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October 24, 2016 / 22 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Netanyahu’

Ehud Barak Blames UNESCO Decision on Netanyahu

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday told Israel’s Channel 2 News that the UNESCO decision which denies the Jewish nation’s historic connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall in Jerusalem was “Netanyahu’s monumental failure on the international front.” He blamed the prime minister for the fact that both China and Russia supported the resolution.

Haaretz suggested on Thursday that most of the Arab countries felt the resolution was too over the top, but had no choice but to support it, lest they be seen as not favoring the Palestinian Authority which pushed it. Both Russia and China obviously threw their weight on the Palestinian side to offset the American and Western vote against it.

Besides China and Russia, Netanyahu’s “monumental failure” included his inability to influence the votes of Algeria,  Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, and Vietnam.

In his brief term as prime minister (May 17, 1999 to February 6, 2001) Ehud Barak did not leave much of an impression abroad, distinguishing his rule solely by his hurried retreat from South Lebanon, abandoning Israel’s Christian friends there. Apparently, Lebanon still voted for the UNESCO resolution…


Dore Gold Resigns as Director-General of the MFA

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Dore Gold has just resigned, citing personal reasons, according to Israeli sources.

Gold said, “I thank the Prime Minister for the trust given to me and I will continue to make myself available for any mission imposed on me in the future.
The Foreign Ministry General-Director role was a personal and professional summit in which I served on the diplomatic front.
I am grateful for the professional and dedicated employees of the Foreign Ministry, together with them we were led to Israel’s diplomatic struggles. During my service as Director-General, we had a boom in foreign relations led by the Prime Minister.
I feel proud of being a partner in this.
I wish great success to my replacement”

PM Netanyahu thanked Gold for his contributions in strengthening Israel’s political position in the world, including in Africa and the Middle East.

Gold is a close associate of Prime Minister Netanyahu and they have worked together for the past 25 years.

From 1997 to 1999, Gold served as the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.

From 2000, he served as the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

In May 2015, Netanyahu appointed him as Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the time Gold agreed to serve a maximum of 6 months.

He was born in 1953 in Hartford, Connecticut, in the United States, and now lives in Jerusalem with his wife and children.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Netanyahu Asking Kerry to Avoid UN 2-State Resolution

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night phoned Secretary of State John Kerry to tell him Israel expected the Obama Administration not to change its policy and promote or support a vote on the Israeli-PA conflict at the UN Security Council between the November 8 vote and the inauguration of the next US president in January, Ha’aretz reported citing an anonymous Israeli official.

According to the same source, Kerry responded by saying the Administration has not yet made its decision on this matter — which is probably what he would have said if he didn’t want an Obama anti-Israel move to hit the news before the election.

The chances for a hostile American move have increased following reports on the plan to relocate the Jewish residents of Amona in Judea and Samaria, which is slated for demolition on orders from the Israeli Supreme Court, to new homes that will be built for them in nearby Shilo, also in Judea and Samaria. This is because while the Supreme Court only objects to keeping Jewish residents on land whose ownership has been disputed by local Arabs, the US objects to any sign of new Jewish life in Judea and Samaria.

According to Ha’aretz, Netanyahu did not raise the issue of an anti-Israel US vote at the UNSC during his meeting with President Obama in New York in September. But following Netanyahu’s meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a few days later, the latter issued a statement saying she objects to any unilateral US move against Israel at the UN. Netanyahu is hoping that, should she win—which appears to be a certainty at this point—Clinton would restrain Obama during the transition period.

Pundit Eli Lake writing for Bloomberg suggested the mildest move on Obama’s part after November 8 would be a speech in favor of the two-state solution. This approach is similar to a speech Bill Clinton gave at the end of his presidency that laid out such parameters. Lake expects Obama to disclose in such a speech the concessions Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were willing to make in their negotiations that fell apart in 2014.

A second option, which Hillary Clinton has vowed to try and block, could be US support for a new Security Council resolution to replace resolution 242, which was drafted after the 1967 Israeli liberation of the territories occupied by Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1949. 242 does not mention a Palestinian State, but instead calls on Israel to return liberated territories to the Arab aggressors along its borders.

