Israel Political Brief March 25, 2012: Israel’s Supreme Court blocks government posponement of the 2015 demolition of Migron settlement



Israel’s Supreme Court blocks Migron deal

Source: JTA, 3-25-12

Israel’s top court order blocked the government’s deferral of the demolition of an illegal West Bank settlement.

Citing the need to maintain the rule of law, the High Court of Justice ruled Sunday against an attempt by the government to postpone to 2015 the demolition of Migron, a settlement that the Palestinians say is built on their land.

After repeated deferrals dating back to 2006, the demolition was scheduled to take place at the end of the month. But the court gave the state until August to arrange an orderly transfer of Migron’s approximately 50 families.

High Court President Asher Dan Grunis said the ruling honored “the rule of law to which all are subject as part of Israel’s values as a Jewish and democratic state.”

The settlers, who deny that Migron is built on private Palestinian land, had signed a deal with the Netanyahu government this month agreeing to relocate to a nearby hill over the next three years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to Sunday’s ruling, “The government of Israel, like all citizens of Israel, respect the court’s decisions and will act in accordance with the laws of Israel.”

Israel Political Brief March 25, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: I won’t bring elections forward



Netanyahu: I won’t bring elections forward

Source: YNet News, 3-25-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that he has no intention of bringing forward the elections. “I’m in no hurry,” he said at the Likud ministers meeting. Knesset elections are scheduled to take place in November 2013.

Many in the political system, including Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin estimated that elections will be held in 2012. On Thursday, Rivlin said he will try to achieve consensus on a September vote

Israel Political Brief March 25, 2012: Israeli lawmakers inaugurate Diaspora caucus



Israeli lawmakers inaugurate Diaspora caucus

Source: JTA, 3-25-12

Israeli lawmakers from across the political spectrum launched a caucus to strengthen relations with Diaspora Jewry.

At least 40 Knesset members have joined the ad hoc committee co-founded by coalition chairman Zeev Elkin of the Likud Party and Nachman Shai of Kadima, which met for the first time on Tuesday.

The lobby will provide an open forum to discuss issues involving the Diaspora, but it cannot set official policy. It was formed at the initiative of Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, according to reports.

A new study of Israelis conducted by the Jewish Agency found that 91 percent of respondents believe that Israel should help Jewish communities abroad. Another 91 percent said they believed that Diaspora Jewry would stand with Israel in the face of a threat from Iran or other enemies.

Jewish Agency Secretary-General Josh Schwartz presented the study at the committee meeting.

“Jewish children were attacked in their school in Toulouse just because they and their parents wanted to maintain a connection with their Jewish heritage and the Jewish state,” Sharansky said at the meeting “This murderous attack proves to us again in the most tragic way that the enemies of the Jewish people and the enemies of the Jewish state are one and the same. The State of Israel and the Jewish people face the same threats.”

Israel Political Brief March 25, 2012: President Barack Obama says time running out on diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program



Obama: Time running out for Iran talks

Source: JTA, 3-25-12

Time is running out for a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, President Obama said.

“I believe there is a window of time to solve this diplomatically, but that window is closing,” Obama told reporters Sunday after discussing Iran with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Seoul, which is hosting a nuclear security summit this week.

Iran has said it is open to new negotiations with world powers about its nuclear program, which the Islamic Republic insists is peaceful despite international suspicions that it has secret military designs.

Israel has made a veiled threat to attack Iran pre-emptively if it deems diplomacy a dead end. Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor said that Israel insists the new negotiations stop Iran’s uranium enrichment, remove its stocks of the potential bomb fuel and dismantle its fortified enrichment plant near Qom. Iran has ruled out such conditions….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 25, 2012: Israel’s Interior Ministry checking whether Toulouse terrorist visited Israel



Israel checking whether Toulouse terrorist visited

Source: JTA, 3-25-12

Israeli authorities are investigating a French media report that Toulouse terrorist Mohammed Merah visited Israel.

Merah’s passport, found by French police after he was killed in a shootout Thursday, showed that he visited Israel, Syria, Iraq and Jordan, the Le Monde newspaper reported.

Merah had confessed during the more than 30-hour standoff at his apartment in Toulouse to a gun attack on the city’s Ozar Hatorah school on March 19 that killed Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, and his two young sons, as well as the 7-year-old daughter of the school’s principal. A self-described al-Qaida member, Merah also was wanted for the murders of three French troops.

