Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
Abbas to Mitchell: Israel Must Accept All PA Demands
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday rebuffed the latest American effort to convince it to sit down with Israel to negotiate the establishment of a new Arab state within Israel’s current borders.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas decided not to follow Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s act of pleasantries and public optimism and instead continued to place his demands on the line: a guarantee from the United States that Israel will recognize it as a country based on the 1949 Armistice Line that marked the laying down of arms at the end of Israel's War of Independence. The line was erased in the Six-Day War in 1967, when Jerusalem was reunited and Judea and Samaria was restored to Israel after more than 2,000 years. Both wars were initiated by the Arabs.
Although Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly stated on Monday that the Obama administration has realized its failure in trying to use a building freeze against Jewish homes as a tool to lure Abbas into talks, chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat stated after U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell's meeting in Ramallah, "Any negotiations or talks require an end to settlement activities."
Mitchell suggested “new” ideas for resuming talks with Israel, but chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the suggestions were nothing more than what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a speech last Friday. PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina also said that Abbas, as in the past, would seek advice from the Arab League while waiting for a more specific Israeli response to Mitchell’s overtures.
Video: Mitchell Delivers Remarks With PA Negotiator Erekat
Israel National News reported Monday that Mitchell's visit may be setting up Prime Minister Netanyanu for a trap that will force him to accept Abbas's demands as they are, without negotiations, as underscored by the PA's response to Mitchell Monday.
Although PA leaders refer to “negotiations” with Israel, Abbas made it clear to Mitchell that his demands are for a final agreement based on its conditions without any compromise. Secretary Clinton told the Saban Forum in Washington last Friday that she is abandoning the “freeze" track and is going back to the two-year-old idea of tackling "core issues" that the PA said on Monday must be resolved in its favor.
The French news agency AFP reported that Arab leaders sent a letter to Washington demanding Israel halt all building in areas where it claims sovereignty as well as insisting on Israeli recognition of the former borders.
Mitchell is leaving Israel for task in Cairo on Wednesday, while the Palestinian Authority continues to try to drum up international support for a United Nations resolution accepting PA demands. The European Union stated Monday that it in effect backs the idea but that the timing is not right from a diplomatic standpoint because it would harm the ”diplomatic process.”
“The EU recalls that peace in the Middle East should be comprehensive and reiterates the importance of negotiations on the Israel-Syria and Israel-Lebanon tracks,” the Council of the European Union said in a statement. “Peace should lead to the full integration of Israel in its regional environment, along the lines set out in the Arab Peace Initiative.”
'Include issue of Jewish refugees from Arab lands in talks'
By HERB KEINON
Foreign Ministry pushing to include Jews who fled from Arab countries in core issue discussion with the US about refugees; Ayalon: Rights and justice for Palestinian refugees prominent while Jews have been ignored.
With the Palestinian refugee issue one of the core issues expected to be at the center of the US's new diplomatic push, the foreign ministry is actively engaged in an effort to ensure that Jewish refuges who fled Arab lands are not forgotten.
Deputy Foreign Ministry Danny Ayalon, who is leading the push to include Jewish refugees in the core issue discussion with the US about refugees, said "it is vitally important to return this issue to the international agenda. It is a matter of justice, closure and righting a wrong."
Ayalon: Interim accord more likely than final status deal
Opinion: I am a refugee
Ayalon, whose father came to Israel after being forced out of Algeria, said this issue has "a practical as well as a moral aspect. The demands from the two sides are asymmetrical, the Palestinians talk of rights and justice , yet the rights and justice of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands have been ignored and suppressed for too long. "
In an article Ayalon wrote in September in The Jerusalem Post entitled "I am a refugee," Ayalon said that while some 750,000 Arabs fled or left Mandatory Palestine, there were some 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands.
"We are going to make an effort now to bring to the forefront the plight of the Jews from the Arab countries,” he said.
The foreign ministry, in an effort to place this issue high on the international agenda, has appointed an official to coordinate the matter. He has met over the last few weeks with historical and legal experts, and is preparing a detailed position paper that will be entered into the discussion on the refugee issue.
“We will make sure that this will be an important and integral part of the negotiations for a final settlement," Ayalon said. "Just as the Arab refugees is an issue, so is the Jewish refugees.”
The Foreign Ministry recently sent a cable to all Israel's representations abroad calling on the country's envoys to bring the issue up with the leadership in the capitals where they are serving.