A third option would be for the Obama Administration to declare war on rightwing Israeli NGOs. Anti-Israel Jewish organizations such as J Street have suggested altering the US tax code to exclude rightwing Israeli NGOs which today frustrate Arab illegal settlement in Area C, placed under Israeli custody in the Oslo Accords. The NGO Regavim, for instance, has done an aggressive job compelling the Israeli Supreme Court as well as the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria to act against illegal Arab squatters, enraging the EU and Us which have been paying for those illegal settlements.

Finally, the Obama Administration might declare its recognition of a Palestinian State in borders that include Area C, and issue an ultimatum for Israel to withdraw its military and civilians from the new state. It’s probably the least likely option, but it’s out there, being bandied about in think tanks in Washington DC and in Jerusalem.


Netanyahu to Rename Dimona Nuclear Facility After Peres

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the start of his Sunday morning weekly Cabinet meeting, announced that he plans “to have the Nuclear Research Center-Negev renamed after the late Shimon Peres. Shimon Peres worked greatly to establish this important enterprise for the security of Israel for generations, and I think that it would be right and proper to rename the center after him.”

Peres is widely regarded as the founder of Israel’s nuclear research. He established collaboration treaties with France’s nuclear industry in 1954, through personal meetings with French government officials. As Director General and later Deputy-Minister of Defense, Peres controlled all aspects of Israel’s nuclear program.

“The idea and its implementation aroused the ire of many against me,” Peres described his Dimona project. “There were those who claimed nothing would come of all this. Others sought to prove that the idea was impossible to realize, and some prophesied that if we even tried to go in the direction I suggested, the whole world would turn against us, and Dimona would bring upon us a terrible war.” Instead, he pointed out, “the reactor undoubtedly gave Israel a new dimension. It is the greatest compensation for the country’s small size. Technology here constituted compensation for territory, for geography. And it is okay that the reactor is always mysterious and ambiguous because it is clear enough to serve as a deterrent to enemies, and ambiguous enough not to arouse the fury of the world. It gave Israel self-confidence. Everyone felt that the option to destroy us passed from the world.”

According to its official website, work on the Nuclear Research Center NEGEV (NRCN) began bac in 1959, as part of the national policy to develop the Negev desert. The IRR-2 reactor operates on the NRCN with nuclear fuel and heavy water, cooled and moderated.

Periodic authorizations to operate the reactor are granted following extensive safety tests.

The research conducted at the NRCN is designed to broaden the basic knowledge in nuclear sciences and adjacent fields, and to provide the foundation for the practical and economic utilization of nuclear energy.

A national radioactive waste disposal site is situated within the NRCN. Radioactive waste from hospitals, research institutions, higher education facilities and factories is delivered to the site.


Final Obama Battle Waged Against Amona Jews

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

The new, and, God Willing, final confrontation between the departing Obama Administration and the still ticking Netanyahu government appears to center on Amona, located on a hill overlooking Ofra in Benjamin Region, at the heart of the liberated territories.


Amona was founded in 1995, and has 200-plus residents — 50-plus families. Amona’s very name is a densely packed tale of occupations: it is mentioned in the Book of Joshua 18:24 as Kfar HaAmmonai, meaning Village of the Amonites, but the Amonite kingdom was well to the east of the Jordan River, so that when the Israelite tribe of Benjamin took it over, it actually liberated it from foreign occupation. A dozen or so conquests later, Amona was initially redeemed and rebuilt in 1995, not as a community but as an archeological site and the location of the Mekorot national water company’s containers. In 1996, the head of the regional council, with the support of the defense ministry, placed three caravans with young people from Ofra on the Amona hill, for strategic purposes.

Since then, and until 2005, a succession of Israeli governments invested in Amona’s infrastructure and encouraged its settlement by young families, mostly from nearby Ofra. In fact, in 2001, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon encouraged the locals to start building permanent homes, into which they moved from the 30 or so caravans where they lived. In 2003, then Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu participated in the celebrations of opening the community’s first mikvah. There was no doubt that the State of Israel was sanctioning the Amona enterprise.

