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November 27, 2015 / 15 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘talks’

PLO Official Saeb Erekat Threatens to Yank Recognition of Israel

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

PLO executive committee chairman Saeb Erekat threatened Thursday that he “would not rule out the possibility the Palestine Liberation Organization might withdraw its recognition of Israel,” according to a report published in Al Quds al Arabi.

There is nothing new about this announcement, other than the bald-faced announcement itself. The PLO “recognized” Israel in 1988, accepted United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and supposedly renounced terrorism after the United States twisted the arm of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat.

But in fact, the Palestinian Authority government that has operated under the aegis of the PLO always supported terror under the Arafat administration. It subsequently supported terror under the administration of Mahmoud Abbas as well, as documented and translated by the media watchdog organization, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).

Last month Abbas awarded the entity’s Order of Merit for Culture, Sciences an Arts to the cartoonist at the Al-Ayyam daily newspaper who has been glorifying terrorist stone-throwing attacks on Israeli motorists.

The Yasser Arafat Youth Center in Jenin this month named a football tournament after the terrorist who murdered two Israeli rabbis and wounded the wife and baby of one of them in a stabbing attack Oct. 3 in the Old City of Jerusalem.

According to a Nov. 2 report in Al-Hayat al-Jadida translated by the PMW, a PA municipality also named a street after the “martyr shahid” Muhanned Halabi, with the town’s mayor saying “This is the least we can do for Martyr Halabi.”

The Fatah faction led by Abbas fanned the flames further, officially bringing soil from the grounds of the Al Aqsa Mosque at the Temple Mount to Halabi’s grave. The Palestinian Authority Bar Association awarded an honorary law degree to the 19-year-old murderer.

The PA Ministry of Education and Higher Education, and the General Union of Palestinian Teachers also held meetings and issued news releases praising Halabi’s attacks.

And to this day, maps of the territory of the Palestinian Authority – “Palestine” to PA residents – are comprised of the entire area of the State of Israel, which is completely erased.

All this, decades after the PLO and PA supposedly had “recognized” the State of Israel and had “renounced terrorism.”

Or not.

So what is really new about the former lead negotiator of the PLO telling the world that he doesn’t rule out the possibility of withdrawing a recognition that never really existed?

Iran Issues New Demands on the Nuclear Deal (It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over…)

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

The Iranian government is now demanding the finished nuclear deal be re-opened for negotiation, again.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei demanded earlier this month that sanctions be lifted entirely, rather than simply suspended as agreed in the nuclear deal signed in July.

This past weekend, the demand was repeated by a top Iranian official ahead of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, where informal negotiations often take place on the sidelines. On September 28, Iranian officials plan to meet with the entire P5+1 delegation that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran, according to Iran’s FARS news agency.

However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly plans to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in the coming days in New York over the issue. According to Fox News, a State Department official said there will be no further negotiation.

“We’ve long said that we’re not going to comment on or react to every statement attributed to the Iranian leadership,” the official told FoxNews.com. “Our focus is on implementing the deal, and verifying that Iran completes its key nuclear steps under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). There is no renegotiation, and the nuclear-related sanctions relief that Iran will receive once the IAEA verifies that it has completed its nuclear steps is clearly spelled out in the text of the [agreement].”

The ayatollah has said, however, that unless sanctions are lifted entirely, “there will be no deal.” According to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Khamenei warned if sanctions are only suspended, Iran too will only “suspend” the nuclear activities listed in the agreement.

In the text of the agreement, there is a reference to “lifting” the sanctions, but the White House has promised that sanctions “will snap back into place” if Iran violates its end of the deal.

According to MEMRI, it’s not that simple. The talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly may provide a forum for new negotiations over further concessions to Iran. Outright “lifting of sanctions” would constitute a “fundamental change” to the deal, MEMRI pointed out, because “lifting the sanctions, rather than suspending them, will render impossible a ‘snapback’ in case of Iranian violations.”

Three Iran leaders announced already last July, however, that Iran intended to openly violate at least part of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

“Just as we refrained from complying with UN Security Council resolutions, we can do so with regard to 2231,” explained senior negotiator Abbas Araghchi in an interview on Iranian Channel 2 broadcast on July 20, 2015, picked up and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

The three leaders, President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and Araghchi, who also serves as deputy foreign minister, emphasized in the interview that Iran has no intention of abiding by the UN resolution, which includes both the JCPOA and Annex B – the list of points with which Iran disagrees, including the issue of sanctions on the Iranian missile development project. Rather, Iran seeks to abide only by the JCPOA.

Following the passage of UNSCR 2231, the Iranian foreign ministry issued a statement noting, “Iran does not attach legitimacy to any restriction and any threat. If UNSCR 2231 will be violated by Iran, it will be a violation of the Security Council resolution and not of the JCPOA, similar to what happened 10 years ago when we violated Security Council resolutions and nothing happened.

“The text of the JCPOA notes the fact that the content of the JCPOA and of the UN Security Council resolution are two separate things,” the statement read.

