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July 24, 2016 / 18 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Defense Minister’

Liberman Embarks on First visit to DC as Defense Minister Amid Military Aid Dispute

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) is coming to Washington DC on his inaugural visit as Defense Minister against the background of a dispute between the White House and Congress over increasing US support for Israel’s missile defense research and development. He’ll be meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who maintained a personal friendship with Liberman’s ousted predecessor, Moshe Ya’alon (Likud). Liberman and Carter are expected to discuss the White House proposal for a long-term US military aid, which would be larger than the current package, but conditioned on Israeli agreement not to solicit additional military aid from Congress.

Last Tuesday the Administration opposed a call by Congress to increase funding for Israel’s missile defense program by $455 million, to $600 million, well above the 2017 fiscal year White House budget request.

Israel is looking to expand the US annual military aid package from the current $3.2 billion to upwards of $4.5 billion, a portion of which would go to purchases from Israeli companies. The White House is looking at a more modest increase over 10 years, and for the entire amount to be spent in the US.

According to a senior defense ministry source speaking to Ma’ariv, the military aid package is not the central purpose of the visit, rather the trip is mainly planned for introductory meetings with key players in the defense department and in Congress. “We don’t expect dramatic breakthroughs in the coming week,” the source said.

Liberman will also meet with the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Committees.

On Wednesday, Liberman will attend the Lockheed Martin roll out ceremony for the F-35 fighter planes purchased by the Israeli air force — the first of which is expected to arrive in Israel in December. The defense minister will also tour an Elbit Systems plant and meet in New York with the defense ministry purchasing delegation.

According to Walla, there is a dispute between the professional echelon in the defense ministry and Prime Minister Netanyahu over the American proposal, with the DM staff recommending signing the aid package now, and Netanyahu preferring to wait out this administration and dealing with the next president, Clinton or Trump, either one of whom would be more pro-Israel.

Liberman is much more liked by the current administration than Netanyahu, because back when Secretary of State John Kerry was still pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement based on the 1967 borders, Liberman, then Israel’s foreign minister, supported the US effort, saying this was the best deal Israel could expect.

In that vein, Liberman is expected to use the opportunity of his US visit to allay fears regarding his hawkish reputation on defense, by making a major dovish statement about the two-state-solution.

JNi.Media

Analysis: Herzog Mocks Netanyahu, Israel’s SpongeBob SquarePants

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

In a witty speech, riddled with poisoned arrows, the leader of both the Zionist Camp and the Knesset opposition MK Isaac Herzog used his keynote address on the third and final day of the 16th annual Herzliya Conference to paint a grotesque image of the failures of the Netanyahu government, coupled with promises for a better future under his own party’s rule. Despite his repetition of ideas that have already proven themselves to be dangerously delusional, Herzog’s heartfelt bitterness was almost delightful:

“Finally we have a Right wing government,” he began. “Finally we have a right-wing prime minister, right-wing defense minister, right-wing Minister of Education, right-wing justice minister, right-wing Minister of Agriculture and even right-wing Minister of Transport… Now there is no one on the left to litter the agenda!”

And yet, he persisted, even without a shred of leftwing involvement, “look at what is happening around us: the waves of violence are stronger. An Intifada of stones has turned into terrorism of Kalashnikovs and Carl Gustavs and the citizens are scared to walk around Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion.”

“What’s the greatest mistake of the right wing government?” he continued to joke, answering his own trick question: “That there is no real left wing to blame. It really is a tragedy: even I thought we were getting a bunch of heroes with super powers – but it turns out we got SpongeBob leaders.”

SpongeBob SquarePants is the hero of an animated television series created by marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon, chronicling the adventures and endeavors of SpongeBob and his friends in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. The series has been involved in several public controversies, including one centered on speculation over SpongeBob’s sexual orientation.

Herzog, who is often self deprecating regarding his own effeminate public persona in Israel’s macho political jungle, obviously picked the SpongeBob imagery to suggest his seemingly macho political enemies were, in fact, the effeminate ones. Not a sure-win choice on the week of the Orlando gay club massacre.

Herzog reminded his audience that “for years the Right preached that we had to remain in Lebanon, and had to sacrifice hundreds of soldiers every year to secure the northern border. Then came Ehud Barak and he took us out of Lebanon and created a political situation that is not ideal but the number of our fatalities decreased dramatically, and Northern agricultural workers and tourism are thriving…. For years the Right has preached that talking with the other side would be the end of the state, the end of the Zionist enterprise, the destruction of the Third Temple. Then came Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin z”l who talked with Arafat, the head of a dangerous and deadly terrorist organization, and they reached understandings that turned the other side and its leadership from one of hijackings and murdering civilians indiscriminately to a diplomatic organization that worked with us on political and diplomatic issues.”

