Wednesday, September 28, 2011

'Gilo - in heart of Jerusalem, it's not a settlement'

Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev rejected Western and Arab complaints that the planned construction of 1,100 new homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo would complicate Middle East peace efforts.
"Gilo is not a settlement nor an outpost. It is a neighborhood in the very heart of Jerusalem about five minutes from the center of town."

"In every peace plan on the table in the past 18 years Gilo stays part of Jerusalem and therefore this planning decision in no way contradicts the current Israel government's desire for peace based on two states for the two peoples."
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu addressed the Gilo building project saying,"We have so many planning stages, so many phases of approval that every time a plan moves through one of these stages, it gets world headlines."

Netanyahu added:  
"We plan in Jerusalem. We build in Jerusalem. Period. The same way Israeli governments have been doing for 44 years, since the end of the 1967 war. We build in Jewish neighborhoods, the Arabs build in Arab neighborhoods."

CNN Poll: American Opposition to Palestinian Statehood Grows

(The Weekly Standard). A new CNN poll shows Americans are divided on the question of creating of an independent Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, with 41 percent opposed, 40 percent in favor, and 19 percent with no opinion. When the question was asked in 2003, Americans supported the creation of a Palestinian state by a 36-point margin:

In its new poll, CNN also asks voters: "As you may know, the United Nations currently grants the Palestinians a status which allows them to speak in the U.N. but does not recognize them as an independent nation or allow them to cast votes. Do you think the United Nations should continue that policy, or should the United Nations formally recognize the Palestinians as an independent nation and admit them as full members of the U.N.?

Fifty-two percent of Americans say the policy should be continued, while 40 percent say the UN should recognize a Palestinian state. CNN notes there's a stark partisan divide on the issue: "Two-thirds of all Republicans oppose U.N. membership for the Palestinians compared to just 41 percent of Democrats.

New Wave Poll: 55.4% Satisfied w/ Netanyahu representing Israel's case at the UN

(IMRA). Telephone poll carried out by New Wave for Makor Rishon 26 September 2011 of a representative sample of Hebrew speaking Israeli Jews and published on 28 September, 2011 in Makor Rishon:

How would you summarize the past year on a personal level?
Better than last one 29.9% Worse 25.9% Same 40.1% Don't know 4.1%

In general to what extent are you satisfied with life in Israel?
Very satisfied 22.5% Considerably satisfied 46.4%
Not so satisfied 21.7% Not at all 6.7% Don’t know 2.7%

Last weekend there was a clash between Israel and the Palestinians at the UN. Are you satisfied with the outcome and how Israel was represented by the address of PM Benjamin Netanyahu?
Very satisfied 22.4% Considerably 32.9%
Not so much 16.8% not at all 12% Don't know 15.9%

Do you believe that there is a chance to reach a peace arrangement with the Palestinians?
Absolutely 15.7% Skeptical 33.2% Not at all 47.9% Don't know 3.2%

Did you buy a significant electronic item (TV, computer, I Pad)?
Yes 45.7% No 53.6% Refuse reply 0.7%

How would you term your economic situation as compared to a year ago?
Better 15.6% Worse 29.1% Same 54.4% Don't know 0.9%

Do you consider leaving the country?
Yes 11% No 87.9% Refuse reply 0.6%

Are you personally optimistic about the coming year?
Very optimistic 19.3% Optimistic 57.2%
Pessimistic 14.7% Very pessimistic 3.9%

Are you optimistic about what will happen to the state?
Very optimistic 5.4% Optimistic 49.5%
Pessimistic 30% Very pessimistic 7.5% Don't know 7.7%

Netanyahu to Israel Hayom: Peace within a year, if Abbas meets us for negotiations

(Shlomo Cesana-Israelhayom).Peace could be achieved in less than a year if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agrees to restart negotiations with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel Hayom in a wide ranging Rosh Hashanah interview on Tuesday.
“We can reach an agreement in less than a year, if we have a Palestinian partner willing to make compromises and achieve peace. The real test is if Abbas joins us at the negotiating table."
In the full interview Netanyahu said the Quartet proposal for the renewal of negotiations was workable, but he doubted Abbas' willingness to strike a deal that would lead to peace:
“Abbas needs to decide if he is going to lead his people to peace or not. He disappointed me in his address to the U.N. He took a step backwards."
Netanyahu views the past week's diplomatic events as a success for Israel:
“The trip [to the U.N.] was successful, and the [Palestinian] bid was thwarted. I stated Israel's truth on the U.N. podium, and brought home some significant political and diplomatic achievements. My main achievement was political -- there was no declaration of a Palestinian state in September.”
About Israel's relationship with the U.S., Netanyahu said:
“Contrary to what commentators say, we have a very close relationship with the U.S. Every U.S. president so far has reflected the overwhelming support Americans have expressed for Israel.”
Netanyahu believes that Israelis are not sufficiently aware of the extent of support for Israel among the American public:
“On Saturday, I went with my wife to Central Park, Both Jews and non-Jews came up to me and expressed support in a way that is impossible to describe. I didn’t hear any other voice. Everyone expressed tremendous support for the state of Israel.

“The things that I believe in -- recognition of us as a Jewish state and an insistence on meeting our security needs -- are warmly received in the U.S. People respect those who insist on defending the rights of their nation and the interests of their country. My speech at the U.N. was a uniting factor. Although it was assertive, it also extended a hand to peace."
On Turkey, Netanyahu said:
“I don't know if Turkey will ever return to what it was for us in the past. Turkey decided to embark on a new path. I believe we shouldn't bow our heads before its unjustified attacks. Doing so does not strengthen us, not in the eyes of our friends, and not in the eyes of our enemies. In my view, we have not yet given up on Turkey, unless Turkey has given up on us.”

Netanyahu: We have to continue to fortify the state of Israel

In a Rosh Hashana interview with the Jerusalem Post, PM Netanyahu spoke about what is hopes are, where he thinks the country will be next year at this time:
"I hope to move forward with genuine negotiations for a genuine peace. But I think the experience of Israel has shown that the best guarantor of our future is that we build our country. That we build our country, build our society, build our defenses, educate our children – continue to develop the State of Israel.

We have always wanted peace with our neighbors from day one. It took many decades to reach it with the Egyptians and Jordanians. We didn’t wait to build our country until that peace was achieved. We are not waiting now.

We are crisscrossing Israel with a network of fast roads and rail, we are revamping our education system, we have salvaged the higher education, we are building the security fence in the South, we are introducing competition into markets that have been closed and rigid in every area. We are working on the environment, the health system and above all we have a very, very sturdy economy. We have introduced economic reforms that have created tremendous resilience of the Israeli economy so that it stands out right now compared with virtually all economies of the Western world.

Israel is in a unique place because we have had the right polices to give ourselves economic strength; military strength, which depends on the economy; and of course spiritual strength by stressing the general Jewish values that are now being taught in our schools.

We have a lot more to do, but I think that as we approach the new year, we can say we have done a great deal and will continue in this path. That is the message I have for the coming year: we have to continue to fortify the state of Israel. That is the best guarantor of the future and ultimately the best guarantor of peace. You don’t make peace with the weak, you make peace with the strong."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jpost /Keevoon poll: 54% call US president’s policies pro-Israel, 50% view Netanyahu favorably

According to a Keevoon Research poll sponsored by The Jerusalem Post this week - US President Barack Obama succeeded in reaching out to Israelis with his speech last Friday to the General Assembly.

When asked about the Obama administration’s policies, 54% said they were more favorable toward Israel, 19% said they were more pro- Palestinian, and 27% called them neutral.

