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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘relations’

New Era for US-Israel Relations (Trump’s “10 Commandments”)

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Could anyone have predicted the outcome of the November 8, 2016 election?

The outcome of the November 8, 2016 US election was predicted by those who doubted the accuracy of the polling samples. In fact, it is doubtful that credible samples can be currently formulated, due to the fluctuating ground of the social, economic, political, demographic and ethnic environment in the 435 congressional districts, the 50 states and the many county lines in the US.

The outcome of the November races for the White House, 34 Senate seats, 435 House seats, 12 Governorships and all State Legislatures spotlights the reasserted profile of the Flyover Areas of relatively small-town-America, the Blue Collar and Six-Pack-Joe and Lunch-Pail-Mable America (“Reagan Democrats”), the moderate “Blue Dog” and conservative America, the national and homeland security hawks and the evangelical constituency, which was not significantly-registered in prior election cycles.

The November 8, 2016 election was a victory of the anti-establishment and politically-incorrect folks over the politically-correct media, academia, political, business and foreign policy establishments.

How will the Trump victory impact US-Israel relations?

Just like all Western democracies and other allies of the US, Israel is mostly concerned with the US posture of deterrence, which has played a critical role in restraining global radicalism and reassuring free societies. However, the US power-projection has been significantly eroded during the Obama Administration, generating tailwinds for rogue regimes and headwinds for America’s allies, as has been strikingly demonstrated in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East at-large. It has fueled global turbulence, instability and Islamic terrorism, which is asserting itself in Europe and increasingly on the US mainland.

The Trump presidency is expected to reboot the US posture of deterrence by reversing the recent draconian cuts in the US defense budget and the size of the US armed forces – in the face of intensifying clear and present terrorism, conventional and nuclear threats to the US and its allies – and to replenish the rapidly depleted and aging US military stockpiles; compensate for the declining purchase power of the US dollar; restore the size of the armed forces, and reassess the July 2015 agreement with Iran. The latter has caused all pro-US Arab countries to downgrade their confidence in the US posture of deterrence and seek closer ties with Russia.

The track record of President-elect Trump, Vice-President-elect Pence, and their foreign policy and national security advisors, suggest that US-Israel relations are expected to experience less tension and substantial enhancement, driven by the 400-year-old foundation of Judeo-Christian values of liberty and justice, as well as long and short-term mutual interests and threats, Israel’s unique and increasing contributions to the US commercial and defense industries and to scientific, technological, irrigation, agricultural, space and military US concerns.

President and Vice President-elect Trump and Pence, and most of their advisors on US-Israel relations and foreign policy, are prone to adhere to the following “ten commandments:”

1.  Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel is a derivative of a unique historical right – which was enshrined by the early Pilgrims and the US Founding Fathers – rather than a compensation for the Holocaust;

2. Israel is a most effective, unconditional geo-strategic ally of the US, willing to flex its muscles, extending the strategic hand of the US, while employing its own – not American – soldiers, performing within the framework of a two-way-street, mutually-beneficial, win-win US-Israel relationship;

3. The scope of US geo-strategic interests, and therefore US-Israel relations, dramatically transcends the Palestinian issue;

4. Irrespective of the Arab talk – but based on the Arab walk – the Palestinian issue is not a core-cause of Middle East turbulence, nor a center-piece of Arab policy-making, nor a trigger of anti-US Islamic terrorism, nor the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict;

5. Based on the intra-Arab Palestinian track record (stabbing the backs of their Arab hosts), the relationships between the Palestinian Authority and anti-US regimes and terror organizations, the anti-US incitement on the Palestinian Street, Palestinian hate-education, and the strategic implications of the raging anti-US Arab Tsunami, a Palestinian state would be a strategic liability, undermining regional stability and vital US interests in the Middle East;

6. The Trump team’s order of priorities will minimize the US involvement in the mediation/negotiation process of the Palestinian issue. The Trump team is aware that the US has introduced numerous Israel-Arab peace initiatives, none of which succeeded. The only two successful peace initiatives, Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan, were initiated – and directly negotiated – by the parties involved. The US involvement has always radicalized Arab expectations by further pressure on Israel, thus radicalizing Arab positions, which undermines the prospects of peace.

7. The Trump/Pence state-of-mind does not consider Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria an obstacle to peace nor a violation of international law.

8. The Trump/Pence team recognizes that the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria are critically required for Israel’s existence, as demonstrated by a map submitted to President Johnson by former Chairman of the Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff, General Earl Wheeler: “the minimum requirements for Israel’s defense include most of the West Bank.”

