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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘diplomacy’

Energy Minister Steinitz Heads to Turkey for Global Energy Gather After Yom Kippur

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz will visit Turkey this week after the completion of the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Steinitz is scheduled to attend an international conference on energy: conventional and renewable energy sources, issues of sustainable development, global governance, market regulation, regional ecosystems and activities in the international marketplace.

The first Israeli minister to visit Istanbul in three years, Steinitz is also slated to meet with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the conference, and although the much anticipated meeting has been ballyhooed in Israeli media, there is no mention of it at all in the Turkish media.

The 23rd World Energy Congress takes place from Oct. 9 to Oct. 13, a summit of the global elite in the energy sector with participants from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Switzerland and Germany.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is slated to deliver a speech on the normalization process between Ankara and Moscow during this, his first visit to the country since the crisis sparked on Nov. 24 last year when a Turkish jet fired on a Russian military aircraft. Both Erdogan and Putin are expected to outline their visions for world energy at the forum.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel to Open Permanent Office at NATO Headquarters in Brussels

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced Israel will accept an invitation from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to open a permanent office at its Brussels headquarters in Belgium.

The invitation allegedly came after Turkey lifted a veto that blocked the upgrade five years ago. If true, it is another move that signals a warming of the ‘big chill’ between Ankara and Jerusalem since 2010.

“This is something we worked on for many years,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

“I think this is important to Israel’s standing in the world. The countries of the world want to cooperate with us because of our determined struggle against terrorism, because of our technological knowledge, our intelligence deployment and other reasons.”

Israel is currently a participant in the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue, together with Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Mauritania and Morocco.

Hana Levi Julian

Thousands of Trucks Enter Gaza Weekly From Israel – No Excuse for Turkish Freeze

Monday, December 28th, 2015

The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories reported last week 3,750 trucks with 127,623 tons of goods entered Gaza through Israel via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

“There were 35 crossings of ambulances between Gaza and Israel last week,” according to a tweet by the COGAT.

Last Thursday alone, 24,629 tons of goods in 744 trucks were delivered to Gaza through Israel via the overland crossings. In addition, 2.2 million liters of fuel were delivered as well.

Delivery statistics at Kerem Shalom Crossing Dec. 20-24 2015

Delivery statistics at Kerem Shalom Crossing Dec. 20-24 2015

Can Turkey Justify Its Continued Diplomatic Freeze?

Turkey has used the so-called Israeli “blockade” of Gaza as its excuse for refusing to normalize its diplomatic ties with Israel. But the truth is, the crossings between Israel and Gaza are open every day and for a long time now, active commerce has been taking place.

What is not being allowed to enter the region are materials that can be used to manufacture weapons with which to attack the Jewish State – and which have been used for that purpose in the past.

In this regard Turkey is no different in its own methods of self-defense and controlling terror within its borders. In fact the Ankara government is more aggressive: Turkey has no problem attacking PKK terrorists when it perceives a threat.

For Ankara to suggest it has a right to dictate a domestic security policy to another sovereign nation is pretentious, if not outright chutzpah.

Since Israel has already opened the crossings on a daily basis – which by the way, even Egypt does not do with the lone Rafah crossing on its border – Turkey has no reason to complain. But Israel does: Hamas still operates its terrorist organization freely and maintains an active international office within Turkey’s borders, despite a request from Israel to close its doors.

Perhaps Turkey is simply searching for excuses not to formally renew its ties with the Jewish State? There would certainly be many reasons it might be reluctant to do so, beginning and ending with its oily handshake in Tehran. At least the Arab nations in the region are far more honest in their anti-Semitism…

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey Releases Recording of Warning to Russian Fighter Jet

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

The Turkish military has released to the public the recordings of the warnings that were broadcast to the Russian Sukhoi-24M warplane as it allegedly entered Turkey’s airspace on Tuesday, and before it was shot down.

Turkey says the same warning was broadcast every 30 seconds for five minutes before its F-16 fighter jet fired an air-to-air missile at the aircraft that was “violating its airspace,” for a total of 10 times.

Some aerospace analysts who have studied the radar map showing the “violation” say the Russian warplane could not have spent more than 17 seconds over Turkish territory.

