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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘negotiations’

FM Liberman to Meet with US Secy John Kerry in Paris

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is set to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday in Paris.

On the agenda, once again, will be the issue of the dead-on-arrival talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Sources close to both sides said Wednesday that relations with Iran are likely to be on the agenda as well, in addition to the matter of the crisis in Iraq.

In addition to the Iran’s continued drive to develop nuclear weapons capabilities, Russia has recently signed a deal to build eight new nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic.

Iran has refused to slow down on the program, let alone cease its drive to develop nuclear technology, despite sanctions, talks and any other efforts by the international community to persuade Tehran to do so.

However, there is one issue that has begun to concern Iran a great deal – a fear it shares with its neighbors in the region, as well as the United States.

Iran is strengthening its defenses along its border with Iraq against the possibility it may have to fend off an advance from the guerrilla fighters of the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL) terrorist organization.

The group, also known as the Islamic State of al-Shams or Syria (ISIS), has been making its way across Iraq and has seized a wide swathe of territory in both Iraq and Syria over the past months.

For the first time ISIS also captured a border crossing between Iraq and Jordan, in addition to two crossings into Syria.

The group also took control of four additional towns, continuing its advance into western Iraq and closer to the border with Jordan.

Likud, Labor MK s Unite to Submit Temple Mount Prayer Bill

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Two Knesset members from separate ends of the political spectrum plan to submit a bill allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Likud MK Miri Regev and Labor MK Hilik Bar say they will unite to advance the measure, but were mum on when. “There is no reason that Jews should not be allowed to pray in the holiest site in the world,” Regev said, according a report this weekend by Ynet.

The bill is intended to promote co-existence, added Bar. “I insisted the authority of the Muslim Waqf not be harmed, but Muslims must understand that we also have a right to pray there. I see in these holy sites the cradle of our existence. If someone on the left has complaints against Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, they will have a hard time claiming that other ethnic groups suffer discrimination,” he added.

Jews are not allowed to even move their lips when touring the site, considered the holiest place on earth in Judaism.

Muslims pray in front of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount

Muslims pray in front of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount

Many times Muslims in the area simply accuse Jews of “praying” and police immediately force the “suspect” into custody and off the grounds, fearing violent reactions by Arabs if they don’t.  By contrast, Muslim children run freely throughout the plaza area, even playing soccer around the site.

The fiercest verbal provocations by Arabs are generally met by stony silence by Israeli police when accompanying Jewish tour groups, and usually also by hurrying their charges away. Sometimes closure of the site to anyone other than Muslims follows as well — even if the site has just opened and it is the eve of a Jewish holiday.

The Al Aqsa mosque located on the Mount has become a hotspot for fiery sermons each Friday that whip worshipers into a frenzy of hatred against the State of Israel. The site has also been at the center of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The PA has insisted the Old City — including all Jewish holy sites — must be handed over to be part of a capital for its hoped-for independent state.

Arab rioters carefully store piles of rocks, bottles and other handy missiles in the mosque that they can hurl at Jews – or police — when “protesting” after prayers have ended. Such incidents occur often prior to Jewish holidays, and became the opening salvo to the second intifada in the year 2000. In response, police simply close the Mount to Muslim men under age 50 and limit entry to those bearing Israeli identity cards. Any Muslim woman can enter.

“I firmly believe that each event of Muslim unrest on the Mount should lead to its closure to Arabs,” Regev said. “The prime minister is not the only one to decide on the issue, and if the proposal does not pass I will turn to the High Court of Justice in a public petition until Jews are allowed to pray with tallit (prayer shawl) and tefillin on the Temple Mount,” she said.

According to the language of the bill as it is currently written, “no demonstration of protest or incitement that disturbs the peace will be tolerated.” Violators will be fined,” Ynet reported.

Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (Bayit Yehudi) said after Passover the ministry was in the process of creating new regulations to allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.

Abbas Snubs Kerry, PA Ends Peace Option with Israel

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas finally took off the mask and formally refused Tuesday to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz broke the news to the American Jewish Committee Global Forum in an evening speech.

Earlier this week, the State Department confirmed that Kerry and Abbas were set to meet in London. Apparently the Secretary became desperate enough to come back to Israel for another attempt at reviving the dead-on-arrival “framework talks.”

He even offered to travel to the PA capital of Ramallah. But Abbas rejected the offer, leaving Kerry to meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

“Abbas rejected Kerry’s framework and refused to meet him .. Kerry flew back the next morning without any meeting,” Steinitz told his audience.

