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In association with Bro Don Pearce (Rugby UK)  Keep up to date with Bro Don’s Snippets – Email Don at Snippets@MilestonesUK.org  Just put in the subject line ‘Snippets Request’ state if you would prefer word doc or pdf format. ( If not stated, both will be sent as samples so you can decide) It’s that easy!

Here is the latest Snippets…

AS-EU:160624:(27-JUN-16):EU Applauds Anti-Semitic Libel, Then Gets Rocked by UK Vote. 1

UK-EU:160625:(27-JUN-16):U.K.: German Chancellor Says No Need To Expedite Brexit 2

IS-UK:160625:(27-JUN-16):UK Will Remain Friend of Israel After Brexit, British Envoy Says. 2

TIS-MIQ:160626:(27-JUN-16):Iraq: Security Forces Retake Fallujah From Islamic State. 2

UK-AUS:160626:(27-JUN-16):Britain’s EU exit: Australian firms brace for turmoil 2

EGE-EU:160625:(27-JUN-16):EU Citizens To Be Allowed in the German Army. 3

EGE:160625:(27-JUN-16):Germany to Spend More on the Army. 4

UK-EU:160625:(27-JUN-16):These are the deals Britain could now make with Europe – and they don’t actually look that bad. 4

RU-EU-UK:160625:(27-JUN-16):Post-U.K. Europe Won’t Be Friendlier to Putin. 5

IS-TU:160627:(27-JUN-16):Israel, Turkey: Reconciliation Deal Reached. 6

UK-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):Petition for second EU referendum may have been manipulated. 6

UK-EU-CV:160626:(27-JUN-16):Pope urges EU to find new ways to stay together 7

EGE-EFR-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):EGE-EFR-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):New EU ‘superstate plan’ by France, Germany: report 7

EGE-EFR-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):XPOSED! Hidden EU Plan for “Super-Country” No Member Border Control, no Member central banks, no Member own currency, new EU Army! 7

MPA-IS:160626:(27-JUN-16):Abbas admits reports of rabbi calling for poisoning Palestinian wells false. 9

UK-EU:160626:(27-JUN-16):EU Reaction to Brexit Suggests Divisions. 9

MEPT:160627:(27-JUN-16):Reviving the Arab Peace Initiative. 10

UK-EU-IS:160627:(27-JUN-16):Israel’s leaders note potential global impact of Brexit 11

UK-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):UK must look ‘beyond Europe’ after Brexit, says CBI boss. 12

UK-EU-EGE-EFR:160617:(27-JUN-16):Merkel and Hollande in ‘full agreement’ on how to handle Brexit 12

MSA-ME:160626:(27-JUN-16):Does Saudi Arabia Have a New Role to Play as Stabilizer of the Middle East?. 13

UK-EU-IS:160627:(27-JUN-16):Israel sets up 24-hour situation room to monitor Brexit effects. 14

UK-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):EU: Prominent Bloc Leaders Meet In Berlin For Brexit Talks. 15

TU-IS-MSA:160627:(27-JUN-16):Turkey, Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia: A new alliance of stability in the Middle East 15

IS-TU:160627:(27-JUN-16):PM Netanyahu’s Statement at his Press Conference in Rome. 16

RU-LIB:160627:(27-JUN-16):Russia: Libyan Military Leader Visits Moscow.. 17

EGE-EFR-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):Flexible Union with a European FBI (German plans for reorganizing the EU) 17

UK-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):U.K.: Ratings Agencies Downgrade Country’s Credit Rating. 18

Virtually a double issue. Surprise! Surprise! Don

 

AS-EU:160624:(27-JUN-16):EU Applauds Anti-Semitic Libel, Then Gets Rocked by UK Vote

Israel Today 24-Jun-16 [See later retraction by Abbas! Don]

 

“Moderate” Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday used his opportunity to address to the European Union Parliament in Brussels to screech out wildly unsubstantiated conspiracy theories regarding Israel.

In allegations echoing a popular medieval anti-Semitic libel, Abbas charged, “Only a week ago, a number of rabbis in Israel announced, and made a clear announcement, demanding that their government poison the water to kill the Palestinians. Isn’t that clear incitement to commit mass killings against the Palestinian people?”

Abbas and his regime based their claim off a Turkish state news agency report that a “Rabbi Shlomo Mlma, chairman of the Council of Rabbis in the West Bank settlements”, had called on Jewish settlers to poison Palestinian water supplies.

But investigations by Reuters and other news agencies were unable to find any such edict, or, indeed, a rabbi named Shlomo Mlma or an organization called the Council of Rabbis.

In other words, the entire affair was fabricated.

But that didn’t stop the European lawmakers from giving Abbas a standing ovation following his libelous speech.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that this happened on the very same day, in fact just hours before the British public rocked the EU by voting to pull their nation out of the politico-economic union, a move that could have devastating economic consequences for the continent.

 

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UK-EU:160625:(27-JUN-16):U.K.: German Chancellor Says No Need To Expedite Brexit

Stratfor 25-Jun-16

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said June 25 that she believes there is no reason to expedite the British exit from the European Union, contradicting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Reuters reported. Merkel said the exit should be methodical and that the United Kingdom would remain a close economic partner. Juncker said June 24 the bloc should not wait until after October to negotiate the terms of the departure, in spite of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s wish to delay until he leaves his post. European Council President Donald Tusk appointed Belgian diplomat Didier Seeuws on June 25 to head the Special Taskforce on the U.K., which will coordinate the Brexit. The untested Lisbon Treaty provision for leaving the bloc allows two years of transition. The debate over the delay is between those who fear that the British vote will inspire other Euroskeptics and those who fear the fallout of a swift exit. In fact, Slovakia’s rightwing People’s Party is circulating a petition to hold its own exit referendum and a party in the Netherlands has expressed interest as well. Within the United Kingdom, Scottish and Irish politicians continued to react to the success of the “leave” ticket. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated June 25 her intention to keep Scotland in the European Union and she would pursue immediate talks with EU officials. The European Commission responded by saying Scotland was a part of the United Kingdom and that it would not engage in speculation. Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan of Ireland said June 25 that a referendum on Northern Ireland unifying with the Republic of Ireland should not be held amid Brexit proceedings. This follows calls by Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein on June 24 to invoke a provision in the 1998 peace deal and hold a referendum on leaving the United Kingdom. Both Northern Ireland and Scotland voted in favor of remaining in the European Union, in contrast to England and Wales.

 

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IS-UK:160625:(27-JUN-16):UK Will Remain Friend of Israel After Brexit, British Envoy Says

the Algemeiner 25-Jun-16

 

United Kingdom Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey said his country will remain close friends with Israel following the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) in the Brexit referendum.

“We have been a friend of Israel in the EU, we’ll be a friend of Israel outside the EU, but Israel’s relations with the EU in the future will have to be determined without Britain at the table,” Quarrey said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2.

“I don’t think that things will change very significantly between the U.K. and Israel. I don’t see any likely change in the desire on our part for a strong relationship with Israel based on trade, investment, security, cooperation, technology, and science,” he added.

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised his British counterpart David Cameron, who announced his resignation following the vote. Cameron is a “respected leader and a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu added that under Cameron’s leadership, “the security, economic and technological cooperation between the United Kingdom and Israel has greatly expanded,” and that the nations have “laid a strong foundation for continued cooperation.”

 

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TIS-MIQ:160626:(27-JUN-16):Iraq: Security Forces Retake Fallujah From Islamic State

Stratfor 26-Jun-16

 

Iraqi forces recaptured the last district held by Islamic State militants in the city of Fallujah on June 26, ending the battle after nearly five weeks of fighting, the commanding general said, Reuters reported. The offensive has been backed by a U.S.-led coalition mostly in the form of airstrikes. At least 1,800 Islamic State fighters were killed in the operation to retake Fallujah, and the rest had fled, officials said. Fighting to recapture the Iraqi city has forced more than 85,000 residents to flee to overwhelmed government-run camps. The United Nations says it has received allegations of abuse of civilians fleeing the city, including by members of Shiite armed groups supporting the offensive. Prime

 

Minister Haider al-Abadi has said that the recapture of Fallujah would pave the way for the military to march on Mosul.

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UK-AUS:160626:(27-JUN-16):Britain’s EU exit: Australian firms brace for turmoil

The Australian 26-Jun-16

 

Australia’s ties with Britain and the EU have been plunged into the unknown by the Brexit victory, with deep uncertainty and fear about its likely ­impact on multi-billion-dollar trade deals, Australian businesses and foreign policy.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU will impact on a vast array of Australian businesses and investors, with billions of dollars at stake.

It will force Britain to negotiate a new trade deal with Australia to safeguard a $21 billion trade relationship.

It will also slow negotiations on a free-trade agreement between Australia and the EU, where two-way trade is worth $83.9bn.

However, there is potentially good news for Australians who want to live and work in Britain. The removal of restrictive EU rules on immigration should make it easier to obtain work visas.

The Brexit will also be seen as a historic opportunity to revive Australia’s traditional kinship with the mother country, as Britain redefines its political relationships around the world.

Former London mayor and Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson has said Australia should be the first country Britain deepens ties with. “We need to raise our eyes beyond Europe, forging and intensifying links with countries that are growing in the decades ahead … and you could not do better than by starting with Australia,” he said in a 2014 interview.

“We British are more deeply connected with Australians, culturally and emotionally, than with any other country on earth. Migration, sporting ties, military co-operation, cultural similarity and a shared monarch are only the skin-deep details of something that goes to the bone.”

Brexit leaders have promised a new immigration system with annual caps on visas and say that this would benefit Australians because they would not be squeezed out by EU citizens. That has the potential to reverse the slide in Australians moving to Britain — mostly due to tough visa rules — which has seen the number of Australians obtaining work visas halve to less than 15,000 since 2006.

The greatest risk of the Brexit for Australian businesses is for those companies that have used Britain as a launching pad into European markets. They will lose the benefits of the single market.

Australian businesses operating in Britain also face uncertainty amid predictions that the Brexit will harm economic growth.

Britain is the second-largest destination for Australian investment, with more than $300bn invested in the country. AMP and Westfield are among Australian companies involved in major projects in Britain, ranging from shopping centres to airports and utilities.

In diplomacy, the Brexit robs Australia of a like-minded and powerful ally within the EU and weakens Australia’s clout inside that body. Although Britain will remain a member of NATO, the Brexit is considered likely to reduce London’s strategic influence around the world, a development which would not serve Australia’s interests.

Britain’s departure will also weaken the EU itself, tempting other countries to leave the bloc. Australia has benefited from the economic, political and strategic clout the EU has been able to wield as a cohesive bloc. Britain’s departure will inevitably dilute the EU’s influence on the global stage.

