Archive | September 17th, 2011

Tapping the Zionist Embassy

NOVANEWS

 

By Philip Giraldi

Shamai Leibowitz, an FBI Hebrew translator, was arrested in May 2010 for revealing restricted information consisting of five reports classified “secret” to an unidentified blogger. He confessed—explaining that he had been trying to reveal illegal activity—repented, and was sentenced to a minimum term of 20 months in prison. He has now been released. There was considerable speculation over what Leibowitz, a left-wing, Israel-born dual national, had actually revealed. A New York newspaper claimed that the information had gone to a “pro-Palestinian Arab group.”

In reality, Leibowitz, who had top-secret clearance, was working as the translator for an undercover FBI counterintelligence team operating out of Calverton, Maryland. The FBI was tapping into all the telephone lines and cell phone numbers associated with diplomats and intelligence officers working out of the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the United Nations in New York.

The Israelis practiced good communications security when they were on their phones speaking English, but they were reportedly extremely reckless when speaking Hebrew because they believed that they could not be understood. The FBI compiled a thick dossier on Israeli diplomats and spies and was able to establish linkages to a number of other targets of interest. Analyzing the Hebrew recordings, Leibowitz identified a number of hidden relationships with U.S. government officials and the media, as well as advocacy groups like AIPAC and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

What the FBI uncovered was a massive and highly focused campaign referred to by the Israelis as “perception management,” but which the CIA would refer to as a covert action. Much of the activity was illegal or incompatible with the role of foreign diplomats in the United States, which is why Leibowitz took action after his supervisors refused to proceed with prosecution. The focus was on Iran, with Israeli officials intent on preparing the American public for war against the mullahs. They were spreading disinformation on Iran’s nuclear program, promoting international sanctions, and trying to obtain Washington’s support for an ultimatum on the nuclear program as a final diplomatic gesture that would be turned down by Iran, leading to war with the U.S. playing the lead role.

The Israeli Embassy’s activities consisted of drafting articles and editorials that were placed with an accommodating media, paying journalists to write pieces making the same points, and working closely with groups like WINEP and AIPAC to present policymakers with a coordinated list of arguments for war. At least one congressman from Indiana was approached directly by Israeli intelligence and agreed to host an anti-Iran conference as well as to introduce legislation tightening Iran sanctions. The recorded telephone conversation between an Israeli intelligence officer and Rep. Jane Harman in April 2009, in which she agreed to intervene on behalf of accused AIPAC spies Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman in exchange for chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee, was also part of the special FBI counterintelligence operation.

Leibowitz’s concern that the illegal activity would not be prosecuted by the Justice Department proved correct. No Israeli or American named in the extensive FBI investigative dossier has been in any way punished.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest

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US DOJ tax probe leads to IsraHell banks

NOVANEWS


The U.S. pursuit of offshore tax evaders is widening to include Israel, where U.S. authorities are scrutinizing three of Israel’s largest banks over suspicions their Swiss outposts helped American clients evade taxes, people briefed on the matter said.

The banks under scrutiny by the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal tax division are Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi le-Israel BM and Mizrahi-Tefahot, the sources said.

The shift to Israel from Switzerland, for years the main focus of the Justice Department’s campaign against offshore private banking secrecy, signals the broadening of a landmark probe by the agency that began in 2007 with UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest bank.

The shift also opens up a potential sore spot in the historically close relationship between the United States and Israel, a key diplomatic and military ally in the Middle East that is the biggest recipient of U.S. aid — $3.1 billion last year.

U.S.-Israeli relations have come under strain in the past year, after U.S. President Barack Obama’s drive to relaunch direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed, although both sides say their decades-old alliance remains unshaken.

The scrutiny of the three Swiss branches of the Israeli banks is at an early stage and has not reached the level of that of Credit Suisse, which received a target letter from the Justice Department in July, or of HSBC Holdings, a major European bank, and Basler Kantonalbank, a Swiss cantonal bank, said the people briefed on the matter.

U.S.-SWISS ARRANGEMENT CITED

Aviram Cohen, a spokesman for Bank Leumi in Tel Aviv, wrote in an e-mailed statement on Thursday that “the request was for general statistical data. It appears that this data was to serve as a basis for a comprehensive arrangement between the Swiss and American Authorities. Obviously, Bank Leumi Switzerland is cooperating fully with the Authorities, in accordance with Swiss Law and under legal advisement.”

