April 10, 2009

Adams meets Hamas PM in Gaza: BBC

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams says he believes there can be progress in the Middle East after talking to Gaza’s Hamas prime minister.
Mr Adams had an hour long meeting with Ismail Haniya on Wednesday night. Hamas, which rules Gaza, is listed as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and EU. Mr Adams said he was encouraged by the dialogue. “Mr Haniya told me that Hamas wants a peace agreement,” he said.
The meeting came at the end of a day in which Mr Adams met with civic, political and business leaders in Gaza. He also toured parts of northern Gaza devastated by the Israeli operation in the Palestinian territory in January.
He said: “I welcome the opportunity to engage with so many people. “I was pleased to speak directly with Mr Haniya. I outlined to him Sinn Féin’s view that there should be a complete cessation of all hostilities and armed actions by all sides. “The fact is that the people of Palestine and the people of Israel are destined to live side by side. I believe that most people want a peaceful accommodation. “Following my meeting with Mr Haniya I believe that progress is possible.

Villagers hurt in West Bank clash: BBC

Fifteen Palestinian have been injured, one seriously, in clashes near an Israeli settlement where a Palestinian killed a youth with an axe last week.
Israel’s military said Palestinians began throwing stones as settlers marked a Jewish blessing on a hilltop. Palestinians say settlers from Beit Ayin tried to enter Safa, a nearby Palestinian village, throwing rocks and firing in the air. Israeli forces say they fired live bullets at the legs of stone-throwers.
Paramedics at the scene told the BBC that a 20-year-old was in a critical condition after being hit in the neck with a live round. Several of the injured had been hit by live ammunition, the paramedics said. The Israeli military said Palestinians had begun throwing stones at settlers from Bat Ayin in the southern West Bank, who had gone to a hilltop to say a special sun blessing prayer in an event which occurs once every 28 years.
Safa residents say the settlers than tried to enter the village, while locals tried to stop them. Israeli soldiers arrived along with the settlers, firing tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition, the residents said.

New town may be death blow to hopes for Israel peace: Times Online

James Hider in Jerusalem
The sign in big, red Hebrew letters reads “Welcome to Mevasseret Adumim, the Harbinger of the Hills”. A three-lane road with roundabouts leads up the hill to a police station and street lamps line the flyover that links the new town to neighbouring Ma’aleh Adumim, one of the largest Jewish settlements in Israel. There are no houses, cars or people in Mevasseret Adumim: it is a town laid out, waiting to be built. That is because international pressure has so far prevented construction from going ahead. The area is the last piece of open land linking Arab East Jerusalem to the West Bank and critics said that to develop it would bury the very notion of a two-state solution to the Middle East crisis. According to reports in the Israeli media, the area has been earmarked for development under a secret accord between Binyamin Netanyahu, the new, conservative Israeli Prime Minister, and his ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. Better known under its old British mandate name, E1, it is the most controversial development project in the region, one that diplomats and observers warn will trigger the collapse of the weakened Palestinian Authority, or drive it into armed resistance again.
Israeli army radio reported that the deal was struck between Mr Netanyahu and Mr Lieberman as part of the negotiations to form a government, and it would allow 3,000 homes to be built on E1. Critics said that building a combined Jewish settlement and national park in the hills of E1 would cut the West Bank in two. And blocking mainly Arab East Jerusalem from the West Bank it would make it impossible for the Palestinians to have that side of the disputed city as their capital. Khalil Shikiaki, a leading Palestinian political analyst, said: .“Failure to respond in an effective manner could lead to the collapse of the nationalist camp [the Fatah-led branch of Palestinian politics] My guess is, confronted with this development, the nationalist camp would probably support violence. Given the current tends I think of this as a potential trigger to major clashes.” That view was backed by a senior Western diplomat, who feared that developing E1, which the Bush Administration urged against, may encourage Hamas to try to take over the West Bank. All the pieces are in place. Land has been levelled for housing, the roundabouts indicate that more roads will soon spread out across the wooded hills and the existing road network hints at the future shape of Jerusalem, according to Haim Erlich, an Israeli researcher for the co-existence group Ir Amin. Mr Erlich points to the almost completed flyover crossing the Jerusalem to Jericho highway, which links E1 to Ma’aleh Adumim, sealing the gap of Jewish suburbs around East Jerusalem. Once the two are joined and then combined with smaller existing Jewish settlements and an industrial area farther out in the West Bank, the so-called Adumim block will have about 45,000 residents and cover more land than Tel Aviv, the second- largest Israeli city, he said. “If they are really going to build E1, the meaning of that for the Palestinians will … [mean] that the talks about a two-state solution are only on the level of theoretical talks,” Mr Erlich said. “It’s the end of the idea of the two-state solution.”

