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July 25, 2016 / 19 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Netanyahu’

Netanyahu Issues Stop-Work Order against Waqf Temple Mount Bathrooms

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

On Tuesday the PM’s office instructed the City of Jerusalem to issue a stop-work order against a project that has been under construction for two years, converting an ancient Ottoman structure near the compound’s wall into bathroom stalls and showers for use strictly by Muslim worshipers.

According to Israel Radio, Prime Minister Netanyahu on Tuesday assembled Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, and Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev, to discuss the offensive Waqf project on the Temple Mount, because it endangers rare archaeological treasures.

The move was appropriate, especially since the Waqf had been constructing those bathrooms, as well as carrying out other projects for two years now without a license. The only question was how come the PM’s office waited for two years to act, after being bombarded with complaints by archaeologists, including the Israel Antiquities Authority, regarding the irreparable damage caused by the Waqf?

It was Yehuda Glick, now an MK, who in 2014 caught Waqf officials red-handed in the act of drilling through the ancient stones of the holy site, using heavy machinery. “They saw me coming and immediately tried to hide. It set off warning bells for me and I started filming straight away,” Glick related back in 2014. “They tried to hide, and then shouted to the policeman who was there that I could not take pictures without their permission. The policeman ignored them.”

David Israel

Report: Police Recommend Indicting Sara Netanyahu over PM’s Residence Charges

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Police on Sunday recommended indicting Prime Minster Netanyahu’s wife Sara over the case of the PM’s residences, Israeli media reported. Police say they have evidentiary foundation to indict three individuals involved in the case: Sara Netanyahu, the Deputy Director of the Prime Minister’s office Ezra Saidoff, and Avi Fahima, an electrician who allegedly was ordered to work on Yom Kippur in the PM’s private residence in Caesarea.

So far, despite the media reports, the police official statement on Sunday did not clearly mention the evidentiary foundation for an indictment against the three suspects. Rather it announced that “the National Unit of Israel Police has concluded its investigation of the case of the prime minister’s residences. The case was opened in February 2015, with the approval of the attorney general and state prosecutor, and focused on several topics regarding which there was suspicion of criminal violations. These included suspected fraud, fraud, and breach of trust, as well as examining mutual complaints. By the end of the investigation, all the alleged evidence, the findings and insights gathered during the police inquiry were handed over to the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office—which has been following the investigation—for reference and decision.”

The State Comptroller’s report for 2009-2013 found that Sara Netanyahu had invited Fahima to carry out electric works in her Caesarea private home on the weekends, when the rates are higher. The comptroller’s report showed that for three straight months Fahima was called on almost every weekend to do the repair work, including on Yom Kippur, which is the one day during the year when almost all of Israel’s Jews refrain from work.

Last July, the investigation of the comptrollers’ findings turned criminal, and two months later Saidoff was interrogated for ten hours in the offices of police anti-corruption unit Lahav 433. Saidoff is suspected of hiring Fahima because he is a member of the Likud party, and of ordering work for him after being told not to.

Last December, Sara Netanyahu was interrogated by the same anti-corruption unit about the use of the electrician on weekends and on Yom Kippur, as well as regarding using public funds to purchase of patio furniture and other equipment for the Netanyahus’ Caesarea private home.

JNi.Media

Shaked Drops Bomb: Habayit Hayehudi Ready for New Elections

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), who is also a member of the Netanyahu security cabinet, on Sunday morning delivered a punch to complement her party’s chairman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s confrontational stance regarding the need to revamp the communications between the security ministers and the IDF. Shaked told Army radio that Habayit Hayehudi is prepared to vote against the appointment of MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) as defense minister, thus blocking the entrance of his faction to the coalition, as long as Netanyahu refuses to appoint a military attaché to every security cabinet minister.

Shaked said this demand is not new, but has in fact been posed to Netanyahu by Bennett several times this year, and received no response from the PM. “Sooner or later, as cabinet members, we are given the responsibility in times of war, which is why we need to receive all the relevant information and be able to see the entire picture.”

Shaked revealed that Bennett had raised the issue at the coalition negotiations a year ago, and Netanyahu said this was not a matter for the coalition agreement, promising he would take it up with Bennett later. But, as is often the case with Netanyahu’s promises, later never came.

