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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘minister’

New UK Foreign Minister Compared Hillary to ‘Sadistic Nurse in a Mental Hospital’

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Liberty Unyielding}

Not everyone is a fan of Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London who was named this week to head the foreign ministry for incoming Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Atlantic has gleefully run two articles in the last 24 hours recounting Mr. Johnson’s history of diplomatic solecisms: one to list them, and the other to list them again in the context of the prompt blowback after his new cabinet post was announced.

A number of foreign ministers and their spokesmen had giggling fits.  But Carl Bildt of Sweden, formerly foreign minister and prime minister, won the meme-stakes hands down with his take, which Atlantic introduces so you don’t have to check and see if it was some elaborate photoshop.

Former Swedish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt went to the photo archive to belittle Boris, using an image from the moment when the then-mayor of London was trapped on a zipline…

I wish it was a joke, but I fear it isn’t. Exit upon exit.

Boris

Frankly, I’m not sure it isn’t Johnson who wins that one.  You only wish, Bildt-arino.

But that’s the wonderful thing about Boris.  No matter what you say, you’re just reacting to some way in which he has preemptively topped you.  You can’t out-Boris him.

In 2007, he managed to endorse Hillary Clinton for president in a manner entirely his own:

“She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital,” he wrote, comparing Clinton as First Lady to “a mixture between Cherie Blair and Lady Macbeth, stamping her heel, bawling out subordinates and frisbeeing ashtrays at her erring husband.”

 

That column, however, was headlined “I want Hillary Clinton to be president,” and in it, Johnson characterized himself as wanting her to win, to his own great surprise – despite the fact “she represents, on the face of it, everything I came into politics to oppose: not just a general desire to raise taxes and nationalize things, but an all-round purse-lipped political correctness.”

 

He went on to explain that he actually wanted her to be president so that Bill Clinton would return to the White House, concluding that “if Bill can deal with Hillary, he can surely deal with any global crisis.”

In online correspondence, some of my British acquaintances have spoken of this interlude solemnly — even apologetically — and have shown the same sympathetic indignation about Johnson’s swipe at Obama during the run-up to the Brexit vote.  Obama urged the Brits to vote to Remain, but that didn’t sit well with Johnson:

  • Johnson took aim last April at Obama’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to dissuade British voters from voting to leave the E.U.
  • This time writing inThe Sun…Johnson made reference to Obama’s “part-Kenyan” roots.
  • Recalling that a bust of Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill was removed from the Oval Office after Obama moved in, Johnson wondered why.
  • “Some said it was a snub to Britain,” he wrote. “Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British Empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender.”

It’s nice of Brits to care.  But most Americans don’t.  About half of them think Obama was born in Kenya.  But it’s indisputable that he is, in fact, part Kenyan.  The Americans who regard it as offensive to mention that are a vanishing minority.  It’s not offensive — it’s just a fact — but perhaps it’s best categorized as frivolous to base your analyses of Obama’s conduct on it.

That would be Boris: frivolous.  He seems like something of a git.  But I think Americans can survive his opinions on our politicians without succumbing to a fit of the vapors.  However long he struts and frets on the world stage, he’ll be by far the most entertaining Official Foreign Minister out there.  And by no means the most foolish.

J. E. Dyer

Egyptian Foreign Minister Visits Israel, Pledges Commitment To Regional Peace

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

JERUSALEM – In the latest sign of improved ties between Israel and Egypt, an Egyptian foreign minister made an official visit to Israel for the first time in nine years on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was in Jerusalem for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two leaders discussed the recently reached reconciliation deal between Turkey and Israel, agreements regarding natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and other issues.

Two weeks ago, Shoukry met with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. He confirmed on Sunday that the earlier meeting was linked to an Egyptian effort to mediate in the peace process.

At the start of the meeting, Netanyahu noted that nearly four decades have passed since Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty. During a press conference he described Israel’s relationships with Egypt and Jordan as “the cornerstone of stability in the region” and “critical assets for our countries.”

