World View: Israeli Remarks on John Kerry Grow into International Incident

World View: Israeli Remarks on John Kerry Grow into International Incident

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Le scandale du jour: Who is France’s ‘First Lady’ now?
  • Israeli remarks about Kerry grow into international incident
  • White House confirms, then denies, a secret Iran agreement
  • Egypt to side with the Palestinian Authority / Fatah against Hamas

Le scandale du jour: Who is France’s ‘First Lady’ now?

At a press conference Tuesday, France’s president Francois Hollanderefused to “clarify” who his current girlfriend is, just a few weeksbefore he and his partner are expected to make a state visit to theUnited States on February 11. 

Hollande lives in the Elysee palacewith his girlfriend, Valerie Trierweiler, who is considered the defacto “first lady” of France and is expected to play that role instate visits. However, Hollande has been spending nights with a newgirlfriend, actress Julie Gayet, amid rumors that Trierweiler is goingto have to find a new place to live. 

When the affair became public onFriday, Trierweiler checked into the hospital with a “severe case ofthe blues.” Her aides say that her stay is being extended because

When asked at Tuesday’s press conference to clarify his relationshipwith Trierweiler, Hollande said:

I understand your question. And I am sure you willunderstand my answer. Everyone can go through hardships. That isthe case. But I have one principle. Private affairs are dealtwith in private, with due respect to all parties. Therefore thisis not the place to go into this.

He added that Trierweiler was “resting,” and that he would clarifythe situation before the February 11 trip to the U.S.

The news of women trouble in France is inspiring the revival of someprevious rumors that Michelle Obama is fed up with her husband andplans to divorce him. Voice of Russia speculates that theyhome alone from the family vacation in Hawaii. Telegraph (London) and Voice of Russia

Israeli remarks about Kerry grow into international incident

Washington is expressing outrage at comments by Israel’s defenseminister calling U.S. Secretary of State obsessive and messianic.

Defense minister Moshe Ya’alon is quoted as saying in privatemeetings:

Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) isalive and well thanks to us. The moment we leave [the West Bank]he is finished. In reality, there have been no negotiationsbetween us and the Palestinians for all these months – but ratherbetween us and the Americans. The only thing that can ‘save us’ isfor John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace.

The American security plan presented to us is not worth the paperit’s written on. It contains no peace and no security. Only ourcontinued presence in [the West Bank] and the River Jordan willensure that Ben-Gurion Airport and Netanya don’t become targetsfor rockets from every direction. American Secretary of State JohnKerry, who turned up here determined and acting out of misplacedobsession and messianic fervor, cannot teach me anything about theconflict with the Palestinians.

U.S. State Department spokesman Marie Harf shot back:

If these comments are accurate, we find the remarksof the defense minister to be offensive and inappropriate,especially given all that the United States has done to supportIsrael’s security needs and will continue to do. Secretary Kerryand his team, including Gen. [John] Allen, have been working dayand night to try to promote a secure peace for Israel because ofthe secretary’s deep concern for Israel’s future.

Late news is that Ya’alon’s office has issued an apology.

It’s hard to know what to make of this situation. Kerry andthe Obama administration have been stumbling from one foreignpolicy debacle to another for months. The Syria “red line”debacle and the Afghanistan “peace process” debacle come mostreadily to mind, but there are others. The Mideast “peaceplan” that Kerry is “obsessively” pushing is almost farcicalin its naïveté, which is the kind of thing that Ya’alon wassaying.

I constantly complain that politicians frequently lie and say reallydumb and dishonest things. Now you can see why. Any politician whodoesn’t follow the party line, even if it’s utter nonsense, risks aninternational incident. The ideal politician is a stupid crook, andwe have many that meet that ideal. YNet andCNN

White House confirms, then denies, a secret Iran agreement

Iran disclosed on Monday that there’s a 30-page side agreementthat’s a secret part of the nuclear agreementbetween Iran and the West. The secret deal has not beenreleased. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the agreement would be released to Congress.However, a State Dept. spokesman later denied that there wasa secret agreement.

Carney also commented on on a tweet by Iran’s president HassanRouhani:

Our relationship w/ the world is based on Iraniannation’s interests. In #Geneva agreement world powers surrenderedto Iranian nation’s will. — Tweet: Hassan Rouhani(@HassanRouhani) January 14, 2014

According to Carney, “It matters what they do, not what they say.”Apparently that bit of wisdom doesn’t apply to remarks made in privateby Ya’alon in Israel. LA Times and Weekly Standard

Egypt to side with the Palestinian Authority / Fatah against Hamas

A bombing caused no casualties, but at least nine people in Egypt died Tuesday in violence related to a referendum on a new constitution,with clashes reported in several provinces. The new constitutionforbids parties “formed on the basis of religion, gender, race orgeography.”

The new constitution is targeting the Muslim Brotherhood, which wasthe governing party for a year before the army ousted Brotherhoodleader Mohamed Morsi in a coup. The referendum is likely to winapproval, since the Brotherhood has announced that it will boycott thevote.

The army has already declared the Brotherhood to be a “terroristorganization,” and now the army is going further by attempting toeradicate Hamas, the governing authority of Gaza. Hamas wasoriginally formed in the early 1980s as an offshoot of Egypt’s MuslimBrotherhood. Egypt’s army has accused Hamas not only of supportingthe Brotherhood in Egypt, but also of being behind several bloodyterrorist attacks in Egypt, which Hamas has denied.

Hamas is increasingly cooperating with Fatah and the PalestinianAuthority, the governing authority in the West Bank. Hamas and Fatahhave been split since the war between them in Gaza in 2008, whichforced Fatah to withdraw from Gaza completely. Egypt and Fatah arehosting anti-Hamas activists. According to one Fatah official inCairo:

We support the movement and any peaceful movementagainst the cruelty of the Islamist group that is part of theterrorist Muslim Brotherhood organization.

Al Ahram (Cairo) and Reuters

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