Hamas says asked by US to keep silent on talks
Islamist group source says senior American officials request contacts remain secret ‘so as not to rouse Jewish lobby’
A senior Hamas figure said Friday that official and unofficial US sources have asked the Islamist group to refrain from making any statements regarding contacts with Washington, this following reports that a senior American official is due to arrive in an Arab country in the coming days to relay a telegram from the Obama Administration.
The Hamas figure told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that the Americans fear discussing the talks publicly would “rouse the Jewish lobby and other pressure groups in the US and cause them to pressure the administration to suspend all talks with Hamas.”
The Hamas figure, who is close to Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the government in Gaza, added, “This is a sensitive subject. The Americans don’t want anyone to comment on it because this would catch the attention of pressure groups (in the US) and cause problems.”
He said Hamas’ exiled leadership in Damascus is overseeing the contacts behind closed doors.
On Wednesday a Washington-based Arabic newspaper quoted a senior official as saying that an American envoy is scheduled to meet with Hamas representatives in an Arab country and hand them a letter from the Obama Administration.
According to the report, the official said Washington has no choice but to work with Hamas due to its influence in the Arab and Islamic world.
A senior Israeli diplomat has warned that the Jewish state’s relationship with the United States has suffered a “tectonic rift”.
The sobering assessment comes a week before Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, meets President Barack Obama at the White House.
There had been hope the two could lay to rest a row that erupted between the two allies in March but the new comments have raised fears of long-term damage.
Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, told foreign ministry colleagues at a private briefing in Jerusalem that they were facing a long and potentially irrevocable estrangement.
Sources said Mr Oren told the meeting: “There is no crisis in Israel-US relations because in a crisis there are ups and downs. [Instead] relations are in a state of tectonic rift in which continents are drifting apart.”
Mr Oren’s privately-voiced pessimism stands in stark contrast to public declarations in both Jerusalem and Washington that differences between the two states amount to nothing more than “disagreements” between allies.
The ambassador told the Jerusalem Post newspaper last week that US-Israel ties were stronger than many observers believed.
Unlike his previous encounter with Mr Obama in March, when he was given a stern dressing-down and denied permission to hold a joint press conference, Mr Netanyahu’s visit to the White House next Tuesday is likely to be cloaked in civility.
The Israeli prime minister is being promised photo opportunities with his host in the White House Rose Garden and perhaps even an invitation to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.
But the show of unity is being seen as a sop to members of Mr Obama’s party who afraid of angering Jewish American voters ahead of November’s midterm elections than as a sign of genuine rapprochement.
Israeli officials have been quoted as saying that they expect a sterner private reception for their prime minister, who is yet to be fully forgiven for the perceived humiliation of Joe Biden, the US vice president, during a visit to Israel in March.
Mr Biden had come to Holy Land to launch indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership. But negotiations collapsed before they started after Mr Netanyahu’s government announced plans to expand a Jewish settlement in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem.
According to Mr Oren, attempts to gain leverage over President Obama through some of his “pro-Israel” aides – believed to be a reference to Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief-of-staff, and Dennis Ross, a senior State Department official – had failed.
Instead Mr Obama had shown determination to take personal charge of the faltering Israeli-Palestinian peace process and is understood to hold Mr Netanyahu at least partly responsible for the lack of progress.
“It’s a one man show,” Mr Oren reportedly told his colleagues.
During the briefing, Mr Oren insisted that Mr Emanuel, despite some doubts in Israel, remained a friend of the Jewish state.
On a recent visit to Israel for his son’s bar mitzvah, Mr Emanuel, who is Jewish, telephoned him in tears because of the warm reception he had received from ordinary Israelis during a jog in Tel Aviv, Mr Oren said.
Mr Oren denied the comments attributed to him during the briefing. It is the second time pessimistic comments made by the ambassador during private briefings have been made in the past four months.
Obama and the War Against the Jews
Posted By David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin On June 25, 2010 @ 12:25 am In FrontPage | 31 Comments
In a letter to President Obama this week, 87 Senators urged  the president to support Israel’s right to self-defense against the threats of terrorism from Hamas and Hezbollah and a nuclear-bound Iran that has repeatedly pledged to wipe Israel off the map. In another time, such counsel would be redundant. For most of Israel’s 60-year existence, the Jewish state has been able to count on the stalwart support of its American ally against the many enemies arrayed against it. As Arab states launched wars with exterminationist intent, and as the international community undermined Israel through the agency of the United Nations, America alone stood in Israel’s corner.
Under President Obama, however, such support for an embattled friend is no longer automatic. As Iran races virtually unimpeded toward a nuclear weapon, the Obama administration scolds Israel for daring to build new houses in its capital of Jerusalem. While Hamas, aided by Turkish jihadists, arms for a new war against Israel, the White House demands that Israel exercise a suicidal restraint. As Israel becomes ever more isolated, the Obama administration continues to reach out to its enemies in the Arab and Muslim world. In their new pamphlet, David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin trace the deterioration of the U.S.-Israeli relationship under President Obama, now at its lowest point in three decades. And they show that by emboldening Israel’s enemies, the administration is sowing the seeds of a new conflict, one will that could make it complicit in a new and devastating war against Israel. As a result of President Obama’s wrongheaded policies, Israel’s security – and America’s – is increasingly imperiled.
