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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Obama Administration’

Obama-Kerry’s ‘Peace Process’ Team Falling Apart

Friday, September 5th, 2014

David Makovsky, a member of the State Department’s Middle East peace team, is returning to his think tank position.

The departure of Makovsky announced Thursday by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy is the latest signal that the Obama administration is retreating from its intensive efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Talks collapsed in April and, over the summer, team leader Martin Indyk also quit and returned to the think tank that employed him before he joined the effort in 2013, the Brookings Institution.

Other team members have left in recent months and not been replaced.

The team, numbering over a dozen at one point, was considered large for such an effort and represented Secretary of State John Kerry’s intense interest in brokering a deal.

Makovsky is director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Project on the Middle East Peace Process and is the co-author of the book Myths, Illusions, & Peace with Oslo architect Dennis Ross, another disillusioned leftist.

The “peace process” died and was buried years ago, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s reincarnation efforts have produced nothing but war, which was going to happen anyway.

President Barack Obama once named George Mitchell as the great savior who was going to rescue the world, all of whose problems were seen as rooted in the lack of a new Arab country for the Palestinian Authority.

Mitchell slowly faded away into oblivion, as did Indyk, both of whom carried on with the American two-faced policy that it was up to both sides to decide the conditions for a peace accord while Kerry nevertheless unabashedly kept dictating the terms of a final agreement, mostly but not totally at the expense of Israel. He managed to lost the trust of both Israel and Mahmoud Abbas.

Even President Obama apparently has finally realized that the “peace process” is a dead-end that will give historians even more evidence in their indictments of his administration whose accomplishments can be counted on one hand with amputated fingers.

JTA contributed to this report.

US Pushes PA Agenda and Tells Israel to Cancel New Gush Etzion Town

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

The U.S. State Dept. told Israel Tuesday “to reverse” the decision announced earlier this week to clear the way for a new Jewish town on 400 acres of land near Bethlehem.

State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki also castigated the Netanyahu government even planning an announcement for new homes for Jews in eastern Jerusalem, accusing it of acting “contrary to Israel’s stated goal of negotiating a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians, and it would send a very troubling message if they proceed.”

The American statement totally undermine any pretense that the Obama administration is willing to allow the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government to negotiate and instead is talking for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has demanded that Israel cease all activity for Jews in Judea and Samaria and half of Jerusalem that it intends to be part of an independent PA state.

Today was not the first time this week that the United States has objected to the declaration of Givaot, an area in Gush Etzion, as state land, but Psaki’s strong language was virtually an order to the Israeli government.

After having expressed “concern” on Sunday, the absence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s shuttering in fear, kissing Psaki’s foot and repenting for the ghastly act of laying claim to land that belongs to no one, apparently prompted her to use the sledgehammer Tuesday.

After calling on Israel to change its mind on Gush Etzion, which Abbas and President Barack Obama know very well remain under Israeli sovereignty no matter what, Psaki turned her fury on the audacity of Israel to even consider tampering with Jerusalem.

“We are also very concerned by reports that new settlement and East Jerusalem construction or planning announcements may be issued at any time, including for the sensitive area of (Givat HaMatos) in East Jerusalem,” Psaki added. By stating that ”these steps” are contrary to Israel’s stated goal of negotiating a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians,” she took the issue off the negotiating table.

Her boss, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, has stated several times, as has President Obama, that the United States cannot decide the final status for the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Kerry has made suggestions but never has so boldly told Prime Minister Netanyahu to play by American rules, which change with the wind.

Psaki called the Israel announcements “unilateral steps that undermine the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution.” By the same logic, every time the Palestinian Authority builds a home in Judea and Samaria or in areas of Jerusalem it claims, it is a “unilateral action.”

Did the US Let Hamas Rule Israel’s Skies?

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

As Israeli officials work to untangle the mess at Ben Gurion International Airport in the wake of an international ban on flights in and out of Tel Aviv, an ominous question is hanging over the Jewish State.

Did the United States allow Hamas terrorists to rule over Israel’s skies? Why would an “ally” do such a thing?

