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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Israel’s 9th President Shimon Peres Dead at 93

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth President, former Prime Minister, Nobel Prize winner, who served for nearly five decades as a member of the Knesset, passed away on Wednesday morning at age 93, following a severe stroke. He will be buried in a state funeral in the plot on Mt. Herzl dedicated to the nation’s great leaders. Peres was married to the late Sonia Peres who died in 2011. They had three children: Tsvia Walden, Yonatan (Yoni) Peres, and Nehemia (Chemi) Peres.

Peres was born on August 2, 1923 as Shimon Perski (a relative of Lauren Bacall a.k.a. Joan Persky), in Wiszniew, Poland (now Vishnyeva, Belarus). In 1934, together with his mother Sara and younger brother Gershon, they followed his father, who made aliyah in 1932. Peres grew up in Tel Aviv and studied at the Ben Shemen agricultural school. He met Sonia in Ben Shemen and they got married in 1945.

Peres became active in the Socialist youth movement Hanoar Haoved and in 1947 was recruited by Levy Eshkol to serve in the Hagana underground headquarters, alongside Eshkol and David Ben-Gurion. In 1953, after a stint as head of naval services in the newly formed IDF, Peres was appointed (at age 29) as Director of the Defense Ministry by Ben-Gurion.

His mission, and greatest achievement as head of Israel’s fledgling defense apparatus, was to turn Israel into a nuclear power. Peres began negotiations with the French in October 1956, during the Sinai War, which was a collaboration of Israel, France and Great Britain to take over the Suez Canal from the revolutionary government in Cairo. Peres stressed Israel’s loyalty to France and the fact that a strong Israel is vital to the French national interest, seeing as the Egyptians were supporting the Algerian FLN underground whose aim was to expel the French from North Africa.

According to Peres’ biographer Michael Bar Zohar, the birth of the Dimona nuclear plant was an exciting tale of intrigue, as the promise to provide the technology was made by French Defense Minister Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury, but on the date set for signing the secret deal, the French government collapsed in the National Assembly. Peres was waiting for Bourgès in his chambers with a bottle of whisky, only to discover that his host was out of office and that his likely successor, Gen. Charles de Gaulle, objected to spreading French nuclear know-how. Peres took advantage of the fact that Bourgès would on occasion tell his wife that he was in a meeting with the Israeli visitor when he was actually meeting with his lover, and demanded to cash his chips with the fallen politician. They agreed to backdate the agreement to the day before, when Bourgès still had the authority to sign it. The Frenchman said “D’accord” and the deal to set Israel up as the sole nuclear power in the Middle East was signed — fraudulently.

In 1959, Peres was elected to the Knesset as member of the ruling Mapai Party, and continued to serve as MK and in various ministerial positions, including as prime minister, almost uninterruptedly for 48 years. In 1965, Peres followed his mentor Ben-Gurion out of Mapai, and formed, together with former Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan, the Rafi party. After the 1967 war, an alignment of Mapai, Rafi and Ahdut Haavoda formed the Israel Labor Party, now also known as the Zionist Camp.

In 1973, after the Yom Kippur war which created a wave of anti-Labor sentiment in the public at large, and following the resignation of Prime Minister Golda Meir and Defense Minister Dayan, only two labor senior politicians retained their public prestige: Shimon Peres and former Chief of Staff and Ambassador to the US Yizhak Rabin. Rabin won and went on to become prime minister, with Peres as his defense minister, and their campaign for the leadership of Labor started two decades of enmity combined with forced cooperation which culminated in Peres eventually presenting to Rabin the Oslo agreements as an almost fait accompli.

In 1976, as defense minister, Peres was responsible for the Antebe Operation. Meanwhile, his disagreements with Rabin led to the latter’s resignation and the 1977 elections that, for the first time in Israel’s history, placed Likud’s Menahem Begin at the country’s helm. In the 1980s, as Labor’s leader, Peres failed to gain a resounding victory over his rightwing foes, and ended up in a coalition government with Likud in which he and Yitzhak Shamir rotated in the role of prime minister. While serving as Shamir’s foreign minister, Peres launched the London Agreement, a precursor of the Oslo Accord, which was torpedoed by Shamir.

In 1992, with Rabin once again the leader, Labor won the elections and formed a narrow, leftwing coalition government that relied on the Arab votes in the Knesset. Peres and his emissary Dr. Yossi Beilin began secret, illegal negotiations with the PLO, which resulted in the August 20, 1993 Oslo deal. The agreement, which resuscitated a dying PLO and gave it dominion over the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria, resulted, as many had predicted, in rivers of blood, as the Arabs residing in the newly formed Palestinian Authority launched a campaign of bombing and shooting attacks against Israeli civilian centers. In 1995, on the eve of the next elections, Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated and replaced by Peres.

In 1996 Peres lost his final bid for sole possession of the Prime Minister’s office when he lost the election to newcomer Benjamin Netanyahu. The televised debate between them showed the nation a tired, old political hack versus a youthful and well spoken leader. Netanyahu succeeded in forming his first coalition government despite the fact that his party had won by a mere 30,000 votes.

