Archive for the ‘Palestinian’ Category

For Obama, No Higher Priority Than Arab-Israeli Peace

November 21, 2008

The election of Barack Obama to be the 44th president is profoundly historic. We have at long last been able to come together in a way that has eluded us in the long history of our great country. We should celebrate this triumph of the true spirit of America.

By Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski
The Washington Post

Election Day celebrations were replicated in time zones around the world, something we have not seen in a long time. While euphoria is ephemeral, we must endeavor to use its energy to bring us all together as Americans to cope with the urgent problems that beset us.

When Obama takes office in two months, he will find a number of difficult foreign policy issues competing for his attention, each with strong advocates among his advisers. We believe that the Arab-Israeli peace process is one issue that requires priority attention.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/2
0/AR2008112003008.html?hpid=
opinionsbox1

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Israeli Tanks Move into Gaza; Mortar, Rocket Fire from Palestinian Militants

November 18, 2008

Israeli tanks forged into the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, drawing mortar fire from Palestinian militants and intensifying violence that has chipped away at a tenuous cease-fire.

By IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writer

Israel and Hamas have been trading fire for two weeks after nearly five months of relative quiet. The June 19 truce is due to expire next month, and both sides might be trying to dictate more favorable terms in anticipation of the agreement’s renewal.

The Israeli military described the activity as “a routine operation to uncover explosive devices near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip.” It said two mortars were fired at troops, causing no injuries or damage.

Militant groups said they fired both mortars and rockets.

Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in a protest in Gaza ... 
Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in a protest in Gaza November 18, 2008. The rally on Tuesday was organized by the Hamas movement against the arrest of Hamas members by the security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA)

The tanks, backed by a bulldozer and military jeep, rumbled about a quarter-mile into the tiny seaside strip, residents and Gaza security officials said. Residents said they leveled lands along the border east of the city of Rafah. It was the first ground action in a week.

The tanks did not respond to the Palestinian fire.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081118/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_
palestinians;_ylt=AmVOQgaLgmgkAeryU5QHwYkUewgF

Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Says Wars Unlikely As World Watches Obama’s First Steps

November 18, 2008

The probability of a war between Israel and its enemies over the next year is low, military intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said Monday.

By The Associated Press
Jerusalem Post

 

Above: Military Intelligence Chief Maj. -Gen. Amos Yadlin.

Speaking Monday at Tel Aviv University, he said the world is waiting to see how the financial crisis plays out, and how the new US administration deals with the threat from Iran. He said Iran is Israel’s main threat, calling it “the regime with radical ideology and radical weapons.”

Yadlin surmised that Syria might make peace with Israel, but only if Israel gives in to all Syria’s demands, though even then, Syria would not cut ties with terror groups.

On the Israelן-Palestinian conflict, Yadlin said that Israel could deal with two entities, working toward peace with Fatah in the West Bank while confronting Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.

Last month, Yadlin told the cabinet that if Israel’s indirect talks with Syria were aimed at testing whether it might be possible to pull Damascus out of Iran and Hizbullah’s orbits, then so far the test had failed.

Despite the talks, not only has Damascus not lessened its cooperation with Hizbullah, it has actually stepped up its relationship with the organization.

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What, exactly, can Israel expect from the Obama presidency?

November 8, 2008

It was the signature line of the Obama campaign, a line that said nothing but signified everything: “Yes, we can.”

It was a line that US President-elect Barack Obama, preacher-like, majestically weaved through his early campaign speeches; a line he used as a refrain to build up, crescendo-like, to the conclusion of his victory speech.

US President-elect Barack Obama speaks to the press in Chicago. ... 

It was a line that appeared in blue placards by the thousands at Obama rallies and that was put to music in a video featuring A-list celebrities.

And now, with the election come and gone and the long, arduous campaign finally over, millions of Americans and people from around the world will be asking, “So, nu, can we?” Or, more accurately, “Can he?” Can he really, as promised, change the system, repair the world and transform the way Washington does business?

Israel is one place where that question is being asked with particular interest and concern, simply because our fate and the fate of the US are so intertwined. Here government officials and the average Rafi will be asking – each in their own way – the question of moment: Can we count on Obama?

By Amir Mizroch and Herb Keinon
The Jerusalem Post

In other words, first of all, can we count on maintenance of the current level of US support and assistance?

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Bush’s successor faces Mideast conflicts

October 19, 2008

By Joshua Mitnick
The Washington Times

TEL AVIV | The next U.S. president will inherit two live tracks of Arab-Israeli negotiations and may find himself weighing in on internal Palestinian politics as well.

Though experts believe that the global financial crisis will knock the Arab-Israeli conflict down on the new administration’s priority list, both U.S. candidates have promised to continue the elusive search for Middle East peace.

