The Mad Mullahs must be laughing hysterically every time they read a news article this week. The idiotic Western press has completely bought that the president–who was hand-picked by the Mullahs, as opposed to 600 other candidates who tried to run for the office, including women–is a moderate. If by “moderate” you mean “extremist”, well, then, yeah, he’s a moderate. And I’m the Pope. But even better, the new president, a.k.a. the new puppet of the mullahs, is now saying that he’s going to be on “the path of moderation”. And what is that “moderate” path? Well, he was a negotiator who helped Iran stall the process while working on obtaining nuclear weapons. He called for the execution of Iranian democracy protestors.
“The Iranian nation has done nothing to deserve sanctions. The work it has done has been within international frameworks . If sanctions have any benefits, they will only benefit Israel. They have no benefits for others,” he said.
Shyeah. That’s some change from Mad Mahmoud’s pronuncations that Israel is a “cancer” that must be “wiped from the map”. Gee, I wonder why Israel is skeptical of the new guy?
There’s a report that Iran will be sending 4,000 Iranian Guards into Syria to prop up Bashar al-Assad’s regime. There is also a report that Hassan Nasrallah’s brother has been killed in Syria.
The mullahs wanted him to win. He is not a moderate. He is a man who knows how to play the West, as Mad Mahmoud was not. He smiles at you and slips the dagger into your back as he embraces you. Reformist? No. Moderate? No. Dangerous? Yes.
I’ve been in Aunt Meryl Mode since yesterday noonish. My friends are out of town for their anniversary, and I have the two younger kids (11) under my roof while the older boys (17 and 14) spend the nights and days at home on their own. It’s been a busy couple of days. I worked a half-day today as well, and will work a full one tomorrow. But the kids will be heading home mid-morning or so.
We’ve watched a few movies, popped some popcorn, built a fort in my living room out of the sofabed, the exercise machine, a chair, and some blankets, and made a fair amount of mess. Oh, and since big brother was going to play D&D today, I picked up second-oldest and they asked me about my D&D books and accessories, so I dug them out and gave the three younger ones a fast lesson and set them a task. They were vastly amused, especially when second-oldest lost a charisma roll and nearly got beat up by a bar full of locals. I’ve forgotten so much, though… I forgot how freaking complicated the game used to be. And I seem to have lost a boatload of dice in the past couple of decades. Oh, well. You can’t go backwards. I’ll probably wind up giving the books and stuff to the kids. I don’t see any reason to hang onto it myself.
It’s been a busy and full couple of days. And yet, I’m sure I’m not going to enjoy the quiet for more than an hour or two before I start missing having kids in the house.
To read the New York Times, the election of Hassan Rowhani was a victory for the people of Iran. Thomas Erdbrink reported in Iran Moderate Wins Presidency by a Large Margin:
The cleric, Hassan Rowhani, 64, won a commanding 50.7 percent of the vote in the six-way race, according to final results released Saturday, avoiding a runoff in the race to replace the departing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose tenure was defined largely by confrontation with the West and a seriously hobbled economy at home.
Thousands of jubilant supporters poured into the streets of Tehran, dancing, blowing car horns and waving placards and ribbons of purple, Mr. Rowhani’s campaign color. After the previous election in 2009, widely seen as rigged, many Iranians were shaking their heads that their votes were counted this time.
“They were all shocked, like me,” said Fatemah, 58, speaking of fellow riders in the women’s compartment of a Tehran subway. “It is unbelievable, have the people really won?”
Similarly the Washington Post reports in Moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani wins Iran’s presidential vote:
This time, Iran’s Interior Ministry took no chances, releasing the official vote total in live updates, which showed a steady increase in Rouhani’s margin of victory over Ghalibaf.
Until last week, Ghalibaf was widely considered the front-runner, but he likely lost votes to fellow conservative candidate Jalili.
In the end, though, it did not matter, as Rouhani took a majority of the votes, which is already being viewed as a repudiation of not only the Ahmadinejad years but also the hold that conservatives have maintained over Iranian politics since 2005.
