Hamas: We Will Not Be Satisfied with a Palestinian State within 1967 Lines; We Thank Iran for Weapons, Rockets (MEMRI)
Senior Hamas officials who spoke at anniversary celebrations
on December 12-14, stressed that the movement would never recognize the Zionist entity or be satisfied with a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines, and called for continuing on the path of resistance and jihad until all of Palestine is liberated from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu 'Ubaida thanked Iran for providing Hamas with funds, weapons and rockets.
The speakers called Palestinian Authority leaders "traitors" and urged the people of the West Bank to rise up against them.
U.S. Fears New Iraqi Prime Minister Isn't Serious about Sunni Outreach - Gopal Ratnam (Foreign Policy)
American officials are worried about Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's commitment toward reconciliation with Iraq's Sunni minority, which is key to the U.S.-led effort to rebuild the Iraqi military forces and defeat the Islamic State.
Abadi, a Shiite, told U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a Dec. 9 meeting in Baghdad that leaders of the Sunni tribal groups in Anbar province that the U.S. wants to organize and equip into national guard brigades to take on the Islamic State are not trustworthy.
Canada to Boycott Fourth Geneva Convention Meeting in Geneva (Jerusalem Post)
Canada criticized the convening of the Fourth Geneva Convention set for Wednesday to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Canada has conveyed its deep concerns and has communicated clearly that it will neither attend this conference nor lend it any credibility," Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird stated.
"Canada is deeply disappointed by the convening of this one-sided and politicized conference, which serves only to single out one country, Israel, for criticism."
The U.S. and Australia have also said they will boycott the meeting.
300 Chinese Said Fighting Alongside Islamic State (Reuters)
About 300 Chinese members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) are fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Monday.
Chinese officials blame the ETIM for carrying out attacks in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people.
Palestinian Boycott of Israeli Goods Faltering - Abdullah H. Erakat (MediaLine)
The Palestinian boycott of goods made in Israel is faltering, both because of a lack of substitutes for Israeli products, and the dissipation of some of the anger over last summer's fighting in Gaza.
"If the boycott of Israeli goods reached its peak during the war on Gaza, and was 80%, now it is no more than 20-30%," Birzeit University professor Nasr Abdelkarim said.
Omar Salah, who runs Abu Rami Stores in the West Bank village of Abu Dis, says that when Salam Fayyad was the Palestinian prime minister, his government launched a campaign against "products from Israeli settlements only and not on all Israeli products manufactured inside Israel."
That boycott has since been extended, at least unofficially, to all Israeli products, without differentiating where they were made.
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- Kerry Urges "Other Options" as Palestinians Seek UN Resolution - Maher Abukhater
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged patience Tuesday as he met in London with Palestinian officials seeking a UN resolution that would lay the groundwork for a Palestinian state. He said the two sides need to look for "other options, other ways" to defuse tension in the region.
(Los Angeles Times)
See also Report: U.S. to Veto Palestinian UN Resolution - Yitzhak Benhorin
Secretary of State Kerry reportedly told the Palestinians the U.S. will veto a proposed Palestinian resolution "to end the occupation" at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Palestinian sources said. At a meeting Tuesday with Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Kerry said he opposed the Palestinian draft approved by the Arab League and has worked in recent days to prevent the Jordanian-backed resolution from being proposed at the Security Council.
See also Kerry and Palestinian Negotiator Erekat Hold "Difficult" Meeting - Elior Levy
A meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and head Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in London was described as "difficult" by a Palestinian source on Tuesday. According to the source, Kerry did not agree to refrain from using the U.S. veto in the UN Security Council.
See also Palestinians Reveal Kerry's Demands - Asaf Gabor
Details from the difficult meeting between John Kerry and Saeb Erekat were revealed on Wednesday. A senior Palestinian said Kerry presented a number of principles that the U.S. wanted included in any Security Council resolution. "The [U.S.] government refused to describe Jerusalem as the joint capital of two states - Palestine and Israel. The Americans refused to set a time for the end of the 'occupation,' and insisted on describing Israel as a Jewish state in the resolution." Erekat refused.
Afterward, Kerry said that the U.S. did not accept either the Palestinian or the French proposals, and warned that if the Palestinians insist on presenting their resolution, the U.S. would veto it.
See also Netanyahu Asks French President to Halt UN Initiative on Palestinian State - Barak Ravid
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke several days ago on the phone with French President Francois Hollande and asked him to halt the French initiative being promoted by the country's foreign minister Laurent Fabius. The French initiative incorporates a two-year timetable for achieving a permanent agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which would include a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines and land swaps.
"I told Hollande that I think this move is a negative one and will backfire," Netanyahu said in Rome. "Such a move is contrary to a peace agreement. It will thwart all future negotiations and bring about an escalation." (Ha'aretz)
- EU Lawmakers Stop Short of Palestine Recognition Vote
EU lawmakers stopped short on Tuesday of proposing a joint motion urging EU members to recognize a state of Palestine, settling instead on a compromise resolution that peace talks should progress. The European People's Party (EPP), the largest group in the European Parliament, and the fourth largest group, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), said recognition should only form part of a negotiated agreement with Israel.
