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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘deal’

Iran Violates the Deal. Now What?

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

In the months since the Iran nuclear deal went into effect, the Obama administration has acknowledged that the behavior of the Islamist regime hasn’t changed much. The Iranians continue to act as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, test illegal ballistic missiles, threaten their neighbors, and seek regional hegemony while its leaders spewed hate at the West, the United States, and Israel. Indeed, in April, the president admitted that the Iranians were undermining “the spirit” of the pact while insisting that they were nonetheless observing the letter of the agreement. But it turns out his trust in the law-abiding nature of his negotiating partners was misplaced. A new report published by German intelligence that was backed up by a statement in the Bundestag by Chancellor Angela Merkel revealed that the Iranians have violated the letter of the deal via a clandestine effort to obtain “high-level” nuclear technology without permission from the United Nations Security Council.

The report from the German FBI—the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution spoke of Iran’s support for terrorists inside Germany including Hezbollah and Hamas. But just as alarming was the finding that Iran made at least nine recent attempts to acquire technology for nuclear arms development. Though it claimed the majority of those attempts were thwarted by German intelligence, the agency said there was no doubt the Islamist regime would continue “its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.”

The implications of this report cannot be overestimated.

This means that despite all the happy talk from the United States and its Western allies about compliance with the terms of the nuclear pact, their confidence is unfounded. Instead of merely reaping the enormous benefits that have accrued to it from the ending of sanctions and waiting patiently for the pact to expire in ten years before resuming their push for a weapon, Iran has never stopped working to achieve its nuclear ambition. President Obama made concession after concession and allowed Iran to keep its nuclear infrastructure and research programs because he believed the regime wanted to “get right with the world.” But as the Germans have made clear, critics who have said all along that the president’s trust was misplaced were correct.

The facts published by the Germans can’t be viewed in isolation. That can’t be the only country where Iran is working to cheat its way to a nuclear weapon. Iran’s overseas reach is considerable both in terms of its secret intelligence operatives as well as the vast terror network that it helps orchestrate via its Hezbollah auxiliaries.

Moreover, if the German FBI knows this, it is highly likely that American intelligence also is aware of these activities. That raises questions about whether U.S. officials in the White House and the State Department that have continued to assure us that the letter of the agreement is being observed have been lying to the American people. The revelations also put President Obama’s comments in recent months about the need to encourage Iran to be more open to the world in a different light.

What action can the West take to deal with these violations?

A year ago when the president and Secretary of State John Kerry were selling the virtues of the deal to a dubious Congress and American people, they told us that sanctions would be snapped back in the event of violations. But this is highly unlikely. As deal skeptics predicted, the administration and the West are too heavily invested in the notion of détente with Iran to respond with the sort of alacrity that might impress Tehran. America’s European allies were never enthusiastic about the Iran sanctions in the first place, and the gold rush of Western businesses to Iran has created a vast constituency for continued appeasement.

Yet that should not deter Congress from taking up the issue of Iranian cheating at its earliest opportunity.

The first order of business should be to call a halt to the deal the Boeing Company has struck with Iran to sell it commercial aircraft and related goods and services. That agreement was already raising concerns on both sides of the aisle because of the possibility that companies controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the entity that runs Tehran’s terror networks would be involved with Boeing. But, given the evidence of Iranian nuclear espionage, a strong message must be sent, and that should mean Congress putting a stop to the effort to allow Boeing to get into bed with terrorists. In addition to that Congress must also make it clear that it will not allow the administration to further relax sanctions or to let foreign companies use dollars to conduct business with Iran.

Just as important, this report should signal both Donald Trump—an avowed opponent of the nuclear deal—and Hillary Clinton—who supports it but didn’t take part in the negotiations and isn’t as invested in the myth of Iranian moderation as the president—that U.S. policies toward Iran must change in January. No matter the identity of the next president, President Obama’s successor must begin the work of clawing back the West’s leverage over a rogue regime that cannot be trusted and which presents a clear and present danger to world peace.

Jonathan S. Tobin

High Court Rejects Petitions Against Israel-Turkey Deal

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected all three petitions to stay the agreement renewing diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey. The court ruled the matter was one of statecraft rather than an issue for the courts, and something that in fact did not lay within the jurisdiction of the judiciary.