And further reported:
Rouhani probably will bring with him a cadre of more moderate diplomats, technocrats and nuclear negotiators who favor a more pragmatic foreign policy, said Trita Parsi, author of “A Single Roll of the Dice,” a book on the Obama administration’s dealings with Iran.
But whether the political shift leads to a deal to restrain Iran’s nuclear program depends on many factors, much outside the control of Iran’s new president, Parsi said.
“Ultimately the ball comes back to our side of the court,” Parsi said. “Neither side can break this impasse alone.”
Frankly, this is inexcusable. Trita Parsi isn’t a disinterested expert, but someone who actively advocates on behalf of the Iranian regime. (Whether or not he qualifies as a lobbyist for the regime seems to be a matter of some dispute.)
In this case, the New York Times was more cautious in predicting that Rouhani’s election would bring about change in Iranian policies than the Washington Post. Worse, the reporters for the Washington Post seemingly advocate for more American forbearance towards Iran.
Even if all of this is true, Barry Rubin points out:
Consider this: A stronger man and a more dedicated reformer and moderate than Rowhani, Muhammad Khatami, was president for eight years and did not accomplish a single reform under this regime.
Netanyahu: "15 years ago they said Khatami is moderate but nothing has changed. Iran will be judged by its action regarding nuclear program"
However, as Israeli journalist by Avi Issacharoff writes in “The Regime Wanted Him to Win”:
So how did a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts and Supreme National Security Council – and a confidant of Khamenei – become the “great hope” of the moderate camp? It may be the embrace he received from the two former presidents, Khatami and Rafsanjani, rivals to Khamenei, that put him into the reformist category.
“He never called himself a reformist,” explains Dr. Soli Shahvar, who heads the Ezri Center for Iran and Gulf Studies at Haifa University. “But he uses rhetoric that is less blustery than that of Ahmedinejad, and speaks more moderately, including on the subject of nuclear negotiations.” Shahvar’s conclusion with respect to Rouhani’s win is unambiguous. “I interpret his election in one way only: The regime wanted him to win. If they had wanted one of the conservatives to win, they would have gotten four of the five conservatives to drop out of the race, paving the way for [eventual runner-up, Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Bagher] Ghalibaf to win. But they didn’t do that. Moreover, it was the regime that approved the candidacy of Rouhani alongside only seven others. This is striking evidence that Khamenei wanted Rouhani to win, both internally and externally.”
According to Shahvar, from the internal perspective, a victory for another candidate like Ahmedinejad risked provoking a renewal of the demonstrations like those of 2009. “Victory for a candidate who is perceived as more moderate yet still has the confidence of Khamenei, serves the regime in the best way. Externally, Iran today is in a very difficult situation with regard to sanctions and its international standing. A conservative president would only have increased Tehran’s isolation in the world. A victory for someone from the ‘moderate stream,’ however, will immediately bring certain countries in the international community to call for ‘giving a chance to dialogue with the Iranian moderates.’ They will ask for more time in order to encourage this stream, and it will take pressure off the regime. And so we see that in the non-disqualification of Rouhani and especially in the non-dropping-out of four of the five conservative candidates there is more than just an indication that this is the result the regime desired.”
Rohani is being called a moderate, much as Rafsanjani has been in the past. Iranian moderates don't get past the Guardian Council.
A “reformer” winning a clear cut victory was probably the best case for Supreme Leader Khamenei. Someone who could put a more palatable face on the regime, could lead to the relaxing of sanctions. A clear victory meant no runoffs.
In the week before the election someone leaked and then denied that the Guardian Council – the body charged with vetting presidential candidates – was reconsidering Rouhani’s candidacy. What better way to buttress his reformist reputation?
Then two candidates, including the other “reform” candidate, Mohammed Reza Aref, dropped out of the race. Then there was one reformer, Rouhani.
In the end Rouhani was approved by the Guardian Council and did not stray so far as to be subjected to house arrest, like Mir-Hossein Mousavi four years ago. Is it really possible that Rouhani was not approved?
