Tag Archives: Palestine

PA Minister: Peace Deal Temporary Arrangement Before Destroying Israel

By George Whitten


By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Worthy News)– In the latest attempt to liberate Palestine by any means necessary, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash suggested that any peace deal with Israel would only be temporary, according to Palestinian Media Watch.

During Ramadan services broadcast on Palestinian television, Habbash said PA officials were working on a means to an end comparable to the Prophet's Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, a 10-year-long truce negotiated by Mohammad with the Quraish Tribe. But only two years later, Mohammad broke it by a surprise attack that conquered an unsuspecting Mecca.

Habbash described Mohammed’s deceit as a model to be followed today, but according to Palestinian Media Watch, the Hudaybiyyah treaty has already served as the template for PLO negotiations with Israel.

“Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, there have been senior PA officials who have presented the peace process with Israel as a deceptive tactic … which will weaken Israel through territorial compromise that will eventually lead to Israel's destruction.”

In 1994, Yasir Arafat compared the Olso Accords to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah: “This agreement, I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our Prophet Mohammad and Quraish …”

Seven years later, Faisal Husseini, PA Rep for Jerusalem Affairs, said the Oslo agreement, like any other agreement, was just a temporary step towards something bigger.

“We distinguish the strategic, long-term goals from the political staged goals, which we are compelled to temporarily accept due to international pressure …,” he said. “'From the river to the sea,' Palestine in its entirety is an Arab land, the land of the Arab nation.”

However, from the Jordan to the Med also stands the nation of Israel, the ancestral homeland of the Jews whose God other peoples disregard at their own peril.

…read more

Source: Worthy News

Kerry Convinces Israel and Palestine to Resume Peace Talks

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will resume long-stalled direct peace talks tomorrow, according to the State Department. It says both sides have accepted invitations from John Kerry to come to Washington “to formally resume direct final status negotiations.” A department spokesperson says Kerry called Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas today and… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Palestinian official threatens war crime charge over Israel construction in Jerusalem

Israel is moving forward with plans for two major settlement projects in east Jerusalem, a spokeswoman said Tuesday, even as a senior Palestinian official warned that his government could pursue war crimes charges if Israel doesn’t halt such construction.

International anger over Israeli settlement construction has snowballed in recent days, following last week’s U.N. recognition of a state of Palestine — in lands Israel occupied in 1967 — as a non-member observer in the General Assembly.

Israel retaliated for U.N. recognition of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem by announcing plans to build 3,000 homes for Jews in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, as well as preparations for construction of an especially sensitive project near Jerusalem, known as E-1.

The Israeli reprisal has prompted the country’s strongest Western allies to take an unusually strong line with the Jewish state.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned Tuesday that the latest Israeli building plans would make the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, “almost inconceivable.”

Hague told the British parliament that he “didn’t think there was enthusiasm” among EU member states for economic sanctions against Israel, but said there would be further diplomatic steps — with the exception of cutting ties — if settlement building continues.

Australia and Brazil summoned the local Israeli ambassadors Tuesday to protest the settlement plans, Israel‘s Foreign Ministry said, a day after five European countries, including Britain, took the same step.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev defended the recent Israeli decisions, saying that “from our perspective, Israel is responding in a very measured way to a series of Palestinian provocations.”

U.N. recognition could enable the Palestinians to gain access to the International Criminal Court and seek war crimes charges against Israel for its construction of settlements on occupied lands.

Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he’s not going to turn to the ICC “unless we were attacked” and that he informed many countries, including the United States, of this position. Abbas spoke before Israel announced its latest settlement plans.

A senior Abbas aide, Nabil Shaath, said late Monday that “by continuing these war crimes of settlement activities on our lands and stealing our money, Israel is pushing and forcing us to go to the ICC.”

Israel also said it is withholding some $100 million in tax rebates and other fees it collects on behalf of the Palestinians. The monthly transfer of the funds is vital for keeping afloat Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, the self-rule government in the West Bank.

