Rising tensions in the Mideast cast a shadow over the start of the first direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in nearly two years Wednesday, and leaders at the Washington summit vowed to press on with negotiations.
U.S. officials privately have voiced fear that wider violence could break out in the Palestinian territories and inside Israel itself if the talks quickly break down.At funerals for the victims of Tuesday's shooting by Hamas gunmen, loved ones and rabbis gave fiery speeches. "God avenge the spilled blood of your servants," said Rabbi Dov Lior, a resident of a settlement near Hebron.
Hundreds of Palestinian protesters, meanwhile, turned out in downtown Ramallah, in the West Bank, to denounce the resumption of talks. They shouted slogans accusing Mr. Abbas of surrendering to U.S. pressure without sufficient guarantees from Israel. In East Jerusalem, dozens of Israeli and Palestinian activists protested against the eviction of Palestinian families from homes claimed by Jews.
We are currently seeing what we have seen at every previous attempt of negotiating peace talks. The surrounding terrorist groups will have none of this - as we have known for years, their only goal is the elimination of Israel. Period. Peace is not part of that agenda. With that in mind we see the following article:
"Hamas to launch 'more effective attacks' on Israel"
Thirteen Gaza militant groups have joined forces to launch a wave of attacks against Israel, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Hamas reportedly announced after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas launched peace talks that the 13 groups would step up "more effective attacks" against Israel.
When asked if the renewed attacks would include suicide bombings, the Hamas spokesman reportedly answered: "All options are open."
"IDF warns of wave of violence as Hamas vows to sink peace talks"
Army and police on high alert after second West Bank shooting in two days mars opening of Israel-PA talks in Washington; Hamas promises more attacks.
The Israel Defense Forces on Thursday warned of a possible wave of attacks as Hamas militants try to sabotage Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which formally opened in Washington on Wednesday.
The warning follows two drive-by shootings on Israeli targets in the West Bank this week, which killed four Israeli civilians and wounded two more. Hamas militants claimed responsibility for both attacks.
Hamas on Thursday vowed more violence: "Operations of resistance will continue and the measures by the occupation and Fatah will not block them," said Hamas
spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.
Hamas opposes negotiations with Israel and has been at odds with Abbas' ruling Fatah faction since violently seizing the Gaza Strip from its Palestinian rival in 2007.
Those articles above summarize the news in the Middle East as we approach the peace talks. Below are two interesting commentaries on the situation that we see today:
"No, Abbas Did not Condemn the Hamas Attacks"
On Tuesday night, at about the time the “Israeli-Palestinian direct talks” were getting launched in Washington, terrorists murdered four Israeli civilians driving near Hebron. Yitzhak and Tali Ames (47 and 45, parents of six, with Tali nine months pregnant) along with Kochava Even-Haim (37, married and a mother of an eight-year-old girl) and Avishai Shindler (24 and recently married) were apparently first hit in the Ames’ car by a roadside fusillade.
They then had their bodies decimated by bullets at close range as the terrorists “confirmed the kill.”
The problem has to do with Abbas. On Tuesday night, he said he “condemns all acts that target Palestinian and Israeli civilians” and that the Hebron attack was meant to “disrupt the peace process and can’t be regarded as an act of resistance.”
What’s wrong with that shouldn’t need to be spelled out.
The reference to “all acts that target Palestinian and Israeli civilians” is reprehensible. It not only generalizes the attack and removes its specificity, but also exploits the attack to — once again — level an accusation at Israelis.
But it is, of course, inaccurate. Whereas thousands of Israeli civilians have been targeted by Palestinian attacks, Israel never targets Palestinian (or any other) civilians, and the few Israeli individuals who do so are viewed and treated as criminals.
Abbas, then, not only failed to condemn Tuesday night’s atrocious murder of four people but used it to smear Israel with what is essentially a blood libel.
Those paragraphs above form the introduction to the commentary, but below represents the crux of the matter:
And what about the rest of Abbas’s words? Saying the attack was intended to “disrupt the peace process” is an instrumental criticism, not a moral one. And saying that it “can’t be regarded as an act of resistance” is actually — for those who know the lingo — a backhanded compliment to terrorism. “Resistance,” in the Palestinian and broader extremist Arab and Muslim parlance, is a positive term for terrorism, connoting its nobility. Abbas was not condemning Tuesday’s attack as terrorism, but as imprudent.
Terrorism, he clearly implied, is commendable when carried out in the right way and context.
Another commentary worth reading:
"Middle East Peace Talks: Deja Vu all over again all over again"
The last time a hopeful world got transfixed by this roundelay (although this time it might not be paying much attention anyway) was back at the tail end of the Clinton presidency when Bill was trying to untie this Gordian knot and win himself a Nobel Peace Prize. Those discussions began at Camp David in 2000 and dribbled on to Taba in early 2001 when it all went south with the Second Intifada and an Israeli election.
Tons of books and articles have been written about this, I’ve even read and forgotten a few, but I recall enough to know that a lot of ink was spilled about just what percentage of the Palestinian demands were acceded to by the Israelis. Some said as much as 98%, while others said more like 90, or maybe even a paltry 88.
Now here’s the thought experiment part. I’m assuming most of the readers here — in this case I’d wager 99% of you — have been in negotiations themselves. When you got 98% or even 88% of what you wanted, did you walk away and start a war… okay, just walk away? And if you did, why did you do that … when you were so close to making a deal? You could obviously hang around in negotiations and get most, if not all, of what you wanted.
Well, the answer is — no fair peeking — because you never wanted the deal in the first place.
OK, here it comes - the stark reality (aka "truth"):
Indeed, most of us realize what is even more obvious. If the Palestinians had really wanted a state of their own beside Israel, a two-state solution, they could have had one thirty years ago — or more. They don’t want a two-state solution. They want a one-state solution.
Ouch. The truth hurts. The truth particularly hurts those who prefer to live in a delusional fantasy world.
A deeper look reveals the following truth, and it isn't pretty either:
So all that being the case, what in the Sam Hill is Benjamin Netanyahu doing in Washington?
Well, he has no other choice. Barack Obama still is the American president, even if he may be the earliest lame duck in the history of our country. For now he controls all-important military aid.
But there’s a bigger reason. Again, no fair peeking, but I’ll give you a hint. It’s a four letter word that begins with an “I” and ends with an “N.”
Netanyahu cannot afford to dismiss Obama or even, alas, to irritate him very much, even if the rest of us can. He must bite his tongue and play the game because his own people are up against it as they have never been since 1945. At some point and in some way, the US is going to be desperately needed in the Iran crisis and Netanyahu knows it.
And when is that? The State Department, or is it the Defense Department, is now claiming that Iran is still a year away from enough nuclear material for a couple of bombs. Even if that’s true — and who knows if it is — that is but a minute in history. Blink your eyes and it is here.
Thats right. The Iranian threat looms as a huge cloud, casting it's shadow over the U.S. and Israel, and it isn't going away.
The threats to Israel come in multiple waves:
The closest in proximity are the terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah. Then, extending out geographically, we see Turkey, Syria, Iran, Egypt, northern Africa and even Russia. Those are only the most vocal haters of Israel - the rest of the Arab League Nations certainly have no great love of Israel either.
But we still go through the motions of pretending that there can be peace in the region.
As mentioned before, what really matters in this whole charade is the fact that the push for peace continues. When the antichrist finally arrives with his plan, it will finally become a reality - at least for a brief period. This is all just more "stage-setting" for his arrival on the world stage.
It won't be long now. And fortunately, we won't be here to see it transpire. That's what we know from the prophetic scriptures and they have been 100% accurate thus far. After all, the bride has a wedding to attend.