The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Witold Waszczykowski will, visit Yad Vashem on Wednesday. The Minister will tour the Holocaust History Museum, participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visit the Children’s Memorial and sign the Yad Vashem Guest Book.David Israel
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Moscow has no problem adopting the Arab peace initiative on settling the Arab-Israeli conflict, and sees no need to amend it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told TASS after talks the PA FM Riyad al-Maliki on Wednesday. And, apparently, as far as the Russians are concerned, they never heard Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for any amendments to the initiative when he met with President Putin the day before.
“I did not hear any demands for amending the Arab peace initiative in the remarks of Benjamin Netanyahu,” Lavrov said. “It is integral and embraces the entire set of relations between Israel and the Arab countries, including Palestine of course. There is no need to amend it.”
According to Lavrov, the Arab peace initiative is a universal document, which everybody regards as the fitting foundation for a peaceful future between Arabs and Jews.
Also known as the “Saudi Initiative,” the Arab peace initiative is a 10 sentence proposal that was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 and then in 2007, calling for normalizing relations between the Arab countries and Israel, in exchange for “(a) Complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4 1967 line and the territories still occupied in southern Lebanon; (b) Attain a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees to be agreed upon in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution No 194 (which says that ‘refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.); (c) Accept the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
In other words, the elimination of the Jewish State as we know it—by the time the last conditions of the initiative were fulfilled.
Perhaps it was symbolic that on the day of the first declaration of the Saudi initiative, March 27, 2002, Hamas committed the Passover Massacre as a suicide bomber killed 30 Israelis and injured more than 170, including children, at the Park Hotel in Netanya.
And yet, in March 2009 US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell announced that President Obama’s administration planned to “incorporate” the initiative into its Middle East policy.
And last year, in May 2015, shortly after winning the March 17 elections, Netanyahu himslef expressed tentative support for the initiative, saying he accepted the “general idea,” but with significant caveats, specifically its calls for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights and the relocation of millions of Arabs into Israel. As to Jerusalem, Netanyahu said it would not be resolved immediately, and so for now “we’ll set this aside.”
For his part, al-Maliki told TASS he was hoping for Moscow’s “direct and active involvement” in resolving the conflict with Israel, based on the generous Arab initiative. “Considering the results of the latest session in Paris, we felt that it was necessary for us to come to Moscow to exchange opinions and see whether there were prospects for progress,” the PA foreign minister said.
“We’re convinced that Russia can play a very important role in bringing the parties to the negotiating table,” he added, noting that the recent talks in Paris held without the participation of the parties to the conflict helped ensure agreement on the beginning of the talks.David Israel
Knesset Members Sharren Haskel (Likud) and Yoseph Yonah (Zionist Camp-Labor) on Sunday concluded their official visit to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, where they held a series of meetings with senior state officials, including the speaker of Tajikistan’s parliament, the country’s labor and agriculture ministers, and Members of Parliament.
The Republic of Tajikistan is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with an estimated 8 million people, bordered by Afghanistan and Pakistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. Tajikistan became an independent nation in 1991, following the breakup of the Soviet Union. A civil war erupted almost immediately after independence, lasting from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s stability and economy to grow.
The MKs’ discussions centered on intensifying the cooperation between Israel and Tajikistan – mainly with regards to agriculture and health, and establishing permanent ties between the friendship groups of the countries’ parliaments. The MKs invited senior government officials to visit Israel.
The visit marked the first time members of Israel’s political echelon visit Tajikistan in an official capacity. Relations between the countries were established in 1992, and they are defined as “friendly.” Israel is represented in Tajikistan by a non-resident ambassador. In October 1995, Tajikistan’s president, Emomali Rahmon, met with then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, but, generally, contacts between the countries were maintained by lower-level officials.
The MKs said they received a particularly warm welcome in Tajikistan. MK Haskel, head of the Israel-Tajikistan Parliamentary Friendship Group, said the visit by the Israeli parliamentary delegation is “historic and groundbreaking in our relations with a country which, until now, has not maintained parliamentary relations with the State of Israel.”
“Tajikistan is a Muslim state that has close economic, social and cultural ties with Iran,” she continued. “Tajikistan supported Iran’s nuclear program, opposed the international sanctions against Tehran, and has stood by the Palestinians in their disputes with Israel and the UN. Particularly because of this, their wish to establish parliamentary relations with Israel for the first time is extremely significant. The breakthrough in improving Israel’s status in the world will come from cooperating with countries that are not necessarily our natural partners.”