At that point, possibly the lowest in his political life, Shimon Peres reinvented himself and began the next phase in his career, as statesman inspiring an entire world. He founded the Peres Center for Peace, and although he continued to serve in the Knesset and was member of Ehud Barak’s security cabinet, his goals have changed. In 2005 Peres resigned from the Labor party to join Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government, to support the second assault on Jewish life in the 1967 liberated territories: the expulsion of the Jews of Gush Katif. His reward was his election by the Knesset to be Israel’s ninth president in 2007. He gained 58 out of the 120 MK votes in the first round (38 voted for Reuven Rivlin, 21 for Colette Avital). His opponents then threw their support to Peres in the second round and he received 86 votes, with 23 objections.

He spent his seven years in office in an indefatigable global activity, attending conferences, giving speeches around the planet, meeting world leaders and becoming synonymous with the image of Israel’s future as drawn by Israel’s leftwing. He maintained his rigorous schedule after the end of his term in 2014, until, two weeks ago, his body succumbed to a stroke.

His death marks the end of Israel’s generation of founding politicians. He will be remembered for his great contribution to the Jewish State’s military supremacy in the Middle East, but also for his grave mistakes in acting to reverse the same state’s remarkable territorial gains of 1967. May his memory be blessed.


Does The Carnegie Endowment for Peace Support BDS?

Monday, September 26th, 2016

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) has significantly contributed to the progress of global peace and promotion of global citizenship.

Nonetheless, recently, CEIP Vice President for Middle Eastern Studies, Jordanian Marwan Muasher, has made confusing comments that puts his stance on peace itself in question, and further sheds a doubt on CEIP’s overall commitment to its mission, which is: “dedication to advancing cooperation between nations”.

On 31 August 2016, Mr. Muasher published an OpEd in the Jordanian daily, AlGhad, entitled “Lets Support the Civil Democratic State”. In this article, he exhibits passionate support for a list of candidates running for the Jordanian parliamentary elections that took place on 20th of September 2016. The block of candidates is named “Maan List”, or “Together List.” All of these ‘candidates’ openly are anti-peace, pro-BDS and avidly against the United States, West, with their focus being Israel and the Jewish state.

With that in mind, let’s take a close look at the Maan list. On their “official website,” in which they provide a clear and unapologetic description of political stances and positions. Combined, or even at plain face value its quite clear that Muasher’s has supported a group that upholds and publicizes positions that are in direct conflict with the very values that CEIP stands for. Here are examples of what “Maan List” supports:

“Despite the very complicated regional circumstances, we keep our eyes on the Palestine of Arabhood which is fighting the Zionist occupation and the spreading settlement cancer which has become a threat to our holy Jerusalem and our Islamic and Christian holy places as well as our Arab identity. This is in the name of Jordan’s historical responsibility towards the land and the human of the beloved Palestine, and we shall remain the strong backbone for our Palestine as well as its lung through which it breathes and gains power against the occupier. We shall remain standing behind the global anti-normalization with Israel movement (BDS), which has become an effective pressurizer against the occupier all over the world, and we demand anti-normalization all through our Jordan of dignity and pride and we tell the government there is another option as the gas production of Arab brothers is much bigger than that of the occupation”.

The Maan list does not stop there, read this: “We also utterly reject the racist project of the Judization of the state and we demand the government to work avidly with our brothers from the beloved Palestine to sustain the human on his soil and hold on tight to the right of return, self-determination and the independent state.”

“And last but not least, all the freedom for our hero prisoners in prisons of the occupation, and a healthy recovery to the wounded, and glory to the martyr”.

Now, let’s see what CEIP’s Vice President, Muasher says about the group that supports the stances above, in his article:

* “I have to admit that my sprits have pretty much gone up since I have attended, days ago, the launch ceremony of ‘Maan List’ which calls for a civil democratic state”.

* “For the first time, I heard public talk about civility and democracy that was very frank and clear about the goals which the list is trying to achieve”

* “It is the right, in fact the duty, of this civil and democratic movement to be heard. I have always believed that large numbers believe in this movement, but nonetheless remained silent or [too] incapacitated to organize itself within a framework that allows it to express itself”

* “What I hope for is that the boredom of these groups with the classic approaches that do not meet its needs, would not only push it towards going to the launch ceremonies of the lists that support such argument, but also would go on the day of elections to voting box and to vote for whom it believes is aligned with its dream of a civil and democratic state”.

* “This should not be an obstacle from going to vote, especially to ideological lists like “Maan” that does not depend on tribal foundations, but rather calls for ideas which we could never become an advanced society without.”

To make matters worse, the CEIP even provided a link from their site to the article in question.

This raises a variety of questions about the CEIP and the VP’s statements, for one, was Mr. Muasher speaking for himself, or because of his position, an extension of the CEIP?

Also, does the CEIP actually know what the Maan List stands for, and what it means to the countries in the region? How does comply with CEIP’s mission statement, and even further, its tax-deductible status?

In addition, was CEIP VP Muasher spreading innuendo and hate against Israel and Jews? Why is Mr. Muasher supporting a pro-BDS group? Does he support BDS himself? Does CEIP support the BDS movement?

At the same time, how does Mr. Muasher see supporting BDS as contributing to world peace and especially peace in our region? And in fact, why is CEIP’s VP playing a key role in helping Jordan’s king keep his people down while expanding his powers through radical groups such as Maan List, which Muasher supports?

