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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘State Department’

What Could Possibly Still Be On the Table?

Monday, September 1st, 2014

I’ve got to believe that today’s story about Kerry trying to restart Israeli final status talks with the Palestinian Authority is the product of a delusional mind.

Let’s step back a second, and ask what could possibly still be on the table after the summer we just had.

1) PA control over the Jordan Valley?

Nothing would make ISIS happier than no more Israeli forces poised to defend Jordan from invasion and takeover. Not to mention no Israeli forces protecting Israel’s border.

Would the State Department really abandon Jordan that way?

2) Israel pulling out of parts of Judea and Samaria?

Nothing would make Hamas happier than Abbas no longer having IDF protection, so they can more easily overthrow the PA there too.

Would the State Department really abandon Abbas that way?

3) Israel releasing the recidivist terrorists it just recaptured?

Nothing would make Hamas happier or more popular on the street than the release of its terrorists.

Would the State Department really strengthen Hamas that way?

I know there are cynical people that would say the answer to all these questions is yes.

But does anyone really believe the State Department is so delusional, shortsighted and determined to hurt America’s only real ally in the Middle East?

OK. Don’t answer that.

Arab Sources: State Dept Again Pressuring Israel to Restart Talks

Monday, September 1st, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State of John Kerry has again begun to ‘remind’ Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that it’s time to restart the final status talks with Palestinian Authority leaders.

Kerry allegedly phoned Netanyahu over the matter, adding a suggestion that Israel consider releasing that fourth group of terrorist prisoners that were held back from the final tranche that was canceled when the previous set of talks crashed and burned.

But Israel’s prime minister didn’t see things the same way, according to a report in the London-based Al Quds al-Araby – prompting Kerry to cancel his scheduled visit to Israel next week.

It is worth mentioning at this point that such reports are often best viewed with at least a large tablespoon of salt.

A source quoted in the Palestinian Authority also told the newspaper that a PA delegation to include chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat and intelligence head Majid Faraj said they would travel to Washington tomorrow (Tuesday) to meet instead with Kerry there, and present a new initiative.

Another PA delegation headed by PLO official Mustafa Barghouti is set to arrive today (Monday, Sept. 1) in Cairo as well. There, too, discussions will include – in addition to the follow-up to cease-fire arrangements with Gaza – the issue of restarting talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

It’s the same PA officials who plan to charge Israel with war crimes and violations of international human rights laws.

(Allegedly the PA has said they are planning to “delay” their applications to the UN Security Council and other international commission, IF an agreement is reached within four months.)

It’s also the same PA unity government that includes the Hamas terrorists who kidnapped three Israeli teens and murdered them in Gush Etzion on June 12.

The same PA government that is led by the Fatah faction, which includes the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist wing – which participated in the firing of rockets, missiles and mortars at Israel from Gaza.

The same PA government that has reneged on every agreement and backed out of every negotiation deal it has ever made with Israel.

The same PA government that has never managed to meet even the most basic obligations about working towards a ‘language of peace’ it agreed to under the Oslo Accords that established its existence as an entity in the first place.

The countless publications of the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) organization, which monitors PA media publications and broadcasts make it clear there have been no changes whatsoever in the glorification of terror at the government level from Ramallah. So how does Mahmoud Abbas differ from Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal?

Simple. He wages war with words, encourages terror at the diplomatic and educational level.

It’s the most dangerous terrorism of all, and the United States and Europe both fund his efforts, full throttle.

Lawmaker Says ‘Obama People Looking for Fight With Netanyahu

Friday, August 15th, 2014

A New York lawmaker says officials at the White House have “almost been looking for a fight” with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu since the day President Barack Obama entered the White House.

U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY) the New York Post on Thursday, “The Obama people came into office with almost a chip on their shoulder against Netanyahu. He was treated worse than most enemies are treated. They were almost looking for a fight with Netanyahu and they got it.”

King made his remarks against the background of a piece published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week describing the outrage of officials at the White House upon their discovery that Israel was about to receive a routine delivery of Hellfire missiles from the United States via the Pentagon.

There was nothing unusual about the transaction, which was a standard military-to-military order, as confirmed to media by spokespersons for defense departments on both sides of the Atlantic. But the Obama White House is still relatively unfamiliar with “standard operating procedures” in military matters — as many have pointed out — and upon discovering the weapons about to be sent to Israel, immediately put the delivery on hold.

According to the WSJ report, the Obama White House subsequently put the brakes on every military delivery to Israel, requiring future intense scrutiny of every single item henceforth.

A second lawmaker who has just returned from a visit to the Jewish State — U.S. Representative Steve Israel (D-LI), was less than pleased at the news.

“I can tell you firsthand,” he said, “When terrorists are firing rockets, it’s no time for behind-the-scenes speculation.”

State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf, meanwhile, made a lukewarm effort at damage control, claiming it’s “natural” to review such shipments “in any crisis.”

Jordan’s Arab Bank Goes on Trial in NY for Terror Financing

Monday, August 11th, 2014

A worldwide legal earthquake is about to begin in Brooklyn, where the Jordan-based Arab Bank goes on trial today (Monday) for authorizing money transfers from terror entities to Hamas members abroad.

The case, a lawsuit by the families of US victims of terror, has been 10 years in the making and revolves around ‘martyr payments’ to the relatives of Hamas suicide bombers via the Jordan-based Arab Bank through its New York branch during the second intifada.

The plaintiffs claim in their suit the Bank has violated Section 2339B of Title 18 of the US Code, which makes it illegal for an entity within the United States to provide material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations. Hamas is included on that list. Attorney Gary Osen of Osen LLC is the lead attorney in the case.

This is the first-ever civil trial targeting terrorist financing, one that has dragged on for a decade because Arab Bank has worked just that hard to fight it — or at least to delay the proceedings as long as possible. When the Supreme Court rejected the Bank’s petition to hear the case in June, the way was paved for today’s hearing in Brooklyn.

In April 2013, a New York Federal Court penalizing the Bank with an order imposing sanctions for refusing to submit documents for review by the plaintiffs to determine whether they could be used as evidence in the case.

That order raised Cain between three agencies at the federal level in the Obama administration – the US State Department, the Justice Department, and the Treasury Department – as officials tried to decide just how to deal with this delicate but dirty matter that affects not one, but at least two or more of America’s closest allies in the Middle East.

The Bank claimed it refused to submit the documents because it could have violated bank secrecy laws in Jordan and Lebanon. The lower US court was having none of that and ruled a jury could interpret that to mean an automatic admission of guilt on the part of the Bank.

In a pre-trial statement to Forbes, the Bank commented, “The facts show that Arab Bank provided routine banking service in compliance with applicable counter terrorism laws and regulations, and had no intention of providing support to Hamas or any other known terrorist organization.”

The Bank is accused of facilitating massive money transfers from 1998 to 2004 to Hamas leaders and institutions, as well as to the families of jailed Hamas members and suicide bombers. The money allegedly came from insurance benefits provided by the Saudi Committee and the Hezbollah al-Shahid Foundation. Both supported the intifada by providing benefits to the families of those who “martyred” themselves or who became injured or captured by the IDF in the process.

The insurance was “ultimately designed to provide substantial material support to Palestinian terrorist organizations and to provide a meaningful incentive both to prospective recruits and to individuals contemplating the commission of independent acts of violence in the name of the ‘popular resistance’,” according to the complaint, as quoted by Business Insider.

There were five attacks specified in the complaint in which Arab Bank allegedly facilitated money transfers to the relatives of Hamas terrorists. One was the October 2003 case of John Linde Jr., murdered with two other security officers while escorting US diplomats to interview Palestinian Arab candidates for Fulbright Scholarships. The three were killed by an IED (improvised explosive device, also known as a ‘homemade bomb’) in northern Gaza. A second involved 3-year-old Tehilla Nathansen, killed while sitting on her mother’s lap when terrorists blew up the No. 2 bus in Jerusalem in August 2003. A third child, 8th grader Jacob Mandell, was killed in a hail of rocks hurled by attacking Palestinian Arabs along with another friend while hiking in May 2001. And so on.

US Calls for Israeli Restraint Under Rocket Fire, Arab Violence

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

While calling on Israel to exercise “restraint” in the face of incessant rocket fire and nationwide Arab rioting, the United States says Hamas is not really part of the Palestinian Authority unity government.

Moreover, the U.S. contends that PA unity government leader Mahmoud Abbas carries no responsibility for its actions.

Abbas has yet to break his ties with Hamas and dissolve his Fatah faction’s unity pact with the terrorist organization that rules Gaza.

At a State Department news briefing on Monday, spokesperson Jen Psaki admitted to reporters Secretary of State John Kerry had asked Israel – “as he’s urged both parties” — to exercise restraint and “avoid steps that could further destabilize the situation.”

In response to an immediate question from a journalist as to whether Kerry had also spoken with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in the same manner, Psaki responded:

“He has spoken with him over the course of the last several days or week. I don’t – let me see if I have anything specific over the last – he spoke with him – let’s see – I know last Tuesday. He’s been in – I think it’s important to reiterate here we’ve been in touch on the ground very closely with both parties.”

The journalist persisted, noting, “Well, but you’ve seen the comments that are coming out of Hamas. And now that the U.S. has, in effect, kind of accept the fact that Hamas is now in this unity government, you would think that as leader of this unity government it would be incumbent on President Abbas to rein in or take – try and maintain some kind of control over the activities of Hamas. Isn’t that correct?”

Psaki’s reply: “Well, you’re right. I mean, we’ve stated – you’re right in the sense that we have stated from the beginning that we would judge the interim government by its actions, composition, and policies. And based on what we know now, this hasn’t changed. We don’t believe that Hamas plays a role in the government. However, to your point, it is difficult to see how other aspects of the reconciliation process can move forward in this current atmosphere, and we’ve conveyed that as well.”

The journalist did not let up. “Well, I mean, I understand that you – that maybe it’s a technicality that Hamas doesn’t play a part in this government, but it is a unity government that includes Hamas. And I’m just wondering, now does President Abbas more so than ever bear responsibility for the actions of Hamas?”

Psaki: “No. But we have – President Abbas himself has suggested that there would be serious consequences for whatever party carried out the crimes that we’ve been talking about over the last several weeks. And as I mentioned, it’s difficult for us to see, given this current atmosphere, how other aspects of the reconciliation process could continue.”

Journalist: “Just one quick last one. Did Secretary Kerry mention the specific case of this Israeli-Palestinian teen that was beaten?”

Psaki: “I don’t have any other further details, but I think it’s safe to assume when he’s talking about the escalating tensions on the ground, he’s talking about all of the reports that you’ve seen in the news that we’ve all been discussing.”

Journalist continues: “Did you have a response, reaction – and forgive me if I missed it – to the Palestinian teenager who was killed, this cousin of this – or did that happen over the –

Psaki: “I believe we’ve put out something over the weekend. I can double-check that and certainly. . .

Journalist: “Okay. Thus far, have you seen both sides exercising the kind of restraint that you think is necessary?”

North Korea to Indict 2 Detained Americans

Monday, June 30th, 2014

North Korea has announced it plans to indict two American citizens being held in custody for unspecified crimes.

In a four-sentence statement issued by state-controlled media, North Korea said Matthew Miller, 24, and Jeffrey Fowle, 56, two tourists, had been investigated for “perpetrating hostile acts” after entering the country. The country had evidence and testimony from both about their alleged actions, the statement said.

