Hostage Released From Syrian Prison Says he Overheard Rebel Captors Admitting Insurgents Used The Chemical Weapons (Video)September 10, 2013
US officials are claiming that Prime Minister Netanyahu has agreed to release 40 ‘Palestinian’ terrorists as a ‘goodwill gesture’ in order to jumpstart ‘talks.’ The move – which would not be conditioned on any reciprocal Palestinian steps – is reportedly intended to convey Israel’s seriousness about returning to peace talks. The offer is said to include the eventual release of up to 104 other prisoners, steps that would be taken once negotiations were underway. Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry are now waiting for a response to the offer from Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. Should he agree, the prisoners will be released over the coming weeks, during the Muslim holy period of Ramadan. The 40 prisoners in question have been deemed by Israel’s Shin Bet security service to not represent a public danger, though they were originally convicted on terrorism charges. They could not enter Israel without special permission, as none are Israeli citizens or residents of East Jerusalem. The gesture comes at a time when Abbas is under increasing pressure to respond to repeated Israeli calls to return to the negotiating table without preconditions. In its lead story on Thursday, Yedioth Ahronoth quoted “foreign sources” to the effect that Abbas will be unable to withstand the growing pressure placed on him by Kerry, and will ultimately agree to return to talks. They also predicted, however, that he will shortly thereafter walk away, blast Israel for intransigence, and renew the PA campaign for recognition in various UN agencies. Two months ago Abbas rejected an Israeli-American offer to free 60 prisoners in a bid to return to negotiations. Should he decline this offer as well, the sources said, Abbas will send a clear message that he is uninterested in returning to the negotiating table. The terrorists include the perpetrators of some memorable and heinous terror attacks in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s. Read the whole thing.
“The problem of peace in the Middle East is the American administration more than Israel,” Ahmad said, adding that Kerry “brings nothing new in his pocket, not even a small step, especially with regards to the settlements or an [Israeli] commitment to the two-state solution.”July 1, 2013
Obviously the State Dept has learned nothing from #Benghazi. Enabling #Jihad in the name of activismMay 20, 2013
(Carl) Rick Richman reminds us that Sunday is the 9th anniversary of the famous Bush letter that effectively promised Israel the ‘settlement blocs.’ At the time, the letter was overwhelmingly endorsed by both Houses of Congress, but in 2009, President Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, tried to pretend that it didn’t exist, and Obama has continued to behave as if the letter did not exist.
US Secretary of State John FN Kerry is unable to pretend the letter didn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to back Israel’s position. Rick Richman explains.
At an April 9 press conference in Tel Aviv, Bow Shapira from Israeli TV (Channel 1) told Kerry he wanted to ask about “a guarantee from the past”–the 2004 Bush letter, which he described as “telling that blocs of settlements can stay, cannot [be] removed from the territory.” His question about the guarantee was straightforward: “well, does it exist?” Kerry responded in part as follows:
I remember that commitment very well because I was running for president then, and I personally have supported the notion that the situation on the ground has changed, and obviously, we’re talking about blocs that are in a very different status. I’m not going to get into telling you what ought to happen with respect to any particular piece of geography today because that’s for the parties to decide in their negotiation. But I have certainly supported the notion publicly myself that we need to deal with the ’67 lines, plus the swaps that reflect some of the changes that have taken place since then.
It is not surprising that Kerry remembered the commitment so well. He appeared on “Meet the Press” on April 18, 2004–four days after the Bush letter was issued–and was asked directly about it by Tim Russert:
MR. RUSSERT: On Thursday, President Bush … said that Israel can keep part of the land seized in the 1967 Middle East War and asserted the Palestinian refugees cannot go back to their particular homes. Do you support President Bush?
SEN. KERRY: Yes.
MR. RUSSERT: Completely?
SEN. KERRY: Yes.
Kerry’s response to the Israeli reporter last week is significant, because he recognized: (1) that the Bush letter was in fact a commitment, subsequently endorsed by both the Senate (95-3) and the House (407-9) in concurrent resolutions; and (2) that he supported it at the time, in unambiguous terms.
But it is indicative of the continuing problem President Obama created with his refusal in 2009 to endorse the Bush letter that an Israeli reporter felt it necessary to ask whether the U.S. commitment exists. The president has been attempting to assure Israelis with his have-your-back, all-options-on-the-table rhetorical commitments, but they remember that in the past he did not feel constrained to respect even a written commitment to Israel.
Given that Obama doesn’t live up to his commitments, why should Israel give up real assets to appease him?