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Daily Archives: 11/07/2010

Incentives for settlement freeze likely on agenda as Netanyahu heads for U.S.

File photo : US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a meeting in Washington, DC, on August 31, 2010. The Obama administration geared up for a bold bid to relaunch direct Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and clinch a peace deal within a year as Middle East leaders arrived in Washington. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)


Netanyahu envoy arrived in Washington earlier this week to meet chief Palestinian negotiator on ways to renew negotiations.

November 07, 2010 (KATAKAMI/ HAARETZ) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to leave for the United States Saturday night to address the Jewish Federations’ General Assembly in New Orleans.

Netanyahu will not be meeting President Barack Obama, who is in India, but he will meet with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Americans are expected to tell Netanyahu that their package of diplomatic and security incentives is still on the table if he agrees to renew the freeze on construction in the settlements.

Netanyahu’s flight to the U.S. reportedly cost the state more than $1 million, because it is a direct flight from Ben-Gurion International Airport to New Orleans. El Al was selected to fly the prime minister without a tender.

The administration’s involvement in the Middle East peace process has been almost nil in recent weeks as they attempted to shore up support at home ahead of last week’s midterm elections. However, Netanyahu’s envoy Isaac Molho arrived in Washington three days ago for a meeting with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on ways to renew negotiations and possibility of refreezing construction in the settlements.

Molho made no progress, but Erekat and the Americans agreed that the Palestinians would wait until the end of November before making another move, such as approaching the UN Security Council with a demand to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu-Rudeina, told Agence France Presse that the Palestinians had given the Americans another three weeks to reach understandings with Israel. If no agreement was forthcoming by that time, they would approach the Security Council.

Senior American officials, who asked to remain anonymous because of the issue’s sensitivity, told Haaretz at the end of the week that during Netanyahu’s visit another attempt would be made to address the construction freeze gambit.

“Talks with Molho were serious although no solution was found, and we are still trying,” an official said.

The incentive package the Americans offered Israel two months ago includes advanced fighter planes and other security aid, as well as guarantees of a U.S. veto of any attempt at a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood in the Security Council in the coming year.

Although the Americans are reportedly angry at Netanyahu’s refusal to restart the freeze, they apparently do not want to clash with him at this time.

Both Biden and Clinton are expected to press Netanyahu into renewing the freeze and show willingness to move ahead on the issue of borders, but will not accuse him of responsibility for the impasse.

Israeli sources familiar with the U.S. position said American enthusiasm for offering incentives has cooled and that “the formulation of the letter with the guarantees has changed and Netanyahu will not be able to make do with a new two-month freeze.”

Netanyahu did not convene the forum of seven senior ministers before he left, but spoke with some of them individually.

He will be meeting this evening at 8 P.M. Israel time with Biden, who will also be addressing the general assembly.

Netanyahu will leave for New York immediately after his address to the GA tomorrow, to meet with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Netanyahu will meet with senior American economists, industrialists, Jewish leaders and with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell. He will also give a number of television interviews.

On Thursday, Netanyahu is to meet with Clinton.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman and opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima ) will also be attending the GA.

On Tuesday, Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit will come to Washington, following separate visits to Ramallah and Tel Aviv over the past 10 days.

The Egyptians, who are working to help Washington restart direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, are pressuring both sides.

The Egyptian leaders will meet with Clinton a day before she meets with Netanyahu.

Washington think tanks have been discussing the best way for Obama to reach a breakthrough. David Makovsky, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said in a speech last week that if Israel wants to avoid a U.S. accusation of responsibility for an impasse with the Palestinians, Netanyahu should change his coalition and include Kadima.


President Ahmadinejad meets Sudanese Presidential Advisor : The claimants of human rights, freedom and democracy as the former colonizers

President Ahmadinejad in a meeting with Sudanese Presidential Advisor: The claimants of human rights, freedom and democracy as the former colonizers (Sunday, November 07, 2010)


November 07, 2010 (KATAKAMI / PRESIDEN.IR) — President Ahmadinejad said: Iran and Sudan relations are brotherly and Iran with religious look will stand beside Sudan and an independent nations.