Well, I thought the two-state solution was dead andf buried many years ago….

Ominous warnings: The guardian

Unless Israel’s new leaders change tack, they offer Palestinians no partner for peace
Manuel Hassassian
Warning against the dangers of totalitarianism in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell famously summed up its perverse logic in three words: “War is peace.” Last week, Avigdor Lieberman admonished: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” The difference between Orwell and Lieberman is that one was a writer of fiction and a relentless critic of power without restraint. The other is Israel’s new foreign minister.
Behind Lieberman’s ominous warning is a sentiment that runs counter to the premise of negotiations, on which the Middle East peace process is built. He is saying that Israel will impose an outcome, not negotiate a solution, and that it will substitute dialogue for the blunt instruments of war. In another ominous warning, he also dismissed the November 2007 Annapolis conference in which Palestinians and Israelis committed to undertake bilateral negotiations on all permanent status issues. In Israel, Lieberman appeals to a volatile mix of nationalism and racism that scapegoats Palestinians and blames them for all of Israel’s ills. As a settler living illegally in the occupied West Bank, his contempt for international law begins at home. But Lieberman is not the full story. The real story is still Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s new prime minister. Does he endorse Lieberman’s comments, and if not, will he rein Lieberman in? The answer seems to be yes to the first, and no to the second.
In his speech to the Knesset last week after the swearing in of his government, Netanyahu had an opportunity to show that he is a real partner for peace. He missed that opportunity. Falling far short of the benchmarks set by the international community, reiterated by President Obama in Turkey this week, Netanyahu failed to endorse the two-state solution or explicitly support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and made only vague commitments to continuing negotiations. All we had was a promise of more “process”, not a promise of peace.

Abbas to Quartet: Israel must commit for talks to resume: Asharq Alawsat

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made peace talks with Israel’s new government conditional on it committing to previous agreements and freezing Jewish settlement growth, aides said on Friday. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Abbas conveyed that message directly to the so-called Quartet of Middle East mediators — the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. “It was conveyed to the Quartet that Israel must accept the two-state solution and agreements signed, including Annapolis, and freeze settlement activities, in order to have political negotiations. You cannot have political negotiations without that,” Erekat said. If Israel made such a commitment, Erekat added, Abbas would agree to resume the negotiations immediately. Western diplomats said that seemed unlikely, at least for the time being. Israel’s new foreign minister, ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman, has declared invalid statehood talks launched at a U.S.-sponsored conference in Annapolis, Maryland in November 2007. He says peace efforts with the Palestinians have reached a “dead end” and that Israel should focus on other matters.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been more vague, saying his priority was to focus on economic and security issues instead of negotiating statehood borders, and the fate of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. That could put Netanyahu on a collision course with the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, who called this week for a Palestinian state alongside Israel as outlined in Annapolis, and said both sides needed to make compromises. Netanyahu and Lieberman also support settlement growth despite U.S. calls for a freeze. The Quartet’s special envoy, Tony Blair, has urged Netanyahu to resume statehood talks in parallel with a push to boost the West Bank economy and to let Palestinians control more of their territory. Abbas’s Western-backed government is based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Blair also urged Netanyahu to ease Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, which Hamas Islamists seized in June 2007 after routing forces loyal to Abbas’s secular Fatah faction.

‘Jerusalem should be capital for the Palestinians and Israel’: Ha’aretz

Jordan’s King Abdullah II pressed on Britain the need for “serious negotiations” between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and the Palestinians over a two-state solution on Thursday, in a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary. David Miliband, speaking at a joint press conference following the meeting, expressed Britain’s concerns at Israeli plans to demolish scores of houses in East Jerusalem, leaving around 1,500 Palestinians homeless. It was Miliband’s first trip to Amman as foreign secretary, where he also met Jordanian Prime Minister Nader Dahabi, in talks which also took in the global financial crisis. “The monarch discussed with Miliband efforts being exerted with a view to launch serious negotiations to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution,” a royal court statement said. “King Abdullah underscored the importance of the role of Europe and the world community in pushing forward the peace talks between the Palestinian and Israeli sides towards the establishment of just peace based on relevant UN resolutions and the Arab peace initiative,” it added.
King Abdullah’s remarks reflected concerns on the part of the Jordanian leadership as to the future of the Arab-Israeli peace process after the new right-wing government, led by Netanyahu, failed to unequivocally support the two-state formula. Jordanians have been also worried by reports from Israel about plans backed by the new cabinet to speed up the building of settlements in East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day war along with the rest of the West Bank. Miliband expressed his country’s worries over plans by the new Israeli government to demolish scores of Palestinian homes in an East Jerusalem suburb and turn about 1,500 Palestinians homeless. “We view with real concern the proposed demolition in East Jerusalem,” the British foreign secretary said at a press conference he jointly addressed with his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh. “Jerusalem should be the capital of the Palestinians and Israel,” Miliband added. Jordan and the Palestinians insist that there would be no peace in the region before Israel quits East Jerusalem so as it become the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

