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September 26, 2011

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Palestinian Refugees in West Bank Will Not Be Citizens of New State - Annie Slemrod (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    Palestine's ambassador to Lebanon Abdullah Abdullah told the Daily Star Wednesday that Palestinian refugees would not become citizens of the proposed Palestinian state.
    "Even Palestinian refugees who are living inside the [Palestinian] state, they are still refugees. They will not be considered citizens."
    He said statehood "will never affect the right of return for Palestinian refugees."
    "When we have a state accepted as a member of the United Nations, this is not the end of the conflict. This is not a solution to the conflict. This is only a new framework that will change the rules of the game."

Israeli Prime Minister Visits 9/11 Memorial - David Seifman (New York Post)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to the 9/11 memorial in New York with Mayor Bloomberg on Thursday night to pay his respects and to touch the names carved in metal of the four Israeli citizens who died in the terrorist attack.

Turkish Newspaper Profiles Israeli Soldiers Involved in Flotilla Raid - Benjamin Harvey (Bloomberg)
    Turkey's Sabah newspaper printed the names and pictures of 148 Israeli soldiers it said were involved in the killing of nine Turks aboard the Mavi Marmara last year.
    Turkish intelligence officers learned the names of 174 soldiers involved in the raid through Israeli sources and used social networks including Facebook to help identify 148 of them by photograph.

Arab Leaders Absent While Turkey's Erdogan Talks to UN - Mehmet Ali Birand (Hurriyet-Turkey)
    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the UN General Assembly on Thursday. At the end of 30 minutes he stepped down from the podium to applause mostly from the Turkish delegation and Turkish invitees.
    While Erdogan addressed the UN, I looked to see who was present from other countries. I was especially looking for Palestinian head of state Mahmoud Abbas and the leaders of some Arab countries.
    None of them were there and this shows us some realities. We should not take those who are giving us a pat on the shoulder too seriously.

