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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Obama Administration’

US Mid-East Czar: Settlers Bad

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

The United States strongly condemns settler violence and does not accept the legitimacy of Judea and Samaria settlement expansion, a top Obama administration official told the American Task Force on Palestine, JTA reported.

Philip Gordon, the National Security Council coordinator for Middle East policy, emphasized perceived Israeli transgressions in describing the difficulties afflicting renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in an address Tuesday evening to the annual gala dinner of the ATFP.

“The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement expansion,” Gordon said, an apparent reference to new housing starts announced by Israel in recent weeks.

Citing attacks by settlers on Palestinian olive groves, he said, “We also strongly condemn settler violence.”

Of course, it is well known that no olive tree is ever pruned by Arabs – they’re all cut down brutally by settlers who, let’s face it, hate olive trees and are even prepared to violate the laws off Shabbat to take down those poor trees.

Like on Saturday, Oct. 19, as reported by Ma’an, Israeli settlers chopped down more than 100 olive trees in “the village of Qaryut early Saturday.”

“Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who monitors settler activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Eli destroyed over 100 trees.”

Here’s a telling factoid in the same Ma’an story: “According to a 2012 report on Israeli settler violence released by the Palestine Center, a Washington-based nonprofit, every year the olive harvest period sees the highest peak in attacks on Palestinian civilians and property.” So, you prune your tree, then you realize there are so many broken branches rolling on the ground, they shouldn’t go to waste, and you come up with this ingenious story about settlers who are violating the Sabbath because they hate olives so much.

Gordon praised both sides for renewing talks and for confidence building measures, noting that Israel has released prisoners convicted of terrorist attacks and that the Palestinians have suspended bids to achieve statehood recognition.

You see the difference between the two sets of gestures? The released prisoners are gone, and even if the Palestinians walk from the negotiations table tomorrow, the prisoners will stay gone. But the suspended bids for statehood – they can be unsuspended at any time.

It’s so cool when you can do that…

However, in citing elements that do not create a “conducive atmosphere” for the talks, Czar Gordon did not mention Israeli complaints about the Palestinians, including a spate of recent rocket attacks and the Israeli sense that Palestinians are not doing much to discourage incitement to violence. Heck, they’re doing much of the inciting themselves, over their official TV.

He praised Israel for removing some restrictions inhibiting Palestinian movement in Judea and Samaria, but called on it to do more.

According to JTA, The ATFP is a leading advocate for a two-state solution, and works closely with a broad array of Jewish and pro-Israel groups. Many of them were represented at the gala dinner.

Jewish groups collaborating with ATFP include Americans for Peace Now.

Much of the above report was filed by JTA, but we felt compelled to correct some of the items presented as facts in the initial copy. We did so much fixing, that we feel it can no longer be presented as a JTA report. But the original news gathering for this report was definitely done by JTA.

White House Presses Congress Not To Intensify Sanctions

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

The National Security Council has asked Congressmen at a White House briefing to delay passing new Iran sanctions, according to BuzzFeed.

The meeting with top staffers from congressional committees dealing with Iran sanctions was called after the Obama administration launched renewed talks this month with Iran in the wake of pledges from its newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, to cooperate with major powers in making Iran’s nuclear program more transparent.

Administration officials have said sanctions will remain in place until Iran tangibly shows it is abiding by U.N. Security Council resolutions and suspending uranium enrichment, but some congressional leaders, in line with the policy advised by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, want to intensify existing sanctions as a means of increasing leverage over Iran.

Peres Hoping for a Possible ‘Iranian Spring’ Rebellion

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

President Shimon Peres said on Thursday that he sees the possibility of an “Iranian Spring” rebellion that would upset the Iranian regime’s nuclear cart.

“Don’t underestimate the power and ability of the people,” the president said in an on-stage interview at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference.

Is it possible? Yes. Is it probable? Who knows?

But is it desirable?

The United States praised the new promised democracies in the Middle East as the Arab Spring rebellions swept from Tunisia throughout the region.

In every single case – Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Syria – a brutal dictatorship has been replaced by brutal anarchy, which only has made the entire region more unstable, unreliable and unpredictable.

But the Peres mentality is identical with his Nobel Peace Prize promoters in the U.S. State Dept., where its experts have doctorate degrees on the Middle East and Islam but don’t know hummus from techina.

The United States was hopeful for an “Iranian Spring” under the Ahmadinejad regime in 2009 and 2010. His goon squads put out the fires.

