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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

Analysis: Merkel’s Party Losing Badly as Social Democrats, Anti-Immigrant AfD Win Berlin State Vote

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The Social Democrats (SPD) have won roughly 33 of the 149 seats in Berlin’s state assembly, and will continue to lead a coalition government, although it appears that their former partner, the local chapter of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), may no longer be useful, having finished with 17.5% of the vote, its worst showing since 1990. Going into the election, incumbent mayor Michael Müller led a grand coalition of his SPD and the CDU. Meanwhile, Berlin voters have welcomed the anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany (AfD), giving them 12.9% of the vote and representation in the tenth regional assembly out of Germany’s 16.

The AfD, founded in 2013 as a middle class, conservative party, has adopted last spring a platform based on opposition to Islam, including a call for banning Islamic symbols such as burkhas, minarets and the call to prayer, under the slogan, “Islam is not a part of Germany.” The party is also opposed to gay marriages and denies the role of industry and technology in causing global warming. And it supports reinstating the draft in Germany.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung wrote on Sunday that the AfD gains in a major city like Berlin prove that the party “doesn’t just benefit from discontent in rural areas but can establish itself … in a city of millions that is known for its open lifestyle.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the AfD, who score as high as 15% in national polls, took 20.8% of the vote and finished ahead of the Christian Democrats in the state election in the northeast region of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania two weeks ago.

Incidentally, according to an ARD exit poll, only 32% of Berlin voters said they were afraid of refugees, while 55% said they saw refugees as enriching life in Germany.

The SPD is expected to form a new regional coalition government with the Left and the Greens, who suffered a 2.5% drop to 15.1%.

Mayor Müller warned on Saturday night that a strong AfD showing would be “seen throughout the world as a sign of the resurgence of the right and of Nazis in Germany.” Well, what do you know…

And so, as Germany is stepping once again into a period of economic and political uncertainty and the EU is still licking its wounds following the UK’s departure, the reader is encouraged to avoid reading history books, because they’ll only upset you.

JNi.Media

Rebellion: 25 Likud MKs Tell Netanyahu to Avoid Amona Demolition

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

As of Saturday night, 25 Likud MKs have signed a petition calling on the Netanyahu government to pursue legislation to prevent the demolition and evacuation of Amona, an Israeli outpost in central Judea and Samaria. Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Amona community is illegal under Israeli law, but its status remained unresolved as the government continued to fight the court’s eviction order. In December 2014, the court ordered the state to completely evacuate and demolish the settlement within two years.

Likud MKs petition to save Amona

Likud MKs petition to save Amona

Last week, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the Court ruling was unequivocal, and there was no hope to keep Amona intact. “There is no way that Amona can be left as it is built today, because most of the houses are built on private Palestinian land,” Liberman told an audience in Ariel University. But he added that “all the rules that apply to Amona apply to every other place as well,” suggesting that leftwing MKs and NGOs, as well as the EU and the US government, are only interested in removing Jews from their homes, “but when it comes to enforcing rulings against other trespassers everyone stands up on their hind legs.”

The court has ordered the final date for the evacuation of the entire outpost to be no later than December 25 this year.

MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi) has submitted a bill dubbed the “Arrangement Law,” suggesting that homes that have been constructed using government supports would not be demolished should the claimants be able to show prior ownership. Instead, the land of the community in question would be confiscated by the State and the claimants would receive fair market value. This moves the burden of proof from the Jewish residents to the Arab claimants.

The signatories on the current petition include the vast majority of the Likud Knesset faction, including a few sworn enemies of the PM, such as Transport Minister Yisrael Katz and MK Oren Hazan. But since the entire Likud list is only 30 members strong, there are also many Netanyahu supporters who would like to see Amona spared.

Back in 2012 Netanyahu torpedoed a similar bill, submitted by Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), which attempted to save the community of Migron, north of Jerusalem. Netanyahu employed the coalition discipline, which killed the bill with a 69 to 22 vote. The same bill came up during the Knesset summer session, but the ministerial legislative committee decided to kill it.

The legal community opposes the idea, and AG Avihai Madelblit is on the record as saying such a law would be unconstitutional (a strange phrase in a country without a constitution), and is sure to be killed by the Supreme Court. He prefers instead purchasing land nearby and transporting the entire community over, at an enormous cost. Why not purchase the land and give it to the claimant? Why not lease the land from the claimant? Why not offer the claimant an opportunity to sell the land to the community? Apparently, all those ideas have not risen to the same constitutional validity as that of destroying a Jewish community.

