The Obama administration is keeping Israel up to date on talks with Iran for an agreement to contain and supervise its nuclear program despite reports that Washington is fed up with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu because of his planned speech in Congress next month.
“Conversations continue with Israel on the Iran nuclear negotiations, State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday.
She cited as examples a meeting between Under Secretary Sherman and Israeli NSA Cohen and the Minister for Intelligence and Strategic Planning Steinitz in Munich and a subsequent meeting this week. “Iran negotiations were obviously the main topic of negotiations,” according to Psaki.
“As you know, Secretary Kerry regularly speaks to the prime minister about this issue, as well as many others,” she added, “And as our NSC colleagues have noted, NSA – National Security Advisor Rice maintains regular contact with her Israeli counterpart, National Security Advisor Cohen, on the full range of issues, including, of course, this issue…
“And reports that that has been cut off or we are no longer consulting are simply inaccurate…. As it relates to our relationship with Israel, our consultations on Iran are ongoing at many levels and many, many high levels, and reports over the weekend are just inaccurate.”
A poll published on Friday shows that nearly two-thirds of Israelis think that the Obama administration is interfering in the elections, and more than half of the respondents back Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s planned visit to Congress.
President Barack Obama already has stated he will not meet with Netanyahu two weeks before the elections, but many Democrats in Congress have thrown salt on the wounds of American-Israeli relations by stating they will boycott the Prime Minister’s speech.
The survey, carried out by the Hebrew-language Maariv weekend newspaper and The Jerusalem Post, stated that 62 percent of Israelis think Washington is putting its two cents into the election campaign, while 31 percent disagreed and 8 percent expressed no opinion.
Support for Netanyahu was a bit less, with 56 percent backing his acceptance of an invitation from Republic House Speaker John Boehner to speak to Congress, where he received an enthusiastic ovation in 2011 when he spoke to a joint session of Congress.
Almost lost in the controversy over the Prime Minister’s planned speech is its content – Iran, which may be the real reason President Obama and many Democrats are so angry at the Prime Minister.
Netanyahu has constantly warned that Iran is stalling for time and not negotiating. He has explained over and over that Iran wants to gets its hands on a nuclear weapon, hell or high water, and that the Obama administration is far too dovish.
Netanyahu’s speech in Congress comes until three weeks before a deadline for Washington and Tehran to agree on the basis to conclude negotiations on Iran’s nuclear development.
Pervious polls have shown that most Israelis think Netanyahu is exploiting the planned speech to help voters in Israel focus on the Iranian nuclear threat and vote for him, an assumption that is a certain bet given that nothing happens in Israel without political intentions.
That does not contradict the real concern of the Iranian threat and that the Obama administration will not stop it.
The United Nations 10 years ago passed resolutions for its nuclear inspectors to inspect Iran’s program, and the United States spearheaded Western sanctions on Iran to convince it to cooperate. Nothing has worked.
Iran has whittled down the will of the Obama administration and Western powers to the point that the deal being put together simply would delay Iran’s nuclear capability and not eliminate it. The deal also is based on Iran’s allowing United Nations inspectors to enter all of its nuclear facilities, even though it has built underground operations while it was supposed to be cooperating with nuclear inspectors.
That is why Netanyahu is willing to risk worsening relations with the Obama administration and speak out against the expected deal, regardless of polls and boycotts of his speech by Democrat Congressmen,.
Given Iran’s consistent refusal to play ball by mutually agreed rules, Netanyahu’s visit will be unnecessary if Tehran balks and refuses the “P5+1″ offer. It is generous but not enough for Iran. It would allow Iran to keep a large part of its nuclear infrastructure but supposedly block Iran from building a nuclear weapon.
Netanyahu is not taking any chances.
Below is the video clip of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in 2011, when he received 29 standing ovations.
Israel Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer joked about White House complaints that he breached protocol and tweeted on Sunday, “Breaking Protocol, Choosing Sides: Go Patriots.”
The Obama administration has publicly charged with Dermer for “breaking protocol” by not directly informing the administration that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will speak to Congress in March. Netanyahu is expected to use the occasion to deliver a broadside at President Obama’s insistence to veto any Congressional bill for sanctions against Iran.
Dermer has been under the gun on both sides of the Atlantic, so he used the Super Bowl as an opportunity to lighten things up a bit with his Tweet.
The Ambassador has denied he was at fault and told Jeffrey Goldberg in an interview Friday, “It was the speaker’s responsibility and normal protocol for the speaker’s office to notify the administration” that Netanyahu was invited to speak to Congress.
The Palestinian Authority on Sunday called for “resistance” and boycott of all Israeli goods, capping off a campaign of promoting the blood libel that Israel planned the recent radical Islamic terror attacks in France.
Why would Israel do such a horrid thing? Why would Israel draft the Mossad to pay off Muslims to kill Jews and Christians in France?
Abbas and his Fatah movement have the answers: Aliyah of Jews from France and “revenge on European government…because of their positions on the Palestinian cause.”
Now that we know why 17 people were killed in three straight days of barbaric murder, we must remember that Secretary of State John Kerry has said over and over again the past several years that Abbas is against violence and does not incite his lone wolves to murder the sheep.
So how can it be that a recent poll of Arabs in Judea, Gaza and Samaria found that 84.4 percent of the respondents support the claim that “the operation (i.e., terror attack) was suspicious, and that Israel may be behind it,” while “only 8.7% believed that the murder of the French [citizens] in Paris was a natural result of the spread of Islamic extremism in Europe.”