Shaath’s comments marked the most pronounced Palestinian threat yet of turning to the ICC, though officials suggested that appealing to the international court is a step of last resort.

After the General Assembly vote on Palestine, Israel‘s government decided to authorize construction of 3,000 additional homes in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Regev, the Israeli spokesman, said Tuesday that this meant final permission was being granted for projects that had been in various stages of planning. He said this includes new homes in settlements in east Jerusalem, such as Gilo and Pisgat Zeev, as well as in the West Bank settlement of Ariel and the Gush Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem.

Israel‘s government also said it would move forward with the so-called E-1 project, which would include at least 3,500 homes east of Jerusalem. E-1, which would be built next to another large West Bank settlement, Maaleh Adumim, would effectively cut off east Jerusalem, the Palestinians’ intended capital, from the West Bank.

Successive U.S. governments have pressured Israel to freeze the plan because it would threaten chances of setting up a viable Palestinian state.

Regev said Tuesday that the government authorized preliminary planning and zoning work in E-1, but that the government has not decided yet whether to authorize construction.

Separately, Israel is moving two major east Jerusalem building projects forward in the planning pipeline.

In the next two weeks, an Interior Ministry planning committee is holding deliberations on these projects, known as Ramat Shlomo and Givat Hamatos, said ministry spokeswoman Efrat Orbach.

Ramat Shlomo is a 1,600-apartment development, while Givat Hamatos would eventually consist of some 2,600 apartments.

The Ramat Shlomo project touched off a diplomatic crisis with the U.S. in 2010 when the ministry gave it preliminary approval during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, who was broadsided by the news.

Givat Hamatos, on the southern edge of Jerusalem, would cut off east Jerusalem from the nearest Palestinian town, biblical Bethlehem, and change the future borders between Israel and a Palestinian state.

Orbach said the meetings on the projects were scheduled before the U.N. vote and that it could take months, if not years, for actual construction to begin.

Israeli settlement construction lies at the heart of a four-year breakdown in peace talks, and was a major factor behind the Palestinians’ U.N. statehood bid. Since 1967, half a million Israelis have settled in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Israel withdrew settlers and soldiers from Gaza in 2005, but continues to restrict access to the territory. It says the fate of settlements should be decided in negotiations and notes that previous rounds of talks continued while construction went on.

Abbas was to meet later Tuesday with senior officials in the Palestine Liberation Organization and his Fatah movement to discuss how to leverage the Palestinians’ upgraded status on the world stage.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior PLO official, said the Palestinians were encouraged by the recent diplomatic sanctions against Israel, but that the international community must go further.

Among other steps, she said the European Union should reconsider its association agreement with Israel that grants the Jewish state considerable trade benefits. She said the EU should also take harsher measures against products from Israeli settlements.

“We have to move to concrete steps so Israel knows it has something to lose and will be held accountable, in accordance with international law,” Ashrawi said.
Source: Fox World News  

Russia caught bomb suspect on wiretap

Russian authorities secretly recorded a telephone conversation in 2011 in which one of the Boston bombing suspects vaguely discussed jihad with his mother, officials said Saturday, days after the U.S. government finally received details about the call.

In another conversation, the mother of now-dead bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, officials said.

The conversations are significant because, had they been revealed earlier, they might have been enough evidence for the FBI to initiate a more thorough investigation of the Tsarnaev family.

As it was, Russian authorities told the FBI only that they had concerns that Tamerlan and his mother were religious extremists. With no additional information, the FBI conducted a limited inquiry and closed the case in June 2011.

Two years later, authorities say Tamerlan and his brother, Dzhohkar, detonated two homemade bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260. Tamerlan was killed in a police shootout and Dzhohkar is under arrest.

In the past week, Russian authorities turned over to the United States information it had on Tamerlan and his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva. The Tsarnaevs are ethnic Chechens who emigrated from southern Russia to the Boston area over the past 11 years.

