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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Abbas’

Kerry Rushing Back to Israel This Week

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has pushed off a planned trip to the Far East and will return to Israel and the Palestinian Authority for more discussions, the State Dept. announced Monday.

He left last week after what all reports said was a failed mission to bridge gaps between PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but he insisted that both sides are closer than ever to reaching an agreement. Abbas made it clear on Monday that he does not accept American proposals for security for Israel if there is a future Palestinian Authority country.

State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Monday that Kerry still is aiming for a final agreement and not an interim pact.

Palestinians: We Do Not Trust the Americans

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry embarks on a fresh mission to prevent the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the Palestinian Authority [PA] appears to be doing its utmost to internationalize the conflict with Israel.

The Palestinians want other international parties, especially the European Union, United Nations and Russia, to play a major role in the current U.S.-sponsored peace talks.

They perceive these parties as being more sympathetic to, and supportive of, the Palestinians.

The PA’s biggest fear is that Washington will try to impose a solution that would certainly fail to win the backing of most Palestinians and Arabs.

Unconfirmed reports recently suggested that Kerry was considering the possibility of forcing his own deal on the Israelis and Palestinians as early as next year.

A forced solution, Palestinians warn, would also severely undermine the credibility of the PA leadership, whose leaders would be accused by many Palestinians and Arabs of capitulating to American pressure and threats.

The PA has come to learn that U.S. threats to cut off financial aid are not to be taken seriously. The U.S. administration has previously issued similar threats, but never carried them out. The last threat came before the PA unilaterally applied for the status of non-member observer state in the United Nations.

The PA also keeps warning the Americans that financial aid cuts would lead to the collapse of the “moderate” Palestinian camp and pave the way for a Hamas takeover of the West Bank.

Kerry and his team are evidently unaware of the fact that neither Abbas, whose term of office expired several years ago, nor any other Palestinian leader is authorized to make real concessions to Israel.

The last time the Americans tried to extract concessions from a Palestinian leader was in the year 2000, when President Bill Clinton dragged Yasser Arafat to Camp David and exerted heavy pressure on him to accept Ehud Barak’s offer to hand over to the Palestinians most of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The result of the U.S. pressure was that Arafat ran away and within a few weeks Palestinians launched the Second Intifada against Israel; Abbas, in Arabic, has already threatened as much.

Today, the PA is already facing growing criticism for agreeing to return to the negotiating table unconditionally three months ago. Palestinian leaders have justified their decision by arguing that Kerry forced them to drop their pre-conditions and resume the peace talks with Israel.

“We want the Americans to be involved in the peace process,” said a senior aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. “But the U.S. should focus its pressure on the Israelis and not on us. We want the Americans to force Israel to accept the two-state solution and dismantle all the illegal settlements.”

Palestinian Authority officials say they are now convinced that the U.S. administration has no intention to force Israel to comply with all the demands of the Palestinian negotiators, including a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. That is why Abbas and his top aides have begun moves in the international community to persuade as many countries as possible to get involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

And that is why the Palestinians have recently been directing their criticism not only against Israel, but also against the U.S. administration.

PA leaders say they have lost their confidence in the U.S. administration’s ability to serve as an honest broker in the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel.

Hours before Kerry was scheduled to meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, several Palestinian officials and groups issued statements denouncing U.S. “bias” in favor of Israel.

The Palestinians also called for holding protests during Kerry’s visit to Bethlehem to express their opposition to U.S. policies in the region, particularly regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, anti-U.S. protests have become a common occurrence in the West Bank each time a U.S. official arrives to meet with Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority’s strategy now is to prove to the world that Israel is not interested in peace and the U.S. cannot be trusted with brokering a comprehensive and just solution.

The Palestinians are willing for now to pursue the talks with Israel to avoid being held responsible for the failure of the peace process.

Knesset Panel OKs ‘Peace Talk Buster’ Bill to Preserve Jerusalem

Monday, October 21st, 2013

A Haredi Knesset Member surprised the government Sunday and mustered a 5-4 committee vote to advance a bill requiring approval of two-thirds of the legislature before Israel could surrender sovereignty over any land in Jerusalem.

