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July 24, 2016 / 18 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Erdogan Apologizes for Downing Russian Plane in Condolence Letter

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

On the same week Israel and Turkey have reached the beginning of a rapprochement, following a formal apology by Prime Minister Netanyahu a few years ago for the IDF’s killing of 10 Turkish Citizens who brutally attacked Israeli soldiers, now Turkish President Erdogan appears to have taken a page out of Bibi’s playbook: he sent a letter to Russian President Putin urging the restoration of “traditional friendly ties” between their two countries, and spelled out how sorry he was for downing a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft and killing its pilot.

Turkey’s prime minister Binali Yildirim said late Monday that “the content of the letter is very clear. We express our regret. We say that we are sharing the pain felt by those who lost loved ones. We say that we will pay compensation, if needed.”

Now, was that so difficult?

“I suppose our president will have a phone call with Putin today, tomorrow, maybe Wednesday, maybe Thursday,” Yildirim said.

After the downing of the Russian plane last November, the Kremlin ordered sanctions on food products, an end to visa-free travel and a ban on Russian tourists taking package holidays in Turkey. Natural gas deliveries were in jeopardy as well. Suddenly Turkey was facing a raging enemy where none had stood before.

For its part, Russia’s Foreign Ministry viewed the letter with the apologies as a step in a right direction to normalizing ties, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told TASS on Tuesday.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Erdogan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin saying he was sorry for shooting down the Su-24 jet and stressing “readiness to make every effort to restore traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Turkey.”

Then, on Tuesday, Peskov said Putin and Erdogan would speak on the phone on Wednesday—at Russia’s initiative. “Tomorrow at the initiative of the Russian side a telephone conversation will take place between President Putin and President Erdogan,” Peskov stressed. The conversation will be held at approximately the middle of the day, he added.

Erdogan said late Monday that more than 10,000 tons of supplies will sail to Gaza from Turkey before the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday in early July, prompting Hamas to thank Erdogan for his efforts to ease the blockade.

And all it cost to get this swirl of good will going was for Israel to pay $21 million to the folks who attacked its soldiers with knives, axes, metal rods and whatever else they had on hand. A small price to pay, presumably, in exchange for this much peace.

JNi.Media

Israeli, Russian Hikers Rescued From Blizzard on Russian-Mongolian Border

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Two Israeli hikers were successfully rescued Tuesday after they were trapped on a mountain in a blizzard on the Russian-Mongolian border.

Along with the Israelis, two Russian hikers were also caught out in the storm, which hit the group Tuesday morning on a trail about 2200 meters (6,600 feet) above sea level.

The hikers sent out a distress call on their satellite phone and reached the Magnus company, which provides evacuation services to Israelis when they’re abroad. Magnus teams are on call to carry out policies issued by five leading Israeli insurance companies that offer its services. Founded to provide Israeli travelers and their families with solutions in case of loss of contact and emergency while abroad, Magnus teams plan and launch skilled rescue operations at short notice.

Israeli consul in Russia Jacob Rosh was in phone contact with Russian authorities to seek their assistance in the rescue effort.

Local rescue teams were dispatched to the area to bail out the hikers, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachshon. They arrived just in time; the group was facing rain mixed with snow, the temperature was 10 degrees and they were running low on fuel for their propane burner.

JNi Media contributed to this article.

Hana Levi Julian

Foreign Ministry Requesting Russians to Rescue Israelis Stuck in Mongolia Blizzard

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Two Israeli and two Russian trekkers are stuck in a blizzard at the Shumakskie Istochniki trek on the border of Mongolia and Russia. The four travelers are located in a rocky area some 6,600 feet above sea level and cannot get out of there on their own..

A spokesperson for rescue company Magnus told Israeli media that the Israeli trekkers are well and healthy, but said that plans to send a long distance rescue team after them were scrapped in favor of reaching out to local rescuers.

Magnus teams are on call to carry out policies issued by five leading Israeli insurance companies that offer its services. Founded to provide Israeli travelers and their families with solutions in case of loss of contact and emergency while abroad, Magnus’ skilled teams plan and launch rescue operations at short notice.

