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April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Binyamin Netanyahu’

Obama ‘Threatening to Abandon Israel’ at UN Security Council

Friday, March 20th, 2015

President Barack Obama appears to be “rushing to the United Nations” to force a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Fox News reported Thursday night. It’s another nail in the coffin replacing the trust Israelis once had in American presidents, a commentator observed.

In an interview on the cable television news network, U.S. Army Lt.-Col. Ralph Peters (res.), said Obama seems to want to “pick a fight – a deadly fight potentially – with Israel.”

Peters, clearly upset, told the interviewer he could not understand why Obama appears to be aligning the United States with radical Islamist nations against the sole democracy in the Middle East. “Our policy is off the rails,” he said.

Obama’s staff, he maintained, “overplayed their hand so badly that the Israeli people, even those who don’t much like Bibi (Netanyahu), turned this from an economy-based election to a security-based election. Obama’s accommodation with Iran at any cost is very frightening.”

Although most U.S. politicians consider the Iranian nuclear deal to be a policy issue, Peters correctly noted that in Israel, “it is a matter of survival.

“And that’s what this election told us, that the people of Israel, for the first time ever, fear an American president,” he concluded.

However, Fox News journalist Megan Kelly reported in a separate segment that the White House does not see it the same way. She quoted President Obama as saying that he sees “no path to a peace agreement,” and added that the president is “now threatening to abandon Israel at the United Nations.”

The comment referred to Obama’s threat to consider the option of not using America’s veto to block a UN Security Council resolution to grant statehood to the Palestinian Authority, possibly along the 1949 Armistice lines, also known as the “1967 border.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded: “You can’t force the people of Israel, who just elected me by a wide margin to bring them peace and security — to secure the State of Israel — to accept terms that would endanger the very survival of the State of Israel.

“I don’t think that’s the direction of American policy,” he said. “I hope it’s not.”

Kelly interviewed Netanyahu about the issue on her Fox News TV program, The Kelly File, late Thursday night.

EU Pushes Israel to Negotiate ‘Peace’ as PA Heads to ICC

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

The European Union is pushing Israel to get back to work on reaching a final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority as its leaders prepare to sue Israel for “war crimes” at the International Criminal Court.

The pressure comes on the heels of an historic vote in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was elected for a fourth term, the only person to be so chosen other than Israeli founding father David Ben Gurion.

Late Wednesday night, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini spoke with Netanyahu and congratulated him on his re-election. She confirmed the “readiness of the EU to work with the new Israeli government on the mutually beneficial bilateral relationship as well as the peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” according to a statement sent to media on Thursday. Mogherini and Netanyahu “agreed to work together for the security of Israel and that of the region,” the statement added. The EU foreign policy chief stressed the need for the relaunch of peace negotiations “with the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement based on a two-state solution.”

Netanyahu stated firmly in this campaign that he would no longer attempt and in fact would work to block the establishment of an independent PA state as long as he is in office, due to the security risks such a move now clearly presents to Israel’s citizens at home.

Somehow this message has not been absorbed by the leadership of the European Union.

“The EU is committed to working with the incoming Israeli government on a mutually beneficial relationship as well as on the re-launch of the peace process,” Mogherini said in a statement earlier Wednesday.

“We are at a crucial moment with many threats all over the Middle East. The EU staunchly supports a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the interest of the Israeli people, of the Palestinian people, and of the whole region. We are at your side, you can count on us,” Mogherini assured.

She called on Israel’s “bold leadership” to reach “a comprehensive, stable and viable settlement of a conflict that has already deprived too many generations of peace and security. It’s time to turn this page and I’m confident that we can work together with the international community for a solution that will guarantee peace and security in the Middle East.”

Perhaps the EU leader has been conversing with U.S. President Barack Obama, who is now contemplating an historic change of his own.

For the first time ever, the American president is weighing support for a PA resolution in the United Nations Security Council that would establish a PA state in violation of the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, and would force Israel to withdraw from Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem restored to its capital in 1967.

On Monday, Netanyahu visited the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa and vowed to preserve the unity of the capital “in all its parts,” saying he would “continue to build and fortify” the city.

The Palestinian Authority is set to become a member of the International Criminal Court at The Hague on April 1.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Wasel Abu Yousseff told Reuters on Thursday, “This makes it more necessary than ever to go to the international community and to go to the ICC and escalate peaceful resistance and boycott against the ‘occupation.’”

UN’s Ban Ki-moon Advises Israel on ‘How to Stay a Democracy’

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon claims Israel can only be a democracy with an end to building in Judea and Samaria.

Ban emphasized Wednesday – the day after Israelis re-elected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to lead the country – that Israel must continue final status talks with the Palestinian Authority for the establishment of an independent sovereign state.

This is “the best and only way forward for Israel to remain a democratic state,” UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters, speaking for Ban.

