We're getting more and more information on the U.S. administration's plans for Middle East peace, and if it weren't so serious, it would be laughable. As usual, nothing is asked of the 'Palestinians' other than to recognize that Israel has a right to exist - while all concessions must come from Israel.
Dani Dayan, the former head of the Yesha settlements council, lashed out at minister Yuval Steinitz Saturday for stating that Israel would release Palestinian prisoners in peace talks, calling the move “immoral and unethical.”
After substantially lowering his expectations, US Secretary of State John Kerry was able to save his mission to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians with only moments to spare before his sixth round of shuttle diplomacy crashed. Friday night, July 19, Kerry announced in Amman that “initial talks would resume in Washington very soon.
According to the Kerry formula, the forthcoming negotiations would focus on attaining an interim peace accord - without determining final borders - for establishing a Palestinian state in broad areas of the West Bank from which Israeli would withdraw.
Those areas would be subject to trilateral US-Israeli-Palestinian consensus on security arrangements and require some Jewish settlements to be removed.
Initial negotiations will start next week in Washington behind closed doors. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and the prime minister’s adviser Yakov Molcho will represent Israel and senior negotiator Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian side. A third US team will report to John Kerry.
President Barack Obama will send him (Abbas) a letter affirming US recognition that the object of the negotiations is to establish a Palestinian state as the national home of the Palestinian people whose borders will be based on 1967 lines.
Obama will send another letter to Netanyahu affirming that the negotiations must lead to the recognition of the state of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people, whose future borders will be based on the 1967 lines while also accommodating Israel’s security needs and its realistic demographic circumstances.
In other words, during negotiations, it will be hoped that the 'Palestinians' will recognize Israel's right to exist - while Israel (again) uproots their citizens from their homes, gives up more land, releases hundreds of dangerous criminals, gives up half of Jerusalem, gives up the West Bank, gives up the Golan Heights, divides Israel into two halves and goes back to indefensible 1967 borders.
Sounds fair doesn't it?
Below, we predictably see the EU functioning in their role as 'enabler' in this twisted, bizarre process:
If this is how the EU chooses to spend its limited diplomatic and political resources "to help" the Middle East, then its moral compass is badly broken. The EU still hasn't even mustered the clarity or courage to join the USA, Canada, and six Gulf states (led by Bahrain) in designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization, even though Hezbollah has committed terrorist acts on EU soil that killed an EU citizen, and has supported Basher Assad's butchery in Syria. The EU has also failed to take any decisive action to address the urgent crises in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran (which marches ever closer to nukes and imports ore -- for armor and missile production -- from Germany and France). And where is the EU's boycott of Mideast governments that persecute women, execute homosexuals, and condone the slaughter of Christians?
If the EU wants to wield its economic clout to impose peace on disputing parties, why not boycott China for its brutal occupation of Tibet? Clearly that occupation doesn't matter because the EU is China's largest trading partner. And why isn't the EU boycotting Northern Cyprus, which is under foreign military occupation by Turkey (against the wishes of the EU)?
The new Egyptian interim government led by Hazem al-Beblawi was sworn in Tuesday night in Cairo. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the man who pulls the strings in Egypt, was appointed deputy prime minister, as well as defense minister.
Nevertheless, the incidents that occurred several hours earlier in the streets of the Egyptian capital, as well as 200 km away in Sinai, hindered the celebrations and served as a painful reminder of the complicated, bloody reality in which this new government came into being. Seven people were killed in Cairo during the previous night in clashes between the Egyptian security forces and Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
Nevertheless, continued protests and “battles of the squares” will make it difficult for the new government to make significant changes in Egypt. The Islamic Movement has enough supporters throughout the country to continue protests for weeks, while continuing to disrupt traffic and daily ways in Cairo.
The steam was noticed at 8:20am by repair crews tasked with removing contaminated debris from the building, which was badly damaged by the magnitude-9 earthquake that struck on March 11, 2011, and further battered by the subsequent tsunami.
Tepco is collecting samples of air above Unit 3 and the assumption at the moment is that the steam is from rain that entered the reactor building and collected in the well beneath the pressure chamber where it became heated.
The incident is likely to raise new concerns about progress to bring the situation under control at the Fukushima plant.
Tepco confirmed recently that high levels of radioactivity had been detected in ground water in a well drilled to determine the spread of radioactivity beneath the plant.
Some 900,000 becquerels of radioactive substances were found per litre (0.22 gallon) in a sample taken from the well, which is just 80 feet from the coast. The radioactivity included strontium and Japan's Nuclear Regulatory Agency has set the safety level for radioactivity in drinking water at 10 becquerels per litre.
The authorities have said it is highly likely that the radioactivity is already leaking into the sea around the plant, despite efforts by Tepco to complete a concrete wall set deep into the ground to restrict the flow of groundwater.
Yesterday represented the end of the road for six decades of denial and delusion in Detroit. That’s because, as I’m sure you’ve heard, the city filed for federal protection. It’s the largest Chapter 9 bankruptcy case in U.S. history
The filing cited a lot of factors, including shrinking population, dwindling tax base and
mismanagement. And it’s all true. The city, whose population has shrunk from just under 2 million to closer to 600,000, nonetheless maintains 9,000 , while 20,000 wait for their benefits.
Of course, they had a choice for the past 60 years to embrace responsible management, and they didn’t want to do that. They gave into the demands of public unions and granted these generous and benefit packages, all while City Council members earned salaries in excess of $70,000 and had staffs as large as eight per member.
As unfortunate as this is, it could easily be a precursor for many other around this country, or around the world. Indeed, it could be a precursor for the United States itself, which is on the hook for many trillions of dollars in unfunded entitlement obligations. So far Washington has shown about as much interest in fixing this problem as the Detroit City Council did all those years – choosing to wallow in denial. Maybe what’s happened in Detroit will be a wakeup call. I certainly hope so.
[This one is worth reading in full}
Yesterday I read this blog post by conservative political columnist and radio host, Erick Erickson. I have mixed feelings about Erick. Even though I find that I agree with many of his political views, I find his tone and style of politics is not my particular style. Still, he's a gifted writer and this time he shared something I think Christians need to hear. His point is that while he cares about politics and advocates for his point of view, outrage is not all there is to life. Erickson writes:
I’m sorry, but I can’t live my life constantly fixated on the political outrage of the day and I can’t be outraged about every . . . thing under the sun. I go out with friends and talk about stuff other than politics, I play with my kids, I love my wife, I cook gumbo and make fantastic ice cream, I watch a bit of TV, don’t read as much as I should, I go to church, and I try to focus on the good in a world filled with sin and bad and evil . . .
You see, the narrative of the Scriptures is not just about what's right and what's wrong in the world and in our own hearts. The grand story is that there is good news available. God didn't ignore the evil that the Fall produced by sin. He spoke by the entrance of His Son, Jesus, into the world (Hebrews 1:2). When Jesus cried those anguished three words on the cross, "It is finished," it signaled the beginning of the end. The power of sin and death, which so strangles the human soul, which ravages the planet, which obscures the glory and grandeur of our great God--this has been defeated, and like a helium balloon, is dying a slow death. Evil, my friends, is not winning. The story of the Bible is that there is hope in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Perfect One, the Son of God.