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Posts Tagged ‘Olmert’

Arabs: We Want Democracy Like Israel

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

The Tel Aviv District Court’s decision to send former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to six years in prison for corruption has prompted calls in the Arab world for endorsing Israel’s standards of accountability, transparency and justice.

Reacting to the sentencing of Olmert, many Arabs expressed hope that the day would come when their countries would learn from Israel that no one is above the law, even if he or she is a president or prime minister.

Sufian Abu Zayda, a leading Fatah official and former Palestinian Authority minister, praised the court verdict; he said it shows that in Israel, no one is above the law.

“This verdict provides further evidence that the judicial system in Israel is fully independent in the wake of the separation between the legislative, executive and judicial authorities, as well as total freedom of the media,” said Abu Zayda, who is considered an expert on Israeli affairs.[1]

The praise for Israel’s democratic system does not mean that Abu Zayda and other Arabs have become pro-Israel and are willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

But while they continue to hate Israel and seek its destruction, many Arabs do not hesitate to express their admiration for the independence of Israel’s judicial system.

Comments posted by Arabs and Muslims on the Internet this week revealed how eager they are for their countries to endorse Israeli democracy. Similar reactions were also published when an Israeli court sentenced former Israeli President Moshe Katzav to seven years in prison for sex-related offenses.

The Tel Aviv District Court’s decision to send former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to six years in prison for corruption has prompted calls in the Arab world for endorsing Israel’s standards of accountability, transparency and justice.

Reacting to the sentencing of Olmert, many Arabs expressed hope that the day would come when their countries would learn from Israel that no one is above the law, even if he or she is a president or prime minister.

Sufian Abu Zayda, a leading Fatah official and former Palestinian Authority minister, praised the court verdict; he said it shows that in Israel, no one is above the law.

“This verdict provides further evidence that the judicial system in Israel is fully independent in the wake of the separation between the legislative, executive and judicial authorities, as well as total freedom of the media,” said Abu Zayda, who is considered an expert on Israeli affairs.[1]

The praise for Israel’s democratic system does not mean that Abu Zayda and other Arabs have become pro-Israel and are willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

But while they continue to hate Israel and seek its destruction, many Arabs do not hesitate to express their admiration for the independence of Israel’s judicial system.

Comments posted by Arabs and Muslims on the Internet this week revealed how eager they are for their countries to endorse Israeli democracy. Similar reactions were also published when an Israeli court sentenced former Israeli President Moshe Katzav to seven years in prison for sex-related offenses.

Following are some of the comments posted on Arab media and social websites in response to the Olmert verdict:

  • Ali Al-Kadi: “We salute Judge David Rosen [who sentenced Olmert to prison]. We wish the Arabs had 22 judges like David Rosen!” [Al-Quds Al-Arabi][2]
  • Mohammed Akash: “O Muslims, look at the fairness of this judge and where you are. You must learn from our enemy, Israel. Long live the fair Israeli judicial system.”[Al-Quds Al-Arabi][3]
  • Manji Dalali: “This is one of the secrets behind Israel’s victory over the Arabs. We must learn from our Jewish Zionist enemy the principles of fair justice. “[Al-Quds Al-Arabi][4]
  • Ibrahim – Libya: “We Muslims are in great need of a decent judicial system to punish our thieves and corrupt leaders. May God help us.” [Al-Quds Al-Arabi][5]
  • Hassan Jamal: “I wish Arab countries do the same for their corrupt leaders. I wish the Arab people will do the same for their countries and get rid of corrupt officials, including presidents and kings.” [Al-Quds][6]
  • Mohammed: “Of course Islam is the best religion. But the regimes that claim to endorse Islam are practicing repression and corruption. Meanwhile, Israel is among the democratic countries and is better than all the Arab and Islamic countries when it comes to respecting its people and combating theft of resources.” [Al-Wasat News][7]
  • Adel: “This is the secret to Israel’s success; it has become a symbol of justice because it has made justice one of its major bases of power. We, on the other hand, are doing the opposite. We continue to cover up cases of corruption and do not do anything about them.” [Echorouk Online][8]
  • Abu Zeid: “I live in Israel and am familiar with its laws. In this state, no one is above the law.” [Al-Arabiya][9]
  • Sami Dirani: “Israel is the enemy of the Arabs…but it practices democracy – something the Arabs do not know. That is why Israel is stronger and more advanced than the Arabs, who are busy slaughtering each other. Some [Arabs] are dying of starvation, while others are swimming in pools of dollars.” [Al-Hayat][10]
  • Hani: “The hadith [prophet's sayings] states that we should seek education, even if it is in China. And I say to Muslims, ‘Learn justice even if it’s from Israel.’ I wish the day would come when our leaders would be brought to trial and have our money taken back from them.” [Assawsana][11]
  • Yasalam: “If Olmert were in Kuwait, his case would have been shelved and he would have received a senior position in government.” [Al-Aan][12]
  • Rahhal: “The Zionists have more justice than our thugs and so-called Muslims.” [Al-Aan][13]
  • Kabir al-Muhandiseen: “This is how states are built. This is the secret to Israel’s strength and steadfastness.” [Al-Aan][14]
  • Muhasabah: “In Israel, they hold their officials accountable and send them to prison, while we Arabs glorify the corrupt.” [Al-Aan][15]
  • Zuhear al-Karim: “How many Arab leaders would be left if they went on trial for similar cases of bribery and corruption?” [Arabic CNN][16]
  • Abdo Shehatah: “The Jews continue to prove, every day, that they have real democracy in this world.” [Arabic CNN][17]
  • Saad Sayad: “Law is above all and this is democracy. Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East.” [Arabic CNN][18]

