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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Stunning World, UN Passes 6 Resolutions Confirming Everything Is Israel’s Fault

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday adopted six resolutions on “Palestinian and Middle East issues,” ranging from Jerusalem to the United Nations special information program on the question of Palestine. The good news is that Israel still has a smattering of friends at the UN: Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, and the United States (and Israel, of course) voted against; Australia, Cameroon, Honduras, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Tonga, and Vanuatu abstained. The rest, 153 world nations that include places where you plan to spend your vacation this summer or buy your car, condemned Israel as being responsible for most of the ills of the planet, especially the Middle East.

For instance, Haya al-Duraie, representing Kuwait which in 1991 expelled 400,000 Palestinians into the desert, expressed support for international efforts that were laying the foundation for security and stability in the region. “However,” the ambassador warned, “the faltering peace process continues to present a danger to the Middle East.”

There you have it.

The UN press release on the assembly votes, includes a section dealing with the “Situation in the Middle East.” One would expect this section to deal with the 500,000 Syrians who died and millions who were uprooted in the past six years; with the war between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq; with Iran’s nuclear threat and its region-wide terrorism; with Egypt’s paralyzing poverty; perhaps with the discriminatory policies of Saudi Arabia. Alas, one would be wrong. According to the UN General Assembly, there are two main issues threatening stability and peace in the Middle East: Israel’s “occupation” of Jerusalem and Israel’s refusal to hand over the Golan Heights to the Assad Regime.

On Jerusalem, the draft resolution called for “respect for the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem,” and in the spirit of respect referred to the focal area of contention only by its Arabic name, “Haram al-Sharif.” The Assembly reiterated its determination that any actions taken by Israel, “the occupying Power,” to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem “were illegal and therefore null and void and had no validity whatsoever” – note the double invalidation. It also called on Israel to “immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures” and stressed that “a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of the City of Jerusalem should take into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and Israeli sides.”

At least they called it “Jerusalem” and not Al Quds. One point for the home team.

In its resolution on the “Syrian Golan” the Assembly, in the middle of a raging war between the murderous Assad regime that slaughters its own citizens and ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates who murder everyone else, demanded that “Israel withdraw from all the occupied territory to the line of 4 June 1967 and called on all parties concerned to exert the necessary efforts to ensure the resumption of the peace process.” It should be noted that this example of raging idiocy received only 103 votes in favor, to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 56 abstentions.

Pheew…

The Permanent Observer of Palestine – who could become the Palestinian Authority’s UN Envoy, should the Obama Administration pull a fast one (so far so good, though) – said the adoption of the six resolutions by an overwhelming majority of United Nations Member States was “a reflection of the longstanding international consensus in favor of achieving a just, lasting and peaceful solution to the question of Palestine,” and “a clear reaffirmation of the international community’s consensus on the two-State solution.”

He then added that “the despair and hopelessness of the Palestinian people is increasing as the fiftieth year of the illegal Israeli occupation approached.”

See you in fifty years?

The representative of Israel said the resolutions had not only failed to promote dialogue or build trust, they had also created an organizational infrastructure that had abused funding to allow anti-Israel activities to take place under the auspices of the United Nations.

She argued that supporting the resolutions and the inherent bias against Israel would not advance the cause of peace, but instead make peace harder to achieve. The “Special Information Program on the Question of Palestine” offers a misleading narrative of the region and circulates prejudiced materials under the banner of the United Nations, undermining the organization’s integrity and impartiality. It was baffling how the United Nations, which continued to face a severe budgetary deficit, had spent approximately $6.5 million a year on bodies that were dedicated solely to promoting the Palestinian narrative.

Loved the part about the resolutions “undermining the organization’s integrity and impartiality.” Who says Israeli diplomats have no sense of humor?

David Israel

Trump Once Again Promising to Deal Peace for Israel

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

President Elect Donald J. Trump, possibly the most unpredictable man in American political history, has reiterated his promise to employ his “Art of the Deal” in achieving lasting peace between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. In an interview to the Wall Street Journal Friday, in which he also said he would leave in place parts of Obamacare, and said he got a “beautiful” letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin upon his victory,  Trump repeated his promise “to help craft a resolution” for the Israel-Palestine situation, which he called “the war that never ends.”