Dr.Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a meeting with Sudanese presidential advisor stating that The enemies are worried and displeased with the advancement of the independent nations and do their best to halt their progress, arguing, “The hegemonic system resorting to various methods tries to block the path for the rising might and blossoming advancement of the Islamic countries.”

President pointing to the enemies plots to create division and discord between independent countries, made the remarks: “The hegemonic system while do not allow Palestine even in their countries form referendum, encourage this issue in the independent countries such as Sudan, and even design plots for that which should tactfully stand against it.

President said: “The claimants of human rights, freedom and democracy are as the former colonizers and slave owners which after defeat against nations struggle have struck the false mask of supporting the rights of nations.

The Sudanese official praised Iran’s wise diplomacy on international issues and said all plots against the Islamic Republic have failed.

He expressed hope the Islamic Republic and Sudan would take steps towards promoting political, economic and cultural cooperation. (*)

Japan to return its recalled ambassador to Moscow Sunday

Japanese Ambassador to Russia Masaharu Kono


November 07, 2010 (KATAKAMI/ RIA NOVOSTI) — Japan’s ambassador to Russia Masaharu Kono, recalled amid the recent diplomatic spat over the disputed Kuril Islands, will return to Moscow by Sunday noon, the Kyodo news agency said.

On Monday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev became the first Russian president to visit one of the four disputed Kuril Islands, called the Northern Territories by Japan. The move triggered an angry response from Tokyo, which called the visit “regrettable” and temporarily recalled its ambassador to Russia for consultations.

The Japanese government has later taken a decision to refrain from further actions of protest.

Both Moscow and Tokyo have laid claim to the Kuril Islands since they were occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. The dispute over the islands has prevented Russia and Japan from signing a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities.


MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti)

Flights to Jakarta Canceled Over Volcano


Indonesia's Mount Merapi spews massive hot clouds of volcanic ash and rocks as seen from Sleman district in central Java on November 6. Airlines cancelled dozens of flights to and from Jakarta, affecting international carriers from Europe to Asia, because of the volcanic ash. (AFP/SONNY TUMBELAKA)


November 07, 2010. Jakarta (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA GLOBE) — Thousands of international air travelers are in limbo after airlines on Saturday canceled scores of weekend flights into and out of Jakarta over fears that ash clouds from Mount Merapi posed a danger, but then began reinstating or rescheduling many of the flights on Sunday.

The notoriously volatile Mount Merapi unleashed nearly 50 million cubic meters of gas, rocks and ash on Friday, its most powerful eruption in a century. Up to 138 people have now died on Merapi’s slopes in the past ten days of eruptions and gas cloud ash emissions, and authorities were still struggling on Sunday to deal with those injured in the latest blast.

Airlines canceled 50 Sunday flights in addition to 36 on Saturday over concerns about volcanic ash being spewed into the sky 430  kilometers to the east.

Signs of the eruption of the Mount Merapi volcano (C) puncturing the cloud cover over Java are pictured in this NASA Terra satellite image taken November 5, 2010 and obtained November 6, 2010.

The airlines halting flights to the capital include Singapore Airlines, Air Asia, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa and Japan Airlines.

However, some carriers resumed some flights on Sunday. Singapore Airlines reinstated two morning flights, and has added a supplementary flight from Singapore to Jakarta and back tonight. Malaysia Airlines said three flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta and three from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur would be operated as normal, but two flights in each direction remain canceled.

Soekarno-Hatta Airport operator Angkasa Pura II issued an official list of flights affected as of 12.15pm on Sunday:

Cancelled flights:
Emirates Airlines: 4 flights; EK-356/357 (15.45/17.45) EK-358/359 (21.45/00.15)
Philippine Airlines: 2 flights; PR-503/504 (12.30/13.20)
ValuAir: 2 flights; VF-507/508 (11.35/12.15)
Cathay Pacific: 2 flights; X-777/776 (13.05/14.50)
JetStar: 2 flights; JQ-115 (20.05/20.35)
Japan Airlines: 2 flights; JL-725/726 (17.20/22.05)

