Palestinian Authority Calls Netanyahu “The Partner for Peace”, Calls for Increased Cooperation With Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave a rare interview on Thursday for Israeli television in which he stated he views Prime Minister Netanyahu as a “the partner for peace” and is ready to meet with the Prime Minister and renew peace talks. He also as spoke of efforts by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to deter terror attacks and violence perpetuated by Palestinian youth and called for an end to violence.

The interview aired on Thursday evening, Abbas speaking at length on coordination between Israel and the PA to hinder attacks by Palestinian youth on Israelis. He stated “Our security forces go into the schools to search pupils’ bags and see if they have knives. You don’t know this… In one school, we found 70 boys and girls who were carrying knives. We took the knives and spoke to them and said ‘This is a mistake. We do not want you to kill and be killed. We want you to live, and for the other side to live as well.’”

He spoke of the chaos and reality of the Palestinian Authority on the “brink of collapse” calling that responsibility be given to him to deal with the situation, and for Israel to assist. He stated “Give me responsibility for the Palestinian territories, and test me… if Israel has specific intelligence information, give it to me and I’ll handle it.” He stated that he is not given intelligence information and asked, “So what am I doing here? Where is the security cooperation? You want me to be your employee, your agent. I don’t accept this, I want to do it myself.”

Abbas called Netanyahu “the partner for peace” stating that he wants to see peace in his lifetime and that “I still extend a hand to Netanyahu because I believe in peace. I believe that the people of Israel want peace and that the Palestinian people want peace.” He added that “If he [Netanyahu] gives me responsibility and tells me that he believes in two-state solution and we sit around the table to talk about the two-state solution, this will give my people hope, and nobody dares to go and stab or shoot or do anything here or there.” (Read more from “Palestinian Authority Calls Netanyahu “The Partner for Peace”, Calls for Increased Cooperation With Israel” HERE)

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Netanyahu on Iran Deal: It Confirms Israel’s Worst Fears ‘and Even More So’ [+video]

Netanyahu-Cabinet-March-2015-APBy Sharona Schwartz. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the emerging agreement being negotiated over Iran’s nuclear program confirmed all of Israel’s worst fears and warned that Iran was trying to “conquer the entire Middle East.”

“This agreement as it appears confirms all of our concerns and even more so,” Netanyahu said at the opening of his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Netanyahu accused Iran of trying to control the entire Middle East and blasted what he termed a “Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad axis,” referring to Iran’s regional allies of Hezbollah, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Iraq’s Shiites.

“Even as meetings proceed on this dangerous agreement, Iran’s proxies in Yemen are overrunning large sections of that country and are attempting to seize control of the strategic Bab-el-Mandeb straits which change the naval balance and the global oil supply,” Netanyahu said. “Iran is carrying out a pincer maneuver in the south as well in order to take over and conquer the entire Middle East.” (Read more from “Netanyahu on Iran Deal: It Confirms Israel’s Worst Fears ‘and Even More So’ [+video]” HERE)


What to Worry About in an Iran Nuclear Deal

By Jeffrey Goldberg. I’m in Berlin, not Lausanne, and I haven’t spoken to anyone associated with the Iran nuclear negotiations in more than a week. Though there is a lot of good journalism being produced out of the talks, it is still difficult to discern what is actually happening at this moment. Those predisposed to believe that these negotiations will bring about a non-violent solution to the Iranian challenge, and also quite possibly encourage the Iranians to be more moderate in their approach to their neighbors, seem somewhat optimistic that the West will make the necessary compromises to win Iranian approval. Those who believe that the West is about to capitulate to Ayatollah Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader, and set him on a path to the nuclear threshold seem to be praying that Iranian shortsightedness, or dumb luck on the part of the West, subvert these talks.

The more extreme positions on both sides are distasteful. The Pollyannas who not only seem to believe that Iran should be allowed to maintain an advanced nuclear infrastructure if it promises to behave nicely, but who also believe that this nuclear accord will somehow serve to convince the Iranians to moderate their approach to their neighbors and, for instance, stop sponsoring terrorism and murdering large numbers of people in Syria (among other places), are dangerous and naïve. On the other side, those who argue that no negotiated settlement will ever be good enough to keep Iran from the nuclear threshold—that only military action would guarantee an end to the Iranian nuclear program—believe that it is wise to start an actual war now in order to prevent a theoretical one later. If you believe that we are living in 1938, and that Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are playing the role of Czechoslovakia, then I suppose this position makes sense. I don’t think we are there, however.

I’ve been making lists of questions I have about the parameters of a framework deal, and a list of experts whose judgment I would trust to evaluate the technical aspects of a deal.

