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According to Al Hayat, the Israeli government will release arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti but expel him from the Palestinian-occupied territories.

Al Hayat is not well-informed about Israel, but he has good inside knowledge of Palestinian affairs; thus the story reflects Abbas’s hopes. Barghouti’s release would spell electoral defeat for Abbas: having been locked away in jail for the past years, Barghouti is untainted by the allegations of corruption that plague other PLO leaders.

Israel will find it very hard to negotiate with the tough and popular Barghouti, as opposed to Abbas the puppet. Peres nevertheless supports Barghouti as the only Palestinian leader who might sign a durable peace treaty with Israel.

Once he is expelled, Barghouti will gain international prominence like Mashaal did, and one day Peres will bring him back to win Palestinian elections, like he brought Arafat from Tunis.

Israeli government agencies are fuming over the EU draft resolution, introduced by Sweden, that promises to recognize a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem “in due time.”

In reality, the EU has long extended de facto recognition to the Palestinian state, whose passports it accepts and with whom it maintains diplomatic relations. Since 1967 it has been clearly understood that the world won’t recognize East Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The EU, therefore, merely restates its position that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory.

In a world where France occupies Corsica and Russia occupies the Kuril Islands, Israel can continue occupying Jerusalem even if some Swedes think it belongs to Palestine.

Likud, Labor, and Kadima MKs voted against a bill that would ban visits to terrorist prisoners until Hamas provides access to Shalit.

Unwilling to jeopardize the government’s cozy relations with Hamas and offend those parties’ Arab voters, the MK’s explained their shameful action by claiming that the ban violates Israel’s international obligations.

Lie. These international obligations are unenforceable, and have never been reciprocated by Hezbollah or Hamas. Moreover, the obligations apply only to POWs; Israel sentences Palestinian guerrillas as common criminals. They are not citizens of any state, and Israel’s treatment of its criminals is an internal affair. Yigal Amir, sentenced for the same offense as most terrorists, has been held in solitary confinement and denied visits for most of his incarceration.

The Council of Settlements is staging a fake war with the government. The Council refused to allow inspectors into the settlements to control the construction freeze, and its leaders refused to meet the Defense Minister to coordinate the ban.

That’s a continuation of the Gush Katif spectacle. The Council is funded by the government, its leaders receive their salaries from the Ministry of Internal, and must therefore collaborateóbut they need to retain a shred of credibility among the settlers.

For two decades, construction in the settlements has practically been halted, so the protests are a bit late.

Shas’s Minister of Internal refused to provide inspectors to monitor the ban.

In a nod to the ostensibly right-wing government, the Attorney General’s office claimed in the High Court that the Civil Administration cannot demolish “illegal” outposts because of the moratorium on construction.

Yet another Ponzi scheme has blown up in Israel. This time, Moshe Zussman cheated his ultra-Othodox clients of $50 million.

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner requested that California’s pension funds divest $12 billion of their portfolio investments from Iran.

Portfolio investments remained legal even after California’s governor banned direct investment. The pension funds will have trouble selling their massive holdings in just four months, as Poizner told them to do. The investment ban makes little sense: companies from many other countries besides America invest in Iran, including Russia, France, Germany, India, South Korea, and China. Corporations line up to invest in Iran, made only more profitable by the sanctions, and California’s ban only injures domestic pension funds.

In four months, Iran may already have the bomb, and the sanctions will be useless.

December 2009
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