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May 24, 2016 / 16 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’

Netanyahu Tells Knesset He Wants ‘Broader Government,’ Herzog: Stop Zigzagging

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

During Monday’s special plenary session honoring the memory of Theodor Herzl, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) said, “I wonder what Herzl would have said had he seen the massive construction, the building of roads, the economic growth, the absorption of immigration, the scientific innovations and the fact that the state of the Jews discovered gas at sea and will extract it for the benefit of its citizens.”

“I met today with the French Prime Minister and stressed that [the Israeli] government wants peace,” Netanyahu also said, relating, “I told him that I seek to move forward in the diplomatic process on the basis of the outline of a demilitarized Palestinian state which recognizes the Jewish state. [But] the two principles of demilitarization and mutual recognition are not preconditions for the opening of negotiations. The process must be direct, bilateral and devoid of international dictates.”

“I am working with all my power to expand the coalition,” the PM told the Plenum, speaking as he did on the eve of signing a new deal with MK Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu to join his coalition government, expanding it from 61 to 67 members. “I said I would do so when we established the government, and I am continuing with these efforts to form a government that is as broad as possible. The door is open to anyone who wants to [join] for the good of the country. There is much to do and a lot to fix, but there is no justification for the complaining that is rampant in certain circles. Israel is a stable, advanced, innovative and democratic state, and this House is proof of that.”

Following the Prime Minister’s speech, opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp – Labor) addressed last week’s political storm in which many have depicted him as being used by Netanyahu for leverage to bring in Lieberman. “During the past couple of weeks I have stood upright against unprecedented attacks, against an incited crowd and against violent exclamations which I have never heard before,” Herzog complained, adding, realisticly, “It is possible that I have jeopardized my political seat, and have shaken it so much that it will be difficult to stabilize. But as opposed to other leaders – I did not join politics to pass the time. In an era where leaders change their minds according to the morning wind blowing on Facebook, I have chosen to stick to my words.”

Herzog’s poison arrow was shot unambiguously at MK Shelly Yachimovich, the former Labor chairwoman Herzog had unseated, whom he nicknamed “Princes of Facebook,” for her frequent—albeit effective and biting—posts.

“In the past couple of months, due to the terror wave and the futile feeling which characterizes the relationship with our neighbors, I have tried to evaluate the situation [based on the statements] of senior leaders from around the world and our region,” Herzog continued to make his case. “Some may seem familiar to you and some less, some are part of the senior leadership of the area and some are younger, whose names cannot be revealed yet. These leaders have a crucial influence over our fate, the fate of our families and children. I wanted with all my might to identify the glimpse of light in the darkness. I have reached the conclusion that we are facing a rare regional opportunity based on a group of Arab leaders who are moderate, young, powerful and lack the Israel complex that their predecessors have had, and who are willing to take action and lead a powerful and stirring process against our neighbors.”

“I have chosen to risk my internal political status and extend a hand to the rival political leader about whom I have said during the elections – ‘it’s either us or him’ – in order to recruit all possible national power and together change the present and the future of our children,” Herzog continued his gallant attempt to explain his abysmal failure in negotiating with his “rival political leader.”

“I know I have let down many of my supporters, my colleagues and friends and a broad public that did not believe Netanyahu in the first place, but I had decided anyhow to not let the opportunity slip away as it stands right in front of our eyes and depends upon Israel having a different, more moderate, government. That is the condition. I chose to give it a try,” Herzog stated.

“Sadly, at the end of the day, while choosing between being a leader that will be remembered in history as going against the flow, and a leader that goes with the flow into the ocean of forgetfulness, Netanyahu has made his choice,” Herzog lamented. “He has slammed the door on the European and American leaders and became a captive of the extremist political group which will lead him and us into a national disaster which we are already a part of, and some of us decide to live in the illusion that everything will be fine.”

In this context, Herzog did not explain how a 55% majority of the House can be considered “extremist” while the remaining 45% are the proverbial moderates. In effect, he described anyone on the right as extremist, while anyone on the left, including the Joint Arab List’s MKs Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka, and Basel Ghattas, who stood at attention in honor of Arab terrorists killed by Israel, are part of the moderate center.

