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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Journal Archives

Netanyahu's Nominee For Next Envoy To U.S.: The Brains Behind His Support For Romney

Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren is expected to step down from his role in May 2013 after four years as Benjamin Netanyahu's representative in Washington. This role is one of the Israeli prime minister's most important positions of trust, all the more so when it comes to Netanyahu.

On Friday morning, the diplomatic correspondent of Israeli daily Makor Rishon Ariel Kahan reported that Netanyahu is nominating his advisor Ron Dermer to the role. Dermer has served as Netanyahu's advisor for the past four years. I asked the Prime Minister's Office whether they can confirm the report, and received an expected and routine answer: "No comment."

I asked another Israeli official who is close to Netanyahu about the report. The official said that it is possible that Dermer will be nominated, although the fact that in Washington he is thought of as hostile to the Obama administration, and that his views are seen as further to the right than Netanyahu's, might cause the prime minister to reconsider, and pick another person for the job.

It is hard to know if Netanyahu will change his mind over the Dermer nomination or not. But before that happens, here is some food for thought on Ron Dermer and his nomination to the sensitive role:



Arab League Chief Says Palestinians to Petition UN

Source: Associated Press

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said Saturday that two decades of talks with Israel have been "a waste of time" and that Palestinians will soon take a new statehood bid to the U.N.

The U.N. General Assembly last month endorsed a de facto Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza, areas Israel won in a 1967 war. But outright recognition of statehood status for Palestine fell short last year before the more powerful U.N. Security Council.

"We will return to the U.N. Security Council," he said in Ramallah Saturday after meeting Palestinian officials. "Palestine will be cooperating with Arab and EU countries to change the equation (in the peace process) that prevailed over the past 20 years, which was a waste of time."

By mentioning other states and the European Union, some may interpret Elaraby's remarks as implying that the international community should intervene and impose a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/arab-league-chief-palestinians-petition-18090560#.UN9cXW_Qs2A

Russian Foreign Minister Says Assad Won't Step Down, Dan't Be Persuaded

Source: Associated Press

Associated Press
4:01 p.m. EST, December 29, 2012

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign minister said Saturday that Syrian President Bashar Assad has no intention of stepping down and it would be impossible to try to persuade him otherwise.

After a meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.'s envoy for the Syrian crisis, Sergey Lavrov also said that the Syrian opposition risks sacrificing many more lives if it continues to insist on Assad leaving office as a precondition for holding talks on Syria's future.

Assad "has repeatedly said publicly and privately, including in his meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus not long ago, that he does not intend to leave for anywhere, that he will stay to the end in his post, that he will, as he expressed it, defend the Syrian people, Syrian sovereignty and so forth," Lavrov said. "There's no possibility to change this position."

Brahimi warned that the country's civil war could plunge the entire region into chaos by sending hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighboring nations, but his talks in Moscow produced no sign of progress toward settling the crisis.

Read more: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-ap-eu-russia-syria-20121229,0,7642561.story

Israel Arrests 900 Palestinian children In 2012


The Palestinian Authority is currently looking into the possibility of filing a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel for arresting 900 Palestinian children in 2012.

In taking such an action, Palestine will be using its newly-acquired rights as an observer state at the United Nations, said Eissa Karakea, Palestinian Minister of Detainees’ Affairs.

“We need to use the newly gained state status to take measures against Israel for its crimes especially the arrest, detention, and abuse of Palestinian children, let alone trying them before military courts,” he told Al Arabiya.

Karakea added that after being granted observer status, Palestine has the right to join international human rights organizations and through them can file complaints against Israel.



Israel Criticised By Britain Over West Bank University

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem
guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 December 2012 08.20 ES

The British government has warned that the official authorisation of Israel's first settlement university will create another hurdle in the peace process.

Israel's defence secretary, Ehud Barak, approved the upgrade of a college in the settlement of Ariel, 11 miles inside the West Bank, earlier this week.

