Friday, April 29, 2011

Netanyahu denounces ‘outrageous’ PA unity with "most extreme, violent enemies of peace"

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted Thursday in discussions with a visiting delegation of U.S. Congress members that the United States should consider stopping economic aid to the Palestinian Authority if a Hamas-Fatah unity government did not recognize Israel and renounce terror, calling the move “outrageous.”

Netanyahu also told the seven U.S. lawmakers that Israel would not recognize a Palestinian unity government if it did not meet these conditions. “Israel would not recognize any government in the world that included members from Al-Qaida”.

“I wish the flow of events was in the other direction,” he told the delegation headed by Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel from New York.

Netanyahu quoted remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in April 2009, that Israel would not hold talks with or economically support a Palestinian government, including Hamas, until Hamas recognized Israel and abandoned violence.

Netanyahu said Israel expected the international community to make it clear that Hamas had to meet the three Quartet benchmarks for recognition: recognizing Israel, forswearing terrorism and accepting previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

The prime minister’s meeting with the US lawmakers came amid a day of intense discussion with top cabinet ministers regarding how best to react to the surprise Palestinian reconciliation announcement.

“This is very serious,” one government official said, summing up the day of talks. “This is seen not as a tactical change, but rather a strategic one – a game changer. How can the Palestinian leadership say they want peace with Israel, and at the same time embrace the most extreme, violent enemies of peace?” One of the matters being discussed is the fate of the existing security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, if indeed Hamas is brought back into the PA. The relative security quiet over the past few months in the West Bank has been attributed partly to this cooperation, and to the PA’s rounding up of Hamas activists.

There is also a great deal of concern in Jerusalem that the Fatah-Hamas agreement will include as one of its clauses the release of Hamas prisoners in PA jails, something that would put dozens of terrorists back on the streets in Judea and Samaria and call into question the value of the security cooperation.

WH Chief of Staff: US supports Palestinian Unity gov't on the terms which advance the cause of peace

White House Chief of Staff William Daley, addressing AJC’s 2011 Global Forum, proclaimed that “the President’s support for Israel’s security has been and will be unshakable.”

Daley, in his first speech to a Jewish audience as White House chief of staff, challenged those who question Israel’s legitimacy and highlighted instances of Obama Administration solidarity with Israel. These include the Obama Administration’s opposition to anti-Israel resolutions at the UN, objecting to the UN’s so-called Goldstone Report that denied Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas in Gaza, and the momentous decision to withdraw from the Durban review process to disassociate from efforts to single out Israel for condemnation.

Referring to the announcement this week of a potential Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, Daley tried walking between the rain drops, supporting Unity, on condition that it recognizes the existence of Israel, and that this move advances peace, not the opposite.
"We all have seen the news of the agreement between Fatah and Hamas to form a government. Like the Israeli government, we are seeking more information."

"The United States always supported Palestinian unity, providing it is on the terms which advance the cause of peace. Hamas is a terrorist government which targets civilians."

"Any Palestinian government must renounce violence, it must abide by past agreements and it must recognize Israel's right to exist."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Septet decides: No peace talks with Fatah-Hamas government

The forum of seven senior ministers decided Thursday it would not hold peace talks with a joint Fatah-Hamas government, which is expected to be established after the two rivals declare reconciliation.

The decision contrasted a statement by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier in the day, who said that his government would continue to pursue peace negotiations with Israel despite the truce agreement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and the other ministers of the forum held a number of consultations Thursday on developments in the Palestinian Authority's leadership, at the end of which they decided not to hold talks with any government of which Hamas is a part.
"If the situation changes and Hamas alters its ways and recognizes Israel, then we'll see, In the meantime there will be no talks or negotiations with the Palestinians until the picture becomes clearer", a political source said.

Peres: Palestinian unity gov't will prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state

Speaking to international media, President Shimon Peres on Thursday said that "We would like to see the Palestinian people unite, but unite for peace". 
"What happened yesterday [the unity deal] is a path that will lead to a clear disagreement: one Palestinian camp will call for peace, the other will call for the destruction of Israel. Hamas isn't changing its charter, hasn't ceased to be a terrorist organization, serves Iran and smuggles weapons."

"Fatah's move to unite with Hamas is a fatal mistake...Signing an agreement that will lead to elections in a year could result in a terrorist organization controlling Gaza and the West Bank, and Hamas's policies will win. This means the continued firing of rockets, the continued killing of innocent people, and continued Iranian intervention that supports and funds terrorism in our region".
In a personal call to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Peres said:
"I urge the Palestinian leadership: Unite for peace and don't put on a facade of unity that will prevent you from moving in any direction. Walking hand-in-hand with a terrorist organization will be a step backwards and will prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state."

"The world cannot support the establishment of a state part of whose government is a terrorist organization in every respect."

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also commented on the unity agreement on Thursday, saying the deal means that terrorists will launch missiles from the West Bank.
"A red line has been crossed, and Israel must decide what we are going to do , Hundreds of terrorists from Hamas will go free throughout Judea and Samaria".

"The international community should enforce the terms it gave the Palestinians: abandoning terror, recognizing Israel, and respecting previous agreements".
He also explained that the agreement between the two Palestinian factions came because of "panic" on both sides. Hamas is concerned that their "patron," Syrian President Bashar Assad, is facing a crisis, and Fatah's no longer has the support of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Lieberman explained.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Netanyahu to US Congress delegation: Palestinian state can be achieved only through peace deal

(Ynet).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Wednesday with US senators and stressed that Palestinian statehood would only be achieved through an agreement with Israel.

Netanyahu said that if the Palestinians go ahead with their plan to declare an independent state in the UN, they would not feel committed to reaching an agreement through negotiation.

An agreement would only be achieved through negotiation and if other countries join this stance, he said. The prime minister claimed that a demand for an agreement would take the sting out of any Palestinian declaration of statehood.

Netanyahu also addressed security arrangements saying that they would include not only more Iron Dome batteries but also long term presence in the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu on Fatah-Hamas Deal: No peace with Palestinian unity government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saidtape d in response to the announced reconciliation agreement between the Hamas and Fatah that "the Palestinian Authority needs to choose between peace with the people of Israel and peace with Hamas.

"You cannot have peace with both, because the Hamas aspires to destroy the State of Israel, and they say it openly, they fire rockets and missiles on our cities, they fire missiles on our Kids."
"I think that the idea of reconciliation shows the weakness of the Palestinian authority, one wonders if Hammas will take over control in Judea And Samaria as it controls the Gaza Strip. I hope the Palestinian authority will choose right, it will choose  peace with Israel. The choice is in the Palestinians hands".

Minister Livnat at Knesset Session: Stop the Self-Blame

The Knesset held a special spring break session Wednesday following the murder of Ben-Yosef Livnat at the Tomb of Joseph Sunday.

The opening speaker was Livnat's aunt, Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat, who asked bitterly: "How long will we continue to take all the blame upon ourselves all of the time?
"They murder and we are to blame for not coordinating. They murder a baby, her brothers and parents in their beds at Itamar, and we are to blame for being in Itamar in the first place".

"I want to turn to the Prime Minister and say: Jews must be allowed to pray freely at the Tomb of Joseph, just as there is free access to the Cave of Patriarchs and the Tomb of Rachel".

"My personal grief and my family's loss will not change our faith, which the overwhelming majority of the public shares, that we believe in the Land of Israel and the State of Israel and we believe in our future, even in troubled times."

