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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Tony Blair’

PM Netanyahu Debunks Peace Deal Claim: ‘Peres Had No Deal With PA’

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The Prime Minister’s Office came out swinging in an overnight Independence Day statement Yom HaAtzma’ut, bluntly denying that President Shimon Peres ever reached a final status deal with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The statement, reported overnight by Voice of Israel government radio, denied a claim by the president reported earlier in the day that he had reached an agreement with the Ramallah-based PA chairman three years ago.

“The only one Abbas has reached an agreement with is with [the Gaza-based terrorist organization] Hamas,” commented the PMO.

President Peres had told Israel’s Channel 2 TV in an interview over the holiday that three years ago he reached a deal in principle after four meetings abroad with Mahmoud Abbas. However, he said it was scotched by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who nixed the agreement just prior to what was to be a fifth and final meeting in Amman.

The president said Mr. Netanyahu told him to wait because Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair, a former UK prime minister also involved in talks with the PA, might bring to the table a better offer. “But the days passed and that deal never materialized,” Mr. Peres lamented.

Israel’s president – whose position is primarily ceremonial and traditionally not intended to be functionary – said his own discussions had been about land swaps and total land mass rather than boundary lines. Maps had not yet been drawn, the president said, reported the Independent Media Review and Analysis, IMRA.

Cancelling the fifth meeting, he allegedly told the PA Chairman in August 2011, “I’m sorry, but the government doesn’t accept what we have negotiated and there’s nothing more I can do.”

The “secret” talks were never secret, however, and there is some question over how far the president’s diplomatic authorization supposedly reached.

President Peres, who was the architect of the failed Oslo Accords, is expected to retire next month as he reaches the age of 90 after a political career of seven decades.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is meeting today with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee as lawmakers review the current security situation.

On the agenda are all recent events, including those of the ‘price tag’ incidents, ‘David the Nahlawi’ and the attacks in Judea and Samaria that followed the cessation of final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Sharon Returns Home for the Last Time in Quiet Funeral

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Former General, Defense Minister and Prime Ariel Sharon was buried at his Shikmim Farm in the northern Negev Monday afternoon as a large number of reporters and small number of private citizens attended.

Egypt and Jordan, the two Arab countries with home Israel has a peace treaty, did not send any representatives to the memorial earlier in the day or to the funeral.

Turkey also did not send an official. Nor did China, Japan, South Africa and India, among other countries.

If old soldiers “just fade away,” then Sharon was one of them. He was considered a great soldier and general but he really did fade away, as evidenced by bitter memories, an eight-year coma and the sparse turnout at the Knesset, where his coffin was displayed on Sunday, and at the funeral Monday afternoon.

There were only three eulogies, two from Sharon’s sons Omri and Gilad and the first by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, who noted that Sharon was buried at his home after having returned there for the last time following eight years in a coma in hos Tel Aviv hospital room. “The IDF you so cherished will continue in your footsteps for many years,” Gantz said.

The late Prime Minister’s younger son Gilad delivered the last eulogy, noting his father’s political and military contributions. He added that Ariel Sharon built more than 100 communities, particularly those in the Golan Heights m Judea and Samaria.

No one, of course, would note at the funeral that Sharon also destroyed nearly two dozen of those communities in the expulsion from Gaza and northern Samaria in 2005.

Omri Sharon said “Look around Ariel, Look around and see the people who cherish your memory.”

Omri was looking at the people who had to come – the politicians, the military brass and police officers, who outnumbered the 100 or so people who were at the Sharon family farm where Sharon was buried.

More obvious were the thousands of people who did not come, not counting the Arabs.

Three factors kept people away from the funeral – bitter memories on both sides of the political fence, the long coma that made Sharon appear all but dead for years, and scary warnings from official sources of clogged highways and tough security checks.

The Arabs and lefties have only one memory of Sharon, a man who supposedly wanted nothing more to spill as much blood as possible.

The rightwing will never erase the memory of the Prime Minister of Israel ordering bulldozers to destroy the homes of 9,000 Jews and ordering the police and even the armed forces, whose job is to defend the country from enemies, yanking women and children, as well as men who served as combat soldiers and officers in the IDF, from their homes.