CEIP is in a position where it must take a stance, clearly and utterly distancing itself from their VP’s statements. Especially that Mr. Muasher cannot claim he did not know of Maan List’s stances against peace and Israel, if he did not actually know; then why did he go the extra mile to support the list in one of Jordan’s most read dailies? Also, him being the head of

CEIP’s MidEast research; is it even possible he has failed to do the research before supporting anti-peace group, when all he had to do is check their website?

In closing, we believe that these statements were wrong and do not reflect the CEIP and its programming in any way. Even so, we do know that Mr. Muasher is a CEIP VP and as such, he is recognized around the world as a leader in the organization. As such, we believe that CEIP should clearly state that it does not support Muasher’s position.

Further, CEIP must not tolerate pro-BDS and anti-Semitic stances as they endanger Israel and thus the direct interest of Jordanians and Palestinians, and this is in turn directly compromises regional and global peace.

CEIP and other global political organizations must exclude, eliminate and besiege all supporters of hatred including those who promote BDS, which simply means: less jobs, less stability and more unrest as far as we Jordanians and Palestinians are concerned.

{Abed AlMaala is the Secretary of Commerce in the Jordanian Opposition Coalition; www.facebook.com/abed.almaala}

Abed AlMaala

FULL TEXT: PM Netanyahu’s Speech to UN General Assembly [video]

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Below is the FULL TEXT of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly, delivered on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York City.

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

What I’m about to say is going to shock you: Israel has a bright future at the UN.

Now I know that hearing that from me must surely come as a surprise, because year after year I’ve stood at this very podium and slammed the UN for its obsessive bias against Israel. And the UN deserved every scathing word – for the disgrace of the General Assembly that last year passed 20 resolutions against the democratic State of Israel and a grand total of three resolutions against all the other countries on the planet.

Israel – twenty; rest of the world – three.

And what about the joke called the UN Human Rights Council, which each year condemns Israel more than all the countries of the world combined. As women are being systematically raped, murdered, sold into slavery across the world, which is the only country that the UN’s Commission on Women chose to condemn this year? Yep, you guessed it – Israel. Israel. Israel where women fly fighter jets, lead major corporations, head universities, preside – twice – over the Supreme Court, and have served as Speaker of the Knesset and Prime Minister.

And this circus continues at UNESCO. UNESCO, the UN body charged with preserving world heritage. Now, this is hard to believe but UNESCO just denied the 4,000 year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, the Temple Mount. That’s just as absurd as denying the connection between the Great Wall of China and China.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The UN, begun as a moral force, has become a moral farce. So when it comes to Israel at the UN, you’d probably think nothing will ever change, right? Well think again. You see, everything will change and a lot sooner than you think. The change will happen in this hall, because back home, your governments are rapidly changing their attitudes towards Israel. And sooner or later, that’s going to change the way you vote on Israel at the UN.

More and more nations in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, more and more nations see Israel as a potent partner – a partner in fighting the terrorism of today, a partner in developing the technology of tomorrow.

Today Israel has diplomatic relations with over 160 countries. That’s nearly double the number that we had when I served here as Israel’s ambassador some 30 years ago. And those ties are getting broader and deeper every day. World leaders increasingly appreciate that Israel is a powerful country with one of the best intelligence services on earth. Because of our unmatched experience and proven capabilities in fighting terrorism, many of your governments seek our help in keeping your countries safe.

Many also seek to benefit from Israel’s ingenuity in agriculture, in health, in water, in cyber and in the fusion of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence – that fusion that is changing our world in every way.

You might consider this:

Israel leads the world in recycling wastewater. We recycle about 90% of our wastewater. Now, how remarkable is that? Well, given that the next country on the list only recycles about 20% of its wastewater, Israel is a global water power. So if you have a thirsty world, and we do, there’s no better ally than Israel.

How about cybersecurity? That’s an issue that affects everyone. Israel accounts for one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population, yet last year we attracted some 20% of the global private investment in cybersecurity.

I want you to digest that number.

In cyber, Israel is punching a whopping 200 times above its weight. So Israel is also a global cyber power. If hackers are targeting your banks, your planes, your power grids and just about everything else, Israel can offer indispensable help.

Governments are changing their attitudes towards Israel because they know that Israel can help them protect their peoples, can help them feed them, can help them better their lives.

This summer I had an unbelievable opportunity to see this change so vividly during an unforgettable visit to four African countries. This is the first visit to Africa by an Israeli prime minister in decades. Later today, I’ll be meeting with leaders from 17 African countries. We’ll discuss how Israeli technology can help them in their efforts to transform their countries.

In Africa, things are changing. In China, India, Russia, Japan, attitudes towards Israel have changed as well. These powerful nations know that, despite Israel’s small size, it can make a big difference in many, many areas that are important to them.

But now I’m going to surprise you even more. You see, the biggest change in attitudes towards Israel is taking place elsewhere. It’s taking place in the Arab world. Our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan continue to be anchors of stability in the volatile Middle East.

But I have to tell you this: For the first time in my lifetime, many other states in the region recognize that Israel is not their enemy. They recognize that Israel is their ally.