Even had the FBI received the information from the Russian wiretaps earlier, it’s not clear that the government could have prevented the attack.

In early 2011, the Russian FSB internal security service intercepted a conversation between Tamerlan and his mother vaguely discussing jihad, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation with reporters.

The two discussed the possibility of Tamerlan going to Palestine, but he told his mother he didn’t speak the language there, according to the officials, who reviewed the information Russia shared with the U.S.

In a second call, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva spoke with a man in the Caucasus region of Russia who was under FBI investigation. Jacqueline Maguire, a spokeswoman for the FBI‘s Washington Field Office, where that investigation was based, declined to comment.

There was no information in the conversation that suggested a plot inside the United States, officials said.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Palestinians building museum to tell their story

Palestinians on Thursday began construction of the West Bank‘s largest museum devoted to their history, planning to tell diverse stories of Palestinians in their land and of millions who live abroad.

The museum represents a step in the Palestinian quest for statehood by creating a repository for 200 years of history, alongside galleries and space for debates about the Palestinian cause, said director Jack Persekian.

“I am hoping that this museum would be able to give the opportunity for many Palestinians to tell their stories. We are looking at a museum that doesn’t have one particular narrative line that it wants to consecrate through its exhibits,” he said.

The privately funded museum, which has government support, is the biggest such project the Palestinians have undertaken in terms of scale, space and budgets.

Persekian hoped the museum would tell stories not just of Palestinian Muslims and Christians, but also of Jews who lived in what was Britain-administered Palestine before Israel was founded in 1948.

“We would like to think about (the museum) in an inclusive way,” he said.

The museum draws attention to the conflicting narratives at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For Jews, the establishment of Israel reinforced the homecoming of an exiled people with ties to the Holy Land going back thousands of years. Palestinians refer to the establishment of Israel, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who either fled or were driven from their homes, as their “nakba,” or catastrophe.

Israel has dozens of museums with vast collections of biblical texts and artifacts connecting the Jewish people to the Holy Land. Palestinians have about 30 museums in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, the areas where they hope to establish a state, but nothing on the scale of the new project.

The $15 million first phase is scheduled to take two years to build and cover 3,000 square meters, or 32,000 square feet, of space. The planned glass and stone building was designed by the Dublin-based architectural firm Heneghan Peng, which is also building the new Egyptian national museum.

Dozens of Palestinian officials attended the laying of the museum’s foundation stone on Thursday on a grassy hill near the Palestinian university town

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/IluUsoWFHKY/

Decade-old Mideast peace plan re-emerges

A dormant, decade-old Mideast peace plan has suddenly emerged as a possible key to breaking years of deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians.

A top Palestinian official said Sunday that the visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed interest in reviving the so-called Arab Peace Initiative, a 2002 plan in which the Arab world offered comprehensive peace with Israel in exchange for a full pullout from all territories it captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Arab officials confirmed the Arab League was set to discuss the matter on Monday.

The initiative was revolutionary when it was introduced by Saudi Arabia‘s then crown prince, King Abdullah, and later endorsed by the 22-member Arab League at a summit in Beirut. However, the plan was overshadowed by fierce Israeli-Palestinian fighting at the time and greeted with skepticism by Israel. The Arab League re-endorsed the plan in 2007, and technically, the offer remains in effect.

Key obstacles remain. Israel has not softened its objections to the plan, and the Palestinians turned down a request from Kerry for changes in it.

In the 1967 war, Israel took control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Sinai and Golan Heights. Israeli returned the Sinai to Egypt in 1982 in the framework of a peace treaty and pulled out of Gaza unilaterally in 2005. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, and peace talks with Syria over the territory have repeatedly failed.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been deadlocked since late 2008, in large part over the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The Palestinians refuse to talk while Israel settles its population on the occupied territories where they want to establish their state. They have demanded that Israel accept the 1967 lines as the basis for a future Palestine. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects a return to the 1967 lines and calls for talks with no preconditions.

