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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

Haifa District Court Okays State Confiscation of Gaza-Bound Flotilla Vessel

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

by Ilana Messika The Haifa District Court agreed on Sunday to the government’s request to confiscate the Gaza-bound flotilla Marianne which tried to break the naval blockade around the Gaza Strip in June, 2015. The activists on the ship were arrested by the Israeli Navy and deported.

The confiscation is the first time an Israeli court has approved a confiscation request based on the 1864 Naval Prize Act, a British law regulating confiscation of pirate ships and bounty distribution.

After examining the legality of the Israeli blockade, the legality of the seizure of the ship by the navy and the grounds for confiscation, Justice Ron Sokol ruled, “The State of Israel fulfilled all its humanitarian obligations as required by the laws of war applicable at sea… The situation of the Gaza population does not justify annulling the naval blockade.”

“The Marianne sailed to Israel with the explicit intent of breaking the blockade, the owners (of the boat) knew about that goal and they knew the ship could be confiscated. And since this was the clear aim of the journey, there is indeed ground for confiscation,” Sokol concluded.

The Court also fined the respondents NIS 25,000 as compensation to the State of Israel.

The Marianne ship, which sailed from Greece with Arab Joint List MK Basel Ghattas on board, was part of the Swedish organization “Ship to Gaza” protest flotilla.

Israel first tried to confiscate a Gaza-bound ship, the Estelle, in August, 2013, following the ship’s attempt to bring concrete and toys to the enclave in the fall of the previous year. The government’s request was rejected by the Haifa District Court, and later by the Supreme Court in August, 2016, citing the 10-month delay between the apprehension of the ship and the time the State filed the confiscation petition.

Justice Ron Sokol, who also ruled on the Estelle case, wrote in the Marianne verdict, “The statute of limitations has not expired and the supplicant [Israel] has completed all preliminary requirements. I also find that the naval blockade imposed on Gaza waters fulfills all technical requirements related to imposing such a closure.”

The confiscation requests were part of an Israeli strategy aimed at discouraging flotillas from attempting to break through the blockade surrounding Gaza. Israel established the blockade after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip from Fatah.

This new ruling also follows on the heels of a 22-member European Union (EU) delegation to Gaza in early November, calling for the removal of the Gaza blockade.

“The EU calls for all the parties to take swift steps to produce a fundamental change to the political, security and economic situation in the Gaza Strip, including the end of the blockade and full opening of crossing points, while addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns,” stated Ralph Tarraf, head of the EU delegation to the West Bank and Gaza.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

State Dept. Condemns Jerusalem Housing Construction Amid Hints of Obama ‘November Surprise’

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israeli diplomats are expecting President Barack Obama to force a diplomatic resolution for Israel and the Palestinians at the UN (Obama’s Israel Surprise?). “The White House has been unusually tight-lipped about what, if anything, it might have in mind,” the WSJ noted, “but our sources say the White House has asked the State Department to develop an options menu for the President’s final weeks.”

The Netanyahu cabinet has been extra careful not to provoke the ire of the retiring emperor on the eve of that portion of his term when he no longer needs to worry about the Jewish vote and will be free to follow his heart’s desire on the future of Jewish life in the Middle East. But it’s hard not to provoke Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry when their threshold for irritation seems to be so low. Such as the building permits for 181 new homes in Gilo, in the 1967 liberated territories, approved by the Jerusalem municipality back in 2012 (the permit was merely updated on Wednesday this week).

When asked during his daily briefing about the Israeli most recent 181 violations of mankind’s hope for peace, State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby said, “We’re deeply concerned by those reports that the local planning and construction committee in Jerusalem approved permits for … 181 housing units and five community center infrastructure projects in Gilo, which is in East Jerusalem. Our policy on settlements, as I said before, is very clear. We strongly oppose settlement activity, which we believe is corrosive to the cause of peace.”

See? On John Kirby’s planet, which he shares with Kerry and Obama, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his entourage were already on their way to the Knesset in Jerusalem to sign a peace treaty recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State and maintain good neighborly relations with the Palestinian State next door, when suddenly a text message appeared on his smart phone telling him the Jews had decided to force a mass invasion of 181 Jewish families into Gilo — so the entourage turned back and returned to Ramallah.

“These decisions by Israeli authorities are just the latest examples of what appear to be a steady and systemic acceleration of Israeli settlement activity,” Kirby announced, lamenting that “in just the past few weeks, we have seen reports of an entirely new settlement near Shiloh, a potentially new settlement outpost in the North Jordan Valley, and over 80 Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

To provide much-needed context to the spokesperson’s wailing: the new homes in Shiloh will house the anticipated evacuees from Amona, uprooted by decree of a Supreme Court gone insane. And those illegal structures were an attempt by the Arabs to build without a permit in Area C, governed exclusively by Israel — a clear and intentional attempt by the EU, the US and local Arabs to violate the Oslo agreements.

