LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation for today/Come
to Me and Rest
Matthew 11/25-30: "At that time Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth! I thank you because you have shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learned. Yes, Father, this was how you were pleased to have it happen. “My Father has given me all things. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.”
Happy New Year
Elias Bejjani: All genuine wishes for a happy new year with all graces of peace, modesty, forgiveness, love, hope, health and prosperity.
Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For January 01/14
Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources For 01 January/14
Lebanese Related News
Pope Francis asks people if they used 2013 to help others
December 31, 2013/Daily Star/VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis used his year-end prayer service on Tuesday evening to urge people to ask themselves a tough question: Did they mainly spend 2013 promoting self-interests or helping others? That's what we all should consider as New Year's celebrations get under way, the pontiff said as he led the service in St. Peter's Basilica to give thanks, a Vatican year-end tradition.
"Let us courageously ask ourselves: How did we live the time (God) gave us?" Francis asked in his homily. "Did we use it above all for ourselves, for our interests, or did we know how to spend it for others as well?"
He also encouraged people to reflect on whether they used 2013 to improve the place where they live. "This year did we contribute, in our own small ways, to make it more livable, orderly, welcoming?"
There are "so many people marked by material and moral poverty, poor people, unhappy, suffering, who appeal to the conscience not only of public authorities but of every citizen," Francis said.
During his first year as pope, Francis has stressed that he wants the Catholic church to be a "poor" church, focused on reaching out to those who live on the margins of society and others in need.
Citing Rome as an example, the pope noted that the city is "full of tourists, but also full of refugees. Rome is full of people who work, but also of people who don't find work, or who do jobs that are underpaid or without dignity." "All have the right to be treated with the same attitude of welcoming and fairness because everyone carries human dignity," Francis said. After the solemn service in the basilica, Francis put on a long white coat and went out into St. Peter's Square to admire a life-sized Nativity scene and greet well-wishers. Right after his election as pope in March, the Argentine-born Francis established his style as a down-to-earth pastor who likes to chat, shake hands and hug his flock when in public.
FBI assists Lebanon in probe into Shatah's killing
December 31, 2013 /By Youssef Diab The Daily Star
BEIRUT: A team from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has assisted Lebanese authorities in the ongoing investigation into last week’s assassination of former Minister Mohammad Shatah, acting State Prosecutor Samir Hammoud said Tuesday. “Lebanese authorities had agreed to allow the FBI to provide technical assistance for the investigation after the bureau expressed desire to do so,” Hammoud told The Daily Star.
The FBI team arrived to Beirut late Sunday, inspected the explosion site in Downtown Beirut, collected evidence and submitted a summary of its work to the Internal Security Forces, the agency tasked with the investigation, Hammoud added. “The Lebanese authorities welcome any international assistance that could help reveal the facts and the perpetrators behind the crime and other crimes, but the investigation remains the sole responsibility of Lebanese judicial and security agencies,” he said. The team is set to leave Beirut Tuesday night. A car bomb ripped through a bustling, commercial street in the capital’s central district on Dec. 27, killing the senior adviser of former PM Saad Hariri and seven others including a 16-year-old boy. The probe into the deadly attack has made little progress as investigators are still tracking the path of the explosive-rigged Honda CRV which was stolen in 2012 and entered the Palestinian Refugee Camp of Ain el-Hilweh. Investigators have not yet reviewed all CCTV footage taken from surveillances cameras set up in the Downtown area.