Finally, Rouhani won 50.7 percent of the vote. That isn’t even a full percent more that what was required to avoid a second round of voting. A second round of voting would have raised suspicions that the regime was trying to cheat him out of his rightful position.
If Rouhani is a true reformer, his election could spell real trouble for Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei. But that assumes that Khamenei isn’t the real power behind the presidency and that Rouhani is a true reformer. Evidence and experience suggest that neither is true and that the Khamenei got a friendly face to present his extreme agenda.
The White House’s statement suggests that this tactic has already met with success:
We respect the vote of the Iranian people and congratulate them for their participation in the political process, and their courage in making their voices heard. Yesterday’s election took place against the backdrop of a lack of transparency, censorship of the media, Internet, and text messages, and an intimidating security environment that limited freedom of expression and assembly. However, despite these government obstacles and limitations, the Iranian people were determined to act to shape their future.
The premise of this statement is that the Iranian voters demonstrated independence from Khamenei. In a sense, they did. But it couldn’t have happened if he didn’t allow it to happen.
Now what am I going to do about my Iran blogging? Mad Mahmoud, the Monkey Boy (really, look at that chimp face) is on the way out, and his replacement is–I’m told this by nearly every media source in the world–a “moderate”. Yes, that’s right, we’re back on that same old song. Benjamin Netanyahu is warning the world that nothing has really changed, as Iran’s president has no real power. This is the surprising lead of the AP story:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the international community on Sunday against easing sanctions on Iran following the election of a reformist-backed president, as the country’s nuclear efforts remain firmly in the hands of Iran’s extremist ruling clerics.
Netanyahu made the comments a day after the surprise victory by Hasan Rowhani in Iran’s presidential election was announced. Although Rowhani is considered a relative moderate and had the backing of Iranian reformists, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the ultimate authority on all state matters and key security policy decisions- including nuclear efforts, defense and foreign affairs — remain solidly in the hands of the ruling clerics and their powerful protectors, the Revolutionary Guard.
Netanyahu said that the Iranian clerics disqualified candidates they disagreed with from running in the election. He said the international community must not get caught in “wishful thinking” and ease the pressure on Tehran saying “Iran will be tested by its deeds.”
Note the way they get all the right information in the first three paragraphs? Wait for the updates and watch it drop.
The Russians and the international community are all pretending that there’s been some kind of change in Iran. The AP and the rest of the world media are all gaga about the “reformist” who is going to be the next president. Color me skeptical.
“We won’t let the past eight years be continued,” Rowhani told a cheering crowd last week in a clear reference to Ahmadinejad’s back-to-back terms. “They brought sanctions for the country. Yet, they are proud of it. I’ll pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace. We will also reconcile with the world.”
Let’s not forget that nobody ran for president without the blessing of the Iranian “supreme leader” Khameini. This guy isn’t a reformer in the sense that the world media is claiming him to be. Guaranteed he will toe the Israel line and the nuclear line. And here’s why:
The conservative daily Jomhuri Eslami said Rowhani’s choice is “Iran’s yes to moderation and no to extremism”.
Rowhani, it said, “sends the message that Iranians hate extremist thought and want moderation (as the policy) that runs the country”.
But it added that “moderate does not signify compromise with the dominant powers and forgetting rights of the Iranian people. The president must use reason and logic for recognising their rights”.
The “dominant powers” are the U.S. and the EU. And just in case you think I’m exaggerating, check out his background.
Nothing has changed, except the public face of Iran. And that’s the dangerous part. If everyone but Israel thinks that Iran now wants to negotiate on nukes, the Iranians will gain another year to work on developing nuclear weapons. I hold out no hope that the Obama administration, and the idiots at State, will see through this “reformist” ploy.
An AFP correspondent listed some of the activities the Islamic Jihad summer camp offers its enrollees: Weapons use, jumping over fire and crawling under barbed wire, all performed to the tune of exploding charges.
Aside from technical skills, camp organizers also promise religious lessons.
Several photographs released on Wednesday show a young khaki-clad vacationer, his face colored in camouflage, dragged by two gun-toting tykes from an “outpost” adorned with an Israeli flag, in what appeared to be a reenactment of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping.