In 2004, the Amana residents completed construction of nine permanent homes. Then, in October 2004, the Israeli Civil Administration ordered the demolition of the same structures, based on complaints that the lands had been acquired illegally from local Arabs who used to graze their flocks there.

According to the Amona residents, the reason they can’t produce the proper registration of their land has to do with the Palestinian Authority law that penalizes anyone who sells land to Jews. Over the years, dozens of Arab real estate brokers who dared to sell to Jews, often through a straw man, have been imprisoned and even executed. The Jews of Amona claim they purchased most of the land from local Arabs, with the understanding that they would protect the sellers’ identity by not registering the sale.

In July 2005, Peace Now petitioned the Supreme Court, complaining that no demolition had been executed. And in November 2005, the destroyer of Gush Katif, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, ordered the demolition of Amona be carried out by the end of January 2006.

On February 1, 2006, local Jewish residents and a few thousand protesters, including several MKs, clashed with a force of 10,000 Police, Border Guard, and IDF troops. The cops were as brutal and cruel as Israel had ever seen. An estimated 300 Jewish protesters were injured. Young Jewish girls accused the cops of sexual assault.

Eventually, the nine newly built homes of Amona were destroyed.

In December 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the entire community of Amona had to be evacuated and their homes demolished. The court has rejected an idea by then cabinet secretary and now Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit, that in cases like Amona, where government was involved in a community’s establishment, the Arab claimant be compelled to accept market value or comparable land. Most recently, Habayit Hayehudi cabinet ministers have suggested moving the Amona residents to nearby land — and that is the move which caught the ire of the lame duck Obama Administration.


On Wednesday, in an angry press release reminiscent of the Days Secretary John Kerry was first realizing there was no Nobel Peace Prize for him for fathering a new Palestinian State, the State Department “strongly condemned” the planned Amona move, stressing it violates Israel’s promise not to build new settlements. State Department’s deputy spokesman, Mark Toner, said

“it is disheartening that while Israel and the world mourned the passing of President Shimon Peres, and leaders from the US and other nations prepared to honor one of the great champions of peace, plans were advanced that would seriously undermine the prospects for a two-state solution that he so passionately supported.”

Never mind what you do to us, look what you’re doing to Shimon!

The NY Times cited Martin Indyk, Obama’s special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and, as rumors have it, President Hillary Clinton’s next envoy for the same Sisyphean chore, who threatened, as only a Jew who passionately hates the idea of an independent and strong Israel can: “At a certain point, the administration may well decide that there needs to be consequences for what it now sees as an effort to close off the two-state solution.”

For his part, Spokesperson Toner told the State Dept. press briefing on Wednesday:

“…when we see Israel carry out this kind of action – new settlement activity, announcement of new settlement activity – that, frankly, contradicts its stated goal to have or to achieve or pursue a two-state solution, it raises serious concerns and we have to publicly and privately convey those concerns to the Government of Israel.”

Then came this from Toner:

“…with regard to the UN Security Council and any action at the UN, our position hasn’t changed. We’re always concerned, frankly, about one-sided resolutions or other actions that could be taken within the UN, and we’re always going to oppose those kinds of resolutions that we believe delegitimize Israel and undermine its security.” Then, having paid the proper lip service, Toner delivered the zinger: “But we’re going to carefully consider our future engagement, if and when we reach that point, and determine how to most effectively pursue and advance the objective that we all at least claim to share, which is that of achieving a negotiated two-state solution. That work is going to continue with our international partners and we’re going to continue to make clear when we have concerns, such as we do today, with regard to Israel’s actions. We’re going to make those concerns clear to the Israeli Government.”

Do you see the veiled threat of the US deciding to support or abstain at a UNSC unilateral vote on establishing a Palestinian State?

Netanyahu heard it, loud and clear. On Wednesday night, Israel’s Foreign Ministry (PM Netanyahu is also the Foreign Minister) issued a statement rejecting the American criticism, arguing that the construction plan the cabinet initiated a week ago does not constitute building a new settlement, and, besides, “the settlements are not the barrier to peace.”