A deadline set by the Bush administration for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord by the end of this year is widely considered to be unachievable. The next president will decide whether to extend the negotiating framework inaugurated by President Bush last year, try something new or put the process on the back burner.

While there has been a lull in Israeli-Palestinian fighting, political conditions for an accord are far from ideal. The Israeli government is in transition, while the Palestinian Authority remains weak and at odds with a breakaway Hamas-led regime in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, there has been only modest progress on confidence-building measures such as relaxing Israeli military restrictions and boosting the Palestinian economy.

Will the new U.S. president choose to invest precious political capital on a diplomatic long shot?

Ignoring the problem risks giving a moral victory to Hamas, Hezbollah and their Iranian allies, who will point to expanding Israeli settlements and the Israeli separation barrier as evidence that a Palestinian state in the West Bank is an illusion.

“Time is kind of running out. Things are getting worse. We’ve got to do something about the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Steven Cook, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. On the other hand, he said, “Why would he [the next president] want to get involved with something so hopeless?”

Neither Democrat Barack Obama nor Republican John McCain has specified how they would reinvigorate the peace process. Instead, the candidates have offered differing views of the regional consequences of not resolving the conflict which hint at the priority each might place on pushing forward negotiations.

Mr. Obama has spoken more emphatically about the urgency of a resolution, describing the status quo as “unsustainable.” Echoing the views of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Obama…

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct
/19/bushs-successor-faces-tough-choices-in-mideast/

Taking cue from Hezbollah, Hamas honing fighting force

April 21, 2008

By Joshua Mitnick
The Washington Times
April 21, 2008

TEL AVIV — Israeli analysts say a series of strikes against Israeli outposts on the border with the Gaza Strip indicates Hamas has improved its fighting capability, aspiring to repeat Hezbollah’s successes in Lebanon.
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Palestinian militants have launched five attacks on or near Israeli-run border crossings into Gaza in less than two weeks. Thirteen soldiers were injured Saturday in a car bombing at the Kerem Shalom crossing, a few days after three soldiers were killed in an ambush on the Palestinian side of the border near the Nahal Oz crossing.

Palestinians carry the body of Hamas militant Mohammed Abdelrahman, ...
Palestinians carry the body of Hamas militant Mohammed Abdelrahman, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike on Saturday, during his funeral in the northern Gaza Strip April 20, 2008. Israeli air strikes killed five Hamas gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, hours after militants from the Islamist group drove bomb-laden vehicles into an Israeli border crossing.REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah (GAZA)

“We’ve never seen anything like this attack since the disengagement” from Gaza in 2005, said Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant after the Saturday attack. “Its purpose was mass killing and the kidnapping of soldiers.” The attacks on the Israeli crossing terminals along the fence, say observers, are designed to draw attention to Israel economic blockade around the Gaza Strip, which has been all but sealed by Israel.
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Israeli officials claim that by targeting crossing terminals, which transmit humanitarian and basic supplies, Hamas is cynically worsening the hardship of the blighted economy of 1.4 million people.
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However, observers in Gaza say residents generally support the attacks.
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Hezbollah is seen as the Arab world’s one fighting force that has succeeded against Israel’s army where national militaries have failed, having forced Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000 and fought Israel to a draw in the 2006 war in Lebanon.
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Hamas, which Israel says has sent military officers to Hezbollah-patron Iran for training, has increased its fighting force and organized it into regional brigades with disciplined soldiers.

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080421/FOREIGN/675664175/1001

Citizen Carter’s ego trip

April 20, 2008

By Oliver North
The Washington Times
April 20, 2008

Your strength can compensate for my weakness, and your wisdom can help to minimize my mistakes.

Jimmy Carter, Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1977

More than 31 years after he uttered those words, America is still trying to compensate for and minimize Mr. Carter’s mistakes and weaknesses — the greatest of which appears to be hubris. This week, our much-traveled 39th president ventured as a “private citizen” to the Middle East on a self-described mission “exploring possibilities for peace.”
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Regrettably, what citizen Mr. Carter has succeeded in doing is to encourage our nation’s adversaries, lend credibility to terrorists who have killed our countrymen and disparaged a beleaguered ally.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, right, is greeted by Jordanian ... 
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, right, is greeted by Jordanian foreign Ministry secretary general Khaldoun Talhoni, left, at Queen Alia International airport in Amman, Jordan, Sunday, April 20, 2008. On his Middle East tour Carter has met exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in the Syrian capital despite strong opposition from Israel and the White House. (AP Photo/Jamal Nasrallah. Pool)

Mr. Carter’s current sojourn in personal diplomacy is just his most recent foreign foray in post-presidential folly since being voted out of office in Ronald Reagan’s 1980 landslide. During his global quest for relevance, he rarely missed an opportunity to denigrate our country’s interests, helping him to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. But this week’s expedition to Jerusalem, the West Bank, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia may prove to be the most damaging excursion yet.
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Despite his claims, Mr. Carter is no “neutral observer.” In June 1994 the former president went to Pyongyang to broker a failed nuclear disarmament deal with North Korean despot Kim Il-jung. In 2002, he deigned to dignify the brutal, bearded butcher of Havana — Fidel Castro. While in the “island paradise” he disparaged America’s commitment to human rights and praised Cuba’s education and health-care systems.
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In 2006, he and his self-appointed “impartial arbiters” declared “legitimate” the Palestinian elections that brought Hamas to power in Gaza. Later that same year in his book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” — he declared “Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land.”

