Friday, February 23, 2018

Abbas Hospitalized in Baltimore

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
On Tuesday and Wednesday websites were chattering away about Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' health. Rumors spread about his weak heart. Some concluded that a health crisis was related to decades of heavy smoking.

The Palestinians were mum - but their president did not look good or sound healthy when he spoke at the United Nations.

The most convincing evidence that something was wrong with Abbas was that, since his presentation to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, there was no media coverage of him. After such an important event, Mahmoud Abbas fell off the radar.

Suddenly, he was spotted in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University Hospital -- but according to his travel schedule, Abbas was supposed to be in South America.

Official Abbas spokesmen said that the Palestinian president was in the hospital for routine checks.

Finally, Abbas spoke to Wafa, the official Palestinian media outlet, and said, "Our presence here was a suitable chance for us to make some medical checks." "We actually made those checks and we are out now and, thank God, all results are positive and are assuring. This is God's blessing on us."

Abbas is 82 years old. He has had cardiac catheterization to unblock clogged arteries. Abbas has a worrisome health history - and no one is speaking about succession. No one is discussing the democratic process of transition in Palestine.

This is a crisis waiting to happen.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Iran In Syria to Attack Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The New York Times published a report which has been rewritten - with interesting additions, in the Israeli press.

The article in the NYT explained that Iran is not simply advising in Syria, but rather Iran is entrenched in permanent bases in Syria. One can count 28 fixed Iranian camps running north to South in Syria. There are also a handful of temporary Iranian bases that have been established.

These bases are proof of Iran's real agenda in Syria.

Iran is not in Syria as advisers for the short term to help fight ISIS and anti-Assad rebels.

Iran is getting into position to best strike Israel and to best help others strike Israel.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Abbas is Too Weak

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday and called for an International Conference to solve the issue of Palestinian Statehood. Abbas wants to sideline the US and place power into the hands of more Palestinian friendly allies.

A conference is a good idea for the Palestinians.

Also on Tuesday, Heather Nauert, US State Department spokeswoman, gave a hint of what might be part of the US peace plan for the Palestinians. She said that other regional countries might be called upon to take a role in the peace process.

"If at some point we believe that other countries could be helpful to the peace process, we would certainly be willing to bring them in" ... "Is the time right for that right now? I'm not sure we've decided that, but that is certainly something that could happen in the future."

For a significant time smart analysts have said that one of the best ways to obviate Abbas' weak position would be to have regional countries support or accept the peace process so it does not appear as if Abbas is abandoning the cause by creating a deal with Israel.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ISrael Signs Deal to Give Gas to Egypt

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Israeli energy company Delek, which is owned by Nobel Energy, signed a $15 billion deal with Egypt to provide the Egyptians with natural gas over the next 10 years.

This is the largest contract yet for the off shore, natural gas fields that the Israelis tapped and have been operating since 2016.

Jordan also has an agreement with Israel. Israel will deliver natural gas in exchange for $10 billion over a 15 year period.

Israel is becoming a regional provider of natural gas. Arab nations are signing up for their natural gas.

It is another one of those counter intuitive situations. Israel is now supplying the Arab world with
energy.

Arab countries are already importing Israeli energy - other countries and other products are sure to follow.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Iran's FM Sys Myth of Israel Shattered

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that when Hezbollah downed an Israeli F-16, it shattered the myth of Israel's invincibility. He said that now when Israel attacks its Arab neighbors the neighbors can attack and defeat them.

"Israel uses aggression as a policy against its neighbors," Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Munich Security Conference. He also accused Israel of "mass reprisals against its neighbors and daily incursions into Syria, Lebanon."

According to Zarif, "Once the Syrians have the guts to down one of its planes it's as if a disaster has happened."

In response to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's remarks after the Feb. 10 downing of the Israeli F-16 jet, Zarif had this to say: "What has happened in the past several days is the so-called invincibility (of Israel) has crumbled."

Iran is stoking tensions with Israel in order to provoke responses in the Middle East. Israel needs to watch Iran very carefully.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Bibi To Visit White House March 5

Bibi to Visit White House March 5
By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The White House announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the Oval Office on Monday March 5. Netanyahu will be in DC for the Annual AIPAC Policy Conference.

This will be their 5th meeting since President Trump took office and the third meeting held in the White House. Netanyahu was one of the first foreign leaders to visit newly-elected President Trump.
Their first meeting was in February, the second in May.

There was speculation that the White House was creating distance with Netanyahu because of the corruption investigations against him being conducted in Israel. Clearly, the speculation is inaccurate.

The White House said the meeting has nothing to do with internal Israeli issues. The White House does not alter its plans for such things. According to a White House Statement, "no impact on the content or timing of our plan that is currently being drafted."

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Oman FM Visits Al- Aqsa

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

I read with fascination about Foreign Minister of Oman Yusuf Bin Alawi's rare visit to the al-Aqsa Mosque (also known as the Dome of the Rock) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The visit occurred while the Foreign Minister was visiting Ramallah for talks with Palestinian President Abbas. Oman does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. Both the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are within Israel.

Under normal circumstances this kind of trip would be coordinated through the Israeli Foreign Ministry. It was not the case with this visit.

Last week diplomats from Qatar and Kuwait visited the Mosque and last September a Qatari minister visited the mosque.

The head of the mosque, Omar al-Kiswani, told Reuters that the Omani's visit was "important, especially after Trump's decision, to support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and to prove to the world that Arabs and Muslims stand with the Palestinians in the face of this decision."

Visits to the Mosque by Arab and Muslim leaders will be worth monitoring.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=halpern%2C+micah
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