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July 27, 2016 / 21 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Defense Minister’

Police Continue Nightly Harassment of Minor Targeted by Outgoing Defense Minister

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

“The minor from Yitzhar” has become its own paradigm in rightwing Israeli media (leftwing outlets are yet to report this outrage).

A 15-year-old boy who, by decree of the former defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, was ordered out of Judea and Samaria, where his parents live, in the settlement of Yitzhar. It was an administrative decree, issued at the whim of the permanent martial law authorities that have governed the Jewish communities in the “territories” for fifty years.

Said decree was not required to specify what the minor from Yitzhar had done to bring on himself the wrath of the minister, it was simply issued, and turned into a living hell the life of the boy, his parents and his family and family friends inside the “green line” where he was forced to seek shelter.

The latter part, about the living hell, has to do with the requirement of Israel police to check on civilians who are removed from Judea and Samaria by administrative decree. Police show up around three in the morning, the preferred time for action by police everywhere, ring bells, bang on doors, wake up entire neighborhoods, because it’s what police do. And so, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to discover that the minor from Yitzhar faced a hard time convincing his parents’ family and acquaintances — including his grandparents who live in Petach Tikvah — to give him shelter for too many nights in a row, because they need their sleep.

Take for instance last Monday morning, that’s very early Monday morning, when policemen and detectives arrived at a home in Karmiel, in northern Israel, where the minor from Yitzhar was staying, and picked him up for interrogation at the local police station. The reason was that the fax (what decade is this?) he was supposed to send police, telling them his address that night, had been sent just after the required time.

Ah, police harassment, that unique combination of abuse of power and contempt for civilians, it’s why Israeli police patrol cars don’t say silly stuff like the LAPD’s “To protect and to serve,” or the NYPD’s CPR: “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect.” It just says “Police,” and if you’re a minor from Yitzhar tormented by the remnant ire of an already deposed defense czar, you know that patrol cars only spell harassment.

At noon on Monday, the legal aid society Honenu represented the minor from Yitzhar against the police’s attempt to keep him in jail until they’re done prosecuting him for that late fax.

Petach Tikvah Peace Court Judge Hannah Schnitzer-Zaga refused to proceed with the silly hearing and compelled the prosecution to reach a livable compromise with the defense. So they did, and the minor from Yitzhar was released on the same terms as before, including having to send those faxes on time. Also, police were warned not to carry out those late night surprise visits they enjoy so much.

Honenu attorney Chai Haber who represents the minor from Yitzhar noted that “it looks like all of the country’s security issues have been resolved, because otherwise it’s hard to understand why law enforcement is investing so many resources in harassing a 15-year-old boy with no priors.”

No one doubts that police harassment of the boy will continue. Attorney Haber related an incident when one night, when the minor from Yitzhar found himself without a place to sleep, he walked into a police station asking for help finding shelter for the night — so they opened a new case against him for breaking the terms of his release.

MKs Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) and Yehuda Glick (Likud) have requested an urgent Knesset discussion of the case of the minor from Yitzhar, whose life has been interrupted and uprooted for several months now by what appears to be Moshe Yaalon’s sheer vindictiveness. One man has the power to put an end to this cruelty is Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan (Likud). His email is gerdan@knesset.gov.il.

David Israel

Shooting Medic to Prosecutor: ‘They Threw Me to the Dogs Because of their Fear of the Media’

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Sergeant Elor Azaria on Monday faced cross examination by the Military Prosecutor, Lieutenant-General (Ret) Nadav Weisman, and from the start accused his company commander of being a liar, and his battalion commander of forgetting things.

The cross examination began with a question from Weissman, one of Israel’s top litigators who has been conscripted by a military eager to convict its own soldier, regarding Azaria’s own assertion the day before, that his company commander, Major Tom Naaman, had slapped him. “Did you review the videos from your interrogation?” Weisman asked. Azaria said he didn’t. “In the video you are asked if Tom was angry at you and you answered No. How can a company commander slap you twice and you don’t report it?”

