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Lieberman's Party to Demand Cutting of Ties with PA


Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Israel Beiteinu party announced it would demand Israel's government cease all contact between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Israel's Hebrew-language Ma'ariv reported Wednesday.

"It is impossible to expect the State of Israel to transfer money to Hamas and thereby fund terror activities against Israel's citizens," a spokesman said. "Those who declared Bin Laden a Muslim freedom fighter, as Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh did, and those who refuse to allow the Red Cross to visit Gilad Schalit, cannot be partners in negotiations, either directly or indirectly."

Palestinians Sign Unity Deal in Cairo

By Elizabeth Arrott (V0A-Cairo)

The leaders of the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have agreed to reconcile, under a deal criticized by Israel. The reconciliation deal aims to unify the rival Palestinian governments with an interim government leading to elections next year. After a brief, last minute delay, the ceremony got underway with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and foreign dignitaries in attendance.

While the planned caretaker government has been described by Fatah officials as an independent body of technocrats, Meshaal struck a more political tone. The Hamas leader told the gathering that "the black page of division" was behind them, and that the only real battle is with "the occupier" - a reference to Israel.

Israel has condemned the deal, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday saying it is "a tremendous blow to peace and a great victory for terrorism," Netanyahu has urged Abbas to choose "peace with Israel" over any deal with Hamas - considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States.

Hamas, which does not recognize Israel, is said to be willing to honor an unofficial truce. But Meshaal's statement, as well as continued attacks from Gaza on Israel, are likely to undermine any Israeli confidence in that position.

Abbas also took the occasion to challenge Israel, saying it must choose between peace and settlements. Israeli building on Palestinian lands has proved a key obstacle to the peace process.

Among supporters of Palestinian statehood, the deal in Cairo is seen as the only way to move forward and end the rivalry which has split the Palestinian movement for the past four years amid fighting over control of Gaza.

Egypt's role in cementing the deal comes as the new government in Cairo indicated it would open the Rafah border crossing to Gaza and ease the pressure of an Israeli blockade. Whether this played a role in bringing the two sides together is unclear, although Egypt had worked in vain for reconciliation for years.

Egypt under former President Hosni Mubarak had closed Rafah after the Hamas victory in Gaza in 2007, citing Cairo's commitments to existing peace deals. The old government also used the threat of militancy spilling into Egypt as another reason to keep the crossing strictly controlled.

West Bank Leaders Write UN, `Bible Records Israel as Jewish Land'


A letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon from leaders in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) explains that the Bible, the Quran, and international agreements document Israel as being the Land of the Jewish People.

The signatories threatened to sue Ban if he continues "to ignore the historical and legal facts enclosed in this letter and continues with the present unjust and illegal policies of the United Nations."

Citing the Bible as "recording for all time the awarding of the Land of Israel to the forefathers of the Jewish People by the Creator of the world," the letter told Ban it gives him the "opportunity to correct the deviation of the nations from international law in accordance with the responsibilities of your position and thus obviate the measures undoubtedly to be inflicted on those who act contrary to the Covenant of the Almighty with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

It was signed by Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council chairman Gershon Mesika, Beit El Mayor Moshe Rosenbaum, Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman and other leaders.

They also wrote Ban, "The entire Land of Israel was promised and granted to the Jewish People…as recorded time and again in the opening Five Books of the Hebrew Bible (e.g., Genesis 15:21; Deuteronomy 1:8 et al.), accepted by the adherents of the Christian faith whose Bible encompasses the aforementioned Books, and confirmed in various places in the holy book of Islam, the Quran (e.g., Sura 2 et al.)."

Documents presented to Ban include the Balfour Declaration of 1917, that stated British policy of establishing a "National Home for the Jewish People" in Israel, then known as Palestine;

The San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920, by which the Principal Allied Powers of World War I recognized the sovereignty of the Jewish People over Palestine, just as they recognized the sovereignty of the Arab peoples over the territories of present-day Syria, Lebanon and Iraq; and the Anglo-French Boundary Convention of December 1920, demarcating the border between French-mandated Syria-Lebanon and British-mandated Palestine.

The letter states that "repeated references by the U.N. to the territories liberated by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War – territories until then illegally occupied by the Kingdom of Jordan – as "occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)" conceals from the public the true legal status of the lands to which you refer and causes the Jewish people unwarranted anguish."

Detailing the proof that all of Israel belongs to Jews, the latter points out that the United Nations General Assembly ignored Article 80 that guarantees Jewish legal rights in Israel, and instead recommended the Partition Plan of 1947, which the Arab League rejected by going to war against the fledgling State of Israel.

The letter asserts that the Partition "was never legal, was never of an obligatory nature, has been dead for over 63 years and cannot be resurrected."

The signatories added, "The very opposite is what is required of the U.N. at this time: to recognize the continuity of Jewish legal rights to the entire Land of Israel under Article 80 of the UN Charter.