Arab FMs to discuss Mideast peace: Ynetnews

Jordan will host a “consultative” meeting of six Arab foreign ministers on Saturday to discuss the Middle East peace process, a senior official said on Thursday. The top diplomats of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Syria, the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon in addition to Jordan and the Arab League will hold talks in Amman ahead of a planned visit to Washington by King Abdullah II, a key US ally. “It will be a consultative meeting to coordinate an Arab position towards peace,” the official told AFP. “The king enjoys credibility on the international scene, and the Arab countries seek to use this in order to convey their position towards peace to the United States during the visit.” The official gave no further details.
A similar meeting was held on the sidelines of last month’s Arab summit in Doha. Arab countries support a Saudi-inspired Arab peace initiative, which is on the table since 2002, offering the Jewish state full normalization of ties in return for its withdrawal from occupied Arab lands.
Jordan and Egypt are the only Arab states that have made peace with Israel.

Elliott Abrams and the Politics of Fait Accompli: Middle East Times

By REEMA I. ALI

In an open editorial in the Washington Post edition of April 8, Elliott Abrams argues that the proposition that expansion of settlements by Israel on lands which are to constitute the future Palestinian state as an impediment to peace is a fallacy. He claims that such a request is designed only to create tension between the ultra-right government of Israel and the U.S. administration since according to him these settlements are already there and are part of the realities on the ground. Israel has created rightly or wrongly a fait accompli on Palestinian lands. The politics of fait accompli does not work. It never has and it never will. Fait accompli did not stop the abolishment of slavery and discrimination. It certainly did not stop the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Fait accompli has always surrendered to the principles of equality, justice and the rule of law! It did not prevent the liberation of all countries, of course with the exception of Palestine. With a stroke of the pen Abrams renders settlements as realities on the ground and by this dismisses all rules of international law that prohibit occupiers from altering the landscape of the occupied territories and sets aside the grievances of the Palestinian people caused by these settlements which represent the occupation as a trivial. He brushes aside their rights to live in dignity free from the tension and injustices these settlements create in the daily lives of ordinary Palestinians. He claims that the issue of freezing the settlements is so trivial to the process of peace yet if the United States and the world demands it from Israel this will lead to confrontation between allies – the Israeli government and the U.S. government. According to this logic the alliance cannot tolerate a point which he claims to be trivial. Therefore Abrams recommends that it be dropped from the agenda lest there be tension. All relevant and credible reports on this conflict including the George Mitchell 2001 Report state that the single point that is complicating the peace process is the settlement expansion and the building of new settlements. This is also the single point that is constantly changing the geography of the Palestinian lands and is suffocating the Palestinian economy and population. This is the single point where Israel needs to be told by the United States and other countries in the world that enough is enough.