Meanwhile, security forces released Palestinian resident of Ain el-Hilweh and a Fatah member, Talal al-Urdouni, after two days of interrogation over the Honda CRV used in the bombing. The vehicle was allegedly stolen, purchased by al-Urdouni and later sold by him. Sources at Ain el-Hilweh could not confirm whether al-Urdouni returned to the camp. The ISF sought the public’s help in the investigation, urging individuals once again with photos or videos of the car bomb to send them to email@example.com. An FBI team also assisted investigators in last year’s October car bomb which killed head of the ISF Information Branch Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan in the Beirut district of Ashrafieh. -With additional reporting by Mohammed Zaatari
Israel Complains to U.N., Says Hizbullah
Carrying Out 'Double War Crime'
Naharnet Newsdesk 31 December 2013/Israel has filed a complaint with the United Nations after a rocket attack from southern Lebanon and the killing of a soldier in a cross-border shooting. In the letter of complaint to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council, Israel’s ambassador Ron Prosor wrote that "the lack of leadership in Lebanon allows Hizbullah to operate against Israel and destabilize the region."
"Hizbullah has placed thousands of missiles and rockets within civilian population in southern Lebanon, in blatant violation of international law, rockets and missiles that are used for firing at Israel. Hizbullah thus carries out a double war crime,” Prosor said. He asked for the Security Council's “intervention in the wake of the escalation in terrorist attacks from Lebanon into Israel in recent weeks.” "Israel has shown restraint in light of recent events, but reserves the right to protect its citizens and take any necessary measures for this purpose” he warned. “Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible for the escalation of violence in recent weeks,” Prosor wrote. “In addition to the wave of rockets, armed fighters have been firing across the Blue Line into northern Israel throughout the month of December. And just last week, a member of the Lebanese Armed Forces shot and killed an Israeli.” Rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday, causing no injuries but sparking an Israeli reprisal shelling. Residents of the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona awoke to several large explosions. Shortly after, the Israeli military said it responded with artillery fired toward the source of the launch. The National News Agency said more than 20 shells hit the mountainous region around the southern border area of Rashaya. Earlier this month, a Lebanese army sniper killed an Israeli soldier, Shlomi Cohen, 31, as he drove along the volatile border. The military later said the sniper had acted alone.
Israeli Unit Crosses Barbed Wire Fence near Rmeish
Naharnet Newsdesk 31 December 2013/An Israeli unit crossed on Tuesday the technical border fence in the Wadi al-Qatmoun region near the southern town of Rmeish.
The unit, consisting of three Merkava tanks, carried out patrol in the area. Meanwhile, a joint force of the Lebanese army and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon monitored the unit's activity.
Last week, Israeli troops dug a dirt road between the Israeli border and the technical fences in the Wadi al-Qatmoun region. It also carried out maintenance operations to surveillance positions in the area.
'Hoax Bomb' Found under Car in Shiyyah
by Naharnet Newsdesk 31 December 2013/A fake bomb was placed under a car in the Beirut southern suburb of Shiyyah on Tuesday. “A hoax bomb consisted of fake dynamite sticks, a nonoperational clock and a nylon bag was found under a car in the Asaad al-Asaad Street in Shiyyah,” the Internal Security Forces said on its Twitter page. Al-Mayadeen television also reported that the suspicious object was a “fake bomb.” Earlier on Tuesday, state-run National News Agency said that “after a suspicious car on Shiyyah's Asaad al-Asaad Street was inspected, it turned out that an armed bomb connected to a fuse was placed under it.” It said a military expert dismantled the parcel which consisted of “a dynamite stick and a TNT filling.”An army unit had cordoned off the area according to NNA. The development comes in the wake of a powerful car bombing in central Beirut that killed former minister Mohammed Shatah and seven other people on Friday. Dozens of people were also injured in the attack.
U.S. Commends Miqati's 'Strong Leadership' in Ensuring Payment of STL Financial Shares
Naharnet Newsdesk 31 December 2013/The United States has welcomed Lebanon’s decision to fulfill its 2013 funding obligations to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, lauding caretaker Premier Najib Miqati on his strong leadership. “We recognize and commend Prime Minister Miqati’s strong leadership in ensuring that the government met this important commitment,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said in a statement on Monday. “We fully support the work of the Tribunal and its efforts to find and hold accountable those responsible for reprehensible and destabilizing acts of violence in Lebanon,” she said.
