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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’

Netanyahu, Obama Focus on Different Priorities in White House Talk

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama met for about 75 minutes Wednesday evening began shortly after the Israeli leader’s arrival at the White House, and following a brief news conference with the press corps.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice were also present in the Oval Office during the meeting.

On the agenda for discussion were the American-led air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Iran’s nuclear development program and the ongoing question of how to resolve the dilemma of what to do about the Palestinian Authority. It was not known whether the American president planned to discuss security concessions over Gaza as well.

The meeting began at 11 am, and several commentators noted on the Twitter social networking site that Obama didn’t offer any lunch to the Israeli prime minister. “Perhaps Bibi, unlike (India’s Prime Minister) Modi, insisted on food for himself and wasn’t happy to just watch Obama eat,” tweeted one individual.

In a clearly determined bid to maintain a cordial tone, Netanyahu said that he appreciates Obama’s efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon of mass destruction, according to the Reuters news agency.
Obama told Netanyahu that efforts are needed to change the status quo between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, according to LBCI News.

Israel is committed to a “two-state solution” with the Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu told reporters during their pre-meeting briefing. But any agreement, he said, will require “thinking outside the box” and must include “rock solid” security arrangements. Obama and Netanyahu reportedly discussed during their meeting the current status of the relationship between Israel and the terrorist factions in Gaza, including the region’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.

The two men are clearly focused on different priorities, with Obama keeping his eyes on the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and against whom the U.S. is leading coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq. Netanyahu, meanwhile, has remained concerned about the overriding progress of Iran’s nuclear development program and putting a full stop to the centrifuges that are working overtime to enrich uranium at progressively higher levels.

The Israeli prime minister also noted while speaking to a group of Jewish leaders yesterday in New York that it is important for the U.S. to realize there isn’t much difference between Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization and ISIS, against whom Obama has declared war.

Both share a “fanatic ideology,” he pointed out, and both use “savage” methods. He warned, “The more they have the capability to realize their ambitions the more they will unleash their pent-up aggression against our common civilizations.”

To emphasize the similarities, Netanyahu shared a photo of an impending public execution of a man whose head was covered with a sack, shot in Gaza.

“This isn’t ISIS,” he pointed out. “This is Hamas.” During Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge this summer, Hamas executed dozens of Gaza residents “just to impose fear and force the population… into submission.” The only difference, Netanyahu said, is that ISIS “beheads its victims,” and Hamas “puts a bullet in the back of their heads.”

To the families of those murdered, the horror is the same, he asserted.

Former US enoy Laments Israel-US Tensions, Blames Gaza War

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Former U.S. ambassador and special Middle East envoy Martin Indyk warned this week that Israel’s defensive counter terror Operation Protective Edge in Gaza has — again — increased tensions between the White House and Israel.

In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Indyk said “There is currently much tension between [the US and Israel.]”

Indyk, who is Vice President and Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., admitted the counter terror operation was not the only factor adversely affecting relations between the two countries, however, particularly at the executive level.

“The personal relationship between the President [Barack Obama] and the Prime Minister [Binyamin Netanyahu] has been tense for some time,” he acknowledged. But he added, “[It] has been made even more complicated due to recent events.”

Indyk lamented the self-confidence and independence displayed by Israelis, expressed via the Netanyahu government.

“I don’t remember a situation before, where right-wing Israeli politicians could disparage the United States’ leadership and yet gain popularity, and maybe it’s because they don’t seem to pay any price for it.

“But I suspect that it’s something deeper,” Indyk said. “There’s a sense that Israel has become a power in its own right, and it doesn’t need the United States as much. It’s a kind of hubris.”

Indyk is not neutral in his views on Israel. He was overheard in an upscale Washington DC bar in May ranting about Economic Minister Naftali Bennett and other Israeli leaders for “sabotaging negotiations” with the Palestinian Authority.

In a 30-minute conversation reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Indyk reportedly held Israel completely responsible for the breakdown of the nine-month talks between the PA and Israel.

He followed his rant in the bar with an accusation against Israel during an address at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).

Indyk again blamed the failure of negotiations with the PA on Israel’s ongoing construction within municipal boundaries in existing communities in its capital, Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria. There were no preconditions at the start of those talks; no freeze on construction was ever required, nor approved by any of the parties, even though it has ever been the mantra of the Palestinian Authority which claims that if only the Jews would leave those territories, there would be peace forever.

That still does not explain why the Arabs refused the partition plan offering those same regions, Jew-free, in 1947. Nor does it explain why Arabs continued to attack Israel prior to 1967, or why Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem never demanded independence as a “Palestinian State” when their lands were occupied and administered by Jordan, between 1948 and 1967.

