Full Text Israel Political Brief June 29, 2015: Security Cabinet Approves PM Netanyahu’s Proposal to Begin Work on an Approximately 30-km. Section of Security Fence along Israel’s Eastern Border with Jordan



Security Cabinet Approves PM Netanyahu’s Proposal to Begin Work on an Approximately 30-km. Section of Security Fence along Israel’s Eastern Border

Source: PMO, 6-29-15

The Security Cabinet yesterday adopted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to begin work on an approximately 30-kilometer long section of security fence along the State of Israel’s eastern border, from Eilat to the site designated for the Timna airport. The Security Cabinet also approved the necessary allocation of resources for building the section of fence.

The Government of Israel is in contact with the Government of Jordan and emphasizes that the construction of this section of security fence is being carried out on the Israeli side of the border. The fence will not, in any way, infringe on the sovereignty of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its national interests, which will be respected.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, today (Monday, 29 June 2015), at the start of a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, referred to the foregoing decision:

“Yesterday in the Security Cabinet, we made a very important decision to continue a section of fence along our southern border, this time from Eilat, 30 kilometers north to past the Timna airport that is under construction. This is important. It is part of our national security. It joins the fence that we built along the length of our border with Sinai, which blocked the entry of illegal migrants into Israel and – of course – the various terrorist movements. This step also joins the fence that we built on our border on the Golan Heights.

I would like to make it clear that this fence will be entirely within the territory of the State of Israel. It will not, in any way, infringe on the sovereignty of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its national interests.

I think that this is a very important step. I am also pleased that the members of the Security Cabinet approved the sources of financing.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 11, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech addressing the International Conference on Counter-Terrorism — Transcript



PM Netanyahu addresses International Conference on Counter-Terrorism

Source: MFA, 9-11-14

International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s 14th International Conference on Counter-Terrorism

PM Netanyahu addresses International Conference on Counter-Terrorism

  PM Netanyahu addresses International Conference on Counter-Terrorism

There’s no meaningful power without responsibility. Well, you could have it but it’s worthless or worse, it could be very dangerous. So all of us entrusted in power, with power, have responsibility and I’ll talk about that later – what our responsibilities entail at this moment.

But I’d like to say a few words before that not only to you, our host, Dr. Ganor, who I remember from our youth, and the many guests here from abroad, but most especially to Ambassador Shapiro of the United States of America  and to the people of the United States.

We remember that day thirteen years ago and we mourn with you on this day for the thousands who lost their lives in that horrific attack. All of Israel mourned on September 11th. In Gaza, they were dancing on the roofs. They were handing out candy. That’s the moral divide. We mourn; they celebrate the death of thousands of innocents. And then when the US took out Bin-Laden, I speaking for virtually the entire country congratulated President Obama. In Gaza, Hamas condemned the US and called Bin-Laden a “holy warrior”, a holy warrior of Islam. That’s the moral divide. We celebrate; they mourn the death of an arch-terrorist.

Now that moral divide has never been clearer than it is today because Hamas, like al-Qaeda and its affiliates al-Nusra or its new growth ISIS or Boko Haram, al-Shabab, Hezbollah supported by Iran – all are branches of the same poisonous tree. All present a clear and present danger to the peace and security of the world and to our common civilization.

I believe that the battle against these groups is indivisible and it’s important not to let any of these groups succeed anywhere because if they gain ground somewhere, they gain ground everywhere. And their setbacks are also felt everywhere. If they gain ground, if they were to succeed, they would return humanity to a primitive early medievalism. I say early medievalism because my father, my late father was a great historian of the Middle Ages and I’d be giving them too much compliment – early medievalism, primitive early medievalism where women are treated as chattel, as property and gays are stoned and minorities persecuted if they’re left alive at all.

And these groups must be fought, they must be rolled back and they must ultimately be defeated. That’s why Israel fully supports President Obama’s call for united actions against ISIS. All civilized countries should stand together in the fight against radical terrorism that sweeps across the Middle East, sweeps across the world. And we are playing our part in this continued effort. Some of the things are known; some things are less known. We have always viewed it as our common battle for our common future.

Now the fight against Islamist terrorism has created new alliances in the Middle East because many Sunni Arab states recognize that the threat of Iran’s aggression and its radical Shiite proxies pose a fundamental danger to them, as does fundamentalist Sunni terrorism. And as a result of this, these twin threats of radical Shi’ism using terrorist tactics, radical Sunnism using terrorist tactics – as a result of this, they’re reevaluating their relationship with Israel and they understand that Israel is not their enemy but their ally in the fight against this common enemy. And I believe this presents an opportunity for cooperation and perhaps an opportunity for peace.

I think it’s crucial not to let the fight against Sunni extremism make us forget the danger of Shiite extremism. They are two sides of the same coin. We don’t have to strengthen one to weaken the other. My policy is: Weaken both. And most importantly, don’t allow any of them to get weapons of mass destruction. And that’s why the arrangement that was achieved in Syria to disband and take out the chemical weapons and chemical materials was so important. And I think President Obama had a very important achievement there. We understand what it would mean that any of these sides would have weapons of mass destruction because all you have to imagine is what would have happened if on 9/11 al-Qaeda had nuclear weapons. You know they would have used them against New York and against Washington. It’s unassailable.

These groups have absolutely no moral or other impediment to their mad desires. Once they have massive power, they will unleash all their violence, all their ideological zeal, all their hatred, with weapons of mass death. And all you have to imagine is what would have happened if al-Qaeda today had access to chemical weapons in Syria. Well then, project that: What would happen if the terrorist regime in Iran will have weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons? They control themselves today. They’ve put up a good front. But they have tremendous, tremendous ambitions. Not for Iran; for Shi’ism from Iran. And those ambitions would be unleashed once they have nuclear weapons in their capacity. They must not have it.

Now the world powers are now negotiating with Iran and I hope they make a good deal because a bad deal should not be made. I’ll tell you what a good deal is: The one that was made in Syria, because what that deal said was take the chemical weapons and the materials, the chemicals themselves and the means to make the weapons, out of Syria. They didn’t say to Assad, “Keep them, store them and we’ll put an inspector. You know, we’ll lock it with a padlock and we’ll put an inspector next to it”, because at any point Assad could kick out the inspector – I’m not saying that’s Inspector Clouseau… a good inspector. But the whole idea of breakout is you throw away the inspector and you rush, once you unlock the storehouses, you rush to make the weapons. That’s what Iran is seeking. Iran is seeking to keep the enriched nuclear material, to keep the centrifuges, to keep the means to make nuclear weapons in short order – we’ll put a padlock on it and we’ll put an inspector, inspectors there. And then at a certain point when there are international crises that consume our attention, and you know these never happen these days, right? Kick out the inspectors, break the lock, you break out. Within weeks, a few months, they have nuclear weapons. That’s a bad deal.

And if Iran has nuclear weapons, you will see a tremendous pivot in the world. No, not in the Middle East – in the world. You will see things you never imagined could be possible, horrors that you couldn’t even contemplate, come to fruition. The ultimate terror: A terrorist regime with the weapons of the greatest terror of them all. We must not let that happen.

