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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Avigdor Liberman’

Herzl Shaul, z’l, Father of IDF Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, z’l, Laid to Rest

Monday, September 5th, 2016

The father of IDF Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, Herzl Shaul, was laid to rest on Sunday in the cemetery of the northern Israeli community of Poria Illit, overlooking Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee.)

Attending the funeral were top Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and others.

Both Netanyahu and Eisenkot vowed to work to bring back Oron Shaul’s remains for proper burial in Israel. “My commitment [and] those of the government of Israel, of the IDF, of the State of Israel — our commitment is to bring Oron home,” Netanyahu said.

“Oron’s body, along with that of Hadar Goldin, is held by Hamas, a vicious terrorist organization that respects no humanitarian norm. Herzl Shaul was a brave man and until his last days he fought to return his son’s remains for a Jewish burial,” Netanyahu had told the cabinet meeting earlier in the day.

“At the same time, over the past year, he was compelled to fight the cancer with which he had been stricken. I saw him several times and on each occasion, from meeting to meeting, he appeared more gaunt, and heroically met the double tragedy that befell him and his family. On behalf of the Government and the people of Israel, I would like to send condolences to his dear wife Zehava and their sons Aviram and Ofek.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also said the government is “committed to returning the bodies of Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul and Lieutenant Hadar Goldin of blessed memory, and bringing them to Israel for burial.”

Oron and a second soldier, Hadar Goldin, both died in battle during Operation Protective Edge, but their bodies were stolen and held as bargaining chips by the Hamas terrorist organization. The prime minister said he guaranteed the IDF would continue to support the Shaul family and “fulfill the will of Herzl.”

“We will continue to act in all fields to bring the late Hadar Goldin and the late Oron Shaul back for a Jewish burial,” Netanyahu said.

Hana Levi Julian

Coalition Chair: No Coming back from Netanyahu Vs. Transport Minister Crisis

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) admitted on Saturday that the crisis between Prime Minster Netanyahu and his Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) has reached an irreversible phase, which could mean that the PM will fire his Minster in the coming days. The rift between the two Likud politicians is not new, and the last few months have seen several attempts by Katz to attack Netanyahu on a variety of issues, some personal (Katz has been promised the foreign ministry which Netanyahu is keeping to himself for now), others have to do with actions by Katz that are threatening the stability of Netanyahu’s government.

Last week, Katz forced a confrontation between his PM and the Haredi coalition partners over massive works in the Israeli train infrastructure that were scheduled for Shabbat. The protests from the Haredim resulted in Netanyahu ordering his minister to limit the Shabbat works to only those projects which could result in danger to the public should they be carried out on a weekday. In the end, the railroad and Tel-Aviv’s main urban highway, Netivey Ayalon (Rt. 20) were blocked to traffic throughout the last Shabbat in August, with heavy traffic jams that ended only when the works were concluded around 8 PM Saturday.

Last Friday, Sept. 2, five minutes before the start of Shabbat, Katz ordered the cancellation of all the projects that received special dispensation, pushing them off to Saturday night and Sunday. The order for the technical teams to abandon the work sites was given after they had taken apart some of the rails, so that there was no way to resume service Saturday night. In fact, as of Saturday night, train passengers have been told the service would only be renewed Sunday night.

Both sides, Netanyahu and Katz, are blaming each other for the crisis, with Meretz and Labor siding with the transport minister and urging their people to demonstrate in front of the shut down stations. Only a few hundreds have arrived at those rallies Saturday night — which blame Netanyahu for capitulating to the Haredim. In addition, the opposition parties have collected 25 MK signatures to call a special session of the legislature to debate “the desecration of Shabbat and the harm to soldiers and civilians by the train crisis.”

Sunday is the day thousands of IDF soldiers who spent Shabbat at home are riding the trains back to their bases, many of them for free. Now the IDF is working overtime rustling up buses for these soldiers. In a small and tense country like Israel, messing up with the schedule of our kids going back to the Army does not make one a popular politician. Which is why Meretz Chair Zehava Galon has already appealed to the Supreme Court against both Netanyahu and Katz, demanding that they be compelled to terminate their decision to cut Shabbat railroad works.

