01/17 Links Pt1: Glick: Truth Hurts, Explosives found at PA Embassy in Prague, 2nd day of Rockets
Caroline Glick: The truth hurts
In other words, the Obama administration is using Ya’alon’s private remarks, leaked by an unidentified source to a newspaper with an anti-Netanyahu editorial agenda, as a means to neutralize the most powerful voice opposing Kerry’s obsessive, messianic behavior in the Israeli government. They want to use American umbrage at the tone of Ya’alon’s private statements to upend Israeli policy and force Israel to embrace the substance of the Obama administration’s delusional and destructive actions. And to advance this goal, they are using anti-Semitic signals to castigate Israel and deny it the right to speak on its own behalf.
Israelis love America. And for that reason, it is compelled to do what anyone strapped into the back seat of a car driven by a drunk would do: try to convince him to stop driving. As a grateful ally of the United States, Israel should publicly tell the Obama administration that what Ya’alon said in private is the truth.
And yes, sometimes the truth hurts.
After the Israeli defense minister’s undiplomatic skepticism about the peace process prompted a diplomatic flap earlier this week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced yesterday that he is “undeterred,” explaining, “I believe strongly in the prospects for peace.” In that, Kerry isn’t alone: An entire industry has arisen around the belief that Israeli-Palestinian peace is imminently attainable, and it is consistently “undeterred” by the facts. For a classic example, consider the joint Israeli-Palestinian poll released in late December under the unequivocal headline, “The majority of Israelis (63%) and of Palestinians (53%) support the two states solution.”
That sounds very promising, until you read the fine print. And then it turns out that most Palestinians don’t support the two-state solution at all–or at least, not the one whose terms “everyone knows.” In fact, when presented with the elements of that “everyone knows” package, defined by the researchers as based on the Clinton parameters and the Geneva Initiative, 53 percent of Palestinians opposed it, while only 46 percent supported it.(h/t Bob Knot)
Czech investigators have discovered explosives at the Palestinian Embassy complex in Prague where a possibly booby-trapped safe killed the ambassador on Jan. 1, police said Thursday.
Police discovered 12 illegal weapons following the explosion at the embassy that killed Ambassador Jamal al-Jamal, but this is the first time that authorities said explosives also were found in the new complex that includes the embassy and the ambassador’s residence.
Police said experts are trying to determine whether those weapons were used in any criminal activity in the past. The ballistic testing might take weeks, police said.
Sarah Honig: Pernicious wishful thinking
Although the Arab realm deteriorates before our astonished eyes into medieval ethnic/tribal/clannish splinters, our inveterate know-it-alls hanker to establish another artificial Mideastern state for another synthetic Arab nation of recent manufacture.
With blinkered arrogance they natter about the two-state solution, as if the Arab side had ever at all accepted the legitimacy of a Jewish state.
Even if we submit to Livni’s perceptions and grant that what the world now most urgently needs is another decomposing and dysfunctional Arab state, this won’t further the two-state cause because the Arabs don’t acknowledge Jewish rights to self-determination. Ramallah figurehead Mahmoud Abbas has just told us without any hesitation that “We won’t recognize and accept the Jewishness of Israel.” No ifs, ands or buts.
Under the two-state guise, both Ramallah and Gaza aim is to replace Israel with another Arab entity. Unfortunately Livni-brand noise-makers love the sound of their own voices but won’t listen to authentic pronouncements by their supposed peace-partners. (h/t Norman F)
The very fact that this urgent, unscheduled meeting had nothing new to say begs the question about what was really said.
The immediate outcome of the two neighboring leaders getting together, a Jordanian source told Makor Rishon, is another devaluation of the chances of Kerry coming up with a comprehensive plan.
“If, two weeks ago, there was a fifty-fifty chance that such a document be presented, now that chance is much lower,” the source said. “For now, the Americans believe they’d be able to draft a paper, but they’ve been running into bigger and bigger difficulties. It’s possible that in the end they’ll put nothing on the table, or they’d put down something and say, ‘Take it or leave it.’ Maybe they’ll degrade the document’s contents, to enable both sides to accept it—but that would also mean that whatever achievement they reached over these past months will be lost, and that would also be problematic.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s plan to transfer jurisdiction of some Israeli Arab towns, with their approximately 300,000 residents, to a future Palestinian state has the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, according to senior officials in Likud-Beytenu quoted by Maariv Friday. There was no confirmation of the report.
Unnamed official sources told the newspaper that Netanyahu has concluded that, in the event of an agreement with the Palestinians, the demographic factor must be taken into consideration, which would mean amending the borders to include some Israeli Arab towns in the new Palestinian state as Israel would include some West Bank Jewish settlements. The officials said that, during negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in recent months, Livni brought up the names of specific towns and villages to be included in the Palestinian state.
Calling the claim that settlements are an obstacle to a peace agreement “bogus,” Netanyahu – speaking at an annual reception in Jerusalem for foreign journalists – blasted the EU move, and asked when was the last time the EU countries called in the PLO ambassadors to “complain about incitement to Israel’s destruction,” or to protest that security officers from the Palestinian Authority were participating in terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis.