9. The Trump/Pence team is aware that Jerusalem is the ancient capital of the Jewish State – not an international city – and therefore should be the site of the US Embassy in Israel. The refusal to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem has undermined the US posture of deterrence, and has strayed from the legacy of the US Founding Fathers, who considered Jerusalem a cornerstone of their moral and cultural worldview, as reflected by the 18 Jerusalems and 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) on the US map.

10. Trump’s anti-establishment worldview is also targeting the State Department which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, including its 1948 recommendation not to recognize the establishment of Israel, and its current insistence that Jerusalem is an international city. Therefore Foggy Bottom will not lead – but follow – the Middle East policy of the Trump Administration, which will not subordinate the US unilateral action to multilateralism and the UN.

The Trump/Pence worldview on US-Israel relations is consistent with the vast
majority of the US constituency
and the US House and Senate, which will produce fertile ground for a substantial expansion of mutually-beneficial cooperation through congressional and executive initiatives.

The state-of-mind of President-elect Trump and Vice-President-elect Pence will provide a unique platform for the dramatic enhancement of US-Israel cooperation in the face of mutual challenges and threats, bolstering the economy, the national and homeland security of both countries, providing a tailwind to US allies and a headwind to US foes, thus reducing global instability.

Yoram Ettinger

Azerbaijan And Israel: Blueprint For Positive Jewish-Muslim Relations

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

There are noble and urgent reasons to roll up our sleeves and try very hard to address the dynamics between Jews and Muslims, in the most general and also most individualistic of terms.

We need to cover all bases so that we can make positive changes in the troubled relationship before it gets worse. We must look at practical alternatives to the festering status quo. It is our responsibility as stewards of this world.

Jewish awareness of the secular majority-Muslim nation of Azerbaijan has increased over the past few years. Azerbaijan has had an incomparable relationship with the Jewish people for centuries, and the country’s 30,000 Jewish citizens are treated with honor and respect, reflecting Azerbaijan’s humane traditions and its praiseworthy record as a haven for Jews through the Holocaust and into our day.

The friendship between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the State of Israel stands in sharp contrast to the geopolitical and sectarian tensions that plague so much of the world.

It’s no secret that Azerbaijan and Israel share a strategic alliance, with a particular emphasis on energy and defense technology. A telling example of the deep level of trust between the two countries is that Israeli citizens, per presidential decree, can have a visa issued at airports in Azerbaijan upon arrival, making Israel one of the few countries in the world with that kind of exemption.

Israel was one of the first nations to formally recognize the sovereign Republic of Azerbaijan in 1991, just a few months after it restored its independence from the Soviet Union. Israel was also one of the first countries to open an embassy in Azerbaijan.

Cooperation between the Jewish state and the majority-Muslim secular democracy has strengthened and expanded in recent years, not only in the realm of security but also and increasingly in the areas of energy, agriculture, telecommunications, cyber technology, construction, irrigation, medicine, and tourism. These connections started in the 1990s, and within a decade Israel had become Azerbaijan’s fifth-leading trade partner in the world.

Today, approximately 50 percent of the oil used in Israel comes from Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan continues to make multi-billion dollar investments in Israeli defense technologies.

The relationship goes beyond trade and is based on core values and plays out in social life and politics. I recall reading a statement made by Imam Malik, the head of one of Azerbaijan’s largest mosques, on the issue of Jews ascending the Temple Mount. He said “There is nothing in Islamic law to prevent Jews from ascending the Temple Mount and the one who claims otherwise is considered a heretic in Islam who transforms the sanctity of the place for political purposes.”

Imagine if the rest of the Muslim world thought about the Temple Mount, and a myriad of other related issues, in a similar way.

Critics note that Azerbaijan has yet to open an embassy in Israel, or they say that Azerbaijan’s location between Russia and Iran (along with its desire to maintain good neighborly relations with both of those regional powers) portends an unstable future for its relationship with Israel. However, regional experts and the hard evidence shine a different, and much more detailed, light on the story of the Azerbaijan-Israel friendship.

In 2009, Wikileaks revealed that the relationship has always been much closer than it appears. And Azerbaijan indeed faces immense pressure from the surrounding Muslim world. The country’s unique situation comes with definite risks and requires delicate management far beyond the scope of news coverage. These are factors that Israel, perhaps more than any other nation, can appreciate.

But the end game is unusually and refreshingly straightforward and promising. For the Republic of Azerbaijan, there is no reason not to collaborate with Israel, and there are plenty of immediate, long-term, and positive incentives that support the relationship. In the face of intense regional turmoil and dangerous threats to Israel and Jewish life around the globe, this friendship carries profound messages and meaning.

Just imagine what could happen if other majority-Muslim nations followed Azerbaijan’s direction, and success, when it comes to relations with Israel and the Jewish people.