The answer is that they read official Palestinian Authority media.
The official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported last week, as translated and published by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) today:
The Mossad, the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service, planned the attacks because Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders want to encourage Jewish immigration and take “revenge on European governments… because of their… support for… an independent Palestinian state.”
One regular columnist, Muwaffaq Matar, argued that because Netanyahu “wishes to realize the myth of the ‘Jewishness of Israel'” and encourage immigration, the attacks against Jews in France and elsewhere in Europe were “no coincidence, but a carefully executed and fully controlled plan.” He further argued that these claims were true because “‘Netanyahu’s Jewish State’ was the only one to benefit” from these attacks….”
Another regular columnist, Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, claimed that “Turkish sources, including intelligence and the mayor of Ankara,” determined that the attacks were “planned by the Israeli Mossad.”
The Palestinian Authority also used its official television network to tell viewers on January 12, in an interview with a journalist, that “in the past, the Israeli Mossad carried out operations (i.e., terror attacks): It bombed synagogues in order to force the Jews to emigrate.”
It gets even worse. Israel even trained the terrorists and gave them weapons, according to another writer for the daily.
Yahya Rabah wrote:
We have seen how Israeli terrorism in all its forms… is what grants patronage to all the terrorist groups in the region. Eventually, we have seen that terror[ists] have begun to receive training, weapons and perhaps [even] intelligence from Israel. Therefore, many believe that there was more to the last wave of terrorism in France than [just] two young Muslims. This was an [attempt to] target the role of France… [which voted] in favor of the Palestinian-Arab proposal at the [UN] Security Council last month!
Kerry can take pleasure in the fact that the Palestinian Authority officially condemned the attack on the Charles Hebdo magazine offices while letting a writer for its official daily write that the “unknown Charlie Hebdo magazine” had published “offensive cartoons” of the Prophet Mohamed “to get publicity and “extract itself from financial crises.”
None of this is a surprise to our readers.
But it is a surprise that the Obama administration still cannot come to terms with reality because doing so would be an admission that it has been hoodwinked for 20 years by a two-faced monster that has conned successive American governments and the State Dept., which still insists that none of this would have happened if Israel simply would follow the Arab world’s orders and stop insisting on Zionist demands, such as remaining a Jewish state and protecting its citizens from terror.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu jabbed President Barack Obama in the ego Thursday in an announcement of his accepting an invitation by Congressional Speaker John Boehner to address a joint session of Senators and representatives next month.
Just by coincidence, pure coincidence, the Prime Minister will be speaking two weeks before the Knesset elections, a situation which gave Obama the opportunity to rule out a meeting with his sparring partner as a matter of standard operating procedure that the president does not meet with visiting dignitaries near an election.
Whether Boehner invited Netanyahu or whether the Prime Minister invited himself doesn’t matter to President Obama.
Netanyahu advised the American Ambassador but did not notify the president before Boehner made public that the Prime Minister will address Congress, a move that the White House officially said departed from protocol but really meant was a direct cut at Obama.
The office of the Prime Minister poured salt on the cut Thursday when it announced:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted the invitation sent by Speaker John Boehner, on behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate, to address a joint meeting of Congress…..
The address will provide an opportunity for the Prime Minister to thank President Obama, the US Congress and the American people for their support of Israel.
Netanyahu has cornered Obama. He will profusely thank the president for the support that both men know is grudging.
And since the president is supporting Israel, and since Israel wants tough sanctions on Iran to remain, just like Boehner does, it only is logical that Obama is really not supporting Israel if he vetoes a Congressional bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran if does not conclude negotiations on limiting its nuclear program by the next diplomatic deadline, which keeps getting extended while Tehran plays for time.
In case Obama did not get the message from Netanyahu that the Prime Minister and the president are on the same page, even if in a different book.
Netanyahu’s office added:
“Just last week I discussed with President Obama the common challenges we face from Islamist extremism, including resurgent terrorism and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“I look forward to being able to share with the joint session Israel’s vision for working together to address these threats and to reiterate Israel’s commitment to the bond that unites our two democracies.”
Netanyahu, like most of us, heard or read Obama’s State of the Union address this week in which he vowed to fight terror but, instead of mentioning “Islamist extremism,” made clear that “we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims — the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced that Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo are the first non-U.S. cities selected to participate in the $45 million expansion of its Innovation Teams program.
The program aims to improve the capacity of City Halls to effectively design and implement new approaches that improve citizens’ lives by relying on data, open innovation, and strong project and performance management to help mayors address pressing urban challenges.
Grant funds will allow mayors to hire and fund innovation teams – often called “i-teams” — for up to three years.
Jerusalem will receive $850,000 per year, focusing initially on poverty and economic development. Tel Aviv-Yafo will receive $650,000 per year, focusing initially on issues related to cost of living and illegal immigration.
“Successful innovation depends as much on the ability to generate ideas as it does the capacity to execute them – and i-teams help cities do both,” said philanthropist Michael Bloomberg. “More and more city governments around the world are eager to innovate.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced that grants will go to Albuquerque, Boston, Centennial Colorado, Jersey City, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Mobile Alabama, Minneapolis, Peoria Illinois, Rochester, Syracuse, and Seattle.