So we have no shortage of threats and they have come about as a result of the collapse of the old order. It collapsed about a hundred years ago. It collapsed rather in a way that has not happened in the last hundred years, the so-called Arab Spring, which has not materialized as some people had thought. I think it’s now clear that the forces of democracy have not come to the fore and if anything, what we’ve seen is old regimes collapse and Islamist forces come to the surface, old hatreds – Shiite against Shiite, but primarily Shiite against Sunni, Sunni against Sunni – all come bursting from subterranean layers of history and frustration. And they all have one common goal. The goal is we establish a new Islamist dominion, first in the Middle East and in their warped thinking, throughout the world. They all agree on that. They are not limited in their scope to a territory. They’re not limited to borders. They are basically… they may be pivoted in a state, they may be anchored in a particular place, but their goal is to take the entire world, to cleanse it of infidels – first their own people, Muslims, and then everyone else. Madness.

They all agree that they have to establish a caliphate. They all disagree who should be the caliph. That’s the nature of their disagreements. And they all use essentially the same tactic and that’s unbridled violence, fear – fear – terror. And the terror is first of all imposed on their own peoples. That’s the number one target before anyone else. If your people want to rise up against you as they did in Iran five years ago, you kill them. You send out your troopers to the streets, besiege and just shoot them on the sidewalks. You steal millions of votes, people protest – you shoot them. But it’s not enough to shoot them one time. You constantly shoot them or to be more precise, in Iran you hang them.

Anywhere between 1,000 to 2,000 people are annually executed, executed in Iran. I’m not talking about criminals; I’m not talking about people who have broken the law – people who have the temerity to have a different view, question the regime. And they’re hung in public squares and sometimes they’re hung from cranes. They don’t have enough scaffolds. And you see the same thing, the same thing – it doesn’t receive the same prominence – from ISIS, same technique. You take over a population. The first thing is, yes, you lop heads off in this tragic barbarism that we witness, but you also take people to the burial pits and you shoot them by the hundreds and thousands.

And we’ve just seen the same in Gaza. During the fighting, there was a lull. Gazans went out to look at their surroundings, started protesting at what Hamas did to them and Hamas had a very simple thing in response – they shot them. These aren’t the executions you heard about. These are the executions you didn’t hear about. And then towards the end of the fighting, just to make sure that everybody gets the message, as in Iran, as in Iraq today, so in Gaza – they take out 25 people from the jails, Fatah people who have been there for years, and they accuse them – listen to this – they accuse them that they are the ones who gave Israel real-time intelligence for our military actions. Kind of hard to do. I don’t know. Maybe we dug a tunnel underneath, came to their jail cells, received… That’s not funny. They take them out into the public squares and they put a bullet in their heads for everyone to see.

So the tactics are uniform. Terror first of all against your own people. There’s a larger imperative. We know this. We’ve seen this before. There’s a master race; now there’s a master faith. And that allows you to do anything to anyone, but first of all to your own people and then to everyone else. And what do you do to everyone else? For that you use new techniques. And the new techniques involve first of all taking over civilian populations, putting yourself inside civilian areas contravening the laws of war and the Geneva Convention; using your people as human shields, the same people you execute; and then firing indiscriminately at civilians. You hide behind civilians, you fire on civilians. And you fire rockets and missiles. And this creates a whole new set of problems. And these problems are born of the fact that it’s much harder to fight this kind of terror – much harder. It’s much easier to fight an army: tanks, artillery, command centers, open spaces. You destroy that, you destroy the army. End of war.

But these people, because they’re forcing you to face up to the moral limits that democracies obey, are basically forcing you to fight a new war and that new war requires two things. It’s requires the ability to have precision-guided munitions to be able to target the terrorists who are targeting you from inside civilians areas, but to try to limit the damage – what is called collateral damage or the incidental civilians casualties that accompany any war. Here they’re placed right in there, deliberately, by the terrorists. So you need precision weapons. You also need very precise intelligence. But the second thing – and that’s very, very expensive. I’m going to say that in Hebrew in a second. We have defense budget discussions. That’s very expensive. It’s much more expensive than dealing with tanks or artillery or regular armies.

And the second thing you have to do is defend yourself against the missiles that they pour on your own population, what we call the rear but in this case it’s the front because your cities are targeted. Well, we figured out, with the help of the United States for which we’re deeply grateful, we developed a system to protect ourselves against this terror, these terror attacks from the sky. And that too is very, very expensive.

So dealing with this new type of war actually is more difficult than dealing with the old type of war. But that’s the war that we’re facing. That’s the terror war that we now face. We face Islamist terrorists who take entire communities, cities, populations, hostage; who execute dissenters; who hide among civilians; and fire on civilians. That’s the new war. We have to make sure that they don’t have weapons of mass destruction because they have no inhibitions. But we also have to make sure that we have the capability to attack them and to defend against their attacks. And that requires weapons, defensive and offensive, but above all it requires, I believe, clarity and courage – clarity to understand they’re wrong, we’re right; they’re evil, we’re good. No moral relativism there at all. These people who lop off heads, trample human rights into the dust – are evil and they have to be resisted. Evil has to be resisted. And the second, it requires courage and responsibility. It requires courage because all the other qualities that we could bring to bear in the battle against terrorism are meaningless if you don’t have courage.

I think we have reservoirs of both, but I think that we have to also recognize that we are in a great historic juncture. I may surprise you when I tell you that I think militant Islam will be defeated. I think it will be, I think it will ultimately disappear from the stage of history because I think it’s a grand failure – it doesn’t know how to manage economies, it cannot offer the young people to which it appeals any kind of future. It can control their minds for now but ultimately the spread of information technology will obviate that, will give people choices. But this may take a long time. And we’ve been able to predict in the past that radical ideologies – which inflame the minds of millions – set their sights on minorities, usually starts with the Jews, it never ends with the Jews. They ultimately fail too. That happened in the last century. But before they failed, they took down tens of millions with them and a third of our own people. That will never happen again.

Clarity and courage, alliances as broad as we can make them with those who understand that we’re in a common battle, and courage to see this through, to roll back an ultimate victory. I’m confident that militant Islam will perish, but we must not allow anyone to perish with it before it goes down. That’s our task.