When Kirby suggested that the above moves “raise serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians,” he was asked if the Administration might be planning to “draw a line in the sand where it comes to actions that you say or you believe hurt the environment for negotiations for a two-state solution.” He answered: “I think [it] shouldn’t surprise anybody that, as an administration … we routinely talk about the situation in the Middle East and in Israel, and that, obviously, is something I think you know Secretary Kerry’s very focused on, so of course we have discussions about this. But I don’t want to get ahead of those discussions.”

There you have it: the most an Administration official has allowed himself to say regarding his bosses’ post-election plans for Israel.

The WSJ suggested on Monday that the Obama Administration might “sponsor, or at least allow, a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction, perhaps alongside new IRS regulations revoking the tax-exempt status of people or entities involved in settlement building.”

Back in 2011, the Administration vetoed precisely this kind of resolution.

A vindictive President Obama could initiate or at least not vote against the formal recognition of a Palestinian state at the Security Council. It would cause Congress to erupt in a storm of rage, especially if the president uses an executive order to do the wicked deed. Which means the next president could revoke such an order with the stroke of a pen.

Which must make one wonder if a President Hillary Clinton would dare to reverse an executive order recognizing the Palestinian State. What do you think?

JNi.Media

Coalition MKs Propose Removing Diplomatic Immunity to Combat Illegal Construction

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

By Ilana Messika/TPS

MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu) tabled on Wednesday a bill that would allow European diplomats to be sued for supporting illegal Palestinian Authority construction in Area C.

The proposal would remove foreign diplomats’ immunity from prosecution if they undertake actions designed to assist in terrorism against Israel, human trafficking or illegal construction.

“Immunity granted to foreign countries, however important, cannot be used to legitimize activities which will as a consequence harm the State of Israel or its citizens,” stated Forer.

Forer added that should the bill be approved, it will make easier for the Israel to defend itself against such practices holding the EU criminally accountable for its diplomats’ activities.

Along with Forer, the bill was sponsored by 11 MKs from the Likud, Jewish Home and Yisrael Beitenu parties, along with Zionist Union MK Eitan Broshi.

The bill comes on the heels of protests by residents of Ma’ale Adumim, right-wing activists and politicians and in particular the Regavim organization against illegal construction in the E1 Area, the northeastern slope connecting Jerusalem to the Jordan Valley, especially the area around Ma’ale Adumim.

Last May, Regavim released a report accusing the EU of having turned from humanitarian aid and diplomatic assistance to active political intervention by supporting Palestinian Authority illegal construction. The group says the construction is an indirect move to create a Palestinian state on the disputed territory.

Regavim had initially filed a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice in June in order to remove the EU’s diplomatic immunity over those violations, but the petition was rejected.

Also Wednesday, EU Representative Ralph Tarraf and Palestinian Authority Minister of Local Government Hussein al-Araj announced the inauguration of the first batch of EU-funded social infrastructure projects in Area C.

”The EU works with the Palestinian Authority to develop Area C and support the Palestinian presence there,” stated Tarraf.

“The EU supports projects promoting economic development and improving the quality of life of Palestinian communities in Area C in the areas of private sector development, the environment and agriculture. Area C is part of the occupied Palestinian territory and will be part of any viable future Palestinian state,” he concluded.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

EU Seeks Iranian Cooperation to ‘Resolve Problems’ in Middle East

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met Saturday in Tehran for talks with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Mogherini’s visit followed a trilateral meeting on Friday in Moscow between Iranian, Russian and Syrian foreign ministers to discuss developments in Syria, according to Iran’s official FARS news agency.

During his meeting with Mogherini, the Iranian president “underlined the necessity for cutting aid to the terrorist groups,” according to FARS. Rouhani reportedly “called on the EU to use military and political leverage to pressure those states that are supporting the terrorists in the region.”

Mogherini “stressed the necessity for a campaign against the ISIL (Islamic State terrorist group) and Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front as threats to the world…” The EU foreign policy chief was quoted by FARS as saying, “The EU needs Iran’s cooperation as a key and important power to resolve problems in the region.”

(Yes, these are real quotes.)

Hana Levi Julian

New PA School Named for Mastermind of Munich Olympics Massacre

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

A new public school in the Palestinian Authority has been named after Salah Khalaf, head of the Black September terrorist group.

Among the attacks planned by Khalaf was the murder of the 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, and the murder of two American diplomats in Sudan.

The school, located in the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Tulkarem, “will serve as a daily reminder to Arab children that murdering Israelis is a heroic act when they attend the Martyr Salah Khalaf School,” pointed out the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) watchdog organization which translated the announcement of the dedication in the official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.

