Archive for the ‘Palestinians’ Category

Right Wing Hard Liner May Become Isreal’s Foreign Minister; Stalling Peace Efforts

March 6, 2009

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is considering the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister, news sources say.

Lieberman ran for Prime Minister against Netanyahu and several others and is considered an essential part of the new coalition government in Isreal.

Lieberman’s party, Beiteinu, will be the second largest faction in the new coalition government behind Likud, which is headed by Netanyahu.

Lieberman keeps a hard line attitude that is strictly pro-Israel.

His appointment may be a setback for peace talks with Hamas, Hezbollah and others in the region, most Middle East analysts believe.

But Lieberman would be expected to improve ties with Russia; which may directly assist American President Barack Obama’s efforts to gain Russian cooperation in ending Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu has come to believe that Iran poses the biggest threat to israel, with its nuclear program and its funding and supply train to Hamas and Hezbollah.

Lieberman’s ties to Russia could help Israel and the U.S. and open a door toward new relations.

According to Lieberman, “The peace process is based on three false basic assumptions; that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main cause of instability in the Middle East, that the conflict is territorial and not ideological, and that the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders will end the conflict.”

Lieberman was born in Moldova, then a part of the Soviet Union.  His rough and tumble political style and attitudes reflects his previous work as a bouncer in a bar.

He would be a highly unusual pick for Israel’s top diplomat, but would reflect the sharp turn to the right in Israeli politics where Iran and its nuclear potential are feared.  Many Israeli’s also now have the belief that they are under seige on all sides by their neighbors.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related:
CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/meast/03/06/israel.fm/index.html

Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satelli
te?cid=1236269358120&pagename=
JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Avigdor Lieberman is loathed by ultra-orthodox parties because of his support for a Palestinian state.

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Israel’s Netanyahu Warns Obama on Talks

February 9, 2009

Even before Benjamin Netanyahu finds out whether he will be Israel’s next prime minister, he is sending a message to President Barack Obama that he won’t be pushed around.

By Jonathan Ferziger and Hans Nichols
Bloomberg

Netanyahu, the Likud party candidate who narrowly leads Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni ahead of elections tomorrow, last week took reporters to Arab parts of Jerusalem, where he helped establish Jewish footholds when he was previously prime minister. No pressure, he said, would make him cede those neighborhoods “to our enemies.”

Just as he confounded former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, Netanyahu probably will resist if Obama pushes too hard to extract Israeli concessions for peace in the Middle East.

“He’s extremely effective politically, unbelievably smart and relentlessly suspicious when it comes to the Arabs and the Americans,” says former U.S. negotiator Aaron David Miller, author of “The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace.”
Livni, leading the ruling Kadima party, has campaigned on the need to continue peace talks and compromise with the Palestinians. She would likely have a more harmonious relationship with Obama — if she were able to cobble together enough support to form a governing coalition consistent with her views. That isn’t certain, given the decline in polls of the Labor Party, Kadima’s coalition partner, which advocates Palestinian statehood.

“A Livni coalition would be so fragile that it wouldn’t be able to take any decisive steps with the Palestinians and stay in power,” says Roni Bart, a researcher at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pi
d=washingtonstory&sid=aeKTFmR61kD0

Israel Wants Peace and To Be Free of Gaza; But Ready For Hamas Attacks

February 2, 2009

“Peace cannot be postponed for another four years,” President Shimon Peres of Israel said on Monday.

Next week Israelis will vote and elect a new government.  President Peres wants to make sure the next government seeks peace with both Hamas and the Palestinians.

Israel wants peace so that it doesn’t find itself responsible for the rehabilitation, administration, development and social welfare of Gaza.   

“It’s possible that Hamas will try its luck again. And Fatah won’t give up on its path,” he said, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ rival movement. “We will need to choose between war on Hamas as a first option and pay its price, or progress in negotiations with the Palestinians – to expedite them, and complete them during the beginning of the next government’s term.”

But Peres added that, “It’s possible that we will need to combine the two, despite the contradiction.”