“I am sorry Mr. Netanyahu that you have chosen to zigzag again,” said Herzog, whose zigzagging during the 2015 campaign included landing MK Tzipi Livni and five colleagues in top spots on his party’s candidates list, and changing the party name from the traditional—and honest—Labor to Zionist Camp, which includes renowned Zionist MK Zouheir Bahloul, who declared earlier this year that Arab attacks on IDF soldiers manning check posts are not acts of terror. “I am sorry that you are the one who slammed the door,” said Herzog, who had fled the negotiations when he finally realized Netanyahu had been double-dealing with Lieberman. “I am sorry that you have chosen to abandon the benefit of the State in favor of your narrow political interest. Your Twitter may remember you favorably, but history won’t.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud), who opened the House debate, said, “We have a serious problem with the culture of argument here; with the ability to listen, which has deteriorated [greatly]; with the lack of respect, the blatant contempt and the obscene language. Our ideological and cultural richness is a source of uniqueness and strength, but we all have a lot of work to do in order to narrow the artificial gaps between us which some make certain are nurtured, because, truthfully, we have more things in common than things that separate us.”

“A [government] is also judged by its ability to bridge the gaps between positions and converge in order to better serve the public,” Edelstein said, concluding, “Therefore, there was no other choice but to work towards expanding the coalition. The first step in this direction should be welcomed, and I hope additional Zionist parties will join. We must stand together, better and more united, in front of the great challenges facing us. This is an important message, internally, for the Israeli public, and also externally, for all those who are eagerly waiting to see our internal disintegration – God forbid.”

MK Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid faction, said “Herzl envisioned a state with equal rights for women at a time when such a notion was almost avant-garde. He wrote that every citizen will be obligated to give two years for military or civil service and that religious coercion would be forbidden. He spoke of the need for a clean country that would protect the environment. He wrote about a country where education is free for everyone, where there is a clear separation between the military and politics; a state that is technologically advanced. He believed that the Arabs of the land are entitled to equal rights.”

OK, that last part, about Herzl advocating for Palestinian rights is a bit of a stretch. As Ernst Pawel noted (The Labyrinth of Exile: A Life Of Theodor Herzl, Farrar, Straus, Giroux), “His attitude toward the indigenous population was one of benign indifference at best. He never questioned the popular view of colonialism as a mission of mercy that brought the blessings of civilization to stone-age savages… He fully believed that the Palestine Arabs would welcome the Jews with open arms; after all, they only stood to gain from the material and technological progress imported by the Jews.”

Some things never change.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu Ready to Go to Paris ‘Tomorrow’ for Direct 2-State Talks with Abbas

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday met with his French counterpart Manuel Valls in Jerusalem, and the two issued a joint statement dealing with the common goals of Israel and France as well as the solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict which would include two states for two peoples.

“Although we disagree as to the best way to reach peace, I appreciate your commitment to seek peace,” Netanyahu told Valls. “I know how important it is for you to bring an end to the terrible violence that has been taking place in our region for too long, and I wish to thank you and President Hollande for your commitment to peace.”

Referring to the French peace initiative which is expected to take place in Paris in a week and a half without direct involvement of the two sides in the conflict, Netanyahu insisted that the only way to reach peace is through direct negotiations with the PA Arabs. “In a direct negotiation the Palestinian leadership would be forced to face a clear choice, and the choice is simple — recognize the Jewish State or continue to educate their people that some day Israel will disappear,” Netanyahu said. “And I urge you not to allow the Palestinian leadership to evade this tough choice.”

Netanyahu told Valls that he would be ready to embrace a French initiative if it would include direct negotiations between himself and the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas. “Every problematic issue will be on the negotiating table — mutual recognition, incitement, borders, refugee, as well as the settlements,” Netanyahu promised. “I’m ready to clear my schedule and fly to Paris tomorrow. Actually, I believe tomorrow we’re expanding the government, but the day after. And this is an open-ended offer. I’ll clear my agenda. And I hope you and the Palestinians will agree.”

