Syrian rebels set up a British journalist for death. Hamas terrorist basks in legitimacy of UK op-ed soapbox. Convicted of corruption in absentia, Yasser Arafat’s financial advisor begins “settling accounts” with Fatah.
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Israel and the Palestinians
• It always gets my goat when The Guardian gives op-ed space to terrorists. This time around, the soapbox goes to Hamas honcho Ismail Haniyeh, who says Hamas is more sinned against than sinning — even in matters of national unity:
We extend our hand to all those who seek a just peace to work seriously to end the occupation and help us establish our state, which the world has already recognised.
We recognise that this requires a Palestinian unity that we seek to achieve. But external pressure has stood in the way, obstructing the path to political equality and national reconciliation. We believe that the absence of international recognition of the Palestinian democratic election of 2006, won by Hamas, has contributed to the current state of division, and to the creation of a weak Palestinian side that has fallen prey to accepting concessions on the rights of its people.
Haniyeh’s commentary was part of a bigger package of The Guardian’s Gaza Live. This included five videos, an Amira Hass commentary, and more. An editor’s note junks the UN’s Palmer Report to explain the paper’s exercise:
What is the Guardian’s position on Gaza?
The Guardian’s leader line is that the Gaza blockade is illegal in international law, that it constitutes collective punishment, and that it has not had its intended political outcome, which was to kill support for Hamas, drive a permanent wedge between it and Fatah and divide the Palestinians.
Robin Shepherd responded to Gaza Live by calling The Guardian the most bigoted paper in Britain.
• Palestinian free speech and free press are tanking. Lori Lowenthal Marcus explains The Silence Abbas and the PA Want You to Hear.
• Jerusalem Post: The PA set conditions for peace talks with Israel. For formal talks, Israel has to fully freeze settlement activity. For informal peace talks, the PA wants a prisoner release and permission to import weapons. The BBC adds Abbas will “accept” non-member UN status too. But Maan News adds that the PA engaged in some free secret talks with no strings attached. Saeb Erekat is such a tease . . .
• The Palestinians scored a modest diplomatic victory when the PA’s UN observer, Riyad Mansour, attended a UN conference on maritime law as a “representative of Palestine.” Israel Hayom writes:
According to Mansour, this is the first time that ‘Palestine’ has been represented as a state at the U.N. ‘Palestine’ is currently only an “observer” at the UN.
• CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour talked about the state of the peace talks with Hanan Ashrawi and Aaron David Miller. Ashrawi was in form blaming Israel for everything, while Miller discussed Netanyahu’s current political clout. Absent from the discussion: Hamas/Fatah disunity and Abbas’s refusal to negotiate.
• AP: Yasser Arafat’s long-time financial advisor, Mohammed Rashid, was convicted in absentia of embezzlement and money laundering. Rashid fired back revealing the existence of a secret $39 million Fatah bank account in Jordan. The Jerusalem Post writes:
He said that only PA President Mahmoud Abbas and two of his associates were authorized to deal with the secret account.
“According to my documents, $13 million came for the US, while the remaining sum came from friendly Arab countries,” Rashid said. He challenged Abbas to deny the existence of the account, saying he would then reveal the identity of the two associates and the name of the bank and the Arab countries that deposited the money.
• Where are the Palestinian moderates? asks Khaled Abu Toameh:
Can anyone in the Palestinian territories or the Arab world form a party that advocates peace, coexistence and harmony with Israel? On the contrary, the only voices that are being heard among Palestinians and other Arabs are those who seek to boycott and delegitimize Israel . . . .
The Palestinians have been radicalized to a point where it is almost impossible to talk about peace and coexistence with Israel.
• The PLO’s top US envoy plugs statehood in a Wall St. Journal (click via Google News). Maen Ariekat’s too polite to mention his vision of a Judenrein Palestinian state. See other Palestinian op-eds in the Christian Science Monitor and Foreign Policy.