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July 25, 2014 / 27 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Avigdor Liberman’

FM Liberman Reminds US, Europe: ‘We Know How to Investigate’

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman rebuked the U.S. and Europe after their calls for a “thorough” investigation of the deaths of two Palestinian Authority Arabs in Nakba Day riots last week.

The two Arab teens were killed on May 15, allegedly by IDF soldiers, during violence outside the Ofer Prison, located next to the PA capital of Ramallah in Samaria.

“”We don’t need an American request to investigate the subject,” Liberman told reporters Wednesday while visiting Samaria’s Ariel University. “I reject any request and the hypocrisy we see worldwide.”

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki called for a “prompt and transparent” investigation in response to a reporter’s question during a briefing on Capitol Hill.

European Union missions in the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah and in Jerusalem made similar statements. “We reiterate the need for security forces, whether Israeli or Palestinian, to refrain from the use of lethal force, except in cases where there is a real and imminent threat to life,” they said.

In response, Liberman pointed out that the Israeli army is the “most moral” military force in the world.

“I am saddened these demands don’t come up in other cases,” he commented. “In Syria around 170,000 people have been killed and I didn’t see any act or request from the international community to investigate those murders. Hamas executed two men in Gaza after accusing them of spying for Israel, both without a lawyer or fair trial. I didn’t see any request to investigate that [either],” he added.

As Liberman has pointed out, the video footage that has made the rounds was posted after several days and may have been edited, as such videos often are. Leftists groups with an agenda hoping to incriminate Israel often show only part of an incident, or judiciously edit the footage to falsify the information altogether, as in the Al Dura case.

At the end of the day, regardless of the outcome, one must ask the question:

Why were these two young men there in the first place, during a violent Nakba Day riot at Ofer Prison?

Israeli Aid to Victims of the Floods in Serbia and Bosnia

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson) In view of the unprecedented floods in Serbia and Bosnia, Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to speed humanitarian aid to the affected citizens of both countries.

At the end of last week, Israel’s ambassador to Belgrade Yossi Levy and his team dispatched emergency aid, which included medicine and basic equipment to the flood victims, as well as lighting equipment for the rescue teams who are busy evacuating residents trapped in flooded areas. The embassy also airlifted essential medicine to the hospital in the city of Bijeljina in the Republika Srpska in Bosnia, a region where roads were cut off due to heavy rainfall.

The President of the Republic and the Minister of Health were on hand personally to receive the Israeli medical aid from the helicopter ramp. In light of weather forecasts predicting that the level of the Danube and Sava rivers will reach record levels today and tomorrow, the MFA Emergency and Crisis Management Center convened this morning representatives of the various IDF branches and Israeli aid agencies to examine possibilities of sending additional emergency equipment to Belgrade, with the aim of assisting in the rescue and evacuation of civilians caught in the flood zones.

In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is ready to send sanitary assistance to the populated regions of Serbia where the water level is expected to decline. Several cities and towns in Serbia are currently submerged under up to two meters of water and mud.

FM Liberman Announces Knesset Lobby to Support Africa Ties

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and MK Shimon Solomon (Yesh Atid) have announced a new Knesset Lobby for Strengthening Relations Between Israel and African Countries, ahead of Liberman’s planned visit to five African countries next month.

Liberman said that Israel, as an economically strong state and member of the OECD, must invest in foreign aid. He added that investing in Africa will bring economic and political benefit to Israel.

“Africa is an important objective of Israel’s foreign policy, and we will strive to have Israel accepted during the coming year as an observer in the African Union,” Liberman told the group.

According to a release from Liberman’s office, economic growth in Africa last year was around 6 percent, compared to zero percent in Europe. Over the past year, high level visitors to Africa included US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the president, vice president, premier and vice premier of China. All this is indicative of the importance of Africa in the changing international arena.

Broadening Israel’s Horizons

Since assuming control of the foreign ministry five years ago, Liberman has made broadening Israel’s diplomatic relationships a priority. Early in his first term he toured South America, a region that Israel has traditionally failed to invest diplomatic resources. And his 2009 visit to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana was there first visit to Africa by an Israeli foreign minister since Golda Meir in 1959.

“Israel’s relationship with the United States is important, but for too many years we have placed all our foreign policy eggs in the American basket,” a senior aide to Liberman told this reporter at that time. “But the world is developing quickly: Africa, Asia, South America – all these regions are growing fast, in terms of economic progress and political influence. We have much to offer these regions, in terms of technology and economic opportunity, and we have much to gain from them in return. Developing these ties is very much a win-win situation for everyone.

