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July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘talks’

FM Liberman to Meet with US Secy John Kerry in Paris

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is set to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday in Paris.

On the agenda, once again, will be the issue of the dead-on-arrival talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Sources close to both sides said Wednesday that relations with Iran are likely to be on the agenda as well, in addition to the matter of the crisis in Iraq.

In addition to the Iran’s continued drive to develop nuclear weapons capabilities, Russia has recently signed a deal to build eight new nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic.

Iran has refused to slow down on the program, let alone cease its drive to develop nuclear technology, despite sanctions, talks and any other efforts by the international community to persuade Tehran to do so.

However, there is one issue that has begun to concern Iran a great deal – a fear it shares with its neighbors in the region, as well as the United States.

Iran is strengthening its defenses along its border with Iraq against the possibility it may have to fend off an advance from the guerrilla fighters of the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL) terrorist organization.

The group, also known as the Islamic State of al-Shams or Syria (ISIS), has been making its way across Iraq and has seized a wide swathe of territory in both Iraq and Syria over the past months.

For the first time ISIS also captured a border crossing between Iraq and Jordan, in addition to two crossings into Syria.

The group also took control of four additional towns, continuing its advance into western Iraq and closer to the border with Jordan.

Kerry, Abbas Meeting Set for London

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

He’s ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-c-c-k . . . . Well, sort of.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Thursday in London.  State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed the meeting at a briefing Monday on Capitol Hill.

“While the door remains open to a peace process, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss our ongoing relationship with the Palestinians,” she said in a curt statement. “As he has throughout the process, Secretary Kerry will reiterate a call he has made to both sides to maintain restraint and refrain from steps that would be unhelpful.”

Last week American special envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk took care to blame both sides for the failed nine-month talks. He was especially careful to equate municipal and home maintenance with a unilateral attempt to establish sovereignty in the international arena.

For Israel’s portion, Indyk pointed to ‘settlement building’ – the endless international euphemism for basic repairs and general construction by private Israeli citizens and also by Israeli local authorities within the municipal bounds of towns or neighborhoods in areas won during the 1967 Six Day War.

The Palestinian Authority, he said, should not have signed on to membership in 15 international conventions and agencies – a direct violation of the agreement with which the failed talks began in the first place.

Abbas backed out of the talks when Israel refused to free the last of four groups of terrorist prisoners on schedule, after 78 had already been released. Israel’s government balked over the composition of the group, which included at least 20 Israeli Arabs, rather than PA Arabs. Since no progress at all had been made in the prior eight months of talks, and Abbas had not bothered to show up in person to the table for months, Israel chose to wait and see whether the final month would bring any change – or see if the PA would at least extend the talks in exchange for freeing the last group and possibly releasing more prisoners as well.

But Abbas refused.  Instead, a day later he signed a flurry of international conventions that had obviously already been prepared and ready to go. It was clear the strategy had been planned – the PA was simply waiting until the last group of terrorists were freed.

Israel formally ended the talks on April 24 when Abbas signed a unity pact with the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and is committed to its destruction, a core principle in its founding charter. The group is backed, armed and generously funded by Iran.

The current agreement calls for the deployment of 3,000 PA government paramilitary police in Gaza, under the command of Hamas. Those forces were trained, armed and equipped by the United States armed forces — ostensibly to “fight terrorism” in Judea and Samaria in preparation for the establishment of a peaceful “two state solution” with Israel.

Last year, the Ramallah-based PA government received approximately $440 million in U.S. foreign aid, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. The figure was taken from a Congressional Research Service report quoted by Reuters.

Under American law, no U.S. funds may reach Hamas, nor “any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.”

But the Ramallah government in Samaria has for years been sending money to Gaza. Allegedly it was sent to cover the salaries of PA civil service workers. The same government still pays generous monthly stipends to Arab terrorists serving prison terms in Israeli jails.

New Hi-Tech PA Arab Road Terror Tactics

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists are using new hi-tech methods in their efforts to murder Israelis on the roads in Judea and Samaria.

A Jewish driver reported Sunday he nearly became the first victim of the new technique on Highway 60 in Samaria. The incident occurred near the Jewish town of Ofra.

According to the driver, an Arab vehicle pulled up alongside his own car. The Arab driver then pointed a laser at his eyes, trying to blind him and force him to lose control of his vehicle.

“He tried to divert my view from the road so that I would crash,” the driver told the Arutz Sheva website. “By a miracle I managed to escape… it’s clear that he tried to kill me.”

The number of road terror incidents has risen over the past year, since the start of the dead-on-arrival ‘framework talks’ forced on Israel and the Palestinian Authority by the United States.

Despite the risk, road blocks that prevented terrorists from scooting into Arab villages after an attack were removed from major hot spots along Highway 60 in Judea and Samaria.

Since the start of the talks, a sleek new traffic circle and intersection – funded by USAID — has replaced what once was a blocked entrance to the city of Hevron along Highway 60 in Judea, and the village of Shuyukh on the opposite side.