Back in March 2016, candidate Trump told the NY Times regarding the 2-state solution, “I would love to see if a deal could be made. If a deal could be made. Now, I’m not sure it can be made, there’s such unbelievable hatred, there’s such, it’s ingrained, it’s in the blood, the hatred and the distrust, and the horror. But I would love to see if a real deal could be made. Not a deal that you know, lasts for three months, and then everybody starts shooting again. And a big part of that deal, you know, has to be to end terror, we have to end terror.”

Trump then said, “Basically I support a two-state solution on Israel,” with the proviso that “the Palestinian Authority has to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Have to do that. And they have to stop the terror, stop the attacks, stop the teaching of hatred, you know?”

The Trump/Pence campaign website has since then removed all references to the 2-state solution from its “Foreign Policy and Defeating ISIS” positions page. But now, in his WSJ interview, the President Elect confessed to his desire for incorporating what he termed “the ultimate deal,” noting that “as a deal maker, I’d like to do… the deal that can’t be made. And do it for humanity’s sake.”

Walid Phares, a Trump top foreign policy adviser, told BBC Radio on Thursday that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is a Trump top agenda item. “He is ready and he will immediately move to try and solve the problem between Palestinian and Israelis,” Phares said. “He told me personally that, as the author of ‘The Art of the Deal,’ it’s not going to be impossible for him to broker a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians. At least he’s going to go in that direction and not waste eight years — four years for now — not doing something for the Palestinians and Israelis.”

Somebody should tell Ivanka Trump and Jason Greenblatt as soon as Shabbat is out. Greenblatt on Thursday told Israel’s Army Radio that “Trump thinks Israel is in a difficult situation and must defend herself. Peace must arrive through a bilateral initiative and he has no plan to get involved in it.”

But that was Thursday.

JNi.Media

Betrayed by Obama in 2014, IDF Switching to Rafael Missiles in Case of Hellfire Embargo

Friday, November 11th, 2016

In the summer of 2014, in the middle of the 50-day Gaza War (Operation Protective Edge), the Obama Administration betrayed its “greatest ally in the Middle East” by suspending arms shipments to Israel, and delaying delivery of US-made Hellfire missiles to Israel — expressing concerns that Israel would employ these missiles in areas in Gaza population centers. The unimaginable has happened.

This act of betrayal immediately led to Israel reassessing its views on US aid, particularly the notion that it could always depend on US re-supplies in wartime, and initiated new weapons projects to reduce its dependence on US weapons.

According to a Ynet report this week, The IAF has now modified its Apache helicopters to enable use of Rafael-manufactured air-to-surface missiles alongside and US-mad Hellfire. It means Israel will no longer be at the mercy of future American administrations when it comes to utilizing its most important advantage against Hamas — the helicopter.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems manufactures a number of air-to-surface missiles, most notably the Popeye and the Have Lite missiles. Its website lists their Main features as being effective against high value land and maritime targets; versatile and cost-effective; offering pinpoint accuracy and lethal efficiency; day, night and adverse weather operation; Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) capability; and featuring a variety of trajectories to meet weather and threat conditions.

Israel deals directly with US companies for the vast majority of its military purchases, but those still require US government permission, which is far from being automatic. In March 2000 the Israeli government was refused permission to purchase BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles.

Incidentally, although the US sells Israel close to $3 billion in weapons, paid for by an aid agreement, the US military uses a variety of Israeli-made military equipment, including:

ADM-141 TALD (Improved Tactical Air Launched Decoy) – a device used to protect warplanes from enemy fire.

AGM-142 Have Nap “Popeye” – the standoff air-to-surface missile with precision guidance we described above.

M120 mortar – A 120 mm mortar developed by Soltam Systems.

B-300 / Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) – An anti-tank or bunker buster recoilless rifle developed by Israel Military Industries. The SMAW is based on the Israeli B-300.

Cardom – A 120 mm “recoil mortar system” using modern electronic navigation, self-positioning, and target acquisition.

Gabriel (missile) – A sea skimming anti-ship missile.

SIMON breach grenade – A rifle grenade designed to breach through doors.

LITENING targeting pod – A precision targeting pod designed to increase combat effectiveness of aircraft.

International MaxxPro – An MRAP armored fighting vehicle.

