Posts tagged obama
“I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” Joel 3:2
RAMALLAH, West Bank (CBS/AP) — President Obama called for a free and independent Palestinian state while visiting the West Bank with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas Thursday.
“Palestinians deserve a state of their own,” Obama said during a joint news conferencewith Abbas in Ramallah.
Obama believes that a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians is possible.
“If we can get direct negotiations started again I believe that the shape of a potential deal is there,” Obama said.
Obama said he told Israeli officials that the White House does not consider settlement activity in the West Bank to be appropriate or constructive. He says Palestinians should not have to confront the daily indignities that come with occupation.
A new poll finds 36 percent of the 500 Israelis who were surveyed believe the president is more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, The Jerusalem Post reports. By comparison, 26 percent said Obama was more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian.
Obama arrived in Israel Wednesday to kick-off his Mideast swing. The president will also visit Jordan before heading back to the White House. source – CBS News
TEL AVIV – The White House has released what it says is a map of Israel. The only problem is that Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights are missing.
An Obama administration video highlighting the president’s plans for his Mideast trip depicts Jerusalem, the Golan and the West Bank – also known as Judea and Samaria – as non-Israeli territory.
The Washington Free Beacon, which first reported the discrepancies, noted the video shows the Golan Heights as part of Syria; Jerusalem is depicted as part of the West Bank; and northern Israel is shown as part of Lebanon. WND reported in August 2012 when the White House refused to name the capital of Israel – not once, but twice – as the two most senior White House correspondents cornered Obama’s press secretary, doggedly questioning him on whether the Obama administration considered Jerusalem or Tel Aviv to be the capital of the Jewish state.
The itinerary on the White House website further implies that Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital or even part of Israel, reported the Free Beacon. Obama’s schedule lists two stops in “Tel Aviv, Israel” and one in “Amman, Jordan,” while his trip to Israel’s capital city is identified as taking place only in “Jerusalem.”
The itinerary is consistent with information first released by WND disclosing Obama’s planned visit already has secured Israeli and Palestinian pledges to restart so-called land-for-peace talks that aim to see Israel relinquish the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, according to informed Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials.
The officials disclosed the Obama administration told both sides the talks would be aimed at creating a Palestinian state in what is known as the 1967 borders, meaning an Israeli retreat from some of the strategic West Bank and possibly some eastern sections of Jerusalem.
According to the informed officials, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed that once the talks begin, there will be a silent, undeclared freeze on all Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem with the exception of what are known as main blocs – Maale Adumin, Ariel and Gush Etzion.
The officials said the White House was adamant that Israeli talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas begin regardless of the position of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Still, the U.S. is supporting Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey in back-door efforts to broker a national unity deal between Abbas and Hamas during the same time period that the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are set to take place, the officials said.
There is already close coordination between the White House and members of Netanyahu’s government coalition, who are known to be sympathetic to creating a Palestinian state, primarily former opposition leader Tzipi Livni.
Further, WND was told that Livni and former Minister Haim Ramon are currently coordinating the renewal of talks with the PA’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat.
Regarding Jerusalem, the informed Israeli and Palestinian officials said the White House has been nonspecific other than to champion talks based on what is known as the Clinton parameters.
The formula, pushed by President Bill Clinton in the Camp David talks in 2000, called for Jewish areas of Jerusalem to remain Israeli while the Palestinians get sovereignty over neighborhoods that are largely Arab.
The informed officials, meanwhile, said the White House expects the issue of Jerusalem to be a key impediment to reaching a deal and is therefore discussing the formation of an international committee to help smooth the process.
Previous Israeli-Palestinian talks saw the U.S. naming an envoy meant to broker between the two sides. According to the officials speaking to WND, the White House has expressed interest in naming an envoy but has doubts about whether such a point man will be successful. source – WND
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the wealthiest American, said on “some days” he wishes the U.S. political system were like England’s, so that President Barack Obama could have “slightly more power.”
Gates was asked for his assessment of President Obama’s job performance during an interview at Politico’s “Playbook Cocktails” event.
“Some days I wish we had a system like the U.K. where, you know, the party in power could do a lot and you know, you’d see how it went and then fine you could un-elect them,” said Gates on Wednesday.
“Now, over time, our system has worked slightly better than theirs, theirs has worked okay but so it’s ironic that right now it feels like I wish there was slightly more power in the presidency to avoid some of these deadlocks. So I think what he Obama wants to do and what he’s actually able to do, the gap is so big there that it’s hard to know in some ways.” source – Daily Caller
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Hamas is warning that if President Obama visits the Temple Mount it would be a “declaration of war” against the Islamic world. Israel National News reports the terror group made the threat during a protest march at the religious site following riots on Friday.
Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman, called for a third intifada if Obama visits the contested religious site in Jerusalem’s Old City between Israelis and Muslims.
Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich believes the warning will lead to violence flaring up in the region ahead of the president’s visit.