Colonial values rule again in Palestine: The Jordan Times

By Rami G. Khouri
For years, pro-Israeli zealots and other fanatics in the United States who run out of arguments quickly revert to their fallback position that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East – and thus should be supported against Arab dictators. There is some truth to this argument, but not compelling integrity. Israel is indeed a domestic democracy for its Jewish citizens, and most Arab countries are not convincingly democratic.
But this is diversion, not a serious discussion. It is also less pertinent in view of the new Israeli government, which suggests that hypocrisy, rather than democracy, may be the defining characteristic of Israeli policies. Equally troubling, shabby hypocrisy also defines those in the United States who unquestioningly support Israel and its excesses, and who parrot the argument that Israel is the only democracy in the region. Hypocrisy rather than democracy is now the Israeli-American hallmark because of the increasingly stark and vulgar double standard that is applied to the behaviour of Israeli and Palestinian governments. This is highlighted by the pronouncements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and of his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman. These include a refusal to commit to a two-state solution as the goal of a negotiating process, a rejection of continued commitment to the “Annapolis Process” and only vague commitments to negotiate with a view to reaching a peace agreement. The silence from the United States on these positions has been profound, and troubling, but this is perhaps understandable in view of the fact that Washington is still formulating its strategic and tactical policies in the region and completing its cast of characters who will manage Middle East policy, while also dealing with more pressing priorities. Opposing Israel too strongly in Washington is a sure recipe for one-term political life expectancy, and Obama and company have to decide if they wish to take on the pro-Israeli machine and maniacs in Washington so soon. The real problem with Israel’s position, though, is with the double standards that differentiate it from what is demanded of the Palestinians. For decades now, Israel and the United States have routinely demanded that the Palestinians make precise, explicit and public acceptances of Israel’s right to exist, ending the use of violence, and recognising past agreements. This was the case with the PLO, which finally formally “renounced terrorism” and accepted “Israel’s right to exist” in the late 1980s. It is the case with Hamas today, with whom Israel, the United States, the Europeans, Russia and the UN (via the Quartet) refuse to deal until it recognises Israel, renounces the use of violence and accepts previously reached agreements. It is not clear to most of the world, beyond the hypocrisy-democracy heartland in Tel Aviv and corners of the West, why the Palestinians are asked to show strict compliance with past agreements and formal recognition of the enemy before any talks can start, while no such comparable standards are applied to Israel.

Boycott helpline at Tesco: Jerusalem Post

Press one for Israel, callers are told
Pro-Israel groups have attacked Tesco for setting up a customer helpline for those considering boycotting Israeli goods. Tesco says it provided the service in expectation of calls questioning its stocking of products from Israel and the West Bank. Callers selecting the general information option on its customer helpline hear the recorded message: “If you are ringing regarding Israeli goods, please press one.” They are then connected to specially-trained call centre staff. A Tesco spokesman claimed the dedicated line — introduced for “functionality” reasons after increased inquiries during the Gaza conflict in January — was removed on Monday. But it was still available when the JC rang later on. Tesco does not offer a similar service regarding products from elsewhere. Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons said their helplines did not carry Israel-specific information.
Zionist Federation co-vice-chair Jonathan Hoffman said Israel had been made a scapegoat. “The risk is that supermarkets will say it’s too much of a problem to stock Israeli goods.” Manchester customer Stephen Specterman was “fuming” after discovering the service when he rang Tesco about internet shopping. “A young man came on and I told him I’d pressed out of curiosity. He said they had two stores where people had wanted to know whether they stocked Israeli goods. I told him I had a bias against Iran for supporting Hamas and asked if they would set up a line for me. When he said no I asked why they were just picking on Israel. They have allowed themselves to be politically influenced.” The Tesco spokesman later grudgingly conceded that the move may have been a mistake: “We have had very few calls [to the line]. In hindsight there may have been no need. It was pre-emptive in expecting boycott calls.

Tesco criticised for Israeli goods boycott hotline: The Guardian

Tesco has come under fire from the pro-Israel lobby after setting up a customer helpline option for people to complain about it stocking Israeli products. A recorded message told callers ringing its general customer services number: “If you are ringing regarding Israeli goods, please press one.” The supermarket said it set up the line, which is no longer available, in anticipation of a high level of calls after the Palestine Solidarity Campaign called for a boycott of Israeli goods and urged its supporters to phone Tesco and Waitrose on 30 March about their stance on selling Israeli and Israeli settlement produce. Tesco insisted it had not meant to cause offence and said it apologised if any had been taken.
Anyone choosing the option, which was designed so customers with other queries would not find the line clogged, would have been put through to specially briefed call centre staff, the chain said. Jonathan Hoffman, the Zionist Federation co-vice-chair, said Israel had been made a scapegoat, the Jewish Chronicle reported. “The risk is that supermarkets will say it’s too much of a problem to stock Israeli goods,” he told the newspaper.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We were made aware that a campaign group had asked supporters of its specific cause to call supermarkets. In order that any caller could be directed to an appropriate customer services operator, a call option was added to the usual menu. “Our only aim was to be helpful, and if we have caused anybody offence unintentionally, we apologise.” He added: “It was not making any political point. There are no plans for Tesco to boycott Israeli goods.”

