You are browsing the archive for Arab League.

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Kerry’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

So, SoS Kerry is having a horrible, no good, very bad week…

Abbas: Negotiations made zero progress so far

Peace negotiations with Israel haven’t made any progress so far despite all the meetings between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators, President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday…

“Israel is saying that after prisoners have been released, settlement expansion should continue,” Abbas said.

This connection, he added, and this parity might blow up the situation while negotiations have achieved nothing yet.

Abbas also asserted that he turned down a request by the US administration to freeze any legal procedures through international organizations during the nine months of negotiations.

“It is the Palestinians who can decide on this step and nobody can force them to take it,” he said.

Alex Kane, at Mondoweiss, further elaborates… Netanyahu’s sweet deal: 104 prisoners for thousands of settlements.

Ironically, in an Ike like moment of clarity, as he’s headed out the door…


Chief security adviser: If talks fail, Israel risks isolation

Yaakov Amidror warns pressure and boycotts may increase if no progress with Palestinians, says ‘everything must be done’ to stop Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s outgoing national security adviser, Yaakov Amidror, said Sunday that should the current US-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians fail, Israel’s position in the world could worsen, and international pressure would mount.

At a ceremony marking the end of his tenure at the Prime Minister’s Office, Amidror said “it [is] clear to everyone that handling international pressure depends on the progress of the negotiations, and if the talks fail, it will give everyone interested in boycotting us every reason to do so.”

The outgoing adviser called the EU’s decision in July to issue directives imposing bans on funding to Israeli entities with links to the settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights, a “conscious decision.” He warned that Israel must take what he described as a “type of an economic boycott” very seriously…

As RT put it…

US peace effort wavers as Israel issues tenders for new settlement homes

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the ministers of his Likud party on Sunday that he never promised to freeze settlement construction during talks, according to a source cited by AFP.

“The Palestinians knew very well that Israel would be building during the negotiations,” Netanyahu told them. “Israel did not take upon itself any limitations in this regard.”

But, that’s only one of Kerry’s severe migraines this week…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Getting Syria-ous: Heads of U.N. Agencies Make Joint Plea to International Community

6:20 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Syria’s Survival: Heads of U.N. Agencies Make Joint Plea to International Community

…As a measure of how dire the suffering in Syria’s war zones has become, the U.N. organizations’ joint appeal was rare, and included filmed messages from the chiefs of the U.N. Children’s Fund (Unicef) in New York; the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Health Organization and U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, all in Geneva; and the World Food Program in Rome. In a departure from their more characteristically neutral tone, the executives let their anger show on the video, delivering a blunt message to politicians: That their paralysis over how to end the war is pushing the entire region to “a tipping point.”

Syrian Civilians Suffering while Western Imperialism Resorts to Medieval Barbarity

…The human suffering in Syria, which has escalated from crisis to disaster over the past two years, is the nefarious work of Western governments and their regional allies. It is a simple, provable, glaringly obvious truth. Yet, the thought-control Western mainstream media manage to somehow turn reality on its head, and make a virtue out of something vile and unspeakably villainous.

Western imperialism has created a human tsunami of suffering in Syria. And rather than making any effort to mitigate this suffering by delivering on much promised refugee aid, the Western powers seem to be -exploiting the massive misery for political advantage to further undermine the Syrian state and government. This tactic of enforced human deprivation is straight out of the Middle Ages, when invading armies would hold siege of cities by enforcing starvation on the occupants…

This official posturing is but a charade. These Western regimes have already been supplying weapons, funding, training and logistics to Syria’s death squads. Last month, Croatian media sources reported that the US and Britain had coordinated the supply of 3,000 tonnes of weaponry – 75 plane loads – out of Zagreb to militants in Syria. One of the recipients was the Ahrar Al Sham group, which is aligned to Al Nusra and, by extension, Al Qaeda… The airlift of weapons dates back to at least November 2012 and was conducted in liaison with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan. That weapons conduit is just one of many that the Western powers have been running into Syria over the past two years.

The myopic Western mainstream media are so pre-occupied with advancing government spin on a day-to-day basis that they fail to see or acknowledge the big picture, even when that big picture falls on their heads with clunking conclusions

A case in point… U.S. blames Assad regime for fostering rise of extremism

…“By opting for the use of force against its own people, the Assad regime has created an environment that fuels the growth of violent extremism, and Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists are working to exploit the situation for their own benefit,” a State Department spokesman, who asked not to be identified in line with department policy, told The Daily Star.

“We are working with the opposition to isolate these extremists and ensure their violent and divisive ideology does not take root in Syria. Allowing space for groups like Nusra to operate will only lead to more violence and instability.”

And, If you still harbor any delusions on our failed FP… West aims to strengthen ‘moderate’ rebels, as Islamists take center stage in fight against Assad…

Even today, Bibi, in London for Thatcher’s funeral… Netanyahu to urge Britain to ‘carefully vet’ Syria rebels’ intentions before supplying them with arms…

From our side of the Pond… U.S. senators push for military aid for Syrian rebels… And, then today… The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopts a resolution which stipulates that the U.S. will assist Israel in an attack against Iran.

In other Syrian developments… Brahimi eyes new U.N. envoy role in Syria, dropping Arab League…

…U.N.-Arab League Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi hopes to revamp his role as an international peace mediator in the Syrian conflict as a United Nations envoy without any official link to the Arab bloc, U.N. diplomats said on Tuesday.

Brahimi has become increasingly frustrated with the league’s moves to recognize the Syrian opposition, which he feels has undermined his role as a neutral mediator, diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

“The joint special representative feels that the Arab League approach makes it difficult for him to carry out his mandate,” a diplomat said.

“He feels that it would be best to be associated only with the United Nations at this point to ensure his neutrality.”

Interestingly, The Arab League now seems to be in free-fall… The General Secretary of the Arab League resigned…

Lebanese TV channel “Al-Mayadin” reported on the resignation of Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi

According to some reports, the General Secretary’s decision, who heads the Arab League from July 1 2011, related to a deadlock in efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria, which lasted for more than two years.

Will sanity ever prevail…? Enough, already…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Madame Shillary is Worried That ‘Extremists’ Are Hijacking The SNC, Sacks SNC

3:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Here’s an example of the ‘spin’ being put on the ‘recent’ discovery of Jihadists amongst the Syrian Rebels… Syria: Rebel Fighters Are Becoming Radicalised…

Sky has seen new evidence that the Syrian uprising is becoming more and more radicalised and being fought by Islamic fundamentalists and extremists.

The Syrian rebels have all but given up on military intervention by the West but after 18 months of grinding battle and a feeling they have been abandoned by the international community, they are making their own bombs and weapons and becoming much more self-sufficient.

There are some weapons and arms being smuggled across the borders from sympathetic Muslim neighbours.

We saw brand new rocket propelled grenade launchers with their rockets still in their plastic wrappers which had been smuggled across the Turkish border and an anti-aircraft gun which the rebels told us had come from Iraq.

But although that means that the rebels have many more weapons than they have had before, it is still small fry in comparison to the heavy weaponry, tanks and artillery employed by the regime.

What is increasingly obvious is the number of Jihad (holy war) flags and Jihad paraphernalia worn and used by the rebel fighters. The black headbands worn by many of the fighters are a symbol of Islamic fundamentalism – used by extremist groups and usually anti-Western.

The common refrain from many of the rebel fighters is that they have been forgotten by the outside world.

A number of commanders told us they were disappointed, angry and frustrated by the lack of help from the international community.

One said: “All we get is words, not actions.”