He added that he was ready and willing to take up an offer by Egypt to take a leadership role in peace talks. He cited the track records of both Egypt and Jordan as an example for the PA to follow.

“Today I call again on the Palestinians to follow the greatest example of Egypt and Jordan and join us for direct negotiations,” he said. “This is the only way we can address all the outstanding problems between us, and turn the vision of peace based on two states for two peoples into a reality.”

Shoukry said “the situation of the Middle East is becoming ever more volatile and dangerous, particularly as the phenomenon of terrorism continues to grow and proliferate, representing an existential threat to the peoples of the region and the world at large. No person, group or people are exempt; none are immune from this threat.”

Addressing Netanyahu, the Egyptian minister said that “ever since the cessation of negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides in April 2014, the situation on the ground has been in constant deterioration, be it on the humanitarian, economic, or security level…. The current state of affairs unfortunately is neither stable nor sustainable…. I would like to assure that Egypt’s commitment to supporting a just, comprehensive and sustainable resolution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to supporting peace and security in the Middle East is a steadfast and unwavering commitment, and that the Egyptian leadership is serious in its determination to provide all possible forms of support in order to achieve this goal.”

The Israeli-Egyptian relationship has long been a “cold” one, and the latter years of the Hosni Mubarak regime saw few meaningful diplomatic interactions. Israel did intermittently look to Cairo to help ease tensions with the Palestinians, but there was little if any public interaction between officials of the two countries.

Under the Muslim Brotherhood government that followed Mubarak’s departure in 2011, relations deteriorated further, due largely to the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideological opposition to Israel and its close affiliation with Hamas. The terrorist group, which had seized control of Gaza from Abbas’s PA by force in 2007, was originally established as a Palestinian branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, on a platform sworn to Israel’s destruction.

But under the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt has moved ahead with a significant, if low-key, security relationship with Israel, especially focused on the Sinai peninsula, where Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-affiliated terrorists are operating.

Israeli officials have also praised Egypt for cracking down on Hamas’s smuggling tunnels between Gaza and the Sinai, and Netanyahu and el-Sisi speak by phone frequently. (In public forums like the UN Human Rights Council, Egypt continues to criticize Israel harshly.)

Sunday’s meeting was held at el-Sisi’s behest.

There has been a push in recent months by the so-called Mideast Quartet and the French government to restart the peace process. A recent report by the Quartet – comprised of the U.S., Russia, European Union and United Nations – was panned by both the Israelis and Palestinians.

It pointed to Israel’s continued expansion of settlements in disputed territory and the PA’s inability to control the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The statement also scolded both sides for violence and incitement.

Despite international efforts, including a concerted push in recent years by Secretary of State John Kerry, both sides have rebuffed external pressure to resume talks, each accusing the other of responsibility for the stall.

“Evidently, certain parties of the international community insist on trying to avoid their own legal and moral responsibilities to implement international law and conventions,” PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat told the Palestinian news agency Ma’an after the report was published.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said he wants to advance peace in the region. Following a meeting in Rome with Kerry and other foreign representatives two weeks ago, he reiterated his position.

“The world and the Middle East are in turmoil and my policy is to create centers of stability in this unstable and stormy region,” he said at the time.

He added that Israel wants to work in cooperation with neighboring Arab countries, as well as Greece, Cyprus, Russia, Turkey, and the United States, referring to “a clear strategy, to create centers of stability in the stormy Middle East.”

(CNSNews)

Genevieve Belmaker

Defense Minister Liberman Meets and Praises Donor Who Canceled Donation

Monday, July 11th, 2016

(Monday, 11th July 2016) – Defense Minister and Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman met today with Michael Gross, a Jewish philanthropist, who canceled a significant donation to Ben Gurion University because of its hosting of a conference supporting BDS organizations. Mr. Gross told the minister that: “Battling BDS should begin in Israel. It cannot be that Israeli universities which receive funding from the state provide a platform for those acting against Israel worldwide and supporting BDS.”

