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Tag: Mahmoud Abbas (page 1 of 2)

Iranian Officials Call for Israel to be Destroyed

An Iranian official has made a public plea for Palestinian authority to band together to “demolish the Zionist regime.”

Iranian Officials Call for Israel to be Destroyed The statement came from a conference in Tehran as Israel celebrates Nakba Day. This is the day Israel celebrates its declaration of Independence. Palestinians regard Nakba as a day of Catastrophe, as thousands of Palestinian refugees were expelled from their lands after Israel declared its independence in 1948.

The conference was headed by Hossein Shiekholeslam, who said he hoped for an awakening in the Islamic movement that would “Swallow the Zionist regime.”

Another speaker, Salah Zawawi, who is also the PA Ambassador for Tehran, added that the annihilation of the Zionist regime is the only way to ease the agony suffered by the Arabs. He further added that there is a pact between the U.S. and Israel to enable Jewish immigrants to settle down in lands that rightfully belong to the Palestinians.

A third speaker, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of engaging in an ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem. In a televised speech, he claimed that Muslim and Christian holy sites have been targeted and that citizens within the vicinity are being forced to pay heavy taxes in an effort to drive them out of the land.

The conference took place just a day after Israel agreed to sign an agreement to get Palestinian prisoners to end a hunger strike, which has received international attention and a plea from foreign leaders for Israel authorities to intervene. Part of the agreement included a transfer of the remains of 100 Arab terrorists currently buried in Israel.

Nakba Day was also marked by violence in Samaria and Judea as the Israel Defense Force clashed with a mob of Palestinians who hurled bricks and Molotov cocktails. The police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.

And then reality sets in…

On Tuesday, thousands of flag-waving Palestinians in Gaza celebrated the homecoming of hundreds of prisoners exchanged for Shalit, chanting for Hamas to seize yet more Israeli soldiers! “The people want a new Gilad!” they chanted.

They must have been fond of the young Jewish man.

Bradley burst-out-laughing Burston blogged the following blurb in blatant Palestinian approval over at Haaretz:

“The deal is a remnant of an Israel which is fast disappearing. It is a remnant of a particular brand of quiet, exceptional courage. It is an expression of a national character that goes generally ignored in a media environment which prizes the extreme over the honorable. It is evidence of a people true to values which time and sectarian agendas may appear to have diluted and erased.”

He goes on:

“The list of the terrorists being released is unendurable. The numbers are beyond understanding. Until you consider that this is how it’s always been.”

And on:

“In Israel’s nine prisoner exchanges with Arab enemies, dating back to the first, 54 years ago, Israel has freed 13,509 prisoners in order to win the release of a total of 16 soldiers. An average of well over 800 for each one. This is the price.”

Meanwhile, early Sunday morning, rightist activists broke into the home of Justice
Minister Yaakov Neeman to protest the deal they deemed perilously disproportionate.
The rightist activist Baruch Marzel commented on the protests, saying Neeman “has done absolutely nothing” during his term and that his first act is “giving amnesty to 600 murderers.”

Protests were also held at the home of President Shimon Peres.

In another corner of the Shalit story the despotic Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly telephoned Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas to extend congratulations on the terror organization’s victory which he said in a statement to Arab press is the “fruit of strong and continued resistance against the Zionist regime… No doubt this is a great victory for the Palestinian nation and all Muslims and for freedom- and justice-seeking people of the world, and independent nations are as happy as the oppressed Palestinian people over this issue…”

In the statement Ahmajinejad’s reference to Haniyeh as the “Palestinian Prime Minister” without making any reference to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Obama Drops a Bomb on Abbas

Call it strategic Jew-baiting, call it what you will.

President Obama has finally swallowed that pill. He has fallen in line, put peace interests behind… a two-state solution may now never happen.

Blame it on Hamas. Blame it on Abbas. Blame it on Arafat alone, or old Ariel Sharon.

Reactions among the Palestinians to U.S. President Barak Obama’s speech at the United Nations last week are beginning to accumulate; and the consensus features some very very ugly responses.

Here is part of a column byAdel Abd al-Rahman, a Palestinian journalist from al-Hayat al-Jadida, a Palestinian Authority daily:

“The black president’s speech was blacker than the tar thrown at the Palestinians, because his main concern is to guarantee Jewish votes and AIPAC’s financial and propagandist support.
The idea that Jews control American politics is of course not new in Arab political discourse, nor is it uncommon for Arab media outlets to play up the race of senior U.S. officials. The Saudi press, for instance, made much of former Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice’s race in both its texts and cartoons. Nonetheless, it’s still strange that people determined to be accepted as an equal among nations wouldn’t be ashamed of projecting such a vicious worldview through an official media organ.”

