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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1200 on: April 03, 2011, 10:45:26 AM »

Pravda on the Hudson:

JERUSALEM — With revolutionary fervor sweeping the Middle East, Israel is under mounting pressure to make a far-reaching offer to the Palestinians or face a United Nations vote welcoming the State of Palestine as a member whose territory includes all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority has been steadily building support for such a resolution in September, a move that could place Israel into a diplomatic vise. Israel would be occupying land belonging to a fellow United Nations member, land it has controlled and settled for more than four decades and some of which it expects to keep in any two-state solution.
“We are facing a diplomatic-political tsunami that the majority of the public is unaware of and that will peak in September,” said Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, at a conference in Tel Aviv last month. “It is a very dangerous situation, one that requires action.” He added, “Paralysis, rhetoric, inaction will deepen the isolation of Israel.”

With aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thrashing out proposals to the Palestinians, President Shimon Peres is due at the White House on Tuesday to meet with President Obama and explore ways out of the bind. The United States is still uncertain how to move the process forward, according to diplomats here.

Israel’s offer is expected to include transfer of some West Bank territory outside its settlements to Palestinian control and may suggest a regional component — an international conference to serve as a response to the Arab League peace initiatives.

But Palestinian leaders, emboldened by support for their statehood bid, dismiss the expected offer as insufficient and continue to demand an end to settlement building before talks can begin.

“We want to generate pressure on Israel to make it feel isolated and help it understand that there can be no talks without a stop to settlements,” said Nabil Shaath, who leads the foreign affairs department of Fatah, the main party of the Palestinian Authority. “Without that, our goal is membership in the United Nations General Assembly in September.”

Israeli, Palestinian and Western officials interviewed on the current impasse, most of them requesting anonymity, expressed an unusual degree of pessimism about a peaceful resolution. All agreed that the turmoil across the Middle East had prompted opposing responses from Israel and much of the world.

Israel, seeing the prospect of even more hostile governments as its neighbors, is insisting on caution and time before taking any significant steps. It also wants to build in extensive long-term security guarantees in any two-state solution, but those inevitably infringe the sovereignty of a Palestinian state.

The international community tends to draw the opposite conclusion. Foreign Secretary William Hague of Britain, for example, said last week that one of the most important lessons to be learned from the Arab Spring was that “legitimate aspirations cannot be ignored and must be addressed.” He added, referring to Israeli-Palestinian talks, “It cannot be in anyone’s interests if the new order of the region is determined at a time of minimum hope in the peace process.”

The Palestinian focus on September stems not only from the fact that the General Assembly holds its annual meeting then. It is also because Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced in September 2009 that his government would be ready for independent statehood in two years and that Mr. Obama said last September that he expected the framework for an independent Palestinian state to be declared in a year.

Mr. Obama did not indicate what the borders of that state would be, assuming they would be determined through direct negotiations. But with Israeli-Palestinian talks broken off months ago and the Middle East in the process of profound change, many argue that outside pressure is needed.

Germany, France and Britain say negotiations should be based on the 1967 lines with equivalent land swaps, exactly what the Netanyahu government rejects because it says it predetermines the outcome.

“Does the world think it is going to force Israel to declare the 1967 lines and giving up Jerusalem as a basis for negotiation?” asked a top Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “That will never happen.”

While the Obama administration has referred in the past to the 1967 lines as a basis for talks, it has not decided whether to back the European Union, the United Nations and Russia — the other members of the so-called quartet — in declaring them the starting point, diplomats said. The quartet meets on April 15 in Berlin.

Israel, which has settled hundreds of thousands of Jews inside the West Bank and East Jerusalem, acknowledges that it will have to withdraw from much of the land it now occupies there. But it hopes to hold onto the largest settlement blocs and much of East Jerusalem as well as the border to the east with Jordan and does not want to enter into talks with the other side’s position as the starting point.

That was true even before its closest ally in the Arab world, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, was driven from power, helping fuel protest movements that now roil other countries, including Jordan, which has its own peace agreement with Israel.

“Whatever we put forward has to be grounded in security arrangements because of what is going on regionally,” said Zalman Shoval, one of a handful of Netanyahu aides drawing up the Israeli proposal that may be delivered as a speech to the United States Congress in May. “We are facing the rebirth of the eastern front as Iran grows strong. We have to secure the Jordan Valley. And no Israeli government is going to move tens of thousands of Israelis from their homes quickly.”

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Page 2 of 2)



Those Israelis live in West Bank settlements, the source of much of the disagreement not only with the Palestinians but with the world. Not a single government supports Israel’s settlements. The Palestinians say the settlements are proof that the Israelis do not really want a Palestinian state to arise since they are built on land that should go to that state.

“All these years, the main obstacle to peace has been the settlements,” Nimer Hammad, a political adviser to President Abbas, said. “They always say, ‘but you never made it a condition of negotiations before.’ And we say, ‘that was a mistake.’ ”
The Israelis counter that the real problem is Palestinian refusal to accept openly a Jewish state here and ongoing anti-Israeli incitement and praise of violence on Palestinian airwaves.

Another central obstacle to the establishment of a State of Palestine has been the division between the West Bank and Gaza, the first run by the Palestinian Authority and the second by Hamas. Lately, President Abbas has sought to bridge the gap, asking to go to Gaza to seek reconciliation through an agreed interim government that would set up parliamentary and presidential elections.

But Hamas, worried it would lose such elections and hopeful that the regional turmoil could work in its favor — that Egypt, for example, might be taken over by its ally, the Muslim Brotherhood — has reacted coolly.

Efforts are still under way to restart peace talks but if, as expected, negotiations do not resume, come September the Palestinian Authority seems set to go ahead with plans to ask the General Assembly to accept it as a member. Diplomats involved in the issue say most countries — more than 100 — are expected to vote yes, meaning it will pass. (There are no vetoes in the General Assembly so the United States cannot save Israel as it often has in the Security Council.)

What happens then?

Some Palestinian leaders say relations with Israel would change.

“We will re-examine our commitments toward Israel, especially our security commitments,” suggested Hanna Amireh, who is on the 18-member ruling board of the Palestine Liberation Organization, referring to cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli troops. “The main sense about Israel is that we are fed up.”

Mr. Shaath said Israel would then be in daily violation of the rights of a fellow member state and diplomatic and legal consequences could follow, all of which would be painful for Israel.

In the Haaretz newspaper on Thursday, Ari Shavit, who is a political centrist, drew a comparison between 2011 and the biggest military setback Israel ever faced, the 1973 war.

He wrote that “2011 is going to be a diplomatic 1973,” because a Palestinian state will be recognized internationally. “Every military base in the West Bank will be contravening the sovereignty of an independent U.N. member state.” He added, “A diplomatic siege from without and a civil uprising from within will grip Israel in a stranglehold.”
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G M
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« Reply #1201 on: April 08, 2011, 09:01:21 AM »

http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/2011/04/07/schoolbus-attack-is-a-strategic/?singlepage=true

Hamas Is Moving Toward War With Israel

April 7, 2011 - 7:10 pm - by Barry Rubin

Two events show us that an emboldened Hamas in the Gaza Strip is moving toward war with Israel.
 
First, an Israeli school bus, painted bright yellow, was hit by fire from the Gaza Strip and at least one child was seriously wounded. This is not just another terrorist attack but part of a wider strategy. What is strategically significant here is how the bus was attacked. Usually, attacks from the Gaza Strip — either carried out or sanctioned by the Hamas regime there — are by homemade rockets, mortars, or attempted cross-border ground attacks. Deaths and damage are usually random.
 
In this case, though, the attack was carried out with an advanced anti-tank rocket. In other words, a terrorist deliberately aimed at the bus and fired, hoping to kill the maximum number of children.
 
But there’s more. Hamas can fire an advanced anti-tank rocket because the Egyptian revolution has ended a regime that acted in its own interest to block most arms shipments to Hamas. The Egypt-Gaza border is now open. Terrorists and superior weapons are flooding into Gaza.
 
Another demonstration of this fact was the second major incident in which Hamas fired an Iranian-made Grad missile, far superior to the usual homemade rockets, at Israel. In this case, it was shot down by an Israeli anti-missile, part of the new defense system deployed only a few days earlier. A total of 50 rockets and mortars were fired on that one day, equaling the number shot from the Gaza Strip at Israel during the entire month of March. There were also several attempts at cross-border ground attacks, more in one day than at any time in the past.
 
It was clear to the Hamas leadership that this escalation — and probably more to follow — brings the situation closer to another war like the one fought in December 2008-January 2009 after Hamas ended the ceasefire and launched a massive rocket and mortar barrage against Israel.
 
While saved politically by Western intervention — which does not favor the overthrow of the Hamas regime and largely accepted Hamas propaganda portraying Israel as a villain — that war was a bad defeat for Hamas. Its forces fought quite poorly, especially when compared to Hizballah’s units in 2006 in Lebanon.
 
Why, then, is Hamas provoking a new war? Part of the answer, of course, is ideology. Hamas believes that the deity is on its side, that victory is inevitable, and that martyrdom is a substitute for good military strategy and strength. Hamas is also indifferent to casualties, material damage, and the suffering of its own people. Its goal is total victory, Israel’s destruction, and the mass murder of Israeli Jews.
 
But none of that is new. What is new is a shift in the strategic situation. The recent upheavals in the Arab world have emboldened revolutionary Islamists and Hamas most of all. Its close ally, the Muslim Brotherhood, can operate freely in Egypt. There is much support for Islamism in the Egyptian army. And even the “moderate” presidential candidate Muhammad ElBaradei said that Egypt would go to war if Israel attacked the Gaza Strip.
 
Does Egypt want war with Israel? Of course not. But Hamas calculates — and, of course, it often miscalculates — that crisis with Israel will increase its support from Egypt and perhaps even create a situation where Cairo intervenes on its side on some level.
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ccp
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« Reply #1202 on: April 08, 2011, 11:43:13 AM »

"And even the “moderate” presidential candidate Muhammad ElBaradei said that Egypt would go to war if Israel attacked the Gaza Strip."
Well as Soros stated there are "risks" to Israel.  No biggy.

From one of Soro's favorite "puppits":

***Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency who has announced his candidacy for president in Egypt, said on Monday that “if Israel attacked Gaza we would declare war against the Zionist regime.”

The Digital Journal observed: “In the world's first glimpse of the policies that may emerge from the results of the upcoming Egyptian presidential election, one candidate for president outlined his insistence on protecting Palestinians in Gaza from Israeli military assaults. Mohamed ElBaradei's position on the matter is clear: An Israeli military strike against Gaza would result in a declaration of war from Egypt.”

In an interview with the Arab newspaper Al-Watan reported by the ynetnews website, ElBaradei also declared: “In case of any future Israeli attack on Gaza, as the next president of Egypt, I will open the Rafah border crossing and will consider different ways to implement the joint Arab defense agreement.

“Israel controls the Palestinian soil and there has been no tangible breakthrough in the process of reconciliation because of the imbalance of power in the region and the situation there is a kind of one-way peace.”

On Tuesday, Palestinian militants in Gaza launched three mortar shells at Israel, and Israeli forces killed an armed Palestinian near the Israel-Gaza border.

“Pressure has been mounting along Israel’s border with the coastal enclave in recent weeks, as Gaza militants and Israeli forces traded blows in what some fear are signs of a large-scale military escalation,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Also on Tuesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al Arabi said his country is ready to open a “new page” with Iran.

“Egypt has opened a new page with all countries of the world, including Iran,” Al Arabi said. “The Egyptian and Iranian people deserve relations which reflect their history and civilization.”