A spokesman for the Bank of Israel, the country’s central bank, said on Thursday the agency “cannot comment on questions that refer to specific banking corporations.” One person briefed on the matter said the U.S. Justice Department “tries to deal with the entity, not the government” in its crackdown on tax evasion.

The scrutiny comes during a wide-ranging campaign by the Justice Department to force nearly a dozen Swiss banks now under scrutiny to pay collectively billions of dollars in fines and admit to criminal wrongdoing.

The focus turned to Israel with a letter dated August 31 from the second-highest law enforcement official in the United States, Deputy Attorney General James Cole. Cole gave the three Israeli banks, along with seven Swiss banks, until September 23 to produce broad statistical information on their Swiss operations with U.S. clients.

The data requested, according to people briefed on the matter, cover the types of accounts disclosed by UBS in 2009 as part of a deal with the Justice Department to settle U.S. charges that it enabled scores of wealthy Americans to evade billions of dollars in taxes. It also covers other types of accounts, including those opened after the UBS settlement with the Justice Department in February 2009.

Under its settlement, UBS entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement, paid a $780 million fine, admitted to criminal wrongdoing, and eventually disclosed details for clients who had unreported accounts of at least 1 million Swiss francs (about $1.15 million) or who owned sham company accounts with that total. The accounts in question covered 2001 through 2008.

10 BANKS

While UBS turned over client names, the Cole letter requests only broad, statistical information on how many American taxpayers hold those types of accounts at the 10 banks covered in the letter, the persons briefed on the matter said. In addition to the three Israeli banks, institutions that received the letter include Credit Suisse AG; HSBC; Julius Baer and Wegelin, both smaller private banks, and Basler Kantonalbank.

All the banks are being questioned on suspicion of having enabled wealthy Americans to evade taxes, a criminal offense, through unreported bank accounts, people briefed in the matter said. Some banks, including Credit Suisse, also are suspected of lying to the U.S. Federal Reserve and providing unlicensed banking services to American clients.

American officials are concerned that the 10 banks appear to have accepted hidden money from American clients who fled UBS in the wake of its scrutiny and assertions by Swiss officials that offshore tax evasion would not be tolerated under the cloak of Swiss bank secrecy rules, the people briefed on the matter said.

Swiss banks argue that U.S. laws, which do not distinguish between tax fraud and tax evasion, should not apply to Switzerland. The Alpine country has a tradition of financial secrecy that punishes the disclosure of client data.

David Garvin, a tax lawyer in Miami representing American clients of offshore banks, said, “Israel isn’t really anxious to be viewed as turning people over.”

A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington did not respond to questions.

NO COMMENT

Benny Shoukron, a spokesman for Mizrahi-Tefahot in Tel Aviv, did not respond to requests for comment. Ofra Preuss, a spokeswoman for Bank Hapoalim in Tel Aviv, referred calls to the bank’s Swiss branch in Zurich, Bank Hapoalim (Switzerland), saying, “They’re separate from us.” A spokeswoman for the Swiss branch declined to return calls requesting comment.

Datan Dorot, a tax lawyer in Miami who represents U.S. clients of Israeli banks, said that bankers from an Israeli branch of Bank Leumi called his clients about six weeks ago to tell them they needed to close their accounts at the bank’s Swiss branches because of scrutiny by the Justice Department.

Many of his clients, Dorot said, hold dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship and had opened their Israeli accounts with Israeli passports and not disclosed their U.S. citizenship — a factor that makes them U.S. taxpayers.

Dorot said Bank Leumi’s advice that clients close the accounts — and presumably open new accounts elsewhere — could cause problems for the clients because the U.S. Internal Revenue Service does not consider merely closing the account to be enough; the U.S. taxpayer must also report the account to the IRS and pay taxes on it. “The Israeli banks are suggesting a very bad idea,” Dorot said.