The STL confirmed on Monday that it has received Lebanon’s share of the 2013 budget from the Lebanese government. The full sum of 29, 386, 609 euros, amounting to 49 per cent of the Tribunal's budget, was transferred to the Tribunal's bank account this morning by the Lebanese government, it said in a press release. The start of trial in the case against several Hizbullah suspects in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's Feb. 2005 assassination is scheduled for January 16. Harf's statement said the assassination of ex-Finance Minister Mohammed Shatah in a downtown Beirut car bombing on Friday “is a stark reminder that for too long, Lebanon has suffered from a culture of impunity for those who use murder and terror to promote their political agenda against the interests of the Lebanese people.”She said the STL in coordination with the Lebanese government “will help end this impunity by providing a transparent, fair process to determine responsibility for the terrorist attack that killed former Prime Minister Hariri and scores of others.” The spokeswoman appealed for continued financial support to the STL.
Berri Warns Assassins Could Target a Shiite in Aftermath of Shatah's Murder
Naharnet Newsdesk 31 December 2013/Speaker Nabih Berri has described Lebanon as a “psychiatric hospital,” warning that the next bomb target could be an official from the Shiite sect in an attempt to widen the divide between Muslims and create strife. In remarks published in As Safir daily on Tuesday, Berri expressed fears that a Shiite personality would be targeted in the aftermath of the assassination of former Finance Minister Mohammed Shatah, a Sunni. Such an attempt is aimed at hinting that the Sunnis are avenging Shatah's murder, he said. Berri warned that such attacks would widen the differences between Sunnis and Shiites and lead to sectarian strife.
Shatah, who was al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri's adviser, was killed in a car bombing in downtime Beirut on Friday. As Safir said that the speaker has asked his Amal movement's security official Ahmed al-Baalbaki to be on alert to confront the dangers. The speaker also warned against the formation of a fait accompli government after hints by President Michel Suleiman that such a move would be made soon.
“Any cabinet that comes from outside national consensus, whether it was neutral or not, would lead to dangerous repercussions,” he said. “Such a unilateral move would abolish the presidential elections,” Berri warned.
Hizbullah officials have also made similar warnings. The March 8 alliance, which includes both parties, is calling for the formation of a government in which it would get nine ministers along with March 14 and centrists would get six. But the March 14 camp is sticking to its demand for a non-partisan government. “Any attempt to impose a government (line-up) on others would automatically lead to a total freeze” in ties between the rival parties, Berri told As Safir. “This way, there won't be any appropriate atmosphere to hold the presidential elections,” he said. Any attempt to form a neutral cabinet should be preceded by new consultations between the president and parliamentary blocs to choose another prime minister, Berri said. “Premier-designate Tammam Salam is not neutral,” he said, adding that he is part of the March 14 alliance. “He should give up his task and hold new parliamentary consultations if a non partisan cabinet is to be formed,” Berri said. “The government cannot be imposed on us no matter what its size or form is,” he warned. The speaker stressed that he would work to hold the presidential elections on time. “I will exert all efforts to guarantee the election of a new president within the deadline” set by the Constitution, he said. Suleiman's six-year term ends in May 2014. The Constitution sets March 25 as the start of parliamentary sessions to elect a new head of state.
Jumblat Calls for Responding to Saudi Aid Positively, Says State 'Only Sanctuary for All Lebanese'
Naharnet Newsdesk 31 December 2013/Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Tuesday described the announced Saudi donation to the Lebanese Army as an “important step,” urging all parties to respond to it positively. “It is a must to laud and hail the important step that was achieved through the Saudi-French cooperation that is aimed at supporting and boosting the capabilities of the Lebanese Army,” said Jumblat in a statement issued by the PSP. “It is a generous and welcome initiative that came at the right time to support the military institution as it performs its missions amid very complicated circumstances,” he added.
Jumblat noted that “strengthening the Lebanese army's capabilities at this moment carries extraordinary significance, especially amid the Israeli threats and daily territorial, maritime and aerial violations practiced by Israel against Lebanon.” He also pointed out that “the arduous missions of protecting stability and civil peace require strengthening the army and security forces to avoid descending into further deterioration.”