“This is not a party issue or a portfolio issue,” Shaked insisted, making clear that “we will vote against Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu entering should this issue not be resolved.” She explained that the issue is not very complicated: decision makers in war-time should be updated on the facts on the ground in order to make good decisions. “We just want to make sure the issue has been resolved,” she reiterated.

Naftali Bennett on Sunday morning has issued his most combative press release to date, stating, “I left hi-tech and entered politics after seeing, as a commander during the second Lebanon war (2006), what happens when the state leaders send soldiers into battle without knowing what they’re doing.”

I didn’t need a job or the money,” Bennett noted, “I swore to myself that I would not allow what I had seen to happen again. Our demand is as simple as it is dramatic: we want that the commander of the chief of staff and of the IDF, meaning the security cabinet, the body that makes life and death decisions, will stop being blind.”

Bennett insisted that “Right now it is blind by choice.”

Citing his fight with the IDF chief of staff and the defense minister during the 2014 Gaza War over the threat of Hamas terror tunnels that led into Israeli territory, Bennett accused the security apparatus and the prime minister of intentionally keeping the security cabinet in the dark, and, in fact, discouraging IDF commanders from sharing relevant information that might contradict the official military line. He blamed the fact that the war began too late and without consideration of the tunnels’ threat for the fact that the war lasted way too long — 51 days — and cost so many lives (63 IDF soldiers).

“I am not able to give in any longer,” Bennett declared.

Shaked rejected the announcement by Netanyahu’s office that yet another committee would be appointed to examine the Habayit Hayehudi demands. “There have been many committees,” she noted, pointing out that their recommendations have never been applied.

Finally, a coalition member party who votes against the PM’s legislation, in this case the expansion of his coalition, is subject to a swift dismissal of its ministers from the cabinet. When asked, Shaked said she was not worried. “We don’t believe this should lead to new elections,” she told Army Radio, “but if it does, we’re ready to run.”

JNi.Media

Survey: A Party Led by Ya’alon, Sa’ar, Kahlon, Could Defeat Netanyahu

Friday, May 27th, 2016

An Israel Radio/Rafi Smith survey on Friday revealed that a new center-right party led by former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), former Education Minister Gidon Sa’ar (Likud), and still serving Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) would have won as many as 25 seats in the next Knesset, if the vote were conducted today.

The new, imaginary party, which for the time being is only based on the fantasies of the folks who conducted the survey and the 500 folks, Jews and Arabs, who answered, will apparently be the big winner of the next elections. Likud would be demoted to 21 seats (from 30); Lapid’s Yesh Atid’s rise would be tamed, only 2 new seats, from 11 to 13; the Zionist Camp (they really should go back to calling themselves simply Labor) would be crushed, from 24 down to 11; the Joint Arab List would retain its 13 seats; Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi would grow from 8 to 10; Yisrael Beiteinu up from 6 to 8; United Torah Judaism up nicley from 6 to 8; Shas would remain stuck with its 6 seats; and Meretz likewise with its 5.

The question is, even considering the above fantasy scenario, whether the Ya’alon-Kahlon-Sa’ar triumvirate, assuming they would be able to overcome their egos to allow one of them to lead, would be able to form a coalition and with whom.

If they go left, they could add Lapid, Labor and Meretz for a 54-seat coalition, which could rule with the tacit, conditional support of the Arabs.

If they go right, they would have to add Netanyahu and Lapid, for a 59-seat coalition, and then, possibly, Labor, giving them a hefty, 70-seat coalition.

But should the imaginary party not be able to forge a coalition, the president would then turn to Netanyahu, yet again, who would combine Likud, Habayit Hayehudi, Yisrael Beiteinu, UTJ and Shas to get 53 seats, and then bring in an additional partner, possibly even the very triumvirate that couldn’t.

The fact is that even in their fantasy, the center parties find it difficult to make do without Bibi.

The same survey also polled the 500 likely voters as to their choice today without a dream team running: Likud goes down to 28 (from 30), making it still the unavoidable leader; Labor is cut down from 24 to 15; Yesh Atid goes up to 19; Kahlon’s Kulanu virtually disappears, down to 6; UTJ 8; Shas 7; Lieberman 8; Meretz 5, Arabs 13.