The last Smith poll, published on May 27 following a high-profile Obama speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, found that just 12% of Israeli Jews considered the Obama administration’s policies more pro-Israel, 40% said they were more pro- Palestinian, 34% said neutral and 13% did not express an opinion.

“President Obama’s speech at the UN had a very big impact on Israelis,” Keevoon director Mitchell Barak said. “He clearly stated support for key elements of the Israeli position while avoiding articulating some of the controversial US positions that divide Israelis. For Israelis, his speech at the UN was as much about what he didn’t say as it was significant for what he did say. The active role of the US in blocking a Palestinian state at the UN was also a significant turning point for how Israelis perceive the Obama administration.”

Barak also singled out the appointment of new US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, who is Jewish, speaks Hebrew, and has reached out to the Israeli population to explain Obama’s positions.

The poll also asked whether respondents view Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, opposition leader Tzipi Livni and new Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich favorably.

Fifty percent said they viewed Netanyahu favorably and 45% unfavorably, while 5% did not know.

The prime minister did especially well among Likud voters, with 85% viewing him favorably.

Lieberman was viewed favorably by 47% and unfavorably by 46%.

Yacimovich fared the best out of the politicians, with 56% seeing her favorably and 26% unfavorably.

Livni was the only one of the leaders of the four largest parties who is viewed unfavorably by the general public - 39% viewed Livni positively and 50% negatively.

If an election were held now, Likud would remain the largest party, rising from 27 to 32 Knesset seats, Labor would rise dramatically from eight to 26, and Kadima would fall from 28 to 18.

Israel Beiteinu - 10, Shas - 9, Meretz - 6, Habayit Hayehudi - 5, National Union - 4, United Torah Judaism - 4, and a new social welfare party would win 4 seats.

Queens Democratic Assemblyman Rory Lancman criticizes Obama's Mideast policy and its effect on Israel's security

(JacobKornbluh).In my interview with Dem. Assemblyman Rory Lancman on the Bibi Report Radio show,the Queens Assemblyman was very critical of President Obama's Israel policy, especially when its comes to Israel's security.

"In the 2 1/2 years since hes been President, he hasn't always remembered, what it means to the people of israel, Southern Israel, Northern Israel, to live with the constant existential threat of destruction... I think the President has lost that internalization that he had articulated and talked about when he visited israel as a candidate..."
Asked about the Jewish vote following Obama's UN speech, if he believes there will be any shift of the Jewish vote, back into the Democratic camp, Lancman said:
" I don't know if the President 's speech, will be enough to erase or restore the erosion in the President's popularity not among just the Jewish community, but the American community who Israel is an important issue... I would like to believe that the speech is a turning point...perhaps the President has just realized that the course that he has pursued in trying to obtain a middle east peace has not really been correct and has not worked...and maybe he will focus the attention on where is ought to be - to hold all the Palestinians (not only the smiley Abbas, but the non smiley Hamas regime in Gaza too) accountable and press them to return to the negotiation table, to recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state, and make the hard choices that the Palestinians have not been able to make since the beginning of this conflict, and if the President has that focus he will perhaps be able to bring this decades (century) long conflict to a peaceful negotiated resolution... and if he does that, a secondary consequence benefit for him, I think he will renew his support among the Jewish community ...".
Lancman hinted of an Congressional Challenge against Congressman Turner in 2012, if the NY9th district is saved during the redistricting process: 
"Having a Republican congressman is new to me.. its really extremely important to me, that my Congressman represent my values on Israel and on many many other issues...and you can be certain that i will do everything i can to make sure that my Congressman does so, whether or not that's me, I guess time will tell, but if I felt that I had to be the person to make that race, I wouldn't be shy or reluctant to do it.."

Netanyahu in Rosh Hashanah greeting: "For there to be peace, Israel has to be strong."

Obama in Rosh Hashanah greeting: "The United States will continue to stand with Israel"

Hello, everybody. Shana Tova.

The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a time for repentance and reflection. An opportunity to reaffirm our friendships, renew our commitments, and reflect on the values we cherish.

As the High Holidays begin, we look back on all the moments during the past year that give us reason to hope. Around the world, a new generation is reaching for their universal rights. Here in the United States, we’ve responded to our challenges by focusing on the things that really matter - friendship, family, and community.

But this last year was also one of hardship for people around the world. Too many of our friends and neighbors continue to struggle in the wake of a terrible economic recession. And beyond our borders, many of our closest allies - including the State of Israel - face the uncertainties of an unpredictable age.

That is why my Administration is doing everything we can to promote prosperity here at home and security and peace throughout the world - and that includes reaffirming our commitment to the State of Israel. While we cannot know all that the New Year will bring, we do know this: the United States will continue to stand with Israel, because the bond between our two nations is unshakable.

As Jewish tradition teaches us, we may not complete the work, but that must never keep us from trying. In that spirit, Michelle and I wish you and your families and all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah a sweet year full of health, happiness, and peace.

Netanyahu: I can deliver peace, Palestinians making 'terrible mistake' by not resuming talks

(via Haaretz).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Charlie Rose in an interview on PBS Monday night, that he can deliver peace, claiming that the Palestinians were once again making a terrible mistake by not returning to the negotiating table.
"I'm ready to negotiate anywhere any time, without preconditions, just do it. It's so simple yet they make it so complicated. It's like the Nike commercial, just do it. And I'm prepared to just do it."

"I don't want the Palestinian population incorporated as citizens of Israel or as subjects of Israel so they have to live in their own state.”

“I just want to make sure that that state doesn't become another Gaza, doesn't become another mini-Iran which could destroy the one and only Jewish state."

"I think the Palestinians are again making a terrible mistake, i implore the Palestinians to take that opportunity and make peace, for God’s sake."
Netanyahu said that he refused to compromise on Jerusalem as a united city, but said this is not a precondition for negotiations; it is a position in the negotiations:
"It’s even silly to come forward and say, “Well, I’ll offer this percent, you know, with a decimal point of land” - that’s what the negotiations are for! Now, I don’t hear Abbas saying anything - nothing! He’s not offering anything."

“You know, we have a century of conflict to resolve. Six hours, that's all you give?".
When asked about his rocky relationship with Obama, Netanyahu told Rose that:
"we may have some differences on this or that point but to be honest I think we're very close on the main things. We've had some differences on the definition of the borders, but that's something that will be worked out in negotiations, and we agree with that."
The Prime minister also discussed the threat of a nuclear Iran:
"Stopping him (Ahmadinejad) should not only be my concern, it should be the concern of America, of every civilized nation, I hope that we all recognize that we have to act in time. The Iranian goal of getting to a nuclear weapon gets closer with every day that passes".

“Peace with the Palestinians will not stop the centrifuges from spinning in Tehran, but if you stop the centrifuges from spinning in Tehran, you might actually get an easier peace with the Palestinians. Half of the Palestinian population that is controlled by Iran, Hamas, would immediately lose any meaning, because without Iran, without Iran's invincibility, Hamas doesn't go very far. It's like Cuba without the Soviet Union".
Rose asked Netanyahu if he would ask for U.S. approval to launch a preemptive strike on Iran. Netanyahu responded coyly, saying “look, Israel is a sovereign country. We always reserve the right to defend ourselves. But I wouldn't say anything beyond that.”

Monday, September 26, 2011

Netanyahu: 'We won't renew settlement freeze to lure PA to talks'

Israel will not declare a new settlement freeze to get the Palestinians to agree to the Quartet's formula for a renewal of talks, Prime Minister Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post, in a Rosh Hashana interview on Monday.