Ambassador Oren: Israel - America's ultimate ally; Valuable benefits of US-Israel relationship

In the May/June issue of Foreign Policy magazine, Israel’s ambassador to Washington Michael Oren writes an essay aimed at debunking US foreign policy wonks who claim Israel is a US liability, arguing instead that Israel is America’s “partner par excellence.”

“What is the definition of an American ally?” Oren asks at the outset of his piece entitled “The Ultimate Ally.
"On an ideological level, an ally is a country that shares America's values, reflects its founding spirit, and resonates with its people's beliefs. Tactically, an ally stands with the United States through multiple conflicts and promotes its global vision...."
"An ally enhances American intelligence and defense capabilities, and provides ports and training for U.S. forces. Its army is formidable and unequivocally loyal to its democratic government. An ally helps secure America's borders and assists in saving American lives on and off the battlefield. And an ally stimulates the U.S. economy through trade, technological innovation, and job creation."
"Israel is the only Middle Eastern state never to oppose America on major international issues. Its fundamental interests, like its values, are America's. For the price of annual military aid equaling roughly half the cost of one Zumwalt-class destroyer, the United States helps maintain the military might of one of the few nations actively contributing to America's defense. It reinforces the only country capable of deterring Hamas and Hezbollah and impeding the spread of Iranian hegemony."
Among Oren’s key points are the following:

• The pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth Rock considered themselves founders of a “New Israel,” and a spiritual sympathy for restoring Jews to their ancestral homeland influenced America’s leaders from the founding fathers, through Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson to Harry Truman.

• Israel is a democracy that cherishes the same values enshrined in the US Constitution – free speech and assembly, respect for individual rights, an independent judiciary – and this has created another level of affinity with the US. Withstanding pressures that have crushed many liberal societies, Israel is one of only a handful of states that has never experienced an interruption in democratic rule.

• Israel has always sided with the United States on major global issues, and in times of danger responded to US needs, such as intervening to save Jordan from Syrian invasion in 1970, and not retaliating to Scud missile attacks from Iraq in 1991 when asked not to do so by president George H.W. Bush.

• Israel’s location on the eastern Mediterranean littoral means the US can minimize its military development in this strategically vital area.

• Israel-US intelligence cooperation is vast, with the two countries’ intelligence agencies trading valuable information, analyses and operational experience in counterterrorism and counter-proliferation.

• Israeli technology – from a kibbutz factory in the Galilee that provides armor for US military vehicles to a coagulating bandage created in Jerusalem and distributed widely among the US military – saves US lives.

Oren concludes the Article by stating:
"These benefits of the U.S.-Israel relationship are of incalculable value to the United States, far outweighing any price. Americans know that Israelis have always stood by them, ready to share technology, intelligence, and innovation -- ready to aid them in conflict and to make the painful sacrifices for peace. Israel may be one of a handful of countries that fully fits the definition of ally, but its willingness to support the United States unwaveringly makes it the partner par excellence, America's ultimate ally".

PM Netanyahu celebrates Mimouna festival in Or Akiva

(PMO). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah tonight on the occasion of the Maimouna holiday, visited the Biton family in Or Akiva.

The Netanyahus celebrated Maimouna – and the 60th anniversary of the founding of Or Akiva – with Edmond Biton, his wife Yehudit, and their children, as well as with ministers, MKs and other guests.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that those present were celebrating the festival of one of Israel's most important ethnic communities, which has brought many Jews along with much sweetness, pleasantness, grace, love of Torah and love of one's fellow man. "This festival has become a holiday foe all Israel and it expresses our desire for unity. This happiness, like many others, is also mixed with sadness. I send our condolences to the Livnat family over the death of Ben Yosef. Neither will we forget our POWs and MIAs, no cease our efforts to bring them back home, especially Gilad Shalit."

Friday, April 22, 2011

'Arabs are being brainwashed against Israel'

The Foreign Ministry's Arabic-language website received a letter Saturday from a repentant Iraqi man who says he and his fellow citizens have been "brainwashed against Israel".
"For a long time we believed that Israelis are dangerous barbarians due to the brainwashing we underwent during Saddam (Hussein)'s rule but now I see (Arabs) being massacred in a wretched and shameful manner by Sunni and Shiite rulers".

"What caught my attention was the Israeli hospital that treated the Palestinian girl who suffered from a cancerous growth. I also watched the movie ( 'The Pianist') about the Jewish pianist who suffered greatly in the time of Hitler".

"After seeing the terror in Iraq and the terror Hamas and Palestinians are performing against you I have become ashamed of being an Arab and Muslim, I would be honored to collaborate with your firms in Iraq."
The man said he has begun to study Jewish history, and that he hopes to eventually be able to visit Israel "in order to defeat the fear instilled in me due to the brainwashing that Israelis are barbarians and their country a terror state".

Merkel to 'friendly' press Abbas to drop unilateral declaration of State at UN

(Ynet).Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on May 5, the German government said on Friday, as Europe mulls the recognition of a Palestinian state.

Weekly news magazine Der Spiegel said the talks would see Merkel explaining why she thinks it ill-advised for Abbas to push for recognition of a Palestinian state at a UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September.

"We are impatient to see what the Germans have to propose," the Palestinians' envoy to Germany Salah Abdel Shafi was quoted as telling the weekly.

Earlier this month, Merkel received Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin, saying: "We feel that there should, and there could, be progress made by the autumn, by September 2011".

She also stressed that Germany would not unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state.

Guest Blog by Russel Gallo/ Know the Evil that exists in order to Defeat it

I am often forwarded links to videos that illustrate the evils of radical Islam. Usually I watch them and go through several hours (in some cases days) of inner rage.

President George Bush recognized that both good and evil exist in the world. He vowed to fight against terrorism and toppled two brutal regimes while putting others on notice (remember the axis of evil speech?).

Today's Democratic Party lead by Barack Obama is soft on evil. So soft, that they refuse to acknowledge its very existence. Women and supposed feminists like Whoopi Goldberg should be ashamed for supporting such sentiments and turning a blind eye to their sisters around the world that are being brutally murdered, beaten, raped, and disfigured for "crimes" that in often cases are not crimes at all.

It is difficult to express in words how angry videos like the one below make me. I have always been a man of action. In the coming months I will be doing my part to someday hopefully put an end to all this unnecessary suffering.

The video below is graphic. I know that many of my friends will not want to see it, To them I say, you must know the evil that exists around the world in order to defeat it.

For those of you that are content with eating your Big Macs and watching the Knicks game then do not watch it. For those of you that want to find out what the shadows on the wall of the cave really are then click and watch. Some of you will be surprised.

Russell Gallo has been serving this nation for over 14 years, Russell has served in the Army (where he was an MP in Iraq in 2004-2005) and current holds the rank of Sergeant First Class in the National Guard, where he remains on active duty. When not serving our country with honor and distinction, Russell is a Sergeant for the MTA Bridges & Tunnels.

Russell has both academic and real-world political experience. He earned a B.A. in Government from John Jay College, and an M.A. in Political Science From Brooklyn College. Russell ran in 2005 for City Council and in 2008 for State Assembly. Since 2005, he has been elected the Male District Leader for the 47th Assembly District. Russell is also currently co-host of "Brooklyn GOP Radio", an innovative internet radio show, and the President of the newly launched Brooklyn Young Republican club (

Jonathan Pollard in letter hand delivered to Obama: I Regret, Free me

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard appealed to US President Barack Obama to commute his sentence and allow him to go home to Israel for Passover, in a letter hand-delivered to Obama by President Shimon Peres that was obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

The letter to Obama was the first Pollard had written to an American president since he began serving his life sentence 25-and-a-half years ago. It has received no response from Obama, who also did not react when Peres brought up Pollard’s fate when he met with Obama at the White House on April 5.
“I hope that my own personal appeal may touch your heart and elicit a compassionate, humanitarian response to my heartfelt request to be sent home to Israel for Passover, the holiday of freedom.”