The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation has also endorsed the 2002 Arab peace initiative.

The plan, if adopted, considers the Arab-Israeli conflict “ended,” offers “normal relations” with Israel and calls for providing “security for all the states of the region.”

Israel has rejected a return to the 1967 lines for both security and spiritual reasons. Israeli leaders have long argued that the 1967 frontiers are indefensible. In addition, a return to those boundaries would mean a withdrawal …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Djehuty Project discovers significant evidences of the 17th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt

The Djehuty Project, led by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), has discovered on the hill of Dra Abu el-Naga in Luxor (ancient Thebes), the burials of four personages belonging to the elite of the 17th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, who lived about 3.550 years ago. These findings, discovered during the 12th campaign of archeological excavations of the project, shed light on a little-known historical period in which Thebes becomes the capital of the kingdom and the empire’s foundations become established with the dominance of Egypt over Palestine and Syria to the north, and over Nubia to the south. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Phys.org

Court convicts Air France of discrimination

A French court has convicted Air France of discrimination for removing a Palestinian activist from a plane as she traveled to Israel to attend a rally.

Patrick Baudouin says his client, Horia Ankour, was en route last April from France to attend a “Welcome to Palestine” rally. Baudouin said Air France asked Ankour whether she was Israeli or Jewish, then ordered her off the plane after she acknowledged she was neither.

He said the court on Thursday found Air France guilty of discrimination, and ordered it to pay 13,000 euros ($16,700) in fines, damages and interest.

Air France lawyer Fabrice Pradon said the airline would appeal. He said the Israelis had told Air France she would not be allowed in and there was no intention to harm her.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Erdogan: No quick restoration of ties with Israel

Turkey’s prime minister suggests relations with Israel will “normalize” only after the victims of a deadly raid of Gaza-bound flotilla are compensated and the Gaza blockade remains eased.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s comments Sunday came days after the Israeli prime minister apologized for the 2010 raid that killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American. Erdogan accepted the apology and both leaders said they would begin the work of restoring full relations.

But Erdogan says: “We have said: ‘an apology will be made, compensation will be paid and the blockade on Palestine will be lifted. There will be no normalization without these.”

He says, “normalization will happen the moment there is an implementation.”

Israel has said an easing of restrictions on civilian goods into the Palestinian territories will continue as long as calm prevails.

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

President Obama Meets Young Israelis and Palestinians on Second Day of his Middle East Trip

By Megan Slack

President Barack Obama and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority walk past an honor guard

President Barack Obama and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority walk past an honor guard at the Mugata Presidential Compound in Ramallah, the West Bank, March 21, 2013.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama was in the West Bank for the first time since 2008 on the second day of his visit to the Middle East, where he held meetings in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority President Abbas and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad, and attended a cultural event at Al-Bireh Youth Center. President Obama, who was joined by Secretary of State John Kerry in his meetings, commended President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad for the progress that they’ve made in building the institutions of a Palestinian state.

“I’ve returned to the West Bank because the United States is deeply committed to the creation of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine,” President Obama said in a joint press conference with President Abbas. “Like people everywhere, Palestinians deserve a future of hope — that their rights will be respected, that tomorrow will be better than today and that they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity. Put simply, Palestinians deserve a state of their own.”

In the interests of the Palestinian people, and also in the national security interest of Israel, the United States, and the world, President Obama reaffirmed “that the United States remains committed to realizing the vision of two states.”

We seek an independent, a viable and contiguous Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people, alongside the Jewish State of Israel — two nations enjoying self-determination, security and peace. As I have said many times, the only way to achieve that goal is through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians themselves. There is no shortcut to a sustainable solution.