Israel Political Brief May 8, 2013: US President Barack Obama phones PM Benjamin Netanyahu over ‘regional security issues’



Obama phones Netanyahu over ‘regional security issues’

Source: The Times of Israel, 5-8-13

US President Barack Obama spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone Wednesday to discuss regional security issues and Middle East peace, the White House said….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 10, 2012: PM Israel Political Brief June 10, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Accuses Iran, Hezbollah involved in Syrian ‘slaughter’



Iran, Hezbollah involved in Syrian ‘slaughter,’ Netanyahu charges

Source: JTA, 6-10-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran and Hezbollah of being involved in the “slaughter” of civilians in Syria. “We [see] what is happening in Syria where civilians are simply being slaughtered,” Netanyahu said during Sunday’s regular Cabinet meeting. “We see the horrifying pictures of children and the elderly. This is a slaughter that is being perpetrated not only by the Syrian government. Iran and Hezbollah are helping it, and today the world needs to see this axis of evil: Iran-Syria-Hezbollah — the face of this axis of evil is fully revealed for what it is.”…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 17, 2012: Ronald S. Lauder: Canada Should Play Larger Role in Mideast Negotiations



Jewish Leader: Canada Should Play Larger Role in Mideast

The head of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, said that Canada should play a larger role in Middle East negotiations.
Canadian PM Stephen Harper

Canadian PM Stephen Harper

The head of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, said that Canada should play a larger role in Middle East negotiations.

Lauder met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird in Ottawa on Wednesday to discuss the situation in the Middle East, as well as the increasing threat of worldwide anti-Semitism.

The Jewish leader asserted that with the new coalition government in Israel, it may be possible to restart negotiations “I believe that in the coming months, Canada can play a role and I think will be invited to play a role,” Lauder said in an interview with the Canadian Press.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres visited Canada this spring to express support for the strong pro-Israel policies of the Harper government. “Canada’s long-standing position on a negotiated, two-state solution has not changed,” a spokesman for Baird said.

“Our government always stands ready to work in a constructive way to help solve international disputes,” the spokesman added.

In a recent interview Baird asserted that, “Canada is not going to be an honest broker between an international terrorist organization and a liberal democracy, when the great struggle of our generation is the struggle between liberal democracies and international terrorist organizations.”

“Today it is a very dangerous world out there, there are very few true leaders out there,” Lauder told the Canadian Press.

Lauder continued to state that Prime Minister Harper is “a true leader” who speaks his mind.

Israel Political Brief February 12, 2012: US Threats to cut Egypt assistance could impact Israel, US Mideast influence



Threats to cut Egypt assistance could impact Israel, U.S. influence in Mideast

Source: JTA, 2-12-12

If U.S. aid to Egypt is cut amid deteriorating relations between Washington and Cairo, a crucial lever of U.S. influence in the region would be gone, with implications not just for Israel-Egypt relations but for America’s ability to contain Iran….Read more »

Israel Political Brief October 3, 2011: Israel accepts Middle East Quartet’s peace process proposal



Israel accepts Quartet’s peace process proposal

Source: JTA, 10-3-11

Israel has accepted the Mideast Quartet’s proposal to renew peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

The plan accepted Sunday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his eight senior Cabinet members would restart negotiations within a month without preconditions.

“Israel welcomes the Quartet’s call for direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions, as called for by both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu,” read a statement issued Sunday by the Prime Minister’s Office.

“While Israel has some concerns, it will raise them at the appropriate time. Israel calls on the Palestinian Authority to do the same and to enter into direct negotiations without delay,” the short statement concluded.

The concerns included the short timetable for negotiations on border and security issues, and the issues of Palestinian refugees and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, Haaretz reported.

The inner Cabinet met last week for five hours and failed to agree to support the plan at that time.

The PA has balked at the Quartet plan, saying it will not return to talks until Israel freezes settlement building. The Palestinians recently submitted a bid for statehood in the United Nations Security Council, which the council is now considering. The United States has said it will veto the bid.

A U.S. State Department statement welcomed the Cabinet’s decision, but called on both sides to fully embrace the Quartet proposal. The State Department missive alluded both to Israel’s reluctance to accept the timetable and the Palestinian refusal to talk until settlement stops.

“The U.S. once again calls on both parties to resume negotiations without preconditions, on the timetable proposed by the Quartet, as the best means to advance their interests, resolve their differences, and fulfill the President’s two-state vision,” it said.

Israel Political Brief September 21, 2011: President Barack Obama Addresses the (UN) United Nations General Assembly About Israel & Opposing Palestinian Statehood — Obama Meets with Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu Deserves ‘Badge of honor’


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings and JBuzz. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish Studies at Concordia University.



“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N. – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and Palestinians, not us, who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them, on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.” — President Barack Obama Speaking at the UN

Full Text September 21, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the (UN) United Nations General Assembly About Israel & Opposing Palestinian Statehood (Transcript) WH, 9-21-11

Full Text September 21, 2011: Statements by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as They Began their Meeting at the UN General Assembly (Transcript) WH, 9-21-11

Obama: No short cut to peace in Middle East: President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that there could be no short cut to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as he sought to head off a looming diplomatic crisis for the Middle East and U.S. policy there…. – AP, 9-21-11

    • Obama seeks to save Mideast policy from U.N. debacle: Addressing world leaders at the opening of a U.N. General Assembly session, Obama — whose earlier peace initiatives accomplished little — put the onus on the two sides to break a yearlong impasse and get back to the negotiating table…. – Reuters, 9-21-11

“I want to thank you Mr. President for standing with Israel and supporting peace. We both agree that Palestinians and Israelis should sit down and negotiate. … This is the only way to get a stable and durable peace.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“The bonds between the U.S. and Israel are unbreakable. Peace cannot be imposed on the parties. It’s going to have to be negotiated. … The ultimate goal of all of us is two states side-by-side living in peace.” — President Barack Obama