Magnus expert in vertical rescue and climbing Eyal Naor told Israeli media that “from the moment we received the signal we’ve been working to effect a quick and safe rescue of the group. The group members are exposed to extreme cold, which is why we must get them out of there quickly.”

The four trekkers started broadcasting a distress signal via satellite phone early Tuesday morning, reporting that they are stuck in the snow, unable to advance, that their equipment is drenched and that the gas in their single burner is about to run out.

The Israeli consul in Russia Jacob Rosh has been in phone contact with Russian authorities in order to receive their assistance in the rescue effort. A spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “we are working in tight cooperation and mutual notification with the Magnus company.”

JNi.Media

Something Big Is Happening In Syria But Despite Warnings By 51 US Diplomats Obama Refuses To See It

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

[Initially published at Western Journalism]

On Thursday last week, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal revealed that 51 American diplomats had signed an internal State Department memo that harshly criticized President Obama’s Syria policies. The diplomats also called for airstrikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria, the papers reported.

Robert Ford, America’s former ambassador to Syria, said that there has never been a “dissenting message” that was signed by so many diplomats within the State Department.

“The normal number for a dissenting message is two, three, four, five people. So it’s really remarkable. It says that a large number of people who work on different parts [of Washington’s policy on the Syrian conflict] are all in agreement that it’s failing. I see American diplomats who are frustrated like I was when I resigned in 2014,” Ford told France 24.

Ford thinks the diplomats’ memo won’t cause Obama to change his ways or adjust his policies in Syria. He said he was sure the message was directed at Obama and not at Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry seemed to prove Ford right when he was questioned about the protest letter by reporters during a visit to Copenhagen in Denmark. The secretary of state even seemed to side with the diplomats when he said, “It’s an important statement, and I respect the process very, very much.”

The New York Times, citing unnamed diplomats, reported that Kerry “has told President Obama that he is operating without any leverage in Syria and that unless the United States increases the pressure on Mr. Assad, the embattled leader will simply wait out the end of Mr. Obama’s term.” Kerry wants the administration to “consider a wide range of military operations to alter the equation in Syria’s civil war,” the Times wrote.

The internal dissent within the Obama administration over the president’s policy toward al-Assad in Syria has been brewing since August 2013, when Obama stunned his staff, Kerry and then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel by suddenly reversing an earlier decision to order airstrikes on al-Assad’s forces after the Syrian dictator used chemical weapons against his citizens, killing 1,400 Syrians.

“That decision destroyed any credibility the administration had with Russia, Iran or Assad himself,” Reuters reported Friday, citing a former Defense Department official involved in Syria policy.

But Obama seems to be unfazed by the unprecedented criticism of his diplomatic corps.

Jennifer Friedman, his deputy press secretary, told reporters that the president is “always open to new and different ideas when it comes to the challenges in Syria” but that he does not see a “military solution to the Syrian crisis, and that remains the case.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby was even blunter on Obama’s refusal to listen to the recommendations of his diplomatic staff.

“There isn’t any U.S. efforts to target Bashar al-Assad. That’s not part of the calculus,” Kirby said during apress briefing Friday, while it had become clear that the U.S.-backed rebel groups in Syria are systematically being wiped out by al-Assad and his allies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin showed this weekend he understood the ramifications of Obama’s stubborn refusal to take action against al-Assad’s brutal regime.

Putin poked Obama in the eye by ordering his air force to bomb positions of U.S.-backed Syrian rebels near the al-Tanaf crossing on the Syrian-Iraqi border last Friday.

The attack on the New Syrian Army and the Ahmad al-Abdo Martyrs Brigades led to condemnation by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who thought that perhaps the Russians had made a mistake and acted on poor intelligence.

If Carter would have been willing to open his eyes and to read the latest updates on what is happening in eastern Syria, he would have understood that the Russian action is part of a new plan that has been concocted by Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and the al-Assad regime.

The Russian-led coalition is gearing up for a major offensive that aims to retake eastern Syria from the Islamic State and other rebel groups. The Lebanese news site NOW reported this weekend that “Iran, Russia and Syria have agreed on a ‘large action plan’ for a ‘very big battle in the Deir Ezzor’ province in which Hezbollah will play a ‘central role.’”