Defense Minister Liberman agreed that much of the support for the BDS movement comes from Jews and Israelis, and spoke about the activities the Yisrael Beytenu party has undertaken against those who delegitimize Israel, including through legislation.

Defense Minister Liberman declared that all Jewish philanthropists should act in the same manner and support Zionist causes and not anti-Zionist activities that encourage BDS and the delegitimization of Israel.

“Jewish philanthropists around the world should not donate to anti-Zionist causes,” Defense Minister Liberman said. “Rather they should be supporting Zionist causes which assist building and defending our country and strengthening the Jewish People.”

“We all have a collective responsibility to our nation and people and to not side with our enemies.”

The CEO of World Yisrael Beytenu Alex Selsky also attended the meeting. Mr. Selsky, whose organization works to strengthen Zionist activities in the Diaspora, outlined to Mr. Gross some of the projects in the field of strengthening the global pro-Israel movement and the fight against the de-legitimization of Israel around the world, especially in the United States.

Mr. Gross and Mr. Selsky agreed to cooperate to expand operations in North America and Europe.

As a real estate expert, Mr. Gross also spoke to the Defense Minister about promoting initiatives in the struggle to lower housing prices in Israel.

Also present at the meeting was Mr. Alon Tal, head of the TAO Family Office, which works in conjunction with World Yisarel Beytenu to strengthen the involvement of Jewish leaders in the struggle against the delegitimization of Israel around the world.

Jewish Press Staff

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

Knesset Committee Slams Finance Minister on Fear of Fighting Monopolies

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

“Five years have passed, and prices have not gone down, and in certain cases they have gone up,” members of the Knesset Finance Committee told government representatives during Monday’s meeting marking five years since the summer of 2011 popular social protest in Israel.

The committee members slammed Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for “being afraid to fight the monopolies,” but members of Kahlon’s Kulanu party said in response, “We are advancing many reforms, and we can already see the results on the ground.”

Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said that “with all due respect to the Finance Ministry and talks of reform, in practice the prices have not gone down.”

MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) said, “Five years after the ‘cottage cheese’ protest, not only have the prices not gone down, in real terms they have increased, because the prices of commodities around the world have dropped 30-50%, and this is not being reflected in the Israeli market. Prices are 20% higher, on average, than in Europe. The prices of inputs have also decreased, as has the price of gas and energy, but this has not had any effect. What happened is that the monopolies and chain stores have gained huge profits at the consumers’ expense.”

MK Manuel Trajtenberg (Zionist Camp) explained that “the expense basket of a young family has three main components: housing, education and food. In housing the prices have only gone up; in education there has been some progress regarding ages 3-4, but not a week goes by that we are not asked to answer questions regarding family expenses related to education. An average family with three children spends some $1,300 a month on education, day care, afternoon child care, camps, and more. As far as food is concerned, some positive steps have been taken, but that nut has not been cracked and, ultimately, too much power has been left in the hands of a small number of companies.”

MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) charged that the Trajtenberg Committee, which examined and proposed solutions to Israel’s socioeconomic problems, was established only to “ease tensions” and “take the wind out of the social protest’s sails.” In practice, he said, “nothing has been done.” Vaknin called to restore price controls, saying “in the absence of competition, this is the solution.”

MK Oren Hazan (Likud) said the problem is “greed.” The chain store owners and the major wholesalers “earn tens of millions on the public’s back,” he stated. “And meanwhile, here in the Knesset, people are strong at talking. The finance minister can make bold decisions and change the market without fearing his friends the tycoons. Here in this committee we have the power to advance a plan to dissolve the monopolies. We will enact a law to that effect.”

