Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected talk of Israel being forced to withdraw from Jerusalem and the West Bank within two years, on the eve of a meeting with top US diplomat John Kerry.
Netanyahu, speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting a day before jetting to Rome for urgent consultations with Kerry, connected a Palestinian bid for a UN Security Council resolution calling for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank to the threat of Islamic extremists in the region.
“We… stand against the possibility of a diplomatic assault, that is an attempt to compel us by means of UN decisions to withdraw to the 1967 lines within two years,” Netanyahu said. “We will not allow this. We will strongly and responsibly rebuff this.”
While the market, and America's media, was focusing over the passage of the Cromnibus, and whether Wall Street would dump a few hundred trillion in derivatives on the laps of US taxpayers once again (it did), quietly and unanimously both houses passed The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which authorizes"providing lethal assistance to Ukraine’s military" as well as sweeping sanctions on Russia’s energy sector.
The measure mandates sanctions against Rosoboronexport, the state agency that promotes Russia’s defense exports and arms trade. It also would require sanctions on OAO Gazprom (GAZP), the world’s largest extractor of natural gas, if the state-controlled company withholds supplies to other European nations (yes, the US is now in the pre-emptive punishment business, and is enforcing sanctions on a "what if" basis).
But while one may debate if additional sanctions will do much to impact a Russian economy which is already impaired due to the plunging ruble, the clear escalation is that unlike previously, when the US limited itself - at least on paper - to non-lethal assistance to the Ukraine, now the US is finally preparing to send in weapons, and potentially "military advisors" as well. We say "on paper", because in late November hacked US documents revealed the extent of secret US "Lethal Aid" for the Ukraine army.
And as has happened for the entire duration of the second Cold War, any action by the US was promptly met with a just as provocative reaction by Russia. In this case, a leftist member of the Russian Duma said the US Senate’s decision to arm the Kiev regime should prompt ‘adequate measures’ from Russia, such as deploying military force on Ukrainian territory before the threat becomes too high.
“The decision of the US Senate is extremely dangerous. If it is supported by the House of Representatives and signed by their president, Russia must reply with adequate measures,” Mikhail Yemelyanov of the Fair Russia party told reporters on Friday.
“It is quite possible that we should return to the decision by our Upper House and give the Russian president an opportunity to use military force on Ukrainian territory preemptively. We should not wait until Ukraine is armed and becomes really dangerous,” the lawmaker stated.