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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘President Shimon Peres’

State Dept. Shows Faint Signs of Dumping ‘Peace Process’

Monday, June 10th, 2013

U.S. State Dept. comments on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s scheduled return to Israel this year offer faint indications that the Obama administration, may finally be getting ready to tell the Palestinian Authority and Israel, “Go fight it out among yourselves and leave us alone.”

No one is quite certain why Kerry is coming, unless he has some super-duper trick up his sleeve. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has dug his heels deep in the Saudi 2002 Initiative that has been developed into the basis of PA demands that there is nothing to be negotiated.

On the Israel side, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, one of the most senior and nationalist Likud Knesset Members, took it upon himself to say that the government is against a two-state solution.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was so upset that he called on the Sabbath to the Times of Israel website, which had quoted Danon, to voice his distance from Danon’s remarks.

The facts on the ground tell the story. On the one hand, Palestinian Authority Arabs, heavily backed by European Union and international leftist funding, have settled on thousands of acres in Judea and Samaria to stake claims and isolate Jewish communities.

On the other hand, In  the first three months of this  year, there were 865 housing starts in Judea and Samaria, compared with 313 in the same period in 2012, mirroring the nationalist influence of the Jewish Home party and its “partner through silence,” Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party.

Significantly, the figures do not include areas of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority and where the Netanyahu government has reportedly carried out a de facto building freeze since the beginning of the year.

Senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday following Danon’s comments, “I believe that a government that continues to tender settlements and rejects the two-state solution will not go for peace.”

So why does the Obama administration really think anyone is listening?

It does have an audience, limited but elite.

Only someone with the Ivory Tower view of President Shimon Peres, and there are still a few thousand like him, could actually believe that Abbas is sincere in wanting a peace agreement with Israel, even if all of his demands are met, while refusing to declare that Israel is a “Jewish state.” And only the same view could actually believe that peace can be achieved even Israel were to satisfy all of Abbas’ demands.

“It’s clear not only to us Palestinians but also to the American administration and John Kerry that the current Israeli government is not interested in the peace process,” Nimr Hamad, an adviser to Abbas, told the Associated Press. “The Palestinian position is clear. Israel has to be forced to stop the settlement activity.”

Abbas has long passed the point of no return, and Netanyahu, honest or not, can comfortably go through the motions of wanting to negotiate because he knows Abbas will refuse.

Is Kerry finally getting the message?

In Washington, the growing doubts among reporters of what has become a “peace process charade” have started to creep into the State Dept. comments.

In Friday’s daily news briefing, State Dept, spokeswoman Jen Psaki emphasized what previously has been stated as  a secondary clause:

“Let me just reiterate the larger point here, which is that this is between – this is up to the Israelis and the Palestinians to make the decision to move back to the negotiating table… But it is ultimately up to both sides, regardless of who else is involved on the outside.”

She could not even answer reporter’s questions concerning what meetings Kerry will conduct.

Kerry and President Barack Obama have said before that in the end, the Palestinian Authority and Israel  must decide if they want an agreement.

Kerry does not want to be another failure  following a long line off U.S. diplomats who have thought they could change the Middle East.

The smartest thing would be for Kerry to blame both sides and make a quick exit.

Is Kerry smart? Don’t bet on it.

Peres’ Two-Month 90th Birthday Fete Starts in Native Belarus

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Celebrations for President Shimon Peres’s 90th birthday August 2 started two months early on Wednesday in his hometown of Vishneyeva, Belarus, where a plaque was revealed on the home that now sits on the lot where President Peres grew up.

The ceremonies were held in the presence of his eldest daughter Tzvia Walden, named after President Peres’ Grandfather Tzvi Meltzer, who was killed in Vishneyeva by the Nazis, and were part of the current three-day Limmud FSU Festival.

The plaque reads, “In this place, Shimon Peres, son of Yitzhak and Sarah Perski, the Nobel Laureate and 9th President of the State of Israel, was born on August 2, 1923.”

Earlier in the day, the town held an emotional memorial service near the Valley of Death monument to commemorate the 2,000 Jews of Vishneyeva who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis.

Abbas’ Adviser Calls Israel-PA High-Tech Meeting ‘Unacceptable’

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas  advisor on high-tech affairs strongly criticized a planned meeting between Palestinian Authority and Israel high-tech companies, calling such meetings “unacceptable” because they give the world the wrong impression.

The adviser, Sabri Saydam, told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an  news agency that Palestinian Authority companies should reconsider their participation and “give priority to Palestinian interests.”

He added that the companies should not act  independently of the PA union of high-tech firms.

What could be wrong about Israeli and PA high-tech companies talking to each other, especially since officials from 11 high-tech companies, including Microsoft and Cisco, are to attend?

For starters, the forum is being organized by the Peres Center for Peace. That already puts a Zionist stamp on the meeting.

The forum is entitled ”Business without Barriers,” but without barriers, the Palestinian Authority cannot claim it is an Israeli scheme for  Apartheid.

One of Saydam’s problems is that, according to Ma’an, “there were still few details about the event.”