“My release in time to celebrate Passover at home in Israel with my beloved wife would be a welcome gesture of friendship to the Israeli people, an act of solidarity with a staunch and long-time ally of the United States, and a deeply compassionate and humane gift of life to my wife and me.”

“After serving more than a quarter century in some of the harshest prisons in the American penal system, I have had a great deal of time to think and to regret,” Pollard wrote. “I am genuinely and sincerely sorry for the offense I committed in passing classified information to Israel. My actions were wrong and I deeply regret that I did not find a legal way to act upon my concerns for Israel.”

“My devoted wife, Esther, whom I met and befriended as a teenager, has been faithfully doing everything she can to help me and to bring about my freedom, When she married me in prison years ago, she never imagined that after more than two decades the honeymoon she dreamed of would still be delayed. Mr. President, as much for her sake as for my own, I beseech you to please send me home now, to the first happy holiday that the two of us will ever have.”
Pollard concluded the letter by writing that: 
“In light of the above compelling health and family reasons, and with the principled support of so many senior American officials, I implore you to act expeditiously to commute the more than 25 years that I have already served in prison to time served.”

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jonathan S. Tobin/ The Misguided Spin placing the failure of the Peace process on Israel

(Jonathan S. Tobin-Commentarymagazine).some liberals are treating the invitation extended by Speaker of the House John Boehner to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a partisan intrusion into American foreign policy. That’s the spin about the proposed Netanyahu speech in today’s front-page story in the New York Times. According to the Times’s Helene Cooper, by inviting Netanyahu to speak the GOP leadership seeks to preempt the administration’s possible plans for putting forward a detailed plan to solve the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict.

The assertion that this mild interference in Obama’s efforts to outmaneuver Netanyahu is bad for the Jewish state or foolishly partisan misunderstands what is at stake.

If Obama intends to follow through on the threat already articulated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to unveil his own peace plan, then he is making an appalling blunder. The failure of the peace process has nothing to do with alleged lack of Israeli concessions (which have already led to the installation of an Islamist terror regime in Gaza and an autonomous government led by Fatah in the West Bank) nor even a failure of American leadership. American presidents have been issuing Middle East peace plans for decades, and there is no reason to believe that Barack Obama can succeed in imposing his will on the region any more than Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, or Bill Clinton did.

So long as the Palestinians won’t recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter what its borders then there is nothing that the United States or Israel can do about it. Indeed, the refusal of the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations, and its plan to go to the United Nations to get approval for a unilateral assertion of sovereignty over disputed territory, illustrate yet again the Palestinian disdain for a mutually-agreed upon settlement. That Obama fails to understand this basic truth makes his forthcoming foray into the peace process all the more misguided.

But if the president blunders his way into another dispute with Israel, it will become a legitimate matter for public debate. Though it’s not clear that there are all that many votes up for grabs here, both Republicans and Democrats have an obligation to speak up against any Obama plan that futilely seeks to impose conditions on Israel that its democratically elected government rejects. Far from putting Obama “on the spot,” as the Times claims, what is ripening is merely the fruit of the administration’s own mistakes.

'Bibi' Netanyahu among TIME 100 most influential people in the world

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is among the 100 most influential people of 2011, according to Time Magazine.

Richard Haass, president of the Council of Foreign Relations and formerly a senior US State Department official, Calls Netanyahu in his description of the Israeli Leader: "Bibi, hard to read".
"Nobody calls benjamin Netanyahu, Benjamin. Now in his second stint as Israel's Prime Minister, he is Bibi; as with Bono, a single name suffices. His challenges, likewise, are singular. Israel is an economic success; its citizens feel relatively safe behind a security wall. But it is increasingly isolated. Most of the world views Israel as the principal obstacle to Middle East peace (huh...?). Momentum is mounting in the U.N. to declare a Palestinian state this fall. Many Israelis fear the terms and consequences.

Pressure is growing on Israel to compromise, but it is difficult to imagine worse timing given the upheavals on its borders, Hamas entrenched in Gaza and Hizballah in Lebanon. Making things harder is that Bibi, 61, heads an unwieldy coalition government designed more for domestic politics than diplomacy. I've known Bibi for decades. We have clashed, and we have agreed. Like almost everyone else, I find him hard to read. He is on record supporting a demilitarized Palestinian state. But few details have been filled in. We will soon learn more. Nothing less than his legacy — and more important, the future of the Jewish state — is at stake".

Wikileaks: The US heavy-handed efforts to help Israel at the UN against Goldstone inquiry

(FP).In the aftermath of Israel's 2008-2009 intervention into the Gaza Strip, Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, led a vigorous campaign to stymie an independent U.N. investigation into possible war crimes, while using the prospect of such a probe as leverage to pressure Israel to participate in a U.S.-backed Middle East peace process, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables provided by WikiLeaks.

The new documents reveal in extraordinary detail how America wields its power behind closed doors at the United Nations. They also demonstrate how the United States and Israel were granted privileged access to highly sensitive internal U.N. deliberations on an "independent" U.N. board of inquiry into the Gaza war, raising questions about the independence of the process.

In one pointed cable, Rice repeatedly prodded U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to block a recommendation of the board of inquiry to carry out a sweeping inquiry into alleged war crimes by Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants. In another cable, Rice issued a veiled warning to the president of the International Criminal Court, Sang-Hyun Song, that an investigation into alleged Israeli crimes could damage its standing with the United States at a time when the new administration was moving closer to the tribunal. "How the ICC handles issues concerning the Goldstone Report will be perceived by many in the US as a test for the ICC, as this is a very sensitive matter," she told him, according to a Nov. 3, 2009, cable from the U.S. mission to the United Nations.

Rice, meanwhile, assured Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during an Oct. 21, 2009, meeting in Tel Aviv that the United States had done its utmost to "blunt the effects of the Goldstone report" and that she was confident she could "build a blocking coalition" to prevent any push for a probe by the Security Council, according to an Oct. 27, 2009 cable.

The most controversial part of the probe involved recommendations by Martin that the U.N. conduct a far-reaching investigation into violations of international humanitarian law by Israeli forces, Hamas, and other Palestinian militants. On May 4, 2009, the day before Martin's findings were presented to the media, Rice caught wind of the recommendations and phoned Ban to complain that the inquiry had gone beyond the scope of its mandate by recommending a sweeping investigation.

"Given that those recommendations were outside the scope of the Board's terms of reference, she asked that those two recommendations not be included in the summary of the report that would be transmitted to the membership," according to an account contained in the May 4 cable. Ban initially resisted. "The Secretary-General said he was constrained in what he could do since the Board of Inquiry is independent; it was their report and recommendations and he could not alter them, he said," according to the cable.

But Rice persisted, insisting in a subsequent call that Ban should at least "make clear in his cover letter when he transmits the summary to the Security Council that those recommendations exceeded the scope of the terms of reference and no further action is needed." Ban offered no initial promise. She subsequently drove the point home again, underlining the "importance of having a strong cover letter that made clear that no further action was needed and would close out this issue."

Ban began to relent, assuring Rice that "his staff was working with an Israeli delegation on the text of the cover letter."

After completing the cover letter, Ban phoned back Rice to report that he believed "they had arrived at a satisfactory cover letter. Rice thanked the Secretary-General for his exceptional efforts on such a sensitive issue."

