Daily TIP

Report: Abbas turns down U.S. offer to meet with Netanyahu

Posted by Tip Staff - August 11, 2016


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas once again turned down an offer to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for peace talks, the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds reported on Wednesday.  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly made the offer to Abbas when the two met in Paris last month.
Netanyahu has stated repeatedly that he is willing to have “unconditional, direct, and bilateral negotiations” with Abbas, and announced in May that he was willing “to meet with President Abbas today in Jerusalem. If he’d like, in Ramallah. Right now. Today.” He explained his readiness at a joint press conference with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, saying, “I will sit alone directly with President Abbas in the Élysée Palace, or anywhere else that you choose. Every difficult issue will be on the table: mutual recognition, incitement, borders, refugees and yes, settlements – everything,” PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah rejected the offer: “Time is short. Netanyahu is trying to buy time, but this time he will not escape the international community.”
Abbas also reportedly turned down a peace initiative proffered by Vice President Joe Biden in March when the two met in Ramallah.
Abbas and Netanyahu have not met to discuss peace in six years, despite Netanyahu’s repeated offers. The Palestinian Authority has sought to circumvent the Oslo process and pursue a unilateral bid for statehood through recognition at the United Nations rather than through a negotiated peace deal. “Peace is not achieved in international UN-style conferences, nor through international diktats that come of meetings of countries around the world sitting to decide our fate,” Netanyahu said to Valls in May. “Peace is achieved through direct negotiations where the Palestinian Authority would face a historic choice: recognize a Jewish state side by side with a demilitarized Palestinian state, or try to eliminate it.”
Netanyahu’s comments came a day after Secretary-General of the Palestinian Presidency Al-Tayeb Abd al-Rahim said in a speech on behalf of Abbas that Palestinians “are a people who love death more than life when it fights for Palestine….Our morale will not be influenced or shaken by anything. We will not grow soft or deviate towards personal interests for the sake of dubious goals such as establishing a state or an emirate in Gaza, or establishing a state with temporary borders in the West Bank.”


ISIS-affiliated fighters in Egypt’s Sinai Desert are digging up Nazi munitions that were buried in the sand during World War II and using them as material for bombs and other weapons, Newsweek reported Wednesday.
An estimated 17 million land mines are buried in northwest Egypt near the site of the 1942 Battle of El Alamein. Though Egypt has been making efforts to clear its territory of the deadly artifacts, members of ISIS-Sinai Province, as the local affiliate is known, have been scavenging the mines for their metal and explosives and using them to attack Egyptian forces.
ISIS-Sinai Province has been using Nazi bomb material since 2004, when its predecessor group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis killed 34 people at the resort city of Taba in 2004. It has ramped up its efforts since pledging allegiance to ISIS in late 2014. “We’ve had at least 10 reports from the military of terrorists using old mines,” Fathy el-Shazly, a former Egyptian ambassador to Saudi Arabia who recently ran his nation’s efforts at clearing the mined areas, told Newsweek. “Even now, these things trouble us in different ways.”
A March attack on an Egyptian army convoy near the Red Sea that killed five soldiers was blamed on explosives scavenged from the old mines. The Egyptian army has only had partial success in fighting the Sinai-based insurgency, even with the recent shipment of 700 mine-resistant vehicles from the United States.
Egypt has removed around three million mines since 1981, according to the Egyptian army, which believes that the area will be fully cleared of mines within three years.
While recovering the old explosives is fraught with risks—a gust of wind or a shift in sand could trigger an explosion—tribesmen living in the area are poor, and so getting paid for digging up the mines is worth the risk. “They do this because they have nothing else to live on,” Abdul Moneim Waer, an activist who advocates for land mine awareness in El Alamein, told Newsweek.
Arik Agassi wrote in The Tower Magazine in January that ISIS-Sinai Province “has become one of the most powerful, dangerous, and effective in the region,” largely due to Iranian support via its proxy, Hamas.
The Iran-Hamas-ISIS axis is part of Iran’s strategy of using proxy forces against U.S. allies like Egypt and Israel as part of a larger strategy to achieve hegemony over the Middle East. This has resulted in one of the region’s best kept secrets: An intensive cooperation mechanism between Iran, Hamas, and ISIS, based on money, weapons, military equipment, and training.
Iran’s foreign policy goal of hegemony over the Middle East is based on its primary ideological pillar – exporting the Islamic Revolution to other countries using terrorism and political subversion. In pursuing its ambitions, Iran has often put aside its religious differences with radical Sunni groups like ISIS and Hamas. The Islamic Republic is more than willing to cooperate with these groups as long as doing so helps promote its larger interests.
“By directly supporting Hamas in Gaza and indirectly supporting ISIS in the Sinai, Iran is able to gain foothold against Israel and Egypt to destabilize them, undermine America’s regional influence, create another Iranian power base in a Sunni-dominated region, and project its power and influence in its pursuit of regional hegemony,” Major (res.) Dan Feferman, a former senior IDF intelligence officer and Iran specialist, told the Tower. When asked why Iran would indirectly fund a serious rival such as ISIS, Feferman said that Lebanon, Iraq, and especially Syria are more important to Iran than the Sinai, as Iran wants to preserve its influence in states affected by the Syrian civil war – so Iran fights ISIS in those counties. In places where Iran does not have a strong influence, such as Egypt, it feels comfortable supporting ISIS, albeit indirectly. (via TheTower.org)

It all began with a baby chimpanzee orphaned by a poacher in Cameroon. Tel Aviv native Ofir Drori, intending to do some investigative journalism after finishing his Israeli army service, adopted the grieving chimp and named him Future. Drori discovered that Cameroon’s wildlife trafficking laws had never once been enforced, due to corruption along the entire chain from wildlife officers to magistrates. No world wildlife conservation organization was tackling this issue, so Drori remained in Cameroon and in 2003 founded theLast Great Ape Organization, the world’s first law-enforcement NGO. The dangerous work involves teams of undercover agents and legal experts who guide sting operations to catch traffickers of live animals, tusks, pelts, teeth, shells and so on. The NGO even makes daily jail visits to ensure the criminals haven’t bribed their way out. Following phenomenal success in Cameroon and now operating in eight additional countries, Drori recently renamed his group the EAGLE (Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement) Network. “We have put more than 1,300 major traffickers behind bars to date, many of them very high public officials. One was the person in charge of all the wildlife in his country,” Drori, 40, tells ISRAEL21c from his current home base in Nairobi. (via Israel21c)


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