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May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Olmert’

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.”

What’s With all the Peace Talk?

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

The politicians are threatening us with more of their faux “peace.” Some of the recent headlines:

PM: Israel will become bi-national without peace

Olmert hails Arab peace proposal as ‘historic opportunity’

Labor: We would join coalition for peace treaty

The Borovsky family is still sitting shiva, in the first week of mourning for Evyatar Borovsky  who was stabbed and shot to death by an Arab terrorist just the other day, and our politicians refuse to understand that it’s all these “peace gestures” and agreements which encourage and enable Arab terrorism.

Yesterday I took some American friends who had never been in my neck of the woods, aka the “west bank” [sic] to visit my daughter in Ofra.  Ofra is about a twenty minute drive north of Jerusalem’s “city line.”  They had lots of questions and comments.

First of all when we passed the Jerusalem lightrail, I made sure to explain the route which goes through Arab neighborhoods.  They were pretty surprised when they saw all of the empty land along the way.

“What about Jews destroying Arab homes to build theirs?”

“It’s not true; just look at how empty the land is here.  There is definitely room for all to leave in true peace.”

When you’re going to Ofra, Shiloh, Eli, or even Sha’ar Binyamin, which is much closer to Jerusalem there is only one tricky junction.  I explained that we must take the “middle road” of the roundabout/traffic circle, even though it may be easy to miss.  If you go to the right, it’s ok, you’ll go to Adam and just exit and turn right, but if you go to the left, you’ll go to Ramallah.

“What’s the problem in going to Ramallah?”

“You may be murdered.”

“Why?”

“Arabs are encouraged to be angry and justify the murder of Jews, so it’s not safe.  On most of the roads here, both Jews and Arabs travel, but there are some only for Arabs.  That’s Israeli apartheid.”

They noticed the difference in housing.

“What large gorgeous homes there are here.  Who lives in  them?”

“Arabs”

“What?  We always hear that the Arabs are poor and suffering.”

“The Arabs don’t need permits and building engineer inspections. They build what they want.”

As we passed Givat Asaf they asked:

“And what are those poor tiny structures?”

“Those are cardboard homes, aka caravans.  Jews live there.”

“Why should anyone want to live like that?”

And so it went, the questions and my almost incomprehensible answers during the short ride to Ofra.  They discovered that real life here is nothing like the news reports and the politicians’ speeches. One of them had been in Israel for a period of months over thirty years ago, and she does remember the days, pre-peace when Jews could visit, shop, etc., freely and safely in Arab towns, cities and neighborhoods.

This “peace” the politicians and media are touting only causes more death and destruction for Jews.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Obama’s Flawed Advice To Israel (First of Two Parts)

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

It’s farewell to the drawing-room’s civilized cry, the professor’s sensible whereto and why, The frock-coated diplomat’s social aplomb, Now matters are settled with gas and with bomb.

W.H. Auden, Danse Macabre One must presume that President Obama’s most recent calls for Israeli cooperation in the Middle East peace process are balanced, fair, and well-intentioned. Why not? At the same time, unsurprisingly, these all-too-familiar calls are manifestly thin, in the sense that they lack any genuine intellectual content.

At best reminiscent of former president Bill Clinton’s inept and unforgivable orchestrations of Oslo, they are merely the latest unimaginative representation of “old wine in new bottles.” At worst, and once again evocative of Clinton’s long reach of incapacity, they exhibit a conspicuously shallow compilation of empty witticisms. For Obama, as for Clinton before him, advising Israel always entails inevitable diplomatic default: a visceral capitulation to comforting banalities, and convenient half-truths.

In any event, one analytic conclusion is abundantly clear and incontestable. Mr. Obama’s core argument is founded upon thoroughly incorrect strategic and jurisprudential assumptions. Intellectually, this argument is an unwitting self-parody.

The key problem is not, as the president still seems to think, Israel’s unwillingness to compromise more fully. It’s not that Israel is unwilling to make more “painful sacrifices for peace.” It is, rather, the plainly asymmetrical commitment to peace that continues to exist between the Palestinian side(s) and the Israeli side.