Netanyahu also addressed the French vote last month at UNESCO, in favor of a resolution that referred to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall by their Arab names only and rejected any Jewish “claim” on the history of the holy sites. He congratulated Valls on his apology over the matter and his admission that it had been a mistake.

Prime Minister Valls promised to pass Netanyahu’s offer regarding the peace negotiations to President Hollande. “We are in favor of anything that would contribute to the peace,” Valls said. “We can discuss it, and we will make all the necessary clarifications. The discussion, I’m certain, will be most direct. But don’t doubt for one minute our will to do whatever is possible for peace, our commitment and my personal commitment in the fight against anti-Semitism, and the complete and unequivocal certainty that the Jewish roots of Jerusalem are completely indisputable.”

David Israel

Netanyahu Chastises MK Glick for Temple Mount Visit

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday afternoon rebuked his newest coalition member, MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) who is about to swear allegiance to the Knesset Monday evening — for going up on Temple Mount Monday morning.

A few months ago, because of Arab MKs’ incessant provocations on the Temple Mount, Netanyahu issued a decree banning all public officials of every religion from the compound. Glick, whose livelihood until Monday was as a tour guide on Temple Mount, for which he was almost killed in an assassination attempt, decided to go up one last time, before taking on his new job.

But the prime minister still took offense, apparently, and when he shook hands with the newcomer at the end of the Knesset Likud faction’s first meeting of the spring session, he blurted, “Yehuda, it’s the last time you’re doing this to me.” The MK, who is far from being a lawbreaker, asked, “What did I do?” to which the PM answered, “Now you are a soldier!” and Coalition chairman MK David Bitan, who himself had been embroiled last term in some infighting with the powers that be in Likud, now warned Glick, “You shouldn’t deal with the Temple Mount at all.”

Now, that’s hardly going to stop the new MK, whose most cherished agenda is making The Temple Mount compound equally available to members of all faiths, and not just to Muslims. Meanwhile, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has assigned Glick a permanent security detail, on account of that foiled assassination attempt.

MK Glick, who will take over the vacated Knesset seat of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, told Walla, “The source of my mission is on the Temple Mount. I’m going to be a public servant and a servant of God, and I came [to the Temple MOunt] the replenish my strength and to remind myself of the source of my action.”

David Israel

Bennett Threatens to Prevent Government Expansion if Security Cabinet Problems Are Not Fixed

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to expand the government and add Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party to the coalition were challenged on Monday afternoon after Education Minister Naftali Bennett said he would not support the measure should his list of demands not be met.

Bennett, who leads the Jewish Home party in the Knesset, demanded during a party meeting that the prime minister solve the issues affecting the way the security cabinet operates before the changes in the government are implemented. Bennett’s party officially approved the demand during the meeting.

The problems in the security cabinet were revealed as part of the lessons learned from Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in the summer of 2014 and from the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Bennett said during the party meeting that “the Winograd Committee investigated the handling of the Second Lebanon War and concluded that quality intelligence information was not shared with the members of the security cabinet and that the members were not adequately trained for their position and therefore did not function well at the moment of truth. Ten years have gone by and nothing has been done.”

“I have approached the prime minister many times during the last two-and-a-half years with this demand, including during the coalition negotiations,” added Bennett. “Unfortunately, nothing has been done. This is why I informed the prime minister of the demand yesterday evening in order to implement the plan and solve the issues.”

The plan includes attaching the security cabinet members with a military secretary who would deliver ongoing security updates and would prepare them for their position. The plan would also increase the number of tours done in the field and give the ministers better access to the information.

“Fixing the problems in the security cabinet is necessary for Israel’s security and for saving the lives of its civilians and soldiers,” added Bennett. “Israel paid a high price for the existence of these problems during the Second Lebanon War and Operation Protective Edge. My approval of the changes in the government is conditional on the fulfillment of my demands.”

