European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is scheduled to arrive in Israel next week, her office said in a statement Friday.
Mogherini “will travel to the Middle East on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 May,” and is expected to meet both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas during her visit.
The EU head will also meet with “a number of other Israeli and Palestinian interlocutors, to discuss the bilateral relations as well as prospects for the Middle East peace process,” the statement said.
The impending visit follows Israel’s installation of its new coalition government headed by Netanyahu for a record fourth term in office.
On Monday, EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss current issues taking place in the region with Mogherini at a routine meeting of the European body prior to her trip.
Minister Silvan Shalom, on Reshet Bet’s Yoman HaBoker with Aryeh Golan, criticized the US administration this morning, saying that Israel won’t be able to trust the US to broker any future agreements.
Shalom told Golan that according to the Oslo Accords, signed on September 13, 1993, and sponsored by the White House together with President Bill Clinton, no side is allowed to make unilateral steps that violate the agreement.
And now, the US, “instead of censuring or threatening the Palestinian Authority for its unilateral moves [at the UN] that are in complete breach of their obligations per the Oslo Accords, the US is saying it will give the PA backup for their unilateral steps!”
Golan pointed out that the US said they are “reassessing”.
Silvan responded, the US is telling Israel, that Israel “should not sign any agreements in the future [with the PA], because every treaty is in danger of being breached.”
Silvan clarified this further stating the US is apparently telling Israel that “every agreement signed with the Palestinians, even agreements sponsored and backed by the US, in the end won’t receive the US’s backup and support – even after they sponsored it! It’s inconceivable.”
Silvan Shalom made it clear that any imposed settlement between Israel and Palestinians won’t work, and the only option is negotiations.
President Obama is angry at PM Netanyahu, after Netanyahu said that current conditions will not allow for the creation of a Palestinian State. Netanyahu was referring to both the internal conditions of the Palestinian Authority and the external realities of the region.
In New York this week, a jury of twelve men and women returned a guilty verdict on all counts against the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the PLO for their roles in six terror attacks that left ten American families, including mine, devastated. That jury awarded over $218 million in damages to the thirty-three plaintiffs in our case, Sokolow v. PLO.
In Washington, one could hear a pin drop as not one official praised the proper working of the American justice system in punishing terror where it counts—in its pocketbook.
The law applied in Judge George B. Daniels Manhattan courtroom was the Anti-Terrorism Act, or ATA. That law was passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton in 1993.
As our lawyer, Kent Yalowitz of Arnold & Porter, stated in his summation before the jury: wherever an American citizen goes in the world, the ATA goes with him. The ATA was the one positive byproduct of the brutal murder of Leon Klinghoffer aboard the Achille Lauro: the U.S. found it did not have the criminal or civil tools to punish those who harmed Americans beyond U.S. borders. The ATA allows for both criminal prosecution as well as civil penalties, and was passed by large majorities in both houses.
The Palestinian Authority and the PLO lost several cases by default judgments when they simply refused to show up. Eventually, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice told them to obtain lawyers and fight the charges against them. The Palestinians responded by employing a top-flight Washington law firm that did everything possible to keep their clients out of court, and once in court, to prevent them from losing.
The Palestinians put up a spirited defense. That the jury returned a unanimous verdict on two dozen counts after only two half-days of deliberations speaks volumes to the damning evidence presented by Yalowitz, Nitsana Darshan Leitner of Shurat HaDin and their colleagues.
As a plaintiff in Sokolow vs. PLO, I had the privilege, but also the horror, of spending a few days in court, testifying along with my wife and our son. We had to revisit the horrors of the bombing which irrevocably altered our lives. We cried as we recalled the devastation.
The Palestinians’ attorneys made every effort to convince the jury that the bombers, shooters, and their supporters acted alone, that the PA and its officers were opposed to those activities, and that payments to “martyr” families and the ongoing payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails served as no incentive to those who killed and maimed. The jury did not buy it.
The jurors assigned aggregate damages which, when tripled as provided in the ATA, charged the PA and PLO with over $650 million. The outcome was a resounding victory for the ten plaintiff families, our lawyers, our supporters, and all of those who truly wish to fight terror by all means available.
The PA and PLO fought this suit for eleven years. They lost it in six weeks.
The outcome in that New York courtroom shows the majesty of the American legal system. A legal concern was identified, an appropriate law was passed, and Americans affected by the scourge of international terror made use of the law to seek and find redress. This is America at its finest. Such an incredible outcome, delivered by twelve “average” citizens of New York, ones without any background or particular interest in the political issues of the Middle East, shows the unique face of American democracy and justice.
And yet, while the American judicial system, utilizing tools created by the legislative branch, brought us justice, another branch of the American government has repeatedly denied it to us.
One would think that the president or maybe the attorney general or even the secretary of state might put out a statement on how wonderful the American system of justice is for giving hope to people whose lives were crushed by the ever-growing scourge of international terror. But not. one. word.