Al Arabi’s remarks came during a meeting with Iranian official Mojtaba Amani, who gave him a letter from Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, AFP reported.

Salehi urged Egypt to explore ways to improve relations between the two countries.

Iran broke off diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1980 in protest of Egypt’s recognition of Israel.

Salehi also invited Al Arabi to visit Tehran, and expressed a desire to visit Cairo himself***
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1203 on: April 10, 2011, 08:27:36 AM »



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByMufgpcdnI
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G M
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« Reply #1204 on: April 10, 2011, 01:36:43 PM »

http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?ID=215986&R=R1


Arab League to ask UN to impose no-fly zone over Gaza
By JPOST.COM STAFF
04/10/2011 17:27


Gaza ceasefire brokered by UN official Robert Serry who acts as intermediary between Hamas and J'lem, Ma'an reports.

The Arab League on Sunday announced during a special meeting in Cairo that it plans to press the UN to impose a no-fly zone over Gaza amid an escalation in violence in the area, AFP reported.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said he plans to present the proposal to the UN Security Council, the report said.
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ccp
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« Reply #1205 on: April 10, 2011, 03:50:01 PM »

"impose a no-fly zone over Gaza"


Will this include Palestinian rockets??
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G M
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« Reply #1206 on: April 10, 2011, 05:15:08 PM »

Of course not.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1207 on: April 14, 2011, 05:28:29 PM »



http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/palestinians-hail-international-birth-certificate-of-statehood-1.355821
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1208 on: April 29, 2011, 04:23:17 PM »

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s response to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority’s peace deal with Hamas would be funny if it weren’t tragic. Immediately after the news broke of the deal Netanyahu announced, “The PA must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both.”

Netanyahu’s statement is funny because it is completely absurd. The PA has chosen.

The PA made the choice in 2000 when it rejected Israel’s offer of peace and Palestinian statehood and joined forces with Hamas to wage a terror war against Israel.

The PA made the choice in 2005 again when it responded to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza with a tenfold increase in the number of rockets and missiles it fired on Israeli civilian targets in the Negev.

The Palestinians made the choice in 2006, when they elected Hamas to rule over them.

They made the choice in March 2007 when Fatah and Hamas signed their first unity deal.

The PA made the choice in 2008 when Abbas rejected then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s offer of statehood and peace.

The PA made the choice in 2010 when it refused to reinstate peace negotiations with Netanyahu; began peace negotiations with Hamas; and escalated its plan to establish an independent state without peace with Israel.

Now the PA has again made the choice by signing the newest peace deal with Hamas.

In a real sense, Netanyahu’s call for the PA to choose is the political equivalent of a man telling his wife she must choose between him and her lover, after she has left home, shacked up and had five children with her new man.

It is a pathetic joke.

But worse than a pathetic joke, it is a national tragedy. It is a tragedy that after more than a decade of the PA choosing war with Israel and peace with Hamas, Israel’s leaders are still incapable of accepting reality and walking away. It is a tragedy that Israel’s leaders cannot find the courage to say the joke of the peace process is really a deadly serious war process whose end is Israel’s destruction, and that Israel is done with playing along.

There are many reasons that Netanyahu is incapable of stating the truth and ending the 18- year policy nightmare in which Israel is an active partner in its own demise. One of the main reasons is that like his predecessors, Netanyahu has come to believe the myth that Israel’s international standing is totally dependent on its being perceived as trying to make peace with the Palestinians.

According to this myth – which has been the central pillar of Israel’s foreign policy and domestic politics since Yitzhak Rabin first accepted the PLO as a legitimate actor in 1993 – it doesn’t matter how obvious it is that the Palestinians are uninterested in peaceful coexistence with Israel.

It doesn’t matter how openly they wage their war to destroy Israel. Irrespective of the nakedness of Palestinian bad faith, seven successive governments have adopted the view that the only thing that stands between Israel and international pariah status is its leaders’ ability to persuade the so-called international community that Israel is serious about appeasing the Palestinians.

For the past several months, this profoundly neurotic perception of Israel’s options has fed our leaders’ hysterical response to the Palestinians’ plan to unilaterally declare independence.

The Palestinian plan itself discredits the idea that they are interested in anything other than destroying Israel. The plan is to get the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza outside the framework of a peace treaty with Israel. The PA will first attempt to get the Security Council to endorse an independent “Palestine.” If the Obama administration vetoes the move, then the PA will ask the General Assembly to take action. Given the makeup of the General Assembly, it is all but certain that the Palestinians will get their resolution.

The question is, does this matter? Everyone from Defense Minister Ehud Barak to hard-left, post-Zionist retreads like Shulamit Aloni and Avrum Burg says it does. They tell us that if this passes, Israel will face international opprobrium if its citizens or military personnel so much as breathe in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem without Palestinian permission.

These prophets of doom warn that Israel has but one hope for saving itself from diplomatic death: Netanyahu must stand before the world and pledge to give Israel’s heartland and capital to the Palestinians.

And according to helpful Obama administration officials, everything revolves around Netanyahu’s ability to convince the EU-3 – British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – that he is serious about appeasing the Palestinians. If he doesn’t offer up Israel’s crown jewels in his speech before the US Congress next month, administration officials warn that the EU powers will go with the Palestinians.

And if they go with the Palestinians, well, things could get ugly for Israel.

Happily, these warnings are completely ridiculous. UN General Assembly resolutions have no legal weight. Even if every General Assembly member except Israel votes in favor of a resolution recognizing “Palestine,” all the Palestinians will have achieved is another non-binding resolution, with no force of law, asserting the same thing that thousands of UN resolutions already assert. Namely, it will claim falsely that Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza are Palestinian territory to which Israel has no right. Israel will be free to ignore this resolution, just as it has been free to ignore its predecessors.

The threat of international isolation is also wildly exaggerated. Today, Israel is more diplomatically isolated than it has been at any time in its 63-year history. With the Obama administration treating the construction of homes for Jews in Jerusalem as a greater affront to the cause of world peace than the wholesale massacre of hundreds of Iranian and Syrian protesters by regime goons, Israel has never faced a more hostile international climate. And yet, despite its frosty reception from the White House to Whitehall, life in Israel has never been better.

According to the latest data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s economy grew 7.8 percent in the last quarter of 2010.

International trade is rising steeply. In the first quarter of 2011, exports rose 27.3%. They grew 19.9% in the final quarter of last year. Imports rose 34.7% between January and March, and 38.9% in the last quarter of 2010.

The Israel-bashing EU remains Israel’s largest trading partner. And even as Turkey embraced Hamas and Iran as allies, its trade with Israel reached an all time high last year.

These trade data expose a truth that the doom and gloomers are unwilling to notice: For the vast majority of Israelis the threat of international isolation is empty.

The same people telling us to commit suicide now lest we face the firing squad in September would also have us believe that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is the single greatest threat to the economy. But that lie was put paid this month with the demise of the Australian town of Marrickville’s BDS-inspired boycott.

Last December, the anti-Israel coalition running the town council voted to institute a trade, sports and academic boycott against Israel. Two weeks ago the council was forced to cancel its decision after it learned that it would cost $3.4 million to institute it. Cheaper Israeli products and services would have to be replaced with more expensive non-Israeli ones.

Both Israel’s booming foreign trade and the swift demise of the Marrickville boycott movement demonstrate that the specter of international isolation in the event that Israel extricates itself from the Palestinian peace process charade is nothing more than a bluff. The notion that Israel will be worse off it Netanyahu admits that Abbas has again chosen war against the Jews over peace with us has no credibility.

So what is preventing Netanyahu and his colleagues in the government from acknowledging this happy truth? Two factors are at play here. The first is our inability to understand power politics. Our leaders believe that the likes of Sarkozy, Cameron and Merkel are serious when they tell us that Israel needs to prove it is serious about peace in order to enable them to vote against a Palestinian statehood resolution at the UN. But they are not serious. Nothing that Israel does will have any impact on their votes.

When the Europeans forge their policies towards Israel they are moved by one thing only: the US.

Since 1967, the Europeans have consistently been more pro-Palestinian than the US. Now, with the Obama administration demonstrating unprecedented hostility towards Israel, there is no way that the Europeans will suddenly shift to Israel’s side. So when European leaders tell Israelis that we need to convince them we are serious about peace, they aren’t being serious. They are looking for an excuse to be even more hostile. If Israel offers the store to Abbas, then the likes of Cameron, Merkel and Sarkozy will not only recognize “Palestine” at the UN, (because after all, they cannot be expected to be more pro-Israel than the Israeli government that just surrendered), they will recognize Hamas. Because that’s the next step.

It would seem that Israel’s leaders should have gotten wise to this game years ago. And the fact that they haven’t can be blamed on the second factor keeping their sanity in check: the Israeli Left. The only group of Israelis directly impacted by the BDS movement is the Israeli Left. Its members – from university lecturers to anti-Zionist has-been politicians, artists, actors and hack writers – are the only members of Israeli society who have a personal stake in a decision by their leftist counterparts in the US or Europe or Australia or any other pretty vacation/sabbatical spots to boycott Israelis.

And because the movement threatens them, they have taken it upon themselves to scare the rest of us into taking this ridiculous charade seriously. So it was that last week a group of washed-up radicals gathered in Tel Aviv outside the hall where David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israeli independence, and declared the independence of “Palestine.” They knew their followers in the media would make a big deal of their agitprop and use it as another means of demoralizing the public into believing we can do nothing but embrace our enemies’ cause against our country.

The time has come for the vast majority of Israelis who aren’t interested in the Nobel Prize for Literature or a sabbatical at Berkeley or the University of Trondheim to call a spade a spade. The BDS haters have no leverage. A degree from Bar-Ilan is more valuable than a degree from Oxford. And no matter how much these people hate Israel, they will continue to buy our technologies and contract our researchers, because Cambridge is no longer capable of producing the same quality of scholarship as the Technion.

And it is well past time for our leaders to stop playing this fool’s game. We don’t need anyone’s favors. Abbas has made his choice.

Now it is time for Netanyahu to choose.
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G M
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« Reply #1209 on: May 01, 2011, 10:55:40 AM »

I don't think the current offensive against Israel is accidental.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_SYRIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-03-24-09-07-02

DARAA, Syria (AP) -- The Syrian government pledged Thursday to consider lifting draconian restrictions on political freedom and civil liberties in an attempt to quell a week-long uprising that protesters say has left dozens fatally shot by security forces.

Losing Syria would be very damaging to Iran, so you'll see an offensive against Israel to distract from the protests. Of course, I doubt the chinless one will hesitate to play the Hama card, if needed.

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/24/syria-cracks-down-on-protesters-37-dead/

Hama card, now in play.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-syria-protests-20110501,0,2884901.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fnews%2Fnationworld%2Fworld+%28L.A.+Times+-+World+News%29

Syrian forces told to use 'any means necessary' to crush rebellion in Dara
A Syrian military source says President Bashar Assad's security forces have been ordered to quell the uprising in Dara 'even if this means that the city is to be burned down.' Tanks destroy a mosque, witnesses say, and at least four people are killed.

I'm sure Obama will issue a very stern statement.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #1210 on: May 05, 2011, 09:11:19 AM »

So much here that's so wrong the mind reels:


MAY 5, 2011 12:00 A.M.
Hamas Mourns Osama
So do the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. But that can’t be an obstacle to the peace process!

It requires a keen sense of irony to write the headline that Newsweek ran last week: “The Wrath of Abbas: Fed up with stalled peace talks, the Palestinian leader defies Israel and vents about Obama.”

Peace talks between Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have stalled for one simple reason: Abbas refuses to attend. He has demanded Israeli concessions in exchange for resuming negotiations. In other words, Abbas is stalling the peace talks — and, by golly, he’s fed up with it!