From The Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1233304
661466&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

From Haaretz:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1060876.html

“Free Palestine” Turning into “Hate Jews” in Some Places; Activists Urged to Cool Off

January 31, 2009

Israel’s military action in Gaza opened an old wound one more time.  And few are in the middle of this issue: millions support the Palestinians with their every fiber and millions also stand with Israel.

Perhaps growing state support from Iran and others has fueled anger and hate.  Certainly Iran’s President Ahmadinejad and his statement that “The Zionist State [Israel] should be wiped from the map” is not helpful.

Last week after the BBC refused to air a charity appeal meant to raise money for displaced Gazans the network was the subject of intense criticism and protests — and Iran closed the BBC persian service in Tehran.

Now some are saying “enough is enough.”

In Britain, the National Union of Students is urging students to relent on their pro-Palestine protests which have become decidedly anti-Israeli and anti-Jew.

“The protesters need to find new ways to campaign vocally without causing disruption to students on campus” Wes Streeting, N.U.S. president, told CNN.

And Barack Obama has dispatched special envoy George Mitchell to the region to seek a lasting peace….

The CNN Report:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/europe/01/30/uk.students.gaza/ind
ex.html

Related:
Rocket From Gaza Hits Israel; Isreal Threatens More Military Action

Protesters demonstrate in London against the BBC. The BBC is ... 
Protesters demonstrate in London against the BBC. The BBC is facing more pressure to broadcast a charity appeal for funds for people in Gaza, as the Archbishop of Canterbury joins the row and more than 50 MPs sign a motion condemning the move.(AFP/Frantzesco Kangaris)

Turkey Tells Obama: Redefine Terrorism; Bush Misunderestimated “Realities” of Middle East, Hezbollah Says

January 30, 2009

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that he doesn’t much like the definition of terrorism adopted after 9-11 by George W. Bush.

Erdogan, whose country has played a key role in trying to mediate among Israel and Syria and the Palestinians, said Obama’s new Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, will be in Turkey for talks Sunday.

“President Obama must redefine terror and terrorist organizations” and make a new policy for the Middle east and elsewhere.

When 9-11 happened and President Bush declared the “war on terror, many though israel immediately looked at palestinians as terrorists, Russia looked at Chechens the same way, China saw Tibetans as terrorist and so it went around the globe.

No maybe a re-alignment or new definitions are in order.

In his remarks toward President Obama and the U.S., most observers said the Turkish leader appeared to be referring to the US position toward Hamas and Hizbullah, which the United States considers terrorist organizations.

Related:
The Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?ci
d=1233050208220&pagename=JPost%2F
JPArticle%2FShowFull

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Bush Accused of Trying to “Remake” Middle East; Misunderestimated “Realities”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the administration of former President George W. Bush worked with its Arab allies to try and change the “realities” in Gaza before Barack Obama took office.

Nasrallah says Bush administration worked with its Arab allies to "change the realities" in Gaza.

Nasrallah says Bush administration worked with its Arab allies to “change the realities” in Gaza.

In a wide-ranging speech on Thursday marking “Freedom Day” — a celebration of the release of Hezbollah prisoners from Israeli custody — Nasrallah said the Bush administration worked with its Arab allies “in order to take advantage of the short time of Bush’s term and before (Barack) Obama takes office in order to change the realities” in Gaza.

There were no U.S. forces involved in the 22-day Israeli military operation in Gaza; the United States is a key supporter of Israel.

Read it all from CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WOR
LD/meast/01/29/lebanon.bush/ind
ex.html

Gaza Causes Friction in France, Where Muslims Have “No Chance”

January 26, 2009

Many Muslims in France, especially new immigrants,  are unemployed and not included in the society or the economy.

“We Muslims have no chance here,” one man told us.

That may be why the recent fighting between Hamas and Israel has cause some disagreements as well as some new thinking in France.

The U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) says, “The recent conflict in Gaza touched nerves in France, which is home to Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities. Despite the cease-fire in Gaza, many say the fighting there has done lasting damage to relations between Muslims and Jews in France.”

