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June 30, 2016 / 24 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Vladimir Putin’

Erdogan Apologizes for Downing Russian Plane in Condolence Letter

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

On the same week Israel and Turkey have reached the beginning of a rapprochement, following a formal apology by Prime Minister Netanyahu a few years ago for the IDF’s killing of 10 Turkish Citizens who brutally attacked Israeli soldiers, now Turkish President Erdogan appears to have taken a page out of Bibi’s playbook: he sent a letter to Russian President Putin urging the restoration of “traditional friendly ties” between their two countries, and spelled out how sorry he was for downing a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft and killing its pilot.

Turkey’s prime minister Binali Yildirim said late Monday that “the content of the letter is very clear. We express our regret. We say that we are sharing the pain felt by those who lost loved ones. We say that we will pay compensation, if needed.”

Now, was that so difficult?

“I suppose our president will have a phone call with Putin today, tomorrow, maybe Wednesday, maybe Thursday,” Yildirim said.

After the downing of the Russian plane last November, the Kremlin ordered sanctions on food products, an end to visa-free travel and a ban on Russian tourists taking package holidays in Turkey. Natural gas deliveries were in jeopardy as well. Suddenly Turkey was facing a raging enemy where none had stood before.

For its part, Russia’s Foreign Ministry viewed the letter with the apologies as a step in a right direction to normalizing ties, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told TASS on Tuesday.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Erdogan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin saying he was sorry for shooting down the Su-24 jet and stressing “readiness to make every effort to restore traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Turkey.”

Then, on Tuesday, Peskov said Putin and Erdogan would speak on the phone on Wednesday—at Russia’s initiative. “Tomorrow at the initiative of the Russian side a telephone conversation will take place between President Putin and President Erdogan,” Peskov stressed. The conversation will be held at approximately the middle of the day, he added.

Erdogan said late Monday that more than 10,000 tons of supplies will sail to Gaza from Turkey before the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday in early July, prompting Hamas to thank Erdogan for his efforts to ease the blockade.

And all it cost to get this swirl of good will going was for Israel to pay $21 million to the folks who attacked its soldiers with knives, axes, metal rods and whatever else they had on hand. A small price to pay, presumably, in exchange for this much peace.

JNi.Media

Experts: Putin Sent Israel the Wrong Missing Tank

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted in a heartfelt ceremony from Russian President Vladimir Putin a Magach-3 Israeli tank that had been captured by the Syrians in the 1982 Battle of Sultan Yacoub in the First Lebanon War, and had been on display in a museum in the Moscow area. Netanyahu posted in his Facebook page: “My wife Sara and I have participated today in an emotional ceremony of returning the tank that had fallen in Syrian captivity during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub in the First Lebanon War.” But now, according to Yedioth Aharonoth, one week after Israel received the tank in which the still missing in action Israeli fighters had met their demise, it appears, to the chagrin of the mourning families, that it may not be the same tank.

On June 10, 1982, IDF 90th Armored Division was rushed forward with orders to gain as much ground as possible before a cease-fire would come into effect. Late that night the force fought its way through Syrian infantry in the Lebanese village of Sultan Yacoub, in the eastern Beqaa Valley, only four miles from the Syrian border. Apparently, in its rush to gain ground, coupled with intelligence failures, the force was cut off and surrounded by Syrian army units. At dawn, the force broke out and escaped to the south, supported by Israeli artillery. The battle lasted six hours resulting in the force losing eight tanks and 30 men. The force was unable to destroy the disabled Magach-3 tanks they left behind and those were recovered by the Syrians, and were put on display in Russia and in the Tishreen Panorama Military Museum in Damascus. Three IDF soldiers remain missing in action: Zachary Baumel, an Israeli-US citizen, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman. These soldiers were captured and paraded through Damascus on top of their captured tank.

