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by CTuttle

Bibi’s Chutzpah Parte Deux…

8:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I swear Bibi knows no bounds whatsoever…

Netanyahu wants loyalty oath bill to include Jews as well

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Justice Minister Ya’akov Ne’eman on Monday to prepare a new bill extending the loyalty oath, which is currently aimed at non-Jews, to include Jewish immigrants as well.

"We expect that every person wishing to become an Israeli citizen recognize Israel as a Jewish and democratic state," Netanyahu said on Monday evening.

"There is broad approval among the Israeli public regarding the Jewish and democratic identity of Israel, and that is not incidental. The state of Israel was founded as the sovereign state of the Jewish people and as a democratic state in which all its citizens – Jews and non-Jews alike – enjoy equal rights. Any person wishing to become an Israeli citizen must recognize these two key principals."

And if that wasn’t galling enough…

PM: New building permits will not affect peace process

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s preoccupation with the settlement building was "superficial" and that the additional permits will not affect the the peace process. [...]

"If the Palestinians want to find problems then we won’t proceed. If they want to solve the problems, I think that there are other ways to get over the gaps and move forward," Netanyahu told the Likud members.

*Aargh* Wtf, over…?

It’s not just Bibi, but, a full court press…

Israeli envoy says only peace can halt settlements

Israel will only stop its disputed settlement building when the Palestinians make a peace agreement, its UN ambassador said ahead of new Security Council talks Monday on the Middle East conflict. [...]

"People understand," Reuben declared. "I don’t think they agree with the way we are going, but they definitely understand the fact that settlements are not a burden on the peace process and not something that will stop the peace process." [...]

"The other side is only looking for pretexts to put obstacles in the road, because they were never an obstacle in the road" in the past, Reuben said.

That’s not even the worst of it…

Israeli ambassador: we’re a "long way from discussing settlements"

On why Israel doesn’t want to discuss settlements now:

Settlements — from our perspective — is a final status issue. It is way down the list of final status issues because settlements from our perspective are a subcategory of borders which are a subcategory of security. And so we are a long way from discussing settlements. By putting them up front, it creates a difficultly — a political difficulty. And it further augments the skepticism that many Israelis feel about the seriousness of a Palestinian interlocutor if they’re making the issue of settlements — something that the government cannot do right now.

Interestingly, even Abbas said so; “Netanyahu Told Me He Cannot Extend Settlement Freeze."

Please read that whole Cable article on Oren’s viewpoints…!

Now, to it’s credit, the Haaretz editorial staff blasted Bibi in no uncertain terms…

Building to destroy the peace process

The only explanation for the government’s approval of 240 new housing units in East Jerusalem is that it was an attempt to sabotage the efforts to renew direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

…On the issue of whether the Palestinians view Jerusalem as a settlement, they are not the only ones who hold this position. The United States also regards the territories that have been annexed and incorporated into Jerusalem as settlements, whose final status must be agreed upon in talks between the two sides.

Expanding construction beyond the Green Line puts Jerusalem at the center of international discussion. It also contradicts the government’s goal of postponing any talks on the future of the city to as great an extent as possible. This construction is an inseparable part of our disagreement with both the Palestinians and the United States, and it would behoove Israel to recognize this. The government must stop pulling the wool over our eyes and cease taking such unilateral steps, which not only lessen our chances of reaching a deal with the Palestinians, but also cause considerable diplomatic damage.

Even Opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni spoke out, half-heartedly tho…

Addressing the current Israeli government and the peace process, she said: "I do not believe in leadership that is built out of fear, and I do not think it reflects Israel’s security interests. Time is working against Israel and in the absence of a decision we may find ourselves with Hamas and unable to even sign a piece of paper. The threats exist and part of the leadership only looks at reality from this angle. Israel is in a situation where it is talking about strong but is actually weakened."

About that fear factor…

Lieberman: Palestinians may try to form autonomous Arab regions within Israel

Foreign minister says there is a possibility the Palestinians may try to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish state.

And even Bibi had to fear-monger…

Netanyahu: Hamas has obtained anti-aircraft missiles

Israel’s aerial freedom has been compromised by new weaponry in Gaza, presumably smuggled through tunnels connected to Egypt, PM tells Likud members for the first time.

*gah*

Now, since Bibi has flatly rejected the Makovsky wet dream err… offer, for a mere two month extension even! Does that mean the US offer to veto all I/P related UN resolutions is still on…?

Palestinians plan UN resolution calling for settlement evacuation

The Palestinian leadership, in conjunction with Arab states, plans to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council stating that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal and must be evacuated, Haaretz has learned. This initiative comes in place of an earlier idea of seeking Security Council recognition for a Palestinian state within pre-1967 lines.

The Palestinians believe the United States would veto any resolution recognizing a Palestinian state that was not the fruit of an agreement with Israel. But Washington would have trouble opposing a resolution that declared the settlements illegal under international law.

The prime minister’s envoy for talks with the Palestinians, attorney Isaac Molho, has refused to take receipt of a document detailing the Palestinian leadership’s positions on all the core issues of the conflict.

A diplomatic source said yesterday that chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat tried to hand the document to Molho during their meeting in Washington a few weeks ago. Several American officials, including special envoy for the peace process George Mitchell, were also present.

