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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem Post’

Indicators of the Road Ahead for Israel

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

With so much turbulence about (especially now but also in the past several years), it’s easy to overlook the fact that Israel has fought no wars against any Arab state since the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

As Robert Satloff notes in the first of the articles we extract below, Israel’s experiences over these last four decades include “successful diplomacy with intermittent bouts of terrorism and asymmetric war against non-state actors.” Looking ahead, there’s more than a little reason to take a sober view of the future.

The End of the Forty-Year Peace between Israel and Arab States Robert Satloff  in the New Republic: With Hamas’ strong political backing from regional states, future historians might very well view the recent Gaza conflict as the first episode of a new era of renewed inter-state competition and, potentially, inter-state conflict in the Arab-Israeli arena… The “old new Middle East” was a region of peace, trade, and regional cooperation. It reached its heyday in the mid-’90s, when Israelis were welcome everywhere from Rabat to Muscat… The “new new Middle East” is the region defined by the twin threats of Iranian hegemonic ambitions and the spread of radical Sunni extremism, where Israelis are not only unwelcome but where they are building fences along their borders to separate themselves from the fight around them… There is much the U.S. can do to postpone the return to inter-state Arab-Israeli conflict. Such a strategy begins with strengthening American-Israeli cooperation and includes such initiatives as preventing Hamas from winning a political victory over the moribund Palestinian Authority, incentivizing moderate behavior from the calculating Islamist leaders of Egypt, speeding the demise of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and preventing the collapse of a wobbly Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Hamas Tells Fatah: Let’s Fight Israel Together Khaled Abu Toameh in the Jerusalem PostHamas leader Mahmoud Zahar on Monday called on Fatah to join his movement in the fight against Israel and to stop wasting time and effort with the peace process. “Our hands are extended to Fatah to join the program of [armed] resistance and the liberation of Palestine… Let’s join hands and carry the rifle together.”

Hizbullah TV Claims Its Rockets Can Reach Eilat  Zach Pontz in the Algemeiner: Israel’s Channel 2 television broadcast a video from Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV claiming that the terror group’s rockets could reach as far as Eilat. The segment, accompanied by many graphic descriptions, claimed: “Hizbullah has the following capabilities: the destruction of buildings in Tel Aviv; damage to ports and ships in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea and capability to hit specific targets with missiles on the residents and resources of Israel.” Last week Hizbullah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah told a crowd: “Israel, which was jolted by Fajr-5 missiles [from Gaza] – how will it be able to endure thousands of missiles falling on Tel Aviv and other cities if it attacks Lebanon? Our campaign against Israel is from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat.”

Visit This Ongoing War.

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Weekly Polls: Pre-Gaza Polls Give Right 66.5 Knesset Seats

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Here’s, the average of 2 polls published last week, Channel 2 and Jerusalem Post. The Post poll was conducted November 12-13 and the Channel 2 poll was published November 14.

Current Knesset seats in [brackets], Week 5 average in (brackets):

37.0 (38.0) [42] Likud Beitenu

21.5 (22.3) [08] Labor

13.0 (11.0) [–] Yesh Atid

11.0 (09.0) [07] National Union-Jewish Home

11.0 (13.0) [10] Shas

5.0 (5.6) [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

4.5 (3.3) [03] Meretz

3.5 (3.6) [04] Hadash

3.5 (3.0) [03] Balad

3.0 (3.3) [04] Ra’am-Ta’al

2.5 (3.6) [01] Am Shalem

2.5 (1.6) [05] Independence

2.0 (2.3) [28] Kadima

66.5 (69) [65] Right

53.5 (51) [55] Center-Left

Visit KnessetJeremy.com.

Jeremy Saltan

Jer. Post’s Hoffman Tells Jewish Students Israelis’ View of Obama Vacillating

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

On the eve of the 2012 elections, Gil Hoffman, the Chief Political Correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, gave a lecture at Franklin & Marshall College, located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The lecture was titled, “Red States, Blue States and the Jewish State: An insider’s perspective from Jerusalem on the U.S. election’s impact on Israel.”

Hoffman covered a variety of topics, seeking to educate the audience on what the U.S. elections mean for Israel, and how Israelis view the candidates, but he made it clear that both he and the Jerusalem Post did not endorse any candidate.

Two of the major points Hoffman addressed were the relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the threat of the Iranian nuclear program on Israel.

