Sunday, October 31, 2010

USA ELECTION '10: Care for Israel, vote for Republican Watch dog candidates

Deputy FM Danny Ayalon on Channel 1 Friday night said regarding the US Midterm Elections: The Base of US support of Israel is bipartisan and Israel must not be portrayed as supporting One specific Party, and also added that even if the Republicans win control of Congress,there will be no change of US foreign policy or Mideast approach.

But we as US citizens and my call is to all of US citizens - Jews and non Jews that support Israel's right of Land, Israel's right of self defense, do have a choice in this election, and here is why.

Ed Koch in March 2010 wrote and spoke on National TV:
"I have not heard or read statements criticizing the president by New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand or many other supporters of Israel for his blatantly hostile attitude toward Israel and his discourtesy displayed at the White House".

"So I ask again, where are our Senators, Schumer and Gillibrand? And, where are the voices, not only of the 31 members of the House and 14 Senators who are Jewish, but the Christian members of the House and Senate who support the State of Israel? Where are the peoples' voices? Remember the words of Pastor Niemoller, so familiar that I will not recite them, except for the last line, "Then they came for me, and by that time, there was no one left to speak up."

"Supporters of Israel who gave their votes to candidate Obama - 78 percent of the Jewish community did - believing he would provide the same support as John McCain, this is the time to speak out and tell the President of your disappointment in him"

Our Democratic Representatives part of them Jewish, have stood silent time and time when it was most crucial of them to speak out for Israel and attack President Obama's policies and hostile treatment of Israel.

President Obama may not change his stance and approach towards the middle east conflict,But what these past 2 years have showed us is, that the Democratic Representatives in the house have no courage to stand up against their leader when they know he's wrong, as Rep. Peter King said in June that President Obama's weak Mideast policy is forcing House Democrats to make the difficult choice of either supporting Obama or supporting Israel."I hope they put our relationship with Israel above their relationship with Obama", and based on their action we have seen these Jewish representatives Like NY Rep. Jerold Nadler and others stay silent and vote with Obama 100% of the time.

Therefore by voting in this Nov. 2 election for GOP candidates all across the Country, and out seating Incumbents,  we send a strong message to Obama and to Israel: We Republicans that control the Congress will safeguard The President, we will be the president's watchdog, we will speak out in Israel's defense and support Israel in these challenging time.

USA ELECTION '10: NY Candidate: Election is a referendum on Obama’s policies toward Israel

(INN).As candidates throughout the nation gear up for what promises to be heated battles in the upcoming November mid-term elections, our regional candidates, some hitherto unknown to the public, are setting the stage to challenge the agenda of the Obama administration. Susan Kone, an attorney from Manhattan is the GOP candidate for the 8th congressional district which covers parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan's upper west side. She is taking on the incumbent Jerrold Nadler (D) who has held this seat since 1992. Ms. Kone describes herself as a "grassroots candidate" who gives voice to the frustrations of New Yorkers who staunchly oppose the policies emanating from the current administration. Israel National News sat down with Ms. Kone to discuss her policy positions.

Fern Sidman (FS): Will You be debating Mr. Nadler?

SK: I have proposed a series of debates between Mr. Nadler and me so that his insensitivity gets replaced with insights—open discussions. I believe the people of the 8th Congressional District want Mr. Nadler to agree to debate any and all issues, candidate-to-candidate, in free, fair forums, open to the press and public. Unfortunately, Mr. Nadler has stonewalled my invitation. This is yet another example of his insensitivity to the feelings and views of the vast majority of his constituents. It is in our community’s interest to have an open discussion of the many pressing issues that confront us so that each citizen can make the most informed decision as possible on November 2. However, given his abysmal record on the issues - including jobs, the economy, taxes healthcare and Israel - he knows that it is not in his political interest to debate and so he has opted out. This is a primary reasons I am running against Mr. Nadler - unfortunately, somewhere along the line it became all about him and not about us.

Mr. Nadler has been insensitive to the feelings of those of us in the community - including the families of the victims of September 11 and the brave first responders - who oppose the proposed mosque at Ground Zero as a poor and insensitive choice of location. He has called them “shameful”, “hateful” and “divisive” and had labeled their “hurt speech” as “hate speech”. He has also been insensitive to the lack of jobs; increasing tax and regulatory burdens, declining incomes; future-threatening gargantuan deficit, increase in poverty; increases in healthcare costs and decline in quality and availability; and this Adminstration’s poor treatment of Israel and our other democratic allies.

FS: You recently launched an ad campaign entitled “Think Jerrold Nadler is Pro-Israel -- Think Again?” What were you getting at here and what was the purpose of the campaign?

SK: One of the largest and most diverse Jewish communities in the world reside in New York’s Eighth Congressional District. I believe that my race against Mr. Nadler is a referendum on President Obama’s policies toward Israel. Mr. Nadler was the primary surrogate of the Administration who misled the Jewish Community that this Administration would be a strong friend to Israel. He has continued to abide this Administration’s mistreatment of, and insensitivity, to Israel.

Not long ago, Former Democratic New York City Mayor Ed Koch was right on point when he asked insightfully: “Where are the voices of Jewish Congressmen to protest Obama’s hostility to Israel? “ My campaign centers on the fact that while Mr. Nadler was extremely vocal in defending the taxpayers’ continued funding of ACORN and the right of developers to build a Mosque near Ground Zero, for almost two years, he has stood silent while Barack Obama has pursued the most anti-Israel policies of any President in U.S. History. He stood silent as Prime Minister Netanyahu was humiliated at the White House.

He stood silent as we continue to legitimize and appease the holocaust-denying, genocide preaching, human rights abusing regime in Tehran. He stood silent as this Adminstration singled out Israel’s purported nuclear program for inspection without mentioning Iran’s. He stood he stood silent as the President of the United States used the harshest possible diplomatic language against Israel over its the issuance of routine zoning permits in its capital city of Jerusalem while ignoring, on that same day, Fatah naming a square in its capital city of Ramallah after Dalal Mughrabi who murdered 37 Israelis and Americans in cold blooded terror attack. He stood silent as the Administration rejoined and legitimized the so-called Human Rights Council of the United Nations which has been silent on repression from regimes from Havana to Caracas to Pyongyang and Tehran-- while focusing its criticism excessively on Israel.

We also wonder why Mr. Nadler, through his personal PAC, Jerry PAC, helped finance the campaign of Loretta Sanchez of California who signed the infamous J-Street sponsored pro-Gaza “Letter of 54” demanding that Israel ease pressure on the terrorist group Hamas which controls Gaza and had been incessantly launching rockets targeting Israeli civilian populations for months on end.

FS: Can you win?

SK: Yes I can! One need only look at the justified discontent in this country with entrenched politicians such as Mr. Nadler to know that we can persevere. No one thought Scott Brown could win the “Kennedy Seat” in Massachusetts - so do not deny that Susan Kone can win the so-called “Nadler Seat” in New York.

As we campaign on the streets everyday the energy is palpable - the momentum is clearly on our side. We have had studies done which indicate we are within a winnable margin. I need people to believe in our country -- to believe in our people -- and to believe we can achieve an historic victory on November 2. I would urge your readers to make certain they get out and vote -- this election is critical -- the stakes are way too high to stay on the sidelines.

USA ELECTION '10: Republicans poised to win Congress, urge Obama to oppose Palestinian state declaration

(Jpost).The chairman of a major Republican congressional caucus is urging US President Barack Obama to oppose any UN effort to recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.

Rep. Tom Price of Georgia wrote Obama on behalf of the 115-member Republican Study Committee on Thursday, asking the president to push back against reports suggesting that Palestinians are considering appealing to the UN rather than negotiating with Israel.

“Any support for such a measure would create a serious barrier to peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” the letter stated.

Price also pressed Obama to back Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have ground to a halt after Israel refused to extend a freeze on settlements that ended in September and the Palestinians have refused to negotiate without a freeze in place. Netanyahu suggested that he would reinstate a freeze if Palestinians recognized the Jewish nature of the State of Israel.

Both Israelis and Palestinians are now watching the US elections before making major moves, and both Democrats and Republicans are seizing on issues connected to Israel to attract Jewish voters.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Watch 11 AM Channel 1 live - on US Midterm elections W/ Deputy FM Danny Ayalon

GOP challenger to Jewish NY Congressman Nadler: Think again, Nadler is Not Pro-Israel

(The Jewish week).Republican Susan Kone, who hopes to unseat Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler next week, says the congressman has been too silent about President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies.

In an ad campaign she said she’ll take to Jewish newspapers and in a YouTube video emailed by her campaign Kone, an Upper West Side lawyer who founded an executive search and consulting firm, says Nadler “stood silent while Barack Obama has pursued the most anti-Israel policies of any president in U.S. history.”