JNi.Media

Israel to Ship Gas to Gaza, Can’t Be Used to Fuel Rockets

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Israel and the PA have reached an agreement on laying down a gas pipeline from Israel to the Gaza Strip, to alleviate the power shortage in Gaza, Walla reported Thursday. The Israeli government informed the PA that it has approved the arrangement, and invited the PA to join with an Israeli delegation that would appeal to the donor nations conference in New York at the end of this month, requesting funding for the gas pipeline project.

Currently, Israel ships Diesel to the power station in the Gaza Strip. But diesel is problematic in terms of security considerations, says the Israeli security community, since it can be used by terror organizations in their manufacturing of missiles. Natural gas is not nearly as useful to rocket makers.

The deal between Israel and the PA comes in the wake of a major deal that was reached between Israel and the PA on managing the latter’s $530 million debt to the Israel Electric Company.

Prime Minster Netanyahu, on his recent visit to the Netherlands, mentioned the gas pipeline to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who viewed it favorably as part of his government’s efforts to promote essential services in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip as a way of supporting the peace process.

Qatar is on the record with an offer to help finance a Israeli gas pipeline to Gaza. The idea was being promoted a year ago by some in the European Union and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

JNi.Media

Mayor Barkat Thanks Czech Government For Refuting ‘Palestinian Lies’ on Jerusalem

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Jerusalem (TPS) – Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat praised the Czech government on Wednesday for reversing a decision last week by its Education Ministry to require the removal of any reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in educational books. Barkat called the decision a victory against Palestinian incitement and lies against Israel.

“Truth has overcome lies,” said Barkat. “Future generations of Czech students will continue to learn the truth: Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and the heart and soul of the Jewish people.”

Last week, the Education Ministry in Prague ordered the Shocart publishing company to erase references to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, after Palestinian Authority ambassador to the Czech Republic Khaled al-Atrash complained that Shocart school atlases referred to the city as the Jewish state’s capital.

“The atlas says something that is unacceptable not only for the Palestinians but also according to international law and the official position of the European Union, including the Czech Republic,” argued al-Atrash.

Irena Valentova, a spokeswoman for the Czech Foreign Ministry, initially told local media that the country does not consider “east Jerusalem” to be Israeli territory.

“The EU member countries, including the Czech Republic, view Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, i.e. the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine,” Valentova said.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry slammed the short-lived policy, saying the Palestinian Authority is “no longer satisfied with poisoning the minds of Palestinian youth. Now it wants to spread lies and misinformation among Czech youth as well.”

Sunday, Barkat added his voice to the protest, asking Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to reverse the decision.

“ Just as Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, so too is Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel,” Barkat wrote. “Future generations of Czech students deserve nothing less than the truth: Jerusalem’s rightful place as the capital of Israel, and the heart and soul of the Jewish people, cannot and should not, be denied,” Barkat continued.

By Tuesday, Education Minister Valentova had reversed the decision, saying “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital from the viewpoint of the declaration of the country to which this relates, which means Israel.”

“I am pleased that my letter to Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, together with other diplomatic efforts, have positively impacted this decision,” said Barkat on Wednesday. “I’m thankful to the Czech government for making the right choice, and for refusing to surrender to Palestinian incitement and lies.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

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

Report: Obama Granted Iran Nuclear Program Secret Exemptions

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

David Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, and his co-author, senior policy analyst Andrea Stricker, issued a report on Thursday saying the US and other world powers have secretly allowed Iran to exceed the nuclear deal’s limits on stockpiles of enriched uranium and other dangerous materials. Albright cited key secret exemptions which were made in secret meetings of the Joint Commission that was composed of Iran, the US, the UK, France, China, Russia, and the European Union.

Albright is a physicist who took part in UN weapons inspections in Iraq, and has been a self-appointed watchdog over the Iran nuclear deal. He has repeatedly raised doubts that the deal is being implemented honestly.

Albright’s report claims Iran would not have been able to meet its compliance requirements by January 16, 2016—the deal’s Implementation Day: “The exemptions and in one case, a loophole, involved the low enriched uranium (LEU) cap of 300 kilograms, some of the near 20 percent LEU, the heavy water cap, and the number of large hot cells allowed to remain in Iran,” the report reveals, citing a senior knowledgeable official who stated that “if the Joint Commission had not acted to create these exemptions, some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the JCPOA by Implementation Day.”

The report also suggests “the Joint Commission allowed Iran to store large amounts of heavy water in Oman that remained under Iran’s control, effectively allowing Iran to exceed its cap of 130 tons of heavy water as it continues to produce heavy water at its Arak facility.”

“Any rationale for keeping these exemptions secret appears unjustified,” the report said, noting that “these decisions, which are written down, amount to additional secret or confidential documents linked to the JCPOA.” The report also claims that “the Joint Commission’s secretive decision-making process risks advantaging Iran by allowing it to try to systematically weaken the JCPOA. It appears to be succeeding in several key areas.”

