Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Anne Bayefsky: Obama Using the UN to Bully Israel

For Immediate Release:
July 31, 2013
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This article by Anne Bayefsky originally appeared on

The UN made me do it. That’s how Obama officials are explaining Secretary Kerry’s intense efforts to move Israel onto the front burner, and shove over the bloody turmoil immediately affecting millions of Israel’s neighbors and the imminent catastrophe of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Speaking to reporters on July 30, 2013, senior officials said the administration was seeking “to avoid a train wreck” at the United Nations. “Throughout the course of this year Palestinians have been making clear that if they couldn’t see progress on the peace front, their intention would be to seek other elevations of their status…at the UN.” “A new dynamic vis-à-vis the United Nations,” was driving the immediacy for renewed talks.

Arlene Kushner on The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks: Bad News -- And Worse

From Arlene Kushner:
July 31, 2013

Morally Repugnant

That Netanyahu agreed to release 104 Palestinian Arab prisoners was widely broadcast publicly -- starting with a letter to the Israeli public by the prime minister himself.  Heartache and fury, but no secret here.

However, release of the prisoners was only one of the three major demands of Mahmoud Abbas -- the others being agreement to begin negotiations on the basis of the '67 lines, and freezing of building beyond the '67 line, i.e., in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.  And we have pretty solid information that building will be slowed, if not terminated all together.  Actually, already has been slowed.

But what about beginning negotiations based on the '67 line?  This is a question -- of more than a little significance -- that has consumed me and many others.  Although definitive answers are next to impossible to come by.  

Yesterday I spoke with several persons connected with relevant government agencies and drew a "no comment" about the basis for negotiations.  Someone from the Foreign Ministry told me candidly, "We've put a fog out over everything."  Indeed.  He "explained" that "this increases the chances of success."  I didn't tell him that I thought what this really does is increase the government's ability to prevent the electorate from finding out something that it doesn't want us to know.  As well as stimulate the rumor mill.

So there is enormous anxiety and unease.  A terrible thing when trust in the government has been destroyed, but that's where we are.


Media Rules of the Game: Why Israel is Always Wrong

With renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs starting this week in Washington, opinions are already be offered about what the outcome will be.

And the consensus is that these talks will fail.

If true, the question is why they are destined to fail -- and over time, it appears that there is a consensus about that too.

As a friend pointed out to me, when Abbas said no in 2008 or Arafat said no in 2000, the media analysis goes into great detail in order to show that the offer being made to the Arabs was not really as generous as advertised.

Mideast Media Sampler 07/30/2013: Does Kerry Know Palestinians Were Supposed To Reject Terrorism 20 Years Ago?

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

John Kerry rejects a basic premise of the peace process

The past two days has seen the reporting on the beginning of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

First there was the reporting on the Israeli concession that made the talks possible. The New York Times reported Netanyahu agree to free 104 Prisoners:
An Israeli government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said many of those who remained in Israeli jails, like the 104 now chosen for early release, had been involved in particularly gruesome acts.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pat Condell Dedicates Video To Enthusiastically Thank Those Who Block Him in "Who's Afraid of Free Speech"

Pat Condell thanks those who got YouTube to take down one of his videos as well well as those who brought his website down.

In the process, we learn a thing or two about Condell and his videos -- and about those who anonymously try to block him.

Here is the video:

What Is The Foundation Of An ObamaPeace Between Israel and The Palestinian Arabs

Remember that Kerry's last Middle East negotiations was when he thought he would easily wean away Syria's dictatorship from Iran.
Barry Rubin

Barry Rubin writes that Now We Know The Truth: What's Behind U.S. "Peace Process" Policy.

And what is behind Obama's Middle East peace policy?

One of the key rationales given, as noted in the New York Times, for the excessive attention given to Israel at the expense of the actual flashpoints in the region is that the US cannot afford to ignore Israel and the Palestinian Arabs and wait on the sidelines:
With the Palestinians poised to take their claim for statehood to the International Criminal Court and United Nations bodies, American officials say the two sides were facing a downward spiral in which the Israelis would respond by cutting off financing to the Palestinian territories and European nations might curtail their investment in Israel, further isolating the Israelis.
Rubin analyzes the various points that we learn from this statement.

Defeating Islamists: Breaking Them or Taming Them?

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here by permission:

What to Want in Egypt

by Daniel Pipes
July 29, 2013
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

MEQ Summer: Human Rights Watch Protects the Arab Tyrants

The following by Gerald M. Steinberg is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Human Rights Watch Protects the Arab Tyrants

by Gerald M. Steinberg
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2013, pp. 49-58 (view PDF)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mideast Media Sampler 7/29/13: New York Times Still Hearts Iran's Hassan Rouhani

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

Getting to sort of know you

The New York Times published a rousing tribute to incoming Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, President-Elect Stirs Optimism in Iran and West. The profile starts with an anecdote:
Bogged down in faltering nuclear talks with the European powers nearly 10 years ago, Hassan Rouhani did something that no Iranian diplomat before or since has managed to do.

Arlene Kushner on Opposing Netanyahu's Releasing Palestinian Terrorists

From Arlene Kushner:
July 29, 2013

Those Talks

Before I write about "those talks," I want to return to the matter of the Palestinian Arab prisoner release approved by the Cabinet yesterday at the strong-arm prodding of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

This entire incident signals for me a time for activism.  Those of us who care deeply about this issue must not be silent.  From time to time I've asked my readers to participate in activism by way of sending messages to members of our government.  And I'm asking it here, more extensively than I ever have before. 

If you care, truly care. If you are alarmed. And angry. And saddened.  Please, work with me here so that our voices can begin to be heard.

Raymond Ibrahim: Islam on Cows, Horses, Camels and Women

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Islam on Cows, Horses, Camels and Women

Arlene Kushner On Israeli Knesset Approval of Netanyahu's Release of Palestinian Terrorists

From Arlene Kushner:
July 28,2013


Shame, and grief and fury.  Just a part of what I am feeling right now in response to the decision of the Cabinet late today to release 104 Palestinian Arab prisoners as a "gesture" to the PA so that they will come to the table.

