The Russian state news agency Interfax on Thursday afternoon released two short statements, one saying, “Russian Foreign Ministry confirms willingness to host Netanyahu-Abbas meeting in Moscow, preparations continue,” followed by, “Israeli, Palestinian leaders agree in principle to meet in Moscow – Russian Foreign Ministry.”
Russian Foreign Ministry official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Tass on Thursday: “Responding to the appeals of the Palestinians and Israelis, we confirmed our readiness to arrange a meeting in Moscow between Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.”
The Russian diplomat said she was concerned over the “deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian settlement,” stressing that this could leads to the deterioration of the situation on the ground.
Zakharova said that after US mediation efforts in 2013 and 2014 had failed, direct dialogue between the parties to the conflict had come to a grinding halt. “We are convinced that there is a need to resume the negotiations, which would be a factor in normalizing the situation,” Zakharova said.
Zakharova confirmed that the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed in principle to meet in Russia. “It is most important to choose an appropriate moment for it, the intense contacts continue, including on this issue,” she said. “We are satisfied by how Russia’s role is in demand in the Middle East peace process.”
In another one of his proof of idiocy, the United States Secretary of State John Kerry said:
Kerry to the Media: Cover Terrorism Less, So ‘People Wouldn’t Know What’s Going On’
Remember this: No country is immune from terrorism. It’s easy to terrorize. Government and law enforcement have to be correct 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. But if you decide one day you’re going to be a terrorist and you’re willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise. Perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much. People wouldn’t know what’s going on. (Applause.)
Again, Kerry shows the world how he misunderstands terrorists. They don’t just murder and attack for the attention. It’s an act of war, another genre in the military lexicon. That’s why it must be fought with force, not words or kindness. And considering the applause that apparently had greeted his statement, many people do agree with him. They are all wrong.
There’s a lot of terrorism going on in the world that is being ignored by the media, and it’s growing, not shrinking. It’s a relatively cheap way to attack one’s enemies. It bypasses the super-expensive international military industries.
International media and diplomats have been focusing more on the massive numbers of refugees fleeing parts of the Middle East and Africa but less on the terror they are trying to leave. Those who do the actual terrorizing aren’t ogling themselves and how they look on the media. That isn’t what’s driving them to murder.
Kerry’s request that there would be less terror if the terrorists got less media attention is like the pedagogic principle that one must give more attention for good behavior than bad. Terrorists aren’t bullies in nursery schools. They are more like mass-murderers.
Following cues from his boss, Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that Americans shouldn’t blame Islam or Islamists for the Orlando terror attack, at a meeting with reporters on Momday, according to a Breitbart report.
“The worst thing you can do is engage in trying to point fingers at one group or one form of sectarianism or another or one division or another. Those are not the values of our country.”
State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby’s daily press briefing on Thursday touched on the ominous possibility that the Obama Administration will wait until after the November election, so as not to steer Jewish votes away from the Democratic candidate, and then, in a final splash of power, just before going down from the world’s stage, blow up a landmine in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s face and support or fail to veto a UN Security Council resolution creating a Palestinian State and ordering the hasty removal of all Jewish presence on the “wrong” side of the 1967 border.
We redacted and edited the exchange to make it a tad more entertaining. But one can smell the danger hidden in the spokesman’s evasions. Barring divine intervention, the Obama gang is planning to install a Palestinian State and create facts on the ground so that the next Democrat in the White House will have to start from that point, rather than with today’s murky uncertainty.
We join the conversation that’s already in progress…
Reporter: On Security Council resolutions – will you consider either supporting or failing to veto a resolution on settlement activity in the West Bank?
Kirby: …We are very concerned about trends on the ground and we do have a sense of urgency about the two-state solution. We will consider all of our options for advancing our shared objective of lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but I’m not going to comment on a draft Security Council resolution. Okay?
Reporter: What does that mean, we do have a sense of urgency for a two-state solution?
Kirby: It means exactly what it says and what I’ve been saying from the podium here for months and months and months.
Reporter: So you see a sense of urgency to get to a two-state solution?
Kirby: Sure we do. We very much would like to see a two-state solution realized, yes.
Reporter: I don’t understand.
Kirby: I don’t know what’s not to understand about “we have a sense of urgency.”
Reporter: Well, because there’s only, like, eight months left of the Administration. … You had a sense of urgency back in 2009; you had a sense of urgency when Secretary Kerry took over in 2012.
