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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: The I/P, Egypt, House of Saud, Syria, and Turkey

8:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Bibi is relentless in his Zionist pursuits…

Netanyahu to settlers: I’m fighting for you, but there are international constraints

Netanyahu tells settler leaders he is their ‘greatest defender,’ but his hands are tied by ‘international’ considerations.

Leaders of the Yesha Council of settlements met Wednesday evening with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and asked him to bring an end to the months-long freeze on planning, construction, and marketing of West Bank and East Jerusalem housing.

The ever-vile FM Avigdor Lieberman… Regard settlements as ‘legal under international law’

On the other side of the ledger… Palestinians scoop Israel with pope at wall image

And, finally Fatah and Hamas seem to be truly getting their sh*t together… Palestinian unity government to be announced in the middle of this week

So naturally… Kerry: Israel’s reaction to Fatah-Hamas unity talks ‘appropriate’ US secretary of state says Jerusalem’s wait-and-see approach to formation of Palestinian reconciliation government is “appropriate.”

Wait and See‘ my arse…! Abbas: Israel has told us if we form a govt they will boycott PA

Basically, it boils down to…Israel Vows to Blame Abbas for Everything Hamas Does Now And punish both Fatah and Hamas at the same time, total win-win for Bibi…!

On a side note, good old DiFi doing what she does best… Feinstein Takes Trust But Verify Approach on Israeli Spying How much more verification do you need that they’re the worst perpetrators…?

*Bonus points to those that watch Max Blumenthal debating Prof. Mira Sucharov in Toronto… Public Record – Can Israel Exist as both Jewish and Democratic?

Moving next-door…

To be clear, Sisi’s sole ‘opponent’… Sabbahi concedes defeat in Egypt presidential election

Funny thing tho… Egypt presidential vote flawed, international observers say And, always be careful of what ya wish for… In Egypt, a pyrrhic landslide victory Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Stick Another Fork In The I/P Peace Farce

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

So, while Abbas and Hamas truly seem to be getting their sh*t together, finally…!

Abbas, Hamas Leader Plan Quick Moves on Unity Implementation

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is in talks with Hamas Premier Ismail Haniyeh about the implementation of this week’s unity deal, with the talks centering on speeding up the process and getting things in place quickly.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has tendered his resignation today, reflecting the end to a Fatah-only government and setting the stage for a new unity government including Hamas ministers.

The unity government is likely to only be a temporary one, with the goal of holding new elections before year’s end. There have been no Palestinian elections since 2006, when Hamas won decisively.

The Hamas victory at the time led to US pressure for Abbas to refuse to recognize the elections, and eventually to the violence split between the two factions. The reconciliation sets the stage for returning Gaza to the Palestinian Authority’s territory.

+972 mag exposes the sorry state of affairs with the Israeli press…

On peace negotiations, Israeli pundits peddle government distortions

Ari Shavit has written another one of his fabulous treatises in his exemplary prose style that is, as his articles often are, completely detached from the facts. According to Shavit, Mahmoud Abbas is an intransigent negotiator who fails every time he is put to the test. The pièce de résistance of Shavit’s treatise comes at the point where he accuses Abbas of not having signed off on the Geneva Accord. Readers might recall that the Geneva Accord was a foreign affairs initiative between Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabo. But according to Shavit’s logic, the second most important person in the Palestinian Authority should have risked his own political credibility by signing off on concessions, in order to protect Yossi Beilin.

Yair Lapid gave a truly heartrending speech, in which he wondered aloud if Abbas had any desire to achieve statehood. Again and again, Lapid intoned, the president of the Palestinian Authority uses evasion tactics, refuses to sign agreements, avoids dealing with the end game. The peak of Lapid’s speech comes when he says:

Just about a year ago we agreed to join the governing coalition only after we received a commitment that we would return to the negotiating table on the basis of two states for two peoples.

It would be interesting to know who gave him that commitment. It’s not written anywhere in the guidelines of the government he joined. That commitment was intentionally (Naftali Bennett) excluded from the guidelines. Lapid did not insist upon it, which he probably does not even recall.

The veteran political analyst Nahum Barnea wrote in a column published on Friday [in the print edition of Yedioth Aharonoth] that the ink in Mahmoud Abbas’s pen has been dry since 1993 and the Palestinian leader won’t sign any further agreements.

You read these things and they can make you slowly lose your mind. People who are intelligent, knowledgeable, and experienced simply do not know their facts. Or perhaps they have an interest in distorting them?

In a recent article in the Scoop, Uri Averny, spelt it out…

The language of the Israeli occupation

Semantics of the Israeli occupiers

Imagine a war breaking out between Israel and Jordan. Within two or three days the Israeli army occupies the entire territory of the Hashemite Kingdom. What will be the first act of the occupation authority?

Establish a settlement in Petra? Expropriate land near Aqaba?

No. The very first thing will be to decree that the territory will henceforth be known as “Gilead and Moab”.

All the media will be ordered to use the biblical name. All government and court documents will adopt it. Except for the radical left, nobody will mention Jordan anymore. All applications by the inhabitants will be addressed to the Military Government of Gilead and Moab.

Why? Because annexation starts with words.

Words convey ideas. Words implant concepts in the minds of their hearers and speakers. Once they are firmly established, everything else follows.

The writers of the Bible already knew this. They taught “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21). For how many years now have we been eating the fruit of “Judea and Samaria”?

When Vladimir Putin last week restored the old name of “New Russia” to the territory of eastern Ukraine, it was not just a semantic change. It was a claim for annexation, more powerful than a salvo of cannon shots.

“Peace” vs “political settlement”

Recently I listened to a speech by a left-wing politician, and was disturbed when she spoke at length about her struggle for a “political settlement” with the Palestinians.

When I remonstrated with her, she apologized. It was a slip of the tongue. She had not meant it that way.

In Israeli politics, the word “peace” has become poison. “Political settlement” is the vogue term. It is meant to say the same. But of course, it doesn’t.

“Peace” means much more than the formal end of warfare. It contains elements of reconciliation, of something spiritual. In Hebrew and Arabic, Shalom/Salaam include wellbeing, safety and serve as greetings. “Political settlement” means nothing but a document formulated by lawyers and signed by politicians.