None of which is ever raised in public discussions by US officials or Arabs about the negotiations, nor mentioned by Martin Indyk.

Israel-PA Negotiators Back to Work in Jerusalem

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

U.S. mediators are in Jerusalem “helping” Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators get back to the table and back to work. Again.

Chief negotiators Tzipi Livni for Israel and Saeb Erekat for the PA are scheduled to meet today with U.S. envoy Martin Indyk and others. Indyk, Livni and Erekat have already met three times this week. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is in the United States, and met last night in Washington D.C. with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We note that the contact in meetings between the negotiators is continuing and note that they are engaging in serious and intensive efforts to find a way out of the current impasse,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki at a briefing Wednesday night. She was careful not to confirm that a meeting between the two sides would actually take place Thursday in Jerusalem. One cannot ever predict what will happen in Jerusalem and the Obama administration is now sadder and wiser.

Kerry kept his words upbeat while speaking to media ahead of his meeting with Liberman. “We are working hard to find a way forward. And both parties indicate they would like to find a way to go forward in the talks.”

Since the talks have yet to make any real progress at all, let alone move the “peace process” even one concrete inch on core issues, one questions exactly where “forward” each party means to go when they make that statement to the United States. It seems that Israel has made all the concessions – like freeing dozens of bloodthirsty terrorists in repeated “good will gestures” – and no visible reciprocal moves have been made by the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu finally ordered all government ministries except those related to defense, and all negotiators except Tzipi Livni, to cease civilian and economic contacts with the PA. The move came Wednesday in response to the PA’s brazen violation of its commitment not to sign membership for international agencies, treaties and organizations until the end of talks with Israel, slated for April 29.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas signed on to 15 global treaties, as head of the ‘State of Palestine,’ four days after Israel failed to release a group of 30 terrorist prisoners, among them 20 Israeli Arab citizens over which Abbas actually has no jurisdiction whatsoever.

That group was the last of four whose releases were supposed to be linked to progress in the talks and the active participation of Abbas at the negotiating table. But Abbas had not been present since last November, and no progress had been made.

Israeli ministers balked at releasing the final group of prisoners in the face of no progress, a month ahead of a deadline for talks that had accomplished nothing. Instead, Israel advanced a proposal to extend the talks until the end of 2014 and release 400 more prisoners in addition to the group of 30 scheduled to be freed – but the PA rebuffed the offer and instead walked away.

When talking to media in Washington, Liberman was blunt but polite about his view of what crashed the negotiations, choosing his words carefully.

“Unilateral steps,” he said, would only “undermine all our efforts.” A final status deal that would bring peace means a lot to Israel. The Jewish State is “ready to sacrifice a lot for this goal.”

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…

DC’s Eli’s Restaurant to Relocate on Same Street

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Eli’s Restaurant, a popular kosher eatery in Washington frequented by politicians, will move instead of closing down.

After announcing in October that the restaurant would close because of a redevelopment project, it announced this week that it would move three blocks from its current location at the southeast corner of the intersection of N and 20th streets, NW, where it has been since 2004.

A petition  circulated on Change.org, garnered more than 400 signatures from supporters who stressed to the owners “how important it is that they find a new location in DC and continue to serve the downtown Jewish community.”

At least one other kosher eatery is open in downtown Washington, at the local JCC.

13 Dead in Mid-Atlantic Storms, 3 Million Without Power

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

A series of violent storms sweeping the mid-Atlantic region have left 13 dead and three million people without power in oppressive summer heat.

It may take as long as a week to restore power in various locations.  Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Washington DC and Virginia declared emergencies, with Viriginia suffering its largest non-hurricane power outage in history.  Cell phone and internet services have also been hit, with many gas stations closing and residents being urged to stay put and conserve water.

Residents of Maryland and Washington DC tried hard to stay cool, with temperatures reaching 104 on Friday.

Six people were killed in Virginia during the storms, two in New Jersey, two in Maryland, one in Kentucky, one in Washington DC, and one in Ohio.

Mossad Chief Held Secret Talks In US on Iran

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Comments made during a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that Mossad chief Tamir Pardo recently held secret talks in the US on the Iranian nuclear threat.

Pardo’s meetings were exposed during an interchange between Senator Diane Feinstein and CIA Director David Petraeus on the Iran. Feinstein mentioned that she had met Pardo earlier in the week in Washington DC, and Petraeus responded by saying that he too had met with the Mossad chief.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/mossad-chief-held-secret-talks-in-us-on-iran/2012/02/01/

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