The document detailed the Palestinian positions that had earlier been presented to Mitchell during the months of proximity talks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau responded that it cannot comment on what happened at a diplomatic meeting, because all parties to the talks agreed to maintain secrecy.

What a crock of crap…! It certainly has been enlightening watching the dribs and drabs that has leaked out from behind that illusory wall of secrecy…!

The US had best abstain, at least, and not veto that meager UN resolution…!

We shall see…!

*gah*

(cross posted at Whirled Peas)

by CTuttle

Thousands March Against Loyalty Oath Bill

3:05 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Finally the Israeli Left is making some noise…

Thousands march in Tel Aviv against loyalty oath bill

Hadash MK Dov Khenin warns concept of a population transfer of Israel’s Arab citizens has turned from a nightmare into an operational plan.

Thousands marched in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening in a joint Jewish-Arab protest against the cabinet’s approval of a controversial amendment to the citizenship bill, requiring non-Jews seeking citizenship to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

The demonstrators marched carrying signs reading "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies" and "Together we will protect the democratic space". Among the organizers of the protests were Hadash, Meretz, The Green Movement, and Gush Shalom parties and many social and human rights organizations.

Top political figures delivered speeches during the demonstration, among them Hadash MK Dov Khenin, Meretz MK Haim Oron, Hadash MK Mohammed Barakeh, and journalist Merav Michaeli.

Khenin warned that the idea of a population transfer of Israel’s Arab citizens to a Palestinian state started as a nightmare, but has since transformed into a practical plan.

Jonathan Cook elaborated on that nightmare scenario…

Israeli forces test ethnic cleansing scenario

Israel has secretly staged a training exercise to test its ability to quell any civil unrest that might result from a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority requiring the forcible transfer of many Arab citizens, the Israeli media has reported.

The drill was intended to evaluate the readiness of the civil defence units, police, army and prison service to contain large-scale riots by Israel’s Arab minority in response to such a deal. [...]

Dov Chenin, a member of the Israeli parliament representing the joint Jewish-Arab Communist Party, on 12 October called for more details of the exercise from the government during a speech in the chamber, although officials offered no immediate response.

Chenin said the drill was a sign Israel was heading in an “extremely dangerous direction”.

“A few years ago, only the extreme right-wing parties talked about transferring Arab citizens, but now we see that even the security forces are preparing concrete plans for carrying out such a scenario.”

The same alarm was raised by all the Palestinians…

Palestinian factions meet in Gaza City

Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, met in Gaza City on Saturday to discuss the rise in extremist Israeli policies, Palestinian People’s Party member Walid Al-Awad said.

Al-Awad said the meeting was held in the offices of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, where delegations from various parties discussed the escalation in Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. The Israeli Cabinet’s recent approval of a bill requiring non-Jews applying for citizenship to swear loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state was discussed, he said.

The factions talked about the impact of the bill on Palestinians living inside Israel, and the threats it carried for Palestinian national identity. The crisis in negotiations with Israel, and Israeli settlement activity, were also on the agenda, the PPP official said.

Now, lets look at the latest maneuvers in the Peace Farce…

First, the Arab League handed Obama a one month reprieve…

Waiting on America

The Arab "alternative" to negotiations is to wait for the United States to come up with a new policy…

Less than a month after it was revived the Israel-Palestinian peace process is dead. The challenge now is how to defer the burial until after the mid-term US Congressional elections on 2 November.

This, in effect, was the meaning of the Arab League meeting in Libya on 8 October. Foreign ministers from 13 Arab states endorsed the Palestinian position of not continuing direct negotiations with Israel without an end to new settlement building in the West Bank. But they also bowed to American pressure to allow another month of diplomacy to try to resolve the issue.

The PLO is standing firm…

PLO: No talks while settlements continue

The PLO’s Executive Committee reiterated Saturday its refusal to resume negotiations with Israeli leaders while settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories continues.

Committee member Salih Rafaat told Ma’an that the PLO met in Ramallah to discuss the political situation, as well as the outcome of the Arab League summit’s extraordinary session in Sirtre, Libya.

"The Palestinian decision is there will be no negotiations as long as settlement expansion continues, even if it is only one house," Rafaat said, insisting on a complete halt.

Subsequently, the next planned meeting was postponed…

Paris peace summit postponed over settlement construction
Sarkozy’s invitation to Netanyahu and Abbas to hold direct talks in France will not be taken up in late October as originally planned due to Israeli-Palestinian disagreement over settlement construction.

…"Following joint consultations it has been agreed to set a new date for the preparatory meeting," a statement from Netanyahu’s office said, adding there was no chance of holding it on October 21, which was previously thought to be possible.

"We are looking for a new date that works for everybody, although there is nothing firm scheduled yet," an Israeli government official told Reuters.

However, it would seem that is not exactly true…

Israel preparing for Abbas-Netanyahu meeting

Israeli official sources disclosed that a meeting between de facto Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu was possible on the sidelines of the Mediterranean countries forum scheduled to be held in Barcelona, Spain.

Sources in Netanyahu’s office told the press on Sunday that efforts to bring the two together were underway especially after a summit in Paris on 21/10 grouping them with French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was cancelled.

