May 26 Headlines

So a couple of days go by and the headlines from the Middle East show signs of the same old problems all over again. At what point does the posturing end and real progress get made?

———– from Watch.org ———–

HEADLINE: Palestinian negotiator: No talks unless Israel accepts ’67 lines, freezes settlements

The Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said Sunday that his side would only agree to renew peace talks if Israel ceased all settlement activity and openly declared that a future state of Palestine would be created on the 1967 lines with minor land swaps. He sounded exceedingly skeptical about the prospects of a breakthrough in the stalemate.

“We need to know what are the terms of reference for these negotiations. What are we negotiating about?” Erekat told Israeli reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum here. “If you have an Israeli prime minister who cannot utter the sentences two states on 1967 — come on, guys. Stop being politically blind.”

HEADLINE: Landau: 1967 lines are ‘Auschwitz borders’

Ministers’ reactions to President Shimon Peres’s calls for the resumption of peace talks Sunday showed differences of opinion within the government on how to deal with the Palestinian conflict and border issues.

Peres called for the immediate resumption of peace talks at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, leading Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz to quip ahead of a cabinet meeting: “I didn’t know that Peres became the government spokesman.”

“I think the government has its own spokespeople,” Steinitz continued. “The position of the president of Israel is respected, but the government makes policy decisions, and I think that every declaration of this sort, certainly on the eve of negotiations, does not help Israel’s stance.”

HEADLINE: Tourism Minister Uzi Landau called pre-1967 lines “Auschwitz borders” ahead of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

“What country would start talks that aim to break down its ability to defend itself?” Landau asked. “I hear people talking about a Palestinian state that must be established. There’s a long list of Arab states that are falling apart – Syria, Libya, Yemen. The Palestinian Authority with which we once signed an agreement split into Judea and Samaria and Gaza. Why would we work to create a state with unclear chances of survival?”

HEADLINE: Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut targeted in rocket attack

Two rockets hit a Hezbollah-controlled district in the southern part of the Lebanese capital of Beirut overnight Saturday, residents said, wounding several people in an attack that may have been a response to a speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah earlier in the day.

Nasrallah vowed on Saturday to help propel Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to victory in Syria’s bloody civil war, warning that the fall of the Damascus regime would benefit Israel and the West, give rise to extremists and plunge the Middle East into a “dark period.”

It was the first attack to apparently target Hezbollah’s stronghold in the south of the Lebanese capital since the outbreak of the two-year conflict in neighboring Syria, which has sharply heightened Lebanon’s own sectarian tensions.

HEADLINE: Nasrallah: If Syria falls, Palestine is lost, we’ll bring victory to Assad

Hezbollah leader says Shiite group will not stand idly by while Syria is under attack; insists Hezbollah will ‘continue to hold responsibility of resistance to Israel’

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in a televised speech at the central assembly of the organization Saturday, said that Syria was the back of the “resistance”, and that the Shiite group will not stand idly by while its ally is under attack.

He insisted that his group would stay in the Syrian war “to the end of the road” and bring victory to its ally President Bashar Assad. “We will be the ones who bring it victory, God willing,” he said.

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The more complicated this looks the more it look like Scripture has this thing pegged to the last detail. Peace is beyond human reach. Mean while everybody is choosing sides.

Director, WindowView.org

May 24 Headlines

So we want to look at the following headlines and then scroll to the next blog post for the next edition. The apparent stall in any peace process is going to force someone to broker a deal. Who could do it? Scripturally speaking, who will be the one to seal a seven year deal? If you know, then you realize that starting the process with a big push, like what the US is trying for … Brings us closer to the revealing of a lawless but very powerful global leader.

———– from Watch.org ———–
HEADLINE: Kerry urges renewed talks, not a settlement freeze

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Israel’s government on Friday to prevent further settlement construction where possible to help revitalize Middle East peace hopes, but stressed that the Jewish state and Palestinians alike should remain focused on the larger goal of restarting direct negotiations.

Explaining part of the strategy of his now 2-month-old peace initiative, Kerry said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government can stop only some of the settlements being built in lands contested by the Israelis and Palestinians — and in those cases it should act. Unlike in previous American-led mediation efforts, however, he stopped short of demanding a full settlement freeze and said the contentious issue could better be handled through a quick restart of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

HEADLINE: US, Israel raise hopes for Mideast peace restart

The United States and Israel raised hopes Thursday for a restart of the Middle East peace process, despite little tangible progress so far from US Secretary of State John Kerry’s two-month-old effort to get Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

As they met in Jerusalem, Kerry praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the “seriousness” with which he is looking at ways to revitalize peace hopes. Kerry expressed optimism without outlining any concrete strategy for ending a stalemate between the two sides that has seen them hardly negotiate one-on-one at all over the last 4½ years.

“I know this region well enough to know there is skepticism, in some quarters there is cynicism and there are reasons for it,” Kerry told reporters. “There have been bitter years of disappointment. It is our hope that by being methodical, careful, patient — but detailed and tenacious — that we can lay on a path ahead that can conceivably surprise people and certainly exhaust the possibilities of peace.”

“That’s what we’re working towards,” said Kerry, who was to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later Thursday in Ramallah.

HEADLINE: Obama: Israeli-Palestinian peace part of counterterror strategy

President Barack Obama speaks on Thursday, May 23, 2013
at the National Defense College.
(photo: image capture from YouTube )

President Obama said the United States was trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in part because it could help “reshape attitudes” that foster extremism.

In a speech about terrorism delivered Thursday at the National Defense University in Washington, Obama described what he said were a number of “underlying grievances” that “feed extremism.”

“We are working to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians — because it is right, and because such a peace could help reshape attitudes in the region,” Obama said.

HEADLINE: Gen. John Allen appointed U.S. security envoy in peace process; will focus exclusively on Israel’s security needs

Gen. John Allen has been appointed special U.S. envoy on security issues in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He will not mediate between the parties; his work will almost exclusively involve contacts with Israel. Allen will deal with the U.S. position on Israeli security needs and the security arrangements that would accompany the establishment of a future Palestinian state.

Senior U.S. and Israeli officials note that while U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the appointment it was coordinated with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is leading the effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

“Allen has agreed to serve as a special adviser to the secretary of defense focusing on security in the context of Middle East peace,” said a senior U.S. official who insisted on anonymity, adding, “His work will support Secretary Kerry’s comprehensive efforts to find a way forward on Middle East peace.”

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It is never easy for Israel. But in the end, the little country will get big help.

Director, WindowView.org