Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected a peace initiative proposed by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday, according to the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds.
The dismissal of Biden’s offer, if true, follows an almost 20-year history of Palestinians rejecting peace offers. In July 2000 at Camp David, former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rejected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer of 92% of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip, along with a capital in East Jerusalem. President Bill Clinton made it clear that Arafat was to blame for the failure of the Camp David Summit. Moreover, Arafat responded to the offer by launching the Second Intifada. In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented Abbas with a proposal for a peace agreement. It was also rejected. In an interview a year later, Abbas said he refused the offer because “the gaps were wide.” In March 2014, Israel accepted Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework for continued peace negotiations and agreed to proceed on the basis of it, while Abbas rejected it and the next month formed a unity government with Hamas. In September 2015, Netanyahu stated that he is willing to restart talks at anytime without preconditions. The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, responded by calling Netanyahu’s bid a “PR stunt” and rejected the offer.
On Tuesday, when Biden first arrived in Israel, Palestinian terrorists carried out a spate of attacks, injuring 13 and killing an American tourist. These attacks come amidst a current wave of violence that has been triggered by incitement from Palestinian leaders across society. The incitement has come from the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, as well as members of Abbas’s Fatah Party. Abbas failed to condemn Tuesday’s attacks, while Fatah celebrated the killing of the US Army veteran on its Facebook page. At a press conference on Wednesday, the Vice President criticized the Palestinian Authority for not condemning the attacks, stating, “The United States of America condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn these acts.”
Following this week’s ballistic missiles tests by Iran, which came after President Hassan Rouhani ordered his military to step the development of the weapons, an editorial (Google link) in The Wall Street Journal observed that “moderation, Iranian-style, is relative.”
“Tehran’s show of force—it also tested missiles on Tuesday—are not the work of the usual ‘hardline’ suspects. Iran tested ballistic missiles last fall in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution,” the editorial noted on Thursday. “[In] January Mr. Rouhani publicly ordered his defense minister to speed up missile testing and production,” again in defiance of a United Nations Security Council resolution.
Rouhani’s order to accelerate Iran’s ballistic missile program in December breached the terms of UN Security Council resolution 2231, which implemented the nuclear deal and “[called] upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
In August, a month after agreeing to the nuclear deal, Rouhani expressed his opposition to any internationally imposed restrictions on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, declaring, “We will buy, sell and develop any weapons we need and we will not ask for permission or abide by any resolution for that.”
Iran carried out ballistic missile tests in both October and November of last year. A UN panel found that the October launch violated UN Security Council resolution 1929, which stated that Iran “shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.”
Early on in the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, an American diplomatic delegation sought to discuss Iran’s ballistic missile program with Iran’s chief negotiator, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, another so-called moderate. Zarif “merely laughed and ignored the remarks,” according to a Reuters report published at the time.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced on Tuesday that it had test-launched ballistic missiles at sites across the country, marking the third time that it violated UN Security Council bans on such tests in five months. Iran revealed on Wednesday that it had fired two more ballistic missiles, which it claimed had the phrase “Israel must be wiped off the face of the world” written on them in Hebrew.
Ambassador Wendy Sherman, the former U.S. lead negotiator with Iran, dispelled the notion that Rouhani was truly a moderate during a talk last month at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. “There are hardliners in Iran, and then there are hard-hardliners in Iran,” Sherman said. “Rouhani is not a moderate, he is a hardliner.” (via TheTower.org)
Donated blood can be refrigerated and stored for six weeks. But donated organs have a very short shelf life. A heart or lung can be kept viable for transplantation for only six hours, a pancreas or liver for 12 hours and a kidney for less than 30 hours. Any donated organ that is past its prime ends up going to waste instead of saving lives. Freezing organs, rather than just refrigerating them, seems like a logical solution, but in practice it doesn’t work. When organs are frozen, ice crystals form and cause irreversible damage to the cells. “The ability to freeze organs and to then thaw them without causing damage to the organ itself would be revolutionary in terms of our chances to save lives,” says Prof. Ido Braslavsky from the Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment in The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Together with his Hebrew University team, Braslavsky is contributing significantly to the effort to perfect cryopreservation – the process of preserving cells, tissues and organs in sub-zero temperatures. This would enable long-term banking of tissues and organs and efficient matching between donor and patient, eventually saving lives of millions of people around the world. (via Israel21c)