The ad mentions that Nadler did not speak out when Obama asked Israel to open its nuclear facilities to U.N. inspectors without mentioning Iran, nor when the president said he would be open to negotiations with Iran’s leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has denied the Holocaust and threatened Israel with destruction.

“He’s one of the most silent of all members of Congress on Israel,” said Kone, who said she wants to be the first female Jewish Republican in Congress. In an interview, she said she decided to run because doctors were complaining to her about the Obama health insurance program.

According to Kone -- “this election is in large part a referendum on President Obama’s policies toward Israel as the district represents one of the largest and most diverse Jewish communities in the world. Congressman Nadler was the primary surrogate to the Jewish community - misleading Jewish voters during the presidential campaign that this Administration would be a true friend to Israel and that he would be a true friend to Israel. A true friend to Israel would not have stood silent in light of two years of insensitive treatment toward Israel - a true friend to Israel would not be helping to finance the campaign of a woman who signed the Gaza Letter of 54.”

Kone continued, "While many in the Jewish community including myself spoke upagainst the insensitive treatment of Israel, Mr. Nadler - who has a proclivity topontificate - remained deafeningly silent. He did however speak up loud and clear to argue that ACORN was, as he said, ‘entitled’ to continue to receive millions in taxpayer funding notwithstanding both established criminal behavior and a bipartisan vote of Congress to the contrary. He also spoke up loud and often against those who felt that the building of mosque near Ground Zero was a poor and insensitive choice of location. Nadler labeled opponents of the location of the mosque--including the families of the victims of September 11--as, in his words, 'shameful', 'hateful' and 'divisive'. He was quite vocal in his assertion that their passionate pleas for respect and understanding were, as he put it, 'hate speech' rather than 'hurt speech'.”

Nadler’s campaign spokesman , Ilan Kayatsky, said in an emailed statement “Congressman Nadler's decades-long record as a staunch and leading supporter of Israel in Congress speaks for itself. The baseless assertions in this video are easily rebutted by a quick search of the Congressional Record and are, frankly, absurd.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Netanyahu eyes 3-month freeze on settlement to revive peace talks

Netanyahu is working on a year-long plan to revive peace talks with the Palestinians, which would involve a three-month freeze on settlement building, Maariv newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Under the terms of the plan, which were outlined in the Maariv newspaper, the Israeli premier is planning to follow the three-month moratorium with nine months of restricted building which would limit construction to meet the natural growth needs of the settlements.

Part of the reason for Netanyahu’s reluctance to reimpose the ban is because he lacks support for such a move within his right-wing coalition, but Maariv said the premier had been working behind the scenes to build support for his new initiative.

He has also been preparing a contingency plan which would see him expanding the coalition and bringing in the opposition centrist Kadima Party to re-place the ultra-nationalists of Yisrael Beitenu, who are the vehemently opposed to any further ban, paper said.

In Netanyahu's entourage is said these days that the prime minister is determined and plans to start a genuine process and show leadership. They said that the budget vote in the coming weeks will give the Prime Minister two years of "social peace" and he can concentrate on implementing its plan to resume talks in January for a limited period of one year .Netanyahu has not made a final decision and, facing heavy pressure to which it is subject, it might change your mind at any time, depending on political circumstances or situation in the security field.

Netanyahu is hoping to present the plan to US President Barack Obama next month, following themid-term elections of November 2. Details of the plan would only be made public after the state budget is passed within the coming weeks, with the aim of making a fresh stab at negotiations with the Palestinians in January, the paper said.

The Office of the Prime Minister has sent the following response: "These assertions are false.Contacts with the U.S. government continues to revive the peace talks, but contrary to what some media, no decision has yet been taken on this issue. "

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Report: Netanyahu is "eagerly awaiting" the results of the US Midterm election

(miamiherald).The Obama administration may be holding its breath to avoid the appearance of all-out collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process at least through the midterms after which it feels it may have more opportunity to regroup. But as McClatchy's Sheera Frenkel reports from Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is eagerly anticipating the very same midterms as reason to hope a Republican Congressional takeover could further restrict the Obama administration's room for maneuver:

An official in Netanyahu's office confirmed that Israel's position is to continue seeking compromises through the U.S. midterm elections. He added, however, that Netanyahu's administration is "eagerly awaiting" the results of the election.

"There is a feeling that (President Barack) Obama could increase pressure on us after the election, when he doesn't have to worry about the pro-Israel lobby affecting election outcomes," he said.

An article in a leading Israeli daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, however, quoted "aides close to Netanyahu" saying that if Democrats fared poorly in the midterm elections, Netanyahu would be less likely to give into White House demands.

"Netanyahu and Abu Mazen's (Abbas's) target date is November 3, a day after the midterm elections in the United States. Abu Mazen hopes that Obama will impose an arrangement on Israel," Yediot said. "Netanyahu hopes that he will succeed in repelling the American president's initiative by means of friends of Israel in the House of Representatives, which is expected to have a Republican majority that is opposed to Obama."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Netanyahu: Building in settlements does not contradict our desire for peace

The Knesset held a special session Wednesday, marking the 15th anniversary of the assassination or Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Taking the podium, Netanyahu said that he spent Tuesday reading the last speech Rabin made before the House, a mere month before his assassination. The text, he said, reflected Rabin's desire to see an end to the circle of violence, the inception of a Palestinian state, and a united Jerusalem.

"I think Rabin's words stress my distinction – that a settlement freeze is a gesture no other government has ever made, Building in existing settlements in Judea and Samaria does not contradict our desire for peace".

"Today, I have a better understanding of what Rabin meant. Today, we want a demilitarized (Palestinian) state, which recognizes the Jewish state. We do not want to negate the Palestinian's right to self-definition. We do not wish to rule them.

"What we want is for the Jewish state to be recognized and safe. Our demand for security is not a whim and not an excuse. We left Lebanon – and Iran has moved in. We left Gaza and there too, Iran is moving in. We cannot let that happen a third time."

This, he continues, "Can be prevented by real security arrangements, which we must insist on. I have no doubt that Rabin, as a military man, would has insisted on it as well. When it comes right down to it, there is no dispute over peace, no dispute over separation. The question is – what happens the morning after? How do we make sure that what happened twice, does not happen a third time?"

As for the mood of Israeli society, Netanyahu told the House that "Time has bridged some of gaps. This may aid in achieving peace, but this is not only up to Israel. One thing is sure, though – with or without unity, with or without a peace deal, the kind of violence that ended Rabin's life has no place among us."

PM Netanyahu: Israeli people no longer divided; I am a partner to Rabin's approach to peace

"You were skeptical and careful, respectful and thoughtful, and you were determined to continue down a road leading to peace, I am a partner to your approach that we must always continue pushing for peace."

The main memorial ceremony for former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated 15 years ago, was held Wednesday afternoon on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

The ceremony was attended by President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, ministers and Knesset members, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish, as well as the Rabin family members, public figures and many citizens. Rabin's son, Yuval, recited the Kaddish prayer over his father's grave.

In his speech, Netanyahu referred to the rift among the Israeli people, saying that "we are no longer divided into two opposite camps, when (each camp) is convinced it holds the truth and the (other camp's) truth will lead to the state's destruction and bring disaster on it.

"There is a lot less screaming here now; a lot less animosity. We listen to one another. Our positions are becoming more similar. The gaps are diminishing. One part of the nation has recognized the fact that we cannot continue to exist without order and without compromises, while another part of the nation understands today that it is not the only one aspiring for peace, that Israel is not nearing the end of days, and that not everything is in our hands," the PM said.

Addressing the peace process, Netanyahu stressed that any agreement must include security arrangements. "I believe that today most of Israel's citizens understand that even if a peace is achieved, Israel will have to continue guarding its security assets, because security upholds peace while undermining security disintegrates it. I believe there is broad agreement on the essence of our existence here, which you too, Yitzhak, defined so well," he said.

"In your final speech in Knesset you said, 'We strive first and foremost to establish Israel as a Jewish state, while at the same time we promise that Israel's non-Jewish citizens will enjoy all the individual, religious and civil rights'. Judaism and racism, you said, contradict each other. We are convinced that a bi-national state will not be able to fulfill the national mission of the State of Israel, which is the state of the Jews," Netanyahu added.

"This is the core principle that guided Yitzhak Rabin. A State of Israel that fulfills its Jewish and democratic objective and lives in peace and security with all its neighbors, particularly the Palestinians. I believe this goal unites most of the nation today, and I believe that by joining forces we can realize it."