Hamas spokesman Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri said that the summit in Paris revealed the true position of Abbas’s authority, which claims rejection of negotiations but covertly rushes for such talks.

So which is it, Abu Mazen, are you going to talk and continue the farce, or aren’t you…?

Now, in an interesting twist of fate, our Election Day happens to fall on the infamous Balfour Day. In 1917, the Earl of Balfour handed Baron Rothschild a single piece of paper…

Foreign Office,
November 2nd, 1917.

Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:
"His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely
Arthur James Balfour

It would seem that the Israelis have missed that emphasized part, somewhere along the way…!

*gah*

(cross posted from Whirled Peas)

by CTuttle

AIPAC Backs Our New National Security Advisor

1:33 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Arutz Sheva reported this lovely bit of news today…

Obama’s New Adviser Close to Israel

President Obama’s incoming National Security Adviser is well known for his close ties to the Jewish and pro-Israel community.

Thomas Donilon, who will be replacing General Jim Jones in the role, is a business lawyer and former chief of staff for Warren Christopher, who was the Secretary of State for the Clinton administration.

In addition to his extensive legal and political background, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that Donilon is also very pro-Israeli…

…Donilon’s appointment has also been backed and approved by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “Tom Donilon understands it’s a dangerous world,” said Committee spokesman Josh Block in a statement. “In every position he has held throughout his career in government, he has been a strong friend of the US-Israel relationship.”

Then, I really did gag on my morning cup of joe…

U.S. nudges Palestinians to answer Israeli proposal

…Speaking in Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley made clear Washington wanted the Palestinians to make some kind of counter-proposal to Netanyahu.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu has offered his thoughts on both what he’s willing to contribute to the process, what he thinks he needs for his people out of the process, we would hope that the Palestinians would do the same thing," he told reporters.

The spokesman also offered support for Netanyahu’s stance, saying the United States regarded Israel as a Jewish state.

"We recognize that Israel, you know, is a — as it says itself — is a Jewish state," Crowley said.

U.S. officials have long spoken of the Jewish character of Israel and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "threatens Israel’s long-term future as a secure and democratic Jewish state."

Crowley said the United States was trying to find a formula to overcome the settlements impasse and to allow the two sides to resume direct negotiations.

More from the odious PJ Crowley today…

"We don’t just want to push the can down the road two months," U.S. State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley said. [...]

"We want to create a clear path that allows the parties to begin the arduous process of addressing the core issues one by one with the intention of reaching a successful negotiation within a year’s time," he said. [...]

"What Prime Minister Netanyahu said yesterday is, in essence, a core demand of the Israeli government, which we support, is a recognition that Israel is a part of the region; acceptance by the region of the existence of the state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people."

Wtf…? "In essence, a core demand of the Israeli Government, which we support"…? What about the ‘no preconditions shall be imposed’…? Hmmm…? Oh, that’s right it only applies to the Palestinians! Of course, their core concern of a ‘freeze’, (much less halt, or even dismantle) the Settlements was completely ignored! And then have the audacity to tell Abu Mazen he needs to pony up some more, to even stay at the table…?

At least, Abu Mazen wasn’t buying it…

Abbas to Arab League: Israel has violated all agreements

Israel has effectively abrogated the Oslo Accords and other agreements that were signed with the PLO since 1993, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted as saying on Monday.
[...]

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat quoted Abbas as telling Arab leaders attending the summit that Israel has also scrapped the PA’s political, legal, functional and security authorities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“President Abbas stressed to the Arab leaders that Israel has effectively cancelled the Oslo Accords and other agreements signed with the PLO,” Erekat told Agence France-Presse.

Erekat said that Abbas also made it clear that the first option the Palestinians would consider if the peace talks fail is seeking US and UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders. [...]

He also threatened that the Palestinians would dissolve the PA and make Israel responsible for the West Bank and Gaza Strip population if the peace talks failed. This contradicts statements made by Erekat a day earlier. Erekat was quoted as saying that Abbas had no plans to resign or dismantle the PA.

Nabil Shaath (member of the PA delegation) said that the Palestinians were not interested in returning to the cycle of conflict, “although they maintained the legitimate right to resist the occupation."

About that legitimate right to resist…

The persistence of resistance

Ismail Nashwan recalls the events of May 31 as if it were yesterday. The moment masked Israeli commandos brought death aboard the Mavi Marmara as it attempted to break the siege on Gaza.

But despite the near-death experience and spending time in an Israeli jail at 81-years-young, Ismail is still determined to reach the besieged strip.

He has now joined the latest humanitarian aid convoy heading to Gaza.

I ask him what it is that makes him so determined to reach the territory, and how, at such an old age, he still finds it within him to cross land and sea in total defiance with the Israeli/Egyptian imposed siege on the coastal strip.

"I’m not scared at all, what happened on the Mavi Marmara in fact made me more determined to break the siege. I am going because it is my duty and because Palestine is my land," he says.

"You may wonder where all these people get their bravery from; I wonder where Israel gets its arrogance and inhumanity from!"

Nashwan and his family were forced out of their village by armed Jewish groups in 1948, and then again by Israel in 1967. His is a story of determination and the sheer belief that one day he will return.

