State Dept. blasts Palestinian President for "offensive" and "counterproductive" United Nations address


The State Department on Friday harshly condemned a speech given earlier that day by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, during which Abbas told the United Nations General Assembly that Israel's summer Operation Protective Edge against Hamas constituted a "genocidal crime," that the Israelis had committed a "series of absolute war crimes," that those who expressed "support for Israel's right to self-defense" were wrong to do so, and that Israel had "specifically targeted the City of Jerusalem...attempting to artificially alter the spirit, identity and character of the Holy City, focusing on Al-Aqsa Mosque." The final allegation was a gesture toward Abbas's repeatedly leveled accusation that Israeli Jews are attempting to "Judaize" Jerusalem, a charge that Israeli leaders have harshly criticized as a particularly virulent and dangerous form of incitement. Other portions of Abbas's speech included lines lashing out over "the third war waged by the racist occupying State in five years against Gaza" and insisting that "the colonial occupying Power [Israel] was preparing a new Nakba [disaster] against the Palestinian people." Substantively the speech appeared to commit the PA to giving up negotiations and instead pursuing a strategy of international legal warfare against the Jewish state. Abbas seemed emphatic on the point: "it is impossible, and I repeat - it is impossible - to return to the cycle of negotiations." The full version of the speech as written was posted to the U.N.'s webpage, and  New York Times United Nations journalist Somini Sengupta reported that Abbas received "sustained applause from the General Assembly hall." Johnathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), noted that "the PLO has been heading in this direction for several years now - using the international system as its chief negotiation leverage" and suggested that attention would now shift to whether the Obama administration would "help the PLO pursue its goals through the international system." A statement sent to reporters by State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki Friday night blasted Abbas's speech for having "included offensive characterizations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject," and described his remarks as ones that "[were] counterproductive and undermine[d] efforts to create a positive atmosphere and restore trust between the two parties." Veteran Associated Press (AP) diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee posted the statement to Twitter after specifically emphasizing both the former and latter aspects of State's position. The subsequent AP story conveying Psaki's statement specifically emphasized Abbas's war crimes accusation.

The dream of every startup is to foresee and capitalize on revolutionary trends, and the video technology company Kaltura has been doing just that. Founded in 2006 by Israeli serial entrepreneurs Ron Yekutiel, Shay David, Michal Tsur and Eran Etam, Kaltura was listed by Forbes last June as one of the top 25 hot Israeli tech startups to watch this year. A business-to-business, open-source online platform, Kaltura powers the videos produced by hundreds of thousands of media, corporate and educational institutions, among them HBO, Disney, ABC, Warner, Paramount, IBM, Intel, Ikea, Bank of America and Harvard University. “The world is becoming much more visual than textual,” CEO Ron Yekutiel tells ISRAEL21c at Kaltura’s subsidiary office in Ramat Gan (the technically American company, called Delaware Corporation, also has branches in New York, London, Sao Paulo and soon in Asia-Pacific). “We will watch it grow more and more videofied.” Indeed, he quips, “The saying goes that a picture is worth 1,000 words; in video, there are 30 frames every second. So you could say that a video second is worth 30,000 words.” Yekutiel, 40, who divides his time between Israel and the United States, says that by the end of the year Kaltura will have 400 staff members worldwide, half of them in Israel. “The core engine of our research and development is and always will remain in Israel, but not out of necessity,” he says, explaining that though he and his cofounders (several of whom have PhDs) are all native Israelis, when they founded Kaltura they were scattered across the world. Nor are any of Kaltura’s investors Israeli. “We could have based our operations anywhere. But we wanted to do it here, both from a Zionist perspective and out of a belief in the technology and the people.” (via Israel21c)

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