After negotiations Tuesday, the following text was agreed upon:
"(The European Parliament) supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced." (Reuters)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Hamas Official: Arafat Gave Us Arms for Second Intifada Attacks - Elhanan Miller
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas and its former foreign minister,
told Al-Aqsa TV on Sunday that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat allowed Hamas to carry out terror attacks against Israel following the failure of the Camp David peace talks in July 2000, and transferred weapons to the Islamic terror group.
Al-Zahar's comments give further credence to the claim that the Second Intifada - which began in September 2000 - was less a spontaneous Palestinian uprising than a premeditated top-down effort by Arafat. Many Israeli officials have argued that Arafat instigated the Second Intifada. (Times of Israel)
- Abbas Advisor: All of Palestine Will Return to Us Even If It Takes Time - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Official PA TV reported on Dec. 12, 2014, that Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the PA Supreme Shari'ah Judge and Mahmoud Abbas' Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, gave this Friday sermon in Abbas' presence: "All of this land...will return to us even if it takes time. Patience is the key to victory, and we are patient. In terms of resistance, all options are on the table, and in terms of diplomacy as well."
In October, Al-Habbash proclaimed that under Islamic law, "The entire land of Palestine (i.e., including all of Israel) is waqf (Islamic religious endowment) and is blessed land....It is prohibited to sell, bestow ownership or facilitate the occupation of even a millimeter of it." (Palestinian Media Watch)
- EU Court Annuls Hamas Terrorist Designation - Matthew Levitt
The EU General Court annulled the terrorist designation of Hamas on procedural grounds on Dec. 17. In 2002, the EU had banned the group's military "wing," the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and in September 2003, following a series of Hamas suicide bombings during the Second Intifada, the EU expanded the listing to include the entire group.
On Sep. 12, 2010, Hamas appealed its designation as a terrorist entity. The Hamas appeal asserted a lack of due process, saying that it did not receive notification of the act and that "mere publication" of the EU decision in the Official Journal of the European Union "cannot be deemed to be notification of such an act." Hamas asserted that its rights were infringed according to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 6(3)(a), "concerning the right of an accused person to be informed promptly, in a language he understands."
A plethora of Hamas criminal cases have been opened within EU member states over the past few years, providing plentiful information derived from strictly European sources regarding the group's terrorist nature. Those investigations should now serve as the basis for a renewed EU terrorist designation of Hamas.
The writer is director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
See also EU Court Orders Hamas Removed from Terror List - Barak Ravid
While the EU General Court in Luxembourg accepted the petition by Hamas to be removed from the EU's list of terrorist organizations, the court postponed implementing the ruling for three months to allow for appeal.
Prime Minister Netanyahu responded, "We expect them [the EU] to immediately put Hamas back on the list....Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization, which states in its charter that its goal is to destroy Israel." (Ha'aretz)
See also EU Envoy to Israel: We Are Committed to Hamas' Return to Terror List (Jerusalem Post)
- U.S. Says Europeans Tortured by Assad's Death Machine - Josh Rogin
The State Department's ambassador at large for war crimes, Stephen Rapp, said in an interview that up to 10 European citizens have been tortured and killed while in the custody of the Syrian regime and that evidence of their deaths could be used for war crimes prosecutions against Bashar al-Assad in several European countries. A newly completed FBI analysis of 27,000 photographs taken by a military police photographer in the Syrian Army and smuggled out of Syria shows evidence of the torture and murder of over 11,000 civilians in custody.
Those who provided the photos hope that European countries will see their citizens' murders as further evidence that the West must reject any notion of allowing the Assad regime to remain in power or being a de facto partner with the West against extremist groups such as the Islamic State. More than 150,000 civilians are still being held in Assad's jails.
See also Syrian Army Defector Documents Atrocities by Assad Regime (U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee)
To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter from an Angry Black Woman - Chloe Valdary (Tablet)
- The student organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is prominent on many college campuses, preaching a mantra of "Freeing Palestine." It masquerades as though it were a civil rights group when it is not. It is thus high time to expose its agenda and lay bare some of the fallacies it peddles.
- If you seek to promulgate the legacy of early Islamic colonialists who raped and pillaged the Middle East, subjugated the indigenous peoples living in the region, and foisted upon them a life of persecution and degradation - you do not get to claim the title of "Freedom Fighter."
- If you support a racist doctrine of Arab supremacism and wish (as a corollary of that doctrine) to destroy the Jewish state, you do not get to claim that the prejudices you peddle are forms of legitimate "resistance."
- If your heroes are clerics who sit in Gaza plotting the genocide of a people; who place their children on rooftops in the hopes they will get blown to bits; who heap praises upon their fellow gang members when they succeed in murdering Jewish school boys and bombing places of activity where Jews congregate - you do not get to claim that you are an advocate of human virtue. You are not.
- You do not get to justify the calculated and deliberate bombings, beatings, and lynchings of Jewish men, women, and children by referring to such heinous occurrences as part of a noble "uprising" of the oppressed - that is racism. It is evil.
- You see, my people have always been Zionists because my people have always stood for the freedom of the oppressed. You do not have the right to invoke my people's struggle for your shoddy purposes.
The writer is a consultant for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and a fellow at the Lawfare Project.
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