The first two articles can be filed under "you have to be kidding me" or "the unbelievable" or "just when I thought I'd seen everything" or "SAY WHAT?". Pick one.
The Obama administration is pressuring Israeli generals to stop publicly voicing their concerns about the administration’s security proposals in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and instead endorse the administration’s plans, according to Israeli media reports.
The administration is seeking a complete or partial IDF withdrawal from the Jordan Valley, where the border between Israel and Jordan lies at the eastern edge of Judea and Samaria, also called the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority has long sought control of the valley. However, Israel and Jordan are opposed to an IDF withdrawal, which they fear would enable the transit of terrorists and arms through Jordan into the West Bank.
After a prominent retired Israeli general spoke out against IDF withdrawal from the Jordan Valley, Israeli media reported that the Obama administration’s head envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Martin Indyk, convened a meeting of Israeli security officials. He pressured them to drop their objections to the plan and make media appearances in support of it to help sell a skeptical Israeli public on the benefits of a reduction in security.
“The Americans are attempting to convince the government of Israel to accept the security arrangements for the Jordan Valley, but in order to do that … they are trying to hitch up Israeli opinion leaders. … Mainly opinion leaders from the defense sector. Martin Indyk, the American delegate to the negotiations and his team met in recent days with IDF generals. … Those who were present at the meetings understand that the idea is if you support the plan, then go to the media and be interviewed and respond, because they have the impression that the Israeli public has doubts about the subject.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday expressed widespread concern over the military-backed Egyptian government’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, days after the once ruling group was designated a terrorist organization.
During a phone conversation with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy on Thursday, Kerry condemned Tuesday’s suicide bombing in Mansoura that killed 16 people and the Thursday bombing that wounded five, but “expressed concern about the interim Egyptian government’s December 25 terrorist designation of the Muslim Brotherhood, and recent detentions and arrests,” according to a statement by State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Thursday, Egypt’s security authorities launched a sweep of arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members and warned that holding a leadership post in the group could now be grounds for the death penalty after it was officially declared a terrorist organization, stepping up the government’s confrontation with its top political nemesis.
On Wednesday, Egypt’s military-backed interim government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, criminalizing all its activities, its financing and even membership to the group from which the country’s ousted president hails.
The announcement is a dramatic escalation of the fight between the government and group, which has waged near-daily protests since the July 3 popularly backed military coup that toppled President Mohammed Morsi.
Hossam Eissa, the Minister of Higher Education, read out the cabinet statement after long meeting, saying: “The cabinet has declared the Muslim Brotherhood group and its organization as a terrorist organization.”
Like his supporters, USSecretary of State John Kerry has apparently been asleep for the past 20 years.
Kerry has proffered us security arrangements, which he claims will protect Israel from aggression for the long haul. They will do this, he argues, despite the fact that his plan denies the Jewish state physically defensible borders in the framework of a peace deal with the PLO.
There are several serious problems with Kerry's arrangements.
But in the context of Kerry's repeated claims that his commitment to Israel's security is unqualified, their most glaring flaws are rooted in their disregard for all the lessons we have learned over the past two decades.
Kerry's security arrangements rest on three assumptions. First, they assume that the main threats Israel will face in an era of "peace" with the Palestinians will emanate from east of the Jordan River. The main two scenarios that have been raised are the threat of terrorists and advanced weaponry being smuggled across the border; and a land invasion or other type of major aggression against Israel, perpetrated by Iraqis moving across Jordan.
It is to fend off these threats, Kerry argues, that he would agree to a temporary deployment of Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley even after Israel expels all or most of the 650,000 Israeli civilians who live in Judea, Samaria and eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem.
We will consider the strategic wisdom of his plans for defending Israel from threats east of the Jordan River presently. But first we need to ask whether a threat from across the border would really be the only significant threat that Israel would face after surrendering Judea, Samaria and much of Jerusalem to the PLO.
The answer to this question is obvious to every Israeli who has been awake for the past 20 years, since Israel started down the "land for peace" road with the PLO.
The greatest threat Israel will face in an era of "peace" with the Palestinians will not come from east of the Jordan. It will come from west of the Jordan — from the Jew-free Palestinian state.
The Palestinians don't give us peace for land. They give us war for land. Whether they support the PLO, Hamas or anything in between, the Palestinians have used every centimeter of land that Israel has given them as launching bases for terrorist and political attacks against Israel.
Back in halcyon 1990s, Israeli supporters of "land for peace" told us, "It's better to be smart than right."
By this they meant that for peace, we should be willing to give up our historical homeland, and even our eternal capital, despite the fact that they are ours by legal and historic right. That peace, they promised, would protect us, neutralize the threat of terrorism and make the entire Arab world love us.
Over the past 20 years, we learned that all these wise men were fools. Even as the likes of Tom Friedman and Jeremy Ben Ami continue to tell us that the choice is between ideology — that is, Jewish rights and honor — and peace, today we know that they are full of it.
Our most peaceful periods have been those in which we have been fully deployed in Judea and Samaria. The more fully we deploy, the more we exercise our legal and national rights to sovereign power in those areas, the safer and more peaceful Israeli and Palestinian societies alike have been.
We won't get peace for land. We will get war — not from the Iraqis or anyone else to our east, but from the Palestinians. And since the Palestinians are the people Kerry is intending to empower with his peace plan and his security arrangements, both his peace plan and his security arrangements are deeply dangerous and hostile.
The third foundation of Kerry's security arrangements is that Israel can trust America's security guarantees.
This position of course was completely discredited by the nuclear deal that Kerry and President Barack Obama have concluded with Iran, which paves the way for the genocidal Islamic Republic to acquire nuclear weapons. After the Iran deal, only the most reckless and irresponsible Israeli leaders could take American security guarantees at face value.
Israelis frustrate the land-for-peace processors from Washington because we have actually been awake for the past 20 years. And we refuse forget what we know.
Land for peace was killed by Palestinian terrorists.
Jordan is not forever.
And US security guarantees are about as useful as a three dollar bill.
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