18 février 2014 2 18 /02 /février /2014 16:42
Gaza & Hamas
- Tensions on Gaza border: 2 rockets land in open areas in Israel (JP) - "No injuries reported in attacks on Hof Ashkelon, Eshkol Regional Council; IDF fires, injures Palestinians protesting near border on second day of increased violence".
- Report: Egypt creating buffer zone on Gaza-Sinai border, destroys 10 tunnels (JP) - "Egyptian security source says that buffer would extend up to 500 meters in some areas".
- Fortifications and infantry brigades: Egypt reinforces border with Israel, Yoav Zitun (Ynet) - "After struggle against al-Qaeda operatives, Bedouin smugglers takes toll on lives of dozens of Egyptian soldiers, Cairo fortifies fence with modern equipment, expert infantrymen".
- The unreported Egyptian siege of the Sinai (Elder of Ziyon) - "The Egyptian army has imposed a siege on the Sinai, collectively punishing all residents there for the actions of the terrorists. [...] The danger of Islamists in the Sinai cannot be denied, as the Taba bus bombing shows. However, the double standards of the media and "human rights" NGOs is striking - they ignore Egypt's collective punishment of hundreds of thousands of Sinai residents, with checkpoints, travel restrictions, limitations on electronic communications, censorship, curfews and more. All this is happening right next to Gaza which has hundreds of reporters and NGO workers ready to write daily condemnations of Israel in order to justify their existence. None of them bother to travel a couple of miles to see what is happening on the other side of Rafah".
- 17-year-old suicide bomber is "brave hero," says PA Governor of Ramallah (PMW)
"At a ceremony last week, Governor of Ramallah Laila Ghannam called suicide bomber Ayyat Al-Akhras - at age 17, the youngest female Palestinian suicide bomber - and other terrorists "brave heroes." Ayyat Al-Akhras was a terrorist who detonated her suicide vest at a supermarket, murdering two. Other dignitaries present at the ceremony included PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein and PA Minister of Agriculture Walid Assaf. Click to view. This is not the first time Governor Laila Ghannam has glorified terrorists and promoted violence. [...]"
- PA tells Kerry no to framework deal in current form, Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel) - "Palestinians informed US secretary central elements of his proposal are unacceptable, Ramallah officials say".
- Palestinians Confirm: It’s a “No”, Tom Wilson (Commentary) - "by making every single proposal a red line it is clear that the Palestinians are in effect saying “no” to the whole thing".
"Few seemed to be listening earlier this week when the Palestinian Authority released a list of red lines that in practice meant an outright rejection of Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace framework. Prior to this, noises were coming from PA officials suggesting that they are not happy with Kerry’s efforts or enthusiastic about his proposals. But, in contrast to when figures in the Israeli government express skepticism about the negotiations, remarkably few seemed to be willing to hear any of this from the Palestinians. The Washington Post and The Times of Israel both recounted that Abbas had indeed released new red lines. But there was little sense given that these red lines were effectively driving a stake through the heart of any viable framework agreement. The State Department released no official statement, and even the Israelis apparently decided they weren’t dignifying Abbas’s outlandish demands with a public response.
So now the Palestinians are turning up the volume on their rejectionism, perhaps in the hope that someone will acknowledge that they are serious about what they are saying. The PA has officially informed Kerry that they will not accept his framework in its present form. This itself is confusing since Kerry has not yet released a full framework, merely the vaguest of outlines of one, and less than ten days ago the State Department’s spokespeople were denying that such a framework even existed.
As part of this concerted rejectionist push, one senior PA administrator even stressed, “We said ‘No’ to him in the past, and we will say it again in the future.” What is still more remarkable about all this is that it doesn’t simply concern the content of any agreement, but the very principle of the PA even participating in an agreement. According to the Times of Israel, all of the officials that spoke to them claimed that the PA could not reach an agreement because it does not have legitimacy in the eyes of the Palestinian public for taking such a move. They’re not wrong. Abbas is now ten years into his four-year electoral term as president. In the past Abbas has used the end of the Israeli prime minister’s term to walk away from an agreement, as he did with Ehud Olmert in 2008. Now it seems that the Palestinian Authority may use its own lack of legitimacy to flee peace talks.