MK Yona said the visit was meant to “strengthen the friendly relations between the countries and examine possibilities for fruitful cooperation. I expect that in light of our visit, official Tajikistani work delegations will visit Israel to give a practical expression to the developing cooperation.”JNi.Media
As preparations have begun for the single concert trailblazing comic Louis C.K. will perform in Jerusalem on August 18, Arab journalist, humorist and screenwriter Sayed Kashua is already upset because he fears the comic will betray the Palestinian cause—even though the comic has never declared his political views about the Middle East, other than to compare Israel and the Arabs on LNS to his two daughters having a tantrum fight. Or as Kashua put it on Friday, in his Ha’aretz column: “If he doesn’t cause a political scandal — me and Louis C.K. are finished.”
With brisk sales for the one-time event, and with prices reaching almost $200, Kashua already detects signs that the most innovative and popular American comic of the day is selling out the Arabs: he first announced his Israel concert on the Howard Stern radio show, Howard Stern whom Kashua calls “the shallow racist who thinks that if he were Israel he’s have eliminated all the citizens of Gaza in five minutes. Who claims that the Jews arrived at a totally empty place, that there were no inhabitants in that desert.”
Kashua sees the Louis C.K. visit as far more than a cultural event — to him this is a political event which legitimizes Israel’s policy, especially in Jerusalem, although the Pais Arena, where the concert is scheduled to take place, is just inside the ancient “green line” separating the pre- and post-1967 eternal city.
Kashua declared that he is suspending his binge watching of the Louis C.K. hit online for-pay series Horace and Pete until after the comic’s short tour of the holy land. “Only if he causes a political scandal that will dominate the local and world press, will I forgive him,” Kashua vowed. “And not something about a regional peace and a hope for equality, but the kind of criticism that would force the state leaders to enact anew law that bans the entry of artists who support free speech.”
Until then, Kashua promises, Louis C.K. can forget about his next three bucks.
Sayed Kashua was born in the Arab Israeli town of Tira. After a successful career as columnist for Ha’aretz and screenwriter for Israel TV (“Arab Labor”), in which he examined honestly and humorously his ambivalence as a successful Arab intellectual in Israel’s Jewish society, Kashua moved to Chicago, Illinois, with his wife and three children, to teach at the University of Chicago, as well as at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.David Israel
Donald Trump is planning to visit Israel before the Republican national convention in July, according to persistent reports, although his campaign is denying it. New York Magazine on Wednesday cited four sources who say Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, together with associates of Sheldon Adelson are working on the trip. Trump was planning to visit Israel before the start of the primaries and was hoping for Netanyahu’s endorsement, but then Bibi said he wasn’t planning to endorse anyone. Perhaps the fact that Adelson is involved this time around means that the Israeli PM will at least give the candidate the royal treatment he expects.
“This is a typical time frame when a general-election candidate has an opportunity to flex his foreign-policy muscles,” a Trump staffer told NY Mag.
Some Internet news sources have suggested that Trump may be coming to Israel not for the endorsements, and not to gain favor with the hard-line pro-Israel crowd—he’s got them already. Instead, Trump is going to see the wall. Not the Western Wall, but the 150 mile fence Israel has erected along its border with Egypt, which caused the number of illegal African migrant workers getting through to drop from thousands to single digits annually.
Jewish Insider quoted Trump’s recent book “Crippled America,” where he states, “Walls work. The Israelis spent $2 million per kilometer to build a wall – which has been hugely successful in stopping terrorists from getting into the country. Ironically, some of the same people who claim we shouldn’t build a wall cite the success of Israel’s wall. While obviously we don’t face the same level of terrorist threat as our closest Middle East ally, there is no question about the value of a wall in the fight against terrorism.”
The Negev security fence, which is supported by a heavy military detail, has also been remarkably effective at preventing the ISIS affiliates in the Sinai from infiltrating. Of course, Israel did not ask Egypt to pay for the wall, the way Trump promises to do with Mexico, and the US southern border is not 150 but 1,989 miles. Otherwise, though, Trump could gain points by pointing to the Israeli approach to sealing the border and smiling victoriously in the desert sun.
Of course, if liberal folks live up to their word and flee to Canada after a Trump win, Israel could be cashing in on its border fence technology from two countries.David Israel
“My faith, as we interpret the scriptures, we identify with the people of Israel as God’s chosen people, and therefore we understand that those who bless Israel receive blessings and those who curse Israel are really fighting against our culture and faith,” said A.W. Mays, an African-American Christian leader from Austin, Texas.