The “Peace of Westphalia” put an end to 30 years of war and changed the life of Europe. One may wonder whether a “Political settlement of Westphalia” would have had the same effect

Let’s remember that the entire OPT is already referred to by the Biblical Judea-Samaria…!

As MEMO reported…

Israel halts contacts with Palestinians over Fatah-Hamas unity
Israeli cabinet decided on Friday to halt peace talks with the Palestinians because of Fatah-Hamas unity and agreement to form a technocrat government backed by Hamas.

In a statement released by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office after a six-hour meeting for the Israeli reduced cabinet, Israel announced it would stop peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) government.

“The cabinet today unanimously decided that Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for Israel’s destruction,” the statement said.

An Israeli official was quoted by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth as saying: “Negotiations became impossible. Abbas [PA President] has gone a step too far. There will be no political contacts with the Palestinians.”

Israel Hayom said that the resolution was supported by all members of the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet: Netanyahu, Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and others.

However, Israel would not completely close the door with the Palestinians and said it would not cause the collapse of the PA. Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni said: “Sanctions will be measured. We will not cause the Palestinian Authority to collapse.”

Israeli officials Surprised

Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Israeli diplomatic and military officials were surprised by the announcement of the unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas.

“We were busy with the warning by Mahmoud Abbas to dismantle the Palestinian Authority,” a source told the newspaper. “The intelligence had not updated the political echelon about developments in talks between Hamas and the PA.”

The source added: “It was quite simply a foul-up – we did not know what was going on.”

Military officials also voiced their surprise about the agreement. They said they were tracking the incidents, but that they “did not know on which day this would happen. We did not even know for sure that there would be an announcement.”

God Bless, and, God Speed to the Palestinians…!

by CTuttle

The Israel/Palestine Peace Farce Drags On and On

3:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I’ve been covering the Israel/Palestine situation for well over a decade now, and one would think I’d be inured to the farcical actions by now…! But, once again, my jaw hit the desk with this bit of news…

Kerry, Abbas Knew of Building Plans in Advance

In a press conference in Brazil, US Secretary of State says Netanyahu had been “completely up front” about building from the start

US Secretary of State John Kerry revealed Tuesday that he and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were fully aware that the Israeli government intended to continue building in parts of Judea and Samaria which “will not affect the peace map” when the decision was made to restart talks.

As such, despite the “outcry” by the Palestinian Authority, Abbas is still committed to talks with Israel over the next nine months, he said.

At a press conference in Brazil, Kerry declared that “the policy of the United States with respect to all settlements, is that they are illegitimate.”

“But, that said, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was completely up front with me and with president Abbas that he would be announcing some additional building in places that will not affect the peace map, that will not have any impact on the capacity to have a peace agreement,”he continued.

Kerry also stressed the “urgency to get into the discussion of borders and security”

Seriously… What Borders…?

To be sure of Israeli intentions… Israel approves another 942 settlement units…

…The units are in addition to the more than 1,000 settlement homes approved by Israel on Sunday, in a move that has angered the Palestinians and drawn fire from the international community.

“The Jerusalem municipality has approved a construction plan for 942 homes in Gilo,” an existing settlement in East Jerusalem, deputy mayor Yosef Pepe Alalu told AFP. {…}

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who convinced the two sides to return to the negotiating table after a three-year hiatus, urged the Palestinians “not to react adversely” to Israel’s approval on Sunday for new homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank…

Well, indeedy… Palestinians committed to peace with Israel through talks: Abbas

Now, I hold the unelected, excreable Abu Mazen(Abbas) in the same esteem as Bibi…! As I’d noted, two years ago, when the Palestine Papers first came out…

The Palestinian leadership will surely face criticism for what The Palestine Papers reveal. Some will be merited; some not. The overwhelming conclusion one draws from this record is that the process for a two-state solution is essentially over, that the history of the peace process is one of abject failure for all concerned. The Palestinian participants, having lost the most, will likely suffer most. But I can only come away with the passionately-held belief that these people deserved better.

The ensuing thread to that old post is well worth the perusal too…!

Here’s some of the Guardian’s coverage of the Papers…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

What Ceasefire…?

7:50 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

So, today, our SoS arrived in Jerusalem…

Clinton vows work on Gaza truce “in days ahead”

… “In the days ahead the United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Jerusalem.

Clinton spoke after Hamas said an Egyptian-brokered truce deal that it had expected to be in place by Tuesday night was delayed because Israel has not responded to proposals…

“If there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem with diplomatic means, we prefer that,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said alongside Clinton, who will travel to Cairo on Wednesday.

But if not, I’m sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people.

In fact, Madame Hillary, further expounded…

…”The American commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering,” Clinton said at a brief press appearance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the two entered closed-door talks.

“That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation” in the Palestinian territory, said Clinton, who welcomed Egyptian mediation efforts.

Clinton was speaking only moments into a regional tour that will also take her on Wednesday to the West Bank city of Ramallah and on to Cairo for talks with Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi.

Her arrival in Jerusalem coincided with furious speculation that a Gaza truce announcement by the two sides was in the works and could come as early as Tuesday night…

About that Egyptian-brokered truce, it’s seems that Hamas said Gaza truce was agreed to; but Israel, Egypt say no deal yet…! Funny how it wasn’t due to Hamas’ unwillingness… Indeed, it was quite the opposite…

…According to Izat a-Rishk, a spokesperson for the Hamas terror government, there would be no cease-fire until Wednesday at the earliest, because Israel had rejected Hamas’ conditions for a cease-fire.

“All possibilities are open, and our people are ready for all possibilities,” he said, referring to the still-possible Israeli land invasion of Gaza. Tens of thousands of IDF soldiers are reportedly poised to enter Gaza, to carry out objectives on the ground.

As talk of the cease-fire faded, the IDF increased its hammering of Gaza terror sites. In one raid Tuesday night, IDF planes caused significant damage to the main Hamas government building in Gaza City.

