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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

MENA Mashup: The I/P, Egypt, Libya, and Turkey

8:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Col. Pat Lang penned an excellent retort to Oren’s brazen attempt to whitewash the IDF…

IDF marksman caught on tape in teenagers deaths

They do this kind of thing. The IDF can usually simply deny the event because it is not recorded and they feel free to lie to the world. After all, these are just Palestinians.

I witnessed a similar event in Bethlehem about 15 years ago. Three Palestinian teenagers were killed that day when Israeli troops opened fire with ball ammunition from a sandbagged position at Rachel’s tomb. (It is now permanently fortified) Having tried to administer CPR to one of the boys I can certify that he was shot through the thorax with a rifle. I happened to be on the scene shopping. The boys had been throwing rocks at the soldiers. There were about 15 wounded. They had been hit with super-caliber riot control munitions and had broken bones.

They got caught this time because CNN had a camera crew in this town for Naqba Day “festivities” outside Ofer Prison. The CNN camera man caught an Israeli soldier on the wall of the prison firing what looks like an M-4 carbine at the demonstrators. Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador in Washington claimed yesterday on “Wolf” that no ball (live fire) ammunition was used but the father of the boy hit from in front had a bullet that he said went through his son’s chest, through his backpack and a book inside and was found in the pack. It looked like 5.56 mm. to me. It was not noticeably deformed. That would be the case with steel jacketed military ammunition.

Oren suggested that the Palestinians staged all this to make Israel look bad. pl

Meanwhile, Abu Mazen, continues to undermine the Palestinians… The repercussions of forfeiting international recognition

An interesting development… New unity government to review Hamas laws in Gaza

Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity – A Long History of Corruption

Israel-Palestine: Europe should atone for its sins

Moving along to Egypt and Al-Sisi… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Abunimah, Al-Sisi, and Erdoğan

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I’m certainly looking forward to Ali Abunimah’s FDL Book Salon…!

Now, delving into the muck and mire of the MENA, from Al Jazeera, talk about real Benghazi redux…

Libya army imposes no fly zone over Benghazi

Army issues direct challenge to retired general who has mounted unauthorised campaign against Islamists.

The Libyan army has imposed a no fly zone over Benghazi in a direct challenge to a retired general who has been using government aircraft and troops in an unauthorised campaign against Islamist groups.

Major General Khalifa Haftar, who lived in exile in the United States before returning home to lead ground forces in the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, heads what he calls a “National Army”.

On Friday his paramilitary force, backed by warplanes and helicopters, pounded Islamist fighters in Libya’s second biggest city, in clashes that killed at least 36 people and injured another 138.

Interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni denounced Haftar’s forces as “outlaws” and called on all parties to observe restraint.

But earlier on Saturday, Haftar said he would continue his campaign to free Benghazi of “terrorist groups”.

“The operation will continue until Benghazi is purged of terrorists,” Haftar told Libya Awalan television.

Evacuation call

Armed forces chief of staff Abdessalam Hadallah al-Salihin denied any army involvement in the Benghazi clashes, although he admitted that some officers and army units had defected to join Haftar.

Later, Haftar spokesman Colonel Mohammad al-Hegazi called on people living in the western Benghazi district of Guwersha and the south’s Sidi Fradj to evacuate their homes.

He did not say if this was a prelude to attacks on those neighbourhoods, which are known to be bastions of the Islamists.

The army’s high command then upped the ante by declaring all of Benghazi and its suburbs a “no fly zone until further notice,” the state-run LANA news agency said.

“All military planes flying over the city will be shot down by army units… and units of the revolutionaries (ex-rebels),” it said.

Now, if that isn’t f*cked up enough, lo and behold, this foul f*ckery…

Will Al Sisi repeat Saddam’s mistake and attack eastern Libya for oil?

A breaking news item reported by Al-Jazeera Channel earlier today, 16 May, confirmed that aircrafts were bombing locations belonging to Ansar Al-Shar’ah (Supporters of Shari’ah) and the 17 February Battalions in Benghazi.