Our common enemies are Iran and ISIS. Our common goals are security, prosperity and peace. I believe that in the years ahead we will work together to achieve these goals, work together openly.

So Israel’s diplomatic relations are undergoing nothing less than a revolution. But in this revolution, we never forget that our most cherished alliance, our deepest friendship is with the United States of America, the most powerful and the most generous nation on earth.

Our unbreakable bond with the United States of America transcends parties and politics. It reflects, above all else, the overwhelming support for Israel among the American people, support which is at record highs and for which we are deeply grateful.

The United Nations denounces Israel; the United States supports Israel. And a central pillar of that defense has been America’s consistent support for Israel at the UN. I appreciate President Obama’s commitment to that longstanding US policy. In fact, the only time that the United States cast a UN Security Council veto during the Obama presidency was against an anti-Israel resolution in 2011. As President Obama rightly declared at this podium, peace will not come from statements and resolutions at the United Nations.

I believe the day is not far off when Israel will be able to rely on many, many countries to stand with us at the UN. Slowly but surely, the days when UN ambassadors reflexively condemn Israel, those days are coming to an end.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today’s automatic majority against Israel at the UN reminds me of the story, the incredible story of Hiroo Onada. Hiroo was a Japanese soldier who was sent to the Philippines in 1944. He lived in the jungle. He scavenged for food. He evaded capture. Eventually he surrendered, but that didn’t happen until 1974, some 30 years after World War II ended.

For decades, Hiroo refused to believe the war was over. As Hiroo was hiding in the jungle, Japanese tourists were swimming in pools in American luxury hotels in nearby Manila. Finally, mercifully, Hiroo’s former commanding officer was sent to persuade him to come out of hiding. Only then did Hiroo lay down his arms.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Distinguished delegates from so many lands,

I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms.

The war against Israel at the UN is over. Perhaps some of you don’t know it yet, but I am confident that one day in the not too distant future you will also get the message from your president or from your prime minister informing you that the war against Israel at the United Nations has ended.

Yes, I know, there might be a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests?

We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.

But regardless of what happens in the months ahead, I have total confidence that in the years ahead the revolution in Israel’s standing among the nations will finally penetrate this hall of nations. I have so much confidence, in fact, that I predict that a decade from now an Israeli prime minister will stand right here where I am standing and actually applaud the UN.

But I want to ask you: Why do we have to wait a decade? Why keep vilifying Israel?

Perhaps because some of you don’t appreciate that the obsessive bias against Israel is not just a problem for my country, it’s a problem for your countries too. Because if the UN spends so much time condemning the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, it has far less time to address war, disease, poverty, climate change and all the other serious problems that plague the planet.

Are the half million slaughtered Syrians helped by your condemnation of Israel? The same Israel that has treated thousands of injured Syrians in our hospitals, including a field hospital that I built right along the Golan Heights border with Syria.

Are the gays hanging from cranes in Iran helped by your denigration of Israel? That same Israel where gays march proudly in our streets and serve in our parliament, including I’m proud to say in my own Likud party.

Are the starving children in North Korea’s brutal tyranny, are they helped by your demonization of Israel? Israel, whose agricultural know-how is feeding the hungry throughout the developing world?

The sooner the UN’s obsession with Israel ends, the better. The better for Israel, the better for your countries, the better for the UN itself.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If UN habits die hard, Palestinian habits die even harder. President Abbas just attacked from this podium the Balfour Declaration. He’s preparing a lawsuit against Britain for that declaration from 1917.

That’s almost 100 years ago – talk about being stuck in the past.

The Palestinians may just as well sue Iran for the Cyrus Declaration, which enabled the Jews to rebuild our Temple in Jerusalem 2,500 years ago.

Come to think of it, why not a Palestinian class action suit against Abraham for buying that plot of land in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried 4,000 years ago?

You’re not laughing. It’s as absurd as that. To sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration? Is he kidding? And this is taken seriously here?

President Abbas attacked the Balfour Declaration because it recognized the right of the Jewish people to a national home in the land of Israel. When the United Nations supported the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947, it recognized our historical and our moral rights in our homeland and to our homeland.

Yet today, nearly 70 years later, the Palestinians still refuse to recognize those rights – not our right to a homeland, not our right to a state, not our right to anything. And this remains the true core of the conflict, the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary.

You see, this conflict is not about the settlements. It never was.

The conflict raged for decades before there was a single settlement, when Judea Samaria and Gaza were all in Arab hands. The West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands and they attacked us again and again and again.

And when we uprooted all 21 settlements in Gaza and withdrew from every last inch of Gaza, we didn’t get peace from Gaza – we got thousands of rockets fired at us from Gaza.

This conflict rages because for the Palestinians, the real settlements they’re after are Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv.

Now mind you, the issue of settlements is a real one and it can and must be resolved in final status negotiations. But this conflict has never been about the settlements or about establishing a Palestinian state. It’s always been about the existence of a Jewish state, a Jewish state in any boundary.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Israel is ready, I am ready to negotiate all final status issues but one thing I will never negotiate: Our right to the one and only Jewish state.

Wow, sustained applause for the Prime Minister of Israel in the General Assembly? The change may be coming sooner than I thought.

