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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Abbas, Kerry to Hold Second Paris Meeting

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have agreed to meet for a second day to discuss core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Kerry and Abbas met for two hours on Wednesday evening  in Paris, where they “had an in-depth discussion about the core issues” surrounding a peace deal and agreed to continue the discussion on Thursday, according to news reports citing an unnamed senior State Department official.

Kerry reportedly will present in the coming weeks a framework agreement for continuing the nine-month, U.S.-brokered peace negotiations, which currently are scheduled to end on April 29.

Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, told reporters Wednesday night in Vienna that recent remarks by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, including suggesting that Israel is planning an incursion into Gaza to take the focus off of the peace negotiations, and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping for Abbas’ assassination, are “unhelpful.”

“The secretary will make clear that these kinds of comments are disappointing, that they are unhelpful, especially coming from someone involved in the negotiations, indeed the lead negotiator,” Harf told reporters.

She would not address Israeli news reports that Kerry’s proposal will include a request that the Israeli government freeze all construction in settlements outside of the large blocks of communities that Israel intends to keep in a final status deal.

When asked to clarify whether the official U.S. position recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, Harf replied that it does. She cited President Obama’s Sept. 24, 2013 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, when Obama said: “I’ve made it clear that the United States will never compromise our commitment to Israel’s security, nor our support for its existence as a Jewish state.”

Obama to Make Diplomatic Rescue Visit to Saudi Arabia

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

President Barack Obama will fly to Saudi Arabia next month in an effort to repair a deteriorating relationship following his failure to significantly improve ties in his 2011 trip to Riyadh and in the wake of differences over relations with Egypt, Iran and Syria.

Obama will visit the Vatican on the same junket, as well as the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy.

The White House did not specifically include the Palestinian Authority as being on the agenda of issues the president will discuss with King Abdullah.

White House press secretary Jay Carney tried to make the scheduled visit seem like a routine trip, a “part of regular consultations.” He added, “The president looks forward to discussing with King Abdullah the enduring and strategic ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia as well as ongoing cooperation to advance a range of common interests related to Gulf and regional security, peace in the Middle East, countering violent extremism, and other issues of prosperity and security.”

“Peace in the Middle East” probably refers to much more violent situations than the Palestinian Authority-Israel argument, The Wall Street Journal reported. For starters, there is the Muslim civil war in Syria, with the Sunni sect, backed by Saudi Arabia, against the Iranian-backed Shi’ites.

There is not lack of work for the Obama administration if it wants to get along better with Saudi Arabia, which was extremely unhappy with President Barack Obama’s backing the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, who was replaced by a violent military regime that was succeeded by a violent Muslim Brotherhood regime, which was in turn succeeded by another violent military regime.

Saudi Arabia was upset at Obama’s appeasement of Iran and his about-face on the idea of using military force to help Syrian rebels.

The Obama administration also has lost some influence in Egypt, where Saudi Arabia has stepped in to help the current military regime deal with the crippled economy.

Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia in 2011 did little to calm the monarchy anger over the American support to get rid of Mubarak, implicitly backing Arab Spring unrest.

Obama called for changes in attitudes in the Middle East, and that is the last thing Saudi officials want to see in its own country.

Israel Website Offers ‘John Kerry Solutions, Ltd.’

Monday, January 6th, 2014

A spoof website now offers the world “John Kerry Solutions, Ltd,” an offer for anyone wanting to solve problems as he has done the past year in the Middle East.

The My Israel organization, in coordination with the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria, created the website with its promotional material below:

 

John Kerry is an American politician who is an expert in international crisis management and creative solutions.

In light of  his  great diplomatic experience, in recent years he has been acting in the Middle East with great success and brought creative solutions that transformed the region.

Syria, Egypt , Libya , Iran and other countries thank him for the creative quiet that he brought to the region.

Now John brings his skills also to ordinary citizens!

Problems with your boyfriend?

Need original idea for a disguise?

Your neighbor’s lawn glows more?

John has a solution!

John Kerry Solutions Inc.

We have no good solutions, but we must do something. Right?