The Brexit win is a grave disappointment for the Turnbull government, which wanted Britain to stay in the EU, warning before the poll that the consequences of an exit were unknown but could be wide-ranging and costly.

As world markets plunged on the news yesterday, Malcolm Turnbull urged calm. “There is no cause for Australians to be alarmed by these developments,’’ the Prime Minister said. “However, there will be a period of uncertainty and some instability in global markets.”

In the short term, the greatest danger the Brexit poses to Australia is the wild volatility of global markets gripped with uncertainty and fear about what it means.

With so many unknowns surrounding the future, nervous ­investors will be hoping that fear does not turn short-term market volatility into a global financial crisis.

The Reserve Bank of Australia and Treasury briefed the government and the opposition this week about the financial implications of a Brexit.

 

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EGE-EU:160625:(27-JUN-16):EU Citizens To Be Allowed in the German Army

The Trumpet 25-Jun-16

 

Germany will allow European Union citizens to join its army, Die Welt reported June 20, citing a comprehensive security paper that will soon be passed to the cabinet. Until now non-Germans have only been allowed to join the German military in exceptional circumstances. Die Welt wrote (Trumpet translation throughout):

One of these target groups is described on page 68 [of the security paper]: “It is not a minor point, that the opening of the Bundeswehr for EU citizens does not only provide a far-reaching integration and regeneration potential for human robustness of the Bundeswehr, but also a strong signal to the European perspective.” Simply stated, it means [German Defense Minister Ursula] von der Leyen can recruit EU foreigners for the armed forces.

Thus she touches the very foundations of the military profession. “The soldier has the duty to faithfully serve the Federal Republic of Germany and bravely defend the rights and freedom of the German people,” it says in paragraph 7 of the Military Law. The condition for this is German citizenship, according to paragraph 37. Only in some cases, as the law says, can the ministry grant exemptions and adjust professional and regular soldiers without a German passport – “if an official need exists.” So far, this provision has made no difference in the application. But because of the lack of personnel the exception could soon become the rule.

The idea itself is not new; many states have already opened their forces for foreigners. For 170 years, the French had their Foreign Legion, the Spaniards allowed immigrants from Latin America, and the British employed soldiers from their former colonies. In the United States, immigrants that commit to the armed forces get their applications for an U.S. citizenship accelerated. And the von der Leyen pre-predecessor Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (csu), who caused the suspension of conscription, anticipated already that a volunteer army needed to develop a new recruitment potential.

A 2011 published paper from the Defense Ministry said: “Existing regulations need to be expanded in a way that residents with appropriate qualifications, skills and performance can be regularly used in the armed forces even without German citizenship.” The idea partially sparked strong reactions, including the risk of a mercenary army without an emotional attachment to Germany. Leading representatives of the former ruling parties cdu and fdp distanced themselves. The paper quickly disappeared in the drawer. Even today the idea receives mixed responses. …

How dramatic the staff issue of the armed forces is now shows a calculation of the Armed Forces Association. If one subtracts the 25,000 soldiers in their studies and training, and the around 10,000 soldiers who are taking vocational training service for their time in the army, from the current total of 166,818 professional and regular soldiers, only around 132,000 combat-ready women and men remain for the federal defense, foreign missions and other functions. That’s a paltry figure for a country whose government claims in the new White Paper “to actively shape the global order.”

Germany’s defense minister has already said she plans to create a multinational panzer division. Germany is absorbing the heart and core of the Dutch Army into its military. Allowing citizens from all over Europe to join will only add to the Army’s pan-European nature.

 

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EGE:160625:(27-JUN-16):Germany to Spend More on the Army

The Trumpet 25-Jun-16

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised June 22 to spend more on the military, Handelsblatt explained in an article for its global edition: “Merkel Signals Big Rise in Military Spending”:

nato summits tend to be uncomfortable events for Chancellor Angela Merkel because she’s regularly reproached by U.S. President Barack Obama and others for spending too little on defense. She may be under a little less pressure at the next nato summit in Warsaw in early July because she pledged a significant rise in defense spending on Wednesday evening at a meeting of her center-right Christian Democratic Union (cdu) party.

In the long term, she said, it is not a good idea to allow others to shoulder the burden of defense. … Berlin has been alarmed by the conflict in Ukraine and terrorism, and Germany also faces growing expectations from its allies.

Now Ms. Merkel is signaling that she is willing to up the ante. “In the coming budget deliberations, the defense budget will have to be increased to a greater extent than previously planned,” Hans-Peter Bartels, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, told Handelsblatt. To add 7,000 more troops, as the government has announced, and to fully equip the armed forces with tanks and helicopters, “defense spending as a share of gdp must increase to 1.4 to 1.5 percent in the foreseeable future,” said Mr. Bartels, a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party (spd).

Based on current figures, this would amount to about €9 billion (us$10.2 billion) in additional annual spending. Still, the defense industry remains skeptical. “We will see whether these announcements will be followed by actions,” said Georg Wilhelm Adamowitch, head of the Federation of German Security and Defense Industries (bdsv). The industry has been waiting for more than a year for a contract to refurbish 100 outdated tanks.

The sea change is no accident. Berlin has been alarmed by the conflict in Ukraine and terrorism, and Germany also faces growing expectations from its allies. “Germany is increasingly being perceived as a key player in Europe,” reads the government’s draft of a new white paper on security policy.

It remains to be seen which of these political statements can actually be implemented in the negotiations with the finance minister and in the parliamentary budget discussions.

The commander of U.S. land forces in Europe, Gen. Ben Hodges, warned that nato would not be able to protect the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia against a Russian attack. “Russia could conquer the Baltic states faster than we would be there to defend them,” General Hodges told Die Zeit in an interview published on Thursday. He said he agreed with military analysts who said Russian troops could be in the Baltic capitals in 36 to 60 hours. He also said a major military exercise by troops from 22 nato and partner countries in Poland this month had revealed many shortcomings including the inability to move heavy equipment from Western to eastern Europe quickly enough.

 

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UK-EU:160625:(27-JUN-16):These are the deals Britain could now make with Europe – and they don’t actually look that bad

The Independent 25-Jun-16

 

In many ways, Britain leaving is more of an opportunity for Europe than it is a threat

There will be a deal with Europe because there has to be a deal. It is the job of the politicians to sort that out. It is far too early to sketch what that deal might be, but you can sketch the framework – the range of issues that have to be settled – and see some possible institutional arrangements that will enable this to happen.

The first thing to do is to forget the pre-vote rhetoric. Forget George Osborne saying that there would have to be an emergency budget. Forget Emmanuel Macron, the French economy minister, warning that Britain would become as unimportant as Guernsey. Forget the anonymous Brussels bureaucrats warning that the EU would punish Britain if it voted to leave so that other countries would not want to do so. That was then. Now is now. The new reality is that it is profoundly in the self-interests of Europe to do a deal as fast as possible. That was acknowledged yesterday by the joint statement of EU leaders, calling for negotiations to be launched “swiftly”. The EU, which has a huge trade surplus with the UK, has to preserve its export market. (The UK has a current account surplus with the rest of the world.)

So there will have to be some kind of associate status for Britain. This may be easier to negotiate than it seems at first sight. We cannot be a full member, but though we technically are at the moment, in practice we aren’t really a full member now. We are not in the euro and not in the Schengen borderless travel agreement, the two most important elements of European integration. That makes divorce easier. We don’t, so to speak, have to worry about those two problem children.

There are two ready-made solutions, neither of which is perfect. One is the European Free Trade Area, the other the European Economic Association. EFTA was founded in 1960 by the UK and other European countries that were not members of what was then called the Common Market. Most members – ourselves, Ireland, the Scandinavian countries and so on – subsequently joined what became the EU. But four remain: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The deal there is they have negotiated access to the EU markets but without being members. The EEA was deal signed in 1994, which includes three of the EFTA countries (not Switzerland) and all the EU members, giving everyone mutual access to the European single market.

So the UK could in theory join an enlarged ETFA, or it could negotiate access via the EEA. The trouble is that this would mean accepting European market legislation, including movement of labour. The most acceptable solution from a UK perspective would be, like Switzerland, to be a member of EFTA but not the EEA. But it would not give sufficient protection for our labour market.

While these ready-made solutions don’t really work, what they do is show something else. What they show is that Europe, taken as a whole, has been ingenious at finding ways to enable it to function as a single trading bloc, despite the political barriers. The one-size-fits-all common currency has, by contrast, been a disaster and its future is by no means assured.

 

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RU-EU-UK:160625:(27-JUN-16):Post-U.K. Europe Won’t Be Friendlier to Putin

Bloomberg 25-Jun-16

 

Even though Russia had little, if any, influence on the outcome of the Brexit vote, some see the event as a victory for President Vladimir Putin. However, there’s no evidence Russia stands to gain and it even could be one of the losers.

The “remain” campaign has invoked Putin to try to scare Britons into voting for the status quo. Prime Minister David Cameron said in May that Putin and the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi would welcome the U.K.’s departure from the European Union. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in March that Russia was “the only country” that wanted the U.K. to leave. On Friday, he said he suspected that Putin was “feeling a little less pressure” after the victory of the Brexit camp. “He’ll be feeling a bit more upbeat about his prospects of eventually getting these European Union sanctions watered down,” Hammond added.

Some Russia-watchers in the U.S. also suggested that Brexit benefits Putin. “Tonight is a giant victory for Putin’s foreign policy objectives,” Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, tweeted Friday. “Give him credit.” In a separate tweet, McFaul explained that Putin had “lamented collapse of USSR and Warsaw Pact, so he’s delighted to see cracks in European unity.”

Russian officials have pooh-poohed such claims. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he wouldn’t comment on Hammond’s statement because he lacked the necessary medical qualifications. Putin himself said Friday that the remain campaign only mentioned him to “improperly influence the domestic public opinion” — which “did not work out.” He said Brexit could have negative economic consequences for Russia because it was hurting currency and commodity markets, and it wouldn’t affect Europe’s sanctions policy.

There is something to both Hammond’s and McFaul’s claims, though. Senior Russian officials and Putin’s political allies have made it clear they were expecting a positive fallout from Brexit, even though the Russian leader himself himself didn’t.

“Without the U.K., there’ll be no one in the EU to defend sanctions against us so zealously,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin tweeted. And Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote a long Facebook post full of unconcealed schadenfreude:

Great Britain’s political establishment, which lobbied rabidly for the anti-Russian EU sanctions Hammond mentioned in the context of Britain’s own referendum, has left Europeans high and dry, and now, as it wishes to shed all responsibility, it’s saying something like, ‘It was a nice dinner, we’re leaving and the Europeans will pick up the check.’

Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the foreign affairs committee of the Russian parliament’s upper house, says he expects a livelier debate on sanctions now that the U.K. is gone.

In other words, Russia hopes the EU will now soften its stance. It’s not clear, though, that Brexit will have much effect on the sanctions, which have to be approved unanimously to stay in effect. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was the driving force behind the measures to a greater extent than Cameron, and Putin must realize that Germany is critical. He has been cultivating a relationship with Merkel’s coalition partner, Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who will visit Moscow next week, to start gradually weakening the restrictions.

In any case, even before the British vote, there were signs of fatigue with the sanctions, which are not helping the stalled peace process in eastern Ukraine. The pending six-month extension of the restrictions, which is all but decided, may be the last one before the EU begins to water them down — not because of Brexit but because of their questionable effectiveness.

The matter of whether Putin wants a weaker EU is not necessarily linked to the sanctions. Kosachev said Friday that Russia wasn’t interested in the destabilization of its biggest trading partner, particularly one whose currency accounts for 40 percent of the Russian central bank’s foreign reserves. Putin always  puts geopolitics ahead of economics, however, so this consideration takes a back seat to the goal of weakening U.S. influence in Europe.

“The biggest long-term consequence of all this,” Russia’s business ombudsman Boris Titov wrote on Facebook, “is that Brexit will sever Europe from the Anglo-Saxons. This is not Britain’s independence from Europe but Europe’s independence from the US.” There are echoes of this idea in Zakharova’s post, too: She accused the EU of subjugating its independent foreign policy decision-making to the U.S.

One reason Russia has been supporting euroskeptic movements across Europe is that they’re anti-American. A rift between the EU and the U.S. would be useful to Putin for more than just the easing of sanctions: It would weaken what the Russian president views as an existential threat to his regime from the U.S.

It’s far from certain, however, that the U.S. ‘s influence in Europe will wane. There are other U.S.-oriented nations in the union: Poland and the Baltic states are examples, and even Germany. The U.K. remains a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization along with most EU members. The U.K.’s exit is no reason for the rest of Europe to become more anti-American — unless it gives rise to more euroskeptic electoral successes and a greater representation in parliaments for Putin’s allies.

That assumes EU leaders will do nothing to fix the union. There is still a chance that they will react to Brexit by shoring up the organization and that the nucleus, its founding members, will try to save the European dream. If the EU becomes more cohesive without the U.K., which often pulled in the other direction, and if the U.S. plays a role, Brexit may end up being a setback for Putin’s foreign policy goals.

Both the immediate matter of sanctions and the long-term state of the EU, as well as its relationship with the U.S., never depended on the U.K. as much as on Europe’s continental powers. The U.K. ‘s exit won’t change this setup. It can, however, benefit Putin in one clear way: Preoccupied with post-Brexit reforms and tied up in tough divorce negotiations with the U.K., Europe won’t be paying much attention to the post-Soviet states that would like to join it, Ukraine and Georgia. EU expansion is not an option in the foreseeable future, and these nations have too many problems for the EU to take them on. This increases the chances that Ukraine’s attempt to break out of Russia’s orbit will fail.

 

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IS-TU:160627:(27-JUN-16):Israel, Turkey: Reconciliation Deal Reached

Stratfor 27-Jun-16

 

Israel and Turkey have reached a reconciliation agreement that ends the bilateral crisis that began with the killing of Turkish nationals during an Israeli military raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May 2010, an official said June 26, Haaretz reported. The agreement will be officially announced June 27. During the conclusive meeting between the negotiation teams, Israel got an official letter from the Turkish government in which it committed to intervene with Hamas to bring the cases of the two fallen Israeli soldiers and two Israel civilians missing in Gaza to a conclusion. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will not meet, but will sign the agreement separately in Jerusalem and Ankara.

According to the official, the agreement includes the following sections: Israel will transfer $20 million to a humanitarian fund that will compensate the families of the Turkish nationals killed and wounded during the May 2010 flotilla. Turkey yielded on its demand for Israel to remove the marine blockade on the Gaza Strip and essentially recognized that any aid it wants to provide Gaza will have to first go through Ashdod Port. Finally, Israel and Turkey will normalize bilateral relations. The level of diplomatic representation will be raised, ambassadors will be appointed to Tel Aviv and Ankara and all restrictions on diplomatic, security, military and intelligence cooperation will be lifted. The deal was possible because Israel and Turkey share common interests in a rapidly changing Middle East.

 

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UK-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):Petition for second EU referendum may have been manipulated

Guardian 27-Jun-16

 

Data shows citizens of other countries may have signed petition meant only for British citizens and UK residents

A petition calling for a second EU referendum which has gained more than 3 million signatures is under investigation by parliamentary authorities.

The House of Commons petitions committee has confirmed that 77,000 signatures, which were added fraudulently, have been removed. A tweet by the committee said that it would continue to monitor the petition for suspicious activity.

The request for another referendum on the parliament’s official petitions website should have been signed only by UK residents and British citizens living either in the UK or abroad.

The petition’s data showed signatories from countries around the world, including Iceland, the Cayman Islands and Tunisia, and in some cases there were more signatures than the total population.

Despite Vatican City having a total population of just 800, more than 39,000 residents of the tiny city state appeared to have signed the petition at midday on Sunday, before fake signatures began to be removed.

Helen Jones, the chair of the petitions committee, said that those signatures discovered to be fake would be “removed” and said such fraud “undermines the process of parliamentary democracy”.

She said: “The Government Digital Service are taking action to investigate and, where necessary, remove fraudulent signatures. People adding fraudulent signatures to this petition should know that they undermine the cause they pretend to support.

“It is clear that this petition is very important to a substantial number of people. The petitions committee will be considering the petition at its meeting next week, and will decide whether or not to schedule a debate on it.”

The website’s only identity “test” is a simple checkbox asking to confirm you are either a British citizen or that you are a resident of the UK. While postcodes are required, street addresses are not and no proof of ID is needed.

People from different countries have been tweeting that they signed the petition. Mark Mennell, who is Australian and used to live in the UK, used his old postcode to sign. He said: “Anyone in the world can do it, it seems … It’s a complete farce.”

Meanwhile, some UK residents have been tweeting to encourage followers from other countries to use their postcodes in order to let them add their names to the list.

The petition was started by leave activist William Oliver Healey in May, when polls suggested remain would win. Parliament must consider all petitions that reach a threshold of 100,000 votes for a debate.

On Sunday, Healey posted a statement on his Facebook page attempting to distance himself from the petition. He wrote: “Due to the result, the petition has been hijacked by the remain campaign. Admittedly, my actions were premature, however, my intentions were as stated above.

“There was no guarantee of a leave victory at that time. Having said that, if it had not been mine, it would have been orchestrated by someone on the remain campaign.

“I believe what we need to do now for the good of the country is get behind the will of the British people, unite, issue article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon and move forward, with the process of leaving the European Union.”

Overall, close to 2.5m signatures had been garnered from within the UK by Sunday lunchtime, making up an overwhelming proportion of the whole, although it’s difficult to tell how many of these were genuine.

 

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UK-EU-CV:160626:(27-JUN-16):Pope urges EU to find new ways to stay together

Sans Francisco Chronicle 26-Jun-16

 

Pope Francis is calling for the European Union to come up with creative new ways to stay together following Britain’s planned exit, saying it’s clear “something isn’t working in this unwieldy union.”

Speaking to reporters as he flew home from Armenia on Sunday, Francis said Europe must reflect on the “air of division” being sowed in Europe and beyond. He says “the European Union must rediscover the strength at its roots, a creativity and a healthy disunity, of giving more independence and more freedom to the countries of the union.”

Speaking of high unemployment and economic stagnation, Francis says: “Something isn’t working in this unwieldy union. But let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.” The key, he said, is to rekindle the will to stay together with “creativity and new life.”

The pope says he believes brotherhood and unity are always better than distance and enmity, bridges are better than walls.

 

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EGE-EFR-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):EGE-EFR-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):New EU ‘superstate plan’ by France, Germany: report

Radio Poland 27-Jun-16

 

The foreign ministers of France and Germany have proposed creating a “European superstate” limiting the powers of individual members following Britain’s referendum decision to leave the EU, Polish public broadcaster TVP Info has reported.

The document in which the proposals appear is to be presented to Visegrad Group countries meeting in Prague on Monday by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, TVP Info said, adding that the document was an “ultimatum”.

TVP Info said the proposals would mean members of a superstate would in practice have no right to their own army, to a separate criminal code or a separate tax system, and would not have their own currency.

In addition, TVP Info said, member states would lose control over their own borders and procedures for admitting and relocating refugees.

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told TVP Info: “This is not a good solution, of course, because from the time the EU was invented… a lot has changed.

“The mood in European societies is different. Europe and our voters do not want to give the Union over into the hands of technocrats.

“Therefore, I want to talk about this (in Prague) — whether this really is the right recipe today in the context of a Brexit.”

Martin Schaefer, a spokesman for the German foreign ministry, said: “Berlin does not want superstate, it wants a better Europe.”

Meanwhile, Waszczykowski said later on Monday that the document by Germany and France was drawn up before the Brexit decision. He said it included “old ideas” and “does not take into account what happened during the… referendum.”

 

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EGE-EFR-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):XPOSED! Hidden EU Plan for “Super-Country” No Member Border Control, no Member central banks, no Member own currency, new EU Army!

Newsroom Superstation 27-Jun-16 [This is a fuller account of previous. If you can read German there is a link at the end to the 10 page document. It doesn’t seem to a have a date on it, so bit cautious. Feedback welcomed. Don ] { Subsequent from my source in Russia: Yes, it’s strange there are no dates in the document and I’d say it doesn’t look fully ‘official’ to me for some reason. However, there is definitely something like it in the wind nowadays, and I think that if there is such a project altogether, more information will anyway start leaking out soon. I first found one of Russia’s biggest Internet-based media outlets Lenta.ru reporting on this issue (here: https://lenta.ru/news/2016/06/27/parisberlinstate/), and they are known to be quite scrupulous on checking their sources, so I thought it was remarkable that they decided to write about it and that’s why I tried to trace it in the English section of the Internet. The primary source was Poland’s TVP Info which seems to be another serious site but all the info is given there in Polish, so I was unable to make it out there.}

 

The mask has finally come off the real reason for the “BREXIT” as a 10 page EU plan by France and Germany is now exposed, creating an EU “Super-State” where members would no longer be countries!  Apparently, 20 Ministers of the EU have already signed-off on the plan at secret meetings in Berlin and Paris, and countries which have not signed off, will be given an ultimatum at a meeting in Prague later today: Accept this or get out of the EU.  This document was kept secret from the British people prior to the BREXIT vote; apparently to conceal from them they would be asked to give up being a country!

A European superstate instead of the European Union, such an ultimatum will be presented to the countries of the Visegrad Group at a meeting in Prague, according to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The “passed 20” and portal tvp.info came to describing the plan 9-page document, signed by foreign ministers in Berlin and Paris.

