- Interview de Frédéric Encel (Maître de conférence à Sciences Po Paris et à l'ESG Management School) sur RCJ (09/07/2013, Audio 15mn) - une bonne et claire analyse de la situation géopolitique du Moyen-Orient.
Gaza & Hamas
- Egypt kills 32 Hamas fighters in Sinai campaign, daily reports, Elhanan Miller (Times of Israel)
"The Egyptian army has killed some 200 gunmen in Sinai, including 32 Hamas members, and arrested 45 others over the past several days, an Egyptian security source told London-based Arab daily Al-Hayat on Thursday.
The unnamed official accused Hamas of intentionally escalating the security situation in Sinai following the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi. The official claimed that Egyptian military forces have observed Hamas activists operating in Sinai in cooperation with local jihadists. “The army is barely in control of the situation,” the official told the daily. “They enter Sinai through the tunnels to carry out attacks together with others and return to Gaza through the tunnels. Moreover, they exploit the terrain and hide in the mountains.”
Hamas, for its part, tried to distance itself from the developments in Egypt, claiming it has adopted a policy of non-intervention following the overthrow of Morsi. “The intervention of Gazans in the Egyptian issue is nothing more than popular solidarity with the deposed president Mohammed Morsi, in whose time the situation improved on all levels,” read an article in Hamas news site Al-Resalah.
Egypt is seeking Israel’s permission to carry out a widespread operation in the coming days against jihadists in Sinai, the Times of London reported on Thursday. According to the daily, Israel is inclined to authorize the operation. The Egyptian army has been intensively engaged in the Sinai peninsula for almost two years as part of Operation Eagle, which followed a terrorist attack on an Egyptian army outpost during the month of Ramadan in August 2011. [...]"
- Hamas denies 32 of its operatives killed in Sinai (JP) - "Spokesman for Hamas says report that Egypt army killed operatives for sparking unrest is smear campaign".
- Palestinian official: Egypt turmoil leaves Hamas high and dry (JP) - "Muslim Brotherhood's fall in Egypt has left Hamas short on reliable allies, according to anonymous Palestinian security official; says this is Hamas' most difficult time yet, unrest could lead to a revolution in Gaza Strip".
- Hamas Summer Camp Brainwashes Gaza Children to Hate (IDF, Vidéo 39 secondes)
- Army reports sharp drop in West Bank terror attacks, Ron Friedman (Times of Israel) - "Major arrest spree, better intelligence and improved cooperation with the PA security forces all contributed to the decline in recent months, says regional commander".
- PA arrests someone for eating on Ramadan (Elder of Ziyon) - "Palestinian police arrest man for eating in public on 3rd day of Ramadan".
- Palestine : le plan secret des Occidentaux pour relancer l'économie (AFP)
"Une équipe d'experts internationaux élabore depuis des mois dans la plus grande discrétion un plan de relance de l'économie palestinienne par des capitaux privés, activable en cas de redémarrage des pourparlers de paix avec Israël. Le secrétaire d'Etat américain, John Kerry, a dévoilé en mai, lors du Forum économique mondial en Jordanie, les contours d'un projet visant à attirer quatre milliards de dollars d'investissements dans huit secteurs cruciaux de l'économie palestinienne dans les trois prochaines années. Après des décennies d'impasse, les détails du plan, préparé en secret sous l'égide de l'émissaire du Quartette pour le Proche-Orient, Tony Blair, sont toutefois gardés sous clé en attendant que les négociations, au point mort depuis septembre 2010, reprennent.
L'objectif est que le projet soit "réel, tangible et prêt à être lancé", a expliqué John Kerry, qui a affirmé qu'une première analyse prédisait des résultats "stupéfiants" : une augmentation du produit intérieur brut palestinien de 50% en trois ans, et une réduction du chômage de 21% à 8%. Mais des plans similaires lancés à l'initiative des Américains ont déjà, dans le passé, suscité l'espoir avant de s'effilocher. L'absence de détails concrets fait aussi craindre à certains un déficit de propositions. [...]"