MJ Rosenberg of al Jazeera wrote in his column:

“The Palestinian issue is the one issue on which all Muslims are united. Whether Saudi, Iranian, Indonesian, or Afghani, the one issue that brings Muslims together is the belief that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza are terrible wrongs, supported by the US. Muslims aren’t the only ones who feel this way, as will be demonstrated by the overwhelming vote for the Palestinian statehood resolution that the US and Israel will stand virtually alone in opposing.

The Obama administration should keep that in mind when it decides how it will handle the vote. Promoting the two-state solution, starting with a vote FOR a Palestinian state at the UN, is not only the moral thing to do – just as it was when the US supported Israel’s statehood at the UN in 1947 – but it is also the right thing to do from the standpoint of America’s security. For Israel’s sake, for the Palestinians’, and for our own, the President should tell the US ambassador to the UN to vote ‘yes’.”

Rosenberg is wrong about the blockade on Gaza and the settlements in Judea and Samaria. With Hamas in the picture, the former is here to stay – even if it was Kadema’s fault that Hamas is so powerful – the latter is Abbas’ fault on account of his racism.

NyTimes video about Ariel…

Obama’s speech…

Paid Riots in Egypt, Jewish News Station Launch & Palestinian Statehood on the way

After being evacuated amidst the recent violent protests, four Israeli diplomats and security personnel will be returning to Israel’s embassy in Cairo. The return comes amidst reports by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram that the protesters were actually paid to attack the embassy.

The envoys will return to Cairo to a different building and work to retain the Jewish Country’s diplomatic presence in Egypt. The ambassadors left almost two weeks ago after Egyptian demonstrators stormed Israel’s embassy in Cairo, necessitating the emergency rescue of its staff by Egyptian commandos.

Egyptian protesters who were recently questioned by Egyptian security reportedly said that they were offered money to cause the riots. The riot and protest participants were bused to the area, then given dinner and envelopes containing money, according to al-Ahram.

Just Journalism and JN1
In other news, Just Journalism, the organization set up three years ago to monitor media coverage of Israel, is closing its doors. A statement announcing the closure on its website this afternoon told supporters: “Despite our extremely modest budget it has become increasingly difficult to financially sustain the operation in the current economic environment”.

Along with daily online briefings, Just Journalism published more detailed reports to expose “skewed” reporting of the Jewish Country.
Its advisory board includes MP Denis MacShane, political commentator Robin Shepherd, think-tank head Douglas Murray and the editor of Standpoint magazine Daniel Johnson.

Meanwhile, Ynet reports that the first-ever Jewish news network will commence broadcasting this week:

Jewish News 1 (JN1) was born as an alternative to the world’s leading news networks – CNN, Fox News and Sky News. But its main goal is to serve as the Jewish version of al-Jazeera, which has won the hearts of tens of millions of Arab viewers over the past 15 years.

According to the Makor Rishon newspaper, the channel will be broadcast via satellite to Europe, North America and the Middle East. In Israel it will be offered by the Yes satellite company.

“Jewish News 1″ will broadcast news from Israel and the world 24/7. The network has already set up studios in Tel Aviv, Brussels and Kiev, and additional studios will be opened in Washington, Paris and London in the coming months.

The network has 12 correspondents, all foreigners, who are currently deployed in six countries. The casting of reporters to cover the news in Israel, Europe and Russia will be completed in the coming days.

The network will begin its broadcasts in English, but its managers seek to offer news in seven additional languages, including Hebrew, French, Italian, Russian and German.

“We’ll broadcast everything that is newsworthy,” says Alexander Zanzer, the channel’s editor-in-chief in Brussels, where the station is based. “Alongside general news, we’ll offer economic and cultural items, as well as a peek into educational projects. Everything you can see on other global news channels, you’ll be able to see on our channel as well.”

Palestinian Statehood on track…
In other news, Palestinian diplomats are planning to submit their application for statehood to the United Nations Security Council on Friday, even as world leaders are pressuring President Mahmoud Abbas to return to peace negotiations with Israel as an alternative. The quartet of powers involved in brokering peace—that is the U.N., the European Union, U.S., and Russia—hope to set up a feasible timeline for new negotiations, alongside a pledge supporting Palestinian statehood should the negotiations fail. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said on Sunday, however,“Unfortunately, we didn’t get any solid or even medium-sized [offer] at all. As a result, yes, we are firm in our decision to go to the Security Council.”

One Turkey Sandwich Growing Stale

Prime Minister of the Jewish Country, Binyamin Netanyahu, recently said he “hopes a way will be found to overcome the differences with Turkey,” he added that “we do not want a further downgrading of the relations… Israel has a right to defend itself… We do not need to apologize for [stopping] weapons smuggling by Hamas, and we do not need to apologize for working to defend our children, our citizens and our cities.”
So that’s that!

