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March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘deal’

House Speaker Boehner Says Netanyahu Speech Won’t Harm US-Israel Relations

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Speaker of the House John Boehner hit back on Thursday at U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who characterized next week’s address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as “destructive.”

Boehner challenged her remarks, saying that in fact, the situation was quite the opposite.

“The president’s national security adviser says it’s destructive for the prime minister of Israel to address the United States Congress,” Boehner told reporters on Thursday.

“I couldn’t disagree more. The American people and both parties in Congress have always stood with Israel and nothing, and no one, could get in the way,” Boehner said.

The invitation by the Speaker came directly, without a first pass by the White House or the State Department, which presidential staff members have censured as a breach of protocol.

The prime minister maintains that Iran’s skyrocketing nuclear development and the pending agreement being arranged by the United States and world leaders with Tehran presents Israel with a clear existential threat. As such, Netanyahu said he cannot afford to pass up an opportunity to directly discuss the danger to Israel with America’s lawmakers.

Rice said Tuesday the prime minister’s acceptance of the Speaker’s invitation to address the joint session of Congress on March 3 is “destructive of the fabric of the relationship” between Israel and the United States.

“What has happened over the last several weeks, by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the Speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu on two weeks in advance of his election, is that on both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship,” Rice said.

Boehner disagreed, saying, “What is destructive in my view is making a bad deal that paves the way for a nuclear Iran. That’s destructive.”

The Speaker insisted that it is important for the American people to hear what Israel’s prime minister has to say about the grave threats Israel faces.

“I’m glad that most of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, will be there” to hear it, Boehner said.

Both Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samatha Power, are expected to address the AIPAC annual convention which begins on Sunday, and where Netanyahu is also scheduled to appear.

Netanyahu Points Out, ‘If the Deal is Good, Why Hide It?’

Monday, February 16th, 2015

If the deal with Iran is so good, why hide it?

That’s the latest point driven home by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as he continues to warn American legislators and world leaders against signing a deal being discussed with Iran over nuclear development activity.

The U.S. is being far more cautious in its updates to Israel on the progress of the talks taking place over the deal, apparently in response to Netanyahu’s determination to move forward with an invitation to address Congress on the issue on March 3.

The “P5+1 talks with Tehran” are scheduled to conclude – so far, apparently with an agreement in place – on March 24. Israel’s national elections will have already been held a few days earlier, on March 17.

Netanyahu contended Sunday in comments at the annual meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, held in Jerusalem, that Israel has a right to know the details of the agreement being discussed – since the Jewish State is the nation that will be most threatened by a nuclear Iran.

“If there is someone who thinks it is a good deal, why is there a need to hide it?” Netanyahu pointed out. The U.S. has gone mum on details of “sensitive information about the Iran talks,” according to a report by David Ignatius of the Washington Post, keeping Israel out of the loop out of concern that Netanyahu’s office had leaked “sensitive details” of the U.S. position.

Among the information no longer being share are details such as the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges that Tehran will be allowed to keep running – a delicate point that could mean the difference between life and death for the Jewish State.

Congressional Bill Introduced: Europe Must Reject Anti-Israel BDS in Free Trade Deal

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

If Europe wants to enjoy the benefits of what could be the largest free trade deal in history, the leaders of its member nations will have to pay a price: they must agree to reject the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, say two U.S. Representatives – one from each side of the political aisle.

The Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act was formally submitted Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 10) on Capitol Hill under bipartisan sponsorship, which is expected to smooth the way for rapid passage.

But there’s a catch. The legislation will “leverage ongoing trade negotiations to discourage prospective U.S. trade partners from engaging in economic discrimination against Israel, said Representatives Juan Vargas (D-CA) and Peter Roskam (R-IL), who co-sponsored the bill.

Additional co-sponsors are to be recruited to the measure after its introduction to the floor. The two lawmakers said they are optimistic the bill will pass through the House of Representatives.

It’s a great deal. It is estimated the measure could add as much as 0.5 percent to the European Union’s annual economic output. The flip side of it, however, involves how the bill impacts the ongoing free trade negotiations between the U.S. and the EU. Foreign companies traded on U.S. stock exchanges will have to disclose links to BDS activities, and whether they have faced any pressure for avoiding participation in any boycotts.

“The bill … establishes a clear U.S. policy of opposing BDS as detrimental to global trade and regional peace and stability,” the two lawmakers wrote in their introduction to the legislation. They also noted that the measure was created in response to a growing trend among countries “primarily in Europe, to isolate and delegitimize Israel through BDS for political purposes.”

“Today, an alarming number of countries within the European Union and beyond have embraced BDS as a form of economic warfare aimed to cripple Israel’s economy and demonize its very existence. These attacks not only threaten Israel, but commercial relations across the globe,” Roskam told reporters.