Flights previously canceled but reinstated:
Singapore Airlines: 2 flights; SQ-952/953 (14.45/15.40)
Singapore Airlines: 2 supplementary flights added; SQ-954/955 (20.45/21.40)
KLM: 2 flights; KL-809/810 (18.10/19.25)
Lufthansa: 2 flights; LH-778/779 (18.50/20.05)
Brunei Airlines: 2 flights; BI-737/738 (13.25/14.50)

Domestic flights to/from Yogyakarta cancelled:
Garuda Indonesia: 15 flights (8 departure / 7 arrival)
Lion Airlines: 4 flights (3 departure / 1  arrival)
Batavia: 2 flights (1 departure / 1 arrival)

Lightning strikes as Mount Merapi volcano erupts spewing out towering clouds of hot gas and debris, as seen from Ketep village in Magelang, Indonesia's Central Java province November 6, 2010. REUTERS/Beawiharta

Airlines are advising passengers to check their online schedules and announcements as the situation is changing hourly due to weather conditions.

Australian airline Qantas said it had made a careful assessment of weather conditions and will go ahead with today’s flight from Sydney to Jakarta.

A spokesman for Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport, which handles around 900 flights per day, confirmed that the airport remained fully open, and flag-carrier Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air are still running all international flights out of there.

“There has been no notice to airman so far from the aviation authorities which says the airport is affected by the volcanic ash. Therefore Garuda continues its activities,” Garuda Indonesia spokesman Pujobroto told news portal kompas.com.

Domestic flights from Jakarta are mostly unaffected so far, but flights to cities closer to Merapi on the main island of Java – including Yogyakarta, Solo and Bandung – have been affected, with the closure of smaller airports near the volcano delaying the arrival of burn cream and ventilators for those whose skin and lungs have been singed by searing gases.

US President Barack Obama is scheduled to touch down in Jakarta on Tuesday as part of a 10-day Asian tour. Since taking office, Obama has already twice postponed visits to Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim nation, where he spent four years as a child.

Paul Belmont, a US Embassy spokesman, said there has been no talk yet of canceling. “But certainly, if the situation evolves into something like what we saw in Europe not long ago (when the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul forced closed airports for a week) it’s something we’d have to take seriously,” Belmont said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Three Malaysian air force planes arrived in Indonesia to pick up hundreds of citizens stranded by the eruption of Mount Merapi. The Royal Malaysian Air Force says the C-130 transport planes left early on Sunday.

They will pick up 664 Malaysians, many of them university students who had been in the city of Yogyakarta, 30 kilometers south of the volcano. The city is on its highest alert for the danger of ash and lava flows from Merapi.


Photostream : U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard (R) walk along the Yarra River on their way to lunch at Melbourne's Federation Square on November 7, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. Secretary Clinton travelled to Melbourne with U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates to participate in the annual Australia-U.S. ministerial meetings. The meetings were originally scheduled for January 2010 but were postponed so Secretary Clinton could help organise U.S. relief efforts following the Haiti earthquake. (Photo by William West - Pool/Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (centre L) and Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard (centre R) walk along the Yarra River on the way to lunch at Melbourne's Federation Square on November 7, 2010. Australia is the final country on an Asia Pacific tour that has taken Clinton to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Cambodia, China and Vietnam. AFP PHOTO/POOL/William WEST (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, walks to lunch with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010, in Melbourne, Australia. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures during an event on clean energy and green technology Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, speaks as Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard listens during a joint press conference at the Pixel Building in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010. (Getty Images /AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill, Pool)

Photostream : Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman visits Israel

Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, shakes hands with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman during their meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010. Suleiman met with Israeli officials Thursday, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss ways to boost stalled Mideast peace talks with the Palestinians. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Debbie Hill, Pool)

Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, shakes speaks with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman during their meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010. Suleiman met with Israeli officials Thursday, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss ways to boost stalled Mideast peace talks with the Palestinians. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Debbie Hill, Pool)

Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyau (R) meets with Omar Suleiman, head of Egyptian Inteligence on November 04, 2010 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman visits Israel to meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of renewing negotiations with the Palestinians. (Photo by Moshe Milner /GPO/Getty IMages)