ISLAMIC JIHAD SUMMER CAMP for kids. I remember swimming and campfires, not kidnappings but hey, bible camp anyone? http://t.co/jHIlAdcfqd
These terror camps have a long history, going back at least ten years. Fatah used to run them too. I wrote about them five years ago in a post titled Hello Martyr, Hello Fatah. This inspired Elder of Ziyon to produce a brilliant if disturbing video.
Can anyone in the Middle East show a workable way forward? Perhaps not. But I was encouraged by two conversations I had in recent days with leaders of Tunisia’s ruling Ennadha movement, founder Rachid Ghannouchi and former prime minister Hamadi Jebali. While neither could be confused with Thomas Jefferson, both appear to grasp some of the essential principles that the post-revolution Arab political movements — and in particular the Islamists — must internalize.
Ghannouchi, a white-haired 72-year-old who spent most of his adult life in exile or prison, may be the boldest and most progressive thinker among Islamists in power. He goes so far as to compare the history of Muslim countries to Europe in the Middle Ages. “We also have spent five to six hundred years in darkness, where the capacity for reason has stopped,” he said. This “heritage of decadence,” he said, has created an orthodoxy in which “punishment is the main part of sharia.” …
The two men boasted about concessions Ennadha has made in the prolonged negotiations over Tunisia’s new constitution, including the exclusion of sharia and the inclusion of a provision on freedom of conscience. Now in its fourth draft, the constitution remains unacceptable to many secularists and human rights groups: Among other things, vague language appears to open the way for controls on free assembly and the media. Ennadha has, however, refrained from Morsi’s tactic of ramming a final version through without secular support — even though the process is months behind schedule.
“For women’s rights also, the same thing goes. Of course I would like for us to write in the constitution that equality between man and woman is total and complete, but you cannot write this down in the constitution, because it would mean that Tunisian women would be able to marry Christians or Jews, and so forth. This would be a problem.
“So we would write down in the constitution that equality is the principle of the relationship between man and woman.
“We stop there. They understand what I mean, and I understand what they mean. If every political party imposed its point of view, then it would collapse.”
But “[t]hey understsand what I mean” is no guarantee. If a constitution is supposed to guarantee certain societal principles and those principles are not stated explicitly, there is little hope that the principles will endure. Marzouki’s saying that he cannot guarantee anything that the Islamists object to.
The difference in these two analyses stems from Diehl directly interviewing two savvy Islamists who were careful in what they said and Mahjar-Barducci quoting Marzouki in unguarded moments.
President Moncef Marzouki is being described as weak in the face of this Brotherhood takeover. A former human rights advocate, he is backing down to the Brotherhood’s al-Nahda Party, the largest party in the government. He has called the opposition “secular extremists” who are seeking to stage a coup, but he never criticizes the violent Salafists.
Note that his claiming the opposition seeks to seize power by force authorizes “regime defenders” to attack them by force. In fact, Marzouki threatened that opposition members who were trying to overthrow the government would be hung. He has threatened anyone criticizing Qatar — al-Nahda’s financier — with prison.
Unlike other Arab countries, however, the moderate democratic opposition is well-organized and has not been intimidated. Not yet, anyway.
Both Diehl and Rubin agree that of all the Arab countries, Tunisia is the most likely to produce an open society. But Diehl appears to be more optimistic about those possibilities.
The AP does it again. There simply is not a single thing that the AP can’t spin against Israel, especially when it comes to Netanyahu. Compare these two leads. First, the article that I presume was the original AP release:
In a defiant speech from the place that symbolizes the suffering of Jews during World War II, Israel’s prime minister warned on Thursday that the Jewish state will do everything to prevent another Holocaust and to defend itself against any threat.
Benjamin Netanyahu spoke during the inauguration of a new pavilion at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz that is to educate visitors about the Holocaust and the Nazis’ quest to exterminate Jews. Auschwitz, with adjacent Birkenau, was the most notorious in a system of death camps that Nazi Germany built and operated in occupied Poland.
