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Jimmy Carter is excited. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) have reconciled. Palestinian unity — and peace — are in the air. On Friday the Carter Center issued a statement that includes this quote from the former President:
Based on my years of contacts with Fatah and Hamas, I am confident that, if handled creatively and flexibly by the international community, Hamas’ return to unified Palestinian governance can increase the likelihood of a two-state solution and a peaceful outcome.
No word on whether Hamas’ “return to unified Palestinian governance” includes an agreement by the terrorist group to give up its vow to destroy Israel and a commitment stop killing Jews.
In the Carter Center statement, Mr. Carter also enthusiastically maintains that the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah will help “preserve Palestinian democracy.” Hmmm. The question is: How do you “preserve” something that never existed in the first place?Comments (24) »
Saturday, April 30th, 2011 at 1:00 PM | David Kuner
The Palestinian Authority (P.A.) has reached a deal with Hamas to form an interim government that will include both parties, and they plan to hold Palestinian elections within a year. Currently, the P.A. governs the West Bank while Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.
Hamas and the P.A. have been sworn enemies for a number of years. Despite this, the two groups seem to agree on one thing: Israel is an even greater enemy, one that needs to be destroyed.
The difference between the two groups is the means by which they hope to achieve their goal. While Hamas openly calls for the destruction of Israel and refuses to negotiate with the Jewish State, the P.A. believes that the Palestinians can achieve the goal through a diplomatic process aimed at weakening the Jewish State’s position and delegitimizing it globally.
The reconciliation between the P.A. and Hamas is seen by many as a way to push a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state through the U.N. General Assembly this September. The P.A. desperately needed to reconcile with Hamas before pursuing this. By uniting the Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza, the international community will be more likely to accept the idea of a Palestinian state. And statehood declaration would serve both the P.A. and Hamas, since neither would have to change their charters calling for Israel’s destruction or be held to any peace deal.
The P.A.’s push for statehood through the U.N., as opposed to a negotiated deal with Israel, as well as its reconciliation with Hamas, is just more evidence that the P.A. — considered the “legitimate” Palestinian government in the eyes of the world — has no interest in peace. The alliance with Hamas is simply an alliance of convenience, meant to achieve a particular end. The formation of a Palestinian state won’t bring peace any closer — only the Palestinians’ acceptance that the Jewish state is here to stay will do that. But neither Hamas nor the P.A. seem willing to take that…Read More » Comments (5) »
Friday, April 29th, 2011 at 1:45 PM | afarkas
As the Palestinian Authority reconciles with Hamas, the U.S. rethinks the roughly $400 million per year it gives to the P.A. to strengthen its governance and security.
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“The Palestinian Authority has chosen an alliance with violence and extremism over the democratic values that Israel represents,” a bipartisan group of US lawmakers said on Thursday after a meeting in Tel Aviv with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Washington warned US funding could not flow to a government that includes a group still on the US list of foreign terrorist organizations.
Thursday, April 28th, 2011 at 3:59 PM | David Kuner
A generation of Christians and today’s supporters of Israel lost a friend on Wednesday, April 26, when renowned author and beloved New York pastor David Wilkerson died in a car accident near Dallas, Texas.
For many Christian believers of the baby boomer generation, Wilkerson’s 1963 best-selling book “The Cross and the Switchblade,” on the triumph of faith in God amidst the dangers of ministry to tough NY gangs, was the first dramatic and convicting book of its kind that they’d read. Wilkerson also founded the widespread Teen Challenge outreach to drug addicts.
Israel Today called Wilkerson a “lover of Israel.” He said in a 2003 interview with the magazine:
“I call on American Christians . . . to pray against the anti-Semitism that still exists in the Church. God warned me when I first established Times Square Church that we must always remain faithful to Israel. And I always have. I find it so strange that Gospel preachers don’t understand that God didn’t break His covenant with Israel. God gave the Land to Israel, and every nation that wants to destroy Israel will be punished.”
We at the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews extend our condolences to Pastor Wilkerson’s wife and family and his congregants, and we join his friends in the Christian church, in Israel, and around the world in mourning the loss of a friend and powerful voice.Comments (23) »
Thursday, April 28th, 2011 at 12:59 PM | David Kuner
Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, published a powerful and persuasive article in Foreign Policy magazine that highlights the numerous benefits the U.S. receives from its alliance with Israel. Oren argues that, despite what Israel’s critics say, the U.S. serves its interests well by allying itself with the Jewish state.
Oren writes that the bond between the U.S. and Israel goes well beyond shared values. Israel is not just the sole democracy in the Middle East — it has the most powerful army in the region, as well as the most stable government. Due to Israel’s strength and stability, it plays a critically important role in countering radical forces in the Middle East.
Oren’s article was written as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to visit the U.S. in May. During the trip, Netanyahu is scheduled to speak before Congress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel is under pressure to offer the Palestinians something that would end the deadlock in peace talks before the Palestinian Authority attempts to declare statehood this September in the United Nations General Assembly.
The pressure on Israel, as usual, seems misplaced. Think about it: If the world put as much pressure on the Palestinians — to end officially sanctioned incitement against Israel and Jews, to stop terror attacks, to form a transparent, working system of government, and to end the corruption rife within the Palestinian Authority — as it does on Israel to make concessions for peace, might peace not be closer than it is now, when the onus is placed almost entirely on Israel?
