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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘peres’

Peres Says Syria On Way to Being ‘a Number of Countries’

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Syria is ceasing to be its former self, and “the war and terror have divided that country into parts, into a number of countries,” President Shimon Peres said Wednesday.

Speaking during a tour of Israel’s internationally-marketed Plasson plastics factory, President Peres stated, “The world cannot remain silent regarding the bloodshed and murder of children that is taking place in Syria. Diplomacy is always preferable to war but the main issue at present is integrity and in particular the integrity of the Syrian regime.

“If Syria is honest and will take real steps to remove and destroy the chemical weapons in its territory, the US will not attack. If there will be a crack in Syria’s integrity I have no doubt that the US will act militarily.”

Latin American Trading Moving Up on Israeli Agenda

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to improve economic ties with politically friendly Latin American countries in order to compensate for the crippled economy of Israel’s main trading continent, Europe.

The new effort to increase Latin American trading, particularly with Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, will compliment Netanyahu’s simultaneous effort to increase economic ties with China and other East Asian countries. These four Latin American countries formed the free-trade Pacific Alliance last year and account for about 36 percent of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP). They all trade significantly with North America.

Currently in Latin America, Brazil is Israel’s main trading partner, taking in Israeli exports at about $1.1 billion per year and importing to Israel at about $400 million per year. In June, Israeli President Shimon Peres signed a free-trade agreement with Colombia.

Vatican: Papal Visit to Show IDF ‘Imprisoning’ Christian Population

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Fr. Peter Vasko, President of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land (FFHL), heralded Pope Francis’ announcement that he may visit the Holy Land next year as an opportunity for the “whole world to see the plight of Christians in the area.

Vasko said the pontiff’s presence would also “shine a light on the dwindling Christian population in the Holy Land, and hopefully help ease living conditions in the area.” Christians, once a majority in the area, have diminished to less than two percent of the population as restrictions on travel, education and work have increased.

In Palestinian controlled areas, including Bethlehem, what remains of the Arab Christians population are virtual prisoners in their own homes. At the same time, Israeli controlled areas are the only places in the entire Middle East where the Christian population has been rising.

Pope Francis said the visit – his first as head of the Church – would mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s trip to Jerusalem in 1964. The announcement came on the heels of Israeli President Shimon Peres’ recent visit to the Vatican. During that visit, Peres urged the pope to come to Israel, adding, “The sooner you visit the better, as a new opportunity is being created for peace, and your arrival could contribute significantly to increasing the trust and belief in peace.”

Peres added, “I turn to you and ask that within your sermons in front of millions of believers in the world you include the hope for peace in the Middle East and the whole world.”

Vasko said the Vatican has long supported FFHL programs, which provide education, housing and work opportunities for thousands of Palestinian Christians. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI visited Israel during their tenures.

Pope Francis accepted Peres’ invitation, but no date has been set for the trip.

US: Israel’s Prosperity a Problem

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

At first blush, it might have sounded like praise, but it wasn’t. Before meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Secretary of State John Kerry pronounced Israel’s prosperity an impediment to “peace” with the Palestinians. “I think there is an opportunity [for peace], but for many reasons it’s not on the tips of everyone’s tongue. People in Israel aren’t waking up every day and wondering if tomorrow there will be peace because there is a sense of security and a sense of accomplishment and of prosperity.”

So, Secretary Kerry thinks it would be better for Israel to approach negotiations from a position of precarious poverty? Does he think Israel’s quest for legitimacy and security in an unstable, over-armed and hostile region would be better received if Israel were a needy, insecure supplicant to Palestinian and Arab interests? Or that the Palestinians would have pity on an unnerved and anxious Israel struggling with a bankrupt, aid-dependent economy?

There are people – not necessarily Secretary Kerry – who prefer their Jews as needy supplicants, but that is not a role Israel is prepared to play, thank you. The entire Zionist enterprise is designed precisely to ensure that Jews in the State of Israel are able to wake up every day with a “sense of security” and determine their own interests. The fact that Israelis also wake up with a hard-earned and well-deserved “sense of accomplishment and of prosperity” is icing on the cake.