Now the update, apparently after some of the editors decided that maybe, just maybe, they could make the article even more anti-Netanyahu.
Standing in front of a former prisoner block at the infamous Auschwitz death camp, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the world Thursday of not doing enough to stop the Holocaust and said Israel can only rely on itself to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.
The scathing speech marked the most dramatic point of a two-day visit to Poland, a trip that comes as Netanyahu urges the world to put forth a credible military threat against Iran and its burgeoning nuclear program.
Netanyahu has long linked the Holocaust with Iranian threats toward Israel, and has faced disapproval for doing so. In defiance of his critics, he clearly chose Auschwitz as the venue for his latest salvo because of its symbolic significance as the site of some of the worst crimes ever committed against the Jewish people.
Though he never mentioned Iran by name, he suggested that Israel faces dangers that parallel the Holocaust, when 6 million Jews were killed by Nazi Germany, using harsher language than he usually does.
How dare that Netanyahu mention the current Iranian threats against Israel in the same breath as the murder of a third of Europe’s Jewry? Why, you’d think he was the leader of the Jewish state, or something. You’d think that Iran has threatened multiple times to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, or something.
How does this crap get out there, day after day, week after week? Never mind, I know the answer to that question. The media is filled with Israel-haters, many of them working for the AP. Funny how the WaPo–and even the AFP and Reuters–managed to report on this without the anti-Bibi, anti-Israel spin. (Okay, maybe a little in the AFP piece.)
Let’s face it, the AP sucks. Too bad someone like Sheldon Adelson can’t buy it and put some real editors in charge.
the military from the island country of Fiji who will replace the Austrian peacekeepers on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) stationed on the Golan Heights.
The contingent will be made up of 300 soldiers representing one-twelfth of the Fijan armed forces.
Fiji has been involved in a peacekeeping role before. In 1996, Charles Krauthammer wrote about what Fiji’s earlier involvement in peacekeeping meant:
The Fijians episode is only the most recent demonstration of the uselessness of the U.N.’s acting on its own as peacemaker. The most dramatic and tragic demonstration of this truth occurred not in Lebanon, nor even Bosnia, but Rwanda, from which the U.N. withdrew last April after ignominiously standing by while the worst mass murder since World War II occurred right before its eyes.
These operations are a direct consequence of the grandiosity of a U.N. apparatus that refuses to acknowledge its unsuitability to any kind of active warfare, its dearth of military expertise, its abject lack of independence, and its fractured command and troop structure. It is a disgrace that these forces are deployed around the world in places where they do more harm than good.
An expensive disgrace. It costs the U.N. about $ 130 million a year to keep UNIFIL going. It has cost more than $ 2.5 billion since 1978. Why not withdraw the troops and give the money directly to war victims on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon frontier for reconstruction and compensation? And let the good Fijians go home.
What’s true for UNIFIL, where the UN’s soldiers did nothing to protect Israel is equally true for UNDOF. If the UNDOF troops served any purpose they wouldn’t be running at the first sign of trouble! In recent weeks rebels have kidnapped UNDOF peacekeepers and they’ve been the target of occasional gunfire. And of course the peacekeepers are doing nothing even as Syrian rebels threaten to “liberate” the Golan.
But trace the Nile about 1,400 miles upstream and there’s a rising colossus that threatens to upset a millennia-old balance. There, in the Ethiopian highlands, one of the world’s largest dams is taking shape.
For Ethiopia, the dam promises abundant energy and an escape from a seemingly permanent spot in the lowest rungs of the world’s human development index. But for Egypt, the consequences could be dire: a nationwide water shortage in as little as two years that causes crop failures, power cuts and instability resonating far beyond even the extraordinary tumult of the recent past. …
To Egyptians accustomed to thinking of their country as a powerhouse of the Arab world, the idea of bowing to a historically weaker African rival has been a sobering reminder of their nation’s diminished clout. It has also been an early test for the year-old government of President Mohamed Morsi — one that critics say he has badly mishandled.
