VTJP Palestine-Israel Newslinks 8 August 2013

8 August 2013 VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

U.S: Next Round Of Talks August 14
IMEMC – United Foreign Secretary, Jennifer Psaki, stated Thursday [August 8, 2013] that the next round of direct Palestinian-Israeli talks will be held on August 14 in Jerusalem, then in the West bank city of Jericho. …

Soldiers Kidnap Palestinian Journalist in Nablus
IMEMC – [August 7] Israeli soldiers kidnapped two Palestinians, one of them al-Quds Press journalist Mohammed Mona, during an invasion into the ad-Dahiya neighborhood, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. …

Kairos Palestine Denounces Attempts To Recruit Christians
IMEMC – The Palestinian Christian Initiative (Kairos Palestine) issued a statement strongly denouncing the Israel attempts to recruit Arab Palestinian Christians, in historic Palestine to the Israeli military that occupies their people. …

Abbas: Peace Talks To Start Soon, Jerusalem Is The capital Of Palestine
IMEMC – Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated that direct political talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will start very soon, and added that the Palestinians will not abandon their legitimate rights, and their right to declare occupied Arab Jerusalem as the capital of their state. …

Ma’an News

Lebanon blasts on Israel border were ‘Hezbollah trap’
8/8/2013 – BEIRUT (AFP) — Two blasts that wounded four Israeli soldiers on the border with Lebanon were in fact an “ambush” set by Hezbollah, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported on Thursday. The explosions hit the patrol on Wednesday when the troops ventured 400 meters into south Lebanon, parts of which are controlled by the powerful Shiite movement.”The enemy blundered when they violated the border with Lebanon….

Israelis push settlement plans despite peace talks
8/8/2013 – JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israeli authorities have moved forward on giving final approval on plans to build nearly 1,000 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, an official told AFP on Thursday. He said initial approval had been granted by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon several months ago and plans were now being made public so that any objections could be raised before the process moves to….

Israel says Iran upping enrichment despite Rowhani election
8/8/2013 – JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Iran had expanded its sensitive enrichment of uranium despite the election as president of moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani.”Iran has not stopped its nuclear program, even after its presidential election” on June 14, Netanyahu said in comments broadcast by public radio.”At the moment, they are using 7,000 new centrifuges, including 1,000 which are….

Abbas: Negotiations will begin soon
8/8/2013 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday said negotiations with Israel would begin soon, stressing that Palestinian values would not be compromised. Palestinians are committed to their national cause and to Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, the president said, as he laid flowers on the tomb of his predecessor Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. It is traditional to visit graves during the Eid….

Experts: Iran has new ballistic missile test launchpad
8/8/2013 – LONDON (AFP) — Iran has developed a second rocket-launching facility which will likely be used to test ballistic missiles, a London-based defense analysis group said Thursday. IHS Jane’s said it had pinpointed the site outside the city of Shahrud, around 350 kilometers east of Tehran, near the Caspian Sea and the Turkmenistan border. By analyzing satellite imagery, Jane’s said that construction began….

Amnesty to Hamas: Halt planned Gaza executions
8/8/2013 – JERUSALEM (AFP) — Amnesty International on Thursday urged Gaza Strip rulers Hamas to halt prisoner executions planned for after the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, which is celebrated until Sunday.”The Hamas authorities in Gaza must halt several executions they say they plan to carry out after this week’s Muslim religious festival of Eid al-Fitr,” the London-based rights watchdog said in a statement.”We acknowledge….