Meanwhile, reportedly, overwrought diplomatic vibrations between Israel and Turkey since the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in May of 2010 and more specifically following the release of the Palmer Commission report, have not seem to have shaken routine business relations between the two countries.

This says a lot about money. This does not say much about Turks and Jews. But actually, according to the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, bilateral trade increased to $1.1b in exports to Turkey between January and July of 2011, and Turkish exports to the Jewish country have jumped to $1.25b. Israel imported $1.8b of goods from Turkey in 2010 and exported $1.3b. 70% of Israeli exports to Turkey are chemicals and refined oil products. Other exports include metals, machinery, furniture, wood and paper products.

In a loosely related scoop of desert sand, a senior Israeli official warned it would only worsen ramshackle diplomatic standings with the Jewish Country were Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit the Gaza Strip, where rockets have been fired and terrorists infiltrating the Israeli border and murdering Jews since August.

It is however confirmed that Erdogan will pay a two-day visit to Egypt starting September 12th and this is when he may cross over into Gaza – retracing the steps taken recently by Hamas murderers who opened fire on an Egged bus on the road to Eilat a couple of weeks ago.

The senior Israeli official says Erdogan would hurt Turkey’s relations with the United States as well by visiting Gaza. The move would also weaken Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas because a trip to Hamas-controlled Gaza would challenge his position as the sole representative of the Palestinians.

Turkish Deputy Premier Bulent Arinc said that Erdogan was scheduled to meet with the head of Egypt’s ruling military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi as well as other leading Egyptian politicians and intellectuals during the visit. The visit is expected to produce important decisions reflecting the strength of relations between Egypt and Turkey. Apparently Turkey hopes for reforms and elections in Egypt to proceed in accordance with the hopes and wishes of the people. The Turkish deputy prime minister says Erdogan may possibly cross into Gaza at the Rafah crossing after making arrangements with Egyptian authorities.

On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced at a press conference that Ankara is to expel Israel’s ambassador, and freeze all military agreements. This is in response to Netanyahu’s refusal to apologize for the flotilla incident. Davutoglu also says Turkey will be taking measures for freedom of maritime movement in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, will no longer recognize the blockade on the Gaza Strip (along with Egypt).

The Turkish political columnist Asli Aydintasbas says it is unlikely fences will be mended between Israel and Turkey unless Jerusalem meets Ankara’s demands. “Knowing the prime minister’s personality and knowing the importance of this issue for Turkey, I do not see how Turkey can accept anything short of an apology…” says Aydintasbas.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is pushing for a solution to the diplomatic crisis or at least says he is in favor of one:
“Both sides are very important countries in the region… Their improving relationship, normal relationship will be very important in addressing all the situations Middle East.”

West Side Story

It could be a brawl.
It could be worse.
Some may fall,
On this disputed turf…

During an upcoming militia to militia melee of sub-government warfare like the Bloods and the Crips or the Red Sox and the Yankees.

The IDF is arming and training settlers in preparation for attacks by Palestinians that will likely take place around the time the UN is asked to recognize a Palestinian state.

Stun grenades and teargas are being distributed and training sessions held with settlement security teams.

The IDF has also drawn lines on maps around Jewish settlements close to villages of Palestinians to guide troops, police and settlement security chiefs. Palestinian Protesters who cross the first line will be subject to teargas and other means of crowd dispersal. If a second “red line” is breached, soldiers are ordered to open fire at protesters’ legs.

The IDF confirmed that it was working with settlers over Operation Summer Seeds, its codename for the exercise. Palestinian leaders deny that violent protests are in the works and Ehud Barak says he expects September to pass quietly.

The IDF released a statement to OneJerusalem.com saying:

“The IDF maintains an ongoing, professional dialogue with the community leadership and security personnel throughout Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] while devoting great efforts to training local forces and preparing them to deal with any possible scenario…Recently, central command has completed training the majority of the first response teams; these exercises are ongoing. Beyond the aforementioned training, the IDF cannot comment further regarding its operational preparedness.”

According to the guardian, the IDF has stockpiled some 200,000 litres of foul-smelling liquid to be fired out of water cannon at protesters, or perhaps dropped from planes; this is with supplies of stun grenades, rubber bullets and riot gear.

According to an IDF document leaked to Haaretz, the Jewish country is expecting:

“…marches towards main junctions, Israeli communities and education centres; efforts at damaging symbols of [Israeli] government. Also there may be more extreme cases like shooting from within the demonstrations or even terrorist incidents. In all the scenarios, there is readiness to deal with incidents near the fences and the borders of the state of Israel.”

