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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Deputy Foreign Minister’

Deputy Minister Hotoveli: It Was Show Trial

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotoveli (Likud) on Wednesday accused the IDF of conducting a show trial against the combat medic Sgt. Elor Azaria who was convicted of manslaughter for killing an already neutralized terrorist.

“The soldier Elor Azaria’s trial was conducted as a show trial with a predetermined end,” Hotoveli said. “In many ways his sentence was decided well in advance of the first court hearing. In such a situation it would be proper to ask the president, for the sake of justice, to pardon the soldier who did not act in a sterile zone but in a terror event.”

MK Shuli Nualem (Habayit Hayehudi) is in the process of collecting MK’s signature on a petition to be submitted to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), asking him to order the IDF chief of staff to pardon Sgt. Azaria, based on Article 55 of the Defense Regulations.

Mualem’s petition argues that since the shooting took place as part of a military operation it should have been investigated within the military – as opposed to the public treatment of the case by the powers that be.

“In similar cases in the past, the army supported its warriors, even if they made mistakes, and also interrogated the chain of command,” goes the petition. “Unfortunately, the process was contaminated by the involvement of outside factors, hence the decision.”

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Liberman said he did not like verdict, but stressed that “all of us are compelled to respect the court’s decision, and we all must restrain ourselves. It is crucial that despite the harsh verdict the security apparatus will aid the soldier and his family whichever way we can, to assist and facilitate.”

It should be noted that, as a member of the opposition, MK Liberman was gung-ho on letting Azaria go and even showed up at a preliminary court hearing to express his view to the press. Later, as Defense Minister, his position became milder.

JNi.Media

Russian diplomat: Moscow, Jerusalem Friendship at Highest Point Ever

Friday, December 9th, 2016

While the man who was condemned as Vladimir Putin puppet is getting ready to change the drapes in the Oval Office, and considering as his Secretary of State ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson – whom Putin awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship, Israel, too, appears to bask these days in the Kremlin’s new, sunny sphere of friendly smiles and sunshine.

Relations between Russia and Israel are at their highest point ever, President Putin Envoy to the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said at “The 10th Convent of RISA (Russian International Studies Association): 25 years of Russia’s Foreign Policy,” a conference hosted this week by the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, TASS reported.

According to Bogdanov, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold regular telephone conversations. “This year bilateral contacts have been unprecedentedly intense,” Bogdanov told the conference.

“Russia’s leadership places great importance on boosting trade, economic and investment cooperation with Israel,” Bogdanov continued, noting, however, that “unfortunately, turnover statistics are a bit disappointing, though Israel remains one of Russia’s biggest economic partners in the region.”

According to Bogdanov, “Given the unfavorable global economic situation and the strength of the US dollar compared with the Russian ruble, in 2015 our turnover (sales) with Israel dropped by 31% to $2.3 billion. At the same time, we have been constantly working to restore turnover to its previous level.”

Bodganov stated that “it is no exaggeration to say that relations between Russia and Israel are now at their highest point ever.”

According to Anna Borshchevskaya, a Fellow at The Washington Institute, Putin pursued improved ties with Israel since he came into office in March of 2000, and the two countries have significantly improved relations on a number of fronts. “Russian and Israeli officials hold meetings and telephone conversations on a regular basis and maintain multiple open channels of communication,” she wrote in 2015. “The two countries have an agreement on visa-free tourist travel for their citizens. Israel is home to over a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union, which bolsters Russia’s ties to Israel. Russian is the third most popular language in Israel after Hebrew and English. Economic relations between the two countries have especially improved, exceeding $3 billion in 2014, a figure slightly higher than Russia’s trade with Egypt the same year. Military relations improved as well, [so much so that] in late 2015, according to press reports, Israel sold ten search drones to Russia, despite Israel’s concerns about Russia’s military and political ties to Iran.”

Для жизни (Google Translate says it means L’chayim).

David Israel

Public Security Minister: Israel Discriminates Against Jews on Temple Mount

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

The first Seekers of Zion conference, aimed at tightening the connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, was held in the Knesset on Monday under the banner of “Jerusalem of Peace,” on the second anniversary of the assassination attempt on MK and Temple activist Yehuda Glick.

Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs, and Information Gilad Erdan (Likud) told the conference that “our right to the Temple Mount is indisputable, and no international entity can rewrite our history. The Temple Mount is the most sacred site to the Jewish nation and that cannot be changed.”

Having said that, Erdan admitted that “today’s status quo on the Temple Mount discriminates against the Jewish people. That is the truth. When I took office [the Waqf] limited the access of Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount based on racial and religious profiling, they came up close to them in an intimidating manner, let no one have any illusions about this — everything there was arranged, timed and paid for.”

“Together with the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, and the cabinet, I led decisions to ban the Almoravid and Morabitat (separate male and female fanatical Islamic groups), and to ban the northern branch of the Islamic Movement,” Erdan continued. “My job is to secure the visitors ascending the Temple Mount, Jews, Christians and Muslims. The status quo discriminates against Jews. I’m glad there’s been a significant rise in the number of visitors on the Temple Mount.”