Today, Africa is one of the most important of these destinations. Just 10 of Israel’s 106 diplomatic missions are located in Africa, down from 27 in the 1970’s. In the decades since the Yom Kippur War, African countries have voted as a bloc on the international stage in favor of the Arab world against Israel, but there are signs that that trend could change, given the proper diplomatic support: In December, al-Monitor.com reported that in 2012Israel’s ambassador to Senegal, Eli Ben Tura, hosted 14 imams for an Iftar dinner (Ramadan break the fast meal) at his residence. And last November, a delegation of moslem religious leaders from Senegal visited Israel in a first-of-its-kind interreligious cooperation project.

In addition, three years ago Israel’s ambassador to Ghana, Sharon Bar-Li, engaged in an interreligious dialogue with local Muslim leaders.

Today, Foreign Minister Liberman noted that he sees investment in Africa as important on both the humanitarian and socio-political planes. There are many areas in which Israel can provide assistance and training: in agriculture, water management, medicine, combatting terror, and more. Israel cooperates with various countries, among them the United States, Canada, and Italy, in various investment projects in Africa. The most important of these is the joint Israeli-German Africa Initiative established at the last Israel-Germany government consultations in February 2014, a program of development cooperation in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Burundi, with an investment of 50 million Euro.

 

MK Ze’ev Elkin to Chair Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee

Monday, May 12th, 2014

At last, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has a new chairperson: Likud Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin.  It’s taken six months to get there.

Elkin will chair in rotation with senior Likud lawmaker and coalition chairperson Yariv Levin. Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi is expected to replace Elkin as deputy foreign minister.

To soothe the ruffled feathers of Yesh Atid chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, his choice for the post – Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah – will instead be made a senior deputy minister.

Lapid has been negotiating with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the issue, forever and a day. The position remained vacant since Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was forced to leave while facing corruption charges in a trial that acquitted him of the allegations last November.

The appointment now goes to the Knesset House Committee for ratification. If approved, Elkin will take the first rotation, until January 1, 2015. Levin will then serve 17 months, until June 1, 2016. Elkin returns at that point, and remains until 2017. Levin will also continue to serve as coalition chairperson until November 2014, and simultaneously chair the Knesset House Committee.

Time to End PA Pretense to Peace, Says FM Liberman

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

It’s time to unmask the Palestinian Authority’s pretense to peace, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday while meeting with diplomatic staff at the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem.

“[PA Chairman] Mahmoud Abbas’s actions brought Hamas to power in Gaza and now they will be brought to power in Judea and Samaria,” Mr. Liberman said.

He added that it does not really matter when elections in the Palestinian Authority are held. “Hamas is going to win and take over the Palestinian Authority,” he stated.

“There are those, particularly in Europe, who do not wish to acknowledge that the Palestinians are not interested in peace,” Mr. Liberman said bluntly.

“It’s time to take the mask off Chairman Abbas’s face and say loud and clear that he is a peace refusenik.”

The last democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority were held in January 2006 in response to pressure from the United States, and resulted in a landslide victory by the Hamas terrorist organization. Fatah and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Abbas retained his title as PA chairman at the time through swift political maneuvering; however, Hamas representatives swallowed the vast majority of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

A massive power struggle began within weeks, and a full-scale militia war between Fatah and Hamas was in progress by February in the streets of Gaza. By June 2006, Hamas seized full control of Gaza and expelled Fatah officials from the region altogether. The terror group severed Gaza from the rest of the Palestinian Authority and effectively created its own nation-state. That same month Hamas joined the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization in launching a two-front war against Israel (the “Second Lebanon War”) and kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid near the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel.

It took five years and the release of more than 1,000 PA Arab terrorist prisoners from Israeli jails to return Shalit to his family, miraculously alive.

Although numerous attempts by international Arab leaders since that time to create “unity governments” between Fatah and Hamas have failed, last month the two factions signed another agreement. In the intervening years, Hamas has managed to infiltrate the Ramallah-based PA. Operatives have planted numerous Hamas and the affiliated Islamic Jihad terror cells in villages throughout PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria. Both groups are backed by Iran.

Analysts believe that Mr. Liberman is indeed correct; with or without a unity government, eventually Hamas will take over the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria if Israel does not take action to intervene.

And then Israel will not only have Iran in its front yard on the northern border and in its backyard to the south, but also finally in the side yard as well, if not actually within the walls of the house.

Israel Slams Claim of Spying on U.S.

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed a report by U.S.-based Newsweek magazine claiming Israel has been “spying” on America.

The foreign minister told listeners on Israel’s Voice of Israel government radio Wednesday morning, “First of all, these are malicious accusations. . . I would not agree to any spying on the United States, not in any form, directly or indirectly.”

Israeli Embassy spokesperson Aaron Sagui also flatly denied the charges, telling Newsweek, “Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period. We condemn the fact that such outrageous, false allegations are being directed against Israel.”

