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August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

US: Israel ‘could do more’ to prevent civilian deaths

Friday, July 18th, 2014

After weeks of silence on the ongoing Hamas bombardment of Israeli cities, the Obama administration called the accidental killing of three boys on a Gaza Strip beach “horrifying” and criticized Israel for what the White House sees as lax standards on the part of the IDF.

“This tragic event makes clear that Israel must take every possible step to meet its standards for protecting civilians from being killed,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki. ”We will continue to underscore that point to Israel.”

Asked whether the president believes Israel has done enough to prevent civilian casualties, Psaki said: “We believe that certainly there’s more that can be done.”

Psaki added a word of criticism for Hamas, saying the administration has “not made any secret about our strong concern about the actions of Hamas, the indiscriminate rocket attacks, the targeting of civilians,” but stopped short of blaming Hamas for the conflict.

In addition to the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and called on Israel to focus the ground and air attacks on smuggling tunnels. He also said he hoped the operation would be conducted as precisely as possible.

For comparison purposes:

Between 2001-2014, some 21,000 to 23,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan.

Between 2001-2014, 20,000 to 30,000 civilians were killed in Pakistan.

Between 2001-2014, 133,000 to 147,000 civilians were killed in Iraq.

All these civilians were all killed by U.S., French, British and German forces.

Abbas Refuses Israeli Blood Donation as IDF Resumes Bombing Gaza

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Eight day of Hamas’ Operation Death Wish: The Palestinian Authority refused Israeli blood donations, and the Israel Air Force resumed bombing Gaza after a six-hour ceasefire that Hamas snubbed.

“Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency services organization on Monday offered to transfer blood units and donations to the Gaza Strip, but the humanitarian gesture was rejected by the Palestinian Authority,” JNS.org news service reported, in an exclusive attributed to the Israel HaYom newspaper.

“According to MDA Director Eli Bin, the organization then offered to assist the PA by facilitating blood drives involving Palestinian or Israeli Arab donors, but that offer was also rejected.”

Bin said the offer  was a “humanitarian gesture” that “brings us respect as human beings.”

Six hours after Israel accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal and held fire while Hamas and Islamic Jihad rejected it and continued to bombard Israel, the Israeli Force bombed 20 concealed rocket launchers, weapons storage facilities and “other operational infrastructure,” the IDF spokesman stated.

Gaza medical sources reported one person was killed in the raids, and according to their count, the death toll as reached 193 while more than 1,400 have been wounded.

If Hamas is hoping a higher casualty figure will make the world feel sorry for the terrorist regime, it should not hold its breath, unless it wants a premature death through self-asphyxiation.

Its refusal to accept the Egyptian ceasefire proposal because it allegedly favored Israel, despite giving Hamas huge lifelines, cost it dearly in the international community. The refusal by the Palestinian Authority to accept donations of Israeli blood was poisoned icing on a cake of diplomatic explosives.

Even  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discarded the usual “balanced” statements aimed at placating both Hamas and Israel and stated, “I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a ceasefire, in which Egypt and Israel worked together.”

He added that Hamas is “purposely playing politics” by continuing the rocket fire, using innocents as “human shields… against the laws of war.”

International media finally have begun  given up playing as fig leaf for Hamas’ lies but still holds on to the last straw of Hamas’ phony figures of “civilian casualties”,”

“A Washington Post foreign affairs blogger, Ishaan Tharoor, listed the names, ages, and places of death of the 83 Palestinian Arabs killed in the first three days of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge,” JNS.org reported.

A media watch group exposed the truth behind the deaths.

“In a quick check of the first 24 names, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America’s (CAMERA) Israel office found that one through three were Hamas members. Numbers five through 12 were individuals who rushed into a house previously evacuated after an Israeli warning,” it stated.

“Number 17 was a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, like Hamas a U.S.-designated international terrorist organization. The fatalities listed 18 through 22 were family members of his. And number 24 apparently was another terrorist, affiliation not confirmed.”

Details of Egyptian Ceasefire Proposal

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Egypt begins its ceasefire proposal by blowing its own horn that the initiative comes from “its historical responsibility, and out of belief in the importance of achieving peace in the region, protecting the lives of innocents, and ending the bloodshed.”