According to Newsweek, Obama encouraged Abbas to take a hard line but then did not put sufficient pressure on Netanyahu. That’s why Abbas decided to “vent” about Obama to Newsweek reporter Dan Ephron, who boasts that Abbas “let Newsweek into his personal space,” which included a specially fitted-out Airbus A318 borrowed from the United Arab Emirates and suites at the Hotel Le Meurice in Paris. Surprise, surprise: Ephron found Abbas “affable” and “moderate in his approach to Israel and unequivocally against violence.”

Just a few days after the article was published, Abbas announced that Fatah, his political party, which rules the West Bank, had agreed to form a “unity government” with Hamas, which rules Gaza and remains openly committed to the extermination of Israel.

Hamas’s ideology is not markedly different from that of al-Qaeda, as was illustrated this week when Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s prime minister, responded to the death of Osama bin Laden by saying: “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.”

So, it turns out, Abbas has not just “defied Israel” and “vented” about Obama. He also has put Obama in a bind: Does the president now stop aid to the Palestinians?  Or does he try to convince Congress and the American public that spending taxpayer money to support a terrorist organization that mourns bin Laden as a “holy warrior” and “martyr” is a shrewd policy choice?

To complicate matters further, the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a “military wing” of Fatah that reports to Abbas, called bin Laden’s death a “catastrophe,” adding: “We say to the American and Israeli occupier: the [Islamic] nation which produced leaders who changed the course of history through their Jihad . . . is capable of restoring the glory of Islam and the flag of Allah’s oneness, Allah willing.” The “moderate” and “unequivocally against violence” Abbas has not appeared shocked by this expression of jihadism within his organization.

Perhaps that’s because he’s been so busy preparing a “unilateral declaration of statehood” that he wants the U.N. to approve.  He wants the U.N. to say, too, that the borders between this Palestinian state and Israel will be the armistice lines left in place after the first Arab war to eliminate Israel in 1948–49. Those lines remained until 1967 — when Israel’s Arab neighbors made another concerted attempt to wipe Israel off the map.

At the conclusion of that conflict, Israel had taken the Sinai and Gaza from Egypt and the West Bank from Jordan. Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt in exchange for a peace treaty signed in 1979, and withdrew from Gaza in 2005. (Hamas has been launching missiles at Israel from Gaza ever since.) In the past, Israel also has offered to turn over more than 90 percent of the West Bank, but in exchange, it wants — and has been promised by both American governments and international agreements — “defensible borders,” which means not quite the lines Arab armies crossed in 1967.

The Newsweek article concludes by suggesting that Obama could do more about the “unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” which continues “to be an irritant for Arabs and a source of resentment against the United States.” The reason he isn’t? With elections coming up, he would not want “to risk alienating Israel’s supporters by pressing the peace question.”

Ah yes, it’s “Israel’s supporters” who are the obstacles to peace — not Hamas, not the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, and certainly not the affable Mr. Abbas. It requires a wicked sense of humor — or no sense at all — to write that.

— Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and Islamism.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/266446/hamas-mourns-osama-clifford-d-may
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G M
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« Reply #1211 on: May 05, 2011, 09:15:34 AM »

It's obviously the Israeli stubborn refusal to commit collective suicide that is preventing the glorious peace that is oh so close at hand.  rolleyes
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Rachel
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« Reply #1212 on: May 09, 2011, 11:01:23 AM »

Yesterday was Israel's memorial day. Today is its independence day. Israel's founders came from totalitarian countries, surrounded by hostility and sharing no common language. They built a modern, accomplished, imperfect but thriving democracy. As Ben-Gurion said, any Jew who does not believe in miracles isn't a realist. Rabbi Wolpe

Israel Wave Your Flag
Aish.com's New Video Sensation Celebrating Israel's Birthday!
http://www.aish.com/h/iid/Israel_Wave_Your_Flag.html


Israel: Defying all odds
http://www.youtube.com/user/AishVideo#p/u/3/SGUxzISr9Us

« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 05:59:16 PM by Rachel » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #1213 on: May 09, 2011, 02:38:58 PM »

good video. grin
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« Reply #1214 on: May 09, 2011, 09:02:36 PM »

I'm glad I'm not a woman.

"This picture by [an ultra-Orthodox] newspaper goes a step further by revising history to remove important women leaders from the historic room in which they were present.  It reminds us of how much work is still to be done!"

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/09/religious-paper-cuts-clinton-from-iconic-photo/?hpt=T2
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« Reply #1215 on: May 09, 2011, 09:46:20 PM »

Never miss a chance to jew-bash, do you? How do women get treated in the surrounding nations? It's more than their photos they have to worry about being clipped.
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« Reply #1216 on: May 10, 2011, 12:07:13 PM »

e.g. their clitorises and/or their heads.  Nonetheless, doctoring history is quite Orwellian and quite unacceptable.

Anyway, being there for the moment of silence was one of my most moving moments, as was praying at the Wailing Wall.
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« Reply #1217 on: May 10, 2011, 12:31:24 PM »

Doctoring history is quite unacceptable. I look forward to the day when the MSM stops doing it.
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« Reply #1218 on: May 10, 2011, 02:19:38 PM »

Amen to that; that said I hold our side to higher standards.
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« Reply #1219 on: May 11, 2011, 11:44:06 AM »


Summary
During a meeting between the Israeli and Qatari prime ministers May 8 in London, Doha reportedly offered to sell liquefied natural gas to Israel. The rumored offer comes as Egypt, which supplies Israel with about 40 percent of its natural gas needs, is showing an intention to renegotiate the controversial natural gas deal with Israel that has provided energy to the country at below-market rates. A partnership with Qatar may offer some longer term potential for Israel to reduce its dependence on Egyptian energy, but due to infrastructure limitations, Israel likely will not have any choice but to pay a higher price to Cairo in the interim.

Analysis
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a secret meeting with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani in London on May 8, Ahram Online reported, citing Israel Radio. During the meeting, the Qatari prime minister reportedly expressed Qatar’s willingness to supply Israel with liquefied natural gas (LNG). Israel is becoming increasingly concerned about its energy security amid Egyptian calls to renegotiate the terms of a natural gas deal between the two countries, as well as sporadic attacks on the Egyptian-Israeli natural gas pipeline that have caused two temporary disruptions in delivery since February.

Though Qatar’s offer does have long-term potential to make Israel less dependent on Egyptian energy supplies, in the near term Israel will have little choice but to accede to Cairo’s demands on changes to the natural gas deal.

Egypt currently supplies 40 percent of Israel’s natural gas as part of an agreement signed in 2005. The delivery of natural gas started in May 2008 through an underwater pipeline from the Egyptian city of El Arish on the northern Mediterranean coast to the Israeli port of Ashkelon. The specifics of the deal have long remained unknown, though an addendum was signed to it in 2009 increasing the amount of natural gas exported from 1.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) to 2.1 bcm.

The deal has long been unpopular with the Egyptian public due to the preferential terms under which it sold natural gas to Israel at below-market prices. Following the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, however, the interim government and Supreme Council of the Armed Forces are pushing for a renegotiation of the agreement. Former Oil Minister Sameh Fahmy and five other former officials were detained April 21 for an investigation into the contract. Unconfirmed leaks from the Egyptian Interior Ministry in March indicated that Mubarak’s sons Gamal and Alaa, as well as the former president himself, personally benefited from the deal, which would not be unusual given the nature of the Mubarak regime and Gamal’s extensive ties to businessmen controlling all sectors of the Egyptian economy. By pushing for a revision of the natural gas deal, the Egyptian military aims to both increase its revenue to help pay Egypt’s budget deficit and debt, which could make the Egyptian economy even more vulnerable while it is trying to recover from the ongoing political turmoil, and to legitimize itself in the eyes of the Egyptian public by distancing itself from the former regime. To this end, unnamed Egyptian officials told Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm on May 5 that negotiations with Israel would start by the end of May with the aim of doubling the current price level.

Besides Egyptian demands to revise the current deal, Israeli dependence on Egyptian natural gas is also increasingly questioned due to a series of attacks on the pipeline that twice led to temporary disruptions in supply. The first attack occurred Feb. 5 during the unrest that resulted in Mubarak’s overthrow Feb. 11. Another attempt at sabotage was reportedly thwarted March 27. A second attack succeeded April 27, prompting Israeli officials, such as Israeli National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, to speak out about Israel’s need to find alternative resources to lessen its dependence on Egypt, including accelerating the development of the recently discovered Tamar and Leviathan offshore natural gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. However, Israel is years away from developing those fields. Therefore, the leak about Netanyahu’s meeting with his Qatari counterpart was likely intended to show Egypt that Israel has other options when it comes to natural gas supply. Qatar is the world’s largest LNG exporter. Even though Israel does not have an LNG import station at present, it announced in February that it would build a floating platform off the northern city of Hadera by the end of 2012.

If the project can be completed as planned, Israel could reduce its dependence on Egyptian natural gas by buying LNG from Qatar, which could be found at lower prices on the spot market. Egypt, for its part, would have a number of options for its reserves: It could still supply Jordan and Syria, two destinations of the Arab Gas Pipeline, with natural gas; it could export natural gas to other clients via LNG facilities; and under a deal signed in March 2006, the pipeline will eventually be extended through Syria to Turkey and Iraq, adding more potential markets. Jordan depends on Egyptian natural gas for 80 percent of its electricity production, so Egypt would likely have a destination for any excess production that had previously been purchased by Israel.

This, however, does not mean that both Egypt and Israel intend to cancel the deal altogether. Egypt and Israel are likely to reach a renewed accommodation that could satisfy Egypt’s demands, at least until Israel develops viable natural gas alternatives. But until that point, Israel has no option but to negotiate a new price with Egypt, and Cairo’s newfound inclination to push for such a renegotiation is a sign of the cooler relations between the two states.



Read more: Israel's Growing Energy Security Concerns | STRATFOR
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« Reply #1220 on: May 11, 2011, 08:48:29 PM »

From Wikepedia:

***The Israel Test
Gilder's 2009 book The Israel Test is partly described as follows:

“ Gilder reveals Israel as a leader of human civilization, technological progress, and scientific advance. Tiny Israel stands behind only the United States in its contributions to the hi-tech economy. Israel has become the world's paramount example of the blessings of freedom. ”

—Amazon book description.

Founder of Neoconservatism, Irving Kristol, says about the book: "Everyone talks about 'free enterprise' but no one understands the entrepeneurial basics of growth better than George Gilder." While conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh says: "My friends, it would behoove you to study everything you can get your hands on by George Gilder, a true American genius."[26]

In an interview for National Review about the book, Gilder says the book is about "the cosmic law between success and envy". He further states Israel's role as:

“ Western civilization, in part, originated in Israel. Now Israel is a crucial source of invention, military intelligence, and entrepeneurial creativity that may yet save the West. I believe Netanyahu is a Churchillian figure emerging at the perfect time to confront the Jihad. ”

—George Gilder, National Review interview July 2009: "Choosing the Chosen People - Anti-Semitism is essentially hatred of capitalism and excellence."[27]***

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« Reply #1221 on: May 15, 2011, 12:18:52 PM »

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/15/israeli-troops-kill-eight-nakba-protests?utm_medium=twitter

Eight killed as Israeli troops open fire on Nakba Day border protests

Many more wounded in clashes at Israel's borders with Syria, Gaza and Lebanon, as UN appeals for 'maximum restraint'



 Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 15 May 2011 15.51 BST




A Palestinian woman and child are helped to safety during Nakba Day violence north of Jerusalem. Photograph: Jim Hollander/EPA


Israeli troops opened fire on pro-Palestinian demonstrators attempting to breach its borders on three fronts, killing at least eight people. Scores more were wounded at Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

Clashes also erupted in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as Palestinians commemorated Nakba Day, the anniversary marking the 1948 war in which hundreds of thousands of people became refugees after being forced out of their homes.