Sadly, we may never know the answer to that question.Comments (13) »
Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 at 12:45 PM | afarkas
How could we have missed this piece about Helen Thomas? As long as you don’t stay there too long, it’s always fanscinating to visit her fantasy world, where the “Israel lobbies” — meaning the Jews — control everything, including, apparently, the U.S. administration:
”You know damn well the power [the “Israel lobbies”] have. It isn’t the 2%. It’s real power when you own the White House, when you own these other places in terms of your political persuasion. Of course they have power. You don’t deny that,” and went on to ask the Playboy interviewer “You’re Jewish, aren’t you?” After he answered in the affirmative she noted “That’s what I thought”.
Thomas retains that she is not Anti Semitic.
Of course she isn’t — she just thinks that a shadowy group of Jews holds total control over the U.S. political system and financial markets, and manipulates these institutions to its own nefarious ends. No wonder, then, that she was invited to be a featured guest at “Move Over AIPAC,” an anti-Israel event planned to coincide with the annual conference held by AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobbying group. (Thomas subsequently withdrew from the Move Over AIPAC event when even one of the sponsoring groups found her views too extreme.)
One might ask Thomas why — if the current administration is “in the pocket of the Israel lobbies” — polls have found Israelis critical of many of President Obama’s policies toward the Jewish state, and why a significant portion of the U.S. electorate seems to think that he is not the friend of Israel that he should be. It’s a mystery. Undoubtedly the Zionists have something to do with it.Comments (26) »
Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 at 8:46 AM | David Kuner
In Syria, at least 39 people were killed and 70 wounded Monday by Syrian security forces in Daraa, a southern city where the current wave of protests began:
The offensive into Daraa appeared to be part of new strategy for pre-emptive strikes against the opposition to President Bashar Assad’s regime rather than reacting to marches and protests. Other crackdowns and sweeping arrests were reported on the outskirts of Damascus and the coastal town of Jabla, where at least 13 people were reported to have been killed.
But the assault on Daraa – an impoverished city on the Jordanian border – was by far the biggest in scope and firepower. Tanks fired volleys into the air and suspected opposition supporters were dragged from their homes along with their families, witnesses said.
More than 300 people have been killed across the country since the uprising began five weeks ago. But the relentless crackdowns have only served to embolden protesters, who started with calls for modest reforms but are now increasingly demanding Assad’s downfall.
“We need international intervention. We need countries to help us,” shouted a witness in Daraa.
In response, the U.S. is considering sanctions against senior officials in Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.
Meanwhile, in Libya, medics report that nearly 50 people were killed by Gaddafi forces in the last two days in what some have called the fiercest fighting of the two-month-old siege:
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Gaddafi’s forces said they were pulling back from Misrata late last week to hand over to local tribal forces, saying that NATO strikes had taken a toll on the soldiers.
Rebels claimed victory prematurely on Saturday.
Within hours, Misrata suffered some of the fiercest fighting of a siege in which hundreds of civilians have been killed and which has made the city a symbol of resistance for Gaddafi’s foes.
Misrata was the only major western city still in rebel hands and if Gaddafi’s troops are pushed back from there, it would be a significant setback for them.
Monday, April 25th, 2011 at 3:18 PM | David Kuner
Over at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin reflects on the murder yesterday of a Jewish worshipper, Ben Yosef Livnat, who was attempting to visit Joseph’s Tomb in the Palestinian-controlled city of Nablus:
[Sunday’s] attack on Jewish worshippers at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus needs to be understood as something more significant than just another unfortunate instance of violence between Jews and Arabs. It is nothing less than a warning of what will happen once Palestinians achieve full sovereignty, as the Obama administration appears to be demanding, over all of the West Bank.
The incident occurred when a group of religious Jews, members of the Breslov hasidic sect visited the Jewish holy site this morning unaccompanied by Israeli soldiers. The tomb is located in the city of Nablus, a place that is completely under the control of the Palestinian Authority. Twice a month Israel coordinates a visit by those Israelis who wish to pray there but religious Jews believe, not without reason, that restricting Jewish worship at the site in this manner is wrong and often attempt to go on their own. But rather than merely accommodate the presence of a few Jews in an Arab city, the Palestinian Authority police attacked the group that arrived today, killing one and wounding two others.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for the Palestinian Authority to “take serious steps against the terrorists who committed this criminal act.” But how can you expect this from the P.A., which has no interest in protecting the lives of Israelis, and has repeatedly shown that it doesn’t have the will to enforce order and the rule of law in the areas it governs?Comments (4) »
Monday, April 25th, 2011 at 8:10 AM | David Kuner
As Fatah officials announce their plans to be part of the Gaza flotilla scheduled for the end of May – marking the one-year anniversary of the Mavi Marmara incident – a Red Cross official in the region brings into question the need for any humanitarian aid in Gaza:
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“There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” So states categorically Mathilde Redmatn, the deputy director of the Red Cross in the Gaza Strip.
“If you go to the supermarket, there are products,” she said, as reported on the IDF website. “There are restaurants and a nice beach. The problem is mainly in maintenance of infrastructure and in access to certain goods such as concrete. Israel has the legitimate right to protect [its] civilian population, this right should be balanced with the right of 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip.”
Thursday, April 21st, 2011 at 2:07 PM | David Kuner
Undaunted, Palestinian Authority president Abbas presses on, saying more than 130 countries have already recognized a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders:
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The US on Tuesday rejected Palestinian plans to pursue efforts to ask the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state in September.
“We don’t believe it’s a good idea, we don’t believe it’s helpful,” US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement. “We continue to press both sides to begin talking again in direct negotiations,” Toner said.
Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at 11:59 AM | David Kuner