Earlier in President Obama’s term, Hoffman met with Natan Sharansky, former Soviet refusenik who now heads the Jewish Agency for Israel. Sharansky told Hoffman that the source of tension and disagreement between Obama and Netanyahu arose solely from what Netanyahu experienced as unpleasant surprises.

Hoffman elaborated on those surprises: During a meeting between Obama and Netanyahu in May of 2009, Obama demanded the halt of Israeli settlement building and expansion, without notifying Netanyahu’s administration of this demand prior to their meeting. Hoffman also noted Obama’s publicly announced proposed peace plan back in May 2011, just one day before Netanyahu’s scheduled visit to the States. The plan was based on the “1967 borders,” which Obama justified, supporting the Palestinian necessity to “govern themselves, and reach their full potential in a sovereign and contiguous state.”

Throughout Obama’s first term, Jerusalem Post polls revealed vastly fluctuating opinions of Israeli citizens on whether or not the U.S. President was pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian. Israelis’ ratings of President Obama changed dramatically from the all-time low of a four percent pro-Israel rating in Aug. 2009, in contrast with the President’s 54% positive rating in Sept., 2011. The 54% pro-Israel rating was announced just after Obama went to the U.N. and delivered a speech opposing the Palestinian statehood bid.

Hoffman told this college audience that Iran is the issue Israelis care most about.  He also told them that war is the last approach Israel wants to take. When asked about the possibility of an imminent Israel attack on Iran, Hoffman answered as follows:

“There are 10,000 missiles aimed at Israel today from Gaza — 10,000. There are 40,000 missiles aimed at Israel today from Southern Lebanon. It doesn’t matter whether it would be Israel attacking Iran or an international consortium of air forces attacking Iran, either way, the retaliation would come against civilian populations in Israel.   That’s why it’s so important to do everything possible to make the sanctions and the political approaches work.”

Hoffman added, “Before Israel attacked the nuclear facilities in Iraq and Syria, did you see Israeli leaders talking about it every other day? We didn’t even know that those facilities existed before then, and the fact that Israeli leaders are talking about it every other day is a pretty good sign that they are not [planning an imminent attack].”

Prior to the U.S. election, 57% of Israeli Jews supported Romney, 27% supported Obama. Israeli citizens — along with Prime Minister Netanyahu — have at times been disappointed and frustrated by President Obama, yet Hoffman said that Israelis “saw both sides” in this year’s U.S. election.

In a Jerusalem Post poll taken in Sept. 2012, 78.8% of Israeli Jews were optimistic about Israel’s future. With President Obama now set for a second term, this number will be closely monitored for any changes.

Hoffman concluded the evening by informing students, faculty, and local residents who attended the event about how they could help Israel from their homes.

“I say helping Israel is easy,” Hoffman said. “E.A.S.Y., which stands for Education, Advocacy, Solidarity, and Your money.”

Jonathan Asher Pressman

Why the EU Refuses to Classify Hezbollah as a Terror Org.

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

The Lebanon-based Islamic organization Hezbollah is one of the most dangerous groups in the world. Recently, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah incited violence against American and European interests over the movie The Innocence of Muslims. And yet, the European Union refuses to follow America’s example and classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization – a move that would enable the E.U. to freeze the group’s assets in Europe.

Several people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have been killed, ostensibly in retaliation for the movie, which is perceived to be critical of Muhammad, the 7th century Arab warlord who founded Islam. Instead of calling for calm, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah called for prolonged protests: “The whole world needs to see your anger on your faces, in your fists and your shouts.”

Hezbollah is also involved in terrorist activities in Syria. During a meeting on September 7 in Paphos, Cyprus, the foreign ministers of the 27 member states of the European Union discussed the situation in Syria, including the position which the E.U. should take regarding Hezbollah. While Britain and the Netherlands urged other E.U. governments to join the United States in imposing sanctions on Hezbollah, they were unable to convince the other E.U. members. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said that Hezbollah should, further, be branded a terrorist organization; he was, however, was isolated with this stance.

This does not come as a surprise, considering the E.U.’s earlier refusal to condemn Hezbollah for terrorism. Last July, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited the E.U. capital, Brussels, to persuade the E.U. to follow America’s example and classify Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Lieberman met resistance – a lot. He was attempting to isolate Hezbollah after the July 18 suicide bombing at the airport of the Bulgarian coastal resort of Burgas – an attack, and clearly a terrorist one – in which five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed.