Y’all should know by now, that I’ve been screaming my head off about the F/UK/US/Arab League promotion of Jihadists in Iraq, Libya, Syria, amongst numerous other places! Afterall,’Divide and Conquer‘ is the primary means to Regime Change…!

Now, one should read all of Madame Shillary’s statement in Zagreb, to get the full impact…

QUESTION: Secretary, if I could ask you about Syria. Mr. Brahimi’s attempt at a ceasefire has evidently failed, and the violence is increasing again. What are your views on what needs to be done now to bring the violence down?

And turning to next week’s opposition conference in Doha, what gives you confidence, if you have any at all, that this could produce the beginnings of a government in waiting where the SNC has failed to do that? And are you sure that your key allies, including Turkey, are ready to swing behind whatever is the outcome of Doha? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well Andy, those are all very important and timely questions. And I want to start by thanking Croatia for their assistance in dealing with the extremely difficult problems presented by both Syria and Iran.

Look, I sincerely regret, but I, unfortunately, was not surprised by the failure of the latest ceasefire attempt. Despite its reported commitment to the UN Special Envoy, Mr. Brahimi, the Assad regime did not suspend its use of advanced weaponry against the Syrian people for even one day. And the shelling in the suburbs of Damascus was as bad last weekend as at any time in the conflict.

So while we urge Special Envoy Brahimi to do whatever he can in Moscow and Beijing to convince them to change course and support stronger UN action, we cannot and will not wait for that. Instead, our efforts, and those of our partners in the EU and the Arab League, are focused on pressuring the regime through increasing and tightening sanctions, meeting the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people who are displaced, assisting those countries that they seek refuge in, and helping the opposition unite behind a shared, effective strategy that can resist the regime’s violence and begin to provide for a political transition that can demonstrate more clearly than has been possible up until now what the future holds for the Syrian people once the Assad regime is gone.

So we are working very hard with many different elements from the opposition – yes, inside Syria as well as outside Syria. Some of you might remember I hosted a meeting in New York during the UN General Assembly. We facilitated the smuggling-out of a few representatives of the Syrian internal opposition in order for them to explain to the countries gathered why they must be at the table. This cannot be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes but have, in many instances, not been inside Syria for 20, 30, or 40 years. There has to be a representation of those who are on the frontlines, fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom.

And there needs to be an opposition leadership structure that is dedicated to representing and protecting all Syrians. It is not a secret that many inside Syria are worried about what comes next. They have no love lost for the Assad regime, but they worry, rightly so, about the future. And so there needs to be an opposition that can speak to every segment and every geographic part of Syria. And we also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution. There are disturbing reports of extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over what has been a legitimate revolution against a repressive regime for their own purposes.

So the Arab League-sponsored meetings, starting in Doha next week, will be an important next step. I have been constantly involved with my counterparts, both in the EU and in the Arab League, in particular with the hosts of the meeting next week in Qatar. We have recommended names and organizations that we believe should be included in any leadership structure. We’ve made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition. They can be part of a larger opposition, but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard. So our efforts are very focused on that right now. Thank you.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) This completes the statements for the press. Thank you.

As The Cable is reporting…

Clinton explains State Department efforts to build new Syrian opposition council

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged Wednesday that the U.S. government has been working to establish a new council to represent the Syrian opposition, to be unveiled in Qatar at a major conference next week.

The Cable reported Tuesday that the State Department has been heavily involved in setting the stage for the Nov. 7 rollout of a new opposition leadership council, which will subsume the Syrian National Council (SNC), a group of external opposition leaders that the administration has decided is too consumed by infighting and ineffectiveness to represent the Syrian opposition.

U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford will travel to Qatar for the conference and has been working to craft the new council in a way that better represents a wider array of both internal and external opposition groups. U.S. officials and opposition leaders are calling the initiative the “Riad Seif plan,” named after the former Syrian parliamentarian and dissident who has been active in preparing the new initiative.

“We call it a proto-parliament. One could also think of it as a continental congress,” a senior administration official told The Cable.

Needless to say, it’s going over like a lead balloon…

Syrian opposition figures bristle at new US push to overhaul leadership

Members of Syria’s opposition-in-exile bristled Thursday at the Obama administration’s suggestion that Washington will handpick more representative leaders at a crucial conference in Qatar next week.

The new U.S. push appears aimed at creating a unified leadership that could work more closely with the West. But there are signs of resistance among deeply fractured opposition groups wary of attempts by foreign backers to dictate strategy in the civil war against President Bashar Assad.

“This direct tutelage and these dictates are not acceptable to the Syrian people anymore,” said Zuhair Salem, the London-based spokesman for Syria’s banned Muslim Brotherhood opposition group. The Brotherhood is part of the main political opposition group, the Syrian National Council, which is dominated by exiles…

b at MOA further extrapolated on what a Cluster F*ck we’ve created… U.S. Installs New Political Proxy Opposition…

God help us all…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Syria: Who Are The Rebels?

10:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Isn’t it funny that the GCC/Arab League buried the Arab League Observer Mission report on Syria(PDF! 30pgs), just prior to the UNSC vote…? As Chris Marsden wrote…

Report of Arab League mission to Syria contradicts Western propaganda

…The resolution on Syria vetoed at the United Nations Security Council by Russia and China was moved by the Arab League, citing the failure of the regime of Bashir al-Assad to abide by its demands for an end to violence against the opposition.

The veto has been followed by hysterical official denunciations in the West and a media propaganda campaign portraying the developments in Syria as an entirely one-sided and indiscriminate massacre carried out by the Assad regime against its own people.

The UN resolution included a brief reference to the observer mission sent by the Arab League into Syria, “commending its efforts” and suggesting that violence had prevented it from continuing its work.

The reality, however, is that to make the case for regime change in Syria, the League, currently chaired by Qatar and politically dominated by the US-aligned Gulf monarchies, had to terminate its own observer mission and squelch its report.

The report was suppressed because the 166-member observer mission found that violence in Syria was abating, the Syrian government was complying with most of the Arab League’s requirements and the ruling Baathists were faced with an armed insurrection. Qatar, along with Saudi Arabia, played the instrumental role in burying the report, and cutting short the mission, because they are arming the opposition forces and arguing for direct military intervention to depose Assad… {snip}

Syria signed the protocol agreeing to the mission on December 19. It was headed by Sudan’s General Muhammad Ahmad Mustafa Al-Dabi and included 166 monitors from 13 Arab countries and six Arab organisations.

On December 22, the Syrian Government “confirmed its readiness to facilitate the Mission in every way by allowing the free and safe movement of all of the observers throughout Syria,” and allowing it to “freely conduct” meetings with whomever it wished.

By and large, the report finds that this pledge was fulfilled…

Today, Col. Pat Lang chimed in about the looming Syrian morass…

…IMO we are being lured towards secret support of the Syrian opposition to the Assad government. There is an assumption that anything and anyone would be preferable for us to the present government. This is troubling.

During the Libyan insurgency the canard was about that those rebels were dominated by Islamists. That never seemed likely to me but perhaps I have known too many Libyans.

In the case of Syria, it seems clear to me that a great deal of the opposition is Sunni mosque centered around salafist leaders. How much ” a great deal” actually is remains a question. The government should have the CIA talk to its media friends so that we can be better informed. pl

Now, Nassar Ibrahim penned a must-read… Syria: the Middle East’s tipping point…

The struggle for Syria isn’t just about Syria–it’s the struggle for a free, democratic Middle East versus one that lives under the yoke of American and Israeli hegemony.

…The conflict in Syria has reached its tipping point. At this level, it is no longer acceptable or reasonable to continue playing in a gray area in the name of diplomacy, as the struggle on Syria has a crucial significance from various strategic points of views.