To read the pamphlet, click here .
To order the pamphlet, click here .
June 25th, 2010
We have written a lot about Rashad Hussain, America’s special envoy to the Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Saudi-based body formed in 1969 to “protect” Jerusalem from the Israelis. Hussain is a piece of work. See the posts collected here.
Notwithstanding his flaws, Hussain has made a great contribution to understanding Barack Obama. This week in a speech a the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, Hussain announced a new title for Obama. According to Hussain, Obama is America’s “Educator-in-Chief on Islam.” He may be in over his head as the president of the United States, but he’s not bad at promoting Islam. Obama embodies the the melding of the left with Islamist forces at home and abroad. Stephen Schwartz reports:
The occasion was another “post-Cairo” conference, following on the event that welcomed Islamist ideologue Tariq Ramadan to Washington in April. Hussain also declared that Obama is “Educator-in-Chief” on the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which has produced diplomatic and political events around the capital for some years. Hussain affirmed with satisfaction that presidential iftar dinners, where the fast is broken after sundown, and which had formerly been limited to diplomats from Muslim countries, now welcomed American Muslims from throughout society.
|NEW POLL FINDS U.S., ARAB SUPPORT FOR MILITARY STRIKE ON IRAN TO PREVENT MULLAHS FROM GETTING NUCLEAR WEAPONS
* Will it happen? Should it? Lt.-Gen. (ret). Boykin, Israeli Vice PM Yaalon and I will discuss implications during conference
By Joel C. Rosenberg
(Philadelphia, PA, June 24, 2010) — An intriguing new survey of international public opinion indicates deep concern over the mullahs in Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, and strong support for preemptive military action to stop Tehran from getting the Bomb. According to the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project 2010….
* In 16 of the 22 states included in the survey, people who were polled said they would support preemptive military strikes against Iran to prevent the mullahs from obtaining nuclear weapons compared to avoiding a military conflict with Iran, even if that means allowing the mullahs to have nuclear weapons.
* In the U.S., 66% support a military strike on Iran, compared to 24% who object.
That said, I don’t forsee a U.S. or NATO preemptive strike to stop Iran from getting the Bomb, especially with General David Petraeus moving from CENTCOM commander to running the war in Afghanistan. Will Israel launch a strike? That remains to be seen, but if Netanyahu orders one, don’t expect these poll numbers to hold up. International public opinion would likely turn decisively against Israel in such a conflict.
I have just received this: from my friend in Israel,who moves in high circles in Israel
Tonight Clive and I heard very disturbing information – we heard itfrom a consultant to the United States who meets once a month with the President in the White house. He is in the know. This is what actually has happened with the relationship with Israel and the USA and it is not pretty:
1. Israel during the Bush and Clinton Administrations – had landing rights in Turkey,and in the USA bases in the middle east and more recently under George Bush, in Iraq. This was in case they were invaded by Iran, or Saudi or any other Arab country. Obama has withdrawn those landing rights. Israel now has nowhere to refuel in the middle east.
2.Netanyahu was instructed to come to the white house for a meeting. He was brought in through a servants entrance – the only head of state ever in US history to be given that disgraceful treatment. He was not offered even a cup of tea – but was lectured to by Obama who told him that he is not permitted to attack Iran and that he has to withdraw all forces from the West bank and may not build any more settlements ( neighborhoods) in East Jerusalem .
3.Israel found out that there were four terrorists meeting in Dubai. As they have done for the past 62 years, they informed the US of that and said that these terrorists had to be dealt with. Obama said under no circumstances. Israel decided to go ahead. They killed the one terrorist who showed up. However the CIA was sent there to film the entire event by Obama – and then a concerted PR campaign was waged by the White house to discredit Israel and what they did – this kind of action has taken place with US support for the past 62 years since we have common enemies.
4.Obama has refused to oppose Syria’s re-arming of Hezbollah and Hamas – Israel now sits in imminent danger from the amounts of missiles that can be sent into her territory.
5.Israel will never tell the US again of its plans – since they cannot trust us.
6.Israel intends to attack Iran – there are over 30 installations of which 4 have underground bunkers that contain nuclear weapons. Israel cannot wait any longer. The US is no longer supporting Israel ’s self defense.
7.This is the same man that gave the White House a full file on the 9.11 attack – his warnings and proof were laughed at.
8.He believes that the next attacks in the USA will be mass transportation – subways and malls – especially the largest malls where the most people can be killed – and that Vegas and wherever there are conventions of employees will be a huge target. We are not prepared and are naïve in our lack thereof.
9.Once Israel attacks Iran, every Jew and Jewish institution will be at risk – temples, religious schools etc. We must be prepared.
10.This kept a room of 200 people spellbound. It is not fiction. It is fact.
What can be done?