Between 9 and 11 PM Tuesday, the IDF carried out more than 50 bombing forays on targets in Gaza. Twenty terrorists were injured. Over 100 targets were destroyed on Tuesday, bringing the total number of targets the IDF destroyed in the six full days of Operation Pillar of Defense to about 1,500. Half of Tuesday’s raids were on terrorists preparing to fire missiles at Israel, with the balance hitting smuggling tunnels, arms factories, and rocket-launching sites and equipment…

To be sure…Israel delays truce, escalates attacks…! From MSNBC even…Ceasefire postponed, dependent on Israel’s response…

Now, hot on the heels of Regev’s little melee on Al Jazeera… Al Jazeera Host Clashes With Israeli Spokesman, Charges Israel With Targeting Journalists… Of which, Edward Teller, had covered brilliantly earlier… When are Journalists legitimate Military Targets?

Well, today… Israeli Airstrikes Kill 3 Palestinian Journalists… In their own cars…! But, wait, it gets ever better…

Report: IDF strikes Gaza building housing AFP offices

The IAF has struck a building that houses the AFP news agency’s Gaza office. A photographer working for AFP said that three Israeli missiles have hit offices located two floors above the agency’s headquarters. The IDF confirmed the strike, saying the facilities were used by Hamas intelligence operatives…

Wtf, over…?

Meanwhile the Arabs just aren’t buying the Hasbara Spin…

Netanyahu’s game plan

The Israeli attack on Gaza seems to be more of an attempt to draw lines and affect the emerging Middle East following the Arab Spring than just retaliating against Hamas.
In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to engage into a bigger military operation could be seen as sending a message to the newly re-elected President Barak Obama, a test to Egypt’s President Muhammad Mursi and the emerging Islamist forces in the region and on the top of that to serve his narrow political agenda now that an earlier elections have already been called… {…}

Israel apparently was not keen in providing that breathing time. Rather it wants to send a clear message that it is not only part and parcel of the Middle East, but given its military edge and international connections, it is a serious player that could not and should not be sidelined in any talk about a new Middle East.
The message goes in fact even to Israel’s main military, economic and political bankroller, the United States. It is no secret that Netanyahu has been banking on electing Mitt Romney instead, but results ended in a different way bringing Obama back again to the Oval Office. Instead of waiting to be reprimanded by Obama, a military operation will easily shift the discussion from the personal to the more solid partnership between the two states.
Already Obama was quick to raise the issue of the right of Israel in defending itself, but the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will resurface and focus on earlier commitments by Obama to further the two states solutions now that he is supposedly free from re-election strings that have characterized his first term in the Oval Office.

In fact with the quick sands moving in the Middle East, the Obama administration is facing a more complicated region that calls into question the old well established relationships.

The Israeli operation in Gaza sends the clear message that it alone knows best how to deal with the Arabs through excessive militarism that have succeeded in the past in forcing military and secular regimes to come to terms with the reality and recognize Israel. The same could be applied now with the rising Islamists and all Washington needs to do is to continue its unwavering support, leaving the rest to Tel Aviv

All the while… Gaza death toll climbs to 130…

*gah*

by CTuttle

‘This is Awful,’ ‘Material Support’ Could be Anything, And Other F*ckery on This Xmas Eve…

7:02 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I’ve been wrapped up in Occupy Hilo and the Holidaze, and have woefully neglected my I/P/ME posts…! So, I would like to offer up a Xmas Eve present for ya’ll…!

Some note-worthy linkies that might while the time, while your turkey and/or ham is cooking…!
Bethlehem Ghetto

The Bethlehem Call: Here we stand – Stand with us…

From Mondoweiss… ‘This is awful,’ Bush said, coming into Bethlehem…

…On a presidential visit to Israel in 2008, Bush travels to Bethlehem by car rather than helicopter against the wishes of the Israelis because Rice wants him to see “the ugliness of the occupation, including the checkpoints and the security wall…for himself and [because] it would have been an insult to the Palestinians if he didn’t.” The barriers were taken down, the convoy traveled at speed, but Bush got the point, according to Rice: “‘This is awful,’ he said quietly.”

With all eyes on Jerusalem, today…

Israeli activist: Checkpoint at J’lem refugee camp form of “ethnic cleansing”

Approximately 30 Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals gathered at the edge of Shu’fat refugee camp on Sunday to protest a new Israeli checkpoint, which opened on December 12 and that an Israeli activist likened to a form of “ethnic cleansing.” Palestinian kids threw stones; Israeli police fired rubber-coated bullets at the children…

Now, FDL Alum, Marcy Wheeler, gave a very timely interview with Antiwar’s Scott Horton (Who will also be hosting the next FDL Book Salon with David Swanson)…

Terror War Strikes First Amendment

‘Material support’ could be anything, says Marcy Wheeler

Certainly reassuring, eh…? Especially with Obummer’s ‘signing statement’ on the NDAA… Obama: Gitmo, Foreign Command Provisions in Law Don’t Count…

Signing the massive “omnibus” spending bill into law today, President Barack Obama issued a formal signing statement indicating that he ends to pick and choose which portions of the new law he intends to follow and which he intends to ignore.

The two foreign policy provisions he intends to ignore are one limiting his ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, and one which would limit his ability to place US troops under foreign command, both of which he said would be ignored to “avoid constitutional conflicts.”

President Obama also rejected all provisions which require him to clear spending with appropriators, saying that he will not seek congressional approval for his spending decisions.

Sounds like an Imperial Presidium to me…!

Anyways, I’ve got more news to report, for instance, Hamas and Fatah are clearly on the path to reconciliation and Bibi is blowing a gasket over it…

Mashaal had even twisted the shiv in Bibi’s back…

Hamas leader to AP: New focus on popular protests

Hamas will focus on a strategy of holding mass protests against Israel in the style of the Arab Spring, although it is not renouncing the use of violence against the Jewish state, the Islamic group’s leader, Khaled Mashaal, told The Associated Press late Thursday.

Mashaal was in Cairo for reconciliation talks with Hamas’ rival, President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah. The sides agreed that Hamas would join the Palestine Liberation Organization, led by Abbas, and allow elections to go ahead in Gaza and the West Bank in 2012.

