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July 26, 2016 / 20 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

After 9 Years Egypt Foreign Minister Meeting Netanyahu to ‘Promote Peace Process’

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrives in Israel Sunday to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the first visit of an Egyptian FM in nine years. The PM told his cabinet meeting Sunday that he would meet with the visitor twice, once in the afternoon and once in the evening. Shoukry met with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas two weeks ago.

According to Egyptian diplomats speaking to Ma’an, Shoukry’s visit will focus on Egyptian proposals to kickstart the peace process once again, as well as the French peace initiative. The man behind today’s visit, according to Netanyahu, was his special emissary, attorney Yitzhak Molcho, the chief negotiator on behalf of Netanyahu in the Israeli negotiating team.

According to a statement released by Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid, the Shoukry visit is the next step in a process begun by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who a few months ago called on all the parties in Israel to unite around the peace process with the Palestinians and on Arab countries to also enlist to promote the peace.

Since he has managed to expand his ruling coalition from 61 to 67 members, Netanyahu has been speaking freely about his desire for a regional political move, a topic he raised in his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry two weeks ago, in Rome.

David Israel

Liberman Embarks on First visit to DC as Defense Minister Amid Military Aid Dispute

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) is coming to Washington DC on his inaugural visit as Defense Minister against the background of a dispute between the White House and Congress over increasing US support for Israel’s missile defense research and development. He’ll be meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who maintained a personal friendship with Liberman’s ousted predecessor, Moshe Ya’alon (Likud). Liberman and Carter are expected to discuss the White House proposal for a long-term US military aid, which would be larger than the current package, but conditioned on Israeli agreement not to solicit additional military aid from Congress.

Last Tuesday the Administration opposed a call by Congress to increase funding for Israel’s missile defense program by $455 million, to $600 million, well above the 2017 fiscal year White House budget request.

Israel is looking to expand the US annual military aid package from the current $3.2 billion to upwards of $4.5 billion, a portion of which would go to purchases from Israeli companies. The White House is looking at a more modest increase over 10 years, and for the entire amount to be spent in the US.

According to a senior defense ministry source speaking to Ma’ariv, the military aid package is not the central purpose of the visit, rather the trip is mainly planned for introductory meetings with key players in the defense department and in Congress. “We don’t expect dramatic breakthroughs in the coming week,” the source said.

Liberman will also meet with the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Committees.

On Wednesday, Liberman will attend the Lockheed Martin roll out ceremony for the F-35 fighter planes purchased by the Israeli air force — the first of which is expected to arrive in Israel in December. The defense minister will also tour an Elbit Systems plant and meet in New York with the defense ministry purchasing delegation.

According to Walla, there is a dispute between the professional echelon in the defense ministry and Prime Minister Netanyahu over the American proposal, with the DM staff recommending signing the aid package now, and Netanyahu preferring to wait out this administration and dealing with the next president, Clinton or Trump, either one of whom would be more pro-Israel.

Liberman is much more liked by the current administration than Netanyahu, because back when Secretary of State John Kerry was still pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement based on the 1967 borders, Liberman, then Israel’s foreign minister, supported the US effort, saying this was the best deal Israel could expect.

In that vein, Liberman is expected to use the opportunity of his US visit to allay fears regarding his hawkish reputation on defense, by making a major dovish statement about the two-state-solution.

JNi.Media

John Kerry Stays on Message: Don’t Blame Any Religion for Orlando Terror Attack

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Following cues from his boss, Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that Americans shouldn’t blame Islam or Islamists for the Orlando terror attack, at a meeting with reporters on Momday, according to a Breitbart report.

“The worst thing you can do is engage in trying to point fingers at one group or one form of sectarianism or another or one division or another. Those are not the values of our country.”

Apparently it’s no longer just the victims who are a bunch of random folks, but the attackers as well.

Kerry also said the State Department would continue to fight “ISIL” the Obama Administration’s preferred designation for Islamic State / ISIS / Da’esh.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Joint Arab Terror Groups Reject Paris Peace Initiative

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Arab terror groups banded together over the weekend to reject the French peace summit launched Friday by President Francois Hollande in Paris.

