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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israeli Government’

State Dept. Not Huge Fans of Netanyahu Video on Peace and ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ [video]

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

One of the disturbing points few in the media discussed back in 2005, when the Israeli government was strong-arming its 8,000 or so citizens off their lands in the Gaza Strip, was the fact that no one was entertaining the possibility of letting the Jews of Gaza become citizens of the Palestinian Authority. In fact, one of the things government agents took care of early on in the process was to disarm the residents of Jewish Gush Katif, so that they, too, wouldn’t dream of staying and defending themselves on their own.

Now one of the Israeli politicians who voted 4 out of 5 times for the program to exile the Jews of Gaza, including the dead and buried, then Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), has begun to ask that very question, this time regarding the Jews of Judea and Samaria: how come no one is talking about transferring the Jewish communities, along with their people, over to Palestinian Authority rule, as a legitimate Jewish minority with equal rights? Why is everyone insisting the area must remain free from Jews?

In a video he posted this weekend, Prime Minister Netanyahu is asking why everyone around the world is convinced Jewish settlements are such a threat to peace. Because while no one would seriously claim that the nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel are an obstacle to peace, having close to half a million Jews living in Judea and Samaria makes peace impossible.

“It’s called ethnic cleansing,” Netanyahu says on the video, noting that while Israel’s diversity “shows its openness and readiness for peace, the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews.”

On Friday, State Dept. Press Office Director Elizabeth Trudeau used her daily press briefing to rebut Netanyahu’s accusation, although a careful reading of her attack on the PM reveals she didn’t really answer his main argument.

The reporter who cited the Netanyahu video did a good job of digging up the key points, saying the PM is “talking about settlements and talking about the Palestinians wanting to have a state that has no Jews in it at all and saying that this is ethnic cleansing. And he also says that that demand is outrageous, that it’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find it outrageous. And then he says some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage.”

Trudeau responded: “We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful.”

She explained that “settlements are a final status issue that must be resolved in negotiations between the parties,” and the next line out of her mouth was: “We share the view of every past US administration and the strong consensus of the international community that ongoing settlement activity is an obstacle to peace.”

So, to reiterate, 1. Shame on you, Mr. Netanyahu for using bad words; 2. We will deal with the status of those Jews in Judea and Samaria when everything else has been resolved; 3. Jews living in Judea and Samaria are a menace to peace.

Why? What if the PA and the Israelis decide that they want Jews living in a free Palestinian State, carrying Palestinian passports and enjoying equal rights? How then would today’s settlements have been a threat to peace?

Trudeau continued with the familiar, regurgitated statements about the thousands of new settlement units being built (we wish) and the vicious demolitions of illegal Arab structures in accordance with Israeli law, which the US should respect but doesn’t. She then announced that the US is “engaging in direct conversations with the Israeli Government on this. … We’ll have our conversation with our Israeli allies and friends and we’ll see where that goes.”

Not everyone in Israel is happy with the Netanyahu video. MK Ayman Odeh, Chairman of the Joint Arab List, accused the PM of revising history. And MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) said that with one video Netanyahu managed to wipe out her accomplishments in the Sharon government, guaranteeing that the clusters of settlements would remain part of Israel as part of a two-state solution.

Israeli rightwingers will probably start drilling the PM on Sunday, after they emerge from their Shabbat rest. They won’t be happy with the fact that the PM has so openly entertained the possibility of a Palestinian State as a given fact. But the points Netanyahu made were sound and they could go a long way in stirring the presidential campaign’s foreign policy debate.

JNi.Media

More Israeli Jews See Trump as Better for Bibi While Arabs Choose Clinton

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

A full 62% of both the Jewish and the Arab public expect Hillary Clinton to win the November elections, while fewer than 25% think the winner will be Donald Trump; the rest do not know, according to the August Peace Index, a monthly survey of 400 Jews and 100 Arabs in Israel, conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute, which is an independent, leftwing think tank located in Jerusalem.

On the question of which of the two candidates will be better for the current Israeli government, 38.5% of the Jews in Israel pick Trump, compared with only 33% who think Clinton and Netanyahu are a good match. However, on the question of “whom would you want to win the US presidential elections?” 43% prefer Clinton, 34% pick Trump.