“No one should tell us that we need peace in order to survive, exist and flourish,” he said. “We will survive. Israel will survive as a democratic Jewish state whether our neighbors will finally agree to accept it and make peace with us or not.”

He added that Abbas had always said he would never recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state – just as the Hamas terrorist organization that controls Gaza has as well. Last month Abbas signed a deal with Hamas to create a new Palestinian Authority unity government.

Inasmuch as Hamas is formally committed to Israel’s destruction and is backed and funded by Iran, the move effectively ends any option for peace with the PA at this time.

IDF forces have beefed up their lines along the roads in Judea and Samaria, particularly along Highway 60, where the number of road terror attacks on Israeli motorists has increased dramatically over the past year.

Kerry, Abbas Meeting Set for London

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

He’s ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-c-c-k . . . . Well, sort of.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Thursday in London.  State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed the meeting at a briefing Monday on Capitol Hill.

“While the door remains open to a peace process, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss our ongoing relationship with the Palestinians,” she said in a curt statement. “As he has throughout the process, Secretary Kerry will reiterate a call he has made to both sides to maintain restraint and refrain from steps that would be unhelpful.”

Last week American special envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk took care to blame both sides for the failed nine-month talks. He was especially careful to equate municipal and home maintenance with a unilateral attempt to establish sovereignty in the international arena.

For Israel’s portion, Indyk pointed to ‘settlement building’ – the endless international euphemism for basic repairs and general construction by private Israeli citizens and also by Israeli local authorities within the municipal bounds of towns or neighborhoods in areas won during the 1967 Six Day War.

The Palestinian Authority, he said, should not have signed on to membership in 15 international conventions and agencies – a direct violation of the agreement with which the failed talks began in the first place.

Abbas backed out of the talks when Israel refused to free the last of four groups of terrorist prisoners on schedule, after 78 had already been released. Israel’s government balked over the composition of the group, which included at least 20 Israeli Arabs, rather than PA Arabs. Since no progress at all had been made in the prior eight months of talks, and Abbas had not bothered to show up in person to the table for months, Israel chose to wait and see whether the final month would bring any change – or see if the PA would at least extend the talks in exchange for freeing the last group and possibly releasing more prisoners as well.

But Abbas refused.  Instead, a day later he signed a flurry of international conventions that had obviously already been prepared and ready to go. It was clear the strategy had been planned – the PA was simply waiting until the last group of terrorists were freed.

Israel formally ended the talks on April 24 when Abbas signed a unity pact with the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and is committed to its destruction, a core principle in its founding charter. The group is backed, armed and generously funded by Iran.

The current agreement calls for the deployment of 3,000 PA government paramilitary police in Gaza, under the command of Hamas. Those forces were trained, armed and equipped by the United States armed forces — ostensibly to “fight terrorism” in Judea and Samaria in preparation for the establishment of a peaceful “two state solution” with Israel.

Last year, the Ramallah-based PA government received approximately $440 million in U.S. foreign aid, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. The figure was taken from a Congressional Research Service report quoted by Reuters.

Under American law, no U.S. funds may reach Hamas, nor “any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.”

But the Ramallah government in Samaria has for years been sending money to Gaza. Allegedly it was sent to cover the salaries of PA civil service workers. The same government still pays generous monthly stipends to Arab terrorists serving prison terms in Israeli jails.

PM Netanyahu Debunks Peace Deal Claim: ‘Peres Had No Deal With PA’

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The Prime Minister’s Office came out swinging in an overnight Independence Day statement Yom HaAtzma’ut, bluntly denying that President Shimon Peres ever reached a final status deal with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The statement, reported overnight by Voice of Israel government radio, denied a claim by the president reported earlier in the day that he had reached an agreement with the Ramallah-based PA chairman three years ago.

“The only one Abbas has reached an agreement with is with [the Gaza-based terrorist organization] Hamas,” commented the PMO.

President Peres had told Israel’s Channel 2 TV in an interview over the holiday that three years ago he reached a deal in principle after four meetings abroad with Mahmoud Abbas. However, he said it was scotched by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who nixed the agreement just prior to what was to be a fifth and final meeting in Amman.

The president said Mr. Netanyahu told him to wait because Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair, a former UK prime minister also involved in talks with the PA, might bring to the table a better offer. “But the days passed and that deal never materialized,” Mr. Peres lamented.

Israel’s president – whose position is primarily ceremonial and traditionally not intended to be functionary – said his own discussions had been about land swaps and total land mass rather than boundary lines. Maps had not yet been drawn, the president said, reported the Independent Media Review and Analysis, IMRA.