Previously, the Algerian Al-Khabar newspaper reported on 12 May that an Israeli website close to the security circles in Tel Aviv said that an American report had warned that Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi might use the pretext of terrorism along the Egyptian – Libyan borders in order to justify a military operation against the Libyans.

These developments come amid widespread and continuous reports in the Egyptian mass media claiming that a so-called “Egyptian Free Army” was present in eastern Libya.

Al-Khabar noted that the Israeli website Debka said that Field Marshal Al-Sisi, the presidential candidate, plans to resolve Egypt’s economic crisis at the expense of Libyan oil resources. The website explained that Al-Sisi is using the pretext of terrorism along the Egyptian – Libyan borders in order to justify a military operation against the Libyans that will result in the theft of large quantities of oil in Libya’s eastern region.

The report highlighted the anxiety of the United States, which supply Field Marshal Al-Sisi with Apache fighter aircraft. The former army chief, it is believed, now has his sight set on the oil in eastern Libya and that the arms he seeks to obtain from the US will be used to wage war on that country.

According to the Israeli report, Egypt’s Head of Intelligence Muhammad Farid Al-Tuhamy, visited Washington recently and submitted to the U.S. administration a detailed explanation of the threats posed by Al-Qaeda in the Suez region and the area along the borders with Libya. He said to the Americans that fighters from The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) come to Egypt via Jordan and that the regime in Egypt is fighting them. The report also hinted that Al-Sisi may use the American weapons, including the Apache combat aircraft, which were delivered to him by Washington recently, to carry out an offensive in eastern Libya.

Meanwhile, American sources quoted by the World Tribune, claim that the Egyptian army have secured U.S. endorsement and confidence to fight terrorism in the region. According to these sources, the US gave the Egyptian army the green light to launch a military operation in Libya to eradicate the Islamic groups and bomb some of the locations whose specific details were provided by Washington.

Meanwhile, Al Sisi needs to check his own six…

Anan to Sisi: You will be sentenced to death soon

A group of officers supporting Egyptian former chief of staff Sami Anan said that the latter is compiling evidence that would implicate presidential candidate Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in crimes punishable by death.

The “Officers of Egypt Front” said on its Facebook page Friday that Anan is “promising to expose secrets” that would lead to a death sentence against Sisi.

According to the page, known for its backing of Anan as a presidential candidate before he quit the race, said: “Anan decided to leave Sisi for Egyptians to judge him by themselves. He will then return powerfully after Sisi’s arrest, soon.”

In wrapping up…

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Ali Abunimah, The ICC, House of Saud, and Turkey

4:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Ali Abunimah will be here for Sunday’s FDL Book Salon!

The Palestinians are making progress towards unity between themselves…

Palestinian factions start talks on forming joint government

Officials from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction and the rival Islamist Hamas group met in Gaza on Tuesday to discuss the make-up of a unity government they hope will end a seven-year schism.

Officials from the two groups said they planned to propose non-politically affiliated candidates for seats in a unity cabinet which will be tasked with preparing presidential and parliamentary elections after six months.

Azzam Al-Ahmed, the senior Fatah official sent by Western-backed Abbas from the West Bank, led the talks with Hamas’s delegation, headed by exiled Islamist leader Moussa Abu Marzouk.

Abbas announced plans for a unity government as a step towards Palestinian elections on April 23. Many past attempts to heal the rift between Fatah, that dominates the Palestinian Authority-run West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, have failed.

Palestinian sources in Ramallah, the seat of Abbas’s administration, said they wanted the list of names to be ready by Thursday when he meets U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in London to discuss the stalled peace talks with Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel is stymieing their efforts…

Israel accused of cracking down on lawyers

Accusations of torture and mistreatment abound as several Palestinian lawyers are arrested by Israeli authorities.