Yet, my friends, I am hardly alone in this response. Yesterday, I cited the poll indicating that a huge majority (85%) of Israelis was opposed to what their prime minister has just done.  There are many feeling shame, and grief and fury.

And I thought it important to send this out tonight and tell everyone that Binyamin Netanyahu and the Cabinet that caved under his pressure do not represent all of us.  Not by a long shot.  Nor is it our intention to remain silent.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Arab World Waits For US To Take Lead On Syria -- And Take The Fall When All Hell Breaks Loose

The following by Gary C. Gambill is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Waiting for Captain America

by Gary C. Gambill
National Post
July 26, 2013

In April, Jordan's King Abdullah came to Washington and passionately urged the United States to become "captain of the team" supporting Syrian rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad. Though he got his wish with the Obama administration's June 13 announcement that it will begin providing direct military aid to the Free Syrian Army, the diminutive monarch has a strange understanding of teamwork. When the Los Angeles Times subsequently published an article detailing how CIA instructors were on the ground in Jordan training rebels, the king's prime minister told reporters straight-faced that there is "no training … whatsoever of Syrian opposition forces" in Jordan, and insisted that his government is "not interfering in the incidents under way in Syria."
The rebels' other major Arab sponsors display similar duplicity.

Israel Puts Its Foot Down and Stands Up To The EU's Arbitrary Guidelines

After the EU released its guidelines for denying funding for groups and organizations with connections with Judea and Samaria (West Bank), suggestions were put forward for what Israel should do in response.

The Jewish Press offered ideas for How the EU Will Reverse Itself, in Three Easy Steps

Daniel Pipes On Why This Release of 104 Terrorist Differs From Previous Ones

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Thoughts on the Release of 104 Palestinian Murderers

by Daniel Pipes
July 27, 2013
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

Israeli leaders have a long history of making lopsided trades with their Arab enemies. These include:
  • 1985 – 1,150 prisoners for 3 captured Israelis
  • 2000 – 450 Arab prisoners for 3 Israeli bodies and a kidnapped Israeli;
  • 2008 – 5 Arab prisoners (including the psychopath Samir al-Kuntar) and 199 Arab bodies for 2 Israeli bodies;
  • 2011 – 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Schalit.
Samir Kuntar
Samir Kuntar on arrival in Lebanon Credit: AFP
Photo did not appear in original article
I strenuously opposed these unbalanced exchanges (e.g., the Schalit one), even as I acknowledged the honorable Israeli intent not to abandon soldiers.

Arlene Kushner on Israel's Action To Penalize EU In Response To Anti-Israel Guidlines

From Arlene Kushner:
Motzei Shabbat (after Shabbat)

"A Good Move and a Very Bad One"

How refreshing to be able to report on a minister who has taken a stand that reflects a strong Israel:

Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon has ordered a cessation of all cooperation with the EU in area C of Judea and Samaria.  The IDF will neither grant new permits nor renew existing permits for EU construction projects in Area C (where Israel has full civil and military control).

Friday, July 26, 2013

John Kerry Confers Statehood On Palestinian West Bank

Of course, as far as anybody knows, Kerry may have had in mind to make Gaza into an independent country as well.

Barry Rubin writes Kerry's Blunder: A Palestinian State? Not Yet:
Secretary of State John Kerry doesn’t seem to grasp his job. Now he has referred to Palestine as a country already. He said:

Video: The Attempt To Establish An Islamist State in Syria -- And Its Impact on Israel and The Region

"Syria is drawing thousands of global jihad activists and radical Muslims from the region and the world who are basing themselves in the country, not only to overthrow (President Bashar) Assad, but also to promote the vision of an Islamic state...right before our eyes a center of global jihad is developing on a scale that may affect not only Syria and the borders of the State of Israel, but also Jordan and Sinai" - IDF Military Intelligence Chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi

Middle East expert Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi talks to The Wiesenthal Center about the ramifications of the war in Syria that go beyond just trying to overthrow Assad -- and the impact on Israel, Turkey, Lebanon and the region in general.

Video: Latma Looks At Israel - Palestinian Peace Talks

Two videos.

First, Latma looks at the reservations Palestinian prisoners have for the prospects for peace, while Netanyahu reveals his Plan 'B' for the peace talks.

Here is the first video:

Somehow I missed the video that came out over the 4th of July weekend.
Here it is now:

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Arlene Kushner on Netanyahu's Preparation For The Peace Talks -- And Other News

From Arlene Kushner:
July 26, 2013

"From One Thing to the Next"

Very often mid-summer is a quiet time. But that's sure not the case this year.  I find myself prioritizing news events in order to decide what to write about in the time I have...

Prime Minister Netanyahu is very busy these days "preparing" for "peace negotiations," which, given the dubious status of the situation, leaves me scratching my head in confusion. 

But that's just figuratively -- a way of saying that it seems strange.  Because I think I have it (i.e., him) figured out.

Renewed Israel-Palestinian Peace Talks Seemed Destined To Benefit Obama and Abbas -- But Not Israel

Barry Rubin writes about the apparent fact that on Tuesday, Israel-Palestinian Peace Talks To be Renewed in Washington
No doubt the renewal of talks will be greeted as a major achievement. It isn't. If two parties are forced to talk they are unlikely to succeed. Other motives are present.

Israel is being pressured by an Obama Administration which it doesn't trust, under highly threatening regional developments.
Rubin notes that among the items pressuring Israel are:

Raymond Ibrahim on Media Minimization of Jihadist Beheadings in Syria

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Syria's Graphic Beheading Videos

by Raymond Ibrahim
July 18, 2013

Raymond Ibrahim
Raymond Ibrahim
Based on a widely circulated video and statements from the Vatican, it was believed that Fr. Francois Murad, a Catholic Syrian priest, was recently beheaded in Syria. It was not long before others "vigorously denied" the story, saying that the Christian priest was actually shot dead. And now that's fast become the "big" news. For example, according to the Telegraph, "The footage, said to show Father Francois Murad, 49, as the victim in a brutal summary execution by foreign jihadists is likely to be an older video that bares no relation to the death of the Catholic priest. Father Murad 'died when he was shot inside his church' in the northern Syrian Christian village of Ghassaniyeh on June 23, three separate local sources, who did not wish to be named, told the Telegraph."
So apparently that makes it better?

