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October 4, 2015 / 21 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘State Dept.’

Israel’s Latest ‘War Crime’ and Human Rights Violation: Uprooting Trees

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Israel uprooted approximately 1,000 almond and olive trees that were planted illegally in a land grab on the western edge of Gush Etzion on Thursday, an action that Arabs are calling a “war crime” and even a human rights violation.”

The office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) stated:

[We] carried out the eviction of an illegal invasion of around 1,000 olive trees planted illegally without permits on state land in Wadi Fukin.

The area is located between the security fence and the Hareidi city of Beitar Illit, west of Efrat.

The Palestinian Authority’s official WAFA website claimed that the land is owned by Arabs.

The London Independent reported:

Palestinians have accused Israel of a war crime after military tractors destroyed around a thousand olive and almond trees belonging to local farmers on the grounds that they were illegally planted on state land….. Three years ago, Israeli authorities posted signs saying that the land belongs to the state, farmers said.

Wasel Abu Yusuf, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told the newspaper: This is occupied territory and international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention apply. This is the land of the Palestinian state and any colonialist settler building or expropriation of land or cutting trees is a war crime against the Palestinian people.

If they are going to claim it is a “war came,” why not go even farther and charge Israel with violating human rights?

That may sound absurd, but read what an unidentified journalist, whom we can assume to be Al Quds correspondent Sayid Erikat, told the State Dept. at yesterday’s daily briefing:

Yesterday the Israelis pulled out something like 1,800 trees in the West Bank; they uprooted trees and so on. I mean, we talked about the commission of inquiry and human rights abuses and so on. Is that something that you would like to see the Israelis stop doing?

State Dept. spokesman John Kirby answered, “I haven’t seen the report on the trees being uprooted. You’re going to have to let me go back and look at that. I just don’t have anything on that.

What is amazing is that there was no laughter from Kirby or fellow journalists.

Ex-Amb. Michael Oren Says Obama ‘Deliberately Abandoned Israel’

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and now a Knesset Member with the Kulanu party, wrote Tuesday that President Barack Obama “deliberately” abandoned a 40-year core policy regarding Jewish population centers in Judea and Samaria.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Oren stated that President Obama is a “friend” of Israel but nevertheless maintained that while anyone can make a mistake, President Obama did so on purpose.

In his words:

Only one leader made them deliberately. Obama promoted an agenda of championing the Palestinian cause and achieving a nuclear accord with Iran.

It took Oren six years to respond and correct part of President Obama’s “Reaching Out to Muslims” speech in Cairo, in which he said, “When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines and that erodes our credibility with the Arabs.”

Oren, who still is a champion of the “peace process,” sounded like a Netanyahu sympathizer in part of his op-ed, writing that President Obama ignored Israel’s withdrawal of all Israeli soldiers and the expulsion of 9,000 Jews from Gaza in 2005. Obama also ignored several major concessions to the Palestinian Authority, including one that offered it almost all of Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

President Obama said in his speech that Israel should freeze all building for Jews in “settlements,” to which Oren finally wrote in his article:

Israeli leaders typically received advance copies of major American policy statements on the Middle East and could submit their comments. But Mr. Obama delivered his Cairo speech, with its unprecedented support for the Palestinians and its recognition of Iran’s right to nuclear power, without consulting Israel.

The Bush administration had committed itself to writing in a letter to then-Prime Ariel Sharon that large population centers, such as Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion, would remain under Israeli sovereignty in a future Palestinian Authority state.

Obama abandoned that policy and insisted that the promise by Bush was an “unofficial” and non-binding letter. In Oren’s words:

Mr. Obama also voided President George W. Bush’s commitment to include the major settlement blocs and Jewish Jerusalem within Israel’s borders in any peace agreement. Instead, he insisted on a total freeze of Israeli construction in those areas —’not a single brick.’

It was clear from that time that the Obama was working behind the scenes, and sometimes up front, on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and against Israel.

Oren came out of the closet in his op-ed today and charged that President Obama never asked for any concession from the Palestinian Authority despite the fact the Mahmoud Abbas “violated all of his commitments.”

