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November 26, 2015 / 14 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Hezbollah Not a Terror Group, Says Russia

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Russia does not consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization, according to Moscow’s deputy foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov.

The official was quoted Sunday by the Interfax news agency as he explained that Russia maintains ties with the group.

“Some say Hezbollah is a terrorist organization,” Bogdanov said. “We maintain contacts and relations with them because we do not consider them a terrorist organization.

“They have never committed any terrorist acts on Russian soil. Hezbollah was elected by Lebanese citizens to the Lebanese parliament. There are cabinet members and ministers from Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is a legitimate sociopolitical force.”

The remarks emerged during discussions on Saturday between nations discussing which groups fighting the Syrian civil war should be defined as terrorists or not. The question arose and to which groups should be invited to negotiate for a political settlement, but differences remain between the views of Moscow and Washington.

Participants at the talks on Syria, held in Vienna, appointed Jordan as coordinator of efforts to compile a list of terrorist groups. Although both the United States and the European Union have designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization — as has Israel — Russia does not.

The unwillingness of Russia to acknowledge Hezbollah’s terrorist status is likely to impact any international effort to address the group’s terrorist activities and attacks on Israel or anywhere else.

Hezbollah has also in the past been reportedly involved in drug sales operations that cross Israel’s northern border and elsewhere in the world as well.

US, Germany Pull Patriot Batteries from Turkey

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

The United States and Germany have both announced they plan to pull their Patriot missile batteries from Turkey following a reassessment of the threat from Syria.

Both nations deployed the anti-missile defensive batteries on the southern Turkish border in 2013 in response to a request submitted to NATO by Ankara over “spillage” from the Syrian civil war.

Additional Patriot missile batteries were provided by the Netherlands as well, but were withdrawn earlier this year, and replaced instead by units from Spain.

The Patriot units from the United States will be returned stateside, ostensibly for “upgrades,” according to a joint Turkish-U.S. statement issued on Sunday.

“The United States and NATO are committed to supporting Turkey’s security and regional stability,” the statement said. “If needed, the United States is prepared to return Patriot assets and personnel to Turkey within one week.”

Germany, meanwhile, has said it will shut down its Patriot program altogether.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced last week that Berlin will allow its three-year Patriot mission simply to lapse in January rather than seek parliamentary approval for renewal, Reuters reported.

“The threat in this war-torn region has shifted in focus,” von der Leyen said in a statement on the German defense ministry’s website. “It now stems from the terror organization Islamic State. Therefore, we will remain engaged in the region in a continued effort to stabilize it.”

Klain Appointed U.S. Ebola Response Coordinator

Monday, October 20th, 2014

(JTA) — Former White House official Ron Klain has been tapped to coordinate the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak.

Klain previously served as chief of staff for Vice President Joe Biden, and as chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore from 1995 to 1999.

In his position as Ebola response coordinator, Klain will report to Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, the White House said in an announcement over the weekend.

“Klain comes to the job with extensive experience in overseeing complex governmental operations and has good working relationships with leading Members of Congress as well as senior Administration officials,” according to the White House. “Klain’s talent and managerial skill will be crucial in providing the resources and expertise we need to rapidly, cohesively, and effectively respond to Ebola at home and abroad.”

Klain, who is Jewish, grew up in Indianapolis and attended Harvard Law School. Since leaving Washington in 2011, he has worked as president of Case Holdings, an investment company,
His appointment comes following the infection of two Dallas nurses by the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States.

USA’s Georgia and Israel Celebrate 20 Years of Friendship

Friday, June 27th, 2014

This past week, the governor of the U.S. state of Georgia, Nathan Deal and a delegation of Georgia officials and business leaders visited Israel on a five-day mission highlighting the unique economic partnership between Israel and Georgia. The governor met with prominent members of the Israeli government including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat to explore trade and business opportunities as well as Atlanta’s sister city of Ra’anana.

“Israel is a vital partner in friendship and in our economic development efforts,” the Georgia governor said in a press release on June 25. “We are here to bolster our ties as we celebrate Georgia’s 20th year in the Israeli market and our long-standing commitment to the country.”

During the visit, the Georgia delegation met with Israeli companies that have invested in Georgia as well as those considering doing so. The Israel-based Haifa Group, for example will build a new Controlled Release Fertilizer manufacturing facility in Savannah, Georgia. The Haifa Group is a global leader of specialty fertilizers, specialty plant nutrients, potassium nitrate, food phosphates in the agricultural industry.

The Haifa Group, whose operations span over 100 countries in 5 continents, will invest $12 million in the Georgia plant that will create 20 new jobs in the U.S. state nicknamed the Peach State, for its official fruit.

“This new plant serves as a testament to Georgia’s advanced agriculture technology industry,” Governor Deal stated. “We fully expect that this new production facility will help establish our state as a center of advanced fertilizer technology, with farmers, nursery owners and professional turf experts across the country asking for our products.”

In 2013, Georgia was ranked as the leading state in the Southeastern United States and eighth in the nation in terms of total trade with Israel. Imports to Israel from Georgia increased by 71 percent and total trade increased by 46 percent from 2012-2013. Approximately $4 million worth of Georgia peanuts and pecans have been sold to Israel as part of a Georgia state federally-funded program to attract international buyers to Georgia. Among other international buyers including Brazil, China, Germany, Canada, Japan, Mexico and the UK, Israel has emerged as the leading Middle Eastern investor nation in Georgia.