It makes no real sense to ask that Israel undertake increasing and incremental surrenders to a bifurcated enemy (Fatah and Hamas) that can still gleefully share at least one overriding commitment – that is, a relentless and generally unhidden dedication to Israel’s “liquidation.”

Let Obama finally take note. From the beginning, the only Israeli compromise that could have satisfied both Fatah and Hamas would have been a perversely codified Israeli commitment to self-destruction and national disappearance. Should Israel now be expected to be complicit in its own genocide?

International law is not a suicide pact. Why hasn’t Obama even looked at the unambiguous historical record? Even before formal conferral statehood in 1948, Israel had sought, courageously and reasonably, to negotiate with its many unheroic and unreasonable enemies. Always, in these efforts, Jerusalem had preferred peace to war.

Nonetheless, challenged by insistent and interminable Arab aggressions, diplomacy has insistently failed Israel. Even the most visible example of any alleged diplomatic “success,” the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of 1979, is apt to fail calamitously sometime in the post-Mubarak/Muslim Brotherhood era. It’s only a matter of time.

Whatever the neatly fashioned expectations demanded from Washington, Prime Minister Netanyahu is first obligated to inquire: What real chance exists that, somehow, this time and also for the future, diplomacy might actually be purposeful?

From Oslo to the present “Road Map,” diplomacy over Israel’s rights and obligations has always been a blatantly one-sided process.

Ironically, Israel’s principal enemies remain thoroughly candid. On some things they do not lie. When it comes to their unceasing intention to annihilate the “Zionist entity” they are seemingly sworn to truth.

The principal disputing Palestinian factions (Fatah or Hamas, it makes little difference) will never accept anything less than Israel’s complete removal. This is already obvious to anyone who cares to pay attention to what is actually said. Moreover, in a clearly corroborating bit of explicit cartography, every PA and Hamas map already incorporates all of Israel within “Palestine.”

Toward the end of his tenure, former prime minister Ehud Olmert released several hundred Palestinian terrorists as a “goodwill gesture.” Together with then-president George W. Bush, he had decided to aid Fatah against Hamas with outright transfers of weapons and information. Soon after, the American and Israeli guns were turned (predictably) against Israel.

As for Olmert’s graciously extended “goodwill,” it only served to elicit the next multiple rounds of murderous rocket fire. Matters were not helped at all by the Bush administration’s corollary support for a Palestinian state, a thoroughly misconceived support now being more or less viscerally extended by Barack Obama.

…Continued Next Week

NYT: Fans Mirror Israel’s Racism—Ignores Europe’s Hate Stadiums

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Like Europeans, Israelis are mad for their soccer.  For some, soccer is the true religion of the Middle East,  one shared by Muslims and Jews alike.

But just as in Europe, not all soccer fans follow the normal rules of civility, and the behavior of some fans of one Israeli soccer team in particular, Jerusalem Beitar, has been reprehensible.  Beitar was the last of the 30 Israeli soccer teams without any Muslim players. The anti-Muslim racism of its fans has led to Beitar being banned from some soccer matches and being fined, as well as having demonstrations by Israelis denouncing their behavior.

When Beitar management last week brought in two Muslims from Chechnya to join the team, the response by the haters was ugly, if not unexpected.  Despite official efforts to celebrate the inclusion of Muslims into the Beitar family as an important Israeli value, some fans responded at a game over the weekend with shameful calls for “Beitar purity,” and unfurled a vicious banner: “Beitar, pure forever.”

But today’s New York Times story about the incident is shocking in its narrow focus and excessive reliance on Israel haters to suggest that the racism of the worst Beitar fans accurately reflects Israeli society.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told The Jewish Press by telephone from Berlin, “You want to know what “mirrors” Israeli society?  Walk in the Mamilla Mall on a Saturday night,  Arabs and Israelis, Muslims and Jews, all strolling, eating and shopping together – that’s the mirror of Israeli society.”

The official response to the boorishness was swift and unequivocal: the team was fined 50,000 NIS ($ 13,400) and 50 of the worst offenders were banned from an upcoming match.

Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon slammed the ugly behavior, saying “I was shocked by the racism displayed in the Beitar Jerusalem stands yesterday against having Muslim or Arab players on the team.”

