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August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘US State Dept.’

State Dept. Terms Gaza-Based ‘Jerusalem Council’ a Terrorist Group

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

The U.S. State Department has designated a Gaza-based jihadist umbrella group as a terrorist organization.

Known as the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, it has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on Israel since the group’s founding in 2012.

Its designation as a terrorist group means that American individuals and organizations are barred from any transactions with the council and that any assets it holds in the United States will be frozen.

The council was designated a “foreign terrorist organization” and a “specially designated global terrorist” entity.”

It claimed responsibility for an August 2013 rocket attack on Eilat and an April 2013 attack on the city. It also claimed responsibility for a Gaza-Israel cross-border bomb attack in June 2012 that targeted an Israeli construction site, killing one civilian.

In February, the council released a statement declaring support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, according to the State Department, which now has termed sic groups this year foreign terrorist organizations.

The Shura Council was known as far back as 2012 and has posted videos and online messages proclaiming that “there is no place in the Arab and Muslim world for liberal and secular democratic values.

Congratulations to the State Dept. for waking up after two years. Perhaps the fatal blow that prompted to State Dept. to act was the Council’s public claim that it is against the peace process and that the Fatah-Hamas unity government is an attack on all Muslims.

JTA contributed to this report.

US Holds Hamas Responsible for All Rocket Attacks on Israel

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

The United States holds Hamas accountable for all rocket attacks on Israel, U.S. State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters at the daily oppress briefing Tuesday.

Asked if the rockets that broke the cease-fire were launched from Gaza, she said, “It came from Gaza, and Hamas has responsibility for Gaza.”

Harf also that there has been no agreement on re-opening border crossings.

Hamas immediately denied responsibility for the first rockets that rained on Be’er Sheva late Tuesday afternoon, six hours before the latest 24-hour truce was set to expire.

At least eight rockets were fired on southern Israel during the afternoon and the evening.

Thousands of soldiers, including Reservists, still are deployed along the Gaza front although most tanks and armored personnel carriers were transported back to the Golan Heights immediately after the first cease-fire was announced two weeks ago.

Each transport of a tank costs around $3,000, and if the IDF has to bring them back to Gaza, the round-trip cost will reach millions of dollars.

If the tanks are needed, someone is going to have to a lot of explaining to answer why the military got so over-excited over the cease-fire and showed its cards to Hamas by pulling out heavy equipment long before there was any evidence that the cease-fire would hold.

Hamas has failed to honor dozens of cease-fires the past several years, with one exception being the five-day truce that expired shortly before midnight Monday and was extended for 24 hours, until it was broken Tuesday afternoon.

The Israeli government kept its word that there will be no negotiations with Hamas, though Egyptian mediation, even if there is one rocket attack, and it ordered negotiators to return home.

Hamas still is acting as if it has the upper hand and warned that it has made its final offer to Israel, through Egypt, for a longer-term cease-fire.

The gimmick is an old one for Hamas. It creates a situation whereby it knows Israel cannot negotiate, in this case because it under rocket attacks, and then makes an offer that cannot be discussed. The next step is to blame Israel.

No one is buying it.

 

 

LESSON 17 OF GAZA WAR:STATE DEPT DECREES NEW RULES FOR ISRAEL FIGHTING TERRORISTS

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

The State Department has announced new rules for when the Israeli Army may, and may not, target Hamas terrorists. This may come as a surprise to the Israeli public, which has grown accustomed to its army being led by career military officers with decades of terrorist-fighting experience.

The State Department’s new decree was handed down in the wake of an August 3 incident, in which an Israeli missile eliminated three Hamas killers riding on a motorcycle in the Gaza city of Rafah.

That the Israelis are able to pinpoint such a small, moving target is itself a remarkable achievement and a testimony both to Israel’s doctrine of avoiding civilian casualties as well as its admirable technological prowess.

But the Israelis are not super-human. They cannot control the direction or velocity of the shrapnel that scatters from a missile’s explosion. In this case, the terrorists were killed, but the shrapnel flew in various directions, some of it into a nearby crowd of civilians, of whom, regrettably, ten were killed as well.

The civilians happened to be standing not far from a school. Even though the proximity of the school to the motorcycling terrorists was obviously pure coincidence, those who are unfriendly to Israel immediately pounced on the opportunity to make the Jewish State look bad. “Missile Strike Near U.N. School in Gaza Kills 10,” screamed the front-page, top-of-the-fold headline in the New York Times.

Over at the State Department, it should have been obvious what happened. After all, State Department spokesmen have on more than one recent occasion found themselves having to explain why the Obama administration’s drone attacks on suspected terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Yemen accidentally harmed some nearby civilians.