Azaria answered: “My latest version is the truth. Witnesses have forgotten to say a few things here.” As the prosecutor pressured him, he elaborated: “I don’t know why the paramedic testified the way she did. As I was hearing the testimonies I recalled images from the incident. I don’t think that the soldier who testified for the defense is a liar.”

The prosecutor went down the list of witnesses against Azaria and asked if they were all liars. “Absolutely,” the defendant answered, “the company commander is a false witness. A big part of the battalion commander’s testimony didn’t reflect everything that happened. I can’t say the that battalion commander is a liar, but on some of the things he lied. He forgot to say a few things… As to being slapped, absolutely the company commander slapped me in the field and I’m still under psychological care [as a result].”

The prosecutor accused Azaria of inventing the slaps, Azaria said he was in shock after the incident and that’s why he didn’t report the slaps at the time.

When Weisman told him, “In front of the battalion commander and your attorneys you first said the company commander told you, Let this stay between us, but you didn’t mention the slaps. And suddenly you added them.” Azaria answered, “I recalled only parts of the event.” At which point the judge interfered and asked Azaria, “When your company commander tells you to keep this between you, what did he mean?” Azaria answered: “My entire treatment throughout the event. He probably knew he made a mistake with me when he screamed without trying to understand why I did it. On the way to the trial he also told me, ‘Say that you’re sorry and it’ll be OK, you know I love you.’ His behavior towards me wasn’t good and he wanted to come out good.” The Judge asked, “Good with whom?” and Azaria answered, “With the whole event.”

Azaria testified that he was asked to remove the body of the dead terrorist, which he said shocked him. “The company commander told me, Good luck, pick up the terrorist’s brains.”

He also said, “They took me to court to appease the world and the media. I felt betrayed. The company commander humiliated me. Meanwhile I’m hearing the defense minister (Yaalon) and the chief of staff condemning me and not even waiting until the end of the process, to hear my version of things, and they come out with announcements. I’ve lost my entire faith in the IDF brass and the defense minister. They threw me to the dogs because of their fear of the media.”

David Israel

Defense Minister Liberman Attacks Predecessor’s Public Conviction of Hebron Shooter

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Monday criticized his predecessor, MK Moshe Yaalon (Likud) on the latter’s public comments following the incident of IDF medic Sergeant Elor Azaria who shot dead a terrorist that had already been neutralized. “Deciding in advance [that Azaria had broken the law] was a serious mistake,” Liberman said.

Liberman was visiting the IDF reception and screening center, where, he said, “I enlisted in the IDF 37 years ago, in 1979, and now I’m coming back as defense minister.” A combat recruit who enlisted in the Golani and Givati brigades, asked Liberman about the rules of engagement, to which the defense minister answered: “We want to maintain the most battle ready and the best operational army, and also the most moral army. These are the values that guide us.” Liberman recommended that soldiers who are not sure about the rules of engagement ask their superiors.

Answering a question from another recruit regarding the political horizon of the Israeli-Arab conflict, Liberman said that “whoever believes that a political maneuver would improve our situation vis-à-vis terrorism is wrong. Terrorism is not rational, ISIS and the crazies devote their lives to dying as shahids. You can’t appease them through a political maneuver.”

Liberman added that Hamas is no different from ISIS and Al Qaeda. He told the recruits, “Look at what’s going on in the Muslim world. More than 90% of the victims are within the Muslim world. We live in a very tough neighborhood, a neighborhood of deep changes. Moses committed a strategic blunder when he brought us here and not to the Swiss-Italian border. We’re in a very problematic neighborhood.”