The bill states that Jerusalem will “not be divided, or parts of it handed over to anybody” and that “the sanctity of Jerusalem shall not be given to outsiders.”

A “united Jerusalem” is one of Israeli politicians’ favorite mottos never put to the test, but the Knesset Ministerial Committee will force the hand of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

He never will say he is for dividing Jerusalem, but he is not about to allow the bill become law and make Israel the loser in the “blame game” in discussions between Palestinian Authority and Israel negotiators.

United Torah Judaism MK Yaakov Litzman, who sits in the Opposition, proposed the bill to make it virtually impossible to win Knesset approval for dividing the capital. Two Jewish Home ministers and a Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu minister voted for the bill, while Yesh Atid ministers and those from Livni’s party were among those opposing it.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu previously has opposed the idea, and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the Ministerial Committee, said she would appeal the 5-4 vote. The Prime Minister will make sure the vote goes the other way next time around.

Livni correctly said that her hands would be tied in talks with the Palestinian Authority if the Knesset were to pass the bill into law.

One of the rules of the game that the Obama administration has laid down is that neither side can make any unilateral moves, which would abort the talks. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry already has slapped Mahmoud Abbas’ hands for suggesting that since things are not moving in his direction fast enough, he would consider going back to the United Nations to expand the PA’s presence on international committees.

He and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat also have been called on the carpet for repeatedly negative comments about the talks. On Sunday, Abbas suddenly spoke as if things were just honky-dory, just as Kerry told him to say.

Livni would look stupid, no comments please, if she were to show up at a meeting with Erekat after the Knesset had passed a law that requires 80 Knesset Members to approve dividing the city. The law would destroy the Arab dream of turning Jerusalem into a nightmare for Jews.

MK Litzman scored points with his getting the bill to pass by a narrow vote, but Prime Minister Netanyahu does not want to be the party pooper in the White House, and he will join Livni to make sure the bill does not get to the floor of the Knesset.

The ignorantly uncompromising  position of the Palestinian Authority and the pitifully spineless position of Israel show how stupid the Obama administration looks because it is even more pitifully deaf and blind for imagining that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have any intention of sacrificing their separate existence.

The American government has not yet understood that Israel already has surrendered so much over the past 20 years that the government cannot accept any further serious concessions.

It also has not understood that if the Palestinian Authority surrender even one fingernail, it is doomed, which it is anyway.

And MK Litzman does not understand that Israel is not allowed to bring any principles or ideology to the discussions because the government of Israel has to show it is spineless in order to force the Palestinian Authority into showing it is hopeless.

Peace Is Still Up to the Palestinians

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

It’s difficult to gauge just how stalled the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, going on behind close doors right now, are. The relative paucity of leaks testifies to both sides not wishing to be blamed for what just about everybody other than Secretary of State John Kerry – the man who orchestrated the new round of negotiations – believes will be their certain failure.

But that has not stopped both Israeli and Palestinian leaders from a degree of posturing about the talks that shows there is little reason for optimism even as Palestinian violence against Israelis seems to be ramping up in recent days.

On the one hand, Prime Minister Netanyahu is being accused of inflaming the situation by referencing the support of Palestinian leaders for the Nazis in a speech given at Bar-Ilan University, the same venue where he formally embraced the two-state solution in 2009.

On the other, leftist Israeli parliamentarians are praising Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas for what they see as conciliatory statements delivered in a meeting he held with them in Ramallah.

But the supposed contrast between the two, with Netanyahu depicted as harming peace and Abbas promoting it, is deceiving. Far from undermining peace, Netanyahu’s challenge to the Palestinians to overcome their history by finally recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state is exactly what is needed if Kerry’s initiative is to be more than a fool’s errand.

As for Abbas, by praising him for leaving out of his speech any deliberate provocations, the peace camp is setting a low bar for their so-called peace partner. Even worse, by ignoring what the Palestinian Authority is saying and doing when the spotlight is not on it as well as by choosing to ignore competing statements by PA officials at the same meeting shows just how little the Palestinians are interested in genuine peace and how the peace camp is repeating the same mistakes it made during the heyday of the failed Oslo process.