By now you’ve probably read that the traffic mapping app, Waze is being sold to Google. But what’s especially interesting is why the reported deal with Facebook fell through:
What perhaps was different about Google’s offer was a willingness to allow Waze to return its own identity (as an R&D firm, regardless of what the company’s new owners do with the technology Waze is continuing to develop). As Waze CEO Noam Bardin put it in a blogpost announcing the sale (the post was published at the same time Google VP Brian McClendon announced the sale in his own blogpost): “Nothing practical will change here at Waze. We will maintain our community, brand, service and organization – the community hierarchy, responsibilities and processes will remain the same. Our employees, managers, founders and I are all committed to our vision for many years to come.” McClendon’s post also explicitly noted: “The Waze product development team will remain in Israel.” Part of that vision is keeping Waze independent – and in Israel. Waze executives, among them company President Uri Levine, have many times stated that they planned to keep the company here, and saw no reason to move elsewhere. According to a company source, Waze executives, anticipating a buyout at some point, long ago decided that they wanted to be sure employees were treated fairly if an acquisition took place.
(This writer says that keeping Waze in Israel was not a dealbreaker. However staying in Israel was important to Waze management.)
I always felt that I was fortunate enough to experience two paradises – Israel and America! I have a very close relationship to Israel. It is still a young country which has faced numerous difficulties in its short existence. However, I am hopeful that this nascent nation, despite its geographic location and problems both internally and externally, will continue to grow and be a positive force for good and democracy in the region.
If you’re not looking for these sentiments, you won’t find them. In much of the MSM, Israel is an object of scorn and derision. Those who condemn Israel, or are, at least, ashamed of it are considered the norm and worthy of attention. It’s nice to see that there is a perception of Israel uncontaminated by such influences.
Ireland is reportedly blocking efforts inside the European Union to formally blacklist Hezbollah as a terror organization. Britain recently initiated procedures to add the Iran-backed terror group to the E.U. blacklist, after Bulgarian officials linked Hezbollah to the July 2012 Burgas bombing that killed six civilians and a Cypriot court convicted a confessed Hezbollah member on terrorism-related charges. The U.S. has repeatedly called upon the E.U. to follow its example and ban the group, which has established deep roots on the Continent.
But when it comes to Israel, the world is more intent on preparring a final solution. In the farcically named UN Human Rights Council, 67 nations and organizations heartily approved the report of asylum escapee, Richard Falk, condemning Israel. In a just world someone like Falk would issue his statements from behind the walls of an institution, but in the topsy-turvey world of the UN he is a respected “Special Rapporteur.” Naturally, in this venue he received support from even the world’s worst rights abusers. Look at how they piled on.
During the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur, speakers condemned Israel’s persistent refusal to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and expressed concerns at the persistence of settlement activities and human rights violations, including restrictions on movement, arrests and harassment of Palestinians, and the particular effects on children. They highlighted the need to put an end to impunity for human rights violations. Speakers regretted the deterioration of the situation in Gaza due to the ongoing blockade and the loss of civilian lives. Some delegations echoed the proposal of the Special Rapporteur to investigate the activities of businesses connected with Israeli settlement activity. Others complained about the unbalanced mandate of the Special Rapporteur and the presence of political considerations in his report. Mr. Falk was accused of being anti-Semitic.
Speaking in the discussion were Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the European Union, Mauritania, Egypt, South Africa, Algeria on behalf of the Arab Group, Indonesia, Iceland, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Iran on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement, Iraq, Qatar, Cuba, Ecuador, Angola, Venezuela, Kuwait, Chile, Morocco, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Syria, Algeria, Turkey, Iran, Maldives, Zimbabwe, the United Nations Children’s Fund and Malaysia.
No, you didn’t misread. Syria – whose government has killed more than 80,000 over the past two years – and its patron, Iran (of the laughably named “non-aligned movement) sit in judgment of Israel in this venue. In the asylum that is the UN, this is hardly remarkable.
There were, however two speeches that weren’t anti-Israel and were, instead, indictments of the “human rights” establishment.