2 shot, injured in Tayibe
8/8/2013 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Two young men were shot and injured in Tayibe city in central Israel overnight Wednesday, medics said. Israeli police opened an investigation after the victims arrived at medical center requiring treatment for bullet wounds. One victim was in a serious condition, medics said. [END]

Young man dies in Jericho road accident
8/8/2013 – JERICHO (Ma’an) — A 33-year-old man died on Thursday in a road accident in Jericho, police said. Muhammad Abu Srour was killed when the vehicle he was traveling in crashed into an iron railing on a main road in the West Bank city, police said in a statement. The driver was injured and taken to the governmental hospital in Jericho. [END]

US, EU urge return to democracy in Egypt
8/8/2013 – WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States and the European Union on Wednesday urged Egypt’s battling political factions and dominant military to agree a path for a return to democratic rule. Last month’s overthrow of Egypt’s elected Islamist president Mohamed Mursi by the military embarrassed Western leaders already struggling to adapt their policies in the wake of the Arab Spring revolts….

BAE: Bahrain eyes Eurofighter
8/8/2013 – LONDON, England (AFP) — Bahrain is interested in buying the Eurofighter Typhoon jet, British defense group BAE Systems said on Wednesday.”Bahrain has expressed an interest in Typhoon and the UK government is leading very early discussions. BAE Systems is supporting the UK government in these discussions,” a BAE Systems spokeswoman said. Bahrain’s King Hamad held talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron in….

Mursi backers defy calls to clear streets
8/8/2013 – CAIRO (AFP) — Thousands of supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi Thursday celebrated Eid al-Fitr, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, defying government calls for them to leave the streets. However there was no immediate sign that the government was readying to carry out its threat made Wednesday to remove Islamist protest camps set up to demand Mursi’….

New Yemen drone attack ‘kills 6 Qaeda militants’
8/8/2013 – SANAA (AFP) — A drone strike in Yemen killed six Al-Qaeda members Thursday, a tribal source said, a day after Sanaa reported it had foiled a militant plot to storm a Western-run oil terminal. The dawn attack, presumed to have been launched by an American drone, was the sixth of its kind since the end of July. It targeted two cars bearing members of Al-Qaeda in….

Moscow rejects Saudi offer to drop Assad for arms deal
8/8/2013 – BEIRUT (AFP) — Moscow has rejected a Saudi proposal to abandon Syria’s president in return for a huge arms deal and a pledge to boost Russian influence in the Arab world, diplomats told AFP. On July 31, President Vladimir Putin, a strong backer of Syrian leader Bashar Assad, met Saudi Arabia’s influential intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, after which both Moscow….

Israel okays more West Bank settlement homes
AlJazeera 8 Aug 2013 – Preliminary approval given for 800 new homes, although actual construction would require sanction from government.

Palestine News Network

Mystery and Reality Overlap in Gaza-Inspired Novel
Palestine News Network

‘The Occupation Has No Future’: Interview with Shawan Jabarin
Palestine News Network

Kerry’s Success Worse than His Failure
Palestine News Network

New York Times Article Attributes Palestinian ‘Violence’ to Poverty and Boredom
Palestine News Network

FC Barcelona: Clinics Normalise Occupation
Palestine News Network

In Hebron, Identity Becomes a Casualty of the Occupation
Palestine News Network

Netanyahu Wants No-State Solution for Palestine: Hamid Golpira
Palestine News Network

UK Concerned About Israeli Settlements, Supports Peace Process
Palestine News Network

Palestinian Minors Arrested and Attacked by Israeli Police
Palestine News Network

Palestinian Store-Owners and Local Leaders Decry Economic Cost of Israeli Permits for Ramadan
Palestine News Network

Cabinet Warns of the Israeli Calls for the Killing of Prisoners After Their Arrest
Palestine News Network

International Solidarity Movement

Anxious Eid for family of prisoner in Hebron
8/8/2013 – International Solidarity Movement – 8th August 2013, International Solidarity Movement, Khalil Team, Hebron, Occupied Palestine – For one Hebron family, this year’s Eid is more worrisome than festive. They will have to spend it wondering about their father and husband, whom they have not been able to talk to since the 4th of August. Last Sunday at around 2am Mohammed* was arrested he was woken up by….

