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August 24, 2016 / 20 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Yisrael Katz’

Netanyahu’s Can Do Minister Plans Gaza’s Offshore Island Harbor

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Yisrael Katz (Likud), who currently wears two ministerial hats: Transportation and Road Safety and Intelligence and Atomic Energy, has probably the most productive minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s three consecutive cabinets, being responsible for an unprecedented network of new, modern highways crisscrossing Israel and an ever-improving train service — all of which means that if he has made up his mind to carry out a project, it’s probably going to happen, and sooner than you may think. The project in question is the Gaza harbor island, which Katz has recently begun to promote.

Speaking at the 2016 Herzliya Conference last week, Minister Katz described his plan for an island with a port off the Gaza Strip, connected to the mainland with a three-mile bridge, with no residential buildings, and, most important—no place for Hamas to dig terror tunnels. According to Katz, an artificial island to be built on the high seas would also be a spot which was “not promised by God to anyone,” with no ideological ties to any of the warring parties in the region. This island would be built strictly for humane and financial purposes: permit the monitored, daily flow of traffic in and out of Gaza, provide construction jobs for the people of Gaza, and, eventually, who knows, there’s room for many imaginative ventures once you’ve gotten yourself an island.

“We can practically change the current reality,” Katz promised last week. And on Monday he told reporters: “I do not think it is right to lock up two million people without any connection to the world. Israel has no interest in making life harder for the population there. But because of security concerns we can’t build an airport or seaport in Gaza [proper].”

This week, Minister Katz raised the heat under his proposal, announcing that Israel is actively seeking foreign investors to construct a $5 billion artificial island with a seaport, hotels and an airport just off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The island, comprising an area of three square miles (although once you start making islands in the sea, what’s to stop you from making them even bigger), would “ease the blockade it imposed on the Palestinian enclave a decade ago.”

Up until last week’s announcement, there were several alternative harbor proposals being discussed by the Israeli leadership, to help ease the pressure on Gaza’s civilian population without harming Israeli security. One was what seemed like an exotic idea a few months ago, of building an artificial island that would face the Gaza shore, where ships would unload their goods under strict Israeli control. One called for the harbor to be built in El Arish, a sleepy Egyptian town in the north-eastern Sinai, which is under Egyptian rule. There was also an idea to build a Gaza harbor in Cyprus. And, of course, there was the more intuitive idea of building the Gaza harbor in Gaza, but conditioning its operation on long-term ceasefire deals. Naturally, as soon as Hamas starts shooting rockets at Israel, Israel could wipe out their nice harbor.

Katz insists his man-made island proposal is under review by Netanyahu’s security cabinet, and showing “a lot of potential.” The experts are drafting plans on ways to maintaining security on the offshore island and inside the off-shore harbor. One tactic being proposed is closing down the bridge when hostilities flare up on the mainland. But with Hamas investing in training its Navy SEAL commandos, closing down the bridge may not necessarily secure the island.

Minister Katz wants the island to be built with foreign investments, and he would like to see the Saudis and the Chinese, as well as private Israeli investors picking up the tab for his project. Katz said Israel would allow foreign construction workers into its territorial waters for the project.

According to the Washington Post, citing a high level Israeli official, Prime Minister Netanyahu is “exploring the option but has not yet made a determination.”

The Palestinian Authority folks hate the plan, which they called “dubious.” The PLO fears that the man-made island would bring about “the final severing of Gaza” from the PA.

JNi.Media

16 International NGOs Condemn Israel’s Refusal to Support BDS Founder’s World Travels

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Earlier this month, Israeli authorities refused to renew the travel documents of Omar Barghouti, a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and later moved to Jaffa and then to Acre in Israel as an adult, but he insists on counting himself as part of the indigenous people, as when he told the AP back in 2007, that the “Palestinians cannot possibly observe the same boycott guidelines as asked of internationals” and that the “indigenous population” is entitled to all services they can get from the system.

After marrying his wife, an Israeli Arab, Barghouti, was granted permanent residency in Israel, which he has enjoyed for the past 23 years. He holds a master’s degree in ethics from Tel Aviv University, and is pursuing a PhD. A petition drew more than 184,000 signatures asked the university to expel him, but he was never expelled.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) has threatened to revoke Barghouti’s residency on the grounds that “he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner.”

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called for a campaign of “targeted civil elimination” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence.

Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Gilad Erdan (Likud), who is in charge of the fight against the BDS, said that activists including Barghouti should “pay the price” for their work.

