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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘ambassadors’

Netanyahu Summons US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, For ‘Clarification’

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly summoned U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro for “clarifications” on Sunday, the first day of Chanukah and also Christmas Day; a legal holiday in the United States but not here in Israel.

It is an unprecedented move by the prime minister, one that reflects just how angry he is over the betrayal by the United States on Friday for its abstention in a vote that enabled the unanimous passage of the anti-Israel Resolution 2334(2016).

Netanyahu warned fellow Likud ministers at a closed-door session on Sunday morning, “The issue is still hot, and we haven’t heard the end of this yet.” The prime minister said he believes it is possible the U.S. will seek another vote in the UN Security Council to set forth more “detailed parameters” based on Secretary of State John Kerry’s “vision” for a Middle East peace agreement, according to a report Sunday night by Israel’s Channel 2 television news.

Netanyahu said, “Don’t come out now with statements about annexing territory and building in the settlements, because there may be another international move before the change in the U.S. administration on January 20.” A number of lawmakers, including several from the Bayit Yehudi party, have made public statements in response to Friday resolution that now is the time to annex Area C and extend Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, in response to the vote.

The prime minister maintains that Friday’s abstention at the UNSC vote was personally ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama. The move broke with a long-standing tradition of diplomatic protection for Israel by America in the international forum of the UN Security Council, where Israel has had few friends it can count on.

Now it is clear that for now — at least until January 20 — Israel has none.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu ordered the Foreign Ministry to summon the ambassadors of all 12 nations with whom Israel has had diplomatic relations and who cast their ballots against the Jewish State in that vote. Ten ambassadors – in two cases, deputy ambassadors since their seniors were not in the country – were ordered to show up at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday, where they were severely reprimanded by the Israeli ministry heads of departments for their regions, spokesperson Emmanuel Nachson said.

The prime minister already recalled Israel’s ambassadors to Senegal and New Zealand for “consultations” – both nations were involved in sponsoring the resolution together with Venezuela and Malaysia, with whom Israel has no diplomatic ties.

He also canceled visits in Israel for the non-resident ambassadors from Senegal and New Zealand, an upcoming visit by the Senegalese foreign minister, and a state visit that was scheduled for this week by Ukraine’s Jewish prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman as well.

In addition, Netanyahu ordered the Foreign Ministry to cut all aid programs to Senegal, and canceled NIS 30 million in funding for five UN institutions which he said Saturday night are “particularly hostile to Israel.”

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Hits Back: Diplomatic Fallout After Anti-Israel UN Resolution 2334

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Within hours after the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to condemn Israel and demand an end to settlement activity in any area restored to the Jewish State as of 1967, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was taking diplomatic action to address the UNSC members who had sponsored the resolution.

Two of the four nations who brought the measure to the floor – Venezuela and Malaysia – have no diplomatic ties with Israel. But their partners in proposing the resolution, Senegal and New Zealand, both have relations with the Jewish State.

By the end of the day, Netanyahu had recalled Israel’s ambassadors to both New Zealand and Senegal home for “consultations.” In his dual role as Israel’s Foreign Minister, Netanyahu also ordered a stop to all aid programs to Senegal and canceled the upcoming visit of the Senegalese foreign minister.

In addition, he canceled the visits in Israel of both non-resident ambassadors from New Zealand and Senegal.

Those who work with Israel will gain, he said, “because Israel has a lot to offer the nations of the world. “But those who stand against us will lose, because there will be a diplomatic and economic price to their actions against Israel.”

In addition, within 24 hours after the vote, the prime minister had cut NIS 30 million in funding to five UN institutions “that are particularly hostile towards Israel,” he said.

Moreover, he canceled next week’s scheduled official state visit to Israel by Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, to protest Kiev’s vote in favor of the resolution as well.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement Saturday allegedly explaining its reason for withdrawing Resolution 2334 from consideration on Thursday at the United Nations Security Council.