“Given the technical complexity and public importance of the various JCPOA exemptions and loopholes, the administration’s policy to maintain secrecy interferes in the process of establishing adequate Congressional and public oversight of the JCPOA,” the report said, stressing that “this is particularly true concerning potentially agreement-weakening decisions by the Joint Commission. As a matter of policy, the United States should agree to any exemptions or loopholes in the JCPOA only if the decisions are simultaneously made public.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday that “the Joint Commission has not and will not loosen any of the commitments and has not provided any exceptions that would allow Iran to retain or process material In excess of its (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) limits that it could use in a breakout scenario,” adding his assurance that “there’s been no cutting of slack.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest expressed the administration’s “significant objections” to the Albright report, assuring reporters that “Iran is in compliance with the agreement. That’s not my opinion. That’s not rhetoric. That is not a conjecture. That is a fact that is verified by independent international experts who, because of the agreement, now have the kind of access that is required to verify it.”

The Trump campaigned quickly took advantage of the report, with a statement by retired Army General Michael Flynn, a top Trump adviser, who said, “The deeply flawed nuclear deal Hillary Clinton secretly spearheaded with Iran looks worse and worse by the day. It’s now clear President Obama gave away the store to secure a weak agreement that is full of loopholes.”

Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement saying,
“This latest report further confirms that the Obama Administration has consistently misled the American people on the Iran nuclear deal. First we learned about a secret side deal that allows Iran to upgrade its centrifuges, then it was the secret $400 million ransom payment, and now these secret exemptions that allow Iran to evade restrictions on their nuclear capabilities. Simply put, President Obama and his fellow Democrats have never been straightforward with the American people about Iran. It’s clear this is a dangerous and reckless deal with the largest state sponsor of terrorism, and no one who is serious about our national security could support it.”

JNi.Media

UN Mid-East Peace Envoy Pins Jewish Homes as Source of Strife

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council in his regular briefing Monday that recommendations offered by the so-called Middle East Quartet, comprising the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, on the way forward in the peace process have been ignored by Israel, pointing to a surge in Israeli settlement-related announcements and continuing demolitions of illegal Arab construction in Area C, which is under full israeli control. The Quartet’s recommendations include an end to Israel’s settlement policy and a halt to the PA’s incitement to violence.

Mladenov reported that a major threat to peace is the fact that since the beginning of July Israel has advanced plans for more than 1,000 housing units in eastern Jerusalem, which has been part of Israel proper for almost 50 years. He pointed to promised new apartments in Pisgat Ze’ev, Ramot, Har Homa, and Gilo, as well as to 735 units in Ma’ale Adumim and other Judea and Samaria communities as the culprits.

Mladenov also noted that Israel has published tenders, some new, for 323 units in eastern Jerusalem and reissued tenders for 42 units in Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, for which it also allocated more than $13 million in new funding.

The envoy had nothing to report on efforts to reduce anti-Semitic PA and Hamas incitement, so all must be well on that front. He did report violent incidents over the past month that included the extrajudicial execution by the Palestinian Security Forces of a man in custody; the firing of two rockets from Gaza, to which Israel responded by directing some 60 missiles and shells at 30 suspected military installations in Gaza; and the killing by the Israeli Security Forces of an Arab man who was reportedly under psychiatric care.

Turning to Gaza, Mladenov said that while progress has been made on reconstructing the physical damage since the ceasefire agreement two years ago, repairing the psychological damage of the conflict is “miles away” from being over. “We need a radical overhaul of how we deal with the problems of Gaza,” he said. He failed to mention the arrests and indictments by Israel of an international charity administrator and a UNDP employee, both of whom confessed to directing millions of dollars in international funds to the terrorist activities of Hamas — which may have had something to do with the fact that all those ruined buildings are yet to be rebuilt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released a statement in response to the envoy’s report, saying, “The UN envoy to the Middle East’s remarks to the Security Council distort history and international law and push peace farther away. Jews have been in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for thousands of years and their presence there is not an obstacle to peace. The obstacle to peace is the unending attempt to deny the Jewish People’s connection to parts of their historic land and the obdurate refusal to recognize that they are not foreigners there. The claim that Jewish construction in Jerusalem is illegal is as absurd as the claim that American construction in Washington or French construction in Paris is illegal. The Palestinian demand that a future Palestinian state be ethnically cleansed of Jews is outrageous and the UN must condemn it instead of adopting it.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/un-mid-east-peace-envoy-pins-jewish-homes-as-source-of-strife/2016/08/30/

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