Regarding his summoning last week of the Army Radio commander for a hearing over the broadcast of a program about anti-Israeli poet Mahmoud Darwish, Liberman said, “I suggest everyone go back and read the goals of the military station as they were set by Ben Gurion at its establishment. [For this same station to devote time] to someone whose entire work is a call to the Jewish people to go away, and in one of his poems he describes eating the liver of the ‘occupier’ — someone got confused here. It’s my duty as defense minister to clarify; but we don’t get involved in content but in the army’s spirit.”

David Israel

2014 Gaza War Parents Demand Investigation of Operation’s Conduct, High Losses

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Two years after Operation Protective Edge, in which 66 IDF soldiers and five civilians were killed, the bereaved families of the fallen are demanding an independent committee to examine the preparations for the war, the way it was conducted, and the lessons to be learned.

The 32 families on Sunday demanded in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman that a state commission headed by a judge investigate the government’s decision-making process throughout the war.

In their letter, the families mentioned the fact that the Knesset Foreign and Security Committee had been asked to examine the events of the 2014 war and has yet to issue a report. One report that had been produced by the committee was shelved because of the 2015 elections. Referring to the same committee’s publicized intent to renew its investigation, the families argued it made no sense to “reconvene a committee that has already investigated the events and opted not to publish its conclusions.”

“Even if the decision to shelve the conclusions was made by a different person than the current committee head, it would be inappropriate to renew the discussion after such a long period of time, and it could appear as a lack of transparency or exterior pressures which do not belong in an investigation of this scope,” the families wrote.

On the evening of June 12, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and later murdered in Judea and Samaria by Hamas operatives. Their bodies were discovered on June 30. Israel retaliated with air strikes on Gaza in which 3 Arabs were killed and a dozen injured. Hamas retaliated with rockets that were fired at Israeli civilian centers wounding three people. On July 7, 80 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, and the Netanyahu security cabinet decided to launch a counter-terrorist operation. The IDF bombarded targets in the Gaza Strip with artillery and airstrikes, and Hamas continued to fire rockets and mortar shells into Israel. A cease-fire proposal was announced by the Egyptian government and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on July 14, and the Israeli government accepted it and stopped the attacks on the morning of July 15. But Hamas rejected the ceasefire and the war was renewed. By July 16 the death toll in Gaza had reached 200.

On July 16, Hamas and Islamic Jihad offered a 10-year truce with ten conditions, including lifting of the Gaza blockade and the release of prisoners who were re-arrested after being released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. Israel refused those terms. On July 17, a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire, proposed by the UN, took place. But a few hours before the ceasefire was to start, 13 armed Hamas terrorists emerging from a tunnel on the Israeli side of the Gaza border. The IDF destroyed the tunnel’s exit, ending the incursion.

After the ceasefire, the IDF launched a ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, aimed at destroying the terror tunnels crossing under the Israeli border. On July 20, the IDF entered Shuja’iyya in Gaza City and encountered heavy resistance. Thirteen IDF soldiers were killed, including two Americans serving in Israel. Seven of the IDF soldiers were killed as their armored vehicle was hit by an anti-tank rocket or an improvised explosive device, and three were killed in clashes with terrorists. Three IDF soldiers were trapped in a burning house. In the next 24 hours, three more IDF soldiers were killed in Shuja’iyya.

Shortly after the battle, twenty civilians from Shuja’iyya were shot for protesting against Hamas. Hamas said it had executed Israeli spies.

On August 3, the IDF pulled most of its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip after completing the destruction of 32 terror tunnels. On August 5 Israel announced that it had arrested Hossam Kawasmeh, suspected of having organized the killing of the three teenagers. According to court documents, Kawasmeh stated that Hamas members in Gaza financed the recruitment and arming of the killers.

JNi.Media

Liberman Reads Riot Act to Army Radio Chief Despite AG’s Objections

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

New Israeli defense minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) has spent his first month in office directing the military apparatus in substantially different directions, most notably his order for the generals to come up with a concrete plan to remove the Hamas government in Gaza — it turned out they hadn’t thought it would be useful to have one. And as the defense ministry and the army are starting to sound and act in a different manner than they did under Liberman’s predecessor, Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), the new defense boss is mending the more ideological aspects of the military system. He has added his support to the chief of staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot’s call to shut down the left-leaning Army Radio station, and on Thursday he became directly involved in the same station’s programming.