Netanyahu’s speech was far from the denunciation of the peace process that some of his detractors are depicting. In fact, what he did was merely articulate the simple formula for how the two-state solution could be achieved: Palestinians must recognize that the Jews have a right to their own state. Remembering the past was not merely rehearsing old grudges but a reminder that the notion that Jewish settlements are the real obstacle to peace is absurd. After all, Palestinians have been attacking the Jewish right to live anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean for a century.

As Netanyahu pointed out, it wasn’t a territorial conflict in the 1920s when anti-Jewish pogroms were initiated or the 1940s when Palestinian leaders embraced Hitler because the Jews didn’t have territory. But all the Palestinians need to get a state alongside Israel is to say they endorse the right to a Jewish state and to renounce the so-called right of return for the descendants of the 1948 refugees. Since that is still apparently too much to ask of the PA, what possible hope can there be for the peace talks?

Israeli left-wingers say they were impressed by Abbas’s discretion with them during their meeting:

“The things that he didn’t say I think were most important,” said Merav Michaeli, a member of Israel’s Labor Party. “He made sure that he doesn’t say anything that makes us uncomfortable.”

But if you think that sounds suspiciously like the shell game the Palestinians played with supporters of the peace process back in the 1990s, it should. Abbas played nice with Israeli critics of the Netanyahu government during his meeting and even belatedly condemned the recent shooting of a 9-year-old Israeli girl in a West Bank settlement. But the “upbeat tone” of his address included nothing about recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state or the right of return, the real obstacles to peace.

Tellingly, once Abbas had left and the cameras were off, one of the PA leader’s senior aides and negotiators set the record straight about what the Palestinians are willing to do. Yasser Abed Rabbo not only dropped the happy talk and called Netanyahu an “extremist,” he bluntly said the Palestinians would never recognize “historic Palestine” as the “homeland of the Jewish people.”

Rabbo sat next to Abbas during the love fest with leftist Israelis while the latter refused to say what he felt about the “Jewish state” issue, something that Netanyahu’s critics thought was a good sign. But Rabbo took that attempt at ambiguity and tossed it into the trash. That point was also made apparent in a pamphlet handed out by the PA that depicted it as a made-up issue despite the fact that the original United Nations partition resolution of 1947 specifically referred to the creation of a Jewish state alongside an Arab one.

The point here is not so much that Netanyahu’s stance – which is not unreasonably being seen as an attempt to answer his right-wing critics who fear he is about to cave in to pressure from Kerry and President Obama – is reasonable and that of Abbas and Rabbo is not. Rather, it is that once again the Palestinians are trying to have it both ways, talking peace at one moment and making it clear their goal is continued conflict at another.

The Oslo Accords failed in large measure because the United States and Israel never took Arafat’s doubletalk seriously and chose to ignore Palestinian incitement and provocation. Those Americans and Israelis who fall for the same trick again are merely setting up the region for the same result that followed the collapse of Oslo. That is a price that would be paid in the blood of Israelis and Palestinians.

Secretary Kerry and President Obama would do well to heed Netanyahu’s warnings and avoid falling into the same trap.

Here’s How the IDF Blows up a Terrorists’ Tunnel (Video)

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

The aftermath of a controlled explosion of a terror tunnel into Israel from Gaza looked like a mammoth counterterrorist bombing, but no one in the Gaza Belt area is breathing easier because who knows how many other tunnels have not been discovered?

The IDF revealed on Tuesday that the tunnel, containing several barrels of explosives, reached Israel from central Gaza, near what used to be Gush Katif before the Sharon government expelled all Jews from Gaza and then withdrew all soldiers. Hamas immediately demolished remaining greenhouses and turned the ground into training camps for terrorists.

Last week, another tunnel was discovered reaching Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha, but it has not yet been destroyed.

The tunnel that was blown up, as seen in the video below, was built with 500 tons of cement arches and was “extremely advanced and well prepared,” said Gaza commander Brig. Gen. Michael Edelstein.

