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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘secretary of state’

US Senators Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham Join Forces to Defund UN Over Anti-Israel Resolution 2334 [video]

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Thursday announced they will introduce legislation to cut off funding to the United Nations until UN Security Council Resolution 2334(2016) is repealed.

The two senators were uncompromising in their support for Israel, and in their disgust over the hostile behavior towards America’s ally by the Obama administration, as demonstrated by the abstention that allowed the anti-Israel resolution to pass unanimously last month at the UN Security Council.

“The UN resolution was [Secretary of State John] Kerry and [President Barack] Obama taking a slap at Israel,” tweeted Senator Graham on Thursday. “We’re going to push back.”

The Twittersphere was filled with headlines and tweets about what the plans announced by the two Republican senators.

Their interview with the American MSNBC cable news network came as delegates from 72 countries prepare to travel to Paris for a so-called “peace summit” to come up with more “concrete ideas” on how to force Israel into a final status arrangement with the Palestinian Authority – with or without direct negotiations.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority has been invited to the conference, although PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has been consulted repeatedly by several of the participants over recent months.

But Republican Senators Cruz and Graham say they have Israel’s back. “Last month what we’ve seen President Barack Obama do to Israel I think has been shameful,” Senator Cruz told MSNBC.

“He has struck out repeatedly at Israel, and done real damage. At the United Nations the resolution that the Obama administration should have abstained from, and there are reports they actively orchestrated, was a profoundly anti-Israel resolution. It declares much of Israel illegal and illegitimate.

“Much of Jerusalem it declares is not legitimately part of Israel. It declares the Jewish quarter is not part of Israel. It says the Temple Mount – the holiest site for the Jewish People in Jerusalem – is not legitimately part of Israel.”

Senator Graham added, “The Western Wall.”

Agreeing, Senator Cruz exclaimed, “And the Western Wall! I mean, we all remember the image of Barack Obama wearing a yarmulka, standing in front of the Western Wall. He’s now signed on to the proposition that it is illegal occupied territory.

“That is shameful,” Cruz emphasized, “and in my view, we need to defend not only our friend and ally, the nation of Israel, but also U.S. interests, and so Lindsey and I today are joining and filing legislation that would end all U.S. taxpayer funding for the UN unless and until they reverse this resolution.

“It’s very simple.

“The only way to get their attention – we can give speeches, we can pass resolutions – and the UN is going to ignore what we have to say. But if you cut off their money, that gets their attention. And I think we’ve got real prospects of seeing this thing move through Congress and actually turning this thing around.”

Given the fact that Mr. Kerry leaves for Paris this weekend and there is barely a week to go before Mr. Obama leaves the White House, one wonders about the reaction in the West Wing to Thursday’s announcement on Capitol Hill.

Hana Levi Julian

Full Text: Reaction by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Secy Kerry’s Speech [video]

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU:

“Before why I explain why this speech was so disappointing to millions of Israelis, I want to say that Israel is deeply grateful to the United States of America, to successive American administrations, to the American Congress, to the American people. We’re grateful for the support Israel has received over many, many decades. Our alliance is based on shared values, shared interests, a sense of shared destiny and a partnership that has endured differences of opinions between our two governments over the best way to advance peace and stability in the Middle East. I have no doubt that our alliance will endure the profound disagreement we have had with the Obama Administration and will become even stronger in the future.

But now I want to express my deep disappointment with the speech today of John Kerry, a speech that was almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution passed at the UN last week in a speech ostensibly about peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Secretary Kerry paid lip service to the unremitting campaign of terrorism that has been waged by the Palestinians against the Jewish State for nearly a century.

What he did was spend most of his speech blaming Israel for the lack of peace by passionately condemning a policy of enabling Jews to live in their historic homeland and in their eternal capital, Jerusalem.

Hundreds of suicide bombers, thousands – tens of thousands of rockets – millions of Israelis and bomb shelters are not throwaway lines in a speech. They are the realities that the people of Israel had to endure because of mistaken policies; policies that at the time won the thunderous applause of the world.

I don’t seek applause. I seek the security and peace and prosperity and the future of the Jewish State. The Jewish people have sought their place under the sun for 3,000 years and we’re not about to be swayed by mistaken policies that have caused great, great damage.

Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders. Israel’s hand has been extended in peace to its neighbors from Day One, from its very first day. We pray for peace. We’ve worked for it every day since then, and thousands of Israeli families have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and advance peace. My family has been one of them. There are many, many others.