Likud MK Yariv Levin, head of the party’s parliamentary negotiations team, responded to Bennett’s statements by saying that the Likud “will not renegotiate opening the coalition agreement with any partner, including with the Jewish Home.” He added that Bennett’s demand “damages the ability to complete the expansion of the government.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Bulletproof – Upheaval At The Top [audio]

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Ari Fuld explains all that has transpired in the last 48 hours and how it has shaken up the Israeli government and the country.

Bulletproof 19May2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Netanyahu: Arab Nations Can Help Bring ‘Real Peace’

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday night that the Arab nations in the region can help facilitate a “real deal with the Palestinians,” adding that he has been discussing the issue with regional leaders “over the last few hours.”

“The initiatives I’m referring to are regional initiatives – meaning, aided by the Arab countries in the region to reach a real deal with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said in a press conference following a meeting with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. “We always thought it would be the opposite,” Netanyahu acknowledged, “but that is the direction today. I am constantly trying, including over the last few hours, to further contacts with various leaders in the region to help in this direction.”

Netanyahu’s comments come on the eve of his meeting with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls ahead of an international peace conference planned to take place in Paris at the beginning of June. Netanyahu has so far forcefully rejected the French conference, arguing that only direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians could advance peace and suggesting that the forum was biased against Israel.

The latest remarks, however, suggest that Netanyahu places more confidence in the efforts of regional Arab governments than in European peacemaking conferences.

“We have many common interests with leading Arab countries in the region, and I think that one of those interests is to advance a process for real peace between us and the Palestinians, and perhaps with their help we can overcome those a few obstacles,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu’s comments seemed to allude to a striking speech by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last week in which he offered to act as a moderator between Israel and the Palestinians. Netanyahu immediately welcomed al-Sisi’s remarks, issuing a statement that “Israel is ready to participate with Egypt and other Arab states in advancing both the diplomatic process and stability in the region. I appreciate President al-Sisi’s work and also draw encouragement from his leadership on this important issue.”

Israel and Czechia signed a series of bilateral agreements relating to science, technology, tourism, and cybersecurity – the Czech embassy even has a special “cyber attaché.” But Netanyahu also thanked Prime Minister Sobotka for “the fairness of the Czech position in international forums.”

“Israel is often portrayed as not wanting peace. Nothing could be further from the truth. We pursue peace; we’re going to continue to pursuing peace with an expanded government, including various initiatives and possibilities within our region,” Netanyahu said. “I want to assure you that we’ll be happy to take up any suggestions and any help that you can give us in this common pursuit for peace.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu: Expanded Coalition Will Push for Peace Process

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that an expanded parliamentary coalition will make a renewed push for peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. The comments were made at the weekly cabinet meeting days after striking a deal to bring five Knesset seats of MK Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party into the coalition, with Liberman as the new defense minister.

“I want to clarify that the new government will continue to work toward a political process with the Palestinians, and we will do so with the help of regional actors,” Netanyahu said, seeking to allay concerns that the hardline Liberman will hinder dialogue with the Palestinian Authority.

“From the beginning when we established the coalition, I have said that my intention is to expand the coalition,” stressed Netanyahu. “Sixty-one is better than 59, but the broadest coalition as possible is the most important thing for Israel.”

Israel’s current government has held on to the narrowest possible majority of 61 MKs out of total of 120 MKs. An agreement with the Yisrael Beiteinu party would increase the coalition’s majority to 66 MKs, after one Yisrael Beiteinu lawmaker announced that she would not join with her party.

In a meeting with Likud ministers earlier in the day, Netanyahu expressed his continued openness towards including the opposition Zionist Union faction led by Labor party Chairman Isaac Herzog in the coalition. Netanyahu noted that several ministerial positions remain in his hands, including the Foreign Ministry portfolio, which Herzog said had been offered to him last week in a round of failed discussions.

According to Herzog, Netanyahu offered him the job of foreign minister as well as sweeping verbal commitments about working toward a two-state solution with the Palestinians – but refused Herzog’s request to commit those promises to writing.

Marc Gottlieb

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-expanded-coalition-will-push-for-peace-process/2016/05/22/

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