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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

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

France Postpones May 30 Conference on ‘Peace Initiative’ Postponed

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

France has postponed the May 30 ‘peace initiative’ conference scheduled to be held in Paris, due to a “scheduling problem” with the United States. Although the conference is intended to work on the knotty issues facing final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, neither party is invited to attend the conference.

However, Secretary of State John Kerry informed France he too would be unable to attend due to “scheduling conflicts.”

President Francois Hollande made the announcement Tuesday on French radio, saying that because Kerry “cannot come on May 30… it has been delayed. It will take place in the summer.”

Hollande explained his country must take “a strong initiative” in the dispute, else “what will happen? Settlement building, attacks.”

French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault visited Jerusalem and Ramallah this past Sunday to discuss the French initiative with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu made it clear that Israel has no interest in any multilateral “peace initiative” as they are simply ineffective. He is perfectly willing, he said, to engage in direct talks with Abbas “anywhere at any time.”

Moreover, Netanyahu bluntly said the impartiality of France was questionable at best following its support for the UNESCO resolution that removed the mention of any historic Jewish ties to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The resolution also referred to Israel as an “occupying power” and the Old City of Jerusalem as “occupied.”

The United States has continued to support Israel in its determination to return to direct negotiations with the PA, as set forth in the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords.

“We’re in discussions right now with the French about any possible alternative date that might better work for the secretary,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday. He added, however, that Kerry’s agenda is “jammed.”

Hana Levi Julian

US State Dept ‘Concerned’ Iran Contest is ‘Platform for Holocaust Denial, Anti-Semitic Speech’

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry used his finest diplospeak Sunday to strongly urge Iran to cancel its Holocaust cartoon contest, even though it was highly unlikely Iran would cooperate.

The “suggestion” came in what appeared to be a prompt response to a personal request from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend to demand Iran cancel the Holocaust cartoon contest.

Netanyahu told reporters he had personally asked Kerry in a phone conversation Saturday night to condemn the Holocaust cartoon contest held over the weekend in Iran, the prime minister said Sunday.

“I think that every country in the world must stand up and fully condemn this,” Netanyahu said. “This is what I told US Secretary of State John Kerry last night in my conversation with him.”

Netanyahu posted photos of the contest registration being held in Tehran on Twitter with the tweet: Iran hosts Holocaust-denial cartoon contest while preparing another Holocaust. Shameful. Don’t stay quiet about it.”

Kerry was in Saudi Arabia on Sunday meeting with King Salman in talks on the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen. He also met with the Saudi crown prince, deputy crown prince and foreign minister.

But Kerry was apparently also listening closely to the Israeli government’s outrage over Iran’s anti-Semitic Holocaust cartoon contest. He was also likely to have been considering the effect Iran’s actions – and America’s response – might have on the U.S. presidential election campaign, and/or the effect it could have on Israel’s increasingly close ties with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Netanyahu is slated to fly to Moscow next month on an official state visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia.

Shortly after Netanyahu called on Kerry to denounce Iran’s actions, the State Department released a statement expressing “concern” over the effect the contest might have, and denouncing Holocaust denial in general.

“We are concerned that this contest in Iran could be used as a platform for Holocaust denial and revisionism and egregiously anti-Semitic speech, as it has in the past,” said the statement, tweeted by AP journalist Matt Lee.

“Such offensive speech should be condemned by the authorities and civil society leaders rather than encouraged. We denounce any Holocaust denial and trivialization as inflammatory and abhorrent. It is insulting to the memory of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust,” the statement said.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Demands That Kerry Condemn Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Contest

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally asked US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday night to condemn the Holocaust cartoon contest held over the weekend in Iran, Netanyahu said on Sunday, while accusing of Iran of “preparing another Holocaust.”

“I think that every country in the world must stand up and fully condemn this,” Netanyahu said. “This is what I told US Secretary of State John Kerry last night in my conversation with him.”

Netanyahu’s conversation with Kerry preceded the US secretary of state’s scheduled meeting on Sunday in Saudi Arabia with Saudi King Salman on the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.

The Holocaust cartoon conference in Iran over the weekend was not directly sponsored by the Iranian government though it was organized by the Owj Media & Cultural Institute and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Institute, two non-governmental organizations with reported ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denied the existence of any support from the Iranian government to the cartoon contest in an interview with the The New Yorker last month.

Iranian leaders, however, have a long history of Holocaust denial. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a video on his official website in January doubting whether the Holocaust is “a reality or not.”

“While it is not clear whether the core of this matter is a reality or not. Even if it is a reality, it is not clear how it happened,” Khamenei said in the video.

Netanyahu stressed the the problematic phenomenon of Holocaust revisionism in Iran, which held an international conference in December of 2006 that challenged the objective account of the Holocaust.

“We raise this here because it must be understood what our problem with Iran is,” said Netanyahu.

“It is not just its policy of subversion and aggression in the region; it is the values on which it is based,” continued Netanyahu. “It denies and belittles the Holocaust and it is also preparing another Holocaust.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Military Official Says Iran Tested Precision-Guided Ballistic Missile

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Iran test-fired a precision-guided ballistic missile two weeks ago, the armed forces deputy chief of staff announced on Monday, according to the Fars news agency.

“Two weeks ago, we tested a missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) and an error margin of eight meters (24 ft),” Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi said, according to Fars.

Now, that’s accurate!

In case you wanted to know at this point, the distance from Tehran to Tel Aviv as the ballistic craw flies is 993 miles.

The military official chose to make the statement at Baghiatollah Hospital, which is run by the Islamic Revolution Guards.

Mixed messages? Anticipation of consequences? Time will tell.

Iran test-fires missiles of different ranges and capabilities all the time, as part of its regular military drills. And although Tehran insists the precision ballistic capability to take out a section of Tel Aviv is merely defensive, the US has stated that it constitutes in breach of the UN 2231 resolution that prohibits Iran from firing any missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

US Secretary of State John Kerry did say in the past that the US and its allies were “prepared to work on a new arrangement to find a peaceful solution to these issues.”

That must have stung the Iranians bad.

Iranian officials also insist the missiles that are being test-fired are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Feeling safe yet?

In the end it doesn’t really matter whether the new missiles are defensive or offensive and what part of what city they can destroy, because Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has already said for the record that Iran’s missile program is not part of the negotiation with the US.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/military-official-says-iran-tested-precision-guided-ballistic-missile/2016/05/09/

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