Rabbi Simchah Aaron Green

Turkey’s President Erdogan Shakes Hands With Israel’s Female Diplomat, Shani Cooper

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shook hands Wednesday with Israel’s female interim head of its embassy in Ankara, Shani Cooper, who has been appointed to field the office until permanent ambassadors are appointed by the two countries.

The ceremonial handshake was part of a tradition carried out with the diplomatic corps each year to celebrate Turkey’s Victory Day on August 30.

This time, Erdogan specifically asked to welcome Cooper — a move seen by analysts as an effort to send a positive message to Israelis who are closely watching the Turkish leader in the wake of a six-year break in relations between the two countries.

Cooper responded warmly to the request, expressing Israel’s support for Erdogan and the Turkish nation.

Erdogan requested an interpreter, through whose services he responded with positive remarks on the diplomatic relations between the two countries. He wished Cooper good luck on her position as well.

Earlier in the day, Erdogan’s office sent the approved, signed agreement with Israel to the office of Turkey’s prime minister. Simultaneously in Israel, the government cabinet ministers also issued their final approval on the document as well.

The agreement is considered to be officially ratified and becomes effective after seven days if no objections are filed on either side.

Hana Levi Julian

President Rivlin and Paraguayan President Cartes Commit To Improving Bilateral Relationship

Monday, July 18th, 2016

by Jonathan Benedek President Reuven Rivlin and Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes together acknowledged the long bilateral friendship between their countries since Israel’s founding in 1948 in a warm meeting Monday morning at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. The two men committed to expanding ties with each other during their joint news conference with reporters. “Paraguay was and still is a true friend of the State of Israel since its establishment and even beforehand when it voted for it on November 29, 1947,” said Rivlin.

The United Nations held a vote on the Partition Plan on November 29, 1947, which proposed to divide the British Mandate of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Paraguay was one of 33 UN member states to vote in favor of the plan.

“We are happy to strengthen the ties between the two countries and I hope that your visit here will further improve the good relations,” Rivlin told his Paraguayan counterpart.

One of the manifestations of such an improvement was the reopening in 2015 of the Israeli embassy in Paraguay, which had ceased operations in 2002 due to financial constraints. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs often closes embassies and consulates on the basis of budgetary decisions over the allocation of available financial resources.

In light of Israel’s announcement earlier this year that it would close several of its consulates around the world including those in Philadelphia, Belarus, El Salvador, and Marseilles, the reopening of the embassy in Paraguay demonstrated that Israel has prioritized the advancement of relations with Paraguay and with much of Latin America.

“The reopening of our embassy in Paraguay was an important milestone for the rest of Israel’s activities in Latin America in general and with MERCOSUR specifically,” explained Rivlin.

MERCOSUR is a unified common market in Latin America that includes Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Israel was the first country to sign a free trade agreement with the trading bloc on December 18, 2007. An environment allowing for the expansion of the exchange of goods and services between Israel and MERCOSUR has enabled Israel and Paraguay to conduct a number of joint initiatives together.

“We have been able to expand our relationship in a variety of areas: the economy, science, technology, business, and security,” noted Rivlin.

President Cartes acknowledged the value of partnering with Israel in such areas. “Israel stands out in its capabilities in agriculture, science, and technology,” said Cartes.

“We are interested in being involved in the exchange of knowledge and technology, which will contribute to the development of our country and its young population,” he continued. “This is an exciting and historic time for all of us and we are very excited and pleased to visit Israel, a friend of Paraguay.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Shiloh Musings: Will Brexit and Theresa May make for Better Britain-Israel Relations?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
Here in Israel, there are those who say that one of the reasons that some British voted for Brexit was the EU’s extreme anti-Israel policies including the fact that it sponsors all sorts of pro-Palestine activities and NGOs which work very blatantly not only against Israel but supporting the Arab terrorists. That is what the pro-Brexit crowd meant by saying that they were interested in economic ties but not in the politics.

The Jerusalem Post has a very optimistic article about Great Britain’s new incoming Prime Minister, Theresa May. Here’s for hoping that they are right about her, although if their optimism is only based on a speech she gave two years ago when visiting, I’m more a pessimist. As regular readers of this blog know very well, I do not take such speeches very seriously. They are no more true than film scripts.