“I think it’s time stop the hypocrisy and inject some fairness in the discussion,” he said, adding that the EU imbalance does not promote peace, but actually pushes it further away because “it tells the Palestinians that they can engage in incitement and terror and not be held accountable.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered his ministry Friday morning to summon the ambassadors from the UK, France, Italy and Spain to Jerusalem, in order to protest what he called “one-sided” policies against Israel.
These policies, evidently relating to Israel’s settlement-building, are “unacceptable, and give the sense that they are just looking for ways to blame Israel,” read a statement released Friday by Liberman’s office.
A barrage of at least 6 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Ashkelon on Wednesday, leading the defense establishment to reportedly reconsider the Pillar of Cloud ceasefire. The barrage also led Ashdod to cancel classes Friday at all schools that are not reinforced against rocket fire.
Five of the rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome defense system Wednesday, with the rest landing in open areas. The IAF responded with airstrikes on various terror sites in Gaza on Thursday.
IDF Spokesman, Brigadier-General Moti Almoz, issued a direct warning to Hamas on Thursday, telling the terror group that the IDF was ready to up the ante and intensify its responses should the rocket attacks on southern Israel continue.
Early Thursday morning, Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft targeted a concealed rocket launcher, a weapons storage site and a center of terrorist activity in northern Gaza. The airstrikes came in retaliation for a rocket attack Wednesday night on the city of Ashkelon.
IDF Overnight Retaliation Following Gaza Rocket Attack
Students in the southern city of Ashdod whose schools are unprotected from rockets will stay home Friday, in light of fears of continued rocket fire out of Gaza.
Officials in Ashdod made the decision late Thursday, hours after a rocket was fired for the second straight night, setting off sirens in the nearby Ashkelon region.
Shalom will head an Israeli delegation to the World Future Energy Summit that is set for January 20-22 in Abu Dhabi.
The delegation will include two of Shalom’s advisors, several ministry officials, and some private sector representatives, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Israel and the UAE do not have formal diplomatic relations, and already strained ties were exacerbated after the UAE accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander engaged in the importing of weaponry to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, in a Dubai hotel room in 2010.
Korobkin declined to comment, but Jason MacDonald, the prime minister’s director of communications, slammed the NCCM — formerly known as the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR-CAN — for even making the suggestion.
“We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas,” MacDonald said.
“The delegation accompanying the prime minister to the Middle East includes a range of stakeholders from various business, religious and community organizations.”
Convoluted politics have made it difficult, if not impossible, for the trial to produce justice. Neither the Hariri camp, nor the Lebanese judiciary, nor even the international judiciary entrusted with the trial… is capable of producing real justice. It is unreasonable for four individuals to take responsibility for carrying out orders given from above,” reads the editorial.
But Al-Hayat columnist Hossam Ayatani believes that the trial nevertheless has “educational value.”
“This is the first time Lebanese and Arabs will hear the details of the assassination… from a judicial source that enjoys a minimum of competence and objectivity… no jokes, no puns and no fabrications.”
The positioning of journalists who flew to The Netherlands to cover the first session of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon reflects the division and the rift in the Lebanese society towards the trial of the alleged assassins of former premier Rafik Hariri as representatives of local media outlets checked into different hotels in The Hague and the municipality of Leidschendam, each according to their political views and their opinions on the works of the STL.
Iran and six world powers — the US, Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China — have reached a technical understanding to begin implementing an agreement to rollback Iran’s nuclear program.
The deal, coordinated by the European Union, aims to reassure the international community that Iran is not trying to develop a nuclear weapon. In exchange, Iran will see a six-month suspension in sanctions that have crippled its economy. During that period, negotiators will work to craft a comprehensive, final agreement.
Iran has gone on an execution binge in the past two weeks, hanging some 40 people, including 19 in one day, according to international human rights groups inside and outside of Iran.
Iran hanged a total of 19 prisoners on Tuesday, including one who was executed publicly, according to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC), which tracks the Islamic Republic’s flawed judicial system.
Walter Russell Mead: Critics of Israel Silent as Arabs Starve Palestinians
Radio silence reigns among Israel’s critics as Palestinians suffer brutality at the hands of pro-Assad forces in Syria. In the Palestinian refugee camp known as Yarmouk, near Damascus, residents are undergoing a campaign of forced starvation, as pro-regime forces are blocking the flow of food and medicine to the camp and firing on PLO trucks carrying much needed emergency supplies. Innocent children and elderly people with no possible connection to the conflict tearing apart Syria are among those who have died of hunger. Yarmouk’s population has dwindled from 160,000 to 18,000 since the civil war began.
The operation to remove Syria’s chemical arsenal has suffered another setback, with the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) saying Thursday that the removal and destruction of the most dangerous agents in Syria’s chemical arsenal will likely be delayed.
According to Reuters, OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu explained that the delay is due to security and logistical problems. At the same, he stressed that the final deadline of the end of June for eliminating all chemicals remains.
Rockets – and possibly shells – were fired from Syria into Lebanon Friday, landing in the Lebanese border town of Arsal, according to official state news.
The rockets have reportedly killed 7 and wounded at least 15.