MK Roy Folkman of Kulanu said, “We have waged an all-out war on the monopolies. In Israel there is a very high concentration of market controls, and a finance minister who does not fear them has now arrived. We launched reforms in the importing of fresh meat and the prices have dropped. With fish as well, we created parallel importing. For years no one has dared to deal with the monopolies, which maintain a stronghold on Israeli politics, and we have started doing so. A change can already be seen in toiletries, food items, children’s toys and other items. The fight takes courage and ability. Increasing competition is the only way. Price control does not work; [corporations] would only raise the prices of other items. The business sector is more sophisticated than the regulator.”

MK Rachel Azaria, also from Kulanu, said “We are making great efforts, but every issue that reaches the Knesset gets stuck there. Every reform encounters objections, and it is nearly impossible to pass anything, including the fight against black market capital. I belong to the finance minister’s faction and it is my job to pass things, but nothing can be advanced; there are always dramas here; in some cases it’s the kibbutzim, in others kashrut – everybody has an interest. We have to be brave and deal with the basic problems: monopolies, quotas and interested bodies that prevent change. In the Arrangements Law we will introduce important reforms, and then we will see if all those who are yelling here will support them. We are the cause of the high prices. We have an opportunity to lower the cost of living, and I hope everyone here will support [the measures].”

JNi.Media

Analysis: One Scary Outcome of Brexit Could Be Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn

Friday, June 24th, 2016

As a million more Britons said no than yes to their country’s EU membership, Israel’s future relationship with the UK may take a downturn, and not because of the argument Prime Minister David Cameron was making during his campaign to remain in the Union.

Cameron earlier this week told an audience at the Jewish Care dinner in London that he wants to be at the EU discussion table, influencing policy whenever the EU decides on yet another anti-Israel move. Cameron also attacked Brexit proponent UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s message as being “opposite of everything that makes Britain great.”

“When we’re fighting terrorism and Islamist extremism are we better doing that out on our own or fighting together with our European partners,” Cameron said at the dinner (which raised almost $7 million). “When Europe is discussing its attitude towards Israel do you want Britain – Israel’s greatest friends – in there opposing boycotts, or do you want us outside the room, powerless to affect the conversation.”

It’s a nice argument, made by the same greatest friend of Israel who only last February called Israeli construction in eastern Jerusalem “genuinely shocking” during a discussion in Parliament. “I am well-known for being a strong friend of Israel, but I have to say the first time I visited Jerusalem and had a proper tour around that wonderful city and saw what had happened with the effective encirclement of East Jerusalem, occupied East Jerusalem, it is genuinely shocking,” Cameron said during a weekly question-answer session.

With friends like that…

But that’s water under the bridge now, on Friday morning, after Cameron has already announced he is quitting his post as Prime Minister since Britain had voted to leave the European Union after being a member since the 1970s. “We must now prepare for a renegotiations with the EU,” he said, explaining that “above all this will require strong determined and committed leadership. I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in that direction.”

The Labour party’s response to the referendum results was a masterpiece of spin. Unlike the Conservatives, who were split over Brexit, Labour was all out in favor of remaining in the EU. Now read the Labour talking points as sent out to members Friday morning:

“Clearly many communities across our country feel left behind and cut off by the political establishment in Brussels and Westminster. This was a rejection of the status quo by millions of people who are not sharing in the wealth of this country, for whom the economy is not working.

“After this divisive campaign and close vote, the first task is to come together and heal the divisions. Our country is divided and things need to change. Politicians on all sides must respect the voice of the British people, who have spoken.

“Labour is the only party that can meet the challenge we now face. We realize that people want politicians who put them first. As the party that stands up for working people, Labour is best placed re-unite the country – we can do so as we did not engage in project fear, and we share people’s dissatisfaction with the status quo, which is why we put a critical case for both remain and reform.

“In making this argument Labour showed that it is far closer to the centre of gravity of the British public than other political parties. Jeremy is uniquely placed as a critical remainer. He understands why people voted to leave, he understood people’s criticisms of Europe – and is the only leader of a major party in Britain to whom that applies.”

