Saturday, October 16, 2010

The worst slanderers of Israel

From Ynet News, 15 Oct 2010, by Yitzhak Benhorin:

Anti-Defamation League published list of top 10 groups responsible for slandering Israel in US

...The league ...listed
  • Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), which last July organized a protest in Chicago attended by 1,000 people who burned flags emblazoned with Stars of David and swastikas. Protestors also called on the US to "stop funding Israeli apartheid"....
  • Al-Awda, which fights for the Palestinian right of return and is the largest pro-Palestinian organization in the US, was mentioned for its "electronic intifada" – or attempts to stop Israelis from going abroad. It has also called for boycotts against the state.
  • Friends of Sabeel in North America, a branch of the Jerusalem based Christian Arab movement by the same name, is also on the list, along with If Americans Knew, which accuses the media of pro-Israel bias...
  • International Solidarity Movement, whose activists are frequent visitors of Israel and which started the Free Gaza Movement, responsible along with the Turkish IHH for the May 31 flotilla, which was raided by the IDF and resulted in nine deaths...
  • the largest Muslim organization in the US, the Muslim American Society, as well as Students for Justice in Palestine, which graces 75 campuses throughout the country.
  • The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, an umbrella organization of some 200 anti-Israeli groups, is based in Washington and focuses on persuading the US administration to quit aid to Israel....
  • the Jewish Voice for Peace, a California-based organization which began in 1996 to speak out against US aid to Israel, accusing the state of apartheid and backing boycotts against it. Its activists also encourage companies to cut ties with Israel.
Abraham H. Foxman, the director of the ADL, said Thursday that "while there are hundreds of groups that organize and participate in various anti-Israel activities, we have identified the largest and most well-coordinated anti-Israel groups".

"These groups are not promoting peace, they are spreading propaganda to assault Israel's legitimacy. We want to Americans to know who these groups are and what it is they really stand for, which is to delegitimize the Jewish state," Foxman said in a press release.

"These groups demonize Israel through various public campaigns. Their messages are one-sided and fail to take the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into account. They unfairly attack Israel while ignoring Palestinian terrorism and incitement. They apply a different standard to Israel than other countries, condemning it for implementing policies to protect its citizens."

Ongoing war against the Jews

From: The Australian October 16, 2010, by Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, publisher of The Australian. This is an edited extract of his speech to the Anti-Defamation League in New York on Wednesday:

THE threats facing Jews today are real.

THE Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 in response to something we cannot imagine in America today: the lynching of an innocent Jew.

In the century since then, the league has fought anti-Semitism wherever you have found it. You have championed equal treatment for all races and creeds. And you have held America to her founding promise.

So successful have you been, a few years ago some people were beginning to say, "Maybe we don't need an ADL any more".

That is a much harder argument to make these days.

My own perspective is simple: we live in a world where there is an ongoing war against the Jews.

For the first decades after Israel's founding, this war was conventional in nature. The goal was straightforward: to use military force to overrun Israel. Well before the Berlin Wall came down, that approach had clearly failed.

Then came phase two: terrorism. Terrorists targeted Israelis both home and abroad from the massacre of Israeli athletes at Munich to the second intifada. Terrorists continue to target Jews across the world. But they have not succeeded in bringing down the Israeli government nor weakened Israeli resolve.

Now the war has entered a new phase. This is the soft war that seeks to isolate Israel by delegitimising it. The battleground is everywhere: the media, multinational organisations, non-government organisations. The aim is to make Israel a pariah.

The result is the curious situation we have today: Israel becomes increasingly ostracised, while Iran - a nation that has made no secret of wishing Israel's destruction - pursues nuclear weapons loudly, proudly and without apparent fear of rebuke.

For me, this ongoing war is a fairly obvious fact of life.

Every day, the citizens of the Jewish homeland defend themselves against armies of terrorists whose maps spell out the goal they have in mind: a Middle East without Israel.

In Europe, Jewish populations find themselves targeted by people who share that goal.

And in the US, I fear that our foreign policy only emboldens these extremists.

There are two things that worry me. The first is the disturbing new home that anti-Semitism has found in polite society, especially in Europe. The second is how violence and extremism are encouraged when the world sees Israel's greatest ally distancing herself from the Jewish state.

When Americans think of anti-Semitism, we tend to think of the vulgar caricatures and attacks of the first part of the 20th century. Now it seems that the most virulent strains come from the Left. Often this new anti-Semitism dresses itself up as legitimate disagreement with Israel.