Popular protests have “the power of a tsunami,” Mashaal said, pointing to the recent waves of demonstrations across the Arab world.

“Now we have a common ground that we can work on — the popular resistance, which presents the power of people,” he said. The idea for the protests originated with the Palestinians themselves and the uprising they launched against Israel in 1987, he said, typified by crowds of rock-throwing Palestinian youths confronting heavily armed Israeli soldiers.

I applaud Hamas for finally embracing the nonviolent Protest movement…!

Now, check out this little tête-à-tête…

Ashton slams Israel over West Bank settlements

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton strongly disapproved of the Israeli authorities’ announcement that they intend to publish tenders for the construction of some 1000 housing units in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem.

Ashton urged them not to proceed with the open call. “The EU’s position is clear: settlement construction is illegal under international law and further complicates efforts to find a solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” she said…

Israel’s Loose Cannon Foreign Minister, Avi Lieberman scoffed at that silly EU notion, as he’s so wont to do, but, DM Ehud Barak quickly smacked Avi upside the head…

Barak slams Foreign Ministry for calling UN European states ‘irrelevant’

Comments were made in response to international criticism of Israeli settlement construction; Lieberman’s office: ‘We don’t respond to parties with less than six mandates.’

Defense Minister Ehud Barak criticized on Thursday statements made by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which said the “bickering” of European Union members of the UN Security Council over Israeli settlement was making them “irrelevant.”

“European countries are very relevant,”
Barak told Israel Radio, “and they stand with us in important times.” He added that the countries should be told they are mistaken, but Israel should continue cooperating with them and refrain from conflicts.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s office retaliated Thursday by saying: “We do not respond to parties who have less than six mandates.”

“In issues that are important to Israel (such as) fighting the attempts to push us to the International Criminal Court, we turn to Sarkozy and Cameron, so I don’t think we should turn them into tensed, insulted and bitter opponents,” Barak said. He added that “Germany, France and Britain are not Tanzania, Mauritania or Tripolitania. These are very important countries in the world and we have no interest in increasing the tensions with them.”

Well, I could rant and rave some more but it is Xmas Eve, afterall…! Peace on Earth, and, Mele Kalikimaka from my Hale to yours…! *g*

by CTuttle

A Look at The New Israeli Cables

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Dr. Noam Chomsky – Wikileaks,Israel & Palestine Part 2

Although that Democracy Now clip is a bit dated, the points made are still very relevant. With the recent release of about 4,000 new cables from both, the smaller Consulate in Jerusalem, and, our much larger Embassy in Tel Aviv, by Wikileaks, I felt that I should revisit Noam Chomsky. Now, I’ve been busy perusing them and wanted to highlight a few of them. I also want to offer up some of my own observations on the context and substance of the cables. Btw, If you’d like to read some on your own, and even contribute your own input, Kevin Gosztola has provided some great links: Cablegate Search, Cabledrum, and, on Twitter search hashtag #wlfind…!

First a general observation, when Bibi had crowed that ‘Wikileaks completely vindicates Israel,’ and, even thundered that ’60 years of Propaganda against Israel has failed’, I would posit instead that 60 years of Hasbara has indeed been highly successful…!

Seriously…! Virtually every CoDel(Congressional Delegation) cable I’ve read always seems to have a reference to Iran and their purported pursuit of a Nuke! Here’s a great example: Rep. Wexler Discusses Iran With IDF Intelligence. I have concentrated more on the CoDel’s as they appear to provide the meatier tidbits. What I’ve also focused in on was the Cast Lead time frame. Before I delve into some of the specific cables, I want to make a few more general observations.

Most of the cables issued by our Consulate in Jerusalem appear to be nothing more than a daily recap of all the Israeli/Palestinian headlines, and, are in fact labelled ‘Israel Media Reaction’. Damn I can do that job, I already do it daily anyways! Maybe I could telecommute…?

What I’ve also gleaned from my readings is that the Jerusalem Consulate is more open to the plight of the Palestinians than the Embassy personnel ensconced in Tel Aviv! In that, our Consul dutifully reports OCHA’s regular findings and Tel Aviv tends to completely ignore them! But, I digress…

What I’ve also discerned from my perusal was that the Palestine Papers were completely vindicated in their withering exposure of the PA’s complicity in suppressing the Palestinians…

Here’s a great example…

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY SECURITY OFFICIALS ON COORDINATION WITH ISRAEL

…In meetings held in Ramallah on February 7(2010), PA security officials stated their continued commitment to security coordination with Israel. Minister of Interior Said Abu Ali told Post, “We support coordination if it is in the spirit of implementing Oslo,” noting that cooperation benefits both sides. However, he said, publicity about Israeli-Palestinian security coordination threatens the sustainability of the PA’s security campaign. It is essential to depoliticize these contacts and keep them out of the public eye, he noted. (emphasis added)

Even the Shin Bet Chief had crowed all about it…

SHIN BET CHIEF ON GOI-PA SECURITY COOPERATION

During a January 5 meeting, Israeli Security Agency (ISA) Director Yuval Diskin gave a frank account of the December 26 Israeli operation in Nablus and his assessment of the current state of Israel-PA security cooperation. Diskin noted that he had publicly cited real improvements across the board in PASF willingness and ability to target Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror networks on the West Bank. He said he was also satisfied with the level of information and intelligence sharing between the PA and the GOI, which he characterized as “not fully transparent, but transparent enough.” Diskin noted that bilateral security cooperation is the best that it has been in the last 16 years, since the Oslo Agreement. He added, however, that this impressive progress had to be measured from a very low base; things had been so bad in the past that many root problems remain.

Ironically, that was the first cable that I’d actually seen names edited out by Wikileaks.

