The Israel Zionist Council has organized a day of fun for children from Israel’s south. According to a report by Israel National News, 25 buses containing 1,200 children will be in Jerusalem for a day of rest, including a visit to the Biblical Zoo.
Posts Tagged ‘visit’
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Yishai broadcasts from the offices of Nefesh B’Nefesh to talk about the visit of representatives from South Korea in order to gain knowledge regarding absorbing and matriculating large amounts of immigrants. Thousands of North Korean refugees have snuck across the border into South Korea and in order to assist, the South Koreans have looked towards Israel for guidance.
A campaign by a group of 12 French imams to portray themselves as friendly to Jews is set to take place on Sunday when they arrive in Israel for a five-day visit.
Imam Hassan Shaljoumi told Maariv newspaper that the imams spreading anti-Semitism in the name of Islam are a minority, and that there are Muslims who want to live in peace with Jews.
Shaljoumi told Maariv that his interfaith work has subjected him to threats, and that he kept the trip a secret until the end to prevent enemies to his cause from thwarting the project.
The imams will meet with President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and other Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders, and visit Muslim sites throughout Jerusalem.
Group members issued a statement saying “our image in the world has been sullied and we must remedy it in the name of tolerance – we are the true face of French Muslims.”
The U.S. Administration has sought to downplay the significance of this week’s visit to the Gaza Strip by the Emir of Qatar, Hamad al-Thani.
“We have seen the reports that Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa visits Gaza today on a humanitarian mission,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. “We share Qatar’s deep concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people, including those residing in Gaza.”
Many Palestinians, especially the Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -ed.], do not share the U.S. Administration’s position regarding the emir’s visit.
Palestinian Authority leaders do not see the visit as a “humanitarian mission,” but as an attempt to strengthen Hamas.
In fact, the high-profile visit of the emir and his wife to the Gaza Strip was anything but a “humanitarian mission.”
This was a visit that has political and economic implications, not only for the Palestinians, but for the entire region as well.
True, the emir promised to invest $400 million in various projects in the Gaza Strip. It remains to be seen if the Qatari ruler will fulfill his promise.
The timing of the visit raises many questions and sheds light as to the emir’s true motives.
Qatar has always been supportive not only of Hamas, but Muslim Brotherhood and many jihadi organizations.
If Qatar really had “deep concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people,” where was the emir during the past seven years?
As the emir himself pointed out during the visit, it was the so-called Arab Spring — which has seen the rise of Islamists to power in a number of Arab countries over the past two years – that paved the way for his visit to the Gaza Strip.
“Were it not for the Egyptian revolution and President Mohamed Morsi,” the emir said, “the visit would not have taken place.”
The emir came to the Gaza Strip to offer not only financial aid to Hamas, but also moral and political backing. The visit, the first of its kind by a head of state to the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized control over the area in 2007, was aimed at helping the Islamist movement break the state of isolation in which it has been since then.
The emir did not come to the Gaza Strip to try to persuade Hamas to abandon terror and recognize Israel’s right to exist. Nor did he come to the Gaza Strip to tell Hamas to endorse democracy and stop its oppressive measures against Palestinians, particularly women.
The emir’s visit is a huge diplomatic victory for Hamas and a severe blow to moderate Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian leaders in the West Bank were quick to express deep disappointment with the emir’s visit, rightly arguing that it would only enhance Hamas’s standing and empower the radical camp among the Palestinians.
The emir’s visit also means that the Gaza Strip has become a separate Palestinian entity that has no link to the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority, and which is capable of conducting its running its own economy and foreign policy.
The visit has actually solidified the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, turning Abbas’s effort to establish an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines into a fantasy; if he tried to establish a Palestinian state on the West Bank alone, would be accused of “abandoning” the dream of creating a full, united, Palestinian state, and of dividing Palestine into two states.
Finally, the emir’s visit to the Gaza Strip also serves Qatar’s wish of becoming a major player in the region as well as in the Israeli-Arab conflict. Syria, Iran and Egypt, countries which once used to have enormous influence over Hamas, have been pushed aside by Qatar’s ruler and his promise of big checks.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.