No one wants peace more than the people of Israel. Israel remains committed to resolving the outstanding differences between us and the Palestinians through direct negotiations. This is how we made peace with Egypt. This is how we made peace with Jordan. It’s the only way we’ll make peace with the Palestinians.

That has always been Israel’s policy. That has always been America’s policy. Here’s what President Obama himself said at the UN in 2011. He said, “Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements, and resolutions at the United Nations; if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.”

That’s what President Obama said, and he was right. And until last week, this was repeated over and over again as American policy.

Secretary Kerry said that the United States cannot vote against its own policy – but that’s exactly what it did at the UN, and that’s why Israel opposed last week’s Security Council resolution: because it effectively called the Western Wall ‘occupied Palestinian territory.’

Because it encourages boycotts and sanctions against Israel. That’s what it effectively does. And because it reflects a radical shift in U.S. policy towards the Palestinians on final status issues – those issues that we always agreed, the U.S. and Israel – have to be negotiated directly, face to face, without preconditions.

That shift happened despite the Palestinians walking away from peace and from peace offers time and time again. Despite their refusal to even negotiate peace for the past eight years. And despite the Palestinian Authority inculcating a culture of hatred towards Israel in an entire generation of young Palestinians.

Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with the American Congress – Democrats and Republicans alike – to mitigate the damage that this resolution has done, and ultimately to repeal it.

Israel hopes that the outgoing Obama administration will prevent any more damage being done to Israel at the UN in its waning days.

I wish I could be comforted by the promise that the U.S. says we will not bring any more resolutions to the UN. That’s what they said about this previous resolution. We have it on absolute incontestable evidence that the United States organized, advanced and brought this resolution to the United Nations Security Council.

We will share that information with the incoming administration. Some of it is sensitive. It’s all true. You saw some of it in the protocol released in an Egyptian paper. There’s plenty more; it’s the tip of the iceberg.

So they say, ‘but we didn’t bring it’ and they could take John Kerry’s speech with the six points. It could be raised in the French international conference two days from now, and then brought to the UN. So France will bring it. Or, Sweden – not a noted friend of Israel – could bring it.

And the United States could say, ‘Well, we can’t vote against our own policy, we’ve just enunciated it.’

I think the United States, if it’s true to its word, or at least, if it’s now true to its word, should now come out and say, we will not allow any resolutions any more resolutions in the Security Council on Israel. Period. Not ‘we will bring’ or ‘not bring’ — ‘We will not allow any’ and stop this game of charades.

I think that the decisions that are vital to Israel’s interests and the future of its children, they won’t be made through speeches in Washington or votes in the United Nations, or conferences in Paris. They’ll be made by the government of Israel around the negotiating table, making them on behalf of the one and only Jewish state, a sovereign nation that is the master of its own fate.

And one final thought.

I personally know the pain, the loss and the suffering of war. That’s why I’m so committed to peace. Because for anyone who’s experienced it as I have, war and terror are horrible.

I want young Palestinian children to be educated like our children – for peace. But they’re not educated for peace.

The Palestinian Authority educates them to lionize terrorists, and to murder Israelis.

My vision is that Israelis and Palestinians both have a future of mutual recognition, of dignity, of mutual respect: co-existence.

But the Palestinian Authority tells them that they will never accept and SHOULD never accept the existence of the Jewish State.

So I ask you: how can you make peace with someone who rejects your very existence?

See, this conflict is not about houses or communities in the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria, the Gaza district or anywhere else.

This conflict is, and has always been about Israel’s very right to exist. That’s why my hundreds of calls to sit with President Abbas for peace talks have gone unanswered.

That’s why my invitation for him to come to the Knesset was never answered.

That’s why the Palestinian government continues to pay anyone who murders Israelis a monthly salary.

The persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish State remains the core of the conflict – and its removal is the key to peace.

Palestinian rejection of Israel and support for terror are what the nations of the world should focus on if they truly want to advance peace and I can only express my regret and say that it’s a shame that Secretary Kerry does not see this simple truth.

Thank you.”

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu’s Furious Reply After Kerry Scolds Israel in State Dept. Speech

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Within a scant few hours after U.S. Secretary of State delivered a blistering attack on the government of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his farewell speech to the State Department, the leader of the Jewish State had a few well-chosen words of his own to say to America’s chief diplomat.

