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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Avigdor Liberman’

Teen Victims Wrongly Blamed for Kidnapping

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed those who blame the victims – in this case, three teens abducted on Thursday by Hamas terrorists: Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16. “My heart is with the abducted children,” Liberman stated on Monday. “There is nothing more infuriating than blaming these youths or their families by saying that the abductions happened because they chose to study in Gush Etzion (an area in Judea) or because they dared to hitchhike in a place where there is limited public transportation.”

Acts of terror are not limited to Judea and Samaria, Liberman stated.

“According to this logic it would be possible to say that those who came to the Passover seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya, or the people who sat at Cafe Sbarro in Jerusalem [which was blown up during the Second Intifada], or the American victims who worked in the Twin Towers are responsible for their own deaths,” he said.

Coverage of Kidnapping Includes ‘Problematic’ Reporting

Indeed, as pointed out by Honest Reporting, a site that monitors media bias against Israel, coverage of the kidnapping has included the “worst…problematic reporting.”

Several media sites are using the word “settlers” to describe the captive youths, rather than something neutral, such as “teenagers” or “students.”

“Far better to portray Yifrach, Shaar and Frankel as ‘settlers’ and political actors rather than Israeli kids trying to get home from class,” Honest Reporting notes, citing more examples of biased reporting on the situation. “This emphasis excuses the actions of Palestinian terrorists and attempts to ‘understand’ why they should wish to carry out a kidnapping, which now becomes the fault of the victims rather than the terrorists.”

Terrorism does not distinguish between New York and Gush Etzion

“Terrorism is terrorism and it does not distinguish between New York, Netanya, or Gush Etzion,” Liberman asserted.

“Drawing conclusions about how the teens acted, or how the police or security forces responded should be delayed until after this kidnapping event is resolved,” he added.

Liberman Begins African Tour

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman arrived in Rwanda for the first leg of a 10-day African tour that will also take him to Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya. 

Liberman began the visit by placing a wreath at a memorial site to the 1994 victims of the Rwandan genocide. He also opened the Israel-Rwanda joint economic seminar, with the participation of 200 business people and met with Rwanda President Paul Kagame and with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Louise Mushikiwabo. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to upgrade diplomatic relations.

The foreign minister also met with Rwandan Minister of Agriculture Dr. Agnes Kalibata, inaugurated the Rwanda-Israel Center of Excellence for Horticultural Development, a joint project of the Rwandan government and MASHAV,  Israel’s agency for international development cooperation

The Center of Excellence, based on an India-Israel model of cooperation, was established following a request by Dr Kalibata to facilitate and serve all levels of the Rwandan farming community, from small holder farmers to commercial farmers.The center will be defined by four main products: transfer of knowhow, capacity building and demonstration; agro-inputs (nurseries for better seedlings and varieties) and fresh produce. The center will display a whole range of technologies for horticulture production under cover and open field, and will be made available for applied R&D, training and exhibition.

Prior to the visit, FM Liberman stated: “I see great importance to investment in Africa, in the humanitarian, economic and political spheres. There are many areas where Israel can help with aid and development: Agriculture, water management, medicine, and more. We have established partnerships with various countries for investment in Africa, including the United States, Canada, and Italy, and the highlight is the African Initiative, a joint project with Germany that was decided upon during the last meeting of the Israeli and German governments.”

Coalition Sharks Smell Netanyahu Blood

Monday, June 9th, 2014

A guy ought to be able to look to his own cabinet for support in the face of enemy threats. It’s a reasonable supposition, one would think, but apparently it isn’t the case for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The coalition sharks are smelling blood, and it seems to be coming from the prime minister.

Apparently, it isn’t enough that Fatah, supposedly Israel’s “peace partner”, has welcomed Hamas back into the Palestinian Authority with open arms. It also isn’t enough that the United States and major European countries have blessed the new Palestinian union. But instead of a united defense for Israel in the face of the Fatah-Hamas front, the second-largest party in Netanyahu’s coalition – Yesh Atid – has aligned with Hatnua chairwoman and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to form a fifth column and threatened to ‘bring down the government’ if the boss doesn’t follow orders.

Orders from whom? How about from Finance Minister and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, for starters. He is the one who this time ordered Netanyahu to produce a map with borders for a new Palestinian Authority country, once and for all. Sound familiar? It should. You can find the same words in quotes from PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, or from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Chomp, chomp.

Then there’s Bayit Yehudi chairman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who has taken to the public soapbox to fight with Lapid and everyone else over what he thinks should be done about the Jews in Judea and Samaria. He probably means well, but instead of keeping the discussion in the Cabinet, he is taking the argument to public radio interviews. The ‘only sane plan’ is to annex Area C, he says. It’s not a new plan – he has said it for years – but why isn’t this discussion being kept behind closed doors? If he is Netanyahu’s ally, he should say so. If not, what is he doing in the coalition?

Chomp. Chomp.

And now, the Big Kahuna. Avigdor Liberman – the guy who cut the Likud votes in half because so many Likudniks couldn’t bear the thought of voting for a ‘Likud-Beytenu’ ticket – owes his political survival to the prime minister. It should be recalled that Liberman was on trial for corruption at the time of last year’s election, but Netanyahu kept his job as foreign minister open for him until Liberman was acquitted. The deal cost the Likud several seats in the Knesset, but Netanyahu was true to his word.

Now, Liberman has turned around to stab his ally in the back by making public comments about his boss’s dilemma, rather than simply helping solve the problem behind closed doors.

“What happened yesterday, when four senior ministers gave public addresses one after the other with each proposing a different political solution, was a grotesque performance,” Liberman said today (Monday) at a conference of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Eilat. “We need to cut down and adopt a single political plan to bind all parts of the coalition… as soon as possible, because if we don’t do it on our own, we will be dragged towards what we don’t want, and what is not in our best interest,” he said.

Right. But why is he saying that in public? A bit of the old pot calling the kettle black, no?

Liberman also directly addressed remarks made by Bennett and Lapid: “The economy minister spoke of annexing settlement blocs, and the finance minister threatened to disband the coalition if such a plan is approved. They both know they are talking about something that will never happen.” He commented that he supported Bennett’s plan, but said it was “not feasible.” Liberman then added drily, “he thinks it is worth saying to maybe get two more seats (in the Knesset).”

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/mk-zeev-elkin-to-chair-knesset-foreign-affairs-and-defense-committee/2014/05/12/

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