Mr. Falk, in the first page of your report, you attack my NGO and ask this Council to launch an investigation in order to shut us down.
Does your report allege a crime? No, you simply object to our words. We are the only watchdog at the UN, and we report what you say. In reprisal, you now seek to muzzle our voice, to avoid being held accountable.
The real issue is whether your work, conducted under the banner of human rights, actually exonerates and exculpates the perpetrators of terrorism.
And the world for the most part would not begrudge Israel keeping its forces on the Jordan River — as will be necessary given the instability beyond — if it ceded most of the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
Oh, and don’t forget Friedman’s other “if-then” fallacy here – that the world would allow Israel to keep the Jordan Valley as a buffer if only it would offer the Palestinian Arabs a state. Wasn’t that already offered and rejected?
The bolded phrase contradicts all of the Palestinian statements made about Israel keeping any soldiers in the West Bank. In point of fact, the Palestinians absolutely begrudge Israel a force on the Jordan.
Well, I do not know about the “world” but the Pals. would certainly not agree.
Friedman loves to pose as someone who understands simple truths that those in power (especially in Israel) fail to appreciate. But here he shows that he hasn’t been paying attention to the past twenty years of the peace process. Maybe in 1993 an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley was an accommodation would have made. It is no longer.
3) Soccer news
Despite efforts of anti-Israel activists to prevent it, Israel hosted this year’s UEFA (European soccer’s governing body) under 21 championship. Israel did not advance in the tournament. However, the Israeli team did win its final match in Jerusalem against England. Ofir Krieff, of the Israeli team, scored the game winning goal.
To score in the capital city, in my home town, in front of my home fans, is a fantastic feeling. We did a really good job. The credit goes to the team and not to me even though I scored. It’s all thanks to the great work of the staff and the players.
I think that we had a really good tournament overall. To win four points against these kind of teams is a big achievement. We had some criticism and it wasn’t always right. This team has a lot of potential and we proved it today against England which is nothing to take for granted.
When I scored I just thought that we had finally got the win after this hard work. The credit goes to Guy [Luzon]. It was highly important to finish with a good taste because of him and I’m happy that we gave him this goodbye present. “I wanted to run over to him but afterwards I saw nothing because everybody was all over me”.
This is a 20-year-old, after all, from a world far removed from the one he now inhabits as a professional footballer. Defender Twatha is from a Bedouin family, born and brought up in Jisr az-Zarqa, a coastal town in the north of Israel which did not even have a football pitch when he was growing up.
“We have only 13,000 people in Jisr,” the left-back explained to UEFA.com. “Jisr is a very poor town and when I was young there was no football there – not even a football field. I’m the youngest in my family. My eldest brother studies medicine in Italy. My other brother does the same but in Germany. My sister finished nursing school in Jordan. My father is the school principal and my mum is also a teacher. I’m the only one to have gone into professional sport.”
That he ended up playing UEFA Champions League football for Maccabi Haifa FC aged just 17 was the result, he says, of a serendipitous moment seven years earlier – namely, a random phone call from a family friend. “I tried gymnastics, tennis, karate, but only in the fifth grade did I start playing football. I had some luck because I was in the car with my dad one day when a friend of his saw a newspaper ad about a football school and phoned him about it. I interrupted the call and told him I wanted to go. Just a year later I moved to Maccabi Haifa.”
It was here on the wooded slopes of Latrun on Tuesday that Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, chose to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1967 war and to call for an end of Israeli occupation.
“I am sure many of you are asking why is Saeb Erekat bringing you to this point,” Mr. Erekat said to a group of diplomats and reporters as he stood against a backdrop of green fields, a reservoir and an Israeli settlement of red-roofed houses in the valley below.
“It is not because I want to demarcate the maps or finalize the negotiations,” he said, referring to the intensive efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry to get the Israelis and Palestinians to return to peace talks. “I just want to stand here and say, ‘It is 46 years later.’ ”
If nothing else, Mr. Erekat’s selection of Latrun spoke to the great distance between Palestinians and Israelis. Many Israelis consider Latrun to be an integral part of Israel. Drivers heading to either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem speed across the unmarked armistice lines along the main highway, slicing through several miles of West Bank territory and designated stretches of buffer zone, oblivious to the area’s fraught history.
