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Purveyor

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 18,322

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White House Opposes New Israeli Settlement Construction

By BYRON TAU | 11/30/12 1:42 PM EST

The White House condemned Israel's decision to build more than 3,000 new settlements in the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

"We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlements and East Jerusalem construction and announcements," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

"We believe these actions are counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations or achieve a two state solution. Direct negotiations remain our goal and we encourage all parties to take steps to make that easier to achieve," Vietor said.

Israeli officials announced Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government had approved the construction of thousands of new housing units, and were laying the groundwork for more.

MORE...

http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/11/white-house-opposes-new-israeli-settlement-construction-150763.html

AIPAC Calls For Review Of U.S.-Palestinian Ties

Source: JTA

By Ron Kampeas · November 30, 2012
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The American Israel Public Affairs Committee called for a "full review" of the U.S. relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization, including shutting its Washington office, in the wake of its obtaining non-member state status at the United Nations.

"In requesting this action, PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is effectively turning his back on talks with Israel and destroying his credibility as someone genuinely interested in a serious peace process," AIPAC said in a statement after the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved non-member state status for the PLO ion Thursday evening, 138 to 9 with 41 abstentions.

"Congress has specifically linked continued aid and the operation of the PLO office in Washington to the Palestinians not seeking statehood status at the United Nation," it said. "AIPAC applauds this congressional leadership and urges a full review of America’s relations with the PLO, including closure of the PLO’s office in Washington."

In fact, laws passed by Congress to date impose penalties for full U.N. membership, not the non-member status obtained Thursday.

Read more: http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/11/29/3113201/aipac-calls-for-review-of-us-palestinian-ties

Russia Concerned Over Syrian Opposition Possessing Mobile Air-Defence Missile Systems

Russia is concerned over the fact that the Syrian opposition has mobile air-defence missile systems which arrived there from Libya, Head of the Kremlin Administration Sergei Ivanov said in Vienna.

Where they will find themselves later and whose civilian plane will be shot down by them is unknown.

This is dangerous and very serious, Ivanov stressed, adding that Russia was not supplying offensive arms to Syria.

MORE...

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_30/Russia-concerned-over-Syrian-opposition-possessing-mobile-air-defence-missile-systems/


Al-Qaida forces join Syrian rebels in airbase attack

--CLIP--
The attacked base is Taftanaz airbase from where government forces have been launching air attacks on rebel-held towns.The ability to launch such attacks has given President Bashar Assad's forces the upper hand during recent weeks in the Syrian civil war. Both warplanes and helicopters have been used from the airbase.

The civil war continues apace with thousands of deaths still occurring as Qatar prepares to host an international conference to help unite opposition to Assad's regime with the support of major powers such as the United States. It is hoped by many that opposition leaders currently in exile can be brought to the fore and lead a united front against the Syrian government.
What might be of concern for the west is that the rebels seem to have been joined by fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida-inspired Islamic militant group made up of foreign jihadis.

It would seem impossible for the US to offer backing to the rebels if they are indeed now aligned with al-Qaida. Any backing or actual arming of such an alliance would be seen as hypocritical by most and perhaps even stupid by those who remember the US backing for the Taliban when they were fighting to get rid of the Russians from Afghanistan.

MORE...

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/13323174-us-foreign-policy-unravels-as-alqaida-forces-join-syrian-rebels-in-airbase-attack

Stevie Wonder Cancels Scheduled Los Angeles Performance for Israeli Army Benefit

The battlegrounds of Palestinian civil society's call for a cultural boycott of Israel usually play out in Tel Aviv or in the music venues of other cities, but this week a prominent cancellation was gained much closer to home. The legendary Stevie Wonder was all set to perform for an annual Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FDIF) gala on December 6 in Los Angeles when pressure started mounting from activist groups.

As word got out, the Grammy award amassing musician became the focus of efforts by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to drop the date. The FDIF issued a press release just yesterday confirming that Wonder, indeed, will no longer be appearing at the event.

Although no official word was given by the musician himself, the FIDF said that Wonder's representatives cited a "recommendation from the United Nations to withdraw his participation" given his involvement with the organization. Wonder was named a UN Messenger of Peace three years ago.

"We regret the fact that Stevie Wonder has decided to cancel his performance at an important community event of the FIDF," Yitzhak Gershon, the organization's National Director and CEO, is quoted as saying. He then goes on to describe FIDF as a "non-political organization" that provides "humanitarian support." David Foster & Friends are still slated to appear with Jason Alexander of "Sienfeld" fame as emcee for the evening.

