Newscast Media MOSCOW—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on a
flight to Russia on Wednesday morning to discuss the Iranian nuclear plan with
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The meeting between the two sides would take place at a time while the P5+1
nations’ delegates set to meet with Iranian officials for possible deal on curbing Iran’s
Netanyahu is expected to share his concerns from the upcoming agreement with the
Russian president and will try to persuade Russia to take a tougher stance towards
Iran, as France did in the last round of talks.
Following France’s hard stance, the western nations now demand Iran stop the
construction of its heavy waters reactor in Arak and to stop enriching uranium as well
as ridding itself of its stockpiles of enriched uranium.
According to an Israeli official who wished to remain anonymous, Netanyahu is aware
that Russia will not display a hard line approach towards Iran and that the visit has
more to do with damage control rather than stopping the diplomatic process with
The United States is gearing up for a potential deal with Iran. U.S. President Barack
Obama urged senators on Tuesday to delay voting on another round of sanctions to
be implemented on Iran.
At the moment, there are still substantial gaps between Iran and the P5+1 nations
and the chances to sign an agreement soon are small. Putin may be interested in
taking a leading role in bridging the gaps on the Iranian issue as Russia has done on
the issue of the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile.
The differences between Israel and the U.S. approach towards Iran had caused
mounting tensions between the two countries, with Netanyahu warning that easing
the sanctions without getting guarantees from the Iranians will be an “existential
threat” to its security.
Newscast Media GENEVA—Israel will not be bound to any agreements reached between Iran and the six world powers, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prior to his departure from Israel on Friday.
Netanyahu met with Kerry at the airport on Friday morning, just before Kerry was tocontinue on to Geneva to join the talks between Iran and the Western countries.
The meeting was described as “tense” with Netanyahu saying that Israel vehemently opposes the apparent deal that seems to come into play on the Iranian nuclear plan.
“I hear that the Iranians are walking in Geneva with a smile on their faces, and they have good reason for it,” Netanyahu said, according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“They got everything they wanted and gave nothing. They’ll get a decrease in sanctions but they won’t reduce their enrichment capabilities, so Iran got the deal of the century,” the prime minister added.
“Israel rejects this plan completely… Israel will not be committed to such an agreement and will do whatever is necessary to protect itself,” he said. Netanyahu also tied that sentiment to the peace process with the Palestinians, and said that Israel, on this topic as well, will “not compromise on its safety and vital interests up against international pressure.”
“No amount of pressure will make me or the Israeli government compromise on the security and national interests of Israel,” he said in that respect.
Kerry expanded his stay in the Mideast on Thursday to try and salvage the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but decided to join world powers in Geneva after an invitation by the European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton.
Kerry’s eighth visit to the region started on Wednesday with shuttle diplomacy between Jerusalem and Ramallah to overcome major roadblocks in the talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Newscast Media JERUSALEM—During his visit to Israel, Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put their differences aside and agreed to cooperate in resolving tension between Israel and the Arab world. Netanyahu said that his country could not cede its right to self defense to others, with visiting US President Barack Obama re-assuring his enduring support for the security of the Jewish State.
“Today we have both the right and the capability to defend ourselves. As you said earlier today, the essence of the State of Israel, the essence of the rebirth of the Jewish state, is the fulfillment of the age-old dream of the Jewish people: to be masters of our fate in our own state,” Mr. Netanyahu said.
“That is why I know that you appreciate that Israel never cede the right to defend ourselves to others, even to the greatest of our friends, and Israel has no better friend than the United States of America. Thank you for unequivocally affirming Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself by itself against any threat,” he added.
Mr. Obama said his commitment to Israel is non-negotiable.
“As leaders, our most solemn responsibility is the security of our people. That’s job number 1. My job as President of the United States is first and foremost is to keep the American people safe. Bibi, as Prime Minister, your first task is to keep the people of Israel safe. And Israel’s security needs are truly unique, as I’ve seen myself.
“As President I have therefore made it clear America’s commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a solemn obligation, and the security of Israel is non-negotiable” Obama emphasized.
Obama also pledged $200 million this fiscal year to help Israel fund the Iron Dome.
“As a result of decisions that I made last year Israel will receive approximately $200 million this fiscal year and we will continue to work with Congress on future funding of Iron Dome,” Obama said.
In regard to Iran, Obama said that he prefers to resolve the nuclear issue diplomatically, but said the military option was not ruled out and that all options were on the table in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Last week Tehran responded to threats of a military strike against it by declaring that all its options were on the table too.
Newscast Media CAIRO, Egypt—In an offensive move against rogue militants, for the first time since 1973, Egypt is preparing to send aircrafts and tanks to the Sinai Peninsula, while Israel has also announced it will deploy an air defense system near the Egyptian border. The move is in response to the August 5, attack in which 16 Egyptian border agents were killed.
The situation in which Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi finds himself, is analyzed by Middle Eastern journalist Abdel Rahman Youssef of Al Akhbar news:
“Whatever view he [Mursi] takes of the incident, and however he responds to it and its perceived perpetrators, Mursi risks setting himself at odds either with the Islamist movements and some of the country’s revolutionary forces, or with the military. Similarly, he stands to discredit either himself, by appearing ineffectual, or the Islamists as a whole, by allowing them to be depicted as a scourge and a source of disturbances in the country.
“Mursi would find himself in an extremely awkward position vis-a-vis the Islamists if he were succumb to such pressure to blame Palestinian groups for the incident, and acquiesce to a response that effectively reinstates the blockade of the Gaza Strip – something he and his group have long and vociferously opposed.