Had the Palestinians said yes to a Jewish state in 1947, there would have been no war, no refugees and no conflict. And when the Palestinians finally say yes to a Jewish state, we will be able to end this conflict once and for all.

Now here’s the tragedy, because, see, the Palestinians are not only trapped in the past, their leaders are poisoning the future.

I want you to imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, I’ll call him Ali.

Ali wakes up before school, he goes to practice with a soccer team named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murder of a busload of 37 Israelis. At school, Ali attends an event sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education honoring Baha Alyan, who last year murdered three Israeli civilians. On his walk home, Ali looks up at a towering statue erected just a few weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority to honor Abu Sukar, who detonated a bomb in the center of Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis.

When Ali gets home, he turns on the TV and sees an interview with a senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, who says that if he had a nuclear bomb, he’d detonate it over Israel that very day. Ali then turns on the radio and he hears President Abbas’s adviser, Sultan Abu al-Einein, urging Palestinians, here’s a quote, “to slit the throats of Israelis wherever you find them.” Ali checks his Facebook and he sees a recent post by President Abbas’s Fatah Party calling the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics a “heroic act”. On YouTube, Ali watches a clip of President Abbas himself saying, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” Direct quote.

Over dinner, Ali asks his mother what would happen if he killed a Jew and went to an Israeli prison? Here’s what she tells him. She tells him he’d be paid thousands of dollars each month by the Palestinian Authority. In fact, she tells him, the more Jews he would kill, the more money he’d get. Oh, and when he gets out of prison, Ali would be guaranteed a job with the Palestinian Authority.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

All this is real. It happens every day, all the time. Sadly, Ali represents hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are indoctrinated with hate every moment, every hour.

This is child abuse.

Imagine your child undergoing this brainwashing. Imagine what it takes for a young boy or girl to break free out of this culture of hate. Some do but far too many don’t. How can any of us expect young Palestinians to support peace when their leaders poison their minds against peace?

We in Israel don’t do this. We educate our children for peace. In fact, we recently launched a pilot program, my government did, to make the study of Arabic mandatory for Jewish children so that we can better understand each other, so that we can live together side-by-side in peace.

Of course, like all societies Israel has fringe elements. But it’s our response to those fringe elements, it’s our response to those fringe elements that makes all the difference.

Take the tragic case of Ahmed Dawabsha. I’ll never forget visiting Ahmed in the hospital just hours after he was attacked. A little boy, really a baby, he was badly burned. Ahmed was the victim of a horrible terrorist act perpetrated by Jews. He lay bandaged and unconscious as Israeli doctors worked around the clock to save him.

No words can bring comfort to this boy or to his family. Still, as I stood by his bedside I told his uncle, “This is not our people. This is not our way.” I then ordered extraordinary measures to bring Ahmed’s assailants to justice and today the Jewish citizens of Israel accused of attacking the Dawabsha family are in jail awaiting trial.

Now, for some, this story shows that both sides have their extremists and both sides are equally responsible for this seemingly endless conflict.

But what Ahmed’s story actually proves is the very opposite. It illustrates the profound difference between our two societies, because while Israeli leaders condemn terrorists, all terrorists, Arabs and Jews alike, Palestinian leaders celebrate terrorists. While Israel jails the handful of Jewish terrorists among us, the Palestinians pay thousands of terrorists among them.

So I call on President Abbas: you have a choice to make. You can continue to stoke hatred as you did today or you can finally confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two peoples.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hear the buzz. I know that many of you have given up on peace. But I want you to know – I have not given up on peace.

I remain committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe as never before that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace.

I commend President El-Sisi of Egypt for his efforts to advance peace and stability in our region.

Israel welcomes the spirit of the Arab peace initiative and welcomes a dialogue with Arab states to advance a broader peace. I believe that for that broader peace to be fully achieved the Palestinians have to be part of it.

I’m ready to begin negotiations to achieve this today – not tomorrow, not next week, today.

President Abbas spoke here an hour ago. Wouldn’t it be better if instead of speaking past each other we were speaking to one another?

President Abbas, instead of railing against Israel at the United Nations in New York, I invite you to speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem. And I would gladly come to speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

While Israel seeks peace with all our neighbors, we also know that peace has no greater enemy than the forces of militant Islam. The bloody trail of this fanaticism runs through all the continents represented here.

It runs through Paris and Nice, Brussels and Baghdad, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Minnesota and New York, from Sydney to San Bernardino. So many have suffered its savagery: Christian and Jews, women and gays, Yazidis and Kurds and many, many others.

Yet the heaviest price, the heaviest price of all has been paid by innocent Muslims. Hundreds of thousands unmercifully slaughtered. Millions turned into desperate refugees, tens of millions brutally subjugated. The defeat of militant Islam will thus be a victory for all humanity, but it would especially be a victory for those many Muslims who seek a life without fear, a life of peace, a life of hope.

But to defeat the forces of militant Islam, we must fight them relentlessly. We must fight them in the real world. We must fight them in the virtual world. We must dismantle their networks, disrupt their funding, discredit their ideology. We can defeat them and we will defeat them. Medievalism is no match for modernity. Hope is stronger than hate, freedom mightier than fear.

