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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘US-Israel’

House Spending Bill Restores Aid to Israel to $3.1 Billion

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Funding to Israel was restored to its pre-sequester level of $3.1 billion in the spending bill the U.S. House of Representatives passed on Wednesday. Aid to the Palestinian Authority was conditioned on its not running to the United Nations for recognition.

The $1.1 trillion bill passed Wednesday is the result of a deal brokered last month between Democrats and Republicans who have struggled for months to compromise on spending bills. It restores about half the cuts mandated by the sequestration, the across-the-board 8 percent cuts which by law kicked in last March when Congress failed to agree on a budget.

Also in the bill is $268.7 million in funding for U.S.-Israel cooperative anti-missile programs, not considered assistance because Israel contributes to the programs.

The bill also links the approximately $400 million the Palestinian Authority receives in annual assistance to programs against incitement, and cuts off aid to the Palestinians if the PA take further steps to secure statehood recognition at international bodies.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the passage.

“These funds fully meet America’s commitment in the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding, helping our democratic ally meet critical defense needs during this period of heightened regional instability,” it said in a statement.

The Senate is due to consider the spending bill later this week.

Ex-Sec’y of Defense Gates: I Tried to Ban Bibi from White House

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wrote in his new book that he once tried to ban Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from the White House, when he was President George H. W. Bush’s national security adviser, because of what he said was the Prime Minister’s “arrogance and outlandish ambition.” Netanyahu was deputy foreign minister at the time.

Gates writes openly about his disgust with Netanyahu in his book “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.”

“I was offended by his glibness and his criticism of U.S. policy — not to mention his arrogance and outlandish ambition — and I told national security adviser Brent Scowcroft that Bibi ought not be allowed back on White House grounds.” Gates wrote.

On the other hand, Gates said he felt very close to Ehud Barak, who was former Defense Minister and was Prime Minister for less than two years.

The old idiom “you are known by the company you keep” speaks volumes about Gates. Barak was up to his neck in making deals with the military industrial complex and served as an adviser for defense firms after his first fallout with the Labor party following his landslide loss in his re-election bid against Ariel Sharon in 2001.

Gates’ loathing of Netanyahu continues to this day. He wrote in his new book, “I, as a very strong friend and supporter of Israel, believe Jerusalem needs to think anew about its strategic environment. That would require developing stronger relationships with governments that, while not allies, share Israel’s concerns in the region, including those about Iran and the growing political influence of Islamists in the wake of the Arab Spring. … Given a Palestinian birthrate that far outpaces that of Israeli Jews, and the political trends in the region, time is not on Israel’s side.”

If he had his facts right, he would know that  statement about the birth rate simply is not true.

US Rebukes Ya’alon for ‘Offensive’ Remark that Kerry is Messianic

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

The United States  rebuked Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon Tuesday for having reportedly said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is “messianic,” that the U.S. proposal for security arrangements under a Palestinian Authority state are worthless and that all of us would be better off if Kerry would just pick up his Nobel Prize and leave us alone.

Ya’alon has not denied or commented on the report of his comments, made in private, exposed without a source by Yediot Acharonot. Presumably, Ya’alon has a political enemy who snitched on him.

The United States was understandably insulted. “The remarks of the defense minister, if accurate, are offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israel’s security needs,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a brief statement.

The beauty of the diplomatic faux pas is that the Israeli government – if it is not comatose – will realize that it is possible to say what it thinks about John Kerry without the world coming apart.

The United States was insulted. So what?

Ya’alon finally has done what no other Israeli leader has done -  call a spade a spade and call a Secretary of State a messianic jerk.

Ya’alon is not a diplomat. He is not the greatest politician, and that is to his credit because he is more intellectually honest than others. It was Ya’alon, as Chief of Staff in 2005, who refused to turn Israeli soldiers into an Iranian goon squad to expel Jews from their homes in Gaza.

At the same time, his three-year term as Chief of Staff was due to end. The usual practice is for the Prime Minister to extend it by another year, but faced with the possibility of a loose spoke in the wheels of destruction, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dumped Ya’alon and replaced him with Dan Halutz.

Let’s not forget that it was Halutz, one year later when he was supposed to be totally focused on two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah, who was on the phone with his bank to sell shares on the stock market. When he hung up, he got back to work to lead Israel into the debacle of the Second Lebanon War.

Ya’alon is not a diplomat, but he should know that whatever he says, anywhere, can be quoted. He would not dare stand on a podium and call Kerry “messianic.”

Here is what Ya’alon was quoted as saying:

“Kerry has come to act out of an incomprehensible obsession and a messianic feeling {and} cannot teach me a single thing about the conflict with the Palestinians. The only thing that can save us is if Kerry wins the Nobel prize and leaves us alone.”

He  added that Kerry’s security arrangements “are not worth the paper they are written on.”

Ya’alon issued a written statement after the report that the United States is an important ally. “When there are disagreements, we work through them inside the room – including with Secretary of State Kerry, with whom I hold many conversations about Israel’s future,” he said.

The State Dept. reprimanded him. “To question his motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally,” said Psaki.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stepped on the damage control pedal in a speech in  the Knesset, which marked on Tuesday its 65th birthday.