At the following day's news conference, Ban flat-out rejected Martin's recommendation for an investigation. While underscoring the board's independent nature, he made it clear that "it is not my intention to establish any further inquiry." Although he acknowledged publicly that he had consulted with Israel on the findings, he did not say it had been involved in the preparation of the cover letter killing off the call for an investigation. Instead, he only made a request to the Israelis to pay the U.N. more than $11 million in financial compensation for the damage done to U.N. facilities.

The release of the cables comes as Rice is very publicly sticking with her position taking on the Goldstone Report. "The United States was very, very plain at the time and every day since that the Goldstone report was deeply flawed, and we objected to its findings and conclusions," Rice told the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week. "We didn't see any evidence at the time that the Israeli government had intentionally targeted civilians or intentionally committed war crimes."

Clinton: US opposes unilateral Palestinian statehood

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday called for an immediate resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and denounced Palestinian efforts seeking unilateral declarations of statehood in the United Nations.

Speaking in an interview with PBS, Clinton said that despite the unrest currently taking place in the Middle East, Israel and the Palestinians should realize the immediateness of the need to resume negotiations.
"[US President Barack] Obama has said that he will continue to press both sides, which is what we believe we have to do - that everyone would realize that negotiations are the only way....they are an immediate need."

"It is in the best interest of both the Israelis and Palestinians to get back to the hard work of peace negotiations".
Clinton made clear that the United States remains opposed to the unilateral creation of a Palestinian state in the United Nations.
"We do not support any unilateral effort by the Palestinians to go to the United Nations to try to obtain some authorization or approval vote with respect to statehood, We think we can only achieve the two state solution that we strongly advocate through negotiations."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WikiLeaks / Netanyahu urged Olmert to initiate Israeli attack on Iran

(Haaretz would not 'allow' the publication of the full cables) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed willingness to join Ehud Olmert's government in 2007 if Israel initiated an attack on Iran, a document from the Israeli WikiLeaks collection has revealed.

On July 20, 2007, Marc J. Sievers, the political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, sent a telegram to the State Department in Washington on the matter. The telegram was classified "Confidential," the level between "Unclassified" and "Secret."

Sievers' message dealt with the formation of a new Israeli government and was written on the eve of the release of the state comptroller's report on the Second Lebanon War, a year after it started. Ehud Olmert was still prime minister and headed the Kadima party. The Labor Party was his senior partner in the ruling coalition. Two days before Sievers sent his message, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, the head of Labor, resigned as defense minister and deputy prime minister.

Part of the telegram was devoted to the possibility of the establishment of a national unity government, in which the Likud Party would join Kadima, with Olmert as prime minister.
"The adviser commented that the possibility of a national unity government, bruited in the press, is a possibility, but only if Olmert initiated such a move in order to galvanize Israel for action against Iran. He said that in such a scenario, Netanyahu would probably accept an offer of the Foreign Ministry".
This was the second time Netanyahu expressed willingness to support the prime minister if he initiated an attack against Iran. In the summer of 2005, Netanyahu resigned as finance minister in Ariel Sharon's cabinet over the Gaza disengagement plan. In December that year, Sharon left the Likud and founded Kadima. At the time, Netanyahu told Sharon he would "support him if he acted against Iran before the elections," reported Aluf Benn in Haaretz two years ago.

Doctrine or Peace proposal? Netanyahu wants to surprise International community in Congress speech

(Jpost).Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to surprise the international community in his speech before the US Congress in late May – and is unlikely to unveil more than the rough outlines of what he will discuss before then, government sources said Wednesday.
Netanyahu's speech before a joint meeting of the US Congress July 10 1996

The NYtimes reports:
As the administration has been pondering, Mr. Netanyahu, fearful that his country would lose ground with any Obama administration plan, has been considering whether to pre-empt the White House with a proposal of his own, before a friendly United States Congress, according to American officials and diplomats from the region.
“People seem to think that whoever goes first gets the upper hand,” said Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator and a director at the New America Foundation. Using Mr. Netanyahu’s nickname, he said: “If Bibi went first and didn’t lay out a bold peace plan, it would be harder for Obama to say, actually, despite what you said to Congress and their applause, this is what I think you should do.”
The sources were replying to reports that Netanyahu was considering delivering part of this speech to the opening session of the Knesset, which convenes on May 16 – six days before he is scheduled to go to the US.

According to reports, the idea of withholding the speech was raised in light of criticism Netanyahu has taken for delivering what is expected to be a major diplomatic address, of great import to Israelis.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Obama wishes Netanyahu and Israel a Happy Passover

US President Barack Obama spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday and wished him and all of Israel a happy Passover.

Obama told Netanyahu he is scheduled to host a Passover Seder of his own in the White House later in the day, which heads of the Jewish community in the US will attend.

The prime minister reportedly thanked the American president for his warm wishes, and thanked him once again for the Congress' approval of additional budget for the development of future Iron Dome system.

Obama, on his part, expressed satisfaction that the anti-missile defense system proved effective vis-à-vis Gaza rocket fire.

He further expressed his appreciation of the way Netanyahu handled the recent escalation on the southern border. The two then discussed various other issues.

In his official Passover message released on April 15, Obama "prayed for peace" for Israel while calling for the alleviation of injustice against those "not yet free" in the Middle East.
"The story of Passover, which recalls the passage of the children of Israel from bondage and repression to freedom and liberty, inspires hope that those enslaved can become free".

"The seder, with its rich traditions and rituals, instructs each generation to remember its past while appreciating the beauty of freedom and the responsibility it entails. This year, that ancient instruction is reflected in the daily headlines as we see modern stories of social transformation and liberation and liberation unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa. Against the background of change, we continue to pray for peace between Israel and her neighbors while reaffirming our commitment to Israel's security."
Obama concluded by calling for the alleviation of "the suffering, poverty, injustice and hunger of those who are not yet free" and signed off "Chag Sameach," Hebrew for "Happy Holiday."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Minister Begin: Arab revolutions may lead to democracy but not peace

In interview for Minister without portfolio, but close to PM Netnayahu, Benny Begin gave his take with cutting clarity, In light of the swift turn of events in the Middle East. 2011 has been a stormy year across the Middle East – How do these revolutions and changes impact Israel?
Minister Begin: "I'll say something that everyone knows which is that is that no one knows. No one knows where things are headed, people guess and estimate, research institutions guestimate, intelligence services have their own assessments, but no one really knows. The Egyptian leadership didn't know a week before the revolution happened, and the same goes for the Tunisia leadership. It's all in an embryonic stage and I, according to my scientific background, am trying to guess as little as I can. So what I usually do in situation like this is put some constraints on my imagination. The way I proposed to do that is through observation of 3 democracies in the Middle East, since Democracy is what we're told these events lead to.

I start with Turkey, a long term democracy, even an improved version of democracy compared to Israel since they have a constitution. So Turkey has a constitution, an independent judicial system, elections that take place on time and are to a large degree orderly and transparent, a parliament, coalition and opposition, coalition crises from time to time,. So, it's a fine democracy. Turkey is also a member of NATO. But now we have to take into account that in the year 2002, a new government was elected. The AKP party ascended to the throne and this Islamist government voluntarily elected to turn their ambitions east wards towards Iran under Ahmadinejad instead of Europe and the European democracies, despite the fact that Turkey is a NATO member. They have aligned themselves publicly with the new bloc comprising Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. They have been supportive of all these bodies. Let's remember that AKP have their roots in the Muslim Brotherhood in Lebanon in the 20s of the last Century. These are the same roots; they are off shoots of the same plant. This will explain to you why the current Turkish government so readily supports Hamas. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which could not hold their conventions openly in Egypt under Mubarak, held them freely in Turkey for years. Finally, Turkey's alignment with Ahmadinejad, whose ambitions to eradicate Israel are well known, is repulsive. That's Turkey, a democracy – how far does it contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East today?