The Palestinians may be aware that issuing an outright “no” to having any agreement with Israel ever would not play out well for their international standing. A “no” has to be delivered in such a way that it can at least be framed as merely a rejection of specific proposals. But by making every single proposal a red line it is clear that the Palestinians are in effect saying “no” to the whole thing. And if they are serious about pushing this line that they don’t have the authority to make an agreement with Israel, then they are essentially ruling out the very possibility of agreeing to anything. Presumably the only thing that would change this status would be new Palestinian elections–and there’s no sign of these coming anytime soon.
Whether the U.S. administration or the international community wish to acknowledge it, the Palestinians are saying loudly and clearly “no.” At some point policy will have to be adjusted to recognize this reality."
- Don’t expect Abbas to sign anything, Shlomo Avineri (Haaretz) - "So far, the Palestinian negotiating tactic has been to get concessions, then cut off talks and 'start where we left off'."
- The key to Mideast peace, neglected by the world, Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel) - Dennis Ross: “At the end of the day, Israel as Jewish state is another way of having everyone in the region accept the legitimacy of Israel’s presence. And that’s a sine qua non for peace and reconciliation. So I think it is essential. But I also think it’s one of the things that gets resolved during the course of the negotiations.”
"A lot has changed in the Middle East since the Arab League passed the 1967 Khartoum resolution, which established the “main principles by which the Arab States abide”: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations. The infamous “three no’s” of Khartoum have been replaced by a much less belligerent call for the establishment of a Palestinian state. But the original “no recognition of Israel” has evolved into “no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state,” and what just a few years ago was an absolute non-issue now might threaten the success of the entire peace process. [...]
Israel’s desire to be recognized a Jewish state is much older than the current round of US-brokered peace talks. Ever since Netanyahu accepted, in principle, the creation of a Palestinian state, during his Bar-Ilan University speech in 2009, he has made recognition a key element. “If the Palestinians recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state,” he said at the time.
But the issue came up even under Netanyahu’s predecessor Ehud Olmert. On November 13, 2007, right before the Annapolis peace conference, then foreign minister (and current justice minister and chief peace negotiator) Tzipi Livni raised the issue in a meeting with senior Palestinian Authority officials. “Israel the state of the Jewish people — and I would like to emphasize the meaning of ‘its people’ is the Jewish people,” Livni said, according to minutes of the meeting leaked to Al Jazeera. “I didn’t ask for recognizing something that is the internal decision of Israel. Israel can do so, it is a sovereign state. [We want you to recognize it.] The whole idea of the conflict is … the entire point is the establishment of the Jewish state.”
The idea even predates the 2007 talks, and its significance was originally perceived by Israeli left-wingers, as journalist Yair Rosenberg recently pointed out. Rosenberg quotes Yaacov Lozowick, who in his book “Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel’s Wars” tells the story of some two dozen Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals — “there was not a hard-line militant among them” — who in July 2001, when Ariel Sharon was prime minister, “convened to build a bridge over the ruins of peace.”
Their idea was to issue a joint declaration calling on the two sides to resume negotiations. “The Palestinians were willing to join in stating that there should be two independent states alongside one another, but the Israelis, alerted by the fiascos of Camp David and Taba to a nuance they had previously overlooked, demanded that the statement clearly say that Israel would be a Jewish State and Palestine an Arab one,” Lozowick wrote. “The Palestinians refused. Jews, they said, are a religion, not a nationality, and neither need nor deserve their own state. They were welcome to live in Israel, but the Palestinian refugees would come back, and perhaps she would cease to be a Jewish State.”