Which would mean the exact same players in Netanyahu’s current coalition could stay on, but they would have more votes to offer the slightly reduced Likud and without Kahlon. Netanyahu’s next government would then have a 61-seat majority, with Habayit Hayehudi as the second-largest partner. Kahlon could then be invited to come back, but on radically less favorable terms.

David Israel

Analysis: Jews Vs. Arabs May Yet Blow Up the DNC Convention this Summer

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Against her best judgment and because she’s been slipping in the polls in trying to capture the support of her opponent’s followers once she is crowned Queen of the Democrats, candidate Hillary Clinton agreed to give Bernie Sanders 5 out of the 15 spots on the Democratic party’s platform committee. She took 6, and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz got 4. So then Senator Bernie Sanders went ahead and appointed his peeps, and now two of them, Cornel West and James Zogby, on Wednesday condemned Israel for its “occupation” of Judea and Samaria and Gaza (Gaza? Really?) and let the world know they plan to get their views into the platform at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July, the NY Times reported.

“Justice for Palestinians cannot be attained without the lifting of the occupation,” West said in an interview, adding that with all due respect to thousands of years of persecution, the platform should reflect “the plight of an occupied people.”

Nothing there about the plight of half a million Syrians being butchered by everyone and their uncle only a fee miles away. Nothing about weekly hangings in Iran, flogging and beheading in Saudi Arabia, the tyranny of Islamic terrorism in Syria and Iraq, those are not the important injustices in Cornel West’s Middle East, it has to be a defunct plan from 1993 that has been rejected so many times by the PLO leadership, it brought to near-tears three, count them, three US presidents.

Dr. Zogby, who is the president of the Arab American Institute and a career advocate of “rights of Palestinians,” said in an interview, “Any honest assessment would say that the debate on this issue has shifted over the last 30 years and the platform has reflected that but lagged slightly behind, and it’s now time to catch up. Clearly most Democrats agree. But we will see what happens.”

Republican candidate Donald Trump has good friends in Cornel West and James Zogby, who will surely rattle and shake one of the Democratic party’s most third-ralish third rail issues, in public, while Clinton is trying to unify the troops against Trump. There’s no other issue more likely to turn away middle class voters than the Democrats criticizing US support for Israel. But the left is not concerned. In fact, the NYT cites an April Pew Research Center survey showing liberal Democrats are twice as likely to sympathize with Palestinians over Israel than they had been two years ago. 40% of liberals sympathized more with Palestinians, only 33% sympathized more with Israel.

In the Wednesday interview, Dr. West, who once called President Obama a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface,” accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of “war crimes.” He also blamed “the role of money and lobbies” for the absence of “a candid dialogue” on Israeli-American relations.

Of course, Hillary will do the only sensible thing and ignore the party platform as best she can. Otherwise, as Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations told the NYT, the party could be perceived as adopting “positions that could be seen as hostile to Israel.” (You think?)

Hoenlein was unhappy not just with the presence of Zogby and West on the DNC platform committee, but also with a third Sanders appointee, Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Muslim. It’s as if Sanders had decided to force Hillary to touch that rail, or look bad jumping over it. “For us, the concern is that it legitimizes and potentially puts into a major party platform” the extreme left’s view “that undermines the principles of the Israeli-US relationship that have been bipartisan for decades,” Hoenlein warned.

And all Donald Trump has to do is sit back and watch his opponent disintegrating on an unwinnable issue. Former Florida congressman Robert Wexler, a Clinton supporter, who served on the platform committee back in 2012, told the NYT, “My concern is that the Democratic platform is not the venue in which to litigate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Ah, a lucid voice in a sea of crazy. How refreshing.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu Tells Knesset He Wants ‘Broader Government,’ Herzog: Stop Zigzagging

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

During Monday’s special plenary session honoring the memory of Theodor Herzl, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) said, “I wonder what Herzl would have said had he seen the massive construction, the building of roads, the economic growth, the absorption of immigration, the scientific innovations and the fact that the state of the Jews discovered gas at sea and will extract it for the benefit of its citizens.”