American Thinker/ Obama got himself up the Middle East tree - and Netanyahu will be foolish to help him get down again

(Vel Nirtist-American Thinker).Given Obama's clearly expressed sympathies for the Palestinians, his demonstrated willingness to brutally coerce the Israelis, and his well-advertised strategic Middle East agenda -- that of smoothing stormy Iraqi, Afghani and Iranian waters by pouring over them the oil of appeasement, what should Israel expect from the US-forced negotiations with Palestinians other than the pressure to give in, to offer debilitating, strategic concessions in return perhaps for a few "guarantees" of doubtful utility and of short duration?

Clearly, to negotiate under the aegis of Obama's hostile administration would be to the strategic detriment of Israel -- and to the detriment of the US and the entire free world.

So far, these dangerous, coersive negotiations did not yet materialize -- because Obama, in his utter ignorance of the problem he was trying to solve, got himself up the tree by demanding the freeze of all Jewish construction in the West bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians immediately echoed his demand, making its fulfillment a prerequisite for any further negotiations -- after waiting for Israel's Obama-demanded (but theoretically, self-imposed) 10-months-long freeze to end. Net result -- Obama cannot dictate his terms of the "negotiated" settlement to Israel because Palestinians refuse to negotiate.

So far so good -- Obama, whose combination of utter ignorance and the know-it-all arrogance makes him so dangerous -- is up the tree and cannot do much harm.

But there is grim news out of Israel:

Anti-Defamation League national director Abe Foxman, who met Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday, said there were "very serious efforts on the American and the Israeli side to find the vehicle to go back to direct talks. Foxman said his impression was that this vehicle would be found before the US elections.

This is outright bizarre. Why would Netanyahu be helping Obama to get down from the tree he has scurried up? Did the latest, pre-election White house round of blandishments erase from Netanyahu's memory his humiliating, high-handed and off-handed treatment by Obama in March? Does he crave further pressure? Or did he see Obama's light, and is now also convinced that all that Palestinians strive to, is to live in peace, side by side with Israel?

I don't know what happened, but this is not good. Obama is no friend of Israel by any stretch of the imagination, and the best and safest place for him in the Arab-Israeli conflict is where he is now -- up the tree. It is not Netanyahu's business to help him get down.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ambassador Oren: Netanyahu will not allow the UN, or anyone to dictate our borders

(Haaretz).Israel's ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told reporters on Tuesday that Israel would not allow anyone to dictate its borders.

"Like Ben-Gurion, Netanyahu will not allow the United Nations, or any other organization, to dictate our borders. They will be determined through negotiations," he said in Washington during an event at the Chamber of commerce celebrating 25 years since the establishment of the Free Trade agreement between the U.S. and Israel.

"Today, too, Israel is blessed with principled and courageous leadership. While facing terrorist groups sworn to destroy every last one of us - women, children, senior citizens - and some 60,000 Hamas and Hezbollah rockets pointed directly at our homes; with so-called human rights organizations and boycott movements and campus coalitions denying our right to defend ourselves and even our right to exist, and with Iranian leaders swearing to wipe us off the map and striving to produce the nuclear means for doing that…. With all of those challenges, the Israeli government under PM Benjamin Netanyahu has not for a nanosecond reduced its commitment to peace".

"But not a peace at any price, Not a peace that will impair Israel’s security or impugn its identity as the nation state of the Jewish people. As Netanyahu said last year in his Bar-Ilan speech, he will not allow any future Palestinian state to become another Lebanon or Gaza."

The Bibi report 'Optimism for America #2' show 10/18 on US Jewish vote W/ GOP Congressional candidate Ryan Brumberg

Monday, October 18, 2010

Washington Post: Obama -- by insisting on an Israeli freeze has sabotaged the peace talks

(Jackson Diehl-Washington Post).For 15 years and more, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas conducted peace talks with Israel in the absence of a freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Now, it appears as likely as not that his newborn negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu -- and their goal of agreement on a Palestinian state within a year -- will expire because of Abbas's refusal to talk in the absence of such a freeze.

The Palestinian president's stand has frustrated a lot of people -- including his own prime minister, Salaam Fayyad, and the president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, both of whom have said that the settlement issue should not be an obstacle to the negotiations. At a recent dinner in Washington, Fayyad pointed out that any building in the settlements during the next year would have no effect on the outcome of the talks or the future Palestinian state.

So why does Abbas stubbornly persist in his self-defeating position? In an interview with Israeli television Sunday night, he offered a remarkably candid explanation: "When Obama came to power, he is the one who announced that settlement activity must be stopped," he said. "If America says it and Europe says it and the whole world says it, you want me not to say it?"

The statement confirmed something that many Mideast watchers have suspected for a long time: that the settlement impasse originated not with Netanyahu or Abbas, but with Obama -- who by insisting on an Israeli freeze has created a near-insuperable obstacle to the peace process he is trying to promote.

A standoff between Obama and Netanyahu over settlements paralyzed Middle East diplomacy for more than a year, while Abbas happily watched from the sidelines. Netanyahu finally announced a 10-month, partial moratorium on new settlement construction. In July, following a meeting at the White House, it looked like the U.S. and Israeli leaders had overcome their differences. Obama said nothing about settlements afterward, and instead urged Abbas to begin direct talks with Netanyahu.

Yet to the surprise of both Netanyahu and some in his own administration, Obama reintroduced the settlement issue. First in a press conference and then in his September address to the UN General Assembly, he called on the Israeli government to extend the settlement moratorium, which expired on Sept. 26. In doing so, he made it impossible for Abbas not to make the same demand.

In his television interview, Abbas said that Netanyahu had told him that he could not extend the settlement moratorium without causing his right-wing government to collapse. So both leaders are trapped. Netanyahu is a hostage to his cabinet; and Abbas is the prisoner of Obama's misguided rhetoric.

New UN Ambassador Reuven: History has shown that settlements do not stand in the way of making peace

(Ynet).Newly appointed Israeli Ambassador to the UN Meiron Reuven speak before the UN Security Council for the first time.

"I appear before you today and state the profound and enduring wish of my nation to establish peace with the Palestinians. A peace based on security and mutual recognition. A peace that will ensure prosperity for our two peoples," he said.

"Israel has continued to show that it is willing to take bold measures and make difficult decisions in pursuit of peace… Israel has continued to show that it is willing to take bold measures and make difficult decisions in pursuit of peace.

"With a heavy heart, Israel put in place a self-imposed and unprecedented ten-month moratorium on settlement construction… History has shown that (settlements) do not stand in the way of making peace – as seen by peace agreements that were achieved with Egypt and Jordan. Furthermore, when Israel dismantled all of its settlements in the Gaza Strip, it received terrorism and rocket fire on towns and communities in return," he continued.

"A request that Israel recognize a Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people must be met with an acknowledgment that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. After generations of conflict, mutual recognition will be essential in overcoming a long history of incitement, combating terrorism, and establishing peaceful coexistence between our two peoples."

UN slams Israel's refusal to extend settlement freeze as violating Int'l law

UN slams Israel's refusal to extend W.Bank settlement freeze; UN representative says "we have brief, crucial window to overcome current impasse. If door to peace closes, will be very hard to reopen."

Oscar Fernandez Taranco, assistant UN secretary general for political affairs on Monday criticized Israel by highlighting international opposition to Israel's refusal to extend the West Bank settlement moratorium.

Israel's decision to allow construction of 238 new housing units violated international law, said Taranco.

Taranco told the UN Security Council that "We have a brief and crucial window to overcome the current impasse."

"The UN secretary general continues to believe that, if the door to peace closes, it will be very hard to reopen," Tranaco continued.

"Intensive diplomatic efforts led by the United States and supported by all members of the Quartet are ongoing to create conditions conducive to the continuation of negotiations".

Tranco also highlighted that "The Quartet envoys have been in regular contact and principals are discussing a proposal to meet soon to review developments."

"There is no alternative to a negotiated settlement resulting in the creation of an independent and viable State of Palestine living side-by-side with the State of Israel in peace and security," he added.

Netanyahu: Any peace agreement must include adequate security arrangements

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud Party members Monday he feared an agreement with the Palestinians that did not include adequate security arrangements.

"It’s not only a matter of rockets aimed at city centers. Today we are trying not to fly near Gaza because they have anti-aircraft missiles there. Imagine if we did not have security arrangements, and such missiles could take down planes on their way to Ben Gurion International Airport. We need to find long-term solutions," he said.

Netanyahu also commented on an interview Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave to Channel 1. "This talk was held seven minutes away. I must say I would prefer to hold a direct talk with him, one that could promote an agreement. In order to promote an agreement we must overcome artificial barriers," he said.

"The debate on construction is simply an artificial barrier. The construction takes up a very small percentage of the territory, and doesn't affect the settlement map. It has no real effect on the map of a possible arrangement".

