Gabi Ashkenazi: We don’t know where Gilad Shalit is in Gaza

Ashkenazi: We don’t know where Gilad is

Ex-IDF chief says Israel unable to stage military op to retrieve Hamas-held solider due to lack of concrete intelligence on his whereabouts

Source: YNet News, 5-25-11

Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi spoke at a Bar Ilan University conference Wednesday and said that while in office, her failed in regards to securing the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Ashkenazi, who was given an honorary doctorate by the university, said: “We have to admit that we do not have the ability to use military force to free Gilad. My biggest fantasy was to see a helicopter land at Erez crossing, with Gilad in it, and calling his parents to tell them we got him back.

Hamas has Shalit hidden in such a way that we cannot locate him. We don’t know where he is. If we fail to manufacture a military option for his release, we have to admit it and pay a reasonable price for his return.”…READ MORE

Israeli Ministers Inaugurate New East Jerusalem Settlement Ma’aleh Zeitim

Day after Netanyahu addresses Congress, his ministers inaugurate East Jerusalem settlement

Knesset speaker at ceremony comments on Obama’s recent Mideast policy speech, asking what will happen if ‘one day there is a president that thinks Israel’s existence contradicts America’s interest?’

Source: Haaretz, 5-25-11

One day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Jerusalem will not be divided, the speaker of the Knesset and several other government ministers attended a dedication ceremony for the new Jewish settlement of Ma’aleh Zeitim, in East Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud neighborhood.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, and Information Minister Daniel Hershkovitz all participated in the ceremony – this despite the fact that the Jewish neighborhood has already been inhabited for several years.

Maaleh Zeitim, May 25 2011, Olivier Pitosi Activists at Ma’aleh Zeitim in Jerusalem, May 25 2011.
Photo by: Olivier Pitosi

Rivlin delivered a speech at the ceremony, where he made a warning based on the recent Mideast policy speech laid out by United States President Barack Obama.

“Until today, despite a difference of opinions, there were relations between Israel and the U.S. based on mutual interests, shared democratic values, and recognition of the right of the Jewish people in their country,” Rivlin said.

“But this time, I hear another note from the U.S. president…. That Israel doesn’t need to be strict on the conditions that will protect her existence, that the U.S. will be responsible for [Israel’s] security and existence. And what happens if one day there is a president that thinks that Israel’s existence contradicts Americans’ interests?”

Rivlin condemned those that seek to “cut up” Jerusalem, as bringing “disaster” onto the city and its residents.

The comments come shortly after a weekend where U.S. President Barack Obama called for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians based on borders from 1967, which Netanyahu calls “indefensible”….READ MORE

Egypt to open border crossing for Palestinians

Egypt will open its only crossing with the Gaza Strip this weekend, the Cairo military government announced Wednesday, significantly easing a four-year blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory but setting up a potential conflict with Israel.

This gives Gaza Palestinians a way to freely enter and exit their territory for the first time since 2007, when Hamas overran the territory, and Israel and Egypt closed the crossings.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Fox News Interview

Cable Exclusive: Israeli PM Netanyahu Talks Candidly About Mideast Conflict, Relationship With U.S.

Source: Fox News, 5-25-11

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on Capitol Hill today. He addressed a packed House chamber before a special joint meeting of Congress. And moments before his historic speech, right after that, I sat down with him in Washington. And you’re going to see that interview just moments from now.

But first, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from his speech from earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America’s unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American. Israel will always be pro-American.

(APPLAUSE)

You don’t need to do nation building in Israel. We are already built.

(APPLAUSE)

You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it.

(APPLAUSE)

And you don’t need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves!

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And today in a cable exclusive interview, I asked the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about that speech and much, much more. Let’s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Mr. Prime Minister, welcome back sir, it’s an honor to have you.

NETANYAHU: Good to see you, Sean.

HANNITY: I appreciate you being here.

