The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 12 August 2013

by admin on August 12, 2013

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.

Israel and Palestine to renew peace talks on 14AUG

This week’s snapshot focuses on the lead-up to renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian territories starting 14AUG. Following the announcement of the Israeli cabinet decision to add nearly 1,200 settlements in the West Bank, the already questionable outlook of the peace talks has worsened. In what appeared to be a gesture of goodwill or appeasement, Israel agreed to release 26 prisoners—the first of 104 long-term Palestinian and Arab Israeli prisoners to be freed in four stages, depending on progress in the talks. However, as of 12AUG, the Palestinian leadership has considered the settlements a direct threat to the talks.

News Summary of events during the week of 04AUG – 12AUG

  • On 04AUG, an Israeli cabinet decision added a number of Jewish settlements in the West Bank territory that Israel seized in the 1967 war to a “national priority list” of communities eligible for extra subsidies. (NYT)
  • On 06AUG, The Israel Democracy Institute’s Peace Index released their monthly public poll which revealed that only one in five Israelis believe that the current round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians will bear fruit. (XIN)
  • On 09AUG, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle agreed to lend backing to revived peace talks by sitting with President Shimon Peres and Chief Israeli Negotiator Tzipi Livni, as well as Palestinian president  Mahmud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on 12AUG. (DPA)
  • On 10AUG, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Kerry that Palestinians are continuing to incite hatred against Israel. (REUT)
  • On 11AUG, The Israeli government approved the release of 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners ahead of renewed peace talks. (AFP)
  • On 12AUG, The Palestinian side mulled a peace talk boycott in protest against a recent Israeli decision regarding settlements. (XIN)

Sample of Twitter Handles Regarding Peace Talks

  • @palestine – Palestine News, providing latest news on Palestine, aggregated from mainstream and independent media.
  • @ziadasali – Ziad Asali, president and founder of American Task Force on Palestine.
  • @haaretzcom – Official twitter account of; following news from Israel, Middle East, and Jewish affairs.
  • @usembassyta – Official US Embassy in Tel Aviv account.

Sample of Third Party Validators Regarding Peace Talks

Name Title Organization Quote News Article Date
Yariv Oppenheimer Head organizer Peace Now “The government is offering land free of charge (to settlers)… and under such conditions it is no surprise that Israelis are moving into settlements,” said Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer. West Bank settlement population growing rapidly: report – AFP 06 August 2013

Dr. Muriel Asseburg Middle East expert German Institute for International and Security Affairs Germany does not play a central role. The US is leading the negotiations and has been mediating between the opposing parties. Their negotiation style does not involve agreeing with partners about how the negotiations should be carried out; they would rather decide this by themselves for now. They have, however, made clear that they want the Europeans and the Germans on board. They also want to ask Arab countries for support, which would back up the Americans. Germany no ‘central role’ in peace negotiations – Deutsche Welle 11 August 2013
Abdel Majid Sweilam Political Analyst Al Quds University “These talks are to make the United States happy, because the US still sees the Palestinian issue as a key to solving the problems in the Middle East,” he said. Peace talks ‘doomed’: Palestinian analysts – AFP 31 July 2013
Aaron David Miller Vice President for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar Middle East Program, Wilson Center “Whether these succeed or fail depends on whether or not Abbas and Netanyahu see their mutual advantage in the process. They’re going to have to support one another and help each other politically if this is going to work.” Analysts skeptical over new try at Mideast peace talks – USA Today 19 July 2013
Anthony Cordesman Middle East expert Center for Strategic and International Studies For negotiations to succeed, Israel has to make compromises on settlements, territory and security, while the Palestinians must give up some of their aspirations on the right of return to Israel for refugees and their descendants scattered across the world since Arab wars against Israel, Cordesman said. Analysts skeptical over new try at Mideast peace talks – USA Today 19 July 2013


Sample of open source research conducted by TRG Analysts related to the upcoming peace talks and reactions by world leaders

1. Israeli Decree on West Bank Settlements Will Harm Peace Talks, Palestinians Say

Media: New York Times
Byline: Jodi Rudoren
Date:  04 August 2013

JERUSALEM — With peace talks scheduled to begin next week, an Israeli cabinet decision involving West Bank settlements on Sunday drew condemnation from the Palestinian leadership, highlighting the fragility of the Washington-brokered effort to resume long-stalled negotiations.

The cabinet decision added a number of Jewish settlements in the West Bank territory that Israel seized in the 1967 war to a “national priority list” of communities eligible for extra subsidies for education, housing, infrastructure projects, cultural programs and sports, along with better mortgage rates and loans for new homeowners. The United States, along with most of the world, considers these settlements illegal, and some of them sit in the heart of the area imagined as a future Palestinian state.

“The Israeli government has approved a confidence-destruction measure,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, said in a statement. “Israeli attempts to grab more Palestinian land and to provide settlers with preferential treatment will not be tolerated.” The Associated Press quoted Ms. Ashrawi as saying that the decision would have “a destructive impact” on the talks.

