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June 26, 2016 / 20 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘borders’

Peace Talks Over, Abbas Says

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared peace talks with Israel over on Wednesday, ending a series of low-level meetings that brought no tangible results despite pressure from the United States, the European Union and the talks’ Jordanian hosts.

The final meeting of five held in Amman between PA representative Saeb Erekat and Israeli representative Yitzhak Molcho broke down over the issue of borders, with the PA insisting on exchanging solid proposals and Israel presenting only maps of areas to be negotiated over in higher-level talks. Palestinians have demanded that the 1967 cease-fire line be considered the border between Israel and a Palestinian state, while Israel has insisted on deviations from that line.

Even before the meeting on Wednesday, PA and Israeli officials declared the talks fruitless, with each side trying to portray the other as the recalcitrant one.

American and European leaders had urged both sides to find common ground on borders, security arrangements and other issues that could set the stage for higher-level negotiations. EU foreign policy chief Catherin Ashton, currently visiting Israel and the PA, stressed European hopes for progress.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II even intimated that failure in the Amman talks would mean worse relations between his kingdom and Israel – possibly including freezing diplomatic ties – in an attempt to pressure Jerusalem.

An official in Jerusalem was quoted as saying that Israel hoped to continue talks with the Palestinians, while Abbas said he would consult with the Arab League on further steps. “We hope that the Palestinians aren’t looking for an excuse to walk away from the table,” the official said.

Sam Ser

Israeli official: Nuclear Iran Could Constrain Israel in Fighting Hamas, Hizbollah

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

A senior military official voiced concern that a nuclear-armed Iran could deter Israel from confronting Iranian-backed enemies Hezbollah and Hamas on its borders.

IDF Military planning division chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said Tuesday that a nuclear would create a dramatic change in Israel’s strategic posture, because if we are forced to do things in Gaza or Lebanon under an Iranian nuclear umbrella , it might be different.”

 

 

Jewish Press Staff

Israeli, PA Envoys Meet in Jordan to Talk Peace

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Israeli envoy, Yitzhak Molho, and Palestinian representative, Saeb Erekat, met in Amman, Jordan on Monday in attempts to restart a dialogue that had been dormant for over a year. No official comment was released by either delegation upon the meeting’s conclusion.

Both parties have consented to bringing comprehensive proposals on territory and security to the Quartet by January 26. But the Palestinians have insisted that Israel renew a settlement freeze and commit to a solution based on pre-1967 borders in order for the negotiations to continue. For its part, Israel continues to call for negotiations without preconditions.

Jewish Press Staff

The UNESCO Paradigm

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

We always bristle at the preachments of even Israel’s few friends that it should rely on agreements and international good will as significant elements in its national security planning as it negotiates its final borders. In the final analysis, realistic borders based on a serious evaluation of probable military threats must be primary.

That principle was only reinforced by the recent goings-on at the UN and UNESCO.

UNESCO’s granting of full membership status to the Palestinian Authority in clear and direct contradiction of the standards for membership shows quite clearly that majority politics, rather than the legitimate interests of individual states, will always be the deciding factor.

And the PA’s failure by one vote to garner sufficient support in the Security Council for full membership – meaning that eight members were prepared to approve the laughable notion that the Palestinians meet the established criteria for membership – also makes the point.

Imagine – the PA came so close without a viable economy, without borders, without an army, and with Israel in control of most of the PA’s claimed territory and Hamas in control of most of the rest. And it is a foregone conclusion that, given the chance, the General Assembly would overwhelmingly vote for full membership for the Palestinians.

The recent UNESCO flap over a Haaretz cartoon, while comical, makes the point as well. Two weeks ago Haaretz ran a cartoon depicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak sending off an air force squadron to attack Iran, with Netanyahu saying  “And on your way back, you’re gonna hit the UNESCO office in Ramallah.”

Coming soon after the UNESCO vote on Palestinian membership, the satirical point was unmistakable. Remarkably, though, a senior official at UNESCO called Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO in for a tongue-lashing. He was read a formal protest and told the cartoon constituted incitement: “A cartoon like this endangers the lives of unarmed diplomats, and you have an obligation to protect them. We understand that there is freedom of the press in Israel, but the government must prevent attacks on UNESCO.”

