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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘President Barack Obama’

NY Times Blaming Israel for Egyptian Havoc

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The first outright finger pointing at Israel was published in the Sunday NY Times (Pressure by U.S. Failed to Sway Egyptian Military Leaders from Crackdown):

The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.

Israeli officials deny having reassured Egypt about the aid, but acknowledge having lobbied Washington to protect it.

When Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, proposed an amendment halting military aid to Egypt, the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee sent a letter to senators on July 31 opposing it, saying it “could increase instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israeli ally.” Statements from influential lawmakers echoed the letter, and the Senate defeated the measure, 86 to 13, later that day.

The fact is, Israel—and the Saudis—are trying desperately to save America from its own delusions about a democratic Arab world springing forth with equality and freedom for all. Egypt’s neighbors are anxious about the possibility of a civil war in Egypt and understand that a firm government is the essential first step towards recovery from the events of the past three months and the past two years in Egypt.

But now, according to the way the NY Times sees the world on Monday morning, Israel is “Escalating Efforts to Shape Allies’ Strategy.”

The original headline, according to NewsSniffer, was “Israel Puts More Urgency on Shaping Allies’ Actions” and was modified twice since the earlier posting.

An unnamed Israeli government official told the Times that Israel is going to spend this week twisting European and American arms in an attempt to prevent them from pulling their support from the Sisi regime, even though his soldiers have been brutal in their treatment of the Muslim Brother demonstrators.

The official explained the Middle east realities in blunt terms: “We’re trying to talk to key actors, key countries, and share our view that you may not like what you see, but what’s the alternative? If you insist on big principles, then you will miss the essential — the essential being putting Egypt back on track at whatever cost. First, save what you can, and then deal with democracy and freedom and so on.”

And he added, even more bluntly:

“At this point,” the official added, “it’s army or anarchy.”

Speaking of anarchy, no one is certain that even with full Western support the Sisi regime would be able to withstand the onslaught of highly motivated, unafraid Muslim Brothers. While the army is bound by some modicum of restraint, the Muslim Brothers recognize no such boundaries. While about a thousand of their number have been killed, they have been joyfully burning down Coptic churches and murdering Egyptian Christians in the streets. Over the long haul, if the Brothers are not stopped effectively, they could wear down the regime and demoralize the army. That could throw Egypt into a full blown, Syrian style civil war.

In addition to it being a public relations disaster for the Obama Administration, as caring individuals like senators Paul and McCain rip the president mercilessly on his policy and call for cutting off $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt, there’s President Barack Obama’s injured ego. A project he began right after his election has collapsed right before his eyes, and despite all of his efforts to communicate his strong views on the matter (Sec. Hagel called Sisi 17 times), the Muslim Brothers revolution is no more.

“The violent crackdown has left Mr. Obama in a no-win position: risk a partnership that has been the bedrock of Middle East peace for 35 years, or stand by while longtime allies try to hold on to power by mowing down opponents,” the Times wrote on Sunday.

So now, it appears, the largely quiet efforts on the part of Netanyahu to communicate to Obama (the two are yet to speak directly since the start of the crisis) how crucial it is that American support—and the Egyptian-Israeli peace deal—remain intact, will be used to portray Israel as some kind of puppet master, goading the generals to shoot into the crowd.

Obama Scolds Egypt by Cancelling Joint Military Exercise

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

President Barack Obama announced Thursday that the Egyptian security forces’ brutal campaign against Muslim Brotherhood opponents has convinced him to cancel a major joint US-Egypt military drill that takes place every two years and is a source of prestige to the Egyptian army.

“We want to sustain our relationship with Egypt [but] our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets,” he said.

Obama did not hint of a more severe reaction, such as reducing military aid to Egypt. GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a fierce critic of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, openly hinted that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is partly to blame for the violence in Egypt.

“As we predicted and feared, chaos in Cairo,” McCain tweeted. “Sec Kerry praising the military takeover didn’t help.”

Obama Meets with Israeli and PA Negotiators

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

President Barack Obama stepped in with his first personal involvement in the renewed Palestinian Authority-Israeli negotiations Tuesday morning by meeting with representatives from both sides.

Publicly, he said, “This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead.”

Obama’s participation came only hours after another Middle expert proved that no one in Washington really knows “who’s on first.”

The Washington Post noted how the president is showing his reliance on  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Is staying out of the limelight. To make its case, the newspaper quoted Aaron David Miller, a longtime Middle East adviser to Democratic and Republican presidents, as saying, “You don’t want to waste presidential capital,” said Miller, now vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center. “But in the end, Obama is going to have to own this if it’s going to succeed.”