Mr. Netanyahu expressed his “deep disappointment” with a speech that he called “almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution passed at the UN last week, in a speech ostensibly about peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The prime minister said Mr. Kerry paid “lip service” to the unending campaign of terrorism waged by Arabs against Israel “for nearly a century.” He noted the Secretary spent most of his speech instead “blaming Israel for the lack of peace” instead, and pointed out that “hundreds of suicide bombers, thousands — tens of thousands — of rockets, millions of Israelis and bomb shelters are not throwaway lines in a speech; they’re the realities the people of Israel have to endure because of mistaken policies…that at the time won the thunderous applause of the world.”

He added that he is not seeking applause, but rather the security, peace, prosperity and the future of the Jewish State.

With an added edge to his voice, Mr. Netanyahu said, “Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders. Israel’s hand has been extended in peace to its neighbors from Day One, from its very first day.

“We pray for peace. We’ve worked for it every day since then, and thousands of Israeli families have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and advance peace. My family has been one of them. There are many, many others.”

Hana Levi Julian

Kerry Defends Obama Decision to Abstain at UNSC Vote Condemning Israel

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Kerry Defends Obama Decision to Abstain at Anti-Israel UNSC Vote

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed back on Wednesday against the fury in Jerusalem that has followed the decision by President Barack Obama to order the abstention that allowed the UN Security Council to unanimously pass anti-Israel resolution 2334(2016) last Friday.

“The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” he began, saying that only with two states can Israel remain Jewish and democratic. “Friends need to tell each other the hard truths,” he said. “The policies of [the government of Benjamin Netanyahu] are leading … towards one state.”

Kerry flatly denied an accusation by Israeli leaders that Obama was directly behind the formulation and sponsorship of the resolution, saying the administration “did not draft or originate” the measure and instead insisting it was advanced by Egypt and “other nations.”

Nevertheless, Kerry also said bluntly, “The United States did in fact vote in accordance with our values… the vote in the United Nations was about preserving the two-state solution. That’s what we were standing up for.” He repeatedly expressed concern that the two-state solution was in “jeopardy,” and that a “one-state solution… will not be able to be both Jewish and democratic.”

In a pointed jab at the Netanyahu government, he said, “Let’s be clear. Settlement activity has nothing to do with Israeli security.” Kerry also called for “both sides” to show willingness to work towards peace by making “meaningful” gestures.

On the part of Israel, he recommended the government “transition the administration of Area C to the Palestinians” in accordance with the once-upon-a-time long-term-goals of the long-dead Oslo Accords.

The Secretary also sketched a brief outline of the points he believes would be best to set as final status goals once the two sides come to the negotiating table, for “the way forward” during direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

They were as follows:

1. Provide for secure and recognized intl borders based on the 1967 lines with mutual agreed equiv swaps, viable and contiguous Palestine

2. Fulfill the vision of Res. 181, two states for two peoples, Jewish and Arab, where each can achieve their national aspirations – with mutual recognition and full equal rights

3. Just equal fair rights for Palestinian refugees … comprehensive resolution consistent with two states for two peoples … compensation, options and assistance … Can come from the international community.

4. Establish united Jerusalem as the international capital for two states with access to holy sites for all three world monotheistic faiths.

5. Satisfy Israel’s security needs and ensure Palestine can provide security for its people in a non-militarized state

6. End the conflict and all outstanding claims and enhanced regional claims by the Arab peace initiative.

Hana Levi Julian

Trump Announces ExxonMobile CEO Rex Tillerson for Secy of State

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

It’s official: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday morning that he has chosen to nominate ExxonMobile Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson of Texas as his Secretary of State.

Tillerson may face a rough ride during his Senate confirmation hearings, particularly with questions from GOP Senators Marco Rubio and John McCain, both of whom expressed reservations about his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump has no qualms, however, and in a statement released Tuesday morning by his transition team, hailed Tillerson as being “among the most accomplished business leaders and international deal makers in the world.

“His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for secretary of state,” the statement continued. “He will promote regional stability and focus on the core national security interests of the United States.”

On Twitter, he added that the thing he liked best about Rex Tillerson was that “he has vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments.”

That is certainly true: ExxonMobile has operated in at least 50 countries worldwide, and Tillerson was at the helm for several decades, making those deals. He also was unafraid of challenging Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez when he nationalized foreign-owned energy operations in the country, winning a major compensation package in the international court.

The question most likely to be raised in hearings has to do a potential conflict of interest due to his relationship with the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin: Tillerson is a recipient of the Russian Federation’s Order of Friendship.

Hana Levi Julian

TIME Magazine Chooses Donald Trump as ‘Person of the Year’

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

TIME magazine has named Donald J. Trump as its 2016 Person of the Year.