The importance of the Syrian question has to be found in Syria’s key-role in the regional geostrategic pattern. Its position is directly intertwined with the confrontations we will witness in the Arab world for the next decade, whose results will in turn be strongly affected by the transformation happening in Syria. To be clear, the moves we are witnessing nowadays will influence the fate of a number of regional and global balances on more than one axis.

From the moment that the Arab League made the decision to suspend Syria’s membership, entailing a series of sanctions against the Syrian people, the clashes happening in Syria have moved to another level. This became even clearer with the second proposed UN resolution–calling for a democratic transition and for Bashar Al Assad to step down–which was stopped by Russia and China’s vetoes last Saturday for the second time in four months. There have been two attempts to prepare the ground for a military intervention – that the US, European, and Arab countries would like to see and that 13 out of 15 UN Security Council members voted for. Such fervor reminds of the international climate before the war against Iraq began in 2003…

Please read the whole article…! It’s a very sobering analysis…!

Now, you tell me if today’s carnage was carried out by Assad’s troops or not…

Powerful car bombs rip through Syrian town

…Two powerful car bombs targeting security posts ripped through Syria’s second city of Aleppo on Friday, killing at least 25 people and wounding 175, even as tanks surged into battered protest hub Homs.

State television said “armed terrorist groups” carried out the attacks, the first in Aleppo since the outbreak of an uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad almost a year ago.

It said a “suicide bomber in a car packed with explosives” carried out one of the attacks on a police station, flattening a nearby food distribution centre. The second bombing targeted an intelligence base.

The report showed mangled bodies in pools of blood in the street outside rows of shattered buildings, and deep craters in the ground….

God Help the Syrians…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

As The Arab Spring Turns Into Summer…

9:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

It seems this Friday just happened to be another Friday, in that, once again a few Arabs, seemed to be a little pissed off with the ‘promised’ pace in the Arab Spring’s reforms and progress…

First off, from Tunisia…

Tunisian rally faces off tear gas

…Tunisian police used teargas yesterday to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators demanding progress in reforms promised after the president’s removal in the first of the Arab Spring revolutions.

More than 700 protesters gathered in Kasbah square in the centre of the Tunisian capital but were quickly dispersed by hundreds of police officers in riot gear. Protesters shouted “We are not afraid” as police pushed them out of the square, where Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi has his office.

Protests also took place in Sidi Bouzid, the central Tunisian town where a vegetable seller set himself on fire last December, setting in train protests that brought to an end the 23-year rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

From Egypt…

Egyptians extend protests at Tahrir Square

Egyptians gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday, after a week of demonstrations, to tell the ruling generals they are failing to meet demands to reform the system…

From Syria…

1 Million Protesters Push Syria’s Assad to the Brink…

An estimated 1 million Syrians took to the streets Friday to press for the ouster of President Bashar Assad, whose use of force and offers of dialogue have failed to stop a four-month revolt. At least 32 protesters were killed around the country, including more than 20 in the capital of Damascus…

From Jordan…

Jordanian police beat up journalists covering demonstration

…At least 10 people, mostly journalists, were injured yesterday when police tried to stop clashes between pro-reform demonstrators and government supporters in central Amman.
Police used batons to disperse the clashes outside city hall, beating and injuring nine journalists who were wearing orange vests marked “press,” an AFP reporter at the scene witnessed. The wounded included an AFP photographer and a female activist.
“We were beaten by police, although we were wearing special press vests,” said the photographer. “We thought we would be safe when we stood next to the police and away from the clashes.”
A photographer who works for another international news agency said he was ordered by police not to take pictures, while New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim was beaten by 10 policemen.
Around 2,000 people, including Islamists and youth groups, marched from the nearby Al Husseini mosque to the city hall before the clashes occurred with hundreds of government supporters.
“Rulers, we want to reform the regime. We want the palace to hear the voices of Jordanians,” the demonstrators chanted.
They carried banners reading “We need political, economic and social reforms for future generations,” and “It’s our right to fight corruption.”

From Bahrain…

Thousands rally for political reform in Bahrain

Tens of thousands of Bahrainis shouting “one man, one vote” attended a rally for political reform held by a leading opposition party on Friday, days before the group decides whether to pull out of national reform talks. Bahrain’s Sunni rulers have launched a national dialogue to discuss reforms and heal deep rifts in the Gulf island kingdom…

Now, lets put some proper perspective on the problem…

More Harm Than Good…

…Now, before Tunisia and Egypt even have new governments in place, the IMF has jumped to offer them loans for vast infrastructure projects in the desert—as if the fund didn’t know that young Arabs there want ways to start businesses and have careers, not temporary construction jobs.

The Greek debacle and the North African drama raise existential questions about the IMF. Responsible governments have no business borrowing vast sums from abroad, rather than from domestic sources. That’s what tinpot regimes do. And lending even more to borrowers who can’t pay what they already owe? That’s what loan sharks and mafiosi do.

The IMF’s business model sabotages properly functioning capitalism, victimizing ordinary people while benefiting the elites. Do we need international agencies to enable irresponsible—verging on immoral—borrowing and lending? Instead of dreaming up too-clever-by-half schemes to stumble through crises after they happen, why not just stop imprudent banks from accommodating foreign borrowing by feckless governments? After all, it’s French and German taxpayers who are on the hook—not just the Greeks and the Irish…

Now, today in Libya, we’ve officially recognized the Rebels, freeing up the $34 Billion that we had froze, shortly after Qaddafi had announced that he was earmarking that specified amount to the African Development Bank…

U.S. formally recognizes rebel group as Libya’s government

…The chief effect of recognition may be financial. The rebels have been pleading with Washington and other governments for months to release frozen Libyan assets, including $34 billion held in U.S. banks, and that now appears increasingly likely.

At the Istanbul meeting, France said it was taking steps to unfreeze $250 million, while Italy said it was moving to unfreeze $100 million. U.S. officials said it would take time to release the Libyan money because of legal restrictions, but the task is easier if the council is the recognized government.

The rebels have said they need $3.5 billion this year to prosecute the war and administer the cities and towns they control.

Here’s a juicy little tidbit about those very same Al QaedaLibyan Rebels…

Now, speaking about ‘prosecuting’ and ‘administering the cities and towns they control’. The House of Saud is in full panic mode…

Saudis Seeking Arms amid Growing Fears

Saudi Arabia’s hunger for weapons has grown with the upcoming US withdrawal from Iraq and instability in Yemen and Bahrain.

…”Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries in general realize that they must rely on themselves to defend themselves during this critical period marked by the beginning of a US withdrawal from Iraq,” said Anwar Eshki, director of the Middle East Institute for Strategic Studies. [...]

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has traditionally bought US and British arms, but it showed no hesitation in contacting a new supplier, Berlin, with which it is negotiating the purchase of 200 Leopard tanks, according to reports in Germany.

The order is worth some two billion Euros ($2.8 billion), German magazine Der Spiegel said on its website.

“The kingdom is looking for weapons in Germany and even in Russia, knowing that with the vacuum left by the Americans in Iraq, Iran might begin to extend its influence to the Levant reaching out to the Mediterranean sea,” said Eshki.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, whose country sent about 1,500 troops to Bahrain, freeing up local security forces to crush a month-long uprising, recently reiterated Riyadh’s rejection of “foreign adventures” in Bahrain.

“Persian [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) states have strategy to maintain their security,” Faisal said on July 5…

As, b at M of A, pointed out some of the unique features of those 200 Main Battle Tanks…

German Tanks For Saudi ‘Peace Support Operations’

…But the question is not really about a $1+ billion tank deal with the Saudi, they do have lots of U.S. build M1A1 as well as British Challengers and could easily get more, the question is about the specific version of this first class tank the Saudis have asked for.