Hamas wanted to attend the funeral, which was only about a mile away from northern Gaza, with rocket fire but after having launched a couple in the morning, apparently heeded a stern warning by the IDF of what was in store for Gaza if it tried to do during the funeral.

Earlier in the day, at the memorial ceremony in the Latrun army site, where Sharon was injured in the War for Independence in 1948, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden  said, “We’ll never know what the ultimate arc of Sharon’s life had been if he had been able to pursue his goal of peace.”

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair remarked, “The state he fought for from the age of 14 had to be protected. When that meant fighting he fought. When that meant peace he sought peace… All Israeli leaders I’ve encountered have something unusual and precious – true love of country, state and land.”

President Shimon Peres, who planted a wreath of flowers after the funeral ceremony, said at the memorial. “You cultivated the land with your scythe and defended it with your sword.”

Not everyone made the expulsion of Jews disappear from memorial speeches. Ze’ev Zambish, long identified with the Amana organization that has built thousands of homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria, commented that the expulsion was “painful” but that he still “has a great love” for Sharon.

Tomorrow 2013 – Tony Blair’s Vision

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Once a year, President Shimon Peres hosts the President’s Conference and once again this year, I was invited to attend. It’s fun to go as a blogger – to be recognized with all the honor and privilege of a journalist. Of course, we don’t get the same pay, but we are free in a way that journalists shouldn’t be. They are supposed to report the news, though too many break that line and cross into the realm of making news.

Bloggers are free to think and express thoughts and so it is particularly nice that we are rewarded here with this. Being a blogger/journalist means walking past a line of dozens, perhaps even hundreds to the front – express check in.

The conference is called Tomorrow 2013 – and it presents a vision of what is to come – something quite ambitious for a man of 90 years of age. This year, Peres’ annual conference has become a joint birthday celebration. Barbra Streisand, Sharon Stone, and Bill Clinton have come to help him celebrate.

As with last year, the lead speaker is former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He is a great speaker, grace, intelligence, humor. He has a vision of the Middle East that enables us to see a bright and clear world, where there is mutual respect, security for all, and truly a world focused on that which betters mankind. He says he is not naive and in many ways I agree. He correctly points out that “much of the sentiment in the west right now is to stay out of Syria, but,” he points out, “as every day shows, the cost of staying out” can (in my words here) be measured in the bodies of innocent Syrians.

Regarding the Syrians, he says “there is only one recourse – to do what is right, even if it is not popular.” He is a popular, dynamic speaker – offering words that are obvious and yet sincere – “we should stand up for truth and democracy.” And yes, he tells us here in Israel, in the only democracy in the Middle East, that “democracy is not just a way of voting, it is a way of thinking.”

My problem with Tony Blair is that when it comes to Israel…suddenly the naiveté comes through. He says we are wrong to think that the two-state solution idea can’t work; in fact, he believes we who believe in any other long-term solution live in a fantasy. He recognizes potential security issues and yet misses the most fundamental of points. This year, as last year, I am left to wonder how he can be so smart when it comes to Syria and Iran, and so blind when it comes to what is happening here.

I’m left with the simple and irrefutable truth that a speaker last year said. I can’t wait to hear her again this year – from her mouth, I expect the truth – the truth as it applies to Israel and the truth as it applies to others in the Middle East. “Even if you give them Jerusalem,” she said last year, “even if you give them Jerusalem, there won’t be peace.” That is the great truth that so many at this conference refuse to see. It goes against all the Tony Blair and Bill Clinton and even Shimon Peres want to believe. And yet, a truth it is.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Tony Blair Finally Has a Problem with Islam

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

The Quartet’s Middle East envoy Tony Blair, who for years has tried to “engage” Hamas and Fatah terrorist regimes, wrote this week, “There is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. We have to put it on the table and be honest about it.”

Blair wrote his new enlightenment in the London Daily Mail following the recent beheading of a British soldier by a Muslim who attacked him on a London street in broad daylight.