In 2002, Harvard president Lawrence Summers put it this way: "Where anti-Semitism and views that are profoundly anti-Israeli have traditionally been the primary preserve of poorly educated right-wing populists, profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities. Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent."

Far from being dismissed out of hand, anti-Semitism today enjoys support at both the highest and lowest reaches of European society from its most elite politicians to its largely Muslim ghettos. European Jews find themselves caught in this pincer.

We saw a recent outbreak when the European Trade Commissioner declared that peace in the Middle East is impossible because of the Jewish lobby in America. Here's how he put it:

"There is indeed a belief - it's difficult to describe it otherwise - among most Jews that they are right. And it's not so much whether these are religious Jews or not. Lay Jews also share the same belief that they are right. So it is not easy to have, even with moderate Jews, a rational discussion about what is actually happening in the Middle East."

He did not suggest the problem was any specific Israeli policy. The problem, as he defined it, is the nature of the Jews.

Adding to the absurdity, this man then responded to his critics this way: anti-Semitism, he asserted, "has no place in today's world and is fundamentally against our European values".

Of course, he has kept his job.

Unfortunately, we see examples like this all across Europe.

Sweden, for example, has long been a synonym for liberal tolerance. Yet in one of Sweden's largest cities, Jews report increasing examples of harassment. When an Israeli tennis team visited for a competition, it was greeted with riots. So how did the mayor respond? By equating Zionism with anti-Semitism and suggesting that Swedish Jews would be safer in his town if they distanced themselves from Israeli actions in Gaza.

You don't have to look far for other danger signs: the Norwegian government forbids a Norwegian-based, German shipbuilder from using its waters to test a submarine being built for the Israeli navy; Britain and Spain are boycotting an OECD tourism meeting in Jerusalem; in The Netherlands, police report a 50 per cent increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents.

In Europe today, many of the most egregious attacks on Jewish people, Jewish symbols and Jewish houses of worship have come from the Muslim population.

Unfortunately, far from making clear that such behaviour will not be tolerated, too often the official response is what we've seen from the Swedish mayor, who suggested Jews and Israel were partly to blame themselves.

When Europe's political leaders do not stand up to the thugs, they lend credence to the idea that Israel is the source of all the world's problems and they guarantee more ugliness.

If that is not anti-Semitism, I don't know what is.

That brings me to my second point: the importance of good relations between Israel and the US.

Some believe that if America wants to gain credibility in the Muslim world and advance the cause of peace, Washington needs to put some distance between itself and Israel.

My view is the opposite.

Far from making peace more possible, we are making hostilities more certain.

Far from making things better for the Palestinian people, sour relations between the US and Israel guarantees that ordinary Palestinians will continue to suffer.

The peace we all want will come when Israel feels secure, not when Washington feels distant.

Right now we have war.

There are many people waging this war. Some blow up cafes. Some fire rockets into civilian areas. Some are pursuing nuclear arms. Some are fighting the soft war, through international boycotts and resolutions condemning Israel. All these people are watching the US-Israeli relationship closely.

In this regard, I was pleased to hear the State Department's spokesman clarify America's position this week. He said the US recognises "the special nature of the Israeli state. It is a state for the Jewish people."

This is an important message to send to the Middle East. When people see, for example, a Jewish prime minister treated badly by an American president, they see a more isolated Jewish state. That only encourages those who favour the gun over those who favour negotiation.

Ladies and gentlemen, back in 1937, a man named Vladimir Jabotinsky urged Britain to open up an escape route for Jews fleeing Europe.

Only a Jewish homeland, he said, could protect European Jews from the coming calamity.

In prophetic words, he described the problem this way. "It is not the anti-Semitism of men," he said. "It is, above all, the anti-Semitism of things, the inherent xenophobia of the body social or the body economic under which we suffer."

The world of 2010 is not the world of the 1930s. The threats Jews face today are different.

But these threats are real. They are soaked in an ugly language familiar to anyone old enough to remember World War II.

And these threats cannot be addressed until we see them for what they are: part of an ongoing war against the Jews.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Obama Should Withdraw from Afghanistan, not Iraq

From BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 115, October 7, 2010, by Prof. Hillel Frisch, senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The US can and should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan because there are other states capable of shouldering the burden of stabilizing the country, and the threat from Afghanistan to US security is no longer acute. Iraq, however, can be stabilized only by the US, and its long-term stability is a vital US interest with lasting and broad implications. Consequently, Obama should not be withdrawing troops from Iraq now.

