1) The PLO flag is flying in Washington. The administration downplayed the change - it is a "delegation" office not an Embassy. The change implies "no enhancement in diplomatic status," and does not provide "any diplomatic privileges or immunities," said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. It is about the same as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) that represents 27 million democratic Taiwanese. That is, by its nature, an enhancement for a terrorist organization.
White House spokesman Thomas Vietor added, "This decision reflects our confidence that through direct negotiations, we can help achieve a two-state solution with an independent and viable Palestine living side by side with Israel. We should begin preparing for that outcome now, as we continue to work with the Palestinian people on behalf of a better future."
The best way to give the Palestinians a better future would be to liberate 1.2 million of them from Hamas in Gaza. Hamas is NOT a member of the PLO - the flag of which is flying in Washington - and it ousted Fatah from Gaza in a bloody and ongoing civil war. This appears to be why we are building Fatah an army. The State Department is busy executing its two-state vision while the Palestinians are busy executing one another.
2) Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow was in Lebanon to meet government officials and UNIFIL representatives and discuss the next installment of American military aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). A U.S. embassy statement reported by the Lebanese news agency quoted Mr. Vershbow as saying Congress has approved 100 million dollars in aid for 2010, including aircraft, tanks, light arms and training to help the LAF "combat cross-border smuggling" and "prevent militias and other non-government organizations from resorting to violence to undermine the authority of the Lebanese government."
Mr. Vershbow was late. Last week, Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri made his third pilgrimage to Syria where Syrian and Lebanese ministers signed a total of 17 accords covering justice, tourism, education and agriculture. And cross-border smuggling.
Mr. Vershbow was late. The indispensable MEMRI, translating from Lebanese media, reports that on 13 July, Hezbollah and its allies in Parliament rejected a France-Lebanon agreement for cooperation in internal, civil and administrative security - even though the agreement had already been effectively approved by both the government and the Lebanese President... Hezbollah MPs rejected the agreement's first clause, which calls for French-Lebanese cooperation in "the fight against terrorism," because, they said, France's definition of the term "terrorism" was vastly different from the Lebanese and the Arab definition.
But France was late, too. French soldiers in UNIFIL have born a disproportionate share of Hezbollah's ire recently. Hezbollah has been restricting UNIFIL patrols and even attacking UNIFIL soldiers in the south as it moves weapons into the 160 or so villages of southern Lebanon in violation of UNSCR 1701. Since France voted in the UN for increased sanctions on Iran, French soldiers have come under particular attack.
This article originally appeared in www.jinsa.org