“I met today with the French Prime Minister and stressed that [the Israeli] government wants peace,” Netanyahu also said, relating, “I told him that I seek to move forward in the diplomatic process on the basis of the outline of a demilitarized Palestinian state which recognizes the Jewish state. [But] the two principles of demilitarization and mutual recognition are not preconditions for the opening of negotiations. The process must be direct, bilateral and devoid of international dictates.”

“I am working with all my power to expand the coalition,” the PM told the Plenum, speaking as he did on the eve of signing a new deal with MK Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu to join his coalition government, expanding it from 61 to 67 members. “I said I would do so when we established the government, and I am continuing with these efforts to form a government that is as broad as possible. The door is open to anyone who wants to [join] for the good of the country. There is much to do and a lot to fix, but there is no justification for the complaining that is rampant in certain circles. Israel is a stable, advanced, innovative and democratic state, and this House is proof of that.”

Following the Prime Minister’s speech, opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp – Labor) addressed last week’s political storm in which many have depicted him as being used by Netanyahu for leverage to bring in Lieberman. “During the past couple of weeks I have stood upright against unprecedented attacks, against an incited crowd and against violent exclamations which I have never heard before,” Herzog complained, adding, realisticly, “It is possible that I have jeopardized my political seat, and have shaken it so much that it will be difficult to stabilize. But as opposed to other leaders – I did not join politics to pass the time. In an era where leaders change their minds according to the morning wind blowing on Facebook, I have chosen to stick to my words.”

Herzog’s poison arrow was shot unambiguously at MK Shelly Yachimovich, the former Labor chairwoman Herzog had unseated, whom he nicknamed “Princes of Facebook,” for her frequent—albeit effective and biting—posts.

“In the past couple of months, due to the terror wave and the futile feeling which characterizes the relationship with our neighbors, I have tried to evaluate the situation [based on the statements] of senior leaders from around the world and our region,” Herzog continued to make his case. “Some may seem familiar to you and some less, some are part of the senior leadership of the area and some are younger, whose names cannot be revealed yet. These leaders have a crucial influence over our fate, the fate of our families and children. I wanted with all my might to identify the glimpse of light in the darkness. I have reached the conclusion that we are facing a rare regional opportunity based on a group of Arab leaders who are moderate, young, powerful and lack the Israel complex that their predecessors have had, and who are willing to take action and lead a powerful and stirring process against our neighbors.”

“I have chosen to risk my internal political status and extend a hand to the rival political leader about whom I have said during the elections – ‘it’s either us or him’ – in order to recruit all possible national power and together change the present and the future of our children,” Herzog continued his gallant attempt to explain his abysmal failure in negotiating with his “rival political leader.”

“I know I have let down many of my supporters, my colleagues and friends and a broad public that did not believe Netanyahu in the first place, but I had decided anyhow to not let the opportunity slip away as it stands right in front of our eyes and depends upon Israel having a different, more moderate, government. That is the condition. I chose to give it a try,” Herzog stated.

“Sadly, at the end of the day, while choosing between being a leader that will be remembered in history as going against the flow, and a leader that goes with the flow into the ocean of forgetfulness, Netanyahu has made his choice,” Herzog lamented. “He has slammed the door on the European and American leaders and became a captive of the extremist political group which will lead him and us into a national disaster which we are already a part of, and some of us decide to live in the illusion that everything will be fine.”

In this context, Herzog did not explain how a 55% majority of the House can be considered “extremist” while the remaining 45% are the proverbial moderates. In effect, he described anyone on the right as extremist, while anyone on the left, including the Joint Arab List’s MKs Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka, and Basel Ghattas, who stood at attention in honor of Arab terrorists killed by Israel, are part of the moderate center.

“I am sorry Mr. Netanyahu that you have chosen to zigzag again,” said Herzog, whose zigzagging during the 2015 campaign included landing MK Tzipi Livni and five colleagues in top spots on his party’s candidates list, and changing the party name from the traditional—and honest—Labor to Zionist Camp, which includes renowned Zionist MK Zouheir Bahloul, who declared earlier this year that Arab attacks on IDF soldiers manning check posts are not acts of terror. “I am sorry that you are the one who slammed the door,” said Herzog, who had fled the negotiations when he finally realized Netanyahu had been double-dealing with Lieberman. “I am sorry that you have chosen to abandon the benefit of the State in favor of your narrow political interest. Your Twitter may remember you favorably, but history won’t.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud), who opened the House debate, said, “We have a serious problem with the culture of argument here; with the ability to listen, which has deteriorated [greatly]; with the lack of respect, the blatant contempt and the obscene language. Our ideological and cultural richness is a source of uniqueness and strength, but we all have a lot of work to do in order to narrow the artificial gaps between us which some make certain are nurtured, because, truthfully, we have more things in common than things that separate us.”