Under the agreement Israel promised to allow Turkey to send humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip via the Ashdod port in Israel. In turn, Turkey promised to stop allowing terror organizations such as Hamas to plot attacks against Israel or to raise funds from Turkish territory.

The first aid shipment from Turkey to Gaza was trucked through the Kerem Shalom Crossing Monday, July 4 after arriving by ship and going through inspection at Ashdod Port.

Hana Levi Julian

‘Trump Would Never Push Deal On Israel’

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

While Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law may be the most public Jewish faces of his campaign, a softer spotlight shines on newcomer Jason Greenblatt. Named by Trump as one of his Israel advisers several months ago, Greenblatt serves as executive vice president and chief legal officer to Trump and The Trump Organization. Having worked for Trump for almost twenty years, the Orthodox father of six from Teaneck, New Jersey, is emerging as a positive and constructive force in his boss’s campaign.

I met with Greenblatt in his Trump Tower office in hopes of better understanding the Republican candidate through the lens of his trusted employee, confidant, and Jewish friend.

While Greenblatt feels “incredibly fortunate” in his role as Trump’s liaison to Israel, he does not take his job lightly. “I daven to Hashem each day,” he told me, “to give me the wisdom, skill, knowledge, and ability to be able to help Israel and the people of Israel and the United States in the best possible way.”

In the course of our interview Greenblatt pledged to “do the best job I possibly can in whatever role, large or small, Hashem may destine that I play in this historic election.”

Lehmann: Trump has resonated with many who are increasingly disenchanted with political correctness and the establishment, yet finds himself under unabated attack. What is the best way to respond to a Trump hater?

Greenblatt: What I find is that Trump haters are very surface-oriented people. They’ll grab a sound bite or something they either heard or misheard in a debate or read in a newspaper that’s already been transformed into multiple messages with a reporter’s or editor’s bias. My goal when I speak to people is not so much to convince them to vote for Donald, although of course I’d love to be able to do that, but to have an intelligent conversation about what he really means and also, where does Hillary stand on this issue.

I would like to see more unity on the Republican side. It doesn’t compute for me when staunch Republicans are saying, “Well, I’m not going to back him and I’m not going to vote.” That essentially means they’re voting for Hillary. You might not agree with everything Donald says, but either you’re going to back him or you’re going to back the other side. Certainly Jewish people need to think long and hard about where Hillary is on the issues as opposed to where Donald is. Particularly when it comes to security, because unfortunately now terrorism is also within our borders and not just in Israel.

What do you think Trump represents to Jewish voters and what would his election mean to them?

Trump is incredibly strong and supportive of Israel. He recognizes the very precarious area that Israel exists in, even more so in the past period of time because of the terror that has happened on our own shores. He recognizes that the terror is in large part caused by the preaching of hate to Palestinian children and he recognizes that Israel is doing its absolute best to keep its citizens safe. He isn’t someone who is going to undermine Israel’s ability to secure its borders and its people.

In a perfect world he would love to be able to achieve peace. He sees his skills, his knowledge, his ability to talk to people as the traits that are necessary for someone who will come into a room with both sides and see if some sort of peace deal can be worked out. But he would never impose that deal on Israel or the Palestinians for that matter. No peace deal is worth anything if some other country or countries try to impose it on them.

Would Trump agree that Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state should be a precondition to any deal?

Yes. He was very clear in his AIPAC speech that Israel is a Jewish state and will always be a Jewish state. Whether you couch it as precondition or some other creative way to do it, he absolutely agrees that it has to be a Jewish state forever. If the Palestinians come to the table and say we want all of Israel and want the Jews kicked out, there’s no point in having a discussion. But if they come to the table with some other reasonably acceptable standard, reasonable to the Israelis, not just to Mr. Trump, then maybe the conversation can continue. But it’s a little hard to predict, because there is no partner right now at the table.

Can you comment on the criticism leveled at Trump for what some see as a tepid denouncement of anti-Semitic supporters?

