Report: Sudan to Allow Iran to Establish Red Sea Base - Joanna Paraszczuk (Jerusalem Post)
The anti-government Sudanese newspaper Hurriyat Sudan reported Monday that the Sudanese government had struck a deal with Iran for building a base on Sudan's Red Sea coast.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese rebel group JEM said Sunday that Sudan's President Omar Bashir has reached a "very advanced" arrangement with Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps to establish a naval base either in Port Sudan or elsewhere on the Red Sea.
Two Iranian naval vessels docked in Port Sudan on Saturday.
U.S. Intelligence Predicts: Palestinian State by 2030, But Not Peace with Israel - Amir Oren (Ha'aretz)
The report "Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds," released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, predicts the Palestinians getting a state by 2030.
The state, however, won't necessarily be formally declared, and the issues of Jerusalem, refugees and the demilitarization of the West Bank might not be solved.
The report talks about a Palestine emerging from Arab-Israeli exhaustion, but there will be no complete end to the conflict.
View the report: Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds (Office of the Director of National Intelligence)
Do Israel's Defensive Measures Undermine Peace? - Dan Margalit (Israel Hayom)
In his Dec. 7 column, New York Times writer Thomas Friedman made the strange claim that Israel's separation fence and its Iron Dome air defense system are hindrances to Israel, because they allow our leadership to feel like it doesn't have to make efforts to advance peace.
Friedman's claim is perplexing, as both the fence and Iron Dome are defensive in nature. They save lives.
By this logic, the prompt medical treatment of terror victims by Magen David Adom ambulances must undermine peace as well.
Japan to Pull Troops from Golan UN Observer Force - Gabe Fisher and Michal Shmulovich (Times of Israel)
Japan plans to recall its 47 troops stationed in the Golan Heights as part of the UN Disengagement Observer Force, citing concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Syria, Japanese media reported Tuesday.
"Friends of IDF" Event Spurned by Stevie Wonder Raises $14 Million (JTA)
The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces fundraiser that singer Stevie Wonder pulled out of raised more than $14 million to aid Israeli soldiers.
More than 1,400 people attended the event in Los Angeles, which was emceed by actor Jason Alexander, with musical performances by "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard and 10-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan.
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- U.S. Places Militant Syrian Rebel Group on List of Terrorist Organizations - Michael R. Gordon and Anne Barnard
The U.S. has formally designated the Al Nusra Front, a militant Syrian rebel group, as a foreign terrorist organization. The group includes some of the rebellion's most battle-hardened and effective fighters. "Extremist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra are a problem, an obstacle to finding the political solution that Syria's going to need," said the American ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford.
(New York Times)
See also Syrian Rebels Defy U.S., Pledge Allegiance to Jihadi Group - Ruth Sherlock
29 opposition groups have signed a petition calling for mass demonstrations in support of Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist group which the White House believes is an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The petition is promoting the slogan "No to American intervention, for we are all Jabhat al-Nusra."
Aided by fighters from abroad and Syrians who have returned from other wars in the Middle East,
Jabhat al-Nusra has led battles for a number of military bases. Along with allied jihadist groups, it captured the Sheikh Suleiman base west of Aleppo on Sunday. Many Free Syrian Army leaders recognize its strength and order their forces to cooperate with it.
The rise of Jabhat al-Nusra represents the Americans' worst fear - they refused to arm the rebels earlier in the conflict to avoid weapons falling into the hands of jihadists, only to find that in their absence, jihadi groups well-funded by supporters in the Gulf have risen to prominence.
- EU Condemns Israel over Settlements - Don Melvin and Slobodan Lekic
EU foreign ministers said Monday they were "deeply dismayed" by Israeli plans to expand settlements in east Jerusalem and particularly the E1 project.
See also Israel Responds to EU on Settlements
Israel regrets the one-sided wording of the EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions. Facts and history both prove that Jewish settlement never constituted an obstacle to peace. Therefore, the EU's focus on this issue is mistaken.
The root cause of the absence of a peace accord is the Palestinian refusal to engage in direct negotiations and their unwillingness to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, as recently exemplified by Mahmoud Abbas' UN speech and Khaled Mashaal's Gaza speech. This one-sided position taken by the EU rewards rejectionism and does not contribute to promoting a permanent peace agreement.
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- New York Times Correction No. 1 on Effect of E1 Corridor
An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to the effect of planned Israeli development in the area known as E1. It would not divide the West Bank in two. The proposed development would not, technically, make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.
(New York Times)
See also New York Times Correction No. 2 on Effect of E1 Corridor
Because of an editing error, an article about Israel's decision to move forward with planning in an area east of Jerusalem known as E1 described imprecisely the effect of such development on access to the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem from Jerusalem. It would not completely separate those cities from Jerusalem.