Diplomatic officials said the reason for raising the issue is not necessarily to receive compensation for the Jews who left the Arab countries, though this could be a factor when the Palestinians demand reparations from Israel for Palestinian refugees, but rather to seek redress, and an acknowledgement by the world that in 1948 there was not only a Palestinian refugee issue, but a second one, involving Jews who – unlike the Palestinians – were fully absorbed.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made clear that the core issues he believes should be addressed first in the indirect talks being conducted by the US are refugees, recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and security. The Palestinians, however want to focus first on borders and Jerusalem.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report
Peace process is dead, US again pushing indirect talks
So much for Israel’s grand experiment of halting Jewish construction for 10 months leading to a renewal of direct and meaningful peace negotiations with the Palestinians. As of this week, even the US had to admit that the peace process in its current form isn’t going anywhere, and Washington promptly returned to pushing indirect talks.
US Middle East envoy George Mitchell arrived in Israel on Monday to press for a return to indirect talks that would aggressively address the core issues of the conflict first, so that the two sides could quickly sign an agreement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was pleased the US was finally waking up to the fact that the core issues must be addressed instead of wasting time on temporary gestures like a Jewish building freeze.
However, Netanyahu made clear at a Globes Business Forum just before Mitchell arrived that Israel insists the first core issues to be addressed must be recognition of Israel as the Jewish state, security, and the so-called “Palestinian refugees.”
The Palestinians want to start with discussing final borders, but Israel is wary of doing so since once the Palestinian leadership gets the borders it wants and Jerusalem has no more cards to play, it is unlikely to be flexible on the issues of most important to Israel.
But things likely won’t even reach that point, as the Palestinian Authority this week expressed its extreme displeasure with the direction the Americans are going, and insisted that it will not return to any form of peace talks until Jews stop building in Judea, Samaria and the eastern side of Jerusalem.
The Bethlemem-based Ma’an news agency reported that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and many of his top advisors determined on Sunday to reject US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s proposal for indirect talks unless they are preceded by a new Jewish building freeze.
The Palestinians have made a halt to Jewish building their new red line, and that position has been almost irrevocably bolstered by America’s pressure last month for Israel to implement a second freeze, pressure that Washington eventually dropped after realizing the Palestinian would not respond favorably.
All of this is actually playing into the Palestinians’ hands by providing them an excuse to fully reject the US-led peace process and seek recognition for a unilateral declaration of independence.
Top Palestinian officials have begun lobbying European governments to recognize a sovereign Palestinian state immediately. “Palestine” has already been officially recognized by Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. If the European Union were to do the same, the Palestinians would have the votes they need in the UN to declare statehood.
Serry: Israeli refusal to halt settlements is 'setback'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
UN special envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry said Tuesday that Israel's refusal to freeze settlement construction in the West Bank is a major setback in the peace process and said that the UN would consider the building illegal, reported AFP.
Serry said that he informed the UN Security Council that difficulties caused by Israel's continued building in the Palestinian territories required a revamped international effort from the diplomatic Quartet in what he said would be a "critical" year.
"This is a serious setback,” Serry told reporters. “I have also made it very clear for the United nations where we stand, that we will continue to consider settlements as illegal under international law and that we will also continue to hold Israel responsible under international law.”
“I’ve said that next year the credibility of this political process and its sponsors, including the Quartet, will be at stake,” Serry added.
Same hand behind Stockholm and Time Square bombings
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 14, 2010, 12:12 PM (GMT+02:00)
Iraqi-born Stocholm bomber
The Swedish investigation into the country's first suicide bombing Saturday, Dec. 11, quickly found that the bomb car which exploded during a shopping rush in the heart of Stockholm was part of a well-planned, sophisticated terror operation, prepared several months in advance to inflict a large number of casualties. The Swedish media reported that Iraqi-born Taimour al-Abdaly was loaded down with three sets of bombs, one of which was a dozen miniature pipe bombs strung together as a belt.
Still, the suicide bomber was the only fatality. Two others were slightly injured.
Al-Abdaly's operation was therefore a near-failure, recalling Faisal Shahzad's failed bombing attack in Times Square, New York of May 1, although its planners, al Qaeda, are reported by debkafile's terror experts to have learned from that miss.
The Islamist terror group has turned to multilateralism in the planning, setting up and execution of operations methods to baffle national counter-terror intelligence agencies in the West, our Islamist terror experts report.
The Stockholm strike was accordingly broken down into segments, each taking place in a different country - Pakistan, Iraq, Sweden, Jordan and the UK. American and European cities may find themselves confronted in future with more attacks on those lines.
Al Qaeda's hand in the latest attack surfaced quite soon. Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 13 and 14, Al Qaeda-linked Internet sites showered praise on the Iraqi-born Taimour al-Abdaly as a brave martyr who obeyed orders from Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, commander of Al Qaeda in Iraq, who had sworn to avenge the cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad cartoons drawn by the Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Al-Abdaly is reported to have visited Jordan last month to secretly meet his Iraqi handlers.