But before discussing settlements, he said, Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state must be discussed. "Not just a statement that they are willing to recognize this at the end of the conflict, but recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people," he said.

"What matters is not the time it takes to conduct the talks, but whether there is willingness to resolve the conflict. If there is willingness, the conflict will be resolved… I hope the Palestinians make the right choice, because it will be good for us and good for them," he said.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

DFM Danny Ayalon: Palestinian rejectionism not Settlements, is the main obstacle to peace

(Danny Ayalon-The guardian).With the Israeli-Palestinian peace process once more sadly hanging by a thread, the international community has already launched a pre-emptive blame game. While the initial focus has been on Israeli building in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, too few have acknowledged that the Palestinians have quietly been allowed to regress from the conventional positions, many of which they formerly accepted, that are essential for any peace process.

There has been much conversation this week in the British media about excessive foul play in English football. Too many tackles have taken the man and not the ball. Many in the international community appear intent on doing likewise – kicking out in the wrong direction and missing the point entirely.

For an example of this foul play, consider the reaction to the murder of four Israelis by Palestinian terrorists on 31 August this year.

Even a brutal attack of this nature on the eve of negotiations did not induce Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, to withdraw from peace talks. Yet the construction of a few apartments in Judea and Samaria has been viewed by many as a justifiable excuse for the Palestinians to walk out.

Such background events make it difficult for the Israeli public to keep faith in the peace process. And as if all that wasn't enough, the language of those sitting around the table on the Palestinian side is also troubling.

In English, Palestinian leaders speak about peace and their hopes for the restarted peace process. However, in Arabic, Mahmoud Abbas and other top officials in the Palestinian Authority repeatedly state that they will not make a single concession during the talks. That doesn't seem to leave too much room for negotiation.

In addition, basic positions are no longer a given. At a recent Palestinian Donors' Conference at the United Nations, Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad could not even agree to insert the words "two states for two peoples" in the text of the conference summary. This standard formula, established and consistently repeated by the international community, was deemed unacceptable to the most moderate elements of the Palestinian Authority.

While the Israeli position has progressed and developed since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993, the Palestinian position has actually regressed. Rather than placing this unhelpful behaviour under severe scrutiny, and examining its impact on the peace process, the international community has instead opted to concentrate attention elsewhere.

It is this current Israeli government that has paved the way for negotiations by constantly stating that all issues are on the table. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have demanded concessions to even arrive at the negotiating table, and once there are not prepared to even countenance compromise. Yet counterintuitively, each rejection by the Palestinians has caused the international community to demand even more concessions from Israel.

The unprecedented settlement moratorium is a fine example. For nine-and-a-half months, Abbas ignored calls from the international community to sit and face the Israelis in the same room. Throughout this window of opportunity, the Palestinian leadership wasted time, decrying the moratorium as unacceptable. Nevertheless, now it has finished, the Palestinians are demanding a prolongation of this very same policy that they continually rebuffed. Worryingly, the international community appears willing to acquiesce.

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, noted this irony, purportedly saying about the Palestinian reaction to the moratorium: "It was an unprecedented decision by an Israeli government and now we're told that negotiations can't continue unless something that was viewed as being inadequate continues as well."

Arriving at a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires the permanent acceptance of the Jewish people's inalienable right to sovereignty, and the corresponding recognition of our self-determination. For over 100 years, Arabs in the region have shunned any possibility of Jewish sovereignty, rights or history in our ancestral home.

The settlements have proved a great distraction from the Palestinian rejection of the fundamental principles of the peace process. One needs to ask whether it is a newly built structure or in fact, the Palestinian refusal to walk down the path towards "two states for two peoples" that is the true impediment to a peaceful solution. This is the basis for the Israeli government's insistence of a Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

The international community needs to appreciate that it is this rejectionism that is the main obstacle to peace. This issue is the core of any future peaceful resolution. If the Palestinian leadership has still not come to terms with the enduring existence of Israel as a Jewish state, everything else is hollow.

US Rep. Ackerman: “Construction in Jerusalem is not a justification for a crisis, or a showdown"

US Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-New York), who chairs the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, issued a strong statement in defense of Israel on Friday, taking to task those who have equated the capital with West Bank settlements.

“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is not a settlement,” Ackerman told the press.

It has been “the singular geographic center of the hopes and aspirations of the Jewish people for three millennia,” he said.

“Construction in Jerusalem is not a justification for a crisis, a showdown, a meltdown or even a hissy fit,” Ackerman said.

“Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev are going to be part of Israel in any conceivable final-status deal, and to pretend otherwise is pointless,” he said.

“Those who earlier complained about the inadequacy of Israel’s unilateral and uncompensated settlement freeze, who chose to waste those 10 months instead of diving aggressively into direct talks on peace, cannot reasonably now turn around and complain that the end of the freeze and the resumption of Israeli construction in Jerusalem... is either a shock or an insurmountable obstacle to peace,”

Such construction “is neither a show of bad faith, nor a justification for avoiding negotiations aimed at achieving a final-status agreement.

“The legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians are not going to be achieved by violence and they’re not going to be achieved by the equivalent of holding their breath until their lips turn blue,” he said.

“Direct negotiations are sole pathway to their goal, and the sooner they recognize this fact, the better,” he said.

Friday, October 15, 2010

US State Dep. "regrets" Netanyahu building in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem

The United States expressed disappointment on Friday over reports that Israel had approved tenders for construction of nearly 240 new housing units in East Jerusalem.

"We were disappointed by the announcement of new tenders in east Jerusalem yesterday. It is contrary to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties," U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said during a press conference in Washington.

The Housing and Construction Ministry, along with the Israel Lands Administration, released its list of 3,500 newly approved tenders set for construction across the country.

The list includes 150 residential buildings in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot and another 80 in Pisgat Ze'ev. While both neighborhoods are technically set in the northern part of the city, they are considered East Jerusalem due to their location east of the Green Line.

Crowley said that Israel informed the U.S. ahead of time about the tenders for construction in East Jerusalem.

"We told them just what I told you: that we felt this was contrary to what we were trying to do to…get direct negotiations resumed," Crowley said.

This was the first time a tender has been issued for East Jerusalem since U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel last March, when it was announced that 1,600 housing units would be built in the area despite the settlement freeze.

Israeli officials said they discussed the construction with the U.S. administration and cut the number of planned units to temper American displeasure.

Israeli willingness for concessions to bring peace to Israel has been proven false

(Minister Benny Begin-Haaretz).Has he crossed the Rubicon? And if he has, has he done so only intellectually or also mentally? Is it already possible to number Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu among the good guys? And how will we know?

This political-media debate in Israel, endlessly repeated, suffers from a basic weakness: It relies, deliberately, on a baseless assumption that is never explicitly stated - that Israeli willingness for far-reaching concessions suffices to bring peace to Israel.

This assumption was tested twice in the past decade, and both times it proved false: Two Israeli prime ministers, from different parties, in 2000 and in 2008, offered far-reaching concessions to the leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which rejected their offers. So to dispel the harsh impression left by the string of failures that has followed the Oslo concessions, the professional peace processors offered localized excuses: Just give them another round of concessions, and everything will be fine.

But the heads of the PLO feel no need for excuses. In the months after the negotiations with prime minister Ehud Olmert failed, they offered a number of substantive reasons for this failure, which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen ) summed up with cruel simplicity: "The gaps were wide" (Washington Post, May 5, 2009 ).

A somewhat more detailed explanation was provided recently by United Arab List-Ta'al MK Ahmed Tibi (Haaretz, September 7, 2010 ): "[T]he maximum Olmert could offer in his day did not reach the minimum Abu Mazen and the Palestine Liberation Organization can accept." And knowing the PLO's positions, it is clear that these diplomatic observations are accurate and valid.

In this sense, the Kadima Knesset faction, which is demanding that Netanyahu show them his diplomatic kashrut certificate, has not yet crossed the Rubicon properly. Both members of the faction and its current leader have repeatedly said that the proposals made to Abbas by their former leader, Olmert, went too far and were only his own personal suggestions, to which they never consented. If so, judging by their belated reservations, the maximum they are prepared to offer most certainly does not amount to the minimum the PLO deems necessary for achieving an agreement.

Since our Rubiconists have despaired of the chance that the PLO will change its extreme positions, they have laid down rules for a unique kind of diplomatic physics: For the aspirations of Israel and the PLO to meet, Israel is required to get closer to the PLO's positions, which remain constant, and only Israel is required to make concessions.