Mahmoud Abbas is calling for peaceful demonstrations in September to cheer on the Palestinians’ UN statehood bid, like cheerleaders at a college football game. He said, “I insist on popular resistance and I insist that it be unarmed popular resistance so that nobody misunderstands us…”

And speaking of protesters:

A Jewish activist who protested during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the U.S. Congress is suing four security guards whom she says attacked her.
Rachel Abileah of El Grenada, California the Middle East Coordinator for CODEPINK, has filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia’s Superior Court against the four unnamed people for $500,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages for assault, battery and false imprisonment.
Abileah, an American/Israeli stood up in the House Gallery during the May 24 speech and opened a banner which said “Occupying Land is Indefensible” and shouted, “No more occupation. Stop Israeli war crimes! Equal rights for Palestinians!”

Abbas Does New York

I appreciate the spirit of freedom and independence but many modernist Islamist politicians are unrealistic when it comes to the situation with Israel; and the New York Times is an outlet for such figures to preach their hatred and prejudice. Ironically, the Palestinian territories are famous for their media censorship and abuse of journalists.

On April 20th, Abdullah Gul, President of Turkey, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in which he cited the “Arab Spring” as a tangible socio-political trend toward democracy and modernity in which Israel is both the cause of all Middle East turmoil as well as the feet-dragger in the great Middle East Revolution:

“The plight of the Palestinians has been a root cause of unrest and conflict in the region and is being used as a pretext for extremism in other corners of the world. Israel, more than any other country, will need to adapt to the new political climate in the region. But it need not fear; the emergence of a democratic neighborhood around Israel is the ultimate assurance of the country’s security.”

Mr. Gul’s country is one where blood libel accusations are aimed at Israel and prime-time television airs television shows in which IDF soldiers are fictionally portrayed murdering children.

While many Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, unified under the Palestinian Liberation Organization, curse the United States and stomp on the red, white and blue flag of the leaders of the free world, Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, has taken a more diplomatic approach. He too has written an op-ed in The New York Times – a publication that is among the most syndicated print media outlets in the world.

“This month… as we commemorate another year of our expulsion — which we call the nakba, or catastrophe — the Palestinian people have cause for hope: this September, at the United Nations General Assembly, we will request international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and that our state be admitted as a full member of the United Nations.”

Wrote Abu Mazen:

“Our quest for recognition as a state should not be seen as a stunt; too many of our men and women have been lost for us to engage in such political theater.”

The fact remains, and Abbas later in his article admits that the Palestinians could have had a state in 1947 but refused one. Why? So they could create war without a state in the name of freedom from oppression. This is more affective. This is the stunt. Had they now a “state,” recognized by the UN, though, on the borders they now have, it would be a pariah state. One that makes war with Israel – and is still, despite the strange Fatah/Hamas merger government, at war amongst themselves.

Abbas wrote:

“We have the capacity to enter into relations with other states and have embassies and missions in more than 100 countries. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union have indicated that our institutions are developed to the level where we are now prepared for statehood. Only the occupation of our land hinders us from reaching our full national potential; it does not impede United Nations recognition.”

However, in a pluralized Israel, where Arab Muslims thrive and hold seats in Knesset, it seems strange that an “occupation,” which he cannot define, but surely refers to the settlements, is some kind of hindrance to a state that would be an ethno-cracy.

Abbas wrote:

“The State of Palestine intends to be a peace-loving nation, committed to human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the principles of the United Nations Charter. Once admitted to the United Nations, our state stands ready to negotiate all core issues of the conflict with Israel. A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194, which the General Assembly passed in 1948.”

However, Nakba day, was not peaceful. Several Israeli policemen were wounded by Palestinian stone throwers.

Meanwhile, Israel has agreed to release tax transfers to the Palestinians despite the Hamas-Fatah unity pact; after finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, said they would be withheld.

Rumble in the Strip

The Obama administration commended the progress of Palestinian security services.
In a statement last Sunday, the U.S. State Department said:

“The program has witnessed increased coordination of activities amongst international donors, and is achieving notable progress on security, justice, corrections, and other new fronts…”

The statement marked a visit to the Middle East, last week by William Brownfield, assistant secretary of state, responsible for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the American department running the training program for Palestinian Authority police.

Obama has been urging Israel to cede more authority to the Palestinian security services, in that it would boost Palestinian confidence, pushing the peace process into progress.

Meanwhile, Israel is pressing the United States as well as certain governments in Europe to pressure Mahmoud Abbas not to establish a unity government with Hamas, who is centered in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas is calling for new Palestinian elections within six months, though he says they cannot be held unless residents in the Gaza Strip participate. Hamas declines to hold elections in Gaza unless there is a reconciliation deal.