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Libyan transitional government gets UN seat

NOVANEWS

UNITED NATIONS: The UN General Assembly on Friday gave Libya’s UN seat to the National Transitional Council which toppled Moamer Kadhafi.The 193-member assembly voted 114 to 17 to let representatives of the council take over Libya’s UN mission in the face of opposition from left-wing Latin American governments. Some African nations called for a decision to be postponed. (AFP)

 

UN General Assembly backs TNC as official representative of Libya

The UN Security Council was also prepares a resolution, which once adopted would deploy a mission to support the TNC for an initial period of three months.

Haaretz

The UN General Assembly voted 114-17 on Friday to recognize the Transitional National Council as the official representative of Libya in the United Nations.

The 193-nation assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing the council’s envoys to take over the UN seat of the Muammar Gadhafi regime and to participate in the debates of the 66th session.

There were also 15 countries that abstained, including Saudi Arabia.

The 17 countries that opposed the TNC inclusion included African countries such as South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe and Latin American countries including Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia.

Nicaragua said it objected because the Libyan revolution against the Gadhafi regime was backed by NATO and it was “not a real revolution.”

“Revolution cannot be but authentic, not made by proxy or can never be seized by a cupola of states with clear hegemonic interests,” said the Nicaraguan envoy Maria de Chamorro.

The assembly in April suspended Libya’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in protest against Gadhafi’s alleged killing of civilian protesters.

The UN Security Council was also preparing a resolution, which once adopted would deploy a mission to support the TNC for an initial period of three months. The mission’s tasks would include post-conflict reconstruction and the restoration of institutions, drafting a new constitution and organizing elections.

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IsraHell to Retroactively Legalize Settlements on Private Palestinian Land

NOVANEWS
 

Officials Aim to Allow Further Construction in Massive Settlement

antiwar.com

In a move which Israeli officials say would allow the massive settlement of Ofra to grow even further, they informed the High Court that they intend to retroactively legalize all homes within the settlement, including those built illegally on privately held Palestinian land.

In 2005 the Israeli government announced that it would only approve construction in settlements if it came within legally defined jurisdictions for those settlements. It seems now, however, that those that don’t will simply be redefined.

It is also expected to spark more lawsuits by the actual owners of the land, as one lawyer representing the Palestinian families said it showed that the settlers only ever purchased a small portion of the land they have taken, and the rest was “just looted from their owners.”

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Gadhafi aide: NATO airstrike hits residential area, kills 354 civilians

NOVANEWS

Spokesman of beleaguered despot says NATO launched 30 rockets at Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte, targeting a major hotel as well as residential apartments.

Reuters

Muammar Gadhafi’s spokesman told Reuters on Saturday that NATO air strikes on Sirte overnight had hit a residential building and a hotel, killing 354 people.

His claim could not immediately be verified as Sirte, Gadhafi’s hometown, has been largely cut off from communication since the fall of Tripoli.

“We are aware of these allegations,” Colonel Roland Lavoie, spokesman for the Western military alliance, said in Brussels.

“It is not the first time such allegations have been made. Most often, they are revealed to be unfounded or inconclusive.”

Moussa Ibrahim, in a call from a satellite phone to Reuters office in Tunis, said: “NATO attacked the city of Sirte last night with more than 30 rockets directed at the city’s main hotel and the Tamin building, which consists of more than 90 residential apartments.

“The result is more than 354 dead and 89 still missing and almost 700 injured in one night.”

Ibrahim said Gadhafi was personally directing loyalist fighters who are holding back provisional government forces at his remaining strongholds in Libya.

“He is leading all aspects of this struggle. He is talking to the people, he is lecturing, he is discussing, he is looking after all matters of the resistance,” he said.

Ibrahim said Gadhafi was in Libya and confident of victory.

“We will be able to continue this fight and we have enough arms for months and months to come,” he said.

“In the last 17 days more than 2,000 residents of the city of Sirte were killed in NATO air strikes,” he said.

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Turkish PM: Syrian Regime Will Fall

NOVANEWS

Erdogan Warns Assad ‘Will Eventually Have to Pay the Price’

antiwar.com

Speaking today at a press conference in Tripoli, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan predicted that his nation’s neighbor and long time ally Syria was soon to undergo a regime change.

“Those who are attacking their people with tanks and guns will not be able to remain in power,” warned Erdogan, adding that Assad “will eventually have to pay the price for this, and that “totalitarian regimes are disappearing.”