The United States so far has publicly opposed a Palestinian Authority effort in the U.N. Security Council to condemn Israel for a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria and to vote the Palestinian Authority into the United Nations as a permanent member.

However, the Obama administration has made open statements that it does not know how much longer it wants to use its veto power in the Security Council on behalf of Israel.

President Obama abandoned a four-decade U.S. policy in May 2011 and stated that a future agreement with the Palestinian Authority should be based on the borders drawn under the 1949 Temporary Armistice Agreement, which lasted until the Six-Day War in 1967.

Oren wrote:

If Mr. Netanyahu appeared to lecture the president the following day, it was because he had been assured by the White House, through me, that no such change would happen.

He also wrote that the Obama administration “stunned” Israel by offering to support a Security Council investigation of settlements and by backing Turkish and Egyptian maneuvers to force Israel to come clean on its nuclear capability.

Obama Trying to Convince Israel to Sign Non-Proliferation Treaty

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

An American official is in Israel to try talk with officials about a regional conference on making the Middle East a nuclear-free zone.

Israel is assumed to have approximately 200 nuclear warheads, if not more, but the government retains a policy of “nuclear ambiguity” in which it does not deny or admit the possession of nukes.

No other country in the Middle East has nuclear power, and Israel’s assumed nuclear stockpile is considered a strong deterrent to enemy Arab countries.

The Arab world has been pressuring American governments for years to force Israel to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would be an admission the country has nukes and could open the door for Arab countries to insist they also want nuclear power.

Asst. Secretary of State Thomas Countryman is in Israel towards the conclusion of this month’s once-every-five years review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

A Middle East conference on mass destruction weapons was supposed to take place in 2012 but never came to fruition.

Arab countries have failed to convene a regional conference with terms that are weighted against Israel, which has indicated it might join the NPT if there were peace with the Arab world.

State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters on Thursday:

The NPT review process is in its final week in New York. There’s no final text on this issue of the Middle East conference. We are working to ensure that a final text meets our interests and those of Israel. Both the United States and Israel support the creation of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. We’re closely working with our Israeli partners to advance our mutual interests, including preserving the NPT.


Most US Citizens Believe Terrorists Are Within the Borders of their Poor, Incompetently Run Country

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Here’s a news update from the US, where the Leader of the Free World is making peace with our Persian neighbors.  According to a new FOX news poll, President Obama’s constituents – that would the population of the United States – have the following opinions:

• Six in ten Americans think it likely – and almost a third think it “very likely” that terrorists live in their home town. No word on whether these are Mennonite terrorists or some other, more unusual, kind.

• Sixty percent also think the United States is in a recession.  That’s down from 74 percent last year, but still a clear majority.

• Just over half – 53% — think the Obama administration is neither “competent” nor “effective” in managing the federal government.

In related news, 57% think it likely that Hillary Clinton was influenced in her work, while she was Secretary of State, by donations made to her family’s foundation.

No word on whether that number would go up if the Russians who bought uranium with the State Department’s authorization, and who also made donations to the Clinton Foundation, had been able to find the receipt issued by the Foundation.

Israel ‘Disappoints’ US with 900 New Homes for Jews in Jerusalem

Friday, May 8th, 2015

The U.S. State Dept. has expressed “disappointment” and “concern” over Jerusalem’s final approval for 900 new housing units for Jews in northeastern Jerusalem, near the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat.

The homes for Ramat Shlomo have gone through several stages of bureaucratic approvals, giving the impression to foreign readers that seven approvals means 6,300 homes are being built instead of 900.

The 900 units are the same ones that caused a storm of protest in the Obama administration when the project passed another bureaucratic step just about the same minute Vice President Joe Biden landed at Ben Gurion Airport for a visit in 2010.

The Obama administration still spouts the “peace process” and “two-state solution” but in effect has not taken any actions to punish Israel for building or the Palestinian Authority for inciting terror and ditching the “peace process” that President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry espouse.

The policy of benign neglect made the job of State Dept. spokesman Jeff Rathke a bit difficult at Thursday’s briefing.

