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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Ministry’

FM Director-General Dore Gold Thanks Norway For Blocking Payments to Jailed Arab Terrorists

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold thanked Norway on Sunday for blocking foreign aid payments that were being used to funnel funds to Arab terrorists by the Palestinian Authority.

Gold spoke with the Norwegian Ambassador Jon Hanssen-Bauer in order to express Israel’s appreciation with the decision taken by Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Bren regarding Norway’s financial contribution to the Palestinian Authority’s coffers.

Norway has made clear that under no circumstances would it contribute funds that would be transferred to support convicted terrorists and their families.

D-G Gold stated that Israel supports aid to the Palestinian Authority — as long as such aid does not incentivize terrorism.

“It is outrageous that killing Israelis has become a source of income for many in the PA,” Gold said. “This completely contradicts what peace is all about. These payments incentivize terrorism and must be stopped,” he added.

Earlier this month, Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende met with PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and told him that the “extensive support program” of his government, making payments to security prisoners (terrorists) in Israeli jails, is unacceptable and should stop.

The payment program was first exposed by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) watchdog organization in 2011.

Hana Levi Julian

PM Netanyahu Reveals Threat That Moved Egypt to Rescue Staff at Israeli Embassy in Cairo

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed Tuesday that only the threat of Israel sending its own commandos to rescue its embassy staff in Cairo moved then-President Mohammed Morsi to send Egyptian forces to save them.

Speaking at a Foreign Ministry ceremony to commemorate Israeli diplomats killed abroad in the line of duty, Netanyahu recalled the night when a mob of Egyptians rampaged unchecked through Israel’s embassy offices.

The six remaining security guards at the time were holed up in a safe room behind a sturdy metal door, on the phone with Prime Minister Netanyahu that night in September 2011. “Yoni, the State of Israel will get you out of there,” the prime minister told the head of security on the phone at the time.

But Israel never publicly revealed its own intervention in the matter, instead giving the credit – and the subsequent kudos on television – to U.S. President Barack Obama.

On Tuesday, the facade came to an end and for the first time, Netanyahu revealed that it was through the threat of sending Israeli commandos the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Egyptian president was persuaded to send in his own crack troops to resolve the problem.

“A mob came to slaughter our people, and we used all the tools at our disposal that night, including the threat of rescue operation by the IDF, which finally tipped the balance and led the Egyptian forces — then under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, together with careful coordination from here — that ultimately led to the successful conclusion of this event,” Netanyahu told Foreign Ministry staff.

He acknowledged that the service is no picnic for its staff, noting that 16 foreign service officers have been killed abroad since 1948.

“Our representatives are there to deflect political and propaganda attacks, and precisely because of this they are liable to turn into targets for physical attacks,” he said.

Netanyahu is currently serving both as prime minister and as foreign minister in Israel. He also served as foreign minister from 2002 to 2003 under then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and from 2012 to 2013. He served as Israeli ambassador to the United Nations between 1984 and 1988, and as deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC from 1982 to 1984.

Update: Defusing a potential international crisis, the Prime Minister’s office has issued a clarification stating that Israel’s intention at the time was to run a “coordinated” operation with the Egyptian army, and not to take unilateral action. The Prime Minister thanked the Egyptian army for handling the matter responsibly leading to a resolution to the problem.

Hana Levi Julian

Italy Hopes Netanyahu Will Reconsider Ambassadorial Choice for Rome

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has sent a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, quietly asking him to reconsider his choice for Israel’s ambassador to Rome.

Last week, however, a senior Foreign Ministry official said the appointment of former Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein, 71, has passed the Civil Service Commission.

Nirenstein was appointed to the post by Netanyahu last August. Sources in the Italian foreign ministry and Renzi’s office both said they do not wish to create a crisis over the issue, but they have expressed concern, according to a report published in Haaretz.

A right-wing member of the Italian parliament from 2008-2013, Nirenstein served as the deputy head of the foreign affairs committee after a career as a journalist. She moved to Israel three years ago, but her son still serves in a senior position in the Italian intelligence arena.