Mays was one of 26 African-American members of the National Baptist Convention of America (NBCA) who were hand-picked to travel from the United States on a six-day educational mission to Israel from May 23-29. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) sponsored the trip to help deepen Christian-Jewish ties and black leaders’ bonds with Israel.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship’s founder and president, has been working to build bridges between Christians and Jews – as well as Christians and Israel – for more than 35 years. Last year, The Fellowship raised $138 million in humanitarian aid for Jews in Israel and around the world, almost entirely from Christian donors.
The trip just concluded marked The Fellowship’s third such mission; it brought 21 ministers to Israel in the summer of 2015 and 22 more in January of this year.
“African-Americans are the Jewish people’s natural partners,” said Yael Eckstein, Rabbi Eckstein’s daughter and senior vice president of The Fellowship.
“They know what it means to be suffering and reach freedom, to be slaves and come to enjoy the full benefits of American peoplehood.… We have not had positive ties throughout the years because no one ever put an effort into creating those ties.”
“What most people don’t understand,” said Rev. Deedee Coleman, the head of a 1,500-member Oak Park, Michigan congregation who has been to Israel more than a dozen times, “is that in Baptist culture we preach about Israel every Sunday, about the Jewish people and the trials of Moses and the Red Sea – everything that is not only in our Bible, but what starts in the first five books.”
Beyond the mission’s spiritual impact on attendees, the trip also enhanced the black leaders’ understanding of the challenges Israel faces. Many participants said they now have deeper knowledge of the political situation in Israel, and that the trip debunked the often-biased American media coverage of events on the ground in the Jewish state.
“I learned to not believe the American media 100 percent, and their slant on what this nation is,” said Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert, Jr., NBCA’s president, who helped organize the mission to Israel.
“It is best for people to come and see it firsthand, and they will see a totally different view of Israel.”
Kristina King, director of African-American outreach for The Fellowship, worked in a similar role with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for eight years. She says that both organizations do dynamic work in helping leaders understand some of the geopolitical complexities and everyday realities in Israel.
But while AIPAC seeks to influence political policy, The Fellowship’s work is faith-based and focuses on common spiritual values. Those values don’t change, said King, regardless of who holds elected office in Israel or America.
“When African-Americans are exposed to Israel, they see our common values,” King said.
At the same time, the black Christian leaders who visited Israel can become powerful political partners and pro-Israel activists because of their faith, said Yael Eckstein.
“I think the Jewish community should stop sitting back and complaining that we don’t have friends,” said Yael Eckstein. “Be proactive and reach out to find things in common with the people who can stand with us long-term and be strategic partners for our future.”
“These are the ones who will bring back the message of Israel to the larger body,” said Rev. Coleman. “They have been on Facebook, tweeting, and they will bring it back [to America] and educate their people about what is real.”Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday afternoon rebuked his newest coalition member, MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) who is about to swear allegiance to the Knesset Monday evening — for going up on Temple Mount Monday morning.
A few months ago, because of Arab MKs’ incessant provocations on the Temple Mount, Netanyahu issued a decree banning all public officials of every religion from the compound. Glick, whose livelihood until Monday was as a tour guide on Temple Mount, for which he was almost killed in an assassination attempt, decided to go up one last time, before taking on his new job.
But the prime minister still took offense, apparently, and when he shook hands with the newcomer at the end of the Knesset Likud faction’s first meeting of the spring session, he blurted, “Yehuda, it’s the last time you’re doing this to me.” The MK, who is far from being a lawbreaker, asked, “What did I do?” to which the PM answered, “Now you are a soldier!” and Coalition chairman MK David Bitan, who himself had been embroiled last term in some infighting with the powers that be in Likud, now warned Glick, “You shouldn’t deal with the Temple Mount at all.”
Now, that’s hardly going to stop the new MK, whose most cherished agenda is making The Temple Mount compound equally available to members of all faiths, and not just to Muslims. Meanwhile, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has assigned Glick a permanent security detail, on account of that foiled assassination attempt.
MK Glick, who will take over the vacated Knesset seat of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, told Walla, “The source of my mission is on the Temple Mount. I’m going to be a public servant and a servant of God, and I came [to the Temple MOunt] the replenish my strength and to remind myself of the source of my action.”David Israel