To be precise, earlier this week the Army Radio station devoted a program to the poetic works of Mahmoud Darwish (1941 – 2008), a member of the Israeli Communist party who is widely perceived as a “Palestinian symbol” and served as an artistic spokesman for Arab opposition to Israel. In 1988, one of his poems, “Those Who Pass Between Fleeting Words,” was cited in the Knesset by Yitzhak Shamir (Likud) for demanding that the Jews leave Israel:

“O those who pass between fleeting words / As bitter dust, go where you wish, but / Do not pass between us like flying insects / For we have work to do in our land,” Darwish called on Israel’s Jews, and concluded: “So leave our country / Our land, our sea / Our wheat, our salt, our wounds / Everything, and leave / The memories of memory / O those who pass between fleeting words!”

Following the broadcast on Army Radio, which included Darwish’s texts in its “Broadcast University” series on “Israeli founding texts,” Defense Minister Liberman summoned Army Radio commander Yaron Dekel to a disciplinary hearing Thursday at noon.

“On its face it appears to be a serious issue, whereby someone who wrote anti-Zionist texts that are still fueling acts of terrorism against the State of Israel merits to be included along with his texts by the military station in the foundation texts of Israeli society, together with Jerusalem of Gold and The Silver Tray (two popular and very beautiful song by Naomi Shemer and Natan Alterman respectively),” Liberman said. “Obviously this constitutes an [ideological] eclipse which cannot be ignored.”

On Wednesday night Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit phoned Liberman to inform him that he does not have the authority to intervene in the Army Station’s programming. Mandelblit based his warning on a 2015 opinion by Vice Counsel on Legislation Affairs Dina Zilber, that ruled against ministers intervening in the military station.

And now Liberman decided to ignore Zilber’s opinion, which is almost unheard of in Israeli governmental politics. In many ways this might prove to be Liberman’s bravest act so far, and he may live to pay for it as an irate judicial civil service could rise up against him.

Already the president of the Press Council, retired Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner, told Israel Radio that the intervention by the Minister of Defense in Army Radio broadcasting was dangerous, and said that it frightened her. “I cannot believe this is happening,” she told left-leaning hot Aryeh Golan Thursday morning. Yes, the red wagons are being circled.

David Israel

Israelis Raise More than $120 Thousand Overnight for Hebron Shooter’s Legal Defense

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Former MK Sharon Gal (Yisrael Beiteinu) has proven that everything people have been saying about the burgeoning Israeli rightwing majority whose power has only begun to be unleashed is absolutely true. Gal, who hosts a show on economics on rightwing TV Channel 20, found out that the attorneys for IDF medic Sergeant Elor Azaria had not been paid and that as a result the defense for the 19-year-old soldier was facing obvious difficulties, took to the crowdsourcing Headstart website where in about 12 hours he raised more than the needed amount — and the money is still pouring in.

Gal told the Headstart visitors — as of 10 AM Monday there were 3,297 donors who left the equivalent of $120,098.67 — that he will continue the collection to create a fund for future cases in which IDF soldiers who carry out righteous shoots against Arab terrorists are taken to court by their own army.

On March 24, which was also the holiday of Purim, Sergeant Azaria arrived on the scene of a terror stabbing outside the Jewish community of Hebron, where one stabber was dead and the other lay next to him on the ground. Azaria shot the second terrorist dead, an act that would have at most resulted in a disciplinary hearing within his military unit, but, an Arab B’Tselem employee was on hand to document the event and the video went viral. This resulted in the entire military apparatus becoming prosecutor, judge and executioner of the exemplary soldier, who received official recognition as Outstanding Fighter. From the defense minister down, they all condemned the yet to be investigated act. And so, rather than receiving a slap on the wrist, Azaria faced a murder charge, which was later reduced—under pressure from an outraged public—to manslaughter.