The second democracy is Lebanon – a long term democracy, constitution, elections, parliament, and a coalition crisis for the last 2 months. For some Europeans it would seem natural to have a coalition crisis and they assume it's the same as in a European Parliamentarian democracy such as Holland or Belgium. But we know better than that – we know that Lebanon is not an independent democracy. It's a Syrian protectorate which deploys two armies – the official Lebanese army, supplied at least partly by western democracies and Hezbollah army which has 50,000 rockets supplied by Iran and Syria, aimed solely southwards towards Israel. It is well know that Hezbollah's army is much stronger than the official Lebanese army – they will have the upper hand in any clash. What kind of a democracy is this? Of course the recent coalition crisis was engineered by Hezbollah, backed by Syria and Iran. Just a few days ago it became known that even if a government will be formed under Najib Mikati, the Sunite, it will comprise of 2/3 of the March 8 coalition which is the Shiite Hezbollah camp that lost the elections only 2 years ago. So now the same Hezbollah camp might form a new government. That shows us again that the question is very important – to what extent does this Lebanese democracy contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East.

The third democracy is Iraq – it's a new democracy installed by western democracies. Several months ago they had a second round of elections on time. They enjoy a constitution, parties, free elections and have experienced a coalition crisis in the last few months. Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will continue to act as prime minister in Iraq's almost national unity government. That government includes ministers that belonged to the Sadrist Shiite terrorist group whose leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, resides in Iran most of the time. This very extreme organization perpetrated terrorism in Iraq a few years ago. The Sadrist party now threatens that if American soldiers will still be present in Iraq after the end of 2011, they will create a new coalition crisis. How come that after months of negotiations Iraq was finally able to establish a government? The secret is simple – Iran and Syria agreed tacitly on a split of power in Iraq between them two. To use an American expression, the Iraqi government "drives under the influence" of Iran and Syria.

Now we sum it up – look at the map, it's a new Muslim crescent. Five countries - Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, comprise an Islamic radical block, with terrorism and instability emanating from two of them to the whole Middle East. That's even before Iran has acquired nuclear weapons ability".

The irony is that out of these 5 countries the majority are democracies. 3 out of 5 are democracies. Of course, the numbers are small so it's not a great sample, but to me these observations, that are factual, there is no assessment there, afford constraints on the possible positive outcome of the revolutions in the Middle East.

Add to this the fact that in the last two months, all news that pertain to Israel having their source in Egypt, are negative ones. The New Egyptian Foreign Minister announced that Egypt would now seek friendship with Iran and Syria. Amr Moussa, the leading candidate for presidency in Egypt, made several negative statements in the last few days, alluding to the need to recheck and scrutinize the international commitment of Egypt, referring obliquely to the peace agreement with Israel. We understand that and Egyptians understand that. All that is combined with the Egyptian overture towards Hamas, and it doesn't herald a new spring arriving from the Tahrir square in Cairo. If reality refutes the constraints I've put on my imagination I would be happy, but this is the reality as I see it today.

NY Republican Congressman sends letter to Obama: Release Pollard ahead of Passover

New York Congressman Michael Grimm, who has visited imprisoned Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard in jail, sent a letter to US President Barack Obama on Sunday asking him to free Pollard ahead of Passover.

Congressman Grimm, who represents New York’s 13th Congressional District,  which is comprised of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, previously served  as an agent for the FBI for nine years. In addition, Grimm is a former U.S.  Marine who served in the Gulf War and was awarded a Combat Meritorious  Promotion. Congressman Grimm currently serves on the House Committee on  Financial Services, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, and the  Subcommittee on Capital Markets.

The full text of Rep Grimm's Passover letter to President Obama follows below:
Dear Mr. President:

I write to you as a newly elected member of the House of Representatives and I wish to add my voice in support of clemency for Jonathan Pollard. As Americans we are united in the fundamental belief that “Justice, only justice, shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20), which rests at the core of our moral principles and system of justice.

Mr. Pollard is currently serving his 26th year of a life sentence after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage – passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States. I certainly do not condone his crime, nor do I underestimate the gravity of the offense. But it is patently clear that the sentence was, and remains, terribly disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted)
constitutes a gross miscarriage of justice.

I recently returned from visiting Mr. Pollard in prison and after more than two and a half decades in prison, his health is declining. He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has served as a model inmate. If Mr. Pollard were to be granted clemency he would be united with his wife, Esther, in Israel where he has vowed to live the remainder of his life in peace.

Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency, as well as a matter of basic fairness and  merican justice. It would also represent a clear act of compassion and reconciliation - a sign of hope much needed in today’s world of tension and turmoil.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.


Michael Grimm

Member of Congress

13th District of New York

Netanyahu to AFP: Arab Spring may turn into Iranian winter

(AFP).The pro-democracy uprisings sweeping through the Arab world are in danger of being manipulated by Iran's Islamic Republic, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu warned in an interview with AFP.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with AFP at the weekend, the Israeli premier said the unprecedented protests sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa could go one of two ways.

"What we hope to see is the European Spring of 1989," he said, referring to the year which marked a turning point for the wave of revolutions sweeping through the Eastern Bloc which led to the break-up of the Soviet Union two years later.

But Tehran, he warned, was trying to cash in on the tide of mass uprising sweeping the region to turn it to its advantage in a bid to repeat the events of 1979 and the Islamic Revolution.

"We could find that the Arab Spring turns into an Iranian winter."

Lieberman: Leftists should do soul searching in wake of Itamar massacre

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called on party leaders, leftists, human rights organizations and publicists to do "some soul searching" in the wake of the apprehension of the perpetrators of the Itamar massacre.

"Those who rush to condemn the settlers and the settlements and to turn public opinion against them, should do some soul searching, I expect every single one of them to condemn the murder to the fullest extent", he said during a meeting with the Japanese ambassador to Israel, Haruhisa Takeuchi

PM Netanyahu on Itamar attack: We won't accept massacre of our people

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Shin Bet and the police for their efforts in apprehending the suspects in the Itamar terrorist attack.
"Very important work has been done here, which expresses our commitment to justice, It's a testimony to the fact that we refuse to accept our people getting massacred and murdered, not in Judea and Samaria, not in Gaza or anywhere else."

Two 18 year old Palestinians arrested for the murder of Fogel Family in Itamar

A major break in the case of the Itamar murders indicating the Israel intelligence Shabak has arrested the individuals it believes perpetrated the crime.

Two 18-year-old terrorists from the village of Awarta were arrested, Amjed Awad and Hakim Awad, relatives, re-enacted the murder and confessed during their interrogation. According to Army Radio, they did not express remorse for their crimes

They are affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) terror group, and received significant assistance from family members and friends after the attack, security forces added.

The suspects planned the stabbings days ahead of time. On the night of March 11, after unsuccessful attempts to obtain firearms from a local PFLP representative in their village, the two set out towards Itamar on foot armed with knives, a wirecutter, and masks to cover their faces.

After a kilometer, they cut a wire fence around Itamar, climbed over a forest and a hilltop, and reached a row of homes.