It makes one wonder, after four years of imposing a suffocating siege, practically imprisoning 1.5 million people (the words of former US President Jimmy Carter, not mine) and a barbaric war which claimed the lives of almost 1,500 Palestinians, why is it that Israel refuses to see the futility of its policies towards the Gaza Strip?

Yes indeed, why doesn’t Israel see the folly of their ways…? What a brave and heroic individual…!

Viva Palestina…! And God Speed…

by CTuttle

‘The Jewish Republic of Israel’

4:39 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The latest drama in the Peace Farce is Bibi’s insistence that the PA must accept Israel as a Jewish state…

Netanyahu offers settlement freeze in return for recognition as Jewish state, Palestinians say no

Prime minister says Israel will extend settlement freeze if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Abbas spokesman says ‘issue of Jewishness of the state has nothing to do with the matter.’

The Jpost had this charming headline today…

‘If PA rejects Jewish state, authorize West Bank building’

Settler leaders call on PM to issue new Jewish West Bank building tenders in response to PA’s rejection; Efrat Council head tells ‘Post’ we understand that there is no partner for negotiations."

Now, to it’s credit, the Israeli Left and the moderates are starting to push back hard against the ‘Loyalty Oath’ bill…

Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni…

Livni: Loyalty oath amendment is ‘politics at its worst’

Controversial loyalty oath amendment sparks condemnation from a range of Israeli politicians; MK Tibi: Israel is a democracy for Jews, but not for Arabs.

The Intelligence minister, Dan Meridor had this to say…

‘Israel should treat its minorities the way we always wanted to be treated’

Intelligence minister Dan Meridor says requiring loyalty oath to ‘Jewish and democratic state’ will alienate Arab public in Israel.

And, once again, Gideon Levy hits it out of the ballpark…

The Jewish Republic of Israel

Swearing an oath to a Jewish state will decide its fate. It is liable to turn the country into a theocracy like Saudi Arabia.

Now, recently, the Peace Farce drama has shifted the center stage to the Arab League and their subsequent meeting in Sirte, Libya. Hamas told the Arab League…

Hamas has called on Arab leaders meeting in Sirte, Libya to make a decisive resolution that lives up to the size of Israel’s attacks against the Palestinian people.

The movement voiced its surprise over Arab leaders who insisted on continuing pointless negotiations despite the failure of the talks, at a time when the Palestinian people are exposed to Israel’s violations.

Hamas said the alleged peace option should be reevaluated, and its failure should be exposed.

The movement also called for formulation of a new Palestinian-Arab strategy that focuses on the resistance option and preserves the rights of the Palestinians.

It called on Arabs to back national reconciliation efforts to restore the unity of the Palestinians based on preservation of national rights.

Abu Mazen didn’t take that Hamas request very well…

Abbas Blames Iran in Fatah-Hamas Fight

Abbas accused Iran of preventing PA unity in closed-door talks with members of the Arab League on Saturday… …Iran is dictating Hamas’ agenda, and has decided against reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, he charged…

Abbas’ accusation earned angry reactions from some Arab leaders. Libyan leader Muammar Al-Khadafi implied that Abbas’s PA is not doing enough to fight Israel, questioning how PA Arabs wage "resistance" while negotiating.

Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh called to support "resistance" groups like Hamas, and suggested that the Arab League create a secret strategy for providing material support for such groups.

Abbas also faced criticism from Syrian President Bashar Assad, who questioned why the PA leader had asked the Arab League for a decision regarding negotiations with Israel. The Arab League is not the body that should be making such decisions, Assad said, according to Al-Hayyat.

Abbas said in response that Israel-PA negotiations affect the entire Arab world, and thus should be subject to pan-Arab approval.

Enough with the charades, Abbas, please resign already…! *gah*

by CTuttle

‘What Israel Wants’… It Gets!

5:33 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Talk about Chutzpah…! MEMO, today, reported this obnoxious turn of events…

Netanyahu demands that Obama commit to predecessor’s promises on settlements and refugees

Israeli political sources have revealed a number of additional safeguards that Tel Aviv is demanding from the U.S. administration in return for its announcement of a "partial freeze" on the construction of Jewish settlements in the Occupied West Bank.

The sources indicated that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has requested that U.S. President Barack Obama commit to the assurances that were given by his predecessor, George Bush, in a letter sent out in April 2004 to then Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. It included assurances of Washington’s support for the principle of annexing major settlement blocs to Israel under any agreement for the demarcation of the Palestinian state’s boarders as well as the rejection of the return of Palestinian refugees to the territories occupied since 1948.

The sources referred to a "positive initial American reaction" to the Tel Aviv demands as Netanyahu’s requests "are usually listened to by the senior officials in the US administration."

*headdesk* Are you f*cking high, Bibi…?

That is in addition to the ‘Makovsky’ letter demands too, as even Amb. Oren had recently confirmed…

What Israel wants

Jackson Diehl, the Post’s deputy editorial page editor, speaks with Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren about Israel’s provisions for peace talks with Palestinians and emphasizes that Palestinian recognition of Israel is the DNA of the peace process.

Now, parsing the latest demands: ‘the principle of annexing major settlement blocs to Israel’, and, ‘the rejection of the return of the ’48 (let alone, ’67) Palestinian refugees’… Is a complete non-starter for any continued dialogue, by every concerned party, but, the US and Bibi…! I mean, really…!