But when it comes to Israel, the State Department has invented different rules. And it is now demanding that the Israeli army follow those rules.

Within hours of the incident — obviously long before any investigation could be undertaken — State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki labeled it “today’s disgraceful shelling.” She then explained: “The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians.”

Calculating the likely distance that shrapnel can reach, and factoring in the density of Gaza’s population and the propensity of Hamas to operate within the most populated areas, the Israeli Army now has new guidelines for where it may attack terrorists in Gaza: Nowhere.

There is nowhere in Gaza that does not have civilians nearby. There is no Hamas activity that takes place far from civilians. The entrances to Hamas tunnels are located inside people’s homes. Hamas command bunkers are situated underneath hospitals. Hamas killers on motorcycles drive through civilian areas because every street is in a civilian area. And if Gaza’s civilians try to leave a battle zone, Hamas thugs try and force them to stay there.

If Israel plays by the State Department’s rules, it can never strike at any Hamas terrorists. No matter how many warning phone calls the Israelis make, no matter how many leaflets they drop, there will always be civilians nearby who might get hit by shrapnel.

That’s how war is conducted in the Middle East.

Lesson seventeen of the Gaza war: If Israel wants to survive in the Middle East, it has to play by its own rules, not the decrees of Foggy Bottom.

(The authors are members of the board of the Religious Zionists of America. This is the seventeenth in a series. To view previous installments, please visit http://www.phillyreligiouszionists.org/lessons-from-the-gaza-war/.)

US Condemns Israel for Bombing Terrorists near School

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

The U.S. State Dept. said Sunday it was “appalled” by an Israeli Air Force raid on terrorists near a school run by UNRWA and that Israel must “do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.”

Hamas sources, which for some reason remain unquestioned by foreign and even Israeli media,  reported that 10 people were killed in the targeted strike on motorcycle terrorists near the school that was used to shelter approximately 3,000 Gazans.

“The IDF targeted three…Islamic Jihad…terrorists on board a motorcycle in the vicinity of an UNRWA school in Rafah,” the IDF announced.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was “outraged” at the attack on terrorists in a civilian area, as if there is a non-civilian area in Gaza where terrorists are located, called for those responsible for the “gross violation of international humanitarian law” to be held accountable. “This madness must stop,” he said , according to a spokesperson.

The harsh comments from Washington came one day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slobbered praise all over President Barack Obama and  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for their statements “regarding Israel’s right to defend itself against rockets and tunnels.”

The Geneva Convention clearly states in Article 51(7) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, “The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations.”

U.S. State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who says what she is told to say, stated Sunday, “The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians.”

Suspicion?

US Refuses to Admit Palestinian Authority Involved in Terror

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

The U.S. State Dept.’s position is that it does not know that Hamas was involved in the kidnap murder of three Israeli teenagers and that despite continuing missile attacks from Gaza, it is “reviewing” events to determine if the Palestinian Authority unity government is “abiding by…the pledges that they made” to refrain from violence.

Israel has categorically identified the terrorists as members of Hamas, and it is no secret that the terrorists from Gaza, where Hamas officially is part of the unity government with Fatah headed by Mahmoud Abbas, but – no – the government of the United States  is “reviewing…circumstances on the ground.”

Hamas terrorists kidnap and kill children and try to kill Israelis with missiles, blowing up factories and hoping to blow up children in a kindergarten, and the United States is “reviewing  circumstances on the ground,” as if it is has a front row seat in a horror movie, except that this is live action.

“Would Hamas’s involvement in something like this[kidnap-murders] be cause for the Administration to rethink its support for the Palestinian – the new Palestinian Government?” Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked State Dept. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

She solemnly answered, “We do look at all kinds of information as it relates to our relationship with the Palestinians, our relationship with any entity that we work with. So I’m not going to make a prediction. I don’t know what the outcome will be of the final findings.”

That is what the State Dept. does – it looks at information. If it furthers its agenda to expel Jews from all of Judea and Samaria and most of Jerusalem, Foggy Bottom doles it out to the hunger media hacks looking for more ammunition to shoot down Israel. If it does not further agenda, it files it away under “delete.”

That explains Psaki’s comments on missile attacks.

Lee asked, “There were also, I think, 14 – more than a dozen rockets that were fired into southern Israel from Gaza today. Is that something that would make you rethink your position as it relates to the Palestinian Government?”

No chance, at least not for now.

First of all, Psaki explained from her agenda pamphlet, the United States is going to take the really bold action to “review” circumstances to see if the Palestinian Authority renounces violence.

