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July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘president’

US President Obama Punishes Israel for Re-electing PM Netanyahu

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Punishment for Israelis who chose to re-elect Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week was not long in coming from U.S. President Barack Obama.

The Obama administration is now reportedly weighing the option of whether to agree to a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, as well as the withdrawal of Israel from Judea and Samaria, with mutually agreed land swaps.

The resolution would force Israel to enter immediate talks with the Palestinian Authority, in advance of a final status agreement for both sides.

Obama administration officials said Thursday the White House may support passage of this new resolution, according to a report published in the New York Times.

“We are now in a reality where the Israeli government no longer supports direct negotiations. Therefore we clearly have to factor that into our decisions going forward,” a White House official said.

Major differences have emerged between the two administrations over the question of how to deal with the constant threat posed by a Palestinian Authority that succors and glorifies the terrorists in its midst.

Future contacts between Israel and the United States would be managed by Secretary of State John Kerry and Pentagon officials, the White House official added, saying, “The president is a pretty pragmatic person and if he felt it would be useful he will certainly engage. But he’s not going to waste his time.”

For decades, U.S. presidents traditionally call the apparent victor of Israeli elections after the polls have closed to congratulate them on their win. Likud Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has received that call three times in the past, including from President Barack Obama, even during their most fractious relations – but not this week.

Instead, “the day after,” Netanyahu received a public scolding from Obama on his “divisive language” and a refusal by the American president to call his Israeli counterpart to offer the traditional congratulations. Secretary Kerry did make the call, per the tradition.

In an initial response to Israel’s election results, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the U.S. would have to “re-evaluate” its position.

On Wednesday, the White House spokesperson talked about the president’s “deep concern” over the “divisive language” used by Netanyahu’s Likud party, claiming attempts to marginalize Israel’s Arab citizens in social media posts urging voters to get to the polls to offset a high turnout of more radical Arab voters supporting the united Arab party lists. “These are views the administration intends to convey directly to the Israelis,” Earnest said. Similar efforts by Obama during past presidential campaigns among targeted populations were seemingly forgotten.

During Obama’s own electoral campaign, as GOP Congresswoman Ileana Roz-Lehtinen of Florida pointed out, the president himself used divisive language while trying to whip up support from Latinos. “If Latinos sit out the election cycle, we’re going to punish our enemies and we’re going to reward our friends,” he said at the time — which she noted was a “pretty divisive kind of rhetoric” as well.

“The [Israeli] election is over,” Roz-Lehtinen told Fox News. “Let’s move on.”

But in fact, that’s not happening. “They’re really sticking it to Netanyahu to this day,” she added, “… but President Obama needs to understand that the United States Congress sides with Prime Minister Netanyahu on [Iran].”

The straw that broke the camel’s back for the president, apparently, was a remark by Netanyahu during his campaign in which he stated he would not allow creation of an Palestinian Authority state next to Israel due to what is now obviously a security threat.

Earnest, however, said the president still believes a “two-state solution” is best, even though top Israeli leaders warn that such a move would pave the way for an Iranian launching pad on Israel’s borders – or worse, an ISIS terror state right in Israel’s midst.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the administration would “absolutely” continue to push for an independent PA state.

Speaking on CNN, White House political strategist David Simas congratulated Israelis – but not Netanyahu – and noted the difficult process of coalition building still lies ahead.

“Sometimes that takes a couple of weeks and we’re going to give space to the formation of that coalition government, and we’re not going to weigh in one way or the other, except to say that the United States and Israel have a historic and close relationship and that will continue going forward.”

Huckabee Says Netanyahu ‘Dead Right’ to Remind Europe’s Jews Israel is Safe Haven

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told Fox News on Sunday (Feb. 15) that he believes Israel’s prime minister was “dead right” to openly remind the Jews in Europe that Israel awaits them as a safe haven.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Israeli cabinet Sunday that the current wave of terror attacks in Europe – including murderous anti-Semitic attacks – “is expected to continue.”

Netanyahu said in his opening statement, “I would like to tell all European Jews and all Jews wherever they are: ‘Israel is the home of every Jews. To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world I say that Israel is waiting for you with open arms.’”

“I understand what he’s saying,” Huckabee said in an interview live from Jerusalem, where he is currently on a visit to the Jewish State. Huckabee is also still mulling over the possibility of running as a candidate for president in the 2016 U.S. national election. Netanyahu, for his part, faces Israel’s national elections again on March 17.

“The Jews have been through this kind of horrible situation before, when they were hunted down and murdered, and he’s saying to many Jews in Europe, ‘terrorism is not isolated to the Middle East, it’s global, it’s happening in Oklahoma City, Fort Hood, in Copenhagen… and the one place that Jews can be protected is in Israel,'” Huckabee continued.

“And I can’t blame him a bit – and he’s probably dead right to say it.”

Last week U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, said in an address to the Brookings Institute that media coverage over terror attacks in Europe and the Middle East have become disproportionate to the threat they represent, at least in the United States. ‘

“While the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or during the Cold War,” she said. “We cannot afford to be buffeted by alarmism and a nearly instantaneous news cycle,” she added.

‘Last Minute’ Iron Dome Infusion from US

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

The Congress voted Friday morning to transfer an additional $225 million to Israel for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

The move came less than 24 hours after Hamas terrorists kidnapped an Israeli soldier during a cease fire demanded by the United States and the United Nations.

President Barack Obama immediately signed the measure into law, and the funds were transferred overnight, according to a report posted by ABC News.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee two weeks ago approved the transfer of $351 million, bringing the total appropriations for Israel to $621 million.

The funds transferred last night followed a unanimous vote of approval by the Senate just before the start of a long Congressional recess.