On Monday NOW reported that Hezbollah had “established a new military faction called the Zayn al-Abidin Brigade, named after the fourth Shiite Imam, who survived the Battle of Karbala in 680.”

NOW thinks that the move is related to the Syrian war only. However, when one takes a good look what is happening in Iraq where Iranian-backed militias have just opened the gateway to the Anbar province by driving Islamic State out of Fallujah, a different picture emerges.

Iran has a vested interest to capture the eastern Syrian desert because that would open a pathway from the Iranian-Iraqi border via Fallujah and the Anbar Province all the way to southwest Syria, where it wants to establish a new beachhead close to the border with Israel on the Syrian Golan Heights.

As Western Journalism reported Monday, Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, has been spotted in the vicinity of Fallujah, where he oversaw the battle against ISIS.

Soleimani is now on his way to Syria, where he will oversee the imminent new offensive in eastern Syria that was first reported by the Hezbollah-linked website Akhbar.

As astute observer Jennifer Dyer pointed out on Liberty Unyielding, the Russians have no intention to head home after the Syrian war is over. They need control over Tartus and the coastal plain in northwest Syria. The Iranians, on the other hand, are very much interested in eastern Syria.

The Russian airstrikes therefore could very well be a payback for the Iranian assistance in consolidating al-Assad’s rule over western Syria, including the port city of Tartus that is home to a Russian naval base.

This brings us back to the leaked memo of the disgruntled State Department diplomats.

It could be that by leaking this document to the press, they issued a last-minute warning that without American intervention something bigger than the survival of al-Assad’s regime will be at stake.

If nothing is done, Iraq and Syria may cease to be independent states and instead could become satellite states controlled by the two new powers that seek to dominate the Middle East: Russia and Iran.

Yochanan Visser

Israel Exports 500 Million Predatory Insects, Bumblebees, to Russia

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Israel has sent Russia 500 million predatory insects as part of its assistance in developing an independent Russian agriculture.

Following the European boycott on Russian produce as a result of the Russian invasion of Crimea, Russian agriculture was abruptly cut off from its traditional economic base, and so the state is investing great efforts in developing and sustaining the local agriculture — which is where Israel’s superior agricultural know-how comes into the picture. Israeli companies are now working to construct hothouses for Russian farmers, and consult them on utilizing innovative methods, including using natural, non-toxic methods to get rid of pests.

BioBee Biological Systems, in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, just south of Beit She’an in northern Israel, is a unique company which breeds and implements beneficial insects and mites (swirskii, phytoseiulus persimilis) for agricultural purposes. These have proven priceless in pest control in tomatoes, cucumbers and roses.

BioBee also sent Russian farmers its home-grown bumblebees for pollination, without which there is no horticulture.

Part of the collaboration involves experiments being carried out by BioBee in using bumblebees to pollinate cherry orchards in Crimea. The company expects that should the trials prove a success this would open new markets for Israel in pollinating cherry trees around the world.

Crop pollination by insects has been estimated at $14.6 billion to the US economy, for instance, but bee diversity has declined considerably in the US and Europe, with many species disappearing from much of their former range, and some species going extinct. The UK alone has lost three species of native bumblebee, and six more are listed as endangered. Four bumblebee species have gone extinct from Europe, and similar declines are seen in China.

Chinese agricultural publications have described falling and increasingly unpredictable yields of insect-pollinated crops, particularly in the areas with the most intensive farming. Where crops are grown in vast fields, there are not enough insects to go around. And where insecticides are sprayed frequently, those vital little pollinators cannot survive.

Israeli innovation offers a viable solution to a major problem plaguing world agriculture, combining non-toxic pest control in a growing number of crops, with a complementary plan to revitalize the bumblebee hives around the world.

JNi.Media

Orlando Terror Shooting Preceded by ISIS Call for Local Attacks During Ramadan

Monday, June 13th, 2016

The worst shooting attack in the history of the United States came after call to Muslims by ISIS official Abu Mohammed al Adnani, urging a “month of hurt” in America and in Europe.