Accordingly, Jumblat called on “all the components of the Lebanese political society” to respond to the Saudi initiative positively, “especially that it serves the interest of the state, which remains the only sanctuary for all Lebanese, regardless of the circumstances and major domestic and regional transformations.”The PSP leader noted that these developments “must be a bigger motive to embrace the state and the military and security agencies that belong to all Lebanese without exception or discrimination.” On Sunday, President Michel Suleiman announced that Saudi Arabia has pledged to grant Lebanon three billion dollars with the aim of purchasing French weapons for the Lebanese army as soon as possible. On Sunday, President Michel Suleiman announced that Saudi Arabia has pledged to grant Lebanon three billion dollars with the aim of purchasing French weapons for the Lebanese army as soon as possible.In an interview on LBCI television on Monday evening, caretaker Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said his Hizbullah-led political camp has certain concerns that “the donation to the army might be part of the domestic political bickering in the country.”
Charbel Launches NYE Security Plan:
Country Going Through Difficult but Not Dangerous Period
by Naharnet Newsdesk 31 December 2013/Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel on Tuesday announced that the country is going through “a difficult but not dangerous period,” urging citizens to avoid celebratory gunfire on New Year's Eve. “There's no doubt that we're going through a difficult period, but it's not dangerous, and there are indications that dialogue will be held in the new year so that we form a new cabinet and start building the state and its institutions,” Charbel reassured, as he launched a security plan for the NYE from the Dbaye barracks. “We thank security forces and all those who will spend the night in the streets” to preserve public safety, Charbel said. “We wish you a night free of any security incidents and we hope no one will drive while drunk,” he added. The minister called on everyone not to shoot in the air to celebrate the coming of the new year, warning that “the bullets might hit their relatives, friends or innocent passersby.” “Anyone who opens fire will be arrested,” he noted. “We thank the army which is coordinating with the security agencies,” said Charbel.
Lebanon witnessed numerous security incidents that are linked to the Syrian crisis in 2013, the last of which was the assassination of former minister Mohammed Shatah in a powerful bombing in downtown Beirut on December 27. Throughout the year, deadly bombings also rocked Beirut's southern suburbs and the northern city of Tripoli.
Lebanese Army Arrests Abdullah Azzam
Naharnet Newsdesk 31 December 2013/Army Intelligence recently arrested a suspect wanted by Saudi Arabia and a member of al-Nusra Front in Syria, reported LBCI television on Tuesday.
It said that Majed al-Majed was arrested about a week ago in Beirut. He is wanted by Saudi Arabia for being affiliated with al-Qaida. Authorities are awaiting the results of DNAs tests to verify Majed's identity, reported OTV. The suspect had headed about a month ago to Syria where he pledged his allegiance to al-Nusra Front chief Abu Mohammed al-Joulani. Majed is also the head of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades in the Levant and he is wanted by the United States on terrorism charges. News reports had previously said that Majed was leading a campaign in Lebanon aimed at pressuring Hizbullah to withdraw its fighters from Syria.
He may have been involved in the bombings that targeted the Iranian embassy in Beirut's Bir Hassan neighborhood on November 19. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades had claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was aimed at pressuring Hizbullah to withdraw its fighters from Syria. Majed was residing in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh before leaving to Syria and he was reportedly responsible for a takfiri network that was planning attacks against the army in 2012.
Fatah Official Released after Providing Testimony over Starco Blast
Naharnet Newsdesk 31 December 2013/A suspect linked to the Starco blast was released from custody on Tuesday, reported the National News Agency. It said that Palestinian Fatah movement official Colonel Talal al-Ordoni was released by the Army Intelligence after hearing his testimony over Friday's blast in the Starco area in Beirut that saw the assassination of former Finance Minister Mohammed Shatah. He was initially detained over his connection to the stolen vehicle that was used in the bombing. On Friday, As Safir newspaper quoted a detainee identified as Abu al-Daoud as saying that the Honda CRV used in the attack "entered the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp some time ago and was given to a man nicknamed Talal al-Ordoni.”It later turned out that al-Ordoni is a member of Fatah Movement, not Fatah al-Islam as mentioned in the newspaper's report.