Close to 30 world leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attended the conference, which focused on how to advance peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

But neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority were invited to the gathering. Moreover, although the Palestinian Authority has expresssed its support for the multilateral summit, which allows the PA to once again evade any direct negotiations with Israel over final status issues, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said plainly the conference is simply another repetition of good will put to no use.

Direct talks at home would be a much more efficient use of the time and money spent on this effort, Netanyahu pointed out, since both relevant parties are located less than an hour apart from each other. Nevertheless, Netanyahu has said he is perfectly willing to engage in direct talks with PA leader Mahmoud Abbbas in Paris, if he is unwilling to meet him at home in the Middle East.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat, former lead negotiator for the PA, however, praised the multilateral French initiative in a statement that called the conference a “very significant step” that would help end Israel’s “colonization and apartheid policies in occupied Palestine.”

Erekat warned the alternative, if the initiative proved unsuccessful, would be a future of “extremism and bloodshed rather than for coexistence and peace. “We negotiated bilaterally with Israel, the occupying power, for over two decades, but they continue to violate all the agreements that we had signed,” he said.

Erekat did not mention the numerous vicious attacks on Israeli civilians by bloodthirsty Arabs from the Palestinian Authority, including some members of the PA’s own security force. Nor did he mention the PA government’s incessant, multilateral institutional incitement against Jews, Israelis and the State of Israel, all violations of Step 1 of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, together with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) issued a joint statement Saturday that said “the ideas suggested by France as an initiative impose a dangerous violation against agreed-upon national rights, especially the right of return.”

In their statement the groups rejected the initiative and all actions that would lead to a return to ‘fruitless negotiations.’ They blamed the world for “increasing settlement building and providing a cover for the Judaization of Jerusalem,” according to the Bethelem-based Ma’an news agency and called on the countries of the world to take ‘serious actions to stop Israeli crimes’ and to end Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Israel is in agreement with the terrorist groups about the useless outcome of the talks, albeit for different reasons.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said bluntly as early as April, and has continued to say, that “the best way to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is through direct negotiations.”

Netanyahu has voiced his support for seeking the assistance of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi towards this end; El-Sisi is a leader local to the region who understands the nuances of leadership in the two populations as well or better than anyone else. El-Sisi, however, has expressed support for the French initiative, at least for now.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel: ‘You Don’t Need to go to Paris to Solve Conflict’

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

By Joshua B. Dermer/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – On the eve of the French peace conference to help foster peace between Israelis and the Palestinian Authority, Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Dore Gold is less than optimistic.

“You don’t need to go to Paris in order to solve a conflict between neighbours,” Gold told journalists in a statement Thursday night. “The only way to get a stable regional arrangement that will allow use to create real peace in the Middle East is if the parties of the region come to understandings between them.”

Friday’s gathering in Paris will include foreign ministers and officials from 29 countries around the world, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The goal of the initiative is to lay the groundwork for a more thorough peace conference set to take place at the end of the year. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian Authority representation will be present at Friday’s meeting.

“We believe the Arab states would give backing to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” Gold said. “Therefore we prefer a Middle Eastern process and not a process that somebody is trying to create in Paris.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement on Wednesday stressing the importance of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, taking up communication efforts directly with Israel instead of using mediated discourse.

“If the nations meeting in Paris this week really want to advance peace they should join me in calling on Abu Mazen to come to direct negotiations of this kind. This is the way to peace – there is no other,” Netanyahu said. “We have not stopped looking for paths to peace – including with the assistance of important developments in the region. The way to peace does not go through international conferences that seek to impose agreements, make the Palestinians’ demands more extreme and thereby make peace more remote.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Incoming Defense Minister Rattles Israeli Political Establishment

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

by Michael Bachner

The news that MK Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteynu party, will be Israel’s next defense minister has rocked the political establishment on the right and left.

Liberman, a tough-talking former ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has sought the Defense Ministry portfolio for years – and appears set to receive it after a deal struck with Netanyahu on Wednesday.

Liberman’s rise followed a tumultuous day of negotiations and backroom deals in which both Liberman and MK Isaac Herzog, chairman of the historically left-wing Labor party, vied for the job of defense minister and the chance to enter Netanyahu’s government.

