cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16


syria, turkey, italy, israel

1. bibi says ready for direct talks with syria

“Israel is prepared for immediate negotiations with Syria, without preconditions”, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during a meeting of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday. The prime minister told the committee he had recently informed French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Israel was interested in direct negotiations with Damascus, and would prefer that France take a mediator role. "I spoke to Sarkozy, and he told me that the Syrian stance is a return to 1967 lines," Netanyahu said. "Sarkozy spoke with the Turkish mediator that the Syrians are suggesting. I [said] that we're interested in direct negotiations, and that if we're talking about mediators, I'd prefer [France]."

The prime minister said that preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities was Israel's "central problem." "In the last year, two things have happened," he told the FADC. "Iran has advanced its military nuclear program, and the international community has lost its legitimacy."

read more @ al manar tv

2. report: Israel, UNIFIL discussed Ghajar pullout conditions

The Israeli foreign ministry's director-general, Yossi Gal, met late last week with UNIFIL commander Maj.-Gen. Claudio Graziano to discuss the terms of a possible Israeli withdrawal from the northern part of Ghajar, Israel's Channel 2 reported. The meeting was held in order to establish the conditions which would enable Israel's pullout from the Lebanese side of the village, said Channel 2, and are expected to continue this week with the hope of yielding an imminent result.

Ghajar lies at the foot of Mount Hermon and straddles the Lebanese-Syrian border. It is inhabited by Alawites, most of whom have obtained Israeli citizenship even though they consider themselves Syrian.

The village is an extension of the Syrian Golan Heights plateau, which Israel occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and then annexed in 1981. According to a U.N.-drawn "blue line" marking the border between Israel and Lebanon following a May 2000 Israeli troop pullout, one-third of the village is on Lebanese soil, while the other two thirds are part of occupied Syrian territory.

The Israeli daily Haaretz said that senior cabinet ministers, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, decided last month to work toward a withdrawal of Israeli troops from the disputed area.

source: naharnet

3. Majdal Anjar cell planned attacks on UNIFIL, could be involved on rocket firing in Israel

Authorities continued to carry out raids in Majdal Anjar in search for more people having links with a four-member terrorist network whose questioning revealed that the men were planning attacks against UNIFIL. Security sources told An Nahar newspaper in remarks published Monday that the four men's questioning was still at its beginning. They said the cell's leader Tareq Abdul Fattah Baidoun, is a biochemical student at a private university.

...An Nahar's sources said the suspects belong to extremist groups and had been put under close watch lately. Investigation revealed that the network was plotting attacks against U.N. peacekeepers stationed in south Lebanon, "but the investigation could reveal other things," the sources added.

...During the raid, the army found several machine guns, detonators and a computer through which he made contacts with foreign terrorist organizations. Sources also told An Nahar that bomb making manuals were discovered during the raid with bomb-sniffing dogs.

Well-informed sources told al-Akhbar that Baidoun could have contributed to transporting from the Bekaa to the south the rockets that were fired into Israel lately. However, a high-ranking security official said "nothing was proved yet."

read more @ naharnet

4. FLASHBACK: 10/29/09: Israel interferes to keep Italian UNIFIL commander in post, causes diplomatic incident with Spain

also: Italy takes command of UNIFIL maritime task force, 11/30/09

5. Turkey regaining status to mediate between Israel, Syria

Trade, Industry and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer remarked Saturday about his recent trip to Turkey, saying that the country, whose ties with Israel have cooled recently, was regaining its status as a mediator in indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria. "I hope that the next step will be a meeting between [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan in the near future. I will view [such a meeting] as a great success," he said.

Meanwhile Saturday, Israel Radio quoted the Egyptian Al Ahram newspaper as reporting that Turkish-mediated peace talks between Israel and Syria were likely to resume in the first half of 2010.

...Israeli leaders including Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have since said that Turkey can no longer serve as an honest mediator between Israel and Syria.

more @ haaretz:

Erdogan meeting with Obama today - ed.

6. timing of Shalit deal obviously very important, must be done at the moment when Israel needs sympathy, lots of attention, etc.

After various media outlets reported on Saturday that Labor MK Daniel Ben-Simon had claimed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu personally told him a deal to release captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit would take place within one to two weeks, Ben-Simon stressed on Saturday evening that he was only making assessments and had not discussed the matter with the premier. ...On the issue of peace talks with Syria, Ben-Simon said a peace deal was already well drafted out, and all that remained was for the sides to sign it.

more @ jpost:

7. Egypt says Israel stalling on prisoner deal; Shalit supposedly in Gaza suffering under the blockade mmhmm sure

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit accused Israel on Sunday of stalling on a prisoner swap with Hamas for a detained Israeli occupation soldier by refusing to free certain Palestinian prisoners....Also on Sunday, the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported that a team of four French doctors entered Gaza a week ago and performed medical check-ups on Shalit. An Egyptian security official confirmed to AFP that three French doctors went into the enclave through the Egyptian border crossing of Rafah but there was no indication that they treated Shalit.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera television station reported last night that the German mediator in the negotiations for the release of Shalit is en-route to the occupied Palestinian territories with Hamas' response to the latest Israeli offer. The mediator is pressing both sides to reach an agreement quickly.

read more @ al manar tv

8. extra kabuki over the FAILED "peace process" and it's associated issues, UK MPs back Swedish presidency on Jerusalem

A group of nearly 50 members of the British parliament have written a letter voicing their support for a controversial Swedish EU presidency proposal to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state....The letter, signed by an additional 47 mostly Labour MPs, comes as EU foreign ministers gather on Monday for two days of meetings in Brussels during which Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt will present a proposal outlining the EU’s concerns about the “stalemate” in the Middle East peace process.

The draft version of the proposal, which includes a specific reference to East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestine, was published last week in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, sparking outrage and concern over the EU’s stance toward the peace process.

Opposition leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni slammed the measure in a letter to Bildt following the Haaretz report. “I wish to convey my deep concern regarding what appears to be an attempt to prejudge the outcome of issues reserved for permanent status negotiations," wrote Livni, according to Haaretz.

...Speaking to Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newpaper, deputy foreign minister Daniel Ayalon declared that “the Europeans will not dictate the results of the (Israeli-Palestinian) peace process.

...Israeli envoys have been tracking the proposal for weeks, with Israel’s ambassador to the EU claiming that Sweden was putting the EU on a “collision course” with Israel, according to Haaretz.

While Bildt has refrained from directly addressing Israel’s fears ahead of the Brussels meetings, writing on his blog on Sunday, he did refer to the need for “a clear European voice” on the situation in the Middle East in order to “create a situation where forward steps are actually possible”.

read more @ the local

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