Now, in focusing on the Cast Lead time frame some of the more poignant ones…

From a week prior to Cast Lead…

A PROLIFERATION OF MESSAGES AS ISRAEL AND HAMAS APPROACH THE SIX-MONTH “TAHDIYAH” ANNIVERSARY

…In the absence of any published policy directive on Gaza from the
December 10 trilateral meeting of Olmert, Barak and Livni, the
Israeli media is focused on perceived policy differences within the
GOI. The media reports that Minister of Defense Barak favors
renewal of the truce between Israel and Hamas while Foreign Minister
Livni and others are portrayed as advocates of military action. In
fact, Barak has stated publicly that Israel will determine how and
when it responds to Hamas, and his advisor and envoy, (ret.) MG Amos
Gilad, who visited Cairo on December 14, reportedly threatened that
Israel would “change the rules” if a cease-fire is not restored.
Meanwhile, Israeli dailies reported on conflicting Hamas
perspectives on future of the truce after its first six-month
anniversary on December 19.

——————————————— –
BARAK AND GILAD: WAITING TIL THE TIME IS RIGHT
——————————————— –

¶2. Israel’s position on the “tahdiyah” (loosely translated as
“truce”) was clarified by the action of Defense Minister Barak, who
dispatched his top aide Amos Gilad to Cairo December 14 to discuss
the possible extension of the truce with Hamas. According to a
report in the mass circulation Yediot Aharonot on December 14, Gilad
carried a message for Hamas to the effect that if the rocket fire
continues, Israel will “change the rules.” In an earlier December 8
radio interview, Gilad elaborated: “we are dealing with an enemy
… that will get what is coming to it.
…The right timing is of
great importance, because striking without preparing for the results
that follow, is not enough. … At the moment, we are taking such
steps as the closing of crossings to convince them that it is of no
benefit to commit murderous attacks on Israeli civilians. …The IDF
is prepared and is preparing for the right time to strike.”

Here’s another one that was issued during Cast Lead…

“SAVING GAZA TO SAVE THE PLO”

Main Stories:
————-
The situation in Gaza continues to dominate all Palestinian news
outlets. Al Quds leads with news of the rescue of four Palestinian
children clinging to the bodies of their dead mothers killed in the
Gaza fighting. The paper adds, in red font headlines, that bodies
of 50 Palestinians were found in the Gaza rubble, bringing the
Palestinian death toll to 767. The paper also reports on Israeli
overnight strikes that killed four Palestinians, one of whom was a
photographer for Palestinian Authority President Abbas. All front
pages highlight UNRWA’s decision to suspend operations in Gaza after
Israeli “attacks” on its personnel and facilities.
Al Ayyam and Al Hayat Al Jadida lead with “agreement” at the UN
Security Council over a draft resolution calling for an immediate
ceasefire in Gaza, while Al Quds highlights that the UN Human Rights
Council will hold an emergency session on January 9, “to pressure
Israel” on operations in Gaza. Al Ayyam’s front page adds that
Israel is, “determined to commit more crimes” as Palestinians
continue to die in the Israeli military operation. Al Hayat Al
Jadida’s front page adds that the “Gaza massacre” continues, as more
Palestinians are found dead under the rubble. Al Ayyam and Al Hayat
Al Jadida front page reports that one Israeli army officer and two
other soldiers were killed, and 13 soldiers injured on January 8.

In news on U.S. actions, Al Hayat Al Jadida’s front page reports
that Secretary Rice and her French and British counterparts have
decided to extend their stay in New York to continue work with Arab
counterparts on a Gaza draft resolution that will be put to a UN
Security Council vote on January 9. Both Al Hayat Al Jadida’s and
Al Quds’ front pages cite news agencies in reporting that the U.S.
Congress has voted to formally express support for the Israeli
“aggression” on Gaza.
The Congress called for a ceasefire agreement
that will prevent Hamas from using Gaza as a base to fire rockets
into Israel. Al Quds’ inside page cites AFP in reporting that a
State Department spokesman stated on January 8 that the U.S. is
asking Israel to increase the number of hours of the daily
“humanitarian pause” in Gaza. He also described the humanitarian
situation in Gaza as “dire”

Dire indeed…! I almost chuckled when I’d read this title…

LEFT-WING GENERALS ON GAZA SITUATION

SUMMARY: Retired IDF General Daniel Rothschild, President
of the Council for Peace and Security, briefed the diplomatic corps
on January 12 at Peace Now on the background and future of the Gaza
operation. Rothschild believes that Operation Cast Lead has
achieved deterrence, and Israel is ready for a ceasefire. The two
biggest obstacles, he explained, are the Hamas leadership in
Damascus (Hamas-Damascus) and the Egyptians; Hamas-Damascus because
it does not feel the same pressure as Hamas in Gaza, and Egypt
because it is not pushing Hamas enough for fear of appearing to be
Israeli collaborators. Looking to the future, Rothschild believes
that in six months either Iran will increase its influence in Gaza,
or there will be anarchy fueled by armed gangs. In a separate
conversation on January 12, retired General Amnon Lipkin-Shahak told
the Embassy that Israel will continue to fight until Hamas accepts
an unlimited ceasefire, and will not leave troops in Gaza after the
ceasefire. Both Lipkin-Shahak and Rothschild are highly respected
former IDF generals now associated with the left, and while neither
hold a government position, both remain influential thinkers. End
SUMMARY.

…¶5. (SBU) In a separate conversation on January 12, Lipkin-Shahak
told the Embassy that considerable damage had been done to Hamas and
its military wing, and the IDF would do considerably more if Hamas
failed to go to a ceasefire. However, he cautioned that there is no
military solution to Hamas in Gaza, and in the end a political
defeat will be needed. For that to happen, he said that the PA will
need finish making itself into a real government, and deal with
reform and corruption. He assessed that Hamas had won the 2006
elections because it was not corrupt.

Fancy that…! Hamas won because it was not corrupt like Fatah and the PA…!

Anyways, I’m still reading them and will post on more of them. I would greatly appreciate any new nuggets that ya’ll might come across if you want to take a gander at some of them…! If you can’t link to them, please cite the cable # and when it was ‘created’. For instance, that last cable is 09 Tel Aviv 99, created 2009-01-13…

Happy Hunting…!

by CTuttle

Israeli Air Strikes Test Gaza Truce

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I wonder how Paul Jay would’ve reacted had he been in Gaza…!

Now, I’d like to hone in some of what Phyllis Bennis was talking about just prior to the Quake. As the Israeli writer, Uri Avnery, had recently warned about in an article entitled: ‘How Godly Are Thy Tents?’

