Egypt Sends Tanks to Secure Sinai-Gaza Border (Jerusalem Post)
A Russian television station reported on Monday that the Egyptian army sent 30 tanks to the border with Gaza in the Sinai Peninsula, Israel Radio reported.
The Egyptian military actions were coordinated with Israel.
Abbas Repeats Al-Aqsa Libel - Again - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues to promote the libel that Israel is scheming to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
In an interview with the Saudi paper Al-Watan on June 3, 2013, Abbas said:
"Al-Aqsa is in danger because the excavations Israel is conducting in the Haram (i.e., the Temple Mount) and beneath its foundations put it in danger of collapse."
See also The "Al-Aksa Is in Danger" Libel: The History of a Lie - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Chinese Shipping Lines Drop Iran as Latest U.S. Sanctions Bite - Jonathan Saul (Reuters)
Two top Chinese shipping lines severed ties with Iran as tough new U.S. sanctions came into effect on Monday, blacklisting Iran's shipping, shipbuilding, energy and port management sectors.
"The vast majority of major container carriers have now ceased calling at Iran," said Daniel Richards, shipping analyst with Business Monitor International.
Iranian Channels Dropped by Intelsat (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
Following U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran's state-run radio and TV company IRIB, Luxembourg-based
Intelsat took several Iranian channels off the air on Monday, including Press TV, Hispan TV and Al-Alam, as well as IRIB 1 and 2 and Sahar TV.
Syrian Islamist Rebel Group Praises Israel's Medical Assistance - Ilan Ben Zion and Agam Rafaeli (Times of Israel)
A Syrian rebel group operating along the Israeli border in the Golan Heights said it has no quarrel with Israel.
Laeth Horan, a spokesperson for the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, said, "We are only here to fight Assad; we want nothing from Israel and we want Israel to know this."
He also praised Israel's efforts to provide medical assistance for Syrians injured near the border with Israel.
Kuwaiti Legislator Defends Trade Ties with Israel (MEMRI)
Kuwaiti member of parliament Nabil Al-Fadhl told Al-Adala TV on June 18, 2013:
"If the security of Kuwait requires the purchase of Israeli equipment, I will do so, and I will love the Israelis for it."
"We're talking about my country's security. How exactly did the Muslims benefit us, when our Arab neighbor [Iraq] invaded our country? I am willing to buy equipment from Israel to protect my country from its Arab and Muslim neighbor."
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- Egypt's Military Gives Morsi Two Days to Calm Nation - Jeffrey Fleishman and Ingy Hassieb
The Egyptian military announced Monday that it would intervene in two days if President Mohamed Morsi and the opposition failed to end the political unrest that threatens the nation's economy and security. The military said it did not want to govern but signaled to Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement that it was exasperated by the turmoil. The army ruled Egypt after the February 2011 overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak until Morsi's inauguration a year ago.
Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi, defense minister and chief of the armed forces, stressed that the military was not seeking to return to political life but rather to form a more inclusive civilian government.
(Los Angeles Times)
See also Morsi Rebuffs Army Ultimatum - Shaimaa Fayed and Paul Taylor
President Mohamed Morsi rebuffed an army ultimatum to force a resolution to Egypt's political crisis, saying on Tuesday that he had not been consulted and would pursue his own plans for national reconciliation.
See also Egypt's Military: "We Have No Plan to Take Power" - Avi Issacharoff
Just hours after publishing a statement that put it firmly on the opposition's side, Egypt's military, late Monday, issued a second announcement stating:
"Military coups are not part of our ideology....The [earlier] published statement was meant to push the sides towards an agreement....We have no plan of taking power into our own hands."
What will the military actually do when its 48-hour ultimatum to Morsi expires? Not much it seems. The chances of a military coup seem slim at the moment. The army may simply carry on its current policy of letting the protesters do as they like, including attacking regime institutions.
In such a scenario, Morsi may even turn to the army himself, requesting to be saved. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israeli Official: Kerry Disappointed in Abbas - Mati Tuchfeld
Secretary of State John Kerry is disappointed in the conduct of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, a senior Israeli diplomatic official said on Sunday. He said that "most of the American pressure is directed at [Abbas] right now."
"[Abbas] presented to Kerry three conditions for the renewal of negotiations: the complete cessation of construction in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], the release of all security prisoners who were arrested before the Oslo Accords and that talks on borders be based on the 1967 lines," the Israeli official said. "All of these...are not acceptable to Netanyahu as conditions for the renewal of talks." (Israel Hayom)
See also Kerry vs. Palestinian Obstinacy - Eli Hazan
While it seems that Israel is placing great importance on renewing diplomatic talks and jump-starting the process, within the Palestinian Authority there is a fear of coming to the discussion table. That is why the Palestinians are setting unacceptable preconditions. Abbas' goal is to get to September, when he will move ahead with unilateral steps to establish a Palestinian state. In the meantime, he is just trying to buy time.