A Ramallah-based rights group is accusing Israeli authorities of cracking down on Palestinian lawyers, following a series of indictments and arrests of attorneys based on charges of passing information between Hamas members in and outside Israeli prisons.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society said the moves against the lawyers were ‘dangerous’ and ‘unprecedented.’ ‘It’s a scare tactic to instil fear into those who are working hard to provide the basic levels of protection for Palestinian detainees,’ said Qaddura Fares, the group’s head.

Fares was referring to the recent indictment of a 42-year-old Palestinian-Israeli lawyer, and the arrest of six people, five of them lawyers, from East Jerusalem.

Mohammad Abed, a Galilee native, was indicted last month on charges of passing messages between detainees and the Hamas leadership, and receiving approximately one million shekels ($288,800) for his alleged services. Abed was arrested along with four others who worked for the Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

This was a shocker…

I totally concur with this excellent +972 Mag article…

Ehud Olmert is going to jail for the wrong crimes

During his premiership, Ehud Olmert was responsible for two of the most horrific military operations of the past decade. More than a thousands Lebanese, a third of them civilians, and 165 Israelis, a quarter of them civilians, were killed in the Second Lebanon War.

In the wake of the war, the IDF developed the Dahiya doctrine, by which the army deliberately targets civilian infrastructure as a means of inducing suffering for the civilian population in ‘enemy cities.’ Not three years had gone by and Olmert sent the army to implement the new doctrine in Gaza. Operation Cast Lead took the lives of nearly 1,400 Palestinians, more than half of whom were civilians, and nine Israelis, of whom three were civilians (these statistics do not include Palestinians and Israelis killed by friendly fire).

The IDF stated that each military operation is taken under serious consideration and implemented with utmost care. And yet, somehow, in the operations that followed, the army was somehow able to show more restraint and decrease the number of deaths, especially among non-combatants.

Ehud Olmert is responsible for both of these terrible events. He has blood on his hands. The blood of over 2,000 people. Today he was sent to jail for six years for accepting bribes in order to build some ugly buildings in Jerusalem. When will he be put on trial for the serious crimes he committed?


Ex-intel chief: Israel should punish Assad for killing civilians

Moral considerations for military intervention should be weighed alongside strategic ones, says Amos Yadlin, also calling for NATO-led no-fly zone

Now, speaking of war crimes, I wonder if anybody in the MSM will mention this little bombshell…

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

MENA Mashup: I/P Peace Farce, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

US Secretary of State John Kerry cancelled plans to travel Wednesday to Ramallah after both the Israelis and the Palestinians announced moves likely to scuttle the peace talks.

Looking at the Israeli actions… Israel puts in tenders for more settler units in the east Jerusalem

On the Palestinian side… “Abbas says to join UN agencies

President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday said the Palestinians would seek membership in international organizations after Israel failed to release a batch of Palestinian prisoners on schedule.

In a televised speech, Abbas said he had started the process to sign agreements with 15 United Nations agencies and organizations and would pursue joining more.

‘The Palestinian leadership has unanimously approved a decision to seek membership of 15 UN agencies and international treaties, beginning with the Fourth Geneva Convention,’ Abbas said after signing the demand.

PA: Kerry’s ‘Jewish Advisors’ Are to Blame for Talks Failure

Meanwhile, Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard release talk infuriates US intel community

And, if you had any doubts about Israeli perfidy behind the Egyptian military coup… “Israel offers Al-Sisi $80 million support for his presidential campaign

Egyptian security sources revealed details of a meeting between Egyptian and Israeli military officials which took place two weeks ago.

The same sources uncovered two secret visits by the Egyptian coup leader and presidential hopeful Al-Sisi to Israel in the past two months, in which he met with Israeli PM Netanyahu to coordinate joint security and political issues.

In exclusive statements to Quds Press news agency, the sources said that Netanyahu offered Al-Sisi $80 million support for his presidential elections campaign. He also promised to convince the US to continue military assistance to Egypt, and to convince US President Obama to meet Al-Sisi in return for pressuring Abbas to accept the Jewishness of Israel. Moreover, Netanyahu urged Al-Sisi to pressure Abbas to stop his campaign against Dahlan, because it only serves the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

In the last meeting, the two sides discussed a number of security issues. The Israelis urged the Egyptians to neglect the Dahlan forces present in Sinai, and to coordinate with them for the sake of border security, because of their prior experience in this regard.