Theresa May, a ‘long-standing friend of Israel’

The parliamentary chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel issued a statement saying that “Israel can rest assured that a UK led by Theresa May will be there in its moments of need.”
…May, according to former ambassador to London Daniel Taub, “has been a long-standing friend of Israel and the Jewish community.” He said that as home secretary, May was very supportive of “our efforts to deepen British- Israel ties in the area of homeland security, and also very receptive to the concerns of the Jewish community regarding anti-Semitism and violent extremism.” Her ministry was responsible for Britain’s MI5 intelligence service, and as such was both aware and appreciative of the close intelligence and security cooperation between the two countries.
…May’s only visit to Israel was in the summer 2014, when the bodies of the three kidnapped youth from Gush Etzion were discovered. In a speech in September of that year to the Conservative Friends of Israel, she discussed that trip, and that speech provides a glimpse of her outlook on Israel.
“The murder of those boys – and the loss of life among Israelis and Palestinians in the subsequent military operations in Gaza – is a sad reminder that the Arab/Israeli conflict is not just an abstract debate argued over the pages of Western newspapers and television screens,” she said.

Batya Medad

Israel and Turkey Agree to Restore Relations After 6-Year Rift

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Tower Magazine website}

Israel and Turkey have reached a reconciliation agreement aimed at normalizing ties after six years of strained relations.

“The Middle East is in turmoil. My policy is to create islands of stability with our close neighbors,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a Monday press conference in Rome, the Times of Israel reported. “This agreement is good for both sides.”

Relations between Israel and Turkey devolved after the IDF’s 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara. The ship, which was under the control of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation—a group designated as a terror organization by the Netherlands and Germany—was part of a flotilla attempting to break Israel’s legal naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. After the IDF boarded the Mavi Marmara, they were attacked by members of the crew. Ten crew members were killed in the ensuing fight, and several Israeli soldiers were injured. The other ships in the flotilla were diverted without incident.

As part of the agreement, Israel has agreed to pay $20 million in compensation to the bereaved and injured, and in return Turkey will pass legislation banning legal proceedings against the Israeli soldiers in its courts. Turkey also dropped a demand for Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza, and will only be permitted to send aid to the territory after it passes security checks at Israel’s Ashdod port. Ankara will also be allowed to build a hospital as well as a power and desalinization plant in Gaza.

In addressing these terms, Netanyahu stressed that the deal will secure the “continuation of the maritime security blockade off the Gaza Strip coast.”

“This is a supreme security interest for us. I was not prepared to compromise on it,” Netanyahu continued.

Turkey in return has committed to thwart the plotting and financing of Hamas terrorist acts against Israel from its soil. It will also not stand in the way of Israeli involvement in international forums to which it belongs, mostly notably NATO.

Jerusalem and Ankara will also restore full diplomatic relations, appointing ambassadors and lifting restrictions on military and intelligence cooperation. Netanyahu added that the deal will open Turkey to Israeli natural gas exports, and that the country could possibly serve as a gateway to European markets. “[The deal has] immense implications for the Israeli economy, and I use that word advisedly,” the prime minister told reporters.

While not a formal part of the deal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also personally pledged in a letter to help return the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed during the 2014 Gaza war, which are thought to be held by Hamas, and free two Israelis reportedly being held by the terrorist group. One of the captives is an Ethiopian Jew — described as mentally-ill by his family — who wandered into Gaza accidentally in 2014; the second man, a resident of a Bedouin town in Israel’s Negev desert, also apparently crossed into Gaza of his own volition. He has been described as mentally disabled.

The agreement is expected to be approved by Israel’s security cabinet on Wednesday.

Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated Netanyahu on the agreement when the two met in Rome on Monday, calling it a “positive step.”

“Israel comes out on top here,” Louis Fishman, an assistant professor at Brooklyn College who focuses on Turkish and Israeli affairs, told Reuters. “From the start it believed that a deal could be worked out where Turkish aid was able to enter the Gaza Strip under Israeli supervision. It seems this is what was struck.”

“Restoring relations with Ankara is a linchpin in Israel’s strategy to unlock its natural gas wealth,” Reuters added, noting that Israeli energy stocks and shares in Turkey’s Zorlu Energy rose in reaction to the agreement.

A senior Turkish official has also called the deal a “diplomatic victory.”

The deal with Turkey is the latest indication of Israel’s ongoing efforts to establish and strengthen relations with other regional and global powers.

Tower Magazine

Moscow Confirms Official Netanyahu Visit Set for June 7

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to fly to Moscow next month on an official state visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia.

“The visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled for June 7,” a spokesperson told RIA Novosti. The date was confirmed Friday (May 13) by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, according to Sputnik News.

Netanyahu traveled to Moscow for a short briefing with Russian leaders on the day before the start of the Passover holiday (April 21).

The prime minister was accompanied by top military and defense leaders who met with their Russian counterparts during the visit.

Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Russian-Israeli cooperation in Syria and in a number of other areas. The two leaders also discussed the Israel-Palestinian Authority conflict as well as other regional issues.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-set-to-visit-moscow-june-7/2016/05/15/

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