“Egypt is the key partner in ensuring negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian side,” Cairo said. “Therefore, it is necessary to take a balanced stance to keep an opportunity for maneuver and influence on the both sides of the upcoming negotiations focused on finding a comprehensive and fair settlement, which would guarantee the implementation of the rights of all Palestinians based on the UN decisions,” Egypt’s foreign ministry said, according to Sputnik News.

Egypt’s statement of explanation was held back, however, and issued only after the UNSC unanimously passed the resolution, which was instead advanced to a vote the very next day by New Zealand, Senegal, Venezuela and Malaysia.

Hana Levi Julian

Our Anti-Semitism Ambassador’s Curious Silence Over Attacks On Jewish Holy Sites

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

When Jewish holy sites in Europe or South America are desecrated, the U.S. government’s special envoy for combating Anti-Semitism issues angry denunciations, calls urgent meetings, and sometimes even flies to the country in question to meet with the authorities.

But for some reason, he does not seem to exhibit the same sense of urgency in his response to Palestinian desecrations of Jewish holy sites.

The envoy is Ira N. Forman, formerly executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council and Jewish Outreach Director for President Obama’s reelection campaign.

I admire Ambassador Forman’s energy in challenging attacks on Jewish cemeteries and synagogues in Hungary and Argentina. I just wish he would show the same level of interest when Palestinians are involved.

Last week, arsonists – police suspect Palestinian terrorists – set fire to the Tomb of Avshalom and the Tomb of Yehoshafat. They are located at the Mount of Olives, in the eastern part of Jerusalem. The attack caused extensive damage. I have not heard any response from Forman to these latest outrages.

Throughout this past year there have been numerous Palestinian attacks on Jewish holy sites.

They have thrown bombs at the Tomb of Rachel, near PA-controlled Bethlehem.

They have assaulted Jews who were on their way to recite prayers at the tombs of Itamar and Elazar, in the PA town of Awarta.

They have tore down the mezuzah from the Cave of the Patriarchs, in Hebron.

They have thrown rocks and firebombs at Jews trying to pray at the Tomb of Joseph, in PA-controlled Nablus (Shechem).

They have thrown rocks from the Temple Mount at Jews visiting the Western Wall below.

Does anybody remember the elderly Jewish woman who was struck in the head by one of those rocks, on June 28? Or has she already been forgotten?

David Weinberg, writing in the Jerusalem Post in 2011, reported that the PA “has allowed villagers to encroach upon the important synagogue remains in Eshtemoa in the southern Mount Hebron area” and is permitting Palestinian real estate developers “to build practically atop” the ancient Naaran synagogue, in PA-controlled Tulul Abu el Alayiq.

That evokes painful memories of the Jordanians bulldozing hundreds of ancient Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives between 1949 and 1967 and building roads on top of them.

Ambassador Forman’s report on anti-Semitism around the world each year is included in the State Department’s annual country-by-country report on “International Religious Freedom.” The most recent report contains some scattered references to Palestinian attacks on Jewish worshippers or religious sites. But they tend to be couched in ambiguous or rationalizing language.

For example, the Palestinian attackers are characterized as “protesters” and “Muslim worshippers,” and their assaults are described as “clashes.” When Forman writes about Palestinians attacking Jews at the Tomb of Joseph, he says they “reportedly” threw rocks, seemingly going out of his way to inject an element of doubt.

Forman’s report also includes this incredible passage: “Palestinian youths reportedly committed arson and vandalism against the Mount of Olives cemetery, the Pitchei Olam Synagogue, and Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank. Because religion and ethnicity are often closely linked, it was difficult to categorize many incidents as being solely based on religious identity.”

What differences does it make if the Palestinian attacks are motivated partly by “ethnicity” and partly by “religious identity”? Does Forman really think the attackers sit around, discussing the fine points of such distinctions? Why won’t the ambassador simply acknowledge that Palestinians who attack Jewish worshippers and Jewish religious sites hate Jews?