The Americans Know Which Side Is Blocking Renewal of Talks - Dan Margalit
According to individuals familiar with the negotiations that took place over the past few days, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Justice Minister Livni reached an understanding with the Americans, which spelled some Israeli flexibility, but the Palestinian snubbed it. The Americans know the truth.
- After Kerry Leaves, Aides Continue Efforts for Talks - Herb Keinon
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry left his top aides in Israel to continue efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks. Frank Lowenstein, Kerry's Middle East adviser, and Jonathan Schwartz, a State Department legal expert, met with National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror and Netanyahu's envoy Yitzhak Molcho on Monday.
- Chaos in Middle East Grows as the U.S. Focuses on Israel - Mark Landler and Jodi Rudoren
Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a busy round of shuttle diplomacy, laboring to revive peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. Yet administration officials no longer argue, as they did early in President Obama's first term, that creating a Palestinian state is the key to improving the standing of the U.S. in the Middle East.
Sallai Meridor, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., said most Israelis would rank Syria, Iran, Egypt and Jordan above the Palestinians in terms of "importance and urgency." "Were you to ask people in the leadership of both Israel and the Palestinians whether they thought resolving the conflict now, given the developments in the region, is feasible, most people would tell you it's quite unlikely," Meridor said.
Moreover, a preoccupied Egypt would leave the PA without crucial political support.
"Abbas would say that to reach a deal, you need Arab support from Saudi Arabia and Egypt," said Ghaith al-Omari, the executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine. "With all the chaos, you might not get that." (New York Times)
- Not by Sanctions Alone:
Using Military and Other Means to Bolster Nuclear Diplomacy with Iran - Michael Eisenstadt
Washington must supplement sanctions
with the more effective use of its military, and of the informational and soft-power assets that Tehran really fears, to alter the Islamic Republic's cost-benefit calculus.
Washington has frequently responded with an abundance of prudence and caution to Iranian actions.
Such restraint, however, is seen in Tehran as a sign of weakness, and may cause Tehran to doubt
U.S. claims that "all options are on the table" regarding its nuclear program.
Washington must convince Tehran that it risks a military
confrontation with the U.S. if it continues toward becoming a nuclear threshold state. Tehran should also understand that in the event of a
military confrontation, the U.S. will not respond in a symmetric manner, but with measures
that could potentially destabilize the Islamic Republic.
The writer is a senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Kerry's Challenge: Empower the Right Palestinians - Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman
There is growing frustration on the Palestinian street about the PA's failure to deliver basic services. One of the most articulate critics is Sheikh Fard al-Jabari,
responsible for 3,500 members of his clan in the South Hebron Hills.
He charges that the PA represents no more than 5% of the West Bank population. Ever the pragmatist, he stated he wants to live in peace with his Jewish neighbors, yet if elections were held tomorrow, he would vote for Hamas.
"At least they would take care of the basic social services that the PA has failed to deliver," Jabari lamented.
Then there is the Palestinian mother of two martyred sons who recently said on PA TV that she grieves for that loss, but even more for her two daughters with university degrees whose aspirations for careers are being crushed by the PA's reign of economic incompetence and "crony capitalism."
Want peace? Then we should empower those who want to live in peace, not cynical operators who treat the U.S. and EU as little more than gullible ATM machines.
Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, where Brackman is a consultant.
(New York Daily News)
Why "a Little More Work" Won't Do It, Mr. Kerry - David Horovitz (Times of Israel)
- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is investing immense personal energy and time, and U.S. diplomatic prestige, in trying to get Netanyahu and Abbas merely to the starting point of a path that has already been walked many times before.
- But the root of the unavoidable failure of any resumed talks lies primarily with the Palestinians. Yasser Arafat bequeathed his people the toxic narrative that there is no Jewish sovereign legitimacy in this part of the world, and that Palestinian steadfastness would ultimately see the Jewish colonialists sent back to Europe.
- Abbas has allowed that false narrative to fester, including in his schools and his media, rather than energetically disseminating a more accurate picture of competing, legitimate claims, requiring conciliation and compromise.
- Where the U.S. should be placing its energies, and its leverage, and its money, is in encouraging those frameworks that will create a climate in which the Palestinians actually recognize an interest in making true peace on terms that do not leave Israel vulnerable to military threat.
- The U.S. should be supporting educational programs, and grass-roots interactions, and media channels that offer an honest perspective on the history of our conflict, and that promote a mutually beneficial future of co-existence.
- Change the climate. Gradually create an atmosphere of mutual respect, and a shared, fervent desire for an accommodation. Then you won't have to be cajoling reluctant leaders back to the peace table.
The writer is the founding editor of The Times of Israel.
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