Netanyahu issued a statement Saturday saying, “This is an initiated and unnecessary crisis on the part of Minister Yisrael Katz designed to undermine relations between the Prime Minister and the ultra-orthodox public or alternatively to damage the image of the Prime Minister among the general public. From the outset there was no need to initiate work on Shabbat. It would have been possible to carry out the work on other dates that would not have harmed the ultra-orthodox public, passengers or soldiers. For example, it would have been possible to combine the work with the eight-day shutdown of the railroad – which has the approval of the Transportation Ministry – in the coming weeks. Israel Katz is holding passengers and soldiers as hostages in an unnecessary and artificial crisis that he initiated after having failed in his attempt to take over the Likud institutions. The Prime Minister is outraged over Minister Katz’s cynical attack on passengers and soldiers and is doing his utmost to minimize the damage to these publics in the next 24 hours. To this end, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister have agreed to place buses at the disposal of soldiers over the next 24 hours. The Prime Minister has also instructed the Transportation Ministry to boost public transportation between Tel Aviv and Haifa with additional buses.”

Yes, Katz tried and failed to take over the Likud institutions, about two and a half weeks ago, he got a huge majority (95%) of the Likud Secretariat, which he happens to head, to agree to the narrowing of the absolute power the Likud Chairman, one Benjamin Netanyahu, had enjoyed in personnel appointments and distribution of party funds. Katz apparently assumed Netanyahu was experiencing a weak period, what with police looking into his and his wife’s use of public funds, and figured the prime minister would shy away from confrontation with the third strongest man in Likud. He was outrageously wrong. The PM called him to his office at 9 AM the next day and, reportedly, handed him an unsigned letter of resignation, which he expected Katz to sign unless he issued a statement walking back the entire secretariat vote from the day before.

Katz capitulated, but apparently did not stop sulking and looking for new ways to force a showdown with the PM. The reason for his combative stance has to do with Netanyahu’s inviting Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) into his coalition government, which boosted his hold on his government and reduced the ability of any individual coalition member to get his way. Katz is aware that his days in this government are numbered, Netanyahu will never keep his promises to him regarding the foreign ministry, so, frankly, he might be better off outside the tent than inside.

Meanwhile, the Likud is splitting up between Katz and Bibi supporters, and the fact that several Likud ministers have thrown their weight — albeit politely — behind Katz, may be enough to avoid an actual showdown. Meanwhile, for the next 24 hours or so, Israeli train passengers remain in dire need of transportation alternatives.


Liberman Cites International Pressure over Arab Squaterville in Area C

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday sat with schoolchildren in the Jewish community of Susiya in south Mt. Hebron, next door to which a squatter Arab community has emerged recently, in an obvious attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over Area C of Judea and Samaria. Liberman told the children the encroachment by the residents of Yata Village to the lands near Susiya was not an accident, but a planned effort to physically separate the new community of Susiya and the historic synagogue on the nearby archeological site.

Susiya is a legitimate archaeological site in the southern Judean Mountains that bears the archaeological remains of a 5th century CE enormous synagogue, one of the largest and most magnificent ever discovered, which was turned into a mosque by the Arab invaders in the 8th century.

“Are you familiar with the archeological site of Susiya?” Liberman asked, and continued, “One day all kinds of illegal buildings started popping there, supported by foreign countries. And why did they pop there? On purpose, to divide between the community of Susiya and the historic Susiya.”

Liberman revealed that he had been under “pressure from all over the world” not to apply the demolition order handed out more than once by the Supreme Court. “The European Union, the US — they all discovered Susiya. Suddenly the United Nations Security Council is also interested in Susiya.” He promised the children he would obey the law and carry out the demolitions. “The free world is preaching especially for this to be a country of laws, and we must honor our judiciary system,” he said, with a hint of sarcasm.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that the demolitions of illegal Arab construction in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, violate the recommendations of the so-called Middle East Quartet, comprising the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, on the way forward in the peace process.

Liberman attacked the Europeans and the Americans who demand that Israel ignore the Supreme Court ruling to demolish Susiya, but to enforce the same court’s ruling on demolishing the Jewish Amona community in northern Samaria. “We are a country of laws,” he said, and we will honor ourselves and our laws, regarding Amona, E1 (the area connecting Jerusalema nd Ma’ale Adumim), and Susiya,” he clarified.

Liberman called on the residents of Amona to embrace the compromise being offered by the government, and moved to the promised homes to be built near their community. “I say to the residents of Amona, there’s a ruling of the high court and we will obey it. If anyone is delusing themselves that we won’t, it’s not going to happen. Whatever the court permits we will do. That’s why we offered many alternatives, and I hope we’ll find one the Amona residents will also accept.”

David Israel

Liberman: No Negotiations With Hamas Over IDF Soldiers’ Bodies

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said today in private talks closed to the media during a tour of Bedouin communities in southern Israel that the bodies of two dead IDF soldiers held by the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza will not be returned, Israel’s Channel 10 television news reported Monday night.

Liberman said he opposes any form of dialogue with Hamas that would comprise a “deal” with the terrorist organization similar to that which freed former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, held hostage in Gaza by the group for more than five years.