So does kidnapping and murdering three young yeshiva students and shooting missiles at Israeli mean that the unity government has not renounced violence?

No need to worry.

Psaki reassured everyone, “We expect, and President Abbas has on many occasions also renounced this type of action. And there’s a certain responsibility in conveying that to any entities that the Palestinians are tied with.”

But not even the State Dept. can fool all of the people all of the time.

“If I shoot you at the same time as saying I renounce violence, that doesn’t really make much sense,” AP reporter Lee said and then added, “what you’re saying, though, is that apart from the teenagers – because we don’t – you don’t know – you’re not sure of the circumstances – just the rocket attacks themselves are not cause to have you rethink your relationship with the government.

“You think right now that they are abiding by the requirements?”

Guess what? Hamas is not involved in the government.

Psaki, reading from her Agenda 101 book, recalled that the “technocratic” government “doesn’t involve members of Hamas… [and] obviously, when there are incidents of violence, when there are rocket attacks, those are certainly cause for concern and we take every incident into consideration.”

Thank God, the Obama administration will show its “concern” but it also can save face for the Palestinian Authority.

Kerry Names Lowenstein as Star ‘Actor’ to Replace Indyk

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has appointed his long-time aide Frank Lowenstein as “Acting Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations” following the departure of “permanent” envoy Martin Indyk, as reported here.

The State Dept.’s verbal acrobatics concerning Indyk’s departure and Lowenstein’s arrival provide plenty of evident that Foggy Bottom’s reality deals with more with its own in-house industry of solving the unemployment problem than with the realities of the Middle East.

Lest anyone think that the peace process has failed, State Dept. Spokeswoman Marie Harf was careful to tell reporters on Friday that Indyk really did not quit or resign.

The official announcement issued in Washington stated only that Indyk “will be returning to his position as Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy at The Brookings Institution.”

Harf objected to the Associated Press’s reporting that Indyk “quit,” a term she said “is a little negative in tone….. He will be leaving his post here. I’m not sure bureaucratically, technically what he has to do, whether that’s submit a letter of resignation. It probably is. “

The concern to put a positive spin even on Indyk’s resignation reflects the State Dept.’s inability to understand who’s on first in  the Israeli-Arab duel of wits to see who can confuse Washington the most, which is not very difficult.

If you thought the peace process is dead, think again.

“Well, we’re in a pause right now,” Harf stated, with a straight face.

Reporters covering the State Dept. long ago have stopped buying its song and dance. One reporter asked Harf that since no talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel have taken place since late April, why did it take Indyk two months to “leave.”

“I think he’s been working intensively with the parties to see if they could come back to the table in a meaningful way, and we haven’t been able to get there yet,” explained Harf.

That doesn’t fit, because nearly a month ago, no one could answer a reporter’s question exactly what Indyk was doing, except for being somewhere in Foggy Bottom.

He obviously was doing what hundreds, if not thousands, of other State Dept. employees do. They consult, talk, research, travel, and then consult and talk again and again.

Haaretz journalist Guy Rolnik reported on Saturday that a senior Israel diplomat involved in negotiations in Washington for two decades told him six years ago, “There are thousands of people in Washington who earn their living from the peace ‘process.’ Economic crisis or not, there’s a large group that is working on the peace process, working on the terror threats, working on Middle Eastern affairs – and will always work on the ‘process.’”

The “process” serves the interests of the Palestinian Authority very nicely, because without it, Ramallah could not exist, which it does by handouts from the United States and the European Union.

Harf stated the State Dept.’s self-serving need for the “peace process” when she claimed on Friday that there actually has been “progress” in the peace process since Kerry launched the doomed-from-start resumption of the illusion of negotiations last July.

“In general, we were able to define the gaps between the two parties on all the core issues in a fairly detailed and significant way. That’s something that we broadly knew before that, but I think was one of the things we would say was important. You can’t bridge gaps until you’ve defined them,” Harf explained.

The “peace process” began in 1991 when then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir agreed to debate Yasser Arafat in Madrid. Now, 23 years later, the U.S. State Dept. has made “progress” by figuring out the gaps. The truth is that Washington still does not understand the gaps because it does not understand much of anything that goes on east of Atlantic City, but assuming that it does, is that all the progress that can be reported?

Kerry Does NOT Apologize for the ’Apartheid’ Word

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry does not apologize for suggesting that Israel might become an apartheid state but simply regrets not having used a different word to say the same thing, his spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday in a half-hour tragic-comedy media briefing.