    • Netanyahu to Obama: ‘Badge of honor’ on Palestinians: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Obama today that his opposition to United Nations recognition of Palestinian statehood is “a badge of honor.”
      Obama met with Netanyahu after speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, where he urged members not to recognize a new Palestinian state so that the Palestinians and Israelis could work out difficult issues…. – USA Today, 9-21-11
    • “Standing Your Ground (On Israel) Is A Badge of Honor”: Before meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning at the UN, President Obama said that “the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable.”
      The president, who has publicly clashed with Netanyahu in the past, delivered a message at the UN today that contained little to rankle the conservative Israeli leader, given their mutual opposition to the Palestinian bid for statehood before any peace treaty has been worked out…. – ABC News, 9-21-11
    • Benjamin Netanyahu: President Obama deserves ‘badge of honor’: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised President Barack Obama’s efforts to dissuade Palestinian leaders from pushing for a United Nations vote on statehood, calling Obama’s actions a “badge of honor” for the president. … – Politico, 9-21-11
    • Netanyahu tells Obama Palestinian UN bid doomed: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said that direct negotiation was the only way to achieve a stable Middle East peace and the Palestinian effort to secure UN recognition of statehood “will not succeed.”…. – Ynetnews, 9-21-11
    • Obama, at U.N., Explains Rationale for Opposing Palestinian Statehood Bid: President Obama declared his opposition to the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood through the Security Council on Wednesday, throwing the weight of the United States directly in the path of the Arab democracy movement even as he hailed what he called the democratic aspirations that have taken hold throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
      “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.,” Mr. Obama said, in an address before world leaders at the General Assembly. “If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.”
      Instead, Mr. Obama said, the international community should continue to push Israelis and Palestinians toward talks on the four intractable “final status” issues that have vexed peace negotiations since 1979: the borders of a Palestinian state, security for Israel, the status of Palestinian refugees who left or were forced to leave their homes in Israel, and the fate of Jerusalem, which both sides claim for their capital…. – NYT, 9-21-11
    • Obama urges U.N. to stay out of Israel-Palestinian conflict: President Obama urged world leaders Wednesday morning to stay out of the conflict over Palestinian statehood as American diplomats pushed to delay a vote on the question during this week’s general assembly of the United Nations.
      Speaking to the full assembly, Obama argued that the two sides will never live in peace unless they work it out themselves.
      Obama was scheduled to meet privately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately after his morning address, and then to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas late in the afternoon…. – LAT, 9-21-11
    • Obama: No ‘Shortcut’ to Peace Between Israelis, Palestinians: AP President Obama speaks during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters Sept. 21. President Obama said Wednesday there is no “shortcut” to Middle East peace, as he urged the Palestinians to abandon their push for a state…. – Fox News, 9-21-11
    • Obama U.N. speech: ‘No shortcut’ to Mideast peace: President Barack Obama told a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday that Mideast peace “will not come through statements and resolutions” by the world body, arguing against a proposed resolution calling for U.N. recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state.
      “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 – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now,” he told the UN General Assembly. “Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side. 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.”… – Politico, 9-21-11
    • Obama Says ‘No Shortcut’ to Palestinian Statehood: President Barack Obama appealed to a United Nations General Assembly packed with supporters of Palestinian statehood to hold off UN recognition until the Palestinians and Israelis can work out a peace deal…. – WSJ, 9-21-11
    • Obama Confronts Palestinian Bid for Statehood at UN: ‘Peace Is Hard’: In a last-ditch attempt to prevent a showdown with the Palestinian territorities over their bid for statehood at the United Nations later this week, President Obama argued his case for a two-state Middle East solution before the General Assembly today…. – ABC News, 9-21-11

“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.” — Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a statement

    • Ehud Barak: Obama’s speech again proves that he is a true ally: Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday responded to US President Barack Obama’s speech at the UN General Assembly, saying the address was proof of the strong relationship between the American leader and Israel…. – Jerusalem Post, 9-21-11
    • Barak: Obama Speech Proves His Friendship with Israel: Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Atzmaut) responded to United States President Barack Obama’s United Nations General Assembly address on Wednesday, saying the speech was proof of the strong relationship between the American leader and Israel.
      Barak expressed hope that Obama’s speech and developments at the UN would lead to to the resumption of talks with the Western-backed Palestinian Authority…. – Israel National News, 9-21-11

“I congratulate President Obama, and I am ready to sign on this speech with both hands.” — Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

    • Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman praises Obama’s UN General Assembly speech: FM states that he does not resort to ‘threats’ against the Palestinians in light of their UN statehood bid; Opposition leader Livni says Obama correct to demand negotiations, emphasizing that UN speeches will not ‘change a thing’…. – Ha’aretz, 9-21-11

“Let us cease our endless debates on the parameters. Let us begin negotiations and adopt a precise timetable.” — President Nicolas Sarkozy of France

  • France Breaks With Obama on Palestinian Statehood Issue: President Nicolas Sarkozy of France broke sharply on Wednesday with the effort by the Obama administration and some Europeans to quash the effort by the Palestinians for recognition here, instead calling for enhancing their status in the General Assembly to that of an observer state.
    The French leader, speaking from the famous green marble podium of the General Assembly barely an hour after President Obama, also said it was time to change the formula in trying to negotiate an Arab-Israeli peace, taking an indirect swipe at the United States by saying the efforts so far were a complete failure…. – NYT, 9-21-11
  • Obama stands firm against Palestinian statehood plan: U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday rejected Palestinian plans to seek UN blessing for statehood and urged a return to peace talks with Israel as he tried to head off a looming diplomatic disaster.
    Addressing the UN General Assembly, Obama — whose earlier peace efforts accomplished little — insisted Middle East peace “will not come through statements and resolutions” at the world body and put the onus on the two sides to break a yearlong impasse.
    “There is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace is hard work,” Obama told an annual gathering of world leaders.
    Grappling with economic woes and low poll numbers at home and growing doubts about his leadership abroad, Obama is wading into Middle East diplomacy at a critical juncture for his presidency and America’s credibility around the globe…. – National Post, 9-21-11
  • Palestinians rally in West Bank while others clash with Israeli soldiers nearby: Palestinians take part in a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron September 21. Flag-waving Palestinians filled the squares of major West Bank cities on Wednesday to rally behind President Mahmoud Abbas’s bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations…. – MSNBC, 9-21-11
  • Baby girl injured during violent clashes in W. Bank: Demonstrators burn tires, throw stones at security forces; IDF uses new non-lethal sonic crowd dispersal weapon; injured man treated on scene. Clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank…. – Jerusalem Post, 9-21-11

Israel Political Brief September 21, 2011: President Barack Obama in Speech to UN: Consider Israel’s security



Obama to UN: Consider Israel’s security

Source: JTA, 9-21-11

President Obama appealed to the United Nations to recognize Israel’s security concerns in considering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day,” Obama said in his address Wednesday to the U.N. General Assembly plenary.

Obama repeated his administration’s calls on the Palestinians not to use the United Nations as a vehicle for achieving statehood, and called for Israel and the Palestinians to return to talks based on the parameters he outlined May.

“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations,” he said.

“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 8 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, fresh memories of knowing that 6 million people were killed simply because of who they are,” he said.

“Those are facts. They 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.”

Obama also called for U.N. Security Council sanctions on Syria. Unlike his references to insurgencies in Bahrain and Yemen, he did not repeat his earlier calls for a democratic transition in Damascus, a sign that his administration has given up on trying to broker a transition with Syria’s current ruler.

Israel Political Brief September 20, 2011: Gov. Rick Perry Slams President Barack Obama’s Middle East Policy as a “policy of appeasement” toward the Palestinians in Speech at Israel-Palestine Press Conference in New York




Gov. Rick Perry slams President Obama’s Mideast ‘appeasement’

Source: UPI, 9-20-11

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday President Obama’s “moral equivalency” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a “dangerous insult.”

“The Obama policy of moral equivalency, which gives equal standing to the grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators of terrorism, is a dangerous insult. There is no middle ground between our allies and those who seek their destruction.”

“America should not be ambivalent between the terrorist tactics of Hamas and the security tactics of the legitimate and free state of Israel. By proposing ‘indirect talks’ through the U.S. rather than between Palestinian leaders and Israel, this administration encouraged the Palestinians to shun direct talks.”… it is “wrong for this administration to suggest the 1967 borders should be the starting point for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”

“When you consider this suggestion was made on the eve of the Israeli prime minister’s visit, we see in this American administration a willingness to isolate a close ally and to do so in a manner that is insulting and naive.”