Not only have the PLO's leaders held fast to their positions for the past 20 years, but they even boast of it. Abbas recently declared, "We will not relinquish any of our principles. Since the Palestinian National Council convention in Algeria in 1988, at which we [declared] a Palestinian state and recognized [UN] Resolutions 242 and 338, what concessions have we made on our principles? We insist on the 1967 borders, Jerusalem as our capital, and the refugees' rights according to the UN resolutions, especially [Resolution] 194. Our rights to water are also recognized by international law. Not a single word of our documents has been changed, from then to this very day. It has not happened and will not happen" (Al Ayyam, September 6, 2010 ).

True. And therefore, the PLO leadership is not contenting itself with staunch opposition to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, but is even justifying this openly: "From our perspective, there is the state of Israel and we will not recognize it as a Jewish state. Raising this issue is aimed at denying Israel's Arab citizens their rights and at making them illegal citizens, as well as at blocking any chance of the Palestinian refugees returning to their homes inside Israel" (Abbas, Al-Quds, September 7 ).

The following day, at a press conference in Ramallah, Nabil Shaath said, "The Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people. This recognition would directly threaten the Muslims and Christians in Israel and prevent Palestinian refugees, who left their homes and villages several decades ago, from implementing the right to return to them" (Haaretz, September 8, 2010 ).

If so, then the only convincing proof that Israel's government had really crossed the Rubicon would be its adoption of the PLO's demands for reaching an agreement with it. The grievances of our experts on crossing rivers lead to only one outcome: They are saddling Israel with full responsibility for the repeated failures to achieve an agreement with the PLO.

But the logical conclusion to be drawn from the negotiating failures of the past 17 years is in fact the reverse: As long as the PLO persists in its extreme positions, as long as it does not renounce the Fatah platform - which was updated at the organization's sixth convention in Bethlehem in August 2009 and once again reiterated its permanent aim of "destroying the Zionist entity and liberating Palestine" - no Israeli government, from either the right or the left, will be able to achieve a peace agreement.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ambassador Oren Op-Ed in NYT: Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is a deal-breaker

(MICHAEL B. OREN-NYtimes).NEARLY 63 years after the United Nations recognized the right of the Jewish people to independence in their homeland — and more than 62 years since Israel’s creation — the Palestinians are still denying the Jewish nature of the state. “Israel can name itself whatever it wants,” said the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, while, according to the newspaper Haaretz, his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said that the Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Back in 1948, opposition to the legitimacy of a Jewish state ignited a war. Today it threatens peace.

Mr. Abbas and Mr. Erekat were responding to the call by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, enabling his government to consider extending the moratorium on West Bank construction. “Such a step by the Palestinian Authority would be a confidence-building measure,” Mr. Netanyahu explained, noting that Israel was not demanding recognition as a prerequisite for direct talks. It would “open a new horizon of hope as well as trust among broad parts of the Israeli public.”

Why should it matter whether the Palestinians or any other people recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people? Indeed, Israel never sought similar acknowledgment in its peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Some analysts have suggested that Mr. Netanyahu is merely making a tactical demand that will block any chance for the peace they claim he does not really want.

Affirmation of Israel’s Jewishness, however, is the very foundation of peace, its DNA. Just as Israel recognizes the existence of a Palestinian people with an inalienable right to self-determination in its homeland, so, too, must the Palestinians accede to the Jewish people’s 3,000-year connection to our homeland and our right to sovereignty there. This mutual acceptance is essential if both peoples are to live side by side in two states in genuine and lasting peace.

So why won’t the Palestinians reciprocate? After all, the Jewish right to statehood is a tenet of international law. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 called for the creation of “a national home for the Jewish people” in the land then known as Palestine and, in 1922, the League of Nations cited the “historical connection of the Jewish people” to that country as “the grounds for reconstituting their national home.” In 1947, the United Nations authorized the establishment of “an independent Jewish state,” and recently, while addressing the General Assembly, President Obama proclaimed Israel as “the historic homeland of the Jewish people.” Why, then, can’t the Palestinians simply say “Israel is the Jewish state”?

The reason, perhaps, is that so much of Palestinian identity as a people has coalesced around denying that same status to Jews. “I will not allow it to be written of me that I have ... confirmed the existence of the so-called Temple beneath the Mount,” Yasir Arafat told President Bill Clinton in 2000.

For Palestinians, recognizing Israel as a Jewish state also means accepting that the millions of them residing in Arab countries would be resettled within a future Palestinian state and not within Israel, which their numbers would transform into a Palestinian state in all but name. Reconciling with the Jewish state means that the two-state solution is not a two-stage solution leading, as many Palestinians hope, to Israel’s dissolution.

Which is precisely why Israelis seek the basic reassurance that the Palestinian Authority is ready to accept our state — to accept us. Israelis need to know that further concessions would not render us more vulnerable to terrorism and susceptible to unending demands. Though recognition of Israel as the Jewish state would not shield us from further assaults or pressure, it would prove that the Palestinians are serious about peace.

The core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been the refusal to recognize Jews as a people, indigenous to the region and endowed with the right to self-government. Criticism of Israeli policies often serves to obscure this fact, and peace continues to elude us. By urging the Palestinians to recognize us as their permanent and legitimate neighbors, Prime Minister Netanyahu is pointing the way out of the current impasse: he is identifying the only path to co-existence.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Palestinians softening their postions - willing to recognize Israel for 67 borders map

(Ma'an) -- PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo told Israeli media on Wednesday that Palestinians would be willing to recognize Israel if the US were to present a map of future Palestinian state based on 4 June 1967 borders.

Speaking to Israeli daily Haaretz, Abed Rabbo said "We want to receive a map of the State of Israel which Israel wants us to accept.

"If the map will be based on the 1967 borders and will not include our land, our houses and East Jerusalem, we will be willing to recognize Israel according to the formulation of the government within the hour," he added.

Abed Rabbo follows comments made by US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, stating that the US backed Israel's demand for regional recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Abed Rabbo continued, "It is important for us to know where are the borders of Israel and where are the borders of Palestine. Any formulation the Americans present – even asking us to call Israel the 'Chinese State' – we will agree to it, as long as we receive the 1967 borders. We have recognized Israel in the past, but Israel has not recognized the Palestinian state."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

US responds positively to Netanyahu's deal; urges Palestinians to make counter-offer to Israel

The United States suggested Tuesday that the Palestinians make a counter-offer now that Israel has asked them to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in return for a freeze on settlements.

The offer by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was swiftly rejected by the Palestinians who are threatening to quit six-week-old peace negotiations unless Israel renews a moratorium on Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

But the US State Department suggested Netanyahu’s offer could be a useful way to re-energize negotiations that were launched in Washington on September 2, but bogged down when the moratorium expired on September 26.

Asked about Netanyahu’s offer, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley stressed that both parties must “continue to create conditions for the direct negotiations to continue.”

"What Prime Minister Netanyahu said yesterday is, in essence a core demand of the Israeli government, which we support," Crowley said. "The recognition that Israel is a part of the region – acceptance by the region of the existence of the state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people – is what they want to see through this negotiation."

Crowley stressed that the US was encouraging the continuation of direct talks. "This is not a one-way street. It is a two-way street. The prime minister is offering something and asking for something. It is perfectly within the rights of the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas to say there's something I need and there's something I'm willing to give," he said.

Asked if the United States recognized Israel as a Jewish state, Crowley said it did:

"I'm not making any news here. We recognize the special nature of the Israeli state. It is a state for the Jewish people. It is a state for other citizens of other faiths as well".

Likud slams Olmert/Kadima: One could think it was heaven under Kadima government

The Likud party condemned former prime minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday for criticizing the Netanyahu government, outlining all the hardships that Israel endured during Olmert's leadership.

Speaking at an Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry conference, Olmert said that the government's refusal to accept the United States request that Israel extend a freeze on West Bank settlement construction for two months could lead to Israel's political isolation in the world and damage Israel's economy.

Olmert told the audience that Israel could not expect to receive continued support from the U.S. and Europe if it continues to "insult the whole world."

Following Olmert's speech, Netanyahu's Likud party issued a statement attacking the previous Kadima government.

"Following Tzipi Livni's speech on Monday and Ehud Olmert's speech on Tuesday, one could think Israel was in heaven under the Kadima government."

"But the Israeli public remembers the truth. Three years, two wars, thousands of missiles fired into Israeli territory, one Goldstone report, enormous political sacrifices that led nowhere, and deep economic recession. That's the country that Livni and Olmert left".

"The Netanyahu government achieved economic prosperity, returned the calm and security to the Israeli people, and is currently engaged in the peace process while still standing up for Israel's national security interests, and maintaining strong relations with the United States."

AJC poll: 62% of American Jews approve Netanyahu's handling of U.S.-Israel relations

(JTA) -- Jewish approval of President Obama is dropping, a new national survey found.