In an interview with al-Jadeed television on Saturday, al-Ordoni said he was willing to turn himself in.
Mansour Says Syrian Warplanes 'Not Hostile'
Naharnet Newsdesk 31 December 2013/Caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour has described Syrian fighter jets as “friendly” and not “hostile” after the Lebanese army opened anti-aircraft fire in a border area.
“We should find out the truth. We are waiting for the army leadership to provide us the details and the available information so that we could deal with this issue based on the security agreements signed between the two countries away from politics,” Mansour told al-Joumhouria newspaper in remarks published on Tuesday. The Lebanese army fired on Syrian aircraft that violated the country's airspace Monday, the first time Lebanon has done so since Syria's uprising broke out nearly three years ago. The military fired anti-aircraft guns at warplanes after they fired missiles in a mountainous, barren area close to the northeastern border town of Arsal.
“Lebanese territories should not be threatened by Syria” and the other way around, he said. Mansour called for resolving the issue through the “historic and brotherly ties” that link the two states away from tension, narrow interests, hatred and accusations. Monday's incident does not affect the nature of relations between the neighboring countries, he said. Caretaker Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said the army was acting on the government's orders. The military "has clear and sufficient orders from the political authorities to respond" to such attacks, he said.
December 31, 2013/he Daily Star
After a year in which dozens of soldiers have been killed across Lebanon, and when the country teeters on the brink of chaos, this week’s $3 billion grant to the Army from Saudi Arabia could not have come at a better time. But it must not be politicized by certain actors, looking to find flaws in anything the kingdom can do. While Saudi Arabia, and other countries, both in the Gulf and the West, have provided assistance to the Lebanese Army before, this is the biggest ever single aid package. And it arrives at such a critical juncture for the country, when it is facing threats from each of its borders, and battling internal divisions and violence as well.
But amid all these crises, it sends a signal that Saudi Arabia, one of the Middle East’s de facto leaders, has faith in Lebanon, and in particular its army and its ability to persevere and stabilize the country, insulating itself from regional turmoil. The Army is symbolically the strongest institution in the country – to most Lebanese it represents unity, and remains to a large extent neutral in the face of internal political or sectarian divisions.
It has managed, against all odds, to transcend the dangerous habit of affiliation which has plagued most other institutions in the country, often while sacrificing its own members, as has been evidenced this year, with losses during battles in Sidon, Tripoli and the Bekaa Valley.
But while it is symbolically strong, and holds this special place in the national psyche, it is physically weak: chronically underfunded and its soldiers and resources overstretched.
Forced to patrol every border, it also finds itself filling in where other security agencies are failing, often acting as policeman, negotiator and emergencies director as well as soldier.
So this grant – which equals the military assistance given to Israel from the U.S. each year – will be crucial in helping the Army fill in some worrying gaps, and is a commendable signal from the kingdom. But still, certain voices in the Lebanese political spectrum have found it necessary to criticize the move, the same voices who have always accused Saudi Arabia of meddling in Lebanon’s domestic affairs.
Saudi Arabia has always been a friend to Lebanon when it has been in need, propping up its currency when it was in jeopardy, and helping it patch itself up after the Civil War and 2006 conflict. It has consistently stood by Lebanon, and this latest grant, while hugely welcomed, should therefore not come as a massive surprise. The condition that the money must be spent on French arms is undoubtedly intended as a message to the U.S. that the kingdom has new friends, but ultimately the move will benefit Lebanon.