The Palestinian Authority laid the cornerstone for the new school a few weeks ago, according to the report. At the ceremony, Tulkarem district governor Issam Abu Bakr “emphasized the importance of the project of building the school named after Martyr Salah Khalaf, in order to commemorate the memory of this great national fighter.”

This is the fourth school the Palestinian Authority has chosen to name after this terrorist, in addition to three others in Gaza. Also attending the ceremony were Tulkarem Mayor Iyad Al-Jallad and Salam Al-Taher, head of the Tulkarem Education Directorate, part of the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education – which receives funding from the United States and the European Union.

The PMW has released a report, PA Education, A Recipe for Hate and Terror, that documents evidence of 25 Palestinian Authority schools that have been named after terrorist murderers. Also documented in the report is evidence that the PA Ministry of Education is responsible for naming and changing the existing names of PA schools.

The watchdog group has written to the European Union, which funds the salaries in the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education, and called on the EU to hold up its funding on condition the PA changes the names of all schools that bear dedications and names after terrorists.

Hana Levi Julian

Finance Minister Exposing Fresh Meat Market to Foreign Competition

Monday, October 17th, 2016

At a time when free markets are losing favor in the eyes of GOP voters in the US, Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) has decided to open up the fresh meat market to competition from abroad. As part of this move, the quota for duty-free fresh meat imports will be doubled.

Needless to say, the move was not received well by Israeli farmers. On Friday, they demonstrated outside the Kfar Yehoshua train station, where the first commercial service on the Jezreel Valley railway line was being inaugurated. Armed with their tractors and pickup trucks, the cattle growers accused Kahlon of plotting to destroy Israel’s 460 cattle farms. They received support from MK Eitan Broshi (Zionist Camp), chairman of the agricultural lobby in the Knesset.

The Finance Ministry began exposing the local fresh meat market to foreign competition about two years ago, under Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) who now shares the opposition benches with Broshi. Indeed, this year there were a number of fresh meat brands available on the local market at roughly 25% less than the average price. The low price drove high consumer interest and supplies ran out before the end of the year.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, opening up the Israeli market to supplies from the EU countries is intended to replace the frozen meat market with higher-quality fresh meat, a move similar to the Agriculture Ministry’s eliminating the frozen poultry market, which used to encompass the bulk of Israel’s poultry market, replacing it with fresh poultry.

The new move will extend these lower prices to the coming years. The Finance Ministry has been conducting talks with the major local players in the industry, and an agreement has been reached on government subsidies to grass-fed, free range cattle growers and on spreading the import outline so that the market will become completely open by 2020.

The plan is for the quotas for fresh meat from abroad to be raised in 2020 to 17,500 tons, while duty will be reduced to 12%. In addition, local farmers will be permitted to import up to 10% of the market in fresh meat, to encourage local production and safeguard employment.

Israel’s  Chief  Rabbinate supervises the slaughtering of kosher meat  being  imported  to  Israel. Currently,  the  importation  of  non-kosher  meat  to  Israel  is  forbidden. The  Import Department of  the Chief  Rabbinate conducts tests  and  authorizes  slaughterhouses  and  teams of  inspectors.

JNi.Media

Moscow Could Face War Crimes Charges Over Syria Bombing Campaign

Monday, October 17th, 2016

The European Union strongly condemned Russia on Monday for causing “untold suffering” with its bombing of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

The air strikes by Moscow and the Syrian regime it backs, said the EU, could constitute war crimes.

In a statement after talks held in Luxembourg, European Union foreign ministers said: “Since the beginning of the offensive by the regime and its allies, notably Russia, the intensity and scale of the aerial bombardment of eastern Aleppo is clearly disproportionate. The deliberate targeting of hospitals, medical personnel, schools and essential infrastructure, as well as the use of barrel bombs, cluster bombs, and chemical weapons, constitute a catastrophic escalation of the conflict … and may amount to war crimes.”

The specific reference to Russia and war crimes in the same statement is significant in that a case may be taken to the International Criminal Court in The Hague with this accusation.

Prior statements have referred to “allies” of the Assad regime. Although Britain and the United States also pressured for sanctions against Russia, this did not succeed, according to international media reports. Extensive EU sanctions are already imposed against Syria, including those involving embargoes on oil and arms, plus bans on more than 200 individuals and 70 entities and institutions.

Moscow announced an eight-hour cease fire set for Thursday as the EU statement was being released to reporters. The truce is to coincide with the opening of a summit for European Union leaders in Brussels at which relations with Russia tops the agenda.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/moscow-could-face-war-crimes-charges-over-syria-bombing-campaign/2016/10/17/

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