Perhaps it is a Zionist plot to snare Microsoft and Cisco into declaring that Israeli high-tech companies have a Jewish identity, and that might cause the international community to think that Israel is a Jewish state.

Even worse, the meeting is scheduled for Tel Aviv. The Palestinian Authority undoubtedly would want it to take place in some PA high-tech city, if any exist.

And what would the international community think if it saw that Palestinian Authority Arabs and Israeli Jews can sit down for direct talks on high-tech without pre-published “details of the event?”

One might reach the conclusion, horror of horrors, that Abbas could sit down with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu without knowing ahead of time ”details of the event.” But that might lead to negotiations, in the true sense of the term.

And that would spell the end of Abbas’ “peace process” strategy of “I take, you give.”

Now that Microsoft and Cisco understand what Abbas means by “direct talks,” maybe they can explain the term to John Kerry.

Kerry Huffs and Puffs and Abbas Blows Him Down

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s $4 billion economic program to save the “peace process” got as far as the headlines for at least 12 hours until Palestinian Authority PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas economic adviser in effect wrote a “Dear John” letter Monday, virtually telling him to go back home.

“The Palestinian leadership will not offer political concessions in exchange for economic benefits,” read a statement from Mohammad Mustafa, president of the Palestine Investment Fund and economic adviser to president Mahmoud Abbas. “We will not accept that the economy is the primary and sole component.”

Abbas is nothing if not consistent. No matter  what concession Israel offers, usually after pressure from the U.S. government, Abbas says, “Israel must return to the 1967 borders, accept a Palestinian state headquartered in Jerusalem and accept the immigration of several million foreign Arabs – so we can eliminate Jewish majority in what is left of Israel. Then, we will negotiate.”

The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations don’t get it, but their insistence to play into Abbas’ hands eventually is in Israel’s favor because Abbas is aborting any hopes for a Palestinian state.

Kerry landed in Israel this week with the over-confidence of a show-off and braggart.

Reflecting incredible ignorance – sorry, naïveté –  of Middle East reality, he unveiled a grandiose “groundbreaking plan” at the World Economic Forum on  Sunday that in his own words “is bigger, bolder and more ambitious than anything proposed since Oslo more than 20 years ago now” will be “enormously powerful and different from anything we’ve ever seen before.”

That really is impressive.  And not very modest.

No one could have more proud of John Kerry than John Kerry, but he did not come up with this brainchild alone. He was helped by the Quartet’s Middle East envoy Tony Blair, whose record in the Middle East is about as successful as that of the U.S.  State Dept.

Also at the Forum was President Shimon Peres, who lives in the same world as Blair and Kerry.

“President Abbas, you are our partner — and we are yours,” Peres said for the 2000th time.

The “partner” on Monday returned to his same mantra. Money or no money, the economy is only a “part of a political framework that will ensure the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem its capital and the rights of refugees and a reference to a political solution,” said Mustafa in a statement that made Kerry look like a dumbbell for even opening his mouth.

Kerry actually believed that Abbas is interested in a strong economy with the investments of Palestinian Authority billionaires like Munib Al-Masri, a former Palestinian Authority minister.

But that would mean someone else getting the credit for economic growth, a direct threat to Abbas’ political power.

Peres Pushing Peace Talks, Ministers Argue He Shouldn’t Do Policy

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Israeli President Shimon Peres says that the Arab Peace Initiative constitutes a meaningful change and a strategic opportunity.

In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, Peres turned to the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who is also participating in the conference, and told him that he is Israel’s partner in the peace process.

“We should not permit the hurdles to overcome us. History will judge us not by the process of negotiations, but by its outcome. The today obstacles will pale in the light of peace,” Peres said Abbas.

Peres stressed that he is convinced that the gaps that prevent the resumption of negotiations can be bridged and noted that the parties agree on how to finish: two states living side by side in peace, dignity and freedom – the state of the Jewish people, Israel and an Arab state of Palestine.

Peres earlier said that Israel and the Palestinians should not miss the opportunity created for peace, and work to overcome doubts. He said that the time for peace is now, and if this chance is missed, it could be replaced by a great disappointment. Peres said that he is aware of the difficulties but still thinks that you can establish an agreement with the Palestinians based on the two state principle.

A Jordanian journalist asked Peres if he is speaking on behalf of the Government of Israel and Peres replied, “I am an Israeli, and it just so happens that I’m also president of the State of Israel.”

But back home, few in government were amused. Minister Yuval Steinitz said the government is in charge of making policy decisions, and that any statement, especially on the eve of entering this kind of negotiations is not useful to Israel’s positions.

But the tone of Steinitz’s voice was a lot less restrained.

In response, Peres told reporters that he had spent two hours coordinating his message to the forum with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and that if Steinitz had a problem with it, then he had a problem with it.

Jewish Home chairman, Minister Naftali Bennett, said that he respects and appreciates the president, but it so happens that the great majority of Israelis strongly opposes withdrawal to the ’67 lines, because they understand that this would bring Hamas terror to the cities of central Israel.