The Leopard II A7+ (PSO) variant was specifically developed for “Peace Support Operations”. Such Orwellian termed operations, as this video of a pretty lousy military show depicts, consist of suppressing demonstrations and rebellions as well as general fighting in urban terrain.

Hmmm… Yeppers, it’s all those pesky Iranians fault…

Btw, can we finally be rid of this annoying Beach Boy earworm…?

…There is almost “near certainty” that Netanyahu is “planning an attack [on Iran] … and it will probably be in September before the vote on a Palestinian state. And he’s also hoping to draw the United States into the conflict,” Baer explained.

….It should be noted that the Iranian regime is quite capable of triggering a war with the United States on its own through some combination of colossal stupidity and sheer hatred. In fact, Baer says, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would welcome a war. They are “paranoid.” They are “worried about … what’s happening to their country economically, in terms of the oil embargo and other sanctions.” And they are worried about a population that increasingly despises the regime.

They need an external enemy. Because we are leaving Iraq, it’s Israel. But in order to make this threat believable, they would love an attack on their nuclear facilities, love to go to war in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and Iraq and hit us where they could. Their defense is asymmetrical. We can take out all of their armored units. It’s of little difference to them, same with their surface-to-air missile sites. It would make little difference because they would use terrorism. They would do serious damage to our fleet in the Gulf.

Given all that, is it possible that the United States would allow Israel to attack when the president knows “we would be forced” to join the war on Israel’s side?

Baer’s response: “the President is up for re-election next year” and Israel is “truly out of control.”

What happens when you see 100 F-16′s approaching Iraq and there is a call to the White House [from Netanyahu] that says “We’re going in, we’re at war with Iran”? What does the President of the United States do? He has little influence over Bibi Netanyahu. …We can’t stop him. And he knows it.

Hmmm…! I suppose not…!

Now, this was some great news which actually did instill some hope in my cold, cynical heart…

Thousands of Israelis and Arabs march in Jerusalem to support Palestinian independence…

Several MKs participate in the ‘March for Independence,’ the first such Jewish-Arab event in 20 years…

Arab League seeking full status for Palestine at UN…

The Arab League will ask the United Nations to upgrade the Palestinians to full member status, a draft statement from a league meeting in Qatar said yesterday. “It was decided to go to the United Nations to request the recognition of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to move ahead and request a full membership,” said the communique.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the move, saying if the Palestinians really wanted peace, “they would sit down for negotiations, without preconditions. There is no replacement for negotiations. Unilateral steps will not bring peace closer and will not bring any solution.”

Even the ever-odious Mustache of Fury just had to chime in… …PA bid for UN recognition means ‘next to nothing’…

*gah*

by CTuttle

One Man’s Independence Is Another’s Catastrophe

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Yesterday was Israel’s Independence Day… In which they went all out…

Israel shuts down to commemorate fallen, independence

Sirens wailed across Israel, as millions bowed their heads in silence to mark the country’s Memorial Day on Sunday evening, commemorating fallen troops and civilian deaths.

The commemoration comes a day ahead of celebrations marking Israel’s independence, and saw West Bank checkpoints shut down and Gaza import terminals sealed.

Marking the day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped that the change sweeping Arab nations in the region would lead to regimes that sought peace with Israel, but said that the country’s only guarantee of security was a strong military.

“We hope that freedom and progress will light the heavens of other nations, we hope they will live with us in peace,” said Netanyahu. “But until that day comes, and after, we know that there is only one guarantee for our existence and our future — the Israel Defense Force.”

Hoo-ah…! Might makes right…!

Meanwhile, at the UN HQ in NYC, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) trotted out Ray Dolphin to present his comprehensive report on Palestinians living in East Jerusalem…

‘EAST JERUSALEM: KEY HUMANITARIAN CONCERNS’

Presenting a new report on East Jerusalem at Headquarters today, its author, Ray Dolphin, said the separation barrier under construction there not only had profound humanitarian consequences, but could ultimately have political implications, as well.

Mr. Dolphin said at a press conference that the report, by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and titled East Jerusalem: Key Humanitarian Concerns, was the first comprehensive one on the humanitarian position of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, and brought together many of the well-known issues in one volume for the first time. It examined such vital issues as residency rights, planning, zoning, and demolition, bringing them all together to show how they were interrelated, he said.

“All these factors together are undermining the Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem,” he continued. “Basically, Israeli measures and policies are prioritizing the settler population at the expense of the Palestinian population.” The report found a number of persistent problems, with 35 per cent of the land having been confiscated for the expansion and construction of settlements, and only 13 per cent zoned for Palestinians. That left many Palestinian residents no option but to build illegally, putting their homes at risk of demolition.

He went on to say that Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem were suffering discrimination for the settlers’ benefit. There was a de facto division of East Jerusalem, with up to 60,000 tax-paying Palestinians now residing on the other side of the barrier, without receiving the Government services to which they were entitled. While all residents were entitled to free education, about 1,000 additional classrooms were needed, according to official Israeli Government statistics, he said, adding that only half the school-aged Palestinians in East Jerusalem were enrolled in free schools. The rest attended schools where they were forced to pay fees, and perhaps up to 10,000 did not attend school at all. Palestinian residency rights were also uncertain, since they were automatically revoked if a resident spent more than seven years away, or took up a second citizenship, he said.

Asked whether OCHA would characterize the situation as “apartheid”, Mr. Dolphin said the Office did not use that term to describe the situation, but rather discussed the various “push” and “pull” factors; while lack of opportunities and resources pushed segments of the population away, many Palestinians were pulled back to East Jerusalem out of fear of losing their residency status. Still, the many push factors were reaching a critical mass and were greatly undermining the Palestinian presence.

Responding to another question, Mr. Dolphin said the report’s recommendations were aimed at the Israeli authorities. While there could only be a political resolution of the conflict, it was not there at the moment. The report therefore outlined key concerns to be addressed in the meantime, he said, adding that the recommendations included stopping settlement building, prioritizing zoning for Palestinians and interim measures to alleviate critical humanitarian issues caused by the barrier.

Asked whether, given the report, it would still be possible to divide East Jerusalem along the lines of the “ Clinton parameters”, he replied that settlements, in general, were problematic in that regard, in that they took land and resources from Palestinian areas, making it more difficult to re-divide East Jerusalem along the prescribed “ethnic” lines. For that reason, it was vitally important that Palestinians remain in East Jerusalem so that a political solution could still be reached.

Now, before I go on, I need to emphasis what the vile, FM Avi Lieberman, had spewed today…

Lieberman rules out settlement freeze, ‘even for three hours’

The foreign minister spoke at a conference for foreign diplomats, along with President Shimon Peres, who criticized the recent reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded to a Palestinian call for Israel to renew its settlement freeze by saying that Israel would do no such thing, “not even for three hours.”

The foreign minister, while speaking at the Presidential residence in Jerusalem to foreign diplomats and foreign consular employees said “there will be no building freeze in Jerusalem or in the West Bank, not for three months, not for three days, not even for three hours.”

F*ck me…!

Then, he even has the unmitigated Chutzpah… Lieberman: Israel is ready to restart direct peace talks…

What’s left to talk about then…?

How much of that Palestinian ‘Pizza Pie’ will remain as it grows smaller, every three hours, or some such nonsense…!

Some saner voices did voice their views today too…

Barak outlines conditions for peace deal with Palestinians

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday night outlined Israel’s conditions for a peace deal with the Palestinians, including maintaining settlement blocs and Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.