“The US-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act will ensure that American free trade partners never engage in this harmful and illegitimate political protest against Israel, while also protecting US companies from foreign lawsuits targeting their associations with Israel.”

Vargas likewise noted, “BDS is a harmful political tactic which seeks to undermine and diminish Israel’s economic strength. We need to reassure our commitment to our ally in the region by clearly defining US policy to oppose this practice and dissuade other nations from adopting BDS policies toward Israel.”

The measure also unequivocally underlines the “strategic importance of trade and commercial relations to the pursuit of sustainable peace and regional stability,” making it clear that boycotts break down the potential for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the lawmakers said.

Perhaps that bit of wisdom should be directed towards the PA headquarters at its capital in Ramallah: Its latest anti-Israel economic boycott has just been launched, punishing local merchants far more than Israeli manufacturers. Worse, the boycott reinforces for Israelis the utter futility of attempting to secure any lasting agreement with anyone who claims to lead the Palestinian Authority.

Arab governments in the Middle East come and go, and so do those who lead the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The PA commitments in particular – on paper or otherwise – can be likened to a ritual courtesy one carries out in ceremonial garb. They mean everything for the moment, but are instantly put aside when “reality” steps back into the scene. In that moment, all is forgotten and anything goes, as happened with the obligations of the internationally recognized Oslo Accords.

A bill such as the Roskam-Vargas measure is invaluable, coming at a time when a European groundswell of anti-Semitism appears to be growing into a tsunami and the U.S.-Israel relationship appears to be floundering in ways never seen before. The entire Middle East is in disarray, and Israel may be facing an existential threat from Iran as it gallops towards a nuclear military threshold. It is precisely now, as Iran strengthens its terrorist guerrilla proxies to the north and south of Israel’s borders, that the Jewish State most needs the support of its friends in the international community.

How fortunate that the lawmakers in Congress have chosen this moment to reaffirm — and concretely demonstrate — America’s commitment to Israel, and to underscore the strong relationship both nations share.

Arab Media, Israel’s Channel 2: Cease-Fire Deal Imminent

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Perhaps the “party” is over — but officials are not breaking out the colored balloons to celebrate just yet.

Hamas officials have gone to Qatar to consult with their handlers about the deal being discussed among the Palestinian Arab terror factions.

The draft of a detailed permanent cease-fire agreement was crafted in Cairo just before Israeli negotiators headed home for the Sabbath, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television and a report published in the Egyptian daily al-Shuruk newspaper, quoted by the Hebrew-language Ynet.

Meantime, both sides are maintaining a five-day cease-fire while indirect talks continue in Cairo, brokered by Egypt.

The bottom line is this:

Hamas, backed by Turkey and Qatar, is demanding that Israel lift the blockade imposed on the region after the terrorist group seized control over Gaza in 2007, and kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

It took more than five years and the release of more than 1,000 Arab terrorists in order to free Shalit, and Israel has seen two wars with Gaza since then — not including the present conflict.

According to the report, the centerpiece of the deal under discussion includes a total stop to construction of terrorist tunnels into Israel.

There will be no rocket, mortar and missile fire or any other terrorist attacks or activities against Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian Arab terror factions in Gaza.

In exchange, Israel has allegedly agreed to numerous concessions that will ease the blockade and assist with rebuilding the region.

To whit:

Israel will ease the blockade by opening the crossings with Gaza. People and goods will be permitted to enter Gaza in order to rebuild the region, and Gazans will be allowed to export goods to Judea and Samaria, pending the establishment of regulations to be determined by Israel and the Palestinian Authority unity government.

Funding for the reconstruction of Gaza will be coordinated between Israel and the PA unity government.

Israel will cease all military activity in the enclave by land, sea or air. No ground troops will enter Gaza.

Moreover, the buffer zones along the security fence in northern and eastern Gaza will be eliminated in graduated steps and PA unity government forces will be deployed, beginning January 1, 2015.

The fishing zone is to be extended a total of 22 kilometers (12 miles) — immediately to 6 miles and then eventually to a full 12 miles — in coordination between Israel and the PA unity government.

The PA unity government — in coordination with Israel and international aid groups — will provide the basic items needed to rebuild Gaza according to a pre-set schedule designed to help those whose homes were in the combat zone to make a new start.

Israel will assist the PA unity government in rebuilding infrastructure in the region, and will help provide basic necessities for Gazans who had to leave their homes.

Israel will provide medical aid to the wounded and expedite transfer of humanitarian aid and foodstuffs via the crossings. To that end, Egypt also requests that the international community join in to provide swift assistance at the humanitarian and monetary level for Gaza’s reconstruction in accordance with a pre-set schedule.

Both sides will conclude indirect negotiations in Cairo within a month after signing the agreement, upon stabilization of the cease-fire and return to normal life in Gaza. Exchange of prisoners and bodies are to be discussed in Cairo at that time.