Israel’s Interior Ministry said it had no record of a Merah’s name among tourists who entered the country in recent years, but police and secret service authorities said Sunday the possibility that he had visited under another identity was still being checked.

Asked about the possibility that Merah had come to Israel, perhaps to reconnoiter for an attack, Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor told Channel Two television Saturday, “I heard about this in the press. I don’t know what the facts are, exactly.”

Israel Political Brief March 25, 2012: US Congress lift holds & release $88.6 million in aid to Palestinians



Congress frees up some PA funds

Source: JTA, 3-25-12

The United States plans to release $88.6 million in development funds for the Palestinian Authority.

Congress members announced the planned release Friday to the grudging gratification of the PA, which needs the money to stay fiscally afloat.

In August, Republican lawmakers froze $147 million in U.S. aid to protest the PA’s attempt to sidestep stalled peace talks with Israel and win statehood status at international forums.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, limited the release to $88.6 million.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called the release “very important” but told reporters, “The entire sum must be sent … in order to support the Palestinian Authority’s budget.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 25, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks / Speech at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 3-25-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today:

“Last weekend there were three murders in the Arab sector.  Reducing crime in the Arab sector is a goal of the Government and it needs to be a goal of the country.  I appreciate the fact that there are increasing voices from within the Arab sector, from its leaders, mayors and citizens, calling for stepped-up law enforcement within Arab communities and villages.  I think that this is an important change.  I add to this my call for enlistment in the civilian service, within which it will also be possible to combine actions for increased law enforcement.  The community can help itself.  The Arab sector can help itself vis-à-vis increased law enforcement by volunteering in the civilian service as well.

Last week I attended a conference that the Government organized on increasing the involvement of Israeli Arabs in Israel’s economic growth.  We spoke there about the steps to involve them in the economy, education, transportation, access to jobs and many other issues.  I think that all of these things are important.  While the Government has invested billions of shekels in moving forward on these goals in the Arab sector, I would like to say that without law enforcement, none of these steps will achieve the goal that we are hoping for and striving toward – i.e. the integration of Israeli Arabs in the State of Israel’s progress.

Alongside all of these actions that we are doing and alongside this partnership, there must also be partnership in enforcing the law.  We will do our part.  I expect a practical response by Arab sector community representatives regarding increased law enforcement in their communities.”

דברי ראש הממשלה בפתח ישיבת הממשלה

יום ראשון ב’ ניסן תשע”ב
בוקר טוב,

בסוף השבוע שעבר בוצעו בתוך יממה שלושה מקרי רצח במגזר הערבי. צמצום הפשיעה במגזר הערבי זה יעד של הממשלה והוא צריך להיות יעד של המדינה. אני מעריך את העובדה שעולים קולות מתוך המגזר עצמו, מתוך מנהיגיו, ראשי הערים ואזרחים שקוראים להגברת האכיפה של החוק בתוך היישובים והכפרים הערביים. אני חושב שזה שינוי חשוב. אני מוסיף לזה את הקריאה שלי להתגייסות לשירות האזרחי, שבתוכו ניתן גם לשלב פעולות להגברת אכיפת החוק. הקהילה יכולה לעזור לעצמה. המגזר הערבי יכול לעזור לעצמו באכיפה חזקה יותר של החוק, גם באמצעות פעולות התנדבות בשירות האזרחי.

בשבוע שעבר השתתפתי בוועידה שהממשלה ארגנה, להגברת השותפות של ערביי ישראל בצמיחה של כלכלת ישראל. דיברנו שם על צעדים לשיתופם בפיתוח כלכלי, בחינוך, בתחבורה, נגישות למקומות תעסוקה ונושאים רבים אחרים. אני חושב שכל הדברים האלה הם חשובים. הממשלה השקיעה מיליארדי שקלים כדי לקדם את היעדים האלה במגזר הערבי, אבל אני רוצה לומר, שללא אכיפת חוק, כל הצעדים הללו לא ישיגו את היעד שאנחנו מייחלים לו ופועלים למענו – כלומר, שילוב של ערביי ישראל בקדמה של מדינת ישראל.

לצד כל המעשים הללו שאנחנו עושים ולצד כל השותפות הזאת, חייבת להיות שותפות גם באכיפת החוק. אנחנו נפעל מהצד שלנו. אני מצפה להיענות מעשית מנציגי הציבור של המגזר הערבי להגברת אכיפת החוק ביישוביהם.

תודה רבה.

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