The President also spent time in Jerusalem today, this morning where he toured the Israel Museum and again in the afternoon, where he delivered remarks to the Israeli people from the Jerusalem International Convention Center. In his speech, President Obama spoke about the “unbreakable bonds of friendship” between Israel and the United States.

read more

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at The White House

Remarks by President Obama and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in Joint Press Conference

By The White House

Muqata Presidential Compound
Ramallah, West Bank

1:33 P.M. IST

PRESIDENT ABBAS: (As interpreted.) In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Mr. President Barack Obama, I wish to warmly welcome you and your accompanying delegation to Palestine.

Mr. President, during your visit to our country you will meet a people proud of their history, heritage, culture, and symbols — a young, creative and entrepreneurial people who have made the miracle and rose from the calamities of the Nakba, and continue the path of their ancestors, extending since the ancient times over this land — their land. A people who adhere to their rights and are in harmony, and keep abreast with the realities of the age, its language and methods. A people who build institutions of the state of Palestine, giving an exemplary model despite all hardships and hurdles.

The people of Palestine, Mr. President, who receive you today aspire to attain the simplest rights — the right to freedom, independence and peace, and look forward to that day to come in which they exercise normal and natural life over the land of the state of Palestine — the independent state of Palestine — along the borders of the 4th of June, 1967, with Jerusalem, the “Lady of the Cities,” as its capital, alongside the state of Israel.

We, Mr. President, believe that peace is necessary and inevitable, and we also believe that it is possible. We believe that peacemaking, as much as it requires political courage, also requires an expression of good faith, a recognition of people’s rights, respect for the other, and dissemination of a culture of peace and a commitment to international legitimacy and its resolutions. Certainly, peace shall not be made through violence, occupation, walls, settlements, arrests, siege and denial of refugee rights.

We are extremely in pleasure to receive you today in our country. Our people share with American people, and with you personally, the belief in the values and principles of freedom, equality, justice and respect for human rights. And we, together with the peoples of the world, are partners in the pursuit to achieve a just peace that ends occupation and war, and achieves security, stability and prosperity to all the peoples of our region.

Today, ladies and gentlemen, we have conducted a good and useful round of talks with His Excellency President Obama. It was an opportunity to focus, on our side, on the risks and the results that exists that a continuation of settlement activity represent on the two-state solution, and over the need to release prisoners.

I asserted to His Excellency the President that Palestine has taken long and additional steps for the sake of making peace. I hereby assert again that we are ready to implement all our commitments and obligations, and to respect the signed agreements and international legitimacy resolutions in order to provide for the requirements of launching the peace process and achieving the two-state solution — Palestine …read more
Source: White House Press Office

Global Street Art: MOCAtv Series Navigates Unseen Graffiti From The Corners Of The Globe, Starting With Cairo (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

By The Huffington Post News Editors

Maybe you are familiar with the names of American street art’s key players, from Barry McGee to Swoon, but can you name the equivalent artists revamping the streets of Chile, Egypt or Palestine?

A new series from MOCAtv titled “Global Street Art” will pick up where “Art in the Streets” left off, providing a virtual tour of the world’s most colorful urban canvases — from Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, Libya and Palestine.

The series begins with an exploration of Cairo’s vibrant graffiti as navigated by obsessive street art archivist Soraya Morayef, the maven behind the blog Suzee In The City. Morayef, who grew up in both Cairo and Alexandria, uses social media, street savviness and what she describes as “internet detective work” to hunt down the Middle East‘s most compelling living walls.

Read More…
More on Video

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Analysis: Israeli settlements at core of conflict

On his short helicopter ride from Jerusalem to the West Bank, President Barack Obama is flying over sprawling Jewish settlements — a reminder of Israel‘s ongoing construction on war-won land in defiance of much of the world and a major hurdle to renewing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Palestinian officials say Mahmoud Abbas‘ main message to Obama, as the two meet Thursday, is that the Palestinian president can’t return to talks on drawing a border between Israel and a future Palestine while Israel unilaterally shapes that line through accelerated settlement expansion.

At the same time, Palestinians doubt Obama is willing to spend the domestic political capital required to pressure Israel to halt construction — something he briefly tried at the beginning of his first term, before backing down when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resisted.