Although the FAA lifted its ban — which had to be approved by the White House — by midnight Wednesday, it still wasn’t clear whether airlines got the message. Worse, perhaps they had.

The damage incurred by an unprecedented 48-hour FAA ban on flights to Israel by U.S. carriers was incalculable, triggering a cascade of bans and possibly unparalleled damage to Israel’s economy.

The European Aviatian Safety Agency (EASA) “strongly recommended” its airlines avoid operating in and out of Tel Aviv.

Air France, Lufhansa, Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Alitalia, Aeroflot and its associated airlines, and Turkish Airlines all suspended flights. Air Canada, generally a strong supporter of the Jewish State, also shied away.

Many still have not reinstated their flights. Those that have still have not established regular schedules. Ben Gurion airport is still a mess, with desperate travelers trying to figure out how to find their luggage and fix their ruined plans. Tracking down food, caring for children, getting enough sleep, changing clothes and dealing with hygiene needs — all of these issues were cast aside by many airlines after the first 24 hours, and by some from the very start, travelers told Israeli radio interviewers.

British Airways alone maintained its twice-daily flights to Ben Gurion International Airport from London Heathrow Airport.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered his gratitude and special thanks to British Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond on Thursday in a news briefing with media, noting that apparently Britain alone understood the importance of not handing a “free prize to Hamas terror.”

Fifteen minutes before midnight, the FAA lifted its flight restrictions on U.S. airline flights into and out of Ben Gurion airport “by cancelling a Notice to Airmen it renewed earlier today…

“Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation,” the notice read.

The back step followed a hugely publicized flight to Israel by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who scorned the FAA moved as ridiculous. Bloomberg immediately boarded an El Al plane straight to Tel Aviv, declaring to reporters that Ben Gurion International Airport is the safest in the world. The prime minister greeted Bloomberg at the airport, thanking him for coming and calling him a friend and a “man of principle and truth.”

John ‘Chicken’ Kerry Skips Israel on New Middle East Tour

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is on his way back to the Middle East for the umpteenth time, heading for Egypt and Jordan but without chancing a slip on the unwelcome mat in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

More significant is that the State Dept. announced Kerry’s tag-alongs will be  National Security Staff Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa Prem Kumar, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Egypt and Maghreb Affairs William Roebuck, Spokesperson Jen Psaki, and assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  Vice Admiral Kurt Tidd.

Kerry’s entourage is most notable for who is not going to give the travel agents more business . Absent are Jeffrey Feltmnan, the Assistant Secretary for the region, and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, who now is President Barack Obama’s personal hangman for the “peace process.” He has been hanging out in Washington incognito the past several weeks, and the State Dept. has not been able to tell nosey reporters exactly what he is doing, not that he ever knew himself.

“At the President’s direction, Secretary of State John Kerry will travel from June 22-27 to the Middle East and Europe to consult with partners and allies on how we can support security, stability, and the formation of an inclusive government in Iraq, to discuss Middle East security challenges, and to attend the NATO Foreign Ministerial,” the State Dept. declared in a press release.

After visiting Cairo and Amman, “The Secretary will then travel to Brussels, Belgium, to participate in the NATO Foreign Ministerial, which will discuss preparations for the NATO Summit in September as well as the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. In Paris, France, the Secretary will meet with key regional partners and Gulf allies on Middle East security challenges, including Iraq and Syria.”

Nothing about Israel, Nothing about the Palestinian Authority, and nothing about the “unity” government of Fatah and Hamas.

Journalists at the daily State Dept. media briefing don’t even ask about the “peace process” anymore, and the kidnapping of the three missing teenagers only crops up when the reporter for the Al Quds pro-Arab newspaper constantly jabs the spokeswomen about Israel’s “disproportionate” counter-terrorist operations.

It would be interesting to hear his reaction if Israel took “proportionate’ action and kidnapped three Palestinian Authority teenagers and whisked them away without a hint of who abducted them and if they are alive or not.