“We cannot ignore these displays of racism which not long ago were directed – and are still being directed – towards the Jewish people,” he wrote on Twitter.

And in a show of solidarity, Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat attended the Tuesday press conference welcoming the Muslim Chechen players, Zaur Sadayev and Gabriel Kadiev, who had previously played on the premier Russian team Terek Grozny.

Barkat said, “I want to tell viewers around the world that we will not put up with racism or violence.  This is an ethical statement that goes out from Jerusalem to the world.”

And Beitar’s team captain Amit Ben-Shushan said at the press conference welcoming the new players, “We do not engage in politics.  As far as we’re concerned, we will do our best to welcome the players in the best possible fashion.”

The Russian-born billionaire owner of Beitar, Arkady Gaydamak, rejected the nasty response to the new players, telling Israeli Army Radio last week that the “small group of so-called supporters of the team do not represent the general opinion of the Israeli public, and they should not be allowed to win.”

No one suggests there is no racism in Israel or amongst Israeli sports fans – far from it.  A horrible incident received a lot of attention last spring when Beitar fans, chanting “death to the Arabs” after a game in Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium poured into the nearby Malha Mall, where Arab workers were allegedly assaulted by some participants.

But the only “experts” quoted in the NYT article are ones whose professional livelihood is built and dependent upon denouncing Israel as a racist society.

For example, Professor Moshe Zimmerman, chair of Hebrew University’s German Studies Department, is quoted as expressing strong support for the article’s headline, that the racist Beitar fans reflect Israeli society.

It might have been useful for readers of the NYT article to know that Zimmerman was chastised by the relatively restrained Anti-Defamation League as far back as 2005, for repeatedly comparing the Israeli Defense Forces and authorities to Nazis.

Yet the NYT writer places Zimmerman as the first expert in the article.  “People in Israel usually try to locate Beitar Jerusalem as some kind of the more extreme fringe; this is a way to overcome the embarrassment,” and Zimmerman continues, “the fact is that the Israeli society on the whole is getting more racist, or at least more ethnocentric, and this is an expression.”

Which Prime Minister Built the Most Homes in the Settlements?

Friday, January 18th, 2013

A Channel 10 report on Thursday ranked the various Israeli Prime Ministers, since 1991, based on the amount of actual housing construction that began during their respective terms, inside the Israel’s Settlements.

Who Built the Most and When?**
Rank  Prime Minister            Party    Years      Construction  
1 Ehud Barak Labor   1999-2001 4,292
2 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud   1996-1999 3,194
3 Shimon Peres Labor   1995-1996 2,443
4 Ariel Sharon* Likud   2001-2006 1,826
5 Ehud Olmert Kadima   2006-2009 1,741
6 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud   2009-2012 1,168

*Also destroyed thousands of buildings and homes.
** This chart doesn’t include infrastructure construction, only homes.

Based on information collected by Peace Now, below are the number of government tenders for new settlement housing that were issued, by year for the past decase. We then correlated that information according to who was Prime Minister at the time.

Who issued the most Housing Construction Tenders? 
Year   Prime Minister   Party   Tenders   Subtotal  
2002 Ariel Sharon Likud 689
2003 Ariel Sharon Likud 2508
2004 Ariel Sharon Likud 912
2005 Ariel Sharon Likud 1184  Ariel Sharon
5293
2006 Ehud Olmert Kadima 919
2007 Ehud Olmert Kadima 65
2008 Ehud Olmert Kadima 539  Ehud Olmert
1523
2009 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud 0
2010 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud 0
2011 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud 1009
2012 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud 660  Benjamin Netanyahu 
1669

Again, the information above is for new homes only. It does not include the infrastructure development in the settlements, which Netanyahu, for instance, did a lot of (exact data unavailable at the moment) during this last term as Prime Minister.

Updated:

According to Peace Now, the Netanyahu government also approved dozens of “outposts”, though what Peace Now calls “outposts” are actually neighborhoods of existing Settlements.