"It is a pretext they use again and again, but I think a lot of people see it as a ruse to avoid direct negotiations."
Netanyahu said he had no intention of intervening with Interior Ministry's District Planning Committee that is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss the construction of project of more than 700 housing units in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood, located over the Green Line, even though the Quartet – in its statement Friday – called on "the parties to refrain from provocative actions if negotiations are to be effective".

"I don't think there is anything new, We plan in Jerusalem. We build in Jerusalem. Period. The same way Israeli governments have been doing for years, since the end of the 1967 war. We build in Jewish neighborhoods, the Arabs build in Arab neighborhoods, that is the way the life of this city goes on and develops for its Jewish and non-Jewish residents alike."

"The Americans know this, they have followed this a long time. There is really nothing new."
Responding to criticism that his speech Friday to the UN, while an articulate explanation of Israel's position and fears, did not provide any hope for solving the conflict, Netanyahu said:
"The hope we have is standing on the principles that served us well not only through the life of the state, but even through he whole course of Zionism, throughout our history."

"You can't build hope on the foundation of lies...the Palestinians inability to utter the words "the Jewish people or the Jewish state" is not something that can be glossed over."

"There is a problem there, and you can’t build hope by shutting your eyes and saying it doesn't matter, Of course it matters, this is what this conflict is all about. It is not about the settlements, it is about the Jewish state. And it must be said over and over again."

Netanyahu: Erdogan comments 'outrageous, false'; Lieberman: Turkey supports Terror

(Jpost).In his first direct reply to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's constant Israel bashing, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post Monday that Erdogan's most recent comments in a CNN interview that Israel has killed hundreds and thousands of Palestinians, while Palestinian missiles had killed only a few Israelis, and that Israel used the Holocaust to perpetrate its own victimhood, were both "false" and "outrageous."
"Both allegations are false,These are outrageous charges against Israel that have nothing to do with the facts."

"I regret that we hear these statements from the leader of Turkey."

"We don't use the Holocaust, the Holocaust was the worst crime in history perpetuated against our people."

"To he hear this allegation at the beginning of the 21st century, just 60 years after Holocaust, is outrageous."

"In Israel we are used to telling the truth,and the the truth is that these allegations are completely false."
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman fiercely attacked Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at an Israel Beiteinu pre-Rosh Hashana toast on Monday, calling his administration “a radical Islamic extremist leadership that supports and develops terror.”

He mocked Erdogan's accusations against Israel in media interviews during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“I saw Erdogan on CNN, and I think [his performance] was great for us,If I wanted to improve Israeli hasbara [advocacy], I would buy media outlets around the world and have Erdogan talk from morning until night.”

Amb. Oren: Israel Offers Peace—Again, By accepting the Jewish State

(Ambassador Michael Oren-WSJ).What had spurred the Palestinians to turn their backs on a sympathetic U.S. president and a strong Israeli statesman capable of leading his skeptical people to peace? How could the Palestinians risk all they had achieved in recent years—a thriving economy, restored law and order, and significant U.S. aid—in a reckless bid to snatch the statehood that they could easily have earned?

Confusing, perhaps, but the answer is simple. The Palestinians came to the U.N. to get a state, but without giving Israel peace in return.

Understanding the Palestinians’ decision requires a review not only of this past week’s events but of one that occurred nearly 64 years ago at the same U.N. On Nov. 29, 1947, the General Assembly voted to partition British-controlled Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish, that would live side-by-side in peace. The Jews accepted the agreement, but the Palestinians rejected it and joined with five Arab armies in an ultimately thwarted attempt to destroy the Jewish State of Israel.

Forty six years later, in 1993, the Palestinians received another chance to accept the two-state solution. In the Oslo Accords, which the U.S. co-signed, Palestinians and Israelis pledged to resolve all outstanding issues through face-to-face negotiation and to achieve an historic peace. In fact, these discussions produced two Israeli peace proposals, in 2000 and 2008, that met virtually all of the Palestinians’ demands for a sovereign state in the areas won by Israel in the 1967 war—in the West Bank, Gaza and even East Jerusalem.

But Palestinian President Yasser Arafat rejected the first offer and Mahmoud Abbas ignored the second, for the very same reason their predecessors spurned the 1947 Partition Plan. Each time, accepting a Palestinian State meant accepting the Jewish State, a concession the Palestinians were unwilling to make.

In between Israeli peace offers, the Palestinians waged a terror war that killed and maimed thousands of Israelis. When Israel uprooted all of its settlements from Gaza in 2005, the Palestinians failed to create a peaceful enclave and instead created a Hamas terrorist stronghold that fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians. Yet, in spite of their rejection and trauma, Israelis continued to uphold the vision of two peaceful adjacent states.

That goal was embraced by Mr. Netanyahu, leader of the Likud Party, in a speech at Bar Ilan University in June 2009. Turning to “our Palestinian neighbors,” he declared, “let’s begin negotiations immediately without preconditions.” But Mr. Abbas refused to negotiate. Nevertheless, Mr. Netanyahu ordered the removal of hundreds of checkpoints in the West Bank, facilitating remarkable economic growth and dramatically increased transport in and out of Gaza. When President Obama asked him to freeze construction in West Bank settlements, Mr. Netanyahu announced an unprecedented 10-month moratorium. But over the course of two and a half years, Mr. Abbas negotiated for a total of six hours, and then refused to discuss Israel’s security needs.

Those needs have grown immensely in the wake of the upheaval in the Arab world, the rise of Iranian proxies, and the deployment of tens of thousands of terrorist rockets on our borders. Though doubtful of the Palestinians’ readiness for genuine peace, Israelis retain the hope of a two-state solution. Mr. Netanyahu championed that hope and even brought it to the U.N. this week. “I am extending my hand, the hand of Israel, in peace,” he told Mr. Abbas—and the world—on Friday. “I hope you will grasp that hand.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Abbas did not come to New York to shake Mr. Netanyahu’s hand but to grab a state which, he wrote earlier this year, “will pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict” and “pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations.”

The U.S. and other principled nations are standing strong, though, and Mr. Netanyahu is ready to negotiate today—if only Mr. Abbas is willing. While the circumstances have changed since 1947 and even 2008, the formula for peace remains unaltered. By accepting the Jewish State, the Palestinians can have their own.

AJC annual poll: American Jews disapprove Obama's performance as President

(JTA).The AJC's annual poll released Monday showed 45 percent of voters approved of Obama as opposed to 48 percent disapproving, a statistical dead heat and a substantial drop from the 57 percent who approved of his performance in the 2010 AJC survey.

When respondents were asked about areas of performance, the disparity is widest on the economy, with 59.5 percent disapproving and 39.5 percent approving.

On foreign policy, there is a dead heat: 46.8 percent approving of Obama's performance versus 48.3 percent disapproving.

In perceptions of how Obama handled the U.S.-Israel relationship, 53 percent disapprove and 40 percent approve.

There was also a drop in how voters perceived Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the relationship, from 62 percent approving and 27 percent disapproving last year to 54 percent approving and 32 percent disapproving this year.

63 percent characterize the overall US-Israel relationship as positive, down from 68 percent last year.

The Republican contender who would do best against Obama with Jewish voters is Mitt Romney:
Romney garnered the backing of 32.1 percent of respondents as opposed to Obama's 50.3 percent.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry earned the favor of 24.5 percent of respondents and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) got 19.1 percent, both statistically commensurate with the 22 percent of the Jewish vote Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) earned in the 2008 presidential race.