Kerry and the Obama administration can easily count on the media to forget about the peace process follies, thanks to the Syrian civil war and the collapse of security in Iraq, both countries where the United States made careful preparations for stability. Obama, who declared the assassination of Osama bin Laden was the beginning of the end of Al Qaeda, now is watching the terrorist organization breathing down the backs of Jordan and Baghdad.

Kerry’s predecessor Hillary Clinton, three months after the first peaceful protests three years ago against the regime, defended Syrian President Bassar al-Assad as a “reformer.” Prior to the uprising, when Kerry was head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was President Obama’s personal ambassador to Syria to restore diplomatic relations. He is lucky he did not succeed, but he has a pretty clean track record on that score.

Iraq is keeping the experts in Foggy Bottom busy to see how many more mistakes they can make.

Kerry and the Obama administration are licking their chops after the shambles of their nine-month crusade to make matters worse for Israelis and Arabs.

Keeping on top of the rapid-fire crises in the Middle East the past three years has been like trying to catch popcorn while it is jumping around in the machine.

US Been Meeting With Hamas for Months; Warns ‘We’ll Be Watching’

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Israeli civilians, rest assured: Hamas has promised the United States the organization would honor a 2009 “ceasefire” following Operation Cast Lead, in exchange for US recognition of the freedom fighters’ participation in the Palestinian Authority government. As such, Hamas has pledged not to fire rockets at Israeli civilians from its base in the Gaza Strip.

According to a report published Thursday on the BuzzFeed website, US officials extracted the far-reaching commitment during six months of secret talks between US and Hamas officials in Jordan, Egypt and Qatar. US Secretary of State John Kerry also warned the radical Islamic group that President Obama has his eye on the group and would be “monitor(ing)” the group over the next several months.

Since the end of Operation Cast Lead, more than 1,000 rockets and mortars have been fired at civilian targets in southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. The group made no commitment to refrain from drive-by shootings, suicide bombs, rocket attacks from Judea and Samaria, stoning Israeli cars, or anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement.

It is unclear from reports whether the freedom fighters were required to give promises to curb honor killings, to grant freedom of assembly to opposition groups or whether or not Hamas had pledged to distribute international aid to hospitals and refugee camps in the Gaza Strip.

There is also no indication that Hamas was required to comply with long-standing US policy – recognise Israel’s right to exist, renounce terror, abide by previous agreements – in order to obtain Washington’s stamp of approval.

State Department officials claimed to have no knowledge of the secret negotiations and said that assertions of  back channel talks were “completely untrue.” But BuzzFeed quoted at least one US official who said it was important to “have that line of communication” with yet another Islamist group in the Middle East.

“Our administration needed to hear from them that this unity government would move toward democratic elections, and toward a more peaceful resolution with the entire region,” said the US official.

In addition to a recognition and legitimacy, US sources said Wednesday that the Obama administration would continue to fund the Palestinian Authority, despite American law that bans funding terror groups.

Donald Rumsfeld: ‘A Trained Ape’ Better than Obama Administration

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A “trained ape” could have done a  better job than the Obama administration in handling relations with Afghanistan, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Fox News this week. He was commenting on Afghanistan’s turning its back on the United States and supporting the Russian takeover of Crimea.

“We have status of forces agreements probably with 100, 125 countries in the world,” he said Monday night on “On the Record with Greta van Susteren. “This administration, the White House and the State Department, have failed to get a status of forces agreement. A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement. It does not take a genius.”

Whether Obama and  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are geniuses is an open question, although it is reasonable to assume there aren’t too many geniuses running around in the State Dept., and apparently there are no apes there either.

If there were, Rumsfeld would have his candidate to handle American diplomacy, at least in Afghanistan, where he said relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai were good under the administration of George W. Bush but have gone  “downhill like a toboggan” under President Barack Obama.

Officials in Washington “have  trashed Karzai publicly over and over and over,” Rumsfeld said. “[Richard] Holbrooke, the special envoy did. Vice President [Joe] Biden did. Secretary Hillary Clinton has. The president has been unpleasant to him. And it seems to me they put him in a political box where he really has very little choice.”

Rumsfeld’s “trained ape” was not the first time he used that expression.