Talk about chutzpah. That is like a white supremacist trying to preach equality. How many people did the Mubarak, Muslim Brotherhood and al-Sisi people kill during protests against their regimes. Was it 2,000 or 3,000?

“Egypt calls upon Israel and all of the Palestinian factions to enact an immediate ceasefire, due to the fact that escalation and mutual violence, and the victims that will result, will not be in the interest of either party.”

Wait a minute, Egypt. It is not in the t interest of the civilized world that the Hamas terrorist infrastructure be destroyed?

The al-Sisi regime’s proposal first demands, “Israel shall cease all hostilities against the Gaza Strip via land, sea, and air, and shall commit to refrain from conducting any ground raids against Gaza and targeting civilians.”

Is the maritime blockade against the smuggling of terrorists and weapons into Gaza a “hostility”? Does this proposal mean that Israel must open the seas for Iran to send even more advanced weapons to Gaza?

Egypt demands from Hamas, “All Palestinian factions in Gaza shall cease all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel via land, sea, air, and underground, and shall commit to refrain from firing all types of rockets, and from attacks on the borders or targeting civilians.

“Crossings shall be opened and the passage of persons and goods through border crossings shall be facilitated once the security situation becomes stable on the ground.”

What does “stable” mean? A ceasefire that lasts two hours? Or two days? Or maybe even two weeks?

Does “stable “mean that Gaza terrorists attacked Israel “only” with one or two Kassam rockets?

“ Other issues, including security issues shall be discussed with the two sides.

“Method of implementation of the initiative:

“ It has been decided to initiate implementation of the de-escalation agreements at — : — hours (GMT) on — / 7 / 2014, pending the implementation of a full ceasefire within twelve hours of the announcement of the Egyptian initiative and its unconditional acceptance by both sides.”

Apparently, the blanks means that neither Hamas nor Israel is ready to sign as of yet. Making the proposal public is intended to pressure both sides to do so.

“ High-level delegations from both the Israeli government and the Palestinian factions shall be hosted in Cairo within 48 hours of the initiation of the initiative’s implementation, in order to conclude talks for the consolidation of the ceasefire and resume confidence-building measures between the two sides; talks shall be held with each of the two sides separately (in accordance with the agreements for the consolidation of de-escalation in Cairo in 2012).”

In other words, the “peace process” now will involve Hamas and Israel, with Cairo brokering the talks. Next step is U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s getting on stage again and playing out another round of peace talks, with Hamas and Fatah sitting as peace partners for Israel.

Kerry May be Behind Egyptian Proposal for Ceasefire

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Egypt reportedly will announce a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel on Tuesday, the same day U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to visit Cairo although neither Israel nor Hamas has expressed any public desire for an unconditional halt in the latest round of violence.

Egyptian media reported the ceasefire will be announced at 6 a.m. and it will take effect three hours later.

Kerry has been almost totally silent since the start of the  current mini-war, but his plan to visit Egypt exactly when the Sisi regime reportedly will announce a ceasefire raises the obvious probability that the not-so-illustrious Secretary of State has been trying once again to “solve” problems in the Middle East, where he has left behind a mess almost every time he visits.

Egypt also would love to repair the damage of the Muslim Brotherhood regime and play the role as peacemaker.

Another bad actor in the ceasefire proposal is Middle East Quartet Envoy Tony Blair , who met al-Sisi on Saturday to orchestrate a ceasefire.

Hamas has said it will not agree to a halt in attacks on Israel without its conditions being set, a bit ludicrous considering it has been literally knocked out and barely has retained consciousness. It also has been welcomed with a thunderous silence by the Arab world towards Hamas’ weakened status after having committed almost every diplomatic and military mistake possible.

Hamas needs the ceasefire if by doing so Egypt will re-open the Rafah crossing and allow free flow of goods and merchandise, the lack of which might have cost Hamas dearly in the eyes of Gazans.

One big benefactor of a ceasefire would be Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who would be in a position to gain more prestige from the international community to dominate the Hamas-Fatah unity government.

Kerry undoubtedly has lunatic ideas that a resumption of the “peace process” with the Hamas-Fatah regime would follow a “halt in hostilities,” as the Egyptian proposal described it.

Based on previous ceasefires, the Egyptian plan will not get very far, if it ever gets to the stage of being proclaimed.