Relief Web

occupied Palestinian territory: Israel gives preliminary approval for 800 new settler homes
Relief Web 8 Aug 2013 – Source: Reuters – AlertNet Country: occupied Palestinian territory Source: Reuters – Thu, 8 Aug 2013 10:47 AM Author: Reuters JERUSALEM, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Israel has given preliminary approval for the construction of more than 800 new homes in Jewish…

occupied Palestinian territory: Helping rural people to produce food in North West Bank occupied Palestinian territory
Relief Web 8 Aug 2013 – Source: European Commission Country: occupied Palestinian territory Context The Occupied Palestinian territory has been in a weakened state since the second Intifada in September 2000. Poverty and unemployment were on the rise whilst livelihoods decreased because of restrictions in…

Lebanon: Palestinians Fleeing Syria Denied Entry
Relief Web 7 Aug 2013 – Source: Human Rights Watch Country: Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic Over 200 People Stranded at Border (Beirut, August 8, 2013) The Lebanese government began on August 6, 2013, to bar Palestinians from entering the country from Syria,…

The National

Morsi’s wife calls for defiance against Egyptian military
The National 8 Aug 2013 – Naglaa Mahmoud and her children turn out to support protesters who remain defiant in the face of the military-backed government’s threat to clear ongoing protests.

Syria’s Assad ‘attacked on way to Eid prayers’
The National 8 Aug 2013 – Opposition groups say Syrian president’s convoy was attacked en route to Eid prayers but regime denies strike against the president. Phil Sands reports

Yemenis fearful as US attacks on Al Qaeda grow
The National 8 Aug 2013 – Multiple checkpoints in capital as well as more tanks and soldiers have residents worried war with Al Qaeda is spilling into capital. Hakim Almasmari reports from Sanaa

Robotics training: raising the Middle East’s new generation of inventors
The National 8 Aug 2013 – Children as young as five are using Lego parts, gears and wheels on a course in Dubai that aims to build careers in cutting-edge technologies.

Pakistan expats in UAE waiting for green light to help flood victims
The National 8 Aug 2013 – The death toll rises to 84 with tens of thousands left homeless as flash floods sweep across the country, but the Pakistan government has yet to give the green light for expats in the Emirates to start fundraising.

Iraqi prison escapee led revenge attack that killed his brother and 10 others
The National 8 Aug 2013 – An Al Qaeda inmate who escaped from Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison led militants who killed his own brother and 10 other people, a general says.

New Iran launchpad for ballistic missile tests, defence analysts say
The National 8 Aug 2013 – London-based group says it has pinpointed the site outside the city of Shahrud, around 350 kilometres east of Tehran, near the Caspian Sea and the Turkmenistan border.

Indian minister says Pakistan military caused ambush
The National 8 Aug 2013 – Change of tone after government accused of soft response to attack that killed five soldiers.


To beat Haredi mayor, religious Israeli party enlists secular candidate
Ha’aretz – 8 Aug 2013

Scrapping humanities matriculation exams will produce generations of ‘ape men,’ Israeli academics warn
Ha’aretz – 8 Aug 2013

Rightists fear new election threshold will bring more Arabs to Knesset
Ha’aretz – 8 Aug 2013

Inter Press Service

Choked Media Struggles to Speak Out in Jordan
IPS Journalists and media activists have begun to confront the Jordanian government over its moves to block local news websites. Two months now after the blockage, many of these sites are struggling. In two waves, at the beginning of June and again in early July, Jordan s Department of Press and Publications…

OP-ED: The Making of the Middle East s Newest Strongman
IPS Before an ultimatum to attack an anti-coup sit-in earlier this week, Egypt s new strongman and coup leader Gen. Abdel Fatah Al-Sissi received one of his warmest endorsements ever something that might have been torn right out of the steamy pages of the Arabian Nights . Gen. Abdel Fatah Al-Sissi. Credit:…

