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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Defense Minister’

Weeks before Demolition, Still No Cabinet Decision on Amona

Monday, November 28th, 2016

The Netanyahu Security Cabinet ended an overnight meeting early Monday morning without a conclusion as to the future of Amona, in Samaria.

Amona is a community of some 40 Jewish families in Samaria, slated by the Supreme Court for demolition on Dec. 25. The Ministerial Legislative Committee has decided unanimously to submit for the Knesset’s approval the Regulations Act compelling Arab claimants against Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria to accept market value for their land rather than force the demolition of the community – especially in cases when the Israeli government had been involved in establishing said communities.

The Knesset passed the bill in its initial form last week, with a majority of 58 to 51. Now a joint committee made up of the Constitution, Law and Justice and the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committees, chaired by MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi), is hectically busy amending and preparing the bill for a second vote at the Knesset plenum.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) are still doubtful about the chances of the Regulations Act to pass muster at the Supreme Court.

A representative of Attorney General Avichai Madelblit told the joint committee last week that her office views the bill as inherently illegal and expects it to be knocked down on “constitutional grounds,” despite the fact the Israel does not have a constitution.

But Chairman Slomiansky declared that the new bill is dealing with issues that are at the heart of the Israeli democracy. “After 50 years, it’s time for the legislator to deal with our 450,000 representatives countrywide whose status is still suspended.”

David Israel

Bennett Asking Trump Advisors to Substitute Palestinian Autonomy for State

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Education Minister and HaBayit HaYehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett on Sunday met in New York with three staffers of President-Elect Donald Trump and asked that the new Administration not automatically adopt the two-state solution as its official policy but examine alternatives to what has been the Obama and GW Bush administrations’ default approach, Ha’aretz reported Tuesday.

The meeting between Bennett and the Trump staffers appears to have contradicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s explicit instruction not to conduct direct meetings with the incoming president’s people. Bennett’s office described his visit to New York as a routine work trip, for meetings with US Jewish organizations as part of his role as minister of diaspora affairs.

According to knowledgeable sources, Bennett suggested what he termed “Palestinian autonomy on steroids” in parts of Judea and Samaria, alongside a gradual application of Israeli sovereignty over other parts, such as the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim.

It is estimated that Bennett asked to meet with Trump’s circle in response to an announcement by Defense Minister and Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liberman, that Israel should be happy with a new US administration that merely approves the 2005 Sharon-Bush agreement, whereby Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria may build to meet the need of the existing population, but not start new outposts.

The Trump people were aghast at the Liberman statement, accusing him of “passing on the left” of the president-elect.

Netanyahu’s office issued a written directive at 4 PM Sunday through Cabinet Secretary Zahi Braverman, asking cabinet ministers not to make contact with the president-elect or his staff except through the PM’s office or the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC.

Last Friday, Agriculture Secretary Uri Ariel HaBayit (HaYehudi) sent a letter of support to Stephen Bannon, Trump’s controversial strategist advisor, telling Bannon that although he, Ariel, may not agree with him on everything, he is grateful to him for his stand against the Iran nuclear deal and the anti-Israel boycotts.

Last week, Israel’s ambassador to the US Ron Dermer was the first foreign ambassador the president-elect met at Trump Tower in New York.

JNi.Media

Report: Trump Circle Furious over Liberman’s Leftward Pull on Settlements

Friday, November 18th, 2016

President Elect Donald Trump’s associates are enraged over a statement Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman made this week, suggesting Israel must cool its heels over Trump’s election and approach him with modest proposals regarding settlement construction. Speaking to political reporters on Wednesday, Liberman said, “If we receive confirmation of the Bush-Sharon understandings, we should grab it with both hands.”

The Bush-Sharon understandings recognized the need for construction to support the growth of the existing population in Judea and Samaria inside the settlement blocks — but no launching of new settlements.

According to Makor Rishon, Trump’s people were aghast at the very fact that Liberman was shooting his mouth off before meeting, never mind coordinating anything with them. And they were even more upset for the fact that the defense minister chose to “pass Trump on the left,” as one Trump aide put it.

Several key Trump officials have said that the Israelis have not yet digested the window of opportunity the last election has opened, adding that, should Israel ask for it, the new administration would even consider supporting annexing those settlement blocks, never mind building there.

Shomron Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who supported Trump’s election and is in contact with the transition team, warned that Liberman is “drying out 200 thousand residents who live in areas outside the settlement blocks.”

“The message the defense minister has delivered to the new administration is horrendous, especially since any first year Poli-Sci student knows that the Trump people or on the outs with the Bush line of the Republican party,” Dagan added. “The Bush family didn’t vote for Trump, and contrary to them, the Trump people support a united Jerusalem and construction across Judea and Samaria.”

“This is why the president elect’s people pulled their hair out when they heard what Liberman said,” Dagan noted.

David Israel

IDF Told Israeli Cabinet New Submarines ‘Needed’

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

Israel has decided to purchase at least three more submarines from a German shipbuilder in order to protect its growing natural energy assets.

But the decision, made by the government after recommendations by the security cabinet, the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry, is under scrutiny by some Israeli media that has been said to be seeking ways to undermine Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Attorney David Shimron, who has been the prime minister’s personal lawyer for many years, is also representing the German company that sells the submarines — a sale Israel’s Channel 10 has alleged was opposed by the IDF and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.

An IDF spokesperson said Thursday, however, that the military had informed the cabinet of a “need” for new submarines. The National Security Agency (NSA), said in a statement that there has been a “wave of false reports” and that in fact, the deal with Germany to purchase the latest group of new submarines was fully supported by Ya’alon.

Israel’s Channel 10, accused of a vendetta against Netanyahu, reported Tuesday night that Shimron is being accused of a serious conflict of interest because he represents both the German shipbuilder and has held high-level meetings with its Israeli representative, Miki Ganor.

Shimron told media in a statement, “I have not spoken with any state officials about the privatization of the naval shipyard nor have I dealt with any state officials about vessels purchased by the State of Israel.”

Likewise, Netanyahu told Channel 10 that he has never discussed Shimron’s private clients with him. “The only reason for the deal with the Germans is strategic and economic considerations,” he said.

In a statement on his Facebook page late Wednesday, the prime minister noted that the agreement on the submarines was carried out “in an orderly, professional manner with no outside influence and with the recommendation of all the professional bodies in the Defense Ministry, the IDF and the National Security Agency.”

The Israel Navy currently has a fleet of five submarines, plus a sixth that is to be delivered within the next two years.

Netanyahu announced at a cabinet meeting last month that negotiations were close to completion for the purchase of three more submarines for the Israel Navy, at a cost of NIS 6 billion ($1.5 billion), pointing out the acquisition was a strategically important move.

The prime minister has said the submarines will play an important part in the protection of Israel’s natural gas fields, and in the defense of the Jewish State against a nuclear-armed Iran.

“The acquisition of ships was done in a professional, organized way without any external influences,” said the National Security Council in a statement.

“In the course of preparations to protect natural gas fields and installations the government decided to purchase four ships. The decision was taken on recommendation of the security administration, the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry. During the course of our investigation, a number of possibilities were suggested for acquiring ships in accordance with the operational requirements of the IDF. At the end of our professional investigation it was decided based on political, operational, technological and budgetary considerations to base the acquisition on the agreement between the Israeli and German governments.”

The Council also underlined the fact that then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was involved in the decision-making process.

“The decision was supported by then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, the Finance Ministry, and various officials from other government offices. It was also supported by then-Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon in accordance with the IDF’s position. Within the framework of the deal, Israel was granted a significant grant from the German government by virtue of the special relationship between the two nations, rendering the cost of the project lower than any of the other alternatives.”

 
Former head of the National Security Council General Yaacov Amidror (res.) explains to Channel 2 how the process of deciding to buy the submarines was made (in Hebrew):

Hana Levi Julian

Liberman Ready to Freeze Construction Outside Settlement Blocks to Please Trump

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

In a move reminiscent of Woody Allen who he sees the school bully approaching and steps on his own glasses, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday announced that he is ready to freeze construction outside the Judea and Samaria settlement blocks as part of the understandings to be reached with the Trump Administration.

Proving he never read The Art of the Deal, Liberman suggested that Israel’s aspirations in negotiating with President Donald Trump should be to ask for his confirmation of the Bush-Sharon understandings that recognized the need for construction to support the growth of the existing population in Judea and Samaria inside the settlement blocks — but no launching of new settlements (also known as “outposts,” or, according to the Talia Sasson 2005 government report, “illegal outposts”).

The settlement blocks, outside eastern Jerusalem, which, according to the Obama Administration, is also one big settlement, consist of the regional councils of Gush Etzion, Mount Hebron, Matte Binyamin, Samaria, and Jordan valley; the local councils of Alfei Menashe, Beit Aryeh-Ofarim, Beit El, Efrat, Elkana, Giv’at Ze’ev, Har Adar, Immanuel, Karnei Shomron, Kedumim, Kiryat Arba, Ma’ale Efraim, and Oranit; and the cities of Ariel, Betar Illit, Maale Adumim, and Modi’in Illit. As of 2014, the Jewish population there is estimated at 400,000. At the current growth rate, in 2030 this population is expected to hover just below 600,000.

To be fair, this idea was not originally Liberman’s. In 2009, newly elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared: “I have no intention of building new settlements in the West Bank… But like all the governments there have been until now, I will have to meet the needs of natural growth in the population. I will not be able to choke the settlements.” Then, on October 15, 2009, Netanyahu said the settlement dispute with the Obama Administration had been resolved.

Sources inside the Liberman camp have suggested that the reason for this defeatist statement from one of the biggest hawks in the current cabinet has to do less with the incoming Trump people than with the outgoing Obama people, who can still cause a lot of damage in the two months or so left on their calendar. Once the evil teacher is gone, we’ll bring out the balloons and cake for the substitute teacher, those sources are implying.

Meanwhile, the defense minister was very critical of those MKs and Ministers who welcomed Trump’s election as the coming of the Messiah for Israel and the settlements, and cited messages received from the president elect’s camp “expecting us to behave humbly.”

Perhaps. But Liberman appeared to be in a “humble” mood about more than just future construction in Judea and Samaria — he was also giving up hope for existing Jewish communities, such as Amona. This community, built with government support, is slated for demolition and evacuation come December 25, by decree of the Israeli Supreme Court. Incidentally, on Nittel Nacht, the Jewish name for Christmas, eastern European Rabbis forbade married couples from having relations, and studying Torah was also forbidden, as this was a day destined for evil occurrences — a historic and cultural fact completely missed by the court, apparently.

Humble to the point of outright depression, Liberman criticized the Arrangements Act the coalition had just passed in a preliminary vote, which takes care of Arab claims on Jewish land in the liberated territories without having to destroy Jewish communities. For one thing, he pointed out, “it is clear it won’t cover Amona because it cannot be applied retroactively.”

“Sometimes truth is also an option, even when it’s very bitter,” he said, stating that “anyone who says Amona can be preserved in its current location is just spreading delusions and fantasies.”

Or, as Bogie says in Allen’s Play It Again, Sam, “Nothing that a bit of bourbon wouldn’t fiksh.”

David Israel

Defense Ministry to Ramp Up IDF Reserve Payments

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

By Andrew Friedman/TPS

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced Sunday that a committee of defense ministry, IDF, finance ministry and the National Insurance Institute officials have approved NIS 30 million ($7.77 million) to increase reimbursement payments to self-employed IDF reservists.

To date, business owners who serve in the reserves have been reimbursed according to their average monthly earnings. Now, the defense ministry said self-employed Israelis will receive an additional 25 percent above that average for time spent in military service.

“The defense ministry and the IDF are well-aware of the fact that reservists play a central, critical role in the IDF’s ability to protect the State of Israel,” said Liberman. “So we are working on a variety of channels for the benefit of the entire reserve apparatus in general, and especially for individual reservists.

The move, which followed on a proposal by MK Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid), is intended to offset financial losses accrued as a result of time spent in reserve duty. The additional payment will be added automatically to reservists’ salaries, up to the maximum reimbursement set by law.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Habayit Hayehudi: Amona Stays or We Leave

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

On Thursday morning, MK Shuli Mualem Refaeli, Chairwoman of the Habayit Hayehudi faction, told Israel’s FM103 that Prime Minister Netanyahu is dragging his feet regarding the coming evacuation of the Amona community in Samaria Dec. 25. While the official line, from both Netanyahu (Likud) and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) has been that the battle for Amona has been lost and the Supreme Court and Peace Now will inevitably have their way, MK Mualem insisted that “there is an agreed upon outline that could provide a solution, but the people in charge of promoting it ate dragging their feet and aren’t examining it at the needed pace and the right manner.”

In short, Mualem said, “We suspect the prime minister, when issuing the order to move on [with the dismantling of the community], didn’t pound his desk.”

Habayit Hayehudi will pound the desk on Sunday, apparently, when Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who chairs the ministerial legislative committee, is slated to propose Mualem Refaeli’s new bill legalizing the Amona homes. With 25 of Netanyahu’s 30 Likud Knesset members on record as supporting legalizing Amona — by compelling the Arab claimants on the land to accept market value compensation — the bill stands a very good chance of passing the ministerial committee and going to an initial vote in the plenum.

Of course, this is the last thing Netanyahu wants, because as soon as this bill becomes a law, the Miriam Naor Supreme Court will strike it down. Naor wants the destruction of Amona, not a compromise, much like the Obama Administration, which has been sending angry messages Netanyahu’s way even for the idea of resettling the Amona evacuees in nearby Shiloh.

Moalem-Refaeli wrote Netanyahu that she was prepared to pull the bill from Sunday’s agenda, and help avoid a coalition crisis, if the government declares that Amona was built on abandoned land, making it automatically state-owned. She warned him of the current attack on the entire settlement enterprise, as anti-Zionist NGOs such as Peace Now will move on to thousands more Jewish housing units in the liberated territories where they would dig up fabricated Arab land owners, with full support from the Ramallah land registrar.

Much like Netanyahu, Habayit Hayehudi party is also under attack from their own rightwing, as Amona residents and many in the settlement movement have been critical of its failure to save the condemned community. Former MK Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, took to the airwaves to praise Deputy Dfense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi) who told Amona residents that should the bulldozers attack their homes, the Jewish Home would leave the government. At the same time, Ketzaleh attacked the party chairman, Naftali Bennett, who actually gets to decide if and when the party leaves government, for his failure to be as blunt as Ben-Dahan.

It remains to be seen which way Netanyahu will cleverly evade this crisis, and whether or not he is prepared to either arm wrestle the high court or put down a rightwing rebellion in his own party. His decision is likely to be less confrontational and, equally likely, less brave.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/habayit-hayehudi-amona-stays-or-we-leave/2016/10/27/

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