Residents in southern Israel will be after the head of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu if he agrees to a ceasefire, having suffered the aftereffects of dozens of previous declared halts of violence that have lasted from a couple of hours to a couple of months.

The Security Cabinet will meet Tuesday morning to discuss the Egyptian proposal.

After Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 and the Pillar of Cloud campaign nearly two years ago, Israel agreed to ceasefires after pummeling Hamas, which used the breaks between resume violence to stockpile more missiles and rockets.

The difference for Israel in the current Protective Edge campaign is that the government is in a far better position than before. The world is increasingly fed up with  Hamas, and the IDF has been unusually effective in proving that it has does everything possible to avoid civilian casualties while Hamas has been exposed as doing what it can it increase them. There are few accusations against Israel of “war crimes,” in sharp contrast to the previous counter terrorist campaigns.

As Netanyahu has stated,  Israel defends its citizens against rockets while Hamas defends its rockets at the expense of its civilians.

Israel’s good standing may be the underlying reason why Egypt and Kerry are trying to float a ceasefire proposal now. If Hamas agrees to it, then Israel would finally be cast as the bad guy if it does not along with it. Israel would lose the advantage of the international community’s not having a soapbox to stand on to berate Israel.

US Condemns Abduction and Murder of Arab Teen

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

The U.S. government responded swiftly to the news of the murder of an Arab teenager, calling the act “despicable and senseless.”

On Tuesday, July 1, the dead body of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir was found in a heavily wooded area of Jerusalem.

Abu Khdeir, who has been described as either 16, 17 or 18 years old, had been allegedly pushed into a car at 3:30 in the morning in a neighborhood in Jerusalem. He was reportedly waiting there for friends who had gone off to buy food.

It is now the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, and observant Muslims eat large meals before daybreak as they will be fasting all day until nightfall.

Some media outlets and social media activists immediately blamed Israelis, or even, specifically,”settlers” for the death and described it as a revenge killing in response to the murder of the kidnapped Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, or at least reported that was what was believed to have happened. Mahmoud Abbas, the acting leader of the Palestinian Authority, was quoted as not only blaming Israeli “settlers,” but accused them of “killing and burning a little boy.”

Others more slowly have been reporting that the murder may have been either a rivalry killing by one faction of Arabs against another, or an honor killing for shame the boy allegedly brought on his family. Israeli authorities condemned the murder swiftly and resolutely, and asked all citizens to respect the rule of law and, further, to do everything possible to contribute to bringing the perpetrators of the crime to justice.

Secretary of State John Kerry used engaged, emotional language to describe his response to this murder, saying it was “sickening” that “an innocent 17 year old boy” was “snatched off the streets” and that “his life [was] stolen.”

Kerry noted that “a number of Israeli and Palestinian officials” have condemned the murder. He also pointed out that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “has been emphatic in calling for all sides ‘not to take the law into their own hands.’” The two paragraph statement ended with the standard trope of calling on both Arabs and Israelis to prevent further acts of violence. Kerry urged officials on both sides to protect the innocent and respond to violence “with reasonableness and restraint, not recrimination and retribution.”

The full statement follows:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the despicable and senseless abduction and murder of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir. It is sickening to think of an innocent 17 year old boy snatched off the streets and his life stolen from him and his family. There are no words to convey adequately our condolences to the Palestinian people.

The authorities are investigating this tragedy, a number of Israeli and Palestinian officials have condemned it, and Prime Minister Netanyahu has been emphatic in calling for all sides “not to take the law into their own hands”. Those who undertake acts of vengeance only destabilize an already explosive and emotional situation. We look to both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take all necessary steps to prevent acts of violence and bring their perpetrators to justice. The world has too often learned the hard way that violence only leads to more violence and at this tense and dangerous moment, all parties must do everything in their power to protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not recrimination and retribution.

Kerry Issues Statement Mourning Murder of Our Boys

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry responded with respect and compassion to news of the murders of the three Israeli kidnapped teenagers in a statement issued late Monday afternoon, June 30.

Although short, the statement was noticeably more emotionally engaged than was the one issued by President Barack Obama.

In particular, Kerry’s statement refrained from Obama’s implied threat to Israel not to take any action that might “further destabilize” the situation. How the president’s speechwriters were so tone deaf as to insert in a two short paragraphs statement a rebuke to the Israelis at such an intensely painful and emotional moment is hard to understand.