Equally troubling is Forman’s failure to acknowledge the connection between these attacks and the Palestinian Authority’s constant incitement to hatred and violence against Jews. It’s as if the Palestinians who burn down Jewish holy sites or stone Jewish worshippers are operating in some kind of a vacuum, insulated from the rest of Palestinian society. But they’re not. They’re surrounded, every day, by the incitement to anti-Semitism that saturates the official PA newspapers, television, radio, and schools.

I don’t want to speculate as to the motives behind Forman’s reluctance to confront Palestinian anti-Semitism. I simply want to plead with him: in your final few months in office, Mr. Ambassador, you will compile one last report on anti-Semitism around the world (covering the year 2016). Please: tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about Palestinian anti-Semitism.

Stephen M. Flatow

Israel and Turkey Delay Reconciliation, Ambassador Exchange

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Israel and Turkey have both postponed meetings to appoint new ambassadors to each other’s countries.

The appointments were to be set at meetings scheduled for October 27, but those meetings have been cancelled in both nations, and according to a report on Israel’s Channel 2 television news, neither country has set a new date.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was in Ankara Tuesday for a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has long been a firm supporter of the Hamas rulers of Gaza, opponents of the PA’s leading Fatah faction headed by Abbas.

The PA leader is in Turkey for a three-day visit, according to the country’s Hurriyet Daily News, which pointed out that the visit comes “as Turkey and Israel are preparing to appoint ambassadors to each other’s capitals in a final step in the reconciliation of bilateral ties.”

The hold-up may also be due to the fact that Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold resigned suddenly earlier this month. Although Yuval Rotem has been appointed to take his place, Rotem’s appointment has yet to be approved by the government and until that’s done, the ministry’s appointment committee can do nothing further.

The normalization process on the Turkish side also ran into a road block last week when a Turkish court suddenly refused to dismiss the legal case against members of the Israeli military who participated in the 2010 operation to redirect an illegal flotilla to Ashdod port, and away from Gaza.

The dismissal of the case constituted Turkey’s part of the reconciliation deal signed last summer with Israel. The Jewish State has already made good on its part by expressing its regret for the incident and paying $20 million in compensation to the families of the armed “activists” on the vessel who died after attacking IDF commandos. A number of the Israeli commandos were also seriously injured in the clash, some permanently.

Turkey and Israel came to an agreement together on allowing Ankara to bring humanitarian supplies to Gaza, and to plan construction of a hospital in the region.

But when it came time last week for the Turkish court to dismiss the case against Israel’s military commandos and other IDF officials, the court apparently refused to comply with the agreement. It’s not clear what measures are being taken to deal with the situation, and there is no mention of the diplomatic faux pas in the English-language Turkish media, which reported earlier in the month that Kemal Okem had been selected to become Ankara’s ambassador to Israel. Okem is a close associate of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Israel has yet to choose its new ambassador.

Hana Levi Julian

UK, Iran Exchange Ambassadors After 5-Year Hiatus

Monday, September 5th, 2016

The United Kingdom has exchanged ambassadors with Iran for the first time in five years.

The last British ambassador fled Tehran in 2011 when a mob stormed the British embassy in the Iranian capital and tore it apart.

The ISNA Iranian state news agency announced the appointment of Hamid Baeidinejad, 53, as the new Iranian envoy to London.

At the same time, the British charges d’affairs in the Iranian capital, Nicholas Hopton, was promoted to the post of UK Ambassador to Tehran.

Britain was one of the first nations to send diplomats to Iran after the July 2015 signing of the nuclear deal with Iran by six world powers in Vienna.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkish Parliament Reviews Normalization Deal with Israel

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

The agreement to normalize ties between Turkey and Israel was formally submitted Wednesday (Aug. 17) to the Turkish Parliament in Ankara for review and a final vote of approval, or not, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The debate on the issue has been delayed by several weeks due to last month’s failed attempt by part of the Turkish military to overthrow the government. Thousands of government employees and high-ranking officials were purged in the wake of the incident.