“This is a good example of us being able to put aside partisan considerations and work together to help our good friend, Israel,” Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Politico.

“I will stand by Israel for a lot of personal reasons but certainly for political reasons,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). “And I have no hesitation in declaring to the world that’s how I feel.”

Senatora Tom Coburn (R-OK) tried but failed to convince his colleagues to pass an amendment to offset the costs of helping Israel by “reducing unnecessary contributions to the UN.”

United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, meanwhile, earlier had slammed the United States for funding the entirely defensive Iron Dome anti-missile system.

“Americans not only equipped the Israelis with weapons used in the Gaza Strip but also helped Israel in the amount of almost a billion dollars to develop the Iron Dome system that protects the residents from rocket fire,” Pillay said. “Gaza residents were not given similar protection from Israeli bombing.”

Pillay has called for an international investigation of Israel’s counter terror operation in Gaza, claiming the IDF is guilty of war crimes. She has not, however, used the same criteria in addressing the actions of Hamas, who started this war, and freely uses civilians as human shields in combat and in placement of weaponry for use against Israel.

Obama Promises Peres A-G Will ‘Check Into’ Pollard

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama assured Israel’s outgoing President Shimon Peres on Wednesday he would ask Attorney-General Eric Holder to “check into” an offer that Peres made regarding the case of former Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

Peres’s office submitted his request to the White House prior to arriving for what will be his last official state visit as Israel’s president.

“I made an offer but won’t go into details about it,” he told reporters on Wednesday. However, he did discuss the specifics with members of the Pollard family, he said, before presenting the plan to Obama.

“If I share too many details it will just ruin things,” he said at the briefing. “I cannot say that [the president] responded positively on the spot. I don’t want to add to what he said, which was that the U.S. Attorney-General would decide.”

Pollard is entering his 29th year of incarceration in a North Carolina prison after being convicted in 1985 on a single charge of passing classified information to an allied nation, Israel. The crime usually carries a maximum penalty of up to four years in jail. But although Pollard’s attorneys worked out a plea bargain with the prosecution, during the sentencing a note was passed to the judge. Suddenly Pollard was charged with and convicted of treason without recourse to a new trial. His attorney had no access to the evidence that had apparently led to the new charges, which was locked due to “national security” — and instead Pollard found himself sentenced to life in prison. All attempts at appeal have since failed.

Since Peres was serving as Israel’s prime minister at the time of Pollard’s arrest, and since it was he who submitted the documents to the U.S. with Pollard’s fingerprints that were used to incriminate him, it is Peres who is most likely to persuade Obama now to grant clemency for humanitarian reasons.

He and Obama also share a unique status as being the only two current heads of state in the world who are both Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Pollard’s health has deteriorated significantly over the past several years, and the request by Peres is reportedly to be based on the issues of Pollard’s extremely poor health, the impact on his wife, and the length of his time already served — in short, humanitarian reasons. At age 90, Peres this year retires from politics and made a promise to Pollard’s wife and the people of Israel prior to his departure that he would try to win her husband’s release during his visit to the U.S. He is scheduled to meet again with Obama Thursday.

Mazal Tov, Mr. President: Peres Congratulates Rivlin

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

President Shimon Peres congratulated President-elect Reuven ‘Rubi’ Rivlin.

“Rubi, Your Excellency the next President of the State of Israel, you are right for this role. It is a position that brings with it responsibility, you have to consider your every word and every action, but you will do it successfully because you are, to your core, a good person. There is a handover period and I am at your disposal from this moment onwards with whatever you need. My team and I will do everything we can to ensure the handover is conducted is honorably and professionally and we do it gladly.”

President Peres continued and said, “I am at the end of my seven-year term as President and it is an incredible privilege to serve to our people. As President your role is to serve, not to rule and in my eyes there is no greater honor than to faithfully serve your nation and your people. You have all the qualities to do just that. I wish you luck and I am confident that you will succeed in your future, which is also the future of the State of Israel.”

President-elect Rivlin thanked President Peres and said, “I thank you on behalf of myself and my wife. I am stepping into big shoes, it won’t be easy to be the 10th President after your presidency in which you done a lot of good for humanity, thank you Shimon.”

Israel Presidential Elections Tuesday

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Despite the mud, dirt, scandals, investigations and allegations, the Knesset will hold elections for President on schedule, on Tuesday.

One wonders what kind of taint this will put on the presidency for the next 10 years?

Yet Another Presidential Race Dropout Following Allegations of Wrongdoing

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Labor MK Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer dropped out of the race for President of Israel, just days before the June 10th election.

Ben-Eliezer quit following a much publicized last minute police investigation, examining whether or not illegally received money to buy an apartment.

Ben-Eliezer is the second MK knocked out of the race for president following much publicized investigations, the first was Minister Silvan Shalom, who dropped out after allegations that he had committed some sex-related crimes.

The Attorney General eventually closed the investigations against Silvan, but as a result Silvan decided to not run.

Ben-Eliezer maintains his innocence, and says he will continue to fight to prove his innocence, and called it a ‘targeted assassination’.

But even if he could prove his innocence in the next few days, the allegations are enough to kill his chance to be in a reasonable position to challenge Ruby Rivlin, the Likud front-runner, in a run-off race.

On the online Israeli political forums they’re taking it a step further, as members discuss how presidential candidate Dalia Itzik, after leaving politics in 2012, was able to afford a NIS 4.5 million luxury apartment in Tel Aviv in 2013. Itzik’s husband works for the Israel Electric Company.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has offered Labor the option to postpone the presidential elections for 2 weeks to give them the opportunity to select a different candidate to support.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yet-another-presidential-dropout-following-allegations-of-wrongdoing/2014/06/07/

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