“The 98 housing units approved for the Shiloh settlement do not constitute a new settlement,” went the statement. “These units are to be built on state-owned land in the existing settlement of Shiloh, and will not alter its municipal boundaries. These housing units are intended to provide housing to the residents of Amona who must leave their homes according to home demolition orders issued by the Supreme Court of Justice.”

The Netanyahu argument will probably not persuade Toner or Kerry and Obama for that matter. Their vision inherently encompasses Judea and Samaria as Judenrein (German for “clean of Jews”), and so the argument regarding Shiloh’s unchanged municipal boundaries is meaningless to them — they hold there shouldn’t have been a Jewish Shiloh there in the first place.

Or, as Toner put it,

“…that’s particularly why we find [Israel’s] actions so befuddling, when it takes actions such as continued settlement activity that run counter to what we’re all trying to achieve here. And so we’re going to continue to press that case to them. We have a very close and very frank and candid relationship with Israel. We’re going to continue to call it like we see it, and when we see this kind of activity that we believe is counterproductive, we’re going to say so.”

Al Quds reporter Said Arikat pressed Toner:

“You keep saying that the UN is a forum that is somehow inherently opposed to Israel, while in fact, it was created through that UN organization. But let me ask you this: I mean, if this is in occupied territory, which you acknowledge, and there are laws that pertain to the occupying power’s rights and privileges or obligations under international law, why not push forward, put your weight behind what is internationally lawful in this case, and bring Israel to bear on these issues – holding it to account?”

Toner would not say, because to actually reveal what the Administration is, presumably, planning for the day after November 8 could start WW3. But there’s no doubt that, should the US decide to support a UN vote on a two-state solution, Amona, that ancient home of the invaders from across the Jordan River, will definitely play a major role in the decision.

David Israel

Police Hold Billionaire Lauder for Questioning over Netanyahu Investigation

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Jewish American billionaire Ronald Lauder was detained briefly for questioning by police last week, when he arrived in Israel to attend former president Shimon Peres’ funeral, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Tuesday night. Lauder was questioned about his relationship with the Netanyahu family.

The president of the World Jewish Congress was detained by investigators from Police Lahav 433 special unit after arriving in Israel. According to Lauder, he told police the move was “disrespectful.” He said, “I’m arriving here from a memorial service for the massacre in Babi Yar, and going to the funeral of a good friend, with whom I’ve partnered in political endeavors — and you’re detaining me.”

In the end, according to Lauder, he reached an agreement with police that in the coming few days either the Lahav 433 investigators would come to see him in New York, or he would show up in Israel prepared to give a full testimony. Lauder said he promised to answer all the questions honestly and openly, to help police get the truth.

According to Channel 2, the attempt to interrogate Lauder suggests police are sitting on solid suspicions against the prime minister and his family members, most notably his wife, Sara, since the permission to detain a foreign dignitary of Lauder’s stature likely required the consent of AG Avihai Mandelblit.

Back in April 2011, Sara Netanyahu told Israel’s Channel 10 about Lauder: “He used to be our friend, he no longer is. He flew us around and hosted us more than anyone who is mentioned in [that year’s investigation], and his name is not even in [that year’s report].”

Lauder has been critical of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policy regarding the Iran nuclear deal.

Back in September, Channel 2 News ran a report saying Netanyahu is being investigated on an alleged attempt to solicit a bribe. But the individuals police suspected of being the target of the PM’s solicitation, including Israeli born US businessman Ari Harow did not provide incriminating information.


Lessons from 5776, Optimism for 5777

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

As we take our leave from 5776, I would sum it up as the year that Israel discovered the correct paradigm for dealing with her adversaries.

In previous years, many believed Israel’s military superiority allowed and even obliged her to take “risks for peace.” Others believed that propping up the economies of Israel’s neighbors until they were on par with her own, while giving up land, would bring peace.