Palestinian State Would Not Join International Criminal Court to Avoid Exposing Palestinians to Prosecution - Robbie Sabel (Israel Radio-IMRA)
    Prof. Robbie Sabel, former legal adviser to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was asked by Israel Radio on Sunday if a Palestinian state would join the International Criminal Court.
    He responded: "Doubtful. Because the moment a state joins, assume Palestine joins, this means that every Palestinian citizen who carries out a war crime in the future may expect to be subject to the authority of the court."
    "For this reason, by the way, Lebanon didn't join, Syria didn't join, Egypt didn't join, nor Saudi Arabia. Why? Because they don't want their citizens to be subject to it."
    "Since shooting at civilians is considered a war crime, I don't assume that the Hamas partner of the PA would be so happy with joining the Court."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinians Request UN Status; Powers Press for Talks - Neil MacFarquhar and Steven Lee Myers
    Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas formally requested full UN membership for his as yet undefined country on Friday as international powers laid out a new plan to resume direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that was designed to delay a contentious vote on the Palestinian request as long as possible. The Quartet's statement reaffirmed "strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace" outlined by President Obama in May. (New York Times)
        See also Israel Welcomes, PA Rejects Quartet's Proposal - Tovah Lazaroff, Khaled Abu Toameh, and Herb Keinon
    Israel responded positively Saturday, and the Palestinians negatively, to a formula for restarting negotiations issued by the Quartet. "We are studying the statement, and view favorably the call for a return to direct talks," a senior Israeli official said. The proposal made no mention of the pre-1967 lines or Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. It urged the parties "to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without delay or preconditions."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also below Observations: Prime Minister Netanyahu Addresses the UN General Assembly (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Palestinian Initiative Faces Uphill Struggle in UN Security Council - Louis Charbonneau
    The Palestinian initiative to seek UN recognition as a state, which goes to the Security Council on Monday, faces an uphill struggle to secure the nine votes needed for approval. Diplomats say the Palestinians have only six certain votes on the council - China, Russia, Brazil, Lebanon, India and South Africa. "If a vote was held today, the Palestinians wouldn't have enough votes to carry the day and the Americans wouldn't even need to use their veto," a Western diplomat told Reuters. The Europeans agree with Washington that the Palestinian UN bid is unwise and are inclined to oppose it.
        The council will take up the Palestinian membership application on Monday in closed-door consultations. Normally the council would take no more than 35 days to review a membership application, but the 35-day limit can easily be waived, Western diplomats say. (Reuters)
  • Netanyahu: Palestinians Trying to Get a State to Continue the Conflict with Israel
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told "Meet the Press" on Sunday: "The Palestinians want a state, but they have to give peace in return. What they're trying to do in the United Nations is to get a state without giving Israel peace and security....That should not succeed....What should succeed is for them to actually sit down and negotiate with us to get two states for two peoples, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state....The Palestinians are trying to get away without negotiating. They're trying to get a state to continue the conflict with Israel rather than to end it."  (MSNBC)
  • Jury Finds Muslim Students Guilty of Disrupting Speech - Lauren Williams, Nicole Santa Cruz, and Mike Anton
    A Santa Ana, Calif., jury on Friday found 10 Muslim students guilty of disrupting a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine last year. The students were placed on three years of informal probation, and ordered to perform 56 hours of community service. "History requires us to draw a line in the sand against this sort of organized thuggery," said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who called the students' disruptions "censorship by a few."  (Los Angeles Times)
        See also No Regrets from Muslim Students in Speech Case (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Man, Infant Killed in West Bank Terror Attack - Yair Altman
    The Israel Police concluded Sunday that Asher Palmer, 25, and his 1-year-old son Yehonatan were killed in a car crash Friday after stones were hurled at their vehicle by Palestinians near Kiryat Arba. An examination of the father's body revealed fractures to his skull. "It was clearly a terrorist attack, Asher's gun had been stolen, there were rocks inside the vehicle and it was clear Asher was hit by a rock," Palmer's family said after police informed them of their conclusion that the incident was in fact the result of a terror attack.
        The accident was being investigated by a special Hebron District police unit dealing with incidents where rocks are thrown at Israeli vehicles from moving cars. So far, there have been 18 such cases. (Ynet News)
  • Urgent Terror Alert in Southern Israel - Yoav Zitun
    IDF forces in southern Israel boosted their alert level Friday following concrete information about the intention of Hamas and other terror groups to carry out an attack on the Israel-Egypt border. Last month a terror offensive near Eilat left eight Israelis dead. (Ynet News)
        See also Taba Border Crossing Closed to Israelis - Ahuva Mamos
    The Taba Border Crossing on Sunday was closed to Israeli citizens. The Prime Minister's Office said: "Due to security considerations and alerts on the intention of terrorist groups to carry out an attack in the south, along the border with Egypt, the entry of Israelis to the Taba hotel district has been restricted."  (Ynet News)
  • Spain Recognizes Israel as Jewish Homeland - Barak Ravid
    Spain's Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez presented his country's policy for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the UN General Assembly on Saturday, declaring Israel as the homeland of the Jews for the first time and saying that the issue of Palestinian refugees should be solved in such a way that it does not compromise Israel's current demographic makeup of a Jewish majority. Spain is considered the leading EU country to support Palestinian rights. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • No Moral Equivalence Between Abbas and Netanyahu - Jonathan S. Tobin
    The media is treating the dueling speeches Friday at the UN General Assembly by Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as morally equivalent. But, to put it bluntly, Abbas lied, and Netanyahu told the truth. Abbas claimed the Palestinians came to the UN armed only with "hopes and dreams." But as Netanyahu later replied, the Palestinians had come with "hopes, dreams - and 10,000 missiles and Grad rockets supplied by Iran."
        Israel is a democracy in which its Arab minority can claim full rights of citizenship. Yet Abbas has said peace must mean every town in the West Bank as well as neighborhoods in Jerusalem where Jews live over the green line must be eradicated. Netanyahu's mentioning that the Palestinians have laws prohibiting the sale of land to Jews (a crime punishable by death) are accurate reflections of the Nazi-like hate that permeates the PA.
        This UN circus initiated by the Palestinian leader is nothing more than a charade intended to bolster his standing at home and to avoid the necessity of engaging in U.S.-sponsored peace talks with Israel. The Palestinians don't want to negotiate; they want the world to impose a diktat on Israel that will not guarantee the security or the rights of the Jewish state or even to agree to finally end the conflict. (Commentary)
  • UN Moves Reshape Palestinian Attitudes - Bill Spindle
    The Palestinian bid for UN recognition, whatever its outcome, is already helping reshape Palestinian attitudes to expect less of negotiations and embrace a more confrontational stance toward Israel. That could mean challenging Israel using boycotts, demonstrations and international diplomatic forums more aggressively - ideas that are gaining currency among young Palestinians. Many Palestinians see the UN bid as a sharp break with a peace process and the beginning of a new era. They want their leadership to actively challenge Israel, though not necessarily through an armed struggle. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Why the UN Cannot Create Palestine - David Makovsky
    The UN created the State of Israel in 1947 because Britain sought an exit from its internationally-backed mandate to administer the territory. The UN called for a two-state solution that would divide the land between the Jews and the Arabs. The Zionists accepted the Partition Plan. In contrast, the Arab camp attacked Israel on the day of its birth. Israel flourished; Palestine was never born.
        The circumstances surrounding the Palestinian bid at the UN are very different from those surrounding the British appeal in 1947. Neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis are seeking to exit the region. The UN drama is misplaced. The historical claims of both sides can only be resolved between them. (CNN)

Israel Extends Its Hand in Peace - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly on September 23:

  • "Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago....I extend it to the people of Egypt and Jordan, with renewed friendship for neighbors with whom we have made peace. I extend it to the people of Turkey, with respect and good will....I extend it to the people of Syria, Lebanon and Iran, with awe at the courage of those fighting brutal repression. But most especially, I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace."
  • "We cannot achieve peace through UN resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties. The truth is that so far the Palestinians have refused to negotiate. The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace."
  • "The world around Israel is definitely becoming more dangerous. Militant Islam has already taken over Lebanon and Gaza. It's determined to tear apart the peace treaties between Israel and Egypt and between Israel and Jordan. It's poisoned many Arab minds against Jews and Israel, against America and the West. It opposes not the policies of Israel but the existence of Israel."
  • "We withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and from every square inch of Gaza in 2005. That didn't calm the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought the storm closer and made it stronger....When Israel left Lebanon and Gaza, the moderates didn't defeat the radicals, the moderates were devoured by the radicals."
  • "Israelis are prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we're not prepared to have another Gaza there. And that's why we need to have real security arrangements, which the Palestinians simply refuse to negotiate with us."
  • "Without Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, Israel is all of 9 miles wide....How do you protect such a tiny country, surrounded by people sworn to its destruction and armed to the teeth by Iran?...To defend itself, Israel must therefore maintain a long-term Israeli military presence in critical strategic areas in the West Bank."

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