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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Barak’

Right Furious over Barak’s Decision Not to Decide on Ariel University

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Last night, Defense Minsiter Ehud Barak decided that Nitzan Allon, head of the IDF Central Command, will not sign his approval for Ariel University to be recognized as a fully accredited university. This decision brought about a very angry reaction from right wing government factions, Israel Today reported.

In a letter that he sent last night to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Barak indicated that after he had completed the last round of consultations with relevant elements, among them key university heads, the chairman of the board of higher education in Judea and Samaria, chairman of the board of planning and budgeting, Emanuel Trachtenberg and others, he decided to recommend that “the university center in Ariel will not become a full-fledged university prior to the Supreme Court ruling on the matter.”

People in Barak’s circle explained his decision saying that in any case the issue is hanging until it is decided by the Supreme Court, and that until the Supreme Court rules on the matter there is no reason to rush to make the Ariel University a full-fledged university, a step which is the subject of professional controversy.

Barak’s associates added that according to Barak and Netanyahu’s recommendation, if the Supreme Court approves the transformation of the Ariel center into a full-fledged university, the matter will be presented for a joint decision before all the cabinet ministers.

Yesterday, Minister of Education Gideon Saar said, “This is an obvious maneuver by Barak to try and delay the recognition of Ariel as a university. It’s possible that the Supreme Court will wait for the signature of the Head of the Central Command before conducting a judicial review. The head of the Central Command is supposed to be directed by the government in this matter and not by the Minister of Defense.“

According to the Peace Now Movement, “Barak’s decision is bringing back sane priorities to the government. The decision to transform the Ariel college into a proper university is not essential and doubtfully legal.”

Coalition chairman MK Zev Elkin said that “Barak is making illegal use of his authority. This coalition may consider itself no longer obligated to adhere to agreements which are important to Barak and his party.”

The Ariel University Center stated that “we expect the Prime Minister to exercise leadership and to complete the process which began with a government decision in 2005, and to put into effect the decision giving permanent recognition to the center as a full-fledged university.”

Postcard from Mount Tabor

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

“And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?” (Judges, 4:6)

Mount Tabor, standing 575 meters above sea level at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley, is the site of the battle fought by Deborah and Barak against the Canaanite king Sisera, according to the Bible. In Christian tradition, it is the site of the Transfiguration – which explains the presence of two monasteries on its peak; one Roman Catholic and the other Eastern Orthodox.

Today the Bedouin villages of Shibli – renowned for its delightful Bedouin Heritage Centre - and Umm al Ghanam (now merged to form one municipality), together with the village of Daburiya, nestle at the mountain’s base. The peak is shared by Christian pilgrims, hang-gliding enthusiasts and day-trippers wanting to enjoy the spectacular views.

And if you like a foodie aspect to your day-tripping, then a visit to the farm shop in nearby Kfar Kish to taste wonderful goats’ milk cheeses and local micro-brewery beer is a must.

Visit CifWatch for more Israel related posts.

President Peres, Defying Netanyahu, Barak: ‘We Cannot Attack Iran On Our Own’

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

President Shimon Peres said Thursday in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 News that Israel alone should not and cannot attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. With this statement, Peres has effectively positioned himself in direct opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

In the interview, the president stresses: “It is clear to us that we alone cannot do it. We can postpone it, but we know clearly that we have to go along with America. There are questions of coordination and timing, but no matter how much nearer the danger is growing, at least this time we are not alone.”

In Israel’s political system, the role of president has been designed as largely ceremonial, intended to preserve the balance of Israel’s democracy. President Peres’s decision to oppose the Prime Minister, who holds the executive powers, is a deviation from decades of tradition, and may result in some harm to the institution of the presidency itself.

Peres also addressed the commitment of President Barack Obama to Israel in connection with an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. “This is an American interest, and he (President Obama) sees this interest,” clarified the president. “Obama is not saying this just to please us.”

The president added that “Israel must rely on herself, but that does not mean she should give up on friends. When I say that I have a right to self-defense, it does not mean that I must be angry with everyone, whatever for?”

During the day, Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the possible attack on Iran in the Knesset plenum, explaining why this action was necessary. He said that dealing with a nuclear Iran would be difficult, expensive and more dangerous. He added: “The decision, as required, will be made by the Government of Israel, not by groups of civilians and not even by editorials.”

The Channel 2 News full interview will be shown at 8:00 PM Israel time, 1:00 PM New York time.