The government woke up after the discovery of the second tunnel and decided that maybe it was not such a brilliant idea to allow building materials, such as cement, to enter Gaza. Maybe, just maybe, Hamas and other terrorist organizations will use the cement for non-peaceful purposes.

If Israel was under pressure from the United States, as usual, to ease restrictions on what can enter Gaza, it is just another example of the U.S. government – and it was true under Bush just as it is true under Obama – acting as authority for Israeli security without taking any responsibility.

If the terrorists had succeeded, God Forbid, in blowing up a few soldiers and a Jewish town, well, that’s the price of peaceful hallucinations in Foggy Bottom.

The IDF knows there still are dozens, if not hundreds, of terrorists’ tunnels remaining in Gaza,. It knows the location of some of them because after every rocket attack or mortar shelling on Israel, the Air Force immediately bombs a “weapons storehouse” or a “terror tunnel.”

Gen. Edelstein told reporters, “Yes. There are [more tunnels]. We are looking after them and we will do what we need to do in order to meet those threats — either here or in the Gaza Strip.”

That is what he said, but that is not the way the IDF has acted in the past. The government and military’s attitude to terror tunnels reflects Western thinking of dealing with terrorist organizations as if they were run by the State Dept., which enjoys talking to itself.

The latest tunnel that was discovered will be blown up because it was obviously a clear and present danger to Israelis, but no one the Defense Ministry has ever explained why there are no orders to the IDF to blow up all of the other tunnels that are known to exist. If the IDF were to be too aggressive, it might upset the United Nations.

Gen. Edelstein tried to reassure Gaza Belt Jews by saying that the military considered the construction of the tunnel an “extreme violation” of the ceasefire following the Pillar of defense counter terrorist operation last year.

It is nice of the military to consider it a “violation.” Maybe it will complain to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry? Maybe it will complain to the United Nations?

Even better, or worse, maybe it will complain to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas?

Jews in southern Israel have heard the refrain “The IDF will do whatever necessary to defend the citizens of Israel” so often that it does not even go in one ear anymore.


 

While the US Is Aiding Abbas, the EU Says He’s Crooked

Monday, October 14th, 2013

A London newspaper report of a  European Union audit citing gross corruption in the Palestinian Authority is the latest, but not the last, exposure of a PA regime that is a decaying creature living on borrowed time.

In August, the United States signed a $148 million agreement with the Palestinian Authority to support the budget in Ramallah.

U.S. Consul General Michael Ratney stressed how much the Obama administration supports Abbas government in order to strengthen its institutions, all part of the master plan to show that the Palestinian Authority functions as a state. All it needs, according to the U.S. State Dept., is the stamp of approval that it is a country.

The very idea of creating a new Arab state within Israel’s current borders is a dream for President Barack Obama, so he had no trouble in August to waive restrictions set by Congress to send more tax dollars to Ramallah,  part of a prize for resuming the so-called peace talks that are rapidly on their way to joining previous discussions in the grave from which they were exhumed in July.

Shortly after the U.S. aid, France and the Palestinian Authority signed a $15 million agreement to bail out Abbas’ depleted coffers, which have a bottom line of approximately minus $500 million.

Hamdallah then met EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, one of Israel’s biggest thorns in the you know where, to ask for more money.

When it comes to schooring, Abbas has it all over the Jews.

As usual, the PA says it needs money because Israel is choking it as well as Gaza with the famous siege that does not exist., except for that which the Egyptian military regime has imposed. But  that does not count since it is not part of the Zionist lobby.

Make no mistake about it, says Abbas. “Israel exploits our resources and lands which directly leads to an increase in the deficit which we must contend with,” and “the central reason for this is the Israeli occupation.”

That is the magic code word for Abbas to get whatever he wants. If there is not enough rain, it is because of the occupation. If it is Tuesday and not Wednesday, it is because of the occupation.

Now it is October. It’s salary time again, and guess what? Palestinian Authority  Finance Minister Shukri Bishara told Abbas it has no money to pay its workers, who officially comprise nearly 8 percent of the total population in Judea and Samaria, but in fact the number is far larger.

It has been reported year after that the Palestinian Authority is a welfare state and that it cannot exist on its own.