Though Turkey has been public with their criticism of the Assad regime’s increasingly bloody crackdown on dissent, Erdogan’s comments are the most straightforward call for regime change yet.

Turkey has been faced with a massive influx of refugees from Syria, and earlier this summer they were reported to be considering invading the northern belt of Syrian territory to create a “buffer zone” to house all of the refugees.

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London Philharmonic suspends musicians for anti-IsraHell remarks

NOVANEWS

According to The Guardian, musicians sanctioned after they signed a letter condemning the IsraHell Philharmonic Orchestra as an instrument of Zionist propaganda.

A report in UK daily The Guardian stated that the London Philharmonic Orchestra has suspended four of its musicians for nine months for adopting its name when they called for the cancellation of an IsraHell orchestra’s concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

According to the Guardian, the orchestra suspended cellist Sue Sutherley, as well as violinists Tom Eisner, Nancy Elan and Sarah Streatfeild until June 2012, after they signed a letter as members of the LPO condemning IsraHell Philharmonic Orchestra as an instrument of Zionist propaganda.

The musicians’ statement claimed that “denials of human rights and violations of international law are hidden behind a cultural smokescreen. The IPO is perhaps Israel’s prime asset in this campaign”, and that IsraHell policy toward the Palestinians “fits the UN definition of apartheid.”

The Guardian’s report states that both Orchestra chief executive Tim Walker, as well as chairman Martin Hohmann released a statement regarding the suspensions, which were meant to send a “strong and clear message that their actions will not be tolerated … the orchestra would never restrict the right of its players to express themselves freely, however such expression has to be independent of the LPO itself.”

The statement also said that the Orchestra has no desire to “end the careers” of the musicians, but that “for the LPO, music and politics to not mix.””

The move comes after protestors interrupted a performance by the IsraHell Philharmonic Orchestra on September 1 during an annual BBC Proms concert series.

Several demonstrators in the venue shouted as Zubin Mehta stood to conduct Bruch’s Violin Concerto, while other audience members booed in response to the protest.

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For Syria’s minorities, Assad is security

NOVANEWS

Majid Rafizadeh

When I asked a Greek-Orthodox Christian Syrian man in Bab-Toma, Damascus, if he agreed with Assad’s socio-political policies he responded that he did not support Assad’s oppressive security apparatus, but under his rule he and his family were able to freely attend church mass each Sunday and celebrate Christian holidays like Christmas each year. He followed up by saying that he had no assurance that any other sect in Syria would protect the Syrian-Christian community. 

In Syria there exists a diverse set of communities strongly bonded by language, region, religion, and ethnicity. The Sykes-Picot Agreement, the secret deal reached between the colonial British and French during World War I, partitioned the Middle East based on British and French interests rather than the interests of those living in Syria.

The result of the arbitrary divisions made the newly formed Syrian nation a highly ethnically and religiously diverse society – without establishing the governing institutions to harmoniously facilitate such a society. This arrangement led to decades of civil war and coup d’états in Syria until the iron-fisted Assad regime rose to power.

Comprising Muslims, Christians, Alawis, Druze and Ishmaelites, in no other country in the Middle East, except for Lebanon, do such a multiplicity of religious and ethnic groups co-exist. The Alawis or Nusayris, who number about 2,400,000, constitute Syria’s largest religious minority.

They mainly live along the coast in Al Ladhiqiyah province, where they form more than 40 per cent of the rural population (the provincial capital, Latakia, itself is largely Sunni).

The second largest minority are the Christians. Christian communities of Syria, which comprise about 10 per cent of the population, hail from both the Roman-Catholic and Protestant traditions. With the exception of the Armenians, most Christians in Syria are ethnically Arab. Syrian Christians are generally urbanites; many live either in or around Damascus, Aleppo, Hama, or Latakia. In general, they are more urbanised than Muslims and they are in relatively higher income brackets.

The Druze community constitutes five per cent of the population, making them the country’s third largest religious minority. The overwhelming majority of Druze reside in Jabal al Arab, a rugged and mountainous region in southwestern Syria.

Additionally, Syria has a very small Arabic-speaking Jewish community, as well as Yazidis who primarily live in the Jazirah and in Aleppo. 

