Archive | March 8th, 2014

US won’t be able to defend I$raHell if peace talks fail



Ahead of meeting with Netanyahu, president says unprecedented ‘aggressive settlement construction’ detrimental to peace process

Times of Israel

Israel can expect to face international isolation and possible sanctions from countries and companies across the world if Benjamin Netanyahu fails to endorse a framework agreement with the Palestinians, US President Barack Obama cautioned on Sunday ahead of a meeting with the Israeli prime minister.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Obama stressed that time was running out for Israel to achieve a peace deal, and added that he believed Netanyahu had the capacity to rally Israel’s citizens behind an agreement.

But if Netanyahu “does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach,” Obama said.

“There comes a point where you can’t manage this anymore, and then you start having to make very difficult choices,” he said.

The president went on to stress that he would convey to Netanyahu, in the spirit of the Jewish sage Hillel the Elder, that the prime minister could lead Israel toward peace if he chose to do so.

“If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?” Obama said.

The president went on to condemn in no uncertain terms Israel’s settlement activities in the West Bank, and said that though his allegiance to the Jewish state was permanent, building settlements across the Green Line was counterproductive and would make it extremely difficult for the US to defend Israel from painful repercussions in the international community.

“If you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction — and we have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time — if Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited,” Obama said.

The president added that Israel must come to a decision over its future character and weigh whether its current policies are conducive to achieving its true aspirations.

“Do you resign yourself to what amounts to a permanent occupation of the West Bank?” he inquired of the Israeli public.

“Is that the character of Israel as a state for a long period of time? Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions?” he asked.

Obama further stated that in his opinion, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “has proven himself to be somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve” the conflict.

“We do not know what a successor to Abbas will look like,” he added.

Asked whether he felt Abbas was sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist, the president replied that he was sure that was the case.

“I think that this is a rare quality not just within the Palestinian territories, but in the Middle East generally,” Obama said of the Palestinian leader. ”For us not to seize that opportunity would be a mistake.”

Netanyahu left for Washington Sunday for talks about the US-led peace process and nuclear negotiations between world powers and Iran.

Although Netanyahu would like the conversation with Obama to focus primarily on Iran, the White House appears to have a different agenda.

“Obama will press him to agree to a framework for a conclusive round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations that is being drafted by Secretary of State John Kerry,” The New York Times quoted senior US officials as saying last week.

Direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, which began last July with the goal of reaching a deal within nine months, have made no visible progress.

Kerry is now focused on getting the two sides to agree on a framework proposal which would extend the deadline until the year’s end.

Although the document has not yet been made public, it is understood to be a non-binding proposal laying out guidelines for negotiating the central issues of the conflict, such as borders, security, Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The proposal, or its outline, is likely to be presented to Netanyahu this week and to Abbas on March 17 when he meets Obama at the White House.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on US won’t be able to defend I$raHell if peace talks fail

Assad aide: I$raHell sent undercover troops to Syria



In interview with Hezbollah-linked station, Buthaina Shaaban claims Zio-Nazi officers physically present in Syria

Times of Israel

A senior aide to Syrian President Bashar Assad accused Israel of involvement in the Syrian civil war, saying it sent troops to bolster rebel forces fighting to topple Assad in a conflict that has already claimed the lives of 140,000 people.

In a television interview with a Hezbollah-linked channel late Monday, Syrian presidential adviser Buthaina Shaaban claimed IDF officers were physically present in Syria to monitor the fighting and call in troops to assist the opposition.

She said some of the undercover Israeli troops had been wounded in battle.

Israel has repeatedly stated that it has no direct involvement in the Syrian war. It has hit back when shells fired during the conflict have landed inside Israeli territory, and treated hundreds of Syrian casualties at a border IDF field hospital and at hospitals inside Israel.

Portraying Assad’s struggle against rebel forces as a war on terror in Syria, Shaaban also called on Jordan to control rebel traffic into Syria and on Saudi Arabia to stop funding and supporting rebel fighters.

She said the Syrian government’s first priority was to end the bloodshed in the country, not to meet with the opposition face-to-face, as had occurred at the Geneva II conference with little success.

As the fighting between rebels and government troops continued Monday, four people were injured when Syrian troops seized control of a village near the strategic rebel bastion of Yabrud, edging closer to the border with Lebanon.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, said the army, backed by Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbollah, was “advancing” in the area, but that “fierce battles are still ongoing there.”

For nearly three weeks, the Yabrud area has come under intense, daily bombardment.

The battle for Yabrud is crucial for Hezbollah, which accuses rebels of using it as a gateway to sending car bombs to target its strongholds in eastern Lebanon and southern Beirut.

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Western attempts to isolate Russia are doomed – Russian MP

Western attempts to isolate Russia are doomed – Russian MP

© Photo “Voice of Russia”

Western states will not be able to achieve Russia’s international isolation in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, says Head of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs, Alexei Pushkov.