Immediately after entering the home, the youths set their knives on two young brothers sleeping in their beds, 4-year-old Elad and 11-year-old Yoav.

They then entered the parents' bedroom, where they launched a knife attack on Ehud and Ruth Fogel. The parents fought back, attempting to fend off the attackers, but died of their stab wounds during the struggle.

The two then left the house. One of the suspects returned and stabbed the three-month-old baby Hadas to death in her crib.

According to Israel Radio, Amjad said that he was unaware that there were two other children in the house, and that if he knew, he would have stabbed them as well.

After completing the slaughter, the suspects walked back to the village, and told Hakim's uncle, PFLP member Salah Adin Awad, what they had done.

Salah hid their firearms, and instructed them to burn their cloths, which were covered in blood.

The youths then resumed their daily life, while Salah sent the weapons to a friend in Ramallah, named Jad Avid, who hid the guns in his home.

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) which led the investigation said the attack was a premeditated terror attack carried out by suspects who have affiliations with the PFLP.

"They received much support from family members and friends in their environment," the Shin Bet added.

Several suspected accomplices are also under arrest.

The IDF has arrested and questioned dozens of suspects in Awarta in recent weeks.

"The intelligence operation and pooling of resources [between the army, police and Shin Bet] led to the arrests," a joint statement said.

IDF Spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said: “The murders of five family members including a three-month baby constitute a clear war crime and a crossing of all red lines. The IDF has invested in numerous operational and intelligence efforts, and has worked closely with other security forces in order to find those responsible for this vicious murder.”

Chief Rabbi of Israel: Obama Re-Election May Hinge on Freeing Pollard

(INN).Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger warned U.S. President Barack Obama in a pre-Passover sermon that he may lose a bid for re-election if he does not free Jonathan Pollard.

Speaking at the Yeshurun Synagogue in Jerusalem, Rabbi Metzger stated:
"If Obama wants another term - He has to release Jonathan Pollard immediately, This is not a prophecy, but that many Jews who voted for President Obama in 2008 are disappointed by his apathetic response to numerous calls to free Pollard".

“Before President Obama forces on us policies [concerning the Palestinian Authority], he should prove his mutual friendliness with the People of Israel by freeing Pollard".

NY Senator Gillibrand : Goldstone report unsubstantiated and biased; Israel can count on the US support

Haaretz chief US correspondent Natasha Mozgovaya interviewed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to discuss the Senate's unanimous vote to retract the UN sponsored Goldstone report on the Gaza war in 2008-2009.
"I first raised my concerns about the inherent bias in the Goldstone Report and its conclusions two years ago and immediately called for its repudiation along with a bipartisan coalition of Senators. Now that Justice Goldstone has confirmed our earlier concerns, my Senate colleagues and I have again expressed our strong position that the UN should not legitimize these unsubstantiated and biased allegations against our close ally.

This biased and one-sided report sends a dangerous message to countries defending themselves against terrorism, and we can not let it go unchallenged.
From my understanding of the UNHRC process, the Council members can take steps to repudiate the report's findings or stop working on the report's recommendations without Justice Goldstone taking any further action".
Q. Skeptics would say that the Senate's vote has no chance of influencing the UN decision. Would it be realistic to expect that it will have an impact, other than sending a message of support to Israel?
G. "The UN needs to face the facts. A report that was problematic at best from the start has now been undermined by its key author. By unanimously passing this Senate resolution, we have sent a strong signal to the UN, and to our fellow member states, that the US does not support the Goldstone related UN activities. We expect that message will be heard".
Q. Recently it seems that the U.S. Administration is preoccupied with other important countries in the Middle East that are undergoing major changes. It seems that with the regional unrest, Israel is not a top priority. What is the Senate's take on this?
G."The bond between our countries is unbreakable and Israel will always be a key American priority. While it is certainly a turbulent time in the region, our relationship and shared interests are as strong as ever. That is why when we see anti-Israel sentiments in world bodies like the UN you see such a strong and immediate outcry from a broad bipartisan coalition of members in Congress. From my vantage point as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I can tell you that we continue to work closely together on a number of important issues".
Q. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to give a speech in May at Congress. Do you expect him to present a new Israeli initiative? Do you think the U.S. initiative makes more sense?
G."I look forward to his speech. I first met the Prime Minister when I spent time in Israel in 2009, and have had the opportunity to discuss Israel’s security challenges and desire for a peace agreement several times since. All parties must continue to move the peace process forward.

The Prime Minister has already made many concessions to seek peace, it is time for the Palestinians to do the same, and get back to the table for direct negotiations. Peace can only be achieved by the parties on the ground – it can not be driven unilaterally at the UN. That's why I successfully opposed the UN Security Council resolution last February. While there have been new challenges in recent weeks, Israel is a strong country that can count on the United States' alliance, friendship and support".

Netanyahu thanks Obama, US Congress for Iron dome aid as testimony of strong US-Israel relationship

The Republican-dominated House of Representatives on Friday passed a budget bill that allocates an additional $205 million for the Iron Dome anti-rocket system, as well as funding for other Israeli defense projects such as Arrow 2, Arrow 3 and Magic Wand.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his deep appreciation to US President Barack Obama and the American Congress, and said: "Approving the transfer of $205 million for the Iron Dome will help protect Israeli citizens against rocket attacks from Gaza."

"The US' enduring commitment to Israel in decisive times is a testimony of our shared values and the longstanding ties between the two nations," said Netanyahu in a statement published by the Prime Minister's Office.

Friday, April 15, 2011

'PA indicates willingness to go back to negotiations with Israel'

The top Palestinian diplomat at the United Nations Riyad Mansour, said the Palestinians still want the Quartet of Mideast mediators to agree on the outlines of a final peace settlement proposed by key European nations.

Mansour told The Associated Press in an interview late Thursday that the Palestinians still were prepared to go back to talks with Israel. The latest U.S. attempt to restart negotiations broke down in September, only weeks after being launched.
"The Palestinian leadership have indicated willingness to go back to negotiations" with Israel if the Quartet — made up of the U.S., U.N., European Union and Russia — agreed on the outlines of a settlement proposed by Britain, France and Germany.

"We want them to play an active role, we want them to adopt parameters as a contribution to removing obstacle (cq) from the path of going back to direct negotiations, and we hope that the Quartet would succeed in doing so as soon as possible."

Netanyahu : I will be ready to make concessions, if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish State

( -translated from Hebrew). In  an exclusive Interview to - the Likud party base and supporters website Netanyahu says he is proud of the government's achievement over the past two years, and promises his willingness to make painful concessions if the Palestinians recognize israel as the home of the Jewish people and agree to a demilitarized Palestinian state, to assure a secure and viable peace.

On Midterm:
I hate to disappoint those who predicted two years ago that the coalition will not survive the first year and then the second year. The state of the coalition is constant stable, The government under my leadership, can take pride in doing great in all areas. I can reassure the citizens of Israel, the elections will be held as scheduled (Nov. 2013), God willing, we will continue, and nothing is going to prevent us from continuing to lead this country, maintain its security and economy while constantly striving for peace with our neighbors in a final solution".

"The Government can boast its achievements in many fields, ranging from education, welfare, communications, transport, etc. Thanks to the restrained and responsible economic policy including the transfer of two biennial budget we were able to position Israel as an island of stability in a financial storm that continues to haunt the Western world. Only last year we added approximately -110,000 new jobs to the economy".
Political and Diplomatic vision:
"My political vision is clear and i presented it many times before the citizens of Israel and to the heads of state in my meetings with them. The State of Israel must preserve its security interests and this is something I will not agree to compromise on. Any political agreement signed for approval must bring the maximum security arrangements out of concern for the security of Israeli citizens and the security of our country's borders".