What Kerry appears to have meant was that this is somehow a pivotal moment for Israel because its prosperity and security may be evanescent. He continued, “Over the horizon… one can see the challenges,” that make it important “to resolve this at this moment, when there is a willingness for people to look for a way [to achieve an agreement].”

“At this moment” Israel is a stable, educated, increasingly energy independent, democratic, prosperous country with a military that appears willing and able to defend the people from threats over the horizon. It has a clear understanding with the Kingdom of Jordan for security along the Jordan River that protects both neighbors. It has an almost clear understanding with the President of the United States (and certainly has one with Congress) that the main threat to its security lies in the nuclear aspirations of Iran.

This, says Kerry, is “the moment” Israel should feel a pressing imperative to dump King Abdullah and cut a deal with a Palestinian polity that is bifurcated between a kleptocratic, autocratic, openly anti-Semitic West Bank ruled by a man whose sole elected term ended in 2009, and a corrupt, Islamist, Gaza ruled by terrorist-worshipping, Iranian-sponsored Hamas. Hamas and Fatah are at war with one another and their only point of agreement appears to be that the independence of Israel in 1948 was a mistake waiting to be “rectified.” A deal with Mahmoud Abbas, old, ailing, and very unpopular at home, would be a temporary deal at best. If Hamas wins its war, Israel will have stripped itself of vital territory only to find its heavily populated coastline under the same rocket and missile fire that southern Israel now absorbs. And Jordan would similarly find hostile forces aligned with Iran overlooking the Kingdom.

Under those circumstances, the U.S. would do better to tell the Palestinians that there is no deal to be had unless they – both factions – demonstrably accommodate the reality that Israel is a legitimate, permanent part of the region. Otherwise, it is for Israel to determine how best to defend itself from those “challenges over the horizon.”

The boundaries of the Levant determined by the British and the French early in the last century are being erased; there is little border left between Lebanon and Syria as militias on all sides fight in both countries. Tribalism and religious enmity from both radical Sunni and radical Shiite expansionists have produced monstrous swamps of Arab blood, and atrocities that rival Rwanda and Cambodia. Iraq is devolving into Sunni and Shiite cantons at war with one another. Turkey, long a country tolerant of Jews and engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship with Israel, has become a financial and political backer of Hamas, which is sworn to the bloody destruction of Israel. Qatar is second only to Turkey in its willingness to be seen as Hamas’s benefactor, not to mention Qatar’s pledge of $1 billion to “protect the Arabic and Islamic heritage of Jerusalem” (meaning to erase what it can of Jewish patrimony there). Egypt, after a 30-year stable peace, is ruled by a party that eschews relations with Israel and is constrained mainly by its military and its own economic debacle from acting on its ideological platform.

Being Intellectually Honest

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Last July, I went to the President’s Conference in Jerusalem, invited as a blogger and treated with much respect. My political agenda is pretty obvious to anyone who takes the time to read about my writings. I am, if nothing else, intellectually honest in my feelings. I object when someone says I hate Arabs – I don’t. I don’t object when someone says that my political realities leave no room for the hope that peace is just around the corner. It isn’t.

When I was first invited to the conference – I was a bit surprised. Truthfully, I despise much of what Peres has done in his life and certainly, dislike many of the words that come out of his mouth. I think at age 90, he has finally found his niche and he’s an excellent president – if he would just stay out of politics. But he won’t, and I won’t, so he and I have a nice truce most of the time. He talks; I write. I was concerned that being invited meant I’d have to write his words, break this quiet truce we’ve had going for the last 20 years – I couldn’t agree to that.

But I was assured that I had complete freedom to be, to write…and the promise was most definitely delivered – I wrote what I wanted…I did. I blasted several of the speakers. I called them naive. I argued that some had no right to come here and draw lines on the map or lecture us about how we can do more. And the one who amazed me beyond all others, was the one who spoke in direct contradiction to most of what Shimon Peres believes. “Even if you give them Jerusalem,” Ayaan Hirsi-Ali said, “even if you give them Jerusalem, there will be no peace.”