Samson Remote Controlled Weapon Station – A remote weapon system.

IAI Kfir – An all-weather multirole combat aircraft formerly used by the US Navy for training purposes.

DASH III helmet-mounted display – The first modern Western HMD, upon which the JHMCS was based.

Uzi submachine gun – compact submachine gun primarily used by the ZIM Integrated Shipping Services merchant marine and formerly the United States Secret Service.

JNi.Media

Wikileaks: DNC Strategy Was to Push Trump to Front of Republican Line

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

It appears that pushing into the limelight an esoteric, buffoonish, self-absorbed candidate so he would win the Republican presidential nomination — was the Democrats’ strategy from the start, their surefire way of propelling Hillary Clinton to the presidency.

“We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to [take] them seriously,” states an April 7, 2015 email memo from the Democratic National Committee, exposed by Wikileaks. At the time, the “pied pipers” were Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson.

If you were wondering how come Donald Trump received so much free media exposure for months and months, why every comic in North America used him for fodder, and why he was consequently able to knock off his rivals so effectively — part of it, of course, had to do with his bombast personality and on-screen shenanigans, but part of it was supported by the opposition.

Under the heading “Our Goals and Strategy,” the memo stresses that “the goal of a potential HRC campaign and the DNC would be one-in-the-same: to make whomever the Republicans nominate unpalatable to a majority of the electorate.”

“We don’t want to marginalize the more extreme candidates, but make them more ‘Pied Piper’ candidates who actually represent the mainstream of the Republican Party,” the memo recommends.

The memo outlines three strategies to make this happen: “1) Force all Republican candidates to lock themselves into extreme conservative positions that will hurt them in a general election; 2) Undermine any credibility/trust Republican presidential candidates have to make inroads to our coalition or independents; 3) Muddy the waters on any potential attack lodged against HRC.”

It was a sound strategy, which most of us believed had worked as we all entered election day 11/9. “Most of the more-established candidates will want to focus on building a winning general election coalition,” says the strategy memo, suggesting that “more will need to be done on certain candidates to undermine their credibility among our coalition (communities of color, millennials, women) and independent voters.”

But while pointing out just how “outrageous” Trump, Cruz and Carson are as choices for the presidency, they also had to be mainstreamed, to help them gain the GOP primary votes. “In this regard,” says the memo, “the goal here would be to show that they are just the same as every other GOP candidate: extremely conservative on these issues.”

The DNC’s purpose in pushing up the most extreme, outrageous GOP candidate had to do with the party’s fears regarding Hillary Clinton’s own shortcomings. An email from Mandy Grunwald, a media advisor for the Democratic Party, that was forwarded to John Podesta, sums up the results of a focus group and lists Clinton’s vulnerabilities. Here’s the abridged version:

“Out of Touch – Should we add that HRC hasn’t driven a car in thirty-five years?

“Cronyism, foreign governments, I would name some of the countries, particularly those in the Middle East.

“Wall Street. ‘When HRC recently spoke to bankers at Goldman Sachs, instead of holding them accountable for their activities that crashed the economy, she told them that banker bashing was foolish and had to stop.’

“Obama’s Third Term. I would add ‘We need a new direction.’

“Ineffective. ‘Clinton flew all over the world, but she can’t name a single major accomplishment she made as Secretary of State.'”

To be able to win with so many strikes against her, Clinton’s people felt she had to go up against a rival who would make a fool of himself and become the brunt of a million jokes. The strategy worked, winning Clinton the popular vote in 2016 – but not the election.

David Israel

State Dept. Condemns Jerusalem Housing Construction Amid Hints of Obama ‘November Surprise’

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israeli diplomats are expecting President Barack Obama to force a diplomatic resolution for Israel and the Palestinians at the UN (Obama’s Israel Surprise?). “The White House has been unusually tight-lipped about what, if anything, it might have in mind,” the WSJ noted, “but our sources say the White House has asked the State Department to develop an options menu for the President’s final weeks.”

The Netanyahu cabinet has been extra careful not to provoke the ire of the retiring emperor on the eve of that portion of his term when he no longer needs to worry about the Jewish vote and will be free to follow his heart’s desire on the future of Jewish life in the Middle East. But it’s hard not to provoke Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry when their threshold for irritation seems to be so low. Such as the building permits for 181 new homes in Gilo, in the 1967 liberated territories, approved by the Jerusalem municipality back in 2012 (the permit was merely updated on Wednesday this week).