The big chunks of undecided respondents in the match-ups suggest a lesson for Democrats as well, he said.

"You still have the solid support of Jewish voters, but don't take it for granted," David Harris, AJC's director, said. "You have to make your case better than you have until now."

Haaretz-Dialog poll: PM Netanyahu significantly improves public approval following UN speech

The Shelly Yachimovich Effect is shaking up Israeli politics: For the first time in years, Labor has made a comeback to return as the second-largest party after the Likud.

The Haaretz-Dialog poll - conducted on Sunday under the supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University shows The Likud ruling party in the lead with 26 seats, Labor comes in a surprising second with 22 seats, continuing to steal seats from Kadima, that falls to the third place with only 18 seats,compared to 28 seats in the 2009 election.

FM Lieberman's party - Yisrael Beiteinu has picked up three seats, according to the survey, Yisrael Beiteinu and Kadima with the same number of Knesset seats - 18.

The poll found that the electoral drama between Kadima and Labor is still concentrated only among center-left voters, where nothing much is new. The Likud-ultra-Orthodox-right-wing bloc maintained its solid and secure position with 66 Knesset seats, compared to 54 seats for the center-left-Arab bloc.

The Haaretz-Dialog poll also shows that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu significantly improved his public standing after his speech last week at the United Nations in New York. Netanyahu's approval rating, which plunged dramatically in the shadow of the summer's social protest movements to 32%, rose by the time the survey was conducted, two days after his UN appearance 9 points to 41 approval, 45% disapproval to 54% in August.

Unsurprisingly, the nation was very satisfied from his UN appearance - satisfaction of Netanyahu's conduct as Israel's Prime minister rises among those who watched the speech - A tremendous 61% reported positive feelings towards the prime Minister,( 40% felt pride, 21% felt hope).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

'It's important for Netanyahu to speak “Dugri” in public and private'

(Moshe Ronen-Ynet).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concluded his speech at the United Nations by urging the Palestinians to talk “dugri.” He used a Turkish world that entered Palestinian and Hebrew slang dozens of years ago. He urged Abbas to talk dugri, that is, straight forward.

Any Israeli would agree: Netanyahu provided an accurate historical review that was wholly truthful at the General Assembly in New York. He did not resort, like his Palestinian counterpart, to distortions (“the Israelis are digging next to Temple Mount in order to undermine its pillars.”)

Netanyahu presented the Israeli narrative in a clear, direct way that could be understood by any listener willing to listen. There is no doubt about it - the prime minister was completely dugri.

Netanyahu opened his speech by extending his hand in peace. That was dugri. There can be nothing that is more honest. “I came to speak the truth, and the truth is that Israel wants peace. The truth is that I want peace.” These were clear, direct and honest words.

He certainly voiced our argument, and that’s his job as a prime minister who arrived at the UN in order to respond to the Palestinian statehood bid.

At the end of the day, such speeches are important for our public relations effort. It’s important that a talented orator who speaks perfect English like Benjamin Netanyahu tells the world such words, “dugri.” Yet it’s more important for him to speak “dugri” behind closed doors as well, with American or European mediators, or with Palestinian, Egyptian or Turkish representatives, in order to do what a captain needs to do: Bring the ship to shore safely.

Mati Tuchfeld/ Netanyahu's UN speech - A voice of Sanity, A time for Pride and unity

(Mati Tuchfeld-YisraelHayom).It's time to admit the truth. Commentators, diplomats, self-declared experts, politicians and all the others who tried their hand at predicting, evaluating and interpreting in the last few months what exactly would transpire in the U.N. come September were wrong, very wrong.

They told us that Israel was isolated, while the U.S. and important European countries not only adopted Israel's positions, but actually fought for them. They told us that the Palestinian move would force strategic changes in the region, but almost nothing has changed. They convinced us that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the mistake of his life when he decided to deliver a speech at the U.N., and that he would return defeated and humiliated, unlike after his appearance before the U.S. Congress. But as it turns out, his audience does not need to stand up 60 times, applauding in ecstasy, for him to come home to Israel a victor.

To belittle Netanyahu's achievement, and to explain why the U.S. and others in the world stood by Israel resolutely, they explain that President Barack Obama is in the midst of an election year. It's time to tell the truth: It is the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who are isolated. Despite the fact that the battle occurred in a dark and hostile arena, it is Netanyahu who is returning to Jerusalem as the victor, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas returns to Ramallah dejected and mournful.

When Netanyahu stood before Obama and criticized him over his plan for Israel to conduct negotiations on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, our commentators were furious. They asked how he had the audacity and arrogance to criticize the president of the U.S. But when it comes to Abbas' decision to knock heads not only with Obama, but with Europe and the Quartet as well, they are silent.

It is clear that the speeches from both Netanyahu and Abbas will not sway the vote at the General Assembly. That was not the purpose of Netanyahu's trip to the U.N. His speech was meant for Israeli ears. Unity at home should not be taken lightly; it is something that we have been lacking the last few months. It's our biggest problem.

When opposition leader Tzipi Livni speaks about current events as if she is our representative to the U.N., and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman looks to leverage the situation to strengthen his political position, someone needs to be the voice of sanity.

That is the prime minister's job, and that is what Netanyahu did.

Netanyahu wants to stay out of American politics: All W.H. contenders are 'friends of Israel'

(Politico, Jpost).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says President Barack Obama and his Republican challengers for the White House are all friends of Israel.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Netanyahu said he's not going to be "thrown under the bus of American politics." Of Republican front-runners Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, who each have said they will be stronger allies of Israel than has Obama, Netanyahu heaped praise on them all.
"They're all friends of Israel, equally representing the friendship with America."
Netanyahu said in an interview with CNN on Friday that Danon should not have attended a recent internal American political event featuring Perry.

Saying he had no prior knowledge about Danon's participation in the US political event, Netanyahu said that if he had known, "I would have told him to stay out of American politics."

In an interview to the Jerusalem Post, MK Danny Danon (Likud) denied that he had endorsed American Republican primary candidate Gov. Rick Perry, "I appreciate the activities of anyone who supports Israel, whether they are Republicans or Democrats," Danon explained.
"I have been criticized for my cooperation with Republicans, but I think that I am putting pressure on the Democrats and influencing Obama to be more pro-Israel. My rally with Perry and Rep. Bob Turner (R-NY) had an influence in Washington." 
"The US President won't want to face off with a pro-Israel Congress in an election year."

Netanyahu to Abbas: "If you want to get to peace, put all your preconditions to the side."

Appearing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Netanyahu told host David Gregory, he believes conciliatory talks between the two states remains possible if Abbas would recognize Israeli statehood.
“The Palestinians want a state, but they have to give peace in return, What they're trying to do in the United Nations is to get a state, without giving Israel peace, or giving Israel peace and security,…and I think that’s wrong.” 
“I think the Palestinians are trying to get away without negotiating,They’re trying to basically detour around peace negotiations by going to the United Nations and having the automatic majority in the United Nations General Assembly give them a state...That’s unfortunate.” 
“Many, many countries are coming to realize that our demand that we have direct negotiations, and that the Palestinians finally recognize the Jewish state and give this tiny country, Israel, the security requirements it needs, people are getting around to that.
Netanyahu said he had this advice for Abbas: "If you want to get to peace, put all your preconditions to the side."

When asked whether Israel would relinquish the West Bank, Netanyahu replied:
 “I’m not going to head recklessly to feed more territory to the insatiable crocodile of militant Islam, as I call it. I want to first erect a wall against this military that takes over every territory that we vacate.

