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July 6, 2015 / 19 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’

Liberman Warns Netanyahu Not to Meet Arab Party Head

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is up in arms because Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has scheduled talks with Ayman Odeh, head of the Israeli Arab Joint List of parties.

Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, himself pulled out of Netanyahu’s coalition, deliberately leaving Netanyahu the slimmest of margins with which to form a government.

Speaking in an interview on state-run Voice of Israel radio, Liberman accused Netanyahu of flip-flopping on the issue of support for a two-state solution. “Anyone who thinks going back to the 1967 lines will solve the conflict is autistic,” Liberman told the interviewer.

He complained that remarks on the issue by Netanyahu following his meeting on Wednesday with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini reflected a change of heart from the image he portrayed during his campaign.

For Netanyahu to schedule a meeting with Ayman Odeh, the head of the united Arab parties, simply added more fuel to the fire.

“This man represents a list of terror supporters in the Israeli parliament, and the prime minister of Israel, who heads a government which defines itself as nationalist, is meeting with him,” Liberman complained in a statement.

“Netanyahu’s meeting with Odeh, one of the sharpest opponents of Israel being the state of the Jewish people, gives legitimacy to forces working to destroy Israel from within and gives a stamp of approval to the fifth column working inside the Israeli parliament,” he added.

Liberman, who defines himself as nationalistic, swore he would not remain in another Netanyahu government.

34th Government of Israel Ministers Pose for Traditional Photo

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ministers of the 34th Government of Israel arrive at the President’s Residence for the Traditional Photograph with the President; PM and President Make Remarks

President Reuven Rivlin, together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stood for the traditional photograph at the President’s Residence with the ministers of the newly sworn-in 34th Government of Israel on Tuesday, May 19.

At the beginning of the event, the President and Prime Minister delivered brief statements, and toasted, with the ministers, the success of the new government.

President Rivlin began by referring to the great challenges that face the new government, “There are governments that receive a grace period of one hundred days. However, there are great challenges that this government must deal with from the outset, without a 100 day grace period. Previous governments did not face such challenges in the same way or with the same intensity. With regard to foreign affairs, you are required to deal with international pressure in a manner that demands endurance and the ability to make considered decisions which will not lead the State of Israel to isolation, but will preserve the red lines of Israeli diplomacy. On the domestic front, you face the urgent and crucial mission to present a budget which will provide an answer to the social and economic needs of the citizens of Israel – from housing and employment to welfare.”

President Rivlin addressed the ministers and spoke of the criticism of the size of the government. He said, “On your shoulders rests the task and the duty to prove your ability to manage the affairs of the state with its complexities and sensitivities, for the benefit of all citizens. Much noise was made on the issue of the size of the government which was sworn in, and ostensibly relating to its legitimacy. However, in Israeli democracy a government of sixty-one Members of Knesset is as democratic and legitimate as a government of ninety Members of Knesset. We must remember that the most dramatic moves in Israel’s political history, including the Oslo Agreement, were decided by a single vote. Equally today, we must respect and obey the rule of democracy. A narrow government must be, and is able to be, a good government as long as it is faithful to its internal cohesion, and to the public interests of all the citizens of Israel.”

The President concluded by wishing the new government success, “On my own behalf and on behalf of citizens of Israel, I want to wish success to the Prime Minister and all the new ministers and Members of Knesset in general. Together with all the people, I am filled with hope and prayers for your success.”

Prime Minster Netanyahu said, “Also for the fourth time, just as the first, I am greatly moved and honored to present to you today, the ministers of the Government of Israel. This government has been established at a time of great challenges and opportunities. Our first challenge is to ensure the security of Israel in the face of accumulating threats around us. Radical Islam is lapping at all our borders, nearly all in the form of factions and forces led by Iran and other radical elements. At the same time, aided by the agreement proposed to it, Iran is making progress in achieving a nuclear weapon. All the enemies of Israel know that in the face of these threats, we have red lines.

“Until today, Mr. President, we have been successful in keeping Israel out of the turmoil and atrocities affecting the region. We will continue to guard the security of Israel. The threats in the region also create opportunities. Many states around us have common interests with us, they see eye to eye with us on the dangers, and they see Israel as central partner in fending them off. We will make every effort to translate this cooperation into processes for stability and peace, including attempts to reach a responsible political settlement with the Palestinians, which will safeguard Israel’s essential interests. We will continue to promote deeper ties with the US Administration and the American people. Even at times of disagreements, this bond is stronger than any difference of opinion.