(New York Times)
See also Netanyahu: E1 Plans Don't Preclude Emergence of Palestinian State - Tovah Lazaroff
The suggestion that Israeli construction plans for the E1 area of Jerusalem preclude the eventual emergence of a Palestinian state is "simply false," Prime Minister Netanyahu asserted on Monday.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu Blasts International Community for Ignoring Hamas Calls for Israel's Destruction - Raphael Ahren
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday slammed the international community and PA President Mahmoud Abbas for failing to speak out against explicit calls for Israel's destruction by Hamas leaders on Saturday. Netanyahu contrasted Europe's condemnations of Israel for approving construction plans in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, with its lack of response to Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal's speech in Gaza. "This weekend, the leaders of Hamas openly called for the destruction of Israel. Where was the outrage? Where were the UN resolutions? Where was President Abbas?"
"Why weren't Palestinian diplomats summoned in European and other capitals to explain why the PA president not only refused to condemn this, but actually declared his intention to unite with Hamas?" "We can't accept that, when Jews build homes in [Israel's] ancient capital, the international community has no problem finding its voice, but when Palestinian leaders openly call for the destruction of Israel, the one and only Jewish state, the world is silent." (Times of Israel)
- IDF Arrests Two PA Intelligence Officers in Hebron - Khaled Abu Toameh and Yaakov Lappin
Two senior PA intelligence offers were arrested in Yatta, south of Hebron, on Saturday.
Ahmed Bhais, 40, is director of operations at the PA's General Intelligence Service in Hebron.
Mohamed Abu Eid, 48, serves as commander of the PA General Intelligence Service in Yatta.
- Stop Scapegoating Israeli Settlements - Jewish Apartment Complexes Aren't Preventing Peace - Michael Oren
Back in 2005, Israel uprooted all 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza, evicting their 9,000 residents, in order to advance peace. But in the seven years since, Israel has been targeted by nearly 9,000 terrorist rockets from Gaza. Clearly, settlements are not the reason.
All of the settlements account for a very small percentage of the West Bank. Most of them are concentrated in blocs that have become suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Everyone understands that these blocs will always remain part of Israel, even if a Palestinian state is negotiated.
All of the building recently approved by the Israeli government was in Jerusalem and these blocs.
E1 is a stretch of desert, less than 2 miles long, connecting Jerusalem to its suburb of Maale Adumim, home to 40,000 Israelis. Every Israeli prime minister in the past 40 years has planned to build in E1 in order to prevent Maale Adumim's isolation. That construction will not, as the Palestinians claim, divide the West Bank. Just look at a map.
Israel recognizes the Palestinians as a people who could have a state if their leaders agreed to sit with ours and work out the complex issues between us.
The writer is Israel's ambassador to the U.S.
(New York Daily News)
- Hamas Leader's Incendiary Speech in Gaza - Linda S. Heard
Chairman of Hamas' Political Bureau Khaled Mashaal's speech to rapturous crowds in Gaza last week was nothing short of incendiary. "No Palestinian leader has the authority to relinquish one inch of Gaza or the West Bank....Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah and after that Jerusalem, then Haifa and Jaffa."
That defiant message may have played well with some Palestinians, but it has reaffirmed Israel's assertion that Hamas wants nothing less than the Jewish state's destruction.
Moreover, his promotion of a course of action that is not doable, given Israel's military superiority, keeps an unrealistic dream alive. If Mashaal believed his speech would terrorize his enemies, he was mistaken. Its salient points will be quoted again and again by Israeli spokespersons to emphasize that Hamas is "a terrorist organization."
See also What Does Hamas Want? - Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations)
Seeing the World Israel Lives In - Daniel Gordis (Ha'aretz)
See also Losing Hope on Israeli-Palestinian Peace - Leon Wieseltier (New Republic)
Jews do not easily surrender hopes for peace. But increasingly, Israelis have come to doubt the possibility of a "land for peace" deal.
- That doubt increased when Gazans voted Hamas into power after Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. In recent years, more Israelis have come to understand that there is no placating Gazans.
- Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told a mass rally on Saturday that "Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on any inch of the land…there is no legitimacy for Israel." "We will free Jerusalem inch by inch, stone by stone. Israel has no right to be in Jerusalem."
- Does anyone really imagine that Israeli concessions in the West Bank can curb this sort of hatred?
The writer is senior vice president at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.
- I no longer believe that peace between Israelis and Palestinians will occur in my lifetime.
- Since 1977, and really since 1947, the Palestinians have refused one proposed solution after another, as if the "unviability" of an imperfect state is not preferable to the unviability of statelessness.
- Hamas maintains its terrorist and theocratic sway over Gaza, and criminally fires hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians.
- Mahmoud Abbas celebrates the attainment of observer-state status at the UN with a mean speech in which he accuses Israel of "one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history," and of unprovoked "aggression" in Gaza, and of "an apartheid system of colonial occupation."
The writer is the literary editor of The New Republic.
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