Here are a few questions that have, helped by various news stories about the talks, repeatedly crossed my mind in recent days. I would prefer to see a nuclear deal struck, of course, but unsatisfactory answers to these issues would be cause for real worry:

1) What will Saudi Arabia do in response to a deal? If the Saudis—who are already battling the Iranians on several fronts—actually head down the path toward nuclearization, then these negotiations will not have served the underlying purpose President Obama ascribed to them. The president has warned, in interviews with me and others, that a nuclear Iran would trigger a nuclear arms race across the Middle East, the world’s most volatile region. One goal of these talks is to assure the rest of the Middle East that Iran cannot achieve nuclear status. If Saudi Arabia (and Egypt and Turkey and the U.A.E.) does not believe that a deal will achieve this, then it will move on its own to counter the Persian nuclear threat. (Read more from this story HERE)

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After Embarrassing Wait, Obama Congratulates Netanyahu on Election Victory

Photo Credit: Times of Israel

Photo Credit: Times of Israel

US President Barack Obama on Thursday called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his recent election win, after a campaign that seemed to sour relations between the two allies.

Obama spoke to the Israeli leader “to congratulate him on his party’s success in winning a plurality of Knesset seats,” the National Security Council said in a statement.

According to the White House, Obama “emphasized the importance the United States places on our close military, intelligence, and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between both countries.”

The two leaders “agreed to continue consultations on a range of regional issues, including the difficult path forward to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” . . .

Earlier, spokespeople in the White House and State Department indicated the US would re-evaluate its approach to the peace process and its support for Israel in the United Nations in the wake of Netanyahu’s comments. (Read more from “After Wait, Obama Congratulates Netanyahu on Election Victory” HERE)

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US Senate Unanimously Defies Obama, Welcomes Netanyahu While Middle Eastern News Agencies Report Obama Threatened to Shoot Down Israeli Jets

By Clyde. The Senate unanimously passed a resolution welcoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress.

No Democrat senators sponsored the resolution but none caved to reported pressure from the White House to vote against it.

“The Senate warmly welcomes the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, on his visit to the United States,” the resolution reads, “which provides a timely opportunity to reinforce the United States-Israel relationship.”

The resolution goes on to vow that the U.S. will “strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself from threats to its very survival.”

The Obama administration has been working to sabotage the address, fearing that it may hurt its relationship with Iran. The White House has caved to Iran’s demands and is expected to allow the Muslim nation to retain the most controversial aspects of its nuclear program. (Read more from “Senate Welcomes Netanyahu” HERE)


Netanyahu’s Address to Congress Will Be the Most Important Speech of His Life

By William Booth. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming address to a joint meeting of Congress will probably be the most important speech of his career — and one that has already jeopardized relations between Israel and the United States.

On Tuesday morning, Netanyahu will confront an American president and insist that the future of the State of Israel, and the world, is imperiled by a pending “bad deal” with Iran on its nuclear program.

Also hanging in the balance is Netanyahu’s own political future. Just two weeks after the speech, Netanyahu will either be reelected to a historic fourth term as prime minister or be out of a job.

Netanyahu has spent three terms as Israeli prime minister focused on the dangers posed by Iran. In his first address to Congress in 1996, he warned that an atomic Iran would “presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind.”

His supporters call him prescient; his detractors say Netanyahu has been warning for 20 years that “time is running out” on the Iran threat. His critics say Netanyahu is a broken record, a Cassandra obsessed, willing to deeply damage U.S.-Israeli relations in a futile confrontation with the United States that wins Israel nothing. (Read more from this story HERE)


News Agencies in Middle East Report that Obama Threatened to Shoot Down Israeli Planes if They Attacked Iran

By Jeffrey Shapiro. President Obama threatened last year, according to Middle Eastern news outlets Sunday, to use the U.S. military to shoot down Israeli fighter jets if they attempted to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities — reports the administration denounced later Sunday as flatly untrue.

Mr. Obama’s threat reportedly deterred Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from dispatching warplanes into Iran after Israel discovered that the U.S. had entered into secret talks with Tehran and that the two countries had signed an agreement, according to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida.

In a statement to The Washington Times early Sunday evening, a senior administration said “that report is totally false.”

Al-Jarida also reported Sunday that “well placed” sources confirmed an unnamed Israeli minister disclosed the plan to Secretary of State John Kerry, and that Mr. Obama replied by warning that he would foil the plan by shooting down Israeli jets before they could reach their target destinations.