Perry, flanked by Israeli Knesset Deputy Speaker Danny Danon and U.S. Rep. Dan Turner, who last week won the New York congressional seat vacated by Democrat Anthony Weiner, said Obama’s Middle East policies are “arrogant, misguided and dangerous” and amount to a “policy of appeasement” toward the Palestinians, The Washington Post reported….READ MORE


Perry blasts Obama’s policies on Israel, Palestinians

Source: WaPo, 9-20-11


Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry castigated President Obama’s handling of Israeli-Palestinian relations on Tuesday, accusing Obama of a “policy of appeasement” toward the Palestinians that he said was undermining U.S. security interests in the Middle East.

The Texas governor charged that the Obama administration — which has been trying to head off a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood this week and relaunch peace talks — was encouraging the Palestinians to shun direct negotiations with the Israelis.

Perry, a leading contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, said the United States should reconsider its foreign aid to the Palestinians and close the Palestinian Authority’s offices in Washington if authority President Mahmoud Abbas succeeds in his quest for formal recognition of statehood at this week’s meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

“We would not be here today at the very precipice of such a dangerous move if the Obama policy in the Middle East wasn’t naive, arrogant, misguided and dangerous,” Perry said in a speech in New York, where he was flanked by American Jewish and Israeli leaders….READ MORE



Full Text September 20, 2011: Gov. Rick Perry’s Speech at Israel-Palestine Press Conference in New York City (Transcript)



Gov. Perry’s Remarks at Israel-Palestine Press Conference in New York City

Source: RickPerry.org, 9-20-11

Thank you. Let me begin by thanking Dr. Solomon Frager and Aron Hirtz for helping us organize this press conference today.

I am joined today by a diverse group of Jewish leaders from here and abroad who share my concern that the United Nations could take action this week to legitimize the Palestinian gambit to establish statehood in violation of the spirit of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

We are indignant that certain Middle Eastern leaders have discarded the principle of direct negotiations between the sovereign nation of Israel and the Palestinian leadership, and we are equally indignant that the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy of appeasement has encouraged such an ominous act of bad faith.

Simply put, we would not be here today at the precipice of such a dangerous move if the Obama Policy in the Middle East wasn’t naïve, arrogant, misguided and dangerous.

It must be said, first, that Israel is our oldest and strongest democratic ally in the Middle East and has been for more than 60 years. The Obama Policy of moral equivalency, which gives equal standing to the grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators of terrorism, is a dangerous insult.

There is no middle ground between our allies and those who seek their destruction. America should not be ambivalent between the terrorist tactics of Hamas and the security tactics of the legitimate and free state of Israel. By proposing ‘indirect talks” through the U.S. rather than between Palestinian leaders and Israel, this administration encouraged the Palestinians to shun direct talks.

Second, it was wrong for this Administration to suggest the 1967 borders should be the starting point for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.  When you consider this suggestion was made on the eve of the Israeli Prime Minister’s visit, we see in this American Administration a willingness to isolate a close ally and to do so in a manner that is insulting and naïve.

Third, by injecting the issue of 1967 borders in addition to a construction freeze in East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements, the Obama Administration has put Israel in a position of weakness and taken away their flexibility to offer concessions as part of the negotiation process.

Indeed, bolstered by the Obama Administration’s policies and apologists at the U.N., the Palestinians are exploiting the instability in the Middle East hoping to achieve their objective without concessions or direct negotiations with Israel.

The reason is simple: if they perceive they can get what they want from the U.N. without making any concessions why should they negotiate with Israel?

While the administration is right to finally agree to fight the Arab resolution at the U.N., it bears repeating that we wouldn’t be here today if they had stuck to some basic principles concerning Palestinian statehood:

First, Palestinian leaders must publicly affirm Israel’s right to exist, and to exist as a Jewish state;

Second, President Abbas must persuade all factions including Hamas to renounce acts of terrorism and release kidnapped Israeli Gilad Shalit, and;

Third, Palestinian statehood must be established only through direct negotiations between the Palestinian leadership and the nation of Israel.

By not insisting on these principles, the Obama Administration has appeased the Arab Street at the expense of our own national security interests. They have sowed instability that threatens the prospects of peace.

Israel’s security is critical to America’s security. We must not forget it was Israel that took out the nuclear capabilities of Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007. In both instances, their actions made the free world safer.

Today, the greatest threat to the security of Israel and, by extension, a threat to America, is the Iranian government developing a nuclear arsenal. One thing is clear: we must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Economic sanctions must be tightened and increased and all options must remain on the table to stop a brutally repressive regime from acquiring a nuclear capability.

To date, we have fumbled our greatest opportunity for regime change. As average Iranian citizens were marching on Tehran in the Green Revolution in 2009, America was wasting precious time on a naïve policy of outreach to both the Iranian and Syrian governments.

Who knows what the leadership of Iran would look like today if America had done everything in its power to provide diplomatic and moral support to encourage the growing movement of dissidents who sought freedom.

Our actions in recent years have destabilized the Middle East. We have been complacent in encouraging revolt against hostile governments in Iran and Syria and we have been slow to recognize the risks posed by the new regime in Egypt and the increasingly strained relationship between Israel and Turkey.

It is vitally important for America to preserve alliances with moderate Muslim regimes and Muslim leaders who seek to preserve peace and stability in the region. But today, neither adversaries nor allies alike, know where America stands.

Our muddle of a foreign policy has created greater uncertainty in the midst of the “Arab Spring.” And our policy of isolating and undermining Israel has only encouraged our adversaries in their aggression.

With the end-run on Palestinian statehood imminent before the U.N., America must act swiftly.

First, every nation within the U.N. must know America stands with Israel and the Oslo accord principle of direct negotiations without equivocation.

Second, America must make it clear that a declaration of Palestinian Statehood in violation of the spirit of the Oslo accords could jeopardize our funding of U.N. operations.

Third, the Palestinians must know their gambit comes with consequences in particular that America will have to reconsider the $4 billion in assistance we have provided to the Palestinians over the last 17 years.

Fourth, we should close the PLO office in Washington if the U.N. grants the standing of a Palestinian state.

And fifth, we must signal to the world, including nations like Turkey and Egypt whom we have considered allies in recent years, that we won’t tolerate aggression against Israel.

Israel is our friend and ally. I have traveled there several times, and met with its leaders. It is not a perfect nation, but its existence is critical to America’s security in the world.

It is time to change our policy of appeasement toward the Palestinians to strengthen our ties to the nation of Israel, and in the process establish a robust American position in the Middle East characterized by a new firmness and a new resolve.

If America does not head off the aggression of forces hostile to Israel we will only embolden them.

That would be a tragic mistake.

Israel Brief September 15, 2011: Israel evacuates Jordanian embassy ahead of “Million Man March” protest



Israel evacuates Jordanian embassy ahead of protest

Source: JTA, 9-15-11

Israel evacuated its embassy in Jordan amid fears that a planned anti-Israel protest could turn violent.

The ambassador and staff of the embassy, located in the capital city of Amman, returned to Israel on Wednesday night. Jordanian activists have called for a “million man march” against the embassy for Thursday in a protest organized on Facebook. A similar demonstration in Egypt led to the evacuation a week ago of Israel’s embassy in Cairo and the emergency rescue of several members of its security staff.