On the Jewish left, 86% prefer Clinton over Trump (9%); in the center 57% want Clinton over Trump (23%); the right prefers Trump (49%) over Clinton (23%), but more than 25% of rightwing Israelis said they did not know who was better.

In the Arab public, 40% think Clinton will be better for the Israeli government’s policy, while 31% think both candidates will be good for Israel and only 14% expect Trump to be better. On the question of “Whom would you want to win the elections?” 58% of the Arab public want Clinton over Trump (11%), with a whopping 31% saying they don’t know which candidate to support.

The August survey also inquired about the trial of Sgt. Elor Azaria, who is accused of killing an Arab terrorist who had already been neutralized in Hebron last March. 65% of the Jewish public justify Azaria’s action and uphold his claim that he shot the terrorist in self-defense out of fear that the latter was wearing an explosive belt. Only 25% support the military establishment’s position that Azaria violated the rules of engagement and shot the terrorist for vengeance. The rest, 10%, preferred not to answer.

Rightwing Jews support Azaria at an overwhelming rate of 83%. 51% of centrist Jews, and even 20% of leftwing Jews also support Azaria. Support for Azaria is at 84% among army-age (18-24) Jews, and even more, 95%, among Haredim, and 79% among national religious Jews. A majority of traditional and secular Jews also support Azaria.

51.5% of the Jews support a group of reserve soldiers who recently announced that they will not report to duty when called as long as Azaria has not been completely exonerated. 43.5% oppose the group. On this question, 71% of rightwing Jews support the protest; but only 31.5% of centrist Jews and 14% of leftwing Jews do.

The survey notes that these political camps are not equal in size, and the rightwing now constitutes more than half of the Israeli Jewish public.

JNi.Media

Document Shows Abbas Was KGB Agent

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was a KGB agent in 1983, according to a report on Israel’s Channel 1 News which presented Soviet-era documents from the archive of Vasili Mitrokhin, a former Soviet intelligence archivist who defected to the UK with a treasure trove of historic documents after the fall of the USSR. Mitrokhin died in 2004. The report was broadcast Wednesday night, during a week that had seen Russian President Vladimir Putin pushing for a prestigious peace summit in Moscow between Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Tuesday, Abbas told reporters in Poland that he had been on his way to a preliminary meeting in Moscow with the Israelis September 9, when Jerusalem issued a call for a delay.

The timing of the revelation did not escape PA Arab representatives, who have been flooding Israeli media Thursday morning with profuse denials of the charges, as well as accusations that the Netanyahu government is trying to torpedo the peace efforts.

The document, which lists people the KGB was recruiting in 1983, names “Abbas, Mahmoud,” born 1935 in Palestine, as “Krotov,” or mole, in Damascus, Syria. Abbas was born in 1935 in British Palestine, and after 1948 fled with his family to Damascus, where he grew up.

And, in the clandestine spy world John le Carré books are made of, where being together at the same place and time is proof for plots and conspiracies, the following has to be a fine nugget: Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian deputy foreign minister who has been Putin’s envoy pushing Abbas and Netanyahu to meet in Moscow, was stationed in Damascus from 1983-89 and from 1991-94. Put that in your hookah and smoke it.

Dr. Isabella Ginor of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, who together with Gideon Remez, an Israeli journalist and analyst of post-Soviet affairs, researched the Mitrokhin documents, rejected the claims by senior PA Arabs saying she and her colleague have no ties to the Israeli government and they certainly do not receive their orders from Netanyahu. As to the Timing of the revelation, Ginor told Israel Radio on Thursday morning that there has always been tension between Netanyahu and Abbas, meaning that whenever her team’s revelations were to be publicized it would have boosted Israel’s case against the PA Chairman.

Ginor added that the KGB also had an agent in the Israeli government, starting in 1972, a relatively unknown person who came to Israel from Moldova.

The PA officials argued that there was no need for the Soviets to recruit Abbas as a Soviet agent because the PLO was openly collaborating with Moscow. Indeed, Abbas was the head of a Palestinian-Soviet friendship foundation and as such served as a liaison to Moscow for PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.