We can do this.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Israel fights this fateful battle against the forces of militant Islam every day. We keep our borders safe from ISIS, we prevent the smuggling of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, we thwart Palestinian terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, and we deter missile attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

That’s the same Hamas terror organization that cruelly, unbelievably cruelly refuses to return three of our citizens and the bodies of our fallen soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Hadar Goldin’s parents, Leah and Simcha Goldin, are here with us today.

They have one request – to bury their beloved son in Israel. All they ask for is one simple thing – to be able to visit the grave of their fallen son Hadar in Israel. Hamas refuses. They couldn’t care less.

I implore you to stand with them, with us, with all that’s decent in our world against the inhumanity of Hamas – all that is indecent and barbaric. Hamas breaks every humanitarian rule in the book, throw the book at them.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The greatest threat to my country, to our region, and ultimately to our world remains the militant Islamic regime of Iran. Iran openly seeks Israel’s annihilation. It threatens countries across the Middle East, it sponsors terror worldwide.

This year, Iran has fired ballistic missiles in direct defiance of Security Council Resolutions. It has expended its aggression in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen. Iran, the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism continued to build its global terror network. That terror network now spans five continents.

So my point to you is this: The threat Iran poses to all of us is not behind us, it’s before us. In the coming years, there must be a sustained and united effort to push back against Iran’s aggression and Iran’s terror.

With the nuclear constraints on Iran one year closer to being removed, let me be clear: Israel will not allow the terrorist regime in Iran to develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in a decade, not ever.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I stand before you today at a time when Israel’s former president, Shimon Peres, is fighting for his life. Shimon is one of Israel’s founding fathers, one of its boldest statesmen, one of its most respected leaders. I know you will all join me and join all the people of Israel in wishing him refuah shlemah Shimon, a speedy recovery.

I’ve always admired Shimon’s boundless optimism, and like him, I too am filled with hope. I am filled with hope because Israel is capable of defending itself, by itself, against any threat.

I am filled with hope because the valor of our fighting men and women is second to none. I am filled with hope because I know the forces of civilization will ultimately triumph over the forces of terror. I am filled with hope because in the age of innovation, Israel – the innovation nation – is thriving as never before. I am filled with hope because Israel works tirelessly to advance equality and opportunity for all its citizens: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, everyone. And I am filled with hope because despite all the naysayers, I believe that in the years ahead, Israel will forge a lasting peace with all our neighbors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am hopeful about what Israel can accomplish because I’ve seen what Israel has accomplished.

In 1948, the year of Israel’s independence, our population was 800,000. Our main export was oranges. People said then we were too small, too weak, too isolated, too demographically outnumbered to survive, let alone thrive.

The skeptics were wrong about Israel then; the skeptics are wrong about Israel now.

Israel’s population has grown tenfold, our economy fortyfold. Today our biggest export is technology – Israeli technology, which powers the world’s computers, cellphones, cars and so much more.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The future belongs to those who innovate and this is why the future belongs to countries like Israel. Israel wants to be your partner in seizing that future, so I call on all of you: Cooperate with Israel, embrace Israel, dream with Israel. Dream of the future that we can build together, a future of breathtaking progress, a future of security, prosperity and peace, a future of hope for all humanity, a future where even at the UN, even in this hall, Israel will finally, inevitably, take its rightful place among the nations.

Thank you.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu to UN General Assembly: Road to Peace Runs Thru Jerusalem, Ramallah [video]

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu devoted the lion’s share of his speech at the United Nations General Assembly to his vision of a future in which “someday” Israel will be accepted by the “nations of the world.”

JewishPress.com brings you a video of the prime minister’s address in its entirety, courtesy of the United Nations website.

But one of his first declarations was to acknowledge a debt of gratitude and to reiterate Israel’s loyalty to the United States, “the most generous nation on earth.” He said the two nations have an “unbreakable bond that transcends parties and politics” and said he is “deeply grateful” for America’s “consistent support for Israel at the UN,” — perhaps also an extra bit of insurance against any ninth hour actions by outgoing President Barack Obama. It was, he reminded, Obama who declared, “peace will not come from statements and resolutions.”

Any bright future with Israel working together with its Arab neighbors, he said, would require Palestinian Authority leaders to wake up and join today’s reality, rather than continue to wallow in its love of hate. The automatic majority against Israel that the PA has recruited in its campaign to win statehood by evading direct final status negotiations, will ultimately prove useless, he explained.

“Yes, I know, there might be a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests?

“We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.”

Netanyahu also described a day in the life of a boy named “Ali,” walking the hypothetical child through his indoctrination-filled world. He talked about the child’s walk to school past the public monuments named after terrorists who murdered Jews, the curriculum and school events named after terrorists, and the TV, radio and social media programs filled with government leaders promoting murder of Israelis as a worthwhile goal to achieve. He used actual quotes from Palestinian Authority officials — including PA leader Mahmoud Abbas — to make the point.

He added that “Ali’s” mother assured him that if he killed an Israeli and was sent to a prison in Israel, the Palestinian Authority would pay “thousands of dollars” each month to him and the family — “the more Jews he would kill, the more money he would make” — and that when he gets out, the PA would also have a job waiting for him too.