“This could amount to a first attempt to put Mursi at loggerheads with the Islamist movement which propelled him to office, with the aim of “burning” him. He would be depicted as two-faced, backing down to the ruling establishment and the enemies of the resistance, letting down fellow Arabs and Muslims, and indecision and ineffectiveness over Gaza and in general.
If, however, Mursi were to adopt the other view, that the Israelis were involved in the attack, he would also find himself in a bind, as he would be bound to respond against Israel and its accomplices to punish those responsible for killing the soldiers.
“This would not be easy to do, given Mursi’s declared commitment to respecting all international treaties, including the Camp David agreement which ties Egypt’s hands in the Sinai peninsula, especially in Area “C” adjacent to the border,” Youssef concluded.
Newscast Media JERUSALEM (Xinhua) — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday refuted recent media reports that Israel is gearing to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“At the moment, we have no intention to act (against Iran). However, the State of Israel is far from being ‘frozen in fear,’ or unable to take steps against the threat of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons,” Barak told Israeli public radio.
He said that while Israel and the United States were in an agreement on how to deal with the threat, “We don’t see eye to eye on everything.”
Barak’s comments came after U.S. military chief General Martin Dempsey said Wednesday that it was unclear whether Israel would alert his country prior to an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.
Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, also acknowledged that the U.S. and its ally were at odds over the best way to approach Iran’s nuclear program, with the former being convinced that sanctions and diplomatic pressure are the right path to follow.
The release of a report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last month confirmed long-voiced concerns by Israel’s leadership that Iran was clandestinely pursuing a nuclear program with military goals.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials have since called on the international community to make an all-out effort to stop Iran’s drive to acquire nuclear weaponry by sanctioning the Islamic Republic’s oil and gas sector and central bank.
The U.S. partially heeded the call, announcing a new round of sanctions against Iran on Nov. 21 that target its petrochemicals industry. Britain, France, Canada and some other countries said they would join U.S. efforts to intensify punitive financial measures against Iran.
Despite the latest statements by Barak and Dempsey, both Israel and the U.S. have not ruled out the option of a military strike to thwart Tehran’s nuclear drive. Following the publication of the IAEA report, Barak said that Israel was not relying exclusively on “lethal” international sanctions to keep atomic weapons out of Iranian reach.
“As long as no such sanctions have been imposed and proven effective, we continue to recommend to our friends in the world and to ourselves, not to take any option off the table,” Barak said.
According to Israeli media, Barak and Netanyahu have already sought a cabinet majority for a military strike.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful — mainly geared to produce electricity. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned that a harsh response would follow an attack on his country’s nuclear facilities.
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas –In a move that reverses a pledge to Saudi, European and Egyptian officials to hold off on asking the United Nations to recognize as a new state Israel’s occupied Palestinian territories, sources told the middle eastern news website DEBKAfile that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has decided to go through with his application to the U.N. Security Council on Sept. 23 for the admission of a Palestinian state to the world body.
DEBKAfile reports that during his visit to Cairo, Mahmoud Abbas was sternly warned by Saud al Faisal, Ashton and Egyptian leaders of the grave consequences awaiting the Palestinians if he forced the US to exercise its veto against their statehood at the UN Security Council. US President Barack Obama Tuesday made it crystal clear that he “objects very strongly” to the Palestinian statehood motion as “counterproductive” and “a distraction from solving problems that can only be addressed through negotiations.”
US sources report that the US President has refused to talk to Abbas for the past eight months owing to his refusal to join Israel for direct peace talks. He was advised by the Europeans, the Saudis and Egyptians this week that the US presidential boycott would almost certainly extend to fellow Palestinian leaders and US financial aid.
The Palestinian Authority would thus be placed under American sanctions. However, if he withdrew his statehood bid from the Security Council and accepted the new position paper, Obama would consider restoring communications.
Tuesday, Sept. 13, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “The path to creating an independent Palestinian state lies through direct talks between Ramallah and Jerusalem – not New York,” she said. Early Wednesday, the General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar reported that the Palestinians had not yet submitted their request to the General Assembly. It would therefore not come up for debate before October.
DEBKAfile’s sources report that while Mahmoud Abbas appears to have been hassled into a partial climb-down from his original plan to bypass talks with Israel by gaining UN approval of Palestinian statehood, he may not have caved in completely. Neither is it clear whether Netanyahu will swallow the new blueprint Tony Blair is about to dish up. http://www.newscastmedia.com/palestine-state.html
Newscast Media – US President Barack Obama has urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders not to let the chance of a permanent peace deal “slip away”.
“This moment of opportunity may not soon come again,” he said, pledging the US would support the new negotiations.
Mr Obama spoke the day before a new round of direct talks between Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was due to begin.Earlier, he condemned the “senseless slaughter” of four Israeli settlers. They were shot dead by gunmen in the West Bank on Tuesday.
Mr Obama spoke at the White House on Wednesday evening after meetings with Mr Netanyahu, Mr Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
His remarks came on the eve of the first direct negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in 20 months, which he said were “intended to resolve all final status issues”.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday called Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas “my partner in peace” and said he was seeking a peace to end the Middle East conflict “once and for all.”
Barack Obama opened a new round of Mideast peacemaking Wednesday, bringing Israeli and Palestinian leaders to the White House for talks aimed at forging agreement within one year on a two-state solution.
“Our goal is to forge a secure and durable peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We do not seek a brief interlude between two wars. We do not seek a temporary respite between outbursts of terror,” Netanyahu said.
But a row over settlements threatened to derail the fragile talks, as a top Palestinian official said that any resumption of Israeli settlement construction would spell the end of the peace talks.
“The settlements must be halted and continuing them will signal the end of the peace process,” said Palestinian spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina. http://newscastmedia.com/peacetalks.htm