When Israel’s current FM, Avi Lieberman, had the audacity to state those very principles on the floor of the UN General Assembly, Bibi and all parties were quick to condemn them…

Egypt FM: Lieberman’s views do not represent Israel

Ahmed Aboul Gheit says in response to Lieberman’s controversial UN speech that he is pessimistic about the peace talks due to renewal of settlement construction.

… A statement by the Prime Minister’s Office stated following Lieberman’s speech that "Lieberman’s address was not coordinated with the prime minister," adding that "Netanyahu is the one handling the negotiations on Israel’s behalf. The various issues surrounding a peace agreement will be discussed and decided only at the negotiating table, and nowhere else."

No, Bibi, it will not be decided at the negotiating table…

The US Fifth Fleet will commence bombing Iran in 5, 4, 3, 2…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Obama Humiliated And State Lied

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Today’s Haaretz presented us an account of what was really happening behind those closed doors at the ‘Direct Talks’…

Diplomats: Mitchell misrepresented initial success of peace talks

Netanyahu refused to hold a serious discussion on any of the core issues apart from security, Abbas reportedly told diplomats.

The three meetings held so far between Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the current round of peace talks have addressed nothing of substance, diplomatic sources say. [...]

"I heard nothing from Netanyahu but niceties," Abbas reportedly told foreign diplomats. [...]

The first meeting dealt with setting a date for the next meeting and with formulating a "conduct code" for the talks, mainly to prevent leaks. They also discussed the construction freeze and what to discuss first – security or borders.

After the second meeting, Mitchell said the parties had discussed seriously and in detail core issues of the final status arrangement. But officials briefed about that meeting said it dealt with an attempt to define the "core issues" rather than presenting positions on them. [...]

Mitchell described the third meeting, held on September 15 in Jerusalem, as very positive and said it made considerable progress. Here too officials familiar with the talks said the opposite is true.

What the eff…?

No wonder Foggy Bottom was pushing so hard for secrecy throughout…!

As I had reported early on…

President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu continued to agree that these negotiations, whose goal is to resolve all core issues, can be completed within one year. As I said recently in Washington, the parties have agreed to begin first on working to achieve a framework agreement for permanent status. That work is now well underway. The parties agree that for these negotiations to succeed, they must be kept strictly confidential and treated with the utmost of sensitivity. So as in the past, today and as we proceed in the future, what I and they are able to disclose to you about the details of the meetings is and will be very limited.

Now, the fact that Bibi would only talk about security issues first, and, then talk about the ‘core issues’ is also no surprise as I’ve noted early on in this farce…

…Speaking behind closed doors, Netanyahu said the success of the talks will hinge on understandings between the leaders. "I will want to reach agreed principles with the Palestinian leadership and there will be no need for many teams [of negotiators] and hundreds of meetings …. If I get the security that will ensure that no missiles will fall on Tel Aviv, it will be possible to move quickly toward a comprehensive arrangement," he was quoted as saying.

Netanyahu said during his meetings he wants to discuss security issues with the Palestinians first; only then would the two sides focus on borders of a future Palestinian state.

However, we were constantly being spun like tops by Foggy Bottom…

As I reported after the first meeting…

Mitchell said Netanyahu and Abbas tackled the most sensitive issues.

"I will say that the two leaders are not leaving the tough issues to the end of their discussions… …We take this as a strong indicator of their belief that peace is possible," he said. [...]

Mitchell stressed a number of times that the U.S. administration thought the talks were progressing much faster than expected.

Progressing rapidly right off the rails that is…! *gah*

Now, Al Jazeera’s MJ Rosenberg, discusses Bibi’s recent smackdown of ObamaRahma’s latest felation, err… offer…

Netanyahu humiliates Obama again

The Obama administration must understand that the Israeli prime minister is essentially a right-wing Republican.

The Obama administration’s attempts at seducing Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, are getting embarrassing. Netanyahu has made it very clear he is not interested.

According to Ha’aretz, the latest (and most cringe-worthy) moment in the saga came this week when Dennis Ross, the president’s top adviser on Israel-Palestinian issues, convinced Obama that Israel would only agree to an extension of the settlements freeze if Obama would "come off as friendlier" to Bibi.

So Ross and his aides (working with the Israelis) drafted a letter to Netanyahu in which the US would give Israel everything it could possibly want in exchange for a two-month freeze. [...]

It is hard to imagine anything Ross left out. For Bibi, the Ross offer was a dream come true. All that for a 60-day freeze.

But Bibi said "no".

And why? "Netanyahu said he appreciated the letter but could not accept the American proposal because it included a two-month extension of the construction moratorium, which he said would damage his public credibility."

But the "moratorium" was the whole point of the offer. Bibi seems not to believe that his dealings with the US have to be two-way streets. He will only consider deals where the US gives and he gets. (But then, that is the way it always is.)

Ross and the other administration figures are now "incensed," having been played yet again.

Played like fiddles again…!

Do you suppose Obama and Foggy Bottom might snap out of their collective lover’s daze, finally…?