All true, Netanyahu underscored.

He emphasized that it was unrealistic — in fact, impossible — for anyone to expect children raised on such a steady diet of hate to then be able to break free of such brainwashing and suddenly switch gears to “live side by side in peace” with Jewish neighbors.

He warned that the UN obsession with Israel damages the international body far more than it does Israel. “But if UN habits die hard, Palestinian habits die harder,” he said, and pointed to the current lawsuit Abbas said he is filing against the United Kingdom, over the Balfour Declaration.

“Talk about being stuck in the past,” Netanyahu said. Come to think of it, why not a Palestinian class action suit against Abraham for buying that plot of land in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried 4,000 years ago?

“You’re not laughing. It’s as absurd as that. To sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration? Is he kidding? And this is taken seriously here?”

The truth is, the Palestinian Authority conflict with Israel is not based on the issue of settlements, the prime minister said bluntly. It never was. “It’s the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish State in ANY boundaries.” He reviewed the entire history of the State of Israel, beginning with the partition plan offered to both sides of the conflict by the international body, which was rejected in 1947 by the Arab side.

“One thing I will never negotiate, ” he thundered, “and that is the right to the one and only Jewish State!! Had the Palestinians said yes to a state in 1947, there would be no conflict, and when they do finally say yes to a Jewish state we will be able to end this conflict once and for all.

“Not only are they trapped in the past, their leaders are poisoning the future,” he added. Netanyahu called on Abbas to work together to establish peace. He said he is willing to sit down with Palestinian Authority leaders “not tomorrow, not next week, TODAY” for direct talks. “Wouldn’t it be better if instead of talking PAST each other, we talked TO each other? he asked.

He invited Abbas to come to Jerusalem to speak to the Israeli Knesset, and said he is willing to go to Ramallah to speak to the Palestinian Authority parliament.

“Many of you have given up on peace,” he told the assembly. “I remain committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe as never before that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace. I commend President El-Sisi of Egypt for his efforts to advance peace and stability in our region.

“Israel welcomes the spirit of the Arab peace initiative and welcomes a dialogue with Arab states to advance a broader peace. [But] I believe that for that broader peace to be fully achieved the Palestinians have to be part of it.”

Hana Levi Julian

How Some Muslim Nations are Forging a Real Peace with Israel

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

{Originally posted to the IPT website}

It was a customary political gesture, the welcoming of a foreign leader on Sept. 7 by local dignitaries in The Hague. Benjamin Netanyahu, on a two-day state visit to The Netherlands, was being introduced around the room, shaking hands with Dutch parliamentarians, when he reached Tunahan Kuzu, the Turkish-Dutch founder of the pro-immigration, pro-Islam Denk (“Think”) party. Directing his gaze straight at the Israeli president, Kuzu pointed to the Palestinian flag pin he sported on his lapel, and placed his hands pointedly behind his back.

Netanyahu nodded his understanding and moved on.

If Kuzu’s gesture was meant to insult the Israeli leader, it backfired. Instead, he came under fire from both fellow members of parliament and the press, who accused him of disrespect, lack of professionalism, and anti-Semitic behavior.

But his critics missed an even larger point: those like Kuzu, and gestures like the one he made, are becoming outdated. Rather, in the larger picture, even some of Israel’s most stalwart opponents are starting to change course, with some discouraging Western calls for economic sanctions (like the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction, or BDS, movement), and others even engaging in joint military exercises with the Jewish state.

Unsurprisingly, American politicians have taken the lead in this. Just days after the episode in The Hague, for instance, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi put the kibosh on a planned BDS event scheduled for Sept. 16 on Capitol Hill. Several U.S. states have passed anti-BDS bills throughout the past year, and in signing the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 in February, President Obama declared, “I have directed my administration to strongly oppose boycotts, divestment campaigns, and sanctions targeting the State of Israel.”

But more unexpected have been the military cooperation exercises involving less Israel-friendly countries. In August, Pakistan and the UAE both joined Israel and the U.S. Air Force in exercises at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Israel and Jordan also recently participated in joint exercises with the U.S..

Much of this new military cooperation results from concerns within the region of the growing threat of Iran, Commander Jennifer Dyer, a retired naval intelligence officer, explained in a recent e-mail exchange. “Obviously, the joint participation with Muslim countries is a step beyond participating with NATO. Politically, it’s new territory,” she observed. “The growing concern in Sunni nations about Iran is, of course, the big driving factor.”

As an example, she noted that the chief of staff of Pakistan’s army warned in January that “Pakistan would ‘wipe Iran off the map’ if Iran threatened Saudi Arabia,” and that Sudan cut ties with Iran at around the same time. (For its part, Israel has since begun a campaign encouraging the U.S. and other Western nations to repair relations with the African country.)

NATO has played a crucial role in this new cooperation, Dyer said.  “The common link through NATO allows Sunni nations and Israel to facilitate military cooperation without going very far in terms of overt political outreach” or “having to make high-profile political declarations first.”

“Overt” is probably the key word here. Where outreach in any Muslim country towards Israel could lead to public outcries and violence, collaborations such as these allow these countries to build relationships with Israel “behind closed doors,” a potential first step towards long-term normalization.