President Barack Obama is making a serious mistake of potentially historical proportions in withdrawing from Iraq. He should reverse direction and withdraw from Afghanistan while staying put in Iraq. Failure to do so might spell the end of America’s preeminence on the world stage, a presence that is critical to global security.

The White House errs in focusing on the war against terror instead of focusing on more traditional concerns, like relations with and between states and mechanisms of maintaining regional balances of power. A reconsideration of the situation in Afghanistan with a balance of power prism leads to the conclusion that at least two emerging world powers, China and India, can be encouraged to become more involved in containing the Afghani situation. Rather than piggybacking on American taxpayers’ money – as Europe did in the Cold War under a US umbrella – these countries should be cajoled in assuming greater responsibility for the situation in Afghanistan.

Indeed, for the first time since the Cold War, other states could play the role of policeman in a battle in Afghanistan and could contain the risk of nuclear fallout in Pakistan. China and India have more to lose than the US in not coping with these problems.

Furthermore, Afghanistan is less important to America today for the following additional reason: Despite the formidable comeback of the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2005, and the expansion of the terrorist sanctuary there, terrorism against the West has actually declined. This draws into question the link between available sanctuaries and the protection of the US from terrorism.

Though it is true that a Pakistani-Chinese alliance supportive of the Taliban might emerge against the present Karzai regime, which would be supported by India and perhaps Iran, the costs of such instability would be borne by these states. They are sufficiently mature states to resolve the conflict without needing the US to shoulder the burden and drain its resources. A preeminent power should know where to get involved and where, at maximum, to use its good offices, in order to foster stability. America should take advantage of what the British Empire lacked during its very problematic involvement in the region in the 19th century – a regional array of strong states to cope with the fallout and tensions emanating from the Afghani crisis.

By contrast, no one in the Middle East can fill the place of the US if America withdraws from Iraq. Egypt, a state in relative decline, will be lucky if it can cope in the near future with its domestic problems. Saudi Arabia projects no effective power beyond its borders no matter how large the arms deal it signs with the US. The Gulf States are vulnerable to aggressive states, as the Iraq takeover of Kuwait proved a generation ago. All they can and should do is foot more of the bill for US protection.

Another regional power, Turkey, is a problematic player. Its relationship with the US since 2003, and increasingly since Prime Minister Erdogan’s reelection to office in 2007 during which he showed his Islamist colors, suggests that Turkey might become more of a problem for America than a solution to the fallout. Only Israel, a strategic ally of consequence, could conceivably play a role in aiding moderate Arab states in times of crisis.

The future of Iraq, by contrast, is a critical component in maintaining key US interests, if not its continued preeminence. The fall of Iraq could have a domino effect, threatening stability in Jordan and inducing the emergence of a Shiite corridor. Turkey could conceivably join the ranks of Islamic radicalism, alongside Iran, as it carves up the state of Iraq. An expanded Iranian presence in Iraq might embolden Syria to become an even more destabilizing force than at present.

Above all, a stable, pro-Western Iraq is necessary in containing Iran and preventing Saudi Arabia and the weak Gulf States from "bandwagoning" with Iran, just as Jordan was induced to join forces with Egypt’s Nasser in 1967. There is a palpable danger that the world’s major oil resources could then come under control of a nascent, undemocratic counter-alliance that could include China as well.

The facile idea that it does not matter who controls the oil because it would have to be sold in the international market place ignores the reality of a rising Chinese demand for energy sources. Such a control of oil would enable Iran to cut the supply of this crucial resource to democratic states like India. Politically motivated small cuts in oil supply to specific states could raise prices and damage relations between Western allies, making it more difficult for them to meet shared international challenges.

The implications of such empowerment, including the creation of a terrorist groundswell – with obvious ramifications for American allies in the region, from Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel - should not be underestimated. A failed Iraq would only increase the danger that Somalia and the potential state failures of Yemen and Lebanon pose to regional and world stability. In short, the state-directed terrorist fallout from Iraq is potentially far greater than from Pakistan/Afghanistan.

State-building in Iraq is doable, but problematic. The party that secured the most votes in the last election is led by Iyad Allawi, a secular Shiite, while most of its voters were Sunnis. The Shiites and Kurds, two groups who have oil, know that they must come to terms with the Sunni minority in order to ensure that the oil reaches international markets, for the benefit of all Iraqis. In Afghanistan, the sharp societal disparities, the lack of a strong modern state tradition, and the mountainous terrain, render a solution to the state-building problem virtually impossible.