Olmert Flip Flops on E-1 Construction

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Olmert said, according to Maariv, quoting the Jerusalem Post:

“It is clear that at some point in the future there will be a contiguity between Maaleh Adumin and Jerusalem and the area will be built up.”
And from the New York Times:

Olmert Outlines Plans for Israel’s Borders By GREG MYREPublished: March 10, 2006

JERUSALEM, March 9 — In the most detailed description yet of his plans if elected prime minister this month, Ehud Olmert, Israel’s acting prime minister and the front-runner, said that he intended to set the country’s permanent borders by 2010 and that they were likely to run near the West Bank separation barrier.

Mr. Olmert also said he planned further development in Israel’s largest settlement, Maale Adumim, which would eventually link up with nearby East Jerusalem. Palestinians vehemently oppose such a move, because it would further isolate the Arab parts of East Jerusalem. The United States has also objected.

…But Mr. Olmert seems to believe that Israeli voters see the Hamas victory as an opportunity to set their own future borders without needing to negotiate with a Palestinian government, since Hamas refuses to recognize Israel.

…Mr. Olmert said he would wait a “reasonable time” to see if Hamas was willing to recognize Israel, disavow violence and accept previous agreements. But if Hamas “is not willing to accept these principles, we will need to begin to act,” he told The Jerusalem Post. He has also said he does not plan to meet with Mr. Abbas, regarding the Palestinian Authority as one entity that is now effectively controlled by Hamas.

Mr. Olmert said recently that Israel would not undertake any major infrastructure projects in West Bank settlements, though he appeared to be referring only to those that are beyond the separation barrier.

In his latest comments, he said he planned to go ahead with the so-called E-1 development plan, which calls for building some 3,500 homes in the land between East Jerusalem and the large Maale Adumim settlement. Maale Adumim, which has more than 30,000 residents, is a couple of miles from East Jerusalem.

“It’s entirely clear that the continuity between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim will be a built-up continuity,” Mr. Olmert was quoted by Haaretz as saying. “In my view there is an absolute consensus in Israel on this issue.”

There was this earlier:-

In early 2005, the Ma’ale Adumim city council announced plans for the residential neighborhood and the police station, and in August of that year, there were submitted for public review, a bureaucratic formality preceding final authorization. The same months, Netanyahu kicked off his campaign to regain leadership of the Likud in E1 and a day later, vice premier Ehud Olmert declared that Israel would build homes to connect Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem “at the appropriate time.”

 And this:

In October 1994, while in the midst of hammering out the Oslo Accords, then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin declared that a “united Jerusalem” would include Ma’aleh Adumim as the capital of Israel under Israel sovereignty. As part of the effort to make sure Ma’aleh Adumim remained an integral part of a “united Jerusalem,” Rabin provided then-mayor Benny Kashriel with annexation documents for the E1 area –a strip of land that connects the capital with Ma’aleh Adumim. As prime minister in 1996, Shimon Peres reaffirmed the government’s position that Israel will demand applying Israeli sovereignty over Ma’aleh Adumim in the framework of a permanent peace agreement. Dovish politician and co-author of the Geneva Initiative, Yossi Beilin, supported annexing Ma’aleh Adumim. And the 2000 Clinton Parameters called for Israel to be compensated for the partitioning of Jerusalem by annexing Ma’aleh Adumim. During the 2008 Annapolis negotiations, then-prime minister Ehud Olmert and then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni demanded that Ma’aleh Adumim remain a part of Israel.

So, who is kidding who when he now said:

“there was one request by the American government — and there was no question president [George] Bush and [secretary of state] Condoleezza Rice were friends of Israel — they asked me, ‘Please don’t build in E1, because if you do, it will be beyond the capacity of the Palestinian leadership to sit with you.’”

Olmert said he told the American administration that “one day Maaleh Adumim will be part of Israel because we will not leave them as an enclave.” But, he added, his government agreed not to build in the area in order to enable negotiations with the Palestinian Authority to take place.

E1, Olmert suggested, was a point of particular concern for the American administration.

“So [for the Netanyahu government] to build in this one piece of land,” he said, “requires creativity which is beyond my comprehension.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/my-right-word/olmert-flip-flops-on-e-1-construction/2012/12/04/

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