The documents are now in storage at the Churchill Archives Center of Cambridge University and have been open to the public for the past two years. Ginor and Remez came across the document naming Abbas while researching the Soviet involvement in the Middle East.

JNi.Media

Island Reappears in Drying Lake Kinneret While Jordan Keeps Siphoning

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Aerial photographs shot by a drone operated by Rahaf, a company specializing in photography and documentation projects from the air, show the dreaded “Kinneret Island,” which appears in Israel’s northern lake whenever the dry season claims significant portions of the lake’s water.

According to Pinhas Green, Deputy CEO of the Kinneret Authority, “since the beginning of summer the Kinneret level has gone down by 40 inches, placing it at 14.76 inches below the lowest red line. The level is very low. The drought arrived early this year. … We should all pray for an exceptionally rainy winter.”

To be full, the Kinneret is currently missing 180 inches (38 ft.).

Israel transports water from Lake Kinneret, or the Sea of Galilee, to the population centers of Israel, as well as to Jordan. The lake supplies only about 10% of Israel’s drinking water needs, but under the terms of the Israel–Jordan peace treaty, Israel also supplies 50,000,000 cubic meters (1,765,733,336 cubic feet) of water annually from the lake to Jordan. In recent years the Israeli government has made extensive investments in water reclamation and desalination infrastructure in the country. This has allowed it to significantly reduce the amount of water pumped from the lake annually in an effort to restore and improve its ecological environment, as well as respond to some of the most extreme drought conditions in hundreds of years which the lake’s intake basin has frequently experienced since 1998.

It is expected that in 2016 only about 25,000,000 cubic meters (880,000,000 cubic feet) of water will be drawn from the lake for Israeli domestic consumption.

Jordan, on the other hand (the folks who gave you the Islamic Waqf on Temple Mount), which hasn’t made an investment in water preservation, will continue to receive more than a billion and a half cubic feet of water every year.

JNi.Media

Sharp Rightwing Criticism of Supreme Court Ruling on Demolishing Gush Etzion Homes

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Following a Supreme Court Ruling Thursday ordering the evacuation and demolition of 17 structures in the Netiv Ha’Avot outpost in Gush Etzion, rightwing politicians called for a Regulation Act that would set out to legalize thousands of Judea and Samaria properties about which there are now or may be future claims. The general outline of the proposed regulatory legislation will authorize the Israeli government to compel proven claimants to receive market-value compensations, in comparable land or in money. A coalition move back in July to start work on the Regulation Act was thwarted by the AG Avihay Mandelblitt, who said the law is not constitutional and would be knocked down by the high court on appeal.

Thursday’s ruling, by a three-judge panel, evoked sharp criticism on the right, with Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett condemning the ruling, saying extreme leftwing elements who have given up on their ability to ever persuade the people to accept a Palestinian State in Judea and Samaria are bypassing the public and usurping the legal system to force their policies on the majority. “When the Supreme Court collaborates with them this erodes the public trust in the court,” Bennett warned.

Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud), who is a resident of Gush Etzion, said the high court’s “scandalous decision” constitutes the crossing of red lines, revealing the court’s utter disconnection from common sense and from the historic values and the legacy of the nation of Israel. Elkin called on Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) to lead a far-reaching reform to regain the public’s trust in the Supreme Court.

Thursday’s ruling was an uncompromising order to destroy homes that “were built illegally on private lands.” Considering the fact that the ruling required forcing residents out of their homes, and the large number of homes in question, Court President Justice Miriam Naor gave government and the residents 18 months to prepare for the evacuation/demolition.

Naor wrote that the court ignored on principle the fact that the outpost had been established with government endorsement and support, saying government does not enjoy a special status when it comes to standing before the high court. “In the judicial process government is equal to other litigants,” Naor emphasized, adding that the fact that government had been aiding in a long-term illegal enterprise does not make it kosher.