CNN's Zakaria: Direct talks - The only way for a Palestinian State

(Fareed Zakaria, CNN blog).I am opposed to the Palestinian effort at the United Nations because I think that it is going to get them nowhere. This is not the time for romantic gestures. This is the time for them to do something that will actually help them get a Palestinian state - a goal that I support.

What is the likely outcome at the U.N.? The likely outcome is that the push is going to go nowhere in the Security Council. It may get to the General Assembly, and there may be a symbolic vote. But the result of that symbolic vote may well be that they lose funds - financial support from Israel, the U.S. and potentially some European countries - and it will make the Israelis feel that the Palestinians have gone in a unilateral direction when the only viable strategy is a bilateral one.

At the end of the day, there is only one way you’re going to get a Palestinian state. And that’s if the Israelis agree to it. They have the land; they have the guns; they have the money. Palestinians may regard it as deeply unfair, and I understand that. But it is the world that we live in. The only way they’re going to get a Palestinian state is to engage directly with the Israelis.

I think the U.N. vote is an understandable act of frustration on the part of the Palestinians, but they’re not going to get a Palestinian state through frustration. They’re going to get it by being smart and figuring out what they need to do to get the Israelis to engage in serious negotiations. 

I think the next big push the Palestinians need to figure out is how to get control of Gaza. If you have half of the Palestinian leadership that engages in terrorism and does not accept Israel’s right to exist, the Israelis are simply not going to create a Palestinian state under those conditions.

Again, I’m leaving morality aside for now and just asking, “What is the practical path to a Palestinian state?” And the practical path has to be to sideline Hamas in some way or another. The more good governance the Palestinian authority is able to demonstrate, the more likely it is that Hamas will be sidelined.

Someone who has frequently been in these negotiations has told me:
“It’s not that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Everybody sees the light at the end of the tunnel. The light at the end of the tunnel is blindingly clear and obvious. The problem is there’s no tunnel. There is no actual concrete path to getting to that light.”

And it isn’t going to happen with grand gestures at the United Nations. It’s going to happen through a series of very smart, thoughtful and practical steps along the way.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Netanyahu: Israel is above and beyond American politics

(Ben Smith-Politico). Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply rebuked a member of his Likud Party who appeared at a press conference last week with Gov. Rick Perry to criticize President Obama on Israel.

Netanyahu told CNN's Wolf Blitzer yesterday that the pro-settler politician, Danny Danon, hadn't told him about the event.

"I would have told him stay out of American politics," the prime minister said.

But he said he had little control over Danon, who has challenged Netanyahu from the right and told me he's disappointed in both Perry and Netanyahu for supporting the idea of a Palestinian state.

"When I get to the point that I can control Knesset, including in my own party, it'll be a good day," Netanyahu told Blitzer.

On ABC World news, Netanyahu managed to walk between the drops, saying Israel is above Politics.
"I’m just not going to walk into the minefield of American politics. I’ve got enough politics back at home.

I will say that I think Israel enjoys strong bipartisan support in the United States. It’s really above and beyond American politics. And I think President Obama and I cooperate on Israel’s security, we cooperate on many other areas, and I’m not just going to walk into this field.

This has characterized all American presidents to date, and it continues to do that — to do so with this administration."

Netanyahu: The Simple Truth Is Israel Wants to Negotiate Peace, Palestinians Have Avoided Negotiating Peace

On the Record - Fox news with Greta:

On the Situation Room - CNN with Wolf Blitzer:

"if they want statehood without peace, you know, that's not going to happen. I'm not going to do it, not because people oppose it at home, because I oppose it. If they want peace and then a state, that's fine. And that's what we should be working on.

But I think there's a basic asymmetry because Israelis want peace desperately. They yearn for peace. They pray for peace. And it's very hard living in this tiny country that is being attacked day in and day out and seeing your friends die, relatives die. people want peace. Peace is very precious, especially if you've been in wars and you know how bad they are.

The Palestinians can't seem to develop this kind of consensus. In Israel, I developed that consensus. I can bring I think the majority of Israelis to the table. And I think the Palestinians - to use Abba Eban's immortal words, never lose an opportunity to lose an opportunity. They really have to take that courageous step and confront their people and say, We're not going to get everything we want. We're not going to flood Israel with millions of Palestinians. We're going to have to accept Israel as the Jewish state, and we'll have to make some compromises. Not only Israel will make compromises, both of us will make compromises."

Friday, September 23, 2011

FACT CHECK: Abbas Presents Disputed Narrative

(vosizneias).Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas eloquently laid out the case for granting his people an independent state. But in doing so, he presented a narrative that is disputed by Israel, and in at least one case, appeared to be factually incorrect.

Here is a look at the counterarguments to Abbas’ claims:

OCCUPATION: Abbas called Israel’s control of the territories claimed by the Palestinians “the only occupation in the world.”

THE FACTS: The world is full of ethnic minorities that might claim to be ruled by occupiers, ranging from Tibetans living under Chinese rule to Kurds in Turkey, Basques in Spain, Chechens in Russia and Muslim separatists in Indian-ruled Kashmir.

PRISONERS: Abbas referred to the roughly 8,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails as prisoners of conscience.

THE FACTS: Abbas did not mention that most Palestinian prisoners are being held because of alleged involvement in violence against Israelis. Israel’s prison service says it’s holding some 6,000 “security” prisoners, many of them involved in planning or carrying out deadly attacks on civilians.

JEWISH CONNECTION TO THE HOLY LAND: Abbas called for two states, Israel and Palestine, to live in peace together.

THE FACTS: Abbas did not address one of Israel’s central demands, that he recognize the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. And he ignored this Jewish connection by referring to the area as the land of Muhammad and Jesus, with no mention of any Jewish biblical figure.

GAZA STRIP: Abbas referred to Gaza as an integral part of a future Palestine, briefly mentioning his reconciliation agreement with the territory’s Hamas rulers and condemning an Israeli “war of aggression” there nearly three years ago.

THE FACTS: Abbas lost control of Gaza to Hamas militants four years ago, and talks over implementing a reconciliation deal announced last May are at a standstill, in large part because of Hamas’ refusal to disarm or renounce its armed struggle against Israel. In condemning Israel’s 2008-2009 offensive in Gaza, Abbas did not mention that the operation was launched in response to persistent rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled territory.

PEACE TALKS: Abbas declared the Palestinians “believe in peace” and repeatedly presented Israel as the obstacle to renewing peace talks.

THE FACTS: The Palestinians did not accept two Israeli peace offers, in 2000 and 2008, that offered them a state in the vast majority of the territories they claim. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has repeatedly offered to launch negotiations — but refused to accept minimum outlines of a peace deal endorsed by the Palestinians and the international community. He has also not met the Palestinian condition of a settlement freeze for the duration of the talks.

SETTLEMENTS: Abbas repeatedly condemned Israeli settlement activity as the chief obstacle to peace, saying that continued Israeli construction on lands claimed by the Palestinians shows that Israel is not serious about peace.

THE FACTS: Israel might argue — as Netanyahu did in his rebuttal Friday — that Arab enmity to Israel long preceded the settlement of lands occupied in 1967. But Abbas, ironically, could have been even stronger in his condemnation and mentioned a jarring statistic: The number of Jews living in the West Bank and east Jerusalem has roughly doubled, to some 500,000 people, since the Oslo Accords of 18 years ago.

Bibi "willing to move forward" on the Obama parameters

Ron Kampeas in JTAnews: 

...Much of the immediate coverage post speeches today focused, essentially, on how far apart the sides are, how rude they were to one another...