What is the source of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s apparent scorn for the religious, Land of Israel-faithful public in Israel?
Over the years, starting from his first term as prime minister in 1996-99, and certainly since he was elected again three years ago, Netanyahu has mastered the art of showing friendship and warmth to the religious-Zionist community while keeping them at arm’s length politically. Though the moderate Jewish Home party was invited to join his coalition government, its influence is limited, as it has only three Knesset seats, the minimum permitted. Its counterpart, the less compromising National Union, was originally courted by Netanyahu but he never actually offered it a place in the government; many felt this was his plan from the outset.
In terms of facts on the ground, under Netanyahu a ten-month construction freeze was imposed on the Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria (Yesha); unofficially, it lasted even longer in many places. Not only that, but five apartment buildings in the thriving Givat HaUlpena neighborhood in Beit El were allowed to be dismantled, as was Migron nearby, and Givat Assaf and Amona are still on the chopping block.
But the blow Netanyahu dealt the residents of Yesha just this week possibly smarts the most of all. He decided, at least for now, to accept the ambivalent counsel of his Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, and not adopt the Levy Report. This, even though elections are coming, at which times incumbent candidates generally try to find favor with their natural constituencies.
What is the Levy Report, and what did Weinstein recommend? The report, prepared by a special commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, finds that Yesha is not “occupied” but is essentially Israeli. It similarly concludes that the outposts therein are not illegal under international law, and that Israel can and should legalize them as soon as possible.
Official government acceptance of the Levy Report would mean removal of the various bureaucratic and political obstacles that have rendered Jewish construction in Yesha so difficult over the years. Even more fundamentally, an Israeli government decision to this effect tells the Jewish and international communities in a very straightforward manner: “This is our land!”
The Levy Commission explains that Yesha, together with most of the rest of Israel, was assigned to the Jewish people back in 1920 by the leading powers of the time at the San Remo Conference, and later, by the League of Nations. After the 1948 War of Independence, Jordan “annexed” Yesha, but no one other than Pakistan and Great Britain recognized it. The 1967 Six-Day War enabled Israel to return to what had been legally granted the Jewish people 47 years earlier – such as Jerusalem suburbs Ramat Eshkol, Gilo, Ramat Eshkol, and the Old City.
Though the Arabs continue to term these Jerusalem neighborhoods “illegal settlements,” the Levy Report makes quite clear that these areas were never Jordanian but were allocated to the Jewish people. It also belies the false claim that Israel is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention by building and settling Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. The Convention, from 1949, details rules and guidelines for “occupied territories” – which Yesha is not, since it was not captured from its legal sovereign. In any event, the report states, the term “occupation” cannot apply to such a long period as 45 years, with no end in sight.
Netanyahu was said to be considering adopting merely the report’s conclusions but not the ceremonial declarations that Yesha is Israel’s, etc. The Land of Israel camp was gearing up to try to stomach this position, but then along came Attorney General Weinstein. In his letter to Netanyahu, he stated that with elections approaching, the government must “moderate its governmental activities.” Netanyahu jumped to interpret this as a ban on adopting the Levi Report altogether.
However, Weinstein’s letter actually does not come close to outlawing the report. For one thing, the current government was not toppled and did not lose its Knesset majority, and therefore it retains its mandate to govern as it sees fit.
In addition, a decision to adopt the Levi Report is by no means a “pre-election grab,” as the report has been on the public agenda since it was submitted three months ago.
Several Likud cabinet ministers, including Yisrael Katz, Silvan Shalom, and Limor Livnat, have gone on record in support of the Levi Report. Just this past Monday evening, mayors and activists from Yesha held a major meeting, demanding that the government fully adopt the Levi Report.
It remains to be seen whether the pressure will work – or if Netanyahu will continue to toy with the Land of Israel faithful, confident that once again many of them will work tirelessly for his reelection under the assumption that he is the least of the evils.
In addition to visiting Yerushalayim, there are many other ways readers can become effective advocates for keeping Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty. For information on bus tours in news-making areas of Jerusalem, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech website at www.keepjerusalem.org.
Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel’s minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now reside in Beit El.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that Qatar’s emir’s Tuesday’s visit to the Gaza Strip was helping to lift Israel’s blockade, the Ma’an news agency reports.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was the first head of state to enter Gaza since Hams took over, back in 1999.
Analysts see the visit as an attempt by the emir to use his leverage with Western capitals to help rehabilitate Hamas in Western eyes, and move them into mainstream politics.
The tiny Gulf emirate, whose native population is only about the same size as that of the Gaza Strip, hosts one of the biggest US bases in the region. At the same time, it was a major supporter of Islamist groups during the “Arab Spring.” Qatar owns the Al Jazeera television network.
“You are today, by this visit, declaring the breaking of the unjust blockade,” Haniyeh told the Qatari leader in a speech at the site of a new town to be built with Gulf money.
“Today we declare victory against the blockade through this historic visit,” he said. “We say thank you, Emir, thank you Qatar for this noble Arab stance … Hail to the blood of martyrs which brought us to this moment.”
Embarking on what was a state visit in all but name, Sheikh al-Thani and his wife Sheikha Mozah crossed from Egypt at the head of a large delegation, to be greeted by Haniyeh and an honor guard.
Thousands of Palestinians lined his route, waving Palestinian and Qatari flags as the convoy with the sheikh in a black Mercedes limousine bumped along the rutted main highway that Qatar has promised to rebuild.
Qatar has called the visit a humanitarian gesture, to inaugurate reconstruction projects financed by the emirate. After initially earmarking $250 million for the schemes, a smiling Haniyeh announced the fund now stood at $400 million.
Haniyeh said the emir had agreed to fund additional projects and to increase funding of existing plans.
Qatar will build a $25 million city for released prisoners, and has increased its funding for another new city in the Gaza Strip by $15 million, he said.
The Gaza premier said Qatar had also agreed to grant $8 million to build a youth rehabilitation center and to donate an extra $13 million to a hospital so patients could be treated in Gaza rather than traveling abroad.
Israel said it was “astounding” that Qatar, a US-allied Gulf state whose oil and gas permit it to punch way above its diplomatic weight, would take sides in the Palestinian dispute and endorse Hamas, branded as terrorists in the West.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the emir, who has met Israeli leaders but not visited the Palestinian Authority of Abbas and his secular Fatah movement in the West Bank, had “never dignified the PA with a visit”.
“No one understands why he would fund an organization which has become notorious with committing suicide bombings and firing rockets on civilians. By hugging Hamas, the Emir of Qatar is really someone who has thrown peace under the bus,” Palmor said.
The Gaza Strip is all but cut off from the world, under blockade by Israel and Egypt by land and sea.
Sheikh Hamad has sought to mediate between Hamas and Fatah in the past, to end the divisions but analysts say there is for now no prospect of reconciliation between the two factions.
According to the Lebanese newspaper Al Diyar, which enjoys close ties to Hezbollah and the Syrian government, Israel has agreed to train soldiers affiliated with former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is currently in exile, preparing them to fight against the Hezbollah According to the report, during his visit to Qatar, Hariri met with Vice Foreign Minister Dani Ayalon and a representative of the Mossad with the backing of the Qatar government and Qatar’s Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. They agreed on establishing a training camp in Jordan, with Arabic speaking Israeli officers.
The article stated that some 500 fighters will be trained each month, with the goal of reaching 20,000 soldiers after two years. A series of monthly coordination meetings was agreed on at that meeting as well.
Saad Hariri, a favorite of the Saudis and the West, was ousted from his office of Lebanon’s prime minister in January, 2011. This took place after Hezbollah and its partners in parliament broke away from the government and overthrew Hariri following an international court’s decision to indict Hezbollah for the murder of his father, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik el Hariri. Following the report’s publication and the arrest warrants issued against Hezbollah activists, Hariri escaped to Saudi Arabia, fearing an assassination attempt against him.
According to YNet, former US President Jimmy Carter, in a visit to Jerusalem on Monday said that the prospects for peace are “vanishing” and that a Palestinian state has become “unviable”.
Carter was upset that east Jerusalem has become more isolated from the “West Bank”.
Carter blamed Netanyahu for not doing enough, and of course his favorite target, the Settlements.