When asked during his daily briefing about the Israeli most recent 181 violations of mankind’s hope for peace, State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby said, “We’re deeply concerned by those reports that the local planning and construction committee in Jerusalem approved permits for … 181 housing units and five community center infrastructure projects in Gilo, which is in East Jerusalem. Our policy on settlements, as I said before, is very clear. We strongly oppose settlement activity, which we believe is corrosive to the cause of peace.”

See? On John Kirby’s planet, which he shares with Kerry and Obama, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his entourage were already on their way to the Knesset in Jerusalem to sign a peace treaty recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State and maintain good neighborly relations with the Palestinian State next door, when suddenly a text message appeared on his smart phone telling him the Jews had decided to force a mass invasion of 181 Jewish families into Gilo — so the entourage turned back and returned to Ramallah.

“These decisions by Israeli authorities are just the latest examples of what appear to be a steady and systemic acceleration of Israeli settlement activity,” Kirby announced, lamenting that “in just the past few weeks, we have seen reports of an entirely new settlement near Shiloh, a potentially new settlement outpost in the North Jordan Valley, and over 80 Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

To provide much-needed context to the spokesperson’s wailing: the new homes in Shiloh will house the anticipated evacuees from Amona, uprooted by decree of a Supreme Court gone insane. And those illegal structures were an attempt by the Arabs to build without a permit in Area C, governed exclusively by Israel — a clear and intentional attempt by the EU, the US and local Arabs to violate the Oslo agreements.

When Kirby suggested that the above moves “raise serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians,” he was asked if the Administration might be planning to “draw a line in the sand where it comes to actions that you say or you believe hurt the environment for negotiations for a two-state solution.” He answered: “I think [it] shouldn’t surprise anybody that, as an administration … we routinely talk about the situation in the Middle East and in Israel, and that, obviously, is something I think you know Secretary Kerry’s very focused on, so of course we have discussions about this. But I don’t want to get ahead of those discussions.”

There you have it: the most an Administration official has allowed himself to say regarding his bosses’ post-election plans for Israel.

The WSJ suggested on Monday that the Obama Administration might “sponsor, or at least allow, a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction, perhaps alongside new IRS regulations revoking the tax-exempt status of people or entities involved in settlement building.”

Back in 2011, the Administration vetoed precisely this kind of resolution.

A vindictive President Obama could initiate or at least not vote against the formal recognition of a Palestinian state at the Security Council. It would cause Congress to erupt in a storm of rage, especially if the president uses an executive order to do the wicked deed. Which means the next president could revoke such an order with the stroke of a pen.

Which must make one wonder if a President Hillary Clinton would dare to reverse an executive order recognizing the Palestinian State. What do you think?

JNi.Media

Two Former Senior State Dept. Officials to Incoming President: Lay Off the Peace Vision Thing

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

“Memo to the Next President: Avoid the ‘Vision Thing’ in the Mideast,” two former senior State Department officials whose work centered on Middle Eastern issues, Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky, wrote in Politico this week. Based on their more than half a century’s worth of combined experience working on Middle Eastern issues in the Department of State, the two offered both their former boss, Hillary Clinton, and her opponent, Donald Trump, a list of ten things they should not do or say, if they wish to survive the “landmines, traps, hopeless causes, and impossible missions” this region has to offer in ample portions.

Eighth on their list of commandments is: Thou shall not “chase after Israeli-Palestinian peace without clear indications that the locals themselves and the Arabs, too, are prepared to act.”

“It should be evident by now,” they point out, that the gaps on the core issues “between Prime Minister Netanyahu and [Chairman] Abbas are just too wide to be bridged.” True enough. They also point out that even if they support the two-state solution (which they don’t disclose), it does not stand a chance unless the leaders of both sides “are willing and able to make decisions” — and it’s highly unlikely that whomever is chosen to succeed Abbas would be able to make them.