After Syria gained independence in 1946, the various sects and groups living in the region (specifically in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Sweida and Latakia) attempted to gain power to protect their economic and legal rights. Sunni Aleppines competed for dominance with Sunni Damascenes in commercial and political life. The Druze remained solely loyal to the Druze, the Kurds to the Kurds, and tribal peoples to tribal institutions.

Alawis, the largest minority group, rebelled against Sunni-Muslim control.

In the 1970s, there existed ten different cabinets with several coups and countercoups with four different constitutions. Syrian minorities were constantly insecure and frequently subjected to prosecution. The short-lived, pre-Assad regimes were mostly Sunni dominated and there was no considerable governmental protection provided to the Druze, Christian, Shias, Jews, and Alawites.

In Syria, the Paris mandatory administration imposed a confessional system of parliamentary representation similar to that in Beirut, in which specific number of seats were allocated to Sunnis, Christians, Kurds, Druzes, Alawis, Circassians, Turkomans, and Jews. These ethnic and religious groups were guaranteed around 25 per cent of the parliament’s 142 seats.

Minority groups also protested what they believed to be an infringement on their legal and political rights. In 1950, they successfully prevented efforts by the Sunni Muslim president to declare Islam the official state religion of Syria. However, a 1953 bill finally abolished the communal system of parliamentary representation introduced by the French. Additionally, subsequent legislation eliminated separate jurisdictional rights in matters of personal and legal status which the French granted to certain minority groups during the French Mandate.

Successive Syrian administrations, including those of the Amin al-Hafez, Shokri al-Ghowatli and Shishkali governments, have attempted to create a unified Syrian national identity by eliminating the centrifugal effects of sectarianism. Despite these efforts, Syria’s post-independence history was replete with conflict between minority groups and the central government – until President Hafiz al-Assad came to power.

To protect his sect, Assad implemented laws and policies to secure all minorities from the rule of any religious-majority ideology. The Ba’ath party heavily opposed any inclusion of religion in matters of state. This policy against the rule-of-majority ideology culminated in the bloody 1982 massacre which aimed at eliminating the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement strongly opposed to Assad’s radically secular and socialist regime.

The secular socialism of the ruling Ba’ath (Arab Socialist Resurrection) Party de-emphasised Islam as a component of Syrian and Arab nationalism. However, Ba’ath ideology prescribed that non-Muslims respect Islam as their “national culture”.

In general, the Alawite communities in Latakia and Damascus, aside from the Alawite army, hold an important key to change. However, the Alawites will need assurance that their communities will be secure if they are to join forces with Sunni Muslim activists opposing the Assad regime.

Alawite religious and community leaders have attempted to reach out to Sunni religious figures – including leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood – in the past few months, to obtain assurances that their security and well-being will be protected in a post-Assad era.

It is crucial that the Sunni opposition offer such promises, which would encourage the Alawites to join the revolt en masse.

If the Sunni majority is be able to reassure the Alawites and the other minorities – who believe they need the regime’s protection – that they will not be subjected to acts of vengeance after Assad, their participation could significantly strengthen the revolution.

Sunni religious and political leaders can save Syria from a potential sectarian-ethnic war.

Two questions remain: Can Sunni leaders assure Syrian minorities that they will not face reprisals in a post-Assad Syria? And in doing so,can they prevent the current democratic revolts from descending into civil war?

Majid Rafizadeh is an Iranian/Syrian Fulbright teaching scholar, currently conducting research at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is a columnist for Harvard International Review.

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Report claims U.S.-IsraHell rift more than just a clash of personalities

NOVANEWS

New report ‘Crossroads: The Future of the U.S.-IsraHell Strategic Partnership’, claims ‘social and political trends in United States and IsraHell are reshaping politics of both societies’.

Haaretz

It has become conventional wisdom since U.S. President Barack Obama assumed his position two-and-a-half years ago that tensions between Washington and Jerusalem were largely due to personality differences between the U.S. president and Prime Minister Netanyahu. However, a new report, published by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, claims the challenge is much bigger than the lack of the personal chemistry between the two, and can’t be dismissed as merely temporary turbulence.