But listen to this bit just before the end of Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech:
"In the last few weeks, American officials have put forward ideas to restart peace talks. There were things in those ideas about borders that I didn’t like. There were things there about the Jewish state that I’m sure the Palestinians didn’t like." 
"But with all my reservations, I was willing to move forward on these American ideas."
There it is, in public: Bibi is "willing to move forward" on the Obama parameters.

I think it's the major news coming out of today. I may be wrong. We'll see if anyone else agrees.

FM Lieberman: Abbas' UNGA incitement speech was inflammatory

Foreign Minster Avigdor Lieberman said Friday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's address to the United Nations General Assembly was a "speech of incitement."

Speaking with Channel 2 news, Lieberman said that Israel had no choice but to press ahead "without paying attention, and without making threats."

Lieberman told Israel’s Channel 10 News, “Abbas’ speech was one of most difficult incitement. I’ve never heard such a speech from him before.”
“It was an appeal to the darkest side, He said Israel is deliberately digging underneath holy Arab places, he said that ‘price tag’ groups are sponsored by the IDF, he said the IDF sics dogs on Palestinians. He spoke of Arafat’s ethos and said that all the prisoners are political prisoners. Looks like the murderers of the Fogel family are also political prisoners.”
“I guess they have made a strategic decision not to negotiate. Since this government was established, we’ve offered to sit down for negotiations. It was a difficult decision for us to stop building in Judea and Samaria for ten months, but after this speech is clear that the Palestinians have no intention of returning to negotiations.”


Responding to Abbas’ fiery anti-Israel speech, PM Netanyahu tells UN General Assembly Palestinians want state without peace; ‘Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established,’.

"Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago. On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today. I extend it to the people of Egypt and the people of the people of Libya and the other peoples of North Africa and the Arabian the people of Syria, Lebanon and Iran...But most especially, I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace." 
"I came here to speak the truth. The truth is that Israel wants peace. The truth is that I want peace. The truth is that Israel wants peace with the Palestinians, but they want a state without peace, and the truth is you shouldn’t let that happen, The Palestinian should first make peace with Israel and then get their state. After peace is signed, Israel won’t be the last country to accept a Palestinian state – we will be the first.”"The day I came into office, I called for direct negotiations without preconditions. President Abbas didn't respond. I outlined a vision of peace of two states for two peoples. He still didn't respond. I removed hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints, to ease freedom of movement in the Palestinian areas; this facilitated a fantastic growth in the Palestinian economy. But again -- no response. I took the unprecedented step of freezing new buildings in the settlements for 10 months. No prime minister did that before, ever. Once again -- there was no response. No response. 
"In the last few weeks, American officials have put forward ideas to restart peace talks. There were things in those ideas about borders that I didn't like. There were things there about the Jewish state that I'm sure the Palestinians didn't like. 
"But with all my reservations, I was willing to move forward on these American ideas. 
"President Abbas, why don't you join me? We have to stop negotiating about the negotiations. Let's just get on with it. Let's negotiate peace.
 "Now we're in the same city. We're in the same building. So let's meet here today in the United Nations. Who's there to stop us? What is there to stop us? If we genuinely want peace, what is there to stop us from meeting today and beginning peace negotiations?And I suggest we talk openly and honestly. Let's listen to one another. Let's do as we say in the Middle East: Let's talk "doogri"- That means straightforward. I'll tell you my needs and concerns. You'll tell me yours. And with God's help, we'll find the common ground of peace. 
"There's an old Arab saying that you cannot applaud with one hand. Well, the same is true of peace. I cannot make peace alone. I cannot make peace without you. President Abbas, I extend my hand -- the hand of Israel -- in peace. I hope that you will grasp that hand. We are both the sons of Abraham. My people call him Avraham. Your people call him Ibrahim. We share the same patriarch. We dwell in the same land. Our destinies are intertwined."
 Declaring that Israel is a Jewish state, Netanyahu said:
 “We don’t want the Palestinians to change the Jewish character of the state. We want them to give up the fantasy of flooding Israel with millions of Palestinians.“"I think it's time that the Palestinian leadership recognizes what every serious international leader has recognized, from Lord Balfour and Lloyd George in 1917, to President Truman in 1948, to President Obama just two days ago right here: Israel is the Jewish state." 
"President Abbas, stop walking around this issue. Recognize the Jewish state, and make peace with us. In such a genuine peace, Israel is prepared to make painful compromises. We believe that the Palestinians should be neither the citizens of Israel nor its subjects. They should live in a free state of their own. But they should be ready, like us, for compromise. And we will know that they're ready for compromise and for peace when they start taking Israel's security requirements seriously and when they stop denying our historical connection to our ancient homeland."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Netanyahu readies to take Israel's case to the UN Assembly

(Jpost).Prime Minister Netanyahu spent Thursday in New York behind closed doors preparing his much-touted public verbal duel with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday morning.

During what is expected to be a dramatic showdown, Abbas will likely make an emotional bid to the represented nations, asking that they recognize Palestinian statehood, irrespective of any peace process with Israel. Netanyahu will then state Israel’s case to the Assembly.

“You will hear a forceful enunciation of Israel’s narrative, and its desire for peace with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors,” an Israeli official said.

Netanyahu’s message would be one that a majority of Israelis would be able to stand behind, the official said.

Obama tells 900 Jewish Rabbi's: The U.S.-Israel alliance is stronger then ever

(washingtonJewishweek). President Barack Obama courted a group of more than 900 rabbis this afternoon, assuring them that the U.S.-Israel alliance is stronger then ever, according to multiple participants and audio of the conversation.

The conference call -- which was coordinated by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to coincide with the start of the Jewish holidays -- lasted about thirty minutes and included rabbis from across the spectrum.

Obama restated that:
"a vote in the [United Nations] will not create a two-state solution."

"Prime Minister Netanyahu knows he can count on the United States,We will not abandon the pursuit of a just and lasting peace that will end the conflict."

"The bonds between the U.S. and Israel are unbreakable and the commitment of the security of Israel is ironclad. Since coming into office, I haven't just talked the talk, we've walked the walk."
Dishing up the pro-Israel red meat to the rabbis, the president added that:
"There's never been a stronger security integration then there is right now,I'm very proud of this record."
Asked about the instability in Egypt and what the U.S. can do to ensure Israel's safety, Obama indicated that a re-ignition of the peace process could cool down the region.
"The most important thing we can do to stabilize the strategic situation for Israel is if we can actually resolve the Palestinian-Israeli crisis because that's what feeds so much of the tumult in Egypt,That's what I think has created the deep tension between Turkey and Israel and Turkey has historically been a friend and ally of Israel's. That's why we think direct negotiations are so critical."
The president added that "the U.S. relationship with Egypt is centered on their maintaining strong communications and maintaining the peace arrangement with Israel, and they've gotten the message."

The threat Iran poses to Israel also came up during the conversation.
"The biggest threat Israel faces from a security perspective is Iran's nuclear program."

Obama tells Israelis what they’ve been waiting to hear - No wedge between Israel and the US

(HERB KEINON-Jpost).It took some 34 months, but on Wednesday at the UN Israel finally heard the speech it wanted to hear from US President Barack Obama.

Gone were so many elements of previous Obama speeches on the Middle East that rankled so many Israelis, and left a taste in many people's mouths that here was a president who simply did not get us; who did not understand our history, our daily reality, or our fears.