Mideast Media Sampler 7/24/13: Jeffrey Goldberg On Kerry's Israel-Palestinian Peace Talks

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

In the peace process nothing can be said to be certain, except Israeli confidence measures and blaming Israel for failure

I agree with one aspect of Jeffrey Goldberg's, Kerry's Mideast Fool's Errand Ignores Reality. The title. Much of the rest of it is out of date, or simply wrong.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

MEQ 2008 -- Efraim Karsh: Did Edward Said Really Speak Truth to Power?

The following by Efraim Karsh is reposted here with permission of  Middle East Forum:

Did Edward Said Really Speak Truth to Power?

by Efraim Karsh and Rory Miller
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2008, pp. 13-21

Exceptions Reveal That EU Guidelines Against Israel Have Nothing To Do With International Law

Eugene Kontorovich
Prof. Eugene Kontorowich
In his latest article, law professor Eugene Kontorovich notes that the new EU guidelines imposing restrictions on Israel in Judea and Samaria in fact have nothing to do with international law -- leading him to explain What the EU rules are about – and what they are not

The EU guidelines are based on the expected errors and misconceptions

  • It assumes Israel is "occupying" Judea and Samaria (West Bank)-- this despite the illegitimacy of the Jordanian rule that preceded it.

MEQ Summer 2013 Article: Islam, Muslims, and the 2012 Election

The following by David J. Rusin is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Islam, Muslims, and the 2012 Election

by David J. Rusin
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2013, pp. 21-35 (view PDF)

Arlene Kushner Parses Netanyahu's Statement: Is He Going To Make More Concessions?

From Arlene Kushner:
July 23, 2013

What Netanyahu Said

Before I pick up on my theme for today, I want to share this from a Reuters piece:
"Israelis and Palestinians played down on Monday the prospects of their envoys meeting in Washington any time soon, and the White House said getting the two sides to agree to a peace deal remained an 'enormous challenge.'"
Can we breathe easy yet? 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mideast Media Sampler 7/23/13: Tracing How EU Finally Blacklisted Hezbollah Terrorists

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

Europe vs. Hezbollah
Yesterday, the European Union’s foreign minsters voted unanimously to designate Hezbollah’s “military wing” a terrorist organization. This will give European nations the authority to disrupt the organization’s finances.

The vote required unanimity and it was a long time in coming.

Kerry's Proposed Talks: Is This Any Way To Conduct A Peace Process?

Barry Rubin writes that the incompetence underlining Kerry's attempt to get the Abbas regime to agree to talk peace with Israel is Foreign Policy Farce: U.S. Conduct of Israel=Palestinian Peace Process
The United States of America officially announced the resumption of negotiations when they are nowhere near arranged. The mass media breathlessly followed each claim and got it WRONG.
Indeed, instead of the media reporting the facts

The European Union Ignores All Other Occupations and Middle East Firestorms -- But Dictates Borders To Israel

In light of the European Union's ban on funding and cooperation with Israeli institutions operating in the "occupied territories," Douglas Murray asks the obvious question "Occupied Territories": What About Cyprus, Kashmir, Tibet?

After all, there is the occupations by China of bordering Tibet, Pakistan of bordering Kashmir as well as Morocco of the Western Sahara -- none of which prevents the EU from having full diplomatic and trade relations with these countries without a whimper or tear for the occupied.

Then there is Turkey's occupation of Cyprus.
Of course, what makes the EU's latest double-standard even more delicious is that the occupied island of Cyprus is actually a member of the EU. As such, shouldn't it surely command the most detailed and persistent attention from the international body?

Yet this is not so. The northern part of Cyprus has been illegally annexed for the last four decades by Turkey. It is not as though Turkey shares a border with the island. Nor does it have -- as Israel has with the West Bank -- any legitimate historical, political or other territorial claims on the northern part of the island. There is no security reason for Turkey to sustain its occupation, as there is an obvious need for Israel to have defensible borders that do not permit terrorists from the West Bank to fire rockets into Israel, as do its friends in post-disengagement Gaza or southern Lebanon.

But unlike Israel and the West Bank, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus is not even a disputed matter. It was certainly not some understandable territorial gain made after aggressive war waged by Greece. It was outright theft -- an annexation: state terrorism. The entire international community recognizes it as such. Yet in 2013 not only is Turkey not an enemy of the EU, and not only is it a country which enjoys complete diplomatic and trade relations with the EU, it is a country which many leading members and officials of the EU actually want to promote into a full member-state of the EU. [emphasis added]
Catherine Ashton
European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton. EU guidelines to Israel:
must be a slow day in the Middle East Credit: Wiki Commons

Indeed, the brazenness of the EU in dictating borders to Israel, relieving the Abbas regime of having to fulfill its obligation to negotiate them is exceeded only by its complete apathy for the fate of Cyprus:
Into the fifth decade of Turkish occupation of Cyprus, there is still no serious dictating by the EU to Turkey over what it must do about northern Cyprus. Turkey does not find itself under even the most remote international pressure finally to disengage from its illegal occupation of the northern part of Cyprus. And that is because for some inexplicable reason the EU does not consider it imperative that Turkey should disengage from the illegal occupation of an EU member state. It does not consider that the future of any region depends on this action. Yet it does persist, even now, with its view that it can dictate to Israel about its borders. And that it can have a constructive role in doing so. Of all the fallacies of the EU, that is surely the topmost.
Read the whole thing.

With 100,000 dead in Syria, Egypt in chaos, the potential for Hezbollah in Syria to ignite a Shiite-Sunni clash in the region -- the EU barges in on an issue which will do nothing to quell any of these firestorms.

Just one more indication of the failure of the European Union.

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Mideast Media Sampler 7/22/13: Iran Takes Break From Public Stonings To Demand Justice for Trayvon

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

1) The Executioners Demand Justice

Perhaps one of the oddest stories appearing yesterday was Iran's Mullahs Demand Justice for Trayvon.

According to the semi-official Iranian website Press TV:
“The acquittal of the murderer of the teenage African American once again clearly demonstrated the unwritten, but systematic racial discrimination against racial, religious and ethnic minorities in the US society,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Araqchi said.