Netanyahu had stated during his campaign this time around that he would not allow an independent PA state to be created while he is in office due to the rising security risks. He also committed to continuing to build Israeli neighborhoods in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

During his past two terms in office, Netanyahu maintained a willingness to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority “at any time and any place” in order to secure a final status agreement that would create a “two-state solution.” PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, however, was entirely unwilling to engage in direct talks with Netanyahu and spent the entire five-year period working to avoid every possible opportunity to do so.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor responded to Ban, saying, “The United Nations may disagree with the policies of the Israeli government but there is one fact that cannot be disputed: that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. If the UN is so concerned about the future of the Palestinian people, [then] it should be asking why (PA) President (Mahmoud) Abbas is in the tenth year of a five-year presidential term,” Prosor said.

Abbas was elected in PA polls to serve for a five-year term as the entity’s leader in 2006. One year later, the Palestinian Authority was split in two when the Hamas terror organization carried out a coup and ousted Abbas and seized control of Gaza instead, which it maintains to this day. The Fatah-led PA government has continued to lead only the PA-controlled territories in Judea and Samaria from the entity’s capital in the city of Ramallah since 2006. Moreover, when his term was up, Abbas refused to step down and instead invoked “emergency rule status” which he has continued to this day. No new PA elections are scheduled for the foreseeable future.

US President Obama Punishes Israel for Re-electing PM Netanyahu

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Punishment for Israelis who chose to re-elect Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week was not long in coming from U.S. President Barack Obama.

The Obama administration is now reportedly weighing the option of whether to agree to a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, as well as the withdrawal of Israel from Judea and Samaria, with mutually agreed land swaps.

The resolution would force Israel to enter immediate talks with the Palestinian Authority, in advance of a final status agreement for both sides.

Obama administration officials said Thursday the White House may support passage of this new resolution, according to a report published in the New York Times.

“We are now in a reality where the Israeli government no longer supports direct negotiations. Therefore we clearly have to factor that into our decisions going forward,” a White House official said.

Major differences have emerged between the two administrations over the question of how to deal with the constant threat posed by a Palestinian Authority that succors and glorifies the terrorists in its midst.

Future contacts between Israel and the United States would be managed by Secretary of State John Kerry and Pentagon officials, the White House official added, saying, “The president is a pretty pragmatic person and if he felt it would be useful he will certainly engage. But he’s not going to waste his time.”

For decades, U.S. presidents traditionally call the apparent victor of Israeli elections after the polls have closed to congratulate them on their win. Likud Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has received that call three times in the past, including from President Barack Obama, even during their most fractious relations – but not this week.

Instead, “the day after,” Netanyahu received a public scolding from Obama on his “divisive language” and a refusal by the American president to call his Israeli counterpart to offer the traditional congratulations. Secretary Kerry did make the call, per the tradition.

In an initial response to Israel’s election results, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the U.S. would have to “re-evaluate” its position.

On Wednesday, the White House spokesperson talked about the president’s “deep concern” over the “divisive language” used by Netanyahu’s Likud party, claiming attempts to marginalize Israel’s Arab citizens in social media posts urging voters to get to the polls to offset a high turnout of more radical Arab voters supporting the united Arab party lists. “These are views the administration intends to convey directly to the Israelis,” Earnest said. Similar efforts by Obama during past presidential campaigns among targeted populations were seemingly forgotten.

During Obama’s own electoral campaign, as GOP Congresswoman Ileana Roz-Lehtinen of Florida pointed out, the president himself used divisive language while trying to whip up support from Latinos. “If Latinos sit out the election cycle, we’re going to punish our enemies and we’re going to reward our friends,” he said at the time — which she noted was a “pretty divisive kind of rhetoric” as well.

“The [Israeli] election is over,” Roz-Lehtinen told Fox News. “Let’s move on.”

But in fact, that’s not happening. “They’re really sticking it to Netanyahu to this day,” she added, “… but President Obama needs to understand that the United States Congress sides with Prime Minister Netanyahu on [Iran].”

The straw that broke the camel’s back for the president, apparently, was a remark by Netanyahu during his campaign in which he stated he would not allow creation of an Palestinian Authority state next to Israel due to what is now obviously a security threat.

Earnest, however, said the president still believes a “two-state solution” is best, even though top Israeli leaders warn that such a move would pave the way for an Iranian launching pad on Israel’s borders – or worse, an ISIS terror state right in Israel’s midst.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the administration would “absolutely” continue to push for an independent PA state.

Speaking on CNN, White House political strategist David Simas congratulated Israelis – but not Netanyahu – and noted the difficult process of coalition building still lies ahead.

“Sometimes that takes a couple of weeks and we’re going to give space to the formation of that coalition government, and we’re not going to weigh in one way or the other, except to say that the United States and Israel have a historic and close relationship and that will continue going forward.”

PM Netanyahu’s Prayer of Thanks at Western Wall for Historic Victory

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took his family and went straight to the Western Wall in his first post-election public appearance Wednesday to say a prayer of thanks for the resounding victory of his Likud party.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara go to the Western Wall following an historic fourth landslide win at the polls.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara go to the Western Wall following an historic fourth landslide win at the polls.

The Likud garnered 30 mandates out of 120 seats in the Knesset; Netanyahu’s closest rival, Isaac Herzog, won 24 mandates with his Zionist Union coalition merger with Tzipi Livni.

Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister since David Ben Gurion to be re-elected for a fourth term. He also is well aware of who is really in charge: Netanyahu also made sure to head for the Western Wall just prior to leaving for the United States to deliver his historic address to the U.S. Congress in Washington DC — the only head of state ever to address America’s legislators three times, other than Winston Churchill.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prepares to place a note in the Western Wall.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prepares to place a note in the Western Wall.

Netanyahu told media who were present for his post-electoral visit to the Western Wall on Wednesday that he was moved by the responsibility that he felt was placed upon his shoulders.

“Here in this place I am awed by the historical significance of a people renewing itself in its homeland after 4,000 years. I am moved by the weight of responsibility that the people of Israel have placed upon my shoulders and appreciate the decision of Israeli citizens to choose me and my colleagues against all odds.

“I would like to say that I will do everything in my power to care of the welfare and security of all Israeli citizens,” he added.

Netanyahu was accompanied to the Wall by his wife Sarah.

Last night (March 17) during his victory speech at Likud campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said, “Reality is not waiting for us. The citizens of Israel expect us to quickly put together a leadership that will work for them regarding security, economy and society as we committed to do – and we will do so.”

The Likud said in a separate statement that it is talking with the Bayit Yehudi party led by Naftali Bennett, as well as with Kulanu, the party led by former Likud member Moshe Kahlon, and the hareidi-religious parties.

The prime minister was clear during the campaign in stating his belief that recent history shows it is no longer in Israel’s best interests to support the establishment of an independent Palestinian Authority state. Netanyahu is therefore intent on building a right-wing government coalition that holds similar views.

Palestinian Sour Grapes at Israeli Re-election of Netanyahu Government

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Palestinian Authority leaders bitterly issued a statement that smacked of sour grapes Wednesday, denouncing Israeli voters for choosing to re-elect Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu as prime minister on Tuesday.

Senior official Yasser Abed Rabbo, speaking for the PA’s parent organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said, “Israel chose the path of racism, occupation and settlement building, and did not choose the path of negotiations and partnership between us.”

Entirely forgotten were the 10 months in which hundreds of thousands of Israelis could not repair even a balcony if they lived in Judea, Samaria or areas of Jerusalem desired by the PA, due to a construction freeze imposed by Netanyahu in deference to a PA precondition for talks.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, told the Ma’an news agency the PA is not concerned with who forms the new government, but rather with whether that government recognizes the PA’s right to an independent sovereign state – with part of Jerusalem serving as its capital.

Rudeineh said the PA would continue to work with any Israeli government that recognizes “legitimate international resolutions” but said if Israel is not committed to a two-state solution, there would be no chance to resume the peace process.

Former chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement that the Likud victory reflected “the success of a campaign based on settlements, racism, apartheid and the denial of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people.”

However, a Gulf Arab official who declined to be named told Reuters that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu actually owed his victory at the polls to Israeli concerns over security, particularly with regard to worries about Iran.

“With Iran emerging again, it was highly expected that Netanyahu would win,” the official said. “He’s a man who believes strongly in protecting his people, and this is what Israel wants now.”

Iran, however, believes there is “no difference” between Israel’s political parties. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marizeh Afkham was quoted by the Mehr news agency Wednesday in Tehran as saying, “For us there is no difference between the Zionist regime’s political parties. They are all aggressors in nature.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declined to comment on the results of the election when asked by reporters during a break in talks with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Tuesday night, however, the U.S. was “looking forward to working with the next Israeli government.”

Late Tuesday night White House press secretary Josh Earnest also said that President Barack Obama was “confident that strong U.S.-Israeli ties will endure far beyond the Israeli elections regardless of the victor.”

Obama Claims Netanyahu Offered ‘No Viable Alternative’ to Iran Deal

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama sat in the Oval Office surrounded by media, his body tense, prepared to rebut Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the Congress barely two hours after the event.

After a perfunctory acknowledgment of the points which America shares with Israel – the “unbreakable bond” between the two, etc. – Obama went straight to the point.

Netanyahu, he said, had “nothing new” to sell in his points about the Iranian nuclear threat.

“On the core issue, which is how do we prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon which would make it far more dangerous … the prime minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives,” Obama told reporters crowded into the Oval Office as he met with newly appointed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

“We don’t yet have a deal,” he said. “It may be that Iran cannot say ‘yes’ to a good deal. I have repeatedly said that I would rather have no deal, than a bad deal.

“But if we are successful in negotiating, then in fact this will be the best deal possible to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“Nothing else comes close.”

Really?

Although the president said he “scanned” the transcript of the prime minister’s speech, one has to wonder whether he actually, really read it.  To claim that Netanyahu offered “no viable alternative” to the current agreement being negotiated was painting a swathe with a rather broad brush, to say the least.

Here’s the “viable alternative” that Israel’s prime minister came up with, and brought to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday:

“Nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A race car driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons. Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil….

“We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world… Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do. And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.

“My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it. Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.”

Netanyahu added that the deal currently being negotiated could, in fact, even spark a nuclear arms race “in the most dangerous part of the planet. This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

“If anyone thinks — if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-claims-netanyahu-offered-no-viable-alternative-to-iran-deal/2015/03/04/

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