Israel was forced to free more than a thousand Palestinian Authority terrorist prisoners in order to retrieve Shalit, including hundreds of murderers with the blood of numerous Jews on their hands.

IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin were killed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, and both of their bodies were stolen during the conflict by Hamas. Their bodies have since been held hostage by the terrorist group in Gaza.

The Goldin family responded sharply to Liberman’s statement, saying he cannot continue to serve as defense minister, Channel 10 reported.

Following the broadcast of those remarks, the Ministry of Defense clarified Liberman’s statement in a separate release.

In response to the Channel 10 report, the ministry underlined in a statement: “Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman did not refer today or in recent days to the issue of returning the bodies of IDF soldiers Shaul or Goldin.

“The minister opposed, and has always opposed, any deal-making whatsoever for captives held by terrorists, up to today.

“One might remember that Minister Liberman also voted against the negotiations over former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit (for his eventual release from captivity).

“[Minister Liberman] held the opinion at that time that it is wrong to allow anyone to believe that terrorism pays.”

Hana Levi Julian

New Management: Liberman Says Soldiers Shouldn’t Have to Consult a Lawyer on the Battlefield

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Israel’s still relatively new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Monday distinguished himself from his predecessor in the most decisive way, when he stressed that both the medic Elor Azaria who is on trial this week for shooting dead a terrorist who had already been neutralized; and the soldier from the Netzah Yehuda battalion who may go up on charges for shooting a psychologically impaired Arab who stormed–albeit unarmed–an IDF post outside Ofra, are innocent until proven guilty.

The statement, which contradicted former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s all out attack on Azaria only a few hours after anti-Zionist NGO B’Tselem released a video showing the shooting, before an investigation into the matter had been launched, was a more decisive note of change at the Defense helm than even the 50 sorties Liberman had sent into the Gaza Strip the other day, only 15 minutes after a single Hamas rocket had fallen in the town of Sderot.

The loud and clear statement from the Defense Minister that he will back his soldiers rather than sic lawyers at them will likely go a long way to improve IDF morale, because, as Liberman reminded reporters on Monday, “In the State of Israel, in a Democratic country, only the court has the right to convict, not the media. And as long as a man was not convicted he is innocent.”

Liberman also told the reporters that “soldiers cannot go out on a mission with an attorney attached to them. Which is why sometimes they make the right decision, sometimes they don’t. But we can’t have a situation whereby every soldier would be asking for legal advice before they go out on a mission.”

Liberman’s comments were made on a day when the Elor Azaria defense was doing exceptionally well, calling to the stand a witness that had been on the prosecution’s list but was not called up. Soon enough it became clear why the prosecutors chose to skip him — a platoon commander in Azaria’s company, he fully supported the medic’s version that the terrorist on the ground was suspected of carrying a suicide belt under his coat. In fact, the witness told the court he had advised Azaria’s platoon commander to open fire on the terrorist on the ground should he appear to be trying to detonate a bomb.

A sapper who testified earlier for the defense was critical of the manner in which the terrorists were being handled, as the order to move their bodies was given before the sappers had a chance to examine them for hidden explosives.

Since much of the trial hinges on Sgt. Azaria’s state of mind, and whether or not he really believed the terrorist on the ground posed a danger after being neutralized, both testimonies have boosted the defense’s case.

David Israel

Ha’aretz on Warpath Against New Hebron Jewish Housing

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Ha’aretz writer Yotam Berger, who on Monday reported on the new housing construction project planned for Jewish Hebron, followed his story with a tweet addressed to @White-House, in which he noted (in Hebrew), “For your information, the State is planning new construction in the Jewish settlement in Hebron.” Although it’s puzzling why Berger didn’t tweet in English, or ask someone at the paper’s English language website to help him translate, the panicky urgency of the tweet is unmistakable.

Yotam Berger Tweet

Monday’s report was followed Tuesday morning with a leading editorial titled, “Provocation in Hebron,” which warns that “Hebron is a permanent focal point for tension and confrontations between Jews and Palestinians. Any change in the urban structure and any additional Jewish presence in the city would only increase the potential for violence and the Palestinian protest. Those who complain day and night about Palestinian incitement cannot wash their hands of responsibility when they approve a construction project that is unmatched in its capacity to cause rage and hatred.”

The same editorial accuses Israel of “robbing lands” and Prime Minister Netanyahu of lying when he says he wants to negotiate peace because he is creating facts on the ground that would increase the demand for concessions on the PA.

