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August 25, 2016 / 21 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israeli Government’

Cisco Laying Off 14,000 Worldwide, 300 at Most in Israel

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

The San Jose, CA headquartered networking giant Cisco is about to announce the layoffs of as many as 14,000 employees, or about 20% of its global workforce, according to sources close to the company. Early retirement package plans have already been offered to many employees, as Cisco is preparing to publicize its fiscal quarter results Thursday evening. According to Calcalist, the layoffs will include between 200 and 300 Israeli employees.

Cisco Israel, headquartered in Netanya, employs more than 1,500 workers. Last October it let go of 40 employees and over the past three years of about one thousand. At the same time, according to Calcalist, Cisco has also been recruiting new employees in Israel, as well as making acquisitions: Cloudlock for $293 million in June, and Leaba for $320 million in March. Cisco has also signed a cooperation deal with Israel’s largest financial institution, Bank Hapoalim, and announced a new initiative with the Israeli government, turning the Negev into the “world’s first digital region.”

According to CRN, the heavy cuts are the inevitable result of Cisco’s transition from its hardware roots into a software-centric organization. CRN cites a source familiar with Cisco’s transformation that said “they need different skill sets for the software-defined future than they used to have. In theory the addressable market could be higher and the margins richer, but it will take some time to make this transition.”

The notion that a good portion of that future growth will involve Israel’s quality software workforce bodes well for the local hi-tech industry.

David Israel

Head of Mid-East Think Tank Suing Obama over Aid to Nuclear Israel

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRMEP), has filed a lawsuit against the entire US government, including President Obama, Secretary Kerry, CIA Director Brennan and Defense Secretary Carter, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for the $234 billion the US has given Israel in military foreign aid since 1976 — in violation of US law that prohibits aiding countries with nuclear capability who are non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Smith insists that his lawsuit is not about foreign policy (which the court would have dismissed outright), but “about the rule of law, presidential power, the structural limits of the US Constitution, and the right of the public to understand the functions of government and informed petition of the government for redress.”

In an article Smith published in Sept. 2014, when the current lawsuit was initially launched (Lawsuit Challenges U.S. “Ambiguity” Toward Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal), he explains his real reasons why Israel must not be allowed to have a nuclear arsenal:

“In a crisis or time of increased tension, Israel can threaten to use its arsenal as a lever to coerce the transfer of US military supplies and other support rather than pursue peaceful alternatives,” Smith argues, adding that “the international community views the US as hypocritical when it cites the NPT in reference to Iran or North Korea.”

Actually, we’ve seen up close how the international community views this “hypocrisy” just a year ago. As soon as it became clear in the summer of 2015 that Iran was going to be allowed to develop its nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf states went on a mad dash to acquire their own nukes. Why hadn’t they done the same in all the decades since Israel had allegedly first acquired its own nuclear device? Because they couldn’t imagine a situation whereby Israel would use it against them.

The lawsuit cites the fact that the White House and Israeli government are currently negotiating a new ten-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to serve as the basis for a FY2019-2028 foreign aid package of 4 to 5 billion dollars annually (actually, that’s the Israeli request, so far the most the White House has mentioned is $3.5 billion). In addition, the suit claims, “Congress will soon pass and the President will sign into law the final installment of the current FY2009-2018 foreign aid package. The US Treasury will provide an interest-bearing cash advance in October 2017 that Israel can use to fund its own military-industrial programs and purchase US arms.” That, too is more what Israel has been hoping for and less what the Administration is willing to give. At the moment, the US wants the entire military aid package to be used in American factories.

Smith claims the US aid deal with Israel is in violation of the Symington and Glenn amendments to the Foreign Aid Act of 1961.

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 was modified by the Symington Amendment (Section 669 of the FAA) in 1976, which banned US economic and military assistance, and export credits to countries that deliver or receive, acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology when they do not comply with IAEA regulations and inspections.

The Glenn Amendment was later adopted in 1977, and provided the same sanctions against countries that acquire or transfer nuclear reprocessing technology or explode or transfer a nuclear device.

Noam Chomsky, a vociferous anti-Israel critic, has blamed successive US presidents of violating the law by granting an exception for Israel. The fact is that US presidents have granted similar benefits to India and Pakistan as well.

Smith’s suit says “Defendants have collectively engaged in a violation of administrative procedure … while prohibiting the release of official government information about Israel’s nuclear weapons program, particularly ongoing illicit transfers of nuclear weapons material and technology from the US to Israel.”

The suit claims that “these violations manifest in gagging and prosecuting federal officials and contractors who publicly acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons program, imposing punitive economic costs on public interest researchers who attempt to educate the public about the functions of government, refusing to make bona fide responses to journalists and consistently failing to act on credible information available in the government and public domain. These acts serve a policy that has many names all referring to the same subterfuge, ‘nuclear opacity,’ ‘nuclear ambiguity,’ and ‘strategic ambiguity.’”