“A [government] is also judged by its ability to bridge the gaps between positions and converge in order to better serve the public,” Edelstein said, concluding, “Therefore, there was no other choice but to work towards expanding the coalition. The first step in this direction should be welcomed, and I hope additional Zionist parties will join. We must stand together, better and more united, in front of the great challenges facing us. This is an important message, internally, for the Israeli public, and also externally, for all those who are eagerly waiting to see our internal disintegration – God forbid.”

MK Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid faction, said “Herzl envisioned a state with equal rights for women at a time when such a notion was almost avant-garde. He wrote that every citizen will be obligated to give two years for military or civil service and that religious coercion would be forbidden. He spoke of the need for a clean country that would protect the environment. He wrote about a country where education is free for everyone, where there is a clear separation between the military and politics; a state that is technologically advanced. He believed that the Arabs of the land are entitled to equal rights.”

OK, that last part, about Herzl advocating for Palestinian rights is a bit of a stretch. As Ernst Pawel noted (The Labyrinth of Exile: A Life Of Theodor Herzl, Farrar, Straus, Giroux), “His attitude toward the indigenous population was one of benign indifference at best. He never questioned the popular view of colonialism as a mission of mercy that brought the blessings of civilization to stone-age savages… He fully believed that the Palestine Arabs would welcome the Jews with open arms; after all, they only stood to gain from the material and technological progress imported by the Jews.”

Some things never change.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu Ready to Go to Paris ‘Tomorrow’ for Direct 2-State Talks with Abbas

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday met with his French counterpart Manuel Valls in Jerusalem, and the two issued a joint statement dealing with the common goals of Israel and France as well as the solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict which would include two states for two peoples.

“Although we disagree as to the best way to reach peace, I appreciate your commitment to seek peace,” Netanyahu told Valls. “I know how important it is for you to bring an end to the terrible violence that has been taking place in our region for too long, and I wish to thank you and President Hollande for your commitment to peace.”

Referring to the French peace initiative which is expected to take place in Paris in a week and a half without direct involvement of the two sides in the conflict, Netanyahu insisted that the only way to reach peace is through direct negotiations with the PA Arabs. “In a direct negotiation the Palestinian leadership would be forced to face a clear choice, and the choice is simple — recognize the Jewish State or continue to educate their people that some day Israel will disappear,” Netanyahu said. “And I urge you not to allow the Palestinian leadership to evade this tough choice.”

Netanyahu told Valls that he would be ready to embrace a French initiative if it would include direct negotiations between himself and the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas. “Every problematic issue will be on the negotiating table — mutual recognition, incitement, borders, refugee, as well as the settlements,” Netanyahu promised. “I’m ready to clear my schedule and fly to Paris tomorrow. Actually, I believe tomorrow we’re expanding the government, but the day after. And this is an open-ended offer. I’ll clear my agenda. And I hope you and the Palestinians will agree.”

Netanyahu also addressed the French vote last month at UNESCO, in favor of a resolution that referred to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall by their Arab names only and rejected any Jewish “claim” on the history of the holy sites. He congratulated Valls on his apology over the matter and his admission that it had been a mistake.

Prime Minister Valls promised to pass Netanyahu’s offer regarding the peace negotiations to President Hollande. “We are in favor of anything that would contribute to the peace,” Valls said. “We can discuss it, and we will make all the necessary clarifications. The discussion, I’m certain, will be most direct. But don’t doubt for one minute our will to do whatever is possible for peace, our commitment and my personal commitment in the fight against anti-Semitism, and the complete and unequivocal certainty that the Jewish roots of Jerusalem are completely indisputable.”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-ready-to-go-to-paris-tomorrow-for-direct-2-state-talks-with-abbas/2016/05/23/

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