So I went, I wrote, and felt that I had fulfilled two commitments – the first, to attend and write as much as I could to provide the noise and the bang any conference organizer wants associated with an event, and second to be true to myself. Obviously, the conference organizers agreed, because I was invited back again this year.

It truly is an amazing event – and this year, Professor Stephen Hawking was invited to attend and speak – and he agreed. And then, as would be expected, Palestinians started writing to him demanding that he boycott Israel and the conference and – amazingly enough, as would not be expected, this intelligent man, this icon of British intellectualism, caved in and agreed. He wrote the organizers that he has agreed to the boycott of Israel and will not be coming.

I have no problems with his boycott. I understand and respect his sentiment. I ask only one thing – that he be true to his convictions and boycott Israel entirely. Do not come here, do not speak here. In fact, if you want to be intellectually honest, don’t speak at all. You see, the device that you, Professor Hawking, use to communicate despite your crippled body, includes a computer with an Intel Core i7-based communication system, which runs on a chip designed in Israel. So you see, Hawking, every word you say bears testimony to your hypocrisy.

Please go ahead – truly boycott Israel – I can think of no easier way to silence your absurd position. You don’t want to come to Israel to thank those who enable you to sustain a higher quality of life – no problem, don’t come. This year’s President’s Conference has a rich list of speakers and unlike some others, I personally don’t think you’ll be missed.

But I do hope a man of your…um…intellectual honesty…will have the decency to truly fulfill the boycott you support. I wonder if maybe the scientists in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon have developed an alternative device…yeah, I didn’t think so either. In the meantime, there’s always pen and paper…

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

The Logic of the ‘Winged Pig Conditional’

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

As I’ve mentioned before, I used to teach elementary logic. One of the first topics was compound truth-functional statements, in which the truth of the compound is dependent on the truth of the components. So for example, the compound statement ‘p or q’ is true if and only if either or both of the components, p and q are true.

The definition of the ‘if p then q’ (called a ‘conditional’, and sometimes written p->q) statement seemed counter-intuitive to some students. It is true if and only if either p is false or q is true. That may seem strange, but think about it: suppose I assert that “if I drink 3 cups of coffee then I will have insomnia.” What could falsify this statement? Only one situation: I drink the coffee but still sleep normally.

This definition can be expressed as a “truth table” which tells us what the result will be for every possible combination of truth and falsehood of the antecedent (p) and the consequent (q). Here it is:

p q p->q

True

True

True

True

False

False

False

True

True

False

False

True

Not every conditional statement that we make is a simple function of the truth of its components, but many of them are.

Here is one that I see a lot:

“A majority of Jewish Israelis would give up most of Judea and Samaria, even evacuate settlements, for peace.”

Another way of saying this is that most Jewish Israelis agree with this conditional statement:

“If it would result in a lasting peace, I would support withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.”

The only case in which this statement is false is the one in which the speaker does not support withdrawal despite believing that it would result in peace. So no wonder a majority agrees with it.

It is perfectly rational to accept the truth of the if-then statement, but not support withdrawal because one does not believe that peace would result. For example, many Israelis believe that a withdrawal would result in a Hamas takeover and a Gaza-like situation a few miles from Israel’s population centers. Some point to the PLO’s refusal to recognize a Jewish state with any borders. Others compare the ease with which the Arabs could tear up a peace agreement to the difficulty of repossessing the land after it is ceded.

So clearly the truth of the statement does not imply a readiness on the part of the Israeli public to withdraw; rather it points to a strong desire to finally have an end to the conflict.

But there is more. The truth table above tells us that a conditional is always true when the antecedent is false. In this case, the truth of the consequent is irrelevant. This means that if the antecedent is contradictory or in some way impossible, then the whole statement is always true — but in a trivial sense.

This is what I call a “winged pig conditional.” And that’s what this statement actually is — a trivial one whose assertion commits the speaker to nothing.

I am prepared to bet $1,000 on the truth of the conditional statement “if pigs had wings, then they could fly” (with proper safeguards prohibiting bionic wings, etc.). This is because the antecedent “pigs have wings” is so unlikely as to be considered impossible. So I am not risking any money.