Thousands of Palestinian refugees in Syria marched towards the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967. At least four people were killed by Israeli troops as they crossed the border, Israel Radio reported. Up to 20 were injured, according to the Israeli Magen David Adom ambulance service.

A statement from the Israeli military said: "Thousands of Syrian civilians breached the Israel-Syria border near the Israeli village of Majdal Shams.

"IDF forces opened fire in order to prevent the violent rioters from illegally infiltrating Israeli territory. A number of rioters have infiltrated and are violently rioting in the village. From initial reports there are dozens of injured that are receiving medical care in a nearby hospital."

Most of the inhabitants of Majdal Shams, a large village close to the border, hold Syrian citizenship and have family on the other side of the border, from whom they are cut off. The Israeli army declared the area, which is heavily mined, a closed military zone on Sunday.

Despite being occupied by Israel for 44 years, the Golan is usually calm. Syria has repeatedly demanded Israel hand back the area.

A similar Nakba Day protest on the Lebanon border led to four people being killed and around 15 wounded, according to Lebanese media reports. Dozens of protesters approached the border from the Lebanese town of Maroun a-Ras.

Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, an Israeli military spokesman, said soldiers fired when demonstrators began vandalising the border fence. The army was "aware" of casualties on the other side, he said.

Witnesses said that Israeli troops had fired across the border at protesters throwing stones from within Lebanon, a move that could have serious repercussions and prompt further cross-border incidents.

UN peacekeepers on the Lebanese side of the border appealed for "maximum restraint" to prevent casualties.

In Gaza, around 60 people were injured by shelling and machine-gun fire when protesters approached the heavily fortified Erez border crossing, according to Palestinian medical sources. Israelis living near Gaza were advised to stay inside bomb shelters.

The Israeli security forces were braced for wide-scale protests on Nakba Day – the most highly charged day in the Palestinian calendar – and had deployed around 10,000 troops and police along the country's borders and in the Palestinian territories. The West Bank was subject to a 24-hour closure, with only emergency access permitted.

The Israeli authorities warned that the first Nakba Day following uprisings across the region could herald riots across the Palestinian territories.

In the West Bank, rubber bullets were fired at about 200 Palestinians and supporters who marched towards the Qalandia crossing on the edge of Jerusalem.

There was also unrest in East Jerusalem, fuelled by the death of a 17-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot in the stomach during clashes on Friday. He died in hospital on Saturday.

In Tel Aviv, an Israeli man was killed and 17 injured when a truck ran into vehicles and pedestrians. It was not clear whether the incident was an accident or a deliberate attack. The truck's 22-year-old Israeli-Arab driver said he lost control of the vehicle due to faulty brakes.
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« Reply #1222 on: May 15, 2011, 12:35:57 PM »


http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/144182

Video and Photos of Nakba Day Riots and ‘Terror Truck’ Attack

 
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu




Hundreds of Arabs rioted throughout Israel the past three days in “Nakba Day” protests against the re-establishment of Israel.
 
A video of a massive anti-Israel rally at the Kalandia checkpoint north of Jerusalem shows Arabs hooting at Israeli security forces.
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« Reply #1223 on: May 19, 2011, 08:13:15 PM »

President Obama’s mistake
05/20/2011 03:00   By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
The US President was wrong to insist that Israel give up its card of occupying most of the West Bank without demanding that the Palestinians give up theirs, the so called right of return.
 
Photo by: REUTERS
President Barack Obama should be commended for his emphasis on Israel’s security and his concern about Hamas joining the Palestinian Authority without renouncing its violent charter. But he made one serious mistake that tilts the balance against Israel in any future negotiations. Without insisting that the Palestinians give up their absurd claim to have millions of supposed refugees “return” to Israel as a matter of right, he insisted that Israel must surrender all of the areas captured in its defensive war of 1967, subject only to land swaps.
state should be based on '67 lines

This formulation undercuts Security Council Resolution 242 (which I played a very small role in helping to draft). Resolution 242, passed unanimously by the Security Council in the wake of Israel’s 1967 victory, contemplated some territorial adjustments necessary to assure Israel’s security against future attacks. It also contemplated that Israel would hold onto the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and the access roads to Hebrew University, without the need for any land swaps. Land swaps would only be required to make up for any areas beyond those contemplated by Resolution 242. The Obama formulation would seem to require land swaps even for the Western Wall.

Any proposed peace agreement will require the Palestinians to give up the so-called right of return, which is designed not for family reunification, but rather to turn Israel into another Palestinian state with an Arab majority. As all reasonable people know, the right of return is a non-starter. It is used as a “card” by the Palestinian leadership who fully understand that they will have to give it up if they want real peace. The Israelis also know that they will have to end their occupation of most of the West Bank (as they ended their occupation of Gaza) if they want real peace. Obama’s mistake was to insist that Israel give up its card without demanding that the Palestinians give up theirs.

Obama’s mistake is a continuation of a serious mistake he made early in his administration. That first mistake was to demand that Israel freeze all settlements. The Palestinian Authority had not demanded that as a condition to negotiations. But once the President of the United States issued such a demand, the Palestinian leadership could not be seen by its followers as being less Palestinian than the President. In other words, President Obama made it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to be reasonable. Most objective observers now recognize Obama’s serious mistake in this regard. What is shocking is that he has done it again. By demanding that Israel surrender all the territories it captured in the 1967 war (subject only to land swaps) without insisting that the Palestinians surrender their right of return, the President has gone further than Palestinian negotiators had during various prior negotiations. This makes it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to be reasonable in their negotiations with the Israelis.

It is not too late for the President to “clarify” his remarks so that all sides understand that there must be quid for quo - that the Palestinians must surrender any right to return if the Israelis are expected to seriously consider going back to the 1967 lines (which Abba Eban called “the Auschwitz lines” because they denied Israel real security).

If President Obama is to play a positive role in bringing the Palestinians and the Israelis to the negotiating table, he should insist that there be no preconditions to negotiation. This would mean the Palestinians no longer insisting on a settlement freeze before they will even sit down to try to negotiate realistic borders. The President did not even ask the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. Nor did he ask them to drop the condition that he, in effect, made them adopt when he earlier insisted on the freeze.

The President missed an important opportunity in delivering his highly anticipated speech. We are no closer to negotiations now than we were before the speech. My fear is that we may be a bit further away as a result of the President’s one-sided insistence that Israel surrender territories without the Palestinians giving up the right of return. I hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Washington may increase the chances of meaningful negotiations. I wish I could be more optimistic but the President’s speech gave no cause for optimism. I wish it had been different because I strongly support a two-state solution based on a willingness by Israel to surrender territories captured in 1967 coupled with a willingness of the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, to renounce the use of violence and terrorism and to give up any right of return.

The writer's latest novel is The Trials of Zion
   
 
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« Reply #1224 on: May 20, 2011, 07:26:09 AM »

You what would fix this? Giving Syria the Golan Heights.    rolleyes

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4071562,00.html

Syrian forces fire into crowds as thousands protest


Published:  05.20.11, 14:18 / Israel News 



Syrian security forces fired live rounds into crowds gathered for at least two protests in the central city of Homs, an activist in the city said, as pro-democracy demonstrations erupted across the country on Friday.

 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the coastal city of Banias, which was stormed by the army this month, witnessed the largest demonstration since the uprising began in southern Syria nine weeks ago. (Reuters)
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« Reply #1225 on: May 20, 2011, 09:48:15 AM »

It will be interesting to see MSLSD spin the story in a way that shows Bmaster is commited to Israel.
I assume they will have Tom Freidman on giving us a  lecture.  Of course Zakaria on CNN who it was revealed gives advice to the Bamster, the one who "looks like me", stated Zakaria will of course rationalize the brilliance of his Harvard buddy's handling of all foreign policy issues.

Soros of course is probably ecstatic over this.  He clearly blames Israel for the middle east mess. 

Again I am not afraid to say he is one Jew who makes me disgusted.

Like an Italian who feels the mafia gives their people a bad name.
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« Reply #1226 on: May 20, 2011, 10:38:12 AM »

Caroline Glick   
Obama's Abandonment of America


I was out sick yesterday so I was unable to write today's column for the Jerusalem Post. I did manage to watch President Obama's speech on the Middle East yesterday evening. And I didn't want to wait until next week to discuss it. After all, who knows what he'll do by Tuesday?

Before we get into what the speech means for Israel, it is important to consider what it means for America.

Quite simply, Obama's speech represents the effective renunciation of the US's right to have and to pursue national interests. Consequently, his speech imperils the real interests that the US has in the region - first and foremost, the US's interest in securing its national security. Obama's renunciation of the US national interests unfolded as follows:

First, Obama mentioned a number of core US interests in the region. In his view these are: "Countering terrorism and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons; securing the free flow of commerce, and safe-guarding the security of the region; standing up for Israel's security and pursuing Arab-Israeli peace."

Then he said, "Yet we must acknowledge that a strategy based solely upon the narrow pursuit of these interests will not fill an empty stomach or allow someone to speak their mind."

While this is true enough, Obama went on to say that the Arabs have good reason to hate the US and that it is up to the US to put its national interests aside in the interest of making them like America. As he put it, "a failure to change our approach threatens a deepening spiral of division between the United States and Muslim communities."

And you know what that means. If the US doesn't end the "spiral of division," (sounds sort of like "spiral of violence" doesn't it?), then the Muslims will come after America. So the US better straighten up and fly right.

And how does it do that? Well, by courting the Muslim Brotherhood which spawned Al Qaeda, Hamas, Jamma Islamiya and a number of other terror groups and is allies with Hezbollah.

How do we know this is Obama's plan? Because right after he said that the US needs to end the "spiral of division," he recalled his speech in Egypt in June 2009 when he spoke at the Brotherhood controlled Al Azhar University and made sure that Brotherhood members were in the audience in a direct diplomatic assault on US ally Hosni Mubarak.

And of course, intimations of Obama's plan to woo and appease the jihadists appear throughout the speech. For instance:

"There will be times when our short term interests do not align perfectly with our long term vision of the region."

So US short term interests, like for instance preventing terrorist attacks against itself or its interests, will have to be sacrificed for the greater good of bringing the Muslim Brotherhood to power in democratic elections.

And he also said that the US will "support the governments that will be elected later this year" in Egypt and Tunisia. But why would the US support governments controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood? They are poised to control the elected government in Egypt and are the ticket to beat in Tunisia as well.

Then there is the way Obama abandoned US allies Yemen and Bahrain in order to show the US's lack of hypocrisy. As he presented it, the US will not demand from its enemies Syria and Iran that which it doesn't demand from its friends.

While this sounds fair, it is anything but fair. The fact is that if you don't distinguish between your allies and your enemies then you betray your allies and side with your enemies. Bahrain and Yemen need US support to survive. Iran and Syria do not. So when he removes US support from the former, his action redounds to the direct benefit of the latter.

I hope the US Navy's 5th Fleet has found alternate digs because Obama just opened the door for Iran to take over Bahrain. He also invited al Qaeda - which he falsely claimed is a spent force - to take over Yemen.

Beyond his abandonment of Bahrain and Yemen, in claiming that the US mustn't distinguish between its allies and its foes, Obama made clear that he has renounced the US's right to have and pursue national interests. If you can't favor your allies against your enemies then you cannot defend your national interests. And if you cannot defend your national interests then you renounce your right to have them.