More Kids Pushed Into Labour in Lebanon
IPS Aboudi, 12, spends his evenings selling flowers outside Beirut’s bars. His parents are stuck in his war-torn hometown Aleppo in Syria. Credit: Sam Tarling/IPS. With Lebanon fraying at the seams under pressure from the neighbouring Syria conflict and the economy stuttering amid a political vacuum, more and more children are…

Troubled Kurds Draw Closer
IPS Retired Kurdish veterans prepare to take up arms again. Credit: Karlos Zurutuza/IPS. The Islamists announcement that god supported the killing of Kurds in Syria made us react, recalls Farouk Aziz Khadir. This 60-year-old Iraqi Kurd is ready to take up arms to defend his kin in the neighbouring war-torn country….

Fear of Isolation Gets Israel Talking
IPS A settlement construction in Ariel in the Occupied West Bank. Credit: Pierre Klochendler/IPS The fresh Palestinian-Israeli peace drive stems from the realisation by all parties involved in the process that diplomatic isolation constitutes a strategic threat to Israel. This isolation whip will be held above Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu s…

Daily Star

Florida teen dies after being shocked by police
Daily Star 8 Aug 2013 Family members of a teenager who died after being shocked by Miami Beach police say he was an artist who wanted to change the world through art. Now they’re asking for an independent investigation to learn…

Israeli-Palestinian talks August 14 in Jerusalem: U.S.
Daily Star 8 Aug 2013 Palestinian and Israeli negotiators will resume talks on ending their long-standing conflict on August 14 in Jerusalem, the US State Department says.

Israel shuts Eilat airport at Egypt border, citing security
Daily Star 8 Aug 2013 Israel took the rare step of shutting its southernmost Eilat airport near Egypt’s Sinai peninsula for two hours citing security concerns, military officials say.

Two arrested in Saudi Arabia on suspicion of planning attacks
Daily Star 8 Aug 2013 Saudi Arabia says it has arrested two men from Yemen and Chad on suspicion of planning suicide attacks, days after the United States closed embassies in the region citing an Al-Qaeda threat.

Backers of Egypt’s Morsi defy calls to clear streets
Daily Star 8 Aug 2013 Thousands of supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president Mohammad Morsi Thursday celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan, defying government calls for them to go home.

Palestinians fleeing Syria stranded at Lebanon border: HRW
Daily Star 8 Aug 2013 Most Palestinians trying to go to Lebanon from strife-torn Syria have been denied entry over the past two days, a rights group says.

Cyprus, Greece and Israel sign energy accord
Daily Star 8 Aug 2013 Cyprus, Greece and Israel sign a deal to cooperate over energy and aiming at securing Europe’s energy supply.

Asian Muslims celebrate Eid as 50 die in Pakistan, Afghanistan
Daily Star 8 Aug 2013 Muslims across Asia celebrate the Eid al-Fitr festival with lavish feasts and religious services, even as bomb attacks killed more than 50 people in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Wave of political killings hits Libya: Report
Daily Star 8 Aug 2013 Human Rights Watch says a picked-up wave of political assassinations in Libya has killed 51 people as the country lacks any effective law enforcement.

YNet News

3 suspected US drones kill 12 militants in Yemen
YNet News, 8 Aug 2013 – ….

2 suspects in Boston Marathon bombing indicted
YNet News, 8 Aug 2013 – ….

Prof. Kahneman: Greatly honored, surprised by Medal of Freedom
YNet News, 8 Aug 2013 – ….

Obama says to hold press conference on Friday
YNet News, 8 Aug 2013 – ….

Prof. Daniel Kahneman to receive Medal of Honor from Obama
YNet News, 8 Aug 2013 – ….

August a nightmare for moms
YNet News, 8 Aug 2013 – Op-ed: Israel encourages reproduction, but fails to help women raise kids while earning a living ….

This is not how you make peace
YNet News, 8 Aug 2013 – Op-ed: Decision to prioritize isolated West Bank settlements casts doubt on government’s desire to reach agreement with Palestinians ….

