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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

PA Official: U.S. Does Not Support
Israeli Lease Of Jordan Valley
 
   A U.S. proposal for a deal with the Palestinian Authority did not include an Israeli lease for part of the strategic Jordan Valley as widely reported, according to a senior PA official speaking to this column.
 
   The PA official said the proposed deal from the Obama administration instead gave most of that territory entirely to Palestinian control.
 
   The official was referring to a report on Israeli radio which claimed the Obama administration proposed that Israel relinquish the Jordan Valley to the Palestinians and that the Jewish state would lease back parts of the valley from the Palestinians for up to seven years. According to that report, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to the idea, but asked for the lease to be longer than seven years.
 
   The PA official told this column the Obama administration instead has adopted the Palestinian position that the Jordan Valley should become part of a future Palestinian state entirely.
 
   The official said the U.S. had proposed that international troops, along with Jordanian and Palestinian forces, patrol the area. The official said discussions would be held with Israel for special security arrangements in the Jordan Valley to be determined.
 
   The PA official said no part of the Obama proposal allowed for Israel to lease the Jordan Valley.
 
   He said it was Netanyahu’s office which presented a counter-offer of leasing the Jordan Valley from the PA.
 
   The PA official and other Palestinian diplomatic sources contacted by this column said the PA has no intention of leasing the Jordan Valley to Israel if it gains the territory in a deal.
 
   The Jordan Valley encompasses a massive swath of territory from Lake Tiberias in the north to the northern Dead Sea in the south. It continues another 96 miles south of the Dead Sea to Aqaba along the Jordanian border. The Jordan Valley forms the border between Israel and Jordan in the north, and the eastern strip of the strategic West Bank in the south.
 
   Meanwhile, the White House is working with the Palestinians to enhance their diplomatic stature in the U.S. and in European countries as a step toward the possible unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, a senior PA official told this column.
 

   Regarding unilateral recognition, the PA said the Obama administration favors a negotiated settlement but is ready to tacitly support steps toward the declaration of a Palestinian state outside of talks with Israel, including at the United Nations, if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not quickly advance talks.

 

Obama Pleased To Meet Indian Communist

 

   President Obama was glad to have met communist politicians on his trip to India, according to Indian news media accounts of the U.S. leader’s visit to the Asian nation.
 
   Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hosted a state dinner with Obama and dozens of Indian politicians. According to media reports, the dinner consisted of 12 tables named after Americans with an Indian connection.
 
   At the table with Obama was Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, India’s minister for external affairs.
 
   The Times of India reportsObama asked Mukherjee about the entry of communists in India into the parliamentary system.
 
   Mukherjee reportedly pointed out that Indian communists were part of the mainstream in the country’s political arena, like social democrats.
 
   At the state dinner, Obama also reportedly shook hands with Sitaram Yechury, senior member of the Communist Party of India, or CPI.
 
   According to India’s Economic Times, Obama told Yechury he was “glad” to have met an Indian communist.
 
   Obama said he had been told that the communists have been part of the Indian political mainstream, reported the Times.
 
   “That’s why I am here,” Yechury responded to the president.
 

   Yechury told Obama that Indian leftists had always believed in parliamentary democracy.

 

Labor Group To Honor

Communist Newspaper Reporter
 
   A labor group affiliated with the nation’s largest union is delivering its highest prize for journalism to a writer from the official newspaper of the Communist Party USA.
 
   President Obama’s labor secretary, Hilda Solis, will be on hand for the awards dinner later this week to lead a special session on how to respond to “expected” attacks from the new Republican House.
 
   The International Labor Communications Association, or ILCA, a national coalition of labor organizers, is bestowing its media award to John Wojcik, the labor editor for People’s World, the official Communist Party USD publication. 
 
   He will receive a feature-writing prize for his Sept. 19, 2009 story, “Steeler Nation Fights Its Way Back,” a short article on the alleged hardships of steelworkers.
 
   The ILCA is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the largest union in the country.
 

   According to an announcement of the Nov 19 awards ceremony, Solis will give award attendees “a chance to learn how the Department of Labor will respond to the expected attacks that will come from the new Republican majority in the House.”

 

   Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for Internet giant WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m.

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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