Staff members of Israel’s Jordanian embassy regularly return to their homes in Israel on Thursday for the weekend, as their families reside in Israel. The evacuation order sent them home one day earlier, with plans to return on Sunday, according to reports.

Security near the embassy reportedly has been increased.

Full Text September 10, 2011: PM Netanyahu’s Statement on Emergency Evacuation of Israeli Embassy in Cairo, Egypt



Statement by PM Netanyahu Following the Events in Cairo

Source: Prime Minister’s Office, 9-10-11

Good week.

Early this morning, at about 5:00  a.m., a complex rescue operation was safely completed to free the staff  of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.  From inside the Situation Room at the Foreign Ministry, I worked alongside the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense, the Head of the Shabak, the Head of the Mossad, the IDF Chief of Staff and all of their staffs.  One overriding mission laid before us – to secure the welfare and safety of Israel’s emmisaries.  We worked together in a responsible manner to ensure that this situation would end in the best possible manner.

Immediately at the beginning of the incident, I ordered that all the Embassy staff and their families in Cairo be put on a plane and returned to Israel.  At the same time we worked together with Egypt and the American government to assure that our remaining staff at the Embassy would be rescued without harm.

I would like to express my gratitude to the President of the United States, Barack Obama.    I asked for his help.  This was a decisive and fateful moment.  He said, “I will do everything I can.”  And so he did.  He used every considerable means and influence of the United States to help us.  We owe him a special measure of gratitude.  This attests to the strong alliance between Israel and the United States.  This alliance between Israel and the United States is especially important in these times of political storms and upheavals in the Middle East.

I wish to cite also the intervention of the Egyptian Commandos which prevented a tragedy.  We maintained direct channels of communication throughout the night with the Egyptian government.  It was clear to all that the defense of an Embassy, and particularly the Israeli Embassy, is the obligation of any sovereign state.

I therefore also appreciate the words of the Egyptian Information Minister who condemned the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.  Many world leaders and Arab leaders joined him in this sentiment.  I attach great importance to this.

Israel will continue to adhere to the peace treaty with Egypt.  We are working together with the Egyptian government to quickly return our Ambassador to Cairo.  I wish to make sure that the necessary security arrangements for him and for our entire staff will be effective and will assure their necessary safety.   At the same time, our diplomatic delegate in Cairo will continue to represent Israel until the Ambassador’s return.

During this long night, we were required to make many difficult decisions.  I would like to share with you one conversation from this night.  On the line was Yonatan, the security officer of the Embassy.  He and his men, six in number, were trapped in the Embassy building.  The mob entered the building and entered the office.  Only one door separated between the mob and Yonatan and his friends.  He sounded perfectly calm to me, and on the other hand understood the situation in which he and his colleagues found themselves.

During the ongoing event, he requested from the security officer in the Foreign Ministry one thing:  If something happens to me, he said, my parents should be notified face to face, and not by telephone.   I got on the phone line and I said to him, “Yonatan, be strong.  I promise you that the State of Israel will do everything in its power and will use all possible resources in the world in order to rescue you and your friends unharmed and whole from this situation.”

And thank God this morning they all landed in Israel.  A short while ago I spoke with Yonatan and his mother.  They sounded wonderful.

I wish to say one more thing this evening to you, my fellow Israeli citizens:
The Middle East is now undergoing a political earthquake of historic proportions.  Perhaps this can be compared to what happened a century ago at the end of the First World War with the establishment of a new world order.  In the face of this historic turmoil we must act coolly and with responsibility.   We must understand that these events are occurring as a result of deep and strong political undercurrents.  We in Israel have a tendency to think that everything happens because of us or that we are somehow at fault for the turbulence in our area.  There are many external and strong forces at work here.  More than anything else, we must in these times act to safeguard our security.  This is the anchor of our existence, especially in these turbulent times.  We must work towards advancing our national interests in the area at the appropriate time.

We will continue to keep the peace with Egypt.  This is in the common interest of both countries.  We will work toward preventing a further deterioration in our relationship with Turkey.  We did not choose this sequence of events.  To the extent that the matter depends upon us, we shall act to lower tensions and do everything possible to restore relations.

We shall continue to work towards peace with the Palestinians.  To this end, we must return as quickly as possible to the path of direct peace negotiations.  Only in this manner will we be able to advance and achieve a peace agreement.  Regarding this negotiation, I believe that many people today in our nation and around the world who see what is happening in our area will understand our justified stance in defending our security interests in any future agreement.
I would like to thank again the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense, the security forces and above all our brave young men who were trapped for many long hours in the embassy. We worked together as a cohesive team in order to prevent a tragedy for the State of Israel and to return our men home peacefully.

I wish a good week to all of the Nation of Israel.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו בעקבות האירועים בקהירשבת י”א אלול תשע”א — 10/09/2011 –
צילום: לע”מ
לתמונה המוגדלת

-הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה-

שבוע טוב,

לפנות בוקר, סמוך לשעה חמש, הסתיים בשלום מבצע החילוץ המורכב של אנשי שגרירות ישראל בקהיר. מתוך חדר המצב של משרד החוץ עבדתי יחד עם שר החוץ, שר הביטחון, ראש השב”כ, ראש המוסד, הרמטכ”ל ואנשיהם. לנגד עיננו עמדה משימה אחת – להבטיח את שלומם של שליחי מדינת ישראל. פעלנו יחד באחריות כדי שהאירוע הזה יסתיים על הצד הטוב ביותר.

מייד בתחילת האירועים הנחיתי להחזיר ארצה את כל אנשי הסגל והמשפחות שהיו בקהיר, להעלות אותם על מטוס ולהחזיר אותם לישראל. במקביל פעלנו מול מצרים ומול הממשל האמריקני כדי להבטיח שאנשינו בתוך השגרירות יחולצו ללא פגע.

אני מבקש להודות מכאן לנשיא ארצות-הברית, ברק אובמה. אני ביקשתי ממנו לסייע. זה היה רגע מכריע, אפילו גורלי. הוא אמר “אני אעשה כל מה שאני יכול”. הוא עשה זאת. הוא הפעיל את כל האמצעים וההשפעה, שהם בוודאי כבדי משקל, של ארצות הברית של אמריקה. אנחנו חווים לו תודה מיוחדת. הדבר מעיד על הברית האמיצה בין ישראל לארה”ב. הברית הזו חיונית בייחוד בימים אלה של טלטלות וסופות מדיניות במזרח התיכון.

אני מבקש לציין את התערבות הקומנדו המצרי שמנעה אסון. קיימנו כל הלילה ערוץ קשר ישיר מול הממשל המצרי. לכולם היה ברור שההגנה על שגרירות בכלל, וההגנה על שגרירות ישראל בפרט היא חלק בלתי נפרד מתפקידה של מדינה ריבונית.