It is essential that everyone who doesn’t know yet, now understands that the protection and survival of Israel is not on Obama’s list – and he is now taking ACTUAL steps to move all protections away – no more landing rights, negotiating with Iran and Syria, making nice to the Moslem World in the face of allies of long standing and he is no friend of the Jewish people and Israel.
We must be sure that we elect politicians who protect Israel as well as the USA – our interests are intertwined. Please forward to everyone you know.
June 18th, 2010
By James Lewis
The Middle East is now teetering on the brink of war because a vast international mob has been loosed, with the tacit approval of Barack Hussein Obama. That is the real meaning of the Gaza martyrdom stunt of May 31, 2010. That purposeful provocation is not past. The Gaza suicide operation is still being used all over the Middle East and Europe to whip up hatred and violence.
As Mark Steyn just reported from a dingy cafe in Algeria,
I can just about make out the plasma TV up in the corner on which Jimmy Carter, dubbed into Arabic, is denouncing Israel. Al Jazeera doesn’t so much cover the Zionist Entity as feast on it, hour after hour, without end. So here, at the western frontier of the Muslim world … the only news that matters is from a tiny strip of land barely wider at its narrowest point than a rural Canadian township way down the other end of the Mediterranean. … (there is) saturation coverage of the “Massacre In The Med” (as the front page headline in Britain’s Daily Mirror put it).
Iran, Lebanon, and Islamist Turkey have just announced new flotillas to break the Gaza blockade. If they succeed, it will not stop with Gaza. The conquest of Jerusalem and rest of Israel is the target. That is why Ahmadinejad has trained all his life in the “Al-Quds” (Jerusalem) Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the shock suicide brigade for reconquering Jerusalem. That is why the Hamas flag shows a green Islamic Jerusalem. It is why Kofi Annan at the U.N. proudly posed in front of a map of the Middle East with Israel erased.
Meanwhile, Clinton said recently that the U.S. would no longer consider an Iranian attack on Israel as an attack on America. Interesting coincidence
World Jewish Congress:
by José María Aznar
For far too long now it has been unfashionable in Europe to speak up for Israel. In the wake of the recent incident on board a ship full of anti-Israeli activists in the Mediterranean, it is hard to think of a more unpopular cause to champion. In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship. In an ideal world, no state, let alone a recent ally of Israel such as Turkey, would have sponsored and organised a flotilla whose sole purpose was to create an impossible situation for Israel: making it choose between giving up its security policy and the naval blockade, or risking the wrath of the world.
In our dealings with Israel, we must blow away the red mists of anger that too often cloud our judgment. A reasonable and balanced approach should encapsulate the following realities: first, the state of Israel was created by a decision of the UN. Its legitimacy, therefore, should not be in question. Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology.
Second, owing to its roots, history, and values, Israel is a fully fledged Western nation. Indeed, it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances.
Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception. In the first instance, it was attacked by its neighbours using the conventional weapons of war. Then it faced terrorism culminating in wave after wave of suicide attacks. Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathisers, it faces a campaign of delegitimisation through international law and diplomacy.
Sixty-two years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.
For years, the focus of Western attention has understandably been on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. But if Israel is in danger today and the whole region is slipping towards a worryingly problematic future, it is not due to the lack of understanding between the parties on how to solve this conflict. The parameters of any prospective peace agreement are clear, however difficult it may seem for the two sides to make the final push for a settlement.
The real threats to regional stability, however, are to be found in the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfilment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large.
The core of the problem lies in the ambiguous and often erroneous manner in which too many Western countries are now reacting to this situation. It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.
Israel is our first line of defence in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down. To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction.
The West is going through a period of confusion over the shape of the world’s future. To a great extent, this confusion is caused by a kind of masochistic self-doubt over our own identity; by the rule of political correctness; by a multiculturalism that forces us to our knees before others; and by a secularism which, irony of ironies, blinds us even when we are confronted by jihadis promoting the most fanatical incarnation of their faith. To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.
This cannot be allowed to happen. Motivated by the need to rebuild our own Western values, expressing deep concern about the wave of aggression against Israel, and mindful that Israel’s strength is our strength and Israel’s weakness is our weakness, I have decided to promote a new Friends of Israel initiative with the help of some prominent people, including David Trimble, Andrew Roberts, John Bolton, Alejandro Toledo (the former President of Peru), Marcello Pera (philosopher and former President of the Italian Senate), Fiamma Nirenstein (the Italian author and politician), the financier Robert Agostinelli and the Catholic intellectual George Weigel.
It is not our intention to defend any specific policy or any particular Israeli government. The sponsors of this initiative are certain to disagree at times with decisions taken by Jerusalem. We are democrats, and we believe in diversity.
What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. For Western countries to side with those who question Israel’s legitimacy, for them to play games in international bodies with Israel’s vital security issues, for them to appease those who oppose Western values rather than robustly to stand up in defence of those values, is not only a grave moral mistake, but a strategic error of the first magnitude.
Israel is a fundamental part of the West. The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.
José María Aznar was prime minister of Spain between 1996 and 2004.