A U.S. Back Channel to Hamas?

June 5, 2014 15:41
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According to Buzzfeed, the US has been talking to Hamas through back channels — oh, for the last six months. Sheera Frenkel’s source is anonymous, and the State Dept. denies the story, so judge for yourself:

During the talks, Hamas gave assurances that allowed the U.S. to support the unity government, despite heavy pressure by the Israeli government for them to condemn it, the diplomatic officials — one American and one Palestinian — said. They said those assurances including a commitment to maintaining a ceasefire with Israel.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and Sgt. Gilad Shalit

If you’re following the fallout from US-Taliban prisoner swap, you’ve undoubtedly seen comparisons between Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and Sgt. Gilad Shalit. CNN interviewed Gershon Baskin (who midwifed the Shalit deal), but Elliott Abrams and Boaz Bismuth aren’t buying the comparisons. See also Time for more Israeli takes.

Bergdahl and Shalit
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Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and Sgt. Gilad Shalit

Australia

The Australian government is raising hackles by refusing to refer to eastern Jerusalem as “occupied.”

“The description of East Jerusalem as ‘Occupied East Jerusalem’ is a term freighted with perjorative implications, which is neither appropriate nor useful.”

Israel and the Palestinians

• The US, EU, UN, and China all say they’ll work with the new PA government. The US bought into the Palestinian argument that the cabinet ministers are independent of Hamas and not beholden to it. Israel denounced the American acceptance.

• Mahmoud Abbas has instructed the PA’s central elections committee to prepare for Dec. 4 elections. You can already start blaming Israel for obstructing Palestinian democracy:

PA Prime Minister Wants Israel Pressed Over East Jerusalem Vote

• Here’s one Israeli response to the unity government: 3,000 new housing units were approved for construction on the politically incorrect side of the Green Line. According to the Jerusalem Post, the units “were originally to be approved with release of a fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners at the end of March that was never carried out.” AFP reports the Palestinians will appeal to the UN.

• Fasten your seatbelts. The PA’s technocratic government had a bad start.

Employees who have been on separate payrolls of rival Palestinian governments traded blows at Gaza banks on Thursday when those hired by Hamas did not receive their wages under a new unity administration.

Fistfights between PA and Hamas employees broke out and club-wielding Palestinian riot police pushed them away from the cash machines, which were then closed, along with Gaza bank branches, to prevent more violence, according to an Interior Ministry spokesman.

Hamas arms program speeding ahead.

It’s official: The Modern Language Association’s latest effort to bash Israel collapsed, exposing BDS as a fringe group within the academic organization. Inside Higher Ed had the clearest coverage:

While a majority of members who voted cast their ballots in favor of the resolution, not enough of them did so for the vote to set official policy.

On the next page:

  • Al-Qaida uses Israeli company for secure email.
  • Hezbollah preparing ground invasion of Israel?
  • Pundits react to unity government and fallout.

Continued on page 2

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Category: Israel Daily News Stream

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