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Poll: 77 Percent of Israelis Oppose Going Back to Pre-'67 Lines - Gil Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
77% of Israelis oppose returning to the pre-1967 lines even if it would lead to a peace agreement and declarations by Arab states of an end to their conflict with Israel, a Dahaf Institute poll commissioned by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
85% recognized the importance of maintaining a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty within the framework of any final peace deal, while 75% opposed transferring the Temple Mount to Palestinian control even if the Western Wall were to remain in Israeli hands.
84% believe Israel must maintain control of the strategic Jordan Valley
even in the framework of a final peace agreement.
Syrian Protesters Turn on Iran and Hizbullah - Nabil Syrie (France 24)
Videos of recent protests in Syria show demonstrators chanting slogans against Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, as well as Hizbullah.
Even more surprising has been footage of protesters burning posters of Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah's secretary-general. Up until now, Nasrallah was worshipped in the Arab world.
The demonstrators' anger is a result of Tehran's and Hizbullah's unwavering support for the Syrian government, even as it ruthlessly crushes its own people's calls for more democracy.
Report: 14 Palestinians Killed Near Damascus (Maan News-PA)
14 Palestinians were reported killed and another 43 injured on Monday in the Al-Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian capital of Damascus, the Palestinian government's WAFA news reported.
Angered over the failure of camp leaders to organize demonstrations marking the Six-Day War, thousands attacked the headquarters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Militants with the PFLP-GC opened fire on the group.
Report: Iran Sends Submarines to Red Sea (AP-Washington Post)
Iran has sent submarines to the Red Sea in the first such deployment by the country’s navy in distant waters, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.
Iran has long had three Russian-made submarines and last year, four new small Iranian-built submarines were delivered to its navy.
Israel to Sell Its Newest UAV to Chile - Yuval Azulai (Globes)
Chile is the first country outside Israel to procure the most advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) made by Elbit Systems Ltd., the Hermes 900.
Chile's defense forces will use the UAVs for reconnaissance missions along its long coastline. Using UAVs will lower the costs of these missions, which are currently carried out by manned aircraft.
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- Report: Armed Clashes between Protesters and Security Forces in Syria - Liz Sly
Syria's government asserted Monday that 120 soldiers had been killed by armed protesters in the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, amid indications that what began as a peaceful protest movement is turning into an armed rebellion in at least some parts of the country. Syrian activists confirmed that some residents had taken up arms to defend themselves. A human rights activist said people told him that a swath of villages around Jisr al-Shughour is now outside government control.
"We do not deny shooting back," said a witness. "But you must know that we only shot back after they started killing us. They killed 35 in a few hours."
"We killed some," he added. "The others were shot in the back for trying to defect." A video posted online Sunday showed protesters apparently hanging a captured member of the Syrian security forces in a central square, with no attempt by the authorities to intervene. (Washington Post)
- U.S.: Syria "Clearly" Inciting Israel Border Protests - Andrew Quinn
The U.S. said on Monday that Syria was "clearly" behind lethal confrontations between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters along the once-quiet ceasefire line between the two countries.
"This is clearly an attempt by Syria to incite these kinds of protests," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, saying Damascus hoped to divert attention from its own internal problems. "Israel, like any sovereign nation, has a right to defend itself." (Reuters)
See also Like Pawns to the Slaughter - Dominic Waghorn
Yet more Arab lives were sacrificed over the weekend for the cause of keeping Bashar al Assad and his family in power. Hundreds of Syrian Palestinians and their supporters arrived at the border with Israel in buses on Sunday. They may well have been organized by the regime or at the very least encouraged. They marched towards the border despite strenuous warnings from Israeli soldiers. Some were killed by Israeli gunfire, others by anti-tank mines that exploded near Quneitra when a brush fire was started by Molotov cocktails.
Witnesses have confirmed Israeli troops issued warnings to the advancing Syrian Palestinians and initially fired over their heads. There are no reports of such niceties being observed by Syrian snipers firing into crowds at a funeral in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour over the weekend. (Sky News-UK)
- Clinton Skeptical about French-Proposed Middle East Conference - Jason Reed
A peace conference aimed at bringing the Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiating table, which has been proposed by France, is unlikely to be "productive," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday. "There is no agreement that the parties will resume negotiations and I think the idea of any gathering, a conference or a meeting, has to be linked to a willingness by the parties to resume negotiating," she said.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- White House Trying to Restart Mideast Peace Talks Based on Obama Guidelines - Barak Ravid
Israeli and Palestinian representatives have been holding indirect talks in Washington, with senior American officials serving as mediators, as part of an American effort to restart direct negotiations and thereby forestall a Palestinian bid to obtain unilateral UN recognition as a state in September, according to a source at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem.
The Americans are now trying to determine whether the parties would be willing to resume talks on the basis of President Obama's May 19 speech, which called for the process to be based on the 1967 lines, while postponing the issues of Jerusalem and the refugees until later.