While agreeing that every religion has its extremists, Blair wrote, “I am afraid this strain is not the province of a few [Islamic] extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies.”

Blair has close contact with Muslims. His sister-in-law Lauren Booth who converted to Islam in 2010 and secretly wed social worker Sohale Ahmed in a Muslim ceremony months ago, although his first wife said he still is married to her.

“She stole my husband from under my nose. It’s absolutely disgusting,” said the woman,” quoted by the London Sun. ”I regarded her as a friend, a Muslim sister. But she’s not even a good woman, never mind a good Muslim.”

Booth is a good radical Muslim. She sailed to Gaza three years to support Hamas and was arrested by Israel when she tried to set foot in Israel.

Kerry Huffs and Puffs and Abbas Blows Him Down

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s $4 billion economic program to save the “peace process” got as far as the headlines for at least 12 hours until Palestinian Authority PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas economic adviser in effect wrote a “Dear John” letter Monday, virtually telling him to go back home.

“The Palestinian leadership will not offer political concessions in exchange for economic benefits,” read a statement from Mohammad Mustafa, president of the Palestine Investment Fund and economic adviser to president Mahmoud Abbas. “We will not accept that the economy is the primary and sole component.”

Abbas is nothing if not consistent. No matter  what concession Israel offers, usually after pressure from the U.S. government, Abbas says, “Israel must return to the 1967 borders, accept a Palestinian state headquartered in Jerusalem and accept the immigration of several million foreign Arabs – so we can eliminate Jewish majority in what is left of Israel. Then, we will negotiate.”

The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations don’t get it, but their insistence to play into Abbas’ hands eventually is in Israel’s favor because Abbas is aborting any hopes for a Palestinian state.

Kerry landed in Israel this week with the over-confidence of a show-off and braggart.

Reflecting incredible ignorance – sorry, naïveté –  of Middle East reality, he unveiled a grandiose “groundbreaking plan” at the World Economic Forum on  Sunday that in his own words “is bigger, bolder and more ambitious than anything proposed since Oslo more than 20 years ago now” will be “enormously powerful and different from anything we’ve ever seen before.”

That really is impressive.  And not very modest.

No one could have more proud of John Kerry than John Kerry, but he did not come up with this brainchild alone. He was helped by the Quartet’s Middle East envoy Tony Blair, whose record in the Middle East is about as successful as that of the U.S.  State Dept.

Also at the Forum was President Shimon Peres, who lives in the same world as Blair and Kerry.

“President Abbas, you are our partner — and we are yours,” Peres said for the 2000th time.

The “partner” on Monday returned to his same mantra. Money or no money, the economy is only a “part of a political framework that will ensure the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem its capital and the rights of refugees and a reference to a political solution,” said Mustafa in a statement that made Kerry look like a dumbbell for even opening his mouth.

Kerry actually believed that Abbas is interested in a strong economy with the investments of Palestinian Authority billionaires like Munib Al-Masri, a former Palestinian Authority minister.

But that would mean someone else getting the credit for economic growth, a direct threat to Abbas’ political power.

UPDATED It’s On: Israel Demands Times Apologize for Blood Libel

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Israel is demanding an apology from London’s The Sunday Times for publishing a cartoon showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall cemented with Palestinian blood.

Daniel Taub, Israel’s ambassador in London told The Times of Israel that “We generally think that a red line has been crossed and the obligation on the newspaper is to correct that.”

Jon Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, stated: “The cartoon is shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press. Its use is all the more disgusting on Holocaust Memorial Day, given the similar tropes leveled against Jews by the Nazis.”

The cartoon by Gerald Scarfe was published Sunday, which also happened to be International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It shows Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu building a wall with the blood and bodies of Palestinian women and children who are screaming in pain.

The Sunday Times has so far denied that the cartoon was anti-Semitic. In a statement, the News International title described Scarfe’s imagery as “typically robust,” and added: “It is aimed squarely at Mr. Netanyahu and his policies, not at Israel, let alone at Jewish people. It appeared yesterday because Mr. Netanyahu won the Israeli election last week.