“I regret the prime minister’s decision. I did not imagine that he would make such a paradoxical and dangerous move,” said MK Benny Begin, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday morning. “The prime minister has been very proud of what he called ‘a reasonable, balanced and responsible’ defense policy, while Liberman’s statements give an opposite impression.”

Netanyahu received harsh criticism from opposition parties as well, including Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, who blasted Netanyahu for “bartering the most sensitive and important positions as if nothing mattered” in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Liberman was an ally of Netanyahu – the two ran together in a united party during the 2013 election after which Liberman became foreign minister – until they had a public falling out two years ago. The Yisrael Beiteynu party remained in the opposition after last year’s election, and as recently as March Liberman castigated Netanyahu as a “liar, cheat, and con man.”

Liberman has been a frequent advocate for a harsher military response toward Palestinian Authority terrorism, notably against the Hamas terror group that runs Gaza.

“The elimination of Hamas is the primary mission of the Israeli government and as defense minister I will carry it out,” Liberman said before last year’s elections. “We will not reach agreements and understandings with them. The only agreement that can be reached with Hamas is when they are buried in the ground,” he said, adding that such an Israeli policy cannot be implemented when the government is comprised of “a coalition of nerds.”

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that Tony Blair, the Quartet’s envoy to the Middle East and a former British prime minister, colluded with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to push Herzog into the government – a move reportedly designed to facilitate a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority. According to the report in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Blair even met with Herzog’s political partner, MK Tzipi Livni, in her Tel Aviv home this week, despite the fact that she is sitting shiva – the Jewish mourning ritual – for her brother.

Liberman is set to replace current Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, a senior Likud member who has recently clashed with Netanyahu over a series of issues related to the IDF’s independence from the political establishment.

Ya’alon, apparently alluding to the news of his ouster, said on Thursday that Israel is facing a crisis of leadership. “There is a loss of our moral compass on basic issues,” Ya’alon said. “If I had to give a golden tip, it would be to navigate with a compass rather than a weather vane. Navigation with a compass is tried and true, and it’s also a question of leadership.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu, Herzog Welcome Egyptian Leader’s Overture for Peace

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi offered to act as a mediator in the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict on Tuesday, an overture that immediately drew favorable responses from both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog.

“If we can all join forces in order to solve the Palestinian issue by creating hope for Palestinians and assuring security for Israelis, we will be able to write a new chapter that may prove to be more important than the peace accords between Israel and Egypt,” al-Sisi said on Tuesday during an inauguration ceremony for a new power plant in the Egyptian city of Asyut.

“I welcome Egyptian President El-Sisi’s remarks and his willingness to make every effort to advance a future of peace and security between us and the Palestinians,” responded Netanyahu in an official statement.

“Israel is ready to participate with Egypt and other Arab states in advancing both the diplomatic process and stability in the region. I appreciate President El-Sisi’s work and also draw encouragement from his leadership on this important issue,” Netanyahu added.

In his spontaneous remarks, President al-Sisi proposed to act both as a mediator between rival factions within “Palestinian” society and as mediator between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the road to possible future peace talks.

Furthermore, the Egyptian president implied that resolving the conflict with the “Palestinians” will also incur a warmer relationship between his own country and Israel.

“If we are able to solve the issue of our Palestinian brothers it will achieve warmer peace [with Israel]. This is a genuine opportunity,” al-Sisi said.

Netanyahu wasn’t alone in expressing support of al-Sisi’s speech, leader of the Opposition and Zionist Union party Chairman Isaac Herzog posted his own response shortly after al-Sisi’s speech was made public in Israel.

“I congratulate the Egyptian President’s announcement. It’s a dramatic message, reflecting the historical process wherein the moderate Arab world expects a brave, strong, and sober hand extended from Israel,” Herzog posted on his Facebook page.

“It is our duty to seriously consider this, or else we’ll find ourselves doing so after the next parade of funerals,” Herzog warned.

The Egyptian offer comes on the same day as a postponement was announced for a planned French international peace conference later this month due to a scheduling conflict for US Secretary of State John Kerry. Israel had forcefully rejected the French conference, arguing that only direct talks between Israel and the Arabs could advance peace and suggesting that the forum was biased against Israel.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-herzog-welcome-egyptian-leaders-overture-for-peace/2016/05/17/

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