"Processus de paix"
- Where's the Coverage? Palestinian TV Broadcasts Jew-Hating Children… Again (CAMERA) - "By broadcasting these sentiments on its official television station, it is clear the Palestinian Authority endorses the sentiments in the poem. How difficult will it be to achieve a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when these attitudes are taught to children? (...) Young minds poisoned with hatred and bigotry. Children encouraged to embrace violence. And yet… Where’s the coverage?"
- Kerry set to make 6th Mideast visit next week amid doubts, Herb Keinon (JP) - "Questions arise over whether Kerry should focus energy elsewhere".
"[...] The visit, if it indeed takes place, comes as some in the US are questioning whether this is the area where Kerry should be focusing his time and energy right now.
“The intense focus of Secretary of State John F. Kerry on the long-moribund Israeli- Palestinian peace process when neighboring Egypt is collapsing into chaos and Syria’s civil war rages unabated provokes more than a little head-scratching among diplomats from the Middle East,” The Washington Post editorialized this week. “Like previous US initiatives, Mr. Kerry’s diplomacy ignores the powerful Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, opposes a peace deal and is capable of disrupting negotiations at any time by resuming missile attacks against Israel,” the paper stated. “Mr. Kerry banks on the support of Arab states, but two of Israel’s Arab neighbors have no functioning government, while the other two – Jordan and Lebanon – have been all but overwhelmed by the spillover of refugees and fighting from Syria,” it added.
US sources said that even inside the State Department there is little confidence that Kerry’s efforts will succeed, which is one of the reasons why – they claim – his team of senior staffers working on this issue is so small, primarily made up of two men: Frank Lowenstein, his Middle East adviser, and Jonathan Schwartz, a State Department legal expert. According to these sources, US President Barack Obama – who, beyond giving Kerry public backing, has kept a low profile during the secretary of state’s efforts to prod the sides back to the table – has given Kerry the green light to try to move the sides together, but does not want to get too personally involved to avoid a diplomatic failure. [...]"
- Two can play precondition game, Dan Calic (Ynet) - "If the Palestinians are going to insist on preconditions, why can’t Israel have some of its own? C’mon, what’s fair is fair, right?"
"To date the efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry have failed to produce an agreement leading to resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. In spite of comments such as “real progress has been made,” the refusal of the Palestinians to abandon their preconditions remains the major obstacle preventing a breakthrough.
The Palestinians demand Israel stop all home construction on land they claim as their state. Israel must also relinquish all territory under their authority since being forced to fight a defensive war in 1967. This includes eastern Jerusalem which is the holiest place on earth for the Jewish people. Plus, numerous Palestinians must be released from prison, many of whom have blood on their hands. For his part Mahmoud Abbas continues to reaffirm his commitment to preconditions. In an interview published recently in Al-Hayat, referring to ’67 borders, he said “we consider any settlement after 1967 illegal.” Regarding Jerusalem he said “….if it is not the capital of Palestine, there will be no solution.”
If the Palestinians are going to insist on preconditions, why can’t Israel have some of its own? C’mon, what’s fair is fair, right? Thus, Mr. Abbas I submit the following preconditions which must be met before Israel is willing to sit face to face with you:
The first and most important precondition is for you to drop all your preconditions, period. Such demands are incongruous with all known acceptable protocol of good faith negotiations and promote a disingenuous agenda. Both sides should come to the table equally balanced without preconditions, prepared to negotiate all issues. However, if you insist on sticking to your preconditions, I invite you to entertain Israel’s list. They are intended to render negotiations meaningless, which is precisely what your goal appears to be.
For starters you must accept Israel’s right to exist as the sovereign national homeland of the Jewish people. Israeli leaders have repeatedly acknowledged their commitment to a Palestinian state, and two states for two peoples. The least you could do is reciprocate by accepting Israel’s right to exist.
Next, stop telling your Arab brethren taking Jerusalem away from Israel is an “Islamic obligation.” Would you expect Saudi Arabia to give Mecca or Medina away? If Muslims are allowed to have their two holiest cities, why can’t the Jews have the one city which has been the center of Jewish life for 4,000 years? In case you forgot, Jerusalem’s existence as such predates Islam by 2,700 years. However you don’t seem to allow facts to alter your agenda.