Iraq has thus joined Pakistan and Yemen as the source of al Qaeda attacks in the West. Found on the body of Al-Abdaly was a note saying: "Europe, here we come."
The Swedish Prosecutor for Terrorist Cases Tomas Lindstrand reported Monday, Dec. 13, that the terrorist had been carrying not one but three sets of bombs – the pipe-bomb belt, a backpack containing a second bomb and a hand-held device that looked like a pressure cooker. Abdaly's final destination was not known, whether the city center which was packed with pre-Christmas shoppers or the Stockholm subway. In either case, hundreds of Swedes had a lucky save.
In the northern English town of Luton, meanwhile, police carried out searches at the home where Al-Abdaly had lived for ten years with his wife and three children and his college, Bedfordshire University. His wife denied knowing about his illicit activities or noticing any special preparations for his suicide attack.
Our counter-terror sources add that, like Faisal Shahzad in New York, the Stockholm planners parked a vehicle carrying gas canisters rigged with explosives for remote detonation in the most crowded part of the city.
But unlike the New York operation, from which Shahzad escaped after he failed, Al-Abdaly's mission did not rely on a single incident. He was a walking bomb arsenal with devices for following up the initial car blast. After detonating the rigged car, he was to have strewn the small but powerful pipe bombs and the two larger devices with which he was loaded around key points in the city. Using a cell phone he was to have triggered them all for a coordinated, chain of blasts across central Stockholm. Al Qaeda would have achieved widespread death and devastation with a single suicide bomber.
But the plan did not work out. The car bomb exploded only partially, giving the alarm, and Al-Abdaly, instead of carrying on, killed himself by detonating one of the pipe bombs in his belt.
Al Qaeda's Stockholm fiasco is the last in a series which all demonstrated a fault in the explosive mechanisms designed by its bomb-makers. They all ignite prematurely causing small fires and smoke but failing to detonate the explosives - fortunately for their intended victims.
This is what happened on Dec. 21, 2001 to Shoe Bomber Richard Reid, who failed to blow up an American passenger plane, the Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab exactly eight years later, and again in the attempt to plant exploding ink cartridges on air freighters three months ago.
Al Abdaly, it turns out, had been the subject of at least one year's planning for his operation. He was supported by at least three teams of helpers working together in Sweden and Britain. The first was responsible for surveillance, scouting targets in Stockholm and transport to the scene. The second, also in Sweden, prepared the assorted explosive devices. The third instructed Al Abdaly in the use of explosives. The Swedish police allege that he had been "radicalized" in Britain.
Our counter-terror exports note that this was the first time multilateral methods had been superimposed on home-grown terror. It is bound to make the solving of this form of Islamist terror that much harder.
Palestinians warn Israeli settlers: ‘Over our dead bodies’
By DAVID E. MILLER / THE MEDIA LINE
A grassroots initiative urges West Bankers to stop land confiscations by burying their dead in rural areas.
If the living cannot stop Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank, perhaps the dead can?
Dubbed "The Intifada of Graves," a new Palestinian initiative endorses burying the dead on privately owned Palestinian land in outlying rural areas to prevent its confiscation by Israel. The campaign was launched by the Popular Palestinian Committees (PPC), a grassroots organization based in Hebron which has spearheaded non-violent political activity since the first Palestinian Intifada (uprising) in 1987.
Burying their heads in the sand?
Muslim cemetery found desecrated near Kalkilya
Azmi Al-Shyukhi, secretary-general of the PPC, said the new initiative was his own brainchild, but received the endorsement of Palestinian Minister of Local Affairs Khaled Al-Qawasmi and State Minister for Wall and Settlement Affairs Maher Ghneim.
"We seek any means to protect our lands from the monster of settlements," Al-Shyukhi told The Media Line. "We are free to use our own lands. Therefore, even use of bodies is legitimate to protect us from settlement expansion."
The initiative comes as the US last week abandoned efforts to coal Israel into freezing construction of new communities in the West Bank, where some 300,000 Israelis live amid 2.5 million Palestinians, as a precursor for peace talks. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to propose a new formula to re-launch negotiations between the sides in the coming days.
Al-Shyukhi said that in the past, Bedouins living in the rural areas surrounding Hebron would be buried in a cemetery in the city, but following his appeal many fathers have ordered that their children be buried on their land "passed down from grandfather to father."
"All heavenly religions forbid the destruction of graves, so we believe no one will harm these graves," he added. "This is a popular initiative of non-violent resistance. We oppose violence."
The new initiative has not fallen on deaf ears. Baji Al-Tel, who lives in a metal shack in the Zanouta area south east of Hebron, said the Israeli army's recurring threat to demolish his home has prompted him to take action.