He said the pre-1967 borders would be adjusted with land swaps that would leave the Palestinians with the same amount of territory, as they would have been expected to receive under if there had been a full return to the 1967 line.

For security reasons, the new Palestinian state would be demilitarized and Israel would need to maintain a presence in the Jordan Valley to ensure.

Ah-ha, but the Occupation regime must continue…!

Now, with that in mind, Nakba Day is about to be ‘celebrated’ in the West Bank and Gaza…

…Palestinians in Gaza started to mark the 63rd anniversary of “Nakba” or “catastrophe”, a term Palestinian refugees use to describe their expulsion from their homes and towns when Israel was created on occupied Palestinian territories.

“We are returning” is the motto of this exhibition, which aims to highlight the Plight of Palestinian refugees who say that their right of return is a sacred right.

The Nakba made some 700,000 Palestinians displaced and dispossessed, forcing them to flee to different neighboring courtiers, after some 500 villages and towns were wiped off the map by Israeli forces.

More than 6 decades have passed and the 1948 refugees and their descendants who are now said to total some 4.7 million people have been dreaming of an eventual return to their homeland.

The Palestinians living as refugees in the Diaspora, are not allowed by Israel to return or even visit their towns from which their parents and grandparents were driven out.

Besides the fundamental need to halt the Settlements, the ‘right of return’ is another major bone of contention that needs to be seriously addressed…!

However, I digress…

There’s a bunch of I/P news that needs to be aired…

Hamas Leader Nods to New Partners (WSJ paywall) You can read it here…

I’m truly surprised at the speed of the Palestinian Unity effort…

Shaath: New government within 10 days…

Even, at the breadth of their efforts…

Fatah, Hamas agree to release detainees

Fatah and Hamas will begin releasing political prisoners in the next few days, a Palestinian official has said.

Khalil Assaf, head of the independent figures in the West Bank, told Ma’an on Tuesday that discussions between the parties had been ongoing to implement a unity deal signed in Cairo this month.

That is a very tangible, positive move by both factions…!

Now, let me update you on the current PA employees’ salaries…

First, not only has Madame Clinton told Bibi to release the PA’s Tax revenues, but, the World is also pressuring Israel not to block Palestinian tax funds…

Tony Blair says the U.S. has laws that would not allow the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority if the new government fails to abide by the Quartet’s conditions.

…World pressuring Israel not to block Palestinian tax funds
Tony Blair says the U.S. has laws that would not allow the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority if the new government fails to abide by the Quartet’s conditions.

The international community is pressuring Israel to transfer NIS 300 million of Palestinian tax money to the Palestinian Authority, despite the reconciliation agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas yesterday in Cairo.

Both United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Quartet envoy Tony Blair have spoken to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and requested the funds be allowed through.

As I’ve noted before, the UN’s Ban, the EU, the Arab League, etal, have said the same damn thing…!

Now, I’ve still two more items to be addressed…

First, Bibi’s DC schedule is all set for next week…

Bibi will show up at the WH on the 20th of May, then, he’ll keynote the AIPAC Conference on the 22nd, also in DC… Then, he’ll wrap it all up with his coup de grâce, grandstanding in front of a joint assembly of Congress on the 24th…!

…Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the U.S. Congress on May 24 on a Washington visit that will cap a U.S.-led diplomatic flurry seeking to advance stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Netanyahu will deliver his speech to lawmakers four days after White House talks with President Barack Obama, whose relationship with the Israeli leader has sometimes been strained.

Obama’s attempts to broker a Middle East peace deal have yielded little since he took office but he has insisted there is an urgent need to seize the opportunity created by political upheaval in the broader Arab world. [...]

Some Israeli news reports have suggested Netanyahu could float new ideas on restarting peace talks, which broke down late last year in a dispute over continued Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

But Netanyahu, who heads a right-leaning, pro-settler coalition, has stopped short of saying he would present new peace proposals.

“America and Israel are the closest of friends and allies,” Boehner said in a statement. “We look forward to hearing the prime minister’s views on how we can continue working together for peace, freedom and stability.”

Netanyahu’s visit comes against a backdrop of Middle East upheaval that has unsettled many Israelis. He has condemned a new reconciliation deal between the mainstream Palestinian Fatah faction and its rival, the Islamist Hamas movement, saying it undermines peace prospects.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on April 12 that the Obama administration planned a new push to promote comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace in coming weeks.

Ain’t nothing going to happen from any of those Love-fests…

Finally, this display of ‘Bipartisanship’ and ‘mixed signals’ has me positively livid…

Menendez, Casey and Colleagues Call for Evaluation of U.S. Relations with Fatah-Hamas Government, Possible Suspension of Aid to Palestine…

…As fellow Democrats, we thank you for your continued commitment to and investment in Israel’s security. We urge you to make clear to President Abbas and the international community the United States’ opposition to a Fatah-Hamas unity government that does not fully accept the Quartet principles. Such a government will prove fatal to the peace effort, as well as to efforts to establish a Palestinian state, and will severely harm relations with the United States. The Palestinian Authority needs to get back to the negotiating table rather than pursue futile and harmful efforts to join with Hamas or seek recognition of Palestinian statehood at the UN.

If any of these woeful critters are one of your Senators, please call them to retract that nonsense…

Sincerely,

Senator Robert Menendez

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.

Senator Daniel Inouye

Senator Carl Levin

Senator Max Baucus

Senator Joseph Lieberman

Senator Kent Conrad

Senator Frank Lautenberg

Senator Charles Schumer

Senator Barbara Boxer

Senator Daniel Akaka

SSenator Barbara Mikulski

Senator Ron Wyden

Senator Bill Nelson

Senator Debbie Stabenow

Senator Ben Nelson

Senator Mark Pryor

Senator Benjamin Cardin

Senator Sherrod Brown

Senator Amy Klobuchar

Senator Jon Tester

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator Al Franken

Senator Joe Manchin

Senator Christopher Coons

Senator Richard Blumenthal

Senator Claire McCaskill

Two of them are mine…! I’ve already given both of them earfuls…!

Sad to see so many PeP’s(Progressive except Palestine)…!

I’ll betcha, tho, Bibi heads home with $20 Billion more in US Taxpayer money…!

Any takers…?

*gah*

Btw, just for sh*ts and giggles… Glenn Beck to meet with Netanyahu…

That should be most productive…!

by CTuttle

Immediate Reactions to The Fatah-Hamas Unity Govt ‘Understanding’

6:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Today, in Cairo, Fatah and Hamas reached an unity govt ‘understanding’…

Egypt’s official MENA news agency said the factions “reached a complete understanding after talks on all the points, including the formation of a transitional government with a specific mandate and setting a date for elections.”

Egypt will now call a meeting of all Palestinian factions to sign a reconciliation agreement in Cairo, MENA added.

Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmad confirmed the report and said the two sides had agreed to set up a “government of independents.”

“This government will be tasked with preparing for presidential and legislative elections within a year,” Ahmad said in a phone call in Ramallah.

So naturally, Bibi blew a fuse…

Abbas must choose between Israel, Hamas: Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could not hope to forge a peace deal with Israel if he pursued a reconciliation accord with the Islamist group Hamas.

“The Palestinian Authority must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both,” Netanyahu said after the two Palestinian groups announced they had overcome past differences. [...]

But top Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdaineh said the reconciliation did not concern Israel.

“The agreement between Fatah and Hamas movements is an internal affair and has nothing to do with Israel. Netanyahu must choose between a just peace with the united Palestinian people … and settlements,” Abu Rdaineh said.