Didn’t think so…

*gah*

Btw, the latest bit on the Danse Macabre…

Palestinian shot dead entering East Jerusalem

A Palestinian worker from Hebron was shot and killed by Israeli border guards on Sunday while he attempted to enter East Jerusalem near the village of Al-Isawiya.

The deceased was identified as 38-year-old Izz Ad-Din Al-Kawazba from the town of Sa’ir in Hebron. Al-Kawzaba’s cousin Salah told Ma’an that border guards shot the victim at close range, refuting police accounts that the shooting was accidental. [...]

Spokesman for Israel’s National Police Mickey Rosenfeld said Al-Kawazba was injured when a "shot was fired apparently accidentally" by a border guard officer after he "attempted to grab one of the border police’s gun."

What a travesty…!

by CTuttle

‘Worse Than Bush’

6:38 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The Palestinian Information Center (PIC) reported today…

The Letter of Guarantees sent by US President Barack Obama to Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu in exchange for extending settlement construction freeze has drawn widespread mockery among Palestinian citizens in the West Bank who urged the PA officials in Ramallah not to wager on the Americans…

A waste of time

Palestinian public in the West Bank, however, derided the Obama’s promises, describing them as "worse" than the Letter of Guarantees sent by former US president George W. Bush to former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon when he presented his infamous roadmap plan.

"Obama’s guarantees are worse than the guarantees given by Bush to Sharon in the Road Map and prove that the peace option is a waste of time. This no more than a subtle way of enabling Israel to keep full control of the West Bank and liquidating the Palestinian issue," said Palestinian citizen Rateb Al-Khaldi, adding that the Palestinian people in the West Bank mock the futile negotiations that the PA is conducting with the Israeli occupation.

"If you conduct genuine polls in the Palestinian street, you would find that no one is optimistic about the success of negotiations even those who defend the PA negotiating team", Khaldi added.

They are reacting to WINEP’s David Makovsky recent bombshell…

The Obama Draft Letter

…According to senior U.S. officials, the administration’s efforts culminated in a draft letter negotiated with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak and chief Israeli peace negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, and ultimately sent from President Obama’s desk to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. [...]

Regarding policy issues, the draft letter guarantees that Washington will not ask for a moratorium extension beyond sixty days. Rather, the future of settlements is to be settled at the table as part of territorial negotiations. Second, the draft letter promises that the United States will veto any UN Security Council initiative – Arab or otherwise — relating to Arab-Israeli peace during the agreed one-year negotiating period. Third, Washington pledged to accept the legitimacy of existing Israeli security needs and not seek to redefine them. In this context, the draft letter explicitly mentions the need to ensure a complete ban on the smuggling of rockets, mortars, arms, and related items, as well as the infiltration of terrorists into Israel. [...]

Finally, the draft letter explicitly discusses the need to enhance Israel’s defense capabilities in the event that the parties reach security arrangements… …The Obama administration realizes that these needs would mean an unspecified increase in U.S. security assistance to Israel once a peace agreement is concluded.

Now, let’s look at responses to that ‘draft’ Letter of Guarantees ‘sent’ to Bibi…

First, Laura Rozen reports on the ‘nondenial’ denial from the WH on the Letter…

Worth keeping in mind as you parse the White House "no letter was sent to Netanyahu" Thursday response. (Followed by — as if to perhaps give an excuse to what seems a strained and belated and not totally convincing denial — "We’re not going to comment on sensitive diplomatic matters.”)

Interestingly, the White House did not offer a denial when queried about the Makovsky piece on Wednesday evening, instead saying, "as we’ve said repeatedly, we are not going to comment on any private correspondence with either party." That’s not a confirmation, but it’s not a denial either, or even a wave off.

(I parse a bit of what strikes me as perhaps misleading if technically accurate about the statement in the update here. Along the lines of whether if it was not a "letter" per the White House but a "draft letter" as Makovsky described it, or a proposed U.S. package, etc. and also whether it was perhaps not "sent" but delivered for Netanyahu’s review by Barak, as the Ma’ariv article reports.)

As she later wrote…

Obama letter offered Netanyahu security pledges

… The White House’s Tommy Vietor writes further Thursday, in reference to the U.S. offer as described by Makosvky above: “No letter was sent to PM Netanyahu. We’re not going to comment on sensitive diplomatic matters.”

If you look closely at what Makovsky writes, he says, "According to senior U.S. officials, the administration’s efforts culminated in a draft letter negotiated with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and chief Israeli peace negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, and ultimately sent from President Obama’s desk to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu." [...]

In other words, I suspect the White House’s comment today is technically accurate but also not contradicting the accuracy of what Makovsky described by way of a written U.S. package offer delivered to Netanyahu.

As Haaretz reported…

Obama in personal appeal to Netanyahu: Extend settlement freeze for two months
Netanyahu inclined to reject Obama’s offer, which includes string of security incentives, citing lack of political support.

U.S. President Barack Obama offered to support the presence of Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the Jordan Valley even after the establishment of a Palestinian state, if Israel would agree to a two month settlement building freeze, in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, according to a researcher with ties to an Obama aide.

Netanyahu is inclined to reject the offer and has not replied to the letter as of yet, though the Prime Minister’s office has refused to answer questions regarding the issue.