A number of Israeli political and security experts warned their government officials not to publicly support Al-Sisi because that would harm his image in the eyes of Egyptians, the source added.

Prominent Egyptian judge says sham elections will not legitimise the coup

Naturally, Israel must deflect and distract from the Peace Farce and their perfidy… “Peres to IAEA Chief: We Don’t Want Another Hiroshima

President Shimon Peres warned on Monday that a nuclear armed Iran could lead to ‘another Hiroshima.’

The comments were made during Peres’s meeting in Vienna with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano.

‘It’s time to put the facts on the table and realize that nuclear weapons by the Iranian leadership would be a danger to all humanity,’ Peres said.

‘The implementation of the agreements between the IAEA and Iran are advancing slowly,’ he continued. ‘Iran is trying to gain time and does not comply with the requirements. This has a negative impact on the diplomatic track. Iran continues to enrich uranium and retain the ability to develop nuclear weapons. Additionally, Iran is developing long-range missiles capable of carrying their nuclear warheads.’

‘When it comes to building trust,’ added Peres, ‘actions are important and not words. The IAEA has a mandate to fully ascertain the facts and illuminate the truth about Iran’s actions. Israel has full confidence in your ability to meet the important task fairly and benefit the world.’

Peres suggested that ‘Iran be judged by its record and not by its words and sounds. No one threatens Iran, yet Iran again and again threatens other countries. We do not want to see another Hiroshima.’

However, the intrepid Gareth Porter revealed a ludicrous Israeli demand that nobody has mentioned during the P5+1 talks… “A Poison Pill for Iran Nuke Talks

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: False Flags and False Narratives

3:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From b at Moon of Alabama: Media Neglect Turkish False Flag Attack Leak And Its Implications

And, This is Why Turkey Blocked Youtube – Leaked Audio With Full Transcript

A brief snippet:

Ahmet Davutoğlu:
“Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us.”

Hakan Fidan:
“I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”

Feridun Sinirlioğlu:
“Our national security has become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.”

Yaşar Güler:
“It’s a direct cause of war. I mean, what’re going to do is a direct cause of war.”

Ankara on alert after spying on security meeting leaked

Israel said to warn Turkey: Don’t attack Assad

Moving along…

From Robert Parry at Consortium News…The Danger of False Narrative

Today, Official Washington is marching in lockstep just as it did in 2002-03 when it enforced the misguided consensus on Iraq’s WMD. The latest case is Ukraine where Russian President Vladimir Putin is accused of committing “aggression” to expand Russian territory at the expense of noble ”democratic” reformers in Kiev.

Not only is this the dominant storyline in the U.S. media; it is virtually the only narrative permitted in the mainstream press. But the real narrative is that the United States and the European Union provoked this crisis by trying to take Ukraine out of its traditional sphere of influence, Russia, and put it in to a new association with the EU.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with Ukraine joining with the EU or staying with Russia (or a combination of the two) – depending on the will of the people and their elected representatives – this latest U.S./EU plan was motivated, at least in part, by hostility toward Russia…

As Col. Lang quipped recently… Bear baiting is a sport that should not be indulged in.

From the Grey Lady… Putin Calls Obama to Discuss Ukraine, White House Says

Meanwhile…

Obama seeks to assure King Abdullah in a time of regional unrest

In an exclusive interview with The National, the top White House Middle East policy adviser, Philip Gordon, said that while the US and Saudi and other Arabian Gulf countries may prefer different tactics when it comes to regional challenges, the allies still share fundamental interests and a strong alliance.

“It is perfectly reasonable…for good friends to sometimes have differences over approaches on issues, but the president will stress this with the king: we have much more in common when it comes to our interests than to differences,” Mr Gordon said.