In a joint news conference with Netanyahu late Wednesday, Obama seemed to confirm Palestinian fears that he won’t confront Israel over the settlements.

The U.S. president didn’t mention settlements at all when asked about the lack of progress during his first term toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead he suggested a low-key approach, saying he came to hear from Abbas and Netanyahu and that “it is a hard slog to work through all these issues.”

But with settlements growing steadily, time for a partition deal may be running out, Israeli settlement monitors and European diplomats have warned.

“We are reaching the tipping point,” said settlement watcher and Jerusalem expert Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli lawyer.

“A year from now, if the current trends continue, the two-state solution will not be possible. The map will be so balkanized that it will not be possible to create a credible border between Israel and Palestine,” he said.

Palestinians also argue that after two decades of intermittent negotiations, the contours of an agreement have widely been established and that it’s time for decisions, not endless rounds of diplomacy. They suspect Netanyahu is seeking open-ended negotiations to give him the diplomatic cover for more settlement-building, while being unwilling to make the needed concessions.

Netanyahu has said he is willing to negotiate the terms of a Palestinian state. He reiterated Wednesday, with Obama by his side, that he is ready to return to talks, but also said there should be no “preconditions” — …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

AP Analysis: In Mideast, partial deal tantalizes

As the U.S. president prepares to reinsert himself in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, his best hope may be to set aside grand hopes for a final agreement and make do with a partial deal.

An interim settlement would leave neither side with full satisfaction, and the Palestinians in particular strongly oppose it for fear that it will become permanent. But with gaps seemingly unbridgeable on the same key issues that have scuttled all previous peace efforts, a piecemeal approach may be just enough to yield a sovereign Palestinian state, albeit an imperfect one.

Barack Obama heads to the region Wednesday in a long-awaited trip whose agenda includes hopes of restarting negotiations. The White House has been careful to lower expectations, saying Obama will mainly listen and learn as he speaks to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

But U.S. officials confirm the idea of an interim agreement, while not their preference, has been under consideration. One U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said new Secretary of State John Kerry “is looking for options on a way forward” and that an interim arrangement has been among several ideas being explored.

“The challenge of diplomacy is to try and find areas where progress can be made, and not always try and seek a complete solution when one is not in the cards at present,” said Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.N. who has served as an informal adviser to Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s new government, which was inaugurated this week, includes key moderate partners that want movement on the Palestinian front and can bring down the government if they choose.

The Palestinians will be a hard sell. They want a state in all of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. From their perspective to suffice with that territory — leaving Israel with over three-quarters of what was British-ruled Palestine until 1948 — is compromise enough.

“If Israel was serious it would have offered a solution based on the two states, but Israel wants to annex Jerusalem and large parts of the West Bank by such an offer,” said Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Previous peace talks under more dovish …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Obama Must Convince Israel He Is Trustworthy

By Susan Stamper Brown

Obama Negotiating Strategy Israel SC Obama Must Convince Israel He is Trustworthy

When Air Force One touches down in Israel for meetings this week, President Barack Obama has his hands full. Iran is about a year away from developing a nuclear weapon, and Obama must convince Israel he is trustworthy before he can suggest to anyone that taking a preemptive strike against Iran is a lousy idea.

Obama has a terrible track record when it comes to Israel. In fact, a recent survey done by algemeiner.com shows most Israelis don’t like him. Of those surveyed, just 10 percent held a favorable opinion of Obama, 17 percent held highly unfavorable regard, 19 percent unfavorable, and 32 percent said they respect him (but don’t necessary like him. )

But, who could blame them? Obama is the first American president in history to demonstrate indifference toward them with both words and deeds. Israelis didn’t just wake up one morning and decide they don’t like our president. Actions have consequences. Israelis listened when Obama made disparaging remarks about their prime minister to the French president. They were offended when, according to The White House Watch, Obama rudely walked out of a meeting and left Prime Minister Netanyahu “to his own devices” to eat alone. They’ve watched when Obama repeatedly fanned the flame of animosity between Israelis and Palestinians by swelling settlement issues. Most recently, they were taken aback by Obama’s choice of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who many label as anti-Semitic.

When it comes to settlement issues, one would like to feel empathy for the pitiful predicament the Palestinian people find themselves in nowadays; but it is vital to separate feelings from facts. After all, Israel is a miniscule speck on the map about the same size as Houston, Texas, hemmed in by those who refuse to acknowledge her statehood and habitually threaten her.

There is not, nor has there ever been, a country of Palestine. Technically speaking, both the West Bank and Gaza Strip lack the criteria recognized by the international community defining a state. No matter how vociferously they shout, or how sorry we feel for them, it is wrong to give the Palestinian people something that is not theirs to begin with.

Also, Israel is not the warmongering state some make her out to be. As I’ve written before, prior to the infamous 1967 Six Day War, Israel made every effort to avoid conflict by attempting negotiations with its hostile neighbors only to be met with threats, taunts, and harassment.

In 1963, the Arab League organized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), whose charter called for Israel’s destruction. The PLO’s guerrillas attacked Israeli citizens 35 times in 1965, 41 in 1966, and 37 in the first quarter of 1967, infiltrating Israel from Jordan, the Gaza Strip, and Lebanon.

Shedding light on the motivation for the attacks, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser explained, “The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel,” promising Arabs would enter Palestine “with its soil saturated in blood.” From 3000 feet above Galilee atop the Golan Heights, Syria joined the attacks by shelling Israeli farms …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Jerusalem Arab residents contest highway route

A new Israeli highway project is threatening to add to tensions in Jerusalem by cutting through a quiet, middleclass Arab neighborhood to link a large bloc of Jewish settlements to the city.

The project comes during a flurry of Israeli building in east Jerusalem, the section of the city claimed by the Palestinians as their future capital.

City officials say the road is meant to serve everyone. Critics counter that the road is part of a grand scheme, including construction of thousands of apartments, to solidify Israel‘s control over the area and sever the connection between the holy city and any future Palestinian state.

“It changes the geography and demography in ways that will make a two-state solution very, very difficult,” said Aviv Tatarsky of Ir Amim, an organization that lobbies for equitable treatment of Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem.

The highway project is just four kilometers (2.5 miles) long and will complete a north-south route across the city. It will link two of Israel‘s most contentious roads, allowing Israeli Jews living in the southern West Bank to zip into Jerusalem and to the coastal city of Tel Aviv with barely a stop.

Israeli work crews have already moved into the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa in southeast Jerusalem, and begun construction on the 1.5-kilometer (1-mile) section through the neighborhood.

City officials say the extension will improve transport for Jerusalem’s Arabs and Jews. They said they couldn’t hold up infrastructure development while waiting for a resolution to the decades-old Mideast conflict.

Even if Jerusalem is divided to serve as the future capitals of Israel and Palestine, the road networks would likely be shared, said deputy mayor Naomi Tsur.

“Whatever the future status of Jerusalem, people have to have access from one end of the city to the other,” Tsur said. “They still have to get to work, clinics, schools and universities … even if half the city is Palestine, they will have to have access.”

Beit Safafa residents say the project is destroying their community by separating thousands of resident’s from the neighborhood’s center, where the schools and medical clinics are. In an area where olive and almond trees still peek out among buildings, they also warn that the construction will remove what little remains of their rural past.

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Palestinian students attack British diplomat before university speech

Dozens of Palestinian students swarmed around a senior British diplomat on Tuesday, leaping on his vehicle and trying to attack him in a show of rage over a British policy and a century-old promise to Jews.

The outburst forced the British consul general, Sir Vincent Fean, to cancel a speech at a Palestinian university.

Fean was not hurt, although an Associated Press photographer saw one student kicking him in the shins.

Student activists said they were protesting decades of British policy toward Palestinians.

They said their chief grievance was Britain’s support for a Jewish homeland in what was then British-ruled Palestine in a letter known as the “Balfour Declaration,” issued in 1917. The letter also said “nothing shall be done” that would prejudice the civil rights of non-Jews. Israel gained independence in 1948.

Britain is an ally of Israel but has been highly critical of its policies toward the Palestinians, especially settlement construction in the West Bank.

In recent days tensions have risen in the West Bank, with demonstrations, some of them violent, in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons. Some have predicted that the protests could escalate into a full-scale uprising.

“We asked the university to cancel his visit because Britain is the cause of the Palestinian tragedy,” said Taha Afghani, student leader of the Palestinian Fatah group, one of several political factions that organized the protest. Fatah is headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Fean was returning to his vehicle after meeting with Birzeit University officials when the incident erupted.

The administration decided to cancel Fean’s lecture after dozens of students, some waving Palestinian flags and signs, gathered outside the office.

Fean emerged, surrounded by security and university staff, and was escorted to his car. Shouting students tried to approach him. Fean was quickly pushed into his waiting vehicle, and some students began kicking the car. Student leader Afghani said they also hurled rocks at the vehicle.

“Get out of Birzeit!” they yelled in English. “Occupation is your shame!” they shouted, in reference to Israel‘s occupation of Palestinian territories.

In a statement, the British Foreign Office said that Fean had hoped “to engage in an open dialogue” about Britain’s policies in the Middle East. “Sadly, such a dialogue was not possible on this occasion.” As consul general in Jerusalem, Fean serves as Britain’s envoy to the Palestinians.

Abbas’ government has good relations with the West, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars a year in financial assistance from the U.S. and European Union. But the Palestinian public is often critical of the West, particularly the U.S., accusing it of bias toward Israel.

Birzeit University condemned Tuesday’s incident in a statement.

“We believe it would have been much more useful if the students had a dialogue with the guest and expressed their political views in a peaceful way,” it said.

The Palestinian government and Abbas’ office had no additional comment, saying they were satisfied with the university’s statement.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

The Science Of Sleeplessness

By The Huffington Post News Editors

Nathaniel Kleitman, known as the “father of modern sleep research,” was born in 1895 in Bessarabia — now Moldova — and spent much of his youth on the run. First, pogroms drove him to Palestine; then the First World War chased him to the United States. At the age of twenty, he landed in New York penniless; by twenty-eight, he’d worked his way through City College and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Soon after, he joined the faculty there. An early sponsor of Kleitman’s sleep research was the Wander Company, which manufactured Ovaltine and hoped to promote it as a remedy for insomnia.

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More on Sleep

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

To Bring True Peace To The Middle East, Women In Palestine And Israel Must Take Center Stage

By Ralph Benko, Contributor

Recently, in the offices of the Mayor of the city of Nablus, Palestine, the missing pieces that would permit a just and lasting peace in the Middle East to flourish may have been presented.  If harmony can be restored (as it can) within the social fabric that underlies the political fabric, peace finally becomes a possibility.  If women, who are respected, not marginalized, in Palestinian and Israeli society will take center stage a fundamental rapprochement can be effected.  Might this happen? …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Leader of Palestinian group injured in Syria bomb

Palestinian officials say the leader of a Palestinian group based in Damascus is among those injured by a car bomb that killed more than 30 people in the Syrian capital.

Nayef Hawatmeh, who is head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, suffered light wounds in his hands and face when he was hit by flying glass. His office is about 500 meters (yards) from the site of Thursday’s explosion in central Damascus, which killed at least 31 people and injured more than 200 others.

An official in Hawatmeh’s office, Rashid Qweider, told The Associated Press that Hawatmeh was briefly hospitalized following the explosion.

Hawatmeh, a Greek Catholic, formed the Marxist DFLP in 1969, one of the major factions within the Palestine Liberation Organization.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News