Run, Bibi, run!
YNet News, 7 Aug 2013 – Op-ed: While many in coalition are doing everything to prevent movement towards peace, PM has miraculously begun moving ….

It’s just as tough in Ofra
YNet News, 7 Aug 2013 – Op-ed: New national priority map merely compensates a few settlements for their problematic security situation ….

Palestinian Information Center

Abu Marzouk: Reconciliation not for only one party to accomplish
PIC – Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, a political bureau member of Hamas, has underlined that reconciliation was a must for his movement but needed cooperation of other parties to be accomplished.

Haneyya welcomes release of prisoners without concessions
PIC – Gaza premier Ismail Haneyya has welcomed the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails on condition that the step would not be linked to concessions.

Hamas calls for prosecuting Qawasmi’s killers
PIC – Hamas mourned the Palestinian citizen Jawad Imran Qawasmeh, 55, the father of the martyr Fuad Qawasmeh who was killed Wednesday after being shot by several bullets near his house in al-Khalil.

Hamas makes contacts to facilitate Palestinian refugees’ entry to Lebanon
PIC – Hamas representative in Lebanon has made contacts with officials at the General Security Services concerning news about the Lebanese ban on Palestinian refugees’ entry from Syria to Lebanon.

Jordanian hunger striking prisoners in Israeli jails stop drinking water
PIC – The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has warned of the serious health deterioration of the Jordanian prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 97 days.

Hamas: Talks resumption harms national consensus
PIC – Hamas Movement has called on PA and Fatah movement to cancel talks with the Israeli occupation authority that only ‚¨ Sharm national reconciliation and betray the martyrs and holy sites‚¨ ù.

IOF rounded up 100 Palestinians in Al-Khalil during Ramadan
PIC – Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up 100 Palestinians in Al-Khalil province during the month of Ramadan including 30 minors, a report said.


Terror alert: Drone strikes in Yemen, arrests in Saudi Arabia
LA Times 8 Aug 2013 – As a security alert kept millions on edge throughout the Muslim world, suspected U.S. drone attacks in Yemen killed 12 alleged militants Thursday, and Saudi security forces arrested two foreign men they say were plotting suicide attacks in the region.

Israel advances 1,100 settlement units despite peace talks
LA Times 8 Aug 2013 – JERUSALEM As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators prepare for a second round of peace talks next week, an Israeli military committee advanced nearly 1,100 units of proposed Jewish housing in the West Bank, a settlement-watch group said Thursday.

Palestinian firm builds cul-de-sac dream community
LA Times 8 Aug 2013 – Rawabi, the first master-planned project for Arabs in the West Bank, is audacious, risky and perhaps still part fantasy. RAWABI, West Bank Rising over some craggy hills north of Ramallah is the most audacious, expensive and risky experiment to date in Palestinian state-building: the…

As Foreign Fighters Flood Syria, Fears of a New Extremist Haven
New York Times 8 Aug 2013 – Extremist groups are carving out pockets of territory that are becoming havens for Islamist militants, posing what intelligence officials say may be developing into the greatest security threat in the world today.

12 in Yemen Die in Strikes by U.S. Drones
New York Times 8 Aug 2013 – Since July 27, drone attacks have killed 34 suspected militants, according to a count provided by Yemeni security officials.

Syrian Rebels Claim Attack On Caravan With Assad
New York Times 8 Aug 2013 – The Syrian government on Thursday denied claims from two rebel groups that they had attacked President Bashar al-Assad s motorcade as he headed to a mosque in Damascus, the Syrian capital.