"The time has undoubtedly come – in fact, it is long overdue, Mr. Secretary-General – for the international community as represented by the U.N. to recognize the fact that the Arabs of the Land of Israel do not want their own state, nor do they want to conclude a peace agreement with the State of Israel; all they desire is the destruction of Israel; the time has indeed come to reaffirm international recognition of the immutable rights of the Jewish People to all of their historical homeland."

Israel's Increasing Vulnerability

By John R. Bolton (Commentary)

Although Osama bin Laden's well-deserved death has demonstrated America's re-solve to vindicate our national security, the world is still far from safe. In the Middle East, optimistic predictions that authoritarian regimes would fall like dominoes, ushering in new democracies and greater prospects for peace, are rapidly disappearing. Not only have democratic hopes faltered, but long-time foundations of regional stability are crumbling, to our detriment and that of our friends.

While Israel has been a bystander to the Arab world's recent turmoil, events are conspiring against it. Early, unrealistic expectations about "democracy now" increasingly resemble experiments with Israel's security, experiments gone badly wrong. Implacable enemies, notably Iran, are strengthening their positions by exploiting the turmoil.

Israel's security environment has steadily darkened as Palestinian leaders fritter away two decades of opportunity (since America drove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait) to engage in direct, face-to-face negotiations. Unfortunately, Palestinians have for two years taken their cues from President Obama, who has relentlessly pressured Israel to accept Palestinian preconditions, especially the complete cessation of new West Bank housing construction.

In a further regression to Yasir Arafat's era, the Palestinian Authority has been exploring how to reinsert its preferred deus ex machina, the United Nations, into the Arab-Israeli dispute. This time, the idea is to have the General Assembly declare a Palestinian state, harking back to 1988 when the PLO declared its "statehood," and sought membership in U.N. specialized agencies as evidence of its new, enhanced status. These efforts to create political "facts on the ground" come at Israel's expense, no matter how ephemeral they invariably are.

Where Palestinian propaganda campaigns do gain traction, however, is among the broader program-in both Europe and the United States-to delegitimize the state of Israel itself. By attacking Israel as racist, by accusing it of aggression and war crimes, and other means, this "law-fare" against Israel has increasingly erased the illusory demarcation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism and all its ugly implications.

But it is the rapidly deteriorating prospect for near-term democratization in the Middle East that could bring the gravest security risks for Israel. Iran, despite its own internal divisions and rivalries, has moved aggressively to protect its regional allies against democratic change, and to foment trouble more widely. In Syria, the fierce, increasingly deadly resistance of the Assad regime against popular opposition undoubtedly rests on Iran's iron determination to keep the Ba'ath party dictatorship in power. Iran has too much at stake in its Syrian satellite, perhaps including elements of its nuclear program, to allow President Bashar Assad to fall without a bloody struggle.

Similarly, Iran is determined to sustain the terrorist Hizbullah, which has subverted Lebanon's democratic Cedar Revolution. And, sadly for Washington, Iraq's regime of President Nouri al-Maliki seems increasingly deferential to Iran's will, as evidenced by the recent Iran-Iraq extradition treaty and Iraq's military attack against an Iranian opposition group's civilian refugee camp.

Iran has also long supported Hamas terrorists in Gaza and the West Bank. Now, after Hosni Mubarak's overthrow, Egypt's military has effectively ended its Gaza blockade, allowing Hamas full and unrestrained contact with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

Moreover, Cairo was central to last week's reconciliation between Hamas (whose leader condemned America for bin Laden's death) and Fatah, a match that can only increase the terrorist menace for Israel. And Egypt has recognized the ayatollahs' government in Tehran-bad news for Israel, but also for pro-U.S. Arab governments, like Bahrain and other Persian Gulf monarchies threatened by Iran.

Moreover, as Egypt prepares for elections this fall, calls are increasing for major revisions to the Camp David Accords, not surprisingly, given Egyptian opinion polls showing widespread opposition to this bedrock of Middle East peace and stability for three decades. During the days of street demonstrations against Mr. Mubarak, the Egyptian army moved substantial forces into the Sinai Peninsula, ostensibly to protect the vital Suez Canal and the natural gas pipeline to Israel.

Although those Egyptian units remain, the pipeline is still being subjected to terrorist attacks. And if the Camp David provisions ultimately challenged by Egypt's new "democratic" government are those effectively demilitarizing the Sinai, Israel's security fears along that highly vulnerable border will grow exponentially.

What happens in Egypt will invariably affect Jordan, the only other Arab state with a peace agreement with Israel. In effect, Israel could find itself geostrategically back in the 1950s and 1960s, although more existentially vulnerable today as Iran progresses toward a deliverable nuclear-weapons capability. And Moammar Gadhafi's continuing survival in Libya, although still in doubt, cannot be good for anyone.

As on so many other critical national-security issues, the Obama administration's policies in the Middle East have been either incoherent or invisible in recent months. And those failings, now combined with the deteriorating regional security environment, gravely endanger Israel's interests as much as those of the United States itself.

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