Go to NPR and hear their broadcast:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.
php?storyId=99861094&ft=1&f=1004

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Related:

France Looking to Screen Immigrants Using DNA

By Peter Allen
Daily Mail (UK)

France’s hard-line new immigration minister is set to implement legislation that would allow DNA testing of new arrivals, he has said.

Eric Besson, who was appointed this month, said the tests would establish which  foreigners were claiming visas by making up family ties with those already settled in the country.

Civil liberties groups have reacted furiously to the controversial government scheme, which was approved by the French parliament 15 months ago but does not come into effect until the appropriate Minister has signed the legislation. 

Protests had delayed that move until now.
.
But Mr Besson said he wanted to give it  the ‘green light’, confirming that a ministerial meeting would be held on the subject ‘in a few days’.

He added: ‘If the decree is accepted, I will scrupulously respect all individual liberties. It’s not my obsession. ”

The tests will be for applications for visas of more than three months when  there are doubts about an immigrant’s birth or marriage certificates.

The move would allow officials to ‘propose’ to applicants that they take a test at their own expense to prove a biological link with other family members.

A recent report said there was often doubt over the authenticity of papers in family  applications for visas.

It claimed that in African countries such as Senegal, Ivory Coast and Togo up  to 80 per cent of birth and marriage certificates were forged.

Government statistics show there are 23,000 immigration cases a year where visa  applications involve children, meaning DNA tests could become widespread.

But immigrant welfare groups said the plan was unacceptable…..

Read the rest:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-11
27823/Illegal-immigrants-DNA-tested-new-crackdo
wn-France.html

Like Hezbollah Before It, Hamas Hands Out Money for Loyalty After Israeli Destruction

January 24, 2009

“We are in control and we are the winner,” Hamas legislator Mushir al-Masri declared this week in Gaza, after attending the funeral of four Hamas gunmen.
.
More than 4,000 houses were destroyed and about 20,000 damaged in Gaza by the fighting with Israel, according to independent estimates.

Yet Hamas claims “victory” and passes out money to assure its story is believed.

After Israel pounded Hezbollah and southern Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah passed out money and assistance in the effort to rebuild structures and loyalty.

Now Hamas is following that model: an Iranian written and funded script.

But Hamas is having a tougher time than Hezbollah.

Hamas and Fatah are in disagreement on everything in Gaza.

Hamas is accusing rival Palestinian faction Fatah of spying for Israel and not strongly enough supporting Hamas in the fight against the “Zionists.”

Fatah says Hamas relied too much on Iran for strategy and arms, irresponsibly goaded Isreal into a war with their rocket attacks on Israel, and botched the defense of the Gazan people.

But now money from Iran to Hamas may rebuild Gaza and loyalty to Hamas.

Peace and Freedom

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By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Bearded Hamas activists on Friday delivered an envelope with five crisp $100 bills to a veiled woman whose house was damaged during Israel’s invasion of Gaza, the first of promised relief payments by the militant group.

In another part of the territory, a bulldozer cleared rubble and filled in a bomb crater where a week before a top Hamas leader had been killed in an Israeli air strike.

Since a truce took hold this week, ending Israel‘s three-week onslaught, Gaza’s Hamas rulers have declared victory and gone out of their way to show they are in control.

They have pledged $52 million of the group’s funds to help repair lives, the money divvied up by category. The veiled woman received emergency relief money for her two-story home in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.

Hamas, which is believed to be funded by donations from the Muslim world and Iran, said the emergency relief would include $1,300 for a death in the family, $650 for an injury, $5,200 for a destroyed house and $2,600 for a damaged house.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090124/ap_on_re_m
i_ea/ml_hamas_back_in_control;_ylt=AkQlrzyasxzO
qJTKVv0MCvtvaA8F

Related:
 Palestinians Can’t Agree Following Hamas Defeat at Israeli Hands

Most Palestinians are furious at Israel over damage like that in Rafah, in Gaza’s south, but there are signs that Gazans feel such pain that they will rein in Hamas.  Photo: Eyad Baba/Associated Press

Did Obama set up Mitchell to fail in the Middle East?