"However, if the Palestinians will do what required of them, namely the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and would agree to a demilitarized Palestinian state, we will also make concessions on our part to achieve a peace agreement. but in no case will we take unilateral steps in conceding land because this is not the solution . We saw how Hezbollah strengthened itself in Lebanon after the withdrawal, we experienced the creation of Hamastan in Gaza after the disengagement, we will not give Hamas control of Judea and Samaria, as well as bring Iran on our borders".
"We must not ignore the Iranian threat, not only for Israel but for the entire free world peace, and I think the Western World countries already recognize the danger and know sanctions alone will not remove this threat."
Mideast turmoil:
"The dramatic changes that we are currently experiencing raises hopes and fears. We all hope that the democratic revolution., The same forces that led to the uprisings, Google and Facebook will create a generation of democracy and free in these countries. On the other hand, there is concern, That we see an Iranian takeover of many countries. I remember in Lebanon five years ago - over a million Lebanese took to the streets calling to arrange a new, secular reform and democratization, and the result is that today the country is controlled by Iran. We do not want to see other countries return to the Middle Ages, the period in which it oppressed women and trampled human rights".

"Therefore, the Middle East range is between two extremes - On the one hand a real democratic change, on the other militant Islamism deterioration that eliminates all human freedoms. I certainly hope the first scenario is the one that will prevail and I'm sure most of the democratic world thinks like me. "

US Senate passes resolution calling the UN to rescind the Goldstone report

The United States Senate voted unanimously on Friday in favor of calling the United Nations to revoke the Goldstone Report which accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza. The decision was made following Judge Richard Goldstone's retraction of the report's findings.

The vote was initiated by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator James Risch. While the decision has no legal binding, it is significant as the US is the UN's largest contributor.

Resolution 138 urges council members "to reflect the author's repudiation of the Goldstone report's central findings, rescind the report and reconsider further Council actions with respect to the report's findings."

The resolution also asks UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to "do all in his power to redress the damage to Israel's reputation" in the wake of the report, and to bring forth reforms within the council so that it "no longer unfairly, disproportionately and falsely criticizes Israel on a regular basis."

The Senate also urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and member states to carry out reforms in the Human Rights Council to prevent it from unjustifiably taking a harsh stance against Israel and leveling unfair criticism.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

PM Netanyahu: Israel's existence depends on strength of the IDF

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a guest at the meeting of the General Staff Forum held on Thursday (Apr. 14), held to mark the upcoming Passover holiday.

Also present at the meeting were Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.

Lt. Gen. Gantz briefed Netanyahu and Barak on the key challenges and missions currently facing of the General Staff Forum.

"In recent weeks, the IDF faced various security challenges, the IDF is continually assessing the situation and knows very well how to respond to those challenges so that quiet will return to Israeli towns."

Lt. Gen. Gantz also gave Prime Minister Netanyahu a modest gift from the IDF - a photo from Netanyahu's service in the Sayeret Matkal.
"We are facing a range of threats that we have not seen in years"
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said: 
"We are facing a range of threats that we have not seen in years, requiring fresh thinking from all of us on how to get results, how to make decisions in case of war, how to correctly build strength from the pool of resources and also the need, which is of course not discussed in the General Staff, to expand the pool of resources."
"On the eve of Passover, which is also a holiday about freedom, we must go back and remind ourselves that freedom is given only to those who know how to defend themselves. The General Staff, IDF and the security establishment are, at the end of the day, the bodies that protect the country and make freedom possible."
Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the chief of staff and members of the General Staff Forum for the important work they do on a daily basis defending the state of Israel and its people and said that Israel's existence depends on the strength of the IDF.
"Our people, who in the past did not have the power to defend themselves, have produced the tools to repel enemies and defend their homes,."
Netanyhu referred to the many challenges that Israel faces, adding that he was confident in the IDF's ability to ensure safe lives for the residents of Israel. The prime minister wished all IDF soldiers and their families a happy Passover holiday.

Netanyahu on Passover: We are One people, free and Strong, There is no existence without freedom…

The prime minister posted a Passover greeting on his YouTube channel, wishing "a happy holiday and kosher Passover to all."

"Passover Is the most unique Jewish holiday to me, and I am sure to you, too. It dates back thousands of years and asserts one fundamental thing: There is no existence without freedom… Only after the Israelites freed themselves from Pharaoh, arrived in Israel and established themselves as a free, sovereign nation, was the existence of the Jewish people secure.

"We have essentially learned this lesson throughout our years in exile. We were not free… we were, at times, subject to the murderous caprices of other nations and they sought to destroy us… Only when we managed to return to the Promised Land, were we able to once again secure our future."

"Israel's future, is secure not because no one seeks to destroy us… but because we have the unique national power of a nation that is sovereign and free to defend itself. Being free – that is what Passover is all about."

Netanyahu: "This is our land and it always will be"; Peace terms won't be forced on us

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that his government will stand firm against any international pressure to reignite the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by accepting the PA's unilateral conditions.

Speaking at a Likud Party Passover toast, Netanyahu said, "We will stand for our principles and fight those who try to dictate terms that would strip us of security and peace."

The prime minister praised his party's achievements in the area of security and said, "there are those who talk and those who act - they speak and we act ." In a defiant tone, he added, "this is our land and it always will be."
"Before our party came into power, the security policy was bad. The policy that I have introduced, however, is very clear, We are doing a lot. We are not just reacting to the situation but instead we are carrying out preventative actions".
Turning his attention to the recent tension on the Gaza border, the prime minister said that his government has put an end to Israel's abiding of attacks on its soil: "My policy is very clear – any attack will be met with a vigorous response."

Commenting on reports in the foreign media, alleging Israel was behind a recent airstrike in Sudan, which targeted terrorists, Netanyahu said: 
"We do a lot. Not everything is known, only some. We focus not only on reaction, but also on prevention, thwarting and keeping our enemies from arming themselves. The result has been two years of almost unprecedented calm".

"We lost fewer lives in these two years. That's not by chance, it is a clear result of our policy."
"Lately, There has been an attempt to breach this calm and our rules of play. Our response was clear – the IDF struck, and struck again. I hope Hamas and the other terror groups understood, and if they didn’t – they will".

"The message is simple: We will not stand for fire on buses or on our children. We will not abide a situation where Israeli citizens are sleeping in shelters – anywhere."
Netanyahu further spoke of the unrest sweeping through the Middle East: "Everything is lurching, it's an earthquake… all I know is that there is one stable country in the region, one safe country, one free, thriving country and that is the State of Israel."

Netanyahu said that he greatly appreciates an invitation extended - less than an hour before - to speak in front of a joint session of the US Congress.

Netanyahu said that he will speak to the US Congress about the Iranian threat and the need for a "secure peace" between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor: Israel worried by 'weakening' US

( is troubled by the perception the US is an "empire of the past" and wants a resurgent America to lead a decisive confrontation with Iran, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, who is also the Minister for Intelligence and Nuclear Energy, told the Sydney morning herald.

"America is tested" at a pivotal moment in the history of the Middle East, The Arab world was watching the US closely: "They look to America. If America does not seem to be able to contain the Iranian threat, will they go with Iran?"
"This is of world-order magnitude, Israel, which depends on the US as its security guarantor, itself appears to have new doubts about US judgment".
Mr Meridor said he was "surprised" at the Obama administration's treatment of a longstanding US ally, Egypt's former president:
"Was it necessary to immediately empower the demonstrators against him and let [Hosni] Mubarak go? It's seen by all the allies of America in the Arab world. I don't know where the tide of history will go and I'm not sure they know."