Should you wish to help Tesco drop their Israeli product, the numbers to ring are:

Tesco Stores

Telephone 0800 505555*, 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday

Tesco Direct

If you need to speak to someone, please contact us on 0845 6004411**, 8am to 11pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm on Saturday and 10am to 6pm on Sunday

For customer enquiries

Tel: +44 (0) 800 505555
Email: customer.service@tesco.co.uk

It seems the boycott is starting to work, to say the least.

Abbas: Israel must commit to previous deals: Ha’aretz

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made peace talks with Israel’s new government conditional on it committing to previous agreements and freezing Jewish settlement growth, aides said on Friday.  Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Abbas conveyed this message directly to the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators – the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations.  “It was conveyed to the Quartet that Israel must accept the two-state solution and agreements signed, including Annapolis, and freeze settlement activities, in order to have political negotiations. You cannot have political negotiations without that,” Erekat said. If Israel made such a commitment, Erekat added, Abbas would agree to resume the negotiations immediately. Western diplomats said that seemed unlikely, at least for the time being.
Israel’s new foreign minister, ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman, has declared as invalid the statehood talks launched at a U.S.-sponsored conference in Annapolis, Maryland in November 2007. He says peace efforts with the Palestinians have reached a “dead end” and that Israel should focus on other matters. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been more vague, saying his priority was to focus on economic and security issues instead of negotiating statehood borders, and the fate of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. That could put Netanyahu on a collision course with the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, who called this week for a Palestinian state alongside Israel as outlined in Annapolis, and said both sides needed to make compromises. Netanyahu and Lieberman also support settlement growth despite U.S. calls for a freeze. The Quartet’s special envoy, former British prime minister Tony Blair, has urged Netanyahu to resume statehood talks in parallel with a push to boost the West Bank economy and to let Palestinians control more of their territory. Abbas’s Western-backed government is based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Blair also urged Netanyahu to ease Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, which Hamas Islamists seized in June 2007 after routing forces loyal to Abbas’s secular Fatah faction.

Egypt detains 15 over building rockets to smuggle to Gaza: Ha’aretz

Egyptian security forces detained 15 people on Friday over accusations they helped make rockets destined to be smuggled into the Hamas-run Gaza Strip via border tunnels, security sources said. The sources said authorities had confiscated the outer shells of 60 rockets from a metal workshop in the Sinai town of Sheikh Zuwayed, near the closed Rafah border crossing with Gaza. Those held include the owner of the workshop and other workers and drivers who are accused of taking part in a scheme to manufacture rocket parts and send them to the Palestinian coastal enclave. The sources did not specify whom the rocket parts were intended for in Gaza.

Report: Russia to buy Israeli-made unmanned drones: Ha’aretz

Russia is buying pilotless spy aircraft from Israel in hopes of improving its own unmanned drones after a poor performance in the war against
Georgia last August, Russian news agencies quoted a top military official as saying Friday. Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said the military has signed a contract to buy an unspecified number of pilotless drones from an Israeli company he did not identify, state-run RIA-Novosti and ITAR-Tass reported. “I was in Israel and even operated one,” RIA-Novosti quoted him as saying. Russia has never before announced a purchase of military hardware from Israel. Their relations have vastly improved since the Cold War, when Moscow supplied weapons worth billions of dollars to Israel’s Arab foes, but Russia continues to anger Israel by selling arms to other Mideast nations.

I bet those will be useful in Chechnia!

Deputy FM: Obama’s Ankara speech did not favor Annapolis: Ha’aretz

Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon (Yisrael Beiteinu) said Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech in Turkey earlier this week did not include any support for the Annapolis peace process, Army Radio reported. Ayalon denounced calls which interpreted Obama’s reference to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiation launched in Annapolis in 2007 as a warning against the policies of Israel’s government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s statement that the new government was not bound by Annapolis understandings. Speaking before the Turkish parliament on Monday, Obama said that he will “actively pursue” a two-state solution in the Middle East and reiterated the U.S. commitment to the Annapolis process. Let me be clear: The United States strongly supports the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security,” he said. A two-state solution “is a goal that the parties agreed to in the road map and at Annapolis,” and that is “a goal that I will actively pursue as president.” For his part, Ayalon said that “Anyone who bothered to pay close attention could see that Obama said nothing in favor of Annapolis.”

