Friday, 6 November 2009

Israel Matzav: Iran's Latin American outpost

Iran's Latin American outpost

Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has accused Venezuelan President and Obama buddy Hugo Chavez of turning Venezuela into an Iranian outpost.

"The scope of the Iranian regime does not end in the Middle East. It is global, and also reaches Africa and Latin America," Ayalon said during a press briefing to diplomats and journalists at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a Jerusalem-based think tank.

In Latin America, "most countries are not only aware" of the "threat posed by the infiltration of Iran" in the region but "they are also concerned" about it, said the "second in command" in Israeli diplomacy, Efe reported.

Ayalon also warned about the "implications and the danger to world security and peace" posed by the "fanatical regime" in Tehran.

And Obama is going to 'engage' with Chavez too.... What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Iran's Latin American outpost

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' youth growing apathetic

'Palestinian' youth growing apathetic

'Palestinian youth' are tiring of their politicians on all sides.

Emad Ghiyada, a professor at Birzeit University who specialises in student movements, says factional bickering and the stalled peace process have left both secular and Islamic groups struggling to appeal to young people.

"There has been a drop in youth membership in the political groups," he says. "The parties have failed to realise any of their goals, whether by armed struggle, or popular uprisings, or by peaceful means."

Earlier this month Birzeit hosted an event to protest perceived Israeli threats to the Al-Aqsa mosque, a flashpoint site in Jerusalem sacred to Muslims and Jews that was the epicentre of the 2000 Palestinian uprising.

Israeli police had clashed with Palestinian protestors just outside the mosque days earlier, and organisers expected around 9,000 students to come to express their outrage.

Only 60 showed up, Ghiyada says, despite the fact Al-Aqsa is one of the only subjects on which all political parties, including Fatah and Hamas, agree.

A recent survey by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research found 27 percent of young people do not support any political party, which roughly matches the rate of apathy among the population as a whole.

Nader Said, a sociology professor at Birzeit University, has also noticed the gap between party leaders and the students he teaches.

"The Palestinian leadership in all the factions is now singing in a valley and the students are singing in another valley," he says.

"It's a great pity about the youth, because there is this alienation between them and the Palestinian leadership, which are removed from the basic goals and values of the people. For the youth there is no clear alternative."

What if they just decide to leave? Let's say to emigrate to the West....


Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' youth growing apathetic

Israel Matzav: Abu Mazen won't run in January?

Abu Mazen won't run in January?

The Washington Post is reporting that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen will not run for re-election in the 'Palestinian Authority' elections scheduled for January.

In a televised speech to the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas said he has told his "brothers" in the Fatah movement of his "desire not to run in the upcoming elections."

But Abbas' careful wording left room for the possibility that he could be persuaded to change his mind, especially if he perceives the United States as backing his position on demanding an end to Israeli construction in West Bank settlements.

Abbas' decision, reported earlier in the day by his aides, had set off a flurry of calls from regional leaders, with the presidents of Egypt and Israel, the king of Jordan and Israel's defense minister all urging him change his mind.

I'll believe that he won't run when January 24 rolls around and he's not on the ballot. This guy wants to be President for life. He's just waiting for everyone to beg him to run again.

By the way, why is Israel's defense minister begging Abu Mazen to run again? Ehud Barak will never learn, will he?

Israel Matzav: Abu Mazen won't run in January?

Israel Matzav: Where Obama messed up

Where Obama messed up

This paragraph from a Washington Post analysis pretty much sums up where Obama went wrong:

The administration's key error, many analysts say, was to insist that Israel immediately freeze all settlement growth in Palestinian-occupied territories. The United States has never accepted the legitimacy of Israeli settlements, but the Obama administration took an unusually tough stance. It refused to acknowledge an unwritten agreement between Israel and Bush to limit growth in settlements, with Clinton leading the charge to demand a full settlement freeze.

Actually, it was only the Carter and Obama administrations that did not accept the 'legitimacy' of Israeli 'settlements.' Every other administration referred to them as an 'obstacle to peace.'

But there is no doubt that Obama's insistence on a total freeze emboldened Abu Mazen to dig in his heels and refuse to talk. At this point, Abu Mazen may have figured out that with Netanyahu in power in Israel, Obama cannot deliver Israel on a silver platter. But the consequences to Abu Mazen's 'honor' would be too great to allow him to backtrack and agree to go back to talking.

As usual, the 'Palestinians' don't miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. This time, with a little help from their friends.


Israel Matzav: Where Obama messed up

Israel Matzav: Turks pelt Israeli ambassador with eggs

Turks pelt Israeli ambassador with eggs

Israel's ambassador to Turkey was pelted with eggs on Wednesday on a visit to a university in the Black Sea port of Trabzon. Ambassador Gabi Levy did not leave his car. 'Students' screamed "Israel is a murderer." On Thursday, dozens of Turkish students shouted the same chant as Levy visited the office of the Mayor of the town of Gumushane as Levy continued a tour of the Black Sea area.

But this is the part Israelis ought to hear.

Levy was already embarrassed Tuesday in nearby Rize, where local Mayor Halil Bakirci condemned Israel's "policies of expansion and occupation" and said that self-defense should not involve "killing children."