Does Obama have the political courage to re-assess his current direction and reevaluate America's troop deployments in line with true, long-term US national interests? As outlined above, these interests clearly require a long-term American presence in Iraq, while Afghanistan is the front from which he could relatively safely order a withdrawal.

How the Tide Could Turn Against Radical Islam

From BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 116, October 10, 2010, by Dr. Max Singer:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The driving forces behind the growth of Islamic radicalism –
  • the Islamic revolution in Iran and
  • the immense Saudi funding for spreading Wahhabism
– may not endure. By the end of this decade, the current strength of Islamism could be shattered.

US action is not required for the Iranian regime to fall – although it could be a big help.

On the other hand it is probably only the US that could convince the Saudis to hold onto their money rather than using so much to sell Wahhabism throughout the world.

It is important to understand that two quite possible developments could bring about a sea change in the worldwide confrontation with radical Islam....

...Since coming to power [in 1979] Iran’s Islamic revolutionary regime has been ...spreading Islamism throughout the Muslim world through religious/political leadership, inspiration and advocacy, terror and political violence, and national political measures.

...This possibility frightened the Saudi leadership, for whom Shiites were historic enemies. The Saudis felt compelled to compete with the Iranian revolutionary regime for leadership of radical Islam.

The result of this political pressure on the Saudi leadership, plus the great increase in their wealth following the oil price increases of 1979-1980, led to a multiplication of Saudi efforts to spread Wahhabism – the backward-looking Saudi version of Islam – throughout the world. Since 1980, Saudi royal family members and their beneficiaries have been exporting some $4 billion or more dollars a year to spread Wahhabi doctrines and influence throughout the world, from the US through Indonesia, from Chechnya and Bosnia through central Africa. One-hundred-and-twenty billion dollars for ...propaganda is a lot of money.

The result of this immense flow of resources from Saudi Arabia has been a complete transformation of religious and political life in the Muslim world. Wahhabism was a relatively small and somewhat despised element of Islam around the world in 1979. Today Wahhabi-controlled mosques, schools, preachers, and NGOs are a main if not dominant feature in both Muslim majority and Muslim minority communities in almost every country. Wahhabis control, for example, the great majority of Muslim institutions in the US – although certainly most Muslims in the US are not Wahhabis.

...The internal legitimacy of the Iranian revolutionary regime has in the last year become fatally undermined. There is a massive rejection of the regime by the general public because of its destruction of the Iranian economy, because of the forceful imposition of fundamentalist Muslim behavior on the general public, because of the corruption of the regime, and because of its use of violence against public protest of the stolen election last year. And the religious leadership of the revolution has become bitterly divided. Many of the highest religious authorities, and the original leaders of the revolution, have formally proclaimed that the current regime is no longer legitimate. The result has been thousands of defections, and purges, from the leadership of the regime, including the Revolutionary Guards.

It is quite possible that this fatally undermined regime could continue in power – on the bayonets of the Revolutionary Guard – for many years, especially if the outside world continues not to provide moral, political, or financial support for the internal opposition. But it is also possible that the regime will collapse or be overthrown this year or next, or the year after. While no one can predict when this will happen, it is certainly possible that the original engine of the expansion of radical Islam will disappear in the not too distant future. is hard to understand why no democratic government has done anything at all to provide some moral and political support to the opposition or to provide small-scale, non-military assistance, such as communication equipment and Radio Free Europe-style broadcasts. The US in particular could improve the opposition’s position by speaking positively about Iranians imprisoned for political protest and treating the regime with mere diplomatic correctness and by ceasing its policy of going out of its way to demonstrate great respect for the regime. One cannot be sure, but it is entirely plausible that those Iranians trying to replace the regime would have an easier time if Iranians could see that a new regime would be welcomed by the democratic great powers. Iranians may have more respect for these powers, and especially the US, than we realize.

...The main requirement to end the flow of Wahhabi funds from the Saudis is for the US to recognize the harm being produced by these funds and appreciate its power to influence – even to compel – the Saudis into halting this activity. ...The basic US message would be, “Stop giving away so much of your money; keep it at home and use it for yourselves.”

...Despite all their oil money, and oil power, the Saudi leadership understands very deeply that they and their regime are weak and vulnerable, and that the US is infinitely more powerful. If the US comes to understand this half as well as the Saudis, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the US could lead the Saudis to understand that they could expect America to continue to be their protector if they keep their money at home, but that the US would come to see them as an enemy if they continue to export their funds to promote Wahhabism in the world. Such a change would not have to take many years.