State Department was right: Israel colonizes the West Bank as peace process continues
Mondoweiss – An Israeli settlement in Jerusalem overlooking a highway. (Photo: Xavier Malafosse/Wikimedia Commons) Israeli settlement activity isn t letting up. A week before negotiations are set to take place in the Middle East for the latest round of peace talks, new West Bank settlement construction has been approved and…

NYT capitulates to rightwingers, declaring settlements not illegal
Mondoweiss – Extremely distressing. The New York Times– obviously under pressure from Israel lobby groups– has issued a correction to a statement about the illegality of the settlements. The other day Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren wrote of the settlements: The United States, along with most of the…

McCain and Graham flipflop on aid to Egypt after AIPAC speaks up
Mondoweiss – Two conservative senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, went to Egypt this week to urge Egyptian leaders to show more respect for democracy. McCain and Graham may be Republicans, but they have a lot of clout. They were reported to have the blessing of the Obama…

Fukushima s Ice Wall meets the Israeli-Palestinian Apartheid Wall
Mondoweiss – This post is part of Marc H. Ellis s Exile and the Prophetic feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page . It may just be that my kids are visiting for a couple of weeks or that I live a few blocks from…

Thomas Friedman incorrectly credits Eric Burdon with joining cultural boycott of Israel while extolling Kerry s folly
Mondoweiss – Eric Burdon dancing with a fan onstage at the Zappa Shuni Amphitheater in Israel, August 1, 2013. (Photo: Times of Israel) On August 7 Tom Friedman wrote : Let s start with a small item in Britain s Independent newspaper on July 24, which began: He once sang, You…

Mideast Peace Talks Will Resume Next Week
The Foward Breaking News 8 Aug 2013 – PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI PEACE TALKS TO RESUME IN JERUSALEM AUGUST 14 – U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT Click here for the rest of the article…

Israel Tycoon’s Huge Mining Deal With African Nation of Guinea in Doubt Over ‘Bribes’
The Foward Breaking News 8 Aug 2013 – Guinea could void BSG Resources (BSGR) mining permits if corruption investigations in the West African nation and the United States lead to convictions, the head of a committee tasked with reviewing mining deals said. Click here for the rest of the article…

Orthodox Jewish Boxer Dmitriy Salita Plans To Move to Israel After Career
The Foward Breaking News 8 Aug 2013 – Orthodox Jewish boxer Dmitriy Salita said he will make aliyah at the end of his professional career. Click here for the rest of the article…

Boycott Israel Front Opens in Europe Supermarket Aisles
The Foward Breaking News 8 Aug 2013 – (JTA) Two weeks ago, the Dutch public learned of what appeared to be an unprecedented victory for European advocates of boycotting Israeli products. Four major supermarket chains reportedly declared a boycott of products from the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Click here…

Egypt: Military Spokesman – 103 Detained, 102 Tunnels Destroyed in Sinai Military Operations
allAfrica.com 8 Aug 2013 – [Egypt Online]The military operations against terrorism in Sinai resulted in the arrest of 103 persons and 124 either dead or injured, Military spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Ali released in a statement.

Sudan: Mystery Grows Over Circumstances Surrounding Saudi Decision to Block Bashir’s Plane
allAfrica.com 8 Aug 2013 – [Sudan Tribune]Washington -Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) released a statement on Wednesday contradicting assertions made by their peers in Saudi Arabia who acknowledged that they prevented a plane carrying Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir from crossing their airspace en route to the Iranian capital Tehran last…

Nigeria: Jonathan Will Participate in 2013 Pilgrimage to Israel – Okpara
allAfrica.com 8 Aug 2013 – [Vanguard]Lafia -President Goodluck Jonathan will participate in the 2013 Christian Pilgrimage to Israel.

Egypt: FM Regrets Israeli Decision to Develop Settlements in WB
allAfrica.com 8 Aug 2013 – [Egypt Online]Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy voiced deep regret that the Israeli government is planning to develop a number of settlements in the West Bank.

Syria denies Assad ‘convoy attack’
BBC 8 Aug 2013 – Claims by Syrian rebels that they attacked President Bashar al-Assad’s convoy in Damascus are “dreams and illusions”, the country’s information minister tells state television.

Security alert shuts Eilat airport
BBC 8 Aug 2013 – Eilat airport in southern Israel shuts briefly after the military orders the closure of surrounding airspace on security grounds.