Olmert’s Lawyers Claims $500,000 Bribe Not Such a Big Deal

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

The judge who will sentence former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for bribery admonished his lawyer for claiming that the conviction over %400,000 of money is only small change.

The prosecution on Monday asked the court to sentence Olmert to six years in jail and fine him more than $300,000.

Olmert’s attorneys, as expected, asked for a much lighter punishment, but his lawyer’s comment on the sum of the bribes says a lot about the workings of the minds of the political-legal-business establishment that has its hands in the taxpayers’ pockets.

Olmert took the stand to deny his guilt, and he no doubt believes he did nothing wrong because bribes are simply a means to justify the end of building businesses and personal empires in Israel. It is something like so-called religious leaders taking bribes to promote yeshivas and charities, all in the “name of God.”

Somewhere between the lines, there seems to be a violation of the Third Commandment, “You shalt not take the name of God in vain,” but let’s leave that for Him to decide.

Eli Zohar, one of Olmert’s attorneys, told the court that his poor and mistreated client “already has seen punished” by the heartless media that have caused him “insufferable damage” and “blackened his image,” which already was blacker than nothingness except for the die-hard leftist media and politicians who held out hope that the world can survive upside down.

The conviction, of course, was justice at its worst according to Olmert, partly because of the testimony of his former close aide Shuli Zakan, who finally decided it would be best to tell the truth – or as Olmert claims, to frame him – and spend a few less years in jail.

Olmert accused the media of creating a circus out of her testimony and making it impossible for him to receive a fair trial. He is right if the definition of a fair trial is “not guilty.”

Zohar had the audacity to tell the court that Olmert was charged with four counts of bribery but was convicted “only” on two charges,

What a righteous person! Such a great Tzadik, he is.

Not only that, but Zohar also stated that the $500,000 Olmert pocketed illegally is not such a significant sum of money. That just goes to show what is “big” money for the political-legal-business complex.

What’s half a million dollars? That was the attitude of Ephron, the landowner in Biblical Hebron when he negotiated with Avraham over the sale of the Cave Of the Patriarchs to bury Sarah.

The Arab understanding of “negotiations” hasn’t changed from then through today. After congenial talks in which Ephron told Avraham to take the land and after Avraham said, “Look, I know this game. How much do you want?” Ephron kept a straight face and said, “Oh, just some symbolic price, like 400 shekels of silver.” By some estimates, that is around $40,000 in today’s currency.

The judge was taken aback by Zohar’s comment and told him, “What are you talking about. That is a huge sum of money. This is not 20,000 shekels and not 50,000 shekels. I find it difficult accept your argument.”