According to Israeli and American intelligence sources, the terrorist attack was the work of Hezbollah, upon orders from Iran. Nevertheless, the Cypriot minister of Foreign Affairs, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, who currently holds the rotating E.U. presidency said that there is “no tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism.” Hence, there was “no consensus for putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations.” He emphasized that Hezbollah was an organization with a political as well as an armed wing and that it has representatives in the Lebanese parliament and government.

In 2008, the Netherlands declared Hezbollah and all its branches terrorist entities. Britain considers only its armed wing a terrorist group. Consequently, Hezbollah can operate freely all over Europe, except in the Netherlands. Apart from the Netherlands and the United States, only Canada, Australia and New Zealand have classified Hezbollah as a terrorist group. The European Parliament did the same in a 2005 resolution, but as the latter was non-binding the E.U. has ignored it.

Jacob Campbell, a researcher at the British Institute for Middle Eastern Democracytold the Jerusalem Post: “Within just days of the Burgas bombing – almost undoubtedly perpetrated by Hezbollah – the Presidency of the E.U. Council explicitly ruled out the possibility of listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, insisting that there is no ‘tangible evidence’ to link Hezbollah to terrorism. This ludicrous statement was made despite an earlier resolution adopted by the European Parliament, which cites ‘clear evidence’ of terrorist acts committed by Hezbollah. On this issue, as in so many others, Brussels appears to have its head buried firmly in the sand.”

France is one of the countries that oppose the efforts to blacklist Hezbollah. France, the former colonial power in Lebanon, wants to preserve its diplomatic influence in that country. In 2011, Najib Mikati, a Hezbollah-backed politician, became Prime Minister of Lebanon after Hezbollah toppled the previous government. Even deadly attacks by Hezbollah on French nationals have not persuaded the French government to designate the group as terrorist. Last year, Alain Juppé, the then Foreign Minister of France, accused Hezbollah of attacking French U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon. However, with Hezbollah constituting part of the Lebanese establishment, the French are reluctant to act against it.

The German government, too, refuses to draw the obvious conclusion regarding Hezbollah, although the German domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesverfassungsschutz, has warned that Hezbollah has over 900 active members in Germany. In 2008, the German Interior Ministry restricted the reception of the programs of the Hezbollah television station Al-Manar in German hotels. Al-Manar is used by Hezbollah to recruit terrorists and communicate with sleeper cells around the globe.

Peter Martino

Theory of Palestinian Centrality no Longer Viable

Monday, September 24th, 2012

While the entire Middle East explodes around us and the states which traditionally waged open war on us, such as Egypt, are in the process of returning to their aggressive postures (with a little help from an Obama-led bailout in Egypt’s case), there may be a silver lining for Israel: The theory of Palestinian centrality is no longer viable.

According to the theory, the main Arab/Muslim/Middle Eastern claim against the United States and the reason for violence in the region is the lack of justice for the Palestinians. If a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinian Authority can be reached and a Palestinian state established all of the hatred will melt away and the region will be at peace.

In an interview I conducted with Elliot Abrams for the Jerusalem Post, for example, Abrams recounted how immediately after the 9-11 attacks, officials in the State Department proposed to President Bush that he pursue an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, on the grounds that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the main source of Arab hatred for the United States.

(Abrams said Bush rejected this argument, but not that long after 9-11, Bush adopted the Road Map for Peace).

Another example is the Iraq Study Group report, which was commissioned by President Bush to find solutions to the violence in Iraq. One of the report’s key recommendations was pursuing Israeli-Arab peace.

The theory of Palestinian centrality has been put forward by many in the diplomatic field, probably because  this is what their Arab counterparts are telling them.

For example, in July 2008 then-Senator-and-candidate Barack Obama explained to NBC’s Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press why Jordan’s King Abdullah was correct in asserting that Iran was not the number one threat to peace but that “the lack of peace [between Israel and the Palestinians] is the major threat.”

Obama said as follows:

[O]ne thing I want to pick up on, because I think King, King Abdullah is as savvy a analyst of the region and player in the region as, as there is, one of the points that he made and I think a lot of people made, is that we’ve got to have an overarching strategy recognizing that all these issues are connected.  If we can solve the Israeli/Palestinian process, then that will make it easier for Arab states and the Gulf states to support us when it comes to issues like Iraq and Afghanistan.

