the north only recognized by Turkey.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Tuesday that his country had no intention of paying the compensation, despite wanting to join the European Union (EU) which Cyprus is a member of, reports Voice of America.
“In terms of the grounds of this ruling, its method and the fact that it is considering a country that Turkey does not recognize as a counter-party, we see no necessity to make this payment,” Davutoglu said, rejecting recognition of Cyprus.
Turkey demands Free Trade agreement with EU and US
Turkey has to be party to a proposed Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the U.S., Turkey’s Economic Ministry declared on Monday, stressing that otherwise Turkey should consider renouncing their custom union agreement with the EU.
Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci arrived in Boston on Tuesday to meet U.S. counterparts in Washington on Wednesday as part of the "Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation" between the Turkey and the U.S.
During a reception held by Turkey’s consulate general in Boston prior to official talks planned for Wednesday, Zeybekci emphasized that Turkey has to be admitted into The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between EU and U.S.
Erdogan: Turkey’s press more free than Israel’s
Erdogan cited violations of press freedom in the United States, Israel and Germany, saying Turkey had a better record than any of them.
All three countries received “free” ratings in the annual Freedom House survey.
The Turkish premier has come under mounting pressure since audio recordings spread across social media that appeared to put him at the heart of a major corruption scandal that erupted in mid-December, implicating key government allies.
In some of the leaked audio recordings, Erdogan is allegedly heard pressuring media bosses to fire dissenting journalists, interfering in media coverage and erupting in anger over newspaper headlines critical of him or his government.
Israel's Magen David Adom offers Turkey assistance as death toll in mine blast tops 200
Magen David Adom on Wednesday offered the Turkish Red Crescent assistance after an explosion and subsequent fire in a coal mine in the town of Soma killed more than 200 people.
Turkish rescue workers continued retrieving the dead and injured on Wednesday, more than 12 hours after the blast occurred.
Hundreds more were still believed to be trapped in the mine in Soma, around 120 km (75 miles) northeast of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir, and the death toll could rise further, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters at the scene.


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