On its cover, the magazine subtitled the photo of the America’s new president-elect, “President of the Divided States of America.”

Trump called in his thanks to NBC’s “Today” show, where TIME editor-in-chief Nancy Gibbs revealed the magazine’s choice on Wednesday morning.

But the president-elect said the “divided” bit on the cover was snarky – his words – and pointed out, “I’m not president yet, so I didn’t do anything to divide.”

Nevertheless, “It’s a great honor,” he said. “It means a lot.”

Gibbs said the choice was “straightforward,” as she referenced Trump’s zoom to the top, from a Washington outsider and complete political novice to the Number One seat in the nation when he enters the White House on January 20, 2017.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was named runner-up by the magazine. Computer hackers were in third place.

The magazine tradition began in 1927, citing the person who “had the greatest influence, for better or worse, on the events of the year.”

That didn’t always mean it was the best person of the year. In 1938, the magazine chose to feature Adolf Hitler, for instance.

Fidel Castro was on the cover. So was Joseph Stalin, in 1939 and 1942.

Gibbs coyly asked the magazine’s readership, “So which is it this year, better or worse?

“The challenge for Donald Trump is how profoundly the country disagrees about the answer… Like all newly elected leaders, he has a chance to fulfill his promises, and defy expectations.”

As Gibbs reminded the readership, “truth is only as powerful as the trust in those who speak it.”

Hana Levi Julian

An Open Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

I’m going to address this status to John Kerry directly, in the hopes he’ll somehow read it.

Mr. Secretary, you were recently videotaped saying, “I have this map that shows all the sectors where the violence has been in-in Israel…in-in-in…and in the territories, and you will see that it’s where the settlements are.”

Let’s examine this sentence, shall we? There’s a lot to unpack, so please bear with me.

First of all, it’s good you have maps, Mr. Kerry. As Secretary of State, I’d say ‘having maps’ is much better than ‘not having maps.’ You clearly do not fall into Ms. North Carolina’s category of people who can’t find the Iraq, and, such as.

Hey, if you’ve got those maps you just said you do, could you specify where it is you’re referencing? I was under the impression that the United States State Department (your department, if I’m not mistaken) is of the opinion that Judea and Samaria, or “the territories,” are not part of Israel. Your stammering in this sentence leads me to believe that it’s difficult for you to distinguish between the two. Why do think that would be? Why would it be difficult to intellectually separate Israel with areas it acquired legitimately in a defensive war? Why would it be hard to differentiate between the Jewish State and areas which contain within them the bulk of Jewish history in the area? Maybe you just needed a drink, I don’t know.

You know, I have maps myself, and if you take a look, you’ll see that the areas hit by rockets fired by Hamas are nowhere near any settlements. I mean, they’re closer to settlements than, say, Las Vegas or Tokyo, but in terms of their relative proximity within Israel itself, they’re not even close. Rocket fire still counts as “violence,” right? So, are you NOT talking about Israel? Just the territories, then? Help me out, I’m confused here.

Next, I’d like to talk about your intent. It seems clear that your intent was to lay the blame of Israel/Arab violence on the settlements. But there’s a problem with that. The overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks in the territories has been agains Jews. I don’t have the statistics in front of me, but I would feel comfortable saying over 95% of all the violence in the territories is aimed against Jews. Do you know where those Jews live? You guessed it: in the settlements. Saying that the majority of violence is where the settlements are is like saying most traffic accidents take place on roads. Sure, every now and then a car will smash into a house or something, but usually traffic accidents happen on roads because that’s where the cars are. An Arab looking to kill a Jew isn’t going to try to find one in Wadi Nis or Abdallah Ibrahim; there aren’t any Jews there. He’s going to go to a settlement, what Maverick and Goose would refer to as “a target-rich environment.”

Which brings me to my final point. Since the Jews in settlements being attacked is the reason your map shows that’s where the violence is, this does not mean the settlements are the reason for the violence. That’s called ‘victim-blaming.’ Change the words “violence,” “Israel and territories,” and “settlements” with the words “rape,” “America,” and “women” respectively. Would you be comfortable making that statement? I sure as hell wouldn’t. The victim cannot, as a matter of definition, be the cause of the violence in any situation.

So, Mr. Kerry: thank you for reading this. I hope you now know how to interpret your map correctly. Now be quiet.

Yoni Berg

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/an-open-letter-to-secretary-of-state-john-kerry/2016/12/06/

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