‘Inclined to reject’ that gift horse…? Well, Bibi did reject it, stating…

Netanyahu: Restrained settlement construction won’t affect peace process
PM says settlement freeze wasn’t easy, PA must now show their flexibility; U.S. and EU meetings with Israeli, PA officials end with no signs of breakthrough

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted Friday that the Palestinians are at fault for the stalemate in peace talks and claimed that the renewal of construction in West Bank settlements should not affect the peace process.

"For 17 years they negotiated with the Israeli government during settlement construction, including the last year of the former government," Netanyahu said during discussions with his advisers on Friday. "Everyone knows that restrained and moderate construction in Judea and Samaria in the next year will not even affect the peace process. Therefore the international community needs to call on the Palestinians to continue engaging in peace talks. It is in the interest of the Palestinians just as it is in ours," he said.

Holy shirt…! It’s the Palestinians fault…? Huh…?

From Ma’an…

Following meetings with President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said no progress had been made.

Though she described the meetings as "positive and constructive dialogue," Ashton told reporters in Jerusalem on Friday that she had requested that Israel extend its moratorium on settlement construction.

"I regret that so far they have chosen not to," she said, adding that "Those of us engaged in the process have been very concerned that the ending of the moratorium puts at risk the possibility of long term peace."

Mitchell leaves empty-handed…

US’ Middle East envoy George Mitchell concluded talks with Palestinian and Israeli leaders yesterday without agreement on how to keep alive peace negotiations that are on hold due to a dispute over Jewish settlement building.

Mitchell said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to keep talking indirectly.

"Both the president and the prime minister have agreed that we will continue our discussions in an effort to move forward in this process toward what we all share as a common goal: the establishment of comprehensive peace in the Middle East," he said.

"There remain obstacles. Our determination continues," Mitchell said.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the US would "continue in their bilateral efforts between us and the Israelis, each separately".

"The key to direct talks is in the hand of the Israeli prime minister. We hope that the Israeli leadership chooses peace and not settlement," he said following Mitchell’s meeting with Abbas.

Can I finally stick a fork in the ‘Direct Talks’ peace farce…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Hamas, Fatah Make Effort To Achieve ‘National Unity’

10:44 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Today’s JPost reported this bit of good news…

Hamas, Fatah make effort to achieve ‘national unity’
After meeting in Damascus joint statement says two sides have reached an understanding on "the majority of points of difference."

Hamas and Fatah representatives expressed optimism over the weekend regarding the prospects of ending their power struggle and said they were now close to achieving “national unity.”

The declarations followed a meeting in Damascus between Hamas and Fatah officials – the first of its kind in several months. [...]

The rapprochement between Hamas and Egypt was further boosted last week by the release of two Hamas operatives from Egyptian prison. One of them, Muhammad Dababesh, is a senior Hamas security official who was recently arrested at Cairo International Airport. The second man is Muhammad Naim, son of Hamas’s minister of health, who was arrested by the Egyptians last month.

Referring to the meeting in Damascus, Salah Bardaweel, a Hamas official and spokesman, said: “The talks were conducted in a cordial atmosphere.

However, the IDF seems concerned about that prospect…

The IDF has expressed its concerns over the reports that rival PA factions Hamas and Fatah are moving towards a reconciliation.

Senior IDF officials have praised the successful cooperation with PA security forces but have admitted that this cooperation has occurred due to Hamas being a common enemy to both the IDF and the PA.

*gah* Divide and conquer…

Haaretz reports…

Hamas says Palestinian reconciliation on the way

…Hamas’ Khaled Meshal said Monday in Damascus that the two groups have taken serious and real steps toward reconciliation and will meet in early October in Cairo. The rival sides had said Saturday they agreed on steps to end divisions.

The hope is that both sides actually agree to hold new ‘national elections’ soon…!

As Ma’an reported…

Fatah official: Serious progress in unity talks

A Fatah Revolutionary Council member said Monday that "serious progress" has been made in finalizing a unity deal between his party and Hamas following a meeting in Damascus over the week.

Faisal Abu Shahla told Ma’an that representatives from the rival parties agreed on three disputed points of four during the Damascus meeting, which have thus far stalled the ratification of the Egyptian-backed unity deal.

Officials agreed in Damascus on the structure of the Central Elections Committee, whose members would be agreed on in advance then referred to President Mahmoud Abbas for approval, and on the formation of an elections court, which has been referred to the president, Abu Shahla said.

Now, The second largest group that comprises the PLO, the PFLP is on board with Hamas…

Hamas praises PFLP decision to freeze PLO membership

Hamas praised the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for suspending its participation in PLO legislative committee meetings, calling the decision “wise”.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a press release on Monday that the Front’s position came in light of the “dangerous slope in which Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] has slipped in his negotiations with the enemy.”

Of course, right on cue, FM Lieberman spews this nonsense…

Lieberman: Palestinians to blame for absence of peace deal
Foreign minister meets with UN chief, says the PA did not show ‘real good intention’ during negotiations this past month, though insists that direct talks should continue.

*gah*

Btw, ya’ll a flotilla is due to arrive in Gaza shortly…

God Bless and God Speed…!

by CTuttle

The Freeze Farce Is Over

3:52 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The Settlers held a little Countdown Block party, despite Bibi’s plea for them to cool it…

Netanyahu to settlers: Keep low profile as building freeze expires
Barak tells BBC there’s a ’50-50′ chance a compromise will be reached on settlements, says ‘historic’ peace process has better chance of success.