לכן אני מעריך את אמירתו של שר ההסברה המצרי שגינה את התקפת שגרירות ישראל בקהיר. הצטרפו אליו מנהיגים נוספים בעולם וגם בעולם הערבי. אני חושב שיש חשיבות לכך

ישראל תמשיך לדבוק בהסכם השלום עם מצרים. אנו פועלים יחד עם הממשלה המצרית כדי להחזיר את שגרירנו לקהיר במהרה. אני מבקש לוודא שסידורי הביטחון הדרושים לו ולאנשי הסגל שלנו יהיו איתנים ושיקנו את הביטחון הדרוש להם. במקביל ימשיך הציר המדיני שלנו בקהיר לייצג את ישראל עד שובו של השגריר.בלילה הארוך הזה היינו צריכים לקבל הרבה החלטות קשות. אני רוצה לשתף אתכם בשיחה אחת בלילה הזה:
על קו הטלפון היה יונתן, קצין הביטחון של השגרירות. הוא ואנשיו, שישה במספר, היו נצורים במבנה השגרירות. הפורעים חדרו למבנה, חדרו למשרד. דלת אחת הפרידה בינם ובין יונתן וחבריו. הוא נשמע לי קר רוח, שקול, ולצד זה הוא הבין היטב את המצב שבו הוא וחבריו מצויים.

במהלך האירוע הוא ביקש מאיש הביטחון במשרד החוץ את הדבר הבא:
אם יקרה לי משהו, הוא אמר, תודיעו את הדבר להורים שלי פנים מול פנים ולא בטלפון.

עליתי על הקו ואמרתי לו: יונתן, תחזיק מעמד. אני מבטיח לך שמדינת ישראל תעשה כל מה שביכולתה ותפעיל את כל הכוחות האפשריים בעולם כדי לחלץ משם אותך ואת חבריך בריאים ושלמים.

ברוך השם הבוקר הם נחתו בישראל. לפני זמן קצר שוחחתי עם יונתן ואמו. הם נשמעים  מצוין.

אני מבקש לומר דבר נוסף בערב הזה לכם,  אזרחי ישראל:

המזרח התיכון עובר עכשיו רעידת אדמה בקנה מידה היסטורי. אולי אפשר להשוות זאת למה שקרה כאן לפני כמעט מאה שנה, בסוף מלחמת העולם הראשונה בכינון הסדר החדש. מול הטלטלות ההיסטוריות הללו, אנו צריכים לפעול בקור רוח, בשיקול דעת באחריות, אנחנו צריכים להבין שהדברים שמתרחשים כאן מתרחשים בגלל זרמים תת קרקעיים אדירים. קיימת נטייה אצלנו לחשוב שהכל מתבצע בגללנו, באשמתנו. יש פה כוחות הרבה יותר חזקים. יותר מכל, בזמנים האלה אנחנו צריכים לשמור על הביטחון. זהו עוגן הקיום שלנו, ובמיוחד בזמן הפכפך. אנחנו צריכים לקדם את האינטרסים הלאומיים שלנו באזור בזמן הנתון.

נמשיך לשמור על השלום עם מצרים. זהו אינטרס של שתי המדינות. ננסה למנוע הידרדרות נוספת ביחסינו עם טורקיה. לא בחרנו במסלול הזה. במידה שהדבר תלוי בנו, נפעל להוריד את הלהבות, ואם הדבר ניתן גם לשקם את היחסים.

נמשיך לחתור לשלום עם הפלסטינאים. לצורך כך יש לחזור מהר ככל שניתן לנתיב של מו”מ לשלום, מו”מ ישיר. רק באמצעותו ניתן לקדם את השלום, ורק באמצעותו ניתן להשיג את השלום. וביחס למשא ומתן זה אני מאמין שרבים היום בארץ ובעולם, כשרואים את המתרחש  באזור, מבינים הרבה יותר טוב את העמידה המוצדקת שלנו להגן על צרכי הביטחון של ישראל בכל הסדר עתידי.

אני מבקש להודות שוב לשר החוץ, לשר הביטחון, לאנשי זרועות הביטחון של מדינת ישראל, ומעל לכל לבחורים האמיצים שלנו שהיו נצורים שעות ארוכות בשגרירות.
פעלנו יחד כצוות מלוכד, פעלנו יחד כדי למנוע אסון למדינת ישראל, והצלחנו להשיב את אנשינו הביתה בשלום.

שבוע טוב לכל עם ישראל

Israel Political Brief September 10, 2011: Israeli embassy personnel in Cairo, Egypt evacuated & rescued from violent protests




Israeli embassy personnel in Cairo rescued from violent protests

Source: JTA, 9-10-11

Some 80 personnel and family members of Israel’s embassy in Cairo are safe after being removed in an emergency rescue operation.

During a riot outside the embassy Friday night, violent protesters broke down the eight-foot-high security wall surrounding the embassy compound and entered the building.

Once the riots turned violent, Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, embassy personnel, their families and Israelis staying at the embassy were evacuated to Cairo’s airport and returned to Israel on a special Israel Air Force flight.

Six employees stranded in the building were later removed by an Egyptian commando unit during a special rescue operation in which the men reportedly dressed in Arab kaffiyeh headdresses.

More than 1,000 Egyptians demonstrated at the embassy, many after an Egyptian Facebook group called on protesters to gather at the embassy and “urinate on the wall,” Ynet reported

During the demonstration, protesters tore down the Israeli flag from the high-rise building’s roof for the second time in a month.

In a televised address on Saturday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Middle East is “now undergoing a political earthquake of historic proportions.”

He said Israel would work with Egypt to return its ambassador to Cairo. “We will continue to keep the peace with Egypt. This is in the common interest of both countries.  We will work toward preventing a further deterioration in our relationship with Turkey. We did not choose this sequence of events. To the extent that the matter depends upon us, we shall act to lower tensions and do everything possible to restore relations,” he said.

Netanyahu praised the United States for intervening with Egypt in order to rescue the Israelis. “I would like to express my gratitude to the President of the United States, Barack Obama. I asked for his help. This was a decisive and fateful moment. He said, ‘I will do everything I can.’  And so he did.  He used every considerable means and influence of the United States to help us.  We owe him a special measure of gratitude,” Netanyahu said.


Israel Political Brief September 1, 2011: PA Statehood Bid Could Jeopardize Oslo Agreement



Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 8-31-11

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren said Tuesday the PA statehood bid at the United Nations would likely jeopardize all existing agreements between the PA and Israel.

In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Oren said, “We have a lot of agreements with the Palestinian Authority, we have no agreements with a ‘Government of Palestine.’

“It’s just a fact – we have no agreements with a ‘Government of Palestine.’ It puts us in a different realm,” said Oren.

Oren added the move would render invalid economic treaties, including export, import and water sharing, as well as security cooperation agreements.

“America is a cosignatory to the Oslo Accord and this would seriously undermine it…Unilateral steps would have legal, economic, and political ramifications for us and for America as a cosignatory,” Oren added.

