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June 25, 2016 / 19 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘official’

Likud, Labor MKs Conclude First Official Visit to Muslim Tajikistan

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Knesset Members Sharren Haskel (Likud) and Yoseph Yonah (Zionist Camp-Labor) on Sunday concluded their official visit to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, where they held a series of meetings with senior state officials, including the speaker of Tajikistan’s parliament, the country’s labor and agriculture ministers, and Members of Parliament.

The Republic of Tajikistan is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with an estimated 8 million people, bordered by Afghanistan and Pakistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. Tajikistan became an independent nation in 1991, following the breakup of the Soviet Union. A civil war erupted almost immediately after independence, lasting from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s stability and economy to grow.

The MKs’ discussions centered on intensifying the cooperation between Israel and Tajikistan – mainly with regards to agriculture and health, and establishing permanent ties between the friendship groups of the countries’ parliaments. The MKs invited senior government officials to visit Israel.

MKs Haskel and Yona (center) in Tajikistan / Courtesy

MKs Haskel and Yona (center) in Tajikistan / Courtesy

The visit marked the first time members of Israel’s political echelon visit Tajikistan in an official capacity. Relations between the countries were established in 1992, and they are defined as “friendly.” Israel is represented in Tajikistan by a non-resident ambassador. In October 1995, Tajikistan’s president, Emomali Rahmon, met with then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, but, generally, contacts between the countries were maintained by lower-level officials.

The MKs said they received a particularly warm welcome in Tajikistan. MK Haskel, head of the Israel-Tajikistan Parliamentary Friendship Group, said the visit by the Israeli parliamentary delegation is “historic and groundbreaking in our relations with a country which, until now, has not maintained parliamentary relations with the State of Israel.”

“Tajikistan is a Muslim state that has close economic, social and cultural ties with Iran,” she continued. “Tajikistan supported Iran’s nuclear program, opposed the international sanctions against Tehran, and has stood by the Palestinians in their disputes with Israel and the UN. Particularly because of this, their wish to establish parliamentary relations with Israel for the first time is extremely significant. The breakthrough in improving Israel’s status in the world will come from cooperating with countries that are not necessarily our natural partners.”

MK Yona said the visit was meant to “strengthen the friendly relations between the countries and examine possibilities for fruitful cooperation. I expect that in light of our visit, official Tajikistani work delegations will visit Israel to give a practical expression to the developing cooperation.”

JNi.Media

Hasbara. A Tale of Official Neglect.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Those of us fighting against the tsunami of anti-Israel haters were no surprised to read the State Comptrollers Report accusing government ministries of gross negligence in the fight against anti-Israel activism. The headlines of one Israeli media outlet, covering the State Comptroller’s report, called the government “dysfunctional” and “failing utterly” in its fight against BDS.

What has been glaringly absence has been the total lack of involvement in local diplomacy abroad not only by our ministries but also by our overseas embassies. Officials both at home and abroad have abandoned Israeli supporters with an arrogance that is hard to explain.

I cannot begin to list the limitless complaints I receive from supporters who have been turned away by Israeli embassy officials when they have asked for minimal assistance in organizing pro-Israel events and actions as part of their efforts to take on the anti-Israel groups in their local towns. I personally can vouch for the lack of concern by certain key embassy people in my attempts to set up special Israeli advocacy groups in certain countries. I wasn’t asking for money, simply for them to arrange contacts and simple logistical help. Israeli hasbara at local level it seems is not their task, at least not with individuals or small local groups, despite the fact that these are the people who are our most avid and enthusiastic activists.

Despite a newspaper headline in July 2015 that the Strategic Affairs and Information Ministry had been allocated one hundred million shekels to fight anti-Israel activism there is no clear action plan in place. Simply put, it is a case of throwing money at a problem but with no clear idea how to solve it.

With a lack of understanding what is happening abroad, it will be tempting for government ministries to take the easy road and form a coalition with the major Jewish organizations abroad including offering them funding. This may be a mistake for a number of reasons.