All that can be hoped now is that the Lebanese distance themselves from politicizing the move, and also that the Army is able to use the money most effectively as possible, and not let the equipment be affected by traditional Lebanese bureaucracy and corruption. The Army is for all of Lebanon, anyone would have trouble denying that, so any efforts to support the institution must be taken as a move to support all Lebanese, regardless of political affiliation or sectarian background, the factors which the Army works so hard to ignore.
Exclusive: US “framework” calls for 80,000 Israeli West Bank evacuations to the big settlement blocs
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 31, 2013/The State
Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in Washington Tuesday, Dec. 31, that
Secretary John Kerry would discuss with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas a “proposed
framework” to serve as “a guideline for addressing all core issues” in the
“Some people say this would be an interim agreement. No, that’s not the case,” she said. The core issues she listed were “borders between Israel and a future Palestine, security arrangements, the fate of Palestinian refugees and conflicting claims to the holy city of Jerusalem.”
Kerry leaves for Israel and Ramallah on New Year’s Day to continue his shuttle, after Monday night, Dec. 30, Israel released from jail 26 Palestinian terrorists serving life sentences for murder.
debkafile reported earlier that the US Secretary does not expect Israeli and Palestinian leaders to approve the proposed framework – only to contribute their comments. We also reported that Abbas had indicated to the Secretary that that Palestinians were preparing to reject his proposals by demanding their referral to the various pan-Arab forums.
DEBKA Weekly No. 616 of Dec. 20 was first to divulge the nine points of the unpublished draft Kerry planned to present to Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week. Since then, certain amendments were introduced - especially in relation to Israel’s military presence in the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria. The document continues to be molded by Kerry’s ongoing back-and-forth communications with the two parties.
Nevertheless, the nine points disclosed hereunder stand as the basic guidelines of the proposed US framework:
Israel hands over 92.8 pc of West Bank to Palestinians
1. Nearly all its content draws on the proposal Ehud Olmert, then Prime Minister, submitted to Abbas on Aug. 31, 2008, which he never accepted; nor was it approved by any Israeli authority.
2. Territory: Israel will annex 6.8% of the West Bank including the four main settlement blocs of Gush Etzion with Efrata; Maale Adummim; Givat Zeev;and Ariel, as well as all of the “settlements” of East Jerusalem and Har Homa - in exchange for the equivalent of 5.5% of Israeli territory.
3. The Safe Passage: The territorial link between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would cut through southern Israel and remain under Israeli sovereignty and Palestinian control.
Our sources add that out of all other options, the American sponsors of the accord prefer to build an express railway line from Gaza to Hebron, without stops, which would be paid for by Washington. Abbas has already informed John Kerry that he wants the train to go all the way to Ramallah.
There will be a special road connecting Bethlehem with Ramallah that bypasses East Jerusalem. This is mostly likely the same route currently planned to go around Maaleh Adummim.
Since the safe passage will cross through Israeli, accounting for 1% of its territory, this area will be deducted from the land Israel concedes, leaving 4.54% for the land swap with the Palestinians.
4. Jerusalem: East Jerusalem will be divided territorially along the lines of the Clinton Parameters with the exception of the “Holy Basin,” which comprises 0.04% of the West Bank.
Sovereignty over this ancient heart of Jerusalem, with its unique and historic concentration of Jewish, Christian and Muslim shrines, will pass to an international commission comprised of the US, Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
5. Refugees: This issue will be addressed according to guidelines proposed by President Bill Clinton at Camp David in the year 2000 - and rejected by Yasser Arafat.
An International Foundation will be established to resettle the bulk of the Palestinian refugees in Canada and Australia, except for a small portion to be accepted in Israel in the framework of family reunification.
6. Security: The Olmert package made no mention of security. However the Kerry draft deals extensively with this issue and Israel’s concerns. It calls for the evacuation of all 10,000 Jewish settlers from the Jordan Valley leaving behind a chain of posts along the Jordan River. Security corridors cutting through the West Bank will maintain their land and operational links with Israel.
Border crossings will be set up between Palestine and Jordan with an Israeli security presence. The security section of the draft assigns the use of West Bank and Gaza airspace by Israel and the Palestinians. There will be no Israeli military presence inside the Palestinian state.