The two entered on separate tours with Miller’s arrest first announced on April 25, two weeks after his arrival.

According to Japan’s Kyodo News, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Fowle was detained subsequently after arriving on a group tour in April, due to a Bible left in his hotel room.

The dates of the trials have not been announced, and it is expected to two may be forced into “confessions” of “criminal acts.” The State Department has updated its travel warnings, urging American citizens not to go to North Korea, pointing out the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention.

Criminal Failure by the International Community

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Three hundred and thirty two drone attacks against Al Qaida and Taliban targets on Pakistani territory since 2005 demonstrate U.S. President Barack Obama’s strong resolve against terrorists that threaten the United States. Only last week, the latest wave of air strikes launched or enabled by his government against Al Qaida networks in Yemen killed 55 suspected extremists, possibly including master bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri.

Of course no one expects the U.S. to send drones in reply to the news that the Palestinian Authority [PA], upon which he has lavished billions of dollars and thousands of hours of diplomacy, was going into business with Hamas, which the United States has branded a terrorist organization.

But one could hope for something more forceful from Washington than State Department spokesman Jen Psaki’s weak and vacillating response in which she attempted to take the heat off Hamas and the PA by taking a gratuitous dig at Israel. “There have been unhelpful steps from both sides throughout this process,” she said.

If the US response was feeble, the EU’s was treacherous.

Like America and several other countries, the EU designates Hamas as a terrorist organization. Yet the spokesman for Catherine Ashton, EU foreign affairs head, actually welcomed the proposal to bring Hamas into the PA.

Though shameful, this is far from surprising. It is part of a lengthy pattern of witting or unwitting EU encouragement of Middle Eastern terrorism.

The EU has contributed its taxpayers’ money to paying the salaries of convicted Palestinian terrorists via unconditional donations to the PA amounting to billions of dollars since 1994. Some of this money has also been spent on school textbooks, television programs and other PA propaganda that incite hatred and terrorism against Israel.

Ashton and the EU have called repeatedly for an end to the Israeli-Egyptian security operation on land and sea around Gaza. The operation is designed to prevent predominantly Iranian-supplied munitions and materiel for terrorism from entering the Gaza Strip, and to stop Gaza terrorists and weapons moving to attack Israeli or Egyptian targets.

At the same time, the EU, like the UN, has usually remained mute in the face of volley after volley of Iranian-supported rocket attacks from Gaza directed against the civilian population of Israel. These rockets are fired mainly by Hamas and their terrorist bedfellows, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Silence and inaction by such significant international bodies as the UN and the EU must, in these circumstances, add up to at least a degree of culpability.

Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Peace Process, seems to have swallowed Abbas’s suggestion to him that reconciliation with Hamas will be on the basis of “recognition of Israel, non-violence and adherence to previous agreements.” On that “understanding,” the UN, like the EU, apparently welcomes and even supports the prospect of a terrorist group’s incorporation into the PA.

Were Hamas indeed to commit — plausibly — to such undertakings, then Israel could of course continue peace negotiations and cooperation with the PA on current terms. But other than Abbas’s words to Serry, there is no indication of this and, in the real world, Hamas is not likely even to consider such conditions.

Prime Minister Netanyahu therefore had no choice other than to suspend the peace process. This was his obligation to the Israeli people and to the international community. How could he possibly continue to negotiate with an entity that is itself negotiating with a vicious, murderous and unrelenting terrorist group hell-bent on the destruction of Israel and outlawed around the world?

Of course Abbas knew full well when he agreed to unity with Hamas that this would end the peace negotiations. But this is only the latest in a series of steps that Abbas has taken to sabotage the peace process. He rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework principles last month; he has repeatedly refused to discuss PA recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people; and at the end of March he initiated a move to join 15 international organizations, contravening an agreement to make no unilateral moves in the international arena during the period of the peace negotiations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/criminal-failure-by-the-international-community/2014/05/08/

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