He went through the usual routine of saying:

 We strongly oppose steps by the Israeli authorities to advance construction in East Jerusalem. This is a disappointing development, and we’re concerned about it just as a new Israeli Government has been announced. Israel’s leaders have asserted that they remain committed to a two-state solution.

Let’s stop right there. None of the journalists at the daily State Dept. briefing, not even ace Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, has thought of asking why building homes for Jews (and in Jerusalem too) means the end of the concept of “two states.”

If they would stop and think about what the Palestinian Authority wants, they would realize that the “two states” would mean that no Jews can live in half of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria but that Arabs can live in whatever is left of Israel.

If a Jew-free Palestinian Authority country is not racist, what is?

But let’s assume that for the sake of peace, the Obama administration really is not out of its mind and that two states will mean the lion and lamb can sleep side by side – if only Israel would stop building homes for Jews.

That is when things get sticky for the spokesmen became reporters start asking why Washington does not put a stop to Israel’s insistence that Jews have a right to live in all of Jerusalem.

Rathke said, “We need to see that commitment in the actions of Israeli” and that  “construction of housing units in East Jerusalem is damaging and inconsistent with that commitment. We continue to engage with the highest levels of the Israeli Government, and we continue to make our position clear that we view this as illegitimate.”

A couple of reporters wondered about action instead of words. One asked:

Well, then what is the point of saying we need to see that commitment? If it becomes the case that you don’t ever see that, or you don’t see the commitment and you don’t do anything about it, what good is saying that we need to see that commitment?

Rathke sang and danced like this:

Well, this is a longstanding U.S. policy. We’re reiterating that policy in relation to this specific development that Said asked about. This is our view and it hasn’t changed.

Every time Israel builds another home for Jews in areas that cause the Obama to express “disappointment” and “concern,” Obama and Kerry lose more credibility among the Arabs.

President Barack Obama has created for himself a trap that was born with his predecessors Carter, Reagan, Clinton and the junior Bush.

Instead of standing by his word that it is up to the Arabs and Israel to make war or peace as they see fit, he went against his own stated common sense that he would not set the conditions for a peace agreement.

State Dept.: Iran ‘Hoodwinked Countries but This Time It’s Different

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

An assistant Secretary of State has said that Iran “hoodwinked” Latin American countries and did not honor agreements, but Foggy Bottom says nuclear talks are a separate issue, so don’t worry.

Following are remarks from Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere to retirees on Foreign Service Day Friday:

The involvement of Iran in the Western Hemisphere is never benign. I want to underscore that: it is never benign. Iran signed an enormous number of agreements with countries in the region, almost none of which have come to any real fruition or benefit for those – for the countries of the hemisphere….

I do think that there are fewer countries that get kind of – that kind of get hoodwinked by Iran.

She also said that economic sanctions on Iran have made it difficult for it to follow through with several agreements and that Iran’s desire to be a greater influence in the West requires close monitoring.

First of all, sanctions work. Second of all, Iran cannot be trusted.

The third statement would seem to be that the United States cannot trust Iran to honor an agreement on its nuclear activity and should not lift sanctions, but the State Dept. differs.

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked State Dept. spokesman Jeff Rathke on Friday to explain otherwise, and here is how he tried to wiggle out of Logic 101:

That is a separate issue from the nuclear talks which are focused on Iran’s nuclear program…: I think there’s a difference between the types of agreements you’re talking about.  You’re referring to agreements …on economic cooperation and other such things.

What we’re talking about in the nuclear context is, first of all, a situation where there is a unified international community where there are international sanctions, a wide variety of them, UN sanctions, United States sanctions, European Union sanctions, as well as others, that put pressure on Iran and also that make it in Iran’s interest to deal with those sanctions and to negotiate on the nuclear program.

And how about the billions of dollars that would flow into Iran’s coffers when sanctions are lifted in return for a deal? “Are you not concerned at all that what you don’t see now in terms of a growing Iranian threat in the Western Hemisphere will become a concern if Iran suddenly has a windfall of billions and billions of dollars in money? Lee asked.

No problem, Rathke answered.

