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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

      Senior Palestinian Authority officials told this column that the Obama administration guaranteed the PA that it would pressure Israel over a Palestinian state in exchange for the PA’s withdrawal of support for immediate UN action over an investigation claiming Israel committed war crimes.
 
      The PA officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the guarantees include pressing Israel to agree to a two-year timetable to negotiate a Palestinian state set along the pre-1967 lines – meaning a state in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem.
 
      The officials said the Obama administration hopes to set the timetable publicly before March. They said Obama’s Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, presented the timetable to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in meetings here the past few days.
 
      The PA officials said Mitchell specifically told the Palestinians that the Obama administration will push for a state including much of eastern Jerusalem.
 
      “Mitchell told us not to be worried about what happened in Jabel Mukabar. It was just a ceremony and won’t create any facts on the ground,” one senior PA official said.
 

      The official was referring to a ceremony last week in which developers of a new, private, Jewish neighborhood in Jabel Mukabar, an eastern Jerusalem section, laid the cornerstone for a building project, clearly ignoring Obama’s demand to halt all Jewish construction in the area.

 

With Bush Gone, Syria Lands

Multi-Billion Dollar Deal
 
      The Obama administration was instrumental in facilitating a partnership deal that will see billions of dollars in trade flow between the European Union and Syria that may revitalize Damascus’s stagnant economy, Egyptian and Palestinian diplomatic sources told this column.
 
      U.S. opposition was a main factor in the deal being delayed since it was drawn up as a draft pact in 2004. The deal is worth an estimated $7 billion a year for the Syrian economy. The Bush administration was particularly opposed to Syria’s interference in Lebanese affairs and Damascus’s military alliance with Iran.
 
      According to the Egyptian and Palestinian diplomatic sources, the Obama administration dropped American opposition to the deal without first extracting a concession from Syria to end its alliance with Iran.
 

      The sources said the White House received pledges from Syria to collaborate with the West in Lebanon and Iraq and to play a more constructive role in the Middle East.

 

Obama Czar’s Books Advance Radical Ideas

 

      The U.S. should move in the direction of socialism but the country’s “white majority” opposes welfare since it largely benefits minorities, especially blacks and Hispanics, argued President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein.
 
      “The absence of a European-style social welfare state is certainly connected with the widespread perception among the white majority that the relevant programs would disproportionately benefit African Americans (and more recently Hispanics),” wrote Sunstein.
 
      The Obama czar’s controversial comments were made in his 2004 book The Second Bill of Rights. In the book, Sunstein openly argues for bringing socialism to the U.S. and even lends support to communism.
 
      “During the Cold War, the debate about [social welfare] guarantees took the form of pervasive disagreement between the United States and its communist adversaries. Americans emphasized the importance of civil and political liberties, above all free speech and freedom of religion, while communist nations stressed the right to a job, health care, and a social minimum.”
 
      Continued Sunstein: “I think this debate was unhelpful; it is most plausible to see the two sets of rights as mutually reinforcing, not antagonistic.”
 
      He laments, “In a variety of ways, subtle and less subtle, public and private actions have made it most difficult for socialism to have any traction in the United States.”
 
      Sunstein also has strongly pushed for the removal of organs from deceased individuals who did not explicitly consent to becoming organ donors.
 
      In his 2008 book, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness, Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler discuss multiple legal scenarios regarding organ donation. One possibility presented in the book, termed by Sunstein as “routine removal,” posits that “the state owns the rights to body parts of people who are dead or in certain hopeless conditions, and it can remove their organs without asking anyone’s permission.”
 
      “Though it may sound grotesque, routine removal is not impossible to defend,” wrote Sunstein. “In theory, it would save lives, and it would do so without intruding on anyone who has any prospect for life.”
 
      Sunstein continued: “Although this approach is not used comprehensively by any state, many states do use the rule for corneas (which can be transplanted to give some blind patients sight). In some states, medical examiners performing autopsies are permitted to remove corneas without asking anyone’s permission.”
 
      After defending his position, Sunstein conceded that the “routine removal” approach “violates a generally accepted principle, which is that within broad limits, individuals should be able to decide what is to be done with and to their bodies.”
 

      Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “The Late Great State of Israel.” Follow Klein on Twitter under the name “AaronKleinWND.”

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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