Fallout from Breakdown of Peace Talks Continues

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Today’s Top Stories

1. The fallout from the breakdown of the peace talks continues. Israel has expressed its disappointment with John Kerry’s remarks. Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph carries an interview with Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz who says that Israel has proposed a deal to rescue the peace talks, offering to release 26 prisoners if the Palestinian leadership “cancels” its bid for greater international recognition.

Meanwhile, amid the pessimism, Steven Spiegel is upbeat, arguing in the LA Times that no deals are struck in the Middle East without major crises and urging Kerry to continue plugging away:

Arab-Israeli talks are not for the weak-hearted. Perseverance is the key. Quitting now would be like giving up when you’re down by a couple touchdowns early in the fourth quarter. The Bradys and the Mannings pull out the victories under highly adverse-looking circumstances. Whatever they say, Israelis and Palestinians thrive on these kinds of confrontations, and Kerry does too. That’s why now is not the time to give up. If he wants any chance of succeeding, Kerry should just be getting started.

Bob Carr

Bob Carr

2. There’s trouble Down Under as the Australian Jewish leadership responds to former foreign minister Bob Carr’s claims that the “Israel lobby” has undue influence over the Australian government:

“No lobby in Australia, I understand, has that kind of influence. It’s laughable,’’ said Mr Danby, a Jewish MP and strong supporter of Israel.

Key Jewish leader Mark Leibler also rejected the former foreign minister’s assertion that the pro-Israel lobby wielded “extraordinary influence’’ on Labor’s policy under Julia Gillard.

In his new book, Mr Carr says Ms Gillard subcontracted out Middle East policymaking to the powerful Israel lobby in Melbourne, which had its own “falafel faction” in Labor’s caucus.

He says “extreme right-wing’’ lobbyists had had an “unhealthy’’ influence on Australia’s policy towards Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Mark Liebler dissects all of Bob Carr’s claims in an op-ed published in The Age.

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3. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control, Michael Theurer highlights major dysfunctions in the management of EU financial support to the Palestinian Authority:

How can we ensure that EU financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority helps advance peace and stability in the region, while also promoting freedom, democracy and the rule of law? How can we guarantee no EU funds are used to reward terrorism? How can we be sure that EU money meant for public investment doesn’t wind up in private Palestinian bank accounts?

The report from the European Court of Auditors is a wake-up call on the need for stricter supervision of how EU funding to the Palestinian Authority is spent. The plenary of the European Parliament last week passed a resolution calling for greater transparency in EU aid to the Palestinian Authority.

4. Palestinian gunmen on Thursday fired mortars at IDF soldiers patrolling along the border with the Gaza Strip. The soldiers returned fire into Gaza. There were no reports of casualties in the exchange.


Israel and the Palestinians

 Israel launches a new spy satellite. Ofek 10 is expected to observe Iran and Mideast terror groups.

 Is support for Israel waning among evangelicals?

• The Independent carries a feature article looking at reactions to Israel’s ultra-orthodox draft law from both sides of the divide.

 Recommended reading: Norman Podhoretz explains why he has no pity for the Palestinians in the Wall Street Journal:

With this we come to the main reason I believe that the Palestinians do not deserve any sympathy, let alone the astonishing degree of it they do receive (and not least from many of my fellow Jews). It is that ever since the day of Israel’s birth in 1948, they have never ceased declaring that their goal is to wipe it off the map. In all other contexts, this would be called by its rightful name of genocide and condemned by all decent people. Yet—here we go topsy-turvy again—for any and every step Israel takes to defend itself against so shamelessly evil an intent, it is the Israelis who are obsessively condemned at the U.N. and by the increasingly strident propagators of what calls itself “anti-Zionism” but is also increasingly indistinguishable from anti-Semitism.

Rest O’ the Roundup

 An Iranian diplomat that America is refusing to accept as Tehran’s next ambassador to the United Nations was implicated in the death of an Iranian dissident in Rome in the 1990s, court documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph reveal.

 Meanwhile, the latest round of Iranian nuclear talks continues.

 And while all of this is going on, The Guardian has nothing better to report on than the latest ex-employee of the Netanyahu household to launch an attack on the PM’s wife.

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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