Bibi and Barak Battle for Israeli Public Opinion Over Iran

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

All four of Israel’s major newspapers featured Iran in their headlines in their weekend editions. In Ha’aretz, Ari Shavit, who has been pro-strike, wrote: “Top Israeli Official: the Iranian Nuclear Threat is bigger than the threat faced by Israel before the Six Day War”
That “top Israeli official” (no extra points for guessing who he may be), told Shavit: “If Iran gets nuclear weapons, no one will be able to stop her when she provokes her neighbours,” adding, “what happened in the Rhineland in 1936 will be child’s play compared to happens with Iran.” The official continued: “If we don’t act, Iran will almost certainly go nuclear. If we do act, there is a chance Iran won’t go nuclear in the years to come, or might never go nuclear.” Assessing the risks to the homeland, the source told Shavit that the number of casualties Israel would suffer in any war with Iran would be less than the number of casualties suffered by the “Harel Brigade”(part of Palmach) in the 1948 war of Independence.

The description in the article left almost no doubt that the “official” in question is Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Wrote Shavit: “This decision maker is a controversial figure. At times, he was seen as a savior, then dismissed as a leper (מצורע), and again a savior, then a leper again. Even his opponents, however, agree that he is very intelligent. Even those who disagree with him point to his unique strategic experience, his half-century spent at the very center of Israeli decision making processes. Not just once or twice has he been at the absolute center. One very late night he opened the door to me…with a grand piano at his back he told me his point of view for two and a half hours.”

It is well known around Israel that Ehud Barak plays the piano. Chief of staff in the nineties, then the great white of hope of the left for peace as prime minister in the late nineties, later comeback kid as head again of the labor party. Recently, he presided over the splitting of the labor party and the formation of his new ‘Independence’ party and a bedrock member of Netanyahu’s coalition.

In Ma’ariv, meanwhile, the headline read: “37% of Israelis say Iranian possession of nuclear weapons could lead to a second Holocaust.” They then produced a series of polls attempting to gauge the public mood before a strike. 41% of Israelis say only military action will stop Iran, “only” (according to Ma’ariv) 22% believe in sanctions, 35% prefer a US strike to an Israeli one, 40% trust Netanyahu and Barak while 27% don’t.

Unsurprisingly, Israel Ha’yom has also promoted a pro-strike approach. “Iran intensifies weapon development,” screamed the headline, accompanied by a picture of Ahmadinejad flashing his fingers in a victory sign to the Israeli public. The paper quotes the Israeli chief of staff: “we are preparing ourselves for a multi-front confrontation.”

This weekend, the only newspaper that has adopted an anti-strike approach is Yediot-Ah’aronot: “Netanyahu and Barak are determined to attack Iran in the fall,” ran the headline. “Barak,” the story proceeded, “sat top generals down for a meeting in his office, but came across fierce resistance. Later, he again tried to persuade them in a conversation at a Mossad-run location. This didn’t help either. All the army professionals expressed opposition to a strike without the backing of the United States, and asked the same question: what happens on the Israeli home front the day after?”

When four of out four newspapers in Israel deal with any single subject one can count on the fact that there is a deliberate effort by some personnel to set the headlines on fire. Netanyahu and Barak are now fighting hard to win over the hearts and minds of the Israeli public to a strike on Iran – and the media blitz is a tool they are using to persuade recalcitrant generals.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Source: Behind Closed Doors Panetta Called Israel Ungrateful, ‘Chazerai’

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Despite the commonly accepted view that the meetings of U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak, and President Shimon Peres, were generally positive, in private conversations Panetta expressed frustration at the lack of confidence expressed by Netanyahu and Barak regarding the American commitment to stopping the Iranian nuclear program, Maariv reports. An Israeli source told the paper that the Americans believe Israel is being ungrateful. The source even used the term “Chazerai”—which in colloquial Hebrew means selfishness—to describe Netanyahu’s and Barak’s attitude in light of unwavering U.S. support for Israel’s security.

Panetta’s visit to Israel was intended to enhance the image of the Obama Administration’s unquestionable supports for Israel without question. This is how political circles interpreted Panetta’s decision to create a photo-op next to an Iron Dome battery near Ashkelon, just north of the Gaza Strip.

But before Ashkelon, Panetta met on Wednesday with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who lectured him on the futility of diplomacy, sanctions and “tough” statements which to date have not caused the Iranians nuclear program to budge. The PM also reiterated that the time to resolve the issue peacefully is running out.

“Iran is the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism, and we must do everything to prevent Iran—the world’s most dangerous regime—from developing the world’s most dangerous weapons,” went Netanyahu’s lesson on the urgent need for a military option. “Today the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program. This has to change, and it must change quickly, since the time to resolve the issue through peaceful means is running out.”

