SWI NEWS: Tue, Apr 17, 2012 25 Nisan, 5772
Barack Obama and his double diplomatic trackThe fundamental rift on Iran between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu burst into the open Monday, April 16 when high-ranking Israeli officials close to Netanyahu directly accused the president of reneging on the US-Israeli understandings reached ahead of the Istanbul talks between the six powers and Iran on April 14. Behind the show biz of Istanbul, they charged, the US and Iran had reached secret agreements in clandestine bilateral contacts channeled through Paris and Vienna. The row surfaced Sunday when Netanyahu said the US and world powers by agreeing to hold more talks in Baghdad next month had given Tehran a "freebie" of five more weeks to continue enriching uranium without restrictions. By singling out the US, the prime minister aimed his comment directly at the president. Obama’s response was fast. At a news conference ending the Western Hemisphere summit in Cartagenia, Colombia, he commented sharply: "The notion that somehow we've given something away or a `freebie' would indicate Iran has gotten something. In fact, they've got some of the toughest sanctions that they're going to be facing coming up in just a few months if they don't take advantage of these talks." That is the very point on which Israel accuses the US president of playing false: time. As disclosed by debkafile on April 9, American and Israeli officials preceded the Istanbul talks with an understanding for the US to put before Iran agreed demands/concessions: Iran would be allowed to keep 1,000 centrifuges for the low-level enrichment of uranium up to 3.5 percent purity, the first time Israel had accepted the principle of Iran enriching uranium at any grade at all. It was also agreed between Washington and Jerusalem that Iran would not be permitted to keep 20 percent enriched uranium, which is a short step before weapons-grade, in any quantity. These understandings, known as the “1,000 principle,” were meant to represent the final upshot of the formal negotiations with Iran, a consensus to which US diplomats would aspire in as short a time possible. In the event, the US delegation did not present any of the agreed demands – or any other - to the Iranians attending the first round of talks in Turkey. The belated sense of being misled prompted the prime minister’s exceptionally sharp reaction. Israeli official sources now suspect that in their secret contacts, the US has granted Iran far-reaching concessions on its nuclear program - more than Israel would find acceptable. The formal talks in Istanbul and in Baghdad on May 23 are seen as nothing but a device to screen the real business the US and Iran have already contracted on the quiet.
Six months after being arrested in London, Sheikh Raed Salah, who heads the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, returned to Israel.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/17/2012, 12:14 AM
Sheikh Raed Salah
ReutersSheikh Raed Salah, who heads the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, returned to Israel on Monday evening, about six months after he was arrested in London following an unauthorized entry into the UK. Salah was arrested in the London hotel at which he was staying last June. Local immigration authorities claimed that Salah had entered Britain illegally despite having previously been declared persona non grata. Despite Salah being banned from the country, airport police allowed him to enter. Labor Members of Parliament had invited him to speak at the legislature despite the ban, which did not prevent him from passing through immigration inspection at Heathrow Airport. He was reportedly arrested only after British newspapers published his appearance. The British Home Office subsequently agreed to release Salah. A British immigration board later ruled that Salah is “undesirable” and can be deported from the United Kingdom. Salah was previously arrested and jailed several times in Israel for incitement and assaulting police officers. After he landed in Israel on Monday, Salah was taken by the police at the airport for a short interrogation, after which he was released.
PA Prime Minister inaugurates new PA construction project, despite the fact that it is located in an area under full Israeli control.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/17/2012, 5:13 AM
ReutersPalestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has inaugurated a new PA construction project, despite the fact that it is located in an area under full Israeli control, the PA-based WAFA news agency reported on Monday. According to a statement issued by Fayyad’s office, he inaugurated on Monday stage one of a water dam to be built in “Palestine” at a cost of over $1 million. The statement quoted by WAFA said that during a visit to the village of Ouja and the Jordan Valley, Fayyad inaugurated the Ouja Dam, which he said is one of the projects to develop Area C, which falls under full Israeli control. “Our non-stop efforts to develop the area known as Area C and every inch of our country aim mainly to benefit from our resources, mainly our water resources,” Fayyad was quoted as having said. He added that building the Ouja Dam is proof that “we will not be deterred by unfair classifications and names.” Fayyad also noted that he will not wait for Israeli permission to allow him to develop the Jordan Valley. According to WAFA, he stressed that “this is our land and it is our natural right to develop this area and to serve our people living here.” Fayyad said that the Jordan Valley is “part of the occupied Palestinian territory and a vital part of the future independent state of Palestine.” According to WAFA, the Islamic Development Bank contributed $1 million toward developing stage one of the Ouja Dam and the Palestinian Authority paid over $30,000 toward that end. Work will now start on stage two of the project. The report said that Fayyad also condemned the IDF for what he claimed was its assault against Palestinian and international activists who wanted to hold a bicycle tour of the Jordan Valley area last week. Fayyad claimed that Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner’s striking of an anarchist provocateur who rioted and broke Eisner’s hand is “what happens to the Palestinian people on daily basis,” according to WAFA. Fayyad’s provocative actions and remarks came a day before his meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Last week it was reported that Netanyahu will seek direct talks with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas during the meeting.
Dr. Dore Gold, former Ambassador to the United Nations, says Israel should set ‘red lines’ should it restart negotiations with the PA.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/17/2012, 2:13 AM
PA Prime Minister Fayyad
Flash 90Dr. Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations and former advisor to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said on Monday that Israel should set ‘red lines’ should it restart negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Dr. Gold spoke to Arutz Sheva ahead of a meeting between Netanyahu and the PA’s Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, on Tuesday. Last week it was reported that Netanyahu will seek direct talks with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas during the meeting. According to his office, Netanyahu will propose "raising the level of talks" and holding face-to-face negotiations with Abbas. Gold told Arutz Sheva that he believes Netanyahu has actually started drawing his ‘red lines’ when he stressed the importance of an Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley as part of a future agreement with the PA. He added that a demand that Abbas recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people is another red line that should be set by Netanyahu. Gold also addressed recent reports, according to which Fayyad intends to demand, during the meeting with Netanyahu, that Israel return to the indefensible pre-1967 borders, halt all construction in Judea and Samaria and release all PA prisoners. He described these demands as “a dream” of the PA leadership, noting that the question now is whether any negotiations will be held based on dreams or on red lines. On Sunday, it was reported that during the meeting on Tuesday, Fayyad will present Netanyahu with a letter from Abbas, in which the PA Chairman writes that Israel’s actions have stripped the Palestinian Authority of its “raison d'etre”, creating a reality which cannot continue. “As a result of actions taken by successive Israeli governments, the Palestinian National Authority no longer has any authority, and no meaningful jurisdiction in the political, economic, territorial and security spheres,” says the letter. “In other words, the PA lost its raison d'etre which, if it continues, will make it unable to honor its commitments,” Abbas says, referring to the multiple agreements signed with Israel since the 1993 Oslo Accords, which brought about the creation of the Palestinian Authority a year later. Jordan recently hosted a series of “exploratory meetings” between Israeli and PA representatives. However, the PA refused to continue to talk after those meetings and Abbas has continued to impose preconditions on negotiations, also threatening to cancel any agreements signed between the sides after 2000. Abbas may be reacting to the fact that the world - and even the Israeli left and Israel's Arabs - has lost much of its interest in the Palestinian Arab cause, as can be seen by the failed flytilla and March on Jerusalem, one reason being that the Arab Spring has shown where the real problems are.