Some 49 percent of U.S. Jews approved of the Obama administration’s handling of U.S.-Israel relations, according to a just-completed American Jewish Committee survey, and 45 percent disapproved.

An AJC survey conducted in March gave Obama a 55 percent approval rating to 37 percent disapproval.

It was the first time the AJC commissioned two surveys in the same calendar year.

In contrast, the view of how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is handling U.S.-Israel relations has improved. Some 62 percent of American Jews approved and 27 percent disapproved, according to the new survey. In March, 57 percent approved and 30 percent disapproved.

Overall approval of Obama’s performance as president dropped to 51 percent, from 57 percent in March. Obama captured 78 percent of the Jewish vote in the presidential election two years ago.

American Jewish confidence in Obama's approach to Iran also has fallen, with 43 percent approving of the administration's handling of the Iran nuclear issue compared to 47 percent in March. Some 46 percent disapproved, up from 42 percent. Some 59 percent supported and 35 percent opposed U.S. military action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Some 70 percent supported and some 26 opposed Israeli military action.

A series of questions regarding the Arab-Israeli peace process yielded results similar to previous surveys, showing continuity in American Jewish views of a Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem and West Bank settlements.

Like the March results, the new survey found that 48 percent favored and 45 percent opposed the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Regarding the dismantling of West Bank settlements as part of a permanent agreement with the Palestinians, 6 percent said all should be evacuated, while 56 percent said some should and 37 percent said none should be dismantled.

A majority of American Jews, 60 percent, continued to support a united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while 35 percent said Israel should compromise on the city’s status in a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

American Jews remained nearly unanimous, at 95 percent, in supporting a proposal requiring Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a final peace agreement. In March and in 2009, the figure was 94 percent

Monday, October 11, 2010

Netanyahu willing to extend the freeze in exchange for PA Recognition of Israel as The Jewish State

The Knesset opened its winter session on Monday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that he would be willing to extend a construction freeze in West Bank settlements if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

"Unfortunately up until now the Palestinians have not responded to this call and the United States are searching for different ways to continue the talks".

"I made this message clear in quiet ways last month, and I am saying it here, now, in public: If the Palestinian leadership will say unequivocally to its people that it recognizes Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, I will be willing to gather my government and ask for another suspension of construction for a limited time".

"The US is making various suggestions and we are considering them seriously in relation to Israel's interests, first and foremost security and the promise of continued existence".

"The refusal to recognize the rights of the Jewish people and its historic connection to the place is the root of the conflict and without solving this, the conflict will never end. Regarding security, any peace agreement between ourselves and the Palestinians must be based on rigid security arrangements."

The prime minister also warned that while he hoped for the creation of a Palestinian state, only if it was created in a "responsible manner."

"A Palestinian state could be a cause of continued conflict and terror if it is not handled responsibly."

In his speech, Netanyahu also hinted at a comparison between Turkey and Iran, and Israel's concerns when it comes to the peace process:

In order for the compromise to lead to peace and not war, it must be accompanied by two fundamental components: recognition and security arrangements.

When I say recognition, I mean Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. This is not just stubbornness. This is the root of the conflict and therefore a central foundation for resolving it.

For 100 years, the Palestinians have taught entire generations to believe that there is no Jewish people, that this land is their homeland alone.

The refusal to recognize the rights of the Jewish people and its historic connection to its land is the root of the conflict, and without dealing with it, there will be no end to the conflict.

As to security, any peace agreement between the Palestinians and us must be based on strong security arrangements in the field.

We left Lebanon and Gaza without such security arrangements, and we suffered thousands of rockets fired at the Negev and the Galilee.

I am not willing to make do with peace on paper. The citizens of Israel are also not willing to make do with that.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701 from the end of the Second Lebanon War, withdrawal from the Philadelphi Route after the Disengagement, the positioning of international forces in the North and the South – none of these things prevented the firing of thousands of missiles at Israel, and the smuggling of tens of thousands of additional missiles by Iran into hostile territory surrounding us.

I will not allow Iranian missiles to be positioned 500 meters from Kfar Saba, or scant kilometers from Ben-Gurion Airport.

We live in a small country – very small. Our small dimensions pose existential security problems – problems that are unique to Israel.

We must not take these security problems too lightly, and we must not allow ourselves to be tempted by the illusion that a peace agreement, in and of itself, will resolve them.

We once had peaceful, normal relations, relations which included exchanges of delegations, contact between leaders, trade relations, especially of petroleum, with an important country. That country is called Iran.

We also had wonderful, friendly relations with another country, with military cooperation, with full diplomatic relations, with visits by heads of state, with 400,000 Israeli visitors to that country. That country is called Turkey.

I still we can rehabilitate and restore those relations, which have deteriorated against our will. Things have changed in Iran, and unfortunately in other places as well, almost overnight, and no one can promise us that, despite our desire, a similar thing won’t happen after the establishment of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Therefore we must insist on strong security arrangements in the field, with determination and without fear, in order to ensure that the peace will be upheld in practice, and also in order to defend our existence in the unfortunate but possible case that the peace is violated.

Peace and security are interwoven, and they are the principles which guide me. I firmly insist on the need for both of them, and I see that an understanding of our security needs has finally begun to penetrate international debate, beyond general statements. I speak of our specific needs. I believe, Members of Knesset, that if we stand together on this front, united around these principles, I am convinced it will help us achieve a peace agreement.

I believe that the unity surrounding these principles, which are so basic, so important and so real, can greatly advance our ability to achieve a peace agreement.

Yoram Ettinger/ Are Obama's promises carved in stone or written on ice?

(Yoram Ettinger-YNet).President Obama stridently disavows President Bush's understandings - with Israel - concerning sustained natural growth construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, as well as – supposedly - future Israeli sovereignty over "settlement blocs" in Judea and Samaria. What does such a disavowal bode for the credibility and durability of President Obama's promises to – and understandings with – Israel?!

The discussion, in Jerusalem, of Obama's proposed commitments in return for the continued freeze of Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem (while Arab construction is at an all time high!) reflects miscomprehension of the US political system, ignores lessons from past US commitments and guarantees, and accepts a non-existing linkage between the Iranian nuclear threat on one hand, and the Palestinian issue and US-Israel strategic cooperation on the other hand.

An examination of past US commitments, guarantees and treaties highlights three critical attributes: 1. Non-Specificity, vagueness and ambiguity, intended to facilitate non- implementation. 2. Non-Automaticity which is a platform for delay, suspension and non-implementation. 3. Non-Implementation if implementation harms US interests. For instance, the NATO treaty as ratified by the Senate commits the US only to consider steps on behalf of an attacked NATO member, "as it deems necessary," "including the use of armed forces." Also, in 1954, President Eisenhower signed a defense treaty with Taiwan; but in 1979, President Carter annulled the treaty unilaterally with the support of the US Supreme Court and Congress.

The significance of a presidential agreement/commitment is substantially constrained by the US Constitution, which is designed to preclude an omnipotent Executive. It does that by an elaborate system of Checks and Balances and the absolute Separation of Powers, which limits presidential clout on Capitol Hill.

Therefore, a US President is not an all-powerful ruler, but equal-in-power to the Legislature, which possesses the Power of the Purse. Moreover, the president shares policy-making with Congress, including matters relating to the UN, arms sales, peace and war. Thus, a US president cannot commit the US without Congressional consent.

For example, in 1999 President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but the Senate has yet to ratify it. In 1957, President Eisenhower issued an Executive Agreement – in exchange for Israel's full withdrawal from Sinai - committing US troops on behalf of Israel should Egypt violate the ceasefire. But in 1967, Egypt invaded the demilitarized Sinai, expelled the UN troops, blockaded Eilat and established an Arab axis with the self-proclaimed goal of annihilating the Jewish State. President Johnson's response was to declare Eisenhower's Executive Agreement non-binding, thus paving the way for the Six-Day War.

In 1975, President Ford sent a letter to Prime Minister Rabin, stating that the US "will give great weight to Israel's position that any peace agreement with Syria must be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights." But in 1979, President Carter contended that Ford's letter hardly committed Ford - and certainly none of his successors at the White House - to support Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights.

In 1982, the US Congress preconditioned the sale of F-15s to Saudi Arabia upon President Reagan's commitment that the planes would not be stationed in Tabuq, close to the Israeli border. But in 2003, President Bush employed the "changed regional circumstances" argument to justify his acquiescence with the deployment of the planes to Tabuq.

In 1991, President Bush promised Prime Minister Shamir to "positively consider" Israel's request for $10 billion loan guarantees for the absorption of one million Soviet Jews, in exchange for Shamir's restraint in the face of Iraq's Scud missiles hitting Tel Aviv. Shamir fulfilled his commitment, but Bush reneged and even opposed any form of emergency assistance to Israel for damages caused by the Gulf War. However, Israel received the assistance because of Congress and in spite of the Administration.