Additionally, please contact the various terrorists groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, Hezbollah, PLO, plus your own group Fatah, and have all the language removed from their respective charters requiring the destruction of Israel and elimination of the Jewish people. I realize you may not be able to convince the other groups to make this potentially humiliating gesture. However, forgive me for suggesting that Israel’s leaders might be just a little skeptical of your sincerity when the founding charter of the political part of which you are head, requires the destruction of the country you claim to want peace with.
Let’s move to the websites of these same groups. Each of them, including your Fatah party show Palestine covering the entire area of land Israel rests upon. How about suggesting the webmasters do a little editing to reflect Israel in fact does exist? The entire world is aware of this, so having these websites reflect reality would demonstrate a pragmatic approach to coexistence…. if this is indeed something you favor.
It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to stop naming parks and other public places after terrorists who murdered innocent Israeli civilians. Maybe it hasn’t occurred to you that glorifying murderers by calling them “heroes” and “martyrs” gives the average Israeli the impression you consider every one of them a legitimate target. That’s not exactly the type of message someone claiming to want coexistence should be sending.
Once all these preconditions have been met, it will create a balanced atmosphere at the negotiating table between you and Israel. Oh, did I mention if either side agrees to the other’s preconditions, there won’t be much point of coming to the negotiating table? However, since your preconditions are designed to prevent actual negotiations you seem to know this already.
A final thought: One of the reasons Israel should have its own list of preconditions is it may prove to be an effective way of demonstrating the absurdity of your preconditions. Mr. Abbas. You may get so frustrated it could cause you to drop your preconditions and meet without them. Then again I ask myself what are the odds this might happen? Is the moon made of cheese?"
- Israeli-Palestinian obsession fading, Richard Baehr (Political director of American Thinker) - "Israel is just not that central to the concerns of Arabs. Palestine is the bloody shirt that can be waved time and again to stir up the locals, but it is not what ails or really even concerns these nations".
"Governments in Europe, their media and most of their residents have long argued or believed that time is of the essence in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a conflict created, they maintain, by Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.
Several recent U.S. administrations have joined in the chorus, most prominently the Obama White House. American journalists who maintain their great love and concern for Israel's future, such as Peter Beinart and Tom Friedman, have argued that all manner of bad things are sure to occur if Israel refuses to budge and change its course with the Palestinians, presumably the only reason why agreement between the parties has failed to occur for decades.
It is regularly proclaimed that the window of opportunity for successful negotiations to achieve a two-state solution is closing. Of course, the window has been purportedly closing since the start of Oslo in the early 1990s, according to the professional peace processor class and their supporters in government, media and the NGO community. Since a deal has not yet been reached, it is surely a miracle of sorts that the window is not already firmly shut, and the world has not come crashing down as a result of this failure.
Central to the window of opportunity theme is the notion that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an open sore in the region, and that if a successful resolution of the conflict occurred, all other issues would be easier to resolve, and many of the Arab nations would be far more accommodating to U.S. policy preferences. This is in addition to those who argue that Israel would be better off, safer and more democratic by slimming down, much as it supposedly was all these things after prior withdrawals from South Lebanon and Gaza.
The experiences of the last few days, weeks, months and years have made it painfully obvious that the Arab world, and much of the Muslim world, is going through a period of extreme instability, and this is unrelated to Israel or its conflict with the Palestinians. One might argue that for Egyptians, the dislocations from the changes in governments the last three years have in fact caused their country to come crashing down and there is now potential for mass starvation.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is utterly irrelevant to the instability in Egypt, or to the food shortages there, just as it is irrelevant to the civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people in Syria, or the fighting that occurred in Libya, or the unrest in Bahrain, Yemen or Tunisia, or the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, or between Hezbollah and other political parties in Lebanon, or to the chaos and warfare in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Muslims in Muslim nations seem to need little outside help -- from Israel or anyone else -- to start killing each other, and they have been disproportionately violent communities in the Western nations where they have taken up residence, though this is slightly less so in the U.S., other than for 9/11.