As for Iran, in his speech, Obama effectively abandoned the pursuit of the US's core interest of preventing nuclear proliferation. All he had to say about Iran's openly genocidal nuclear program is, "Our opposition to Iran's intolerance - as well as its illicit nuclear program, and its sponsorship of terror - is well known."

Well so is my opposition to all of that, and so is yours. But unlike us, Obama is supposed to do something about it. And by putting the gravest threat the US presently faces from the Middle East in the passive voice, he made clear that actually, the US isn't going to do anything about it.

In short, every American who is concerned about the security of the United States should be livid. The US President just abandoned his responsibility to defend the country and its interests in the interest of coddling the US's worst enemies.

As for Israel, in a way, Obama did Israel a favor by giving this speech. By abandoning even a semblance of friendliness, he has told us that we have nothing whatsoever to gain by trying to make him like us. Obama didn't even say that he would oppose the Palestinians' plan to get the UN Security Council to pass a resolution in support for Palestinian independence. All he said was that it is a dumb idea.

Obama sided with Hamas against Israel by acting as though its partnership with Fatah is just a little problem that has to be sorted out to reassure the paranoid Jews. Or as he put it, "the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel."

Hamas is a jihadist movement dedicated to the annihilation of the Jewish people, and the establishment of a global caliphate. It's in their charter. And all Obama said of the movement that has now taken over the Palestinian Authority was, "Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection."

Irrelevant and untrue.

It is irrelevant because obviously the Palestinians don't want peace. That's why they just formed a government dedicated to Israel's destruction.

As for being untrue, Obama's speech makes clear that they have no reason to fear a loss of prosperity. After all, by failing to mention that US law bars the US government from funding an entity which includes Hamas, he made clear that the US will continue to bankroll the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority. So too, the EU will continue to join the US in giving them billions for bombs and patronage jobs. The Palestinians have nothing to worry about. They will continue to be rewarded regardless of what they do.

Then of course there are all the hostile, hateful details of the speech:

He said Israel has to concede its right to defensible borders as a precondition for negotiations;

He didn't say he opposes the Palestinian demand for open immigration of millions of foreign Arabs into Israel;

He again ignored Bush's 2004 letter to Sharon opposing a return to the 1949 armistice lines, supporting the large settlements, defensible borders and opposing mass Arab immigration into Israel;

He said he was leaving Jerusalem out but actually brought it in by calling for an Israeli retreat to the 1949 lines;

He called for Israel to be cut in two when he called for the Palestinians state to be contiguous;

He called for Israel to withdraw from the Jordan Valley - without which it is powerless against invasion - by saying that the Palestinian State will have an international border with Jordan.

Conceptually and substantively, Obama abandoned the US alliance with Israel. The rest of his words - security arrangements, demilitarized Palestinian state and the rest of it - were nothing more than filler to please empty-headed liberal Jews in America so they can feel comfortable signing checks for him again.

Indeed, even his seemingly pro-Israel call for security arrangements in a final peace deal involved sticking it to Israel. Obama said, "The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state."

What does that mean "with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility?"

It means we have to assume everything will be terrific.

All of this means is that if Prime Minister Netanyahu was planning to be nice to Obama, and pretend that everything is terrific with the administration, he should just forget about it. He needn't attack Obama. Let the Republicans do that.

But both in his speech to AIPAC and his address to Congress, he should very forthrightly tell the truth about the nature of the populist movements in the Middle East, the danger of a nuclear Iran, the Palestinians' commitment to Israel's destruction; the lie of the so-called peace process; the importance of standing by allies; and the critical importance of a strong Israel to US national security.

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« Reply #1227 on: May 21, 2011, 01:06:10 PM »

By DORE GOLD
It's no secret that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to lobby the U.N. General Assembly this September for a resolution that will predetermine the results of any Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on borders. He made clear in a New York Times op-ed this week that he will insist that member states recognize a Palestinian state on 1967 lines, meaning Israel's boundaries before the Six Day War.

Unfortunately, even President Barack Obama appears to have been influenced by this thinking. He asserted in a speech Thursday that Israel's future borders with a Palestinian state "should be based on the 1967 lines," a position he tried to offset by offering "mutually agreed land swaps." Mr. Abbas has said many times that any land swaps would be minuscule.

Remember that before the Six Day War, those lines in the West Bank only demarcated where five Arab armies were halted in their invasion of the nascent state of Israel 19 years earlier. Legally, they formed only an armistice line, not a recognized international border. No Palestinian state ever existed that could have claimed these prewar lines. Jordan occupied the West Bank after the Arab invasion, but its claim to sovereignty was not recognized by any U.N. members except Pakistan and the U.K. As Jordan's U.N. ambassador said before the war, the old armistice lines "did not fix boundaries." Thus the central thrust of Arab-Israeli diplomacy for more than 40 years was that Israel must negotiate an agreed border with its Arab neighbors.

The cornerstone of all postwar diplomacy was U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, passed in November 1967. It did not demand that Israel pull back completely to the pre-1967 lines. Its withdrawal clause only called on Israel to withdraw "from territories," not from all territories. Britain's foreign secretary at the time, George Brown, later underlined the distinction: "The proposal said 'Israel will withdraw from territories that were occupied,' and not from 'the' territories, which means that Israel will not withdraw from all the territories."

View Full Image

AFP/Getty Images
 
President Obama speaking about Israel Thursday.
.Prior to the Six Day War, Jerusalem had been sliced in two, and the Jewish people were denied access to the Old City and its holy sites. Jerusalem's Christian population also faced limitations. As America's ambassador to the U.N., Arthur Goldberg, would explain, Resolution 242 did not preclude Israel's reunification of Jerusalem. In fact, Resolution 242 became the only agreed basis of all Arab-Israeli peace agreements, from the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace to the 1993 Oslo Agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

How were Israel's legal rights to new boundaries justified? A good explanation came from Judge Stephen Schwebel, who would later be an adviser to the State Department and then president of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Writing in the American Journal of International Law in 1970, he noted that Israel's title to West Bank territory—in the event that it sought alterations in the pre-Six Day War lines—emanated from the fact that it had acted in lawful exercise of its right to self-defense. It was not the aggressor.

View Full Image
...The flexibility for creating new borders was preserved for decades. Indeed, the 1993 Oslo Agreements, signed by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn, did not stipulate that the final borders between Israel and the Palestinians would be the 1967 lines. Borders were to be a subject for future negotiations. An April 2004 U.S. letter to Israel, backed by a bipartisan consensus in both houses of Congress, stipulated that Israel was not expected to fully withdraw, but rather was entitled to "defensible borders." U.S. secretaries of state from Henry Kissinger to Warren Christopher reiterated the same point in past letters of assurance.

If the borders between Israel and the Palestinians need to be negotiated, then what are the implications of a U.N. General Assembly resolution that states up front that those borders must be the 1967 lines? Some commentators assert that all Mr. Abbas wants to do is strengthen his hand in future negotiations with Israel, and that this does not contradict a negotiated peace. But is that really true? Why should Mr. Abbas ever negotiate with Israel if he can rely on the automatic majority of Third World countries at the U.N. General Assembly to back his positions on other points that are in dispute, like the future of Jerusalem, the refugee question, and security?


Mr. Abbas's unilateral move at the U.N. represents a massive violation of a core commitment in the Oslo Agreements in which both Israelis and Palestinians undertook that "neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of Permanent Status negotiations." Palestinian spokesmen counter that Israeli settlements violated this clause. Yet former Prime Minister Rabin was very specific while negotiating Oslo in preserving the rights of Israeli citizens to build their homes in these disputed areas, by insisting that the settlements would be one of the subjects of final status negotiations between the parties.

By turning to the U.N., Mr. Abbas wants to use the international community to change the legal status of the territories. Why should Israel rely on Mr. Abbas in the future after what is plainly a material breach of this core obligation?

The truth is that Mr. Abbas has chosen a unilateralist course instead of negotiations. For that reason he has no problem tying his fate to Hamas, the radical organization that is the antithesis of peace. Its infamous 1988 Charter calls for Israel's complete destruction and sees Islam in an historic battle with the Jewish people. In 2006, Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, the Hamas leader who attended the recent Cairo reconciliation ceremony with Mr. Abbas's Fatah movement, stated openly that Hamas was still committed to its 1988 Charter, noting, "the movement [would] not change a single word." Hamas's jihadist orientation was reconfirmed when Ismail Haniyeh, its prime minister in Gaza, condemned the U.S. for eliminating Osama bin Laden.

All Israeli prime ministers have spoken about negotiations as a vehicle for ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. There would be an end of claims. However, Mr. Abbas has now revealed his intention of using the U.N. for perpetuating the conflict. As he wrote this week: "Palestine's admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one."

Mr. Abbas clearly is not prepared to make a historic compromise. By running to the U.N. and to Hamas, he is evading the hard choices he has to make, and he is leaving any resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict far more difficult for future generations.

Mr. Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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Rachel
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« Reply #1228 on: May 22, 2011, 08:11:29 AM »

Obama’s failure to internalize Palestinian intolerance
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=221510
By DAVID HOROVITZ
20/05/2011   
David Horovitz, Comment: The president’s new parameters show him blind to the significance of the demand for a "right of return."
 
Last Sunday, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Palestinian Arabs who had left Israel while the Arab world tried to murder our state at birth, attempted a symbolic “return,” with varying degrees of success, across the Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian and Egyptian borders, and from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

They were warmly praised in this effort by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the ostensibly moderate successor to Yasser Arafat with whom Israel has been trying for almost eight years to make peace. Abbas -- who later in the week, in a New York Times op-ed, rewrote the history of Israel’s reestablishment to air-brush out the Arabs’ rejection of what would have been their independent state alongside ours -- movingly praised those who had died in Sunday’s “Nakba Day” assault on Israel’s borders (most of them killed by Lebanese Army forces) as the latest “martyrs” to the Palestinian cause.

RELATED:
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Analysis: What rankled Netanyahu in the Obama speech
Netanyahu rejects any Israeli return to the 1967 lines

Sunday’s Nakba onslaught against sovereign Israel, and its moving endorsement by Israel’s putative Palestinian partner, was the latest bleak demonstration of the Palestinians’ insistent refusal, for close to two-thirds of a century, to internalize the fact that the Jews have a historic claim to this sliver of land, and that their demands for statehood cannot be realized at the cost of ours.

Amid all the “differences” that Binyamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama on Friday acknowledged in their visions for the way forward to Israeli-Palestinian peace, it is the president’s evident incapacity to appreciate the uncompromising Palestinian refusal to countenance Israel’s legitimacy that is most damaging the vital American-Israeli relationship and most dooming his approach to peacemaking.

An indication of his failure to internalize that Israel, in any borders, is regarded as fundamentally illegitimate by much of the Palestinian leadership and public was evident in Obama’s 2009 Muslim world outreach speech in Cairo. He failed, before that most vital of audiences, to mention Israel’s historic tie to this land – the fact that this is the only place where the Jews have ever been sovereign, the only place where the Jews have ever sought sovereignty, a place we never willingly left and one to which we always prayed to return.

No Palestinian leader will advocate viable compromise with Israel until this sovereign Jewish connection is accepted, and yet the president opted not to utilize that extraordinary opportunity to emphasize our sovereign rights here, and thus to encourage the necessary compromise.

Two years on, the president all too obviously has not changed. There were positives for Israel in his Thursday speech on the Middle East – including the insistence that a Palestinian state be demilitarized, and the criticism of Palestinian moves to seek UN support for statehood without negotiating peace with Israel. These were outweighed by the negatives, however. And common to those negative formulations -- from a president who may well truly believe that he is being fair to Israel, and that we are hamstrung by a prime minister incapable of taking the decisions necessary to ensure Israel’s Jewish and democratic future – is the refusal to acknowledge Palestinian intolerance for  Jewish sovereignty, and press urgently for the measures needed to reduce and eventually eliminate that intolerance.