He noted that the court ruling has also seriously put under question the fairness of the judicial process in the United States.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Arlene Kushner on Martin Indyk's Key Role If Kerry's Israel-Palestinian Talks Do Happen

From Arlene Kushner:
July 22, 2013

A Bit More Clarity

There is bad news, my friends, and good news.  I am going to start with the bad because it is imperative that it be noted.  I don't want to leave this to the end of my posting:
There are reports -- as yet unconfirmed by the Obama administration or Kerry specifically -- that Martin Indyk will be playing a "key role" in Israeli-Palestinian Arab negotiations.
Martin Indyk
Credit: MSNBC
And THAT is very bad news.

From MEQ 2000: Land For Peace: The French Solution (Satire)

The following by Steven Plaut is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Land for Peace: The French Solution

by Steven Plaut
Middle East Quarterly
June 2000, p. 96

Daniel Pipes on The Likely Doom of Islamism

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Islamism's Likely Doom

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
July 22, 2013

As recently as 2012, it appeared that Islamists could overcome their many internal dissimilarities – sectarian (Sunni, Shi'ite), political (monarchical, republican), tactical (political, violent), or attitudes toward modernity (Salafi, Muslim Brotherhood) – and cooperate. In Tunisia, for example, Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) types found common ground. Differences between all these groups were real but secondary, as I put it then, because "all Islamists pull in the same direction, toward the full and severe application of Islamic law (the Shari'a)."

Ali Khamene'i and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad
Ali Khamene'i and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in better times.
This sort of cooperation still persists in small ways, as shown by a recent meeting between a member of Turkey's ruling party and the head of a Salafi organization in Germany. But Islamists have in recent months abruptly and overwhelmingly thrown themselves at each others' throats. Islamists still constitute a single movement who share similar supremacist and utopian goals, but they also have different personnel, ethnic affiliations, methods, and philosophies.

Video: "The Founding Fathers Did Everything They Could to Keep us From Having a Democracy"

In this past week's "Goldberg File," Jonah Goldberg writes in response to the mobs and the demagogues who claim to be demanding "justice" for Trayvon Martin by discarding the acquittal of George Zimmerman:
...Both the literal and the merely figurative mobs clamoring for justice against Zimmerman are in important respects asking for the same thing. Sure, the lynch mobs want Zimmerman dead, while those pushing for a federal case just want him locked up -- an important distinction to be sure. But they both want to reject the findings of a court of law and a duly appointed jury because they do not like the result. In this, both are manifestations of arbitrary power, the bane of conservatives since Edmund Burke. Arbitrary power is the exercise of force for grievances found neither in law nor reason. It is the marshaling of violence to remedy resentment and justify caprice.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mideast Media Sampler 7/21/13: Kerry Talks About Progress On Peace, While Abbas Honors "Pure Soul" Of Palestinian Mass Murderer of Jews

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

1) No peace, No justice

A decade ago Ahmed Jubarah walked out of jail a free man. Twenty eight years after he killed 13 people and wounded dozens more, detonating an explosive laden refrigerator on a crowded Jerusalem street, Israel released Jubarah and others in order to restart peace talks with the Palestinians in 2003. The New York Times reported, Palestinian Bomber, Freed After 28 Years, Talks of Peace:
"We are not murderers. We are not criminals. We are people who seek peace and freedom," Mr. Jubarah, 68, the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner, said. He was freed as an Israeli good-will gesture on the eve of a summit meeting in neighboring Jordan that will include Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as President Bush. ...

Arlene Kushner: Did Kerry Invite Abbas and Netanyahu To Washington Just So He Wouldn't Have To Shlep To The Middle East?

From Arlene Kushner:
July 21, 2013

Untangling That Knot of Confusion

The knot is a big one, pulled tight, and progress in untangling it is, not surprisingly, slow.
But I want to begin today with a thought I expressed yesterday: that, in spite of the direction of Kerry's announcement and subsequent news reports, it's not a "done deal" with everything in place for negotiations to begin.  I referred yesterday to Kerry's wording, which had a subtly tentative feeling to it.
Today I'm finding more evidence of this.

Daniel Pipes: Must Islamists Be Autocratic?

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Must Islamists Be Autocratic?

by Daniel Pipes
July 19, 2013
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

Mohamed Morsi's recent ejection as president of Egypt prompts a contrast-and-compare with his Turkish counterpart, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Their careers at the top contain major dissimilarities:

Kerry Claims Got Palestinians To Agree To Talk -- Brings Negotiations To Where They Were In 2009

Advice: Don’t read about the latest double-talk and impending supposed breakthroughs in the media. Look at underlying interests; not imaginative headlines.
Barry Rubin

In reaction to Kerry's apparent success in finally bringing Abbas to the bargaining table, Barry Rubin writes that Kerry Runs Around in Rings, noting that the Palestinian Authority has no intention of making peace with Israel and at best is just out to get whatever concessions it can pocket -- before blaming Israel for the inevitable failure of any peace talks. After all:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Arlene Kushner on Trying To Make Sense of Kerry's Announcement of Israel - Palestinian Peace Talks

From Arlene Kushner:
July 20, 2013

A Vile Mess

Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)
I would like to offer my readers clarity, but there is none right now with regard to projected "peace negotiations."
Even without clarity, it is unquestionably a vile situation -- wrought with innuendo, misrepresentations, unfortunate statements and arm-twisting.   And these same factors render it a mess.
My discussion of the situation will be brief, and I will follow with more when the fog lifts a bit and a more accurate understanding of what's going on is possible.  As it is, I held off writing over the last couple of days because the situation was changing by the hour and it was impossible to offer anything even remotely definitive.

Friday, July 19, 2013

If John Kerry Is Serious About Israel - Palestinian Peace, He Should "Get Game"

Even if John Kerry is right that after 6 visits to the Middle East he has been able to narrow the differences between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, at best all that means is that he is close to getting the two sides to where they were before Obama gave Abbas the idea of insisting on the freezing of settlements as a pre-condition to sitting down and talking with Israel.

Instead, if he really is serious about accomplishing something here -- Kerry should get wise to the game Abbas is playing and just go home. Because that is what this is all about: a game.