The Italian government has said it will not strongly oppose the appointment if Netanyahu insists. But the question of Nirenstein’s duality and her knowledge of sensitive Italian government information makes things awkward for Rome. As a former MP, she receives an Italian government pension and will continue to do so, even after becoming an Israeli ambassador.

In addition, there are concerns by the Italian Jewish community about the way her appointment might impact on their own lives. Might their fellow Italian citizens or government officials begin to question their own loyalty as a result of Nirenstein’s new role?

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli FM Director Dore Gold Travels to Turkey in Aftermath of Bombing

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Senior Foreign Ministry official Dore Gold has cut short his visit to the United States and is traveling to Turkey following the terror attack that killed three Israelis on Saturday morning in Istanbul.

Three Israelis and an Iranian were killed along with the terrorist; 39 people were wounded, including 11 Israelis.

Gold was in the U.S. to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference.

Instead, he will visit wounded Israeli citizens who are hospitalized in Istanbul, and then meet with Turkish officials, according to Turkish media.

Numerous foreign consulates are located along Istiklal Street and around the immediate area where the attack took place.

This past Wednesday Germany closed its consulate and school in Istanbul due to credible security threats, according to the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper.

The U.S. State Department condemned the attack in a statement released by spokesperson John Kirby.

“The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attack today on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick recovery for those wounded,” the statement read.

“We will remain in close touch with Turkish authorities during the investigation. The United States stands in solidarity with our NATO Ally Turkey in combating the common threat of terrorism.

“This vicious attack is the latest in a series of indefensible violence targeting innocent people throughout Turkey – Turkish citizens and international visitors alike. These acts of terrorism only reinforce our determination to support all those across the region working to promote peace and reconciliation,” the statement said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also condemned the attack in a written statement saying there can be no justification for terrorism. He said, “NATO allies stand united with Turkey, determined to fight against terrorism.”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault also condemned the attack.

“I strongly condemn this despicable and cowardly act that has caused the death of several people,” Ayrault said in a statement, adding Paris stands in solidarity with Turkey.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) meanwhile has launched disciplinary proceedings against its media director and women’s bureau chief Irem Aktas, who tweeted on Saturday after the Istanbul suicide bombing, “Let the wounded Israeli citizens be worse, I wish they all died.”

Hatice Yücel, who heads Istanbul’s Eyüp district women’s branch, tweeted that the comments of party member Irem Aktas did not reflect AKP’s viewpoint. The tweet was deleted and Aktas’ social media accounts were shut down. The disciplinary proceedings against Aktas could result in her dismissal from the party, Yücel added.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel, Turkey, Coordinating on Terror Response [video]

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

Israel and Turkey are coordinating efforts to determine which terrorist group was responsible for an attack that left three Israelis and another national dead on Saturday in Istanbul.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told media, “There is information that this was an attack by a member of ISIS. But this is preliminary information. In cases like this, we cooperate with other countries’ intelligence agencies.”

He confirmed in a televised statement that Israeli officials were in touch with their Turkish counterparts to clarify whether the attack had been aimed specifically at Israeli tourists and said communication and intelligence cooperation was being coordinated between the two nations.

Netanyahu has also instructed the Foreign Ministry to issue a warning against travel to Turkey due to the current circumstances.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Couple Bringing In Patriarch Jacob’s Biblical Sheep from Canada

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

An Israeli couple is hoping to bring home the sheep they’ve been raising, but the process has been a bit complicated. The herd of 130 is comprised of the apparent descendants of the Biblical patriarch Yaakov (Jacob).

Yaakov received speckled and spotted sheep as wages from his father-in-law Laban (Genesis 30:25-31:16) and with time grew wealthy despite Laban’s stinginess.

Jenna and Gil Lewinsky gathered a herd of 130 such sheep (which are now extinct in Israel) and raise them in Vancouver; but the couple hope to bring the sheep back with them to the Jewish State.

They initially ran into resistance from the Agriculture Ministry, however. The project was rejected because the Ministry said Canada is not one of the country’s “approved sheep importers.”

