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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Obama Administration’

Sweden Stuttering and Sweating over ‘Recognition of Palestine’

Monday, October 6th, 2014

The United States has slapped Sweden on its wrist for recognizing the Palestinian Authority as a state, a declaration that Stockholm already is trying to tone down without losing face, as reported here yesterday.

“We believe international recognition of a Palestinian state is premature,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

“We certainly support Palestinian statehood, but it can only come through a negotiated outcome, a resolution of final status issues and mutual recognitions by both parties.”

She then tossed out the outdated diplomatic cliché that Israel and the Palestinian Authority must “agree on the terms on how they live in the future two states, living side-by-side.”

That may have been possible – on paper- in the hey-day of the Oslo Illusions. Given the Arab and Israel red lines today, the “two-state” idea is only a solution to prevent mass unemployment the State Department.

Sweden decided the time has come to publicly announce that the “peace process” is nothing more than a scam to keep down the unemployment rate, and its newly-elected Prime Minister Stefan Löfven made his name a household world by making Sweden the first Western European country to formally recognize Palestine.

Israel was aghast, and the Swedish ambassador to Jerusalem – whoops, make that Tel Aviv – has an audience with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday.

As for the American criticism, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said, “It’s not the United States that decides our politics.”

If that is the case, why did Stockholm suddenly stutter and sweat to the point that the Swedish Foreign Ministry tweeted on Sunday that Sweden would recognize the Palestinian state “soon” and not immediately?

Löfven told Israeli Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog, who has stayed in touch with Löfven for several years, that Sweden “wasn’t going to recognize a Palestinian state tomorrow morning,” Haaretz reported.

Herzog added that Sweden “wants to speak first with all the relevant parties, including Israel, the Palestinians, the United States and other EU states.”

In other words, yes Mr. America, the announcement was premature, but let us climb down the tree without breaking our neck.”

Hertzog also spoke with Swedish Foreign Minister Wallström, who will get an earful from Lieberman at high noon today, and she further backtracked by saying, “We don’t want to surprise any of the relevant parties.”

The Labor party, left-wing as it is, still is not ready to urge national suicide. Herzog told Wallström, according to the Haaretz report, “Your policy challenges the principle of mutuality. I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do. Negotiations are preferable to unilateral moves that are liable to lead to undesirable consequences.”

Negotiations have not taken place for four years. They ended with the last concession that Israel could stomach without sacrificing more land and lives.

It is questionable whether even the Obama administration really believes its own words and is not simply babbling to keep its hat in the ring, but the Palestinian Authority certainly knows the “peace process” is lost somewhere between Mars and Pluto.

Mahmoud Abbas believes that he can unlock the door to a Palestinian state in the United Nations, where at least 112 countries have already recognized the State of Palestine.

If it comes into existence, it will be the first country in history that has no borders.

That may be exactly what Abbas wants so the Arab world can still fight to determine the borders as those of Israel, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean and from Lebanon to Egypt.

State Dept. Complains New Homes in Jerusalem ‘Poison’ US Peace Plan

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The U.S. State Dept. branded advancement of a project for 2,610 homes for Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem as “poison,” a label totally rejected by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

The statement by State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki exposes the total hypocrisy of the Obama administration’s stated policy that Israel and the Palestinian Authority should reach an agreement through negotiations.

She charged that the project for new homes in southern Jerusalem “poison the atmosphere not only with the Palestinians, but also with the very Arab governments with which Prime Minister Netanyahu said he wanted to build relations, and call into question Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”

The key words are a “peaceful negotiated settlement.”

President Barack Obama has repeatedly said that Jews living in parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority are “illegitimate” and ”illegal.”

He and his “straight man,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, have claimed that the United States will not try to force an agreement on a “take it or leave it basis,” but that is exactly what they do with such statements that every “illegal” home “poisons” the atmosphere.

The construction project indeed poisons the “peace plan,” which is a misnomer for a ploy to grant the Arabs world everything they want without negotiation – Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley, half of Jerusalem and mass immigration of millions of Arabs whose only connection to Israel is that they are third, fourth, and fifth generation descendants of permanent “refugees” created by the United Nations for the exact purpose of holding on them as demographic weapon to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with President Obama on Wednesday hours after Peace Now leaked the news that another bureaucratic obstacle has been removed for the construction project in the Givat HaMatos neighborhood, announced two years ago,

More than one-third of the proposed homes are slated for Arabs in the adjacent Beit Safata neighborhood. After Psaki’s condemnation and the White House’s objections that Jews are “stoking tensions” by the purchase this week of more buildings from Arabs in the Silwan area of eastern Jerusalem, Netanyahu said, “Arabs in Jerusalem freely buy apartments, and nobody says that is forbidden. I will also not say that Jews cannot buy property in Jerusalem. There cannot be discrimination between Jews and Arabs.”

Barkat said Thursday, that the Givat HaMatos project, rather than “poisoning” anything is a “necessary” step and that he will not be part of any policy that discriminates between the rights of Jews and Arabs to build in all of Jerusalem.

The Obama administration’s policy, which follows the lead of the Palestinian Authority and the Saudi 2002 Plan, does not object to Arab building in parts of Jerusalem claimed by the PA. It only objects to construction for Jews.

Some of the headlines of the American criticism are misleading are simply wrong.

One large Israeli news site proclaimed, “US-Israel Ties in Crisis Over East Jerusalem Building Plans,” but the disagreement, no matter how harsh Psaki’s words, is the same tempest in the same teapot that has brewed for years.

The real “crisis” is that the Palestinian Authority, Peace Now and the U.S. State Dept. are beside themselves because of their failure to hijack the “peace process” that has been in the works for more than 20 years and which has achieved agreement after agreement that the Palestinian Authority has reneged.

Blatant violations include worsening incitement for terror and the establishment of a Palestinian Authority army, under the guise of a “police force,” but Mahmoud Abbas’ fatal mistake was to ditch the entire premise of the process that a final status agreement is to be reached through “negotiations.” Israel has turned the other cheek dozens of times, but the Netanyahu government has held hits red line concerning Jerusalem remaining united.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-been-meeting-with-hamas-for-months-warns-well-be-watching/2014/06/05/

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