The reporter tells us the obvious, but leaves out something else that is obvious. The Palestinians once again are seeking to “move the goalposts.” Erekat’s press conference was apparently the first move in a new campaign.
The ‘Palestinians’ have responded to US Secretary of State John FN Kerry’s pressure on Israel for concessions… by seeking even more concessions. The ‘Palestinians’ are now seeking two of Israel’s biggest tourist attractions: Mini Israel and the Latrun tank museum. In fact, they’re seeking the whole area around Latrun…
A favored Palestinian official gives a press conference and a reporter for the New York Times dutifully records his statements without explaining what he is doing. She simply writes, “here’s one more Palestinian that needs to be addressed by Israel,” and not “the Palestinians keep changing their demands.”
Erekat’s candor is in a sense quite commendable. Latrun is a potent symbol of the nature of the Israel that existed in those halcyon days before the obstacle to peace was the presence of Jews in the West Bank and in which a small state with indefensible borders and a capital that could be isolated with ease stood on the precipice of destruction as Arab armies began to mass on its borders. Erekat was sending a clear message to Israelis that if they thought the PA would ever accept the fact that the world had irrevocably changed in those 46 years they could just keep dreaming.
As Erekat well knows there now exists a broad consensus within Israel about the desirable nature of a two-state solution. That consensus includes Prime Minister Netanyahu and most of the members of his government. Indeed, even the Israeli right knows that if the Palestinians ever offered a complete end to the conflict and recognized the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders were drawn they would find the majority ready to make painful territorial sacrifices. But by laying down a marker on Latrun—a place that no Israeli in his right mind would ever consider leaving—Erekat was making it clear their real priority was not peace but an effort to merely continue the conflict on more advantageous terms.
Indeed, reminding Israelis of the Israel that existed from 1949 to 1967 is not exactly the way to reassure his ostensible peace partners of the PA’s good intentions. But of course what else can you expect of a peace negotiator that has boycotted peace talks for the past four and a half years?
Israel begged Jordan not to join the war. King Hussein convinced of Egypt’s early success against Israel joined in seeking to cut Israel in half. western Jerusalem was bombarded. Israel did not decide “we will dispossess the Palestinians” and seek war. War was forced on them and they fought to survive. Erekat wishes for the world to forget that.
If the Six Day War hadn’t happened… Would there be a Palestinian Arab state today on the West Bank and Gaza?
Perhaps that’s something that Erekat ought to consider. If Jordan hadn’t attacked Israel in 1967, would he now be an international celebrity for promoting Palestinian nationhood?
The rest of the New York Times article is a lament about how both sides are being unreasonable and how this mutual stubbornness will sink Jonh Kerry’s peace plan. When it’s one side that refused to negotiate and then changes the parameters of negotiations isn’t that the side that is uninterested in peace?
Who you gonna call? Israel! When the Austrian UN peacekeepers want to leave Syria safely, how do they do it? They cross the border into Israel. Really, why on earth wouldn’t Israel want the UN to administer a multinational Jerusalem, as they keep calling for? You can totally count on other nations to defend you. Just like they’re doing in Syria right now.
Watch the anti-Israel crowd leap all over this: A Pew study shows that Israel is less gay-friendly than most western nations. Imagine that. But when you dig down into the survey, you find this:
In Israel, where views of homosexuality are mixed, secular Jews are more than twice as likely as those who describe themselves as traditional, religious or ultra-Orthodox to say homosexuality should be accepted (61% vs. 26%); just 2% of Israeli Muslims share this view.
Guarantee that won’t make any of the news articles. Unless my Yahoo! News reader is catching this.
Yes, the Palestinians still trying to kill Israelis: The number of indictments for terrorism is up 20% in 2012. Israel’s security forces do a good job, but the Palestinians continue to try to murder Israelis–whether by bomb, knife, gun, or rock.
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