Our company thanks the good people who helped us in Israel besides Minister – Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kerry Exposes Saudi Arabia as Abbas’ Senior Negotiator

Monday, January 6th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry left the Middle East Monday after trying to shore up support from oil-rich Saudi Arabia, the real power broker in the Saudi Arabia and whose monarch, “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah,” is the one man who can order the Palestinian Authority when to jump, where to jump and how to jump.

He also made sure to hold a last-minute conversation with Israeli Opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog, chairman of the Labor party that is ready to jump into the coalition and save Prime Minister Netanyahu from new elections if and when the Jewish Home party finally has had enough of his song and dance while erasing all the red lines in talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Kerry left with his ballyhooed “framework” still stuck in his suitcase. It actually simply was another version of “guidelines,” “roadmaps” and other Foggy Bottom innovations, all of which are the same thing except for their names.

It was Saudi Arabia that came up with the 2002 “Peace Initiative” by which Israel would agree to everything that Mahmoud Abbas now is demanding in return for “normalization” of diplomatic ties with the Arab League countries.

“Normalize” does not mean diplomatic recognition. It means whatever any country wants it to mean, but the bottom line is money, meaning trade relations. It does not mean that the Israeli flag will fly in Riyadh.

Before Kerry left Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters, “His Majesty again reiterated the principles of the Arab Peace Plan and agreement (inaudible) come to respond to Palestinian national wishes to receive (inaudible) ultimately.”

In other words, he told Kerry to jump in the lake.

Kerry said, “I’m always grateful to the incredible hospitality of my friend Saud al-Faisal, whose friendship and counsel I value enormously.

“I want to thank His Majesty for not just the length of the meeting, but for the quality of the meeting, for the fullness of the exchange of ideas, and particularly for his enthusiastic support for the efforts that are being made with respect to the peace process and the effort to try to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

In other words, Kerry jumped in the lake head first.

Before doing so, he may have laid the groundwork for a brilliant diplomatic coup to grind Israel’s nose into the dirt or, more likely, to prepare the United States for an even worse debacle in the Middle East, a feat once thought as impossible.

The Saudi-based Arab World reported Monday, “Looking to ease the concerns of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Kerry said that America’s allies could count on US support. Kerry is in Saudi Arabia on the second leg of a tour through the Middle East.”

Kerry has promised he will never sacrifice Israel’s security.

He has promised the Palestinian Authority it will have a country based on the borders that would leave Israel without security.

He has promised that Saudi Arabia, which is unhappy over President Barack Obama’s appeasement of Syria and Iran, it has its full support.

Kerry is now on his way back to Washington to look for snake oil.

Pro IDF Priest’s Son Suffered Brutal Beating

Monday, December 9th, 2013

The teenage son of Father Gabriel Nadaf of Nazareth, who was soon to be drafted into the Israel Defense Forces, suffered a brutal beating on Friday evening. He is being treated at the English Hospital in Nazareth.

A 21-year-old affiliated with the anti-Israel Hadash party was arrested in connection with the attack, Israel’s Channel 2 television reported.

Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest known for encouraging participation in military and national service among local Christians, said in the TV interview that his wife and other son fear leaving their home.

“As I call for integration in Israeli society, extremists are trying to divide and tear and incite against me,” Nadaf said. “The incitement of verbal threats has passed yesterday into physical violence as their goal is to intimidate me and my family.”

His family has been threatened not only physically; Israeli politicians have interfered to prevent the Jerusalem Patriarchate from firing Nadaf and destroying his livelihood.

Matan Peleg, director of operations for Im Tirtzu (“If you will it”), an Israeli organization promoting Zionist values, told United with Israel that last year, when a number of Christians in Nazareth had decided to promote enlistment in the IDF and join the Israeli mainstream, “we helped them immediately. They were placing their destiny with the State of Israel.”

Nadaf is “a good friend,” Peleg said, adding that only last week his group had warned that “something like this would happen.”

The past several months have seen a growing patriotism among Christian Israeli Arabs, which has alarmed enemies of the Jewish state.

In July, a new Christian party, Brit HaHadasha (meaning “Sons of the New Testament”), was created, calling for service in the IDF among other forms of integration

By mid-summer, the number of IDF recruits from Israel’s Arab-Christian community more than tripled since last year – from 35 to 100 – and 500 had volunteered for national service. They identify themselves as “Arab-speaking Israeli Christians.”

“At a time when Christian communities across the Islamic world are facing vicious persecution in the form of arrests, mob violence and bombings of churches, it’s no coincidence that this assertive form of Christian identity has manifested in democratic Israel,” noted JNS journalist Ben Cohen. “Increasingly, Christians in the Middle East understand that if their faith is to have a future in the region, the states in which they live need to be governed by the values of democracy and tolerance. A state that is Jewish in terms of its identity but which gives the same rights and demands the same duties of all of its citizens is truly a revolutionary development for the Middle East – and a key reason why so many of its neighbors dream of its destruction.”

“Our goal is to guard the Holy Land and the State of Israel,” Nadaf declared at a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the summer. “We have broken the barrier of fear – the state deserves that we do our part in defending it. Those who oppose the integration of the Christian community in the institutions of state do not walk in the path of Christianity.”

“Members of the Christian community must be allowed to enlist in the IDF,” Netanyahu asserted. “You are loyal citizens who want to defend the state and I salute you and support you. We will not tolerate threats against you and we will act to enforce the law with a heavy hand against those who persecute you. I will not tolerate attempts to crumble the state from within. The State of Israel and the Prime Minister stand alongside you.”

Following the attack, Netanyahu vowed that Israel will not tolerate continued violence against Christian supporters of Israel.

Visit United with Israel.

Great News: US Has Security Plan for the ‘West Bank’

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

One has to be sparing with exclamation points, but this one’s a lollapalooza.  A dilly!  A doozie.  A big honkin’ mess-a that Middle East Security Hotness.  You heard right folks:  the United States of America has a “West Bank security proposal” for Israel, and we’re sending a retired Army general to present it to Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, himself.  !!!!!!!!!!

Why did no one think of this before?  Finally, someone has done something pragmatic and positive about the Israeli-Palestinian standoff, and just written up a proposal for the Israelis to chew on already.  The Obama administration has at last gotten things off top dead center with Iran, and it’s time to tackle those other intractable Middle East Security Problems, while the momentum is still red-hot.

The New York Times has done yeoman work in recent years pitching verbatim the information themes of the Obama administration, but interestingly, it comes off as a tad perfunctory in the story about the West Bank security proposal.  The tale seems to lack a little of that believer’s heart to it.  You might almost get the sense that there’s some editorial skepticism about the wisdom of this fresh Brainstorming for Peace initiative.

Almost.  Letting the Obama administration off the hook, as usual, for vagueness and strange diplomatic fire, NYT notes the following:

General Allen’s presentation appears to signify a more active American role, in which the United States is doing more than coaxing the Israelis and the Palestinians to negotiate and is presenting its own ideas.

What are the ideas about, exactly?  The NYT authors again:

Officials involved in the negotiations said security had been the prime focus lately, with most of the discussion revolving around the Jordan Valley. Israel has insisted that its own military continue to patrol there, rather than rely on an international force similar to those responsible for its tense borders with Lebanon and Syria. The Palestinians have said they cannot abide the presence of any Israeli soldiers in their future state.

Keep in mind, if George W. Bush’s officials were being so elliptical about a U.S.-drafted West Bank security proposal, NYT would be right in there concluding indignantly that American troops were about to be drop-kicked into the Jordan Valley to embroil a duped and overextended United States in Another Vietnam Quagmire (Marine Barracks Beirut Variety).  It would be barely possible to figure out what the Bush administration had actually said, so thick would be the underbrush of quotes from policy “critics” through which the reader would have to hack.

No such quotes enliven the current NYT piece.  The Obama administration gets the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe putting U.S. prestige and bona fides on the line with an unsolicited, and apparently very specific, security proposal to an ally isn’t a bad idea.  Maybe it’s not undiplomatic and prejudicial to announce it publicly before our briefer has even presented it to Israel’s prime minister.  Maybe it’s just, what, enthusiastic.  Maybe there’s nothing to be concerned about in the fact that the preemptive announcement is so vague.  Hey, we’re just talking – probably – a about U.S. proposal for administering military security in the Jordan Valley.  What could go wrong?

NYT lets this priceless, preemptive characterization go without comment:

State Department officials described the security briefing as an “ongoing process” and not a finished product on which the United States was demanding a yes-or-no vote from the Israeli side.

Sure, because announcing it in advance will put no onus on Israel to respond in a yes-or-no-type manner.  This formulation is like an addict pleading that he’s not using, he’s just snorting some coke.

Fowl Peace Talks a Treif Thanksgiving Turkey

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Middle East experts are experts by virtue of their positions of power.

Some of them, like former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, even have learned a thing or two about international affairs. Rice actually has a Ph.D., which as comedian-pianist Victor Borge once said, should be read as “phttttttttttt.”

The experts, and that includes John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Catherine Ashton and the Oslo Accords crowd, may have learned about prophets, kings, oil and sheikhs in International Relations 101, but they missed out on the basics, like selling non-kosher turkeys to the Arabs.

I learned more about Arab-Jewish relations by working in kibbutz turkey barns than Kerry and Ashton could ever learn in their worldwide visits to official residents of presidents and prime ministers in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Amman.

Turkeys, like people, are cute when they are babies, but after a few weeks, they are not like most people. Their feet are scratchy and they begin to stink. When they get to be three months old, some of them pick up a cold, a little bronchitis, or start to hobble on weak knees, probably from too many carbohydrates.

Then they start acting like grown teenagers. The stronger turkeys pick on the weaker ones, just like fifth-graders playing king of the hill. They peck at the skin until the poor gobbler cannot stand on his feet.

When I was in charge of the birds on a kibbutz farm, the sick and injured had their own quarters, a fenced-off intensive care ward where the bullies couldn’t bother them. But sometimes it was too late. Their broken legs and their bronchitis often are more than modern medicine can cure on a cost-efficient basis.

What can you do with a sick and lame turkey? You sell it cheaply. After all, the reason to raise turkeys is turn them into fat candidates for the slaughterhouse and convert them into cold cash. The Humane Society really does not have much demand for them.

That’s where a revised International Relations 101 course could have taught the experts, sitting in their sterilized offices, something besides making roadmaps to nowhere. Even Professor Yossi Beilin, the darling of the Israeli Left, doesn’t know a kibbutz from Damascus.

Peace is a business, like anything else these days. But you have to know the rules of the game. A good Western businessman knows that a handshake is a handshake, a word is a word, and a deal is a deal.

For instance, Tom wants to sell his two-year-old Chevy for $5,000. Clyde wants to buy it for $4,000. One of them budges or there’s no deal. Jim tries to cut a deal at $4,400. If Tom and Clyde compromise at $4,500, Tom gets his money and Clyde gets his wheels. As for Jim, that’s his problem.

But that’s not the way it works in the Middle East. Here, Abe writes out a check and Ahmed gives him the key. The next day, Abe discovers the key doesn’t fit. “Of course it does not fit,” Ahmed retorts. “The price of the car was according to the real value of the dollar. The inflation rate went up 0.2 percent yesterday. You owe me $10!”

Abe protests, “Where’s the cell phone antenna that was on the roof? I am stopping payment on the check. You owe me $25 for the bank charge.”

“I’m not finished stripping the car,” retaliates Ahmed. The DVD is mine, but I’ll put back the original radio. It works most of the time, especially the Al Jazeera channel.”

“Look, here,” snarls Abe. “I paid you $4,500, but that was based on the price of gold. It went up two cents yesterday. The real price is $4,498.09.”

“You can add another $120 for the deluxe hub caps, or I’ll take them with me,” Ahmed shouts.

They agree to talk again tomorrow. That was 10 years ago. They still are talking.

It doesn’t matter that Abe still has to thumb a ride to work and that Ahmed does the same because he doesn’t have enough money for gas. The principles are that the other guy didn’t get what he wanted so they can continue arguing.

In Western societies, negotiations are a means to an end. The objective is to make a deal so both sides get what they want.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/the-other-side-of-israel/fowl-peace-talks-a-treif-thanksgiving-turkey/2013/11/21/

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