Given the venom, incitement and threats Arab UNESCO members routinely hurl Israel’s way without any protest from UNESCO, it’s plain the rules don’t apply where Israel is concerned. That a major organ of the UN would engage in such a stretch and accord seriousness to such an obvious political joke is proof positive that Israel, as always, must rely on its own devices.

We are not suggesting that Israel can go it alone. What we are saying is that Israel must rely chiefly on boundaries that provide for its optimum defense – and never on promises and commitments that depend on unreliable international bodies for implementation.

Editorial Board

Times Columnist Kristof Shows His True Colors

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

I read Nicholas D. Kristof’s New York Times column of October 6 with its headline “Is Israel Its Own Worst Enemy?” and concluded on finishing it that it is Kristof who is truly an enemy of Israel.

As is fashionable nowadays, Kristof blames Israel for the lack of progress in the peace process with the Palestinians, claiming, “Nothing is more corrosive than Israel’s growth of settlements.”

Why? One million, five hundred thousand Muslims live in Israel. Why do the Palestinian Authority and its supporters like Kristof believe the West Bank should be “Judenrein” or that Jews may not live in a part of Jerusalem when they have lived in all parts of Jerusalem for 3,000 years until the Jordanians drove them out in 1948?

Why, when a two-state solution comes into being and borders are agreed upon and Jews are located on the Palestinian side, shouldn’t Jews have the choice of remaining on as Palestinian citizens or resident aliens or leaving?

Nothing offended me more and showed Kristof’s true colors and antagonism to Jews than his claim that the Obama administration “humiliated itself” at the UN by making it clear it will veto any effort to create a Palestinian state outside of direct negotiations between the parties. What is humiliating about insisting that the Palestinians recognize the state of Israel and negotiate all of their differences?

Is Kristof implying that Obama is being pressed into taking that stance against his will, or against the will of the American people? Is he implying that the Jews forced him into taking that position?

Kristof calls for the pre-1967 borders with land swaps. Does he tell us how that is possible when Hamas believes it is entitled to occupy Tel Aviv and its charter states that every Jew entering Palestine after 1917 must be expelled? Has Kristof ever criticized Hamas’s charter and its numerous acts of terrorism intended to accomplish this goal?

Kristof criticizes the fact that Israeli citizens have become more conservative on “border[s] and land issues.” Why shouldn’t they? Former Israeli prime ministers Ehud Barack and Ehud Olmert offered to settle borders giving the Palestinian state 97 percent of the West Bank, which they rejected.

Many supporters of Israel believe Palestinians are not interested in a two-state solution, one Jewish and one Palestinian, but seek instead a return of Palestinians to Israel so as to ultimately overwhelm the Jewish state and make it a Muslim state. Has Kristof ever addressed that possibility?

The criticism Kristof lodges against Hamas is limited to “And Hamas not only represses its own people, but also managed to devastate the peace movement in Israel. That’s the saddest thing about the Middle East: hardliners like Hamas empower hardliners like Mr. Netanyahu.”

As Ronald Reagan once said, “There he goes again,” equating terrorists with Israeli “hardliners.” Surely, Kristof knows the difference.

The Israelis have concluded, and I agree, that the Palestinian leadership does not want peace. Within the last two weeks, the Quartet asked both parties to go back to the negotiating table and talk without preconditions. The Israeli prime minister immediately said “anywhere, anyplace.” The president of the Palestinian Authority said “no” unless Israel agrees to a settlement freeze and negotiates based on indefensible 1967 borders.

Has Kristof criticized Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, for his refusal?

In his column, Kristof urges Palestinian women to engage in civil disobedience that could, he knows, end in violence and be met, he says, with “tear gas and clubbing,” ending with “videos promptly posted on YouTube.”

So there we have it. Kristof wants a physical confrontation or have the state of Israel and its military lay down their arms and submit to threats of violence rather than defend their people. What an outrage. I have no doubt he is repelled by the deaths of innocent civilians in Syria at the hands of the Syrian army, yet he expresses no qualms at what would follow to the Jews of Israel were Arab armies or terrorists to enter a vanquished Israel.