“Defending allies from external aggression, ensuring the free flow of energy supplies, and confronting extremism and dealing with non proliferation – those are our core interests and we believe they are Saudi Arabia’s and our other friends’ in the Gulf core interests as well.”

More on those Gulf ‘core interests’…

Saudi king and Obama discuss Iran’s ‘behaviour’ and arming Syrian rebels

…Before Mr Obama met the king, US deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes confirmed that the war in Syria and Iran’s disputed nuclear programme were on the agenda.

“One of the main topics of conversation is how do we best empower the moderate opposition inside of Syria politically, militarily as a counterweight to President Bashar Al Assad,” Mr Rhodes said.

Jim White wrote a great piece Wednesday… After US Adventure in Death Squad Training for Syria, Brennan Now Complains About al Qaeda Training There

An interesting peek behind the robes… Saudi’s next heir is a close confidant of the king

In I/P news… Kerry not ready to announce failure of peace talks

During his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmous Abbas yesterday, US Secretary of State John Kerry aimed to find an “agreement formula” for negotiations with Israel instead of announcing failure of his efforts, a senior Palestinian Authority aide said today.

Kerry met the Abbas in Amman to discuss the peace talks which are wavering and the situation of the release of the fourth batch of the veteran Palestinian prisoners.

Speaking to the local Palestinian news agency Quds Net, Abbas’ aide Mimer Hammad said: “The agreement on the release of the Palestinian prisoners was conducted with the US administration.”

Hammad expects Kerry to phone the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ask him to go release the prisoners. “Extending negotiations beyond the approaching deadline is linked to the release of the prisoners,” Hammad said.

He also said that Israel has to pledge to freeze settlement construction and setting a certain timetable, with international guardianship, to carry out its obligations, including implementing the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

“The US Administration has not given us any agreement formula so far,” Hammad said. “Kerry is trying to find an agreement formula instead of announcing the failure of his efforts,” he added, “but Netanyahu said he would not stop settlements and we will see what Kerry will do.”

In wrapping up…

by CTuttle

The I/P Peace Farce

4:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

(Pls watch from the 40 min mark, at least!)

From today’s Ma’an News…

PA: Israel settlements led to peace talks impasse

US-sponsored peace talks with Israel have reached an impasse because of Jewish settlement activity, a Palestinian spokesman said, as plans for over 2,000 West Bank units were moved forward.

The latest crisis comes as Washington scrambles for a formula to allow the Palestinians and Israelis to carry on the peace talks beyond an April 29 deadline.

“Israel’s settlement activity caused the negotiations to fail and led them to an impasse,” Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, told AFP.

Abu Rudeina was reacting to the decision of an Israeli defense ministry committee, revealed earlier on Thursday, to push forward with plans to build 2,269 new West Bank homes.

A ministry spokesman said last month the committee had approved the building of 1,015 units in Leshem, Beit El and Almog, leaving Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon’s approval as the final step.

The same committee approved 1,254 units in Ariel, Shvut Rachel and Shavei Shomron. Those projects will be published in the media for public comment before returning to the committee for further discussion.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are teetering on the brink of collapse, with Washington fighting an uphill battle to get the two sides to agree to a framework proposal to extend the negotiations to the year’s end.

To be sure…

From hocus pocus to open sesame to recognition as Jewish state: It’s a kind of magic

Forget refugees, settlements, Jerusalem or security: Everyone is waiting for Abbas to say the magic words that will launch a whole new world, presto-change-o.

To the long list of such enchanted incantations as open sesame, hocus pocus, and bibbedy-bobbedy-boo, we can now add “recognition as a Jewish state.” If Mahmoud Abbas would only say the magic words, then presto-change-o, the walls will come tumbling down, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will end and we’ll have a whole new world, shining, shimmering and splendid.

This, at least, the impression one gets from the focus of the discussion in recent weeks about U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s struggling peace initiative. Forget once-burning but now-boring issues such as settlements, security, refugees, borders, Jerusalem or Temple Mount: recognition as Jewish state is the only game in town. Once the words are said, it’s going to be wham-bam-alakazaam, welcome to the magic kingdom.