Turning to Glick, Minister Erdan said, “I think your victory, Yehuda, against those decrepit terrorists, is first of all the fact that more Jews are ascending the Temple Mount.” He added, “We believe that religion can be a source of reconciliation for people.”

Former MK Moshe Feiglin told the audience that “when we retreated in our hold on the Temple Mount, we retreated in our hold over the entire land.” He cited poet Uri Zvi Greenberg who wrote, “Whomever governs the mountain governs the land.”

Feiglin noted that when the nation lost its hold over the Temple mount, “we got the wave of knifings, we got a weakening of our hold on the rest of the neighborhood of Jerusalem, terrorist attacks in remote villages, rockets in Sderot, Beer Sheva and Tel Aviv, and our hold over the land continues to weaken.”

“Why the heck are we complaining against UNESCO who says we have no connection to the Mountain,” Feiglin asked, “when every Israeli government, especially this most recent one and especially this most recent prime minister are voting with their feet that we, indeed, have no ties to the mountain.”

Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi) called for the speedy arrangement of of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, and the sooner the better.

Conference speakers included Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein; Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Ze’ev Elkin; Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel; Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely; and Sheikh Ahmad Riyadh.

David Israel

Russia, Abbas, Pushing for Moscow Summit with Netanyahu

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday pointed out the importance of Russia’s role in organizing the Palestinian-Israeli negotiating process, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the meeting of President Putin’s special envoy to the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, with high-ranking PA and PLO officials.

“During a confidential exchange of opinions on the entire set of Palestinian problems, special attention was paid to the development of the situation in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip in light of Palestinian municipal elections set for early October,” the ministry’s statement said.

“The task to restore as soon as possible Palestinian national unity based on the PLO political platform aimed at the establishment of a Palestinian independent state coexisting in peace and security with Israel was also considered,” the statement continued. “The Palestinian leadership representatives underscored Russia’s prominence in organizing a reliable Palestinian-Israeli negotiating process, including the possible organizing of a meeting in Moscow between the leaders of Palestine and Israel,” the statement said.

After the Ramallah meeting, Bogdanov spoke on the phone with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is visiting Poland. “Abbas confirmed his unchanged readiness for continuation of active Russian-Palestinian political contacts in the interests of a solid and just peace in the Middle East,” the Russian statement said.

However, according to Abbas, who spoke to reporters following a Tuesday meeting with Polish leader Andrzej Duda, the Israelis have suggested postponing the initial talks in Moscow which had been scheduled, he claimed, for September 9.

“President Putin offered to meet in Moscow on September 9,” Abbas said. “I agreed. I was to fly to Moscow from here (Warsaw) to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Unfortunately, in talks held in Jerusalem yesterday between representatives of President Putin and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Israeli representative proposed to postpone this meeting.”

“So, the meeting will not take place,” Abbas complained, telling reporters, “I am prepared to travel to Moscow or any other country for the next meeting, since dialogue is the only way to peace for the Palestinian people and the only opportunity for our independent country to live side by side with Israel.”

Speaking at a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “I am prepared to meet with Abbas at any time for direct talks without preconditions. I have said this hundreds of times and I am reiterating it now. I do not care about the place, be it in Holland, Moscow or anywhere else – this is not a problem, and it certainly could be in Moscow. I have said this to President Putin. I said this on Sunday to his envoy Bogdanov.”

“The main question is, of course,” Netanyahu said, “whether Abbas is prepared to meet without preconditions. We hear contradictory reports about this. Just yesterday, Palestinian spokespersons made it clear that they are ready to meet but they have conditions – releasing prisoners, they want to know if the talks will have results, etc. If Abbas is ready to meet for direct talks without preconditions, I am ready at any time. I have been calling on him to do this for almost seven years already and if he agrees to do this – there will be a meeting.”

For the record, though, Putin’s spokesperson said that while Moscow supports the Israeli-PA peace process, so far there have been no specific agreements between the two leaders on meeting in Moscow.

JNi.Media

Report: Putin to Host Netanyahu Abbas Summit in Moscow

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Advanced talks have been conducted recently in preparation for a summit conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Abbas in Moscow this fall, according to the daily Yediot Aharonot. The paper reported on Monday that both PA and Israeli officials have confirmed that the summit is scheduled to take place in October or shortly thereafter, under the auspices of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Abbas has personally expressed his willingness, in principle, to partake in a Moscow summit. However, according to Yediot, the PA Chairman still insists that Israel first commit to freezing settlement construction and carry out the fourth phase of terrorist prisoners release which was halted when Secretary of State Kerry’s peace initiative collapsed in 2015. Abbas also insists on setting a specific date for the end of negotiations and for reaching a final agreement.