“The Israeli public has experienced the results of the Oslo Accords and the thousands who were killed, and they have the good sense to know that the path to achieving peace and security is through strength and not through weakness and retreats,” Minister Bennett said.

Minister Uzi Landau of Yisrael Beiteinu quoted the late Foreign Minister Abba Eban, who said that the Israel’s 1967 borders were ‘Auschwitz borders.’ Before Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Landau said that Israel cannot give up its ability to defend itself, it must remain realistic and not build on pipe dreams.

Finally, Jewish Home Minister Uri Ariel commented that President Peres’s speech had no connection to the reality in Judea and Samaria—where some 400,000 Jews live in towns and villages, and another 300,000 in the neighborhoods of annexed East Jerusalem.

In an interview on Reshet Bet, Minister Ariel said that the president is allowed to express his opinion: “Everyone is allowed to dream and to say what he thinks.”

Ariel reminded listeners that Jews pray for peace three times a day and will continue to do so, but in the real world, when the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wanted to give the Palestinians everything, Abbas fled the discussion..

Welcome to Israel, where internal clashes between left wing presidents and right wing governments are par for the course, where we have a special name for such clashes: Monday.

Barbra Streisand to Receive Honorary Doctorate from Hebrew U

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Legendary American Jewish actress and singer Barbra Streisand will receive an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem next month.

The university said it is honoring Streisand “in recognition of her professional achievements, outstanding humanitarianism, leadership in the realm of human and civil rights, and dedication to Israel and the Jewish people.”

Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, president of the Hebrew University, stated, “Barbra Streisand’s transcendent talent is matched by her passionate concern for equality and opportunity for people of every gender and background. Equally important, her love of Israel and her Jewish heritage are reflected in so many aspects of her life and career. We are deeply proud to honor an individual who exemplifies these values which we at the Hebrew University share and uphold.”

Streisand established the Emanuel Streisand Building for Jewish Studies on the University’s Mount Scopus campus in 1984 in memory of her father, whom she praised as “a teacher, scholar and religious man who devoted himself to education.”

Referring to her 1983 award-winning movie, “Yentl,” she said she was pleased that women could now “pursue Jewish studies without having to disguise themselves as men.” The film, which she directed, produced, and co-wrote, had its Israeli premiere in 1984 under the sponsorship of the Israel Friends of The Hebrew University.

Streisand will sing publicly for the first time in Israel when she visits next month and performs in two concerts. The personal highlight of her trip will be the performance on the opening night of the Israeli Presidential Conference at the Jerusalem International Convention Center June 18.

Two years ago, Streisand appeared in a program on behalf of the welfare of soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, raising $12 million.

Born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn in 1942, she lost her father when she was just a child. While still in her teens, she launched her career as a singer by initially winning a singing contest. At age 19, Streisand made her Broadway debut, and in 1962 she issued her first album, which quickly became the top-selling record by a female vocalist in the United States.

By age 28, Streisand had already earned five of the entertainment industry’s most prestigious awards – the Grammy, Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe, making her an icon of American culture and an international favorite.

The honorary degree from Hebrew University will not be her first. Streisand holds an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Humanities from Brandeis.

Streisand once sang the Israel national anthem, taking the stage at the conclusion of the 1978 Stars Salute Israel show.

A YouTube video of her rendition can be seen below.

Would Hawking Meet Paraplegic Arab Saved by Israel?

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Columnist David Suissa, the founder of OLAM magazine, has challenged theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking to visit a three-year old Gaza paraplegic who is being cared for by Israel.

Hawking shocked the entire Israel political spectrum, from left to right, by his boycotting President Shimon Peres annual “Presidential Conference’ because of the “occupation.”

Hawking who is severely handicapped by a deteriorating disease and is confined to a wheelchair, is able to communicate through a device that is run by a computer chip designed and developed in Israel.

“Instead of getting upset at Hawking, I would rather we invite him to visit the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, part of the Tel HaShomer complex in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan, Suissa wrote in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.

There, he would meet a three-year-old Arab toddler with no arms and no legs, named Mohammed al-Farra.

“Mohammed was born in Gaza with a rare genetic disease. His parents abandoned him, and the Palestinian government refused to pay for his care.

“As soon as he was born, he was rushed to Israel for emergency treatment. As reported in Huffpost, his genetic disorder left him with a weakened immune system and crippled his bowels, and an infection destroyed his hands and feet, requiring them to be amputated.

“Since then, he has spent his days and nights in an Israeli hospital undergoing treatment and learning how to use prosthetic limbs. His grandfather lives with him. Mohammed has been warmly embraced and cared for by his Israeli doctors, who have arranged for him and his grandfather to live in the sunny pediatric ward.”

Suissa asked, “I wonder what kind of boycott Hawking would have in mind after meeting little Mohammed, and after learning about the thousands of other Arab children from the West Bank and Gaza who are routinely cared for in Israeli hospitals?

“Well, I can think of at least one: It would be a boycott of every country in the world that neglects to care for disabled children like Steven Hawking and Mohammed al-Farra.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/would-hawking-agree-to-meet-paraplegic-mohammed-in-israel/2013/05/14/

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