Instead of celebrating this modicum of relief from unspeakable pain for American citizens, the executive branch appears more concerned with another big bill the PA has racked up. Instead of hailing the U.S. legal system for providing justice to families whose lives were shattered by terror and offering hope to others, the president and his minions are hard at work attempting to find ways in which they can extricate the PA and the PLO from their current financial mess.
Even Hillary Clinton, whose husband signed the law into existence, had nothing to say about the same terror victims she used as props for photo shoots during her senatorial visits to Israel.
There’s much more fueling this disappointment.
You would never know it, but the ATA has a criminal component for prosecuting terrorists who harm American citizens. But the Department of Justice has never utilized that tool in any of the 80 attacks in and around Israel in which American citizens were killed or injured since the signing of the Oslo Accords. The U.S. has not indicted, extradited, or prosecuted a single Palestinian terrorist since the 1968 conviction of Sirhan Sirhan. While criminal standards for conviction are admittedly far higher than their civil law counterparts, the U.S. has been blasé about Palestinian terror—neither arresting the bad guys nor calling out the PA or PLO for their active and willful roles in inciting and coordinating terror against Israeli (and American) citizens.
So, while the jury in New York has spoken; DoJ in the nation’s capitol has been out to lunch. Even our anguished requests between 2008 and 2011 that terrorists who harmed Americans not be included in the deal to release the soldier Gilad Schalit fell on deaf ears; fifteen such terrorists went free without a word from either DoJ or the president.
Ignoring terror and its supporters will not make terror go away. Calling it “extremism” will not make it less horrific.
The US has an obligation to recognize that the PA, which has been the source of hope for three consecutive administrations, is as guilty as Hamas with regard to supporting and encouraging terror.
Imagine how I feel, knowing that one of the unindicted co-conspirators in our case is today a minister in the present Palestinian Authority government. The U.S. and the world will never be free from terror until it identifies its source honestly and deals with it forcefully. Only a handful of world leaders today see the PA and the PLO as the jurors saw it: terror-supporting entities.
America is a great country and the ATA has allowed us and our fellow plaintiffs to seek and receive redress for the role the PA and PLO played in providing material support to terrorists who harmed us and our loved ones.
Monday will remain a great day in American legal history. Still, we must remember that each year the U.S. gives $400 million to the PA, which in turn gives about $50 million to terrorists in Israeli jails. As Kent Yalowitz successfully implored the jury: you can connect the dots.
Israeli is planning to annex a large area of 500 acres in the Hebron district, according to Ma’an News Agency, based in Bethlehem and with close ties with the Palestinian Authority.
The land is outside the city of Hebron.
According to Ma’an, the land in question is private held by Arabs, who generally claim that they own aloof the land in Judea and Samaria.
An Arab activist in the Hebron area told Ma’an that the Israeli Civil Lands Administration has posted warning notices on the land supposed slated for confiscation.
Israeli officials said the area is state land,” which under the defunct Oslo Accords was supposed to be under full control of Israeli until an illusionary final agreement is signed with the Palestinian Authority.
Neither Hezbollah nor Israel will go to war right now. Israel cannot defeat Hezbollah now any more than it could in the war n 2006, which ended in a military stalemate but a strategic victory for Hezbollah.
Hezbollah won’t go to war against Israel because it cannot afford to lose its already questionable prestige in Lebanon due to the terrorist party’s having entered the conflagration in Syria and bringing it inside Lebanon’s borders.
Hezbollah’s attack in Israel yesterday was an eye-for-an-eye retaliation for Israel’s pre-emptive bombing raid in Syria two weeks ago in which a dozen Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers and commanders were wiped out.
Their plan to attack the Israeli side of the Golan Heights bore out fears that Hezbollah wants to be able to strike Israel along the entire northern border, from the Mediterranean Coast of Lebanon to the eastern side of the Golan Heights.
“Hezbollah” does not just mean the terrorist party and army. It also means “Iran,” its financial and military mother.
“Hezbollah” also means “Lebanon,” to a large extent. Hassan Nasrallah’s party dominates the government, but the world recognizes “Lebanon” and not “Hezbollah.”
Hezbollah, diplomatically, is a state within a state. It has one of the largest military arsenals of any army in the world, with 120,000 missiles in Lebanon, and now in Syria, poised to pulverize not only northern Israel but also Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
It is an act of war when a country’s army attacks another nation and kills two soldiers. “Restraint” is not the proper response. The proper response is an all-out retaliation to end the enemy threat.
But officially, neither Lebanon nor Iran attacked Israel yesterday. The provocateur was a terrorist army and party. Israel cannot wipe out the Hezbollah army because, like Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza, it operates from within civilian population centers and now also is located in the maze of hell that is called Syria,” which no longer exists as a nation except in name.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said yesterday, “My recommendation to those who challenge us in the north is to take a look at what happened in Gaza.”
Hamas had several thousand rockets, some of them sophisticated, but Israel’s Iron Dome system was able to intercept most of them. In addition, the land mass of Hamas-controlled Gaza is all of 139 square miles (360 square kilometers), surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west and an unfriendly Egypt and Israel on the south, west and north.