In his televised statement, Netanyahu said Israel could not accept Hamas as a negotiating partner because it “aspires to destroy Israel, it says so publicly, it fires rockets on our cities, it fires anti-tank rockets on our children.”

He said the surprise announcement of a reconciliation deal “exposes the Palestinian Authority’s weakness and raises questions whether Hamas will take hold of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as it took hold of the Gaza Strip.”

Now, why is it such a ‘surprise annoucement’, Bibi…? You’ve known for awhile now, that they’ve been meeting in Cairo, and other locales. As I’d noted a month ago:Abbas Discusses Initiative with Hamas delegation… And that’s only the latest Arab League, amongst others’ efforts at pursuing unity between Fatah and Hamas…

The rightwing Arutz Sheva trumpeted this Israeli Cabinet Member’s vile response…

Silvan Shalom: PA State Would be Hamas State

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said Wednesday that Fatah’s reconciliation with Hamas proves that a Palestinian Authority state bordering Israel would quickly become “a Hamas-Iranian outpost.”

The reconciliation also shows that PA leaders’ real reason for refusing to negotiate with Israel was that they do not truly want peace, he said.

Philip Weiss wrote today about our AIPAC/Neocon Cabal’s immediate response…

Elliott Abrams is on it like a duck on a junebug, pronouncing, at the Council on Foreign Relations, that this shows there can be no Palestinian partner for peace because Fatah will break bread with Islamists. And you wonder who fomented that split, back in 2007?

Thus the ineluctable historical forces of democratization in the Arab world bear down on Israel, too, the Arab spring would enfold Israel and Palestine, too, and the American forces that blocked such a path historically with one rationale after another– our air craft carrier against the Soviet threat, our bulwark against radical Islam, our only democratic ally– they grow desperate. Panicked, Abrams writes, “this move by President Abbas vastly complicates U.S. efforts in the region and the Obama Administration’s current negotiations with Prime Minister Netanyahu.” What U.S. efforts in the region? What negotiations with Prime Minister Netanyahu?

Exactly, what efforts and what negotiations…?

Haaretz reported our Foggy Bottom’s pathetic response…

U.S.: Any Palestinian government must renounce violence, recognize Israel

State Department says U.S. supports Palestinian reconciliation on ‘terms which promote cause of peace’.

The United States believes any Palestinian government must renounce violence, respect past peace deals and recognize Israel’s right to exist if it is to play a constructive role, a U.S. official said on Wednesday. [...]

“We have seen the press reports and are seeking more information. As we have said before, the United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace,” the State Department said.

“To play a constructive role, any Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles by renouncing violence, accepting past agreements, and recognizing Israel’s right to exist.”

The White House said it was seeking more information about the reported deal, calling Hamas terrorists.

“The United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace. Hamas, however, is a terrorist organization which targets civilians,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

Now, let’s try a little mental exercise…

“To play a constructive role, any Palestinian Israeli government must accept the Quartet principles by renouncing violence, accepting past agreements, and recognizing Israel’s Palestine’s right to exist.”

One can always dream, right…?

In summing it up, +972′s Dahlia Scheindlin penned an excellent analysis piece: Hamas Fatah Reconciliation – what does it mean…

by CTuttle

Arab League Asks For Gaza No-Fly Zone, Tentative Cease-Fire Is Agreed To Between Hamas, Israel, And, Israeli Doublespeak

5:46 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Interestingly, as I’d quipped at the end of this post, from about a month ago: I’m all for a UN imposed ‘No Fly Zone’ over Gaza…! Well, it seems the Arab League agreed with me…

Arab League urges Gaza no-fly zone

The Arab League Council called on the UN Security Council Sunday to consider an air embargo on Israeli military flights over Gaza, reports said.

The council’s appeal, submitted by Syria at a special meeting in Cairo, asks the Security Council to immediately convene to adopt a resolution enforcing a no-fly zone, the Syrian news agency SANA reported late Sunday.

The initiative is aimed at protecting unarmed civilians, ending the siege imposed on the Strip and stresses the Palestinian people’s right to resist the Israeli occupation, according to the news outlet.

The Arab League body condemned Israel’s “plotted barbaric aggression” on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip as part of a series of “frequent crimes” violating international legitimacy and laws, SANA said.

It also expressed astonishment at the international community’s “suspicious silence.”

In the region, meanwhile, both Israeli and Palestinian officials expressed support for a potential ceasefire, after days of rocket fire and Israeli air raids that have killed at least 18 people in Gaza.

Now, as Haaretz had reported recently…

Palestinian official: Israel, Gaza militants agreed to a cease-fire

Although neither Israel nor the Palestinians confirmed the cease-fire, a significantly smaller number of rockets were fired from Gaza on Sunday and Palestinians reported no Israeli air strikes.

A Palestinian official close to United Nations and Egyptian-mediated negotiations told Reuters on Sunday that Israel and militant groups in Gaza had agreed a truce, as cross-border violence abated. [...]

Israel’s retaliatory air strikes have claimed the lives of 19 Palestinians, while militants have continued firing rockets from Gaza into Israel.

However, no Israeli air strikes were reported on Sunday. Israeli police and military officials said around 10 missiles had been fired from Gaza, a significant fall from the 130 of the previous two days.

“Palestinian factions have agreed to halt rocket fire and Israel agreed to cease attacks on the Gaza Strip,” the Palestinian official said.

There was no official confirmation from either side, but a senior Israeli official told Reuters: “We will judge the other side over the next few days. The extent to which Hamas controls the other militant groups will affect the way we choose to act.”

“What happens from here on is up to the other side,” the official told reporters in Tel Aviv, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It seems calmer now, but it is still not clear where this is going.”

Hamas’ official website said that the ceasefire had been in place since Sunday morning. The ten rockets that landed in Israel on Sunday Palestinians blamed on those who disagreed with the ceasefire.

Here’s some reports that highlight how fragile the ceasefire is…

Israel to continue fighting ‘terror in Gaza’ despite Hamas ceasefire plea

After briefing on Sunday, cabinet decides to instruct IDF to continue to work against terror in Gaza in order to stop the rocket fire which continues to pound Israel’s southern region.

Netanyahu warns Hamas of ‘severe response’ to increase of rocket fire…

Lieberman: Israel should topple Hamas

Israel should not settle for a truce with Hamas in Gaza, and should instead seek to topple the Islamist rulers of the coastal strip, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday.

South serene for now, but IDF ready for fresh escalation…

From Hamas and Gaza…

Hamas: We won’t surrender or violate truce

Hamas politburo member Salah Al-Bardawil said Sunday that Palestinian groups “will be committed to a truce as long as Israel is committed as well.”

Palestinian factions in Gaza “do not want to drag the Palestinians to war amidst the changes taking place in Arab countries without media outlets focusing on Gaza, so they accepted the truce,” he said.

However, “Palestinian resistance will not accept surrender,” his statement said.

He noted that “the Palestinian factions agreed previously on a unilateral truce entitled ‘committed as long as the enemy is’ but the [Israeli] occupation violated this truce by killing children and women, and the resistance responded in a limited way making the occupation hit back much more harshly in its aggression.”

Al-Bardawil said that Israel had apparently approved the truce with Palestinian factions.

Despite truce, little-known group fires projectile…

I think this best sums it up… Gaza ceasefire unlikely to last: Israeli press…

Now, Haaretz featured two great Op-eds about their recent Wikileaks: Israel ‘File’

The first was penned by Yossi Sarid…

Politicians and the truth / The danger of doublespeak

Israel’s leaders know the truth about the political situation but are afraid to speak it, as if Israelis were children who must be shielded from the cruel reality.