But in 5776, Israel discovered that the secret for a relatively peaceful status quo comes not from creating economic parity, giving away land or taking risks, but rather by creating economic dependence, along with the application of Israel’s military superiority.

It should be made clear that a peaceful status quo is a separate discussion from what Israel’s long term vision for the region should be — whether that solution be Israel applying phased or full sovereignty over all of Israel’s territories, a confederation with Jordan, or some other ideas not yet tested or considered.

It’s been repeatedly noted that only one of the terror attacks by PA Arabs in this recent terror wave was executed by an individual with an Israeli work permit.

Israelis have learned that no matter how much their neighbors may hate them (and by the way, not all of Israel’s neighbors close and far hate Israel), or how much incitement they absorb from Palestinian Authority TV and the Islamic preachers, their families and villages depend on the money they make from Israelis, and all of them, save one, would not dare risk that.

Which is why the Palestinian Authority tried its best to force these Arab workers to stop working in the settlements, and why it failed. (PA Arabs make three times more working for Israelis than they do working in the Palestinian Authority.)

Incidentally, Israel would probably help the future stability of Judea and Samaria by announcing it will guarantee PA police salaries should the Palestinian Authority collapse under the weight of its own incompetence and corruption or Abbas’ retirement or death.

There’s very little that creates more loyalty than a paycheck paid on time.

Despite the roadblocks set up by Israel’s High Court, 5776 concluded with Jordan signing a $10 billion gas deal with Israel, which a Jordanian official said will save Jordan $600 million a year. It’s a deal that might very well tie Jordan’s economic stability to Israel for the next 15 years, along with the fresh water that Israel provides them.

Besides natural gas, Turkey, Greece, various Arab countries, some African states, India, Russia and China are looking to purchase or enter business partnerships with Israel, to acquire Israeli technology, military experience and equipment, fresh water solutions, solar energy, agricultural know-how or simply gain access to Israeli projects.

As these countries and others become more reliant on what Israel has to offer, there will be a gradual, visible change in their public attitudes, voting in international forums, and policies towards Israel, as Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out in his speech last month before the UN General Assembly.

On the military side, this past year, the IDF finally resumed its function in actively preventing terrorism, rather than restricting itself to a reactive mode. IDF soldiers have been raiding the hornet nests in the Palestinian Authority every night, to confiscate illegal weapons and ammunition, uncover weapons factories and erode the terror networks of Hamas, the PLO, and the various Islamic Jihadi groups which expanded operations under former defense ministers Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya’alon. And, surprisingly, these IDF actions hardly provoke any international condemnation, save for criticism from Haaretz.

It was also the year Israel has actively taken on BDS, and began to beat it down, state after US state.

Obviously, all was not rosy this past year.

Thanks to the Iran deal, a revitalized Islamic Iran has been expanding its terror operations. But as Iran and their client Hezbollah try to establish terror bases on Israel’s Golan Heights’ border, Syrian Rebels are fighting those Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists on the Golan — the same rebels who are reportedly receiving much-needed medical aid from Israel.

There has been an upswing in Israeli Arabs participating in terror attacks and joining ISIS due to Islamic radicalization, incitement and propaganda, but Israel is already learning how to deal with them.

Hamas is still destroying Gaza as it continues to prepare for another round of fighting with Israel.

In the spring of 5777, Israel will celebrate 50 years since the liberation of our ancient lands of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem from the illegal Jordanian occupation. Expect the usual NGOs (under new names and old) and Israel haters to foment their venomous propaganda, and also expect fewer and fewer people, everywhere in the world, to pay attention.

There’s concern over Obama’s anticipated November surprise at the UN.

And, of course, there will be the new challenges that either candidate for US president will present to Israel.

At the JewishPress.com we believe we have reason to be optimistic.

Israel has made significant positive changes this past year, with strategic, long term ideas being implemented, already with noticeable results. 5777 will bring challenges, even difficult ones, but we believe Israel is ready for them.

Shana Tova – Have a sweet new year.

Stephen Leavitt

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/lessons-from-5776-optimism-for-5777/2016/10/02/

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