Returned tank lands in Israel / Courtesy

Returned tank lands in Israel / Courtesy

In his Facebook post, Netanyahu noted that the returned tank is “the only testimony to our missing soldiers from that battle… For 34 years we’ve been searching for our fighters and will not cease the search until we inter them in a Jewish cemetery in the State of Israel. For these 34 years the Baumel, Katz and Feldman families have not had a gravesite to visit. Now they’ll have this tank, a remnant from the Sultan Yacoub battle which they can visit and touch and remember their sons in Israel.”

Not really, says tank expert Lt. Col. (Ret) Michael Mas, who told Yedioth the returned tank is not the one inside which the three missing soldiers were fighting. “It’s very sad that the prime minister and the media follow misinformation,” Mas said. “This is not the tank that belonged to the missing. What was returned is a whole tank, and the tanks where the missing fought look different. While this is for sure one of the eight tanks captured by the Syrians in the battle, this tank bears no mark of any injuries. When Netanyahu said that the families who haven’t had a gravesite to visit will now find peace, he committed two errors: one, it’s not their tank; and two, they’re missing, not dead.”

Returned tank in Israel / Courtesy

Returned tank in Israel / Courtesy

Pirchia Heiman, Yehuda Katz’s sister, responded angrily, telling Yedioth: “All the families of the missing are enraged. What do we need all these spins for?” She asked, adding, “Since I’ve heard of the plan to return the tank I waited eagerly, I couldn’t sleep at night. Ten days ago they conducted the ceremony in Russia and there Ndetanyahu said the families would have this tank ‘to be able to touch it and the memory of their sons,” and he already knew it was the wrong tank, but we didn’t. Only the next day did we get the right shield number for the tank, not through the IDF, and I realized this wasn’t Yehuda’s tank.”

At this point it should be noted that PM Netanyahu could have avoided this embarrassment had he read up IDF reports filed 18 years ago, which determined after a thorough examination of the tank on display in Russia that it’s not the tank that belonged to the missing soldiers, and that the soldiers who fought in this tank were able to flee the scene unharmed and are alive and well.

Here’s another embarrassing point Netanyahu could have saved himself had he read the IDF reports: the three missing soldiers fought in two different tanks, one of which was burnt beyond recognition, and neither of which is the returned tank. Like cars, tanks receive identifying numbers, and this tank, 817581, is not the one.

Or, as Lt. Col. (res) Danny Krief put it, “Clearly, the Russians didn’t care which tank they handed over, and that’s what Netanyahu used for his gimmick.”

JNi.Media

In Netanyahu Meeting with Putin Tuesday Syria on the Table, But Not Iran

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to hold talks on Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a state visit to Moscow marking the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This is the second meeting between the two leaders in Moscow in the past month and a half, and the fourth over the past year. Netanyahu only met once with President Obama over the same period of time.

Speaking on Monday at a ceremony commemorating the Six-Day War, Netanyahu noted that the hostile Arab armies that circled Israel back in 1967 were “armed, trained, supplied and supported by the Soviet Union.” He added quickly: “Look what a tremendous difference there is nowadays. Russia is a world superpower and the relations between us are getting ever tighter. I’m laboring over tightening this connection and it serves our national security these days, and it has prevented needless, dangerous confrontations on our northern border.”

It could be said that Israel is experiencing its best relationship with Russia on record, with the volume of trade, tourism, security and political coordination at a peak—much of it credited to Avigdor Liberman’s stint as foreign minister. But there are obvious areas where Russia is not coming across as a friend of the Jewish State, if anything, it appears to be leading and supporting Israel’s most vehement enemies — Iran with its proxies, and the Palestinians.

The Russians are supplying Iran with advanced S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems, and are in the process of selling the Iranians many more weapons, because the Iranians can now afford it, their multi-billion dollar accounts having been restored by the Obama-Kerry team.

The Russians are fighting in Syria alongside Hezbollah, and are facilitating—actively or tacitly—the leakage of weapons, advanced and otherwise, from Syria into south Lebanon, where they will some day be used against Israel.