It’s not clear what pushes VIPs to confess to Americans as if to a priest or psychologist. Maybe a psychological explanation is in order: At some point, people must have a chance to relieve themselves of the burden of lies. [...]

Like spouses who have been cheated on, Israelis are the last to know. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the settler leaders know the truth – they’re just afraid to say so.

They, too, understand what our fate will be in this land if it is not divided. But why should they tell us that the settlers would evacuate for proper compensation? For now, the head of the Yesha Council of settlements will only whisper it to the Americans, perhaps so they can start getting the money together.

They’re afraid to speak the truth as if Israelis were children who must be shielded from the cruel reality. They’re afraid they will be thrown out of office when the people realize they’ve been tricked. It turns out that Israel now wants a strong Hamas, a general said, without which the state of Gaza will be even more violent…

The second one penned by Alon Idan spared no one…

What WikiLeaks can tell us about Israel’s ‘leaders’

The WikiLeaks documents prove that the Israeli public likes to be governed aggressively by persons who tend to feed them lies.

A reading of the so-called Israel file found among the WikiLeaks documents reveals the stuff of which Israel’s “leadership” is made. To sum it up, an Israeli leader apparently carries two basic genes: one of aggression and one of charlatanism. In ideological terms, that means that such a leader has most likely been influenced by Machiavelli’s “The Prince” – based on the great assumption that said leader has actually read the book. If for a moment we switch things around and extrapolate, this also means the Israeli public likes to be governed aggressively by persons who tend to feed them lies.

According to the documents, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the king of charlatans. He is mostly preoccupied with tactics like enhancing visibility and marketing. [...]

In November 2009, during a meeting with members of the U.S. Congress, Netanyahu says jokingly: “What is the difference between on and off the record in Israel? Two weeks.” In other words, even his jokes deal with how to create two realities – one confidential, the other not – with a comic dimension attributed to the very short period during which the con is perpetrated.

“Netanyahu” is a marketing term which describes the way in which reality is presented in order to preserve power…

Could Bibi finally be seeing the light…?

Netanyahu mulls pulling IDF forces out of Palestinian West Bank

The prime minister is considering this and a series of other measures to block the ‘diplomatic tsunami’ that may follow international recognition of Palestinian state at UN General Assembly in September.

I’m not holding my breath…!

by CTuttle

Erekat Resigns as Chief PLO Negotiator, the PA Announces new Elections, and, Some Fallout From Egypt’s Uprising

8:55 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

In the follow up story, Al Jazeera wryly noted…

…Al Jazeera’s Cal Perry in Ramallah said that there was a feeling among Palestinians that the peace process was at an impasse.

“There is clearly a feeling here on the ground that the peace process has broken down, that there is no more point in negotiating unless the Israelis are willing to bring more to the table,” he said.

On the matter of Erekat’s successor, he said that his sources were saying “there’s no point. Why would we have a chief negotiator if there are no negotiations?”

Hanan Ashrawi, who is on the PLO’s Executive Committee, told Al Jazeera that the peace talks were in trouble long before the Palestine Papers were released.

There has not been a [peace] process. There have been sporadic attempts by the Americans to replace substance and objectives with negotiations, as though that was the end.

“We said no to that; either you make Israel comply to the freeze and stop all settlements and you articulate the objectives and the terms of reference [of the negotiations] with in a specific time frame, or there is no use of entering into an endless process which Israel exploits in order to create facts on the ground and to annex East Jerusalem,” Ashrawi said.

As Ma’an had reported…

…Erekat, who has been at the center of negotiations since 1991, told AFP he was assuming “responsibility for the theft of documents” that had been “deliberately” tampered with.” [...]

There was no immediate reaction from President Mahmoud Abbas or the PLO executive committee, but an official in Erekat’s office told Ma’an that Abbas accepted the decision.

“The resignation is no longer pending approval … Abbas accepted it personally,” the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

He added that Erekat “felt personal responsibility for the Palestine papers fiasco.” [...]

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas officials welcomed Erekat’s announcement.

His decision to resign “shows that the leaked documents were authentic,” party spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said, urging the PLO to halt all negotiations with Israel.

Erekat has pointed to a possible US-Israeli effort to topple the PA because of its refusal to take part in US-brokered direct peace talks unless Israel halts West Bank settlement construction.

The talks have been suspended since September.

The files allege that Palestinian negotiators offered unprecedented concessions during talks, including on the ultra-sensitive subjects of Jerusalem and refugees, with nothing in return from Israel.

They also show PA members closely cooperating with Israel in its fight against Hamas.

To bring you up to date on the Palestine Papers…

Here’s some of Erekat’s ‘Greatest Hits’…

Erekat: “I can’t stand Hamas”

For Fatah, the Annapolis process seems to have been as much about crushing Hamas as about ending Israel’s occupation.

Erekat:The Palestine papers are a distraction from the real issue

We made no backroom deals, and negotiated in good faith. But Palestine had no partner for peace

Erekat: ‘Iran is playing games, using Hamas as a card’

Palestinian Authority Negotiator Saeb Erekat said that a two-state solution was necessary for a wider strategy of promoting moderation and fighting extremists in the Middle East, UK newspaper the Guardian reported on Wednesday.

“If there wasn’t an Israeli embassy in Cairo,” he said, “Bin Laden would be there and if there wasn’t one in Amman [Bin Laden's deputy] Zawahiri would set up shop too.”

According to leaked “Palestine Papers,” in October 2009 the PA negotiator told US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, “Ahmadinejad is in Gaza and Lebanon. Pakistan is going failed. The Arab states are doing nothing.”

Erekat stated that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tried to persuade a Palestinian businessman to contribute $50 million to a radio station for the Iranian opposition after the country’s tumultuous elections in 2009, reported the Guardian.

He cited this request as evidence of the Palestinian Authority’s support for US strategic goals in the region. [...]

“If other countries think they can use Hamas as a card we will do the same with them. We are not running a charity. Iran is playing games, they are using Hamas as a card.”

Paranoid much, Saeb…? Anyways, moving along…

Hamas greeted the news of Erekat’s resignation…

…Commenting on the news, Dr. Hassan Abu Hashish, the head of the Palestinian government’s media office in Gaza, said that Erikat’s resignation pointed to the state of failure accompanying the negotiations process.

He told the PIC that the failure was not for Erikat alone but for the entire trend he represented, championing a change to the Palestinian rule led by Abbas, which led the Palestinian people to an abyss.

It is about time for the Palestinian political spectrum to draft a new national leadership for the Palestinian people based on rights and constants, Abu Hashish underlined.

For his part, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said that Erikat’s resignation was not enough, adding that all those involved in offering concessions as revealed by the leaked papers should be brought to account.

He demanded the formation of a national investigative committee to probe the role of each and every one involved in the corruption and conspiracies against the Palestinian people.

Barhoum, hoping that Erikat’s resignation would signal a real and rooted change in the PA, he urged the PA in Ramallah to declare failure of the negotiations and an end to the entire process.

Now, about the planned announcement of holding new PA elections that was subsequently buried by Erekat’s resignation…

Amid Egypt Aftershocks, Palestinians Call Elections

…the leadership of the Palestinian National Authority watched events in Egypt on Friday, then chose Saturday to announce that they would hold new elections, after all.

Balloting for Palestinian president and the legislature was originally scheduled for 2010, but was called off because the government is divided into warring factions. According to the results of the last round of elections, the militant Islamist Hamas is the ruling party in the legislature, while Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is the president. New elections are long overdue, but the reality on the ground is that Fatah rules the 2.4 million Palestinians who live on the West Bank, while Hamas governs the Gaza Strip, home to another 1.5 million citizens. And in response to the latest announcement, Hamas made clear that Gaza would not be participating in the proposed poll.