In other words, Olmert is headed for the slammer – except for one big detail. After his sentencing May 13, He will appeal to the Supreme Court, and unless the justices break a record and give the case the priority it should have, Olmert may be out of jail for months or more.

Government Prosecutor Wants Olmert in Jail for At Least Six years

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Government prosecutors told a sentence hearing on Monday that the former prime minister should be jailed for at least 6 six years and fined nearly $400,000 for bribery.

He was convicted last month for buying favors in the development of the Holyland apartment complex while he was mayor of Jerusalem.

The prosecutor also asked the court to put former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupianski in prison for 5-8 years.

Jews Move into Hevron ‘Peace House’ 5 Years after Expulsion

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Three Jewish families moved into the “Peace House” in Hebron Sunday after receiving approval from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, five years after his predecessor in the Olmert government brutally expelled dozens of Jews from the building.

The entry of Jews, with the official backing of the Supreme Court, represents a turning point for the rights of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria and against the Palestinian Authority-media-political-judicial torture chamber that has mangled  normalcy to the point it cannot be identified..

A Jew, reportedly a religious American of Syrian descent whose ancestors escaped the Arab pogrom in Hebron in 1929, purchased the building seven years ago from Arabs for approximately $1 million.

The Arab seller, a Jordanian, had sold it through a third party and did not realize that the building eventually would end up in the hands of Jews. The Palestinian Authority, banking on Jordanian law, makes a sale of property to Jews punishable by death, one of their principles of being a “peace partner.”

The Peace House is a four-story building that housed 25 Jewish families and yeshiva students until the government ordered them out in 2008, less than year after the purchase, because the legality of the purchase was questioned and their presence was deemed as endangering security

The building is called the “Peace House,” but Israel’s center-left media have insisted on calling it the “The House of Contention,” past of their propaganda machine to show that anything that settlers do is harmful for peaceful relations with Arabs.

If the Jews simply would leave Hebron, and all of Judea and Samaria, and live in Tel Aviv and the Negev, there would be no problems.

That is the formula that has been marketed for decade, despite the War of Attrition on the 1960s when Arabs from Jordan and Egypt constantly attacked Jews, despite the  Six-Day War when seven Arab nations circled Israel like vultures ready to pounce, and despite the Israeli government’s expulsion of Jews from Gaza in 2005 to make Israel safe for Hamas to attack with tens of thousands of missiles.

Welcome to the “peace process.”

That is why peace process lovers Amir Peretz and Ehud Barak, defense ministers  in the corrupt Olmert government, did everything they could to keep the Jews out of the building. Barak brought in the goon squads to violently expel Jews who had been living in the Peace House. The police swarmed in after he tricked the Jews to believe negotiations would be held before any police action would take place.

The building has been bought in 2007. After the initial purchase, the courts played along with the Arabs and Peace Now, accepting their appeals and questioning the legality of the transaction, until finally deciding that a lower court would have to decide on who really owns the building, but until then, no one could live there.

A lower court ruled last year that the Jews indeed legally purchased the building, but that decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, which last month rejected the petition.

Since the Defense Minister is the ultimate authority in Judea and Samaria, at least until it is annexed and placed under Israeli sovereignty, court approval of the sale does not mean the Jewish owners could move in. Unlike Peretz and Barak, who made lives miserable for Jews before resorting to force, Ya’alon signed on the dotted line Sunday after the owners paid the final $300,000 that was owed to the Arab seller

The three-justice panel that ended the ordeal exhibited rare common sense. Justice Daphne Barak Erez, who is considered a liberal and  a court activist, wrote that both sides in the dispute have emotional and ideological issues, but they are not in the purview of the courts.

Olmert Plays Dumb: ‘Foolish Prime Minister Wouldn’t Make Peace’

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an address at Hebrew University Monday night, ” A foolish Prime Minister doesn’t make peace, and a prime minister who makes peace is no fool…. Nothing more important than a peace agreement between us and the Palestinians”

In a typically immodest speech, he also boasted that  Syrian President Bassar al-Assad ”knows he missed the opportunity of his life when he didn’t grab my offer.”

Olmert, already convicted one criminal charge, acquitted on two others and still facing open indictments, loves to talk, especially when he gets paid five and even six figures – in dollars, not shekels – for standing at the podium for a few minutes and opening his mouth.