FIRST OF all, a warning.

Tent cities are springing up all over Israel. A social protest movement is gathering momentum. At some point in the near future, it may endanger the right-wing government.

At that point, there will be a temptation – perhaps an irresistible temptation – to “warm up the borders”. To start a nice little war. Call on the youth of Israel, the same young people now manning (and womanning) the tents, to go and defend the fatherland.

Nothing easier than that. A small provocation, a platoon crossing the border “to prevent the launching of a rocket”, a fire fight, a salvo of rockets – and lo and behold, a war. End of protest.

Hamas’ Az-Zahhar is right in pointing out the Eilat attack was ‘used as pretext to attack Gaza’

…He said all factions agreed to the ceasefire while retaining the right to respond to Israeli attacks.

“Hamas is not a police officer who protects Israeli interests,” he said, explaining that Hamas sought a truce based on deterring Israel rather than cooperating with it or yielding to its demands.

Az-Zahhar denied claims that some factions were actually fronts for Hamas under different names.

“What illusionary groups have Hamas made up?” he asked.

“All the factions operating in Gaza are real and have their supporters and their military wings. They were called by Egypt to attend national occasions such as the reconciliation agreement, so can we claim that Egypt is dealing with made up factions?”

“Israel started its aggression on Islamic Jihad’s activists brutally killing members of the Qureiqi family. The Islamic Jihad’s military wing responded. Is the Islamic Jihad made up by Hamas, or it is a real faction?”

Today, Al Jazeera had reported…

Israeli air strikes test Gaza truce

Three Palestinians killed, amid calls from Hamas for the international community to intervene.

Israel has launched several attacks on Gaza, killing three Palestinians and wounding several others, prompting Hamas to allege that the attacks violated an unofficial two-day-long truce.

Medics in Gaza said an Israeli air strike on Wednesday evening killed 20-year-old Mohammad Moqat. He was a member of the Palestinian resistance group Islamic Jihad.

The latest air strike came after Palestinian fighters lobbed several rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel in retaliation for an earlier Israeli air strike in the border city of Rafah.

An earlier air raid during the day targeted a vehicle, killing Ismael al-Ismar, 34, an Islamic Jihad leader.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the strike, saying it had targeted “an activist linked to Islamic Jihad who was implicated in attempted terrorist actions in the Sinai”…

Isn’t it interesting that all the various ‘factions’ do fess up to their own ‘rocket’ attacks, yet, none have stepped up for the Eilat attack…!

Here’s another sobering analysis… Another Attack on Gaza: ‘Retaliation’ or Genocide?

The latest round of atrocities unleashed upon Palestinians proves yet again that the Israeli government is a homicidal opportunist. Instantly, the problem of mass demonstrations deploring increased cost of living and other economic issues plaguing the Jewish State was solved by rallying Israelis behind the one issue they all seem to have in common: the singular desire to annihilate Palestinians.

If that assessment seems harsh, or unfair to Israeli peace activists, it certainly rings true of broader Israeli society. Joseph Dana, a Tel Aviv-based writer and journalist spoke with Aljazeera regarding the protests, which according to him, were mute regarding the Israeli occupation of Palestine. “The sad reality is that if Israelis discuss Palestinian rights and specifically the rights of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, they very quickly lose public support,” he stated…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Dubious Evidence And Illicit Munitions

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I’m always delighted when the Real News asks the very same questions and follows the very same sources as I do…!

As +972′s intrepid Yossi Gurvitz fleshes out the story…

Evidence undermines gov’t’s claim that terrorists were Gazans

The Minister of Defense and the Prime Minister claim the terrorist attack last week came from Gaza. They have yet to provide any proof – and the evidence looks dubious…

…However, Israel has never supplied any proof that the attack has indeed originated in the Gaza Strip. The PRC have denied involvement in the attack. An Israeli propaganda apparatus, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, also claimed (Hebrew) the PRC was behind the attacks, but had to tautologically write “no terror organizations has publicly claimed responsibility for the attack and the Popular Resistance Committee has denied any involvement. However, the Israeli prime minister and other Israeli officials have pointed to the Popular Resistance Committee as the organization who carried out the attack. So, according to the ITIC, the fact that Netanyahu said something is proof enough, even if the other side completely denies it…

To add insult to injury, it seems Bibi’s up to his same old tricks…!

Here are images from local Gaza TV, the night of 19 August 2011. It seems we’re seeing the continued use of illegal and/or experimental weapons, as he had used in Cast Lead(WP, DU, etc…) “I’ve never seen shrapnel wounds like this before.”

It should be heavily emphasized that Hamas and all the myriad Gaza organizations have agreed to a Ceasefire…

Hamas: Gaza Militants Agree to Ceasefire

Through a deal brokered by Egypt, Hamas agreed to Israel’s demands that Palestinians cease fire first.

Gaza militants agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, a Hamas official said Sunday, three days of violence from all sides. The Hamas official said militants in Gaza have agreed the truce would go into effect Sunday evening, in accordance with the deal brokered by Egypt.

Egyptian officials said Israel would agree to halt strikes only if the Palestinians stopped the rocket fire first. A spokesman for Israel’s government would not comment, and it was not clear if the cease-fire would take effect or hold…

Btw, the Egyptians are mighty pissed off at Bibi’s recent response to this tragic affair…

Egypt Says Israeli Response to Deaths Insufficient

Crowds of Egyptians protested at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo after Israel expressed regret over the killing of five Egyptian security personnel. Egypt condemned Israel in a statement after a second cabinet crisis meeting Saturday.

“Egyptian blood is not cheap and the government will not accept that Egyptian blood gets shed for nothing,” state news agency MENA quoted a cabinet statement as saying.The Israeli promise to work with Egypt to investigate the killings is “positive in appearance but does not fit with the weight of the incident and the state of Egyptians’ outrage from the Israeli actions’, MENA added.

I do think that Bibi might actually be getting a clue, after long last…

Israeli ministers vote for restraint as Gaza truce holds

‘Israel won’t be dragged into places it doesn’t want to be,’ says Benjamin Netanyahu’s aide.