Lebanon is nearly 30 times larger with 4,015 square miles (10,400 sq km). Besides the Mediterranean Sea on the west and Israel on the south, Lebanon — and Hezbollah — have Syria for a neighbor in the east and north.
Netanyahu said, “The (Israel Defense Forces) is responding now to the incident in the north. The IDF stands ready to act forcefully on all fronts.” In truth, he was only reassuring Israelis and sending shivers down the spines of the West, but he and Hezbollah know very well that Israel is not going to “act forcefully on all fronts.”
Israel does not have an anti-missile system that can protect the country against 120,000 missiles, some of them very long-range rocket and probably with chemical warheads. The IDF indeed could crush Lebanon. It could punish the country for allowing and actively supporting Hezbollah.
Before doing so, who knows how much Hezbollah would cripple Israel with missiles.
But everyone, especially Netanyahu, knows that any large-military operation would leave Israel isolated in the world
The United States stated yesterday its usual wishy-washy position that backs Israel with a big “but”:
We support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and continue to urge all parties to respect the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon. We urge all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation.
That was the same language used every time Hamas attacks Israel with a missile.
Any Israeli attack would be “disproportionate.” The international community does not apply the rules of war when it comes to Israel, which always must show it is so Christian that it can turn the other cheek and not use force.
As disgusting it sounds, the bitter truth is that Israeli won’t go to war over the deaths of two soldiers. It should but it won’t.
Israeli does not have the self-confidence, spiritually and diplomatically, to attack Hezbollah and Lebanon.
Nine years ago, Hezbollah kidnapped and murdered two soldiers and sparked a five-week war that proved that exposed, once again, Israel’s real weakness.
The Foreign Minister at the time was Tzipi Livni, who now threatens to become the next Prime Minister of Israel on a rotational basis with Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog.
Livni signed on the dotted line of United Nations Resolution 1701 that was a cease-fire version of the Oslo Accords. Instead of the Palestinian Authority, it was the United Nations that promised to disarm “foreign armies,” without naming Hezbollah.
The resolution stated:
Pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state.
The resolution called for:
Israel to withdraw all of its forces from Lebanon in parallel with Lebanese and UNIFIL soldiers deploying throughout the South…
Disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon (implying but not stating Hezbollah)
No armed forces other than UNIFIL and Lebanese (implying Hezbollah and Israeli forces) will be south of the Litani River
No foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government….
The importance of full control of Lebanon by the government of Lebanon .
Of course, Israel withdrew. Not only did UNIFIL not dis-arm Hezbollah, UNIFIL allowed it to continue to smuggle weapons from Iran, via Syria.
The resolution left Hezbollah ins a stronger than ever position and weakened Israel, which proved again its military may be strong but its backbone Is too weak to support a military victory to safeguard the country.
Below is a video of how Hezbollah terrorists escapes an Israel Air Force bombing of a missile launcher in the war in Lebanon in 2006.
Israeli soldiers Thursday night entered Ramallah and arrested a Jerusalem Arab youth who stabbed two Border Police at the Old City of Jerusalem last week and then fled to the seat of power of the Palestinian Authority.
The IDF found the attacker, Mohammed al-Ajiluni, hiding in a home in Ramallah, where the Palestinian Authority is supposed to clean out the terrorist infrastructure and show Israel how it is so responsible that Israel can count on its army, called “police” under the Oslo Accords, to protect Israel.
Israel Radio reported Friday morning that the two Border Policemen suffered light wounds in the stabbing attack near the Lions Gate.
More than 1,000 Jews visiting Joseph’s Tomb (Kever Yosef) in Shechem Sunday night discovered that Palestinian Authority Arabs vandalized the holy site for the umpteenth time.
The vandals destroyed the electric system, but the Jews, under IDF protection, lit a menorah on the sixth night of Hanukkah, which commemorates the victory of the Maccabeans over the Greek conquerors who desecrated the Holy Temple nearly 2000 years ago.
Israel surrendered open access to Joseph’s Tomb in 2001 after a terrorist attack, allowing a violation of the Oslo Accords protecting the rights of all religions to visit holy sites to become an accepted principle.
Leftists and plain President Obama-Arabs read the news differently.
The “Alternative News. Org” website reported, “1,000 Israelis raided the northern West Bank area of Nablus [Shechem] Sunday night to pray at Joseph’s Tomb, located on the outskirts of the city….
“Joseph’s Tomb is located in Area A of the West Bank, under full security and administrative control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Although entry into Joseph’s Tomb requires permission and coordination with the PA, the Israeli civilians and troops entered without either.”
Every time a Jew visits the Temple Mount or Joseph’s Tomb, and soon the Dead Sea can be added to the list, it is a “raid.”
As for the report that they entered without permission, the IDF told The Jewish Press Monday morning that simply is not true. “There was coordination,” a spokeswoman said.
Alternative News also conveniently omitted the wording of the Oslo Accords that specifically reserves the rights of Jews to visit Joseph’s Tomb, among others, and requires “both sides shall respect and protect the listed below religious rights of Jews, Christians, Moslems and Samaritans.”