7. Taxes: The present arrangement for Israel to collect customs levies and distribute the revenues to the Palestinians will continue. (debkafile: That is about the only clause which the Palestinians accept.) Israel will carry out security checks on goods bound for Palestinian that are unloaded at Haifa and Ashdod ports, and levy customs at rates fixed by the Palestinians to be disbursed in the Palestinian state.
8. Settlements: Eighty percent of all Jewish settlers on the West Bank will be confined to the major settlement blocs as defined in 2. The remaining 20% amounting, according to American calculations to 80,000 people, will have to decide on their own whether they prefer to stay where they are under Palestinian rule or move to Israel.
debkafile’s sources report that Secretary Kerry advised the Israeli Prime Minister bluntly that he need not promise to force settlers to leave their homes - as the Sharon government did when he executed the unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Netanyahu replied that it was unacceptable for Israel to abandon the settlers to their fate. He therefore proposed that instead of forcing them to cross back into Israel, they would be absorbed in the larger settlement blocs remaining under Israeli sovereignty.
9. Timelines: Different timetables are proposed in the US framework for implementing different sections: The Palestinian leader says he is willing to give Israel three years as a transition period for relocating settlers.
When he submitted the paper to the Israeli and Palestinian leaders earlier this month, the Secretary of State told them that he saw no point in the two negotiating teams holding meetings consumed by interminable debates on one point or another. He therefore asked both parties to henceforth send him their comments in writing.
Opinion: We must highlight the Syrian tragedy more in 2014
By: Diana Moukalled/Asharq Alawsat
In my last op-ed of the year, allow me to take the opportunity to resist colluding with the rest of the world regarding what is happening in Syria. There is a vital need to undertake creative and exceptional efforts to ensure that the situation in Syria returns to the headlines. The situation in the country is not only intimidating to the Syrian people themselves but also the rest of the world as atrocities continue to take place on the ground.
The media, myself included, must resist the Syrians’ forced complacency towards the presupposition that their deaths no longer stirs international uproar.
The regime’s missiles, barrel bombs, and chemical weapons, not to mention their massacres’ and torture, are no longer news. Not even Syrian children dying of hunger or cold is news. The images of this now only reaches those who desire to frustrate themselves by witnessing scenes that many others appear to have forgotten.
The Syrians have now realized that the footage they shot during the first and second years of the revolution no longer affect public opinion as much as they did in the past. In the meantime, there’s a universal antipathy towards the deaths in Syria.
This apathy is political, moral and journalistic.
It is as if there’s been a global decision that we have had enough of Syrian news, despite all the death, destruction and suffering. It is enough to look at the reaction, or rather lack of reaction, to the images of the victims of the barrel bombs in Aleppo over the past two weeks.
It’s true that the slaughter carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other terrorists still stirs attention. Those who are shocked by ISIS’s atrocities, but who remain apathetic to the regime’s horrifying acts, appear to hold the repugnant idea that the Assad regime, despite its bloodthirstiness, remains the best option for regional stability.
The Syrian regime has exerted significant efforts to promote its version of the events in Syria. Or rather, shall we say that it has exerted efforts to promote its lies? Damascus has only worked to spread the word about ISIS and other similar groups in order to draw attention away from the Syrians being killed by their “secular” barrel bombs.
Despite all this, the Syrian people have not given up.
Over the past year, many cameras have recorded Syrian deaths. 2013 was the toughest year as the Syrian regime’s brutality has only increased. Cameras became the most important factor during moments of violence and murder. Sometimes, murder was even carried out for the sole purpose of videotaping it and broadcasting it to the world at large.
So who is responsible for the general disregard of the painful deaths in Syria?
Is it simple human nature which can become accustomed to anything, even heinous murder? Or is this due to a political and journalistic inability to keep the Syrian people’s cause alive?
We must make sure that the Syrian tragedy is not forgotten in 2014.