In 2001, when he was Secretary of Defense he said that with the growing ease in obtaining weapon technologies that could endanger the United States, “a trained ape can figure out that over the coming period, more people are going to have exceedingly powerful weapons, weapons more powerful than ever in the history of the world, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, chemical weapons.

In 2002, he again pulled out the cliché  while discussing the war in Iraq and said, “There’s no debate in the world as to whether they have those weapons. We all know that. A trained ape knows that.”

Without suggesting that a trained ape would be better at the State Dept. than Kerry, not to mention his switching jobs and travelling with the circus, training leaders can be learned from how to train apes.

Palomar College Professor Keith Hill wrote two years ago that he learned a lesson while watching the movie “Planet of the Apes.”

“In the movie, the scientists, who did not know they were dealing with intelligent apes, hung a banana from the ceiling and motioned to a stack of boxes,” the professor wrote. “The scientists hoped that the apes would stack the boxes to reach the banana, thus demonstrating intelligence. One of the apes stacked the boxes, climbed them, and stared at the banana without touching it.

“The scientists were baffled, and asked out loud, ‘Why won’t she take the banana?’ The ape turned to them, and to their amazement, said very clearly, ‘Because I loathe bananas!’”

His point is that trainers teach apes – and people – to mimic behavior “without taking into consideration that people think and sometimes need to know the reason why what they are learning is important to both them and the organization.”

He said organizations and schools have to understand that people need to know why they are being fed certain information and how to apply it.

Failure to realize this “leads to fear of failure, decreased motivation to try, and a lack of importance placed on that subject,” he continued.

Ya’alon Calls the Obama Administration a Weakling

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who earlier this year called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “messianic” and “obsessive,” upped the ante on Monday by calling the entire Obama administration a weakling and undependable in the “stop nuclear Iran” campaign.

“We had thought it would be the United States that would lead the campaign against Iran,” said Ya’alon at a lecture at Tel Aviv University.

He cited the Ukraine crisis as an example of “weakness” in the White House which he said cannot be depended on to stop Iran’s nuclear program. “We had thought it would be the United States that would lead the campaign against Iran,” said Ya’alon.

“People know Iran cheats”, he added, but the United States and its other Western allies “engage” Iran, leaving Israel with no choice other than “ to behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves.”

That is as close as he can come to threatening a military attack on Iran without actually giving the order in public.

His comments came on the eve of more talks with Iran in Vienna under the shadow of the crisis with Russia over its plan to annex the Crimean peninsula of the Ukraine.

As for the talks with Iran, Ya’alon implied a zero rating for American and Western negotiators. “Unfortunately, when it comes to negotiating at a Persian bazaar, the Iranians are better,” according to Ya’alon.

For good measure, the Obama administration’s feebleness regarding the civil war in Syria, where he said lack of American support for Sunni Muslims at war with Syrian President Bassar al-Assad and his Iranian-Hezbollah allies is a “disappointment” to rebels and their supporters, such as Saudi Arabia.

Ya’alon did not say anything that others in the government do not know, but he simply is being less diplomatic and calling a spade a spade and a weakling a weakling.

It is a bit pitiful that Kerry and Obama talk as if the world has not changed in 60 years since the United States was the undisputed world leader. When it said jump, other countries would ask, “Head first or foot first.”

When Obama says jump, the other side indeed jumps – on Obama. It is not surprising that Iran mocks the United States every day. It is not even a small miracle that Muslim countries make fun of him.

But now it is both the Palestinian Authority, which this week supported a YouTube song video mocking Kerry, as seen here, and Israel’s defense minister using Obamas a punching bag.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority are Obama’s two hopes to show the world how much influence he has, and the world is seeing exactly how impotent he is.

The last word goes to Mitt Romney, was laughed at in the 2012 presidential campaign when he attacked Obama’s foreign policy.
He wrote in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday, “President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton traveled the world in pursuit of their promise to reset relations and to build friendships across the globe. It is hard to name even a single country that has more respect and admiration for America today than when President Obama took office, and now Russia is in Ukraine.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/yaalon-calls-the-obama-administration-a-weakling/2014/03/18/

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