Three years ago, Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Yisrael Aumann wrote about the "Blackmailer's Paradox" and Israel's Conflict as Game Theory:

Elder of Ziyon Poster: Some People Can't Tell The Difference Between Israel and South Africa

We are all familiar with the reckless use of the word "Apartheid" in reference to Israel -- as if just saying the word makes it so, despite the obvious disconnect between those accusations and the reality of life in democratic Israel.

Elder of Ziyon has come out with a number of posters in the past the illustrate the intellectual dishonesty and double standards of such people.

Here is another poster: Who are the haters?

Latma Video: The EU Explains The Real Reason Behind Its New Anti-Israel Guidelines

This week, Latma presents an EU representative who explains what really is behind its new directive on its recognition of 1967 "borders."

Here is the video:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Islam's 'Cartoon Jihad' Strikes Again!

The following by Andrew Harrod is reposted here with permisison of The Legal Project

Why Do Egyptians Consider US Ambassador To Egypt Anne Patterson A Muslim Brotherhood Lackey?

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

U.S. Ambassador to Egypt: "Muslim Brotherhood's Lackey"

by Raymond Ibrahim
Gatestone Institute
July 17, 2013

Why do millions of Egyptians, including politicians and activists, consider Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood's "stooge"—as she is so commonly referred to by many in Egypt, from the media down to the street?

In America, some are aware of matters, such as that "Patterson in particular resisted opportunities to criticize the Morsi government as it implemented increasingly authoritarian policies. In a memorable May interview with the Egyptian English-language news sit[e] Ahram Online, she repeatedly dodged pointed questions about Morsi's leadership. 'The fact is they ran in a legitimate election and won,' she said…. Republicans from Texas Senator Ted Cruz to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce have pounced on statements like these, increasingly seeing Patterson as the key implementer for a policy that at least offers tacit support to the Muslim Brotherhood."

Following the Egyptian media, however, one discovers that the reasons Egyptians dislike Patterson are many and unambiguous.

Arlene Kushner on Israeli and Palestinian Anger At EU Guidelines

From Arlene Kushner:
July 17, 2013:

Will the EU Reverse?


Let's wait and see...
Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a satisfactorily firm response to the EU announcement of new "guidelines" on areas past the Green Line (emphasis added):
"I would expect those who truly want peace and stability in the region would discuss this issue after solving more urgent regional problems such as the civil war in Syria or Iran's race to achieve nuclear weapons. As the Prime Minister of Israel, I will not allow the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria, on the Golan Heights and in Jerusalem, our united capital, to be harmed. We will not accept any outside diktat about our borders. This issue will be decided only in direct negotiations between the sides."

Anne Bayefsky: Expect Samantha Power to Continue Obama's Disastrous U.N. Policy

For Immediate Release:
July 17, 2013
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Expect Samantha Power to continue Obama's disastrous U.N. policy

This article by Anne Bayefsky originally appeared on FOX News.

Today's confirmation hearing for Samantha Power, President Obama’s pick for UN Ambassador, should not have been such smooth sailing. Over the past four and a half years the Obama administration’s UN policy has lurched from failure to failure and Power has not been a mere passenger along for the ride.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Middle East Media Sampler 7/17/13 The EU Issues Guidelines To Define Israel's Borders

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

1) The Union Strikes Back

The European Union (EU) has just released new regulations governing certain dealings with Israel. Starting in 2014, the EU (as a unit, individual states are not governed by these guidelines) will prohibit any dealings with private Israeli entities that liver or operate in Judea and Samaria, what is otherwise known as the West Bank. The idea is to make a distinction to show Europe's seriousness about considering Israel's "occupation" to be in violation of international law.

(image courtesy of Elder of Ziyon)

The EU Anti-Israel Guidelines May Pressure Israel, But Also Undermine The EU's Own Attempt At Creditibilty

With the upcoming European Union guidelines banning the financing of and cooperation with Israeli institutions in eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank and Golan Heights -- Jennifer Rubin writes that  Once again, it’s the E.U. vs. Israel
This is an old story for the European Union — it strives for relevance but its anti-Israeli tendencies make it particularly unsuited to play any constructive role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. EU-affiliated organizations back phony NGOs that operate in Israel for the purpose of delegitimizing the Jewish state. Government officials freely banter about anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic tropes.

Video: The History of Proven Palestinian Lies About Israel Hurts The UN As Well

The Jerusalem Center came out today with a new video: Who Else Is Being Injured by the Vilification of Israel.

It is one of many YouTube videos by The Jerusalem Center

Here is the video:

Will The Chaos Of The "Arab Spring" Finally Correct The Wrongs Caused By The Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916?

In The Israel Project's The Tower, Gabriel Scheinmann writes The Map that Ruined the Middle East, referring to the map used in the Sykes-Picot Agreement, signed in May 8, 1916:
Much as it did in Europe, World War I radically changed the political geography of the Middle East. The Ottoman Empire had long been the “Sick Man of Europe,” hemorrhaging territory for nearly a century. It lost control of its European possessions prior to the war and, having allied with the defeated Central Powers, lost its Middle Eastern territories afterward. The victorious Allies transformed the Middle East into its current form, with its European-designed names, flags, and borders.

Ottoman provinces became Arab kingdoms, while Christian and Jewish enclaves were carved out in Lebanon and Palestine. Syria, Libya, and Palestine were given names resurrected from Roman antiquity. Libya reappeared in 1934, when the Italians combined Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, and Fezzan. The French mandate marked the first time “Syria” had been used as the name of a state, whereas “Palestine” was merely a Syrian appendage. Iraq had been a medieval province of the caliphate, whereas “Lebanon” referred to a mountain and “Jordan” to a river.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Contrary To Muslim Propaganda, Jews Never Abandoned the Temple Mount

The following by F.M. Loewenberg is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Did Jews Abandon the Temple Mount?

by F.M. Loewenberg
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2013, pp. 37-48 (view PDF)

The claim that no Jewish temple ever existed in Jerusalem and that Jews have no rights whatsoever on the Temple Mount is part of the "temple denial" doctrine that has been increasingly internalized in Palestinian academic, religious, and political circles since the 1967 Six-Day War.[1] Others, both Jews and non-Jews, believe that a temple did exist but indicate that the Jews abandoned the area soon after the destruction of the Second Temple nearly two thousand years ago. From that time onward, Jews lost all direct contact with the Temple Mount and relocated their central worship site to other locations, such as the Mount of Olives and later the Western Wall.[2]

The facts do not support either of these claims.