It is immensely troubling for many Israelis to recognize that our most important strategic partner is now publicly advocating, before any significant sign of Palestinian compromise on final status issues has been detected, that we withdraw, more or less, to the pre-1967 lines – the so-called “Auschwitz borders” -- from which we were relentlessly attacked in our first two fragile decades of statehood. But only a president who ignores or underestimates Palestinian hostility to Israel could propose a formula for reviving negotiations in which he set out those parameters for high-risk territorial compromise without simultaneously making crystal clear that there will  be no “right of return” for Palestinian refugees.

Obama is urging Israel – several of whose leaders have offered dramatic territorial concessions in the cause of peace, and proven their honest intentions by leaving southern Lebanon, Gaza and major West Bank cities, only to be rewarded with new bouts of violence – to give up its key disputed asset, the biblically resonant territory of Judea and Samaria, as stage one of a “peace” process. But he is not demanding that the Palestinians – whose leaders have consistently failed to embrace far-reaching peace offers, most notably Ehud Olmert’s 2008 offer of a withdrawal to adjusted ’67 lines and the dividing of Jerusalem – give up their key disputed asset, the unconscionable demand for a Jewish-state-destroying “right of return” for millions, until some vague subsequent stage, if at all. He merely suggests that the refugee issue, along with Jerusalem, be addressed later on.

Our prime minister and the president of the United States may not get on terribly well. They may mistrust each other. Each may well think that the other is unrealistic, naïve, arrogant or worse. But the common interest and values shared by our two countries ought to dwarf any such antipathies, and bilateral communications should be coherent enough for vital messages and concerns to be effectively conveyed and addressed.

Yet the president’s new formula for Israeli-Palestinian peace is so unworkable and so counter-productive as to indicate a complete breakdown in such communication. No international player, and certainly no Palestinian negotiator, is now going to defy the Obama framework and declare that the Israelis cannot possibly be required to sanction a dangerous pullback toward the ’67 lines unless or until the Palestinians formally relinquish the demand for a “right of return.” And so we can look ahead to another period of diplomatic deadlock, of an Israel appearing recalcitrant in not meeting the publicly stated expectations of its key ally, of the Palestinians garnering ever-greater international legitimacy even as they are freed of the requirement to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel by withdrawing their demand to destroy it by weight of refugee numbers.

Some commentators are suggesting that, in his public remarks alongside Netanyahu at the White House on Friday, Obama was trying to show greater empathy for Israel, attempting to reduce some of the frictions caused by his Thursday speech. The president did move just a little on the matter of the Fatah-Hamas unity deal by invoking the Quartet principles in connection with Hamas’s viability as a partner.


 For the most part, however, Obama returned to the parameters he had set out on Thursday, coming back to some of what he’d said using very similar wording, and declining to introduce elements that he had chosen not to include a day before.

Most gallingly, as on Thursday and now again at this most obvious of opportunities, he chose not to state clearly and firmly – as there can be no doubt predecessors like George W Bush and Bill Clinton would have done in such a context – that the Palestinian refugee problem will have to be solved independently of Israel. He did not make clear that just as Israel built a vibrant state absorbing the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa six decades ago, a new “Palestine” would finally have to resolve its assiduously perpetuated refugee crisis and abandon the dream of a “return.” The repeated omission will have delighted all of Israel’s uncompromising enemies. The dream lives on.

Netanyahu, of course, filled the breach. Netanyahu spoke about the impossibility of a “right of return.” “It’s not going to happen,” he said, as the president sat impassive alongside him. “Everybody knows it’s not going to happen.  And I think it’s time to tell the Palestinians forthrightly it’s not going to happen.”

But Obama did no such thing. For the second day in succession the president, in the same week as the Nakba assault on Israel’s borders, when it came to this central demand by the Palestinians that simply cannot be accepted because it would spell the demographic demise of our state, was dismayingly, insistently, resonantly silent.
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JDN
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« Reply #1229 on: May 22, 2011, 09:44:49 AM »

I know Israel is a heated subject, but I think it's important to present both sides; while I understand the reasons's for Israel's refusal of the Palestinian's demand "right of return" (Israel is for Jews) the concept or "right of return" does have some merit based upon "fairness" and historical perspective.  America and the West support democracy, yet Israel's true concern is that if they let Palestine's return to their home their vote may overwhelm the Jewish vote.  Hardly a democratic reason.  And the fact that other countries may not offer freedom of religion etc. is not relevant.  I don't approve of them either.  As Marc has said, we need to be held to a higher level. 

Of course, one can argue the opposite on many issues. And the issue of security, safety, etc. of Israel are all valid.  Further, all Palestinian's need to acknowledge Israel's legitimacy.  But if you think in terms of fairness and equality, the peaceful "right of return" does have some merit.   Why can't the subject be on the negotiating table?

I think it's important to remember that Obama must do what's best for America's interests not necessarily Israel's.  Further, I think Obama should take into consideration the opinion of our other allies as well; again Israel's opinion, as being only one of many of our allies, may differ.  As CCP acknowledged, Israel's interests and America's interest may not always coincide.   While I think we should support and defend Israel as we have done, and Obama has confirmed his support, America's interests need to be first and foremost.


___
The Palestinian refugee problem started during the 1948 Palestine War, when between 700,000 and 750,000 Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes and the area that became Israel. They settled in refugee camps in Transjordan (including the area now known as the West Bank), Lebanon, Syria and in Egypt (including the area now known as the Gaza Strip).
From December 1947 to March 1948, around 100,000 Palestinians left. Among them were many from the higher and middle classes from the cities, who left voluntarily, expecting to return when the situation had calmed down.[18] From April to July, between 250,000 and 300,000 fled in front of Haganah offensives, mainly from the towns of Haifa, Tiberias, Beit-Shean, Safed, Jaffa and Acre, that lost more than 90% of their Arab inhabitants.[19] Some expulsions arose, particularly along the Tel-Aviv - Jerusalem road[20] and in Eastern Galilee.[21] After the truce of June, about 100,000 Palestinians became refugees.[22] About 50,000 inhabitants of Lydda and Ramle were expelled towards Ramallah by Israeli forces during Operation Danny,[23] and most others during clearing operations performed by the IDF on its rear areas.[24] During Operation Dekel, the Arabs of Nazareth and South Galilee could remain in their homes.[25] They later formed the core of the Arab Israelis. From October to November 1948, the IDF launched Operation Yoav to chase Egyptian forces from the Negev and Operation Hiram to chase the Arab Liberation Army from North Galilee. This generated an exodus of 200,000 to 220,000 Palestinians. Here, Arabs fled fearing atrocities or were expelled if they had not fled.[26] During Operation Hiram, at least nine massacres of Arabs were performed by IDF soldiers.[27] After the war, from 1948 to 1950, the IDF cleared its borders, which resulted in the expulsion of around 30,000 to 40,000 Arabs.[28] The UN estimated the number of refugees outside Israel at 711,000.[29]

The first formal move towards the recognition of a right of return was in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 passed on 11 December 1948 which provided (Article 11):
Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.

Some also regard as a massive injustice the fact that since 1950 Jews are allowed to emigrate to Israel under Israel's Law of Return, even if their immediate ancestors have not lived in the area in recent years, while people who grew up in the area and whose immediate ancestors had lived there for many generations are forbidden from returning.[62] -
The Israeli Law of Return grants citizenship to any Jew from anywhere in the world and is viewed by some as discrimination towards non-Jews and especially to Palestinians that cannot apply for such citizenship nor return to the territory from which they were displaced or left.[63][64][65][66]

UN General Assembly Resolution 3236, passed on 22 November 1974 declared the right of return to be an "inalienable right".[14]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_right_of_return


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JDN
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« Reply #1230 on: May 22, 2011, 10:34:11 AM »

Obama's speech today to the Pro - Israel Lobby seemed very reasonable.

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/149789/20110522/obama-s-speech-aipac-may-22-2011.htm

"You also see our commitment to Israel's security in our steadfast opposition to any attempt to de-legitimize the State of Israel. As I said at the United Nation's last year, "Israel's existence must not be a subject for debate," and "efforts to chip away at Israel's legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States."
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G M
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« Reply #1231 on: May 22, 2011, 11:11:04 AM »

JDN,

Does Mexico have the "right of return" to places that were once Mexico, such as California? Do we have a right to decide who lives in the US  or should we give up any pretence of a border?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1232 on: May 22, 2011, 11:41:21 AM »

Good questions GM.

I couldn't keep track of the numbers of refugees claimed to the point where I could calculate the total number claimed (and note that it is a claim, not an established fact) but I wonder at the remarkable absence of any mention of all the hundreds of thousands (700,000?) of Jewish refugees from Arab lands to Israel.  Where is there "right of return"?  Where is the outcry for them to be paid for what they had to abandon?

As for the "reasonableness" of BO's speech , , ,

"Here are the facts we all must confront. First, the number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly and fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian territories. This will make it harder and harder - without a peace deal - to maintain Israel as both a Jewish state and a democratic state."

True.

"Second, technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself in the absence of a genuine peace."

True.

"And third, a new generation of Arabs is reshaping the region. A just and lasting peace can no longer be forged with one or two Arab leaders."

True, but lets look at this more clearly.  It is exactly right to question whether the peace with Egypt is going to last.  It is exactly right to question whether Hamas, or the majority that elected it in Gaza and may well may elect it in the West Bank next year will respect a deal made by Abbas. 

"Going forward, millions of Arab citizens have to see that peace is possible for that peace to be sustained."

Although not stated clearly, it appears that the reference to "millions of Arab citizens" includes other Arabs in the area-- or perhaps throughout the entire middle east?-- not just the Palestinians.  So, exactly with whom is Obama saying Israel must come to terms?  And much more importantly, the entire world has seen that it is possible for peace to be sustained-- look at the deal with Egypt!!! So why the lack of intellectual honesty in saying so???

"Just as the context has changed in the Middle East, so too has it been changing in the international community over the last several years. There is a reason why the Palestinians are pursuing their interests at the United Nations. They recognize that there is an impatience with the peace process - or the absence of one. Not just in the Arab World, but in Latin America, in Europe, and in Asia. That impatience is growing, and is already manifesting itself in capitols around the world." 

Ummm , , , no, this is not right at all.   The so-called "world community" is perfectly content to trade "Jews for Oil"-- and in the case of demographically imploding Europe, it also is a matter of cravenly seeking to placate the Arabs within its midst.   The Palestinians have elected Hamas, which is dedicated to wiping out the Jews.  Calling any of this "impatience with the peace process" is an Orwellian joke.

"These are the facts. I firmly believe, and repeated on Thursday, that peace cannot be imposed on the parties to the conflict. No vote at the United Nations will ever create an independent Palestinian state. And the United States will stand up against efforts to single Israel out at the UN or in any international forum. Because Israel's legitimacy is not a matter for debate."

And what of candidate Obama's repeated assertions about the status of Jerusalem, now mere dust in the wind-- along with the written commitments of the previous administration.  Does not the written word of the US require continuity across administrations?  Or are we to be held to a lower standard than the one that must be required of a Palestinian nation if/when an agreement is reached?

"Moreover, we know that peace demands a partner - which is why I said that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with Palestinians who do not recognize its right to exist, and we will hold the Palestinians accountable for their actions and their rhetoric."

