Wednesday, 14 August 2013


Israel Faces Deepening Isolation, Kerry Warns  

[Last Sunday I made a detailed case for the threat of isolation in my article. Obama to impose a solution if necessary Ted Belman]
Secretary of State John Kerry
By Jeffrey Goldberg Aug 13, 2013 12:10 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace mission to the Middle East is semi-quixotic, if not wholly quixotic. I doubt he’ll reach his goal of negotiating a final-status agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The two sides haven’t even agreed yet to the topics they’ll discuss in negotiations.
But we should give Kerry this: He has managed to at least partially capture the attention of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. I say partially because the Netanyahu government’s self-destructive West Bank settlement program continues apace (though the latest round of construction is scheduled to take place on territory that would almost certainly be granted to Israel in final-status talks).
(Read more…)

Shared interests against Islamist radicals in Sinai and Syria  

Egypt and Israel share coinciding interests, and Egypt does not object in any way to the weakening of the Muslim Brotherhood (and essentially hurting Hamas in the process). Egypt needs Israeli permission to deviate from the security appendix of the peace agreement to deploy significant forces into Sinai capable of tackling the Islamic terrorist cells there.
Again, Israel facilitates this due to its shared interests. The Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Mossad have built an efficient intelligence array providing an abundance of information about activities in Sinai and Gaza, and which serves as an important tool for the Egyptian army in its efforts to hit the terrorist cells there. The outstanding cooperation between the IDF and Egyptian military is a valuable strategic asset for Israel, and is necessary for the sides to operate in a synchronized manner. The accusations against the Egyptian army for being an Israeli collaborator and the attempts to delegitimize Sissi’s rule require both sides to maintain secrecy in order to keep the channels of communication open.
(Read more…)

A peace deal will never hinge on a referendum  

Not many people are aware of the fact that some Israeli kibbutzim farm their land on Jordanian territory.
When Israel signed a peace deal with Jordan, certain Israeli communities south of the Sea of Galilee lost some land because it lay east of the Jordan River, the internationally recognized border.
Israel withdrew from the farms and they were placed under Jordanian sovereignty. Nevertheless, the kibbutzim still enjoy unimpeded access to their fields, and a special provision was inserted into the annex of the peace deal guaranteeing that the Israeli farmers retained ownership status over that area. Basically, that small enclave became yet another Israeli-held asset abroad.
(Read more…)

The obstacle of land swaps  

Negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli representatives are starting this week. It is unclear how long they will last, or whether they will even last at all.
After all, as of now, there is no sign that the Palestinians will stray from their intention of sabotaging any progress that would require compromising on core issues. Commentators in Israel and abroad have tediously repeated the mantra that “all the components for peace are well-known” based on the “Clinton parameters,” and all that’s left to do is decide. But the truth is different.
Delving further, it turns out that nothing is settled — nothing regarding borders, not regarding which restrictions to Palestinian sovereignty and security would be imposed, nothing regarding Jerusalem and “the refugees,” and nothing regarding whether the Palestinians are ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his negotiating staff, including our friend Martin Indyk, apparently intend to focus on borders and security at the outset of negotiations. But this approach ignores the reality that the two issues are mutually dependent. In other words, marking future borders, such as those defined in U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, must reflect Israel’s security needs.
(Read more…)

‘PMO stealthily recruiting students for online advocacy’  

Israeli students seen on the first day of the new
academic year. October 21, 2012. (photo credit: Miriam
Israeli students seen on the first day of the new academic year. October 21, 2012. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASh90)
The Prime Minister’s Office is working to set up a network of advocacy units in Israeli universities, operated by students who will receive scholarships for their efforts totaling nearly NIS 3 million ($845,000).
The outgoing deputy director of the Prime Minister’s Office, Danny Seaman, sought to gain a waiver from issuing a public tender for the advocacy project, the Haaretz daily reported on Tuesday.
(Read more…)

A Scandal Bigger Than Benghazi?  

Extortion-17In a story that has remained largely under the mainstream media radar, Congress announced late last month that it would finally investigate the Aug. 6, 2011 helicopter crash in Afghanistan that resulted in 38 deaths, including 22 members of SEAL Team 6, made famous three months earlier when they killed Osama Bin Laden. Grieving family members insist that soldiers in the elite unit were placed in unnecessary danger by the recklessness of the Obama administration, whose actions they characterized as criminal. “We’re going to dive into this,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on National Security.
The families of the slain soldiers have every right to be furious. SEAL Team 6 is a covert unit whose operations are ostensibly classified. As a result, it has never been revealed which members of the team were involved in the killing of the terrorist mastermind, or how many of those same men were among those killed when the Chinook helicopter in which they were traveling was shot down by Taliban terrorists. (Read more…)

Ted Belman
Jerusalem, Israel