The Obama administration welcomed the Arab Spring rebellion in Egypt, ushered out Mubarak and now is without a reliable voice in Cairo, which is trying to climb the slippery slope of bankruptcy under a military regime that knows an election now would result in more chaos and violence.

Libya, where the United States thought it was saving the country from Qaddafi, is facing civil war.

Both Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post on Thursday ran an analysis that, in brief, stated that the country is flooded with weapons and rival tribes that are not far away from turning into chaos – again.

For Peres’ short memory, two years ago plus one day, the Libyan National Transitional Council declared “the liberation of Libya” after the civil war in which Qaddafi was killed a few days later.

Ostensibly, the United States did not intervene in Egypt or Syria as it did in Libya. Instead, the Obama administration has encouraged upheaval in the name of democracy and has received anarchy in the name of upheaval.

Israel was much better off with Mubarak and still is better off with Assad. “Better the enemy you know than the one you don’t know.”

Assad, for all his threats and demands of Israel, never has been a direct threat. Unlike Jordan and Egypt, there is no “peace treaty” to fret over.

Peres’ concern on Iran, of course, is focused on the threat of nuclear weapons.

If there were to be an Iranian Spring, not even President Peres – Mr. Optimism – knows if it would be for the better or the worse, and it would not necessarily spell the end of a nuclear Iran.

Forcing change is risky in the Middle East.

Does Peres remember what happened in Iraq?

Remember Gen. “Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf? He commanded a typically American “victory” in the 2001 Gulf War, carrying out a textbook offensive to crush Saddam Hussein’s war machine, declare victory and return as a war hero.

If President Peres reads the right newspapers, he knows that Iraq is plagued by suicide bombings and terrorist attacks almost every day.

The United States may have won the war, but it lost Iraq. For more on that, read what The Jewish Press’ Yori Yanover wrote here.

The aftershocks of the war were the same as those after the Arab Spring rebellions.

Mr. President, are you sure you want another one?

Here’s How the IDF Blows up a Terrorists’ Tunnel (Video)

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

The aftermath of a controlled explosion of a terror tunnel into Israel from Gaza looked like a mammoth counterterrorist bombing, but no one in the Gaza Belt area is breathing easier because who knows how many other tunnels have not been discovered?

The IDF revealed on Tuesday that the tunnel, containing several barrels of explosives, reached Israel from central Gaza, near what used to be Gush Katif before the Sharon government expelled all Jews from Gaza and then withdrew all soldiers. Hamas immediately demolished remaining greenhouses and turned the ground into training camps for terrorists.

Last week, another tunnel was discovered reaching Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha, but it has not yet been destroyed.

The tunnel that was blown up, as seen in the video below, was built with 500 tons of cement arches and was “extremely advanced and well prepared,” said Gaza commander Brig. Gen. Michael Edelstein.

The government woke up after the discovery of the second tunnel and decided that maybe it was not such a brilliant idea to allow building materials, such as cement, to enter Gaza. Maybe, just maybe, Hamas and other terrorist organizations will use the cement for non-peaceful purposes.

If Israel was under pressure from the United States, as usual, to ease restrictions on what can enter Gaza, it is just another example of the U.S. government – and it was true under Bush just as it is true under Obama – acting as authority for Israeli security without taking any responsibility.

If the terrorists had succeeded, God Forbid, in blowing up a few soldiers and a Jewish town, well, that’s the price of peaceful hallucinations in Foggy Bottom.

The IDF knows there still are dozens, if not hundreds, of terrorists’ tunnels remaining in Gaza,. It knows the location of some of them because after every rocket attack or mortar shelling on Israel, the Air Force immediately bombs a “weapons storehouse” or a “terror tunnel.”

Gen. Edelstein told reporters, “Yes. There are [more tunnels]. We are looking after them and we will do what we need to do in order to meet those threats — either here or in the Gaza Strip.”

That is what he said, but that is not the way the IDF has acted in the past. The government and military’s attitude to terror tunnels reflects Western thinking of dealing with terrorist organizations as if they were run by the State Dept., which enjoys talking to itself.

The latest tunnel that was discovered will be blown up because it was obviously a clear and present danger to Israelis, but no one the Defense Ministry has ever explained why there are no orders to the IDF to blow up all of the other tunnels that are known to exist. If the IDF were to be too aggressive, it might upset the United Nations.

Gen. Edelstein tried to reassure Gaza Belt Jews by saying that the military considered the construction of the tunnel an “extreme violation” of the ceasefire following the Pillar of defense counter terrorist operation last year.

It is nice of the military to consider it a “violation.” Maybe it will complain to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry? Maybe it will complain to the United Nations?

Even better, or worse, maybe it will complain to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas?