No doubt everyone quakes in fear at being held accountable by President Obama, , , Furthermore, it is not enough for Israel to negotiate only with those who recognize its right to exist, it is also a matter of those who do recognize its right to exist controlling those who don't!  And what happens if a majority no longer favors peace?  Does a majority favor peace now?  If so, why is Hamas in power in Gaza?

"But the march to isolate Israel internationally - and the impulse of the Palestinians to abandon negotiations - will continue to gain momentum in the absence of a credible peace process and alternative."

True.

"For us to have leverage with the Palestinians, with the Arab States, and with the international community, the basis for negotiations has to hold out the prospect of success."

This is utter gibberish.  The Palestinians can have peace any time they want.  Recognize Israel's right to exist and forget the right of return-- which is synonymous with the destruction of Israel.  Egypt recognized this, and got Sinai back.  This option has been available for decades now and continues to be available.

"So, in advance of a five day trip to Europe in which the Middle East will be a topic of acute interest, I chose to speak about what peace will require."

No, you lying sack of excrement, you did it because Netanyahu was coming to speak to the US Congress.

Then  there is the matter of a "contiguous" Palestine-- does this mean that Gaza and the West Bank are going to become connected?!?!?!?

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JDN
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« Reply #1233 on: May 22, 2011, 11:46:40 AM »

JDN,

Does Mexico have the "right of return" to places that were once Mexico, such as California? Do we have a right to decide who lives in the US  or should we give up any pretence of a border?

It was not a good question.  GM's analogy is faulty. After being evicted, Palestinians want to return to Israel.  Mexicans were never evicted from California in mass.  No is is questioning Israel's right of existence as a country; the issue on the table is "right of return".  Further, pursuing your analogy, Hispanics now comprise nearly 40% of the population of California and are the fastest growing ethnic group.  One day soon they will probably be the majority.  Does that bother me?  No.  I don't care if whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc. are the majority.  We all have equal votes and rights; no group is or should be favored.

Nor do we limit Hispanic immigration at the expense of another ethnic group.  Nor do we expel Hispanics who were born here or deny them any rights or privileges. 

And your point about Hispanics in California versus Palestinians in Israel is?   huh


As a side note, I too think everything is a non starter unless all parties in the Mideast recognize Israel's right to exist (boundaries to be determined).  Without that, how can Israel even sit down at the table.
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G M
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« Reply #1234 on: May 22, 2011, 11:54:10 AM »

I think there is a serious flaw in your lumping Americans of hispanic ancestry in with the illegal invaders from Mexico. It's about national integrity and survival.
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G M
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« Reply #1235 on: May 22, 2011, 12:03:20 PM »

Does a country have the right to make decisions as to who is allowed in and not allowed in? Should a country act in it's own self interest, as you insist we do regarding Israel?
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« Reply #1236 on: May 22, 2011, 12:14:39 PM »



http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/the_middle_east_operational_co.html

May 21, 2011
The Middle East Operational Codes: Five Keys to Understanding
 By David Bukay

 


Understanding the ME, as tumultuous, anarchist, and violent as it is, does not require complicated pundit analyses and convoluted explanations.  Rather, in light of last month's uprisings, simplicity is the key, with five variables serving as instrumental in understanding the ME operational code.

The first key to understanding is that the Middle Eastern state, with its political institutions being a Western import, is weak and ineffective compared to the indigenous Middle Eastern social institutions: the clan, the tribe, and the religious community.  The Arab states have emerged under European imperialistic rule, and their borders have been delineated without political, territorial, or functional logic.  All Arab states comprise violent, hostile tribes and rival religious communities that stick together only by coercion from an oppressive authoritarian regime.  In the absence of institutional legitimacy and participatory systems, order and stability are overturned by political decay and antagonistic politics.  This means that operationally, when there is a crisis and the authority of the patrimonial leader weakens, the tendency is to revert to the secure, well-established frameworks of the tribe, the clan, or the religious community, releasing ancient rivalries that lead to chaotic violence.

The second key to understanding is that Middle Eastern leaders are not secure in their offices.  Threatened by rivals from the political military elite and by Islamist movements (which are the only organized opposition groups), the leaders of authoritarian regimes cannot rule unless they are strong, violent, and patrimonial.  This also means that democracy, as a consensual system with developmental stages, cannot emerge or exist.  Therefore, when the authority of a ME regime disintegrates, the outcome is not democracy, but rather anarchy as the most likely replacement.

The third key to understanding, and perhaps the most important one, is the central role of the army, being the regime's principal power and political supporter.  One can safely adopt the rule: "You tell me what the attitude of the army is vis-à-vis the regime, and I will tell you the longevity and survivability of the regime in power."  This is exactly what is happening in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria.  This is exactly what will determine the fate of other regimes.  Indeed, the Arab military in politics holds the highest importance in the ME.

The fourth key to understanding is that the inhabitants -- the masses -- have never been a sovereign electing people; historically, they have been without influence in the political realm and the decision-making processes.  In the Arab world, there is no social contract based on trust and cooperation, as the foundation of Arab life is suspicion of the other and hatred of the foreigner.  The only thing that binds the population together is fear of and intimidation by the authoritarian ruler.  That is why the role of the ruler is so crucially important; one can say that it is almost demanded of him to conduct a reign of terror and intimidation on the population.  Otherwise, chaos and anarchy prevail.  Thus, when the barrier of fear is broken, as is happening now, the authority of the regime disintegrates.  The central state system is weakened, and the political process turns to the street.

The fifth key to understanding is that the alternative to the current regimes in power are other leaders coming from the same political elite or Islamic groups coming from the opposition.  Both are patrimonial, oppressive, and undemocratic.  It must be clearly stated that aside from anarchy, one of the most likely alternatives to the ME regimes is not democracy, but Islamism.  The Islamic phenomenon is not defensive and passive; it is an aggressive onslaught against modernism and secularism led by urban, educated, secular middle-class groups.  Western permissiveness and materialism are the forces leading to these groups' return to Islam and motivating them to bring the Islamic religion back to a hegemony (al-Islam Huwa al-Hall al-Waheed).

Examining these keys through a macro-level analysis enables us to understand the ME operational codes.  Thomas Friedman has praised the Arab revolution and accused Israel of being detached from the new realities (NYT, February, 2, 8, and 14, 2011).  In his delusions, Friedman has envisioned a revolution of the Facebook generation that leads to democracy and the denial of Islamism.  Likewise, other sources in Western media and many experts have celebrated the "emergence of the New ME," while in fact the opposite situation is the reality.  Now these same sources are lamenting that the democratic revolution went wrong and that all that remains is a violent power struggle.

We are witnessing the same old chaotic, anarchic ME, and the Arab people's uprisings will not lead to democracies and consensual regimes.  In fact, there is a high probability that the outcome of the uprisings will be either more oppressive authoritarian regimes and patrimonial leadership from the military or the emergence of Islamist groups under the Shari'ah.  The latter outcome would ultimately lead to the victory of either Iran and the Shiite version of Islam or al-Qaeda and the Salafi-Sunni version of Islam.

Regarding the ME, the next decade is more likely to witness the emergence of the Sunni Caliphate or the Shiite Imamate struggling for hegemony.  Both outcomes signal an imminent threat to the security of the West.  However, instead of concentrating on understanding the operational code of the ME, and instead of trying to maintain the status quo, Western leaders prefer to operate through delusional wishful-thinking policies.  This pattern is evidenced by Westerners' unwavering focus on the well-used scapegoat, the perhaps unsolvable "Palestinian question."  It is as if regional and international leaders are desperately trying to find comfort in this one easily characterized issue.

There are more than twenty-five current civil wars going on around the world; there are a billion poor, miserable and hungry people who earn a dollar a day; there are deep food crises and water shortages; there are huge unresolved political issues and hosts of nations without the opportunity to form an independent state (James Minahan, Nations without States, Westport, CT, 1996).  But the international community prefers to concentrate on the Palestinian issue.  Indeed, we can draw a direct line between the world's desperation to solve real problems and its eagerness to deliberately concentrate on the Palestine situation.

One can only marvel at how blessed the Palestinians are to have everybody dealing with their issue, as if they are the only orphans of the world.  One can only wonder how much political and financial support they receive at the expense of all those really in need.  One can only be amazed at the stupidity of the false belief that all other regional issues will disappear, will be gone with the wind, if only the Palestinian issue is solved.

The hard truth is that rather than heralding the dawn of democracy and prosperity, this misguided belief and the misunderstanding of the ME operational code are more likely the harbinger of the dark winter of Islam -- a catastrophic set of circumstances that may well lead to the demise of U.S. influence, the destruction of Israel, and general regional chaos besides.
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JDN
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« Reply #1237 on: May 22, 2011, 12:22:15 PM »

Trying to use a poor analogy, you are the one who tried to lump American's of Hispanic ancestry with Palestinians "right to return".  I merely pointed out that Hispanics were not evicted in mass,
those that stayed enjoy full rights and privileges of citizenship, and new legal arrivals and/or Hispanics born here in America also enjoy equal rights to any other group.

Indicative of this truth is California being nearly 40 percent Hispanic (legal immigrants) and growing.  And if legal Hispanic immigrants, i.e. voting immigrants become
the majority, well that is fine with me.  But then if Asians became the legal majority that too would be fine with me.  Regarding religions, if Jews or Buddhists became the majority that too
would be fine with me.  I don't discriminate.

And yes, a country does have the "right to make decisions as to who is allowed in and not allowed in."  But it should be done non discriminatorily.  If we said, only white christians
could immigrate to America, would that be fair?  What would the world's opinion be of America?

Morally, I think as does most of the world think Israel's refusal to even discuss the "right of return" to be wrong.  However, perhaps for their own survival, they have no choice.
That doesn't make it morally right.  And therefore Israel is losing friends in Europe and elsewhere.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1238 on: May 22, 2011, 12:27:48 PM »

"Morally, I think as does most of the world think Israel's refusal to even discuss the "right of return" to be wrong.  However, perhaps for their own survival, they have no choice.  That doesn't make it morally right. "

JDN, I am sorry, but this is gibberish.  It is precisely the right to survival makes it morally right!!!

"And therefore Israel is losing friends in Europe and elsewhere."

Oh horsefeathers!  Where is the outrage at Saudi Arabia (and and and )for not allowing any of the rights enjoyed by Israeli Arabs?