And based on my understanding of the oft-stated intentions of the PLO and Hamas, of Palestinian Arab public opinion, of P.A. and Hamas media, I can say that the proposition that withdrawal would lead to peace is just as unlikely.

To a great extent, the whole idea of a two-state solution as presented by President Obama, Shimon Peres, etc. is a winged pig. Of course it would be wonderful if Israelis and Arabs could live side by side in peace, but since the idea of a Jewish state is so consistently rejected by the Arab side, the questions of “how do we get there” so beloved by Dennis Ross, for example, are so irrelevant as to be uninteresting.

Some years ago, P.M. Netanyahu made news when he announced (under U.S. pressure) that he supported the idea of a Palestinian state in the context of a “two-state solution.” What he meant, of course, was a kind of winged-pig conditional: if the Arabs would agree to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, if the state could be demilitarized, if various security requirements could be met, then …

Of course the response from Mahmoud Abbas was predictable: Netanyahu is lying! He doesn’t support a “two-state solution” because a two-state solution includes right of “return” to Israel for 5 million “refugees,” and no recognition of Jewish ownership of Israel. Not to mention that “Palestine” deserves an army.

This is why the whole “peace process” discussion is so unutterably boring. It is unconnected to reality.

I think that we need to go farther than asking “what do we need to do to get peace?” and even “what do we need for security?” Rather, we must ask “what should the state of the Jewish people be?”

Perhaps those who believe that there is a value to Judea/Samaria that transcends its use as a bargaining chip, and indeed transcends its importance to security, a value that comes from its being the historical homeland of the Jewish people — maybe they have a point?

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Peres Grants Netanyahu Two More Weeks

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

After failing to assemble a coalition within the legally allotted month, Prime Minister Netanyahu went back to President Shimon Peres on Saturday night to ask for an extension. Peres granted Netanyahu a two week extension, which is the maximum allowed by the law. If he fails to put together a coalition within two weeks, Peres can assign the job of assembling the coalition to someone else, and if that attempt fails, Israel will be required to hold new elections.

At the moment, the keys to the forming a coalition are in the hands of Naftali Bennett and his Jewish Home party. Bennett has conditioned his entry into the government on Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid parallel entry into the government with him. But Lapid has made it clear that he has no intention of entering the government with the Ultra-Orthodox.

Bennett, on the other hand, has no problem sitting with the Ultra-Orthodox, but he is demanding that the government work to begin drafting them into the army, as it does with most of the rest of the Jewish population. Drafting the Ultra-Orthodox into the army, would then allow them to legally join the workforce, and break the cycle of poverty in which their community is currently trapped.

One other side effect of a failed coalition building process, is that if no government is formed within the next two weeks, US President Obama may cancel his planned upcoming trip to Israel.

Netanyahu Tasked with Forming Government

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

On Saturday night, Israel’s President Shimon Peres formally tasked Prime Minister Netanyahu with the job of forming the next government for the 19th Knesset.

Netanyahu received endorsement from Likud-Beytenu (31), Yesh Atid (19), HaBayit Hayehudi (12), Shas (11), UTJ (7), and Kadima (2) for the role of Prime Minister.

Labor (15), Meretz (6), HaTnua (6), Ra’am-Tal (4), Hadash (4) and Balad (3) did not give Netanyahu their endorsement.

Official negotiations are set to begin on Sunday.

According to Eli Yishai, Shas believes that they will most likely be sitting in the opposition, and it is generally assumed that UTJ will be there too.

That would leave Netanyahu with no choice but to bring HaBayit HaYehudi into the coalition, something that rumors before the election said Netanyahu did not want to do.

Netanyahu stated that his goals for this term are stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons, peace negotiations with the Palestinians, possibly as a nod towards Tzipi Livni, to get her to join the coalition, equalizing the national burden, while notably adding, “without tearing the nation apart”, a rather obvious message to Shas, quoting back to them Rav Ovadia Yosef’s letter to Peres, perhaps as an indication that their joining the coalition should not be ruled out.

Netanyahu also said he will work to create more jobs, and fix the electoral system.

Netanyahu stated that he wants to create the widest possible national unity government.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-tasked-with-forming-the-government/2013/02/02/

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