Jews in southern Israel have heard the refrain “The IDF will do whatever necessary to defend the citizens of Israel” so often that it does not even go in one ear anymore.


 

While the US Is Aiding Abbas, the EU Says He’s Crooked

Monday, October 14th, 2013

A London newspaper report of a  European Union audit citing gross corruption in the Palestinian Authority is the latest, but not the last, exposure of a PA regime that is a decaying creature living on borrowed time.

In August, the United States signed a $148 million agreement with the Palestinian Authority to support the budget in Ramallah.

U.S. Consul General Michael Ratney stressed how much the Obama administration supports Abbas government in order to strengthen its institutions, all part of the master plan to show that the Palestinian Authority functions as a state. All it needs, according to the U.S. State Dept., is the stamp of approval that it is a country.

The very idea of creating a new Arab state within Israel’s current borders is a dream for President Barack Obama, so he had no trouble in August to waive restrictions set by Congress to send more tax dollars to Ramallah,  part of a prize for resuming the so-called peace talks that are rapidly on their way to joining previous discussions in the grave from which they were exhumed in July.

Shortly after the U.S. aid, France and the Palestinian Authority signed a $15 million agreement to bail out Abbas’ depleted coffers, which have a bottom line of approximately minus $500 million.

Hamdallah then met EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, one of Israel’s biggest thorns in the you know where, to ask for more money.

When it comes to schooring, Abbas has it all over the Jews.

As usual, the PA says it needs money because Israel is choking it as well as Gaza with the famous siege that does not exist., except for that which the Egyptian military regime has imposed. But  that does not count since it is not part of the Zionist lobby.

Make no mistake about it, says Abbas. “Israel exploits our resources and lands which directly leads to an increase in the deficit which we must contend with,” and “the central reason for this is the Israeli occupation.”

That is the magic code word for Abbas to get whatever he wants. If there is not enough rain, it is because of the occupation. If it is Tuesday and not Wednesday, it is because of the occupation.

Now it is October. It’s salary time again, and guess what? Palestinian Authority  Finance Minister Shukri Bishara told Abbas it has no money to pay its workers, who officially comprise nearly 8 percent of the total population in Judea and Samaria, but in fact the number is far larger.

It has been reported year after that the Palestinian Authority is a welfare state and that it cannot exist on its own.

Anyone who simply travels through Judea and Samaria can see for himself huge villas and thousands of luxury cars. What people don’t see, or don’t want to see, is that many of those homes and cars were paid for by the billions of dollars a year that are controlled by officials who make Congressmen’s pork barrel look like small potatoes.

The Times of London revealed Sunday that a European Union audit shows that corruption and mismanagement managed to waste about $2 billion, which is three or four times the annual deficit and also is nearly equal to the total amount of money the EU has given to the Palestinian Authority in the four-year period ending last year.

This is no news to Palestinian Authority Arabs. The EU auditors could have saved themselves a lot of work and trouble if they simply had asked the local Arabs, just like pollsters did last year, when they discovered that an overwhelming 71 percent of Arabs believe that there is corruption in their government.

In order to boost the confidence of Abbas to remain corrupt, Uncle Sam will pay out approximately $440 million to Ramallah this years, which is less than the $513.4 million doled out last year but still $440 million more than zero, not including support for UNRWA.

Aid to Israel is in the billions, but a large part of it is funneled right back into the United States for purchases of Made in USA defense components.

In the case of the Palestinian Authority, the only money that goes back into the coffers of the United States is that which Abbas forks over in restaurants when schnooring in Washington.

Update: Egypt Wrongly Identified US Citizen Who Hanged Himself

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

An American citizen, now identified as James Lunn after Egypt said he was retired U.S. Army officer James Henry, hanged himself in an Egyptian prison cell Sunday after having been held for six weeks following a terrorist attack in the area.

Lunn who used his shoelaces to hang himself in his cell in the Suez City of Ismailia, one day after American consulate officials visited him. Egyptian officials had told him they were extending his detention by another 30 days.

Police arrested him on August 28 for violating a dusk-to-dawn curfew between El Arish and Rafiah, which straddles the Gaza border. Authorities then discovered he was carrying a map and some kind of undefined electronic device, shortly after terrorists killed five Egyptian policemen in a bomb attack. Egyptian police did not produce any evidence or charges connecting Henry to the explosion.

The only official comment after his suicide was statement by U.S. Embassy official in Cairo, who said , “A U.S. citizen prisoner in Ismailia died from an apparent suicide. The embassy is in contact with authorities regarding the case and continues to provide all consular services.” He also said that Lunn had not told Consulate officials of any mistreatment.