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2. West Bank settlement population growing rapidly: report

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Byline: N/A
Date: 06 August 2013

JERUSALEM, Aug 06, 2013 (AFP) – The population in Israel’s controversial West Bank settlements has grown twice as much as in Israel itself, military radio said on Tuesday, quoting official statistics.

The figures released by the interior ministry are likely to add to Palestinian misgivings about resuming peace talks in Washington last week with the Israelis. The talks broke down three years ago over the settlement issue.

According to the radio, the figures show an increase of 7,700 settlers in the occupied West Bank during the first six month of 2013 for a total settler population of 367,000.

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3. Majority of Israelis do not believe in success of peace talks: poll

Media: Xinhua (China)
Byline: N/A
Date: 06 August 2013

JERUSALEM, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) — Only one in five Israelis believe that the current round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians will bear fruit, a poll revealed on Tuesday.

The Israel Democracy Institute’s Peace Index poll is a monthly public poll, which started in June 1994 and tracks down the common trends in the public opinion in regard to various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The latest version of it, conducted with experts of the Tel Aviv University Statistics experts and published on the Walla! news website, is the first to take place amid the resumption of the peace talks last week in Washington.

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4. Israel advances 1,100 settlement units despite peace talks

Media: Los Angeles Times
Byline: Edmund Sanders
Date: 08 August 2013

JERUSALEM – As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators prepare for a second round of peace talks next week, an Israeli military committee advanced nearly 1,100 units of proposed Jewish housing in the West Bank, a settlement-watch group said Thursday.

The projects are particularly sensitive because most of the units are located in isolated settlements that Israel is unlikely to retain if and when a Palestinian state is created.

Palestinian leaders have warned that such moves will threaten the recently revived peace process, launched last month by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

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5. Talks ‘detrimental’ to Palestinians: Iran’s Khamenei

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Byline: N/A
Date: 09 August 2013

TEHRAN, Aug 09, 2013 (AFP) – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday warned the Palestinians against renewed peace talks with Israel, saying they would be “detrimental” to their cause.

The US-mediated talks will force “the Palestinians to relinquish their rights,” Khamenei told worshippers in Tehran University after Eid al-Fitr prayers marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

His remarks came a day after the US State Department said Palestinian and Israeli negotiators would resume talks on ending their long-standing conflict on August 14 in Jerusalem.

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6. Netanyahu tells U.S. mediator Palestinians inciting against Israel

Media: Reuters
Byline: Dan Williams
Date: 10 August 2013

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has complained to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about statements by the Palestinians which it said undermined nascent peace talks, an Israeli official said on Saturday.

“Incitement and peace cannot coexist,” the official quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as telling Kerry, the negotiations’ sponsor, in a letter sent over the weekend.

The complaint underscored the recrimination and distrust on both sides that threaten the talks, even as Israel prepares to free scores of Palestinian prisoners ahead of a second round of discussions next week.

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7. Israel okays 26 Palestinian prisoners for release

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Byline: N/A
Date: 11 August 2013

JERUSALEM, Aug 11, 2013 (AFP) – The Israeli government approved late Sunday the release of 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners, an official statement said, ahead of renewed peace talks between the sides set for later this week.

“Following the government decision to renew peace talks with the Palestinians and appoint a ministerial committee to free prisoners during negotiations… the committee approved the release of 26 prisoners,” a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office read.

According to the statement, the names will be published on the Israel prison service’s website early on Monday, “after the bereaved families will receive notice”.

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8. New Israeli settlement announcement overshadows peace talks

Media: Christian Science Monitor
Byline: Joshua Mitnick
Date: 11 August 2013

Israel announced plans to advance settlement construction on some 1,200 homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, kicking up accusations by Palestinians that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is trying to undermine US-sponsored peace talks just days before they are set to begin.

The statement by Israel’s housing ministry aggravated tensions over the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in areas claimed by the Palestinians as part of a future state, a complaint that kept Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas away from the peace table for most of the last five years.

The announcement, which comes from a Housing Ministry controlled by pro-settlement hardliner Uri Ariel, appears to flaunt unconfirmed reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry obtained an Israeli commitment to rein in building during the coming nine months slated for peace talks. Settlement activity kicks up Palestinian criticism of Mr. Abbas for participating in talks.

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9. Palestinians mull boycotting peace talks over Israeli settlement construction

Media: Xinhua (China)
Byline: N/A
Date: 12 August 2013

RAMALLAH, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) — The Palestinian side is mulling to boycott the upcoming round of direct peace talks with Israel in protest against a recent Israeli decision to build 1,200 housing units on occupied lands in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, the top Palestinian negotiator said Monday.

“There are discussions with President Mahmoud Abbas over not joining the second round of negotiations, slated for Wednesday in the West Bank city of Jericho,” Saeb Erekat told Xinhua.

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