Well, the Israeli system this month decided to deny the BDS leader one vital service: they will not renew his travel papers. Barghouti told the Arab press in response: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace.”

They could take away his Internet connection, of course.

Sixteen organizations from American, Asian, and European countries are demanding that Israel make it possible for Barghouti to travel around the world to sabotage Israeli commercial and national interests. But rather than addressing Israel’s foreign ministry (which is currently headed by PM Benjamin Netanyahu), these NGOs sent their protest to the foreign ministers of 14 countries and international organizations, including, naturally, John Kerry of the USA, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for the European Union, Margot Wallström of Sweden, and Charles Flanagan of Ireland.

After relating Israel’s repressive attitude against its enemy within, the NGOs demanded that the foreign ministers “use the power and influence that resides in your office to impress on the Israeli government the absolute necessity of ceasing its repressive measures against Palestine’s civil leaders, and in particular to permit Omar Barghouti to play his full role, both inside Israel and without, in representing the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Incidentally, any one of the 14 countries addressed by those NGOs could offer Omar Barghouti residency or citizenship and travel papers galore. There must be a reason why they haven’t so far.

David Israel

Yisrael Katz May Replace Lapid as Finance Minister

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is likely to appoint Likud wheeler-dealer Yisrael Katz as Finance Minister this week, replacing Yair Lapid, whom the Prime Minister fired last week when he decided had enough of the current coalition.

Katz currently is Transportation Minister. He also is an old guard and powerful rough and tough Likud politician, who knows how to get things done but can’t do much of anything unless it is through a back-door deal.

Netanyahu did a masterful job as Finance Minister in the Sharon government a decade ago, and the economy probably would be better off if he were to continue to head the ministry until the elections in March.

However, it is the elections that are prompting him to have Katz take over the job, not for the sake of the economy but for the sake of his own position as Likud leader.

Giving Katz a more prominent position and power would keep at bay challengers to Netanyahu, such as Gideon Saar and Gilad Erdan.

Katz is excellent at pulling strings behind the curtain and keeping people in place, and managing the nation al treasury is nifty way to do so.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Netanyahu Slams ‘Peace Now’ Sabotage Over Jerusalem

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has slammed what he called a “deliberate” attempt by the leftist Peace Now movement to sabotage his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

The group publicly recycled stale news about a Jerusalem housing project in the southern part of the capital that had already won its initial approval in 2011, with its final processing and approval signed last week. Such projects are frowned upon by the international community, including the United States. The news “leak” was timed to coincide with Netanyahu’s meeting at the White House.

“This is irresponsibility on the international level – for some element to publish a statutory plan in order to sabotage a very important meeting that dealt with the Iranian nuclear program, our basic security questions and Islamic State (ISIS),” Netanyahu said in an interview with Amit Segal on Israel’s Channel 2 News, to be aired after the Yom Kippur holiday.

The announcement of 2,610 new building tenders in Jerusalem’s Givat Hamatos neighborhood was greeted with a harsh condemnation by the State Department, which labeled the project “poison.” Spokesperson Jen Psaki claimed the new homes in southern Jerusalem would “poison the atmosphere not only with the Palestinians but also with the very Arab governments with which Prime Minister Netanyahu said he wanted to build relations, and call into question Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, meanwhile, also slammed ‘Peace Now’ for its attempt to sabotage the prime minister’s meeting at the White House over the issue, and underscored the group’s foreign ties. Peace Now, a worthless organization whose budget mostly comes from foreign sources, leaked the news the same day as the prime minister’s meeting with the president of the United States in order to poison the atmosphere,” Katz charged.

Likewise, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat rejected the condemnations and instead said the construction in the holy city was “essential, important and will continue with full force.” He added that he will “not freeze construction for anyone” in Israel’s capital. “Discrimination based on religion, race or gender is illegal in the United States and in any other civilized country,” Barkat said.

“[The] 2,600 apartments in Givat HaMatos that we approved two years ago will enable more young people from all sectors and religions to live in Jerusalem and build their future here, thereby strengthening the capital of Israel. We will not apologize for that.”

Hana Levi Julian

US and European Flights to Israel Cancelled Due to Rockets

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Delta Airlines and US Airways temporarily suspended flights to and from Israel on Tuesday, July 22 after a rocket fired by Gazan terrorists landed in the Israeli city of Yahud, which is 6 miles from Ben Gurion Airport. One Israeli was injured by that rocket attack.