In 2015-16 the Russians have spearheaded several critical anti-Israel UN votes: they supported the Egyptian proposal to impose UN supervision on Israel’s nuclear facilities; they’ve been voting regularly with the anti-Israel majority at the UN Human Rights Council; they supported the Palestinian proposal to create a blacklist of companies that trade with the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria; and they’ve supported the shameful UNESCO resolution that removed all trace of recognizing a Jewish presence in Jerusalem.

So perhaps the friendship between the two countries could get a little friendlier.

According to the Kremlin press service, Putin and Netanyahu are going to have a detailed exchange of opinion on the Middle East regional issues, with special emphasis on the struggle with international terrorism. The agenda will be expansive, says the Kremlin, “since relations between Russia and Israel are at an advanced stage and have the character of partnership.”

Russian Ambassador to Israel Alexander Shein told TASS that the two sides plan to sign an agreement on pensions to Russian-born Israelis who did not keep their Russian citizenship after emigrating from the former USSR. A Russian good will gesture in this case would go a long way to boost Netanyahu’s promise to his new coalition partner Liberman, who conditioned the move into government on an increase in those pensions.

There is certainly a renaissance in Russian-Israeli ties: since the year 2000 Israeli Prime Ministers have made thirteen visits to Russia, Netanyahu accounting for seven of those visits. Putin visited Israel once during the same period.

JNi.Media

Russia to Return Israeli Tank Captured 34 Years Ago in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday for signing a presidential decree ordering the return to Israel of an IDF tank that was captured 34 years ago during a ferocious battle in the First Lebanon War.

“I thank the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, that he responded to my request to return the tank from the Battle of Sultan Yacoub to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The tank, used by the IDF during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub during the First Lebanon War on June 10, 1982, was captured by the Syrian army and eventually transported to the Soviet Union, then a Cold-War ally with Syria. The tank has since remained in Moscow, stored in a museum of armored tanks.

MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, the former deputy defense minister, was an officer in artillery unit 7054 that helped rescue a battalion of Israeli tanks trapped by a Syrian ambush in Sultan Yacoub, Lebanon.

“We fired the whole night, and in the morning the battalion was rescued – except for that one tank and the three missing soldiers, whose fate is still unknown today,” Ben-Dahan recalled to Tazpit Press Service (TPS), referring to the continued mystery behind three IDF soldiers, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, who went missing in action during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub. During the entire battle, 30 Israeli soldiers were killed and eight tanks were lost.

“Hearing about the return of the tank sends me back 34 years,” Ben-Dahan told TPS. “It gave me chills.”

Ben-Dahan also expressed hope that the tank’s return might bring news about the fate of the missing soldiers, though he said he cannot comment on any discussions or progress toward that goal.

Netanyahu raised the issue of returning the tank with Putin last month, after having received a request from IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

“For the families of the soldiers missing in action, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, there is no trace of the boys nor a burial plot to go to for 34 years now,” noted Netanyahu. “The tank is the only evidence of the battle, and now it will be returned to Israel thanks to President Putin’s response to my request.”

A delegation from the IDF’s Ordnance Corps is in Moscow working with representatives from the Russian army to transport the tank back to Israel as soon as possible.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

US State Dept ‘Concerned’ Iran Contest is ‘Platform for Holocaust Denial, Anti-Semitic Speech’

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry used his finest diplospeak Sunday to strongly urge Iran to cancel its Holocaust cartoon contest, even though it was highly unlikely Iran would cooperate.

The “suggestion” came in what appeared to be a prompt response to a personal request from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend to demand Iran cancel the Holocaust cartoon contest.

Netanyahu told reporters he had personally asked Kerry in a phone conversation Saturday night to condemn the Holocaust cartoon contest held over the weekend in Iran, the prime minister said Sunday.