If the provisions of the document would enter into force, instead of the European Union there would one European country, depending on today’s most powerful EU players, France and Germany.

Nothing Sovereign

Member states actually would have no right to their own army, their own special services, a separate Criminal Code, a separate tax system – including taxes.  Member states cannot have their own currency, or a central bank capable of defending the financial interests of the nation-state.

In addition, Member States actually lose control of their borders, and procedures for admission and relocation of refugees on their territory. The project also envisages the introduction of a uniform visa system and conduct of common foreign policy terms with other countries and international organizations.

The document also limits the role of NATO in the European continent.

In the preamble of the text, France and Germany wrote: “Our countries share a common destiny and a common set of values that give rise to an even closer union between our citizens. We will therefore strive for a political union in Europe and invite the next Europeans to participate in this endeavor. ” Nine pages of the document leave no doubt as to the shape which it intends to adopt.

ARMED FORCES

The document reads in part: “The threat to security of one country is equal to the danger of others, so we believe that our security is one and indivisible. We believe that the European Union and European security order is part of our fundamental interests, and we will defend them in all circumstances.

France and Germany share a common vision of Europe as a union of security, based on solidarity and mutual assistance between Member States, supporting the common security and defense policy. Ensuring Europe’s security, as well as participation in building peace and global stability lie at the heart of the European project. ” Germany and France propose the establishment of the body called “European Security Compact “, dealing with” all aspects of security and defense at the European level “and thereby “ensuring the safety of EU citizens at all levels.”

“The EU should be able to plan and carry out both civilian and military operations in a more efficient manner, with the support of permanent civil-military chains of command. The Union should be able to rely on constantly paid rapid reaction force and be able to provide joint funding mechanisms for such activities.

In the framework of European cooperation, Member States decide to establish a permanent structure of cooperation in the defense field, along with the ability to run the defense operations in a flexible manner. In situations where it is needed, EU countries should consider the establishment of marine forces or acquire other types of abilities of the resources belonging to the EU. ”

THE SPECIAL SERVICES (INTELLIGENCE/SPYING)

One of the first steps towards the creation of intelligence system of the new state, the idea of Germany and France is “to create a common system of analysis of our strategic environment and a common understanding of our interests. France and Germany propose the EU be regularly review its strategic environment, which will be discussed in the Foreign Affairs Council and the Council of the European Union. These surveys will be through “independent structure, able to assess the situation, based on the EU’s history, the center of operations and expertise from outside the European institutions.” This prominent structure to lead to “strategic intelligence analysis, approved at the European level.”

France and Germany postulate addition, the appointment of a European platform for intelligence cooperation, “respecting the prerogatives of national and uses existing tools; improving the exchange of data, scenario planning threats to groups of countries, as well as the creation of a “European response capabilities” and “European corps of civil defense.”

NO INDIVIDUAL MEMBER CRIMINAL LAWS

The European public prosecutor and the criminal code in the document, boostS the powers of the office of the European Public Prosecutor, which have been acting only in defense of the financial interests of the EU. The authors postulate an increase in its powers to fight against terrorism and organized crime. According to the authors, “this would require harmonization of penal codes between Member States”.

NO SOVEREIGN CONTROL OVER THEIR OWN BORDERS

If this plan enters into force, the provisions proposed in the German-French EU national plan, members would lose their right to run their own migration policy: “There should be no unilateral national responses to the challenges of the crisis migration (…) Germany and France are convinced that it is high time to introduce a truly integrated policy on asylum, refugee and migration. ”

To implement this policy, it is proposed to establish a “first multinational border guards and coast guard” to which Frontex by nation-states would delegate staff.

COMPULSORY DIVISION OF REFUGEES

The document also envisages sanctioning of forced migration quotas for Member States: “The situation in which the burden of migration is unevenly borne by a limited number of countries is not sustainable. First, the Dublin system has to be improved by providing permanent mechanisms linking and distribution of the burden of migrants between Member States .”

France and Germany have been holding talks on refugees from Africa

According to the common position of France and Germany, successive waves of migration are conducted after some time talking with external partners, “Germany and France have already begun talks on behalf of the EU, on migration at a high level, with a number of African countries and extend this dialogue to the next.

Key causes of migration, such as poverty, insecurity and political instability should be of interest to the European Union. ”

The European Monetary Union

One of the most comprehensive parts of the document are issues concerning the enlargement of Monetary Union, or the implementation of a common currency – the euro. The authors write, among other things: “However, we must admit that the euro crisis and its aftermath have shown some deficiencies which make citizens question the compatibility of the single currency promises, folding before its introduction, and even doubt the wisdom of keeping the euro project. However, we have the intention of further proceedings on three fronts simultaneously: strengthening economic cohesion, enhance social justice and democratic accountability and increasing resilience to shocks, so as to ensure the irreversibility of the euro.

The EURO- “When, not “if”

The authors acknowledge also that the requirements for membership in the monetary union and the tax implications associated with its implementation, are “higher than anyone could have predicted when the euro was introduced.” Therefore, France and Germany “must respect the rights of others to decide when to introduce the common currency.”

The development of the European Monetary Union will require – according to the authors – the intensification of the political process as well as the division between the state, for the cost of the tax burden: “In light of the existing imbalances, deepening EMU will not be like the Great Bang, but rather is the result of a pragmatic and gradual evolution, taking into account the issues of economic growth and employment. ”

The common fiscal policy part of the new European Monetary Union will be also the question of the ability of the tax countries. Lack of a common policy in this area is, according to the authors of “the missing cornerstone of the European Monetary Union”, and “in the long term, should ensure macroeconomic stability in the euro area level, and to limit unilateral transfers”, which in practice must be understood as a call to create a uniform tax system in all future European Union, and reducing the existence of tax competition between countries.

SuperStation95 has obtained the original government source document from a source in Germany.  The document, a PDF, is in the German Language and is now available for download HERE

 

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MPA-IS:160626:(27-JUN-16):Abbas admits reports of rabbi calling for poisoning Palestinian wells false

Ma’an 26-Jun-16

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas backpedaled on controversial statements he made during a speech in front of the European Union parliament on Thursday alleging that Israeli rabbis had incited to poison Palestinian water wells.

A statement released by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) late on Friday evening admitted that the reports on which Abbas had based his statements were inaccurate.

“After it has become evident that the alleged statements by a rabbi on poisoning Palestinian wells, which were reported by various media outlets, are baseless, President Mahmoud Abbas has affirmed that he didn’t intend to do harm to Judaism or to offend Jewish people around the world,” the statement said.

The PLO also affirmed that Abbas “rejected all claims that accuse him and the Palestinian people of offending the Jewish religion,” adding that he “also condemned all accusations of anti-Semitism.”

While the main thrust of Abbas’s speech to the EU parliament centered on condemning the international community’s complacency with Israel’s illegal occupation, his off-transcript remarks regarding the alleged incitement by Israeli rabbis made headlines and sparked outrage in Israel.

“Only a week ago, a number of rabbis in Israel announced, and made a clear announcement, demanding that their government poison the water to kill the Palestinians,” Abbas reportedly said. “Isn’t that clear incitement to commit mass killings against the Palestinian people?”

Various media outlets, including Gulf News and Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported that a rabbi or group of rabbis had issued such an advisory, though the reports were later debunked by Reuters and other Israeli media sites.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the speech, accusing Abbas of anti-Semitism for spreading a medieval-era “blood libel.”

“Israel awaits the day when (Abbas) stops spreading lies and dealing in incitement. Until then, Israel will continue to defend itself against Palestinian incitement, which motivates acts of terrorism,” the statement said.

The statement also slammed Abbas for refusing to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin for direct negotiations in Brussels, a meeting that had reportedly been proposed by President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and subsequently welcomed by Rivlin.

Abbas has rejected Netanyahu’s demands for bilateral peace negotiations, and has instead pushed for the EU-endorsed French initiative for a multilateral, international conference to restart the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

In the retraction of the statements made during the EU parliament speech, Abbas for his part also “condemned all illegitimate practices and policies by the Israeli occupation authorities and settlers against the Palestinian people, which have included incitement against the Palestinian people and their rights.”

Both Palestinian and Israeli leadership have accused each other of inciting and encouraging the current wave of upheaval in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel that began in October.

 

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UK-EU:160626:(27-JUN-16):EU Reaction to Brexit Suggests Divisions

Wall Street Journal 26-Jun-16

 

Foreign ministers call for speed, but Merkel suggests she is in no hurry to sever ties with one of Germany’s biggest trade partners

Foreign ministers of the European Union’s six founding members on Saturday called on the U.K. to swiftly move ahead with a divorce from the EU, a call tempered by one of Europe’s most powerful politicians, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The mixed messages—the sense of urgency conveyed by most EU leaders and Ms. Merkel’s repeated appeals for calm—suggest that members of the bloc, driven by different interests, might struggle to find a united approach to the challenge posed by British voters’ decision to leave the EU at Thursday’s referendum.

Leaders of the EU institutions and several member states led by France fear anything but a swift exit for Britain would embolden populist, euroskeptic insurgencies on the continent. Ms. Merkel, however, has signaled she is in no hurry to sever ties with one of Germany’s biggest trade and economic partners and London should be given breathing space to articulate its position.

And while some leading politicians on the continent have called for the EU’s remaining 27 members—or a smaller group among them—to integrate further in reaction to the British vote, German officials are warier of proposals that could fan anti-EU sentiment at home.

The foreign ministers of the EU’s six founding members, meeting in Berlin on Saturday, said in a statement the U.K. must implement Article 50 of the EU treaty that foresees the exit of an EU member state “as soon as possible,” so that the remaining 27 nations can concentrate on making the EU stronger for the future.

“We are starting now,” France’s foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said after meeting his counterparts from Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg in Berlin. “It is in the interest of Britain and in the interest of Europeans not to have a period of uncertainty that would have financial consequences and that could have economic and political consequences.”

The message contrasted with the one from Ms. Merkel at the other end of the German capital. The chancellor said there was no need to rush Britain into invoking Article 50 of the EU treaties, the never-used provision that governs how a member state leaves the bloc.

“The facts are such that the U.K. has to decide for itself when it wants to submit its request,” Ms Merkel said after a meeting with leaders of her conservative alliance.

She stressed that “it shouldn’t take an eternity” for the U.K. to move ahead with its exit but also insisted that negotiations shouldn’t turn ugly.

Jitters surrounding Britain’s vote to exit the European Union pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 600 points at the close on Friday, a 3.4% drop that wiped out year-to-date gains.

The differences in tone between the chancellor and the foreign ministers, including her own foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, highlights the long and complex road the EU now faces in negotiating an exit with Great Britain on one side and reforming the union as 27 on the other.