In certain countries, it has been the major Jewish organizations that have been unable or unwilling to promote affirmative pro-Israel actions in times of Israel’s needs. In fact, this is what has led to the development of so many grassroots support groups who have taken to the streets to confront the anti-Israel protagonists when they have been demonstrating for Hamas or boycotting local stores selling Israeli products.

It would also be wrong for the government to lump their actions abroad through national Jewish organizations because, in many countries, the most affirmative action-minded groups have been Christian supporters of Israel. Two of many examples I can quote of brave pro-Israel advocacy have been set by Nigel Goodrich, a Scottish teacher, who has built a coalition of twelve Scottish branches of Friends of Israel, and two Dutch girls, Brenda Aartsen and Sabine Sterk, who have voluntarily, and at no small cost and sacrifice to themselves, have created Time to Stand With Israel. I spoke at one of their events which drew a large and enthusiastic Christian audience. They also led a group of both Christian and Jewish Israel supporters in a face to face confrontation with BDS outside Amsterdam City Hall over the proposed cooperation plan between the cities of Amsterdam and Tel Aviv which BDS was protesting. These two girls also organized a pro-Israel rally in Dam Square at the time of the 2014 Hamas terror assault on Israel.

It takes a network to defeat a network and our government really has to learn what is happening out there and use that knowledge with precision accuracy to support, particularly with funding, the NGOs and local groups who have the successful track records of achievements on behalf of Israel and not squander preciously short resources on heavy establishment organizations who have let our supporters down so badly and have been unwilling or unable to act for Israel when needed.

Our embassies must be manned by young enthusiastic diplomats trained and guided by our effective NGOs to assist the nimble local groups with material, logistical and budget needs as these are our first-line, rapid-response, teams in times of emergency. They know the territory and know the local enemy who are hyper-active in trying to defeat us.

Readers will be amazed at the spectacular successes achieved by these local groups and NGOs. With greater help, these willing warriors can take the battle to our enemies and win many more victories because our cause is right and we have both the moral and legal rights on our side.

Barry Shaw

Terror Victim’s Brother Interrupts Netanyahu During Official Memorial Day Speech

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The brother of an Israeli man critically wounded in a terror attack lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday afternoon during Netanyahu’s speech at the official memorial ceremony for Israel’s terror victims.

“Two months ago a terrorist shattered my brother’s skull, after I was injured 15 years ago, and the wounds still haven’t healed,” shouted Rami Cohen at Netanyahu from the audience, criticizing the government’s handling of the recent wave of terror attacks. “And now, again, we are acting leniently [toward terrorism] and don’t know how to deal with it.”

Rami is the brother of Tzvika Cohen, a security guard who was brutally attacked with an ax by 21-year-old Saadi Ali Abu Ahmad in February in the town of Ma’ale Adumim, near Jerusalem. Cohen was critically wounded in the attack and has not yet woken up from a coma. His life is still in danger.

After his outburst, Cohen sat down and sobbed on his chair.

“I understand you. I belong to the same family,” Netanyahu replied, referring to the loss of his own brother, Jonathan, who was killed during the legendary 1976 raid in Entebbe, Uganda that freed 102 Jewish hostages.

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

US Defense Official to Court: Pollard Still Security Risk

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

National Intelligence Director James Clapper claims that recently freed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who spent the past 29 years behind bars in a maximum security prison, where national security information was not readily available, presumably, nevertheless still holds information that could harm American national security, which is why he must endure the strict parole conditions imposed on him for the next five years. These include not permitting him to move to Israel, where he has been granted citizenship.

Clapper submitted a document to a New York court and the parole commission handling Pollard’s case saying that Pollard continues to hold “sensitive and confidential information classified as top secret” that could harm American national security, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported Friday.

US District Court in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday granted Pollard a hearing of his appeal against the parole conditions, which require him to wear a GPS device that violates Shabbat and holidays. Also, his computers are being monitored by the government, which Pollard says limits his employment opportunities.

