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Turkey Says 2010 Flotilla Raid Was "Cause for War" - Suzan Fraser (AP)
Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan said Monday that Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last year was "a cause for war, but we decided to act in line with Turkey's grandeur and showed patience."
Israel insists its naval commandos acted in self-defense after being attacked by some of the Turkish activists.
The Islamist Message of the Arab Spring - Benny Morris (Newsweek-Daily Beast)
Many in the West have taken heart from the so-called Arab Spring, viewing the upheavals as heralds of democratic transformation. Israelis are less optimistic.
The Islamist message that is coming out of Ankara, and moving to center stage in Cairo, includes a hard core of anti-Zionism usually accompanied by anti-Semitic overtones.
Egypt's deposed president Hosni Mubarak is now denounced as a "stooge of the Zionists."
A photo of Netanyahu, dressed in an SS uniform, with a Hitler mustache, making the Nazi salute, appeared on the cover of the popular Egyptian weekly October on Aug. 28. Inside, the journal carried an article called "The New Nazis" - and it isn't even an Islamist publication.
Israel's Predicament - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)
Israel is surrounded on nearly all sides by enemies who are aggressively committed to its destruction.
Only Israel is on perpetual trial. Only Israel is routinely held to moral account for the terrorist outrages committed against it. Only the Jews, as Eric Hoffer put it in 1968, are expected to be "the only real Christians in the world."
Will it some day dawn on Israel's so-called friends that 18 years of abortive efforts to come to terms with the Palestinians has soured Israelis on the idea of a Palestinian state?
Or that a professed commitment to Israeli democracy means some regard to the conclusions Israelis have drawn about the prospects of peace by way of their electoral choices?
The Israeli Embassy Attack - Daniel Nisman (Ynet News)
Even Cuba, which hosts a minor diplomatic mission of its most hated enemy, the U.S., takes painstaking efforts to ensure the safety of American citizens deployed there.
The Cubans' efforts are not based on friendship with the U.S., but rather, on strict adherence to international custom.
However, the Egypt-Israel relationship is apparently resistant even to this basic gesture of respect.
One could only imagine the response of Egyptians to a mob of angry Israelis raiding the Egyptian embassy and burning the Egyptian flag.
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- Obama: Palestinian Statehood Bid a "Distraction"
U.S. President Barack Obama says he would "object very strongly" to a possible push for UN recognition of a Palestinian state, saying such a move would be counterproductive.
President Obama reiterated Monday that the U.S. would use its veto to stop the motion if it reaches the Security Council. He called the proposal a "distraction" that would not solve problems that can only be addressed through negotiations. (VOA News)
See also U.S. Warns Against UN Vote on Palestinian State - Jennifer Epstein and Josh Gerstein
A vote by the UN to approve Palestinian statehood could prove detrimental to the peace process with Israel and to the Palestinian people, U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said Monday.
If there is a vote, Rice said, the effect on Palestinian "relations with the United States is for the president and the Congress to decide." "Steps to try to circumvent" peace talks "are ultimately counterproductive and self-defeating."
A UN resolution wouldn't create borders, improve the economy or otherwise set Palestinians on a path to true statehood, she said. (Politico)
See also Top U.S. Lawmaker Warns Palestinians on UN Push
The U.S. House of Representatives will cut off aid to the Palestinians if they successfully pursue their drive to get UN membership, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor warned Monday. "We do not support and will not support, in the form of any assistance...a move towards seeking a declaration unilaterally of a Palestinian state in the UN," he said.
- Obama and Abbas: From Speed Dial to Not Talking - Mark Landler
Among the very first foreign leaders President Obama called after entering the Oval Office on Jan. 21, 2009, was the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. But the last time the two men spoke was in February. After four face-to-face meetings and many regular telephone calls, there is now little contact between them. Obama's relationship with Abbas has withered - and along with it, Obama's hopes to make Middle East peacemaking one of his signature achievements.
"The administration's body language is conveying fatigue," said Robert Malley, director of the Middle East program at the International Crisis Group. "It's going to take a lot to persuade the president that it's worth political capital to try to revive this." (New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Egyptian Government Wants to Maintain Peace - Shlomo Cesana and Daniel Siryoti
Israel is in contact with the Egyptian government and Egypt wants to advance its peace with Israel, despite the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo on Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday. Netanyahu said that Israel and Egypt were discussing how to provide better security for the embassy in Cairo so that the Israeli ambassador to Egypt and the rest of the embassy's staff could return to their posts. In light of security gaps exposed by the events on Friday, the Israeli Embassy may be moved to a more secure location.
Meanwhile, two Israeli diplomats arrived in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the repercussions of the attack, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported. (Israel Hayom)
- Fatah Calls for Mass Marches in West Bank Cities Ahead of UN Vote - Khaled Abu Toameh
The Fatah Revolutionary Council on Monday called for a state of "general alarm" and mass marches in city centers in the Palestinian territories on Sep. 21 as the PA prepares to ask the UN next week to recognize a Palestinian state. (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel: Palestinians Could Do More to Increase Their Water Supply - Sharon Udasin and Lahav Harkov
The Palestinians currently have much more access to water than in any country in the Arab world except Lebanon, Israel's Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said in an interview last week. Israel supplies the Palestinians with 80% more fresh water every year than what was required in the Oslo Accords, and if the Palestinians would recycle their sewage water as Israel does with most of its own, the Palestinian water supply would be even greater. "We told Palestinians we are willing to give them all the knowledge, but they insist on using fresh water and sending us sewage," Erdan said.