British Prime Minister David Cameron when announcing his resignation Friday said negotiations for the exit need to begin under a new prime minister, who should decide when to trigger Article 50, sparking fears among European officials of months of uncertainty ahead.

Britain’s vote to leave thrusts the EU into a new crisis as the continent is still battling with the aftermath of a major financial crisis and struggling to absorb a record influx of migrants that exposed deep rifts across the bloc.

The British decision sparked fears of further disintegration across the continent. European leaders warned that the British exit could prompt other nationalist politicians in the Netherlands, France and elsewhere to follow suit. In France, anti-European leader Marine Le Pen called the British referendum outcome a “victory for liberty” and renewed her calls to hold “the same referendum in France and EU countries.”

Gathered in Berlin, the founding members aimed to counter fears of a further erosion, echoing similar calls Friday from European institutions heads, including Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.

In a statement, they stressed their “joint commitment” to the EU but also hinted that the union should move toward a system in which members would get a choice as to how far to pool sovereignty and powers—a form of “multispeed” Europe that already exists in some form across the bloc, with not all EU countries being members of the eurozone, for example.

“While not stepping back from what we have achieved, we have to find better ways of dealing with these different levels of ambition so as to ensure that Europe delivers better on the expectations of all European citizens,” the ministers said. In 1957, West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg founded the European Economic Community, the predecessor for today’s EU.

The EU should now focus on delivering concrete responses in areas where citizens demand action — security, migration and boosting the economy—but also respect that some other tasks in the future might be left to national or regional level authorities.

The push to renew confidence in the foundations of Europe but also find ways to allow for more flexibility among member states are being driven by a joint initiative of France and Germany, officials said. France and Germany signed a joint paper arguing for closer cooperation in issues related to security as well as migration and asylum, the officials said.

“We have voiced a strong will here that we want to keep Europe together. That also means that we can use the fracture as a chance to reflect and listen,” Mr. Steinmeier said.

Other German officials, however, cautioned that Paris and Berlin still had work to do on aligning their views on how to respond to the U.K. vote, how to buttress the rest of the bloc and how to regain public support for the EU following the shock of the referendum. Ms. Merkel will meet French President François Hollande—together with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi—in Berlin on Monday in an effort to coordinate these views ahead of an meeting of EU leaders on Tuesday.

Ms. Merkel stressed that until the U.K. has formally requested an exit, it remains part of the EU. The next steps, she said, would be for the U.K. to tell the remaining 27 EU leaders what its expectations are for a future relationship. Then, Ms. Merkel said, it would be up to the remaining EU heads of state to say “to what extent we can meet these expectations.”

The U.K. “will remain a close partner with whom we are connected economically, share mutual guarantees as NATO partners and are connected in many other ways,” she said.

 

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MEPT:160627:(27-JUN-16):Reviving the Arab Peace Initiative

Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) – 27-Jun-16

 

Shifting dynamics in the Middle East may have presented a rare opportunity to establish the groundwork for a lasting, regionally-backed peace between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and their Arab neighbours.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently made his government’s strongest statement yet on the issue, arguing that the stalled Arab Peace Initiative could be the basis for fruitful negotiations and lasting rapprochement. The statement followsreports that Sunni Arab governments have communicated to Netanyahu a willingness to engage in negotiations over possible changes to the Initiative, as well as a declaration in May by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi-which the President asked to be broadcast in Israel-that ‘There is an opportunity to write a new chapter of peace in the area.’

The past two years, culminating in objections to the P5+1 nuclear deal and increased security coordination and trade, has seen unprecedented cooperation on several fronts between Israel and numerous Arab states, in both public and private spheres-the type of cooperation that needs to be encouraged by the international community to foster stability in the fraught region.

The Arab Peace initiative, proposes that the Arab world will normalise relations with Israel following the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a two-state agreement based on the 1967 cease-fire lines.

A Paris Conference, convened on 3 June to address the long-running conflict, was attended by neither Palestinian nor Israeli representatives and appeared to achieve little, with the viability of the conference itself questioned by both US and Israeli officials. Despite this, the conference concluded with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubier positing that ‘the Arab peace initiative has all the elements for a final settlement… (It is) a solid basis for resolving this long-standing dispute’. That suggests the Arab states recognise that a regional focus is likely to be more effective that the traditional ‘international conference’ model pursued in Paris.

Elements of the initiative remain problematic from Israel’s point of view; trepidations which are further compounded by concerns when it comes to some of the policies of acceding parties, as well as questions of internal division and stability. Nonetheless, there’s growing discussion in Israel that changing regional dynamics indicate the plan shouldn’t be rejected as an option for a long-term peace.

Speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual meeting in March, Vice-President Joe Biden, addressing the recent ‘thawing of ties,’ noted that ‘One of the Arab leaders told me his country has no greater military ally than Israel.’

Saudi Arabia and Israel, neither of whom have made any secret of their antipathy towards Iran, revealed last year that they have been holding ongoing bilateral talks since 2014. Widespread reports have surfaced that the two nations, despite lacking formal diplomatic relations, have nevertheless arranged in previous years for senior Israeli officials to be hosted in the Gulf to discuss, among other things, strategies for combating common threats such as Daesh and Iran’s nuclear program.

In February this year, Israel’s Defence Minister publicly shook hands with Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal. It was the type of meeting that in years past would have happened behind closed doors, if at all. Weeks later-as part of Egypt’s relinquishment of control of the Tiran and Sanafir Islands to Saudi Arabia- Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir confirmed that the Kingdom would honour all previous obligations which Egypt had acceded to regarding the islands. The declaration is emblematic of tacit Saudi acknowledgement of historic and ongoing accords between Israel and its neighbours as well as its own increasingly strong ties with Israel.

In April, Saudi Major-General Anwar Eshki, when asked in an Al Jazeera interview how long it would be before Saudi Arabia opens an Embassy in Israel, responded, ‘If he (Netanyahu) announces that he accepts the initiative and gives all rights to Palestinians, Saudi Arabia will start to make an embassy in Tel Aviv.’

Today, a Palestinian leader could gain broader diplomatic, political and even material backing than has ever previously been available for making compromises for peace from across the Sunni Arab world-backing that would likely be essential to gaining support for those compromises among the Palestinian public. The adoption of an agreement being a highly contentious issue, support for such an agreement by longstanding allies could be utilized to ameliorate concerns as well as garner political backing for such a move.

The nurturing of the growing ties between Israel and the Sunni Arab states by the international community could not only help create the essential preconditions for a future resolution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but in the immediate-term, be a catalyst for the resumption of direct Palestinian negotiations with Israel.

 

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UK-EU-IS:160627:(27-JUN-16):Israel’s leaders note potential global impact of Brexit

BICOM (Britain Israel Communication & Research Centre  27-Jun-16

 

Israeli leaders have responded to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), concluding that there is unlikely to be any specific impact on Israel beyond the wider global economic implications.

Speaking to his cabinet yesterday morning, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “There is no direct effect [of the vote] on Israel apart from the fact that we are part of the global economy. Over the weekend I held a discussion with the Finance Minister, the Governor of the Bank of Israel… I can say one thing: The Israeli economy is strong… to the extent that there is some effect, it is not expected to be strong, other than unrest in the global economy.”

Israel’s Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon sent a similarly reassuring message. He said that Israel’s economy is in a good position, but that “we will continue to follow developments closely and react accordingly, if necessary”. Kahlon added that a 24-hour situation room had been established to this effect.

Meanwhile, UK Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey said that the referendum is unlikely to impact the strong UK-Israel relationship. He told Channel Two, “I don’t think that things will change very significantly.”  He added: “We have been a friend of Israel in the EU, we’ll be a friend of Israel outside the EU, but Israel’s relations with the EU in the future will have to be determined without Britain at the table.”

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) dropped yesterday by 3.1 per cent, in the first day of trading since the referendum. However, this was a comparatively minor shift compared to other stock exchanges on Friday. Meanwhile, Israel’s government bonds increased in value by 2.5 per cent. The chief economist of Israel’s Finance Ministry Yoel Naveh predicted that even a permanent depreciation of the pound would have a negative impact of less than 0.1 per cent on Israeli exports. Britain is Israel’s second largest trading partner by country, while the EU represents Israel’s largest single trading partner.

 

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UK-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):UK must look ‘beyond Europe’ after Brexit, says CBI boss

Daily Telegraph 27-Jun-16

 

Britain must look “beyond Europe” if it is to thrive in a post-Brexit world, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Paul Drechsler, president of the CBI, urged the Government to send out a clear message that Britain was open for business.

The boss of Britain’s biggest business group said it was vital policymakers worked closely with companies to set out a “clear plan” to ensure the UK remained a top investment destination.

“We need to put a plan in place to ensure that we keep getting investment into this country. We need to maintain momentum on growth,” he said.

“I think any steps we can take to encourage investment, encourage growth and encourage job creation would be positive.”

Mr Drechsler warned that the “unprecedented, momentous decision” to leave the EU meant the UK economy was “definitely in for a bumpy ride in the short term”.

Maintaining a “sense of calm” was paramount, he said, stressing that the UK was in a “good place” to weather any economic storm.

Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary, will meet more than 20 business leaders tomorrow, including representatives from the CBI and British Chambers of Commerce, to discuss the next steps after last Thursday’s Brexit vote.

“Now it’s a time for reassurance for business, and my message to them ever since Friday morning is there’s no need to be panicking at all,” Mr Javid told the BBC.

Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, said it was “essential” that Britain maintained access to the single market in order to continue to attract foreign investment.

“Loss of that access now would be catastrophic,” he said.

Mr Drechsler, who is also chairman of Bibby Line, the global shipping group, said a three-point plan was needed to restore calm to markets and the business community.

He said a Brexit vote did not mean Britain should turn away from Europe, but encouraged policymakers to seek more opportunities within the trading bloc and the rest of the world.

“Europe is and always has been a vital part of our trading relationships within the EU for more than 40 years, so we want to try to maintain the best possible relationship and the best possible trading conditions we can,” he said.

“We [also] want to be able to access the best possible trading opportunities beyond Europe that we can. We must ensure we stay focused in doing that,” said Mr Drechsler.

He also urged policymakers to maintain a “sense of calm” regarding the millions of EU workers and pensioners who are currently living in the UK, as well as British people in the rest of Europe.

He said it was vital that they understood there would be no short-term upheaval to their rights to live and work abroad.

“It’s important that we give people reassurance, and we need to be confident that we can continue to access the talent and skills that we need to compete globally.”

Uncertainty surrounding how the UK will negotiate new terms with the 60 economies the EU currently has free trade agreements with, and the 67 in progress, is likely to cause economic jitters in the short to medium term.