Arab and Muslim nations have of course been a united bloc attacking Israel in international organizations, and have always lobbied the U.S. to lean on Israel so that it will deliver up concessions to the Palestinians. Presumably, this would release some of the pressure these regimes feel from their own populations whom they have stirred up on the issue. Most of these regimes have no influence on Israeli policy, and almost all do not even recognize the Jewish state. So they work through the U.S., primarily the ambassadors and State Department officials.
When not windsurfing as Egypt exploded over the weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry has spent pretty much all of his time since he took office shuttling between Israel and Palestinian leaders, all of course in a thoroughly useless effort to get negotiations going, something in which the Palestinians have zero interest. Now, as the diversion created by the obsession over Israel is fading in the Arab regimes that are fighting to hold themselves together, Kerry and the Obama team behave as if nothing has changed. [...]
When Obama was elected, he argued that the resolution of, or at least significant progress on, the Israeli-Palestinian front was essential to the U.S. forming a coalition that could persuade or pressure Iran in international organizations or with sanctions so that it would give up its nuclear weapons program. In other words, a conflict that had been unresolved for a century would now need to be fixed in a hurry, since Iran's nuclear ambitions had a short remaining time frame before the program was complete. Only a president with the hubris of Barack Obama could have thought he held the magic elixir to accomplish what all before him had tried and failed to do, and to do so quickly.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued for a different linkage -- that the Iranian nuclear program was the real threat to the region, and not just to Israel. If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained unresolved a few more years, that was nothing new. If Iran's nuclear program could be cut off, then its aggressive behavior in the region would not get any worse, and perhaps its behavior might be more restrained. Iran has been mixed up in the conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Syria, to name just a few, plus of course its support for Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Now, four and a half years into the Obama presidency, the Palestinians remain the recalcitrant party, preventing negotiations with Israel from even starting, and Iran is that much closer to joining the nuclear club. Obama was wrong on the priority problem and Netanyahu was right. Much as the Sunni Arab nations are trying to hold on to control of their governments, with the exception of Alawite-controlled Syria, nobody in the region wants Iran to get a nuclear device. While Israel is not loved by its neighbors any more today than it was half a decade ago, no one is expecting any miracles in peace processing or demanding them.
Israel is just not that central to the concerns of Arabs. Palestine is the bloody shirt that can be waved time and again to stir up the locals, but it is not what ails or really even concerns these nations. Cynical Arab leaders will continue to try to distract their populations by targeting Israel as the bad guy. And peace processing will continue, in large part because there are peace processors who need something to do, and because people do not like to admit they were fundamentally wrong about something for all the years they have been wrong about it."
- Friday Sermon at Venerable Damascus Mosque: Jews behind Civil Strife throughout Middle East (Syrian TV, 28 juin, Vidéo 3mn26)
- Syrian preacher: "Let us take a look at the history of mankind, which has recorded the true nature of the Jews, the slayers of prophets and violators of agreements. It shows how they have tried, since pre-Islamic times, to fragment, divide, and rip apart the Arab and Islamic nation. In an effort to gain influence in the world and to realize their desires, the Jews have set two basic goals. Listen, oh Muslims, and beware of what is happening in Syria – in that land with steadfast people and leadership.
They have two basic goals. The first is to divide the nations of the world, to pit them one against the other, and to spark war and civil strife among them. The second goal is to rip apart the nations of the world, destroying their notions, moral values, and codes, and making them stray from the path of Allah. That is what they did throughout the ages all over the world. Oh nation of Islam, the Jews have been tearing this nation apart for many years. […]
What is happening today in this steadfast fortress [Syria], and in the Middle East in general, is nothing new. It was premeditated. We are a nation in slumber, a nation that does not study the books of history, and has not studied what its enemies are plotting and devising against it. They kindled the spark of civil strife in Palestine and in Afghanistan, and then in Iraq, then in Egypt, and after that, in Syria."
- Antisemitic "Khaybar" series has begun broadcasting (Elder of Ziyon) - "The Internet ensures that the entire Arabic-speaking world, including in Europe, will see this incitement within hours of the original broadcasts".
- Ramadan series ‘Khaybar’ is a battle cry against Jews (JP) - "Special holiday show deals with relations between Jews and Arabs in 7th century".