“Netanyahu and his commanders agreed after four nights of deliberations to task the Israeli army’s chief of staff, Benny Gantz, to prepare a qualitative operation against Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, Netanyahu and his ministers decided to do whatever they could do to thwart a possible agreement between Iran and the White House because such an agreement is, allegedly, a threat to Israel’s security,” the report said. (Read more from this story HERE)

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Here’s How Obama is Defending His Choice to Not Meet With Netanyahu

Photo Credit: The BlazeBy Fred Lucas. President Barack Obama said his refusal to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two weeks before Israel’s elections isn’t personal — he wouldn’t meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel under the same circumstances, either.

“As much as I love Angela, if she was two weeks away from election, she probably would not have received an invitation to the White House, and I suspect she would not have asked for one,” Obama said at a joint news conference with the German leader Monday at the White House. “Some of this just has to do with how we do business. I think it is important for us to maintain these protocols because the U.S.-Israeli relationship is not about a particular party” . . .

“I don’t want to be coy. The prime minister and I have differences around Iran’s sanctions,” Obama said. “I have been very clear and Angela agrees with me and [British Prime Minister] David Cameron agrees with me and the others who are members of the negotiations agree that it does not make sense to sour the negotiations a month or two before they are about to be completed and we should play that out if we can get a deal, we should embrace it. If we cannot get a deal, we will have to make a set of decisions and, as I said to Congress, I will be the first one to work with them to apply even stronger measures against Iran.” (Read more about how Obama is defending his choice to not meet with Netanyahu HERE)


Despite Recent Criticism, Netanyahu Still Determined to Address U.S. Congress on Iran’s Nuclear Program

By Barak Ravid. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he is determined to address the U.S. Congress on Iran’s nuclear program. Netanyahu rejected the criticism in the United States and Israel, saying that “while some are busy with protocol or politics, a bad deal with Iran is taking shape.”

Speaking at a Likud election event, Netanyahu added that, as prime minister, it is his duty to do everything in his power to prevent a dangerous deal with Iran. “From the day Israel was established to this day, there have been essential differences between Israel and the U.S., and relations remained sound – this will be the case this time as well,” he said.

“This is not a political issue or a party issue, neither here nor there. This is an existential issue, and I approach it with the fullest responsibility.” (Read more from this story HERE)

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Is Obama Secretly Working to Replace the Israeli PM?

Credit - Jerusalem Post

Credit – Jerusalem Post

A dispassionate look at the sequence of events shows that the Obama administration has generated an unprecedented crisis in US-Israeli relations.

Nurtured in the Saul Alinsky-style, ACORN-esque tactics of organizing revolution under the banner of “social change,” Barack Obama, as a young community organizer in Chicago in the 1980s understood early on the importance of a crisis and how to ride the waves of an emergency to effect the fundamental transformation of society.

As the nation’s chief executive, President Obama has demonstrated a particular specialty in the use and perpetuation of crises to push through policies that the public otherwise might not willingly accept, including the wildly unpopular healthcare law, immigration reform, and the first-term “stimulus” legislation. It is therefore unsurprising to detect the international export of the Obama’s “crisis” game plan to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A dispassionate look at the sequence of events shows that the Obama administration has generated an unprecedented crisis in US-Israeli relations, a crisis utilized at every twist and turn by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political rivals, most notably those within his coalition, to try to shake up the country’s leadership. There is more than a hint of White House interference in helping to agitate the coalition drama that provoked Netanyahu’s hesitant decision last Tuesday to dissolve parliament and schedule early elections that could potentially see the prime minister unseated.

Read more from this story HERE.

Netanyahu Responds to U.S.: I Am Under Attack for Defending Israel

Photo Credit: ReutersPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he was under attack by “anonymous” critics simply because he was defending Israel and its national security interests, but stressed that he “cherished” Israel’s alliance with the United States despite the arguments.

Speaking to Knesset hours after a senior U.S. official was quoted calling him a “chickenshit prime minister,” Netanyahu told Knesset: “When there are pressures on Israel to concede its security, the easiest thing to do is to concede. You get a round of applause, ceremonies on grassy knolls, and then come the missiles and the tunnels.”

“I am not prepared to make concessions that will endanger our state,” Netanyahu said. “Understand, our national interests, topped by security and the unity of Jerusalem, are not what top the interests of those anonymous forces attacking us, and me personally. I am under attack simply because I am defending the State of Israel. If I didn’t stand firm on our national interests, I would not be under attack.”

“I respect and cherish the deep connection with the United States,” Netanyahu said. “Since the establishment of the state, we’ve had our arguments and then some. We have seen time after time, year and year, support rising among the American public. The strategic alliance between the stances is continuing and will continue.”

Read more from this story HERE.

Netanyahu, Allies Cling to Narrow Victory in Israeli Election (+video)

JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his hard-line allies fared far worse than expected in a parliamentary election Tuesday, likely forcing him to reach across the aisle to court a popular political newcomer to cobble together a new coalition.