It’s not for nothing that Benjamin Netanyahu was once widely known in Israel as hakosem, the magician. His mastery of the media, his meteoric rise in the Likud, his utterly fantastic victory over Shimon Peres in the 1996 elections – all of these endowed Bibi with a supernatural mystique. And while the magic didn’t last forever and Netanyahu was subsequently subjected to a barrage of obligatory clichés – his spell is broken, no more tricks up his sleeve, King Midas in reverse etc – once an illusionist, always an illusionist. He’s still got plenty of wizardry left up his sleeves.

Standing up to AIPAC means supporting Israeli dissidents

The voice of ‘pro-Israel’ militarism has been ringing through the halls of Washington D.C. since the 1970s. Now, to end the occupation, American citizens must couple their opposition to AIPAC with support for anti-occupation groups in Israel.

BDS works…! Boycott movement has empowered Palestinians, says co-founder

However, it seems the PA is not the solution either, from Haaretz…

The Palestinian Authority is on the brink of collapse, study says

Only achieving statehood could save the West Bank from an impending wave of violence, crime, chaos, disease, says major Palestinian report

The breakdown of the Palestinian Authority would turn the West Bank into a violent, criminal, chaotic, disease-ridden place. But even though most Palestinians want the PA to survive, either for the sake of basic social order or personal interest, and although Israel dreads having to resume responsibility for 3 million West Bankers, President Mahmoud Abbas’ regime will collapse before too long if Israel continues to thwart Palestinian aspirations for independence.

This is the conclusion of a massive six-month study by the highly-regarded Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, directed by Dr. Khalil Shikaki.

A great many Palestinians have a deeply vested interest in the PA’s continued existence, Shikaki notes. Connections with the PA bring “financial well being, social and political status in society, and there are circles that depend on their relation to PA. Anything that happens to the PA will take all of that away from them. These could be organizations, business interests or individuals who have positions of power that allow them to reward sympathizers.

“If they could call the shots, they would do their best to prevent [the PA’s collapse],” Shikaki said, “But even those who have a vested interest in satisfying Israel, for the sake of preserving the PA, cannot do it for too long.”

If ordinary Palestinians still support the existence of the PA, it’s because they have a need for some kind of order, he adds. “People do not want to see themselves without a central authority that prevents chaos and anarchy in the streets, even if they have a lot of criticism of the PA and its functioning. But the Palestinians are willing to risk it collapsing completely, if it happens in the midst of a struggle for a change in the status quo. If there is a good reason for it to collapse, then [the attitude is] let it be.”

The PA is 20 years old, but voices questioning its efficacy were already being heard at the start of the second intifada in 2000. They’ve returned and intensified over the past two or three years, as it has become clear that the PA is not delivering on either of the two goals it was established to achieve: statehood and the provision of public services. Add to this the increasing economic difficulties and the rupture with the Gaza Strip, and the picture of failure is complete.

And, I have to agree with Abbas’ son… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Israel’s ‘Trigger Happy’ Ways

8:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From Alex Kane at Mondoweiss…

Gaza heats up: Israel bombards coastal enclave under siege with multiple airstrikes

The immediate cause of the latest round of fighting in the Gaza Strip, which featured rockets and mortars fired into Israel and air attacks on the coastal enclave, occurred over the last two days. But the roots of the latest fighting are Israeli violations of the November 2012 truce between Hamas and Israel, and the years-long blockade and occupation crippling the Gaza Strip.

Yesterday, the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad attacked Israeli soldiers said to be advancing towards the Gaza Strip. In response, an Israeli airstrike killed three fighters. That, in turn, caused Islamic Jihad to unleash a barrage of some 70 projectiles into southern Israeli communities. No injures in Israel have been reported.

The Palestinian group said that its attacks were a way to avenge the deaths of six Palestinians killed in the West Bank and Gaza in recent days, as Allison Deger reported here.