I know that there’s been a lot of discourse in the Jewish community about how he hasn’t gone far enough to condemn some of his followers who are anti-Semitic. I think that’s very unfair criticism. Having worked here for twenty years as a frum person, I can tell you that Donald has been enormously respectful of my being Shomer Shabbos. He has bent over backward to help me succeed in the company despite my being Shomer Shabbos. That’s who he is. He respects all kinds of people for who they are because he realizes that everyone brings something to the table.

He condemned David Duke. Did he condemn him the second everyone wanted him to condemn him? Our community has this sort of focus that we want something done a certain way; we want it done right away. We’re not the only people in the country. He spoke to The New York Times, condemned Duke’s remarks, said very clearly anti-Semitism has no place in society. I think his broad condemnation of anti-Semitism is even stronger than had he merely condemned irrelevant Twitter trolls. People need to look at the whole campaign story and not a particular story, biased or unbiased, in a particular newspaper on a particular day.

As someone who has worked with Trump for almost twenty years, how do you react to people who attack his temperament?

In twenty years Donald has been nothing but extraordinarily respectful, not just to me but also my wife and my kids. He is warm, caring, and compassionate. I don’t think he’s impulsive; he’s energetic. He is excited to bring forth new ideas. That doesn’t mean he’s going to implement them without a lot of study and understanding.

He is a tough negotiator, absolutely, but that also doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of speaking thoroughly appropriately all the time. People see him on TV say something about a particular kind of person without understanding the context. Almost all those times he was attacked and was defending himself. He rarely goes on the attack but he’s definitely a counter-puncher. So if someone’s going to attack him, he’s going to attack back and attack strongly. But he’s going to do it within the bounds of what makes sense.

How do you respond to those who accuse Trump of having a vague platform or flip-flopping on issues?

Donald has tremendous intellectual capacity. There are some people who perceive his big-picture ideas as vague but you have to start with the big-picture idea. At least he’s coming to the table with a lot of change, meaning he’s saying the system doesn’t work. Take security – clearly the system isn’t working. Yes, he has some big-picture ideas and he will have teams of really smart people to help him develop them. But you have plenty of politicians who are extremely specific – and where does that get us?

Regarding his position on issues, look, he’s been a businessman all his life. He’s not been a politician. I personally don’t think there’s a problem if he learns more information and decides that his initial position on something maybe needs to be more nuanced or needs to change somewhat. I think of that as a strength, not a detriment. If somebody is going to dig in their heels and say this is the way it’s going to be, and they don’t want to change their mind after a lot of facts are given to them, that doesn’t make me feel comfortable. I think a leader does need to learn and maneuver as things come to light.

What would distinguish Trump as a president?

I think that what he brings to the table in a big way is looking at things the way I would want my president looking at things, not the way things have been done because they’ve always been done that way. That doesn’t serve our country well. Things are constantly changing. The world I’ve been raising my kids in during the last year and a half to three years is significantly less safe than even when September 11 happened. Therefore it does me no good to have a leader who has all this so-called experience in terms of being an insider in Washington. I’m not going to feel any safer for myself and my family just because someone has been in Washington for a long time. If anything, I’m a big believer in someone who thinks outside the box, somebody who looks at things with a fresh pair of eyes. And I think Donald brings that to the table.

I’m always amazed when I come to him with an issue on a deal – just how quickly he gets it and how quickly he proposes, not just one but often several possible solutions. Some of them are super creative. He is always willing to explore ideas to figure out the right approach as opposed to saying this is the way it’s done, this is the way it’s always been done, this is the way we’re going to do it.

Do you see Trump as Obama’s legacy?

Absolutely. Obama started out his presidency by apologizing left and right about who we are and who we stand for. We’re an amazing nation. I say that as a Jewish person able to live and work here and keep Shabbos. This is an incredible country for Jews and other minorities. So what is there to apologize for? We are a nation filled with incredible people.

Obama definitely put our country on the defensive very early on and we’ve lost respect around the world. I think there are other issues that he created for us, in particular regarding terrorism and security. Obama’s legacy has left a huge portion of our population dissatisfied, and I think the antidote to that is someone like Mr. Trump.