The trial is in full swing these days in a military court in Jaffa, and the Azaria family was running out of funds fast. At which point their countrymen took out their credit cards and gave and gave.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office responded that “Azaria is an IDF soldier who is entitled to a fair trial. Despite the fact that he had the option of taking a military defender for free, he opted to take a civilian attorney.”

Of course, the military prosecution did exactly the same thing: preferring not to rely on their home-grown talent, the prosecution conscripted one of Israel’s top litigators, Nadav Weisman, to lead its team, so, to play fair, the IDF should have paid for the defendant’s outside legal help, too. But the IDF spokesperson had nothing to say about that.

JNi.Media

MK Yogev: Out of Judea and Samaria Daily 1.98 Million Gallon Shortage, 1.1 Million Due to Arab Theft

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Affairs and Security in Judea and Samaria, headed by MK Mordhay Yogev (HaBayit HaYehudi), on Monday discussed the problems of water supplies to Judea and Samaria.

“The authorities have ‘dried up’ the residents of Judea and Samaria – Jews and Arabs alike,” Yogev said at the opening of the meeting. “This committee deals with various infrastructure-related issues, but water is the most basic and important of them all, particularly when we’ve reached a point where there is a shortage of drinking water. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Water Authority have known for many years what needs to be done, but it has yet to be done. We must assume all the powers, initiate a ‘defensive shield’ of infrastructures and urgently implement a master plan to supply water to the population.”

According to data presented to the committee by Mekorot, the national water company of Israel is capable of supplying some 11.22 million gallons of water to the region daily, but the demand is for 12.76 to 13.2 million gallons daily; meaning, there is a daily water shortage of 1.5 to 1.98 million gallons. As a result, Mekorot has been forced to adjust its supply of water to the region and reduce the supply to each community, be it Jewish or Arab, by 15%.

The committee was also informed that some 1.1 Million gallons of water are stolen each day in Judea and Samaria through illegal connections to the area’s water infrastructure.

Yigal Lahav, head of Karnei Shomron Local Council, said, “For the past two years we have been receiving messages from Mekorot each morning telling us that there is no water in the pipes, and we have turned to all the relevant authorities. ‘Surprisingly,’ summer has arrived, the population is growing, and it is only getting warmer. This matter must be dealt with urgently and seriously.”

Water Authority Director Alex Kushnir said, “We must fight the thefts aggressively, as they are a major cause of the current crisis. To date, no indictments have been filed against water thieves. Force majeure is also at play in this crisis, because two projects which could potentially add more than 2.2 million gallons of water a day have been delayed. These projects would have resolved the current situation.”

“We took it upon ourselves to try and promote a master plan, though there is no statutory element which can currently provide a real forecast for population growth,” Kushnir noted. “The Water Authority does not have the power to give instructions beyond the Green Line, and I cannot force the Palestinians to convene the joint committee [on water], but I did meet with the Palestinian water minister, and he gave me information regarding their needs.”

MK Avi Dichter (Likud), chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, asked the government representatives who are responsible for the current situation and who is authorized to make decisions on the matter, and when he did not receive an answer, MK Yogev said that “the responsibility lies with the Minister of National Infrastructures and the Defense Minister, and from them down to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.”

Brigadier General Guy Goldstein, deputy Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, said, “We operate only in accordance with the government’s instructions. There needs to be a diplomatic decision for the entire region that will make it clear to the Water Authority how to plan and provide solutions.”

Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council, said, “My residents should not care that the State of Israel does not have the guts to stand up to the Palestinian Authority, which is not convening the joint water committee. The state must provide a solution for all our residents, in any way possible.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/mk-yogev-out-of-judea-and-samaria-daily-1-98-million-gallon-shortage-1-1-million-due-to-arab-theft/2016/07/05/

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