Just prior to your arrival, the president gave a speech and talked about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It made a lot of news and in the speech he said, the U.S. believes a negotiations should result in two states with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, Egypt and then he said the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps so that secure and recognized borders are established for bottle states. It caused a bit of an uproar.

NETANYAHU: Well, I was very happy to hear the president add the other side of the coin. He said, there will be no return to the June 4th, 1967 lines. And I agree with that obviously because I think those lines are indefensible. Israel would only be nine miles wide, that is kind of hard to defend. You know, that’s half the width of the Washington Beltway. I was in the Capitol today. It’s the width from the Capitol building to Bethesda.

HANNITY: Short.

NETANYAHU: Yes, just imagine America compressed to half the Washington Beltway. We won’t be able to defend ourselves. So, I said that we would have to maintain a permanent Israeli presence along the Jordan River. And I think there’s agreement between Israel and United States, that Israel must have defensible borders. Because in our part of the world, there’s a simple truth, a peace you can’t defend is a peace that will not hold.

HANNITY: Things changed pretty dramatically though in the course of the time that you’ve been here. The president went into great detail in his APEC speech to clarify those remarks. What did that mean to you, when he clarified it?

NETANYAHU: Well, you know, we talked about that in our conversation too, and I was glad — in the lunch that we had, too. I think it was important. Because it reassures Israel that we’ll have a defensible peace, a realistic peace. And I think also that the fact that he said that peace will only be negotiated between the parties. It’s not going to be imposed by the U.N., the U.N. can decide anything. The U.N. can decide that the sun revolves around the Earth and that both are flat discs. It could actually do that. They pass these outrageous resolutions.

So, when the president said, that’s not going to happen, and that’s not going to succeed in the Security Council, because they will block it, and because peace has to be negotiated. So, a negotiated peace in which the Palestinians recognize, finally recognize the Jewish state. And in which Israel has defensible boundaries, that’s a good thing. I agree with that, obviously.

HANNITY: So, as this week has evolved, how would you describe your relationship with President Obama?

NETANYAHU: I think it is a very, very important and positive development and a positive relationship. We have a lot of things that don’t meet the eye. People don’t see it. The press loves to take differences we have, blow it up, you know, it is very attractive.

But I spent seven meetings with the president. That’s a lot of hours. And we have so much more that we agree on than those areas that we disagree on. And there are things that people don’t know. They don’t know that Israeli-American security cooperation is at an all-time high.

We just — I don’t know if you know this, we had a revolutionary development in military history. We’ve had the support of the United States for Israeli technology to develop an anti-missile system. And we just intercepted in combat seven incoming rockets aimed at Israeli cities and they never got there. We intercepted them in mid-air.

Now, that’s partly a result of the American support for Israel that has taken place now. I appreciate that. I think it is important with all the hoopla — it is important to say these things. Because there’s so much that binds Israel and the United States together. And I think it needs to be said.

HANNITY: So, could we say that there is a healthy understanding — I watched the speech today, and 29 standing ovations. You got 10 good jokes in, and over 50 moments of applause. By any estimation, a very, very warm welcome from the United States Congress, a joint session of Congress. Would it be fair to say there’s a healthy understanding with the White House and Congress, understanding Israel’s security needs?

NETANYAHU: I think so. And I think also some basic principles. You know, Palestinian authority just embraced Hamas. Which I think is a tragedy. Hamas talks about destroying Israel. You know, just fired a missile deliberately, into — a rocket, into a yellow school bus. They killed, you know, they killed a 16-year-old boy. In rockets, our cities and our civilians. It is keeping (INAUDIBLE) our captured soldier for five years without one visit from the Red Cross. It’s a criminal organization committed to our destruction saying that they have a holy mandate to kill Jews everywhere. It’s not a partner for peace.

So, the other thing that we agree on is that you can’t negotiate with Hamas. You don’t negotiate with people who want to kill you….READ MORE

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