The Institute for Research: Middle East Policy is an enormous archive of newspaper articles, books, audio, video, lawsuits, and surveys, dedicated to Israel, or, rather, the vilification of the Jewish State. Despite the institute’s name’s reference to being about Middle East policy, it’s all Israel, mostly about the secrets and clandestine policies of Israel. But it’s doubtful the current lawsuit, almost two years in the system by now, will go anywhere in federal court. In the end, the president is permitted to do whatever he or she wants in foreign policy, using good advice and their own intellectual faculties.

Let’s all vote for a president who is endowed with both.

David Israel

Report: Government Supports Electric Company Blackouts over PA Debt

Monday, August 8th, 2016

According to an Army Radio report, the Israeli government has altered its position on permitting the Israel Electric Company to halt service to various Arab cities in Judea and Samaria for lack of payment of an accrued debt reaching $450 million. The money is owed by the Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO) and the Palestinian Authority. A few months ago, the IEC began a selective disconnection for a few days at a time of individual Arab cities, the PA appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court and the court placed an injunction on the practice pending a hearing.

The state has now responded to the PA cities’ petition,with a supporting statement by deputy head of the Israeli National Security Council Jacob Nagel, saying that while the government has the authority to order the IEC to continue providing electricity regardless of the Arabs’ huge debt, it also has the authority to approve of the blackouts as a means of encouraging payment, and as of now the concerned entities, including the political echelon, have decided to let the IEC do as it pleases to recoup the debt.

This marks a 180 degree change in Israel’s traditional policy which preferred to spend Israeli taxpayers’ money to pay for the PA deadbeats, to prevent a global protest of how the Israelis are depriving the Palestinians of electricity. In fact, it was the current head of Mossad, Yossi Cohen, who, back when he was head of the NSC, joined with then Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to compel the IEC to bite the bullet and continue to provide free electricity to the PA.

This, according to the Army Radio report Monday, is no longer the government’s position. The Supreme Court injunction will remain in place for the time being, but once there is a hearing, the court would have to abide by the opinion of the sovereign government and permit the IEC to do what it takes to collect from its PA customers.

It could mean those PA folks would be stuck without their Internet connection and the world would be spared many gigabytes of incitement.

David Israel

AG Recommends Evacuating Amona, Residents Hoping for Political Rescue

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said on Sunday that there is no legal obstacle barring a review of the status of lands adjacent to the community of Amona in Benjamin regional council, to start a discussion of potentially moving there the residents of the community which has been slated for demolition by the end of the year by the supreme court. Mandelblit spoke at a discussion with government officials of regulating the status of Amona.

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Amona community is illegal under Israeli law, based on petitions of presumed original Arab owners of the land who had been rounded up by anti-Zionist groups like Peace Now and Yesh Din. Since then, the court has ruled again on the Amona case, ordering that the Jewish residents must be evacuated, the housing and infrastructure destroyed and the area be handed to the Arabs.

According to the Amona residents, when the community was founded in 1995 it was by a state initiative, promoted by then housing minister Natan Sharansky, who invested millions of dollars in creating an infrastructure, paving roads and promoting construction, all of it under the auspices of the state. If there were irregularities with the land purchase, it was the state’s problem, not theirs. Had they known the land was privately owned they would have stayed away, but they were told by the state to move in — let the state deal with the alleged original owners.

It should be noted that when Mandelblit was being considered for the AG appointment, he was favored by the right for his idea that in just these kinds of cases, with anti-Jewish settlement activists signing up claimants against existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and the claimants prove ownership (which is not so hard to do considering the land registration archives are kept in Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority) — said claimants be compelled to accept fair market value for the property, or comparable property. Mind you, this is after some Arab real estate agent had received full pay for the same land.

Now, despite his wise recommendation on grandfathering existing Jewish communities, the AG is obviously feeling that he can’t go to battle against a clear Supreme Court ruling to demolish Amona, and so he recommends finding an alternative land not for the alleged Arab owners, but for the very real Jewish residents instead.

Amona was the site of one of the most brutal attacks of Israeli government forces on Jewish residents in the state’s history. On February 1, 2006, Amona Jewish residents and protesters were evacuated by 10,000 Israeli Police, Border Police, and Army troops. The estimated 4,000 Jews on the Amona grounds mostly consisted of youths from nearby communities. More than 300 were injured, including some 80 security personnel. Among the injured were three Knesset members. After several hours, the Amona homes had been demolished. A few girls that were evacuated accused police officers of sexual assault.

In March 2006, the Knesset parliamentary inquiry into the events at Amona determined that security forces had employed brutal force, striking protesters with clubs and charging them with horses. Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra was criticized for preventing police commanders from testifying at committee hearings. The committee also found contradictions between the testimonies of the Army Chief of Staff and the Internal Security Minister.