“We are working to advance regional security and defend our interests,” he said. “True peace is founded on recognition of the nation state of the Jewish people and on security arrangements guaranteeing that territories in Palestinian hands do not turn into launching pads for terrorists. But all that [must be achieved] while respecting our important ties to the United States. We continue to defend our national interests, one of which is the continued fostering of our relations with our ally, the United States.”

Former US Envoy Favors ‘Trading Pollard for PA State’

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Pickering has stated that Jonathan Pollard is a “traitor” but should be released from prison if it would convince Israel to agree to sign an agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

It is incomprehensible that a patriotic American like Pickering can state that a man, an alleged traitor to the United States and who should remain in jail for life, can be freed for the sake of a diplomatic plum for President Barack Obama.

Pollard is far from a traitor by any definition and never was convicted of spying. Calling him a traitor is plain libel. He was caught handing over classified information for Israel, an offense that never has been punished for more than four years in jail until the Pollard trial, such as it was.

Pollard himself has argued against being used as barter for Israel’s freeing Palestinian Authority murderers, which Israel has done time and time again anyway while  Pollard remains in jail.

Pickering is not the only former U.S. ambassador to Israel who says Pollard should be released. Samuel W. Lewis, who was the envoy from 1977 to 1985, also has come out for his being released, but Lewis rejected the linkage with the so-called peace process. “He betrayed us, and I am glad he sat in prison, but 28 years is time enough,” he said.

Pickering stated, “I think that achieving an Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement is far more important than the continuation of Pollard’s incarceration.”

It is astounding that a distinguished 40-year veteran of the Foreign Service could even suggest that a country, in this case Israel, would give up its sense of security and gamble on its future in order to win the release of Pollard.

But if we understand that Pickering, by default of  having been an employee of the State Dept., has the same clone mentality of everyone else in Foggy Bottom, it all makes sense.

Who else but a State Dept. veteran would say, as Pickering did in a speech in 2010 to the Florida Atlantic University, “Peace can be made between Syria and Israel”?

Actually three was one non-State Dept. man who said that. Meet John Kerry, who as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in his pre-State Dept. days commuted to Damascus, chummed with Syrian President Bassar al-Assad and knew he was on the way to a peace agreement.

Well, you can’t win them all. But Kerry can’t win anything.

Kerry undoubtedly would suggest to  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that Pollard be freed if he were to think that the Prime Minister would make “painful concessions.”

Pollard has suffered for too many years in prison, but no one can imagine the suffering he would go through if President Obama were to free him in return for Israel’s surrendering the Jordan Valley, surrendering Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem or even only over the Old City, expelling tens of thousands of Jews and accepting another armed Arab country as a neighbor.

Such a scenario  is unlikely not because Kerry is not capable of offering Pollard for a Piece of Peace paper – Kerry is capable of selling his grandmother for that – but because it won’t happen.

It is so immoral that it cannot comprehended by anyone except a State Dept. veteran like Pickering.

Kerry to Return Soon with ‘Framework,’ Says US Ambassador Shapiro

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry may return to Israel within a month with his “framework” agreement to push Israel and the Palestinian Authority off their respective cliffs, U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro said Tuesday.

“I hope he will return in another month so Washington can present both sides a proposal for a framework agreement,” Shapiro told Israeli radio.

If anyone thinks that Kerry failed in his visit last week because he didn’t unpack his “framework,” guess again. The Secretary of State left Israel for Jordan and Saudi Arabia before returning to the United States because he knows who is calling the shots in the Middle East.

It is not Mahmoud Abbas, who will do whatever the Arab League tells him to do, and it is not Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who so far has not defended a single red line on anything except to keep illegal African infiltrators from taking over the country.

Kerry knows he has no chance of convincing Abbas to retreat one inch and of convincing Netanyahu that the United States knows what is best for Israel.

When Kerry and President Obama say Israel’s security is their number one concern, it is true – but only through the lens of their dreamy-eyed telescope that sees Israel as better off with another enemy Arab state.

The “framework” will include all of the core issues and will be presented to the Israeli public and the Palestinian Authority so everyone can understand its character and intent for a final agreement, according to Shapiro.

In a not so subtle threat to Israel, he said, “I think Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu realizes that failure in the talks will make thinks a lot more difficult for the Israeli army.” That is the follow-up to Kerry’s open incitement on his previous visit when he rhetorically asked if Israel wants a new intifada by refusing to hand over more than half of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley to the Palestinian Authority and expel tens of thousands of Jews from their homes.

The more Arab violence spreads throughout Israel, the more ammunition Kerry and foreign media have to convince the world – and more importantly the Israeli public – that Israel better raise its hands and agree to die slowly instead of putting up a fight and die immediately.

Kerry and Obama have said they will not force either side into an agreement. But that is exactly what they are doing, in the most Machiavellian way, and all of this is ostensibly for the sake of Israel’s security, which in Obama’s mind is conditioned on the United States deciding who is on first in the Middle East, just like it decided in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Egypt.

Sure, things did not work out well, but everything will turn out just right as soon as Israel signs a deal with Abbas.