The cabinet voted yesterday to refrain from any action that could lead to an escalation in the south and to cooperate indirectly with the truce Hamas declared on Sunday. So far, the truce has largely held, although three rockets did hit southern Israel from the Gaza Strip yesterday…

…What emerged most clearly from Netanyahu’s and Barak’s statements to the cabinet was that Israel lacks the international legitimacy needed for a large-scale operation in Gaza. The diplomatic crisis with Egypt further constrains Israel’s freedom of action.

“The prime minister thinks it would be wrong to race into a total war in Gaza right now,” one of Netanyahu’s advisors said. “We are preparing to respond if the fire continues, but Israel will not be dragged into places it doesn’t want to be.”

Several Netanyahu aides detailed the constraints on Israeli military action, most of which are diplomatic.

“There’s a sensitive situation in the Middle East, which is one big boiling pot; there’s the international arena; there’s the Palestinian move in the Untied Nations in September,” when the Palestinians hope to obtain UN recognition as a state, one advisor enumerated. “We have to pick our way carefully.”

No sh*t, Sherlock…!

Sadly… Barak: Enemies Will Be ‘Decapitated’… He won’t rule out a Gaza ground invasion…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Reflections On The Rafah Opening

6:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

First and foremost, I do want to emphasize the fact that this bit of news is a definitive positive step forward for the besieged Gazans…! However, as noted above and recently reported by Ma’an…

Report: Egypt working with Israel on Rafah policy

Egypt has explained to Israel that the Rafah crossing will not be used to transfer goods, and restrictions will be imposed on the movement of individuals, Israel radio reported Thursday.

According to political sources quoted in the report, Egyptian authorities are aware of the risk that “terrorist elements” could pass through Rafah, the sole non-Israeli entrance point, and Cairo will act accordingly.

Egypt said Wednesday it would open the crossing on a daily basis in a bid to ease the blockade.

The measure, which will come into force Saturday, will give Gazans a gateway to the world as Rafah is the only crossing which does not pass through Israel.

The frontier will now be opened for eight hours a day from 9:00 a.m., with the exception of Fridays and public holidays, Egypt’s official MENA news agency said. [...]

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum hailed the move as “a courageous and responsible decision which falls in line with Palestinian and Egyptian public opinion.”

“We hope that it is a step towards the complete lifting of the siege on Gaza,” he said in a statement, calling on the world “to follow Egypt’s example” in breaking the Israeli blockade which has been in place since 2006.

Plans to open the crossing on a permanent basis were first announced at the end of April, a day after Hamas reached a surprise reconciliation deal with its Fatah rivals who control the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority…

The Egyptians’ promise to open Rafah provided the necessary impetus for Hamas to reconcile with Fatah and/or the various Palestinian factions…

Here’s a great analysis of What Opening Rafah Means & Doesn’t Mean…

There will undoubtedly be those trying to proclaim that life is on the up and up in Gaza now and that the siege is over. But Gaza and the siege that entraps it is immensely complicated. Ignoring the nuances of this policy and thinking that Gaza is equivalent to a solid black box that just had its lid opened is entirely misleading…

What the Opening of Rafah Does Not Mean: The siege is over … By retaining total control over the other crossings, Israel is still able to maintain its siege policy to practically the same exact extent as before the opening of Rafah. Unless Egypt and Palestine completely revamp the Rafah crossing and the infrastructure around it on both sides of the border, this is unlikely to change …

Electricity and Water: …Gaza is overwhelmingly dependent on Israel when it comes to electricity … The Blockade: …Israel enforces its illegal naval blockade at the 3-nautical mile mark (most of the fish native to Gaza’s territorial waters are beyond this mark) and when Gaza’s fishermen get too close, they get shot…
What the Opening of Rafah Does Mean: The Closing of A Dark Chapter in Egypt’s History…
…The siege of the Gaza Strip is a disgraceful policy that collectively punishes civilians in direct opposition to international humanitarian law and is an ugly scar on the conscience of the international community. Egypt, sadly, played an undeniable roll in this policy under the Mubarak regime despite the fact that most Egyptians vehemently disagreed with this policy. While the Egyptian closure of Rafah was a minor contributor to the overall effects of the siege compared to Israeli restrictions, Mubarak regime complicity was viewed as treacherous in the eyes of most in the Arab and Muslim world…

Basically, this only represents itty-bitty, baby steps towards alleviating the true hardships caused from Israel’s brutal, and illegal, siege of Gaza…

Sadly tho, Egypt’s ‘state security’ still blocks Rafah exit from Gaza…

But, to the Egyptians credit, the ‘Arab Spring’ continues to spring hope eternal…

Yesterday…

Egyptians come out for ‘day of anger’

Protesters took to the streets on Friday for nationwide rallies against the ruling military council’s handling of post-Mubarak Egypt, in a call that has exposed political rifts.

In Cairo, tens of thousands of protesters packed into Tahrir Square — the symbolic heart of protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February — for the Muslim weekly prayers. [...]

Youth groups that helped to launch the uprising posts calls on Facebook urging Egyptians to take to the streets on Friday to rally for “an end to political corruption.”

Three months after the revolt, they are frustrated by the slow pace of democratic change, and are this time directing their anger at the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

While the revolt achieved its aim of ousting Mubarak, the unelected military retains absolute power in Egypt.

Protesters want a civilian government, a new constitution, the acceleration of trials of former regime figures and their removal from top jobs in the police, universities and other public institutions.

Naturally, Israel wasn’t so accommodating for Friday’s Palestinian ‘Day of Anger’…

Israeli army shuts down ‘illegal’ Palestinian protests…

Israeli forces shut down anti-wall protests in villages across the West Bank on Friday.

The Israeli army says the unarmed weekly protests in Palestinian villages are illegal.

Asked why the protests were illegal, an army spokesman said the areas between Israel’s separation wall and villages Ni’lin and Bil’in, near Ramallah, were declared “closed military zones” every Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Any civilian who entered the area was breaking Israeli law, the army official said,

Palestinians, Israelis and foreign nationals join protests every Friday in villages along Israel’s separation wall, which runs deep inside the West Bank and confiscates villagers’ land.