Today, instead, the entrance to the village is now a brand new road with a new sign bearing the name ‘Al-Shuyukh.’ On the other side of the road, a large, gated entrance to Hevron is protected with electronic fencing and security in place. It’s not clear who controls what there.

A massive traffic circle plus the free passage of pedestrians across the road slows the traffic on Highway 60 – a major artery – to a trickle, often causing traffic jams during the busiest hours.

Such traffic jams can be deadly for Jewish drivers on such a road; vehicles with Israeli license plates become sitting ducks for hostile Arabs and PA terrorists on the hunt for victims.

Even slowdowns can be lethal; in September 2011, Kiryat Arba resident Asher Palmer paid the price with his life and that of his one year old toddler Yonatan. Palmer was killed in a drive-by road terror attack after Arab terrorists hurled a huge rock at his windshield while driving by his car on Highway 60. The rock hit Palmer square in the face; he lost control of his car, which then crashed, killing both him and his baby son.

Only through the persistence of medics who had been on the scene, activists and media coverage did the circumstances of Palmer’s murder become clear. Initially police and other officials believed Palmer’s car had crashed by accident.

Apartheid Redux: American Sour Grapes When Shuttle Diplomacy Fails

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Here we go again, with another round of dealing with set of sour grapes topped off by the “A” word delivered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

It’s getting really tiresome when every time the Palestinian Authority reverts to form – and Israel refuses to lay itself on the sacrificial altar – the U.S. responds by waving international threats at us both. Especially when one of the flags waved at Israel is the silly “A” word.

It’s a plain fact that 99.9 percent of American diplomats and political leaders simply don’t “get” the reality of the Middle East.

The diplomats who are sent into the fray to “develop” or impose the latest solution to the complex problems existing between Israel and her neighbors are simply not equipped.

So they fail. It’s not their fault. It’s just not their ‘hood.

John Kerry is having a problem with this. Instead of accepting this reality gracefully, has collected his marbles and gone home to his boss with sour grapes.

But for the second time in less than a year, he has turned around and decided to fling the “A” word (apartheid) back at Israel. At least this time he included the Palestinian Authority in some of his recriminations.

Kerry told the Trilateral Commission in a closed-door meeting on Friday that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become an “apartheid state” like South Africa once was. A recording of the remark was obtained by The Daily Beast.

He also warned that a failure of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority — which basically were dead on arrival in any case — could lead to a ‘resumption’ of PA Arab violence against Israeli citizens. He then went further and hinted that only a change of leadership on both sides could make a peace deal more likely.

The latter reveals his total ignorance of the region — since succeeding leaders on the Arab side generally just brush away the decisions of predecessors — or their own if the prevailing mood of the people doesn’t suit — in any case. Arab promises are rarely kept beyond a generation, if that long. Witness the numerous attempts at maintaining a unity government between Fatah and Hamas in the Palestinian Authority over the past seven years.

With regard towards the risk of ‘resuming’ PA Arab violence against Israelis, the man is living in a bubble because that violence never ended. Ask anyone who lives in Jerusalem, Judea or Samaria or drives on roads in any of the areas. I personally know people who were unable to make it to the Mount of Olives to visit the graves of loved ones this year due to the the violence — and that, while talks were supposedly in place. I know tour guides who could not take friends to certain market places in the Old City — a place we all agree is supposed to be an open tourist safe place — because of the risk to their safety.

As for apartheid, he is wrong on all counts, and even his own boss knows it. In 2008 then-Senator Barack Obama bluntly stated in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, “There’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion does not advance that goal. It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate and it’s not what I believe.”

Of course, Obama may have changed his mind since then, but personally I doubt it. If anything, there are more examples today than ever before of integration between Arabs and Jews, on both sides of the 1949 Armistice Line.

America Joins Israel in Canceling Talks with PA

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The U.S. has finally tossed in the towel on trying to force the Palestinian Authority to come to the table to talk with Israel.

After months of shuttle diplomacy and countless attempts by U.S. leaders to shepherd the “peace process” along, the entire effort proved a waste of time and money.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officials announced they had cut a deal for Fatah faction leader and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – who heads all three entities — to form a new unity government with the Hamas terror organization that rules Gaza.

Hamas has never recognized the State of Israel, and has stated that it never intends to. It is committed to the destruction of the Jewish State, in fact.

“It’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist,” pointed out State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki in a briefing Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is convening the inner diplomacy security cabinet this morning (Thursday) to discuss the current situation and decide whether to continue any contact whatsoever with the Palestinian Authority.

Mr. Netanyahu told Secretary of State John Kerry in a telephone call Wednesday evening that the PA-Hamas deal “shows the Palestinians are back to repeating their familiar pattern of running away from decisions.”

The pattern is indeed not new: Chairman Abbas has done this before – and the last time he reached a “reconciliation” with Hamas, he managed to sucker in not only the United States, but also the European Union and Israel. All three rushed in a panicky jumble to bribe him back to the “peaceful path” by promising him millions of dollars in funding, if only he would vow not to hook up with Hamas.