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G M
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« Reply #1239 on: May 22, 2011, 12:29:36 PM »

There is a difference in immigrants who enter your country to be a part of it vs. immigrants who enter it to loot it, or destroy it from within, yes?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1240 on: May 22, 2011, 06:35:39 PM »

Among the short short list of people who know more about the security of Israel than Pres. Obama, this is Gene Simmons of Kiss: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/05/21/kiss_gene_simmons_obama_has_no_fing_idea_what_the_world_is_like.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1241 on: May 22, 2011, 07:50:16 PM »

ROTFLMAO cheesy
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G M
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« Reply #1242 on: May 22, 2011, 11:05:07 PM »

http://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/bibi_obama.jpg?w=544&h=500



I like to call this: The warrior and the affirmative-action assclown.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1243 on: May 23, 2011, 06:07:55 AM »

A bit of a tangent here, I just learned this about Gene Simmons:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Simmons




Chaim Witz (later Gene Simmons) was born in Tirat Carmel, Haifa, Israel in 1949. The family emigrated to Jackson Heights, Queens in New York City when he was eight years old.[2] His mother Flóra Klein ( was born in Jánd, Hungary.[3]). Florence and her brother, Larry Klein, were the only members of the family to survive the Holocaust. His father, Feri Witz, also Hungarian-born remained in Israel. Simmons says the family was "dirt poor," scraping by on bread and milk.[4] In the United States, Simmons changed his name to Eugene Klein (later Gene Klein), adopting his mother's maiden name. He attended Yeshiva in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as a child from 7 in the morning up to 9:30 at night. [5]


Political views

While a self-described social liberal,[12] Simmons was a supporter of the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration.[13] He supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, writing on his website: "I'm ashamed to be surrounded by people calling themselves liberal who are, in my opinion, spitting on the graves of brave American soldiers who gave their life to fight a war that wasn't theirs...in a country they've never been to... simply to liberate the people there in".[14] In a follow-up, Simmons explained his position and wrote about his love and support for the United States: "I wasn't born here. But I have a love for this country and its people that knows no bounds. I will forever be grateful to America for going into World War II, when it had nothing to gain, in a country that was far away... and rescued my mother from the Nazi German concentration camps. She is alive and I am alive because of America. And, if you have a problem with America, you have a problem with me".[14]

During the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Lebanon, Simmons sent a televised message of support (in both English and Hebrew) to an Israeli soldier seriously wounded in fighting in Lebanon, calling him his "hero."[15]

In 2010, Simmons said he regretted voting for Barack Obama and criticized the 2009 health care reforms.[16]

During his visit to Israel in 2011, he stated that the artists refusing to perform in Israel for political reasons are "stupid," referring to artists who canceled planned concerts in Israel.[17] [18]

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1244 on: May 23, 2011, 07:58:24 AM »

Several key points not addressed by this piece, but , , ,

By ROBERT WEXLER AND ZVIKA KRIEGER
The reaction to President Barack Obama's speech on Thursday has largely focused on one line: "The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states." News outlets from across the political spectrum ran headlines highlighting Mr. Obama's demand that Israel return to the "1967 borders," referring to Israel's boundaries before it took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1967 Six Day War.

Meantime, GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty condemned "President Obama's insistence on a return to the 1967 borders," calling it "a mistaken and very dangerous demand." Rep. Alan West (R., Fla.) described the position as "the beginning of the end as we know it for the Jewish state." The Republican Jewish Coalition deemed a return to such borders "unacceptable."

These individuals are absolutely correct that a return to the 1967 lines would be an unacceptable proposition for Israel. But Mr. Obama never said Israel should return to the 1967 lines. He said the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps should be the basis for negotiations. As Mr. Obama said yesterday at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, "it means that the parties themselves—Israelis and Palestinans—will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967." With this flexibility, Israel could incorporate, in internationally recognized borders, the vast majority of some 500,000 Israelis currently living beyond the 1967 lines. In effect, Mr. Obama met the Israeli demand that a future border reflect Israeli demographic and security concerns.

The concept of land swaps has served as the basis for every serious attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the past decade. For every piece of land beyond the 1967 lines that Israel wants to annex, it would give a piece of land to the Palestinians from within Israel proper.

President George W. Bush's 2004 letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now insisting that Mr. Obama reaffirm, is based on this premise. Mr. Obama's Thursday speech formalizes into official U.S. policy the working assumption of every U.S. president and secretary of state since the 2000 Camp David negotiations, as well as former Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, Israel's most decorated soldier.

View Full Image

Associated Press
 
Several riflemen and a machine gunner of the United Arab Republic Army are seen manning a trench somewhere in the Gaza Strip, along the border to Israel, in 1967.
.Since a large proportion of the Israeli settlers live in areas adjacent to and contiguous with the 1967 lines, there are multiple border scenarios that would allow Israel to annex the vast majority of Israelis living beyond the 1967 lines. The president's formulation encompasses solutions ranging from the Geneva Initiative (which brings into Israel 72% of Israelis living beyond the 1967 lines) to maps by David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (which bring into Israel up to 80% of Israelis living beyond the 1967 lines).

There is a finite amount of land that would be reasonable for Israel to swap in exchange for this post-1967 territory. This land should be unpopulated, away from vital Israeli infrastructure, and should not interrupt Israel's geographic contiguity or the living patterns of Israelis. It also shouldn't be near central Israel's "narrow waist," the precariously thin strip of coastal plain—some nine miles wide—between the 1967 lines and the Mediterranean Sea. Fortunately, there is enough land within Israel proper that fits these conditions that would allow the Jewish state to include the vast majority of Israelis living beyond the 1967 lines, as well as to address Israeli security concerns.

By insisting that the 1967 lines be modified, Mr. Obama showed his paramount concern for Israel's security. "Every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself—by itself—against any threat," Mr. Obama said. Furthermore, he went beyond Mr. Bush's 2004 letter to Mr. Sharon by demanding a non-militarized Palestinian state, and conditioning Israeli withdrawal from any post-1967 territory on the demonstrated effectiveness of security arrangements.

He also shared Israel's fears about Hamas's participation in the Palestinian government, legitimizing Israel's reluctance to "negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize [Israel's] right to exist." And by insisting that Israel be recognized as "a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people"—meeting another Netanyahu demand—Mr. Obama effectively renounced any return of Palestinian refugees to Israel.

Based on the simplistic media coverage, it's easy to miss the distinction between "return to the 1967 lines" and the president's actual formulation of "based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps." The truth is that the president's vision ensures that Israel can remain a Jewish and democratic state, include within internationally recognized borders the vast majority of Israelis currently living beyond the 1967 lines, and keep its citizens safe.

Mr. Wexler, a former democratic member of Congress, is president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. Mr. Krieger is senior vice president of the center.

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« Reply #1245 on: May 23, 2011, 08:12:16 AM »

Every bit of land Israel has given up already has really worked out well, hasn't it?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1246 on: May 23, 2011, 08:19:54 AM »

As I understand the argument by some lucid Isrealis, it is that holding on to Arab populated territory has considerable risks of its own.
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JDN
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« Reply #1247 on: May 23, 2011, 09:48:57 AM »

As I have been saying, no one seems to care  smiley  the world's opinion is turning in favor of the Palestinians.  It will continue to do so unless Israel adjusts.  And one day
America will follow.


Netanyahu's Bizarre Response to Obama's Palestinian Proposal
by Peter Beinart
May 23, 2011 | 3:23am

President Obama’s parameters for a new round of Mideast peace talks were designed to head off U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state based strictly on 1967 borders—which would be catastrophic for Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu’s immediate rejection of the plan suggests he has no grasp of the real world. Plus, Andrew Sullivan on Bibi and Barack's dangerous chess game.

A sailor throws a drowning man a life preserver. How dare you, screams the man. Because of you, people are going to think I can’t swim.
That about sums up the relationship between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu. In a few months, the U.N. General Assembly will vote, probably overwhelmingly, to recognize a Palestinian state along Israel’s 1967 borders. No one knows exactly what will happen after that, but from the Israeli government’s point of view, it won’t be good. According to international law, Israel will be occupying a sovereign nation. The result will likely be a bonanza of lawsuits, divestment campaigns and cancelled business deals. Israelis will feel more and more besieged. More and more of the country’s educated, tech-savvy young will realize you can get pretty good falafel in Menlo Park.

Last week, Obama threw Netanyahu a lifeline. He outlined the parameters that should guide Israeli-Palestinian negotiations: the 1967 border, plus land swaps. Obama’s strategy was clear: He promised to veto the Palestinians’ bid for statehood at the U.N. Security Council, but also hoped that by getting the Israeli government to endorse a contiguous Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, he could persuade the Palestinians to abandon their United Nations strategy in favor of a return to negotiations. And even if the Palestinians wouldn’t budge, Israel’s acceptance of Obama’s guidelines would make it easier to persuade European governments to oppose the Palestinians at the U.N.

Netanyahu’s response was, on its face, bizarre. The 1967 borders, he shot back, were “indefensible.” But Obama had not demanded a return to 1967 borders; he had very explicitly endorsed the 1967 borders with land swaps, which is essentially what Bill Clinton endorsed in late 2000 and Ehud Olmert endorsed in 2008. (In fact, Clinton and Olmert went further than Obama: Both endorsed a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem and in different ways, signaled an openness to the return of small numbers of Palestinian refugees to Israel).
• Leslie H. Gelb: Obama’s Historic Mideast GambleBut that was only the beginning of the weirdness of Netanyahu’s response, because if Israel’s 1967 border is indefensible against conventional attack, land swaps of the sort that Clinton and Olmert envisaged actually make the problem worse. The settlement of Ariel, which Olmert hoped to swap for land inside Israel, juts like a bony finger 13 miles into the northern West Bank. According to the 2003 Geneva Initiative, keeping Maale Adumim, another large settlement for which Israel might swap land, requires a thin land bridge across a Palestinian state to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu talks a lot about Palestinian violence, but he seems utterly flummoxed by Palestinian nonviolence.

How on earth would keeping these islands of Jewish settlement make Israel’s borders more defensible? To the contrary, if Israel ever did suffer a conventional attack from the West Bank, one of the first things it would do is evacuate places like Ariel and Maale Adumim, precisely because their location makes them, well, indefensible.
• Leslie H. Gelb: Obama’s Historic Mideast GambleOver the course of his career, Benjamin Netanyahu has written a lot about what he considers “defensible borders” for Israel, and his definition has always included far more than just a few land swaps. Again and again, he has demanded an Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, Israeli control of the hills overlooking key Palestinian cities and Israeli access to the major thoroughfares of the West Bank.

In other words, Netanyahu’s long career offers no indication that he would support a sovereign, contiguous Palestinian state along 1967 lines even with land swaps. What’s more, he has ruled out negotiating with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas, ruled out the return of even one Palestinian refugee, and demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” something Ehud Barak never demanded in 2000. The result is that he has made it easy for the Palestinians to eschew negotiations and stick with their U.N. strategy. Obama threw him a lifeline and he has defiantly tossed it back.

It makes you wonder whether Netanyahu has any grasp of the world in which he is living.
Does he seriously believe that the Obama administration, having ignominiously failed to get Israel to accept negotiations based upon the 1967 lines, can strong-arm the Europeans into opposing a Palestinian state at the U.N.? Does he have any strategy for the “diplomatic tsunami”—in Ehud Barak’s words—that is about to hit? He talks a lot about Palestinian violence, but he seems utterly flummoxed by Palestinian nonviolence. Yes, the Palestinians still produce rockets and suicide bombers. But in the Netanyahu era, their focus has moved decisively toward peaceful marches, boycotts and appeals to international law. They are playing on the world’s sympathy and the world’s impatience, and in that effort, this Israeli prime minister is the best friend they could have.
Over the last few days, Netanyahu has defied the president of the United States and forced him, once again, to retreat. He has won Washington. If only he realized that Washington is no longer the world.
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« Reply #1248 on: May 23, 2011, 09:52:57 AM »

"the world's opinion is turning in favor of the Palestinians."

You mean the "palestinian" propaganda construct is looked upon favorably as a fig leaf for the ages old anti-semitism in europe.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1249 on: May 23, 2011, 10:43:05 AM »

Beinhart has a fair point about the deep implications of the Pal strategy of going to the UN and getting recognized there.  Glen Beck also sees this as highly significant.

Beinhart raises apparently reasonable questions about the defensibility of some of the Israeli West Bank settlements.

That said, some rather large and obvious questions remain.

a) Why was this speech sprung upon the Israelis?  Why did BO not give N. a heads up with sufficient time for some backchannel communications?

b) What the hell does "contiguous" mean in this context?  That Gaza and the West Bank will be connected?!?

c) What about BO going further (last year?) than the Pals in making suspending settlements a pre-requisite for returning to negotiations?  If I have this right, this was something that the Pals had not sought, but now must now that BO has done so.

d)  Beinhart also seems to have little problem with the idea of negotiating with Hamas  rolleyes
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