This was a speech in which the US president, speaking to the world, gave context to words that other world leaders will undoubtedly spew out over the next two days from the UN podium about Palestinian degradations and humiliations, about the evils of Israeli checkpoints and security barriers and defensive actions.

“Let us be honest with ourselves: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it,” Obama said. “Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them. Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, looks out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile and persecution, and fresh memories of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they are. Those are facts. They cannot be denied.”

That was a dose of empathy and understanding that goes a long way toward explaining much of Israeli policy, past and present. Looked through this prism, the security barrier isn’t a land grab, and Operation Cast Lead was not just another opportunity by a blood-thirsty people to persecute the Palestinians.

This was a dose of empathy and understanding Obama had not articulated strongly in the past. Had he mouthed these words during the first few months of his presidency, much of the tension in the US-Israeli relationship over the past twoand- a-half years could have been avoided.

Speaking to a body often obsessed with the difficult reality under which the Palestinians live, Obama urged the UN to consider the Israeli reality as well.

Obama did not jettison his desire to see a Palestinian state, he just gave articulate expression to the truth that it will only come about through talks. In the early days of the Obama tenure, when the president harped on the settlement issue, he created the impression that the US believed that if the settlements were just halted, then the Arab world would pitch in and take steps toward Israel, and everything else would fall into place.

On Wednesday, he acknowledged that there were no shortcuts, period. No magic formulas, no silver bullets.

He even spoke – although not directly – of something not often mentioned publicly by world leaders: of the need for the Palestinians to compromise as well.

Cynics will argue that Obama doesn’t mean it, that he is just mouthing the words – pandering to the Jews, worried about reelection, recalibrating his message after a Democrat was roundly defeated by a Republican in a heavily Jewish congressional district that the Republicans have not represented in nearly 90 years.

No one can read into his heart, but the words – at this time, at that forum, in the matter in which they were expressed – do matter.

At the UN podium on Wednesday, Obama sent a message – whatever the reasons for that message may have been – that between Israel and the US there will be no wedge. And that is not an insignificant message.

Queens Assemblyman: Don't reward the Palestinians' 'lawfare' campaign with statehood: Make peace with Israel first

(Queens Assemblyman Rory Lancman-NYDailynews).The United Nations' potential blessing of a Palestinian state in an end run around direct negotiations with Israel will add a dangerous new dimension to the Palestinians' decades-long campaign of conventional and unconventional war against the Jewish state - the commencement of a full-blown "lawfare" campaign against Israel and its allies.

Granting Palestinian statehood (even if via "observer status") would turn existing lawfare tactics into the equivalent of nuclear-armed smart bombs aimed at both Israel and the U.S., and grant Palestinian institutions a nearly impenetrable bunker against being held accountable to terror victims.

For example, once the Palestinians obtain the authority to bring a case directly against Israel in the ICC, it is a foregone conclusion that the court will declare Israel's maritime "fence" around Gaza - instituted to prevent Hamas from acquiring materiel to launch rockets into Israeli cities - illegal.

Perhaps nowhere will the privileges of statehood more likely be abused than in the International Criminal Court. Israel, like the United States, withdrew from that court to protect its citizens from political prosecutions. Understanding that the key to the courthouse door is rooted in statehood, the Palestinian Authority in 2009 purported to accept the ICC's jurisdiction - a right granted only to states - over "the territory of Palestine," and in turn have the same powers of court member states.

This dubious maneuver has so far failed, but a UN declaration of statehood will instantly give the Palestinians full membership in the ICC, and the power to refer for ICC prosecution every Israeli soldier in the West Bank and Gaza operating to thwart missile attacks and suicide bombings, and every Israeli civilian (and many Americans, as well) living outside the outdated 1967 borders. Individual Israelis will become global fugitives, and the ICC will become yet another hostile international forum in which Israel's very legitimacy - its right to be free from attack and to affirmatively act in self-defense - must constantly be defended.

UN statehood will also block American victims of Palestinian terror from obtaining justice in American courts, by giving Palestinian institutions involved in terrorism a blanket of sovereign immunity reserved only for states.

Lefty Akiva Eldar / Introducing President Barack Netanyahu

with smoke coming out of his ear, lefty haaretz columnist Akiva Eldar, is just going nuts over Obama's speech at the UN, and his support of Israel in this critical moment, at the dark chamber of the UN general assembly.

here are some quotes:
"speeches like those presidential candidate Obama gave on Wednesday will not advance peace one iota.."

Obama's graceless courting of the Israeli government is unlikely to attract Jewish votes or financing; those who believe in the perpetuation of the conflict will prefer a Republican candidate who recycles the hollow vow to bring the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem."

"To realize the extent to which the lame-duck candidate has regressed from the positions of the new and promising President Obama, the speech to the United Nations in September 2011 should be compared to one he gave in Cairo in 2009. At that time he pledged to "personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires," and said "... it is time for all of us to live up to our responsibilities." Yesterday he sent the occupied and the occupier, the strong and the weak, to solve the core issues on their own."

"On Wednesday, Obama paid pursed lip service to the legitimate aspirations and forgot to mention the occupation."

"On Wednesday, not one word of criticism was heard about Israel creating unilateral physical facts on the ground. To the 2011-model Obama, only the Palestinians' approach to the United Nations is unilateral, objectionable and meriting the death penalty. Only the very best navigators of the endless maze of the "peace process" could find in yesterday's address an indirect mention of Obama's support for negotiations based on the 1967 borders and an exchange of territories - in a general reference to his speech last May."

"There is no doubt that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had many moments of pleasure on Wednesday...In fact, how can one complain about a foreign leader who risks our existence for considerations that are foreign to us? Don't we have one like that?"

US Jewish org's praise Obama's support at the UN, and commitment to Israel's security

(via Natasha Mozgovaya-Haaretz).U.S. Jewish organizations provided  universal praise for President Obama in their responses to the UN speech.

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC),took the speech as an opportunity to claim that all the "political chatter" doubting the president's support for Israel should be "put to bed once and for all."
"As he has proven throughout his presidency, President Obama supports Israel and its people instinctively. Israel truly has no better friend in the world today."

"On behalf of the National Jewish Democratic Council's Board of Directors and leadership, we wish to express our thanks to President Barack Obama for passionately and eloquently standing up for Israel and the Jewish State's security needs at the United Nations today."
The Jewish Lobby AIPAC welcomed the speech:
"AIPAC appreciates the President’s “unshakeable” commitment to Israel’s security and his clear statements outlining the daily dangers and strategic threats facing Israel. President Obama demonstrated his understanding of Israel’s legitimate requirements when he stated that the Jewish people – in their historic homeland – deserve recognition and normal relations with their neighbors."
AJC's Executive Director David Harris said:
“President Obama’s message was crystal clear that the only path to sustainable peace is direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, not what goes on in the corridors of the UN."
The Conference of Presidents Chairman Richard Stone and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein welcomed Obama's comments at the opening session of the UN General Assembly in support of direct negotiations, and his rejection of solutions imposed by outside parties, unilateral moves, or one sided declarations at the United Nations.
"The President correctly and clearly identified Israel’s security needs and challenges."

"The President said that 'the Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland' and that 'Israel deserves recognition', We specially note this formulation not only because it reaffirmed a historic truth but also because many in the hall he was addressing have sought to deny Israel’s ancient and constant connection to the land and others have refuse to recognize it as the Jewish State."
Jewish Council for Public Affairs President Rabbi Steve Gutow praised Obama for saying the United States is dedicated to achieving peace through bilateral negotiations.
“He (Obama) understands that peace is a cooperative venture. It needs leaders, partners, supporters, witnesses, and principled advocates. No sustainable peace can be achieved alone, The path to peace is paved with compromise and cooperation, not unilateralism.”
In a statement, Orthodox Union president Dr. Simcha Katz and director of public policy Nathan Diament congratulated Obama:
"for his clear statement of opposition to the Palestinians’ effort to unilaterally seek recognition at the United Nations instead of at the negotiating table with Israel. We also commend President Obama’s strong statements of support for Israel and his Administration’s commitment to Israel’s security."