PA refusal is "the root of the conflict"

From JPost, 12 Oct 2010, by HERB KEINON*:

The Palestinian Authority has [again] rejected Israel’s suggestion that it recognize Israel as a Jewish state in exchange for a renewal of the settlement construction moratorium, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said on Monday.

“The idea was simple,” one official said. “If they could move on an issue important to us, then the prime minister would feel confident and ask the cabinet for a moratorium extension.”

... Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced at the opening of the Knesset’s winter session on Monday that he would ask for a settlement moratorium extension if the PA would unequivocally recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

The Palestinians quickly rebuffed the idea, with chief negotiator Saeb Erekat saying the PA “forcefully rejects all these Israeli  ...demands ...”

...During his Knesset speech, Netanyahu [said] ...“During the past several weeks, I have explored every path to ensuring the continuation of the talks,” Netanyahu declared, saying he was looking for something to convince the government and the country that the Palestiniansare truly ready to live with us in peace.”

...Because the Palestinians expect us to recognize the Palestinian state as their nationstate, we can expect them to recognize the Jewish state as our nation-state.”

...The prime minister said he hoped that the Palestinian decision not to renew the talks without a renewal of the moratorium was not taken to “avoid making the real decisions necessary for a peace agreement.”

Netanyahu...said that not only Israel, but also the Palestinians, will “have to make difficult decisions.” He said that for compromise to lead to peace, and not more war, it must be accompanied by two fundamental components: recognition and security arrangements.

The demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, he said, was ...the “root of the conflict and therefore a central foundation for resolving it. For 100 years, the Palestinians have taught entire generations to believe that there is no Jewish people, that this land is their homeland alone.”...

*Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.

Signs of co-existence and reconciliation in PA daily newspaper

From a PMW Bulletin, 11 Oct 2010, by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik:

Last week a fire was set to carpets and copies of the Quran inside a mosque near Bethlehem. In a positive move, the PA official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida gave prominent first page coverage to the solidarity visit of Israeli "settler rabbis" and "dozens of settler-supporters of peace" who came to the mosque to express condemnation of the arson. The PA daily published a picture of the visit and reported that the rabbis brought new copies of the Quran to replace the burned copies.
Rabbi Fruman of Israeli town of Tekoa hands copy of Quran to Palestinian in mosque.

In another positive note, two days later the same PA daily showed a picture of Israeli - Palestinian coexistence by publishing a picture of a Palestinian harvesting his olives to the accompaniment of an Israeli sitting right next to him under the tree playing his guitar.

Settler from Kiryat Arba plays his guitar while a [Palestinian] resident gathers the olive harvest.

The following are texts from two articles in the official PA daily giving prominence to the rabbis' visit:

"Yesterday, a delegation of Jewish religious leaders visited the town of Beit Fajar and examined the destruction caused by the fire two days ago. They emphasized that the Jewish religion is innocent of the perpetrators.... Bethlehem District Governor, Abd Al-Fatah Hamail, received the delegation inside the mosque, and said that the Palestinian side appreciates the visit... The delegation of rabbis emphasized that the aim of their visit to the town of Beit Fajar was to express solidarity with the residents and with the Muslims of Palestine.... They emphasized that they seek peace and justice..."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 6, 2010]

"Six settler rabbis conducted a solidarity visit to the village of Beit Fajar, near Bethlehem, bringing with them copies of the Quran. Dozens of settler-supporters of peace and hundreds of Palestinians, expressing solidarity, gathered to receive them at the entrance of the village. ...Rabbi Menahem Fruman said: 'This land is the land of peace...'" [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 6, 2010]

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Terrorists who murdered 4 Israelis in August: all killed or in custody


Five weeks after four Israelis were shot dead in the South Hebron Hills, security forces on Friday killed two Hamas terrorists in Hebron ...
Six suspected terrorist enablers were arrested in the raid, and security officials said every member of the Hamas cell that carried out the driveby attack in August is now either dead or in the custody of Israel or the PA. The cell is suspected of having carried out additional recent shootings in the South Hebron Hills.

The terrorists killed in Friday’s raid have been named as Nashat Karmi, 33, a senior Hamas commander in Hebron, and Mammon Natshe, 24.