A separate survey showed one in five UK companies are already thinking about moving some operations outside of the UK. The Institute of Directors said almost two-thirds of the more than 1,000 companies it polled believed the UK’s decision to leave the EU was negative for their business.

A quarter said it was positive. Simon Walker, head of the IoD, said it was vital that policymakers focused on stabilising the economy.

“There is no point crying over spilled milk. We will not lose our faith in the ability of British firms to overcome these obstacles, but these results highlight the importance of the Bank of England maintaining stability in the financial system. It is crucial that the banks do not starve businesses of cash,” he said.

 

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UK-EU-EGE-EFR:160617:(27-JUN-16):Merkel and Hollande in ‘full agreement’ on how to handle Brexit

New Europe 27-Jun-16

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande confirmed in a half-hour phone conversation on Sunday that they were in “full agreement on how to handle the situation” created by the result of the Brexit referendum, AFP quoted French presidency sources as saying.

They also discussed the need to act quickly on a set of specific priorities and “they hoped for full clarity to avoid uncertainties,” the aide said, giving no further details.

The remaining 27 EU members should “calmly analyze and evaluate the situation and, on this basis, together make the right decisions,” Merkel said.

She acknowledged that people all over the continent increasingly have doubts about the direction of the European unification process, and added: “We must ensure that citizens can feel in concrete terms how much the European Union contributes to improving their personal situation.”

Merkel will host talks in Berlin today with Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Hollande is holding talks with EU president Donald Tusk in Paris this morning, after which both of them will be heading to Berlin for a meeting with Merkel and Renzi.

Leaders will then begin a tense two-day summit in Brussels on Tuesday, when British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to face huge pressure to immediately trigger the two-year process to exit the EU.

Merkel, Germany’s chancellor since 2005, isn’t in quite as strong a position at home as she was in recent years, though her support remains solid.

Unease over last year’s influx of asylum seekers to Germany and internal squabbling over Merkel’s welcoming approach last fall have weighed on her conservative bloc’s poll ratings, and other policy arguments in her “grand coalition” of right and left have sharpened as an election expected in September 2017 begins to loom on the horizon.

There is still, however, little sign of a successful left-wing challenge to her and none from within her own party. That contrasts with the fortunes of deeply unpopular French President Francois Hollande, who faces elections next spring, and many other European leaders.

 

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MSA-ME:160626:(27-JUN-16):Does Saudi Arabia Have a New Role to Play as Stabilizer of the Middle East?

The Media Line 26-Jun-16

 

The Persian Gulf colossus is engulfed by a crisis with no clear route to redemption

Ask General Yaakov Amidror to speak about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and you might think you’d been dropped into a session of family therapy. Amidror, Israel’s stern-faced former National Security Advisor, discusses the Persian Gulf monarchy as if explaining a new and perplexing behavior adopted by a cousin going through a rough patch.

“The American retreat from the Middle East—no, the United States of American has not abandoned the Middle East, but yes, it is in retreat—and the deal with Iran, that are, of course, linked, have exposed the isolation of Saudi Arabia,” he said to a small audience of colleagues at Haifa University, at a symposium on the new regional role of Saudi Arabia.

“They’ve lost their anchor of so many years and the result is a kind of trauma. They have to react to this trauma and see now what can be done. When this came along with the crisis in oil prices, which put them in a serious economic problem, and with the understanding that there are limitations to what they can buy and sell, it made them very, very concerned. If the crisis in oil prices had occurred 20 years ago, when the United States of American was very strong in the Middle East and a deal with Iran was inconceivable, it would have been one thing. But all three of these things together have put them in a tight spot.”

In addition, he said, Saudi Arabia faces the daunting quandary of what to do with a surplus of royal cousins. “The issue of succession in Saudi Arabia didn’t exists 30 years ago, but today it’s a huge problem. From the generation of the founder’s sons to the grandsons, the question is how do you deal with so many cousins in the line of succession?”

It might appear perplexing to hear a grizzled, veteran Israeli military man explain the behavior of a nation with which his country has no military ties, that supports sworn enemies of his state, with such caring and empathy, but Middle East sands are shifting and enemies occasionally develop unexpected affinities for the predicaments of each other.

Israeli officials have openly spoken of a tacit alliance with Saudi Arabia, for whom Iran is an enemy as implacable as it is for Israel. Earlier this month, Ali Larijani, speaker of Iran’s parliament, claims gthat he possessed “definite information” about the kingdom’s security cooperation with Israel. Saudi Arabia gave “strategic” intelligence information to Israel as far back as 2006, during the Second Lebanon War, he claimed, in an interview with the Lebanese satellite TV channel Al Mayadeen, that operates as a media arm of Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy militia.

A more skeptical, less sympathetic tone was struck by Prof. Dan Schueftan, the director of the National Security Studies Center at Haifa University. “In Saudi Arabia they’re not even starting to come out into open [about ties with Israel] because the benefits for them will be low and the price will be very high.”

Schueftan was alluding to the extant but eroded Arab League boycott of the State of Israel, that received body blows when Egypt established diplomatic ties with Israel in the 1980s and Jordan did the same in the 1990s.”

Even if a furtive cooperation were the case, he said, “it will take time to reverse the Obama effect on the region and you need to prepare for hardship. The impact in the region has not been small.” On the other hand, he said, giving credit to Israel’s neighbor and the buffer state between Israel and Saudi Arabia, “I’m not sure Israel would have been what it is today without the alliance with Jordan, and Jordan would not exist if not for Israeli intervention or the threat of it.”

Amidror, however, is significantly more sanguine. Speaking with The Media Line, he said “my ties to Saudi Arabia go back to the late 1970s. At that time, an officer in his early 30s, he was appointed to head the Israeli army’s desk “responsible for ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” which were non-existent.

He recalled “four full days of a briefing about Saudi Arabia” from his then-commander, a colonel who told him that with arid land, meager opportunities for education, almost complete reliance on oil and the oppression of women, in her estimation, “Saudi Arabia as it is cannot survive to the end of the 20th Century.”

What he learned from the experience, he says, is that “we really have to be modest when talking about Saudi Arabia because we really don’t understand what is going on there. It’s the outside and not the inner circles of the ruling family who are making the decisions. What we understood is that Saudi Arabia was a very rich country with very weak tools to implement anything.”

Or, expressed otherwise, the polar opposite of Israel, a poor country populated by immigrants fleeing oppression and persecution that developed significant tools for implementing its own economic miracle.

Now, Amidror told the audience, “a new, better-educated and self-confident generation that grew up in very rich monarchy, knows the world and believes it understands how to act within this world, something the older generation had to learn on the job, and more fit to deal with these problems than the older generation, a very impressive generation,” is beginning to take over.

So how may Israel fit into the new panorama? The younger generation, Amidror says, understands that the main difference between the two main Islamic movements, Shiites [of which Iranians are a predominant power] and Sunnis [the majority in the Arab world, of which Saudis and Egyptians are the predominant powers] is that Shiites are united and they have a single leader, in Tehran, whereas among the Sunni there is huge fragmentation and no natural leader. There is no Iran in the Sunni world.”

“The Saudis,” he said, “tried to take this burden upon themselves and learned that it is not easy. They have disagreement among themselves about what should be done and how to do it. They quickly understood that by themselves they cannot do it. They need other Gulf countries and Egypt, which is the biggest Sunni country with a real army.”

Enter Israel. “In their big dream,” Amidror said, “Israel is a very important factor.”

To great laughter, he quoted Saudi Prince Turki saying, at an event at the Washington Institute, that “with Israeli money and the Arab mind we can change the Middle East.”

“I really believe,” Amidror continued, “that a cooperation of our capabilities and the Saudis, Jordanians and Egyptians we can build another Middle East to stabilize it, put barriers up in front of Iran and stop the success and eliminate the Islamic state.

The key, he says, and a stumbling block Israel for now cannot overcome, is that any real Saudi outreach to Israel “depends on our agreement with the Palestinians. They say this clearly. ‘If you want a real alliance and not just something under the table, something real, on the table, a strong basis to walk together, you have to reach agreement with Palestinians.’ They say it and they mean it.”

Meir Litvak, a professor of Middle Eastern history at Tel Aviv University and a senior research fellow at the Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies said that senior Iranian officials now argue “that Saudi Arabia has replaced us and is the top strategic rival to Iran.”

“The Sunni thought that Shiites are worse than Jews is irritating to many Iranians,” he added, in a line that drew knowing nods from the audience.

Sir John Jenkins, formerly the senior Arabist in the British Foreign Office and a British ambassador to numerous Arab countries, who today serves as the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in the Middle East, based in Bahrain, recalled living in Ridadh, the Saudi capital, for three years as a young diplomat in the 1980s.

The young generation, he said, feel “exhilaration when they see the young Prince Mohammed bin Salman in power—he’s young, he looks like them– but on the other hand they feel profound anxiety about where this is leading. Its not a particularly stable situation.”

In fact, he told The Media Line, “it is an age of unprecedented upheavals, with a new element over the past 10 years, which is God.”

“A lot of real politics in the Middle East has gone underground and become framed as a religious matter.”

“Look at the way politics is framed now,” he said, “constructed around the performative expression of loyalty and contest for authenticity within religions. Regarding the Palestinians too,” he added, alluding to the challenge laid down by Amidror, “the issue has become Jerusalem, with a religious hinge that needs to be tackled.”

 

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UK-EU-IS:160627:(27-JUN-16):Israel sets up 24-hour situation room to monitor Brexit effects

Jerusalem Post 27-Jun-16

 

The TA-100, representing the largest 100 companies trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, opened down roughly 3% Sunday, the first day of trading following the UK referendum.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Sunday said the Finance Ministry has set up a 24-hour “situation room” to keep tabs on economic repercussions from the United Kingdom’s vote to break from the European Union.

“We have a strong and stable economy that is prepared to deal with any scenario and challenge,” Kahlon said, noting that he was coordinating closely with Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he met over the weekend to discuss the British exit, or Brexit.

The TA-100, representing the largest 100 companies trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, opened down roughly 3 percent at 1,203.1 on Sunday, the first day of trading following the referendum, and closed even lower at 1,199.5.

Netanyahu also sought to calm markets. “There is no direct affect on Israel apart from the fact that we are part of the global economy,” he said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

“I can say one thing: The Israeli economy is strong.

It has very considerable foreign currency reserves; therefore, to the extent that there is some impact, it is not expected to be strong, other than unrest in the global economy.”

A report from the Finance Ministry’s chief economist on Sunday estimated that the impact on Israel’s capital markets would be similar to the shocks of the 2012 euro crisis, which resulted in a 6.5% drop in local capital market indexes.

While many of the repercussions for Israel will be indirect, the EU is Israel’s largest regional trade partner. By country, the UK is its Israel’s second-largest export market (excluding diamonds), just behind the United States.