According to Oren, the statehood declaration will provide the Palestinian Authority with “lawfare” against Israel in the international arena, which will further diminish the chances for reaching a negotiated agreement.

“We want to be able to negotiate but we won’t be able to negotiate if they are attacking our legitimacy in every international court. We’re not going to negotiate under fire and it’s a mistake for the Palestinians to think that we would,” the ambassador said.

Oren warned that in the absence of a negotiated solution, Israel’s support for the creation of a PA state might be jeopardized. “The Palestinians risk all that has been achieved if they go forward with this … and that would be a great tragedy.”

Oren’s comments on the heels of Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz telling reporters the PA Statehood Bid was more dangerous than Hamas and would force Israel to “respond.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has already said a unilateral declaration of statehood by the PA would render the Oslo Accords ‘null and void’ and would result in a ‘diplomatic eye for an eye’ on Israel’s part.

Earlier, Florida’s Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced she is advancing a measure to block US funding to any UN member or group that supports the PA bid.

via israelnn.com

Israel Political Brief August 4, 2011: Reports say Israel taking steps to restart peace negotiations


Source: JWeekly, 8-4-11

Israel has been working with the United States to develop a new framework to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians, according to reports.

News agencies this week cited an unnamed Israeli government official as saying that there have been recent efforts to formulate the new framework, which will hew closely to the call in May by President Barack Obama for an agreement using the 1967 lines as a basis for negotiations, with land swaps.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right)  listens to military adviser Maj. Gen. Yohanan  Locker at an Aug. 1 meeting in the Knesset.   photo/ap/sebastian scheinerThe push for renewed talks is an attempt to dissuade Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from bringing the issue of Palestinian statehood recognition to a vote at the United Nations in September.

On Aug. 1, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that his government had been working with the Obama administration and other members of the Mideast Quartet — the United States, United Nations, Russia and the European Union — on a draft document calling for renewed peace talks, and that the coordination with Washington was better than expected, the Jerusalem Post reported.

An Israeli official, who agreed to speak to AP on the condition that his name not be used, said that although Netanyahu has repeatedly stated he will not return to the 1967 lines, Israel is “willing to show some flexibility” on the matter if the Palestinians show flexibility with Israeli concerns. One of the main concerns is for Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state.

But Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, told AP, “There is no offer. We have only heard things in the media. If Netanyahu would like to talk about accepting the 1967 borders, he can just show up and talk. But he is not serious.” …READ MORE

Irwin Cotler: Eight principles for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations

Source: National Post, 7-5-11

In the wake of the meetings of the G8 in Deauville, France, Prime Minister Stephen Harper continues to be criticized for objecting to the inclusion of United States President Barack Obama’s alleged reference to “1967 borders” in the final G8 communiqué. However, a clear reading of the principles set forth in President Obama’s speeches on May 19 and 22 demonstrates that Prime Minister Harper was correct to protest the “cherry-picking” of the President’s principles, and the inclusion of a selective — and misleading — reference to the ’67 borders. President Obama’s vision for an Israeli-Palestinian peace is far more complex, and on closer examination reveals eight guiding principles for future negotiations….READ MORE

Senators Hatch & Lieberman Introduce Resolution Supporting Israel’s Post-1967 Borders

Source: RTT News, 6-4-11

In an effort to counter recent remarks from President Barack Obama, Senators Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., introduced a congressional resolution Thursday reaffirming U.S. support for allowing Israel to maintain control of territory gained during the Six-Day War in 1967.

The resolution states, “It is the policy of the United States to support and facilitate Israel in maintaining, secure, recognized and defensible borders and that it is contrary to United States policy and our national security to have the borders of Israel return to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967.”

The introduction of the resolution comes after Obama delivered a speech last month calling for the borders of Israel and a future Palestinian state to be based on the pre-1967 boundaries with mutually agreed land swaps.

Obama’s initial remarks attracted considerable criticism, including from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the president clarified in later remarks that the mutually agreed-upon swaps mean that the border would be different than the one that existed before the war.

As a result of the 1967 war, Israel took effective control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. Control of the Sinai Peninsula has since been returned to Egypt.

Lieberman said, “Israel’s borders as they existed on June 4, 1967 are not an acceptable endpoint for negotiations because they do not allow Israel to defend itself or respect the reality that hundreds of thousands of Israelis now live east of the 1967 borders.”

“This bipartisan resolution reaffirms that simple but important reality, along with the commitment of the United States to the security of our ally Israel,” he added.

Along with Hatch and Lieberman, 29 other Senators cosponsored the resolution, including Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

Mitt Romney: Obama treats Israel with ‘distrust’

Romney: Obama treats Israel with ‘distrust’

Source: JTA, 6-2-11

Mitt Romney, launching his presidential bid, said President Obama treats Israel with “distrust.”

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, announced his second bid Thursday for the Republican presidential nomination at a farm in New Hampshire.

Much of his speech focused on what he said were Obama’s failures with the economy, but he also faulted the president’s foreign policy, particularly when it came to Israel.

“He seems firmly and clearly determined to undermine our longtime friend and ally,” he said. “He’s treating Israel the same way so many European countries have: with suspicion, distrust and an assumption that Israel is at fault.”

Romney had accused Obama of “throwing Israel under the bus” after the president’s May 19 policy speech in which he called for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to be based on 1967 lines, with mutually agreed land swaps.

In the same speech, Obama said that Israel must have security guarantees, called for a non-militarized Palestinian state and faulted the Palestinian Authority for its recent pact with Hamas and for seeking statehood through U.N. recognition.

Avigdor Lieberman: Israel’s Security first, then borders

In Paris, FM says Palestinian state can only be achieved through talks, urges European leaders to reject unilateral statehood bid.

Source: Jerusalem Post, 5-26-11

Israel must reach an agreement on its security before it can address the issue of permanent borders in negotiations for a twostate solution, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday.

Lieberman spoke during a meeting with his French counterpart, Alain Juppé, in Paris, where he is attending the annual meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development….

Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel unless it halts all Jewish construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel has rejected this demand.

In response, Palestinians have threatened to seek recognition of statehood at the United Nations in September.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that if the peace process remains deadlocked, his country would consider supporting the unilateral Palestinian bid for statehood in September….

“We will only examine other options likely to restore political momentum to the peace process if the deadlock situation continues until September 2011,” the representative said.

With respect to the borders of a two-state solution, the representative said that “the 1967 lines must constitute the framework for the negotiations – but this must not exclude the possibility of land swaps agreed by the parties.”
“Regarding the issue of security, the terms of the agreement must not call into question Israel’s security, which is not negotiable. It’s important to put an end to settlement activity and to ensure the sovereignty of the future viable democratic Palestinian state, living in peace alongside Israel,” the French representative said.

But Israel has said that it cannot defend itself within the pre-1967 lines, and has rejected any call to return to them.

The final borders, Lieberman also said, must reflect demographic realities, and the pre-1967 lines were not compatible with Israel’s demographic reality.

He added that in a final-status agreement, the Palestinians must declare an end to the conflict, and an absence of any claims on Israel.

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