Today, none of the coalition parties wants to position itself behind a similar evacuation effort, a move which could kill their political aspirations among their rightwing voters. Likud, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu officials have stated recently that this government will not permit the destruction of Amona. When the brutal evacuation took place in 2006, it was carried out by the same government that had evacuated Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip in 2005, yet another traumatic event in recent Israeli history. That government was ruled by the Kadima party, a political albatross invented by soon-to-go-comatose Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which has since disappeared from the political map, and serves as a warning to all Israeli rightwing parties wishing to err leftward.

With that in mind, it can be expected that Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Liberman and Justice Minister Shaked come up with a solution that keeps the Jewish settlers in place, risking the ire of the high court, as well as of Israel’s many friends in the free world. It should provide for great political theater, as these three politicians will show their ability to both capitulate and gravel while proudly standing erect. It’s time to call in the chiropractors.

JNi.Media

Knesset Forms Committee to Investigate Foreign Political Donations

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

By Tzvi Lev/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Knesset on Tuesday approved the establishment of a bipartisan committee tasked with investigating political organizations that are funded with money from foreign governments, such as the V15 organization.

“The United States Senate report proved how dangerous such organizations are to Israeli democracy and the need to close this loophole,” said Likud MK Yoav Kish, who chairs the committee. “I will build a concrete wall against the money from foreign sources whose goal is to buy power.”

Kish was referring to the United States Senate report released in July, which proved that the US State Department has poured vast sums of money into V15. Kish claimed that the funding was done in an attempt to bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

V15 came into public attention as a group dedicated to removing Netanyahu from power, running anti-Netanyahu ads during the 2015 election with the slogan “anyone but Bibi.” However, the group was formed and received Senate funding long before the Israeli government surprisingly dissolved and the 2015 elections were announced.

MK Yoav Kish had drafted a bill that would make accepting such foreign donations illegal, and the Senate report accelerated the process required to ratify the bill into law.

The committee will be staffed by nine coalition and seven opposition MKs.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Plan In The Works to Transfer Residents of Amona To Alternative Location

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

The Israeli government has approved a plan by the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria to transfer the residents of Amona to another residential location of approximately 1600 dunams (395 acres) in the Binyamin region, east of Shilo.

Approximately 40 families currently live in Amona, which is located north of Jerusalem and next to the Jewish community of Ofra. The High Court of Justice found in December, 2014 that the community was built on private Palestinian land and that the residents of Amona must therefore be evacuated by the end of 2016.

The Defense Ministry has mapped out a plan to construct 140 housing units at the new site, at least 40 of which will be occupied by evacuees from Amona. However, Amona residents appear to be opposed to any compromise even at the expense of being evacuated by force.

“We strongly oppose the preparation of a neighborhood that’ll promote a population transfer of the residents of Amona,” a statement read on behalf of the community. “Any eventuality other than a resolution keeping us here may lead to a repeat of the painful images from the demolition of houses in the town ten years ago.”

on February 1, 2006, violent encounters ensued between Amona residents and their supporters, with Israeli police and security forces who arrived to follow through with an order from then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to demolish nine permanent structures.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Analysis: US Critical of Jewish Construction, Mum on Next Door Govt. Construction for Arabs

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

The US State Department on Wednesday released a statement saying it is “deeply concerned by reports today that the Government of Israel has published tenders for 323 units in East Jerusalem settlements. This follows Monday’s announcement of plans for 770 units in the settlement of Gilo.”

The State Dept. added, “We strongly oppose settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. These steps by Israeli authorities are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two- state solution.”

Now, keep in mind that the area in question is eastern Jerusalem, and that these days there are two government supported construction plans in the same area, practically next door to each other: one is the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo, the other, comprised of 600 new units, in Arab Beit Safafa. Same territory, same government, everyone involved being a registered resident of the Israeli capital city of Jerusalem, yet the State Dept. has nothing negative to say about the Beit Safafa expansion plan.

In other words, the US is upset with Israeli construction in eastern Jerusalem when Israeli Jews receive the housing, but it’s fine for Israel to build in the forbidden zone for Israeli Arabs.

In fact, the State Dept. announcement completely ignores the Israeli government’s effort on behalf of Israeli Arabs in Jerusalem, condemning Israel for “denial of Palestinian development that risk entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict.”

In conclusion, the State Dept. notes, “We remain troubled that Israel continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action, which raises serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful, negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.” It would have been nice had the US acknowledged that Israel is devoting equal resources to Arabs and Jews in the same area, and that it represents in concrete ways its commitment to peace.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/analysis-us-critical-of-jewish-construction-mum-on-next-door-govt-construction-for-arabs/2016/07/28/

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