The “framework” is going to be phrased in a way that if either side balks, it will lose the blame game. Prime Minister Netanyahu already has maneuvered Israel into a tight corner, surrounded by Kerry’s incitement, escalating Arab terror, the European Union and the specter of a boycott if it does not keel over.

But Kerry is not forcing Israel to do anything.

Kerry Exposes Saudi Arabia as Abbas’ Senior Negotiator

Monday, January 6th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry left the Middle East Monday after trying to shore up support from oil-rich Saudi Arabia, the real power broker in the Saudi Arabia and whose monarch, “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah,” is the one man who can order the Palestinian Authority when to jump, where to jump and how to jump.

He also made sure to hold a last-minute conversation with Israeli Opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog, chairman of the Labor party that is ready to jump into the coalition and save Prime Minister Netanyahu from new elections if and when the Jewish Home party finally has had enough of his song and dance while erasing all the red lines in talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Kerry left with his ballyhooed “framework” still stuck in his suitcase. It actually simply was another version of “guidelines,” “roadmaps” and other Foggy Bottom innovations, all of which are the same thing except for their names.

It was Saudi Arabia that came up with the 2002 “Peace Initiative” by which Israel would agree to everything that Mahmoud Abbas now is demanding in return for “normalization” of diplomatic ties with the Arab League countries.

“Normalize” does not mean diplomatic recognition. It means whatever any country wants it to mean, but the bottom line is money, meaning trade relations. It does not mean that the Israeli flag will fly in Riyadh.

Before Kerry left Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters, “His Majesty again reiterated the principles of the Arab Peace Plan and agreement (inaudible) come to respond to Palestinian national wishes to receive (inaudible) ultimately.”

In other words, he told Kerry to jump in the lake.

Kerry said, “I’m always grateful to the incredible hospitality of my friend Saud al-Faisal, whose friendship and counsel I value enormously.

“I want to thank His Majesty for not just the length of the meeting, but for the quality of the meeting, for the fullness of the exchange of ideas, and particularly for his enthusiastic support for the efforts that are being made with respect to the peace process and the effort to try to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

In other words, Kerry jumped in the lake head first.

Before doing so, he may have laid the groundwork for a brilliant diplomatic coup to grind Israel’s nose into the dirt or, more likely, to prepare the United States for an even worse debacle in the Middle East, a feat once thought as impossible.

The Saudi-based Arab World reported Monday, “Looking to ease the concerns of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Kerry said that America’s allies could count on US support. Kerry is in Saudi Arabia on the second leg of a tour through the Middle East.”

Kerry has promised he will never sacrifice Israel’s security.

He has promised the Palestinian Authority it will have a country based on the borders that would leave Israel without security.

He has promised that Saudi Arabia, which is unhappy over President Barack Obama’s appeasement of Syria and Iran, it has its full support.

Kerry is now on his way back to Washington to look for snake oil.

Netanyahu ‘Welcomes’ Kerry with Lecture on PA Terror

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave visiting  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a stark welcome Thursday evening by pointing out to him how the Palestinian Authority incites terror with its celebrations this week after Israel’s freed more terrorists who murdered Jews.

Kerry ignored the comments and spoke of “my friend Bibi” and said is such a “great pleasure” to be back in Israel

He spoke of the sun set on the Old City and how it reminded him of history, but he did not said what history – the Temple Mounts or Al Aqsa mosque.

One of his most amazingly naïve or stupid comments was, “After five months, I think it is safe to say we know what the issues are.”

And he calls himself Secretary of State? If he had read the newspapers 65 years ago, or even 10  years ago, he would have known what the issues are.

Netanyahu repeated for the 5,935th time that he would never surrender Israel’s security, and Kerry paralleled his comments, saying that really knows what is good for Israel’s security.

The Secretary of State also said he is encouraged that an agreement can be made between the Palestinian Authority and Israel can be reached because he saw a recent poll that shows most people want a “two-state” solution.

Does anyone else have any other straws to give Kerry to grab at.

Kerry Lands in Israel, Heads for 2-Hour Meeting with Netanyahu

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry landed at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport around 3 p.m. Thursday, bringing with him the usual traffic headache for motorists who are kept away from the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway while  his cavalcade takes him for a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Kerry is scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority  chairman Mahmoud Abbas later in the evening and has brought in his suitcase a “framework” agreement.

No one really understand how this “framework” is different from “outlines” and previous roses by another name that state the same core issues between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and which both sides were supposed to have been talking about for about a decade.

This is the 10th time since last February that Kerry has travelled to Israel. He succeeded in resurrecting the “peace talks” after three years in which it was buried and now is trying to keep his diplomatic racecar speeding ahead  in neutral.

The only tangible results of his efforts have been the Palestinian Authority’s winning the freedom of 86 terrorists, with another 18 to be freed in the spring, and lots of  Israeli announcements but nothing beyond that for new homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria and in areas of Jerusalem where the Obama administration considers Jews to be “illegitimate.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kerry-lands-in-israel-heads-for-2-hour-meeting-with-netanyahu/2014/01/02/

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