"The perception, that I hope is wrong, that America is weakening is not good, but I hope that America will find a way, and I believe they can, to restore itself as the leading country and not allow those impressions spread by the Iraq war that America is an empire of the past. All this is here on the table".

"America has started wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Is it a success story or not? What happens in Pakistan? … It may be the use of power showed the limits of power."

Mr Meridor, a senior member of the Likud party of the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said the confrontation with Iran was "a decisive conflict".

"The end of it is very important.If the end of it is that Iran has nuclear power, it will have grave effects on world order, on balance of power, and on the Middle East".

"It may spell the end of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty regime, not only because Iran will be nuclear, but because other countries say they will need to be nuclear, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and others may do it".

"No more the responsible adults tell the kids what to do. When everybody has the bomb you can't contain or control or interfere as America could do."

Netanyahu doubtful that Peace talks will resume

Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Monday that he has not yet decided when to deliver the major policy speech presenting a new Israeli diplomatic initiative, or what to say in it.

Speaking in Jerusalem at a biannual luncheon with the ambassadors from EU countries posted in Israel, the prime minister – when asked about the speech and its content – said:
“I have not decided what and when. But two questions needed to be answered: First, can we get back to direct negotiations with the Palestinians, and I am doubtful. And second, what can you do if there are no negotiations?”

“My speech would be easier if you can convince them to negotiate..The EU countries must give the PA a clear message that it was time to return to negotiations".
Netanyahu said that while some people believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the key to stability in the region, “it is not true.”
"It was important to solve the conflict, to prevent the emergence of a binational state”.

TIP poll: A Majority of Americans are opposed to unilaterally declared Palestinian State

(TheIsraelproject). 51 percent of U.S. voters oppose the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state without a signed peace treaty with Israel, a new TIP poll finds. And, 54 percent believe that without a peace treaty, the United States should not recognize a Palestinian state.

Supporting these opinions, 61 percent of voters say that Israel is making an effort for peace, while 53 percent believe the Palestinians are making “not much” or “no” effort.

Additionally, as political turmoil roils the Arab world, 58 percent of American voters say the United States should support Israel – a jump of seven percentage points since January. This represents a three-point rise since February to the highest level of support for this position since October, 2009. The survey also found an increase in positive feelings toward Israel – and negative feelings toward the Palestinians.

Neil Newhouse, Republican partner of TIP’s bipartisan polling team, said: “There is a clear perception that the Palestinians are not stepping up to the plate on working toward a real peace agreement.”

“Instability in the region and recent events in Israel are causing an increase of support for Israel among the American electorate,” said Stanley Greenberg, Democratic partner of TIP’s bipartisan polling team.

More findings:

* Bi Partisan consensus- 70% of Republicans & 47% of Democrats say US should not recognize a unilaterally Palestinian state.

* Consensus across party lines (increase among Dems) 72% Republicans & 53% Democrats say the US should be a strong supporter of Israel.

* 76% of Republicans, 43% democrats consider themselves to be A strong supporter of Israel.

* 51% view Israel very (warm attitude) favorably, only 16% say the same on the Palestinians .

Monday, April 11, 2011

Netanyahu: Iran accelerating nuclear program as West pressure reduced

Iran is moving full speed ahead with its nuclear program while the rest of the world is preoccupied with events unfolding in North Africa and other Muslim nations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.

Netanyahu, who spoke to European Union ambassadors, also commented on the recent violent escalation that broke out along Israel's border with Gaza in the past week, telling them that Hamas deliberately fired a missile at a school bus that was hit last Thursday.

No country, the prime minister continued, can accept such actions and Israel will act to protect its citizens.

He charged that in the past, the "international community rushed to judgment" regarding Israel's response to terror attacks.

The prime minister also requested that the European delegates do what they can to prevent their citizens from taking part in the upcoming flotilla to Gaza scheduled for mid-June.

FM Lieberman against Ceasfire, Israel must halt Hamas weapons smuggling and topple regime

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke out against a ceasefire with Hamas on Monday morning, following renewed violence emanating from the Gaza Strip in the past four days, claiming it is against Israel's national interests

In an interview with Israel Radio, he said:
"Hamas is fighting a war of attrition against us. We won't come to terms with a situation in which they decide when there's quiet and when the area heats up."

"The aim of calm is a serious mistake because calm is used (by Hamas) to smuggle more and more arms,Hamas was obtaining increasingly powerful rockets".

"At this rate they will also reach Tel Aviv."

"Our central aim must be to stop the arms smuggling by Hamas but a second aim must be to topple the Hamas regime. As long as Hamas ... continues to act in terror attack mode ... this is unacceptable,"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

43% Palestinians support armed attacks against Israeli civilians; only 22% say Settlements are most fundamental issue

(via IMRA).These are the results of the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 17-19 March 2011.

Do you support or oppose armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel?
Strongly support 9.2%
Support 33.8%
Oppose 43.4 %
Strongly appose 11.2%

In West Bank:
Strongly support 6.9%
Support 25.7 %
Oppose 50.4%
Strongly appose 14.6%

*The Palestinian society confronts today various problems, like the continuation of occupation and settlements, the spread of unemployment and poverty, the lack of national unity due to the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the continuation of the siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip and the closure of its border crossings, the spread of corruption in public institutions, and others. Tell us, what in your opinion, is the problem you see as the most fundamental, the one that must be on the top priority of the Palestinian Authority?
1) Spread of unemployment and poverty 27.52) Continuation of occupation and settlements, 22%
3) Lack of national unity due to the split between the West 28.3
4) Continuation of the siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip 8.0
5) The spread of corruption in public institutions 11.3

Read results of the poll here

Barak: 750,000 citizens in bomb shelters is unacceptable

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday said at the weekly cabinet meeting that "Hamas, from our point of view, is responsible for everything that happens in the [Gaza] Strip and for all of the [terrorist] organizations that operate there."
"We will not accept actions that harm our citizens, actions like the firing on the bus, or attempts to put three-quarter of a million citizens in bomb shelters."

"Hamas sustained a heavy blow, fortunately, nobody was injured by their fire. The IDF's strikes have been very effective and precise, and they sustained a heavy blow."

Netanyahu: Further attacks on Israel will be met by 'very harsh' response

Sunday's government meeting focused, naturally, on the escalation in southern Israel and the tensions on the Gaza border. The meeting opened with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informing the ministers of a weekend meeting he held with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz and Shin Bet Chief Yovel Diskin, during which Israel's strategy vis-à-vis Hamas' aggression was discussed.
"Regrettably, our enemies and those who seek Jewish lives have not gone from the world. But the State of Israel exists and it knows how to defend itself from evil designs and we say: No more! We say more than that: Am Yisrael Chai!

The IDF has had two major achievements in the past few days, one on the area of defense, the other in offensive operations. In the area of defense, Israel scored a significant and impressive success when the Iron Dome system intercepted missiles. This echoes around the world, including in the European countries that I visited.

The impressive significance of this achievement notwithstanding, it is clear that it is only a partial response. It is clear that an offensive response is also needed. Here as well, the IDF was impressive when it struck hard at Hamas and the other terrorist organizations, in terms of both lives and equipment, in response to the criminal attacks against us.

Over the weekend, I held discussions with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and ISA Director Yuval Diskin, and our policy is clear: If attacks on Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers continue, the response will be very harsh."