Peace talks to resume in Jerusalem
BBC 8 Aug 2013 – Middle East peace talks are set to resume in Jerusalem on 14 August, according to the US state department, following negotiations in Washington.

US-EU call to end Egypt ‘stalemate’
BBC 7 Aug 2013 – The US and EU call on Egypt’s political factions to end “a dangerous stalemate” after the interim government said foreign mediation had failed.

Syria denies Assad ‘convoy attack’
BBC 8 Aug 2013 – Claims by Syrian rebels that they attacked President Bashar al-Assad’s convoy in Damascus are “dreams and illusions”, the country’s information minister tells state television.

Eight die in new Yemen drone strikes
BBC 8 Aug 2013 – Eight suspected al-Qaeda militants have been killed in Yemen in presumed US strikes, officials say.

Security alert shuts Eilat airport
BBC 8 Aug 2013 – Eilat airport in southern Israel shuts briefly after the military orders the closure of surrounding airspace on security grounds.

Peace talks to resume in Jerusalem
BBC 8 Aug 2013 – Middle East peace talks are set to resume in Jerusalem on 14 August, according to the US state department, following negotiations in Washington.

US-EU call to end Egypt ‘stalemate’
BBC 7 Aug 2013 – The US and EU call on Egypt’s political factions to end “a dangerous stalemate” after the interim government said foreign mediation had failed.


On Those Middle East Peace Talks
Paul Larudee, CounterPunch 8/6/2013
Non-Objectives Obtained
The moment Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to send emissaries to Washington to discuss the resumption of 20-year-old peace talks, the objective of the talks was achieved. To anyone not in a coma, it is clear that these talks will not lead to peace, and in fact might not even lead to peace talks, merely to talks about resuming talks.
What, then, is the objective of the talks?
Of course, both parties have particular motives for participating, which have been discussed at length by many pundits on the subject. In the case of John Kerry and the Obama administration, it is to do the impossible to bring the parties together to the table. It is a sign of the bankruptcy of the effort that after twenty years this is considered a major achievement.
For Mahmoud Abbas, it is the chance to appear to be at once Salaheddine, the defender of Jerusalem for Palestinians and the Arab world, and the good and reasonable Palestinian to the West. He recognizes the skepticism of both of his audiences, but what choice does he have? His other choice is to be sidelined and irrelevant and to potentially lose his most positive role as distributor of largesse from the U.S. and Europe if his funds are cut off as a result of his failure to follow the US order to participate in the talks.
For Netanyahu, the talks are an opportunity to appear less intransigent while remaining just as intransigent as ever. This means making some potential gains in public opinion in the West and at home just by showing up, while not losing his hardcore constituency at home…. more..e-mail

A radical rethinking of the peace process
Nada Tarbush, Al Jazeera.com 8/8/2013
Peace talks will continue to work in Israel’s favour if the US keeps silent about daily violations against Palestinians.
Geneva – Once again, the United States has demonstrated its potency by managing to get the Israelis and Palestinians back to peace talks. It has managed to do so despite a backdrop of growing skepticism as the number of people who still believe in the “peace process” has shrunk dramatically.
As the saying goes, a wise man believes what he sees, not what he hears, and the sight of spreading settlements and armed Israeli settlers roaming Palestinian land were anything but tangible signs of peace. With decades of negotiations having brought them little else than continuous loss of land and freedom, it is not surprising that, for Palestinians at least, talk of the process now rings hollow in the ears.
The situation on the ground would not have deteriorated to that dismal level had successive US administrations not been so submissive to Israel’s egocentrism. The US has demonstrated consistent unwillingness to apply any meaningful pressure on Israel to cease its violations of, and fully respect, UN resolutions and international law. Its recent appointment of Martin Indyk with his publicly known pro-Israel sympathies and close links to AIPAC , as US mediator for the talks, shows that the US administration has not deviated from that long-held tradition and confirms that it makes no qualms about which side it supports in the so-called peace process.
Over the years, Israel has benefited from a US-led framework of bilateral negotiations highly skewed in its favour that pushes aside the central role of international law, rendering rights negotiable, and gives the impression that the two parties stand on an equal footing with an equal duty to ‘compromise’. more..e-mail