Israel’s Arab students cross to Jordan: The Electronic Intifada

Jonathan Cook
Obstacles to Israel’s Arab minority (Palestinian citizens of Israel) participating in higher education have resulted in a record number of Arab students taking up places at universities in neighboring Jordan, a new report reveals. Figures compiled by Dirasat, a Nazareth-based organization monitoring education issues, show 5,400 Arab students from Israel are at Jordanian universities — half the number of Arabs studying in Israel itself. Despite the fact that most Israeli Arab students in Jordan interviewed by the researchers expressed a preference to attend university in Israel, the numbers heading to Jordan have grown four-fold since 2004. College-age Arabs, representing nearly one-quarter of their age group in Israel, are heavily under-represented in Israeli higher education, at about eight percent of the student intake, according to official statistics. Of those Israelis who pass their matriculation exams, three times as many Jews as Arabs are accepted into Israeli universities.
“Our findings should raise serious questions about the hurdles that have been put in the way of Arab students that make them feel they have no choice but to study abroad,” said Yousef Jabareen, a law professor at Haifa University and head of Dirasat. Typical of the new exodus is Haneen Bader, 23, from the village of Turan in the Lower Galilee, who is in her third year studying Islamic jurisprudence at Jordan University in the capital, Amman. Dirasat’s researchers were surprised to find that nearly one-third of all Israeli Arab students in Jordan are women. “We live in a patriarchal society and women are still usually expected to remain close to the family home until they marry,” said Dr. Jabareen. But, he added, good travel links between Amman and the Galilee — and a shared language and culture — made regular visits to Jordan a practical and inexpensive option for Israel’s 1.2 million Arab citizens. Bader said she was the first member of her family to study outside Israel but that, after initial doubts, her parents were won over when they saw the campus. “Now they very much approve of my decision.” She added that some of her friends thought of Jordanian universities as second-rate. “That comes from ignorance,” she said. “I prefer to study in Jordan because it is where I can freely speak and read Arabic, and where my traditions and religion are respected. “Also, it is far more cosmopolitan in Amman. We have students from Turkey, the Middle East, Europe and the US all studying together. Israel seems a very closed, small-minded place in comparison.”

“Actually, it’s the other way around, he said that he hopes both Palestinians and Israelis are committed to the Road Map, as was stated in Annapolis,” he added. The deputy minister added that he “met American officials on Tuesday night, and things aren’t quite the way they are portrayed in the newspaper articles, and I think that the Americans noticed the substantial statements made by Lieberman in his inauguration speech, according to which Israel was committed to all the previously ratified agreements, including the Road Map.”

‘Hallelujah': Singer Leonard Cohen to perform in Israel: Ha’artez

After countless rumors and anxious anticipation it’s finally happening:Leonard Cohen will arrive in Israel this coming September, as part of his
European tour. According to the singer’s official forum, Cohen, who will turn 75 later this year, is expected to perform in Israel on September 24th. An attorney for Marcel Abraham, who will produce the concert, confirmed to Haaretz that the Israeli concert will indeed take place, claiming that he has received an email finalizing Cohen’s arrival. Although the location of the event has yet to be determined, Abraham’s
attorney Hagi Schterweiss said Ramat Gan stadium is being considered as a possible venue. Schterweiss concluded by saying he expects the concert will be one of the best ever to have taken place in Israel.

Obama hosts first-ever Passover seder dinner at White House: Ha’aretz

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday had close friends and staff to a private White House meal to mark Passover, in what was seen as a gesture to his Jewish supporters. Obama hosted the traditional seder meal in the Old Family Dining Room with some of his aides and their families. The meal included traditional meals like matzo ball soup, brisket and kugel, which the White House chefs prepared after consulting family recipes from the participants. The Seder was overseen by Eric Lesser, a special assistant to White House official David Axelrod. Obama’s move won quick praise from the National Jewish Democratic Council as the nation’s first White House seder. “By hosting the first presidential seder in America’s history,” President Barack Obama shows the personal and deep relationship his has with the Jewish community, said Alexis C. Rice, the group’s deputy executive director. “There is no question, Obama is a true friend of the Jewish community.”

So now we know where he is. I suspect he will not fast during Ramadan.

U.S. giving Palestinian security forces top-level training: Ha’aretz

The United States has been training senior Palestinian security officials in an advanced officers course in Ramallah for top-brass, Haaretz has learned. The new course, entitled “senior leaders’ course,” is a two-month long program conducted in Ramallah with the assistance and supervision of the U.S., and is part of the project overseen by the U.S. security coordinator in the territories, Gen. Keith Dayton. So far, the program has produced 80 graduates divided into two 40-student classes. A third class, made up of commanders from the Palestinian National Security – the largest security force with 15,000 members, tasked with policing borders, providing military intelligence, military police services and presidential security – is currently being trained in Jordan.












Tags: , , , ,

Permalink Print