During the interview, Araghchi said that there had been tough bargaining between the Iranian and American delegations over the issue of the arms embargo on Iran and the sanctions related to Iran’s missile development project.

High-Ranking Security Team Joins Netanyahu Meeting With Putin in Moscow

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is traveling to Moscow today (Monday Sept. 21) to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.

Military Intelligence director Maj.-Gen. Hertzi Halevy, National Security Council head Yossi Cohen and Netanyahu’s military secretary Col. Eliezer Toledano are also accompanying the prime minister to the meeting, which is scheduled to last three hours.

The officials are expected to discuss Russia’s activities and military involvement in Syria, as well as questions about Russia’s cooperation with Iran.

The United States is holding parallel talks with Moscow on the same issues, according to numerous media reports.

There are no journalists on the plane with the prime minister for this trip, underscoring the gravity of the meeting.

Last week a source told the Reuters news agency that new, advanced weapons have been delivered to Syrian government troops, who are being trained in their use. It is believed the weapons are being sent from Russia.

First Official Turkish Delegation to Israel in 5 Years

Monday, August 31st, 2015

For the first time in five years, Turkey and Israel are talking officially again, with an official delegation from Turkey arriving today (Mon. Aug. 31) to discuss development in Jenin.

The Turkish delegation, led by Guven Sak, a co-director of the Turkish Manufacturers and Traders Association, are set to meet Monday in Israel with Israeli Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Karal

The Turkish business leaders are allegedly planning to discuss development of an industrial zone in the Jenin are, a project worth a Turkish investment of at least $100 million.

Monday’s visit is the first since the 2010 incident on the Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel that illegally attempted to breach Israel’s maritime security blockade of Gaza. The vessel, sponsored by a Turkish activist group, was filled with violent, armed activists who attacked Israeli commandos who boarded the vessel to redirect it to Ashdod port, after the captain refused to change course away from Gaza.

Although the group sponsoring the ship claimed it was filled with “humanitarian supplies”for Gaza residents, upon inspection in Ashdod it was discovered there were no supplies for Gazans. But during the clashes on board the vessel between the attacking activists on board, and the Israeli commandos who boarded to redirect the ship, nine Turkish attackers were killed. A number of Israelis were seriously wounded, including one critically, as well.

The incident sparked years of acrimonious rhetoric from then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now the country’s president, who expelled the Israeli ambassador and recalled his own from Tel Aviv. Erdogan is a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, which gave birth to Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization. He was outraged when Israel has launched counter terror operations to silence the incessant rocket and mortar fire being aimed at its civilians in southern areas.

Nevertheless, over the past several years various figures behind the scenes have been working quietly to repair the damage to the relationship between the two former allies, which has continued to grow economically in commercial trade.

A number of religious leaders on both sides have also maintained ties and continued to meet for interfaith dialogue facilitated by Istanbul-based Islamic scholar Adnan Oktar.

The delegation is arriving one day after Turkey’s “ambassador to the Palestinian Authority,” Mustafa Sernich, traveled to Gaza, Al Resalah reported Sunday.

Semich was accompanied by a delegation of economists who paid their own way, and who are scheduled for meetings with heads of Gaza economic institutions.

The Turkish official was scheduled to meet with “deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.”

Until recently Haniyeh was recognized as the de facto prime minister of Gaza. The use of this new title by Palestinian Arab media suggests Haniyeh was demoted in a quiet internal political battle out of the public eye.

No Deal with Iran by June 30 Deadline, Europeans Say

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

“It’s not yet in the bag.”

That was the assessment by British Ambassador Peter Westmacott, who told the Atlantic Council think tank at a panel discussion Tuesday in Washington a deal with Iran does not appear likely by the June 30 deadline, according to a report by The Hill.

French Ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud agreed. “It’s very likely that we won’t have an agreement before the end of June – or even after June,” Araud said.

“The Iranians for the moment are obviously not negotiating to get an agreement very shortly.”

The main issues blocking the way to an agreement between the U.S.-led world powers and Tehran remain the details of international inspections of Iranian nuclear technology facilities, and the timing of sanctions relief.

Iran will have to limit the pace of its nuclear technology program in exchange for any relaxation of sanctions, and allow inspectors unrestricted, 24/7 access to all nuclear facilities – which it still bluntly refuses to do.

Talks between the “P5+1″ and Iran have dragged on since last summer, with deadlines having been extended from November and then again from April. The next so-called “final” deadline on talks is set for June 30.

Israel has warned repeatedly that Iran cannot be trusted, and that the current deal being negotiated is a “bad deal.”

Foreign Ministers ‘Don’t See Need to Reach Iran Deal Forthwith’

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Foreign ministers from the world powers involved in the U.S.-led talks with Iran said over the weekend they do not see the need to reach a deal “forthwith,” according to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Several of the ministers said following Netanyahu’s speech to Congress this past week that they will wait “until the right agreement is found,” the prime minister said. He added, “I hope that these words will find tangible expression.

“The right agreement is one that links between the lifting of the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program and the cessation of Iran’s terrorist actions around the world and, of course, its threats to annihilate Israel. The right agreement is one that extends by years Iran’s breakout time to achieve a bomb, given the feasibility of violating the agreement,” Netanyahu said.