They also help create a more supportive climate for activists like Sheikh Abdullah Tamimi, who recently spoke at a seminar on Jewish and Arab relations in Israel.  As the Gatestone Institute noted in a report on the event, “Tamimi and his colleagues do not believe in boycotts and divestment. They are convinced that real peace can be achieved through dialogue between Palestinians and all Israelis.”

That position is shared by many, including hundreds of entrepreneurs collaborating in joint Palestinian-Israeli tech startups and other business ventures. And while Palestinians involved in those projects do not view them as a “substitute for a political solution,” Forbes‘ Richard Behar reported in 2013, they do view them as a way of “improving relations.”

Even Kuzu’s own Turkey made amends with Israel recently, ending a six-year conflict that began with an Israeli raid on a Turkish flotilla said to be carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. The reconciliation between the two countries has already led to important cooperative ventures, including a major Turkey-Israel gas pipeline.

All of which combines to make efforts like the BDS movement and the token gestures of politicians like Kuzu the more ridiculous. They are the reasons why Netanyahu could demonstrate respect for Kuzu’s position and still so easily shrug him off. Because clearly, while some continue pounding out old arguments, repeating themselves into banal inconsequence, others are already busy building new solutions, based on new realities. The future of the Middle East depends most of all on them.

Abigail R. Esman

Obama, Netanyahu Exchange Thoughts About Peace at Final Meeting

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exchanged brief but courteous remarks Tuesday afternoon at their final meeting before Obama leaves office next January.

The two men met at the Palace Hotel in New York City, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly where Obama has already delivered his final address, and where Netanyahu is still expected to speak.

It’s the 17th time the two men have held any conversation since Obama entered office in January 2009, at least a couple less than Obama’s predecessor in the White House had with Israeli leaders during his tenure.

Netanyahu first thanked Obama — as he told media he would — for the $34 billion 10-year U.S. military aid package signed last week with Israel.

Israel will never give up on its attempts to reach a comprehensive peace with its neighbors, he told the American president.

He also said Obama will always be a welcome guest in Israel, and invited him to come and visit after he leaves office.

The U.S. president began his response by saying his thoughts are with former president Shimon Peres, who is still sedated and breathing with the aid of a respirator in the intensive care unit at Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv following a major stroke last week.

Obama then verified that the bond between Israel and the United States is “unbreakable,” and based on “common values.” The United States wants Israel to be secure, Obama said, especially in times of uncertainty.

He therefore could not resist adding his hope that the possibility of a “Palestinian state alongside Israel” would remain alive: specifically, an Israel “at peace with its neighbors and a Palestinian homeland.”

Obama also said he hopes he will hear more about this from Netanyahu when he delivers his speech from the podium of the UN General Assembly.

Obama’s biggest concern regarding Israel clearly remains the issue of “settlement activity” on any land where the Palestinian Authority has laid claim for its hoped-for state, regardless of its actual status.

Hana Levi Julian

‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ Rallies Against Jewish Club Owner’s Right to Bar Anti-Israel Event

Monday, September 19th, 2016

A group of about fifty actors, playwrights and other theatrical types, led by the Jewish Voice for Peace, whose stated mission includes seeking “an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem,” signed a letter protesting the cancellation of a Black Lives Matter benefit concert that had been scheduled for 9/11 at Feinstein’s/54 Below near Times Square in Manhattan.

Signatories include playwright Sarah Ruhl, singer Justin Vivian Bond, playwright Annie Baker, novelist Alice Walker, and actors Wallace Shawn, Tonya Pinkins and Kathleen Chalfant.

Back in 2013, Alice Walker’s speech at the University of Michigan was cancelled because of her views on Israel. Walker has likened Israel to the Jim Crow racist system she grew up with in the South. Kathleen Chalfant has been a long time supporter of BDS.

An email the club owners sent out to ticket buyers read, “The owners and managers … strongly believe in and support the general thrust of the goals and objectives of BLM. However, since announcing the benefit they’ve become aware of a recent addition to the BLM platform that accuses Israel of genocide and endorses a range of boycott and sanction actions.

“Feinstein’s/54 Below would have preferred to hold the concert in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, without endorsing or appearing to endorse the entirety of the Black Lives Matter organization and its platform, but we’ve found that a distinction is impossible for us to effect.

“As we can’t support these positions, we’ve accordingly decided to cancel the concert.

“We’re sorry about this unfortunate situation which has not dimmed our commitment to supporting social justice.”

The JVP letter willfully ignores the fact that the club owners have declared their support for the BLM agenda, but would not accept the movement’s recent turn against the Jewish State. Instead of acknowledging any American’s right to pick and choose his or her causes, the JVP letter states that the cancellation “both undermines the visionary leadership of the Movement for Black Lives and contributes to the institutionalized silencing of advocates for Palestinian human rights. … We call on theater venues, artists, and supporters in New York City and beyond to proudly support the Movement for Black Lives and its inspiring solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

Chalfant told the NY Times she was “very distressed to discover that, in order to support one movement I thought was important, there was some kind of peculiar political test.” But, in fact, that’s precisely what the benefit organizers were demanding of the club owners, that in order to host the pro BLM event, they had to reject their own pro-Israel views.


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