Arlene Kushner on Tisha B'Av and Sinat Chinam In Israel

From Arlene Kushner:
July 16, 2013

Tisha B'Av

The 9th of Av

Today is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.  A day of mourning and fasting.  It is the day on which the Temples were destroyed, and, traditionally, is seen as the time at which a number of other calamities have fallen the Jewish people.

We are taught that the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE because of sinat hinam -- causeless hatred between Jews.

Destruction of the Second Temple
Credit: bleon

And it is this that I want to address here before going on to other matters.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Raymond Ibrahim Takes A Look At The Supremacist Nature of Muslim Alledged "Grievances"

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

How Dare You?! The Supremacist Nature of Muslim 'Grievances'

by Raymond Ibrahim
The Jerusalem Post
July 11, 2013

In 2012 in Pakistan, as Christian children were singing carols inside their church, Muslim men from a nearby mosque barged in with an axe, destroyed the furniture, desecrated the altar, and beat the children. Their justification for such violence? "You are disturbing our prayers…. How dare you use the mike and speakers?"

Welcome to the true face of "Muslim grievance"—what I call the "how dare you?!" phenomenon. Remember it next time "progressive" media and politicians tell you that Muslim terrorism—whether the 9/11 strikes, Fort Hood Massacre, Boston Bombing, or recent London Beheading—are products of grievances against the West. Missing from their analyses is the supremacist nature of Muslim grievances.

Video: 10 Unknown West Bank Facts

From Stand With Us, 10 Unknown West Bank Facts

Here is the video:

Video: Anti-Israel B'Tselem's Latest Distortion of Five Year Old Palestinian Rock Thrower Refuted (Updated)

Pro-Palestinian B'Tselem thinks throwing rocks is no big deal:
B'Tselem has written urgently to the Legal Adviser in Judea and Samaria, demanding his response to a grave incident in which soldiers detained a five-year-old boy in Hebron for two hours, after he threw a stone. The soldiers threatened the child and his parents, handcuffed and blindfolded the father, and handed the boy over to the Palestinian Police. Detaining a child below the age of criminal responsibility, especially one so young, has no legal justification.
Detaining a child who throws rocks at car driving by has no justification?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Arlene Kushner on US Undercutting Israel on Iran and Syria

From Arlene Kushner:
July 14, 2013

Give Me a Break!

Yesterday I wrote about the fact that Netanyahu is making one last effort to secure a toughening of the US stance on Iran, thus: 
"Israel desperately wants to see the Obama Administration harden its position on Iran immediately — to convey to Iran that if it does not halt its nuclear program, its regime will not survive....'increased pressure on Iran,' led by the US, notably including the revival of 'a real military threat'"
Today we see a response from US officials, ostensibly designed to reassure our government:  Don't worry, they are saying, we're not going to ease the sanctions on Iran, even if we do want to "test" Rohani with direct talks that will take his measure.
“'We are open to direct talks, and we want to reinforce this in any way [we can],' a senior US official said, adding that the administration sees 'words that indicate Iran might be going in a different direction.'"
So, the question is whether they are totally and willfully obtuse, or they think we are idiots. 

David P. Goldman on "The Economic Blunders Behind the Arab Revolutions"

The following by David P. Goldman is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

The Economic Blunders Behind the Arab Revolutions

by David P. Goldman
The Wall Street Journal
July 12, 2013

David P. Goldman
Sometimes economies can't be fixed after decades of statist misdirection, and the people simply get up and go. Since the debt crisis of the 1980s, 10 million poor Mexicans—victims of a post-revolutionary policy that kept rural Mexicans trapped on government-owned collective farms—have migrated to the United States. Today, Egyptians and Syrians face economic problems much worse than Mexico's, but there is nowhere for them to go. Half a century of socialist mismanagement has left the two Arab states unable to meet the basic needs of their people, with economies so damaged that they may be past the point of recovery in our lifetimes.

This is the crucial background to understanding the state failure in Egypt and civil war in Syria. It may not be within America's power to reverse their free falls; the best scenario for the U.S. is to manage the chaos as best it can.

Arlene Kushner on Netanyahu's Last Ditch Effort To Get Obama To Take Action On Iran

From Arlene Kushner:
July 13, 2013


Motzei Shabbat (after Shabbat)
According to the Times of Israel tonight (emphasis added):
"Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly to launch a new, last-ditch effort in the next few days to persuade the United States to credibly revive the military option against Iran.

"If this proves unsuccessful, Channel 2 reported, Netanyahu will have to decide whether to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities by this winter at latest, because after that, the report indicated, the assessment is that Israel’s window for military intervention will close."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Why Now Is The Time To Complete The Defeat of The Muslim Brotherhood In Egypt

The following by Raymond Stock is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Complete the Islamists' Defeat

by Raymond Stock
Foreign Policy Research Institute
July 2013

On July 8, the Obama administration finally did the right thing in Egypt—by not calling what Mohamed Mursi's historically huge opposition rightly hails as its "corrective revolution" a coup. Thus it prevented the automatic cutoff of America's $1.6 billion of mostly military aid, without which our connection to the largest Arab state (and perhaps the Suez Canal) would be lost. But it would be a grave mistake if the U.S. should insist that the aid would continue only if everyone –the deposed Muslim Brotherhood (and other Islamists) among them—is included in the now-rebooted "transition to democracy." Nor should the Egyptians want to go to this route. Such would be an historic error that will sabotage whatever good might come from the already diminished influence which that aid buys – as well as from the heroic actions of the Egyptians themselves.

In addition to Egypt's probable lack of enough secular and civil society to create a genuine democracy, the seemingly imminent civil war would not permit that transition to happen, at least not now—and perhaps not ever. With Monday's opening clash in front of the Ministry of Defense that left roughly fifty Islamists dead and one soldier slain, after numerous other killings over the year of MB rule, and culminating in scenes such as the murder of opposition teens by throwing them off of an Alexandria rooftop last week, the much-feared Algeria 1992 redux may already have begun.