Tourism has taken a serious hit as a result of the coup and the ongoing purges, with numerous countries issuing advisories to its citizens against traveling to Istanbul, further damaging an already compromised economy. For this and other reasons, it is becoming more urgent than ever for Turkey to complete its agreement with Israel and improve its ties with Russia — which it is working on — as well as with others in the region.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a televised interview a week ago (Aug. 11) that the deal would be completed and signed before September, finalized by the Turkish Parliament “as soon as possible.”

Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News quoted Cavusoglu as saying during a joint news conference following a meeting with Palestinian Authority Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ankara that Turkey is ‘eager to contribute to the Palestinian issue and the Middle East process.’ Cavusoglu added that Turkey had always ‘advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue and would continue to contribute to permanent peace in the region.

“Now we have started a normalization process with Israel,” he said, according to Hurriyet. “According to our latest agreement, the two countries will mutually appoint ambassadors. After this step we will continue to support the Palestinian issue and the Middle East peace process.”

Upon ratification of the agreement by the Turkish Parliament, the two nations will exchange ambassadors to fully restore diplomatic ties. Turkey reportedly plans to build a hospital in Gaza and ratchet up efforts to build an industrial zone project in Jenin.

The deal to restore ties between the two countries was signed on June 28 after numerous repeated attempts to heal the wounds of a breach after a 2010 illegal flotilla that included a Turkish ship attempted to break the marine blockade on Gaza. Israeli commandos boarded the ship to redirect the vessel to Ashdod port, and a clash with armed “activists” ensued, leaving 10 Turks dead and numerous IDF commandos wounded.

Israeli and Turkish delegates spent the better part of 2015 and 2016 working on an agreement to renew the ties between their two nations.

At the end, Israel agreed to pay Turkey $20 million (17.8 million euros) within 25 days, in compensation to the families of those who died in the 2010 clash.

The legal case in Turkish court, targeting the Israeli commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel, will also be dropped, according to Anadolu news agency. In addition, individual Israeli nations will not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident.

Hana Levi Julian

President Rivlin Receives New Ambassadors from India, Chile, Myanmar, Estonia, Lesotho

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

President Rivlin this morning (Wednesday) at his residence received the diplomatic credentials of new ambassadors to Israel from the India, Chile, Myanmar, Estonia, and Lesotho. Each ceremony began with the raising of the flag and the playing of the national anthem of the visiting country, included an honor guard, and – after the presentation of the credentials – the signing of the guest book, before the playing of Israel’s national anthem ‘Hatikva’.

First to present his credentials was Ambassador of India, H.E Mr. Pavan Kapoor. President Rivlin welcomed the Ambassador, his wife, and delegation and said, “The relationship between our two nations and our two states is being spoken about all over, and the cooperation between us is not only about innovation where we are trying our best to tackle problems in agriculture and water, energy, but also cyber and the need for security. I know that we can expand this cooperation and your appointment is an opportunity to look at ways we can do so. I convey my best regards to the President and Prime Minister, and I hope that the Prime Minster will be able to visit Israel and that I will be able to visit India in the coming months.”

Ambassador Kapoor thanked the President and said, “We are working to take our relationship further. We have received Israel’s help in a number of areas including defense, agriculture and water where we suffer a lot – in our country we either have droughts or floods, and we have a lot we can learn from Israel.” The Ambassador added, “We are looking forward to your visit and are working on dates for what I believe will be a landmark visit.”

President Rivlin thanked him and concluded, “The Indian and Israeli people have a lot in common, we know how to respect tradition and to be ready to learn and bring innovation to our lives for the benefit of our people and the whole world.”