But the Finance Ministry analysis predicted that the overall affect on Israeli exports would amount to about 0.1%. It also said that, in the long run, the decision could be an opportunity for Israel since less competitive terms of trade between the UK and EU could create an opening for Israeli exporters to compete with British goods in the EU and European goods in the UK.

The British vote to leave the EU sent the British pound crashing and global stocks reeling, as it opened up a prolonged period of political and economic uncertainty. British Prime Minister David Cameron said he would step down, and would leave it to his successor to invoke Article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty, which sets off the process for its exit.

Article 50 will kick off a two-year process for the UK to renegotiate its trade relationship with the EU, though negotiations are expected to take longer, raising more questions as to what will happen at the end of the two-year deadline.

The UK also must redefine the trade agreements it has with all the countries it deals with as an EU member state – including Israel.

The shock of the Brexit vote is expected to decimate British growth for the year and possibly cause a recession, as well as afflict the already anemic economic growth within the European Union.

Credit ratings agency Moody’s lowered its outlook for the UK from stable to negative but maintained its sovereign rating at Aa1.

“During the several years in which the UK will have to renegotiate its trade relations with the EU, Moody’s expects heightened uncertainty, diminished confidence and lower spending and investment to result in weaker growth,” the agency said in its announcement.

“Over the longer term, should the UK not be able to secure a favorable alternative trade arrangement with the EU and other countries, the UK’s growth prospects would be materially weaker than currently expected.”

But Eldad Tamir, CEO of the Tamir Fishman investment group, said the event also was ripe with opportunity for investors, since stocks were cheap and bound to recover eventually.

“Keep calm and keep investing,” he advised.

 

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UK-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):EU: Prominent Bloc Leaders Meet In Berlin For Brexit Talks

Stratfor 27-Jun-16

 

The leaders of France, Italy and the European Council will head to Berlin on June 27 to discuss the British referendum and what comes next following the June 23 vote, BBC reported. France’s government and leaders from several EU institutions want the United Kingdom to invoke article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon as soon as possible, triggering the two-year process of formal negotiations to leave the European Union. But some parts of the German government, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, have been more conciliatory toward their British counterparts, suggesting the process does not need to be rushed. France and Germany do agree there can be no informal negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union before London formally announces its intentions to leave. Until the United Kingdom formally begins the process, it is still a full EU member. The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union has raised more questions than answers.

 

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TU-IS-MSA:160627:(27-JUN-16):Turkey, Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia: A new alliance of stability in the Middle East

Daily Sabah 27-Jun-16 [Turkish viewpoint! Don]

 

Normalization between Turkey and Israel, coupled with Ankara’s close cooperation with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, signal a new balance of power in the Middle East

If the past decade in the Middle East had to be defined in one word, it would be instability. At some point, Iraq was our greatest problem, then came Iran’s nuclear program, and now the world has its eyes fixed on Syria, a country so unstable that it exports instability to Europe. The Syrian refugee crisis’s role in the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, or Brexit, is a case in point.

The power vacuum and a seemingly endless civil war in Syria place the national security of regional powers, including Turkey, at risk. Today, Turkey is home to 3 million refugees and also considers the growing power of the Syrian PKK affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) a threat to its interests. At the same time, DAESH continues to thrive on the instability in Iraq and Syria, among other places, to create chaos. Iran’s sectarian aggression in Syria, Iraq and Yemen coupled with the Kremlin’s interference in the Syrian civil war, add to tensions.

Finding themselves tangled in regional problems are countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel. In recent years, all four countries turned to the United States, traditionally their closest ally, to shelter them from the storm, only to realize that U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration was too busy trying to make new friends in the neighborhood. Instead of de-escalating the situation in Syria, the White House bent over backward to strike a deal with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Bashar Assad’s main sponsor. Obama’s single focus on DAESH frustrated the State Department, as U.S. support for PKK militants in Syria strained relations with Ankara. Finally, the Iran nuclear deal angered Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The most recent developments in the Middle East have forced regional powers to take matters into their own hands and find an alternative to their dependence on Washington for security. In order to contain the Syrian crisis and prevent Iran’s expansionism, American allies in the region are taking unmistakable steps to settle their disputes. Instability has become so widespread that it compels regional powers to cooperate more closely to get things back on track. Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel, in particular, are slowly moving to form an alliance of stability in the Middle East.

Turkey and Qatar have been close allies for the past decade. Both nations share the same opinion on the military coup in Egypt, the situation in Syria and Iranian expansionism. Turkey’s relations with Saudi Arabia have quickly recovered from tensions caused by vast disagreements on Egypt’s 2013 military coup as King Salman revised his predecessor’s foreign policy. At the same time, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates quietly restored diplomatic relations earlier this year by appointing ambassadors.

But it is quite clear that the real game changer in the Middle East will be normalization between Turkey and Israel. Ankara’s relations with Tel Aviv suffered major setbacks in the wake of Israel’s deadly assault on humanitarian relief workers aboard the Mavi Marmara. After lengthy negotiations, Israel accepted Turkey’s terms, even though no official announcement had been made when today’s paper went to press. In 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had apologized for his country’s actions under pressure from Obama. On Sunday, Turkey and Israel met in Rome to strike a deal on compensation to be offered to the families of the Mavi Marmara raid victims. Finally, the two governments found a middle ground on the Gaza blockade to secure the uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid from Turkey to the Gaza Strip. The Turkey-Israel deal serves two purposes: While Israel outsourced humanitarian assistance to Turkey, Ankara opened a humanitarian corridor to Gaza and accomplished the freedom flotilla’s historic mission.

Normalization between Turkey and Israel, coupled with Ankara’s close cooperation with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, signal a new balance of power in the Middle East. According to unconfirmed reports, there is a seat at the table reserved for Egypt, whose continued crimes against democracy and open hostility to Doha and others raise questions about Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s foreign policy skills. Whether or not Egypt will finally join the alliance of stability remains to be seen.

 

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IS-TU:160627:(27-JUN-16):PM Netanyahu’s Statement at his Press Conference in Rome

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser) 27-Jun-16

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 27 June 2016), issued the following statement at his press conference in Rome:

“Israel has reached an agreement of strategic importance for the State of Israel, for security, for regional stability and for the Israeli economy. As Prime Minister of Israel, it is my responsibility to be concerned with its strategic interests, to take a broad and long-term view, based on an understanding of the international arena as well as of our security and economic needs, at present and in the future.

Last night and this morning, I spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Last night I spoke with US Vice President Joe Biden and have spoken just now with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Of course, they all welcomed the agreement. They think that it will greatly strengthen the State of Israel and its position in the region. Of course, the US says this based on that same strong and fundamental alliance that is a cornerstone of our international relations. But we know that we need to add centers of stability. The world and the Middle East are in turmoil and my policy is to create centers of stability in this unstable and stormy region.

We are doing so with our close neighbors, Arab countries. We are doing so with Greece and Cyprus. We are doing so with Russia. We are also doing so with Turkey. Of course, we are doing all of this in full coordination with our greatest ally, the United States. This is part of a clear strategy, to create centers of stability in the stormy Middle East. Now, Israel and Turkey are two major powers in the region and the break between us is not good for our vital interests and prevents us from cooperating in those instances, and there are more than a few, in which cooperation is warranted.

The first thing in this agreement is protection for IDF commanders and soldiers from criminal and civil claims, both those being prosecuted now and those that might be prosecuted in the future. As of now there are very many such claims and their scope is increasing; they could reach many millions of dollars and prevent the free movement of our soldiers, their freedom of activity – all of this is cancelled. The agreement will ensure that our soldiers and commanders will not be exposed to claims by Turkey. Moreover, the agreement also stipulates that the Turkish parliament will pass a law cancelling all of these processes in Turkey.

The second thing that this agreement gives is maintaining the maritime security blockade of the Gaza Strip. This is our supreme security interest; I was not prepared to compromise on it. This interest is vital to prevent the strengthening of Hamas and it remains as it has been. Of course, we are allowing ships to dock at Ashdod port and unload civilian and humanitarian cargoes there for the Gaza Strip. We have never prevented this, of course, and we are making it possible now.

The third thing that this agreement does, along with maintaining the security arrangement, is to allow for dealing with humanitarian issues in the Gaza Strip, subject to Israel’s security procedures and considerations. I would like to explain that beyond the humanitarian consideration, this is also an outstanding interest of Israel’s, especially in two areas – water and electricity. Water: When there is not enough water in Gaza, and Gaza is in the process of gradually drying up, the aquifers become polluted and when the aquifers become polluted, this is not limited to the Gaza side of the aquifer but also passes over to the aquifer on our side. Therefore, it is in Israel’s clear interest to deal with the water problem in the Gaza Strip. Electricity: When there is not enough electricity, various problems arise, including those having to do with sanitation, and when there are outbreaks, the outbreaks do not stop at the fences. This is both a humanitarian interest and an outstanding Israeli interest. Therefore, we are allowing these infrastructures to be dealt with. Just like other countries, from Norway to Arab states, so too will Turkey be able to help on this matter. Of course, we will hold discussions with Turkey on these issues.

An additional thing that the agreement gives is a commitment to prevent all terrorist or military activity against Israel from Turkish soil, including collecting funds for these purposes. This is an important – even primary – commitment that we have not had up until now.

In addition, we received a letter according to which the President of Turkey has instructed the relevant Turkish agencies to assist in every way in returning the prisoners and MIAs on a humanitarian basis. I understand the suffering of the families. I speak with them and I know what they are going through, and I would like to assure them: I promise you, members of the families, I promise you that we will not stop and we will not rest until we bring the boys back home. This is a personal, national and moral commitment. I think that the letter which accompanies the agreement gives us another tool to use in this holy work.

Also, this agreement requires Turkey to assist Israel in entering into all international organizations that Turkey is a member of. Now, we have already had one case before the signing which is very important from our point-of-view and it is based on goodwill, and this is Turkey dropping its opposition to Israel establishing a NATO office. Israel is now working to open an office with NATO; this has been a goal of ours for many years and it is being realized.

I would like to touch on an additional point, which I think is critical, and this is in the economic sphere. This agreement opens the way to cooperation on economic and energy matters, including the gas issue. Gas is so important and contains the possibility of strengthening the Israeli economy and state coffers with vast capital. But the gas issue is composed of several things: One, extracting it from the sea and we have dealt with this; I will not go into detail on this issue here. But the second thing is creating markets for the gas that we are extracting from the sea. I remind you that 60% of every shekel that comes out of the sea goes to the state treasury. These are vast sums but we need markets. Leviathan could supply both the Egyptian market that we intend to work with and also the Turkish market as well as the supply of gas through Turkey to Europe, and this is a strategic issue for the State of Israel. This could not have come sooner without this agreement and now we will work to advance it.