Likud MK Silvan Shalom to Lead Israeli Negotiating Team

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Likud Interior Minister Silvan Shalom has been appointed to become Israel’s new lead negotiator in any talks with the Palestinian Authority, as well as in strategic dialogue with the United States.

Palestinian Authority officials made it clear they were not happy with the appointment.

“He does not believe in a Palestinian state,” a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) source told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity. “He’s against a two-state solution. It’s not an issue of names. It’s an issue of policy.”

Leftist politician Tzipi Livni, head of the Hatnua party and a justice minister in the prior government was the last minister to head Israel’s negotiating team.

Shalom said Monday that he is “ready to review every subject in every area from the most weighty issues of the United Nations, to smaller matters such as managing joint day-to-day life.”

Having served as foreign minister from 2003 to 2006 (during the second intifada and the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza), Shalom is no novice to the role. He will also be responsible for strategic talks with officials from the United States as well, according to a report broadcast on Galei Tzahal Army Radio.

Likud members are expected to raise some opposition as well, because party member and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely was expected to be given the appointment.

Hotovely evaded reporters’ questions on Monday, saying only that until she is told otherwise, she will “work diligently to fulfill [her] duties faithfully in every sector in which Israel must act.”

Although it is usually the foreign minister who manages the issue of negotiations, at present Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is holding that post. Yisrael Beytenu party chairman Avigdor Liberman, the previous minister of foreign affairs, quit the coalition and withdrew his party as well.

Shalom’s new role is also likely to bring him in to security cabinet discussions on strategic issues such as how to deal with the Iranian nuclear issue vis a vis any dialogue with the United States.

Netanyahu Vows on Jerusalem Day, Capital Undivided ‘Forever’

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed Sunday at a Jerusalem Day ceremony that the Israeli capital will remain undivided “forever.”

Speaking at the government’s official Jerusalem Day ceremony held at Ammunitition Hill, Netanyahu said, “We need to tell the truth without fear. This is where we began our path as a nation.

“This is our home – and this is where we will stay.”

The priority, said Netanyahu, is to ensure that Jerusalem forever remains open to all who wish to worship within her walls.

When Jordan occupied the eastern portion of the Israeli capital, that was not the case – despite an original United Nations mandate directing that Jerusalem always remain an open, international capital of the world. Instead, barbed wire blocked off Jewish access to Judaism’s holiest sites, and to a great extent even Christian access to sites holy to that faith as well.

Filth and garbage was strewn all around and over the Western Wall, nearly burying the holy site.

“Only under Israeli rule will there be freedom of worship for all religions in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “Believers pray at their holy sites not in spite of our rule in the city, but precisely because of it,” he noted.

“We will forever preserve an undivided Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty,” Netanyahu vowed.

“Who opposes our presence in Jerusalem? Those who refuse to recognize our right to exist as a sovereign nation in our own state,” the prime minister said. “They see us as a foreign entity that needs to be uprooted.”

He added that just as the radical Islamists are terrorizing the rest of the region, so too are they aiming at Jerusalem – and after the heartbeat of the Holy Land, next will be the West.

“Sunni extremists like Da’esh (ISIS), and Shi’ite extremists like the leadership of the ayatollahs in Iran,” he pointed out. [They] “fight each other, but [then] they have a common enemy: the West and the open, free culture it represents.”

Netanyahu also warned against the nuclear technology deal being negotiated between Iran and the world powers led by the United States.

“We are opposed to that deal and we are not the only ones,” he said. “There needs to be a better deal.”

EU Chief Meeting Next Week with Netanyahu, Abbas

Friday, May 15th, 2015

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is scheduled to arrive in Israel next week, her office said in a statement Friday.

Mogherini “will travel to the Middle East on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 May,” and is expected to meet both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas during her visit.

The EU head will also meet with “a number of other Israeli and Palestinian interlocutors, to discuss the bilateral relations as well as prospects for the Middle East peace process,” the statement said.

The impending visit follows Israel’s installation of its new coalition government headed by Netanyahu for a record fourth term in office.