Meanwhile, on earth, Israel thwarted an attempt by Gazans to launch an anti-tank missile at an IDF force in northern Gaza. Also on Tuesday, a Kassam was fired from Gaza into southern Israel. Last week Israel suffered the worst rain of mortars fired from the strip in two years – upwards of fifty mortar shells landed.

The IDF responded with an attack causing three or four unfortunate casualties and successfully hitting all targets. Two terror tunnels, two weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, and two additional sites.

All this, though, before a bomb in a bag exploded next to a bus in Jerusalem, causing 39 injured Israelis and one 60 year old woman, killed.

The Jerusalem Marathon, set to take place Friday at the site of the terror incident will happen as scheduled.

Medvedev Does Jericho

They made their name – bought their reputation – killing Jews for sport. Then, with Stalin, they warmed our hearts with cute experimentation in cruel authoritarian government ala the figurative meeting of Cosimo De Medici I and Karl Marx. Threats to blow the West to smithereens underscored this nostalgic era.

After being single-handedly responsible for the formation of the largest, most dreadful Islamic terrorist organization, al-Qaeda, when they lost a war to Afghanistan; they greeted Iran’s Islamic Revolution with aiding that country to build its first nuclear reactor.

So what is Russia up to these days? Why, I’ll tell you what, after years of imprisoning their poverty-stricken Jews within the now-ruined walls of their fallen Soviet Union, they have decided to lead the world in the fight for Palestinian Statehood, along lines that defy the State of Israel.

Plus, the price of Kettle One, has just gone up! Bummer…

Dmitry Medvedev & Mahmoud AbbasDmitry Medvedev reaffirmed his recognition of a Palestinian state, saying Moscow has no reason to change the position adopted by the former Soviet Union when they first recognized an Arab State in Palestine under Arafat in 1988.


The Russian President went down to old Jericho last week and said:

“Russia’s position remains unchanged. Russia made its choice a long time ago…We supported and will support the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to an independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem.”



Mahmoud Abbas thanked Medvedev and his country for being “one of the first states in the world to recognize the state of Palestine in 1988“.



An al Jazeera journalist realized:

“This surely has raised a lot of hopes and a lot of optimism among Palestinians that this kind of recognition would boost their efforts and might influence the upcoming quartet meeting in February…”



Next month, the Middle East Quartet of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and of course Russia will meet in Munich to shock the peace process back to life.

Medvedev also said:

“We discussed the possible prospects of resuming the dialogue…In order to do that, we need to express maximum moderation. This in the first place relates to the freezing of settlements…”

On top of the political significance of Medvedev’s visit, at least three agreements were signed between Abbas and Medvedev; and $30m was allocated to media, agriculture and sports in the region, promising much more Russian involvement in Palestine’s “nation-building.”

A Conversation with Fatima

Ramat Gan, Israel — The Israeli cabinet approved a proposal requiring new immigrants to pledge loyalty to the “Jewish and democratic” state on October 10. The bill was greeted by hot and cold receptions from critics in the international community. The bill, which still faces a wider parliamentary vote, passed initially by a 22-8 margin – finding strong domestic opposition from the Labor Party and Israeli Arabs.

Perhaps I am naive, but I was a little chagrined by the amount of negative hoopla the news caused; I always saw Israel as a Jewish state and a democracy — this is what I love about little Israel. But in the unseasonably hot weather and proverbial prickly atmosphere, one should prepare them self to never feel too surprised in this land of mystery.

Fatima, an 18-year-old student of linguistics and English literature at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan said, “I don’t think it makes any change. Everyone here is supposed to say that they swear to the country.” Fatima, donning a lime green hijab and traditional silk black dress spoke over the mellow hum of copy machines amid an ethnically mixed handful of college students. “I don’t know what he [PM Netanyahu] said and what he meant – I don’t know his aim.” She stressed that the facts for her are freely explained on her Facebook page, she is a proud Palestinian.

“The Palestinians have long rejected that, [the Jewishness of Israel]saying Israel may use it as a pretext to deny Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war that created Israel the right to return to their former homes.” wrote Vita Bekker of The National. However, chief of the Fatah-ruling PA, Mahmoud Abbas claimed that Arabs in the “occupied territories” had already done that during the 1993 Oslo Accords. Recent research shows, the ratio of Palestinians in the territories who object to Israel being a Jewish state and those who don’t is almost cut in half – just slightly a larger percent for the latter.

But the law really applies to those who are thinking of immigrating to Israel. Andrea, 40, is a non-Jewish American woman married to an Israeli. She also studies at the university, of which she complains the tuition is too high. “I won’t make Aliyah if I have to swear to a Jewish country.” The two had to marry outside the country, “A rabbi would not recognize our marriage,” she said, “I feel my husband” placed in a “50% tax bracket” and a career military officer for fourteen years “is being discriminated against.”