Pollard’s lawyers Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman wrote the judge a letter saying, “Even assuming some information [inside Pollard’s head] is still ‘classified’ as a practical matter, it is extremely unlikely that Mr. Pollard remembers, or could possibly remember, the details of 30-year old information to an extent that it could be of any value to anyone.”

The lawyers added, “There is nothing before the commission to indicate that Mr. Pollard ever memorized the documents he delivered, or that he could possibly remember any usable details 30 years later.”

David Israel

Israeli Source: Obama No Longer Committed to Iran Attack Option

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

A senior Israeli government official has told Kol Israel this morning that he doubts the Obama Administration’s commitment to prevent Iran “at any cost” from attainting a nuclear weapon.

The official explained that the Administration’s behavior in Syria, in complete contradiction of President Obama’s declarations, shows Israel that it cannot rely on American promises.

The senior official added that Israel could execute a strike against Iran without American operational support, but such an attack would be less effective than an American operation.

Israel is extremely concerned that the U.S. might be seeking direct negotiations between Washington and Tehran, leading to easing the sanctions against Iran in return for Iranian concessions that would fall short of Israel’s demands.

It’s likely that the high level official’s statement is an expression of the Netanyahu government’s anxiety over the glee with which the Obama Administration has welcomed the election of a new Iranian president. A White House statement following the inauguration of President Hasan Rouhani Sunday read:

“We congratulate the Iranian people for making their voices heard during the election. We note that President Rouhani recognized that his election represented a call by the Iranian people for change, and we hope that the new Iranian Government will heed the will of the voters by making choices that will lead to a better life for the Iranian people. We do believe that his inauguration presents an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community’s deep concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. And, as we’ve said all along, should the new government choose to engage substantively and seriously to meet its international obligations, we are ready to talk to them when they are ready to do so.”

Direct talks, as suggested by the White House statement, always begin with “confidence building measures,” and the Netanyahu government must be worried that it would be picking up the tab on the new couple’s honeymoon.

In the State Dept. daily press briefing yesterday, Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf was asked: “The Israeli Government said over the weekend it does not trust Rouhani because of statements which they say indicate, again, an existential threat to Israel’s existence. Is the U.S. taking that concern under consideration when it looks at how it might want to engage with Rouhani?”

Harf answered that the U.S. will take “the whole range of security concerns, the security problems Iran has presented for the region into account,” when it decides how to deal with the new Iranian Government. She reiterated that it’s important “to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon because of the threat they could pose to Israel, to the region, and indeed to us as well.” But, finally, hope sprang eternal, and Harf acknowledged that the U.S. is “waiting to talk to them when they are ready to engage substantively.” Meaning – one on one.

Harf was next asked “What’s the first step that you would want to see Rouhani take on the nuclear issue?”

“We have a proposal on the table,” she said. “We’ve had it on the table for some time and we’re waiting for a substantive response from the Iranian side on how to move forward. And we’ve been clear that that’s what needs to happen next.”

All of which suggests that the Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei has played a brilliant game in picking his new “moderate” president.

Khamenei made Rouhani chief of Iran’s nuclear negotiations in 2003, for the same reason he made him president this time around – the man can talk a candy out of the western babies’ hands. Rouhani ran the negotiations between Iran and three European states in Tehran and continued later in Brussels, Geneva and Paris.

Rouhani’s team back then was described as “the best diplomats in the Iranian Foreign Ministry.” They prevented further escalation of accusations against Iran, and so prevented Iran’s nuclear case from going to the UN Security Council. They figured out how to temporarily suspend parts of Iran’s nuclear activities to appease the West.

And so, while building confidence, insisting on Iran’s rights, reducing international pressures and the possibility of war, and preventing Iran’s case from being reported to the UN Security Council, Iran succeeded in completing its nuclear fuel cycle and took groundbreaking steps to produce a nuclear weapon.

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-source-obama-no-longer-committed-to-iran-attack-option/2013/08/06/

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