Political sources in Jerusalem have told Yediot that when Netanyahu and Putin spoke on the phone last week, the summit plan was part of their discussion. But they stress that the summit idea at this point is “mere speculation, it’s too soon.” Still, the same sources say Netanyahu is willing to meet with Abbas directly any time.

On Wednesday, August 17, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, discussed prospects for advancing PA-Israel peace talks with Abbas in Amman, and delivered a personal message from Putin to Abbas. Since then, Bogdanov has met twice with the head of the PA mission in Moscow Faed Mustafa and with Israeli ambassador Zvi Hefetz. One of Bogdanov’s meetings with Hefetz was on August 24, the day of the Putin-Netanyahu phone conversation.

JNi.Media

Putin, Netanyahu, Talk Peace Process on Phone

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, the Kremlin press service reported, adding that the conversation was initiated by Israel.

“The leaders exchanged opinions on Middle East settlement issues and topical aspects of the general situation in the region. They agreed to continue active Russian-Israeli contacts at different levels,” the report said.

On Wednesday August 17, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, discussed prospects for advancing Palestinian-Israeli peace talks with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Amman. Bogdanov also delivered a personal message from Putin to Abbas.

The Russian Foreign Ministry later issued a statement saying “the talks were meaningful and trustful. The sides considered prospects for advancing the Palestinian-Israeli settlement in strict compliance with the principles of international law. They also discussed the restoration of Palestinian national unity along the PLO’s political platform designed to create an independent Palestinian state, which would live in peace and security with its neighbors, including Israel.”

To be clear, in its current situation, the PA only has two neighbors: Israel and Jordan, so it’s a relief to read that it plans to live in peace with both. This considering the fact that Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, also has only two neighbors, Israel and Egypt, and it is maintaining a perpetual state of war with both.

JNi.Media

Russians Support Keeping Some Settlements Intact in Peace Negotiations

Saturday, June 4th, 2016

A Russian state news agency TASS story in the wake of the Friday Paris Conference for peace, quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov who advocated concrete territorial exchanges between Israel and the Arabs in Judea and Samaria, in order to preserve Israeli settlements. “The border should be established between Israelis and Palestinians,” Bogdanov said, adding, “This border may envisage territorial exchanges, appropriate and adequate, taking into account that such an approach allows to resolve the problem of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.”

The Deputy Foreign Minister stressed that Israeli settlements “may remain in some regions with the understanding that in exchange for territories with Israeli settlements, Palestinians will get an appropriate compensation in the form of parts of the territory. This is a so-called territorial exchange.”

It should be noted in this context that Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman in the past advocated handing over to the Palestinian State the Israeli cities of the Arab Triangle, such as Um El Fahm and Tira — a suggestion that caused an uproar and accusations of racism.

Following the Paris international conference on a peace deal between Israel and the Arabs, in which 29 nations as well as the UN and EU participated, but Israel did not, Bogdanov, the Russian president’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, told TASS that the conference had been “useful. We still need to analyze the content of the Paris discussion; study the final document and then see what can be done, by using common approaches, to promote a sustainable negotiating process between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Bogdanov said. He recommended that both sides assess the conference’s results, and promised that “We are going to have contacts at a very high level with both sides.”

Signaling the Russians’ intense interest in remaining involved in the process, TASS on Friday ran five different stories involving Mikhail Bogdanov and the peace agreement. According to the diplomat, Moscow is prepared to host negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli representatives. “Of course, we will be prepared to do this, if there is the wish and readiness of the two parties — Israelis and Palestinians — to have a meeting… if they wish to meet in Moscow, we are prepared to host them.”

In another story, Bogdanov lamented the fact that the split among the Palestinians hampers progress in the Middle Eastern settlement. “This problem should be resolved as a priority task so that Palestinians present a single and united delegation at the talks on the final status,” Bogdanov advised.

He also promised that “Russia fully supports efforts to restore inter-Palestinian unity on the basis of the PLO and Arab Peace Initiative.” He suggested a “dialogue with representatives of the whole range of Palestinian forces, first of all Fatah and Hamas, in the interest of achieving appropriate agreements.”

It was not easy to asses whether the high-ranking diplomat was being naïve or cynical, but it appears that he is promoting peace between Hamas and the Jews it has sworn to annihilate. In fact, Bogdanov is serious about preventing the next clash between Israel and Hamas:

“The exchange of strikes between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza in early May of this year that became the biggest since the ceasefire agreement was reached in August 2014 is another confirmation of a well-known point, which is that the recurrence of confrontation is not ruled out without solving the enclave’s problems, lifting the blockade imposed on it and restoring its infrastructure destroyed by Israel, including in the summer of the year before last,” Bogdanov said.

He did not mention that those clashes in May erupted when IDF bulldozers were crossing a few yards into Gazan territory to demolish Hamas terror tunnels that lead into Israel. Hamas was unhappy to see its work being destroyed, and so their snipers shot at IDF soldiers to shoo them away.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russians-support-keeping-some-settlements-intact-in-peace-negotiations/2016/06/04/

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