The rockets and mortars fired into Israeli territory were the most significant Palestinian counter-attack since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense in late 2012. The Islamic Jihad attacks caused some Israeli officials to act tough, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying Israel needed to “reoccupy” Gaza–most likely bluster, since the Israeli military has no interest in actually doing so.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that “if there won’t be quiet in the south, there will be noise in Gaza – a lot of noise, and this is an understatement.”

Sure enough, Israel reportedly launched 29 airstrikes and attacked Islamic Jihad positions with artillery. According to Ma’an News Agency, no Palestinians have been killed or injured, perhaps reflecting an Israeli intention to escalate just enough so that peace talks with the West Bank leadership continue. Islamic Jihad and Hamas also have little interest in provoking an all-out assault.

Still, even if this latest escalation doesn’t immediately break out into full-scale war, it’s one more step on the way towards that path. That’s because the Egyptian and U.S.-brokered ceasefire from 2012 between Palestinian militant groups–including Islamic Jihad and Hamas–has been threatened by repeated Israeli violations. And it’s those Israeli violations that have provoked rocket fire into Israel.

From MEMO…

Isolating Gaza to justify Israel’s continuous state terror

The latest Israeli violent incitement against Palestinians in Gaza has been distorted into the usual rhetoric of defence. Following the murder of three resistance fighters in Khan Younis by Israeli soldiers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised further violence in the wake of Palestinian retaliation against the murders.

“If there is no quiet in our south, no quiet for the residents of Israel, there will be noise, lots of noise in Gaza. And that’s putting it mildly,” he said. The threat was uttered in the presence of Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, who upheld Netanyahu’s distorted reality and defended the settler-colonial state’s self-imposed right to defend itself. According to Cameron, Israeli aggression against Gaza’s legitimate resistance illustrates “the importance of maintaining and securing Israel’s future and the security threats you face, and you have Britain’s support in facing those security threats.”

Cameron deemed legitimate resistance “indiscriminate, aimed at civilian populations” and a reflection of barbarism. The statement evokes an accurate depiction of Israel’s settler-colonial state and its constant refinement of atrocities to maintain its illegal presence in Palestine, supported by its imperialist allies. {…}

The statements attest to the enforced permanent isolation of Gaza. Gaza has never relinquished its right to resistance; hence the regurgitated argument disseminated by mainstream media excusing Israeli violence as a consequence of rocket attacks is invalid. Resistance is the legitimate and necessary response to Israel’s colonial and imperialist-supported terror; a means to combat the sanctioned illegality endorsed by the UN. Gaza’s resistance does not contribute to the destabilisation of the region. However, the pervading discourse hailed as absolute truth is indicative of Israel’s commitment to incarcerate Palestinians in Gaza, this time in collaboration with a neighbouring country which has already proved its allegiance to Israel.

“Collective punishment”, the convenient term describing Israel’s brutality against Palestinians, should be rendered obsolete. In case of another superfluous Zionist campaign aimed at consolidating Israel’s “defence”, it is worth remembering that the sole entities which can claim defence are historic Palestine and the Palestinian population. Any Zionist actions against Palestinian land, people and memory is nothing but an extension of refined colonial violence, displaying Israel’s constant need to protect its illegal settler presence upon land it can never claim to own – a fact proven by Palestinian resistance.

A look-see at Cameron’s recent Knesset appearance… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Israel, Iran, Jordan, and Syria

7:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Delving further…

Israeli troops kill Jordan judge

Israeli troops at a border crossing yesterday shot dead a Palestinian-Jordanian judge who allegedly tried to snatch a soldier’s weapon, prompting Amman and the Palestinian Authority to demand an investigation.

The shooting took place at the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, with the Israeli military saying troops had opened fire after a man tried to snatch a weapon from one of its soldiers.

The Western-backed Palestinian Authority sharply condemned the incident and Amman summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to protest, demanding an “immediate investigation.”