Then, a week ago, Israeli PM Netanyahu instructed Justice Minister, Ya’akov Ne’eman to prepare a draft bill that would also require Jews to pledge allegiance to Israel “as a Jewish and democratic state”.

Standing outside the university synagogue, without a yamulke on his head, Rotem Nisan, a 25 year-old geography student at the same university as Fatima said, “This is a country of Jews. I have no problem with Muslims and Christians, but if you want residence and an ID, you must be Jewish. To tourists, the country is open.”

The day after we chatted in the Xerox room near the English language building at Bar Ilan University, Fatima sent me a message on Facebook; she had lots more to say:

“dear Scott,

I just read your article. You have such a nice way in writing. But when I said “I don’t know what he [PM Netanyahu] said and what he meant – I don’t know his aim.” I looked like a very unconscious girl which I am not. I don’t know if this is the right word but when I heard about this law I kinda felt a way of harassment from the government.. that’s why I said I don’t know his aim. If it comes to me, I would highly reject this law because it really against our own believes and thought. Who said that if I want to live in a country i should admit its nationality? so what? go to Canada and see how people leave peacefully and leaving all this political issue behind them, because they want real peace and they are not looking for any excuses to kick their non-Canadian out.”

For an 18-year-old in this country, Fatima’s English is quite good, perhaps better than the average Jewish Israeli 18-year-old. But the average Jewish Israeli 18-year-old would not be studying in the university at the age of 18. They would be serving in the army or doing another form of community service. The message continued:

“I live in Israel, which is for me and for every Palestinian , occupied Palestine, and I will never ever pledge loyalty to this country because it doesn’t reflect me.. Moreover, they should not forget that I was born here, it means that i’m a resident who gets all my absolute rights! and one of my rights in a “democratic country” is my freedom of speech and thinking. How
come they force me to do something I don’t believe in, in a democratic country!?”

In appreciation for giving her honest opinion and feeling so open with me, I responded to Fatima:

“Israel is still a new country. It is a democracy and I think it will always stay that way. Other places in the world aren’t the same, like the Islamic Republic of Iran or occupied Lebanon. But Canada and the United States are democracies which were founded by French, English, German, Dutch and colonizers from elsewhere – and only after much of the native population was displaced, sold off to slavery and killed. You should never feel unsafe or nervous because of your ethnicity. Hopefully we can be friends. And if we all become friends: Jews, Muslims and Christians, then G-D willing there will be peace. And enjoy reading Beowulf!”

OneJerusalem Special: The Peace Summit 2010

Part I: Washington D.C.

Middle East peace negotiations in Washington
Obama: I want to begin the summit by insisting to my Jewish and Muslim friends that these proceedings, leading where they will, are not just a shallow photo opportunity for this Nobel prize winning Pres!

Netanyahu: Not at all!

Abbas: No way Jose…..

Obama: Sebaba! Let’s get this baby moving. The President of Cool has some disco lessons with his wife! Ya dig?

Netanyahu: Swing her up down and all around President of Cool! Hahaha!

Abbas: Haahahaha.

Obama: Hahahaha. Ok Ok. Let’s get started, shall we? (motions for Abbas to speak)

Abbas: A’salaam Aleichem!

Netanyahu: Shalom Aleichem!

Obama: Peace my brothers. Welcome to Washington D.C.. Anybody up for some fresh Maryland crab cakes?

(Abbas squirms in discomfort)

Netanyahu: Yeah, I’ll try one of those bad boys.

Obama: I was kidding Benjamin. Now, down to brass tacks my brothers. Let’s start with Israel. Bibi, what say you?

Netanyahu: Israel is ready, willing and able to cooperate on a plan for peace. Our hearts are broken over this age-old, bloody dispute. It has to end. We will be reasonable and listen to the Palestinian
demands…so long as they do not compromise Jewish statehood.

Obama: (lights a cigarette) We are glad to hear that. Hillary and I have been praying to hear that Israel is ready to talk peace. How about Mahmoud – the quiet kid in the corner. What say you?

Abbas: The conflict has got to end. And that has to start with ending the occupation. It is one thing to set and honor a building freeze – but what we really need is to get the settlers out of the West Bank, for good. Look, even your own artists won’t perform at that new theatre in Ariel. You are wrong. Just plain wrong. If Israel returns to her pre-1967 borders, that also means there can be no settlers.

Netanyahu: No settlers? Settle down Mahmoud! This is very holy land for the Jews. We tell them that they can build and then two years later we change our minds? This does not look good. You all saw what happened in Gush Katif. There will be riots!