The prevailing assessment in Washington is that the chances are very slim.
See also Palestinians in Washington Deny Indirect Talks with Israel - Natasha Mozgovaya (Ha'aretz)
- IDF: Only a Few Live Bullets Fired During Protest on Syria Border - Amos Harel
An Israel Defense Forces investigation into the violent clashes on the border with Israel revealed on Monday that troops had been limited in their use of sniper fire, only firing a few live bullets at the protesters trying to breach the border. (Ha'aretz)
- West Bank Court Indicts Palestinians for Murder of Fogel Family - Chaim Levinson
Amjad Awad, 19, and Hakim Awad, 18, two Palestinians who confessed to the murder of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar, were indicted in a West Bank military court on Sunday.
Before leaving to carry out the murder, the suspects photographed themselves in the manner that terrorists do before carrying out a terror attack.
Upon arriving at the Fogel family's home, the two entered the children's room and stabbed Yoav, 11, and Elad, 4. They then stabbed the parents and the baby.
According to a senior Israel Security Agency official involved in the investigation, the two "described what they did with self-control and did not express regret over their actions at any stage of the investigation." (Ha'aretz)
See also Palestinian Baby Killer: "I'm Proud of What I Did" - Ahiya Raved (Ynet News)
- Israel Prefers the End of the Assad Regime to Its Continuance - Michael Oren
A recent Journal article asserts that Israel has expressed fears of instability in Syria if leader Bashar al-Assad is overthrown. Israel has expressed no such concerns. Allied with Iran, Assad has helped supply 55,000 rockets to Hizbullah and 10,000 to Hamas, very likely established a clandestine nuclear arms program, and profoundly destabilized the region. The violence he has unleashed on his own people demonstrating for freedoms confirms Israel's fears that the devil we know in Syria is worse than the devil we don't.
The writer is Israel's Ambassador to the U.S.
(Wall Street Journal)
- Rahm Emanuel? Really? - Barry Rubin
Rahm Emanuel writes in a recent op-ed: "President Obama, like every student of the Middle East, understands that the shifting sands of demography in that volatile region are working against the two-state solution needed to end generations of bloodshed." I'm a student of the Middle East, and I think that's total nonsense.
Why is the "demography" in the region against the two-state solution? Because there are more Palestinians? Who cares? That has absolutely zero political impact.
Israel does not rule Gaza. Hamas does.
Israel does not rule the people of the West Bank. Fatah does. That's been the basic situation now for 17 years. The failure to achieve peace is not based on borders or Jerusalem, but on the continued attempts by Muslims generally to wipe Israel off the map. Indeed, partly thanks to Obama's policies, they are more confident of doing so than they were 10 or 20 years ago.
Finally, consider the logical fallacy of arguing that things are becoming worse, so Israel must rush into peace now. If things are going to be worse, why make concessions in exchange for a piece of paper that will be torn up, and that is guaranteed by people who can't be trusted?
- Return to '67 Lines: A No-Loss Bet - Burak Bekdil
Let's try to be fair. The return to the 1967 borders means a no-loss bet, an oxymoron. It's tantamount to betting money on a game, losing it and making a scene at the bet shop to take back the money. In warfare terms, this would be similar to Greeks proposing to Turkey a return to the pre-1923 borders: They attacked, they lost.
Would a United Arabia today agree to return to the 1967 borders if their glorious eight-nation united force had succeeded to annihilate Israel four decades ago? The Arabs should be able to understand that they can always enjoy lunch in Tel Aviv, like Israel's peaceful Arab citizens do, once they overcome their religious and ideological hatred of the Jews and make peace with them.
UN Can't Determine Borders or Statehood - Robbie Sabel (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
The Palestinian observer delegation to the UN may introduce a resolution at the General Assembly calling for recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 boundaries. Because of the automatic anti-Israel majority in the Assembly, it must be assumed that such a resolution, if proposed, will be adopted by a large majority.
- In fact, a 2003 Arab-sponsored UN General Assembly resolution has already called for a "two-state solution of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security based on the Armistice Line of 1949."
- Under international law, UN General Assembly resolutions are not binding.
Furthermore, except for cases where a former border is inherited by new states, borders can only be delimited by agreement between the states concerned. No UN organ has the authority to delimit boundaries.
- Only if the Security Council recommends membership can the Assembly accept a new member state to the UN. Decisions of the Security Council are of course subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members, which includes the U.S.
- A declaration by the Palestinian Authority of a state within the 1967 lines would be a violation of the Oslo agreements, enabling Israel to legally claim that it is no longer obliged to fulfill its Oslo obligations, which include transferring funds, supplying electricity and allowing movement of goods and persons.
The writer is a professor of international law at the Hebrew University and former legal adviser to the Israel
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