According to the petition by Peace Now, which dug up the Arabs who are now claiming to be the original owners of Netiv Ha’Avot, the lands of the Al-Khader village near Bethlehem and Gush Etzion, in Judea, had been undergoing regulation by the Jordanian government at the time the IDF conquered the land in June 1967. The Israeli court opted not to rule whether or not the Jordanian government had the legal authority to carve up and hand out the land to local Arabs, land it had acquired through an act of war, invading the “West Bank,” including Jewish Gush Etzion, in 1948.

Davidi Pearl, who heads the Gush Etzion Regional Council, responded to the High Court’s decision saying the court had opted to belittle the government which had presented a vast array of legal alternatives that had been confirmed by the AG. Pearl called on the government to act immediately to enact a law to protect the honor of the Israeli government and the Judea and Samaria residents who had acted in good faith with the government’s encouragement.

JNi.Media

Jewish Man Arrested for Saying Shema on Temple Mount

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

A young Jewish man was arrested on the Temple Mount Thursday afternoon, for suspicion of saying “Shema Israel,” legal aid society Honenu reported. The detainee is being represented by a Honenu attorney.

The latest time to say the Shema on Thursday according to Jewish law was 9:27:29 AM, which suggests the young man was only reading the verse, rather than uttering it as part of his daily prayer, and should argue for a reduced sentence (Berachot 10b).

On the other hand, the young man could have been a Hasid, in which case he may have considered his uttering of the Shema to be part of his morning prayer, and his punishment should thus be more severe.

Regarding Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, the 2010 US State Dept. report on religious freedom round the world apparently finds it disturbing that “a government policy since 1967, upheld repeatedly by the Supreme Court and routinely enforced by the police, denies religious freedom at the Temple Mount to all non-Muslims, although the government ensured limited access to the historic site to everyone regardless of religious beliefs. Only Muslims were allowed to pray at the site, although their access has been occasionally restricted due to security concerns. The police accompanied Jewish visitors to the site and removed them if they appear to be praying. Since 2000 the Jordanian Waqf that managed the site restricted all non-Muslims from entering the Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa Mosque.”

However, the 2014 DOS report on religious freedom appears to approve of the fact that the Israeli government limits Jewish religious observance at the Temple Mount, “though some Jewish groups sought to either legally overturn this policy or modify it to permit Jewish prayer, actions that were at times followed by a violent response from Muslim worshippers.”

David Israel

Agriculture Minister: Israeli Farmers Will Export Cannabis in Two Years

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) is planning for Israel to begin exporting medical cannabis, Cannabis Magazine reported on Sunday. Referring to the new experimental cannabis farm at Israel’s Volcani Institute for Agricultural Engineering, Ariel promised that “within two years we will have a regulated protocol for growing cannabis, at which point we’ll allow farmers to grow it.” Nevertheless, the minister would not refer to Cannabis as an agricultural product.

The program regulating the medical cannabis industry was approved by the Israeli government some two months ago. But because of the objections of Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ), and despite the support of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu), the program does not include approval for growing cannabis for export.

Unfortunately, cannabis growers in Israel are saying the only way they could afford to sell their product in Israel at a reasonable price is if they could raise most of their crops for export.

At the same time, the fact that the Volcani Institute is experimenting with Israeli cannabis suggests that eventually, when the time is right politically, Israeli cannabis might blow the competition out of the bong, since it is renowned for its agricultural research, focusing on plant sciences, animal sciences, plant protection, soil and environmental sciences, food sciences, and agricultural engineering, that have made Israeli farm products among the most prized in the world.

A sign announcing the launch of Israel's health ministry's medical cannabis center. / Photo courtesy Volcani Institute

A sign announcing the launch of Israel’s health ministry’s medical cannabis center. / Photo courtesy Volcani Institute

Over the weekend, Minister Ariel told Israel Radio that “the Agriculture Ministry is now devoting significant-size plots for experimentation and exhibition of cannabis growing,” in preparation for instructing Israeli farmers on the most efficient and productive methods of growing the plant. Ariel said he does intend to eventually reach a political consensus in the Netanyahu cabinet in favor of exporting cannabis. He expects the process of cultivating products, developing the proper protocol for growing and shipping, and getting political approval to take about two years, which means this could take place during the current Netanyahu government.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/agriculture-minister-israeli-farmers-will-export-cannabis-in-two-years/2016/08/28/

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