“We have separate ways of dealing with other problematic behavior by Iran, whether it’s in regional context, whether it’s support for terrorism, and so forth.  So that’s why we’re focused on the nuclear issue.  And if Iran meets all of its required steps under an eventual joint comprehensive plan of action, then the world will be a safer place because of it.” he said.

Note the two-letter word “if.”

But didn’t Asst. Sec. of State Jacobson say Iran’s presence in the west is “never benign”? So this time it will be different?

“Well,” Rathke said, “we remain concerned about those – about Iran’s activities and we will remain vigilant about them and we retain the tools to deal with them.”

Vice-President Joe Biden is very concerned, or at least that is what he said last week to a Washington think tank, to wit:

“Despite good reasons to think that most of it [money] will go to urgent domestic needs, some or all of it may fund further mischief in the region.”

Rathke reiterated “we are vigilant.”

Therefore, so the “logic” goes, Obama won’t get hoodwinked.


US Ignores Linking the ‘Deal’ with Russian Sale of S-300s to Iran

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon Tuesday charged that Russia’s lifting a five-year ban on the sale of critical S-300 anti-missile systems is a “direct result of the framework agreement reached in Lausanne, but the United States is ignoring any connection.

Ya’alon’s “analysis” was overly obvious. Anyone who can add 1 and 1 and come up with 2 already has connected the dots between the temporary agreement with Iran on its nuclear program and Russia’s announcement Monday to allow the sale of one of the most advance anti-missile systems in the world.

Iran’s deployment of the S-300 systems would make an aerial attack on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear sites very improbable.

Voice of America quoted Jane’s Terrorism and Security Monitor editor Jeremy Binnie as saying:

The Iranians desperately want a new long-range [surface-to-air missile] system to form the centerpiece of an integrated air defense network that will deter anyone who might want to enter its airspace. I think it would be fair to say it [the S-300] would complicate a strike against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Ya’alon raised the obvious point that if Russia lifted the ban on the sale of the S-300 two weeks after the temporary deal was reached between P5+1 and Iran, what will happen when the United States lifts sanctions?

He said:

[Iran] continues to arm itself, and arm others, which we have been warning about even before the details [of the deal] were concluded. It was clear, even then, that sanctions will be lifted, and that of course this will influence and strengthen the Iranian economy.

The outgoing defense minister also pointed out that the deal did not even mention Hezbollah, Iran’s military proxy in Lebanon and which military sources lately have warned is over-loaded with heavy-duty missiles for an attack on Israel.

The reaction of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the Russian sale to Iran is most curious.

His spokeswoman Marie Harf said, “We think given Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region, in places like Yemen or Syria or Lebanon, that this isn’t the time to be selling these kinds of systems to them.”

She offered an amazing analysis that disconnects Ya’alon’s dots:

We think given Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region, in places like Yemen or Syria or Lebanon, that this isn’t the time to be selling these kinds of systems to them, [but] we don’t think this will have an impact on unity in terms of inside the negotiating room.

Harf’s incredible denial continues the Obama administration’s policy that makes a deal with Iran an end it itself and not a means to stop Tehran for acquiring a nuclear bomb.

Adding 1 and 1 and getting 2 is simple, but adding another 1 and getting 3 may be too complicated for the White House, which only said it is “concerned” over the sale of the S-300 anti-missile systems.

The first “1” is that Iran can retain its nuclear infrastructure and continue to enrich low-grade uranium while simply promising it will open its sites for inspections. There are no provisions in the deal against Iran’s operating a secret nuclear site outside the country, such as in North Korea. Even if Iran balks at open inspections, it would take months before the West can get its act together and agree to clamp sanctions on Iran, especially since Russia is one of the P5+1 countries.

The second “1” is Hezbollah’s huge army and missile stockpile, along with Iran’s filling up the money pipeline to Hamas in Gaza, where the terrorist organization is busy re-building terror tunnels.

The third “1” is the S-300 systems.

Once Israel cannot penetrate Iran’s air defense systems, Tehran has nothing to fear when it comes to making a nuclear weapon.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-ignores-linking-the-deal-with-russian-sale-of-s-300s-to-iran-and/2015/04/14/

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