Delivered outside the context of the several thousand murdered Israelis who have been the casualties of the Rabin-Peres-Arafat peace deal, Herzog’s ideas sounded outright reasonable. He did fail to mention the rivers of blood that ensued each time Israeli leaders on both sides of the aisle have attempted to ply Arafat et al with territorial concessions.

Herzog continued to list his perceived highlights of the various governments and leaders of Israel, again without the benefit of knowing what followed those brave men’s best plans: “Begin, Rabin, Peres and Sharon were not afraid to put their personal fate on the altar for the good of the country and won spots in the Hall of Fame of Israeli leadership.”

He did say that “in the context of the current wave of terror in which dozens of Israelis were killed and hundreds injured, I identified a new path… an opportunity for peace… I worked toward this solution with international and regional leaders directly and indirectly.” Presumably, his planned territorial concessions would not end in more bloodshed, possibly because the polls at this point predict a drop in Herzog’s party’s Knesset mandate from 24 to the low teens.

Herzog insisted, however, that although the idea of cooperation between Israel and the moderate Arab states was not new, the time was ripe for such collaboration, “it’s a unique and rare opportunity.” He continued, “Unlike the previous generation of Arab leaders, nowadays many Sunni leaders have less of what I call an ‘Israel complex,’ which their predecessors suffered from. They are bolder, younger, more independent and willing to work with Israel, as long as it serves their national interests. These leaders are willing to engage on issues important to both sides.”

Except that those same younger Arabs out there, as was seen from a poll commissioned by the Herzliya Conference in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, no longer care about the fate of Israel’s Arabs on either side of the green line. But Herzog plowed on: “Today there is a golden opportunity. The United States must take the lead and the international community should support it along with the regional leadership of the Middle East. With bold leadership and bold steps, we can realize this opportunity and create a better future for us and for our children. I and my partners in the Zionist Camp see this as a window of opportunity that could ultimately bring about a two-state solution.”

Herzog concluded, “I opened the door for Netanyahu and offered him my hand saying that he was the engine of the Right, I was the engine of the Left and behind us was a wagon” of citizens. “But the Right did not succeed in turning on his engine… Netanyahu preferred to think of his political survival.”

Indeed, Herzog’s own failure to lead his party to political victory, and his failed coalition negotiations with Netanyahu will likely not bode well for his own political survival.

JNi.Media

Tunnel Digging Part of New War on Terror Law Passed by Knesset

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

The Knesset on Wednesday night, following a lengthy debate, passed in a second and third and final vote the War on Terror Law 5776-2016,by a 57 to 16 majority. The new law includes stricter punishment for terrorists and expands the state’s legal means of fighting them, including, for the first time, making digging a tunnel for terrorist purposes a criminal act.

The new law eliminates the emergency regulations which have been used since the establishment of the state. One of the new law’s provisions says that the punishment of a terrorist sentenced to life in prison may not be reconsidered during the first 15 years. It also punishes with 5 years’ imprisonment the direct incitement or encouragement for acts of terrorism. The new law does not require proof of any actual act of terrorism that resulted from the incitement.

The new law authorizes the defense minister to impose administrative forfeiture of the property of individuals suspected of security violations. It also empowers government to prevent an attorney representing two clients involved in the same investigation from meeting his clients. The law also imposes seven years’ imprisonment on a person threatening to carry out a violation that would be punishable by a life sentence.

The new law also revises the court procedures in terrorism cases, including interviewing a witness outside court, pre-trial testimony, statute of limitation on terrorist acts, detention of a security suspect, diversions from the rules of evidence, and concealed evidence.

Altogether, the new law cancels out two laws, two orders, and dozens of emergency Defense Regulations. It also modifies a long list of sub-items in as many as 14 existing laws.

Constitution Committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) who presented the bill for its final vote said that the conformation of the new law nullifies “60 laws and rules dating back to King George VI, so this is a kind of Day of Independence.” He praised the new law for emanating directly from Israel’s real, everyday experiences, “the real life in the State of Israel.”

MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) said that the only way to fight terrorism effectively is to eliminate the motivation for terrorism. She voted against the bill , saying, “I think it won’t do one thing: it won’t really provide tools for the war on terror, instead it will place us yet again on the list of countries that take advantage of a democracy’s ability to carry out anti-democratic legislation.”

The Arab MKs objected to the new law, saying it was anti-Arab rather than anti-terrorism. But MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Camp) said in response that despite the fact that the law is complex, it is an Israeli law and not an anti-Arab law, “and it’s a law intended to protect all the citizens of Israel, since terror, if I may remind you, my friends, does not tell the difference between those sitting by this table or the other.”

JNi.Media

UNSC Unanimously Condemn Tel Aviv Terror Shooting, State Dept. ‘Happy to Once Again Condemn’

Friday, June 10th, 2016

The credit for this one belongs entirely to Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon, who, in less than one year at a job to which he was appointed to get him out of PM Netanyahu’s and DM Ya’alon’s hair, appears to be making a difference in effectively representing Israel’s case in the most hostile international arena outside Khartum, Sudan. In a manner reminiscent of another UN envoy, Benjamin Netanyahu, Danon is not a complainer, he is an attacker, and he makes demands. Such as the demands he has made of the UN to at last treat the murder of innocent Jews by Arab terrorists in Tel Aviv as seriously as the did, say, the murdrer of innocent Frenchmen in Paris by Arab Terrorists. Well, last night they did.

For the first time since the wave of Arab terrorism began, on September 2015, on Thursday at 11:30 PM, the UN Security Council condemned the deadly shooting in the strongest terms, calling for the individuals behind “these reprehensible acts of terrorism” to be brought to justice. The council statement was approved by all 15 members. It expressed sympathy for the families of the four civilians killed and those who were injured, and “reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable.”

Also on Thursday, in the daily press briefing by Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson for the US State Dept., reporter Arshad Mohammed asked Toner if he had anything more to say about the terror attack. Toner answered: “I’m happy to once again condemn yesterday’s terrible terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv.” Oh, for sure, this is gotcha’ journalism on our part, because, of course, Toner didn’t mean to say he was happy there was a terror attack — but the officious, businesslike manner in which the spokesperson treated the story and the statement conveyed how much empathy he really felt, which was probably somewhere between zero and one on the eleven-notch Spinal Tap volume scale.

The original State Dept. response, on Wednesday, sounded real, though: “The United States condemns today’s horrific terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in the strongest possible terms. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick recovery for those wounded. These cowardly attacks against innocent civilians can never be justified. We are in touch with Israeli authorities to express our support and concern.”

So we probably shouldn’t begrudge Toner his unfortunate expression of happiness.

The same reporter on Thursday continued, saying “the defense minister over there, Avigdor Liberman, has said that in the future Palestinians that are killed while carrying out attacks– their bodies will not be returned to their families. They’re going to be interred somewhere. Israel has a cemetery for enemies, I think.”

The Internet is rife with Arab media stories about Israel’s “cemetery for enemies.” It’s a real place, in the Jordan valley. Back in 2011, Prime Minister Netanyahu approved the transfer of 84 bodies from the Jordan Valley cemetery of enemy combatants to the Palestinian Authority. The Liberman new decision to stop returning terrorists’ bodies is a blessed step in the right direction, and a clear change in the IDF soft arm policy of Liberman’s predecessor. Turns out Israel now has a rightwing defense minister. Liberman also revoked thousands of entry permits issued to Judea, Samaria and Gaza Arabs for the month of Ramadan, added two IDF battalions to Judea and Samaria, and sent security forces to Yatta Village, home of the cousin terrorists who murdered four Israelis in Tel Aviv. If Liberman also gets those two the death penalty he could probably be Israel’s next prime minister.

About which Toner had to say: “We understand the Israeli Government’s desire to protect its citizens, after this kind of terrorist attack, and we strongly support that right. But we would hope that any measures it takes would also take into consideration the impact on Palestinian civilians, who are just trying to go about their daily lives.”

We’ll see what we can do.

David Israel

Liberman Sips Coffee at Sarona, Beefs Up IDF Battalions in Judea, Samaria

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman likes his coffee.

By Thursday morning, he was already at the Sarona market in Tel Aviv, drinking a cup of coffee at a cafe to show his support for the market where two Arab terrorists had murdered four Israelis and wounded five others barely 12 hours before.

The popular market with its cafes, bars, restaurants and other little shops is located across from the Kirya, home to the IDF headquarters and office of the defense ministry.

Sarona made sure to quickly reopen in accordance with the urging of Mayor Ron Huldai who told media “we have to live with this reality,” not let terror rule Israeli lives.

“Please allow me to express my condolences to the families and I wish the wounded a speedy recovery,” Liberman told journalists Thursday morning after they asked how the government would respond to the attack.

“I came to salute the residents of Tel Aviv who have had to absorb yet another serious incident. Despite this, they want to return to regular life and to prove that life is stronger. I don’t intend to elaborate on the steps which we will be taking and I definitely don’t intend to make do with words only,” Liberman said.

His intentions soon became clear.

As the security cabinet was sitting down to discuss those measures, the IDF was already beefing up its presence in Judea and Samaria. Hundreds of soldiers in numerous units are now stationed in the regions in two additional battalions “in accordance with situation assessments.”

The added units range from infantry to special forces fighters.

Police patrols have been beefed up in Tel Aviv around the city’s train stations and the central bus station, according to Israel Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld.

In addition, 83,000 permits were frozen that would have allowed Arabs from Judea, Samaria and Gaza to cross the checkpoints to visit relatives and friends in other regions and to enter Jerusalem to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Among those were Israeli work permits that had been given to 204 relatives of the terrorists, who are residents of the Hebron suburb of Yatta, in the southern Hebron Hills.

Preparations are already being made to demolish the family home of at least one of the two terrorists who carried out the attack.

Hana Levi Julian

Liberman: Let No Terrorist Come Out Alive from Any Attack

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Last year, nine months before he was appointed Defense Minister, MK Avigdor Liberman posted on his Facebook page his expectations of the cabinet meeting to be convened at noon following the terrorist attacks. Liberman listed his expectations as follows:

1. No male or female terrorist comes out alive from any terrorist attack.

2. Adopt the rules of engagement common in the United States.

3. Revoke the residency of every eastern Jerusalem resident involved in terrorist activity.

4. Activate emergency laws and impose martial law wherever needed in order to defeat terrorism.

Liberman concluded: I remind the Prime Minister and members of the cabinet, words don’t stop terrorists. Security is achieved through an iron fist.

Avigdor Liberman's recommendations on dealing with terror - before he became Defense Minister

Avigdor Liberman’s recommendations on dealing with terror – before he became Defense Minister

This vehement call for an unabashed, strong-armed treatment of terrorism was posted on October 13, 2015, one of the toughest days in the current wave of terror, when MK Liberman was still just another member of the opposition. In the Aramon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, two Arab terrorists boarded a bus, one carrying a gun the other a knife, and started attacking passengers at random until police overtook them. Two passengers were killed and seven injured, among them two women who were in critical condition.

A short while later there was a car ramming attack on Malchei Israel Street in Jerusalem, where one man, 59, was murdered and three injured. The terrorist exited his car and started stabbing pedestrians, until police finally arrived on the scene and neutralized him.

Then, in Ra’anana, an Arab terrorist, 22, from eastern Jerusalem arrived at the central bus station and stabbed one person, 32. Local civilians managed to subdue the terrorist.

It’s possible that Liberman and Netanyahu are implementing at least some of the points the defense minister posted some nine months ago. Israeli media on Thursday morning, following the massacre of four innocent Israelis in a downtown Tel Aviv café, reported a few stern steps which are being taken by security forces and the government.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Gen. Yoav Mordechai announced the freezing of 83,000 entry permits issued to Judea and Samaria Arabs to visit their families inside the green line, as a show of good will for the month of Ramadan. In addition, all the gestures given residents of Gaza, including permits to pray on the Temple Mount were frozen. And 204 visitation permits issued to the families of terrorists in Israeli prisons were revoked.

Issuing those gestures of good will were, in fact, the first act in office of the new defense minister, on the recommendation of the IDF chief of staff, as part of the policy of improving the quality of life of the Palestinian population.

The two terrorist cousins, 21, who last night attacked the heart of Tel Aviv’s nightlife came from Yatta village south of Hebron. Overnight the IDF raided their homes and interrogated their families. The security apparatus is investigating how the pair made it through the green line and who helped them.

David Israel

Report: Israel Attacked Missile Stocks at Syrian Military Base

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Syrian website Zaman Al Wasl reported Tuesday that the Israeli air force over the weekend attacked a military installation south of Homs, with an air defense division and a compound of an air defense school of the Syrian Army. According to the report, the Israeli planes did not train their rockets at the air defense systems but focused on the base warehouses, which were stocked with anti-aircraft missiles. The attack resulted in major damage to the stocks.

According to reports, the Israeli airforce planes flew very low above the region, and were exposed throughout the attack to the defense systems, but the Syrians apparently held back and did not fire at the attackers.

The Homs area is a war theater involving President Assad’s forces, rebel forces and ISIS troops, but Zaman Al Wasl, which has a reputation for reliable reports, insists the attackers were Israeli.

Defense Minister Liberman visits the northern front

Defense Minister Liberman visits the northern front

This would be the first attack ordered by the new defense minister Avigdor Liberman, who on Tuesday visited the northern front with Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and senior officers in the Northern Command.

During the tour, Liberman said, “I’ve been hearing today reviews of this region, which is always sensitive, and I can say that our northern border is in good and secure hands.” He noted: “We have no plans here other than to maintain the quiet, I hope everyone understands this well enough, including our neighbors, and in any case I don’t suggest for anyone to try and test us.”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-israel-attacked-missile-stocks-at-syrian-military-base/2016/06/07/

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