The suicide follows by one month the death of a French man at the hands of other prisoners, who killed him during severe beatings. Last week, two Canadians in the area were beaten up by police officials. They were preparing a documentary about Gaza doctors,

Sunday’s suicide may complicate matters for the regime, which already faces cuts in military aid form then Obama administration because of its failure to advance new elections following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi, although he was voted into office in free elections a year ago.

Obama Tries to Buy Democracy in Egypt with Cut in Military Aid

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

The Obama administration is cutting back military aid to Egypt in another effort to force democracy on a Muslim country that has become more unstable and violent with every American move to prove to Egyptians it knows what is best for them.

U.S. State Dept. assistant spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters Wednesday, “The President has…been clear that we are not able to continue to with business [with Egypt] as usual. As you know, we have already announced that we are not proceeding with the delivery of certain military systems… We will continue to support a democratic transition and oppose violence as a means of resolving differences in Egypt.”

The American government is suspending shipments of F-16 warplanes, Apache helicopters, 1,000 M1 tanks, spare parts needed for maintenance and missiles, among other items.

The cut in aid is “pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

The last time the United States tried that game, it resulted in the election of the Muslim Brotherhood government. One year later, the Obama administration saw its game plan went awry, and it backed the ouster of the democratically-elected government.

In other words, it wants the Egyptian military regime to get off its horse and take another crack at corrupting Islam with democratic elections.

If “corrupt” sounds too harsh, here is what former Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin (Fuad) Ben-Eliezer, born and raised in Iraq and a lot more in tune with the Arabic mentality that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and a long line of “have a nice day” predecessors.

He told Voice of Israel radio the Americans do not understand that democracy contradicts Islamic law.

But the Obama administration insists on forcing a round pole into a square hole.

Mubarak was an autocrat and a dear friend of several U.S. governments, but when the Arab Spring rebellion brought out the worst of Mubarak, with nearly 1,000 Egyptians brutally killed, the Obama administration jumped on the anarchists’ bandwagon and encouraged his overthrow.

Once it appeared the radical Muslim Brotherhood would be a dominant force, it did somersaults away from a strong policy of staying clear of the Brotherhood and instead began embracing it, despite its open anti-American and anti-Israel agenda.

The White House and Foggy Bottom congratulated the Muslim Brotherhood on winning the elections because it was a victory for democracy.

The rest is history. After one year, the Brotherhood proved just as corrupt and brutal as Mubarak, but politically ignorant.

So the Obama administration decided that democracy is not such a great idea when radical Muslims win.

Out goes the Muslim Brotherhood and in its place comes a “temporary” military regime, desperately trying to save Egypt from bankruptcy and from Hamas and Al Qaeda terrorists and  a few other fanatical groups vying for 72 virgins.

But the military regime was not very polite to the Brotherhood and brutally killed protesters. That is what Mubarak did. That is what the Brotherhood did. It seems that is the way things run in Egypt.

But Washington knows better and now is holding back some military aid, which will make it even harder for the regime to combat terrorists, such as those who killed four Egyptian soldiers Thursday morning in a car bomb explosion in the Sinai.

“We’ll see, next time, when a U.S. aircraft carrier wants to go through the Suez Canal, whether it goes to the front of the line,”  David Schenker, director of the Arab politics program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Bloomberg News Wednesday He added that  Egyptians “do a lot of things that are very helpful to us and they can be less helpful.”

The American government has thrown itself in a corner with a law that requires the suspension of aid to countries where there has been a coup d’etat, which the administration refuses to admit occurred in Egypt.

Despite the new suspension in military aid, the United States still is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into Egypt.

Paul Gamble, Director of the Africa & Middle East team of Fitch’s Sovereign Ratings Group, told Asharq Al-Awsat. “This does not mean any less money is going to the Egyptian economy, so it really does not have an impact. It’s more a political gesture.”

US Shutdown Suspends Military Aid to Israel

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

The Obama administration’s $3.2 billion annual military aid has been suspended due to the U.S. government shutdown over the debt ceiling. The sum for 2104 was to be transferred to Israel on October 1, but this is not the first time budget crises in the United States have delayed aid to Israel.

“We are not talking about a specific step regarding Israel,” Israel’s Minister of Economic Affairs to the United States, Eli Groner, told Globes. “There is no budget for most government activities because there is no Budget Act or decision for a continuing resolution for ongoing financing for the coming financial year, and that includes the budget for foreign aid.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-shutdown-suspends-military-aid-to-israel/2013/10/06/

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