Ed Koch: Obama got the message, I hope he will go further

(WCBSTV). Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who recently criticized President Barack Obama, saying he was soft on Israel, has now, in the view of some, done a “180″ and is praising the president on CBS 2 with John Slattery on Wednesday.
“I’m not an enemy of President Obama. I like him, always have, campaigned for him, But the fact is I want him to change his position.”

“I said I wanted to send a message. Don’t take the Jewish vote for granted. I think I did send that message.”
When asked if thinks he’s done a 180 on the subject and on his support of the president, Koch said, “I know I haven’t” to each.
“I think his speech was excellent. I applaud it and hope he will go further."

PM Harper: We all do look forward to the day when the two sides are at the bargaining table

Prime Minister Stephen Harper rallied to the side of Israel on Wednesday, saying the best road for peace in the Middle East lies through negotiations between that country and the Palestinians.

Harper made his move in a meeting at the United Nations with Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

As journalists were allowed into the room for a brief photo-op, both men smiled warmly and shook hands as they spoke to the cameras.

Harper told journalists he was going to talk with his counterpart about the "terrific" Canada-Israel relationship in areas such as the economy, culture, and "some of the great challenges" now being debated at the UN.
"I would be remiss, without delving too much into what is going on here, to say we all do look forward to the day when the two sides are at the bargaining table and making the tough decisions that are necessary to have two peaceful and secure democratic states."
For his part, Netanyahu was effusive in his praise.

He said that Israel knows that nobody wants Middle East peace more "than our friends in Canada and our friend, the prime minister."
"Israel and Canada have a lot in common — the same heart, the same values. And that I say with great appreciation — for your stance, for your conviction, for your friendship."

"And I share, too, your desire to resume direct negotiations for peace and get on with it. Because the only way we can finish peace negotiations is by beginning peace negotiations. And I know that we'll have your support in our quest for peace and security."

FM Lieberman on Obama's UN speech: "It was a speech by an ally."

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman lauded US President Barack Obama's pro-Israel UN speech on Wednesday, saying "I can welcome and sign off on this speech with both my hands. It was a speech by an ally."

The foreign minister added that Israel has "shown much flexibility and we respect the American requests.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren expressed his satisfaction over Obama's UN speech, and said that it is not yet clear whether the Palestinians have majority support for their statehood bid at the UN Security Council.

Oren told Ynet that "Congress has made it clear that there will be consequences to any Palestinian attempt to declare independence through the UN, and I think that the Palestinians are completely aware of this stance."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday responded to US President Barck Obama's speech,, saying the address was proof of the strong relationship between the American leader and Israel.
"Once again it's been proven to all the doubters, President Obama is an ally and friend of Israel. The Obama administration gives backing to Israel's security in a wide, all-encompassing and unprecedented manner."

Netanyahu: Obama deserves a 'Badge of Honor' for Stance On Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said that direct negotiations was the only way to achieve a stable Middle East peace, maintaining that the Palestinian effort to secure UN recognition of statehood "will not succeed."

Moments before his joint meeting with US President Barack Obama in New York, Netanyahu lauded the American President, Barack Obama "for standing with Israel and supporting peace through direct negotiations. We both agree that this is the only way."

"Palestinians deserve a state, but it's a state that has to make peace with Israel, and therefore the attempt to shortcut this process will not succeed. I think the Palestinians want to achieve a state through the international community, but they are not prepared yet to give peace to Israel in return."
Netanyahu went on to praise the President for taking strong suppportive stance in support of Israel:
"I think, standing your ground, taking this position of principle, which is also the right position to achieve peace, this is a badge of Honor, and i want to thank you for wearing that Badge of Honor...and i hope others will follow your example..."
During their joint press conference, Obama reiterated his commitment to Israel, saying:
"I think it's fair to say that today our security cooperation is stronger than it has ever been.Peace cannot be imposed – it has to be negotiated. Israelis and Palestinians sitting down together and working through these very difficult issues that have kept the parties apart for decades now; that is what I know is the ultimate goal for all of us – two states, side by side, living in peace and security," he added.

"Recent events in the region remind us how fragile peace can be, and why the pursuit of Middle East peace is more urgent than ever."

Obama: Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday rejected Palestinian plans to seek UN recognition for statehood and urged a return to peace talks with Israel as he tried to head off a looming diplomatic disaster.

Addressing world leaders at the opening of the UN General Assembly, Obama said that the Palestinians deserved a state of their own, but that this would only be achieved through negotiations.
"I am convinced that there is no shortcut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN."

"Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians -- not us -- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem."

"One year ago, I stood at this podium and called for an independent Palestine. I believed then – and I believe now – that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that genuine peace can only be realized between Israelis and Palestinians themselves."

"One year later,despite extensive efforts by America and others, the parties have not bridged their differences. Faced with this stalemate, I put forward a new basis for negotiations in May. That basis is clear, and well known to all of us here. Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state.

"I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. So am I. But the question isn’t the goal we seek – the question is how to reach it. And I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades."

"We seek a future where Palestinians live in a sovereign state of their own, with no limit to what they can achieve. There is no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long."

"America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable, and our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day.

"Let’s be honest: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them."

"Israel,a small country of less than eight million people, looks out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile, persecution, and the fresh memory of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they were."

"These facts cannot be denied. The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.

"That truth – that each side has legitimate aspirations – is what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in each other’s shoes."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Danny Ayalon tells Newsmax TV: Palestinians Making 'Mockery' of U.N.

(Newsmax). Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon tells Newsmax that Palestinians seeking statehood at the United Nations want a “rubber stamp to their capricious conduct” — and says the U.N. won’t solve anything “the parties themselves do not solve.”

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Ayalon was asked why the United Nations should not recognize a Palestinian state.
“Because it will make a mockery of international conduct and traditions,South Sudan is the latest country to join the U.N. How did they join the U.N.? After they finished bilateral negotiations. Then they brought it to the United Nations.

“So by trying to put this process on its head, I believe not only Israelis and Palestinians will suffer, but any conflict in the world will become much more intransigent. The U.N. cannot solve anything that the parties themselves do not solve.”

As for Israel’s options if the Palestinians proceed with their statehood effort, Ayalon says:
“If this happens we will have to reconsider our steps. We are not beholden to the obligations according to the [Israeli-Palestinian] agreements. The Palestinians broke these agreements, and we will have to take action according to our interests.

“We may have to wait until there is more reasonable and more sensible leadership on the Palestinian side.”
The number one priority for Israel now “is to continue the peace process with the Palestinians,” Ayalon adds.
“We call upon the Palestinians to stop this unilateral effort and come to the table. We have been waiting for them.

“What has derailed the peace process is the refusal of the Palestinians to come forward and sit with us without preconditions.

“They keep saying no. They’ve always wanted everything, and this approach of all or nothing is the main stumbling block today. And for the U.N. to accept this approach of all or nothing, because they use their automatic majority, not only is it a blow to the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, it’s also a blow to the image of the United Nations, because if the Palestinians can render the United Nations a rubber stamp to their capricious conduct, this may bode ill for other parties, for other conflicts around the world.”