They were killed in their Hebron hideout after resisting capture and opening fire on soldiers from the IDF’s Duvdevan undercover unit and officers from the Israel Police’s Counterterrorism Unit (YAMAM).

“There is no comfort for the bereaved parents, orphans or widower, but today we closed a circle in which justice was done,” Judea Brigade commander Col. Guy Hazut told reporters on Friday, after the raid was over.

The four Israelis who were killed on August 31 were Yitzhak and Talya Ames, 47 and 45, respectively, Kochava Even- Haim, 37, and Avishai Shindler, 24. All of them lived in Beit Hagai...

...Both of the gunmen killed on Friday had [previously] been released from Israeli prisons after serving their sentences, and were part of a hardened, experienced generation of terrorists...

...Following the raid ...Palestinians threw rocks and Molotov cocktails during a funeral procession for one of the terrorists; on Route 60, Palestinian threw rocks at Israeli vehicles. No injuries were reported, though four cars were damaged. ...Rocks were also thrown at two Israeli vehicles north of Hebron.

...both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak released statements on Friday praising the security forces for their swift action...
*Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

Arabs: "diplomacy" of threats

From JPost, 10/10/2010 By HERB KEINON*:

...The Palestinian Authority announced over the weekend – following the Arab League meeting in Libya  ...that it was considering “alternatives” in case the peace talks collapsed, including seeking US or UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

...Erekat said Abbas asked Arab leaders “to press the American administration to recognize an independent Palestinian state within the borders of 1967.” If the Americans reject the request, the Palestinians might take up the issue with the Security Council nonetheless, Erekat said.

...A PA official in Ramallah said the Arab League supported the idea of seeking US or UN recognition of a Palestinian state.

“The Palestinian leadership will give the US administration another chance to solve the crisis,” he said. “If their efforts fail in the next 30 days, we will go to the Americans and the United Nations.”

Israeli officials took the threat in stride. “There is no substitute for direct negotiations and a historic agreement,” one official said. “Everything else is a mirage.”

The official, who said these types of threats were part of the PA’s diplomacy, added that such proposals have not proven serious when raised many times in the past, and that the PA understood that only a negotiated solution could bring peace.

He added that over the past year the Palestinians have alternated threats to go to the UN Security Council searching for recognition of Palestinian statehood, with the threat of abandoning the two-state idea and instead pursuing a “one-state solution.”

...similar proposals in the past have not been embraced by Washington, which consistently has said it wanted to see a negotiated – rather than imposed – settlement...
*Khaled Abu Toameh and AP contributed to this report.

How much do the Arabs really want peace?


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Libya on Thursday [7th October] to seek Arab League backing for his decision to quit direct talks with Israel until the settlement construction moratorium is renewed, amid no signs that the US and Israel have a formula in hand to break the impasse.

...“We honored the government decision and took upon ourselves a commitment to the international community and the US to start the peace talks,” Netanyahu said of the 10- month moratorium that ended nearly two weeks ago. “The Palestinians waited over nine months and, immediately at the onset of the talks, set a precondition even though they had promised that there would be no preconditions.”

The prime minister said that just as his government honored its commitment regarding the settlement moratorium, “we very much hope that the Palestinians will stay in the peace talks.”

But, said Netanyahu during a visit to Lod, “Today, the questions need to be directed to the Palestinians: Why are you abandoning the talks? Don’t turn your backs on peace; stay in the talks. This is what needs to be asked today, and not of the Israeli government.”

...The US administration, [Ambassador to the US Michael] Oren acknowledged, “came to Israel with a number of suggestions, incentives if you would, that would enable the government to maybe pass a limited extension of two or three months.”

...In Jerusalem, meanwhile, the widespread assessment was that the Arab League would back Abbas’s decision to leave the talks if Israel did not declare another settlement freeze, or did not declare that it would accept the principle of a Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967, borders. what was perhaps a sign of low expectations in Jerusalem of any dramatic breakthrough, no meeting of the security cabinet or Netanyahu’s senior decision-making forum, the septet, had been scheduled for Friday.

...The Arab foreign ministers will be meeting in the Libyan city of Serte on Friday.

...[a top PA] official said that Abbas did not want to bear sole responsibility for whatever happens with the peace talks. “We want an Arab decision,” he added. “We don’t want the decision to be taken only by the Palestinian leadership.”

Despite the tone of optimism voiced by the official, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a PLO leader and close adviser to Abbas, was quoted by Agence France-Press as saying that there can be no peace as long as Netanyahu is in power...