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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’

As Trump Confirms Kushner Will Broker Israel-PA Deal, Don’t Take Jared for Granted

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Speaking to the Times of London in his first UK interview as president-elect, published Monday, Donald Trump confirmed that he intends to appoint son-in-law Jared Kushner to broker a Middle East peace deal. Trump also urged Britain to veto any new anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution, and had nothing but harsh criticism regarding President Obama’s handling of the Iran nuclear deal.

The new appointment is very much in the familiar Trump style of management, whereby he sets up competition between top executives he appoints to parallel positions. In the case of brokering a peace deal, Trump has previously announced the appointment of his loyal attorney Jason Greenblatt, who was his adviser on Israel during the campaign, to negotiate a Middle East peace as Trump’s special adviser on international agreements.

This should be interesting to watch: two competing peace deals between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Or perhaps one Trump envoy will take Gaza. There’s no doubt the president-elect continues to do the unexpected and remains unpredictable. The question is, do Israelis have anything to worry about in son-in-law Jared Kushner?

The grandson of Holocaust survivors, Kushner was raised in a wealthy Orthodox Jewish family in New Jersey that made its fortune in real estate, and graduated with honors from the Frisch School, a coed yeshiva high school, in 1999.

One of the formative events in Jared’s life was the fall of his father, Charles Kushner, who in 1985 founded Kushner Companies. In 2005, US Attorney Chris Christie made his career on the back of Jared’s father, getting him convicted of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering, and landing him in federal prison. Christie thumped his chest victoriously and pushed for a three-year sentence for Charles Kushner, humiliating him publicly by exposing how he had hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law on tape in retaliation against his sister, who was a witness for the prosecution. Christie announced then: “It shows that no matter how rich and powerful you are in this state you will be prosecuted and punished for crimes you commit.”

It was the Kushner case that helped make Christie governor of NJ in 2009. Jared Kushner, who was an intern for Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau at the time of the trial, later described Christie’s abusive handling of his father’s case as the reason why he changed his career course.

In 2016, Jared Kushner’s intervention with the Trump transition team was widely believed to be the reason why Gov. Christie was dropped from the president-elect’s roster, having served the campaign loyally for much of 2016.

So Jared Kushner is a man who knows how to keep a grudge, and knows the secret of revenge being best served ice cold. It should serve as a stern warning to both Israelis and Arabs as he embarks on yet another US administration’s attempt to broker a long lasting peace deal in the Middle East: don’t underestimate him, don’t mess with him, don’t take him for granted. The man is extremely bright, unbelievably ambitious, and has a very long memory.

Netanyahu’s circle seemed elated last November, when a victorious Donald Trump told the NY Times he was mulling making Jared Kushner his envoy to the peace negotiations. Ambassador Ron Dermer said, “There’s no question that he feels a strong commitment to Israel’s security and Israel’s future.” But the Times pointed out that Kushner is not on a first name basis with the business and political elite in Israel – his only friend in Israel is Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Kushner was a child when he met Benjamin Netanyahu when the latter visited Charles Kushner at his NJ home. Trump told the Times that his son-in-law “knows the region, knows the people, knows the players.” But that might be an exaggeration.

Kushner was a valuable asset to Trump in making the connections for him with Netanyahu and Dermer, as well as Sheldon Adelson and other right-leaning, influential American Jews. His start point is probably more favorable to Israel than any of his predecessors in the thankless job of trying to broker peace between Israelis and Arabs. But that’s no guarantee. If, for instance, PM Netanyahu tries his usual yes-but-not-now approach to the two-state solution, he might not get far with Kushner. The PA, by the way, are besides themselves with anxiety over the emphatically pro-Israeli new White House. Which could mean they’d be willing to give up more to Trump than to say, the ever-beseeching John Kerry. Such a change in attitude might, paradoxically, give them a leg up with Kushner.

Indeed, while recent polls have shown that a majority of the PA and Gaza Arabs have given up on the two-state solution, many Arab pundits, such as Ramzy Baroud, suggest there never was a real Arab consensus in support of partition. The new trend for both rank and file and intellectuals on the Arab side is to embrace the one-state approach, just make sure it won’t be Jewish.

This might be a rougher ride than the Israeli right imagined.


Knesset Rejects Bill Calling to Appoint Replacement for Netanyahu ‘Just in Case’

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

With 47 nays and 32 yeas, the Knesset plenum rejected in a preliminary reading a bill submitted by MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Camp) to compel every sitting government to appoint a replacement for the prime minister who is at the helm, who would be “a heartbeat way” should the PM be rendered unable to carry out his duties.

The opposition bill was submitted against a backdrop of growing expectations that Israel’s police will soon recommend to the state prosecution to open criminal procedures against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The current law gives the PM permission to appoint a substitute, but does not compel him or her to do so. The bill’s author suggests that “this creates a situation whereby, should the prime Minister become unable to carry out his duties, God forbid, the country could experience governmental distress.”

The bill went on to recall that on Dec. 27, 2013, Prime Minister Netanyahu was rushed to hospital, to be released two hours later, and during that time there was no specific person in charge of the government.

On the other hand, the bill continues, when in 2006 then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fell into a coma, he had luckily appointed a substitute, Finance Minister Ehud Olmert, before falling into a coma. Alas, in 2008 Olmert was forced to leave office in disgrace, but that’s an entirely other kettle of fish.

MKs on both sides of the aisle were painfully (or joyously) aware of the sitting prime minister’s mounting legal problems, which so far have resulted in Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, being questioned by police investigators for many hours each (the PM in two sessions). Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing allegations in several cases, two of which were made public for the first time only this month. The “Case 1000” and “Case 2000,” which are reportedly linked, that he received very expensive gifts and benefits businessmen in Israel and abroad, in return for political favors.