In 2000, President Clinton promised Prime Minister Barak $800 million for the retreat from Southern Lebanon. Israel retreated, but the $800 million has yet to reach Jerusalem…

An Israeli embrace of commitments, which are – frequently – written on ice, in return for tangible concessions, reflect detachment from the Washington constitutional labyrinth and from significant precedents, at the expense of dire Israeli interests.

Finally, there is no basis for the assumption that Israel's acceptance of Obama's promises – in exchange for an extended freeze of Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem - is ostensibly essential for a joint battle against Iran, for a simple reason: There is no linkage between the Iranian nuclear threat on one hand, and Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem on the other hand.

Iran's nuclear drive aims at advancing a 14 centuries old strategic goal – the domination of the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean, irrespective of Israel's policy or Israel's existence. Furthermore, the chief hurdle for Iran is the US and NATO involvement in these regions. Hence, it is the US and NATO that are the chief targets for Iran's nuclear capabilities, independent of Israel and its actions.

The acceptance of the false linkage between the Palestinian issue on one hand, and the Iranian threat and US-Israel strategic cooperation on the other hand, subordinates vital US and Israeli interests to Palestinian terrorism, idiosyncrasy, radicalism and systematic violation of agreements, causing a severe setback to US and Israeli strategic concerns and values.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Italian PM Berlusconi: I Feel Israeli

Ensuring Israel's Security and right to exist and are ethical and moral for Italians

(INN).Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told a pro-Israel rally in Rome late last week that Israel has a right to exist and a right to its security – and that ensuring both are an ethical and moral imperative for the Italian people.

“Israel’s security within its borders, as well as its right to exist as a Jewish state, is the ethical choice for Italians and a moral obligation against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial,” Berlusconi told the crowd.

“My visit to the Auschwitz extermination camp, as well as the horror of the Holocaust barbary, gave rise to my indelible feeling of solidarity, Since then, I feel Israeli.

The rally, “For the Truth of Israel,” organized by Amici di Israele” (Friends of Israel), and held at the Temple of Hadrian, was headed by a parliamentarian from Berlusconi’s political party.

Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, founder of the Friends of Israel organization, also spoke at the start of the rally. “Israel is not a Middle East country, but a Western country of the Middle East,” he said. “Every problem for Israel is our problem.”

FM Lieberman to EU: Solve Europe's problems first, Israel will not be Czechoslovakia

"Before you teach us how to resolve conflicts here, I expect at the very least that you solve all the problems in Europe," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told his French and Spanish counterparts Bernard Kouchner and Miguel Moratinos Sunday night.

During their meeting in Jerusalem, Lieberman said, "In 1938 the European community decided to appease Hitler instead of supporting the loyal ally Czechoslovakia, and sacrificed it without gaining anything.

"We have no intention of becoming 2010's Czechoslovakia and will insist on Israel's vital interests."

Lieberman also told his counterparts that the West has failed in resolving conflicts and that he does not understand why Israel was being singled out. "It seems as though the international community is trying to make up for its failure to resolve conflicts in Somalia, Afghanistan, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Sudan and other places by trying to bring about an Israeli-Palestinian agreement within a year," he said.

"Instead of discussing the upcoming referendum in Sudan with the Arab League or discussing the explosive situation that is expected in Iraq in 2012, Israel is being pressured. This may lead to the collapse of the negotiations, just as it did in 2000 following the Camp David summit."

Bill Kristol/ The Real Israel Lobby - The American people.

(William Kristol-The weeklystandard).Now we know who constitutes the real Israel lobby: the American public. Especially the Republican-leaning part of it.

Consider the results of a new poll, a survey of 1000 likely voters done October 3 to 5 by McLaughlin and Associates for the Emergency Committee for Israel. (The complete survey results, including cross-tabs, are available at

Before getting to Israel, we might note that the survey found the GOP ahead in the generic congressional ballot by about four points. That’s a somewhat smaller margin than that found by several other likely voter surveys during this period. We might also note that 33 percent of those polled identified themselves as Republican, and 40 percent as Democratic, which suggests a sample a bit more Democratic than the norm. So this was not a GOP-tilting survey.

What the survey shows is this: The American people strongly support the state of Israel, and want their elected representatives to do so as well. An astounding 93 percent of those polled say the United States should be concerned about the security of the state of Israel. A majority—54 percent—say the U.S. should be “very concerned” about Israel’s security. Virtually the same number care that their elected representatives be pro-Israel. When asked, “Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate whom you perceive as pro-Israel?,” 53 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate they saw as pro-Israel, 24 percent less likely. Even more striking, the same number—53 percent—say they could not vote for a candidate if he were anti-Israel, even if that candidate agreed with them on most other issues.

So it’s not only that the American public is pro-Israel by more than two to one. It’s also that being anti-Israel is an actual disqualifier for a majority of American voters.

This is a pro-Israel nation. Which parts of it are most reliably pro-Israel?

Consider the results to the already-quoted Question 30 in the poll: “Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate whom you perceive as pro-Israel?” Among those intending to vote Republican this fall, 69 percent would be more likely to vote for a candidate who was pro-Israel, 15 percent would be less likely—a margin of 54 percent. On the other hand, among Democratic voters, the pro-Israel margin is only 7 percent—40 percent of Democratic voters are more likely to vote for a pro-Israel candidate, 33 percent are less likely. Conservatives (and Tea Party sympathizers) mirror Republicans; their pro-Israel margins are also over 50 percent. The margin among self-described liberals is only 5 percent. And while Fox News fans are very pro-Israel, by 73 percent to 16 percent, devotees of the New York Times are actually negative on Israel, by 30 percent to 35 percent.

The bottom line: The public is strongly pro-Israel. But the public consists basically of two groups. The GOP/conservative/Fox News-viewing part of the public is overwhelmingly pro-Israel. The Democratic/liberal/New York Times-reading part of America is... comme-ci, comme-ca.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Poll: American electorate pro-Israel - 53% would be more likely to vote for a pro Israel candidate

(via Politico).The Conservative Emergency Committee for Israel is coming out with a poll today that backs its view that the U.S. has a deeply pro-Israel electorate, one that's alarmed about Iran's intentions and skeptical of President Obama's outreach to the Muslim world.

They've shared GOP pollster John McLaughlin's survey of 1,000 likely voters, The sample -- 51% of those surveyed have a favorable view of Obama's defense and national security policy. but 42.7% think that Obama's middle east policies are harming Israel'sd secuurity, while 29% say it is improving Israel's security.

The results suggest that President Obama's stance toward the Middle East is not as popular as his foreign policy as a whole, with a plurality disapproving of his handling of Israel and, strikingly, 47% saying his policy of "outreach to the Muslim world" has "decreased" U.S. security, to the 33% who say it's increased our security.

The poll -- using questions that some may find leading -- finds large majorities don't believe that the U.S. can stop Iran's nuclear program with sanctions, and surprising numbers are open to military action: 60% said they'd support a military strike if sanctions don't work.

While a slim plurality said Iran was unlikely to shoot a nuclear weapon at the U.S. (the questions don't worry too much about the actual capabilities), large majorities said they thought it likely that Ian would attack Israel (80%) or provide a nuclear weapon to terrorists (85%).

The poll also makes the case that support for Israel is a salient issue to large numbers of voters. It finds that 53% would be more likely to vote for a candidate "you perceive as pro-Israel," to 24% who would be less likely. While the pro-Israel candidate wins the favor of all of the political groups, Democrats are nearly split on the issue, while Republicans overwhelmingly say they would vote for the pro-Israel option.




AGREE 51.6


AGREE 50.9

AGREE 27.0

YES 50.9
NO 20.4

YES 77.9
NO 6.0

Israel public divided over accepting US freeze offer as Obama and Netanyahu's credibilty are at risk

According to a Poll carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz for Israel Radio’s Hakol Diburim (It’s All Talk) program on 5-6 October and broadcast on 7 October, and according to a Haaretz/Dialog poll published in the Friday Hebrew edition for Haaretz Newspaper Israeli's are divided in their opinion if to accept the Obama administration's offer and demand for a 60 day freeze in return for the receipt of guarantees and incentives reported in the Media.

"Do you support or oppose the continuation of the freeze on Jewish construction in the area of Judea and Samaria for sixty days today in return for the receipt of guarantees and incentives from the United States? Total: For extending 42% Against 45%. Among those planning now to vote Likud: For 44% Against 47%".

In the Haaretz poll: 50% of Israeli's answered that Netanyahu should respond positively to Obama's offer, while 42% oppose that idea.

