Arab Unrest Shows Israel-Palestinian Conflict Not the Core of Regional Instability - Joel GreenbergHizbullah's rise to political dominance in Lebanon is not interpreted in Israel as a harbinger of renewed hostilities. "We don't see Hizbullah or other elements creating a provocation along the Israeli-Lebanese border," said Moshe Ya'alon, a vice prime minister and minister of strategic affairs, who spoke to foreign journalists Thursday. Hizbullah, as a military arm of Iran held in reserve for a possible confrontation with the West or Israel, is restrained from squandering its arsenal of missiles in a conflict that would not directly serve Iran's interests, he said.
To Israeli officials, the unrest across the region, with Israel on the sidelines, proves an assertion that has been a point of contention with the Obama administration. "For us it is very clear," Ya'alon said, "the core of this instability in the Middle East is not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." (Washington Post)
Palestinians Preventing Middle East Peace Deal, Says Israeli Deputy PM - Harriet Sherwood
An agreement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not happen in the next "one or two years," Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's deputy prime minister, said Thursday, blaming the Palestinians for the lack of progress. "We're fed up with giving and giving and giving, and not getting any real substance [in return]," he said.
He dismissed the concessions offered by Palestinian negotiators, revealed in the leaked documents, saying they were insignificant compared to the "core of the conflict - our right to exist." The Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel as "the nation state of the Jewish people" was preventing a peace settlement, he said. Ya'alon urged Palestinian political leaders to re-educate a new generation in a "culture of peace, coexistence and reconciliation." (Guardian-UK)
Muslim Brotherhood Set to Join Egypt Protests - Souad Mekhennet and Nicholas Kulish
The Muslim Brotherhood, the largest organized opposition group in Egypt, announced Thursday that it would take part in demonstrations on Friday, lending new strength to the protests. (New York Times