In addition, Delta Air Lines offers multiple daily flights from Atlanta to Tel Aviv via New York and Amsterdam. The Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah offers two weekly shipping services to the Port of Haifa and one to the Port of Ashdod.

Since 1994, Israel and Georgia, which was recently named the top business state in the U.S., have had a long-established partnership through business, international trade, government, tourism and other avenues.

“Georgia has a unique advantage with the Israeli Consulate General based in Atlanta and organizations like conexx: America Israel Business Connector,” said Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “These partners of ours, which work actively to promote a stronger relationship, provide key connections and demonstrate goodwill between our state and Israel.”

Will Kerry Be On Hot Seat at Obama Meeting?

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Oy. He’s logged thousands of hours flying back and forth, meeting with leaders from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and surrounding Arab nations. Sleepless nights, endless days, Middle Eastern food and where has it all led?

Back to Square One by anyone’s estimation – and very likely in the eyes of President Barack Obama at the White House.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reports today (Tuesday) to the president so both can decide what to do next about the persnickety tangle that just won’t untangle in the Holy Land.

The problem is, after the better part of a year, John Kerry may have almost nothing to show for all of his efforts and a massive bill to boot. It’s a credibility problem for him – did he read the situation wrong? Or was it simply a matter of the Western mind not understanding the typical Middle Eastern Arab mentality again? And again. And again. Ad nauseum.

Because we who live here have already seen this before in our neighborhood. There have been so many train wrecks down this gorge, we’ve lost count of the number of peace plans we’ve complied with here in the Land of Israel. Most were American.

And Mr. Kerry is another one lacking the basic understanding of Middle Eastern mentality, the Arab mind and how it works, and the way it goes in this region. Briefings on “Arab culture” don’t cut it when it comes to shuttle diplomacy here. It is just not enough when it gets to the nitty gritty.

The Europeans already know better. They make dry observations, back the Arabs (who they know they can rely on to pull out rather than comply) and then fade out before the sun sets in the West. Of course, ‘intel’ ties always continue with Israel; it would be silly to ignore the needs of national security, right?

But the U.S. has yet to learn that Arab leadership is not reliable. The Palestinian Authority talks one way in English and the other way in Arabic and its word is never its word. Peace is not a concept this entity can understand. The definition of ‘honor’ in this culture is not the same as that of the West – it is defined differently in the Middle East.

Think ASIA when you think of PA government “honor.” That is the closest analogy one can summon. It does not involve life, but death – truly. And age doesn’t count. Babies do qualify. Everyone is expendable.

John Kerry is a well-meaning guy. He really thought he could pull this off. And he did have a peace partner. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu braved his entire coalition to make this last attempt – and almost lost his government over it. In fact, he still might. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Labor leader Isaac Herzog are both taking a shot at widening the fractures so they can climb all over it when new elections come around – and they both hope it’s sooner rather than later.

The last thing Israel needed was to free dozens more terrorists, let alone open the roadblocks to create a new free entrance on to Highway 60 from the Arab side of Hevron. But that’s what Israel did at America’s insistence for the U.S. attempt at new talks with the PA, knowing it was likely to come to naught.

It would be a pity if President Obama were now to rake John Kerry over the coals for following his orders and extending his own personal good faith in the process.

Mr. Kerry is not a young man either, and the constant flights could not have been easy. The stress of struggling to deal with Arab leaders fighting your every effort to reach a compromise could not have been fun. And having to second-guess everyone’s thoughts, words, actions and decisions following each session – although that is the job for which he was trained – must have been the stuff of nightmares.

Russia Test-Fires ICBM

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Russia test-fired an ICBM on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

The missile was launched near the Caspian sea and hit a target in Kazakhstan.

The launch was probably a warning shot related to the Ukrainian tensions.

Minister Accompanying Netanyahu: Settlement Freeze Off the Table

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Likud Minister Yuval Steinitz, accompanying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his trip to the U.S., told Israel Radio Tuesday morning that Israel’s position both regarding the peace negotiations with the Palestinians and the Iran question are receiving wall-to-wall support in Congress.

According to Stenitz, the leaders of the Senate and the House understand that the main hurdle before the peace process is the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to their own country, and their terrible incitement against Israel.

According to the Washington Post, after his conference with Obama, Netanyahu met with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Capitol Hill. Cantor said the Palestinians must “accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state” and “uniformly and aggressively” combat terrorism while confronting, not condoning, “incitement against the Jews.”

Steinitz added that the Palestinian demand for a freeze on settlement housing starts, as well as their insistence on prisoner release in exchange for extending the negotiations are simply not part of the discussion.

Leftist party Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On told Israel Radio that the settlement freeze would serve Israel’s interests more than it would the Palestinians’.

Labor MK Nachman Shai argues that the Ukrainian crisis is not diverting the world’s attention away from Israel and the peace negotiations, and is not improving Israel’s political situation.

But, despite MK Shai’s note to the contrary, AP reported that Secretary of State Kerry left Monday for the Ukrainian capital. The European Union’s foreign ministers, meantime, issued a Thursday deadline for Russia President Vladimir Putin to pull back his troops or face a rejection of visa liberalization and economic cooperation negotiations long in the works.

And the White House said Obama met for more than two hours Monday night with the National Security Council, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, to discuss what steps the United States can take with international partners to further isolate Russia and persuade it to de-escalate the situation.

So, for now, nobody is pushing the 2-state thing. Maybe wait until after the Russian occupation…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/minister-accompanying-netanyahu-settlement-freeze-off-the-table/2014/03/04/

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