“It seems to me that all talk about the international isolation of Russia is not productive. It is impossible to isolate Russia,” Pushkov told Interfax Sunday. He stressed that there are other countries, besides those 28 states united in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

“And we have not heard that any statements were made by the overwhelming majority of countries, including the big ones – the leading countries – such as China, India and some others, over the decisions taken by Russia yesterday,” Pushkov said.

Therefore, he believes that any attempt the Western countries might make will be doomed. He also stressed that isolation hadn’t worked in the case of Georgia’s breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Earlier, the US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said that, should the situation around Ukraine continue to deteriorate, the political and economic isolation of Russia will become even deeper.

West shouldn’t act in Cold War spirit making decisions on Ukraine – Russian MP

The West should carefully analyze the gravity of Ukraine’s crisis and make balanced decisions on settling the situation, rather than act in a Cold War spirit with regard to Russia, the Chairman of the Russian Duma International Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov, said in a statement.

The situation in Ukraine is highly unusual, with part of the population refusing to recognize the current government and demanding that they be protected against the ultranationalist trends that have come in full force there, Pushkov said in an interview with the Interfax news agency on Sunday.

He feels that now that the West is deciding on its policy on Ukraine, it may one of follow two directions, a hysterically aggressive one, turning a blind eye to the actual problem and reacting in the framework of anti-Russian instincts that the political class of the United States and some European countries is known for; or it may follow a balanced and pragmatic scenario.

The Russian MP believes that whatever fellow feeling the western countries may have for Ukraine’s current leaders, they cannot ignore the fact that the Kiev authorities have little, if any control of Ukraine, as well as the fact that the ultra-right pro-Nazi forces have gone on a rampage, patrolling Kiev streets in clothes bearing SS insignia, threatening the non-Ukrainian population and urging Chechen terrorists to join forces with them in fighting Russia.

“I think Western politicians shouldn’t and will be unable to turn a blind eye to that pressing problem of modern-day Ukraine infinitely,” Pushkov says.

He feels that the western leaders should also admit that the people in several Ukrainian cities have refused to recognize the legality of the current authorities and moves by the Kiev-based government.

The Russian MP points out that Russian flags have been hoisted over quite a few regional administration buildings in Donetsk, Kharkov, Mariupol Melitopol, Simferopol, and Odessa. These cities have been the scene of huge rallies of protest against the Kiev authorities, they say they will take no orders from Kiev, and this actually happens throughout eastern and southeastern Ukraine, and one can’t ignore that, the Russian MP points out.

“If the western countries accepted the Euromaidan protests in Kiev as an expression of the people’s will, how can they deny the residents of Ukraine’s huge eastern and southern cities the right to the expression of their own will?”

Nor can the West refuse to admit, Pushkov says, that the agreement between Victor Yanukovych and the opposition of February 21st, which was signed in the presence of the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Poland, has failed to be implemented.

“The West should give a thought to the idea of what kind of Ukraine they support. Is it the Kiev-based government, which is incapable of controlling the situation in Ukraine without resorting to violence? They should decide if violence against the people in the east and southeast of Ukraine is the right way to support the government in Kiev. The West should also answer the question of why it recognizes the right of the people of Kosovo, for example, to their self-determination, but denies the right to the expression of their own free will to the people of Crimea. The West should, besides, give a thought to the question of who will pay for the currently semi-destroyed Ukraine, which has been left destitute. Nor should the West forget about the fact that Ukraine has been kept afloat to this day thanks to natural gas deliveries that Russia has been supplying at a reduced price. But there’s been no sign whatsoever that the West is prepared to invest heavily in the Ukrainian economy. But is the West prepared to grant Ukraine loans and help settle the country’s financial and economic problems, given Ukraine’s instability due to the Kiev authorities’ moves and appeals by ultranationalist gangs that only serve to further destabilize the situation? Is the West capable of coping with Ukraine’s financial disaster without other countries, such as Russia, taking part?” Alexei Pushkov asks.

Powerful pro-Russian sentiments in Crimea will disappoint Western observers – Russian MP

International observers in Crimea would disappoint the United States as they would witness powerful pro-Russian sentiments among the local residents, Chairman of the Russian State Duma International Committee Alexei Pushkov wrote on his Twitter page.

“The United States is pushing for an observer mission to be sent to Crimea immediately. But the United States will be disappointed to see powerful pro-Russian sentiments,” he said.

Earlier, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power told the UN Security Council that international observers, including from the UN and the OSCE should immediately be sent to Ukraine.

It’s the best way to monitor the situation and prevent violations of human rights, she said.

Russian PM warns Ukrainian counterpart Russia reserves right to defend its citizens, troops in Crimea

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Saturday during which he expressed interest in preserving stable and friendly relations with Ukraine, the Russian government press service says.

“However, it was noted that the Russian side reserves the right to protect the lawful interests of citizens and servicemen deployed in the territory the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” the press service said. Russian armed forces “in case of need have the right to act in the framework of the mandate issued by the Federation Council to the president,” Medvedev said.