I updated the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece, Russia and, of course, our American friends, on this development. We updated them on every aspect that we focused on in this agreement. This took a lot of time, including recently. But I would like to update you on something: There are two people here who worked very hard on this matter. I would like to thank Yaakov Nagal from the National Security Council, who did very loyal – and I must say quiet – work. I would also like to thank someone who, not for the first time, has aided the State of Israel, and he has done exceptional work, Yossi Ciechanover. Yossi did marvelous work dealing with the Palmer report in wake of the Marmara incident. He dealt with it, the results are known, one of the few cases in which Israel came out on top in a UN report, and this was greatly due to Yossi. Yossi worked diligently on this agreement and I want to offer him the heartfelt gratitude of the citizens of the State of Israel. Thank you to you both.”

 

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RU-LIB:160627:(27-JUN-16):Russia: Libyan Military Leader Visits Moscow

Stratfor 27-Jun-16

 

Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who leads the anti-Islamist Libya National Army, is in Moscow for talks June 27, an informed source said, Sputnik reported. The source said Hifter landed in Russia on June 26 but provided no details about the purpose of his visit. Forces loyal to Hifter have been successful in the fight against Islamist factions in areas such as Darnah, Benghazi and Sabratha. Meanwhile, the general — a prominent player in the country’s power struggle — has impeded the drive by the Government of National Accord to unify the country.

 

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EGE-EFR-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):Flexible Union with a European FBI (German plans for reorganizing the EU)

German Foreign Policy 27-Jun-16

 

Berlin is applying intense pressure in the aftermath of the Brexit, to reorganize the EU. Under the slogan, “flexible Union,” initial steps are being taken to establish a “core Europe.” This would mean an EU, led by a small, tight-knit core of countries, with the rest of the EU member countries being subordinated to second-class status. At the same time, the President of the European Parliament and Germany’s Minister of the Economy (both SPD) are calling for the communitarization of the EU’s foreign policy, reinforcement of its external borders, the enhancement of domestic repression and the creation of a “European FBI.” The German chancellor has invited France’s president and Italy’s prime minister to Berlin on Monday to stipulate in advance, measures to be taken at the EU-summit on Tuesday. German media commentators are speaking in terms of the EU’s “new directorate” under Berlin’s leadership. At the same time, Berlin is intensifying pressure on London. The chair of the Bundestag’s EU Commission predicts a new Scottish referendum on secession and calls for Scotland’s rapid integration into the EU. German politicians in the European Parliament are exerting pressure for rapidly implementing the Brexit and reorganizing the EU. Chancellor Merkel has reiterated her veiled threat that “reconciliation and peace” in Europe are “anything but self-evident,” should European countries choose to no longer be integrated in the EU.

Core Europe

Already earlier this year, Berlin had initiated preparations for transforming the EU into a “flexible Union” and creating a “core Europe.” On February 9, the foreign ministers of the six founding EU countries [1] held an exclusive meeting in Rome to discuss the EU’s various current crises. This unusual meeting format was also considered to be a counterpoint to the Visegrád-Group [2], which had been particularly critical of Berlin’s refugee policy. The discussion in Rome was focused not only on the refugee policy, but also included a possible Brexit.[3] In their Joint Communiqué, the six foreign ministers underlined the “different paths of integration,” provided for by the Lisbon Treaty – a hint at the option of a “flexible Union.”[4] The foreign ministers of the six founding countries again met on Mai 20, at the Val Duchesse Castle south of Brussels, this time explicitly to discuss the EU’s development in case of a Brexit. They met again last Saturday to discuss a paper jointly presented by the German and French foreign ministers, literally demanding a “flexible Union.”[5] The common declaration, agreed upon by the six ministers on Saturday, does not mention that polarizing term, while paraphrasing their aspired core Europe. There is a need to “recognize” that among the member countries there are “different levels of ambition towards European integration.”[6]

The Strong Man behind Juncker

Using this format of the founding countries, Berlin is pushing for a “flexible Union” that is particularly rejected by those member countries, to be relegated to second-class status. At the same time, Berlin is exerting pressure at other levels. Already on May 23, an initial official meeting within the framework of the EU Commission, was held, to make arrangements for a possible Brexit.[7] The invitation had been extended by the German jurist, Martin Selmayr, Chef de Cabinet of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. From 2001 to 2004, Selmayr managed the Bertelsman AG office in Brussels. He subsequently became spokesperson and then Chef de Cabinet for EU Commissioner Viviane Reding (Luxembourg). Observers, referring to his influence, noted that some considered Reding to be the “dummy of the ventriloquist, Selmayr.”[8] According to German media, Selmayr, the strong man behind Juncker,[9] had extended the invitation for the May 23 strategy meeting, not only to representatives of Slovakia and Malta – the two countries to assume EU presidency in July and January, respectively, but also to Uwe Corsepius, Merkel’s European policy advisor. Corsepius is considered one of Berlin’s most important European policy strategists.[10]

The New Directorate

Beyond such long-term agreements, Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited France’s President, François Hollande, Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi and EU Council President Donald Tusk to Berlin, Monday to discuss the EU’s future, after Great Britain’s withdrawal. The objective is to agree upon important stipulations prior to the EU’s Tuesday summit – which is similar to the 2010 – 2011 meetings she had held with the French president at the time, Nicolas Sarkozy (“Merkozy”), to set the guidelines for the EU’s handling of the Euro crisis. Observes point to the fact that Merkel’s inviting Renzi along with Hollande has ostentatiously demoted France’s status. Simultaneously, German media are speaking in terms of the EU’s “new directorate.” Of course, there is no doubt that “Germany remains the most important EU nation, both politically as well as economically.”[11] In practice, the “directorate” serves the function – as in the previous cases of Merkel’s Sarkozy meetings – primarily of transmission of German specifications to the EU’s other member countries.

The Central Role

Berlin’s predominance within the EU is being, more or less, officially confirmed by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. Also in the future, Germany will “continue to play a central role, if not an even more significant role, in the European Union,” Juncker declared.[12]

Supranational Repression

Parallel to preparations for the transformation of the European Union, leading German Social Democrats are calling for supplementary steps for the political-economic streamlining the EU or its core.[13] For example, in their position paper entitled “Re-Found Europe,” Germany’s Minister of the Economy, Sigmar Gabriel, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, are calling for an expansion of the EU’s single market, under the topic an “economic Schengen.” In the process, across the board “central” job market reforms must be implemented. The masses in the French population are currently up in arms fighting the imposition of these job market reforms.[14] In addition, Gabriel and Schulz are calling on the EU to “more than ever” “act as a unified governing force,” which would signify that the “communitarization” of the EU’s foreign policy. The implementation of this communitarization, would mean Germany’s global interests being pursued via institutions in Brussels due, to a large extent, to Berlin’s predominance within the EU. Finally, the German social democrats are calling for the systematic creation and expansion of supra-national structures of repression. For example, institutions warding off refugees from the EU must be systematically reinforced (“effectively securing European external borders”) and cooperation between domestic repressive authorities intensified. The creation, for example, of a “European FBI” should be an objective.

Project Deterrence

To deter other EU countries from holding referendums, Berlin is massively intensifying pressure on London. To avoid needless dissention, the British government seeks to conscientiously prepare and carry out the negotiations. President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, declared in the form of an ultimatum, that he “expects” the British government to present its withdrawal application at the EU summit on Tuesday. Chair of the EPP parliamentary caucus, Manfred Weber (CSU) called on Britain to withdraw “within the planned two-year delay, and even better, within a year.”[15] Brussels has already created a “Brexit Task Force” and an “Article 50 Task Force” – the latter named after the respective article of the Lisbon Treaty regulating a member state’s withdrawal from the EU. Above all, leading German politicians are fanning Scottish secessionist plans. “The EU will continue to consist of 28 member countries,” declared Gunther Krichbaum (CDU), Chair of the EU Affairs Committee in the German Bundestag, “because I expect a renewed independence referendum in Scotland, which will be successful this time.” Krichbaum says, “we should promptly reply to this pro-EU country’s membership application.”[16] The German media is also energetically firing on Scottish separatism. Since 1945, the Federal Republic of Germany has possibly never engaged in such unabashed encouragement of the disintegration of a West European country.

War in Europe

In Berlin, this is all being flanked by statements that cannot be otherwise interpreted as oblique war threats. “Although it is difficult for us to imagine,” one should “never forget” that “the idea of a united Europe, had been an idea of peace,” claims the German Chancellor.[17] The allegation corresponds less to historical reality,[18] than to the EU’s self-promotion. Yet, Merkel declares that in Europe, “reconciliation and peace” are both currently and in the future “anything other than self-evident.” The chancellor has expressed this point of view in various EU crisis situations. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[19]) According to this view, the potential of European countries settling their disputes militarily remains essentially unaltered and can be unleashed, should they no longer choose integration in a German-dominated EU.

For more on this theme: The First Exit.

[Footnotes to articles in German removed]  [4] Joint Communiqué. Charting the way ahead. An EU Founding Members’ initiative on strengthening Cohesion in the European Union. www.esteri.it 09.02.2016.  [10] See Under the German Whip (I).  [14] See The Price of Deregulation.  [19] See A Question of Peace or War in Europe, Management with a Crowbar and Vom Krieg in Europa.

 

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UK-EU:160627:(27-JUN-16):U.K.: Ratings Agencies Downgrade Country’s Credit Rating

Stratfor 27-Jun-16

 

Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings both downgraded the United Kingdom’s credit ratings on June 27, citing potential economic drop-offs as a result of the country’s June 23 referendum in which voters elected to leave the European Union, BBC reported. Standard and Poor’s lowered the country’s rating from AAA to AA, while Fitch dropped its rating from AA+ to AA. In lowering their outlooks for the British economy, the two agencies joined Moody’s Investors Service, which dropped its outlook for the country from stable to negative the day after the referendum. The results of the British referendum have created aura of uncertainty in global financial markets.

 

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Bible Truth and Prophecy, – Welcome to our channel run by the Christadelphians Worldwide to help promote the understanding of God’s Word to those who are seeking the Truth about the Human condition and Gods plan and Purpose with the Earth and Mankind upon it.
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For more information on the Christadelphians – Thisisyourbible

Read a variety of booklets on-line concerning various key Bible subjects.
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Bible Truth & Prophecy is a remarkable on-line tool for establishing just how far removed from the teachings of the Bible mainstream Christian teaching has become.

End Time Prophecies are interpreted using the Bible, not man made ideas or notions.
Key Biblical subjects such as the Trinity, Devil/Satan worship, Holy Spirit Gifts & much more are all dealt with extensively from the Bible’s viewpoint and not man’s.We will demonstrate how Christian beliefs have become corrupted, and reveal the ‘Truth’ as taught by the 1st Century Apostles.