… in an interview with the BBC, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that there was a "50-50 chance" that Israel and the Palestinians would reach a compromise on the issue of construction in the settlements.

Barak said that there was a much better chance that the current peace process would succeed, despite the disagreement over the settlements. "We cannot afford to let this [peace] process, with historic potential, to be derailed by the fact that Israel doesn’t have a way to stop this construction totally," he said.

Wtf…? ‘Israel doesn’t have a way to stop this construction’

So, Bibi, you can’t control your Right-wing, gun-toting, Tea, err… Likud Bloc, Partiers too…? What a wicked web…

Meanwhile, Abu Mazen displays his typical spinelessness…

Abbas non-committal on peace talks
President Abbas seems to be non-committal to continuation of talks if Israel fails to extend settlement moratorium.

Like much of the international community, the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has called on Israel to extend its freeze on illegal settlements, hours before the 10-month moratorium expires.

Abbas, who has repeatedly vowed to abandon the US-sponsored peace talks if Israel resumes settlement construction, has now told AFP news agency in Paris that he would meet top Arab diplomats on October 4 before deciding his next move.

Abba’s non-committal position was also echoed by his chief negotiator. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Saeb Erakat said that he " cannot confirm if President Abbas will abandon the peace talks or not." [...]

US ‘Hopeful’

David Axelrod, a top aide to US president Barack Obama said that Washington is "hopeful" that the Israelis and Palestinians will compromise on the West Bank settlements issue and avert a collapse of the peace talks. US Administration is very keen on the success of the peace process that it started earlier this month.

I’m a bit sick and tired of the word ‘Hope’ still being bandied about by this Administration…

I suppose I should await Abu’s decision until after that Arab League meeting on the 4th, before sticking a fork officially in the ‘Direct Talks’…

Arab League to meet next week to decide whether Israel-Palestinian talks should continue
Abbas indicates that direct negotiations won’t necessarily be suspended immediately after the construction freeze ends on Sunday night.

Well, the Arab League has already told Abbas to exit the talks if Israel won’t stop the construction. So, we shall see…

Meanwhile, it seems Israel has cyber-attacked Iran’s new Bushehr Nuclear Plant…

As Bloomberg had reported: Falkenrath Says Stuxnet Virus May Have Origin in Israel

Well, I suppose that turns back the clock a bit for the Israeli need to bomb Iran, eh…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Acte Tres of the Théâtre de l’Absurde

5:21 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

This sez it all…

Abbas: No alternative to peace talks, we will continue efforts
Palestinian President speaks at ceremony welcoming U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the West Bank.

Offering a positive note after two days of inconclusive Mideast peace negotiations, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he sees no alternative to continuing the talks in search of a peace deal with Israel.

"We all know there is no alternative to peace through negotiations, so we have no alternative other than to continue these efforts," Abbas said, speaking through an interpreter during a welcoming ceremony for visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

I’m sure Abu Mazen enjoyed the lap dance shoulder massage from Madame Hillary…!

Clinton urges Israel: Extend settlement freeze, even for a limited time
Secretary of State tells Channel 10 such a move would be ‘extremely useful’; Arab League: No point negotiating if settlements continue.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Israel on Thursday to extend its freeze of construction in West Bank settlements, telling Channel 10 in an interview that such a move would be "extremely useful" in advancing peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Clinton, who was visiting the region this week for a second round of direct talks between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamain Netanyahu, suggested extending the partial freeze for even a limited amount of time.

A three month long lap err… extension…!

Ironically, from that earlier Haaretz article, the Arabs, Palestinians,et al… Called absolute bullsh*t on Abbas’ complete sellout…

It was not clear whether Abbas was suggesting that the Palestinians would remain committed to the talks even if Israel does not extend moratorium on construction in West Bank settlements, set to expire in 10 days. He had previously said the talks could not survive without continued restrictions on the construction in areas the Palestinians want for a future state.

Despite Abbas’ remarks, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said Thursday that negotiators would quit direct peace talks if Israel builds any new settlements after the end of a partial moratorium on construction in the West Bank.

"If one settlement is built after the end of the freeze, we will stop direct talks with Israel," al Maliki told reporters on the sidelines of an Arab League meeting in Cairo.

The Arab League also backs the Palestinians’ refusal to continue direct peace talks if Israel resumes building settlements, the organization’s chief said at the meeting in Cairo on Thursday.

"If settlement construction does not stop, then there is no use for continuing negotiations," Amr Moussa told a press conference, saying this was the opinion of the Arabs and Abbas. "Negotiating with occupation is simply a waste of time."

No Sh*t, Sherlock…!

Btw, Many Israelis don’t even think Bibi is serious about the Peace Farce…!

Meanwhile the Occupation’s Danse Macabre pirouettes on…!

Israel’s military announced a total closure of the West Bank starting before midnight Thursday to midnight Sunday for the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday.

"Security crossings into Israel will be temporarily closed," a statement from the military said, "in accordance with security assessments adopted by the defense establishment."

However, on a brighter note…

Aid convoys prepare to head to Gaza

God Bless and God Speed…!