Kirby: So as time gets shorter, we shouldn’t have a sense of urgency?
Reporter: But if you had a real sense of urgency, you would’ve done something already, right?
Kirby: We have consistently had a sense of urgency.
Reporter: Does that mean, when you say you have a sense or urgency about this, that you’re going to try to cram something in that results in a two-state solution by the end of this Administration?
Kirby: I’m not going to hypothesize on future actions, whatever we continue to do or continue to consider, I don’t know that I would say it’s about cramming. It is about trying to move forward in a productive way towards a two-state solution. And as I’ve said before, we also look to the sides to enact the right kind of leadership to get us there, because ultimately it has to be done by them.
Reporter: But you’re not automatically opposed to a UN Security Council resolution that would call for a two-state solution?
Kirby: We’re not going to comment on this informal draft resolution.
Reporter: I’m not asking you to comment on this informal one. I’m saying that if a resolution presented itself that was evenhanded, in your view – not one-sided or biased against Israel – that called for an end of settlements, called for an end of incitement, and also called for the creation of two states, would you automatically oppose?
Kirby: Well, without getting into those provisions that you listed out there and making a judgment about that, I’d go back to what I said before, and that’s we will consider all of our options for advancing a shared objective, a two-state solution.
Reporter: And that would include a resolution?
Kirby: We’ll consider all options to advance a two-state solution.
Reporter: When you spoke of urgency, did you mean that the urgency comes from the possibility that the two states [solution will go] beyond reach?
Kirby: A sense of urgency about the importance of getting to a two-state solution, which has been a consistent point that we’ve made.
Reporter: But there’s a difference between consistency and urgency.
Kirby: What’s the difference?
Reporter: Well, if it’s always urgent, then it’s never more urgent than before.
Kirby: Well, I don’t know that I’d agree with that. Sometimes something can be always urgent and consistently urgent —
Reporter: You sound like a Foreigner song. (Laughter.) … There’s a song called Urgent. Maybe you’re too young to remember —
Kirby: No, I remember that. (Laughter). I know – I remember the song. I didn’t like it.
For the record, here’s the refrain from Foreigner’s memorable ending to Urgent:
“It gets so urgent / So urgent / You know it’s urgent / I wanna tell you it’s the same for me / So oh oh urgent / Just you wait and see / How urgent our love can be / It’s urgent.
“You say it’s urgent / Make it fast, make it urgent / Do it quick, do it urgent / Gotta rush, make it urgent / Want it quick / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / So urgent, emergency / Emer… emer… emer… / It’s urgent.”
Reporter: There are those within the President’s party, certainly the former Secretary of State, that say that simply the venue itself is not the place to impose a solution from without. I just want to be clear that you think that, because you’re considering all of your options, you may consider the UN Security Council to be the venue to impose —
Kirby: I don’t – I’m not going to elaborate on my answer to you. I think I’d point you back to what I said before.
Reporter: Let me just follow up on this just for a second, okay? I mean, seeing how time after time you call on the Israelis to refrain from settlement activities, to cease settlement activities, you call them illegal and so on, but in fact they don’t really listen much to what you have to say. So in that case, in that situation, why not have a forum in the United Nations where the world can collectively come up with some sort of a resolution that they all agree on, which is the cessation of settlement activities? Why would you be opposed to that? Why can’t you say that you would support this at the United Nations?
Kirby: Again, I’m going to point you back to my original answer, which made it clear we’re not going to comment on a draft resolution that’s only been informally presented in New York, and that, as I said, we’ll consider all of our options to try to get to a two-state solution. So I think I’m just not going to go any further than that, Said. I know that’s not satisfying for you, but that’s really where we are right now.
(The conversation we refer to starts around min. 43:50)
At the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Jan. 24, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered several pointed remarks.
Netanyahu thanked U.S. President Barack Obama “for deciding to attend the International Holocaust Remembrance Day event at the Israeli embassy. The US President has not been at the Israeli embassy for many years.” The day of remembrance this year will be observed on Jan. 27.
Although Netanyahu claimed that Obama’s decision to attend the event was evidence of the strong relationship between the two countries, his verbiage suggested otherwise.
Netanyahu claimed the relationship between the two nations is “very strong and steadfast.”
He went on to stay that “what has collapsed is the talk about a collapse and what is becoming increasingly clear is that this special relationship finds expression in very many areas.”