The talking points document concluded:

“The Tories cannot possibly provide the leadership we need — they are divided from top to bottom. It is hard to see how David Cameron has a long-term future as Prime Minister, but Labour’s immediate priority is to stabilize the country and the markets.”

Possibly. Which would throw a new, more menacing light on Cameron’s warnings regarding Israel’s only friend in Great Britain: should the Tories exit stage-right, Israel would not need to worry so much about facing a more hostile European Union, rather it should be concerned about facing arch-anti-Israel Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu’s Can Do Minister Plans Gaza’s Offshore Island Harbor

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Yisrael Katz (Likud), who currently wears two ministerial hats: Transportation and Road Safety and Intelligence and Atomic Energy, has probably the most productive minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s three consecutive cabinets, being responsible for an unprecedented network of new, modern highways crisscrossing Israel and an ever-improving train service — all of which means that if he has made up his mind to carry out a project, it’s probably going to happen, and sooner than you may think. The project in question is the Gaza harbor island, which Katz has recently begun to promote.

Speaking at the 2016 Herzliya Conference last week, Minister Katz described his plan for an island with a port off the Gaza Strip, connected to the mainland with a three-mile bridge, with no residential buildings, and, most important—no place for Hamas to dig terror tunnels. According to Katz, an artificial island to be built on the high seas would also be a spot which was “not promised by God to anyone,” with no ideological ties to any of the warring parties in the region. This island would be built strictly for humane and financial purposes: permit the monitored, daily flow of traffic in and out of Gaza, provide construction jobs for the people of Gaza, and, eventually, who knows, there’s room for many imaginative ventures once you’ve gotten yourself an island.

“We can practically change the current reality,” Katz promised last week. And on Monday he told reporters: “I do not think it is right to lock up two million people without any connection to the world. Israel has no interest in making life harder for the population there. But because of security concerns we can’t build an airport or seaport in Gaza [proper].”

This week, Minister Katz raised the heat under his proposal, announcing that Israel is actively seeking foreign investors to construct a $5 billion artificial island with a seaport, hotels and an airport just off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The island, comprising an area of three square miles (although once you start making islands in the sea, what’s to stop you from making them even bigger), would “ease the blockade it imposed on the Palestinian enclave a decade ago.”

Up until last week’s announcement, there were several alternative harbor proposals being discussed by the Israeli leadership, to help ease the pressure on Gaza’s civilian population without harming Israeli security. One was what seemed like an exotic idea a few months ago, of building an artificial island that would face the Gaza shore, where ships would unload their goods under strict Israeli control. One called for the harbor to be built in El Arish, a sleepy Egyptian town in the north-eastern Sinai, which is under Egyptian rule. There was also an idea to build a Gaza harbor in Cyprus. And, of course, there was the more intuitive idea of building the Gaza harbor in Gaza, but conditioning its operation on long-term ceasefire deals. Naturally, as soon as Hamas starts shooting rockets at Israel, Israel could wipe out their nice harbor.

Katz insists his man-made island proposal is under review by Netanyahu’s security cabinet, and showing “a lot of potential.” The experts are drafting plans on ways to maintaining security on the offshore island and inside the off-shore harbor. One tactic being proposed is closing down the bridge when hostilities flare up on the mainland. But with Hamas investing in training its Navy SEAL commandos, closing down the bridge may not necessarily secure the island.

Minister Katz wants the island to be built with foreign investments, and he would like to see the Saudis and the Chinese, as well as private Israeli investors picking up the tab for his project. Katz said Israel would allow foreign construction workers into its territorial waters for the project.

According to the Washington Post, citing a high level Israeli official, Prime Minister Netanyahu is “exploring the option but has not yet made a determination.”

The Palestinian Authority folks hate the plan, which they called “dubious.” The PLO fears that the man-made island would bring about “the final severing of Gaza” from the PA.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahus-can-do-minister-plans-gazas-offshore-island-harbor/2016/06/21/

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