On Monday, EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss current issues taking place in the region with Mogherini at a routine meeting of the European body prior to her trip.

Recently it was revealed that the European Union has taken an exceptionally active role in funding and otherwise aiding in the construction of hundreds of illegal Palestinian structures in “Area C.” These are territories that are controlled solely under the State of Israel in accordance with the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords.

These areas are expected to be retained by Israel in any final status agreement between the two parties.

Yesh Atid Tries To Block Netanyahu Cabinet Expansion

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

The Yesh Atid party — once a member of Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud-led coalition government — is now trying to tear it down.

Lapid’s left-centrist party submitted a petition to the High Court on Sunday asking for a temporary injunction against the cabinet approval of an amendment to the Basic Law: The Government, increasing the number of cabinet ministers from 18 to 20.

Yesh Atid was a member of the previous coalition but quit the government in a bitter feud just prior to an internal battle that led to Netanyahu finally disbanding the government altogether. The party is now sitting in the opposition and lost more than half of its support.

In its petition, it asked the Court to rule on the matter by 8 am Monday in order to prevent a “trampling of the rules of democracy day by day.”

The Knesset plenum was expected to vote on the expansion by Monday in order to enable the ministers to be sworn in by Wednesday.

Liberman is Persona Non Grata, and Bennett Can Forget About Judicial Revolutions

Friday, May 8th, 2015

PM Netanyahu has no one to blame for the results of his coalition negotiations but himself, though that’s not stopping him from blaming his partners (and former partners) he mistreated.

Netanyahu’s natural partners, Bayit Yehudi and Yisrael Beytenu, were prepared to sign with the Likud immediately and with relatively reasonable demands, but Netanyahu saved them to last, played hardball with them, and basically abused them, until they decided they had enough.

An angry Avigdor Liberman quit as foreign minister and made it clear that he won’t be part of Netanyahu’s coalition. A fed-up Naftali Bennett decided to instead go for the gold, since his trust in Netanyahu was approaching zero, and he believed he had nothing left to lose.

According to a Makor Rishon report, Netanyahu told Likud MKs that not only will Liberman not be a member of his coalition now, Liberman will not be a member of his coalition, ever. Even if Liberman changes his mind, “there’s no coming back.”

Sources in the Likud said there will be revenge on Bennett for playing hardball during the last days of negotiations, and Netanyahu is plotting to kick Bennett out of the coalition as soon as possible and bring in Yitzchak Herzog and the Zionist Camp instead.

Within Bayit Yehudi, they believe that has been Netanyahu’s plan all along, even before Bennett began playing hardball back.

According to the Makor Rishon report, Netanyahu also said Bayit Yehudi can forget about introducing any judicial revolutions, whether they be reforms in how judges are selected or any other decisions that negatively impact the judiciary, as he will personally block it.

Netanyahu plans to rely on one of the conditions in the coalition agreement which prevents proposing “explosive” legislation in the legislation committee. This condition was introduced in the previous coalition to thwart then Justice Minister Tzipi Livni from going overboard, but it still didn’t stop Livni from proposing them all the time in the committee.

Likud sources say that Netanyahu is personally holding on to the Foreign Ministry portfolio so he can offer it to any party that might join the coalition later.

Since Lapid and Liberman won’t be allowed back in, that only leaves Yitzchak Herzog and his Zionist Camp (Labor).

For his part, Herzog says that he won’t be joining Netanyahu’s coalition, but when asked to confirm that position with a party vote, Herzog refused, leaving the feeling among his party members that he is leaving that door wide open.

Even within the Likud, a minor rebellion is brewing, with MKs jockeying for the limited number of ministerial positions, and each one feeling they deserve it more than their friends and associates, and that Netanyahu owes it to them.

Netanyahu’s coalition is off to a rough start, with a lot of anger and an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust.

In the previous coalition, Netanyahu tried to keep Bennett out of the government, but Bennett forced his way in and proved to be Netanyahu’s most trusted and reliable ally. Liberman has also been Netanyahu’s trusted and reliable ally for decades.

Maybe these relationships are now broken, but the thing about politics, and Israeli politics in particular, is that there is no such thing as forever –unless you’re Shimon Peres.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/liberman-is-persona-non-grata-and-bennett-can-forget-about-judicial-revolutions/2015/05/08/

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