At least five different reporters hounded Psaki on Kerry’s statement earlier in the day that he “if he could unwind the tape,” he would have used a different word when saying that a two-state solution is necessary to keep Israel from becoming guilty of apartheid.

Coincidentally or not, today is what was supposed to be the last day of nine months of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to bring about a final status agreement to establish a new Arab country smack in the middle of Israel. Kerry took the lead last July to resurrect the dead and buried peace process, which the Obama administration says is needed for the security of the United States.

Supposedly, the United States is in more danger now because there is no Palestinian Authority country.

Reporters questioned Psaki why Kerry retracted the word “apartheid” when that is exactly what he meant, and the  only explanations they received was that a whole bunch of Congressmen, including Democrats, “distorted” his comment and that his public record shows he really is pro-Israel.

Psaki constantly defended Kerry be arguing that several Israeli politicians have previously said that Israel will become an apartheid state if it does not accept a Palestinian Authority state, which would not be apartheid for the simple reason that Mahmoud Ababs won’t let Jews live there, in direct contrast to United Nations conditions for admission.

So does Kerry still believe Israel can become an apartheid state, in a very loose definition of the word, one reporter asked Kerry’s spokeswoman?

Well, she said, Israel will face “challenges” without “two states for two peoples living side by side.” Perhaps she meant Ashkenazim and Sephardim.

Once again the reporters asked, “He does not intend to apologize?”

Psaki answered -he made it clear he would use a different word… The use of the word is a problem.”

Now that it is settled that Kerry apologizes for using the word apartheid and does not apologize for saying that is what he meant, what does the State Dept. have to say for the peace talks that, as reporters noted, have left things a lot worse than they were nine months ago?

Well, actually progress was made because both sides talked about the core issues, according to Psaki.

The Palestinian Authority has shunned the talks in favor of going to the U.N. for recognition, it has announced it and the Hamas terrorist organization are two of a kind in a new unity regime, it failed to win the release of the last batch of murderers – the only reason that Abbas agreed to talks to begin with – and Israel plans to build thousands of more homes in Judea and Samaria where the United States does not recognize Jews as illegitimate or legal residents, but not to worry because both sides talked.

How’s that for progress?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry does not apologize for suggesting that Israel might become an apartheid state but simply regrets not having used a different word to say the same thing, his spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday in a half-hour tragic-comedy media briefing.

At least five different reporters hounded Psaki on Kerry’s statement earlier in the day that “if he could unwind the tape,” he would have used a different word when saying that a two-state solution is necessary to keep Israel from becoming guilty of apartheid.

Coincidentally or not, today is what was supposed to be the last day of nine months of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to bring about a final status agreement to establish a new Arab country smack in the middle of Israel. Kerry took the lead last July to resurrect the dead and buried peace process, which the Obama administration says is needed for the security of the United States.

Supposedly, the United States is in more danger now because there is no Palestinian Authority country.

Reporters questioned Psaki why Kerry retracted the word “apartheid” when that is exactly what he meant, and the only explanations they received was that a whole bunch of Congressmen, including Democrats, “distorted” his comment and that his public record shows he really is pro-Israel.

Psaki constantly defended Kerry be arguing that several Israeli politicians have previously said that Israel will become an apartheid state if it does not accept a Palestinian Authority state, which would not be apartheid for the simple reason that Mahmoud Abbas won’t let Jews live there, in direct contrast to United Nations conditions for admission.

So does Kerry still believe Israel can become an apartheid state, in a very loose definition of the word, one reporter asked Kerry’s spokeswoman?

Well, she said, Israel will face “challenges” without “two states for two peoples living side by side.” Perhaps she meant Ashkenazim and Sephardim.

Once again the reporters asked, “He does not intend to apologize?”

Psaki answered -he made it clear he would use a different word… The use of the word is a problem.”

Now that it is settled that Kerry apologizes for using the word apartheid and does not apologize for saying that is what he meant, what does the State Dept. have to say for the peace talks that, as reporters noted, have left things a lot worse than they were nine months ago?

Well, actually progress was made because both sides talked about the core issues, according to Psaki.

The Palestinian Authority has shunned the talks in favor of going to the U.N. for recognition, it has announced that it and the Hamas terrorist organization are two of a kind in a new unity regime, it failed to win the release of the last batch of murderers – the only reason that Abbas agreed to talks to begin with – and Israel plans to build thousands of more homes in Judea and Samaria where the United States does not recognize Jews as illegitimate or legal residents, but not to worry because both sides talked.

How’s that for progress?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kerry-does-not-apologize-for-the-apartheid-word/2014/04/30/

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