“I think that every country in the world must stand up and fully condemn this,” Netanyahu said. “This is what I told US Secretary of State John Kerry last night in my conversation with him.”

Netanyahu posted photos of the contest registration being held in Tehran on Twitter with the tweet: Iran hosts Holocaust-denial cartoon contest while preparing another Holocaust. Shameful. Don’t stay quiet about it.”

Kerry was in Saudi Arabia on Sunday meeting with King Salman in talks on the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen. He also met with the Saudi crown prince, deputy crown prince and foreign minister.

But Kerry was apparently also listening closely to the Israeli government’s outrage over Iran’s anti-Semitic Holocaust cartoon contest. He was also likely to have been considering the effect Iran’s actions – and America’s response – might have on the U.S. presidential election campaign, and/or the effect it could have on Israel’s increasingly close ties with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Netanyahu is slated to fly to Moscow next month on an official state visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia.

Shortly after Netanyahu called on Kerry to denounce Iran’s actions, the State Department released a statement expressing “concern” over the effect the contest might have, and denouncing Holocaust denial in general.

“We are concerned that this contest in Iran could be used as a platform for Holocaust denial and revisionism and egregiously anti-Semitic speech, as it has in the past,” said the statement, tweeted by AP journalist Matt Lee.

“Such offensive speech should be condemned by the authorities and civil society leaders rather than encouraged. We denounce any Holocaust denial and trivialization as inflammatory and abhorrent. It is insulting to the memory of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust,” the statement said.

Hana Levi Julian

Moscow Confirms Official Netanyahu Visit Set for June 7

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to fly to Moscow next month on an official state visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia.

“The visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled for June 7,” a spokesperson told RIA Novosti. The date was confirmed Friday (May 13) by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, according to Sputnik News.

Netanyahu traveled to Moscow for a short briefing with Russian leaders on the day before the start of the Passover holiday (April 21).

The prime minister was accompanied by top military and defense leaders who met with their Russian counterparts during the visit.

Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Russian-Israeli cooperation in Syria and in a number of other areas. The two leaders also discussed the Israel-Palestinian Authority conflict as well as other regional issues.

Hana Levi Julian

Kremlin Denies Reports Russian Fighter Jets Fired at IAF

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Responding to Israeli media reports of Russian fighter jets opening fire at IAF aircraft in Syria’s skies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday, “I don’t want to comment on the Israeli press. The Israeli press’s reports in this case are far from reality.” Which for someone unwilling to comment on the Israeli press was plenty commenting.

Yediot Aharanot reported last week that Russian fighter jets in Syria had opened fire twice at Israeli aircraft, but did not provide dates and locations of the incidents, nor the sources for the report.

Peskov was asked about the topics discussed during last week’s meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and said that both leaders had focused on Syria and the Middle East as a whole, as well as on bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

“The meeting was very useful and very substantive. It comprised three formats: a narrow-format meeting, negotiations at the level of delegations, and a tete-a-tete talk,” the spokesman explained.

According to Yediot Aharanot, the meeting between Putin and Netanyahu took place even as two separate reports on the Russian fighter jets opening fire on Israeli aircraft were coming in.

Peskov was asked about the Netanyahu cabinet resolution to keep the Golan Heights as an eternal part of the State of Israel, and told reporters, “The Russian position does not change, is in compliance with the corresponding resolutions of the UN Security Council and has no new aspects.”

United Nations Security Council resolution 497, adopted unanimously on December 17, 1981, states that the Israeli Golan Heights Law, which annexed the Golan Heights, is “null and void and without international legal effect,” and called on Israel to rescind its action. The Council requested the secretary-general to report to the Council within two weeks on the implementation of the resolution, and in the event of non-compliance by Israel, the Council would reconvene, not later than January 5, 1982, to discuss further action under the United Nations Charter.

That’s where things are holding for now.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kremlin-denies-reports-russian-fighter-jets-fired-at-iaf/2016/04/23/

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