Kristof attacks Israel for “burning bridges” with Turkey. I believe it is Turkey that has effectively declared war on Israel. Turkey recently expelled Israel’s ambassador and Turkey’s prime minister said he will send Turkey’s navy to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, a blockade a UN commission has just said is legal under international law and intended to prevent the Hamas government in Gaza from bringing even more rockets and other arms from Iran into Gaza.

Ed Koch

U.S. Leaves Door Open For Internationalizing Jerusalem

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
Full gas in neutral. With nearly built-in enmity on the part of the U.S. to the most basic Israeli positions regarding Jerusalem, it is no wonder our efforts to keep Jerusalem continue to run up against so many obstacles.
One would think the lines of confrontation over Jerusalem are clearly drawn: The Jews are striving to protect both parts of the city – their historic national capital and spiritual center in the east, and their modern-day capital in the other parts. In contrast, the Arabs demand the Temple Mount, the site of Muhammad’s mythical ascent to both the heavens and Mecca, together with the adjacent, mostly Arab-populated neighborhoods.
This, of course, would lead to a very clear position for the Arab side: “We want the Old City of Jerusalem, and the areas controlled by Jordan in the years 1948-1967, which you have ‘occupied’ since then. The Jewish-populated remainder of the city doesn’t interest us.”
Such a position – allowing Israel to retain what it won in Jerusalem in its defensive 1948 war – is bolstered by the 1949 Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan. That agreement itself was buttressed by the U.S./British/French Tripartite Declaration of 1950 that guaranteed the very status quo set by the Armistice Agreement.
True, these were not official borders, because the Arab side made sure to insist, in true sore-loser style, that the borders thus set should not be construed as permanent. Israel agreed – but from the opposite angle. As Prime Minister Golda Meir said in 1969, for an Israeli leader to return to the 1949 borders was so dangerous it “would be treasonable.” Similarly, Abba Eban, who served as Israel’s foreign minister and ambassador to the UN, said the 1949 borders were reminiscent of no less than Auschwitz.
If even the 1949 borders are not safe for Israel, how much more unthinkable is it to erase whatever gains – such as western Jerusalem – Israel made in 1949!
Yet, despite the above, it appears a stand against Israel’s retention of western Jerusalem is being taken by the U.S. The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, refuses to recognize that western Jerusalem – home to the Knesset, the Israel Museum, Bayit Vegan, Rehavia, Jaffa and King George Sts., etc. – belongs to Israel.
How is this manifest? Very simply: The U.S. refuses to register its American citizens born in Jerusalem as having been born in Israel. Instead, they are listed as “born in Jerusalem” – as if it were a country on its own.
This flies in the face of a duly-passed legal amendment by the U.S. Congress in September 2002 that reads, “For the purposes of the registration of birth [etc.] of a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem, the Secretary shall, upon the request of the citizen or the citizen’s legal guardian, record the place of birth as Israel.” In practice, the U.S. government actually refuses to abide by this law – even at the price of being hauled before the Supreme Court.
Specifically, the parents of 9-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky of Beit Shemesh, born just 17 days after the law was passed, wished to avail themselves of its benefits, and asked that their Jerusalem-born son be listed as having entered the world in “Jerusalem, Israel.” The American consular officials refused. The Zivotofskys then took the government to court, lost, appealed, won partially, and, in short, the case is to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in November.
The suit is “about forcing the State Department to follow a law that merely codifies a long-established reality,” Dr. Zivotofsky has written, namely, that “Jerusalem, and certainly the western part of the city where Menachem was born, has been an integral part of Israel since 1948; no one has suggested changing that status, even after ‘final-status’ talks are concluded.”
This is precisely the point: Perhaps the U.S. is thus suggesting precisely that – that the Israeli status of western Jerusalem be changed.
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, against whom the suit is officially filed, has explained that “any unilateral action by the U.S. that would signal, symbolically or concretely, that it recognizes that Jerusalem is a city that is located within the sovereign territory of Israel would critically compromise the ability of the U.S. to work with Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region to further the peace process.”
In other words, she does not recognize “that Jerusalem is a city that is located within the sovereign territory of Israel.” This is certainly not a position Congress or the American public agrees with – yet the State Department is willing to go the Supreme Court with it.
In the 1950s, the American government took the position that Israel should take no actions in Jerusalem that would impede the city’s internationalization. Even if this idea was widely discussed prior and following Israel’s establishment, no one truly takes it seriously today. Can it be that the U.S. governmental bureaucracy is so sluggishly out-of-tune that it still adheres to irrelevant, five-decade-old policies?
Furthermore, if the status of all-Jewish western Jerusalem is in such danger in American officialdom, what does this say about the U.S. commitment to retaining the Israeli status of the Old City, the Mount of Olives, the Temple Mount and Western Wall? And what about Ramat Eshkol, Ramot, Gilo, N’vei Yaakov and many other old-new areas of Jerusalem that were liberated in 1967 and have become thriving Jewish centers for the ingathering of exiles and Israelis alike in the dynamically rejuvenating Jewish homeland?
Once again, we are made to understand that even – or perhaps especially – regarding Jerusalem, we are a “nation that dwells alone.” Whatever we felt was self-evident regarding our national, historic and religious links to this unique city, and the world’s official acceptance of these links, is once again shown to be supported by shaky pillars in loosely packed earth. Though Jewish history in Jerusalem is marked by a host of laurels for the Jewish nation, we can never rest on them.
We must constantly remember the Psalmist’s refrain, “If I forget thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand wither.” It must be ever on our minds: the subject of letters to congressmen and publications, phone calls, classes and lectures in our shuls, articles in our local newspapers, blogs, talkbacks, and the like.
             Jerusalem has room for many things, but complacency is not one of them.
To take an even more active role in the struggle to Keep Jerusalem Jewish, we invite you to visit and take part in our bus tours of critical but little-known parts of Jerusalem and environs. Come see for yourselves the implications of dividing our Holy City. Send an e-mail to tours@keepjerusalem.org or visit our website at www.keepjerusalem.org.
 

Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel’s minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, continues to write and edit. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now live in Beit El.

Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org

Did Netanyahu Blink?

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

An Associated Press report on Sunday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to negotiate the borders of a Palestinian state based on the 1948 Armistice lines understandably created quite a stir. Mr. Netanyahu’s public confrontation with President Obama over this very issue remains vivid in everyone’s memory, as does the enthusiastic and virtually unanimous bipartisan support for Mr. Netanyahu’s position expressed by Congress.

 

That this “red line” would be so abruptly and unceremoniously abandoned can hardly be deemed a simple matter. Did the AP somehow get the story wrong? Mr. Netanyahu’s supporters certainly hoped so, but then on Monday more news outlets, in Israel and abroad, confirmed that the prime minister had in essence accepted President Obama’s proposal that Israel affect a near total withdrawal from the West Bank.

 

To be sure, by Tuesday the AP was reporting that the Israeli government was “distancing” itself from the initial report, and that government sources insisted Mr. Netanyahu was merely willing to “show some flexibility” on the border issue.

 

When all the platitudes are put on the shelf, the gulf between President Obama and the Netanyahu government has been about whether Israel will be required to concede pre-1967 land as part of any peace agreement with the Palestinians. United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, formalizing an end to the 1967 Six-Day War, spoke of Israel’s entitlement to defensible borders with no mention of accompanying land swaps. The notion of land swaps arose only as a way to account for changes on the ground subsequent to the 1967 war involving the growth of Israeli population centers in the West Bank.

 

Thus, when President Obama spoke of “land swaps” with the pre-1967 lines as the starting point, he was extending the notion of an exchange of land to Israel’s minimal entitlement to defensible borders rather than only post-1967 changes in reality on the ground. And this was a monumental shift.

 

In the weeks since the Netanyahu-Obama brouhaha, the administration has, for whatever reasons, been eager to downplay the implications of the president’s initial statement. At the same time, it’s clear from statements made by Mr. Netanyahu that there is a dynamic in play, driven no doubt by the Palestinian Authority’s determination to win UN recognition of a Palestinian state.

              In the run up to the final Palestinian push for that recognition come September, one can only hope that principle will prevail.

Editorial Board

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/did-netanyahu-blink/2011/08/03/

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