Tzipi Livni and Shlomo Molcho of Israel and Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayyeh of the Palestinian Authority met at 8 a.m. EDT with Martin Indyk, the new presidential special envoy for the 22-year-old “peace process.”

After their meeting with the president, they will talk again and hold a press conference in the evening, a probable photo-op to put a checkmark in the diplomatic column.

While the Americans and Israelis spouted off the usual clichés of bearing heavy responsibilities for a difficult path under  another window of opportunity that is closing, chairman Mahmoud Abbas called the tune in Ramallah, stating that no soldier and Jewish citizen will remain in land in a Palestinian Authority country, if it ever is created.

Lacking and real substantial news, a couple of reporters covering the State Dept. asked at the daily press briefing Monday if the negotiators and Kerry were easting at a plain old dinner of an “Ifta” dinner, marking the end of the daily fast of Ramadan.

The menu was not disclosed.

Obama’s Popularity Sinks to One Point above All-Time Low

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

President Barack Obama’s approval has sunk to only one percentage point above the all-time low in November 2011, according to a new poll released Wednesday by NBC and The Wall Street Journal.

Only 45 percent approve of his job as president, and 50 percent said they disapprove, mainly because of their view of his handling, or mishandling, the economy.

The most serious drop in his support was among African-Americans, whose support for President Obama now is 10 points less than it was in June and 15 points below the level in April.

The American public is even less happy with Congress. A grand total of 12 percent of the respondents gave the legislative body an approval rating, tying it to the previous all-time low.

Reminder: Mid-term elections are more than a year away.

Obama Pressing Netanyahu as Government Split on 2-State Solution

Friday, July 19th, 2013

President Barack Obama last night phoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to keep up his efforts to start negotiations with the Palestinians, and to support the hard work Secretary of State John Kerry has been investing in this project. This despite the fact that the Palestinians were appearing to, once again, pull Israel’s chestnuts out of the fire.

On Thursday, Amin Maqboul, secretary-general of Fatah’s revolutionary council, said Israel’s rejection of the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations signaled that Israel had no intention of stopping settlement building in “Palestine.” So they’re rejecting the whole thing.

Not good enough for Obama and Kerry, who spend so much time and effort on their obsession with the 2-State thing, you’d thing their office maps of the Middle East don’t include key spots like Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Iran.

We suggested yesterday that the only reason Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was willing to join the talks without preconditions was because he was promised that he’d get all his conditions shortly after the start of the talks.

Kerry on Thursday extended his sixth visit to the region, saying he was hoping for a breakthrough on direct negotiations. He had met with Abbas in Jordan for two rounds of intensive talks on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Maqboul told the Ma’an news agency on Thursday that Palestinian leaders had already reached a consensus with Kerry that for talks to resume, Israel must agree to negotiate on 1967 lines—that means giving up East Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan before the talks have begun, then release an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners with Jewish blood on their hands, and stop settlement building. There’s been a de facto settlement freeze in place for at least two years now, but the Arabs want something in writing, and they want it now.

Is Bibi giving in to American pressure? According to the Palestinians—you bet your Bibi. Maqboul is saying Israel has already agreed to release 250 Palestinian prisoners, and to release Palestinians detained before the 1993 Oslo Accords in stages, once talks resume.

Some of those prisoners still carry a coupon for one free slice at Sbarro’s, for heaven’s sake.

But Netanyahu would not agree to basing the negotiations on Israel’s recognition of the 1967 line, stubborn, unreasonable man that he is. And although you can pay a fine and lose your investment if you dare close your porch in East Jerusalem—officially there’s no freeze, and Netanyahu won’t say there is. So PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yousef said that the Palestinians were forced to refuse to return to talks “because Israel would not announce a settlement freeze or recognize the Palestinian state.”

At which point Kerry called Obama, Obama got on the phone and read Bibi the riot act.

An estimated 20 Syrians died while Barry and Bibi rehashed their differences. No matter.

But does Netanyahu have the votes inside his coalition for any of the concessions?

Mind you, a coalition collapse at this point, before the end of July, means that the budget would not pass—and the entire effort of going to the voter and erecting a new coalition began with the need to pass the new budget, with its draconian cuts of around $10 billion. So Bibi simply cannot afford a bitter fight at home right now. Fighting will have to be suspended till August.

This is something the right-wing of Netanyahu’s coalition understands well. Which is why Naftali Bennett, head of the 12-member Beit Yehudi coalition partner, has chosen to start rejecting the 2-state now, after six months of Trappist silence on the issue.

Responding to the European Union directive (which goes into effect today) against the legitimacy of Jewish life beyond the “green line,” Bennett said our answer to the Europeans must be another birth, another planted tree, another home, and another village.

Speaking at an outpost in the region of Benjamin, Bennett told the residents: “You are the antidote to all kinds of boycotts.”

But voices within the Likud-Beiteinu faction—and senior voices at that—are reading the Obama handwriting on the wall, and starting to flex their muscles. On Friday morning, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin told Reshet Bet that accepting the 1967 border would be suicidal. He also rejected out of hand the notion of Israel’s capitulating on all the disputed issues—in order to facilitate the start of the negotiations. What would they negotiate, then? The size of Jewish coffins?

Obama Urging Calm in Wake of Zimmerman Acquittal

Monday, July 15th, 2013

President Barack Obama appealed for calm on Sunday, after a Florida jury comprised of six women acquitted George Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman, of murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.

In a written statement, Obama called the death of Trayvon Martin a tragedy for his family and for America, but said “we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.”

The acquittal of Zimmerman Saturday dominated television news and the Internet on Sunday, with incidents of protests in communities as far away as San Francisco.

The 17-year-old Martin was killed on February 26, 2012 in a struggle with the armed Zimmerman, who is Hispanic. Many said Martin was profiled and targeted because he was black and walking at night in a gated, mostly white community. Zimmerman—a neighborhood watch volunteer—spotted Martin and called police. He then got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. A confrontation and struggle followed, ending with Zimmerman shooting Martin.

The case made national news after it was discovered that Zimmerman was not charged for more than six weeks after the shooting, because police accepted his claim that he shot Martin in self-defense.

Now, it appears, the jury did as well. But the U.S. Justice Department said it is looking into the prosecution of Zimmerman under federal statutes. So the other side might get its brand of justice, in the end.

State Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda says he was disappointed by the ruling, but will respect the jury’s decision. The prosecution argued that Zimmerman profiled the teen and followed him because he assumed Martin was going making trouble in the gated Florida neighborhood.

Immediately after the verdict, Martin’s supporters, including his family members, used media to express their rage about the jury decision.

Zimmerman’s defense lawyer, Mark O’Mara, was ecstatic. “George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense. I’m glad that the jury saw it that way.”

Chaos in Egypt: Obama Backed Another Wrong Horse

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

The Egyptian army military announced on Tuesday it will establish an interim regime if Mohammed Morsi cannot come to an agreement with opposition forces by Wednesday night, a virtual impossibility.

The army insisted it is not intending to rule the country, but in effect it plans to unilaterally dissolve the legislature and appoint Egypt’s chief justice to head Egypt, a threat that has sent the Obama administration running in all directions.

President Barack Obama is suffering another foreign policy flop in the Middle East, where he and his officials previously gave its total support to the Palestinian Authority, which then turned its back on the United States “peace process.” Washington backed Syrian President Bassar al-Assad at the beginning of the protest movement there more than two years ago, and officials insist on making peace with Taliban terrorists.

And now, one year after having excitingly knighting Morsi as the democratic leader of Egypt following the American-backed ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the Obama administration is frantic at the prospect of another military regime controlling the military aid that Washington offers Cairo.

Violence in Egypt continues. Four more people were killed in clashes on Tuesday. The Muslim Brotherhood has brought out tens of thousands of supporters, many of them armed with clubs, to march in support of him while millions of demonstrators maintain that the only compromise Morsi can make with them is to resign.

The chaos in Cairo is mirrored in Washington.

The Obama administration has suggested to Morsi that he call for early elections, according to officials who spoke on anonymity.

“No, No,” said the State Dept. Nothng of the sort. “The reports that we have been urging early elections are inaccurate,” State spokesman Jen Psake told reporters Tuesday.

President Obama said in Tanzania during the last part of his current  trip to Africa, “Our commitment to Egypt has never been around any particular individual or party. Our commitment has been to a process.”

Really?

The Obama administration was so enamored by the Arab Spring rebellion against the Mubarak regime that it  voted to end a stable and corrupt regime for one that has turned out to be unstable and corrupt.

“The U.S. government’s attitude has been we would deal with a democratically elected government,” Obama said Tuesday. “Democracy is not just about elections — it’s also about how are you working with an opposition?”

Give the United States a democracy, and everything will be just fine.

It is not only the Obama administration that has made democracy unsafe for the Middle East. The Bush administration was not better, having patted itself on the back for introducing democratic elections to the Palestinian Authority as a model for other Arab countries in the region.

And Hamas capped off the model with a parliamentary victory. The terrorist organization then gave the United States a lesson in democracy, Middle East style, and staged a military coup to oust the Fatah party, headed by chairman Mahmoud Abbas, from Gaza.

In Egypt, it is déjà vu. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where demonstrators accused the United States three years of backing the dictatorship of Mubarak, a sign declared that the U.S. president supports “dictator Morsi.”

The prospects of a military regime scare the Obama administration no less than Morsi’s staying in power and leading the country into civil war.

The Pentagon provides Egypt with $1.3 billion a year in military sales, a gift for Cairo’s signing a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. The military aid has emboldened the Egyptian to stand up to Morsi. On the other hand, as Politico noted on Tuesday, the Pentagon can threaten the military with a halt in aid if it pulls off a coup.

But in the Middle East, “negotiations” are ultimatums,” a “peace treaty” is a “piece of paper, and an “interim regime” is a “coup.”

A coup? God forbid.

“The beliefs and the culture of the Armed Forces do not allow pursuit of a ‘coup’ policy,” the military said, adding the military acts only “with the will of the great Egyptian people and their ambitions towards change and reform.”

 

Burger Ranch Going to Ariel, Where McDonald’s Fears to Tread

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Only in Israel could the location of a fast food burger hangout be a “shot heard ‘round the world” that could set off a new Arab uprising.

Or maybe Israel will be the source of a “Peace Burger.”

Burger Ranch has decided to set up a branch in Ariel after McDonald’s Israel, whose franchise is owned by a Peace Now founder Omri Padan, announced it would maintain its policy of boycotting Judea and Samaria.

“Ariel is a major city in Israel, and there is no reason for us not to have a branch there,” Eli Orgad, an owner of Burger Ranch, was quoted as saying in the Israeli newspaper Maariv. “I will open anywhere that the state of Israel has decided that its citizens are located.”

Take that, Omri Padan. Since Jews have no right to live in Judea  and Samaria, he reasons, he is not going give them the right to eat McDonald’s burgers. If they want a Big Mac, let’em go to Tel Aviv, the “real Israel” although a much smaller sandwich.

When Padan was general manager of a textile company, he informed the directors that he would quit if they dared set up a plant in Judea and Samaria, even though it would provide employment to Palestinian Authority Arabs.

The Burger Ranch move to Ariel is a double whammy for Ronald McDonald.

Yigal Delmonti, deputy director of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria suggested that Israelis boycott the golden arches.

Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett promised “to come and eat the first hamburger at the [Burger Ranch] branch on the day it opens, which is expected to be next year, when a new mall in Ariel is completed.

By that time, the European Union may have gone bankrupt, which would mean the Palestinian Authority no longer would exist. Or Hezbollah may have fired rockets into northern Israel, overshooting their target and wiping out some Arab villages in Samaria.

Or maybe Abbas will have succeeded in winning official membership in the United Nations, making the Palestinian Authority a full partner in the world’s most prestigious anti-American NGO.

Or maybe the Boycott Israel movement will have collapsed. It has failed to convince people to stop eating at McDonald’s even though it is religiously observant of maintaining a distance of at least a stone’s throw from Judea and Samaria.

“McDonald’s Corporation is a major corporate partner of the Jewish United Fund and Jewish Federation,” according to one Boycott Israel site. “The Jewish United Fund also runs ‘Fun-filled Summer Family Missions to Israel’ where families get to ‘visit an army base and meet with Israeli soldiers’ and ‘visit our sister city, Kiryat Gat and see the important work we are doing there.’ Kiryat Gat is built on stolen Palestinian land – the lands of the villages of Iraq Al Manshiya and Al-Faluja whose residents were ethnically cleansed in 1949 in contravention of International Law….

“McDonald’s first restaurant in the Middle East was in Israel, opened in 1993.”

So if the Boycott Movement cannot keep people from eating Big Macs, presumably it won’t be able to keep them out of Burger Ranch.

And what if Burger Ranch serves up a new item on the menu, something like a Peace Burger?

Take two rolls, one baked in Jenin and the other in the Jewish area of Hevron. Spread hummus generously and add two slices of ground meat, one of them in the design of Abbas’ face and the other an image of Netanyahu,

Take two pieces of Gush Katif lettuce and place them between the slices of meat and then put in a third slice, a cutout of John Kerry’s face.

Now, after the proper blessing for peace,  eat the whole thing and be done with all of them.

Then we can have some peace and go back to arguing about where Obama was born.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/burger-ranch-going-to-ariel-where-mcdonalds-fears-to-tread/2013/07/02/

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