- Les Juifs turcs accusés de mener la fronde contre Erdogan, Laure Marchand (Le Figaro) - "Dans ses meetings, le premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan, qui est un coutumier des dérapages antisémites, accuse «le lobby du taux d'intérêt» d'être un des responsables de la révolte".
"En ce jour de shabbat, casquette sur la tête et gilet pare-balles sous le costume, les deux gardes postés devant la synagogue de Neve Shalom scrutent chaque passant. La journaliste sur le trottoir d'en face est immédiatement repérée, sa carte de journaliste vérifiée et ses explications sur les raisons de sa présence pas du tout appréciées. Recueillir les réactions de fidèles sur les déclarations antisémites proférées par des membres du gouvernement et du Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP) au pouvoir ? «Adressez-vous au grand rabbinat», «ne vous approchez pas des gens, ils vont avoir peur». Et pour être bien certain qu'ils ne seront pas importunés, on les fera sortir discrètement de la synagogue à la fin de l'office par une porte latérale. En ayant pris soin de vérifier qu'aucun d'entre eux n'avait oublié d'ôter sa kippa.
À deux pas de la tour génoise de Galata, entouré de magasins de luminaires, le principal lieu de culte de la communauté juive d'Istanbul vit au rythme du calendrier religieux et dans la hantise de 2003. Il y a dix ans, il fut l'une des cibles des attentats-suicides perpétrés par al-Qaida qui firent 58 morts. Depuis ce funeste 15 novembre, sécurité et discrétion sont les maîtres mots. «Faire profil bas» est «un réflexe», raconte, sous couvert d'anonymat, un des 15.000 membres de la petite communauté. Même - ou peut-être surtout - après le chapelet de propos racistes entendus au sujet de l'insurrection de Gezi, le parc de la place Taksim. Dans ses meetings, le premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan, qui est un coutumier des dérapages antisémites, accuse «le lobby du taux d'intérêt» d'être un des responsables de la révolte. «Évidemment, derrière, tout le monde entend le mot “Juif”», précise ce trentenaire.
Emboîtant le pas au chef du gouvernement, Melik Gökçek, le maire d'Ankara, ne s'est pas embarrassé de précaution oratoire. L'édile, membre du parti islamo-conservateur, a pointé du doigt «le jeu du lobby juif». Et la semaine dernière, Besir Atalay, vice-premier ministre, a désigné «la diaspora juive». Sur son site Internet, la Communauté juive de Turquie a réagi par un timide communiqué, exprimant la crainte qu'une «telle généralisation» ne désigne des Juifs comme «cible».
En mer de Marmara, à une heure de vapur d'Istanbul, l'île de Burgaz est depuis le XIXe siècle un lieu de villégiature prisé de la communauté. Sur un balcon qui surplombe une impasse envahie de bougainvilliers violets, quelques amis sont regroupés autour d'un barbecue. «Bien entendu que le gouvernement n'aime pas les Juifs, ce n'est pas une découverte, déclare un ingénieur qui a turquifié son nom sur ses cartes de visite. Que cela soit dit aussi ouvertement, au plus haut niveau de l'État, a cependant quelque chose d'effrayant.» Dans leur vie quotidienne, ils disent ne pas être souvent confrontés à des réactions hostiles, qu'ils font tout pour ne pas les susciter. Entre deux brochettes, des anecdotes surgissent. «Une fois, un ancien patron m'a dit: “Cela m'est égal que vous soyez juive, nous sommes là pour faire du business, vous aurez votre punition lors du jugement dernier”», se souvient en rigolant une jeune fille. [...]
Les propos antisémites dans la presse ne sont jamais sanctionnés. Mardi, un édito du quotidien islamiste Takvim accusait les Juifs de Turquie d'être responsables des manifestations anti-Erdogan et du massacre de Frères musulmans au Caire. La logorrhée haineuse se termine ainsi : «De toute façon, vous n'avez jamais été turcs.» Les Juifs de Turquie sont les descendants de ceux qui fuirent l'Inquisition au XVe siècle. Cet accueil dans l'Empire ottoman est constamment mis en avant dans les discours officiels comme preuve de la tolérance turque. «C'était il y a cinq cents ans, j'en ai ras le bol d'entendre que je suis le bienvenu», conclut Eli."