While Netanyahu appeared positioned to serve a third term as prime minister, the results marked a major setback for his policies and could force him to make new concessions to restart long-stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.

More than 99 percent of the votes had been counted by Wednesday morning and results showed the hawkish and dovish blocs were split about evenly.

Netanyahu’s most likely partner was Yesh Atid, or There is a Future, a party headed by political newcomer Yair Lapid that showed surprising strength. Lapid has said he would only join a government committed to sweeping economic changes and a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

Addressing his supporters early Wednesday, Netanyahu vowed to form as broad a coalition as possible. He said the next government would be built on principles that include reforming the contentious system of granting draft exemptions to ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and the pursuit of a “genuine peace” with the Palestinians. He did not elaborate, but the message seemed aimed at Lapid.

Read more from this story HERE.

“Hama’s Gaza Victory”: Did Netanyahu capitulate?

Headline from the Wall Street Journal editorial on Friday: “Hama’s Gaza Victory.” And their lead sentence: “The cease-fire leaves the terror group intact and politically stronger.”

“Let us be totally honest: This is not a cease-fire – it is a SURRENDER,” says Shmuel Sackett, spokesman for Moshe Feiglin who seeks “authentic Jewish leadership for Israel.”

From Arutz Sheva, Israeli National News: The Hamas terrorist organization has declared November 22, the day after its ceasefire was signed with Israel, as a public holiday in Gaza. “The Palestinian government announces that Thursday 22nd November is a national holiday of victory and an official holiday,” read a statement issued by Hamas. Hamas invited “all citizens to celebrate this occasion and visit the families of the martyrs and the wounded and those affected by the violence and to affirm national solidarity.”

“Everyone is angry at Netanyahu now for signing the cease-fire,” said Moshe Feiglin, who the New York Times not long ago said brought the Tea Party to Israel. Feiglin faces a vote to become a key member of Likud’s Knesset team on November 25. “I see myself as the representative of Liberty in the Knesset,” he said in a recent TV interview.

“But Netanyahu’s predicament is a precise reflection of post-Oslo Israeli society . . . If Netanyahu had ordered a ground invasion of Gaza, soldiers would have been killed. After a short period of time he would have pulled the troops out of Gaza without significant achievements . . . To remain in Gaza, we first have to renounce the very essence of the idea of partitioning this Land. We have to internalize that this is our Land – exclusively. We must – on a national scale – return to the Land of Israel and our Jewish identity. . . Is Israeli society ready for this type of return to ourselves?

“The Israelis want the best of both worlds: security and normalcy. But it has become quite clear that it is specifically the mental servitude to Oslo, the flight from destiny to the enslavement to normalcy and pragmatism – that has so severely compromised Israel’s security.”

Bernie Quigley is a prize-winning magazine writer and has worked more than 30 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and book, movie, music and art reviewer. His essays on politics and world affairs have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News and other newspapers and magazines. He has published poetry in Painted Bride Quarterly and has written dozens of magazine articles. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He has written hundreds of columns for “Pundits Blog” in “The Hill” a political journal in Washington, D.C. He lives in the White Mountains with his wife and four children.

Obama Denies Agreement With Iran For Direct Talks After Election, Israel Says it Knows Nothing (+video)

By Paige Winfield Cunningham and Dave Boyer. The White House denied a report that it set up direct talks with Iran about its nuclear program, but that didn’t halt a flurry of speculation Sunday.

Democrats said the talks, if they are happening, prove that sanctions supported by President Obama have worked; Republicans accused the Iranians of using the U.S. election to buy time for their nuclear weapons development.

Iran has agreed to directly negotiate with the U.S., but with the caveat that talks not take place until after the Nov. 6 presidential election, according to a weekend report by The New York Times. While Iranian officials cited uncertainty about the election as a reason for delaying talks, Sen. Lindsey Graham said that’s just a “ploy” allowing them to use the election cycle “in a pretty clever way.”

“I think the Iranians are trying to take advantage of our election cycle to continue to talk,” the South Carolina Republican told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think the time for talking is over, we should be demanding transparency and access to their nuclear program.”

With the presidential election just 15 days away, there’s little the White House does that isn’t being viewed through a political lens — and that’s especially true when it comes to foreign policy, with GOP candidate Mitt Romney and other Republicans criticizing how Mr. Obama has handled touchy situations in countries like Iran, Libya and Afghanistan. Read more from this story HERE.

Today, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu commented on the report of the Obama Administration’s direct talks with Iran. He stated that he believes Iran is continuing to use bad faith negotiations as a tool to delay while it develops its nuclear capability: