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The Principles of Peacemaking - Amb. Richard Holbrooke (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
In memory of Amb. Richard Holbrooke, we present his address to the Jerusalem Center conference on "Israel's Right to Secure Boundaries" on June 4, 2007.
Inside Israeli-PA Talks - Dan Ephron (Newsweek)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held three direct negotiating sessions in September - 16 hours of talks.
Palestinian and Israeli sources say Israel's "security concept" involved keeping Israeli troops stationed along a strip several kilometers wide at some points on the Palestinian side of the barrier Israel has built in the West Bank to protect what Israel calls its "narrow waistline." Also, Netanyahu insisted Israeli troops would remain posted in the Jordan Valley for years.
Abbas countered that Israel should cede 98.2% of the West Bank, say the sources. He also offered to allow U.S. or other third-party troops to be stationed on Palestinian territory after Israel withdrew.
Hamas Wants "All of Palestine" (AFP)
The Islamist Hamas group in Gaza on Monday reiterated its aim to recover all of historic Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to Jordan River, which includes the territory of the State of Israel.
"We say that Palestine from the sea to the river is fully the land of the Palestinians. We will cede none of it, and we will not recognize the so-called State of Israel," Hamas said in a statement.
Maldivians Burn Israeli Flags in Protest Against Visiting Eye Doctors (AFP)
Protesters in the Maldives burned Israeli flags over the weekend during protests against a visiting Israeli medical team from the humanitarian organization "Eye from Zion," who are offering free eye clinics to locals.
The Islamic Foundation of the Maldives has spearheaded the protests and spread false rumors about the Israeli doctors on its website.
President Mohamed Nasheed's website said on Monday: "The President said a vast majority of Maldivians appreciated the humanitarian work of the doctors."
The Miseries of the Arabs - Khaled Abu Toameh (Hudson Institute-New York)
Two years ago, Mahmoud Abbas' official PA news agency, Wafa, reported that Israel had released poison-resistant rats to drive Arab residents of Jerusalem out of their homes. It is not clear how these rats were taught to stay away from Jews, who also live in the Old City.
Such allegations reflect a sick mindset and are part of a long-standing tradition of blaming Israel and Jews for almost everything that goes wrong in Arab countries.
This is the kind of incitement that prompts radical Muslims to wear explosive belts and set out on suicide missions against Jews.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
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- EU to Recognize Palestinian State "When Appropriate"
Foreign ministers from the European Union have said they would recognize a Palestinian state "when appropriate."
The ministers' statement followed a call from Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the EU to recognize Palestine based on the 1967 borders.
The EU ministers emphasized the need for a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Palestinians have been making behind-the-scenes diplomatic moves to secure unilateral recognition since direct talks aimed at finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stalled in September.
- Stuxnet Worm Still Out of Control at Iran's Nuclear Sites, Experts Say - Ed Barnes
American and European cybersecurity experts say their websites, which deal with the computer worm known as Stuxnet, continue to be swamped with traffic from Iran, an indication that the worm continues to infect the computers at Iran's nuclear sites.
Examination of the worm shows it was a cybermissile equipped with a warhead that targeted and took over the controls of the centrifuge systems at Iran's uranium processing center in Natanz, and it had a second warhead that targeted the massive turbine at the nuclear reactor in Bashehr.
Eric Byres, a computer expert who has studied the worm, said efforts to get the two nuclear plants to function normally have failed.
The worm targeted only the two nuclear sites and did no damage to the thousands of other computers it infiltrated.
Ralph Langner, the German expert who was among the first to raise alarms about Stuxnet, said, "The Iranians don't have the depth of knowledge to handle the worm or understand its complexity," raising the possibility that they may never succeed in eliminating it. (Fox News)
- World Jewish Congress Asks Pope to Speak Out Against Delegitimization of Israel - Maud Swinnen
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder asked Pope Benedict XVI to speak out against the growing delegitimization of Israel, during a private audience at the Vatican on Friday. He especially mentioned the denial of Jewish holy sites such as the Temple Mount and the Western Wall as well as the Tomb of Rachel the matriarch in Bethlehem. According to the WJC, the pontiff "responded that the Church recognizes the deep and historical connection of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland, the Holy Land, going back to the time of Abraham." (European Jewish Press)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Let's Discuss the Core Issues
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Globes Business Conference on Monday: "I believe that the United States has succeeded in understanding after a year and a half that we were, in fact, on a dead-end road, in a discussion that was in great measure unproductive regarding the peripheral issue of additional construction in the settlements. The United States understood that what is important is getting to the important issues, the substantial issues, including the core issues that are at the root of the conflict between us and the Palestinians. I welcome the fact that it made this decision, although in the discussions we conducted, we were prepared to examine an additional extension of the moratorium."
"In order to achieve peace, the issues that are truly delaying the peace must be discussed: the question of recognition, the question of security, the question of various arrangements, refugees, etc....I welcome the fact that we will begin our discussions on these issues; we will narrow the gaps; and probably later on, when these gaps are narrowed, we will also begin direct negotiations with the goal of reaching a framework peace agreement." (Prime Minister's Office)
- Palestinian Statehood Declaration Could Threaten U.S. Funding - Hilary Leila Krieger
Members of Congress are warning that American funding of the PA could be threatened by efforts to advance a unilateral declaration of statehood.
"Pursuing a non-negotiated path to statehood is a fool's errand. Palestinians want a state, not a declaration. Their only way to achieve that is through direct negotiations with Israel," Rep. Howard Berman (D-Cal.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Jerusalem Post on Monday.
"If they try to circumvent negotiations, they'll lose the support of a lot of people like me, and it will jeopardize their foreign aid as well," he said.
Berman's concerns are shared by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who will head the committee next January. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are also circulating resolutions criticizing any Palestinian move toward a unilateral declaration of statehood.
"The Palestinians have to understand there's going to be a cost for these reckless unilateral measures," said one aide to a Democratic member of Congress on the foreign operations appropriations subcommittee.
- Who's Stopping the Peace Process? - Danny Ayalon
The present Israeli government has accepted the principle of a two-states-for-two-peoples solution. Israel has contributed to the improvement of the lives of Palestinians to the point where the West Bank's economic growth is greater than almost anywhere in the world; it has removed more than two-thirds of all security checkpoints. Isn't it time that the Palestinians are asked if they are prepared to make any concessions? Are they prepared to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and the Jewish connection to the Western Wall and Temple Mount? Are they prepared to recognize that there were Jewish refugees from Arab states, and that Israel has very real security concerns?
While the Palestinians and their supporters wail that the settlements are eating up more of the land they claim for their future state, the real figures suggest otherwise. Today, the built-up areas of the settlements constitute less than 1.7% of the total area. A negotiated solution is the only way to achieve a peaceful and historic reconciliation between Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians. Both sides need to make concessions, and Israel has made many. Pressure should be brought to bear on those who refuse to arrive at the negotiating table, not on those already seated. The writer is Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
(Los Angeles Times)
- What Britain Can Do for Israeli-Palestinian Peace -
Good people look at a bad situation and want to help. At times like this, when direct talks are stalled, there is the temptation to try to short circuit the time-consuming process of negotiations and just impose our own idea of a solution.
While such a dramatic gesture is tempting, a settlement imposed from the outside rarely works. It is more likely to breed resentment than solve problems. For a settlement to work it has to be agreed between the parties.
As a new BICOM research paper shows, there is much that the UK can do. First, there is a need to create a regional environment conducive to peace by legitimizing the peace process in the Arab world and isolating spoilers. Second, we need to develop civil society and grassroots support for an agreement within Israeli and Palestinian societies and help promote a culture of peace. Third, we need to continue to assist the efforts of the Palestinian Authority to prepare for the creation of a functioning Palestinian state. The writer is chief executive of BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.
See also What Can Britain Do?
Principles and Proposals for a British
Contribution to Israeli-Palestinian Peace (BICOM)
- Imprisoned Iranian Ayatollah Offers Hanukkah Greetings to Jews - Stephen Schwartz
Iranian Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi has been held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison since 2006.
Heir to a distinguished Shia clerical family, Boroujerdi preaches the pre-Khomeini interpretation of Iranian Shiism, which calls for religion to be kept apart from politics. He has continued, from his cell, to denounce the regime of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declaring that the regime's "behavior is no different from that of Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar."
Boroujerdi and his group have lately issued a message to the world's Jews, congratulating them on the Hanukkah holiday. The group contrasts its attitude with that of "the current anti-Semitic regime of Iran," which it accuses of sowing animosity and hatred between the descendants of Abraham, the common ancestor of Jews and Arabs. (Weekly Standard)
Palestinian Leaders Set to Torpedo Peace Moves - Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein (Las Vegas Sun)
Mutawakel Taha, a senior official with the PA's Ministry of Information, wrote recently that "there is no archeological evidence that the Temple Mount was built during the period of King Solomon....One can only conclude that Al-Buraq Wall is a Muslim wall and an integral part of the Aksa Mosque....This wall was never part of the so-called Temple Mount, but Muslim tolerance allowed the Jews to stand in front of it."
- Here are the facts: In the 4th century, Christian works described the site as holy to the Jews, and the place to which they came (when allowed) to mourn the two Temples that had stood there. A synagogue stood on the site shortly before the Crusaders arrived.
Suleiman the Magnificent granted Jews the right to worship there in the 16th century.
From 1924 until 1953, the Supreme Muslim Council annually published "A Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al-Sharif," an English-language guide to the Temple Mount. It states on the opening page: "Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute."
- While Arabs lived in the Holy Land for centuries, they did so without a distinct sense of peoplehood. The Palestinian identity is a creation of the last decades. Their "George Washington," Yasser Arafat, died in 2004. Tragically, some Palestinian elites have decided that a key element of building their peoplehood is by denying their neighbor's core value: the Jews' sense of history and their continuous presence in the Holy Land for 3,000 years.
- The serial denial of the Jewish people's history by Palestinian leaders makes a mockery of the good faith efforts of all who seek peace. A neighbor who denies your past cannot be trusted to respect you in the future.
Rabbi Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Adlerstein is director of Interfaith Relations for the Center.
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