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November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘White House’

Did the US Let Hamas Rule Israel’s Skies?

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

As Israeli officials work to untangle the mess at Ben Gurion International Airport in the wake of an international ban on flights in and out of Tel Aviv, an ominous question is hanging over the Jewish State.

Did the United States allow Hamas terrorists to rule over Israel’s skies? Why would an “ally” do such a thing?

Although the FAA lifted its ban — which had to be approved by the White House — by midnight Wednesday, it still wasn’t clear whether airlines got the message. Worse, perhaps they had.

The damage incurred by an unprecedented 48-hour FAA ban on flights to Israel by U.S. carriers was incalculable, triggering a cascade of bans and possibly unparalleled damage to Israel’s economy.

The European Aviatian Safety Agency (EASA) “strongly recommended” its airlines avoid operating in and out of Tel Aviv.

Air France, Lufhansa, Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Alitalia, Aeroflot and its associated airlines, and Turkish Airlines all suspended flights. Air Canada, generally a strong supporter of the Jewish State, also shied away.

Many still have not reinstated their flights. Those that have still have not established regular schedules. Ben Gurion airport is still a mess, with desperate travelers trying to figure out how to find their luggage and fix their ruined plans. Tracking down food, caring for children, getting enough sleep, changing clothes and dealing with hygiene needs — all of these issues were cast aside by many airlines after the first 24 hours, and by some from the very start, travelers told Israeli radio interviewers.

British Airways alone maintained its twice-daily flights to Ben Gurion International Airport from London Heathrow Airport.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered his gratitude and special thanks to British Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond on Thursday in a news briefing with media, noting that apparently Britain alone understood the importance of not handing a “free prize to Hamas terror.”

Fifteen minutes before midnight, the FAA lifted its flight restrictions on U.S. airline flights into and out of Ben Gurion airport “by cancelling a Notice to Airmen it renewed earlier today…

“Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation,” the notice read.

The back step followed a hugely publicized flight to Israel by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who scorned the FAA moved as ridiculous. Bloomberg immediately boarded an El Al plane straight to Tel Aviv, declaring to reporters that Ben Gurion International Airport is the safest in the world. The prime minister greeted Bloomberg at the airport, thanking him for coming and calling him a friend and a “man of principle and truth.”

US Senate Doubles Funding for Iron Dome

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee approved a defense spending bill yesterday (July 15) that will provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense, including $351 million for the Iron Dome system that intercepts short-range rockets and mortars. The sum represents a 50 percent increase in funding for the program.

Congress appropriated $235 million to the Iron Dome project last year, as opposed to the White House request for some $176 million, which lawmakers doubled. (Congress often increases funding for Israeli security projects sought by the president.)

The funding is part of the administration’s request of $3.1 billion for military assistance to Israel, the world’s largest beneficiary of U.S. foreign aid. “It works,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the subcommittee.

The measure still has to pass the Senate Appropriations Committee, and then a vote in the full Senate. But if it does, funding will be provided beginning this October for Israel’s missile defense programs. The Iron Dome anti-rocket system has been successful in shooting down rockets and preventing Israeli deaths with a 90 percent success rate, an improvement over the 84 percent success rate achieved in Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’.

The IDF deployed its ninth Iron Dome battery this week, after it was scheduled to be prepared only in a few months and was produced in record time.

White House Condemns Murders of Eyal, Naftali, Gilad

Monday, June 30th, 2014

The White House issued a careful statement Monday evening in response to the discovery of the bodies of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16 and Gilad Sha’ar, 16.

The three Israeli teens were kidnapped on June 12 while on their way home from school and murdered by Arab terrorists.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms violence that takes the lives of innocent civilians,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, in response to the news that the bodies of the missing teens had been found.

Naftali Frenkel is also a citizen of the United States.

Egypt Slaps White House, Jails Al Jazeera Journalists for 7 Years

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Journalists around the world are expressing outrage in the wake of an Egyptian court’s decision to sentence three Al Jazeera journalists to prison for seven years.

The three were taken from their hotel room in Cairo in December 2013 and charged with conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to tarnish Egypt’s international reputation. Australian ex-BBC reporter Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian ex-CNN journalist Mohamed Fahmy, and local Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were among 20 accused in connection with the charges.

Al Jazeera has denied the accusations and journalists around the world have condemned Egypt for conducting what is seen as a direct campaign by Egypt’s new president to snuff out freedom of speech.

In the United States, the issue was also perceived as a diplomatic slap to the White House, which condemned the sentence. Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to express his government’s “serious displeasure” over the matter.

The court decision had come just one day after Kerry’s unannounced visit to Cairo in which he announced that Washington had unfrozen billions of dollars in military aid to Egypt. He also vowed during his visit that the U.S. would deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters for use in the fight against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.

Newly-elected President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi refused to “interfere in the judicial verdict,” setting off an international firestorm.

“Egypt should review its unacceptable sentences against Egyptian and international journalists, and show commitment to freedom of the press,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Al Jazeera reported.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott added that his government would work to get the imprisoned journalists out of the country “quickly.”

Leaders from various other international groups said that they, too, would work to free the journalists.

White House Statement, Finally, on Terror Kidnapping

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

The White House has finally managed to ‘catch up’ on the terrorist kidnapping of three Israeli teens last week — one of whom was also an American citizen.

