May 12, 2013 | 4:04 am
To Read: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon talks to several White House officials and reaches the conclusion 'the go slow caucus' still has the upper hand in discussions about Syria-
Yet when it comes to turning the rhetoric into reality, few in Washington close to the Syrian conflict expect to see any quick action. Though calls to take more agressive action are getting louder and more frequent, Washington's "go-slow caucus" still exercises the power behind the scenes, emphasizing the narrative of a gradual, diplomatic approach -- one echoed in the White House. In conversations with State Department officials and three senior former statesmen and advisors, a picture emerges that when it comes to intervention into a murky and dangerous conflict in Syria, the consensus in the Obama administration appears to be that caution is the better part of valor.
Quote: "I don’t know about you, but watching anti-American globalists plot against our Constitution makes me sick", Senator Rand Paul referring to President Obama.
Number: 2,000, the number of volunteers who participated in National Arab-American Service day.
To Read: According to former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy, Israel doesn't necessarily want to see the fall of Assad-
Israel’s most significant strategic goal with respect to Syria has always been a stable peace, and that is not something that the current civil war has changed. Israel will intervene in Syria when it deems it necessary; last week’s attacks testify to that resolve. But it is no accident that those strikes were focused solely on the destruction of weapons depots, and that Israel has given no indication of wanting to intervene any further. Jerusalem, ultimately, has little interest in actively hastening the fall of Bashar al-Assad.
Israel knows one important thing about the Assads: for the past 40 years, they have managed to preserve some form of calm along the border. Technically, the two countries have always been at war -- Syria has yet to officially recognize Israel -- but Israel has been able to count on the governments of Hafez and Bashar Assad to enforce the Separation of Forces Agreement from 1974, in which both sides agreed to a cease-fire in the Golan Heights, the disputed vantage point along their shared border. Indeed, even when Israeli and Syrian forces were briefly locked in fierce fighting in 1982 during Lebanon’s civil war, the border remained quiet.
Quote: “There are lawsuits filed by those who would receive the compensation. We are aware of their demands. There are talks over acquiring 10 or 20 times the amount of compensation for the trials demanding compensation. If we come up with a bilateral agreement [with Israel], they [the families] will be required to waive their lawsuits, otherwise they will not receive any compensation”, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc about the current state of the negotiations concerning flotilla victim compensation.
Number: 10,000, the number of protestors who marched against Yair Lapid's budget cuts yesterday in Tel Aviv.
The Middle East
To Read: Turkish journalist Semih Idiz writes about Erdogan's position concerning Palestine's Fatah-Hamas dispute-
Erdogan is nevertheless finding that circumstance is forcing him to overcome purely Islamist sympathies and work more and more through the PA, and President Mahmoud Abbas which, it seems, is not all that pleasing to Hamas. But it is becoming increasingly clear to officials in Ankara that, if Turkey wants to have a constructive role in the Middle East, this is the course to be pursued, given Abbas’ international recognition and Meshaal’s lack of it.
Quote: “He is a new president who is carrying out weighty missions for the first time, and we shouldn’t judge him now”, an ousted incarcerated ex-President Mubarak talking about his predecessor, Mohammad Morsi.
Number: 2, the number of high-profile candidates who entered the Iranian Presidential race at the last moment, shaking things up in Iranian politics.
The Jewish World
To Read: British Ambassador Matthew Gould writes about his Jewishness and his loyalty to Britain-
I thought hard before applying for this job. I was worried that being Jewish would make it impossible – that Israel’s critics would question my loyalty to Britain. But then I understood that if people had a problem with my Jewishness it was their problem rather than mine. I would apply for the job, and do it unapologetically – as a proud British citizen, and as a proud Jew who wants the best for Israel, determined in the belief that there was no contradiction between the two.
The more I do this job, the more clearly I can see that there is no contradiction. Because the Nazis lost, and we won, and in the modern world, everyone has more than a single identity. I am proudly British; I am proudly Jewish; I am loyal to my country; I care deeply about Israel; I believe in Western, liberal values; I love London, the city of my birth; I have an affection for Cambridge, where I went to university; I am European; I believe in Britain’s alliance with America. The days of a single identity are over.
Quote: “I cannot stand Jewish people”, the words which cost UK Lawyer Danielle Morris £5,250.
Number: 48, the percentage of Israelis who support Women of the Wall.
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