Yet as tragic—and even heartless—as this might seem, it would be better to have that civil conflict now then to wait until the Islamists are better armed and prepared, especially having been invited back into power to share the running of the state. That will give only them both renewed legitimacy and access to material resources that they do not deserve—and which the last year shows they will only abuse.

Why Are Those Who Claim To Care About The Fate of Gaza Quiet Now?

Each time the Palestinians get involved in internal conflicts in the Arab world, they always end up being the biggest losers.
Khaled Abu Toameh

When Israel blockades Gaza to prevent the influx of materials that Hamas terrorists use to fire rockets at civilians in violation of international law -- the world is in a uproar and claims that Israel does not have the right.

Indeed, after the UN Security Council claimed Israel's blockade of Gaza was illegal, the UN Palmer Commission concluded it was legal.

But when Egypt blockades Gaza, the self-appointed human rights activists are silent -- as Khaled Abu Toameh writes about the hypocrisy of the West when Egypt Punishes the Palestinians.

Video: Latma on What's Really Behind The New Egyptian Spring and The Lesson of Tisha B'Av

This week's Latma examines what is really behind recent events in Egypt, and a look at the difficulty of learning the lesson of Tisha B'Av.

Here is the video:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Arlene Kushner: Was Egypt Under Morsi Less Unstable Than We Thought?

From Arlene Kushner:
July 11, 2013

Elusive Facts

Well, I did write in my last posting was that "there are often conflicting reports on any given situation, so that nailing down the facts is a challenge."
But did I have to make the case myself?
My correction today has to do with the identity of Egypt's newly appointed interim prime minister. I wrote on the 9th that it was Samir Radwan.
But it isn't. 
I didn't pull this name out of the air.  I read on reputable English language Egyptian sites, first that he was the front runner, approved by the Islamist Nour party, and then that he had been offered the position.  Silly me.  I assumed that was it.
The real new interim prime minister is Hazem El-Beblawi (below).  Like Radwan, he is a liberal economist and served as finance minister (although after Mubarak was brought down); he was also approved by the Nour party.  He is now busy moving ahead and trying to form a government.
Perhaps most significantly, he has secured commitments of billions from Gulf states, which should serve to keep things together until a viable economic plan can be put in place.

Hazem El-Beblawi
Credit: Shorouknews
According to the NYTimes, $12 billion has come in already from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait.  These are states delighted to support a counter to the brotherhood. 
The Times story is actually fascinating:
"The streets seethe with protests and government ministers are on the run or in jail, but since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, life has somehow gotten better for many people across Egypt: Gas lines have disappeared, power cuts have stopped and the police have returned to the street.

"The apparently miraculous end to the crippling energy shortages, and the re-emergence of the police, seems to show that the legions of personnel left in place after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 played a significant role — intentionally or not — in undermining the overall quality of life under the Islamist administration of Mr. Morsi.

"When Mr. Mubarak was removed after nearly 30 years in office in 2011, the bureaucracy he built stayed largely in place. Many business leaders, also a pillar of the old government, retained their wealth and influence.

"Despite coming to power through the freest elections in Egyptian history, Mr. Morsi was unable to extend his authority over the sprawling state apparatus, and his allies complained that what they called the “deep state” was undermining their efforts at governing.

"While he failed to broaden his appeal and build any kind of national consensus, he also faced an active campaign by those hostile to his leadership, including some of the wealthiest and most powerful pillars of the Mubarak era."
Read: Sudden Improvements in Egypt Suggest a Campaign to Undermine Morsi
If this report is accurate, there may be less instability inherent in Egypt's situation than what is being described by commentators.
The US, it should be noted here, has decided it will honor its commitment to deliver four F-16 jets to Egypt in the coming weeks, part of a package of 20 jets to be supplied in total this year.  The first four were delivered in February.
The deal, made originally with Mubarak in 2010, was inherited by Morsi, and is not being overturned now.  Unrest in the country remains a concern, but better fighter jets in the hands of the military than a Brotherhood regime.
With this announcement, it becomes clear that the US has decided not to consider the change of regime a "coup."  There's a great deal of facile talk about responding to the demands of the people.
Whether Egypt needed (or needs) these jets at all is another story. But it must be understood that this is part of the $1.3 billion in aid supplied to Egypt by the US: aid money allocated to Egypt is turned back to the US for the jets.
El-Beblawi is not the only one moving ahead: The Brotherhood continues to try to stir up the unrest to the maximum, while the military is playing tough, bringing charges against Brotherhood leaders.
The military is gearing up for a major operation against Islamists in the Sinai, which Israel is expected to approve. A report, based on an ostensible Egyptian security source, is being floated that the military has killed 32 Hamas gunmen who were in the Sinai. But this is not confirmed -- and in fact is denied in several quarters.
Whether it's the case or not, Hamas has clearly taken a hit in terms of support with the downfall of Morsi and the ramifications of this have yet to play out.
A rocket was launched into the area of southern Israel adjacent to Gaza this afternoon.  No one was injured.  There is speculation as to whether Hamas, post-Morsi, is trying to flex its muscles.
According to experts at IHS Jane's Intelligence Review who have studied satellite imagery, Saudi Arabia has a (hitherto unknown) missile base deep in the desert, with ballistic missile launching pads that have markings pointing to Tel Aviv and to Tehran.
Seems the Saudis -- who despise and fear Iran and, as a result, have increased their "discreet back channel communications" with Israel -- are covering all their bases, or what they perceive to be their bases.  While they are major instigators of terrorism, I do not think they are about to launch missiles on us. 
A deputy editor at IHS Jane's Intelligence Review qualified the assessment thus:
"We cannot be certain that the missiles are pointed specifically at Tel Aviv and Tehran themselves, but if they were to be launched, you would expect them to be targeting major cities. We do not want to make too many inferences about the Saudi strategy..."
The Saudi armaments are dated and it is believed an update is in process.