Obama: The only way to appease all parties is to make sacrifices. No solution without a return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

Netanyahu: Very well, Barack. But I think that both you and Mahmoud are overlooking the danger which Hamas poses. They have already made their way into the West Bank and are terrorizing my citizens. What will they do to the Islamic citizens living under the PA?

Mahmoud: Yes Bibi, we’ve consi—

Netanyahu: And not to mention the dangers posed by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Islamic Jihad and the rest of the no-goodniks. You cannot make it seem like kicking the Jews out of Samaria will bring instant peace!

Mahmoud: Perhaps a civil war is necessary!

Netanyahu: If war is necessary than why should we appease the Palestinians who have no order among themselves! Less even than the Jews!

Mahmoud: Because the outposts are illegal!

Obama: That’s right. (puts his arm around Abbas and begins to rub his shoulder). Bibi, how about if I trade you arms for land?

Netanyahu: The settlers, my colleagues, will castrate me!

Obama: Bibi, how about arms and an additional $1 billion so you can build that spaceship you’ve been dreaming of!

Netanyahu: Ooh lala! (his eyes begin to twinkle and his face grows a big dumb grin).

To Be Continued….
(next time from Sharm El Sheikh)

The International Community

On Wednesday, Jordan’s King Abdullah urged the international community to intervene in order to prevent “Israel’s provocative actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, which are intended to change Jerusalem’s identity.”

Abdullah met in the afternoon with EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, after which the royal palace issued a harsh criticism of the Jewish Country:

“We cannot keep quiet in face of the Israeli steps that are meant to change the status quo in Jerusalem and cleanse it from its Arab citizens – both Muslims and Christian.”

The ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom added that Jerusalem was the “red line” that should not be crossed.

Luiz Inacio Lula da SilvaMeanwhile Brazil’s president has placed a wreath on the tomb of Yasser Arafat. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited the late Palestinian leader’s grave Wednesday during a trip to Ramallah. He also called on Israel to dismantle the West Bank security barrier and lift its blockade on Gaza. He said that his country condemned Israel’s decision to build an additional 1,600 apartments in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as their future capital.

The Brazilian leader said that he wishes to play a bigger role in Mideast diplomacy:

“The region is important to the world and the negotiations are in need of the intervention of new elements, and we can help with this.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinians have no preconditions for returning to the negotiating table. “We simply want the implementation of international resolutions and the Road Map.”

The Palestinian president urged Mr. Silva and the international community to work towards lifting the Israeli siege on Gaza and releasing Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
On Tuesday, Avigdor Lieberman boycotted meetings with Silva because the Brazilian did not visit the grave of Theodor Herzl.

Israel Has a Friend In Italy

The Italian Prime-Minister Silvio Berlusconi came to Jerusalem on Monday to meet with our fearless Prime-Minister, Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu. The visit was amiable and showed promise for Israel’s future as a welcome country in European eyes.


Bibi, in his Knesset remarks, said that

“Israel knows it has a great friend in Europe in Berlusconi.”

He also stated that

“this meeting will give momentum to relations between our two countries.”

“We appreciate you. We embrace you. We love you.”

said Netanyahu.
Silvio Berlusconi said he dreams of one day seeing Israel join the European Union as a full-fledged and influential member state.

“As long as I am one of the shapers of politics, my greatest dream is to include Israel among the European Union countries,”

said Berlusconi shortly after arriving together with top Italian ministers in a joint cabinet meeting with their Israeli counterparts.

Berlusconi informed that he only holds joint cabinet meetings with the most important European nations. He said his visit demonstrates that he views Israel as part of Europe.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the Italian delegation warmly, and announced that the Jewish country is lucky to have a friend like Berlusconi in a region traditionally unfriendly to the Jewish people and to Israel.

The visit kicked off with a gala dinner at the King David Hotel then the following morning Berlusconi held working meetings with Lieberman and Netanyahu, where Lieberman hoped to enlist Berlusconi’s help in applying stronger European pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program.

He also met with opposition chairwoman Tzipi Livni, before visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem; about which he said the remembrance of what had happened in his and other European countries made him feel

“like someone punched me in the gut.”

A further joint cabinet session happened at the Prime Minister’s Office, where the premiers and ministers reviewed bilateral agreements and decided on areas of cooperation in the coming year, with an aim of deepening relations between Italy and Israel. A press conference was held afterward.

On Wednesday morning Berlusconi addressed the Knesset in a special session, and then opened an exhibition of seven original sketches from Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus. The Italian premier will end his visit in the Holy Land with a lunch with President Shimon Peres at the President’s Residence. From there he will go to Bethlehem for a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Berlusconi will be leaving Israel on Wednesday evening.