Referring to Israelis visiting Turkey's Black Sea region, he also told Levy that "due to Israel's policies, we are worried that something undesirable may happen to those tourists and we do our best so that it does not."

Anyone still want to visit Turkey? I didn't think so.
The picture at the top is from Wednesday's egg pelting.
What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Turks pelt Israeli ambassador with eggs

Israel Matzav: Iran increases uranium output

Iran increases uranium output

While the world dithers on Iran, Iran continues to pursue its goal of obtaining nuclear weapons. To that end, Iran has increased uranium mining, as shown by satellite photos.

Evidence of stepped-up activity at the Gchine mine, near the Persian Gulf coast city of Bandar Abbas, is seen in pictures obtained by Bloomberg News and the Washington-based New America Foundation, according to four nuclear analysts who examined the images. The mine could produce enough uranium to craft at least two atomic bombs a year, experts said.

The photographs, taken on April 26 and Oct. 3 by DigitalGlobe Inc. and GeoEye Inc., two U.S. commercial satellite companies, show Iran increased the rate at which it pumps waste from the mine during the intervening months. Iran has filled one waste pool since November 2008, when a previous photograph was taken, and built a second pond with pipes connecting it to processing tanks that separate the metal from rock.

“Iran’s decision to expand mining and milling at Bandar Abbas seems to validate the suspicions of those who think it was the main uranium site for a covert program,” Jeffrey G. Lewis, nuclear strategy and non-proliferation director at the New America Foundation, a public policy institute, said in an Oct. 20 interview.

The increased uranium production indicates that United Nations inspectors need to widen their field of vision beyond facilities such as Iran’s uranium-enrichment plant in Natanz and its Esfahan conversion facility, Lewis and other analysts said. The UN’s nuclear agency should renew demands to inspect research labs, machine shops and mines including Gchine, they added.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Iran increases uranium output

Israel Matzav: A 'process' for the sake of a 'process'

A 'process' for the sake of a 'process'

The Obama administration has apparently given up on a 'breakthrough' in the Middle East anytime soon, and is now aiming for a 'peace process' for the sake of having a 'peace process.' Because otherwise, the 'Palestinians' are likely to turn violent. This is from the Wall Street Journal.

Mrs. Clinton subsequently pressed Arab leaders to agree to support talks with just a partial Israeli freeze. But barring that, U.S. officials said all sides might be forced to accept a lower level of engagement in the talks to guard against a new round of violence in the Palestinian territories.

There is a fear that militant groups, such as Hamas in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon, could use a political vacuum to spark renewed violence.

"There's value in having the process" in itself, said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley on Tuesday. In a sign of the administration's changing focus, Mr. Crowley added: "If this particular path, we think, can't get us there, we'll look for others."

And this is from the New York Times:

Now, in the latest acknowledgment that its policy has failed, at least for the moment, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has begun setting the stage for a new phase of Middle East diplomacy, with a more modest goal. She is trying to get the parties talking at any level to avoid a dangerous vacuum until a Plan B emerges.

Mrs. Clinton began sketching out this approach Tuesday in a speech and in meetings with Arab foreign ministers during a conference of Arab and Western nations in this city of pink sandstone buildings. She flew to Cairo later to hold talks with the Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak.

Making it clear that the Israeli government would not agree to President Obama’s call for a complete halt to settlement construction, Mrs. Clinton promoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer as a reasonable compromise that could still form the basis for progress. Mr. Netanyahu has proposed a moratorium on new housing units in the West Bank, but would allow building or finishing about 3,000 more units and would exclude East Jerusalem from any building limits.

“It is not what we want; it is nowhere near enough,” Mrs. Clinton told Al Jazeera. “But I think when you keep your eye on what we want to achieve, it is a better place to be than the alternative. And therefore, I think we should be trying to keep moving the parties.”

It is not clear what contacts between Israelis and Palestinians the administration has in mind, though they would be at a lower level than Mr. Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president. Nor has the shape of an alternative strategy to rekindle peace talks emerged, according to senior officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations were confidential.

In a meeting with Mrs. Clinton in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Mr. Abbas rejected Mr. Netanyahu’s proposal as a “nonstarter,” in the language of his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat.

Sounds a lot like the last sixteen years, doesn't it?

Hope and change same!

Israel Matzav: A 'process' for the sake of a 'process'

Israel Matzav: If only....

If only....

Look what Hillary Clinton told al-Jazeera on Wednesday....

She ... told Al-Jazeera that her husband had worked to establish an Israeli capital in East Jerusalem

Unfortunately, it was just a gaffe and her aides corrected her (and unfortunately that's NOT what her hubby did either).

Israel Matzav: Get your Goldstone kafiyah

Get your Goldstone kafiyah

Yes, in Gaza they're selling Goldstone kafiyahs.

Of course, the 'Palestinians' haven't figured out yet how to put a picture on a kafiyah....

It's about $20 (15 euros) to buy one of these babies.

More here.

I wonder if they'll be selling them in Jerusalem next.


Israel Matzav: Get your Goldstone kafiyah

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

DoubleTapper: IDF Women
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