“Also during the conversation Medvedev pointed out to the possible responsibility of Ukrainian officials, if they make unlawful decisions on the use of force against Russian citizens,” the press service said.

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From Russia, ‘Tourists’ Stir the Protests


Pavel Gubarev, center, leader of the pro-Russia People’s Militia of Donbass, spoke to supporters in the regional government building in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Monday.Credit            Uriel Sinai for The New York Times       

DONETSK, Ukraine — Around the south and east of Ukraine, in vital cities in the country’s industrial heartland, ethnic Russians have staged demonstrations and stormed buildings demanding a wider invasion of their country by Moscow.

But some of the people here calling for Russian intervention are themselves Russian — “protest tourists” from across the border.

They have included passport-carrying Russians, like Aleksey Khudyakov, a pro-Kremlin Muscovite who said he traveled here “to watch and maybe to give some advice.” In Kharkiv, another Russian scaled a government building to dramatically plant his country’s flag — offering at least the image that President Vladimir V. Putin’s forces were being invited in.

It is clear that in this part of Ukraine, many ethnic Russians distrust the fledgling government, and some would indeed welcome Russian troops. But the events unfolding in major Ukrainian cities in recent days appear to match a pattern played by the Kremlin in Crimea, where pro-Moscow forces paving the way for Russia to seize control were neither altogether spontaneous, nor entirely local.


Protesters seized the regional government building in Donetsk on Monday.Credit            Uriel Sinai for The New York Times       

As pro-Russia demonstrations in 11 cities have suddenly erupted where significant populations of ethnic Russians live, the apparent organization of the demonstrators, appearances of Russian citizens and reports of busloads of activists arriving from Russia itself suggest a high degree of coordination with Moscow. At a minimum, Russians are instigating protests by Ukrainians sympathetic to Moscow, helping to create a pretext for a broader intervention if Mr. Putin decides to push things that far.

In Donetsk, when the crowd took control of the regional government building on Monday, the Soviet-era ballad “Russians Don’t Surrender” blasted from loudspeakers and Mr. Khudyakov huddled in conversation with the leader of Donetsk Republic, a local organization demanding greater autonomy from Kiev. Back home, Mr. Khudyakov is better known for having founded several nationalist vigilante groups with the tacit blessing of the Russian government.

The most dramatic expressions of the new pro-Russia fervor have taken place here, the former political base of Viktor F. Yanukovych, the country’s deposed president, and in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second most populous city, just 20 miles from the Russian border.

When a crowd of thousands of pro-Russia demonstrators in Kharkiv stormed an administration building occupied by pro-Kiev demonstrators on Saturday in a melee that left two dead and 100 hospitalized, a 25-year-old Muscovite, who was staying in a hotel just off the square, scaled the building, lowered the Ukrainian flag and hoisted the Russian banner in its place.

“I am proud that I was able to take part in defeating the fighters who came to ‘protest peacefully’ with knives in Kharkiv and raise the Russian tricolor on the building of the liberated administration,” wrote Mikhail Chuprikov, who hotel employees confirmed checked in under a Russian passport, in a blog post under a pseudonym.

The protests have served as grist for Russian state television networks, which hailed the footage of the Russian flag being raised across Ukraine as evidence of a rejection of the new government in Kiev by ethnic Russians. Russia’s permanent mission to NATO posted on Twitter a map of Ukraine with superimposed images of Russian flags in 11 Ukrainian cities where the protests took place on Saturday, including the Black Sea port of Odessa, as well as Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv and Donetsk.



Russia’s Foreign Ministry has condemned Kiev for allowing what it called armed bandits to raise havoc in the country’s east, citing the shooting of a Russian tourist and an unconfirmed nighttime assault on a police station in Crimea, which security personnel defending the station denied happened.

Amid the rumors and rising anxiety, self-declared municipal self-defense groups have emerged, saying they are ready to fight the spread of fascism — Mr. Putin’s description of the new leadership and its supporters — from the country’s west with Russia’s help.

Monday’s seizure of the government building here was led by Pavel Gubarev, the founder of the People’s Militia of Donbass, the coal-mining region where Donetsk is. In a speech from the dais of the captured chamber, he rejected Kiev’s authority and called on Mr. Putin to bring troops to the city.

The sudden uprisings have shocked many in the region, where there was strong sentiment against the pro-West demonstrators in Kiev, but few calls to draw closer to Russia until very recently.

“I am sure that they are paid,” said Valentina Azarova, 55, a former seamstress, pointing at a dozen young men spitting sunflower seed shells in a pro-Russia protest camp in central Kharkiv on Sunday.

“I am Russian, and I am embarrassed for my country,” she said, discussing the possibility that Russian troops could come to the city. “Russia is here just as much as Russia is in the Crimea.”

Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Confrontation in Crimea

At the Belbek military installation in Crimea on Tuesday, Ukrainian soldiers refused to surrender to Russian troops and instead marched, unarmed, to confront them in the face of warning shots.

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