CSIS Deputy Director of the Middle East Program Haim Malka warned in a new report titled “Crossroads: The Future of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership”, that “social and political trends in the United States and Israel are reshaping the politics of both societies”.
The report expressed alarm over “ the erosion of the intangible elements of support, most importantly the ideal of shared values that had been the glue of the partnership long before the strategic alliance took shape”.

Malka claimed that it is impossible that U.S. and Israeli interests be totally aligned, however he believes that “Israel has become a complicated domestic political issue” in the U.S. alienating younger liberal Jews that disapprove of Israel’s handling of the conflict and lack of religious pluralism.

He also attributed these growing differences to changes within Israeli society, saying “today Israel’s Jewish population is more nationalistic, religiously conservative, and hawkish on foreign policy and security affairs than that of even a generation ago, and it would be unrecognizable to Israel’s founders.”

This, according to Malka, has reshaped Israeli politics and policies, increasingly estranging Israel’s Arab populace.

As these trends in both countries continue to take their course, diplomatic challenges “will likely intensify and spark additional U.S.-Israeli friction”, the report said, necessitating a reevaluation of the relationship, instead of resting upon the ages-old mantra of shared values and interests.

Given United States’ financial straits, aid for Israel cannot be taken for granted in the future. The security cooperation between the countries has reached an all-times high – but this may not be something that can be taken for granted, given the growing differences in analysis of the strategic threats.

“Given the shifting political and strategic environments and strains on the U.S.-Israeli partnership, now is the time to ask hard questions about U.S. security guarantees”, Malka wrote in the report.

The report discussed the pros and cons of solidifying a security agreement with Israel referring to prospects for Palestinian-Israeli peace as well as the plausibility of presenting a united front against Iran.

Malka suggested that due to the diverging security and policy interests, it would be beneficial to both the United States as well as Israel to clarify terms to defuse the uncertainty over the future security cooperation.

He also suggested reshaping the relationship between the United States and Israel to fit the changing domestic and regional conditions. A new arrangement, according to Malka, must treat Israel “less as a dependent”, while containing “clearer commitments of what each side will do for the other—with an implicit understanding that there are limits to those commitments”.

The report called for a rethinking of U.S, military aid to Israel, while “emphasizing Israel’s role as it grows from being a dependent to a more equal partner.” He called on both countries to recognize that their future relationship will not be like that of the past, calling on both sides to “ prepare for a time when the historic rationale for strong U.S.-Israeli ties may be less significant and when the politics in both countries may change the parameters of U.S.-Israeli cooperation.”

Malka concluded the report saying that while the U.S.-Israeli relationship is deep, “the challenges to it now are more profound than at any time in history.”

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Zio-Nazi Barak to set out for Washington to discuss Zionist-Palestinian crisis

NOVANEWS

Zio-Nazi Ehud Barak plans to fly to U.S. Saturday, where he will hold meetings with U.S. Defense Secretary, CIA Director and other officials, to discuss Palestinian crisis, Egypt situation and Iran.

Haaretz

Defense Minister Ehud Barak will set out for Washington on Saturday night, for a trip who’s initial declared purpose is to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, CIA Director David Petraeus and other security and intelligence personnel.

Barak’s schedule does not yet include a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama before his meeting with Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu in New York on Tuesday. But senior government officials in the Obama administration are discussing the possibility of holding high level meetings to discuss means for solving the crisis with the Palestinians.

Last week Barak called for “an additional attempt to find a way to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to direct negotiations on all core issues.” Barak, who met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan’s capital Amman two weeks ago, is supposed to return to Israel before Abbas makes his speech at the UN Security Council.

In light of Abbas’ upcoming speech, the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Police and General Security Services are preparing for tumult in the West Bank, Jerusalem and in other areas.

The Pentagon announced Friday that Barak will arrive there on Monday. During their meetings, Barak, Panetta and Petraeus will discuss the crisis with the Palestinians, the situation in Egypt (and that in Sinai), the Iranian nuclear program and additional regional issues.

Panetta’s Under Secretary of Defense, Michele Flournoy, is also set to participate in the meeting with Barak, as well as in a closed-door Senate committee meeting which will deliver a report on Iran’s nuclear capabilities and its actions against American forces in Iraq.

Barak is expected to once more thank his hosts for their aid in evacuating Israeli personnel from its embassy in Cairo after hordes of Egyptian protesters broke through its security system and stormed the building.

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