It will also weaken Iran, which has been using Hamas and Hezbollah as a way to stir up mischief in the region.  If we’ve gotten an Israeli/Palestinian peace deal, maybe at the same time peeling Syria out of the Iranian orbit, that makes it easier to isolate Iran so that they have a tougher time developing a nuclear weapon.

In other words, because of Palestinian centrality an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is the silver bullet to all the problems of the Middle East.

(Side note: Brokaw asked Obama if he told Abudulla that as president he “would appoint a presidential envoy who would report only to you to work exclusively on the issues of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.” Obama said ” I told him something approximating that.” Obama also told former President JimmyCarter that he wouldn’t wait a month to make a peace agreement a top priority. Two days after being sworn in as President, Obama appointed George Mitchell as a special envoy and pressured Israel for the next two years).

But as Barry Rubin noted in his article today on the JewishPress.com:

Remember the old argument that the Arab-Israel or Israel-Palestinian conflict was the centerpiece of the region; all the Arabs cared about, and what they judged the West by? Now there are a dozen other issues more important to the extent that this cannot even be hidden by the Western mass media and “experts.”

With Muslims attacking American U.S. embassies in the Middle East and rioting all over the world over an obscure youtube video, and various Muslim factions vying for power, the State Department, the E.U., etc., can no longer seriously contend that regional volatility and violence is related to Israel – either Western support Israel or the fact that a Palestinian state has not been established or that Israeli-Palestinian/Arab peace accords have not been signed.

Daniel Tauber

No Red Lines: Another US Rejection of Israel’s Security Concerns on Iran

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Over the last two weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been repeatedly calling for the U.S. and the international community to set “clear red lines” for Iran. Just this weekend, for example, he made this demand no less than three separate times.

It seems that Netanyahu is practically begging for the U.S. to give Israel an out from having to strike Iran on its own;  some kind of guarantee that if it doesn’t the U.S. will or at least some deterrent factor which will cause Iran to slow down its nuclear program.

Otherwise, it seems, Israel will have no choice but to strike, something the U.S. does not look favorably upon.

This morning’s news seemed to bear good tidings for Netanyahu’s “clear red lines” campaign. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation last night, Netanyahu said that the U.S. and Israel were currently discussing the issue of red lines.

(The host asked: “Who do you think would follow Canada with some kind of red line?” Netanyahu answered: “Well, we’re discussing this right now with the United States.” Here’s the video.)

The implication being that such red lines might be set, and Israel could thereby avoid or at least push off the agonizing decision of whether, when and how to strike Iran’s nuclear program.

The Jerusalem Post ran with the story, providing the following lead headline this morning: “PM: Israel discussing red lines for Iran with US.” But by 9:30 the Post replaced the lead headline with an almost opposite report from Bloomberg News: “Clinton: US ‘not setting deadlines’ for Iran.”

Apparently, the U.S. Secretary of State also gave an interview yesterday on the same topic, spoiling any positive implications Israelis could glean from the fact that such discussions were taking place.  Clinton was asked whether the U.S. will set any “sharper red lines” for Iran and answered, “We’re not setting deadlines” for Iran and said that negotiations are the best way to resolve the situation.

This is yet another public rejection by the U.S. of Israel’s position on Iran’s nuclear program. It comes shortly after the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said that he and the U.S. by extension, “don’t want to seem complicit if they [Israel] choose to strike.”

If only this were some public facade meant to utterly confuse the Iranians as the U.S. secretly prepared to fulfill its responsibility as leader of the free world and protect its own interests by striking Iran.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that the Obama administration is still clinging to the naive belief that if America is respected enough and patient enough, and puts enough distance between itself and Israel, the international community will line up behind it (or in front of it, according to the “lead from behind” strategy”), and Iran will willingly give up the one thing that will make it immune from foreign intervention and give it the chance to create that “new international order” the Ayatolla was talking about.

This approach has failed.

The 120 countries and the U.N. Secretary General who participated in the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran proved that the international community is not lined up behind the U.S. and that Iran is not diplomatically isolated.

The negotiations between the Permanent Members of the Security Council and Germany (the “P5+1”) and Iran dragged on and on, went no where and all the while Iran sped up its nuclear program, doubling the number of centrifuges at its nuclear facility buried in a mountain near Qom.