“As of now, the deal being formulated between Iran and the major powers will give Iran a breakout time of one year or less,” he continued. “This assessment is based on the State of Israel’s professional intelligence elements, which delivered this assessment to the major powers.

“We will continue to take all possible action to deny the largest terrorist state in the world the ability to produce the most dangerous weapon in the world, a weapon which is aimed, first and foremost, against us,” Netanyahu said.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, told American news media Sunday morning, “If we cannot verify that they are not going to achieve a nuclear weapon…then we would walk away.”

However, not only does Israel’s prime minister have his doubts about that, but forme US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton also wonders how committed the Obama administration is to that plan.

“There’s nothing in this deal on the weaponization and ballistic missile aspect of this program,” Bolton said.

“Whatever the Iranians see and agree to, Congress should insist they and the American people should see and agree to,” Bolton told Fox News.

“No secrets… They are still state sponsors of terrorism… We are giving legitimacy to the regime. We are endangering our allies, we are endangering Israel. What else could be wrong with this deal?” Bolton added.

US Secy of State Kerry Says ‘Demanding Iran Capitulate is Not a Plan’

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry briefed members of the media on the progress made in talks between world powers led by the U.S. with Iranian negotiators over Tehran’s nuclear development program in Montreaux, Switzerland on Wednesday before leaving to return to the United States. Kerry responded to the speech made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Tuesday’s joint session of Congress, commenting sardonically that “simply demanding Iran capitulate is not a plan.” Not that Netanyahu said any such thing or implied it, contrary to the attempts by the Obama administration to characterize the prime minister’s remarks as such.

Regardless, here is the verbatim transcript of the Secretary’s remarks, which make it clear that Kerry is determined to complete a deal with Iran, perhaps “no matter what,” unless the Iranians themselves decide that even with all the concessions, the price is just too high.

“So good afternoon to all, and thank you very, very much for your patience. We’ve been involved in some long discussions over the past few days, and even well before that. And before I leave Montreux, I wanted to quickly share with you where we are.

“From the beginning, these negotiations have been tough and intense, and they remain so. And we’ve made some progress from where we were, but there are still significant gaps and important choices that need to be made. The purpose of these negotiations is not to get any deal; it’s to get the right deal, one that can withstand scrutiny – the scrutiny of experts on nuclear affairs all around the world, the scrutiny of other governments, the scrutiny of people, the scrutiny of the Congress of the United States, people in America, and the scrutiny of countries in the region that are affected by it. And so we know that. We approach these negotiations with a full understanding of the test that will be applied to this and of the expectations that exist.

“We also want an agreement that is sustainable over time, and particularly that achieves the singular goal of proving that Iran’s nuclear program is and will remain peaceful. We aren’t going to be distracted by external factors or politics. We will continue to be guided by our experts, our scientists, our national interests and those of our partners and allies.

“Now, for all the objections that any country has to Iranian activities in the region – and believe me, we have objections and others in the world have objections – the first step is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And we know that absent a deal, Iran will have the ability to move ahead with its nuclear program; that we know for sure, because that’s exactly what’s happened to date. We also know that any deal that we would agree to would significantly increase the breakout time, leaving Iran further – far further than it is today – from producing enough fissile material for a weapon, while it undertakes the effort of proving to the world that the program is, in fact, peaceful.

“Clearly, increased breakout time makes any nation in the vicinity or any nation of concern safer. We also know that any deal that we reach would give us the intrusive access and verification measures necessary to confirm that Iran’s nuclear facilities are indeed on a peaceful path. And that would allow us to promptly detect any attempt to cheat or to break out, and then to respond appropriately. And contrary to some public reports, we are only contemplating a deal in which important access and verification measures will endure.

“We also know that the international sanctions, which many want to simply hang their hats on – they may have gotten Iran to the table, but to date they haven’t stopped Iran from advancing its nuclear program. In fact, the first and only thing that had stopped their program from progressing in almost a decade was the Joint Plan of Action that we negotiated and we reached in November of 2013, and that has been adhered to in every single respect since then.

“And most importantly, as President Obama said yesterday, we know that no one has presented a more viable, lasting alternative for how you actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. So folks, simply demanding that Iran capitulate is not a plan, and nor would any of our P5+1 partners support us in that position. And it’s very important to remember we have partners in this effort – France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia – all of whom have similar feelings about the importance of what must be done here.

“So we continue to be focused on reaching a good deal, the right deal, that closes off any paths that Iran could have towards fissile material for a weapon and that protects the world from the enormous threat that we all know a nuclear-armed Iran would pose.

“Now, we still don’t know whether we will get there, and it is certainly possible that we won’t. It may be that Iran simply can’t say yes to the type of deal that the international community requires. But we do know that we owe it to the American people in my case, people in the world, to try to find out. And we will return to these talks on the 15th of March, recognizing that time is of the essence, the days are ticking by, and important decisions need to be made. Thank you.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-secy-of-state-kerry-says-demanding-iran-capitulate-is-not-a-plan/2015/03/05/

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