Cancelling the fifth meeting, he allegedly told the PA Chairman in August 2011, “I’m sorry, but the government doesn’t accept what we have negotiated and there’s nothing more I can do.”

The “secret” talks were never secret, however, and there is some question over how far the president’s diplomatic authorization supposedly reached.

President Peres, who was the architect of the failed Oslo Accords, is expected to retire next month as he reaches the age of 90 after a political career of seven decades.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is meeting today with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee as lawmakers review the current security situation.

On the agenda are all recent events, including those of the ‘price tag’ incidents, ‘David the Nahlawi’ and the attacks in Judea and Samaria that followed the cessation of final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Bereaved Families Beg Prime Minister ‘Stay Away’ on Memorial Day

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Families of victims of terror have sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asking him to stay away from Memorial Day ceremonies at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery.

The Israeli national holiday of Yom Hazikaron — Israel’s Memorial Day — falls on the fourth day in the Hebrew month of Iyar,  which this year is Sunday, May 4.

“Please spare us and other families of the victims of terror from your speech this year,” reads the letter drafted by bereaved parents Yossi Tzur and Ron Kerman.

“Please do not come to the ceremony on Mt. Herzl and please do not speak.

“Since last year’s ceremony you released murderers three times. Three times that you tore at our hearts and ripped at our flesh! If we were really that important and you really joined us in our grief, you would have had the ability to prevent us from suffering once again for nothing.

“We’ve heard plenty of cliches, slogans and hollow promises in your speeches. You do not mean a word of it and we no longer believe in you and any word you say. Your words will fall on deaf ears; leave us alone and let us be together in peace and dignity with our loved ones.”

Apartheid Redux: American Sour Grapes When Shuttle Diplomacy Fails

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Here we go again, with another round of dealing with set of sour grapes topped off by the “A” word delivered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

It’s getting really tiresome when every time the Palestinian Authority reverts to form – and Israel refuses to lay itself on the sacrificial altar – the U.S. responds by waving international threats at us both. Especially when one of the flags waved at Israel is the silly “A” word.

It’s a plain fact that 99.9 percent of American diplomats and political leaders simply don’t “get” the reality of the Middle East.

The diplomats who are sent into the fray to “develop” or impose the latest solution to the complex problems existing between Israel and her neighbors are simply not equipped.

So they fail. It’s not their fault. It’s just not their ‘hood.

John Kerry is having a problem with this. Instead of accepting this reality gracefully, has collected his marbles and gone home to his boss with sour grapes.

But for the second time in less than a year, he has turned around and decided to fling the “A” word (apartheid) back at Israel. At least this time he included the Palestinian Authority in some of his recriminations.

Kerry told the Trilateral Commission in a closed-door meeting on Friday that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become an “apartheid state” like South Africa once was. A recording of the remark was obtained by The Daily Beast.

He also warned that a failure of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority — which basically were dead on arrival in any case — could lead to a ‘resumption’ of PA Arab violence against Israeli citizens. He then went further and hinted that only a change of leadership on both sides could make a peace deal more likely.

The latter reveals his total ignorance of the region — since succeeding leaders on the Arab side generally just brush away the decisions of predecessors — or their own if the prevailing mood of the people doesn’t suit — in any case. Arab promises are rarely kept beyond a generation, if that long. Witness the numerous attempts at maintaining a unity government between Fatah and Hamas in the Palestinian Authority over the past seven years.

With regard towards the risk of ‘resuming’ PA Arab violence against Israelis, the man is living in a bubble because that violence never ended. Ask anyone who lives in Jerusalem, Judea or Samaria or drives on roads in any of the areas. I personally know people who were unable to make it to the Mount of Olives to visit the graves of loved ones this year due to the the violence — and that, while talks were supposedly in place. I know tour guides who could not take friends to certain market places in the Old City — a place we all agree is supposed to be an open tourist safe place — because of the risk to their safety.

As for apartheid, he is wrong on all counts, and even his own boss knows it. In 2008 then-Senator Barack Obama bluntly stated in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, “There’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion does not advance that goal. It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate and it’s not what I believe.”

Of course, Obama may have changed his mind since then, but personally I doubt it. If anything, there are more examples today than ever before of integration between Arabs and Jews, on both sides of the 1949 Armistice Line.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/apartheid-redux-american-sour-grapes-when-shuttle-diplomacy-fails/2014/04/28/

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