Sara Lehmann

Erdogan Rebukes Gaza Flotilla Organizers for Undermining Israel Deal

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday criticized the Turkish charity group IHH for sabotaging his reconciliation with Israel. The Turkish president insisted the deal is good for the Palestinians, for Turkey, and for Israel.

Erdoğan spoke during an iftar dinner (the meal at the end of the daily Ramadan fast) at the presidential complex in Ankara. He said that the flotilla organizers never asked his permission to sail to Gaza in 2010, when he was a prime minister, causing a needless diplomatic crisis erupted between Turkey and Israel.

Erdoğan’s frontal attack came after the Humanitarian Relief Foundation IHH on Monday criticized the deal saying it amounted to acceptance of the Israeli blockade.

“We were already delivering the same amount of humanitarian aid to Gaza, but without making a show of it. Now we have Israel’s promise, all aid supplies to Gaza will be permitted from now on,” Erdoğan said. He announced that a Turkish ship with 11,000 tons of humanitarian aid is ready to leave for Gaza this Friday, noting that this will become a routine from now on, no need for showboating, so to speak.

Last Monday, after months of talks between the two countries, Turkey and Israel announced that a deal normalizing their relations would be signed. Under the deal, Turkey would be allowed to send humanitarian shipments to Gaza which would be delivered to the Asdod harbor in Israel, examined for contraband and trucked to Gaza; and Israel will pay $20 million in reparations to the families of the Mavi Marmara casualties.

IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation is a conservative Turkish NGO, whose members are predominantly Turkish Muslims, active in more than 100 countries. Established in 1992 and officially registered in Istanbul in 1995, İHH provides humanitarian relief in areas of war, earthquake, hunger, and conflict. The İHH holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2004.

Two IHH employees were detained for alleged links to al-Qaida, in a Turkish anti-terrorism police raids on January 13, 2014. An IHH spokesman said that police searched its office in Kilis, near the border with Syria, and detained one of its employees. Another IHH employee was detained in Kayseri after police raided his home.

The current president of the İHH, Fehmi Bülent Yıldırım, has been under investigation by specially authorized prosecutors in Istanbul and Diyarbakır for allegedly financing al-Qaeda through his organization. Yildirim also led a memorial service for Chechen leader Shamil Basayev in 2006.

Erdoğan also said that the normalization of relations with Russia and Israel is based on a “win-win” principle. “In other words, both Turkey and Russia must win, both Turkey and Israel must win,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Erdoğan had a phone conversation with Russian president Vladimir Putin, on the way to normalizing relations between the two countries, some seven months after Turkey had downed a Russian jet that it claimed crossed from Syrian into Turkish airspace despite repeated warnings.


Liberman, Bennett, Shaked to Vote Against Turkish Deal

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

So far, only two government ministers, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and Housing Minister Yoav Galant, both from Likud, are on the record as supporting Prime Minister Netanyahu’s deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to pay upwards of $21 million as reparations to the families of anti-Zionist Turkish activists who attacked IDF soldiers with metal rods, rocks and knives when they attempted to take over the ship Mavi Marmara back in 2010. The deal also included a public apology (check) and easing the Israeli blockade on Gaza, which always ends up as a wise move when dealing with Hamas.

The loud objections from both sides of the aisle which the Netanyahu deal has raised on Monday may be the reason that four ministers Netanyahu was counting on to support him are yet to say anything on the subject: Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu), Aryeh Deri (Shas), Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Israel Katz (Likud). Meanwhile, three ministers have erected a strong front against the deal: Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), and Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi).

Liberman this week denied reports that he had committed to supporting the deal, as part of his entering the Netanyahu government. In closed sessions he went as far as to say that if he thins the deal is bad, he would vote against it.

Bennett said on Tuesday morning that “the State of Israel must not pay reparations to terrorists who tried to harm the IDF. A rapprochement with Turkey is important for this time and for the interests of the State of Israel, but paying reparations to terrorists is a dangerous precedent the State of Israel would regret in the future.”

A Channel 10 News survey released Monday showed that 56% of Israelis object to the deal with Turkey, and 67% believe it should have been conditioned on the return of the bodies of IDF soldiers in Hamas’ possession, as well as two Israeli civilians believed to be alive.