Radar tracker visual of the flight path of the Russian Su-24M fighter jet shot down by the Turkish F-16 on Nov. 24, 2015.

Radar tracker visual of the flight path of the Russian Su-24M fighter jet shot down by the Turkish F-16 on Nov. 24, 2015.

The warnings — which rescued Russian navigator pilot Captain Konstantin Murakhtin denies ever having heard — were recorded by at least two separate sources.

A civilian pilot from Lebanon now has told Al-Arabyia that he also heard the repeated warnings — and not for the first time — being broadcast to “unknown aircraft” by a Turkish Air Force radar station. Each time, he said, the warnings were “met with silence” as they were from the Russian fighter jet “this time as well.” In fact, he said he has heard those warnings at least two or three times a week as he flies a plane for Middle East Airlines, Lebanon’s national carrier, although there is no way to confirm it.

On Tuesday, he heard the warnings again, but this time he said the air controller’s voice sounded much more tense and even urgent. Because of that, the Lebanese pilot recorded a 17-second clip of the warning with his smartphone, which was then passed on to Al-Arabiya.

According to The Telegraph and The Independent, the voice on the recording is heard saying in English:

“Unknown air traffic position onto Humeymim 020, redirect to 26 miles. This is Turkish Air Force speaking – en guard. You are approaching Turkish airspace. Change your heading south immediately.”

Turkey released that recording to prove those warnings from the Turkish Air Force radar station to the Russian warplane were, in fact, issued not once, but numerous times and to refute claims by the Russian Defense Ministry that no warnings were issued.

In addition to the recording from the Lebanese pilot, another clip was recorded on the international UHF emergency frequency 243.000 MHz by a reader of The Aviationist who “wishes to remain anonymous.”

According to this report as well, The Aviationist points out “we must highlight that similar messages have been radioed to unknown/Russian aircraft in the vicinity of the Turkish airspace in the past as well and recorded/heard by radio-hams and airband listeners located in Turkey and Greece.”

If such is the case, then in fact Turkey did indeed broadcast numerous messages to the Russian pilots; but the warnings did not come from the Turkish F-16 fighter jet which shot down the Su-24M. The pilots of the Turkish F-16 never contacted the pilots of the Russian Su-24M at all.

It is entirely possible that in the land of “diplospeak” this discrepancy point the way out of what might otherwise be the start of a nasty new conflict that could be fanned by interested parties into a third world war. Let’s hope so. It’s the first Russian warplane to be shot down by a NATO member since the end of World War II.

Hana Levi Julian

First Israeli Female Ambassador to Arab Nation Presents Credentials

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Einat Schlein made history this week when she (along with a number of envoys from other nations) presented her credentials Monday (Sept. 7) to King Abdullah II in Amman as Israel’s Ambassador to Jordan.

Schlein headed the international division of the foreign ministry’s diplomatic research center and is considered an expert in Middle East affairs.

She has been with the foreign ministry for 22 years, and began her career with a posting in Amman, followed by a stint at the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C.

Schlein, who was appointed to the post in September 2014, is the first woman ever to serve as an Israeli ambassador to an Arab nation.

Israel has increased its female diplomatic corps in general. Out of 12 new Israeli ambassadorial appointments this year, seven women were posted to France, Romania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Cyprus and China.

Sclein is not, however, the first woman to actually serve in the function of an Israeli “envoy” to Jordan. The late prime minister Golda Meir was known to have made several secret trips to the Hashemite Kingdom for highly classified discussions with the great-grandfather of the current monarch.

Schlein was also not the only woman to present her credentials in Amman: Birgitta Siefker-Eberle from Germany was also present to do the same, along with a number of men from various countries.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Diplomats Suspended for Unprofessional Behavior

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Three Israeli diplomats have been recalled from their posts abroad for unprofessional behavior, using Twitter posts on their personal accounts to criticize top administration officials – the very government they represent.