Pew: Republicans Love Israel, Democrats Only So-So

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

74% of Republicans say they sympathize more with Israel than the PA and Gaza Arabs, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. Only 33% of Democrats sympathize more with Israel, 31% more with the Arabs in the conflict, and 35% sympathize with neither, with both, or don’t have an opinion. Only 11% of Republicans sympathize more with the Arabs, and 15% say they sympathize with neither side, with both sides or don’t have an opinion.

The percentage of Democrats who sympathize more with Israel has fallen 10 points since April 2016, when 43% said they sympathized more with Israel.

Regarding the two-state solution, the gap is also widening between the two parties. 60% of Democrats say Israel and an independent Palestinian state can co-exist peacefully. Only 44% of Republicans share this view, and 49% do not.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is popular with Republicans, unpopular with Democrats. About 50% of Republicans and Republican leaners have a favorable view of the Israeli PM, compared with 22% with an unfavorable view, and 28% don’t care either way. Only 21% of Democrats and Democratic leaners like the man, while 45% do not and 34% do not wish to share their view.

The Pew survey finds that the American public has a positive opinion of the United Nations, although there, too, the gap is wide between the two parties. 62% view the UN favorably, 31% unfavorably. 81% of Democrats like the UN, only 44% of Republicans do.

The Republican Jewish Coalition sent out a statement saying, “According to a new study by Pew Research, pro-Israel Americans have abandoned the Democrat Party and have found a home with Republicans.” That presumes that pro-Israel Americans, specifically American Jews, vote strictly based on a candidate’s views on Israel.

It also presumes that by switching the name “Democratic Party” to “Democrat Party” they would get folks to associate the party of Andrew Jackson with rats. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first attempt to pull this off was made in 1890 and the results are still dubious.


Tweet to Paris: ‘Push Abbas to Negotiate Peace Directly With Israel’

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the only way forward to a true peace is between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In a graphic posted to the ministry’s Twitter feed, the MFA wrote that international delegates heading to the so-called Paris “peace summit” set to begin on Sunday should instead be pushing Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to negotiate directly with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last week Mr. Netanyahu discussed the upcoming conference with visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, who said he is attending the summit and looks forward to further discussions with Israel on peace.

“It’s a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances,” the prime minister said at his meeting with the minister.

“This pushes peace backwards. It’s not going to obligate us. It’s a relic of the past. It’s a last gasp of the past before the future sets in.”

Minister Borge also met with Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely during his visit. The two discussed bilateral relations as well as their individual perspectives on peace – and kosher sushi.

Hana Levi Julian

Jamaica Wants Economic Cooperation With Israel

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness to Jerusalem on Thursday for his first-ever visit personally to the country, and the first-ever visit to Israel by a Jamaican prime minister.

Mr. Holness said in a joint news conference that his people live in a zone of peace, and offered his condolences for the truck-ramming attack that killed four Israeli soldiers earlier this week.

The Jamaican leader also said that his country wants to pursue economic cooperation with Israel, adding that he believes one can build a peaceful world by building strong economies.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu to Norwegian FM: Paris Conference Pushes Peace Backwards

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Thursday in Jerusalem with Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, and took the opportunity to share his views about the upcoming Paris “peace conference” that is set for this Sunday.

Norway is one of the countries whose delegates will attend the conference.

“We’re all faced here with a great challenge against the forces of terrorism that not only seek to destroy Israel but seek of course to render any possibility of peace totally hopeless,” Netanyahu said.

“There are other such efforts that render peace hopeless and one of them is the Paris conference. It’s a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances.

“This pushes peace backwards. It’s not going to obligate us. It’s a relic of the past. It’s a last gasp of the past before the future sets in.”

Foreign Minister Brende responded first of all with condolences for the horrific terror attack that left four IDF soldiers dead last Sunday.

He then acknowledged, “So we will be there [at the Paris conference] but we will make sure that there is a nuanced outcome,” he promised, “and I’m looking forward also to discuss future peace processes with you.”

The two men also signed a joint bilateral declaration of intent on research and development.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu: Security Forces Busted 43 Weapons Factories in 2016

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

by Andrew Friedman

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that security forces shut down 43 weapons factories around Judea and Samaria during 2016, as opposed to virtually none in 2015. He added that a major focus for security forces at the moment is preventing weapons from reaching the Palestinian Authority street.

Speaking after an inspection tour of IDF forces in Judea and Samaria with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, the prime minister said the price of weapons on the PA street has been driven up six-fold due to carefully planned operations and coordination between IDF, police and intelligence agents since the November, 2015 attack at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv.

“Our forces have confiscated equipment, arrested those responsible and closed factories, ” Netanyahu said.

Both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who also participated in the inspection tour, and said that Israel “knows how to exact a heavy price from the other side for incitement. Both men blamed the Palestinian Authority, and especially PA leader Abu Mazen, for promoting violence with wild incitement and glorification of terrorists.

Liberman and Netanyahu also used the occasion to relate to foreign policy issues, saying Israel will not allow itself to be bullied by the international community on matters of domestic policy.

Netanyahu fired a shot at outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama, saying the international stage is currently undergoing “dramatic changes… some of which will be very, very good for Israel.” The defense minister added criticism of an international “peace” conference, set to meet this Friday in Paris against Israel’s wishes and without representation from Jerusalem.

“Instead of talking to us, there are people out there that are trying to pressure us, to incite against us. But anyone who thinks that trying to frighten us or pressure us with international conferences will change the situation here is sorely mistaken,” Liberman said.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-security-forces-busted-43-weapons-factories-in-2016/2017/01/10/

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