Anyone who simply travels through Judea and Samaria can see for himself huge villas and thousands of luxury cars. What people don’t see, or don’t want to see, is that many of those homes and cars were paid for by the billions of dollars a year that are controlled by officials who make Congressmen’s pork barrel look like small potatoes.

The Times of London revealed Sunday that a European Union audit shows that corruption and mismanagement managed to waste about $2 billion, which is three or four times the annual deficit and also is nearly equal to the total amount of money the EU has given to the Palestinian Authority in the four-year period ending last year.

This is no news to Palestinian Authority Arabs. The EU auditors could have saved themselves a lot of work and trouble if they simply had asked the local Arabs, just like pollsters did last year, when they discovered that an overwhelming 71 percent of Arabs believe that there is corruption in their government.

In order to boost the confidence of Abbas to remain corrupt, Uncle Sam will pay out approximately $440 million to Ramallah this years, which is less than the $513.4 million doled out last year but still $440 million more than zero, not including support for UNRWA.

Aid to Israel is in the billions, but a large part of it is funneled right back into the United States for purchases of Made in USA defense components.

In the case of the Palestinian Authority, the only money that goes back into the coffers of the United States is that which Abbas forks over in restaurants when schnooring in Washington.

Netanyahu Speech a Gamble that Abbas Won’t Call Israel ‘Jewish’

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hammered away at Palestinian Authority  chairman Mahmoud Abbas refusal to recognize Israel as Jewish state Sunday night in an address at Bar-Ilan University.

The Prime Minister’s speech, four years after his address to the university when he recognized for the first the idea  of “two states,” was devoted to two subjects – Israel as a Jewish state and the Iranian threat.

He was careful to stay on the good side of President Barack Obama, and he underlined how Israel and the United States “see eye-to-eye” on the need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

He delivered the same message as in the United Nations last week, but with a  different punch. Prime Minister Netanyahu challenged anyone who believes that Iran is not trying to obtain nuclear weapons to ask it, “Why do you need centrifuges and plutonium?…Seventeen countries have nuclear energy without centrifuges and plutonium. Only someone interested in nuclear weapons wants them.”

In his remarks on the Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu showed the other side of the coin from his 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan. On Sunday, Netanyahu did not offer Abbas any plums. He ripped apart the claim that the “settlements” are the heart of the conflict by noting Arab attacks and pogroms on Israel since 1921.

He methodically opened up the past on the Muslim Mufti in Israel who encouraged the Nazi regime to annihilate   Jews, throughout World War II. Prime Minister Netanyahu noted evidence that the Muft once was hosted by Adolf Eichmann during a visit to the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

That was his starting point for verbally attacking the Palestinian Authority for a long history of denying that Jews have  a right to their own country in Israel.

He constantly challenged Abbas to compromise and recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has turned the demand into a manta and has repeated it so many times that, given the culture of self-pride in the Middle East, Abbas would appear to be bowing down to the “Zionists” if he were to do so.

But Abbas is getting lots of advice from outside the Palestinian Authority.

Israel’s leftwing coaches him. The New Israel Fund, Yossi Beilin and J Street officials have taught him to say the right things at the right time.

Netanyahu is gambling that Abbas will continue “not to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” as Israel’s late Ambassador  to the United Nations Abba Eban once said of the Arabs.

If Abbas ever does get up the courage to say what Netanyahu has been goading him to do for three years, the Prime Minister will have a big problem.

The United States and the European Union will put him at the head of the parade to the Nobel Peace Prize and declare, “See! Abbas has made a concession. He proves he wants peace. Don’t ask for anything else. Don’t you know how hard it was for him to say the magic word ‘Jewish’? Now shut up and hand over everything he wants.”

Netanyahu has history with him. The Arabs, and particularly the Palestinian Authority, always respond to winning by concessions with the thinking they can have it all. If Abbas were to blink and concede, his life would be in even more danger than today. He would need to the IDF to protect him.

So long as Abbas does not blink, Israel is safe.

Netanyahu also has one other factor in his favor. Abbas does not read The Jewish Press.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/netanyahu-speech-a-gamble-that-abbas-wont-call-israel-jewish/2013/10/06/

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