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Palestinian Prime Minister Suffers Heart Attack

By VOA News

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has suffered a heart attack while on a visit to the United States to attend his son's college graduation. Fayyad fell ill Sunday in Austin, Texas, and was taken to a hospital where a catheterization was performed. He is said to be in stable condition.

He has been the Palestinian prime minister since 2007. His future in that position is in question, following the reconciliation agreement announced earlier this month between Fatah, which governs the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Does Obama Think Jerusalem is Outside Israel?


The US State Department is standing behind the wording of an official statement that implied that Jerusalem – including its western parts - is not a part of Israel. Against the backdrop of President Barack Obama's speech calling on Israel to return to the 1949 Armistice lines, the statement's implications appear more alarming.

The May 18 statement was cited in a Weekly Standard column by Eliot Abrams, a former foreign policy advisor for presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Abrams wrote: In what country is the Knesset? [I]t seems that this question has stumped the State Department. It does not know or will not say what country the Knesset is in, nor—one must assume—does it know what country the Prime Minister's Office, the Israel Museum, or especially the Western Wall are in.

He quotes a "remarkable" press release from the State Department about the travels of Deputy Secretary James Steinberg, which says: Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg visits Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank [our emphasis, ed.] May 18-19, 2011. In Israel, Deputy Secretary Steinberg met with Israeli academic and student leaders.

In the West Bank, he met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian officials. Among other issues, he discussed moving forward on Middle East peace as well as the recent fundamental changes in the region and the United States' response to them. On May 19, he will participate in the U.S.-Israel Strategic Dialogue. The Strategic Dialogue allows senior U.S. and Israeli leaders to discuss, on a regular basis and in depth, the many issues that affect our mutual security and partnership.

The wording of the statement seems to imply that Jerusalem is outside Israel. Since Steinberg's visit included a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon in the Foreign Ministry, which is in western Jerusalem, the implication seems to be that western Jerusalem, too, is separate from Israel.

"I suppose the poor benighted Israelis believed they were hosting Steinberg in their country when he visited government offices," Abrams wrote sarcastically. "But he knew better. What makes this especially egregious is that Israeli government offices—where Mr. Steinberg would have had his official meetings—are actually in west Jerusalem, the portion Israel controlled even before 1967. Yet the Clinton State Department is apparently unwilling to call even that portion of the city `Israel.'"

Abrams believes the statement is not an innocuous mistake: "While Deputy Secretary Steinberg and Secretary Clinton's State Department may believe that the Western Wall of the ancient Temple is actually not in Israel, and are apparently unwilling to confirm that the Knesset and Prime Minister's Office are in Israel, it's an unsustainable position. It is a ludicrous, insulting, morally untenable position."

In response to a query by Arutz Sheva, the State Department did not retract or try to claim the statement had been misunderstood. A U.S. Embassy spokesperson would not directly address the article, but stated: "The formula as it was written does not show any change in the American policy toward Israel, and similar wording was used in the past."

Hamas Sees Obama's '67 Borders and Raises Him: '48 Borders


The vibrations of President Barack Obama's "hallowing" of the June 4, 1967 borders in two speeches this past week have not yet stilled, and Hamas has already said that actually, it would prefer negotiating based on the May 13, 1948 borders.

Hamas spokesman Mahmoud A-Zahar was quoted Monday responding to Obama's remarks in which he called for Israel to withdraw to borders based on a combination of the 1967 borders and agreed-upon land swaps. "Now he [Obama] refers to the 1967 borders as sacred," A-Zahar told the Dubai-based Al-Emarat al-Youm website, "but who says we accept them, and that we won't speak of the '48 lines? Clearly Obama's plan is no different, aside from a few small details, from that of George Bush," A-Zahar said in dismissal of the American president's words.

The borders to which A-Zahar refers were formulated by the United Nations in 1947 as the Partition Plan. They grant Israel about half of the Galilee, a narrow strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev - and nothing more. The cities of Ashkelon, Lod, Ramle, Ashdod, Nazareth, Meron, Telz-Stone, Beit Shemesh and most of the Jordan Valley are not Israeli, according to those borders – yet A-Zahar says Hamas is considering trying to re-negotiate them, to Israel's detriment.

The position taken by A-Zahar is surprising in that the Hamas charter's call for the destruction of Israel does not specify that it occur in such a gradual process. A-Zahar's announcement shows that rather than seeking a one-time liquidation of the Jewish State, as might be inferred from the charter's language, his organization might prefer to chunk away at Israel's borders piece by piece, while at the same time perpetrating deadly terrorist attacks against Israelis and forming a unity government with Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah.

Wake Up Call to U.S. Jews by YouTube Poet


Leah Veffer of Efrat was shocked at U.S. Jews' indifference to Obama's AIPAC speech calling on Israel to return to 1949 Armistice lines. So she wrote a poem. Veffer made aliyah to Israel from Denver, Colorado, in 2006.

After the speech, she noticed that all of her Israeli friends wrote Facebook "status" messages against Obama, or against the United States. She saw no such reaction among her U.S.-based friends, however.

"None of my [U.S.] Facebook friends said anything about Obama's speech," she explained, "while here in Israel we were all extremely worked up over it. I could not understand how they do not react, do not try to defend us, the State of Israel. I started to feel that in the U.S., it is not considered cool to defend Israel. No celebrity stood up for Israel, except for a few Christians. No Jewish American leader made his voice heard."

That was when Veffer decided that the least she could do was to speak to the hearts of American Jews, in the form of a poem. Daniel Sass, also an Efrat resident, saw the poem and prepared a simple clip that uses the Kotel as background. The message is a clear and strong one. Will U.S. Jews get it?

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