“The Palestinians have not said the final word yet and we expect that there will be attempts to take advantage of the upcomingevents, like the visit by Barack Obama, in order to continue the violence,” Aharonovich told Israel National News.
White House officials have said Obama doesn’t plan on visiting the Temple Mount during his trip.
Both Israelis and Muslims have claimed sovereignty over the Temple Mount since Israel liberated the site during the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel left the Waqf in charge of the compound.
Obama met with about 10 leaders of Arab American groups on Monday, encouraging the president to deliver a message of hope to the Palestinian people.
“[T]here are opportunities for him to say things that get into the public discourse about America’s commitment to them, about America’s understanding of their situation,” Jim Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, told The Associated Press.
Following the meeting, the White House said Obama told the group that his trip was not meant to resolve a specific policy issue, but that it was an opportunity for Obama to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the Palestinian people. source – CBS Washington
You are no longer on a need-to-know basis
As scrutiny and debate over the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the American military increased last month, the Air Force reversed a policy of sharing the number of airstrikes launched from RPAs in Afghanistan and quietly scrubbed those statistics from previous releases kept on their website.
Last October, Air Force Central Command started tallying weapons releases from RPAs, broken down into monthly updates. At the time, AFCENT spokeswoman Capt. Kim Bender said the numbers would be put out every month as part of a service effort to “provide more detailed information on RPA ops in Afghanistan.”
The Air Force maintained that policy for the statistics reports for November, December and January. But the February numbers, released March 7, contained empty space where the box of RPA statistics had previously been.
Additionally, monthly reports hosted on the Air Force website have had the RPA data removed — and recently.
Those files still contained the RPA data as of Feb. 16, according to archived web pages accessed via Archive.org. Metadata included in the new, RPA-less versions of the reports show the files were all created Feb. 22.
Defense Department spokesman Cmdr. Bill Speaks said the department was not involved in the decision to remove the statistics. AFCENT did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
The data removal coincided with increased scrutiny on RPA policy caused by President Barack Obama’s nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA. Brennan faced opposition in the Senate over the use of RPAs and his defense of their legality in his role as Obama’s deputy national security adviser.
On Feb. 20, two days before the metadata indicates the scrubbed files were created, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., sent a letter to Brennan saying that he would filibuster the nomination over concerns about using RPA strikes inside the U.S., a threat he carried out for over 12 hours on March 6 (Brennan was confirmed the next day).
That same day, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., told a crowd in South Carolina that strikes by American RPAs have killed 4,700 people. source – Air Force Times
Obama planning to blanket the skies over America with drones
Recently uncovered government documents reveal that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) unmanned Predator B drone fleet has been customize designed to identify civilians carrying guns and track cell phone signals.
“I am very concerned that this technology will be used against law-abiding American firearms owners,” said founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation Alan Gottlieb. “This could violate Fourth Amendment rights as well as Second Amendment rights.”
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) obtained a partially redacted copy of Homeland Security’s drone requirements through a Freedom of Information Act request; CNET uncovered an unredacted copy.
Homeland Security design requirements specify that its Predator B drones “shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not” and must be equipped with “interception” systems capable of reading cell phone signals.
The first known domestic use of a drone to arrest a U.S. citizen occurred last year in the small town of Lakota, North Dakota when rancher Rodney Brossart was arrested for refusing to return six of his neighbor’s cows that had wandered on to his property. Critics say the fact that domestic drones are being used in such minor matters raises serious concerns about civil liberties and government overreach.
“That drone is not just picking up information on what’s happening at that specific scene, it’s picking up everything else that’s going on,” says drone expert and Brookings Institution senior fellow Peter Singer. “Basically it’s recording footage from a lot of different people that it didn’t have their approval to record footage.”
Others, like progressive author Naomi Wolf, have warned that domestic drones may soon be weaponized. The military version of the Predator B drone carries 100-pound Hellfire missiles, but the Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says the 10 drones in its domestic fleet are unarmed.
Last month, NBC News uncovered a confidential 16-page Justice Department memo that concluded the U.S. government may execute a drone strike on a American citizen it believes to be a “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force.”
The Obama Administration defended the use of drones to kill Americans thought to be working with terrorists. “These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. source – Breitbart
DHS also purchased 2,700 Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles (MRAP).
Modern Survival Blog reported:
The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.
Although I’ve seen and read several online blurbs about this vehicle of late, I decided to dig slightly deeper and discover more about the vehicle itself.
The new DHS sanctioned ‘Street Sweeper’ (my own slang due to the gun ports) is built by Navistar Defense (NavistarDefense.com), a division within the Navistar organization. Under the Navistar umbrella are several other companies including International Trucks, IC Bus (they make school buses), Monaco RV (recreational vehicles), WorkHorse (they make chassis), MaxxForce (diesel engines), and Navistar Financial (the money arm of the company). source – Gateway Pundit