MORE...

http://blogs.ocweekly.com/heardmentality/2012/11/stevie_wonder_cancels_los_ange.php

Israel To Build 3,000 Settler Homes After UN Vote

Israel has authorised the construction of 3,000 more housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to Israeli officials.

It is also speeding up the processing of 1,000 planning permissions.

The Palestinian Authority has said it will not return to peace talks without a freeze in settlement building.

The decision comes a day after a vote at the UN General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians' status at the UN to that of non-member observer state.

MORE...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20552391

Senate Votes To Tighten Sanctions On Iran

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate voted Friday to impose new sanctions on Iran's domestic industries, targeting the Islamic Republic's economy to thwart its nuclear ambitions.

The 94-0 vote for a package of penalties reflected fears about the threat of Iran's nuclear program and the strong desire to protect the United States' closest Mideast ally Israel. Shortly before the vote, the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee urged senators to back the measure.

Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., sponsored the amendment to a sweeping defense bill that the Senate hopes to finish next week. The punitive measures build on sanctions on Tehran's oil and financial industries that Menendez and Kirk shepherded through Congress in the past year.

"The most recent sanctions are working toward crippling Iran's economy but Iran hasn't quit trying," Menendez said on the Senate floor. Said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.: "The screws need to be tightened."

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DEFENSE_BILL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-11-30-11-19-56

With UN Vote, Bipartisan Senate Group Threatens Cutoff Of US Aid, Closing Of PLO Office

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan group of senators warned the Palestinians on Thursday that millions in U.S. financial aid and its Washington office are in jeopardy if they use upgraded U.N. status against Israel.

Hours before the expected U.N. vote to admit Palestine as a nonmember state, four senators called the move provocative and introduced legislation threatening to cutoff U.S. assistance.

"The biggest fear I have is that the Palestinians achieve this status it won't be very long before the Palestinians use the United Nations as a club against Israel," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The measure, which the lawmakers plan to offer as an amendment to a far-reaching defence bill, would cut off assistance to the Palestinian Authority if they file charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court. As a nonmember state in the U.N., the Palestinians could join the court and press war crime charges against Israel.


Read more: http://www.leaderpost.com/news/vote+looming+bipartisan+Senate+group+threatens+cutoff+closing/7628017/story.html

U.S. Moves Toward Recognizing Syria Opposition

Source: New York Times

By MICHAEL GORDON
Published: November 29, 2012

WASHINGTON — The United States is moving toward recognizing the Syrian opposition as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people as soon as it fully develops its political structure, American officials said Thursday.

The move, which could be announced at a “Friends of Syria” meeting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to attend in Morocco on Dec. 12, is the most immediate decision the Obama administration confronts as it considers how to end the government of Bashar al-Assad and stop the violence that has consumed Syria. Britain, France, Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council have already recognized the opposition.

“They are a legitimate representative of the Syrian people’s aspirations,” Robert Ford, the American ambassador to Syria said Thursday at a conference on the Syrian humanitarian crisis. “They are making real progress and I expect that our position will evolve as they themselves develop,” he added.

Among the questions being debated within the administration as it weighs recognition are a host of legal issues about the implications of recognition, the effects on the efforts of the United Nations envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, to negotiate a political transition, the attitude of the Russian government and, most importantly, the state of the opposition.

Read more: Link to source

Could A New Palestinian State Bring Israel To The ICC?

AFP - If Palestine achieves UN "non-member observer status" on Thursday, it could open the door for the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes committed during the decades-long Israel-Palestinian conflict.

While the possibility of swift prosecutions of Israelis is slim, the spectre of such cases being brought before the ICC has overshadowed the Palestinians' bid.

--CLIP
Based in The Hague, the ICC can prosecute those guilty of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed since July 1, 2002, when its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, came into force.

--CLIP
And the court can only pursue an individual if crimes were committed on the territory of a state party -- one that signed and ratified the Rome Statute -- or by a citizen of such a state.

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http://www.france24.com/en/20121129-could-new-palestinian-state-bring-israel-icc

Email Privacy Bill Passes Committee In The Senate

By Morgan Little
November 29, 2012, 2:36 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation requiring that police obtain a search warrant to gain access to private emails and other forms of electronic communication.

The bill, championed by committee Chairman Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), updates legislation developed before the widespread adoption of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol that forms the backbone of modern email networks, let alone Facebook or Twitter.

Privacy advocates, such as the ACLU, applauded the vote.

“This is an important gain for privacy,” ACLU legislative counsel Chris Calabrese said in a statement. “We believe law enforcement should use the same standard to search your inbox that they do to search your home.”

MORE...

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-email-privacy-bill-senate-20121129,0,6818149.story
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