Next the newly appointed Ambassador of Chile, H.E Mrs. Monica Jimenez De La Jara presented her credentials. The President welcomed her and showed her a picture of him as Speaker of the Knesset together with former President of the Chilean Senate and daughter of former Chilean president Isabel Allende taken at an international conference in Santiago. The President congratulated the Ambassador on her appointment and said, “I know that coming here from having served as Ambassador to the Vatican, you will feel at home in Jerusalem which is the center of the Holy Land. I welcome you also as a former education minister and we know that everything one can bring to our people begins with education. We are doing all we can in Israel; while 90 years ago we had only one university, now we have more than 6 universities and many colleges that are giving the opportunity to every citizen of Israel to study. We believe that the future of all people is together with education.” The President spoke of the relationship between the two governments and added, “From time to time we have some differences of opinion but we know that the relationship between our two nations and governments is strong. We can accept criticism – we do not accept boycott – but we can accept criticism.”

The Ambassador of Chile thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, “I am honored to have come from the Holy See to the Holy Land. I greatly appreciate being in a country with so much university activity. We have visited the Weizmann Institute, and the Hebrew University and we have plans to visit many more. We would like to have an academic delegation from Chile to reinforce the academic and research relations.”

She added, “I have worked all my life for peace. I know the situation in the Middle East is very difficult but Chile is ready with an open hand to do all it can to advance peace.”

Next, Ambassador of Myanmar, H.E Mr. Maung Maung Lynn arrived to present his credentials. The President welcomed him, his wife and delegation and said, “Mr. Ambassador, I remember as a student in High School when the Prime Minister of your country, U Nu, came to visit Israel, and then as a soldier in the IDF I remember Israel’s first Prime Minister Ben Gurion visited your country and brought back a great appreciation for your people and your culture. We are very proud of our connection and our relationship with your people. The Foreign Ministry started the idea of MASHAV in your country, the idea of connecting with other nations through learning together and sharing our knowledge about water for example. We also know that many Jews found shelter in your country until the outbreak of war. I want to congratulate you on the recent democratic elections in your country, which make Myanmar stronger.”

Ambassador Lynn thanked the President and noted, “It is a great pleasure to be here. I am here with my family and my daughter who will study here, and we have visited much of the country.”

Next, Ambassador of Estonia, H.E Mr. Sulev Kannike presented his credentials. The President congratulated him on his appointment and said, “We appreciate the wonderful relationship between our states and governments, and we appreciate your support for Israel in the international arena on so many issues, as well as the participation of Estonia in peace keeping efforts in the region. We appreciate also the understanding of Estonia on Holocaust education in your schools and among your people. In the field of cyber we are working together, in order to keep safe people in the region, and across Europe and the world.” The President added, “Please send my special wishes to your Foreign Minister who served as Ambassador of Estonia in Israel.”

Ambassador Kannike thanked the President and said, “I am happy to convey the greetings of my President who visited Israel in 2012. Bilateral relations between Israel and Estonia are almost without problems. We understand each other very well, and this is important for us. In July next year Estonia is taking over the Presidency of the European Union and I hope this will help us improve not only our bilateral relations but also our multilateral relations. I also express my appreciation for Israel’s work in cyber security and startups – an area in which Estonia is also working hard.”

Ambassador of Lesotho, H.E Mrs. Lineo Irene Molisa-Mabusela then presented her credentials as non-resident Ambassador to Israel. President Rivlin congratulated the Ambassador on her appointment and stressed, “The relationship between our two nations is very important to us and despite any crises, we have maintained uninterrupted relations.” The President spoke of the important cooperation between the nations in the fields of agriculture and water innovation, he said, “We would like to see more of your students come to study through MASHAV especially here in Israel.” The President added, “Israel would be pleased to return to its observer status at the African Union.”

Ambassador thanked the President and said “Allow me to pass the warmest wishes of His Majesty and the people of Lesotho. We are appreciative of the wonderful relations between our two countries, and we would like to work to open new channels of communication including in the fields of healthcare, agriculture, water and many others.”

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/president-rivlin-receives-new-ambassadors-from-india-chile-myanmar-estonia-lesotho/2016/08/03/

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