"I wrote in my will that my children should bury me on my land," Al-Tel told The Media Line. "In the past, our cemetery used to be in the town of Al-Zahiriya."
Jamil Al-Adam, a farmer from the town of Beit Ula which is adjacent to the Israeli Security Barrier, donated three dunams (three-quarters of an acre) of his land for the construction of a new cemetery for local residents, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported.
Hagit Ofran, Settlement Watch project director at Israel’s Peace Now organization, said the Palestinian initiative was part of an ongoing land struggle between Israeli authorities and Palestinians.
"This is an attempt to bring their plight to public attention," Ofran told The Media Line. "It may work, or at least embarrass Israel, as part of a struggle for awareness."
Ofran said that during the 1980s Israel began declaring uncultivated land in the West Bank "public land" based on an Ottoman law dating back to 1858. The land should have been equally distributed to all inhabitants, Ofran said, but instead Israel allocated approximately one million dunams, comprising 16% of the West Bank, to build Israeli towns and Jewish agricultural development, and only some 90 dunams to Palestinians.
In the early 1990s, Peace Now appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court against the planned establishment of a cemetery east of Jerusalem, meant to serve the population of Jerusalem. Peace Now argued that using occupied land to bury the dead created an irreversible and illegitimate political reality. Following the appeal, the plan was canceled, Ofran said.
But perhaps the practice of burial in rural areas is not as new as the PPC claims. Hajj Muslih Al-Amour of the Al-Rafa'iyya area south of Hebron said a local cemetery existed on agricultural land for years, before being destroyed by Israel ten years ago.
"We have no alternative," Al-Amour told The Media Line. "We must be buried on our land, and we always were. We have nowhere else to go."
Al-Amour's makeshift brick home was demolished by the Israel Defense Forces three weeks ago.
"In our tradition, a man is buried on the land he worked and sowed. He isn't simply burned with his ash scattered in the wind," he said.
Member of Knesset Aryeh Eldad of the right-wing National Union party agreed the phenomenon wasn’t new.
"Recruiting the dead to fight for the land of Israel has existed for years," Eldad told The Media Line. "Not only graves but also houses, trees and livestock are fully utilized to argue ownership over land."
Eldad said he was told of fake Palestinian graves dug adjacent to the walls of Jerusalem’s old city. He described the Mamilla cemetery, a Muslim burial site in downtown Jerusalem that caused controversy because of plans to build a center for human rights on land Palestinians claim is part of the cemetery, as part of a Palestinian land grab.
"It's also against state law, which only allows burial in official cemeteries," Eldad added. "Many countries have such laws to prevent the spread of disease."
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
To Kill A Jew
Most people have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads about now, but not me. I sit here in BtB headquarters banging my head against the wall and blogging about terrorists.
Even when I was being raised Christian as a child, I didn't know what a sugar plum was. And to tell you the truth, I never much cared to find out. Christianity just didn't stir my curiosity.
But being a Jew does nothing but.
photo from the Daily Mail (UK)
“It was always my wish to turn my body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists and to knock on Heaven’s doors with the skulls of Zionists.”
The day after 21-year-old Palestinian terrorist Reem Riyashi read these words for her farewell video, she murdered four Israelis in a suicide terror attack. She, or those who wrote the statement for her, believed that her act of murder would guarantee her entry into Heaven
That would be a brief excerpt from the Executive Summary of a Special Report by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook for Palestinian Media Watch. The study is called "Kill A Jew - Got To Heaven" and it examines why Palestinians believe what they believe and the distinctions, if any, between "fringe groups" and the "official" Palestinian Authority.
The PMW does great work and we should all be grateful for it, but the title of this report made me wonder where the organization is, the think tank, the social scientists with white boards and black boards, who can explain to me why there is no report called "Kill A Jew - Go To Hell."
For me the issue of The Jewish Response to Continual Demonization, Bloodthirst, Maiming and Murder is much more vital. I understand all I need or want to understand about The Other hating us. What I don't understand is why we as a People are not angry and as a result, so seldom stand up to the world's bullies. I wonder about this not just because that seems like it would be the "normal" response, but because it would be so effective. IMHO.
After so many failed peace processes, can we try the Iron Wall now? Can we at least talk about it?
.... As long as there is a spark of hope that they can get rid of us, they will not sell these hopes, not for any kind of sweet words or tasty morsels, because they are not a rabble but a nation, perhaps somewhat tattered, but still living. A living people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions only when there is no hope left. Only when not a single breach is visible in the iron wall, only then do extreme groups lose their sway, and influence transfers to moderate groups. Only then would these moderate groups come to us with proposals for mutual concessions. And only then will moderates offer suggestions for compromise on practical questions like a guarantee against expulsion, or equality and national autonomy.
-- Ze'ev Jabotinsky, 192