He expressed concern that there will be no solutions for household waste and sewage from the new Palestinian city of Rawabi.
- Israel's Hostile Neighborhood - Richard Cohen
The Israeli-Egyptian peace is in jeopardy, and so is the cordial rapport Israel once had with Turkey. Israel's dilemma is that the Middle East, for all the talk of revolution, is slipping backward. Turkey is possibly evolving into an Islamic republic and even if this is not the case, it is reasserting its historical role as a regional power.
Egypt, long the leader of the Arab world, may find it cannot lead its own people. The peace with Israel has little support among the populace. It's not just that Israel is not loved, it's that Jews are hated.
Egyptian society, indeed the entire Arab world, has been drenched by a steady drizzle of government-approved or -tolerated anti-Semitism. There are almost no Jews left in Egypt, but there are plenty of Jews just over the border in Israel. The Obama administration has to show no daylight between it and Israel. (Washington Post)
- Once Again, Israel Is Scapegoated - Editorial
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, who aspires to regional leadership, has directed a campaign against the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and stoked it with incendiary statements. Erdogan is furious that a UN investigation concluded that Israel's blockade of Gaza, and thus its intervention to stop a Turkish-led flotilla last year, was legal. He also finds it convenient to lambaste Israel rather than talk about neighboring Syria, where daily massacres are being carried out by a regime Erdogan cultivated.
The core demands of the Arab Spring have nothing to do with Israel: They are about ending authoritarian rule and modernizing stagnating societies. Scapegoating Israel will not satisfy the imperative for change. (Washington Post)
- Humpty Dumpty Palestine - Aaron David Miller
The Palestinian national movement has become a fractured Humpty Dumpty, with grave consequences for Israeli-Palestinian peace, regional stability, and Palestinians themselves.
In Gaza, where Hamas rules, more than a million Palestinians live in political and economic limbo. And as long as Hamas has the power to trigger a military conflict with Israel through the use of high-trajectory rockets and missiles, Fatah will always be at the mercy of events and never really in control.
In the West Bank, the PLO doesn't so much rule as preside with the indulgence of the Israelis.
In East Jerusalem, many Palestinians are worried that they would lose their right to speak freely under a PA-controlled Palestinian state.
Today, a Palestine in pieces does not bode well for a conflict-ending solution, and no paper resolution or upgrade in status in New York this month will change that.
- Israel Surrounded as Arab Spring Turns Darker - Jeffrey Goldberg
The attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo grew from a rally in Tahrir Square called "Correcting the Path." Its organizers meant to pressure the country's military rulers to accelerate political changes. But it is easier to burn an Israeli flag than reform the Egyptian government.
Actually, Israel's crises with Egypt and Turkey are both rooted in an Israeli decision to relinquish Palestinian territory. In 2005, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally withdrew 8,500 settlers from 21 settlements in Gaza and pulled out the army. The territory was handed over, in its entirety, to the Palestinian Authority. Gaza quickly became a launching pad for rocket attacks against Israeli towns. In response, Israel blockaded Gaza to keep out weapons. The flotilla was trying to breach the blockade.
In Egypt, the story is similar. The attack on the embassy in Cairo was part of an angry reaction to the accidental killing of at least three Egyptian soldiers last month after terrorists, including some from Gaza, crossed the Israeli border from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and killed eight Israelis. This occurred, after decades of quiet, because Israel had ceded Gaza to the Palestinians.
The Palestinians' UN Agenda - Alan M. Dershowitz (Wall Street Journal)
The Palestinian Authority seeks to isolate Israel by demanding that the UN accord Palestine recognition as a "state" without a negotiated peace with Israel. 63 years ago the UN recommended partitioning the former British mandate into two states: one Jewish, the other Arab. Israel and most of the rest of the world accepted that partition plan, and Israel declared itself the nation-state of the Jewish people.
- The Arab world unanimously rejected the plan. The Arab population within Israel and in the area set aside for an Arab state joined the surrounding Arab nations in taking up arms.
In defending its right to exist, Israel lost 1% of its population, many of whom were civilians and survivors of the recent Holocaust. Yet the current Palestinian leadership still insists on calling the self-inflicted wounds caused by its rejection of a two-state solution the "nakba," meaning the catastrophe.
- Abbas is adamant in refusing to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Yet every Arab state is officially a Muslim state.
- The Palestinian people came close to achieving statehood in 2000-'01 - a prospect that was shattered by Yasser Arafat's rejection of the Clinton-Barak peace plan. Arafat's rejection resulted in a bloody intifada uprising among Palestinians in which thousands of Palestinians and Israelis were killed.
- The UN will be responsible for any ensuing bloodshed if it stokes the flames of violence by raising Palestinian expectations while lowering the prospects for a negotiated peace. The job of the UN is to promote peace, not to retard it.
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