The report, published Tuesday by Newsweek, quoted anonymous senior intelligence officials in the United States, and Congressional staffers.

Written by journalist Jeff Stein, the report began with the question, “Whatever happened to honor among thieves? When the National Security Agency was caught eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, it was considered a rude way to treat a friend. Now U.S. intelligence officials are saying – albeit very quietly, behind closed doors on Capitol Hill – that our Israeli “friends” have gone too far with their spying operations here.”

Stein wrote the espionage had allegedly been revealed in recent visa waiver briefings, saying the spying came under cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts. The alleged primary target: “America’s industrial and technical secrets,” according to his report.

Last month a senior House aide also noted the U.S. intelligence community is concerned that adding Israel to the visa waiver program would make it easier for Israeli spies to enter the country, the CQ Roll Call news site reported.

Counter intelligence agents, wrote Stein, had called Israel’s “espionage activities in America… unrivaled and unseemly,” and said they went “far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan.” Unnamed Congressional staffers referred to testimony at the briefings as “very sobering … alarming … even terrifying … damaging.”

Of course, wrote Stein, the United States spies on Israel as well. He quoted a former top CIA operative who told him that Israel was “the last place you wanted to go on vacation” because of ‘heavy-handed Israeli surveillance.’

Israel’s foreign minister, however, said Wednesday morning that he heard no complaints about “spying” during a meeting with members of Congress on a visit to the United States last month. Mr. Liberman told listeners he believes the charges are the work of saboteurs trying to scotch relations between the two countries.

The U.S. visa waiver program enables travelers to the United States to enter the country without first having to obtain a visa. According to a statement by the Department of Homeland Security quoted by Newsweek, requirements for entry to the program include “enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States, timely reporting of lost and stolen passports, and the maintenance of high counter-terrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation and document security standards.”

Israelis face a high rate of visa refusal by the U.S. due to the problem of young people entering the country and then staying past the expiration date of tourist visas in order to work illegally.

Another obstacle to Israel’s acceptance to the program is the U.S. government’s perception of alleged discrimination against Arab Americans in Israeli security protocols.

Israel-PA Negotiators Back to Work in Jerusalem

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

U.S. mediators are in Jerusalem “helping” Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators get back to the table and back to work. Again.

Chief negotiators Tzipi Livni for Israel and Saeb Erekat for the PA are scheduled to meet today with U.S. envoy Martin Indyk and others. Indyk, Livni and Erekat have already met three times this week. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is in the United States, and met last night in Washington D.C. with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We note that the contact in meetings between the negotiators is continuing and note that they are engaging in serious and intensive efforts to find a way out of the current impasse,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki at a briefing Wednesday night. She was careful not to confirm that a meeting between the two sides would actually take place Thursday in Jerusalem. One cannot ever predict what will happen in Jerusalem and the Obama administration is now sadder and wiser.

Kerry kept his words upbeat while speaking to media ahead of his meeting with Liberman. “We are working hard to find a way forward. And both parties indicate they would like to find a way to go forward in the talks.”

Since the talks have yet to make any real progress at all, let alone move the “peace process” even one concrete inch on core issues, one questions exactly where “forward” each party means to go when they make that statement to the United States. It seems that Israel has made all the concessions – like freeing dozens of bloodthirsty terrorists in repeated “good will gestures” – and no visible reciprocal moves have been made by the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu finally ordered all government ministries except those related to defense, and all negotiators except Tzipi Livni, to cease civilian and economic contacts with the PA. The move came Wednesday in response to the PA’s brazen violation of its commitment not to sign membership for international agencies, treaties and organizations until the end of talks with Israel, slated for April 29.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas signed on to 15 global treaties, as head of the ‘State of Palestine,’ four days after Israel failed to release a group of 30 terrorist prisoners, among them 20 Israeli Arab citizens over which Abbas actually has no jurisdiction whatsoever.

That group was the last of four whose releases were supposed to be linked to progress in the talks and the active participation of Abbas at the negotiating table. But Abbas had not been present since last November, and no progress had been made.

Israeli ministers balked at releasing the final group of prisoners in the face of no progress, a month ahead of a deadline for talks that had accomplished nothing. Instead, Israel advanced a proposal to extend the talks until the end of 2014 and release 400 more prisoners in addition to the group of 30 scheduled to be freed – but the PA rebuffed the offer and instead walked away.

When talking to media in Washington, Liberman was blunt but polite about his view of what crashed the negotiations, choosing his words carefully.

“Unilateral steps,” he said, would only “undermine all our efforts.” A final status deal that would bring peace means a lot to Israel. The Jewish State is “ready to sacrifice a lot for this goal.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-pa-negotiators-back-to-work-in-jerusalem/2014/04/10/

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