The International Court of Justice and Israel’s Supreme Court have ruled that the route of the wall is illegal under international law. [...]

“Popular committee coordinator Mahmud Zawahra said villagers would continue to protest Israel’s confiscation of their land “despite Israel’s suppression.”

One final analysis…

Analysis: Revolution at the Rafah border

…”Things will get better,” said a Palestinian engineer from Gaza, who once studied and now works in a Swedish town south of Stockholm.

What he meant was that things will get better at the border crossing, in terms of the relationship between Gaza and Egypt. Without a decisive Egyptian decision to reopen the crossing — completely — Gaza will continue to reel under the Israeli siege.

Others agree, but Gazans have learned not to become too confident about political statements promising positive changes.

However, the Egypt of today belongs to an entirely different political category to the Egypt of Hosni Mubarak’s leadership. Palestinians, especially those trapped behind the shut borders in Gaza, are well aware of this. Still they are cautious…

Hope does spring eternal…! Inshallah…!

by CTuttle

Slaying The Hamas-Fatah Unity Strawman

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Listen to our Elders…! The Unity deal should be embraced and celebrated as a significant step forward towards peace!

As Obama told AIPAC yesterday…

“No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction,” he told America’s powerful pro-Israel lobby as pointed to the recent Palestinian Fatah-Hamas unity agreement as “an enormous obstacle to peace.”

“We will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace: recognizing Israel’s right to exist, rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements,” Obama said, to loud applause at the AIPAC Policy Conference.

First of all, as Abbas points out…

Abbas: No Hamas or Fatah figures in new govt

President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that Israel and the US had misinterpreted the unity deal as ushering in a government of Hamas and Fatah figures, as the new body would solely include non-partisan technocrats. [...]

…But the president also reacted to recent comments by the US premier focusing on Hamas’ position towards Israel, saying the May deal between the movement and its rival Fatah had been misunderstood by Israel and the US as paving the way for both movements to dominate a new government.

“The government will be built of nonpartisan figures, and will not include affiliates of any Palestinian faction,” Abbas said. [...]

Israeli officials had slammed the unity agreement, with Netanyahu warning that Abbas must choose between “peace with Israel or peace with Hamas.”

But Abbas said Monday, “this is neither Hamas, nor Fatah government. It is my government and will follow my strategies,” he added.

Palestinian unity arose from ruins of peace talks…

…Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top official with the Palestine Liberation Organization, on Monday insisted the new alliance would help rather than harm attempts to revive peace talks with Israel.

“We have repeatedly said that this agreement is completely the opposite of this. It represents a significant step that could push the political process forward,” he told Voice of Palestine radio.

Under terms of the deal, the two parties would work together to set up a caretaker government of independents not allied to either faction to work towards holding elections within the next year.

The interim government would have nothing to do with peace negotiations, which would remain the mandate of the PLO, the official representative of the Palestinian people and which is headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The United States and Israel do not need to deal with every Palestinian faction separately,” Abed Rabbo said.

“If we had to deal with each Israeli party that composes the current government coalition, we would not find any of them ready to talk with us.”

“The USA should deal with the PLO, which has not changed its stances and commitments,” he added. [...]

“To be honest, Hamas came over to our program,” said senior Fatah official Nabil Sha’ath, pointing to remarks by Mash’al after the deal was signed on May 3, in which he spoke of “a common national goal” of a state along the 1967 borders comprising the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. [...]

“I don’t think we need anything more from Hamas,”
Sha’ath said, arguing it would be “ridiculous” to ask Hamas to recognise the state of Israel at this stage.

“What for? Will that be reciprocated by Israel recognizing Hamas or recognising the Palestinian state? It won’t.”
he said.

Imagine if the Palestinians had to negotiate with the individual factions in the Knesset…

Take a gander at Bibi’s own Likud platform…

Self-Rule

The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.

The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs. [...]

The Jordan River as a Permanent Border

The Jordan Valley and the territories that dominate it shall be under Israeli sovereignty. The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel. The Kingdom of Jordan is a desirable partner in the permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians in matters that will be agreed upon.

Security Areas

The government succeeded in significantly reducing the extent of territory that the Palestinians expected to receive in the interim arrangement. The government will insist that security areas essential to Israel’s defense, including the western security area and the Jewish settlements, shall remain under Israeli rule.

Where’s the ‘recognition’ for the Palestinians’ right to even ‘exist’…?

Look at FM Lieberman’s recent remarks and even the Rightwingers in the Israeli Cabinet…

Lieberman praises PM’s statements in U.S.

…Lieberman’s warm message, delivered in a statement to the press at the start of a meeting of his Yisrael Beiteinu faction, also contained an implied warning to Netanyahu not to move left in his speech to Congress today.

With regard to negotiations with the Palestinians, an issue Netanyahu is expected to address when he speaks to Congress, Lieberman said, “Israel is prepared to negotiate at any moment, but without preconditions.

“Whoever wants to negotiate with us, ahlan wasahlan,” he added, using the Arabic phrase for “welcome.”

However, the foreign minister stressed, Israel would remain adamant in its rejection of the Palestinians’ demand that the refugees be resettled in Israel. “Not even one refugee,” he said.

Netanyahu and his inner circle are reportedly pleased with the support the premier has garnered from his right flank following his response to U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech last Thursday. Yet the cabinet’s left flank, Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Atzmaut ), also sounded pleased yesterday, saying that Obama’s subsequent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Sunday “gave us a way out of the main disagreements, a way to solve those that remain and move forward.”

Oh wait, that is whom the Palestinians have to ‘negotiate’ with…!

Here’s another great example of the Israeli obsession with ‘Security’ at the expense of the Palestinians…

…Israeli forces began to install a barbed-wire fence on Monday around a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, saying it was meant to prevent stone throwing.

Residents of Izbat At-Tabib, located east of Qalqiliya, awoke to the sounds of construction, and were told that lands made inaccessible by the construction were being confiscated for the construction of a buffer area between the village and the settler road that passes to its north.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the construction and said it was to deter stone throwers.

*gah*