He was given the opportunity Monday by Hebrew University to mark the publication of a book by a Hebrew U. professor and doctor of, what else, the university’s Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

Olmert opined, “There is nothing more important, nothing that will change our lives so substantially, and nothing that could negatively impact our lives, more than the existence or absence of a peace agreement between us and the Palestinians, as soon as possible. The benefit for the State of Israel would be greater than on any other issue, and in all other areas combined, in the foreseeable future.

“Peace with the Palestinians would alter the relations between Israel and most Muslim countries, and turn the Middle East into a more stable, powerful, rich and successful region.”

Olmert insisted, “It’s possible to reach peace now, a peace that will secure Israel’s security, Jewishness and Zionism, the security of its residents, and its democratic nature, and also establish a Palestinian state as the national homeland of the Palestinian people. It’s possible to do that; you just need to reach decisions. That’s the job of leaders.”

Isn’t easy to be prime minister when you aren’t one anymore?

Let’s slow down a bit and understand Olmert. He offered Abbas almost all of land he wanted, but not all of it, and the Palestinian Authority refused it. Now we have Binyamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister and he has offered Abbas less of what he wants. So if Olmert is implying that Netanyahu is a fool for not signing a peace pact with Abbas, what does that make Olmert?

Since “a foolish Prime Minister doesn’t make peace,” you have the answer.

If the ” absence of a peace agreement between us and the Palestinians” is such a bad thing, why didn’t Olmert just go one step further and give Abbas 100 percent of what he wants, as the Palestinian Authority now demands of Netanyahu?

What has changed? One thing for sure is that Olmert has not changed.

His comments have about as much substance as a college sophomore, unless Olmert is secretly acting as Netanyahu’s negotiator with the Palestinian Authority.

Olmert imaginary peace agreement  that “will secure Israel’s security, Jewishness and Zionism, the security of its residents, and its democratic nature” has no content, no conditions, no limits and no meaning. Olmert also is trying to establish the pro-Arab agenda as a fact by referring to a Palestinian state “as the national homeland of the Palestinian people.”

He is behind on his reading. The Palestinian Authority has clearly stated the “Palestinian  homeland” includes every inch of land in Israel where an Arab ever set foot. Yafo (Jaffa), Akko (Acre) and Tsfat (Safed) are just some of the cities Abbas wants to conquer by flooding them with foreign Arabs who would jump at chance to get out of the UNRWA prisons in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and elsewhere.

For Erdogan, It’s the Cover Up, Not the Crime

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. After a decade of basically owning Turkish politics, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being hammered, again and again: first it was the riots that spread across urban Turkey like brush fire in May, forcing him to use extensive, brutal force against civilians—not a show of strength for any ruler; and now there’s this rapidly spreading corruption scandal that has already brought down members of his cabinet and are threatening his ties to the U.S.

According to the NY Times, a prosecutor overseeing the corruption investigation of the prime minister’s inner circle has just been removed from the case, a move that might just spell the end of the game for the embattled prime minister.

This is so Last days of Richard M. Nixon, when the ruler is going down, and he’s the only one who still doesn’t know it.

“Erdogan came out fighting after the loss of three ministers who decided to resign after their sons were detained in the investigation,” reported the Telegraph’s Richard Spencer on Thursday. “He rejected calls, including from one of the ministers, for him to step down.”

Returning from a trip to Pakistan—possibly his last state visit—Erdogan told reporters: “If they try to aim at Tayyip Erdogan through this, they will be left empty-handed. They know it and that’s why they are attacking the ministers.”

Actually, they were going to attack him as well, when the prosecutor, Muammer Akkas, was plucked from the investigation. On the morning of December 25, Chief Prosecutor of Istanbul Turan Çolakkadı announced that the case was taken from Akkaş.

Akkas condemned Erdogan’s government, accusing it of meddling with the judiciary and with his investigation.

It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up. Nixon learned it the hard way, Clinton did, too – now it’s Erdogan’s turn. Domineering leaders apparently have a hard time with this phase in their career.

Akkas said the government is preventing the police from going after new suspects, which include Erdogan’s son, Bilal, whose name was leaked to the press Thursday evening, the NY Times reported.