Palestinian security officials identified the man as 38-year-old Raed Zeiter, and Amman confirmed he also held Jordanian nationality. A Jordanian security official said that Zeiter worked as a judge in Amman and had left for the West Bank early yesterday. Jordan’s justice ministry said he worked at a magistrates court in the capital.

Nazmi Muhanna, the Palestinian official responsible for border crossings, said investigators were questioning around 50 people who had been with Zeiter on the bus carrying travellers from the Jordanian side to the Israeli side of the crossing.

“We are investigating with all the witnesses who were on the same bus. We will verify everything,” he said. “There are no surveillance cameras there so we cannot get to the truth without the witnesses who were on that bus.”

Jordan’s foreign minister summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to “strongly condemn” the shooting at the border crossing and demand an immediate probe, a statement said.

“The Jordanian government is expecting a comprehensive report on the incident from the Israeli government. Jordan wants an immediate investigation without any delay,” a statement quoted Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh as saying.

The Palestinian Authority also strongly condemned the incident and demanded an “international investigation” into the circumstances of Zeiter’s death.

Palestinian security officials said Zeiter was originally from the city of Nablus in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but had left the territories in 2011 and not returned.

Zeiter, who leaves behind a wife and two young children — one of whom is in a coma in hospital — was to be buried in Nablus today morning, his family said.

Not a very swift move by the IDF… Tensions high in Amman as protesters gather at Israeli embassy after IDF shooting

Hmmm… Should NATO troops help enforce an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement?

Or better yet… Israel open to joint missile defence with Jordan, Egypt

It’s Non-Stop Terra, Terra, Terra, 24/7… Israel fears future drone attacks

To be sure…

From Haaretz even…

Netanyahu’s display of seized ship: Meaningless Hollywood-style propaganda

Here and there during the live broadcast of the government propaganda event staged at the Israel Navy base in Eilat, the camera lingered on the face of Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz understood that the media circus surrounding the seizure of the ship carrying Iranian weapons had run its course over the weekend, which is why he took off Saturday night to make a previously scheduled visit to the United States. Eizenkot, a disciplined soldier, was required to take his place on the dock in Eilat, alongside the prime minister and defense minister. For a time it looked as if the deputy chief of staff would have preferred to be elsewhere, though perhaps it just seemed that way to this observer. {…}

So there is nothing original about the show Netanyahu put on today, when he publicly displayed the weapons discovered after the Israel Navy raided the Klos C last week. Perhaps the most noteworthy element of Monday’s event is the opportunity it has given to Eizenkot, the deputy chief of staff, and Zamir, the prime minister’s military secretary, to visit the city where they were born.

The order he gave to the officers — to take part in Netanyahu’s show — was not completely illegal, nor was there any reason to disobey it. Still, it gives off a bad odor. The relief over the successful interception of the rocket-laden Klos C was genuine. That was enough. Heating up the cold noodles five days later just because Netanyahu had been out of the country when the Iranian shipment was seized on its way to the Gaza Strip, and therefore absent from the photographs of the generals at the naval outpost, crosses the line of bad taste.

The wisdom of Netanyahu’s press conference at Eilat Port, where the ship was escorted, is dubious as well. Everybody knows that Iran supplies arms to groups working against Israel from Gaza and Lebanon. The documentation of the captured weapons does not change people’s awareness. As a backdrop for Netanyahu’s propaganda, the Klos C is problematic. Iran does not deny its support for groups that take hostile action against Israel; it takes pride in it. What does that have to do with the fight of the superpowers against Iranian military nukes?

Now, I know I have questioned the sudden providence of that said ‘Iranian Arms Ship’…!

Moving along to Syria…

b at MOA took a dim view of the spectacle… Syrian Nuns Freed – Media Is Concealing the Villains

In wrapping up, some other noteworthy reads…Assad military advance in western Syria pushed deal that led to nuns’ release, official says

EU: No guarantee of success in negotiations with Iran

U.S. DEPT. OF THE TREASURY press release: “Our allies” openly funding Al-Qaeda in Syria, yet they will stay U.S. partners

Saudi Arabia turns away from the jihadis in Syria.