Civil service regulations and Foreign Ministry rules are clear that foreign service personnel are prohibited from making their personal political views public. This particularly applies to diplomats representing the State of Israel and its interests in the world arena and who operate a source of public information and advocacy for Israel on social media.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered the immediate suspension Wednesday of Israel’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Yigal Caspi. Also recalled from their posts were Assaf Moran, who handles political affairs at the Israel Embassy in New Delhi, and Yaron Gamburg, who works in the Department of Political Research and was a former spokesperson for the Israel Embassy in Paris. All three were told to return for disciplinary hearings prior to termination.

A retweet by Caspi originally written by a journalist read: “It’s shocking how Lieberman waved off his ministers. Not that they were especially good, and yet his use of people, bringing them in and letting them go when he is sick of them, is horrible.”

The ambassador also retweeted another journalist’s post, this one regarding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress: “Is it no longer possible to suffice in scaring us here in Hebrew? (He) has to fly all the way to the US Congress and tell them in English how dangerous Iran’s nuclear program is?”

There were a number of others retweeted by Caspi, written by the same journalist, all in a similar vein.

The other two diplomats likewise retweeted posts criticizing the prime minister and other ministers in government. One tweet was an original post aimed at Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, chairman of Bayit Yehudi.

The behavior is unprofessional at best, self-destructive and truly harmful to the state’s interests at worst. It proves this country still has a long way to go in weeding out those who hold tight to their jobs, not necessarily out of competence but thanks to their seniority and state benefits.

For this reason alone, Israel’s image abroad has suffered immeasurably, and will continue to suffer until there is a way to hire competent people to replace those who place their personal interests above loyalty to the state.

Hana Levi Julian

Time-Honored White House Diplomatic Traditions on Israel

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

For those readers who have become avid fans of the soap opera unfolding in the White House around the drama between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a tidbit just for you.

On Friday, as the White House press corps was engaged in its usual back-and-forth with spokesperson Josh Earnest, they finally managed to force a truth from his lips: The President and the Prime Minister, he said, have a “fundamental disagreement” about diplomatic talks with Iran.

Netanyahu “doesn’t share [Obama’s] view,” Earnest admitted. But still, he claimed, those “differences of opinion” don’t undermine the “unshakable” American commitment to Israel’s security.

On America’s terms, of course. And if it happens to prove mistaken and an existential threat to the Jewish State, which is about the size of New Jersey, well. . .

<menacing music>

As it happens, most members of Congress also have a “fundamental disagreement” with the President about the diplomatic talks with Iran, it seems. Not just the Republicans, who comprise the majority in both houses, but there are a fair number of Democrats who also believe Iran is using the talks simply to gain more time for its covert nuclear development activities.

And Iranians have long made it clear both in the street and in their mosques that their targets will not be limited to Israel; America is in the cross-hairs as well. Members of the intelligence community are well aware of it, as are members of Congress and the Israeli government.

So as early as last October, U.S. Rep. John Boehner was talking to Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer about inviting Netanyahu to address the Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat. The formal invitation was made public last week – and accepted as well – to the apparent “surprise” of the White House.

It’s a bit hard to believe that any of The President’s Men – or Women – could be caught off guard. But let’s leave that bit for quiet contemplation.

It turns out the annual AIPAC conference is being held in March this year – a “must” for every Israeli head of state, and Netanyahu is no exception. The address to Congress made much more sense scheduled around AIPAC, and was penciled in for the same week.

Utter fury at the White House. Sarcastic remarks from press secretary Josh Earnest, with a reference to the Speaker of the House making a “departure from protocol.” On the Prime Minister’s visit, Earnest was altogether tight-lipped, saying his boss was “reserving judgment.”

Later reporters were told that neither Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry would meet with Israel’s head of state while he is in Washington for both events.

Imagine. One of America’s “closest allies” comes to the capital and neither the President nor the Secretary of State makes time to meet with him, when the United States shares military, intelligence, economy, academic and who knows how many other priorities with Israel.

Not to mention their “differences of opinion” that are so important to work out – something that one would believe an administration so committed to the process of “diplomacy” would consider a priority.

The White House spokesperson tried to put a good face on it.

“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” he explained Thursday.

Rachel Levy

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/time-honored-white-house-diplomatic-traditions-on-israel/2015/01/24/

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