So far, two sons of government ministers have been arrested, and one of the ministers who resigned on Wednesday said Erdogan himself was involved in the real estate deals being investigated.

Hence the rush to reshuffle.

“The judiciary has clearly been pressured,” Akkas wrote, accusing his bosses at the judiciary of “committing a crime” by refusing to carry out arrest warrants, letting suspects “take precautions, flee and tamper with evidence.”

It’s always the cover up…

Also reshuffled: the Istanbul police, whose department chiefs were removed by Erdoan a week ago, because they failed to alert the (former) Interior Minister that his son was being arrested on bribery charges. How can you do this to a loving father?

Murat Yetkin, editor in chief and political commentator for the Hurriyet Daily News newspaper, stated: “If the allegations are true, this would without doubt be the deepest crisis the government has faced.”

Yetkin points out that four of the new cabinet ministers are close loyalists of Erdogan, which is why the media have dubbed it the “war cabinet.” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, has already asked the prime minister: “Who do you want to fight against?”

The crisis has hit the financial markets hard, and the Turkish lira plummeted to a record low against the dollar on Thursday.

Professor Sahin Alpay of Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University told AP: “It’s a pity that a leader who in his first two terms as prime minister served the country so well has since the last general election turned increasingly arbitrary and authoritarian. He’s looking more and more like a train without brakes, like a loose cannon.”

Snowden Files Reveal: US, UK, Spied on Olmert, Barak

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Sometime, when you observe Shabbat while being employed by a newspaper, you pay the penalty of being way behind the rest of the gang. But since we assume our readers in Israel and the rest of the world are also Shabbat observers, welcome to this fresh bit of news, on the shelf barely since Friday:

British and American agents targeted the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak from 2008 to 2011, according to the latest documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published Friday.

According to the Guardian and the New York Times, the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ also spied on a senior European Union official, German government buildings, the UN Children’s Fund, French aid organization Médecins du Monde, the French oil and gas company Total, and the French defense company Thales Group.

Former PM Olmert’s office has stated that “if the details in the publication are accurate, we should emphasize that this was a public email address used by the Premier’s office to receive applications. The chance that a security or intelligence damage has been caused from hacking this email address is miniscule.

Of course, Ehud Olmert is the Administration’s go-to Israeli on attacking Netanyahu’s policies, both on Iran and the Palestinians, so it won’t pay for him to get all angry about his benefactors.

But other sources have been equally unperturbed—at least in speaking to reporters—suggesting the hacked emails were not classified and that any information in them could have been acquired through simply listening to the radio or reading the papers.

According to Israel’s Channel 2 News, Israel’s defense apparatus is going to demand clarifications from the U.S., especially to make sure the activity has stopped.

Speaking to Ynet, a Defense source said: “Wherever we are, we assume we’re being listened to and followed, be it in mobile phone conversations, or in hotel rooms abroad.”

Several Israeli news reports suggested sensitive conversations with Netanyahu are often interrupted by a switch to gestures only, nothing in writing, nothing over the email or texts – the PM doesn’t even have a computer on his desk.

That psychotic deaf interpreter from South Africa would thrive in that environment…

How about bringing back semaphore flags? Aldis lamps?



The same source said at least one prime minister has made it his business to plant misinformation in his phone conversations, to manipulate American policy according to his needs, making spying a double edged sword.

Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, has also been spied on – while he is in charge of sensitive antitrust cases, including one against Google. Brussels reacted furiously to these revelations.

An NSA spokeswoman said the agency did not use espionage to help U.S. businesses.

“We do not use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line,” the spokeswoman said.

That means, without a shred of a doubt, that they absolutely used their intelligence capabilities to warn Google about the stuff the EU has on them.

Old rule on knowing when the chief of police is lying: watch his lips very carefully, and as soon as they start moving – he’s lying. Works just as well for NSA spokeswomen.

In this case, though, I believe the NSA has exceeded the lying part and leaped into the chutzpa region, declaring: “The intelligence community’s efforts to understand economic systems and policies, and monitor anomalous economic activities, are critical to providing policy-makers with the information they need to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of our national security.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/snowden-files-reveal-us-uk-spied-on-olmert-barack/2013/12/21/

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