The issue of construction of a seaport and/or airport in Gaza are to be considered in accordance with the Oslo Accords and prior agreements.

An Israeli source told Channel 2, “Israel insists that any understandings reached must clearly serve Israel’s security interests.”

Palestinian Arab Reps Propose ‘Dream’ Gaza Deal in Cairo

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Representatives of various Palestinian Arab factions have been racing to Cairo in an effort to formulate some form of coherent cease fire proposal to submit to Israel over Gaza.

But that draft they’ve come up with is anything but realistic; the document had everything but the kitchen sink in it — perhaps the lack had something to do with the fact the delegation did not include women.

The delegation, which included members of Fatah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other groups, called for an immediate IDF pullout from Gaza.

Also demanded were shipments of construction materials into Gaza – the same materials with which Hamas built the tunnels the IDF now must meticulously destroy, one by one.

In addition, the delegation is demanding the release of all prisoners taken since the abduction and murder by Hamas terrorists of the three Israeli teens in Gush Eztion in June – including dozens of those who were released in the prisoner swap for kidnapped former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, and who returned to terror.

Not likely.

The delegation is also demanding an end to the buffer zone along the Israeli border, lifting of the blockade of the territory, an airport in southern Gaza and a new seaport – all of which would mean the free import of the same weapons and ammunition with which Hamas could carry out its intended annihilation of the Jewish State, and which caused this war in the first place.

Also on the list is free passage to Judea and Samaria and a 22-kilometer wide fishing area of the coastline.

The delegation is also calling for an international conference by donor nations to fund reconstruction of Gaza. It is demanding that its reconciled Palestinian Authority Unity Government oversee the rebuilding, in cooperation and with the assistance of the United Nations.

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PM Netanyahu Debunks Peace Deal Claim: ‘Peres Had No Deal With PA’

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The Prime Minister’s Office came out swinging in an overnight Independence Day statement Yom HaAtzma’ut, bluntly denying that President Shimon Peres ever reached a final status deal with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The statement, reported overnight by Voice of Israel government radio, denied a claim by the president reported earlier in the day that he had reached an agreement with the Ramallah-based PA chairman three years ago.

“The only one Abbas has reached an agreement with is with [the Gaza-based terrorist organization] Hamas,” commented the PMO.

President Peres had told Israel’s Channel 2 TV in an interview over the holiday that three years ago he reached a deal in principle after four meetings abroad with Mahmoud Abbas. However, he said it was scotched by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who nixed the agreement just prior to what was to be a fifth and final meeting in Amman.

The president said Mr. Netanyahu told him to wait because Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair, a former UK prime minister also involved in talks with the PA, might bring to the table a better offer. “But the days passed and that deal never materialized,” Mr. Peres lamented.

Israel’s president – whose position is primarily ceremonial and traditionally not intended to be functionary – said his own discussions had been about land swaps and total land mass rather than boundary lines. Maps had not yet been drawn, the president said, reported the Independent Media Review and Analysis, IMRA.

Cancelling the fifth meeting, he allegedly told the PA Chairman in August 2011, “I’m sorry, but the government doesn’t accept what we have negotiated and there’s nothing more I can do.”

The “secret” talks were never secret, however, and there is some question over how far the president’s diplomatic authorization supposedly reached.

President Peres, who was the architect of the failed Oslo Accords, is expected to retire next month as he reaches the age of 90 after a political career of seven decades.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is meeting today with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee as lawmakers review the current security situation.

On the agenda are all recent events, including those of the ‘price tag’ incidents, ‘David the Nahlawi’ and the attacks in Judea and Samaria that followed the cessation of final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Government Plan to Hand King David’s Tomb to the Vatican?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Is there a deal in the works to hand the Tomb of King David over to the Vatican?

Rumors of such an agreement appear to have enough substance to have prompted Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) to write a query to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Hotovely reminded the prime minister of the importance of the tomb of the Biblical monarch, noting its sanctity to the Jewish nation. She warned Netanyahu not to make the same mistake with King David’s Tomb that previous administrations made with the Temple Mount – that is, handing sovereignty over the sacred site to a foreign power.

In the case of the Temple Mount, the Jordanian-linked Islamic Waqf Authority controls all matters over the site, even though it is located in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City and is the holiest place in the Jewish faith. Because the Waqf is in control, Jewish access to the Temple Mount is severely restricted – and Hotovely warned Netanyahu that handing the Tomb of King David to the Roman Catholic Vatican could create exactly the same situation for Jews there too.

There has not yet been any announced response to Hotovely’s letter.

Although an Israeli government source has denied any intention of transferring control over the site to the Vatican, other sources have said otherwise – including journalist Gulio Meotti, an editorial contributor to Arutz Sheva, who maintains there is truth to the rumors a deal is still in the works.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/government-plan-to-hand-king-davids-tomb-to-the-vatican/2014/04/30/

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