PM Netanyahu comes in on top among all Israeli politicians in being the best Leader to stand up fro Israel's best interest (32%), and in Handling the Mideast peace process in the best way (37%).

Netanyahu demands that Obama commit to Bush's promises on settlement Blocs and refugees

PM Netanyahu, has requested that U.S. President Barack Obama commit to the assurances that were given by his predecessor, George Bush.

Israeli political sources have revealed a number of additional safeguards that Tel Aviv is demanding from the U.S. administration in return for its announcement of a "partial freeze" on the construction of Jewish settlements in the Occupied West Bank.

The sources indicated that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has requested that U.S. President Barack Obama commit to the assurances that were given by his predecessor, George Bush, in a letter sent out in April 2004 to then Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. It included assurances of Washington's support for the principle of annexing major settlement blocs to Israel under any agreement for the demarcation of the Palestinian state's boarders as well as the rejection of the return of Palestinian refugees to the territories occupied since 1948.

The sources referred to a "positive initial American reaction" to the Tel Aviv demands as Netanyahu's requests "are usually listened to by the senior officials in the US administration."

As Ari Shavit writes in Haaretz:

"Here's a creative idea. In exchange for freezing construction in the West Bank for 60 days, the U.S. will renew the commitment President Bush made in his April 2004 letter. Bush's letter was given to Ariel Sharon in exchange for the disengagement. It consists of a vague commitment that when peace is made, the settlement blocs will remain in Israel's hands and the Palestinian refugees will not return to Israel.

Now we have a golden opportunity to make a breakthrough American-Israeli deal: Israel agrees to the Obama administration's request for the freeze while the Obama administration adopts President Bush's letter word-for-word.

For Netanyahu, this is a win-win formula. If Obama agrees, Israel will gain a significant achievement that would improve its situation in the international arena and in the negotiations on the final-status arrangement. If Obama refuses, his confrontation with Israel will not be about a thousand ridiculous apartments in the territories but about U.S. credibility. Instead of Netanyahu being the dissenter, Obama will be the dissenter. When it emerges that an incumbent American president is denying a commitment given by a previous American president and adopted by a large majority of the two houses of Congress, Israel will pass from a state of moral inferiority to one of moral superiority.

This is not merely a tactical matter. To make peace with the Palestinians Israel will have to take on itself almost survival-threatening risks. For Israel to take such risks it will need solid American guarantees. If the U.S. tears to shreds its previous guarantees, there is no value to future guarantees it might provide. So the matter of American credibility is fundamental.

It is time both Washington and Jerusalem stop being right, start being clever and treat the credibility and freezing issues simultaneously. Obama cannot stand Bush. Netanyahu had little admiration for Sharon. But the only formula that will save Obama and Netanyahu is the Bush-Sharon formula".

Poll: Netanyahu's maintains high approval ratings (68%); support for right-wing surge as peace talks falter

(via INN and IMRA).Israeli support for rightwing and ultra-nationalist parties has surged, a poll showed on Thursday, as recently-launched peace talks with the Palestinians face collapse.

If an election were held now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanahyahu's Likud party would win 33 of the 120 seats in parliament against its current 27, according to a survey conducted by Israel's public radio.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's far-right Yisrael Beitenu party, which is a key coalition partner, would also gain six seats, increasing its showing from 15 to 21.

The left Labor party of Defence Minister Ehud Barak, which once dominated Israeli politics, would drop from 13 to nine seats while the centre-right opposition Kadima party of former foreign minister Tzipi Livni would slip from 28 to 26 seats.

The poll was carried out among a representative sample of 500 registered voters and the pollsters gave a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

The results also gave Netanyahu an approval rating of 68 percent as he faces a standoff with Israel's key ally the United States after refusing to extend restrictions on Jewish settlement construction in the occupied West Bank that expired last month.

The people survued in the poll were also asked: Do you support or oppose the continuation of the freeze on Jewish construction in the area of Judea and Samaria for sixty days today in return for the receipt of guarantees and incentives from the United States? oppose extending 45%, support 42%
Among those planning now to vote Likud: For 44% Against 47%

Who is more appropriate to be prime minister, Netanyahu or Livni?
Netanyahu 48% Livni 23% Don't know, Neither, Other replies 29%

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Bibi report live show from Jerusalem 10/4 W/ Kristee kelley and Ilan Shahar

Yoram Ettinger/ PM Netanyahu's test - avoiding red lines turn into pink ones

Yoram EttingerYnet).George Mitchell, President Obama's special envoy, is testing Prime Minister Netanyahu: Has he learned from past errors by repeating them – which would demolish his credibility - or by avoiding them, which would resurrect his domestic and international clout?

In order to enhance his own clout and Israel's posture of deterrence – which constitute essential prerequisites to Israel's national security, Israel's strategic ties with the US and to the attainment of durable peace – it is incumbent upon Netanyahu to refute Obama's, Mitchell's, and Clinton's assumption that he (Netanyahu) tends to transform red lines into pink lines.

On May 29, 2009 – six months before the freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria and three weeks before Netanyahu's "Two States Speech" at Bar Ilan University – the Washington Post reported that Mahmoud Abbas "fully expects that Netanyahu will never agree to the full settlement freeze." Abbas assumed that it would take a multi-year US pressure to force Netanyahu to publicly accept the two-state formula and to freeze Israeli settlement construction."

The Washington Post assumed that it is "a Palestinian fantasy that the US will simply force Israel to make critical concessions, whether or not its democratic government agrees, while Arabs passively watch and applaud." However, Abbas, the Washington Post and Obama have learned that Jerusalem is capable of transforming red lines into pink lines.

In March 2009, upon Netanyahu's entry into the Prime Minister's Office, Obama's team was convinced that he would be susceptible to pressure for a complete freeze of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. They dismissed the advice by veterans of President Clinton's team to refrain from such pressure, lest Netanyahu defy the pressure, while enjoying the support of most Americans and most legislators, thus dragging Obama into a losing proposition. However, they found out that Jerusalem could transform red lines into pink lines.

Netanyahu's first 18 months in office demonstrated that submission to pressure intensified pressure, radicalized Arab expectations and demands, undermined Israel's moral standing, eroded the PM's image and the strategic posture of the Jewish State in the Middle East and in Washington, DC and weakened the conviction of Israelis in their own cause.

Bibi's retreat boosts Team Obama
In contrast, the eight years of Prime Minister Shamir in office were top heavy on US resentment of his steadfastness and defiance. Washington opposed Shamir's policy toward the Palestinians, but respected his principle-driven policy and his capability to withstand domestic and external pressure. On a rainy day, Shamir was a unique strategic ally in face of regional and global mutual threats, which were significantly more important than the Palestinian issue in impacting vital US interests.

Thus, irrespective of the unbridgeable gap, between the US and Israel, in the narrow context of the Arab-Israeli context, the bilateral strategic cooperation in the wider regional and global context expanded in an unprecedented manner. Jerusalem should have learned that holding on to red lines bolsters Israel's life line.

Prime Minister Netanyahu crossed the Rubicon on June 14, 2009, publicly endorsing the two-state solution, in order to alleviate Obama's pressure. However, as expected, the pressure intensified, the Palestinians would not reciprocate and on November 25, 2009, Netanyahu was forced to accept a full freeze of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, while Arab construction crossed the charts.

Netanyahu's retreat adrenalized the veins of Team Obama, which stepped up the pressure, convincing Netanyahu to move the goal posts further, expanding the freeze to Jerusalem.

In September 1997, Palestinian terrorism exploded against the backdrop of the opening of the Western Wall Tunnel. Washington expected a heavy-handed Israeli response, but was astounded to witness a hand-in-hand Netanyahu-Arafat visit to Washington, DC. The 1997 Hebron and the 1998 Wye Accords, the willingness to refrain from construction in Har Homa and Ma'aleh Hazeitim (in Jerusalem) and to sweep under the carpet Abbas' hate-education and incitement, Holocaust denial and promotion of terrorism have further corroded the credibility of Jerusalem's red lines.

Will Prime Minister Netanyahu learn from past dramatic errors and their adverse impact upon Israel's strategic image? Will he substantiate the Washington Post May 2009 assumption that it takes a "Palestinian Fantasy" to assume that a US president can impose upon Israel critical concessions?

Will Netanyahu leverage his own unique intellectual and communications capabilities, Obama's political vulnerability and heavy constraints, the expected drastic changes on Capitol Hill and the awesome platforms of bi-partisan support of the Jewish State among Americans? Will he leverage the unique commitment to enhanced US-Israel strategic relations by Republicans and Democrats in Congress, which is equal in power to the President in shaping domestic and international policies?