Kerry also did not take the opportunity to commend the Palestinian Authority for allegedly working together with Israel in securing the boys’ bodies, as did President Obama.

The secretary of state’s statements were focused on the pain of the Israeli people, the compassion felt by a fellow human being and father, and the need to bring to justice the perpetrators of the heinous deed.

This is Kerry’s statement:

The news of the murder of these three Israeli teenagers — Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach — is simply devastating. We all had so much hope that this story would not end this way. As a father, there are no words to express such a horrific loss that shakes all people of conscience. We pray for these three boys and their families, and together we grieve with all the people of Israel. Knowing that Naftali was also an American citizen makes this an especially heavy blow not just to Israel, but to the United States.

We condemn this despicable terrorist act in the strongest possible terms. The killing of innocent youths is an outrage beyond any understanding or rationale, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. This is a time for all to work towards that goal without destabilizing the situation.

Kerry Names Lowenstein as Star ‘Actor’ to Replace Indyk

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has appointed his long-time aide Frank Lowenstein as “Acting Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations” following the departure of “permanent” envoy Martin Indyk, as reported here.

The State Dept.’s verbal acrobatics concerning Indyk’s departure and Lowenstein’s arrival provide plenty of evident that Foggy Bottom’s reality deals with more with its own in-house industry of solving the unemployment problem than with the realities of the Middle East.

Lest anyone think that the peace process has failed, State Dept. Spokeswoman Marie Harf was careful to tell reporters on Friday that Indyk really did not quit or resign.

The official announcement issued in Washington stated only that Indyk “will be returning to his position as Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy at The Brookings Institution.”

Harf objected to the Associated Press’s reporting that Indyk “quit,” a term she said “is a little negative in tone….. He will be leaving his post here. I’m not sure bureaucratically, technically what he has to do, whether that’s submit a letter of resignation. It probably is. “

The concern to put a positive spin even on Indyk’s resignation reflects the State Dept.’s inability to understand who’s on first in  the Israeli-Arab duel of wits to see who can confuse Washington the most, which is not very difficult.

If you thought the peace process is dead, think again.

“Well, we’re in a pause right now,” Harf stated, with a straight face.

Reporters covering the State Dept. long ago have stopped buying its song and dance. One reporter asked Harf that since no talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel have taken place since late April, why did it take Indyk two months to “leave.”

“I think he’s been working intensively with the parties to see if they could come back to the table in a meaningful way, and we haven’t been able to get there yet,” explained Harf.

That doesn’t fit, because nearly a month ago, no one could answer a reporter’s question exactly what Indyk was doing, except for being somewhere in Foggy Bottom.

He obviously was doing what hundreds, if not thousands, of other State Dept. employees do. They consult, talk, research, travel, and then consult and talk again and again.

Haaretz journalist Guy Rolnik reported on Saturday that a senior Israel diplomat involved in negotiations in Washington for two decades told him six years ago, “There are thousands of people in Washington who earn their living from the peace ‘process.’ Economic crisis or not, there’s a large group that is working on the peace process, working on the terror threats, working on Middle Eastern affairs – and will always work on the ‘process.’”

The “process” serves the interests of the Palestinian Authority very nicely, because without it, Ramallah could not exist, which it does by handouts from the United States and the European Union.

Harf stated the State Dept.’s self-serving need for the “peace process” when she claimed on Friday that there actually has been “progress” in the peace process since Kerry launched the doomed-from-start resumption of the illusion of negotiations last July.

“In general, we were able to define the gaps between the two parties on all the core issues in a fairly detailed and significant way. That’s something that we broadly knew before that, but I think was one of the things we would say was important. You can’t bridge gaps until you’ve defined them,” Harf explained.

The “peace process” began in 1991 when then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir agreed to debate Yasser Arafat in Madrid. Now, 23 years later, the U.S. State Dept. has made “progress” by figuring out the gaps. The truth is that Washington still does not understand the gaps because it does not understand much of anything that goes on east of Atlantic City, but assuming that it does, is that all the progress that can be reported?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kerry-names-lowenstein-as-star-actor-to-replace-indyk/2014/06/29/

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