“This procedure is invalid because President Abbas has no legitimacy and is not fit to organise such elections,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told reporters.

Talk of reconciliation is so far just talk, as each side hunts activists of the other. West Bank security forces work with Israeli intelligence to locate and jail Hamas operatives; Hamas enforces brutal discipline over all Gaza rivals.

I should point out the fact that the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process has been brokered all along by the Arab League and it’s Egyptian head, Amr Moussa, who just happened to announce today… Amr Moussa to leave Arab League…

You can read the PLO Executive Committee’s official announcement here…
Palestinian National Elections Before September, Says PLO Executive Committee

About Fatah’s and Abu Mazen’s views midway on the Egyptian Revolution…

Abbas aide comes out against Egypt uprising

A senior aide to President Mahmoud Abbas launched a scathing attack Wednesday against pro-democracy protesters who have demonstrated for weeks against the authoritarian rule of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

Tayeb Abdel-Rahim says the protesters have “suspicious allegiances” against the regime and hope to undermine Egypt’s “leading role.”

“Creative chaos” and “an attempt to create a new Sykes-Picot agreement” were among the labels used by this senior PA official to criticize the Egyptian people for their revolt.

“We look at the picture from a broader perspective,” Abdel-Rahim said in a statement. “It is being planned by international and regional forces with the help of local tools.”

Hamas is hopeful for the Egyptian Revolution…

Hamas: New Egypt leadership should open Gaza

Hamas called Friday for the new Egyptian leadership to lift the siege of Gaza by opening the Rafah crossing.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhari said Mubarak’s departure was a victory for Egypt and had Hamas’ full support.

“Gaza’s joy is equal to the joy of Egypt with this victory because this man was a major factor in the Gaza siege and war”.

Palestinians launched fireworks and celebrated in the streets in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere after the news of Mubarak’s departure.

Ma’an said it best for the Palestinians…

Editorial: Egypt, please open the Rafah crossing

Palestinians suffer from an incurable love of our homeland, and we are today students and partners of the great Egyptian people.

The people of Egypt built the pyramids and contributed to the creation of human civilization 7,000 years ago. The Egyptian people dug the Suez Canal and then nationalized it.

We, too, thirst for freedom after suffering humiliation, disrespect and siege.

We, your blockaded brothers, congratulate Egypt on its new dawn.

But we have one request: Open the Rafah crossing.

Open a window of freedom to us so we can see the light. Rescue us with this window.

We, your brothers, doomed to live in and around holy Jerusalem, ask only for this one thing. Grant it, and you have our word that we will remain by your side.

Long live your homeland, and God bless Egypt.

God Bless the Palestinians…

The Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty: A cold hard look…

by CTuttle

A Palestinian Editor Calls Out Bibi, The PA, and The Arab League…

10:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Reprinted with permission from Ma’an…

Palestinians have spent the past few days struggling to decipher what is going on in their country, listening to political analysts on satellite TV as they slam the Palestinian people under the pretext of assistance.

Yet, it is you Arab leaders (and Arab armies) who abandoned Palestine.

You left us to face the occupation and witness our women giving birth at checkpoints, our children dying of hunger and oppression. It is you who disarmed us in 1948 and told us to count on you. We waited 30 years, but you were too busy living luxuriously, claiming to prepare for the mother of all battles.

It was you who forgot Palestine and left us to study Hebrew so we could get work. It was you who supplied both Hamas and Fatah with weapons and money so we could fight and kill each other in the streets.

As we waited thinking you would arrive heavily armed, we learned in the alleys of refugee camps how the world really works. We learned in small battles how to love and how to hate and when to be suspicious.

Despite the heat of the summers and chill of winters, we learned the chemistry, biology, math, algebra and accounting skills we needed to manage our pocket money when there was pocket money.

So yes, it’s true we worked in the settlements. We smiled when our Israeli employers told us to “shut up, you dog-like Arabs.” We waited for you to come, but you were too busy with the World Cup. You closed your borders and made us get visas to visit your countries.

Yes, we worked as garbage collectors for settlers. We worked in their bars, in their cemeteries, and we became beggars who asked foreign countries to donate flour and clothes. Despite this, and thanks to no emir, Palestinians remain steadfast on our land and a thorn in the occupation’s throat.

I say this as an impartial journalist: We will not defend ourselves and our people like suspects of a crime. Don’t even dream of it. We owe an apology to nobody. We apologize when we make mistakes, but we will never apologize to you. It is you who owe us an apology, and we will never forgive you.

As Palestinian journalists, we are not affiliated to Mahmoud Abbas or Khaled Mash’al. We are lovers of Palestine which is a thing much greater than Abbas, Yasser Arafat, Saeb Erekat, Yasser Abed Rabbo, Mash’al, Fayyad, Haniyeh, and much greater than thousands like you.

The Gulf doesn’t bankroll our media. We answer to no president, and certainly no emir. We serve our people, our families in refugee camps. We smile when they smile, and we cry when they cry.

We aren’t prophets, nor sinless. And who ever told you we’re independent? We aren’t.

We are partial to ourselves, to Palestine, to the prisoners, to the injured, to the mothers, to the oppressed in Jerusalem and to the heroes across the Green Line. They are greater and nobler than you who criticize them for holding Israeli passports or for speaking Hebrew.

We differentiate — while you are not asked to differentiate — between the PA and the resistance. Most of our criticism is of governments, not the resistance. As journalists, we have our own red lines which are irrelevant to Gulf satellite stations. Resistance is one of them, and we would rather die than condemn it.

Prisoners are a red line as well as refugee camps, Jerusalem, and national unity. Thus, we regularly criticize Salam Fayyad and Ismail Haniyeh, but we have never in our history criticized factions like Fatah, Hamas or others who resist occupation. You can check our archives if you don’t believe me.

As for the Palestine Papers, Al-Jazeera has a right to publish what they want. Professionally speaking, Al-Jazeera has not erred. But from a perspective of proportionality, many of the commentators chosen by the channel are forcing themselves into a political issue that is much larger than Qatar.

Despite my criticism of the commentators on Al-Jazeera and elsewhere, the PA should be criticized more for its response. It acts surprised and is unable to reflect the angry public’s feelings. They are also afraid to tell the truth, so I will:

Who said there was no security coordination with the occupation? Every five-year-old in Palestine knows there is and it started during Yasser Arafat’s administration. Israel is monitoring each Palestinian security service around the clock.

Our security services often detain resistance fighters. When they do it, they detain them regardless of their affiliation. They do this fearing Israeli forces might raid PA-controlled territories and kill these fighters.

So why now is the PA denying it? There is coordination at civil and security levels, it’s part of the Oslo Accords. If they don’t like Oslo anymore then take the initiative and dissolve the PA. Find another alternative, but stop denying the present reality.

On Tuesday, Al-Jazeera released a 2005 document about Shaul Mofaz and Nasser Yasouf, that’s true too. (According to handwritten Arabic notes, in 2005 Mofaz, then Israeli defense minister, asked Yasouf, the former PA interior minister, to assassinate a Fatah operative.)

While it’s also true that PA security commanders could have exaggerated and made offers in order to placate the occupation, they should be questioned about the allegations. It is us who should question them, and Palestinian judges who should punish them. Not an emir.

I was embarrassed recently to learn that 35 percent of the stateless Palestinians who live in Jerusalem would prefer to remain under Israeli occupation than take Palestinian citizenship. It goes to show how little hope they have that help is on the way.

Nasser Laham is the editor in chief of Ma’an News Agency.