But the Foreign Ministry intervened via its embassy in Canada, which facilitated a dialogue between the ministry and the Lewinskys. Israel’s ambassador to Canada got involved as well.

Since that time, the Agriculture Ministry has changed its attitude and this week was in touch with its Canadian counterpart to launch the import process.

“This should be the national animal of the Jewish People,” Jenna Lewinsky told Israel HaYom. “It would be a very important and historic moment when these sheep return after basically 2,000 years.”

Hana Levi Julian

Analysis: Turkey Toning Down Hopes for Reconciliation With Israel

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

It appears that, like Israel, Turkey’s government is working to reduce expectations of a reconciliation between Ankara and Israel, just as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has in Jerusalem.

The Ankara edition of ‘Today’s Zaman’ published an article Monday headlined: ‘Turkey FM says Israel wanted Erdogan ousted from power, put off deal.”

From the very first paragraph, the article laid the blame for any failure of reconciliation talks at Israel’s doorstep – as Turkey has consistently to this point.

“Turkey’s top diplomat has claimed that Israel has been cold to rapprochement with Turkey because of raised expectations about Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan being ousted from power,” the paper reported.

“Briefing lawmakers in Parliament last Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the framework agreement with Israel was already in place several years ago, saying his government has been in talks with the Israeli side on the same issues that were reported today. ‘In fact, there was a main agreement in place on all these issues, but why was Israel not approaching to [finalize the deal]?” he asked, adding that Israel has been waiting on the departure of Erdogan from power…’”

The foreign minister repeated Turkey’s conditions for the normalization of ties, which include the payment of compensation over the deaths of those who died in the 2010 Mavi Marmara debacle.

What is interesting and new is the position allegedly expressed by Cavusoglu, that Turkey insists on ‘lifting the Israeli embargo on Gaza (the use of language here, as with all diplomatic issues, is very important) and that “Turkey wants to help Gaza residents, including providing electricity to the strip.”

According to Today’s Zaman “the Turkish government’s priority is on lifting the embargo rather than the blockade and hopes to channel development assistance to rebuild Gaza.” (ed.-italics added)

This is the first time Turkey has changed its demand for Israel to drop its blockade of Gaza and instead moved to a request to lift the ’embargo,’ adding a suggestion that it be able to aid in supplying electricity to the enclave.

Despite Ankara’s leanings towards the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey nevertheless might prove helpful in preventing Hamas from stealing the construction supplies that now go missing to rebuild military infrastructure rather than residential neighborhoods.

On the other hand, one must question whether Turkey is hoping to play a role in Gaza in order to establish a presence in the face of another recently-demoted former ally, Egypt. Israel has in the meanwhile strengthened its relations with Cairo, which has increasingly lost patience with Turkey’s foster son, Hamas.

Cavusoglu also revealed that Israeli officials have expressed concern Turkey would continue its public criticisms after a deal is finalized.

“If Israel continues to implement these policies, including illegal settlements and attacks on Palestine, then we’ll naturally criticize; we are very clear and open about this,” the Turkish foreign minister was quoted as saying.

And herein lies one of the problems: Turkey seems to feel free to interfere in the internal domestic national security issues of other sovereign nations but takes great umbrage when others do the same.

For instance, Ankara has no problem taking on the role of advocate for Hamas, the terrorist organization spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood that rules Gaza, and which has been responsible for countless mained, wounded and dead in Israel. Turkey even welcomed Hamas to establish its international headquarters in Istanbul.

But were another sovereign nation to take the same stance on behalf of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), the internationally-recognized terrorist group located in Turkey’s southeastern sector, one wonders how Ankara would respond.

Somehow, Turkey fails to see the parallel.

Negotiators from Ankara and Jerusalem are once more trying to work out a way to regain the relationship the former allies once enjoyed. It has been mutually rewarding and is now needed by both as the region faces an impending onslaught by the hordes of Da’esh (ISIS).

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/analysis-turkey-toning-down-hopes-for-reconciliation-with-israel/2016/02/16/

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