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20080420/
COMMENTARY06/694546727/1012/COMMENTARY

Multidimensional Chess

March 28, 2008

By Arnaud de Borchgrave
The Washington Times
March 28, 2008

To understand the chasm between mainstream media and the blogosphere, Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” is a helpful guide. Tweedledum and Tweedledee, they are not. But they are frequently fact and factoid (an invented fact taken to be true because of its appearance in print). And many blogs have achieved the status of print since countless millions get their news online. The average age of a newspaper reader is 55. Onliners? Try 30.
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Sen. John McCain and his independent (formerly a Democrat) fellow traveler Sen. Joe Lieberman wound up their most recent Mideast foray in Israel where the Republican candidate for the presidency got a little help from the man widely tipped to be his choice for vice president in adjusting his yarmulke. .
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For many Middle East bloggers, the yarmulke gesture was proof Mr. McCain would be even less inclined than President Bush to coax/cajole/pressure Israel into the kind of concessions that would make a Palestinian state possible.
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Mr. McCain also fueled the speculation when he said Jerusalem was to remain the indivisible capital of the Jewish state and Israel must not be asked for anything that might jeopardize its security. Without a Palestinian capital in Arab East Jerusalem, no Palestinian leader could sign a peace agreement — and expect to stay alive.

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (L) speaks to U.S. Republican ... 
Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (L) speaks to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain following a meeting with France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace, in Paris March 21, 2008.
REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer (FRANCE)

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080328/COMMENTARY/384798343

Russia to supply Abbas with armored vehicles, no guns

March 21, 2008

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – After months of delay, Russia agreed to Israeli conditions regarding the delivery of armored vehicles to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas‘s security forces, Israeli officials said on Friday.

Israel agreed in November to allow the Palestinians to receive up to 50 lightly armored vehicles but a dispute emerged over a Palestinian demand that they have guns mounted on them.

Israeli officials said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during a meeting on Thursday that Russia agreed to shipping the vehicles without mounted guns.

It was unclear when the vehicles would be delivered to Abbas’s forces.

“We have been hearing about these armed vehicles for more than a year,” said a Palestinian security official. “Hopefully we will be able to receive the shipment.”

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080321/ts_
nm/palestinians_israel_russia_dc_2

Cheney In Baghdad

March 17, 2008

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Vice President Dick Cheney, an architect of the U.S-led invasion of Iraq, made an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Monday, just days before the fifth anniversary of the war.

Vice President Dick Cheney swept into Baghdad on an unannounced ...
Vice President Dick Cheney departs from Andrews Air Force Base.  Cheney swept into Baghdad on an unannounced visit Monday, looking to highlight security gains and promote elusive political progress days before the war enters its sixth year.(AFP/Paul J. Richards)

Cheney, who last visited Baghdad in May, made Iraq the first stop of his nine-day Middle East tour that will also take him to Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, the Palestinian territories, Turkey and Oman.

He arrived amid an upsurge in violence since January, including a number of suicide bombings that the U.S. military has blamed on al Qaeda.

General David Petraeus
ABC News reported that Vice President Cheney was meeting with the General in the Green Zone for a “classified briefing.”

But military commanders say this does not represent a trend and that attacks are actually down 60 percent from the middle of last year.

Cheney, a strong supporter of sending an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Iraq last year, has warned critics that a premature U.S. withdrawal would spark chaos and further bloodshed.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080317/pl_nm/iraq_
cheney_dc_2

in a photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, Vice President Dick ...
In a photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, Vice President Dick Cheney, center, is seen at Baghdad’s Sather Air Base visiting U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, Monday, March 17, 2008.
(AP Photo/U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. And y Dunaway)

The New York Times reported:
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Cheney landed at Baghdad International Airport, then flew by helicopter into the dusty, heavily secured Green Zone for talks with U.S. military and diplomatic officials and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. It is Cheney’s third vice presidential trip to Iraq where 160,000 American troops are deployed and the U.S. death toll is nearing 4,000.

Cheney’s first meeting was a classified briefing with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq who met him at the airport. Crocker and Petraeus are scheduled to travel to Washington next month to give a status report on the war.

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http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Cheney.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin