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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Defense Minister’

Liberman Cites International Pressure over Arab Squaterville in Area C

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday sat with schoolchildren in the Jewish community of Susiya in south Mt. Hebron, next door to which a squatter Arab community has emerged recently, in an obvious attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over Area C of Judea and Samaria. Liberman told the children the encroachment by the residents of Yata Village to the lands near Susiya was not an accident, but a planned effort to physically separate the new community of Susiya and the historic synagogue on the nearby archeological site.

Susiya is a legitimate archaeological site in the southern Judean Mountains that bears the archaeological remains of a 5th century CE enormous synagogue, one of the largest and most magnificent ever discovered, which was turned into a mosque by the Arab invaders in the 8th century.

“Are you familiar with the archeological site of Susiya?” Liberman asked, and continued, “One day all kinds of illegal buildings started popping there, supported by foreign countries. And why did they pop there? On purpose, to divide between the community of Susiya and the historic Susiya.”

Liberman revealed that he had been under “pressure from all over the world” not to apply the demolition order handed out more than once by the Supreme Court. “The European Union, the US — they all discovered Susiya. Suddenly the United Nations Security Council is also interested in Susiya.” He promised the children he would obey the law and carry out the demolitions. “The free world is preaching especially for this to be a country of laws, and we must honor our judiciary system,” he said, with a hint of sarcasm.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that the demolitions of illegal Arab construction in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, violate the recommendations of the so-called Middle East Quartet, comprising the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, on the way forward in the peace process.

Liberman attacked the Europeans and the Americans who demand that Israel ignore the Supreme Court ruling to demolish Susiya, but to enforce the same court’s ruling on demolishing the Jewish Amona community in northern Samaria. “We are a country of laws,” he said, and we will honor ourselves and our laws, regarding Amona, E1 (the area connecting Jerusalema nd Ma’ale Adumim), and Susiya,” he clarified.

Liberman called on the residents of Amona to embrace the compromise being offered by the government, and moved to the promised homes to be built near their community. “I say to the residents of Amona, there’s a ruling of the high court and we will obey it. If anyone is delusing themselves that we won’t, it’s not going to happen. Whatever the court permits we will do. That’s why we offered many alternatives, and I hope we’ll find one the Amona residents will also accept.”

David Israel

New Management: Liberman Says Soldiers Shouldn’t Have to Consult a Lawyer on the Battlefield

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Israel’s still relatively new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Monday distinguished himself from his predecessor in the most decisive way, when he stressed that both the medic Elor Azaria who is on trial this week for shooting dead a terrorist who had already been neutralized; and the soldier from the Netzah Yehuda battalion who may go up on charges for shooting a psychologically impaired Arab who stormed–albeit unarmed–an IDF post outside Ofra, are innocent until proven guilty.

The statement, which contradicted former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s all out attack on Azaria only a few hours after anti-Zionist NGO B’Tselem released a video showing the shooting, before an investigation into the matter had been launched, was a more decisive note of change at the Defense helm than even the 50 sorties Liberman had sent into the Gaza Strip the other day, only 15 minutes after a single Hamas rocket had fallen in the town of Sderot.

The loud and clear statement from the Defense Minister that he will back his soldiers rather than sic lawyers at them will likely go a long way to improve IDF morale, because, as Liberman reminded reporters on Monday, “In the State of Israel, in a Democratic country, only the court has the right to convict, not the media. And as long as a man was not convicted he is innocent.”

Liberman also told the reporters that “soldiers cannot go out on a mission with an attorney attached to them. Which is why sometimes they make the right decision, sometimes they don’t. But we can’t have a situation whereby every soldier would be asking for legal advice before they go out on a mission.”

Liberman’s comments were made on a day when the Elor Azaria defense was doing exceptionally well, calling to the stand a witness that had been on the prosecution’s list but was not called up. Soon enough it became clear why the prosecutors chose to skip him — a platoon commander in Azaria’s company, he fully supported the medic’s version that the terrorist on the ground was suspected of carrying a suicide belt under his coat. In fact, the witness told the court he had advised Azaria’s platoon commander to open fire on the terrorist on the ground should he appear to be trying to detonate a bomb.

A sapper who testified earlier for the defense was critical of the manner in which the terrorists were being handled, as the order to move their bodies was given before the sappers had a chance to examine them for hidden explosives.

Since much of the trial hinges on Sgt. Azaria’s state of mind, and whether or not he really believed the terrorist on the ground posed a danger after being neutralized, both testimonies have boosted the defense’s case.

David Israel

Former Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Fuad Ben-Eliezer Dies at Age 80

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

by Ilana Messika
Veteran Israeli politician and IDF officer Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer died today at the age of 80 at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center due to complications of kidney disease.

“Fuad served the State of Israel for decades. He did so as a fighter, as a commander, as a public figure, and as a senior minister. I knew him and appreciated his contribution and remarkable character.”said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Many conversations with Fuad showed his concern and commitment to the future of the country that he loved so much. May he rest in peace,” he concluded.

Ben-Eliezer, born in Basra under the name Fuad, emigrated to Israel from Iraq with his family in 1950. Upon arriving in Israel, he adopted the Hebrew name Binyamin and joined the IDF, where he had a long and illustrious career.

He served in the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War before being appointed Commanding Officer in Southern Lebanon in 1977, as the IDF liaison between Israel and the Christians of Lebanon.

From 1983 to 1984, he served as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, charged with the responsibility of implementing the government’s civilian policy in Judea and Samaria and vis-a-vis the Gaza Strip.

Fuad Ben-Eliezer was also a 30-year veteran of Israeli politics. Elected in 1984 on the Yahad list, he served in the Knesset until 2014 as part of the Alignment party, which later became Labor.

In 1994, as part of his tenure as minister of construction and housing, he was sent by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as the first Israeli minister to meet with Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat.

Following the establishment of a national unity government in 2001 led by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak, Ben-Eliezer assumed the post of defense minister until he resigned in 2002 when Labor left the coalition.

In response to the second intifada, he was a central proponent of Operation Defensive Shield, the first large-scale military operation to be carried out in Judea and Samaria since the Six-Day War, He continued on to serve in various ministerial positions in the 2003, 2006, and 2009 Labor governments.

Four days prior to the Knesset vote to elect a new president in June 2014, Ben-Eliezer withdrew his candidacy for the position due to a police probe on suspicions of illegal gambling and bribes which he had allegedly received during his years in office. He officially resigned from office in December, 2014 due to health issues and to focus on clearing his name.

Opposition Chairman and Zionist Union MK Isaac Herzog related, “I had recently conducted many conversations with Fuad about the cloud that surrounded him at the end of his life and he repeatedly insisted he was innocent.

“He was a fearless fighter and a Labor party leader who died surrounded by many admirers and friends,” Herzog concluded.

Ben-Eliezer died while his reputation was still shrouded in suspicion following a six-month police investigation. He was indicted by the Israeli attorney general in December 2015 along with 10 other suspects for accepting bribes amounting to more than $500,000 as well as money laundering, breach of trust, fraud and tax offenses.

Ben-Eliezer suffered from a severe kidney disease for which he was previously rushed to the Assaf HaRofeh hospital in Tel Aviv in serious condition, prior to his transfer to Sourasky Medical Center.

“The Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and the Israeli National Transplant Center would like to thank the family of Binyamin Ben-Eliezer for agreeing to donate the deceased’s corneas for transplant purposes.” stated Ichilov Hospital.

Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer is survived by his wife and five children. Baruch Dayan Emet.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Former Defense Minister Binyamin ‘Fuad’ Ben-Eliezer in Hospital

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Former Knesset Member Binyamin ‘Fuad’ Ben Eliezer remained in Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin on Saturday, hospital spokesperson Liad Aviel told media.

Ben Eliezer was admitted to the cardiac intensive care unit. He was reported in stable condition.

“The hospital administration together with the Ben Eliezer family asks the media to do its part to help put an end to any rumors (about the MK’s health.) We are making every effort to bring Fuad to a full recovery to good health.”

The octogenarian spent 30 years as a leader of the Labor Party, and also served as a defense minister as well.

Ben-Eliezer has been in poor health for years. He was hospitalized this past March after having complained of chest pains, and last year as well, with a serious case of influenza. In December 2014, the former lawmaker was the recipient of a kidney transplant.

Hana Levi Julian

5 Arabs Injured as Israel Retaliates Hard Following Gaza Rocket in Sderot

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

On Sunday afternoon, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the city of Sderot in Israel, no injuries have been reported. In response to the attack, IAF aircraft immediately targeted Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip. This was the 14th rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel since the beginning of 2016. But this time, the Israeli response was swift and refreshingly “disproportionate.”

IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement: ”The IDF remains committed to the stability of the region and operated in order to bring quiet to the people of southern Israel. When terrorists in Hamas’ Gaza Strip, driven by a radical agenda based on hatred, attack people in the middle of the summer vacation, their intentions are clear- to inflict pain, cause fear and to terrorize.”

According to Ma’an, the IDF fired missiles into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun on Sunday afternoon and evening, injuring at least five Arabs. Reports of an air raid over Beit Hanoun emerged at around 10:30 PM, with IAF shelling. Earlier in the day, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip announced that a young Arab man in his twenties was injured as a result of an Israeli artillery shelling targeting a military training ground in Beit Hanoun near the Erez crossing. Local sources later told Ma’an that two other Arabs were also injured, though the details remained unclear.

An Israel air force plane was used to strike the first target, while an Israeli army tank was used to attack the second.

Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that a rocket fired by an Israeli drone hit a water reservoir and another shell landed in an open area in Beit Hanoun. The Hamas “Palestinian Information Center” reported that a “Palestinian citizen was injured in the face” by shrapnel of an artillery shell. The report quoted local sources as saying that Israeli tanks fired three shells at an agricultural land in the al-Masriyyin neighborhood in Beit Hanoun. Furthermore, the report said Israeli artillery shells landed in the Filistin training ground which Hamas fighters use for military training.

All of the above were signals from Israel’s new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) that the old “proportionate” retaliation policy whereby a volley of rockets from Gaza that fall mostly in empty fields in Israel is met with a lazy IAF attack, several hours later, against terrorist facilities that had been cleared of their inhabitants well in advance — all that is over.

Liberman is changing the rules in Gaza, and it appears that from now on, a provocation, no matter how small, will be met with a fierce and destructive reaction—last night’s attacks hit some 50 targets—that might change the calculus on the other side as well.

One side benefit of the IAF and tank attacks Sunday was that Abu Obeida, the spokesman for Hamas’ military wing who was supposed to give a watershed announcement on his group’s policy, canceled his planned speech for security reasons.

JNi.Media

Israel Hands Over Terrorist Corpse to Family Months After Attack

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

By Tzvi Lev/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – After months of negotiations, Israeli authorities handed over the body of the terrorist who committed a shooting attack on a bus in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot in March despite firm opposition to the move by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Muhammad al-Kalouti, 21, was buried in a small ceremony heavily guarded by police at the Bab al-Zahra cemetery in Jerusalem last night. Al-Kalouti had been killed by security forces while perpetrating the attack.

The Israeli government often holds the bodies of terrorists both as a deterrent against future attacks and because funerals in the past have turned into massive demonstrations of incitement. Officials only returned Al-Kalouti’s body after the family deposited NIS 20,000 in collateral with the police and pledged not to have more than 30 people at the ceremony.

Defense Minister Liberman is a firm proponent of withholding the bodies of terrorists from their families, but Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ruled that the move did not have legal justification and ordered the body released. The Supreme Court has also demanded answers from the government as to why terrorists’ bodies have not been handed over after it ruled on the issue in July.

Liberman criticized Mandelblit’s decision yesterday, telling reporters that “the role of the attorney general is to be an advisor, not a judge.”

Liberman’s predecessor Moshe Yaalon had opposed withholding the bodies of terrorists from their families and had argued that the policy only provoked more attacks.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Rightwing Watchdog Urging Action on Fake Arab Settlement Susya [video]

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Israeli legal watchdog Regavim has appealed to its supporters in Israel and abroad to write to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to take action against the illegal squatter camp in Susya. The call comes one day after the Israeli Supreme Court has given government a two-day extension on the deadline to deal with the issue through legal means.

There has been immense public pressure on the Netanyahu government by the US State Department, the European Union and dozens of anti-Israel NGOs, to halt the legal process of evicting the illegal Arab squatters who only arrived in Susya over the past few years. The Arabs’ assortment of lean-tos and tents borders on a legal Jewish community that was established by the government in 1986. Should Israel permit this illegal outpost to remain, in Area C of Judea and Samaria which was designated for Jewish settlements, more camps like it will soon dot the landscape everywhere inside the Jewish area of the “disputed territories,” enhancing the Arab side of the dispute.

Regavim released a video call-to-action in which the organization’s International Director Josh Hasten called on supporters to rally around the government as they deliberate on the fate of the squatters’ camp. Explaining the importance of the Susya case, Hasten says the Arab squatters “have set-up shop deliberately on an ancient Jewish town that existed 1,500 years ago — this is a litmus test to see if the government of Israel is willing to uphold the laws of the land.”

Hasten urges viewers to “get involved, let the Prime Minister know that the State of Israel and people of Israel are behind him and we are here to strengthen him in making this decision which is necessary to uphold the laws of the land.”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rightwing-watchdog-urging-action-on-fake-arab-settlement-susya-video/2016/08/17/

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