What does the peace process have to do with Iran?
Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine 8/8/2013
Several analysis are linking the resumption of the peace talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu s desire to legitimize a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Some even claim that the U.S. administration is in the loop.
There were at least three articles in the Hebrew media this week speculating on the option of an Israeli strike on Iran. All pieces linked those scenarios to the peace process, and to the Wall Street Journal s report on reactor in Arak, which is due to become operational in the coming months and could be used for the creation of a plutonium bomb (those reports were already disputed, even in Israel)
Writing for Al-Monitor, Ben Caspit (who opposes the idea of an Israeli attack), speculates:
“A week ago [July 30], after the painful decision to release more than 100 Palestinian prisoners, some of whom are ‘heavyweight’ murderers, to resume negotiations with the Palestinians, Israel s Defense Minister Moshe ‘Bogie’ Ya alon had something very interesting to say: Underlying the decision to release prisoners he stated ‘were strategic considerations, which might be revealed in the future.’ (& ) What will we understand in the future? In light of the intimations, the signals and the whispers, we are able to figure out the quiet deal that was cut between Israel and the United States: Israel will do whatever is necessary to start negotiations with the Palestinians, maybe even reach a type of an interim arrangement ahead of the final status arrangement. America will give Israel a green light to bomb Iran after having fully verif
ied that the Iranians are really poised to make the final ‘charge’ toward the bomb.”

At Haaretz, Sefi Rachlevsky and Alon Ben David raised the same idea that the real reason Netanyahu entered the peace process is his desire to legitimize an attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities. Rechlevsky is an author and doesn t have good sources (his article is not as much of a report as an analysis of Netanyahu s character) but Alon Ben David is a veteran military correspondent…. more..e-mail

Did the Israeli public really flip-flop on peace?
Dahlia Scheindlin, +972 Magazine 8/7/2013
A single question from a recent public opinion poll gave some the impression that Israelis are backing off support for a peace deal. A closer look shows little actual change in public support for a two-state solution, but highlights the danger of sensationalizing polls in an ultra-sensitive environment of negotiations. As usual, the devil is in the details.
The latest Peace Index survey by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute has only been out for 24 hours and already there is a minor uproar: The Israeli public has turned dramatically! The Times of Israel headline says so: 63 percent oppose a major West Bank pullout! How could this possibly be, asks TOI, when just a couple of weeks ago, 55 percent of Israelis supported a two-state deal in a referendum in a Haaretz poll?
This is the moment when one inwardly sighs at the need, yet again, to do damage control over poor understanding of public opinion research; journalists, after all, are not pollsters.
Here s the first deep and mysterious reason why the two numbers seem so contradictory: They are two different questions. Haaretz asked:
Would you support or a oppose an agreement that would be accepted by the Palestinians and that the Prime Minister supports, that will be put to a referendum ? As noted, 55 percent in total (definitely and likely) supported the general idea of the agreement.
And the Peace Index question cited in the headline was:
If Israel and the Palestinians reach an understanding and a permanent peace agreement that includes security arrangements for Israel, a demilitarized Palestinian state, international guarantees, and declaration of the end of the conflict by the Palestinians, in return for this peace agreement, would you support or not support each of the following?….” more..e-mail

The poetry of absence: remembering Mahmoud Darwish five years on
Electronic Intifada: 8 Aug 2013 – Revered poet was nourished by exile but questioned how art can be made in brutal times. more

Israel blocked me from going to my own wedding
Electronic Intifada: 8 Aug 2013 – I ve been denied the right to get married in my homeland.more

More material available from Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel – www.vtjp.org
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