In the end, the unity government fell through because Hamas backed out – the Ramallah-based PA government won their millions – and everyone was that much richer, except for the Israelis who lost their lives at the hands of the terrorists who were freed in “good will gestures” forced on them by their U.S. friends.

The PA government in Ramallah used the money to quietly raise the salaries of terrorist prisoners sitting in Israeli jails and funnel more money to civil service employees working in Hamas-ruled Gaza offices.

The PA also won an extra bonus – it received considerable military equipment, weapons and training from the United States, Jordan and the EU — with which a number of its “police officers” have since murdered Israeli citizens in terror attacks.

It’s Prom Time, and Abbas Must Choose a Dance Partner – Israel or Hamas

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

It’s that time of year again — the Fatah terror faction led by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has for the ‘nth’ time managed to reach a “reconciliation” with the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza.

The two sides agreed Tuesday evening after talks in Gaza City to form a unity government “within the next five weeks,” according to an announcement by officials on both sides released Wednesday.

But Hamas is unwilling to negotiate with – or for that matter, even recognize the existence of – the State of Israel.

So the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which represents the PA in all its affairs at the United Nations (UN), and thus the PA, meaning Mahmoud Abbas – who heads both – must choose who to take to the prom.

Will it be Hamas? That fickle friend who makes deals every Monday and Thursday, and backs out at the last minute every time the signature page arrives on the desk?

Or will it be Israel, which will certainly mean he will have to sit down this time in earnest at the negotiating table, and actually get down to business?

Either could mean his death.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said bluntly in response to Wednesday’s announcement that Abbas had reached the crossroads.

“Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he is moving into peace with Hamas. He has to choose. Does he want peace with Hamas, or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace; so far, he hasn’t done so.”

The fact that Abbas has continually come up with new ‘preconditions’ to extend the negotiations with Israel beyond the April 29 deadline makes it clear that he wants a way out of the talks that will leave him blameless.

That is a fantasy, since no leader can lead without taking responsibility for his actions.

Netanyahu proposed a plan for extension of the talks – taking a risk that enraged a substantial percentage of the population and its leadership – but Abbas so far has apparently turned his nose up at the offer.

Abbas knows Israel’s red lines but seems determined to stomp across them regardless of the price his people will inevitably pay.

Ultimately, his inability to decide a course on which to steer his people will be his downfall and, tragically, theirs as well.

“Yesterday the Palestinian Authority discussed dismantling,” noted Netanyahu in meeting with reporters. “Today it is mulling uniting with Hamas. Let them decide whether to dismantle or unite.”

Indyk Returns to Raise the Dead (Israel-PA Talks)

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk is on his way back to the region today (Thursday) to officially revive the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

State Department spokesperson Marty Harf told reporters at a briefing that both sides have told Secretary of State John Kerry they want to continue negotiations beyond the current April 29 deadline.

Neither side was willing to meet after the terrorist attack in Judea on Monday that killed senior police officer Baruch Mizrahi, a father of five, and wounded his wife and 9-year-old son. The attacker or attackers were standing on the side of the road on Highway 35 near Hevron, shooting at vehicles with Israeli license plates, a witness said. One arrest has allegedly been made but no details were released. Mizrahi was on his way with his family to a seder in Kiryat Arba to celebrate the Passover holiday when he was murdered.

Talks that were scheduled for Wednesday night were cancelled. Both sides were unwilling to negotiate in the face of another Arab terror attack on Jews using an AK-47 – a weapon supplied to PA police by the U.S. military, among others – ostensibly to strengthen its forces so they could ‘fight terror.’

On Thursday, those talks are set to resume with Indyk, Israel’s Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, and the PA’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

PA spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh told a media briefing in Ramallah that an agreement is already in place to extend the talks.

“The Palestinian commitment is clear to the Israelis and the Americans, and this commitment is that the talks will continue until April 29, and that Israel should release the fourth group of prisoners,” Rudaineh told reporters. “This is the basic Palestinian demand. This is not a Palestinian condition, but it is a Palestinian demand, which was agreed upon with the U.S. secretary of state according to which 104 pre-Oslo prisoners would be released, and in return we would not go to the United Nations organizations for nine months… Now the talks with the Israelis and the Americans are continuing to the end of this month to discuss the basis that could lead to an extension of the negotiations,” he said.

Various proposals are being advanced by Israel in order to wrestle with the issue of the Israeli Arab prisoners among the fourth and final group that was held back due to lack of progress in the talks.

The Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party has threatened to leave the government if those prisoners – Israeli citizens who are all Arab terrorists – are freed.

One option would be to revoke their citizenship and deport them. Another would be to simply send the entire group to Gaza or abroad. In either case, resistance from the PA is expected – as usual.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/indyk-returns-to-raise-the-dead-israel-pa-talks/2014/04/17/

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