Standing by the Iron Dome battery, it actually appeared as if Panetta had internalized the gist of the lecture, begrudgingly or otherwise. “The most severe sanctions imposed on Iran ever are now,” Panetta told reporters. “Iran supports the Assad regime, Hezbollah, and other terrorist elements. We have a strong commitment to Israel’s security. Pressure on Iran will continue, but the military option is on the table if diplomacy fails.”

At which point it was Defense Minister Barak’s turn to lecture his U.S. counterpart on the advantages of military force over diplomacy. Barak told the reporters—with Panetta listening—that Israel’s leadership is pessimistic about the possibility that Iran would abandon its nuclear ambitions following the sanctions. “The possibility that the ayatollahs will sit around the table and decide to give up their nuclear option is very low,” Barak explained his government’s position.

Then Barak delivered his punch line: “Israel must make decisions on this matter, and the U.S. Administration understands it.”

It turns out, according to Maariv, that while Panetta, the trained diplomat, is good at concealing his true reactions to being schooled so openly by two Israeli leaders, he was quite expressive in private about their arrogance.

For the record, however, the explosive term “Chazerai” was used by Maariv’s source to represent an equivalent English term used by Panetta, whose parents immigrated from Calabria, Italy, and probably did not speak much Yiddish at home.

Clinton Says US Commitment to Israel ‘Rock Solid,’ Wants Support for Palestinian Authority

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

In meetings Monday with Israeli leaders, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on them to take steps to strengthen the Palestinian Authority.

According to the website Inyan Merkazi, Clinton has received a promise from Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi that he would not end the closure of the Gaza Strip.

During Monday night’s news conference, which began an hour late, Clinton reiterated that the U.S. “commitment to Israel is rock solid. By strengthening Israel’s security we are strengthening U.S. security.”

In her meeting with President Shimon Peres, Clinton said:

“I am here in Jerusalem on such a beautiful day at a moment of great change and transformation in the region. It is a time of uncertainty but also of opportunity. It is a chance to advance our shared goal of security, stability, peace, and democracy, along with prosperity for the millions of people in this region who have yet to see a better future.”

She added: “And it is in moments like these that friends like us have to think together, act together. We are called to be smart, creative, and courageous.”

According to Clinton, Israel and the United States are on the same page on Iran, Clinton later told reporters in Jerusalem.

“We remain focused on relaunching peace talks,” Clinton said to the reporters, adding that the international community can help but it was up to the parties to do the work.

Clinton also said that during her meetings with Egyptian authorities in Cairo, she offered the message that the U.S. wants the new leadership in Egypt to uphold its peace treaty with Israel.

Clinton arrived in Israel on Monday and met first with President Shimon Peres, where she said they spoke about “Egypt and Syria, peace efforts, Iran and other regional and global issues.” She then met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad before holding the news conference.

She will return to the United States on Tuesday, capping a 12-day, nine-country trip. It is her first visit to Israel in two years and possibly her last as secretary of state.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem next week for talks on Iran’s nuclear program and the situation in Syria, which has been called a civil war by the International Red Cross.

The U.S. National Security Council said Sunday that National Security Advisor Tom Donilon visited Israel over the weekend for consultations with Netanyahu, Barak and his Israeli counterpart, Gen. Yaakov Amidror.

In a statement, NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor told reporters on Sunday evening that Donilon had reaffirmed the “unwavering commitment” of the United States to Israel’s security. He said Donilon’s visit was the latest in a series of ongoing U.S. consultations with Israeli officials on a range of regional security issues.

JTA content was used in this report.

PM Establishes Special Committee for Judea and Samaria

Monday, June 18th, 2012

The government on Sunday voted to put a ministerial committee headed by the Prime Minister in charge of Jewish development in Judea and Samaria , the first time in 16 years that the establishment and expansion of Jewish communities in the biblical heartland will not come under the purview of the full government.

In 1996, then-and-current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu established Decision 150, making the establishment of new communities contingent on full governmental approval.  The rescinding of that decision in 2012 makes the establishment of those communities the responsibility of an 11-member ministerial committee, with the approval of the defense minister.

The committee will be responsible for formulating policy pertaining to unauthorized construction in Judea and Samaria, as well as authorizing construction and demolitions, and it would formulate policies and principles pertaining to state responses to petitions to the High Court of Justice on Judea and Samaria land issues.

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar called the creation of the committee significant.

Political analyst and Knesset insider Jeremy Man Saltan said the new arrangement has more to do with political maneuvering than the establishment of Jewish communities.  “This new committee strips Defense Minister Barak of some but not all of his authority over settlers and settlements,” Saltan told the Jewish Press.   “Most ministerial committees don’t meet that often and I don’t see the Chairman Prime Minister Netanyahu conducting weekly or even monthly meetings. It is a known Bibi trick to create a committee that rarely meets and buys him time. In reality this will mean very little to the settlement enterprise.”

Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon and Government Services Minister Michael Eitan opposed the decision, with Vice Premier and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom, immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, and  Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau abstaining.

The new committee will be headed by the prime minister, and will include Barak, Mofaz, Saar, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin and Science and Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz.

Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer warned that the committee would authorize additional communities in Judea and Samaria.

Can Israel Defy the World?

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Talk is cheap. The right accuses the left of pursuing a fantasy, namely, that peace is possible. At the same time it suffers from what others consider a fantasy of its own, namely, that Israel can defy the World. While many on the right believe it is no fantasy and can be done, they represent a minority of Israelis only.

You can count the instances where Israeli prime ministers defied the US on the fingers of one hand. Ben Gurion’s declaration of Statehood is one such example, as was his refusal to withdraw in the ’48 war to the Partition line. He insisted instead on the Armistice lines. In part for his intransigence, he was punished with the creation of UNRWA. Eshkol’s decision to pre-empt the Six Day War and Begin’s courageous decisions to bomb Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, and to push on to Beirut in the first Lebanese War, were perhaps, others.

Begin, uncharacteristically gave up every inch of the Sinai, after much pressure and prodding. He even came to the conclusion that doing it was a good thing. The most important reason was that, Egypt, then Israel’s biggest Arab enemy, was prepared to break the Arab rejectionist front by making peace with Israel. This was considered a very big deal at the time.

Yitzhak Shamir was forced to participate in the Madrid Conference in 1991 and to negotiate indirectly with the PLO. He was also forced to put Jerusalem on the table. He may have given in because he desperately needed a US loan guarantee on a $10 billion line of credit in order to finance the aliya of close to one million Jews, or nearly-Jews, from Russia. There may have been pressures applied on him as well, as he was dealing with James Baker, who had no love for Jews.

It was due to the pressure and threats that he and by extension Israel was subject to, that Rabin, when he became Prime Minister, opted to by-pass the pressure and to secretly negotiate a deal directly with Arafat, the head of the PLO. What resulted was the Declaration of Principles in 1993 and the Interim Agreement in 1995, together known as the Oslo Accords. These agreements were favourable to Israel as US was not in a position to support the Palestinian position. That is not to say that it wasn’t a huge mistake to invite Arafat back into Judea and Samaria. It was.

After Rabin’s assassination, Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly defeated Shimon Peres for the job of Prime Minister. He based his campaign on his rejection of the Oslo Accords or, more accurately, on his demand for reciprocity before Israel acts on them. Within two years he betrayed his longstanding positions and signed the Wye Agreement in which he turned over control 40% of the territories to the PA as required by Oslo, without demanding reciprocity. Douglas Feith wrote “Wye and the Road to War” in Commentary magazine explaining the significance of the agreement.

It was a known fact that Pres Clinton had promised to release Jonathan Pollard but I doubt that this was why Netanyahu signed the agreement. He may have thought he had no choice but to continue the Oslo process even in the face of Arafat’s non-compliance. In any event, it contributed to his defeat at the hands of Ehud Barak in the elections one year later.

Due to a wave of devastating suicide bombings, Barak resigned in 2001 and Ariel Sharon, the noted war hero, replaced him as Prime Minister. For all his toughness and his defense of the settlement enterprise, expectations were that he would not succumb to pressure. His first task was to put an end to the killings and accordingly he announced:

“All of our efforts to attain a cease-fire have been torpedoed by the Palestinians. The fire did not cease, even for one day. The Cabinet has therefore instructed our security forces to take all necessary measures to bring full security to the citizens of Israel. We can rely only on ourselves. [The following sentence, significantly, was said in Hebrew only] And from this day forward, we will rely only on ourselves.”

But the thrust of Sharon’s remarks [here translated from Hebrew] were directed westward:

“We are currently in the midst of a complex and difficult diplomatic campaign. I turn to the western democracies, first and foremost the leader of the free world, the United States. Do not repeat the dreadful mistake of 1938, when the enlightened democracies of Europe decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for the sake of a temporary, convenient solution. Don’t try to appease the Arabs at our expense. We will not accept this. Israel will not be Czechoslovakia.”

Some in Israel though Sharon’s remarks were over the top, but I for one, and I was not alone, was thrilled to read them. Reuven Koret wrote about the statement and what may have caused it:

“Israeli officials were uncharacteristically reticent to comment on Sharon’s remarks. Army Radio reported in the morning that they were unable to extract any quote from any government minister with whom they spoke.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/can-israel-defy-the-world/2012/06/12/

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