David Israel

Israel and Turkey to Meet June 26, ‘Declare a Deal’

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Israeli and Turkish delegations are set to meet on Sunday (June 26) to “declare they have reached a deal” to end the six-year-long conflict between the two nations.

The two teams, headed by Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu and Israeli special envoy Joseph Ciechanover, have been carefully negotiating for months.

But after Sunday’s “declaration,” the agreement will allegedly be finalized, according to a report by the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News, and then signed in July by Foreign Ministry undersecretaries of both nations.

Ambassadors will be reappointed in both countries and diplomatic relations will be normalized by the end of July, if all goes well, if the document is signed as expected, if there are no hitches and if everything else goes as planned. According to the report, if that takes place, the final obstacles will also be removed from joint military exercises, joint energy investments and joint defense investments.

If all goes according to plan.

All of Turkey’s demands have been met, in the wake of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident that so angered Turkey’s then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he severed ties with Israel.

Years of talks — and in particular, these past months of negotiations — have led to creative solutions on both sides that allowed for dignity and saving of diplomatic face with Turkey’s demands still able to be met by Israel. It was a delicate task, given Turkey’s insistence on freedom for Gaza, and Israel’s need for security in the face of the Hamas dedication to Israel’s annihilation.

But that does not mean that the current President Erdogan cannot come up with new demands, or reinterpret those that were met — or suddenly reject Israel’s responses.

Should Israel suddenly take action in response to a national security issue that upsets or offends the Turkish president, it is quite possible he may dial back his nation’s agreement to re-establish ties.

Diplomats and officials on both sides are holding their breath.

Hana Levi Julian

Poll: Saudis, Egyptians, Want Regional Peace, Shun Trump, Palestinian Deal

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Ahead of the 16th annual Herzliya Conference, the Institute for Policy & Strategy (IPS) at IDC Herzliya has released the results of two surveys conducted in Egypt and Saudi Arabia relating to the upcoming US Presidential elections.

The key findings of the polls were as follows:

Q: Should the next US President promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement or a regional peace agreement?

Egypt: 25.5% – Israeli-Palestinian Agreement 32.1% – Regional Agreement 42.3% – Should Not Promote Peace with Israel

Saudi Arabia: 18.9% – Israeli-Palestinian Agreement 41.6% – Regional Agreement 39.4% – Should Not Promote Peace with Israel

Q: Will the next US President change relations between the US and the Arab world?

Egypt: 31.7% – Change for the better 19.2% – Change for the worse 49.0% – No change

Saudi Arabia: 27.6% – Change for the better 27.4% – Change for the worse 45.0% – No change

Q: Was President Obama a good president for the Muslim world?

Egypt: 2.5% – Very Good 14.2% – Good 38.1% – Mediocre 24.5% – Bad 20.7% – Very Bad

Saudi Arabia: 2.6% – Very Good 17.5% – Good 36.1% – Mediocre 23.8% – Bad 20.1% – Very Bad

Q: Will the next US President cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran?

Egypt: 19.7% – Will cancel 80.3% – Won’t cancel

Saudi Arabia: 13.6% – Will cancel 86.4% – Won’t cancel

Q: Will the next US President be ready to send ground troops to fight ISIS?

Egypt: 32.3% – Yes 48.3% – No 19.4% – Don’t know

Saudi Arabia: 17.9% – Yes 58.1% – No 24.0% – Don’t know

Q: Which (Presidential) candidate do you prefer?

Egypt: 35.9% – Hillary Clinton 3.8% – Donald Trump 8.5% – Bernie Sanders 10.4% – Ted Cruz 41.4% – None of them

Saudi Arabia: 30.2% – Hillary Clinton 6.0% – Donald Trump 7.3% – Bernie Sanders 6.0% – Ted Cruz 50.3% – None of them

The polls were conducted in Arabic over the past 6 weeks using a random sampling from the regions of each country.

471 respondents in Egypt; margin of error +/- 4.5% 464 respondents in Saudi Arabia; margin of error +/- 4.6%

The 16th annual Herzliya Conference starts tomorrow, June 14 and runs through June 16.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/poll-saudis-egyptians-want-regional-peace-shun-trump-palestinian-deal/2016/06/13/

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