Silvio Berlusconi is among Italy’s richest men, estimated to be worth $6.5 billion.
He won his third term as prime minister in 2008, two years after his center-right coalition was voted out.
Mr. Berlusconi, 72, owns a business empire that spans media, advertising, insurance, food and construction.
He is also the owner of Italy’s most successful football club, AC Milan, admits he has had cosmetic surgery, has fought off repeated corruption allegations, and has been dogged by a sex scandal.

Israel is lucky to have such a good friend in him.

How the Settlement Freeze Managed to Undermine Palestinian Interests

When Binyamin Netanyahu declared the 10-month freeze on building settlements in the West Bank, he was following Barack Obama‘s direction aiming at benefiting the Palestinian cause. However, at the Jalazon Refugee Camp, no one is thanking the Israeli Prime Minister or the American President. They just want their work back.

Before the freeze, roughly half of Jalazon’s able-bodied men were employed in construction in nearby Jewish settlements. Along with the freeze, so went the work.

The long-term result wished for the freeze was the hurrying along of the peace process; but the short-term is costing thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank their livelihood. Their voice ironically is being drowned out by what they see as a pointless exercise.

Father of seven, lucky to find work one day a month, Walid Mustafa said:

“Work in the settlements has decreased dramatically in the last few months – it’s nothing like it was before. But our lives haven’t changed for the better and the leaders aren’t any closer to peace, so what’s the point?”

He continued:

“The settlement freeze is temporary anyway. The Israeli government is made up of settlers, and they will build again soon enough.”

Mustafa estimated that about 80% of camp residents who work in construction are now unemployed, and those still working are taking jobs for NIS 50 a day ($13) rather than the NIS 150 ($40) they made before Israel put a freeze on construction.

Hardly anybody recognizes the fact that Palestinians who are skilled in masonry, construction, and other relevant trades have built the vast majority of homes in Israel’s controversial settlements.

Fawzi Aqrana, a Palestinian from Nablus said:

“While the politicians dawdle away the months, we have families to feed…Everyone at home in my village knows what I do, and I don’t think anyone judges it. We have to survive.”

Mahmoud Abbas originally rejected Netanyahu’s offer of a 10-month settlement freeze late last year, maintaining his position that the stop-work order should mean that ALL building comes to a halt, and that it must include east Jerusalem. Bibi exempted approximately 3,000 buildings – projects that had already begun.

Only Fools Rush In

Alright, alright…Calm down! What’s that, boy? Really? Hamas will recognize Israel? After the vast oceans of blood and tears? Why, that’s great, boy! What else boy? Hamas will nullify the charter that calls for the destruction of Israel? Good boy!

The word came from Aziz Dwaik, Hamas’s most senior representative in the West Bank. Go here to add him on your Facebook.

Well, slow down, let’s analyze things a little…

Dwaik’s remarks should be taken in the context of Hamas’s attempts to win recognition from the international community. He was released a few months ago after spending nearly three years in an Israeli prison.
He was among the dozens of Hamas officials who were rounded up by Israel after the abduction of Gilad Schalit near the Gaza Strip in June 2006.
Dwaik put it this way:

“The [Hamas] charter was drafted more than 20 years ago….no one wants to throw anyone into the sea.”

Well, habibi, thank you for clearing that up, ’cause, like, people were beginning to talk.
Dwaik also expressed Hamas’s desire to engage in a dialogue with the European Union. He also confirmed that Hamas was receiving financial aid from Iran. Good to know!

Some might consider Dwaik, as speaker of the PLC, to be the acting president of the Palestinian Authority, sin Mahmoud Abbasce‘s term was officially expired on January 9.

These latest remarks were made during a meeting held in Hebron with British millionaire
David Martin Abrahams
.

“The fact that there is a possibility for recognition of Israel is a symbolic gesture…We can all look for good in people and we can all look for bad in people. I always look for the good…People might say that I’m naïve, so let them. But I’m prepared to give them [Hamas] a chance because I’ve got faith and confidence in Dwaik and Haniyeh. We can’t allow 1.5 million to be festering in the Gaza Strip while the majority of them are good and well-educated.”

Abrahams said that his decision to engage Hamas was aimed at

“preventing bloodshed on both sides.”

“I recently published an article in the Jewish Chronicleto test the temperature of the water within the Jewish community about Hamas…I found a lot of support among Jews for dealing with Hamas and I was pleasantly surprised.”

Abrahams added,

“Hamas is different from al-Qaida…Hamas is no threat to Western interests.”

During the meeting in Hebron, Dwaik stressed that other Hamas leaders, including Damascus-based Khaled Mashaal and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, have voiced their support of the idea of establishing an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 boundaries.

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