Sanctions might have had time to work had Obama had gotten moving with them at the start of his presidency instead of chasing the holy grail of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord (starting even before Israel held its own elections by dispatching George Mitchell to Israel) and apologizing to the Muslim world with his “address on a new beginning” at Cairo University in which he recognized Iran’s “right to access” nuclear energy.

Aside from more time for sanctions, for the soft-power approach to work, it also would have needed to be backed up by the threat of hard power: a credible military threat, something Israel has long demanded. To be credible that threat would have to have some trigger point, e.g., those “clear red lines” that Netanyahu is begging for but which Clinton said yesterday the U.S. would not set.

Daniel Tauber

To Unite the Nat’l Religious Camp, U.S.-Born Candidates Offer Themselves as a Sacrifice

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

As the prospects for a merger between the two National Religious parties – the Jewish Home and the National Union – fall apart, the American-born candidate team, Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel have said they would be willing to sacrifice their own potential spot on the Knesset list for the sake of unifying the national-religious camp.

“Our primary goal has never been to make it into the Knesset” but instead uniting the national-religious camp, the two said in a statement released to the press today.

Therefore they will not “endorse a leadership candidate that refuses to support unity between the factions within the religious Zionist camp”

In an e-mail statement they went further, cryptically stating that their support for unity may cost them a spot in the Knesset, but stating that it is “a price we are willing to pay.”

What’s the Hold up to Unity?

The unmentioned hold up to the potential merger referenced by Abramowitz and Gimpel is likely newcomer Naftali Bennett, who, according Lahav Harkov of the Jerusalem Post, said in a private meeting last week that if he were elected to the leadership of the Jewish Home, he would not allow three of the four Knesset Members of the National Union to run with the Jewish Home.

This would make it extremely unlikely that the National Union would agree to join with the Jewish home during the general elections.  It would essentially mean agreeing to disappear to make way for the Jewish Home, even though they currently have four Knesset seats to the Jewish Home’s three.

Unsurprisingly, the National Union’s Knesset Members did not react well to the alleged statements.

Bennett’s campaign told The Jewish Press over the phone today that no such statements were ever made.

Bennett, who is competing for party leadership against current party chairman Minister of Science Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz and MK Z’vulon Orlev, posted a statement on his facebook page today stating that “To remove all doubt, I support and urge the unity of the camp and to unite with the National Union party. I will work towards it with all my might. I won’t bar a single person. Period.”

The origin of the prospects for merger of the Jewish Home and National Union began earlier this year. When shortly after Pesach it seemed that early elections were imminent, the parties signed an agreement to run as a united list.

Since early elections didn’t occur, the agreement no longer applies. Nevertheless, there are many who want the joint list, including National Union Chairman MK Yaacov Katz.

Katz is one of the three MKs whom Bennett reportedly said he would not allow to run with the Jewish Home. The others were MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michal Ben-Ari. Bennett would reportedly be alright with MK Uri Ariel, the remaining National Union member.

The three on Bennett’s blacklist are considered to have bombastic political temperaments, unwilling to censor themselves, and Ben Ari and Katz in particular make a point of sticking it their opponents.

Ben Ari, for example, brought illegal African immigrants to swimming pools in posh areas of Tel Aviv. During the debate over his proposed “Arrangement Law” Katz said that anyone voting against the bill had “a heart of stone.”

But according to a political strategist who wished to remain anonymous, Bennett is not concerned with the party’s image, but making room on the list for his own political allies.

“Bennett has made many colossal errors,” the strategist said, “the biggest of which is that he has too many people that endorsed him – too many people he owes favors to.”

For Israeli politicians, who are chosen not in general elections, but by internal party mechanisms – often, but not always, primary elections, the real contest is securing a realistic, if not high spot on their party’s list.

If for example, a party gets 12 seats in the Knesset (10 percent of the vote), unlucky candidate number 13, will not get into the Knesset, no matter how popular he may be among the general public. The higher the candidate is on the list, the more likely he is to get into the Knesset and the more likely he is to be named a minister in the government if his party joins the coalition.

Daniel Tauber

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/politics/to-unite-the-natl-religious-camp-american-born-candidates-offer-themselves-as-a-sacrifice/2012/09/02/

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