Stymieing calls for a Palestinian “right of return” is, of course, one main reason behind Netanyahu’s insistence for recognition. “Recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people means completely abandoning the ‘right of return’ and ending any other national demands over the land and sovereignty of the State of Israel,” he said last October. “This is a crucial component for a genuine reconciliation and stable and durable peace.” [...] But the right of return is only secondary in importance. Netanyahu’s declared main reason for the insistence on recognition is what he sees as the Arab refusal to accept a Jewish presence in the Holy Land. This is “at the root of the conflict,” he said in late January.
“This conflict has gone on for nearly 100 years,” he elaborated, telling the story of how a Jewish immigration office was attacked by rioting Palestinians in 1921. “There were no settlers there… There were no territories. There was a basic objection to any Jewish presence.” This sentiment has continued to fester in the Palestinian heads ever since, Netanyahu suggested, leading to a struggle “against the very existence of the Jewish state, against Zionism or any geographic expression of it, any State of Israel in any border.” The Zionist movement and various Israeli governments agreed to recognize a Palestinian state, “but this conflict has gone on because of one reason: the stubborn opposition to recognize the Jewish state, the nation-state of the Jewish people,” he said. “To end the conflict, they must recognize that in our land, this land, in the Jewish homeland, there are two peoples.”
The Israeli public seems to back Netanyahu’s position. According to a poll published earlier this month by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, more than three-quarters of Israeli Jews believe “it is important that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people” as part of an agreement. Only 21 percent said it was not important. “Among those who believe recognition is important, 41% believe it is important because it is a recognition of the basic principle of Zionism, 29% because it would help Israel counter a demand that it become a ‘state of all its citizens,’ and 19% because it would be compensation for Israel recognizing the Palestinian state as the state of the Palestinian people,” the Israel Democracy Institute stated in a press release.
According to the poll, a large majority (63%) of Israeli Jews who describe themselves as left-wing support Netanyahu’s demand for recognition. Indeed, even Yossi Beilin — a former cabinet minister and icon of the Israeli left — recently joined those who advocate for a Palestinian recognition of Israel’s Jewish nature. “I believe Israeli leaders will be willing to pay a high price in exchange for such recognition,” he wrote in The New York Times a few months ago. “Both sides should embrace the formula proposed 10 years ago by the Geneva Initiative, which recognized the right of both parties to statehood and ‘Palestine and Israel as the homelands of their respective peoples.’” [...]
Yet the Palestinian leadership is outspoken about its reasons for rejecting the Jewish state definition Netanyahu insists they endorse. “It would be dangerous to recognize this because this would mean our acceptance of the dissolution of our own history and ties and our historic right to Palestine. This is something that we will never accept under any circumstances,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said last month in an interview. Accepting Israel as a Jewish state would also “raise fears” about the fate of Israel’s Arab citizens, Al-Maliki said. “They are already second-class citizens, so how will they be affected by the Judaization of the state?” [...]
Jordanians and Egyptians making peace with Israel without recognition is not the same as the Palestinians not doing so, according to Dennis Ross, a former top US diplomat with extensive experience in Israeli-Arab peace negotiations. “The difference is that these are two national movements competing for the same space,” he told me last week. Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state would not necessarily destroy the Palestinians’ national narrative, he said. “They know who they are; [recognition] doesn’t deny that.”
“At the end of the day, Israel as Jewish state is another way of having everyone in the region accept the legitimacy of Israel’s presence,” Ross continued. “And that’s a sine qua non for peace and reconciliation. So I think it is essential. But I also think it’s one of the things that gets resolved during the course of the negotiations.” [...]"
- Syrie : le conflit a fait plus de 140.000 morts selon une ONG (AFP) - "Selon l'Observatoire syrien des droits de l'Homme (OSDH), basé en Grande-Bretagne, au moins 140.041 personnes, dont 49.951 civils parmi lesquels 7.626 enfants et 5.064 femmes ont été tués dans ce conflit opposant régime et rebelles mais devenu de plus en plus complexe avec des combats également entre rebelles et jihadistes en majorité étrangers".