Read: IHS Reveals Saudi Arabia's Undisclosed Missile Site
Here's yet another example of the ever-elusive nature of "truth":
Maariv has reported, -- relying on "sources in Washington" -- that Netanyahu "was willing to release 40 Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands… even without any Palestinian commitment to return to the negotiating table."
According to this report, the US and Israel have both already informed Abbas about the impending release.
However, according to Haviv Retig Gur, writing in the Times of Israel, a senior official in the prime minister's office says this report has "no basis in reality."
George Will has always been a savvy and literate commentator of the world scene, and I am pleased to share what he says here, in a piece called "Egypt's preferable tyranny" (emphasis added):
"Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi knows neither Thomas Jefferson’s advice that 'great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities' nor the description of Martin Van Buren as a politician who 'rowed to his object with muffled oars.' Having won just 52 percent of the vote, Morsi pursued his objective — putting Egypt irrevocably on a path away from secular politics and social modernity — noisily and imprudently.
"It is difficult to welcome a military overthrow of democratic results. It is, however, more difficult to regret a prophylactic coup against the exploitation of democratic success to adopt measures inimical to the development of a democratic culture.

"Tyranny comes in many flavors. Some are much worse than others because they are more comprehensive and potentially durable. The tyranny portended by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood promised no separation of politics and religion, hence the impossibility of pluralism, and a hostility to modernity that guaranteed economic incompetence. Theologized politics, wherein compromise is apostasy, points toward George Orwell’s vision of totalitarianism — 'a boot stamping on a human face — forever.'"
Read: Egypt’s preferable tyranny
Then, please! see Harold Rhode's important and insightful article, "Honor and Compromises in Middle East Leadership" (emphasis added):
"Why couldn't Egypt's deposed President Morsi admit mistakes? Why couldn't he 'compromise' with the military and stay in power? And what can one learn from Morsi's behavior about the concept of leadership in the Middle East?

"In the Middle East, leaders almost never admit that they made mistakes: doing so would bring shame...on them. Shame in the Middle East is about what others say about you -- not what you think of yourself. While to some extent this is true in Western culture, in general Westerners are more susceptible to feelings of guilt, rather than shame. The Western concept of compromise -- each side conceding certain points to the other side in order to come to an agreement -- does not exist in the Middle East. What is paramount is preserving one's honor...People will go to any lengths to avoid shame; they are prepared to go to jail, risk death, and even kill family members (usually females) to uphold what they perceive as their honor and that of their family. The consequences of dishonor are always permanent and always collective, often extending to the entire family and even the entire clan.

"This battle to avoid shame at all costs indicates why Morsi, Erdoğan, Saddam, Assad, Arafat, and Abu Mazen – when they either have painted themselves into a corner -- or have been painted into one -- can never back down.

"If our policy-makers could understand this cultural imperative, they might better be able to understand why we constantly fail to achieve our policy goals, and how better to achieve them.

"...Both Arafat and Abu Mazen, both of whom have led the Palestinian people, cannot sign any agreement with Israel to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict and recognize Israel and a Jewish state. When, at Camp David in 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat 97% of everything said he wanted, Arafat jumped up and said that he could not sign such an agreement: he 'didn't want to have tea with Sadat' – a reference to the Egyptian leader who had been assassinated at least partially for having signed an agreement with Israel. Arafat knew that had he signed, he would have been regarded as having backed down from a confrontation and therefore shamed; been considered a traitor by his people, and most likely killed.

"U.S. President Clinton, in a display of how little he really understood about leadership and the values of the Middle East, looked on at Arafat's reaction in amazement. But no compromise would have been possible. Egypt, during its negotiations with Israel for the peace treaty signed in 1981, held out for 100% of what it asked for -- and got it. Had Arafat gotten 100% of what we wanted, Israel would no longer exist.

"The same holds true for the Palestinian Authority's current leader, Abu Mazen, to whom, later, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offered an even better deal than had been offered to Arafat. Condoleezza Rice, like President Clinton, also looked on in amazement at Mahmoud Abbas's reaction...

"The same condition continues to hold true today. Why Secretary of State Kerry and the Obama administration believe they can persuade Abbas to sign an agreement guaranteeing Israel's right to exist in any form is astonishing. These leaders can lead only so long as they are not perceived as a shamed sell-out and traitor."
Read: Honor and Compromise in Middle East Leadership
Please share this far and wide, my friends, with people who require this education -- particularly decision-makers.
What galls me is why people such as Clinton and Rice, who experienced astonishment at the PLO intransigence, do not stand up now and tell Americas -- leaders and electorate -- that negotiations are just not going to work.  Bill Clinton, in particular, is a duplicitous enabler, smiling at his wife when she was secretary of state, and at Obama, when in truth he knows better.  Terribly naive, I guess, to expect honesty, forthright pronouncements for the sake of the nation.  They just play the game.  Let's pretend, and let's pressure Israel.
Rhode mentions Erdogan as one of those unable to back down.  Remember the Netanyahu "apology," which distressed many of us when it was made?  It had been predicted that this would bring a normalization of Israeli-Turkish relations.  It has not happened and is not likely to happen.
And now Erdogan is struggling with his own (relatively low key) unrest.
Michael Oren is leaving his position as Israeli Ambassador to the US in September.  He will be replaced by Ron Dermer, a very good man. Dermer has been a close advisor to the prime minister, to his right.

Ron Dermer

Credit: Jewish student leaders

Today Oren gave an interview to Haaretz; it typifies the sort of positions he's taken that make me glad he's leaving. 
Stating that Obama is a "true friend" to Israel, he said that the president was misunderstood:
He "tried to make peace with the Arab world...This was misunderstood in Israel...
"And when an American president goes to Egypt and goes to Turkey and doesn’t come to visit us, it causes a sense of insecurity..."
Excuse me? What a gross oversimplification of the situation.  Oh that I would have the time and space necessary to expand upon this.
Oren was then asked questions about Netanyahu's readiness to go to war against Iran in spite of world objections.  He said there is no escape from our responsibility as a sovereign nation to act on our own behalf.  He believes the prime minister is capable of handling such a mission.
"Netanyahu now faces a Ben-Gurion-type dilemma. The question he faces is similar to the question that faced Ben-Gurion in May 1948 and the question that Levi Eshkol faced in May 1967." [Re: whether to go to war]
Read: Oren: Netanyahu ‘certainly’ capable of handling Iran threat
And so?
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

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