What’s left to be done, then, without the hope for peace any time soon? Plenty, apparently: “help keep Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation afloat; promote development of the Palestinian economy and issues relating to movement through checkpoints and border crossings; try to identify smaller issues such as the greater development of areas in parts of the West Bank under Israeli control; and increase cooperation on issues such as water, electricity, and infrastructure.”

Until there’s a change in the current stalemate, the two ex-officials, who are now working for Washington think tanks, recommend that the next Administration “stay away from high-profile US-initiated efforts to take on the big peace process issues. The advice Bill Clinton gave to one of us before the July 2000 Camp David summit is inspirational but not always right: trying and failing isn’t better than not trying at all. Failure undermines US prestige and power in war and peacemaking. It already has.”

Still, Miller and Sokolsky advise, don’t hang a closed-for-the-season sign on US involvement in the Middle East. The stakes – terrorism, energy security for much of the world, and nuclear proliferation – are as high as they’ve ever been. The US may not be able to transform the region (no Arab Spring 2.0, please), but it “cannot easily leave it either.”

And so, for a sane and pragmatic Mid-East policy, “avoid the vision thing, in particular major involvement in nation building and conflict resolution where locals have an insufficient stake, will or capacity to take on the lion’s share of the responsibility. Instead, drill down on protecting core vital interests that involve American security and prosperity, work with partners who, while not sharing US values, may share some key US security interests, and look for opportunities to use tools such as economic and technical assistance and support for civil society to build capacity and help governments deliver economic and social justice to their public.”

Amen.

JNi.Media

Clinton Mulling Biden for Secretary of State

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s short list for her old job of Secretary of State starts with Vice President Joe Biden, according to Politico, citing a source close to the campaign. Apparently, the campaign has not yet approached Biden with the proposal.

A six-term senator, Biden chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before joining the Obama Ticket, and is considered an expert on the Middle East and on eastern Europe. He has been used by President Obama as his envoy to both regions. It has been noted that Clinton and Biden do not often agree on policy, Clinton being more inclined to intervene militarily, while Biden advocates a more reserved policy.

Biden would probably be the best Democratic selection from the point of view of Israel, and especially the Netanyahu Administration. He has had a rough and tumble relationship with AIPAC on occasion, but in 2008 described his relationship with the pro-Israel lobby: “I’ve never disagreed with AIPAC on the objective. Whenever I’ve had disagreement with AIPAC it has always been a tactical disagreement, not a substantive disagreement.” Following that statement, an AIPAC spokesman praised Biden’s leadership and stated: “We look forward to continuing to work with him in the Senate or in the White House.”

Like the bulk of the Democratic party, Biden supports a two-state solution. In 2009, he told an AIPAC conference that Israel “has to work towards a two-state solution” and “dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement.” He also called on the Palestinians to “combat terror and incitement against Israel.”

However, in 2007 he stated, when asked about the failure to achieve peace between Israel and the PA: “Israel’s a democracy and they make mistakes. But the notion that somehow if Israel just did the right thing, [the peace process] would work … give me a break.” He also stated that “The responsibility rests on those who will not acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, will not play fair, will not deal, will not renounce terror.”

The 2007 Biden-Brownback Resolution on Iraq, passed by the Senate with a 75-23 majority, including 26 Republicans, called for federalizing Iraq with separate regions for Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis. Iraq’s political leadership and the GW Bush Administration united in denouncing the resolution. In retrospect it appears that following it might have prevented the violent emergence of ISIS.

In 2008, Israel Army Radio cited an unnamed source that said Biden had told Israeli officials privately that Israel “will have to reconcile itself with the nuclearization of Iran.” A Biden spokesman stated that “this is a lie peddled by partisan opponents of Senators Obama and Biden and we will not tolerate anyone questioning Senator Biden’s 35-year record of standing up for the security of Israel. … [Biden views a nuclear Iran as a] grave threat to Israel and the United States.” Israeli officials said at the time that the story was “dubious.”

Finally, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Biden called for “hard-headed diplomacy” with Iran. He also has called for the implementation of “coordinated international sanctions” on Iran, but called to ” complement this pressure by presenting a detailed, positive vision for U.S.-Iran relations if Iran does the right thing.” In that context, in 2007, Biden voted against declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, because “war with Iran is not just a bad option. It would be a disaster.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/clinton-mulling-biden-for-secretary-of-state/2016/10/28/

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