World View: Palestinian President Abbas, 79, Faces Life After 'Peace Talks' Collapse

World View: Palestinian President Abbas, 79, Faces Life After 'Peace Talks' Collapse

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Gunfight in east Ukraine raises fears of renewed violence
  • Palestinian president Abbas, 79, faces life after ‘peace talks’ collapse
  • Massive attack on AQAP in Yemen kills dozens of militants
  • Suicide and murder rate for bankers continues to increase

Gunfight in east Ukraine raises fears of renewed violence

Site of the gunfight in Slavyansk in east Ukraine on Sunday (AFP)
Site of the gunfight in Slavyansk in east Ukraine on Sunday (AFP)

Just four days after Russia, Ukraine and the West signed an agreementcalling for the de-escalation of the crisis in Ukraine, a gunfight ata checkpoint in east Ukraine, killing three people, has raised fearsthat the agreement may collapse.

At around 2 am on Sunday morning, unidentified men in four vehiclesopened fire at a checkpoint near Slavyansk manned by pro-Russianactivists, killing three. The activists returned fire, destroying thetwo cars and injuring some of the attackers.

Russia is expressing outrage, blaming the attack on Right Sector, anationalist militia group that was prominent in the Februaryrevolution in Kiev.

However, the Ukraine government says that forensic evidence gatheredat the scene does not support the claim that Right Sector wasinvolved, but instead appears to show that the evidence was staged tofalsely implicate Right Sector.

At any rate, so far this is an isolated incident, and does not yetappear to signal the beginning of a wider war. Irish Independent

Palestinian president Abbas, 79, faces life after ‘peace talks’ collapse

The Mideast “peace talks” between Israel and the PalestinianAuthority, set up last year by the Obama administration and Secretaryof State John Kerry, have never been anything but a joke, but at leastthey were something to talk about as supposedly providing “hope for alasting Mideast peace, with Israel and Palestine as two separate andequal nations living side by side in peace forever.”

But now the self-imposed deadline for the talks to end, April 29, isapproaching, and neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis areindicating much desire to extend the deadline. Israel will neveragree to return to pre-1967 borders or “right of return,” and thePalestinians will never agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state orto guarantee Israel’s security.

So now, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is wondering whatto do next, now that even the pretend-hope solution is disappearing.Abbas is quoted in an interview Sunday as saying:

“A new generation arrives and asks us: ‘What have youdone?’ I am now 79 years old, going on 80. Time has really flownby.

There is no other option except to pass the flag and move on, butit is difficult to do so now because the burden is a tough one andthe responsibility is great while the dangers trump theachievements. Who of our people will support us and who willoppose us? What will the Palestinian people do? How will historyjudge us?The settlements endanger the peace process, and the new generationsees the two-state solution is becoming less and less likely, andthat there is no escape from the one-state solution.”

What does the “one-state solution” mean? It means that thePalestinian Authority (PA) would dissolve, Mahmoud Abbas would retire,and the only state left would be Israel. Either Israel or the UnitedNations would then be responsible for governing the West Bank.Without the “peace process,” according to Abbas, this is the onlyremaining choice.

The major aspirant to replace Abbas is his bitter rival, 52 year oldMohammed Dahlan. Dahlan has called Abbas a “catastrophe” for thePalestinian people, and would take a much more confrontational,possibly violent approach to Israel. When Abbas asks the question,he’s suggesting that passing the flag to Dahlan and the youngergeneration will lead to war — among the Palestinians andwith Israel.

Israel’s economy minister Naftali Bennett responded on Sunday toAbbas’ statement:

“”Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] encourages terrorismagainst Israel as the head of the Palestinian Authority, and thenhe threatens us with his resignation.

If he wants to go, we won’t stop him. The Jewish people do notnegotiate with a gun held against their temple.”

Jerusalem Post and Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Massive attack on AQAP in Yemen kills dozens of militants

A high-level official in Yemen’s government is saying that a “massiveand unprecedented” military operation against Al-Qaeda in the ArabianPeninsula (AQAP) is under way, and that at least 30 AQAP militantshave already been killed. Yemen’s state news agency said thatairstrikes completely destroy an al-Qaeda training camp, where thefighters were “preparing to launch attacks against Yemeni and foreigninterests in the area.” It’s believed, but not confirmed, thatU.S. drones were used in the attack. CNNand AP

Suicide and murder rate for bankers continues to increase

It’s being increasingly noticed, though discussed in only hushedtones, that that there have been quite a few bankers committingsuicide in the last few months. Some reports suggest, withoutofficial confirmation, that some of the bankers who committed suicidewere under investigation for fraud and other irregularities.There have been 24 suicides or suspicious deaths in the lastfew months, six of them related to JP Morgan.

In the past couple of weeks, suicides have been replaced withmurder. A banker in Lichtenstein and a banker in Belgium wereboth murdered, probably by disgruntled clients.

As I’ve said in the past, when I was growing up in the 1950s, I neverunderstood why my parents and teachers and so many other people reallyhated bankers. Bankers seemed like perfectly reasonably people, andit seemed strange to me that so many people hated them. This was amystery to me for my whole life. It wasn’t until the 1970s or so thatpeople seemed to like bankers again.

The mystery was finally solved for me in 2009. (See “An angry President Obama strongly condemns Wall Street bonuses” from 2009.) That’s when I wasshocked to learn that Citibank, Bank of America and other banksannounced that they would continue paying million dollar bonuses totheir employees that had created the financial crisis. These andother banks had caused the financial crisis by creating worthlessstructured securities and fraudulently selling them to investors.Paying big bonuses to people who defrauded the public for years is, atthe very least, a public relations disaster.

So that’s when I understood that bankers in the 1930s were likebankers today. Just like today, bankers had defrauded people in the1920s and 1930s, although they used synthetic securities based onforeign government bonds in those days, rather than syntheticsecurities based on subprime mortgages as in the recent episode. (See“The bubble that broke the world” from 2007.) And people came to hate bankers so much,that the hatred lasted well into the 1950s and 1960s.

This has also led to a personal revelation for me. My mother’s fatherwas a Greek immigrant who came to Chicago and built a very successfulretail candy business in the 1920s. But he “lost his business” in the1930s, and died soon after “of a broken heart,” according to mymother. I now realize what must have happened. Some banker hadconvinced my grandfather to invest his savings and mortgage hisbusiness to invest in foreign government bonds or other syntheticsecurities, and he “lost his business” when he couldn’t repay hisdebt. My mother then had to go out and earn money to support herfamily. This is like so many people in the last decade who lost theirhomes and businesses after investing in fraudulent subprime-basedsecurities. That would explain why my mother’s hatred of bankers ranso deep, even in the 1950s. She must have blamed a banker not onlyfor making her father lose her business, but also for causing hisdeath and forcing her into the workplace.

There have been a million jokes and stories told about bankers andstock brokers who killed themselves in the 1930s by jumping out ofbuildings. The recent spate of banker suicides may be historyrepeating itself. And if history is any guide, and it is, thenbankers are going to be even more hated in the decades to come.ZeroHedge and Prison Planet

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