Delta Flight #468 which was on its way to Tel Aviv from New York with 273 passengers turned around over the Mediterranean and flew instead to Paris. Delta announced the suspension of service to Tel Aviv with a statement on its website.

delta.jpg

Following those cancellations, other airlines, both in the United States and abroad also suspended flights to Ben Gurion Airport. Among the other airlines grounding Israel-destination flights are Air France, SwissAir, Germany’s Lufthansa and the Netherlands KLM.

In response to the cancellations, Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz called on the airlines to reverse their decision, insisting the Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and saying there is no reason to “hand terror a prize,” by halting the flights.

Instead, the U.S.’s Federal Aviation Agency banned all flights to Ben Gurion Airport for the next 24 hours.

UPDATE: Of course the ban does not apply to Israel’s airline, El Al. That airline has no intention of cancelling flights. “There is no chance we will stop operations,” an El Al spokesman told the Jerusalem Post.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Israel Needs New Paradigm for Peace

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Prior to Galileo Galilei, the 17th century Italian astronomer, the scientific world had a problem: Astronomers would make calculations for a variety of data based on the Christian notion that the sun orbited the earth. Alas, every few years, the data would become obviously skewed, which pushed scientists of the day to re-formulate their calculations, but never their basic assumption. It took Galileo to suggest that the basic assumption was flawed, but indeed – once Galileo’s revolution took hold, scientific data in a realm of disciplines began to take more solid form.

I was reminded of this story when reading Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz’s proposal to increase public transportation to Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria in response to the abduction of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel (or, it should rightly be said, in response to the left-wing attempts to blame Judea and Samaria Jews for the abduction because “irresponsible” parents allow their children to hitchhike). Katz’s proposal is surely welcome. The dearth of bus service, even to “settlement blocs” like Gush Etzion (to say nothing of outlying Jewish communities such as Itamar or Har Bracha) is a serious impediment.

But the assumption that hitchhiking is the problem here is analogous to Christian insistence that the sun orbits the earth. Like the medieval scientific community, Israeli and Western politicians remain mired in a faulty assumption; namely, that Israel’s “occupation” of “Palestinian” land is the root of Arab terror. Necessarily, then, that faulty assumption leads to faulty data, so periodically, the “land-for-peace” brigades in Israel and abroad are forced to re-calculate.

Teenage boys kidnapped? Better fix public transportation. Young man lured to Ramallah and killed by Palestinian killers? Parents better watch over their teens on the internet a bit more. Palestinian sniper kills a baby in Hebron? Well, you know… Hebron is “occupied,” after all. Jewish prayer on Temple Mount sparks Arab riots? Better warn those pesky Jews.

Hamas holds and IDF soldier hostage for five years? It’s because Israel holds Palestinian security prisoners. “Friendly” Arab countries and political entities feature anti-Semitic cartoons in state-run media? It’s domestic politics, you know. And the list goes on, and on.

Eventually, however, political king makers will be forced to grapple with a paradigm shift; namely, that the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel – and not Israel’s “illegal occupation” of Judea and Samaria – is the root cause of Palestinian terror. As in years gone by, the Tzippi Livnis and Zahava Galons of the world will be forced to reconcile with the unhappy (for them) truth that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is not at issue today, but rather Israel’s presence.

Unless and until Israeli decision makers change the context of the domestic political discussion vis-à-vis the Arab world, they will consistently be forced to re-calculate when the data comes up skewed.

(Incidentally, here, too, is another comparison to Galileo, who was considered an enemy of the Church and was punished severely for challenging accepted Church orthodoxy. One need only look at the fever with which the cadre of Oslo messianists denounce individuals who questioned, and continue to question, the wisdom of that folly, to prove this point).

Only when Israel discovers the humility to recognise that the Oslo Process has led to nothing but heartache on both sides of the Israel-Palestinian divide will the country be able to begin the process of healing. This is primarily, but not exclusively, incumbent on people who originally supported Oslo. Even for whom the “peace” process seemed like a good idea in 1993, no further proof than the abduction of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel should be needed to understand that Israel is in deep need of a new paradigm vis-à-vis our neighbors.

Meir Halevi Siegel

New Jerusalem Entrance Highway to Be Named for Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Monday, October 14th, 2013

A new highway planned for the entrance to Jerusalem and to bring motorists through the Har Nof neighborhood will be named after Rabbi Ovadia Yosef whose home was located there.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said Highway 16, to be named in memory of the rabbi, will connect with the entrance to Begin Highway near Sha’arei Tzedek Hospital.

“Road 16 will symbolically link two great men: Menachem Begin and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef through the two main entrances to the city,” he said.

Jewish Press News Briefs

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