In the wee hours of Sunday, a gunman armed with an assault weapon and a handgun walked into the Pulse Orlando nightclub in downtown Orlando, Florida and shot to death 50 people, wounding 53 more. He held 30 people hostage for at least three more hours until an Orlando police SWAT team finally stormed the building and freed the captives, killing the terrorist in the process.

But the scene for that Florida nightmare was set at least a month earlier, when the spokesperson for Islamic State told the terror group’s supporters in an internet audio recording: “The smallest action you do in the heart of their land is dearer to us than the largest action by us, and more effective and more damaging to them.” The message, released by ISIS on May 21, was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Adnani continued in the statement: “And if one of you wishes and tries hard to reach the Islamic State, then one of us wishes to be in your place to hurt the Crusaders day and night without sleeping, and terrorize them so that the neighbor fears his neighbor.”

In this way, ISIS (also known as Da’esh) is nurturing and building homegrown terror networks around the world, thus encouraging those who live “abroad” to launch attacks locally ‘as their religious duty.’

According to CNN, Adnani is believed to have been the ISIS official tasked with command responsibilities over the attacks that were carried out in Brussels and Paris.

The raised level of intensity in the call for action, however, also signifies the desperation with which the group views its current status in Syria and Iraq. ISIS is beginning to lose ground in those areas due to the gradual gains made by the U.S.-led coalition forces and also by Russian air strikes on their positions in Syria.

New York Police Department officials have raised the alert level in the Big Apple in response to the events that took place over the weekend, as did Los Angeles police, who arrested and took into custody a heavily armed suspect when he appeared to be intent upon targeting a local “gay pride” parade.

Hana Levi Julian

On Heel of Netanyahu Visit, Russia Pushing ‘Arab Initiative’ as Basis for Talks

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Moscow has no problem adopting the Arab peace initiative on settling the Arab-Israeli conflict, and sees no need to amend it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told TASS after talks the PA FM Riyad al-Maliki on Wednesday. And, apparently, as far as the Russians are concerned, they never heard Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for any amendments to the initiative when he met with President Putin the day before.

“I did not hear any demands for amending the Arab peace initiative in the remarks of Benjamin Netanyahu,” Lavrov said. “It is integral and embraces the entire set of relations between Israel and the Arab countries, including Palestine of course. There is no need to amend it.”

According to Lavrov, the Arab peace initiative is a universal document, which everybody regards as the fitting foundation for a peaceful future between Arabs and Jews.

Also known as the “Saudi Initiative,” the Arab peace initiative is a 10 sentence proposal that was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 and then in 2007, calling for normalizing relations between the Arab countries and Israel, in exchange for “(a) Complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4 1967 line and the territories still occupied in southern Lebanon; (b) Attain a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees to be agreed upon in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution No 194 (which says that ‘refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.); (c) Accept the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

In other words, the elimination of the Jewish State as we know it—by the time the last conditions of the initiative were fulfilled.

Perhaps it was symbolic that on the day of the first declaration of the Saudi initiative, March 27, 2002, Hamas committed the Passover Massacre as a suicide bomber killed 30 Israelis and injured more than 170, including children, at the Park Hotel in Netanya.

And yet, in March 2009 US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell announced that President Obama’s administration planned to “incorporate” the initiative into its Middle East policy.

And last year, in May 2015, shortly after winning the March 17 elections, Netanyahu himslef expressed tentative support for the initiative, saying he accepted the “general idea,” but with significant caveats, specifically its calls for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights and the relocation of millions of Arabs into Israel. As to Jerusalem, Netanyahu said it would not be resolved immediately, and so for now “we’ll set this aside.”

For his part, al-Maliki told TASS he was hoping for Moscow’s “direct and active involvement” in resolving the conflict with Israel, based on the generous Arab initiative. “Considering the results of the latest session in Paris, we felt that it was necessary for us to come to Moscow to exchange opinions and see whether there were prospects for progress,” the PA foreign minister said.

“We’re convinced that Russia can play a very important role in bringing the parties to the negotiating table,” he added, noting that the recent talks in Paris held without the participation of the parties to the conflict helped ensure agreement on the beginning of the talks.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/on-heel-of-netanyahu-visit-russia-pushing-arab-initiative-as-basis-for-talks/2016/06/08/

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