“The Sunday Times condemns anti-Semitism, as is clear in the excellent article in yesterday’s magazine which exposes the Holocaust-denying tours of concentration camps organized by David Irving.”

Martin Ivens, the newspaper’s incoming editor in chief, said: “The last thing I or anyone connected with the Sunday Times would countenance would be insulting the memory of the Shoah or invoking the blood libel. The paper has long written strongly in defense of Israel and its security concerns, as have I as a columnist. We are, however, reminded of the sensitivities in this area by the reaction to the cartoon and I will of course bear them very carefully in mind in future.”

Middle East envoy Tony Blair, a former British prime minister, met with Netanyahu on Monday and said he deplored the caricature, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

Rupert Murdoch whose News Corp. company owns the British newspaper, said via Twitter that the newspaper owes “a major apology for the grotesque, offensive cartoon,” The Jerusalem Post said.

British Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks condemned the cartoon, saying “Whatever the intention, the danger of such images is that they reinforce a great slander of our time: that Jews, victims of the Holocaust, are now perpetrators of a similar crime against the Palestinians. Not only is this manifestly untrue, it is also inflammatory and deeply dangerous.”

 

UPDATE: According to a BBC Report, on Tuesday, January 29, the acting editor of the Sunday Times apologized for the grotesque cartoon published in his paper.  Martin Ivens told a group of British Jewish leadership and community members who met with him to express their outrage over the cartoon, “On behalf of the paper I’d like to apologize unreservedly for the offense we clearly caused. This was a terrible mistake.”

Ivens went on to say “You will know that the Sunday Times abhors anti-Semitism and would never set out to cause offence to the Jewish people – or any other ethnic or religious group. That was not the intention last Sunday.”

In addition, Ivens castigated the cartoonist, who was not present at the meeting.  He said, “Everyone knows that Gerald Scarfe is consistently brutal and bloody in his depictions, but last weekend – by his own admission – he crossed a line.”

Scarfe put up his own response on his website, apologizing abjectly for the timing of the publication of his cartoon, and insisting that he was harpooning Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, but not the Jewish people.

His message stated that he was “stupidly completely unaware that it would be printed on Holocaust Day, and I apologise for the very unfortunate timing.”

The British Jewish communal leadership accepted the apologies and suggested it was time to “move on.”

 

Don’t Kick the Can of Violence Down the Road

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Just now I saw a BBC news report that former British PM and special Middle East envoy Tony Blair announced that “we must do everything possible to de-escalate the situation.”

My question is, “why?”

The ‘situation’ before the recent Hamas attack and Israeli response was not acceptable. What would Mr. Blair consider an acceptable level of rocket fire into London?

I keep hearing that “war never solves anything.” What nonsense! Some problems — like a persistent, genocidal neighbor motivated by a 7th century ideology who is obsessively trying to destroy your society — can only be solved by war.

Any ‘solution’ that leaves Hamas in power in Gaza isn’t a solution — it is kicking the can of violence down the road, to coin a phrase.

The long-term solution involves changing the cultures that today are obsessed with killing Jews and ending their state, so that they can focus on more constructive pursuits. I can’t imagine how this could be brought about from our side, although I do know that there are things we’ve done — like bringing the despicable Yasser Arafat back from exile — that made things worse.

The short-term solution is to render the barbarians as close to harmless as possible, and to teach them that there is nothing to gain by attacking us. This requires taking away their weapons and military infrastructure, and building deterrence by retaliating in a consistent and disproportionately damaging way. That can’t be achieved by peaceful means. Sorry, Mr. Blair.

A cease-fire or other end to the fighting before these objectives are attained doesn’t bring the short-term solution closer. It also doesn’t promote a long-term solution, because it encourages the enemy to believe that its goals are not impossible.

My recommendation to Tony Blair, Barack Obama, the UN, etc. is simple: leave it alone. The only thing that can prevent Israel from winning this mini-war and neutering Hamas is outside intervention. And the best way to bring about the peace that you desire is to let the war run its course.

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