January 24, 2009

In naming George Mitchell as special envoy to the Middle East, President Obama unfortunately made statements indicating no departure from the failing policies of previous administrations.
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By Mazin Qumsiyeh, Ph.D
Online Journal Contributing Writer

In particular, Obama emphasized Israel’s right to “defend itself,” never once mentioned things like the occupation or international law, attacked Hamas (a duly elected movement that represents a significant portion of the Palestinian people), supported the strangulation of Gaza, demanded no resistance from an occupied people, and supported the Israeli occupiers in their violence that most recently killed over 400 children.

George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama's newly named ... 
George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama’s newly named Special Envoy to the Middle East, stands after the announcement at the State Department in Washington, DC. Obama vowed Thursday to aggressively pursue Middle East peace as for the first time since taking office he laid out his vision for ending the age-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.(AFP/Saul Loeb)

This logic has been tried before, including under the “aggressive diplomacy” of Bill Clinton and has yielded only a strengthening of Hamas, weakening of Fatah, continued Israeli colonization on Palestinian lands, and setting the stage for future conflicts. Further, such an approach is even more untenable now after the setback of the June 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon and the current war on Gaza.

As articulated well by President Jimmy Carter, it is wrong to frame this conflict simply as “democratic Israel” facing “terrorist groups like Hamas” and it is wrong to continue to fund Israeli wars while claiming to be an “honest broker.” It is analogous to describing the struggles in South Africa in the 1980s as “democratic South Africa” facing off against “terrorist groups like the ANC” (actually that was President Reagan’s framing in his first term in office as he supported Apartheid). Yes, some members of the ANC did use terror (including “necklacing” or burning their rivals alive) but that was miniscule compared to the state terrorism and apartheid they faced. The US cannot be an honest broker so long as the US government continues to….

Read the rest:
http://onlinejournal.com/artman/
publish/article_4271.shtml

Obama urges Israel, Hamas to keep peace in Gaza

January 22, 2009

President Barack Obama is calling on Israel and Hamas to take steps aimed at ensuring that the cease-fire that’s in place in Gaza will endure. Weighing in on the conflict for the first time following his inauguration, Obama said that going forward, Hamas must end rocket fire at Israel, and Israel must “complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza.” Although those steps were taken this week, low-level violence has marred the fragile cease-fire.

Obama said his administration will support a “credible” system of ending smuggling into Gaza.

He said he’s “deeply concerned” by the loss of life among both Israelis and Palestinians, and by the suffering taking place in Gaza. He said his heart goes out to civilians who are going without food, water or medical care.

He said Gaza‘s borders should be opened to allow aid to come in, with “appropriate monitoring.”

–Associated Press

Iran Shuts BBC Persian After Network Critical of Cowardice Among Hamas

January 21, 2009

Iran has decided that the BBC’s Persian service is illegal.  Iranians cannot work for BBC Persian and the network is basically shut down with no broadcasting while talks ensue.

Iran says the BBC Persian is “illegal,” and little else.

BBC says the news it broadcasts on the channel is gathered from abroad, using sources within Iran.

BBC says the news it broadcasts on the channel is gathered from abroad, using sources within Iran.

But the shutdown came just after the BBC featured stories of Hamas cowardice during the war with Israel.  The BBC World Service wondered where all the Hamas fighters went while Israel”s troops and tanks moved across Gaza.

Hamas boasted about how few men it lost in the fighting.  The BBC wondered why more fighters weren’t lost to Israeli fire or even seen by the Israelis.

The BBC also wondered why a Hamas rally in Gaza on Wednesday only drew a few hundred Gazan supporters.  Such rallies in the past would include thousands of Gazans….

In Jerusalem, the Post ran news stories further linking Hamas and Iran.  The Jerusalem Post said the Hamas war plan was basically written by Iranians.  The newspaper quoted Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officials who said Israel beat Hamas and Iran in Gaza….

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meas
t/01/21/iran.bbc.persian/index.html

China Censors Obama Speech, Iran Kills BBC TV: Free Speech Under Attack

Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/

Hamas Says They Still Control Gaza, But BBC Has Doubts

Hamas declares victory in Gaza claiming it lost only 48 fighters