In a tepid statement posted on the Twitter social networking site, President Barack Obama (at least it appears to have been written by or for the president) said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of 3 Israeli teens who were kidnapped last week. May they be reunited with their sons soon.”

But although the statement was clearly written to be as neutral as possible, a quick glance at the comments posted in response makes it obvious the president is ‘damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t.’

A flurry of condemnations followed the statement, including screams of protest about ‘prayers’ (‘Can we leave prayer out of this please. You’re the White House.”) Others demanded to know “What about Palestinian kids???”

Canada Condemns PA Terror Kidnapping, But Obama’s Silent

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Canada has firmly condemned last week’s Palestinian Authority terrorist kidnapping  of three teenage boys but U.S. President Barack Obama has yet to say a word about the attack — even though one of the hostages is an American citizen.

The boys are students at the Makor Chaim yeshiva high school at Kfar Etzion in Gush Etzion. They were apparently abducted somewhere near the Judean town of Alon Shevut, about 15 minutes south of Jerusalem.

Palestinian Authority Unity Government Arabs starting passing out candies and other sweets in the streets of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, to celebrate the attack after hearing about the kidnapping.

Palestinian Unity Government Arabs celebrate the kidnapping of 3 Jewish boys.

Palestinian Unity Government Arabs in Gaza celebrate the kidnapping of 3 Jewish boys.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird issued the statement Saturday night, strongly condemning the kidnapping and reminding the PA in no uncertain terms that its paramilitary forces were trained, equipped and armed by Canada and the U.S.

“Canada is deeply concerned by reports that three Israeli teenagers may have been kidnapped in the West Bank and condemns those aiming to instigate conflict.

“We urge the Palestinian security authorities, who have been trained through Canadian and U.S. leadership, to make every effort to investigate this incident and work diligently to ensure the safe return of these children to their families.

“We call for the immediate release of the three Israeli teenagers. Whoever has taken this action must be found and brought to justice,” Baird said.

While Canada was unequivocal in its public condemnation of the terror attack on the three innocent teens, Israel’s “best friend” — the United States — has remained silent on the issue. The White House has made no public statement whatsoever, and the State Department restricted itself to a phone conversation between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Following is the transcript of the terse dialogue that took place between reporters and the State Department spokesperson as journalists tried to make sense of United States actions in the wake of the terrorist attack on the three boys Thursday night, especially given that one of kidnapped teens was an American citizen.

QUESTION: And last one, and this is in the Middle East. There’s reports coming out of the West Bank that there’s – three teens were kidnapped, and one of them is an American citizen. Do you have anything on that?

MS. HARF: We are aware – of course seen the reports, are very concerned for their well-being. The Secretary a short while ago expressed his concern in a meeting with Tzipi Livni in London and also has spoken with President Abbas this morning about it as well.

We are working with the Government of Israel and with the Palestinian Authority to try to ensure the situation is resolved quickly, and that the three teenagers are safely reunited with their families. I can’t confirm citizenship at this point.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Did you – the Israelis say that the Palestinian Authority has – is responsible for their –

MS. HARF: I don’t have a readout of those conversations.

QUESTION: No, no, no. I understand that, but the Israelis are holding – say that the PA is responsible for their – these – the safety of these three teenagers.

MS. HARF: Well –

QUESTION: Do you share that?

MS. HARF: What we know is the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority are working closely together on efforts to find the three teenagers and to hopefully bring a quick resolution to the matter, and of course giving this cooperation our full encouragement.

QUESTION: But you don’t think that the PA –

MS. HARF: I don’t have more. I don’t have anything more on this, Matt.

QUESTION: Okay, all right. The Israelis also say that they told Ambassador Shapiro, right?

MS. HARF: Yes, Ambassador Shapiro.

QUESTION: Ambassador Shapiro, yes – about the one who has American citizenship. Can you confirm if there was a conversation between him and the Israelis about one of the three, regardless of whether you can confirm –

MS. HARF: I’m sure Ambassador Shapiro has been in contact on this.

QUESTION: All right.

For the record, the Fatah faction led by Mahmoud Abbas — who heads the Palestinian Authority Unity Government — has called on shopkeepers in Judea and Samaria via its official Facebook page to destroy their CCTV security camera footage in order to sabotage the IDF’s efforts to rescue the kidnapped teenagers and hunt down the terrorists who attacked them.

If the United States believes that handing out sweets to celebrate the kidnapping of Jewish children by terrorists and destroying security film footage to foil their rescue is evidence of how the new Palestinian Authority Unity Government “works closely together” with the Israeli government to find and rescue the kidnapped teens,  there’s a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. At a bargain price.

No Surprise: US Will Work with Hamas Government

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

The US will continue to fund and work with the Palestinian Authority, despite the inclusion of the Hamas terrorist group in the government.

In the agreement between Fatah and Hamas, Hamas gets to keep its army and military independence. The model is very similar to the one that the Hezbollah terrorist group uses to control most of Lebanon.

While some people were surprised by the US decision, regular readers of JewishPress.com saw this one coming a mile away.

State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said that President Obama has no intention of cutting off US aid to the Hamas-Fatah government. The Hamas-Fatah government receives half a billion dollars a year.

The US will pretend that Hamas is not an active and controlling partner in the Palestinian Authority, and that the unity government is a technocratic one.

Psaki said, “Based on what we know now, we will work with this government.”

Based on what we know now, Obama has no problem selling Israel down the river either.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/no-surprise-us-will-work-with-hamas-government/2014/06/02/

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