In a statement released on Thursday, the British foreign office minister Alistair Burt said the UK was deeply disappointed by the decision.

"Ariel is beyond the Green Line in a settlement that is illegal according to international law. This decision will deepen the presence of the settlements in the Palestinian territories and will create another obstacle to peace," the statement said.



Michigan Governor Snyder Making His Way Through 282 Bills (passed during lameduck session)

Source: Associated Press

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been busy working his way through the 282 bills passed by the Legislature during the final weeks of the 2012 session.

The governor's office said he signed 53 bills on Friday and vetoed four. He has acted on a total of 186 bills and 95 are pending review.

Snyder's actions included signing abortion regulations that supporters say protect women but opponents consider an assault on the right to terminate pregnancy. He vetoed legislation he originally sought to overhaul Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan because he objected to provisions preventing businesses from providing elective abortion coverage in employee health plans.

Read more: http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=841985#.UN8vv2_Qs2A

Damn few details on what these 282 bills are. Expect some surprises Michiganians.

UPDATE: I found what appears to be a partial list of bills passed and sent to the Gov. (you will need to cut and paste the link into your browser)


Iran Has Right To Pursue Peaceful Nuclear Programme - Russia, India

Russia and India acknowledge that Iran has the right to pursue a peaceful nuclear programme but are urging it to observe relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This is what a joint statement on the results of President Putin’s visit to Indian notes, a Voice of Russia correspondent reports.

It is possible to settle the situation dealing with Iran’s nuclear programme only by political means and through diplomacy, and also by establishing a dialogue.

The parties concerned came to the conclusion that unilateral sanctions are counter-productive.



Iran Starts Navy Drills In Strait of Hormuz: IRNA

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran started on Friday six days of naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz, the official IRNA news agency reported, maneuvers aimed at showcasing its military capabilities in what is a vital oil and gas shipping route.

Naval commander Habibollah Sayyari said the "Velayat 91" drills would last until Wednesday across an area of about 1 million square kilometers in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, IRNA said.

Sayyari said the goal of the maneuvers were to show "the armed forces' military capabilities" in defending Iran's borders as well as sending a message of peace and friendship to neighboring countries.

Iranian officials have often said Iran could block the strait - through which 40 percent of the world's sea-borne oil exports pass - if it came under military attack over its disputed nuclear program.



Obama Says Immediate Action Needed On Fiscal Cliff

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says "the hour for immediate action is here" on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.

The president says he remains "optimistic" that an agreement can be reached in Congress before a looming year-end deadline to avoid tax increases and spending cuts.

If Congress can't reach a deal, the president says Congress should allow a vote on a basic package that would preserve tax cuts for middle-class Americans while extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and working toward a foundation for a broader deal.

The president says an hourlong meeting Friday with congressional leaders was "good and constructive."

Read more: http://newsok.com/obama-says-immediate-action-needed-on-fiscal-cliff/article/feed/480794

Senate Votes To Extend Warrantless Wiretapping Powers

Source: Rawstory

The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Friday that reauthorizes and extends the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a law that was originally meant to retroactively grant legal immunity to the Bush administration and telecoms, along with temporary authorization to wiretap non-Americans inside the United States without first having to acquire a warrant.

The law was set to expire at midnight on Friday, but the Senate’s vote means it will almost certainly be extended through December 2017.

Before passing the extension by a vote of 73-23, lawmakers blocked amendments by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (R-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY) that would have narrowed the window of reauthorization, added more oversight to the program and required annual reports to Congress on the privacy impacts of the program.

The extension continues warrantless wiretapping powers that apply even in the event that one person participating in the communication is an American citizen, despite the Fourth Amendment’s requirement for court oversight. It was originally passed in 2008 as a means of granting top Bush administration officials and the telecommunications companies legal immunity against suits over wiretaps that even the former president once claimed to be illegal.
Raw Story (http://s.tt/1xKlt)

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/12/28/senate-votes-to-extend-warrantless-wiretapping-powers/
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