The part about robbing lands is a purely pro-Arab perspective on the acquisition of the land for the new construction. The fact is that Ha’aretz’s own report on Monday cites Hebron spokesman Noam Arnon, who said the lands to be used have been owned by Jews since before 1948. “The area has always been known as belonging to the Jewish community, and if they return to living there I’m sure every justice-loving person would rejoice about it,” Arnon said.

What Ha’aretz and Peace Now, as well as the Arabs, are objecting to is the fact that in a situation where the slated area is comprised of Jewish owned lands and lands that were confiscated by the IDF back in 1983, the Jews will win out. The Jewish owned land will be turned into Jewish housing, while the confiscated land — where the city of Hebron used to maintain a central bus station that has been relocated in 1983 — that land remains confiscated.

So, according to Ha’aretz, the Jews who utilize their legally owned lands are robbers, because the IDF is holding on to lands that were confiscated from the Arab municipality.

A map of Hebron. The yellow area is Arab, where Jews are not allowed to set foot. / Wikipedia commons

A map of Hebron. The yellow area is Arab, where Jews are not allowed to set foot. / Wikipedia commons

The Israeli Supreme Court in 1979 ruled that land that was confiscated by the IDF for military purposes cannot be turned over for Jewish settlement. And so Ha’aretz, the anti-Israel NGOs and, supposedly, some Arabs, are implying that the Jews of Hebron have somehow violated the court ruling, which they never have done.

The decision to permit new housing construction in H2 (the Jewish sliver of Hebron) was made under the Moshe Ya’alon administration at the Defense Ministry, and it has now been confirmed by his successor, Avigdor Liberman. It isn’t clear how many housing units can be pushed into the area, which is about half an acre, including the military-confiscated parts which are verboten. Unless they build a high riser, the common land use for half an acre of suburban housing is between 15 and 25 units. If that many homes for Jews have the power to derail peace negotiations then maybe Israel should think the entire peace process on account of facing unimaginably rigid partners.


Catch 22: Letting Hamas Partake in PA Free Elections Could Topple the PA

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

According to Israeli security apparatus estimates, there’s a significant chance that Hamas will win the municipal elections in Judea and Samaria and in Gaza by a landslide, severely weakening the PLO dominated Palestinian Authority and compromising Israeli security. The municipal elections are set to take place on October 8, in close proximity to the international peace conference in Europe, which means Israel is less likely to step in to block the vote, even if it wanted to. Also, doing so would thwart the only back to back democratic event to have ever existed in the territories Israel conceded in the Oslo Accord — that the 2012 municipal elections be followed in an orderly and legal fashion by the 2016 municipal elections.

However, according to Israeli media, many in the PLO leadership are leaning on PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to postpone or cancel the municipal elections, fearing a repeat of the 2006 parliamentary elections in which Hamas defeated the PLO and a year later forcibly exiled Abbas and his PA from Gaza.

It should be noted that the Oslo Accords forbid the participation of terror organizations in PA elections, but Hamas has already set a precedence in 2006, and today’s PA is even weaker and less popular than it was ten years ago. Abbas may not be able to push the date, much less cancel the vote, because such a move could result in riots across the PA.

The city of Shechem is a clear example of the PA Chairman’s loss of control over the security situation in much of the area under his authority. According to Israeli media, the PA no longer rules in Shechem, which is mired in anarchy that could spread to other cities, most likely to Hebron, already considered a bastion of Hamas. Shechem today is being ruled by about 100 armed gangsters, belonging to both political and criminal groups. This month there have been bloody confrontations between PA security forces and the armed locals, resulting in four dead, two of them police.

Senior PLO sources have told Israeli media that Mahmoud Abbas has lost interest in local security issues under his care, and the man in charge is his chief aide, Tayeb Abdel-Rahim, who also controls the intelligence reports reaching Abbas’ desk.

Hamas has recently published a propaganda video showing the Gaza Strip as a kind of Paradise, with large parks, luxury buildings, a sassy nightlife, and shopping areas. It also features Gaza residents holding up signs saying, “Thank you, Hamas.” Will PA voters fall for this propaganda? Probably not. They will not vote for Hamas because they are unaware of the poverty and destruction that permeate the Gaza Strip, they’ll vote for Hamas because they perceive it as more anti-Israel and less corrupt than the PLO.

Israeli pundits believe the big winners from a Hamas win in the PA would be Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) and Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), who would benefit from the decisions of alarmed Israeli voters. Which is why Prime Minister Netanyahu should be invested in making it harder for Hamas candidates to win in the PA. Mass arrests of Hamas activists could be the way to go — risking international condemnation, naturally, but too much might be at stake for the Israeli PM to care.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/catch-22-letting-hamas-partake-in-pa-free-elections-could-topple-the-pa/2016/08/23/

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