One example of such expression being found is the package of security assistance for Israel from the U.S., the terms of which Netanyahu hopes will be finalized in the coming months.
Discussion about that package officially began in earnest between the two parties once the U.S.-led negotiations concluded over the Nuclear Iran Deal. The U.S. sought to assure Israel that it “has Israel’s back” despite the deal, by providing what it claims is adequate protection from Iran’s war-mongering.
The Israeli government initially refused to engage in discussions about the memorandum regarding U.S. military assistance to Israel, in order to make clear it was not acquiescing in the American rationale for the deal with Iran, which Netanyahu lobbied against relentlessly, claiming it would pose an existential risk to the Jewish State.
Once the deal releasing Iran from sanctions was concluded, the Israeli prime minister came back to the table for the military assistance package which is expected to exceed $3.1 billion per year, and may reach $5 billion per year. The new ten year deal follows an earlier one which is set to expire in 2017.
Netanyahu concluded his public statements before the cabinet meeting by mentioning talks he had at the World Economic Forum at Davos with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry. Following their talk, Biden “reaffirmed the unshakable U.S. commitment to Israel’s security.”
Netanyahu said, “Everyone understands that in the end, in the whirlpool in the Middle East, with the rise of radical Islamic forces, Israel is the U.S.’s strongest, and most loyal and stable, ally in the region. This also finds expression in the shared values and common interests that we are advancing.”
Despite Iran’s repeated claims to the contrary, a report just issued by the nuclear watchdog agency concluded that Iran had pursued a nuclear weapons program.
The Obama administration welcomed the report issued Wednesday, Dec. 2, by the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying it would likely pave the way for the removal of economic sanctions on Tehran as early as January. The report is titled “Final Assessment of Past and Present Outstanding Issues Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme.”
What did the Administration find reassuring in the report? That the IAEA was unable to find evidence that Tehran’s efforts to pursue a nuclear bomb extended beyond 2009. What is the administration prepared to ignore? That Iran has been lying all along when its leaders said its nation had never pursued creating nuclear weapons.
According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials are satisfied by Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA over the past five months. That apparent cooperation “likely will be seen as sufficient to allow the deal to move ahead.”
“Iran has provided what [the IAEA] says was sufficient,” said a senior U.S. official working on the implementation of the Iran deal.
The administration’s reliance on recent apparent cooperation is even less reassuring given that Iranian officials on Wednesday continued to deny they ever had a weapons program.
This new flexibility follows the statement by Secretary of State John Kerry in April of this year that if there’s going to be a deal, Iran will have to come clean on its past nuclear work. Oh, never mind.
But there is more that some might – and most should – find worrisome about the report.
Iran has consistently maintained that its Parchin military facility was simply used to store chemicals and explosives. Tehran had long refused IAEA access to Parchin. But samples taken from that site, according to this IAEA report, did not support Iran’s claims about what took place there.
Instead, the IAEA report said its analysis of samples taken from Parchin supports the view that the building was used to house a chamber where nuclear-related explosives tests likely took place.
But lying was not one of the forbidden items on the U.S. list of requirements for Iran. As far as this administration is concerned, all Iran had to do trigger sanctions relief was follow the formal obligations outlined in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action drawn up in July.
And one final concern: the IAEA report also reveals that Iran has not been forthcoming on several points of its investigation. No new information on those points has been provided since 2011.
NETANYAHU CLAIMS THE IAEA REPORT CONFIRMS IRAN CANNOT BE TRUSTED
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized upon the findings in the IAEA report as proof that his mistrust of Iran was entirely justified.
The Israeli leader issued a statement on Wednesday that the report “proves beyond any doubt that Iran’s secret program for the development of nuclear weapons continued even after 2003, as Israel has maintained.”
Netanyahu said the most glaring example of Iran’s concealment of and deception about its nuclear program was its treatment of the Parchin facility “where the Iranians tried to hide and tamper with evidence of their illicit activities.”
The Israeli Prime Minister called on the international community to use all means at its disposal to continue and expand the IAEA investigation to make sure Iran is not able to secretly build a nuclear weapon.
“Unless and until the investigation is completed, the world will not know the full extent of Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program and where it stands today,” Netanyahu said.
The full IAEA board is scheduled to meet on Dec. 15. That board includes the U.S. and its P5+1 partners, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany. They will decide whether to end the investigation into Iran’s nuclear activity and lift the sanctions.