Israel Political Brief June 7, 2012: US Condemns Israel Over PM Benjamin Netanyahu Announcing Beit El Expansion of 300 New Homes

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel’s West Bank plans stir U.S. furor, settlers’ ire

Source: JTA, 6-7-12

The announcement of new settlement construction in the West Bank, following the defeat of a Knesset bill recognizing settlement outposts, draws U.S. rebuke….READ MORE »

State Dept. slams new West Bank housing approval

Source: JTA, 6-7-12

The Obama administration said it “does not accept the legitimacy” of announced plans for up to 851 new housing units for West Bank settlements….READ MORE »

U.S. Condemns Israel Over Beit El Expansion

U.S. says “Israeli settlement activity undermines peace efforts” after PM Netanyahu announces 300 new homes for Beit El.

Source: Israel National News, 6-7-12

Ulpana neighborhood

Ulpana neighborhood
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The United States condemned Israel on Wednesday, after Prime Minister announced that 300 new homes will be built in Beit El.

“We’re very clear that continued Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank undermines peace efforts and contradicts Israeli commitments and obligations, including the 2003 road map,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, according to the Chinese Xinhua news agency.

Toner told reporters, “Our position on settlements remains unchanged. We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.”

He added, “You know, we want to see these parties — both parties, rather, refrain from these kinds of actions and to get back into negotiations.”

Netanyahu promised to expand construction in Beit El, in a special statement he issued Wednesday, regarding the impending demolition of the Ulpana neighborhood.

“This is not a simple or easy day,” said Netanyahu. “Relocating the houses is certainly not an action that the government is eager to carry out, but the court made a decision and we respect the court system’s decisions. At the same time, the community of Beit El will be widened. The 30 families from the Ulpana Neighborhood will remain in Beit El and they will be joined by 300 new families.”

Netanyahu’s statement was made shortly after the Knesset rejected a bill aimed at circumventing a court order to destroy five residential units in the Ulpana neighborhood.

The vote was 22 for the bill and 69 against. Absent from the vote were all of the ministers and deputy ministers who vowed to test Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ultimatum to vote against the bill or be fired.

The extreme leftist group Peace Now was not happy at all with the commitment by Netanyahu to build 300 more homes in Beit El, and was quick to start an online petition calling on him to rescind what they called “a collective punishment” that he has meted out against Israel’s citizens.

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Full Text Israel Political Brief June 6, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks on the Ulpana Neighborhood in Beit El Issue

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu: 300 New Families to Join Beit El

PM says: “Those who want to use the courts to damage settlements are mistaken – the opposite will happen.”

 

Netanyahu

Netanyahu
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a special statement Wednesday regarding the impending demolition of the Givat HaUlpana neighborhood….READ MORE

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks on the Issue of the Ulpana Neighborhood in Beit El

Source: PMO, 6-6-12

Photo by GPO

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks today the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El:

“We are not strangers in Beit El. We are not strangers in Judea and Samaria. This is the Land of our Patriarchs. This is where our identity was formed. I say this here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, and I say this everywhere in the world. Israel is a democratic state in which upholding the law is at the foundation of our free lives. The State of Israel is a law-abiding democracy and as the Prime Minister of Israel I am committed to upholding the law and am I committed to uphold the settlement enterprise, and I tell you that there is no contradiction between the two. The draft law that was rejected today in the Knesset would have hurt settlement whereas the outline that I have decided upon – the expansion of the community, moving the homes and legal defense against any precedent – strengthens settlement.

And yet it must be said that this has been a complicated and difficult day.  Moving homes from their location, even if it is only five homes, is certainly not an action that this Government rejoices in doing.  But the court ruled as it did and we honor the decisions of the judicial system.

At the same time, the community of Beit El will be expanded. The 30 families will remain in Beit El and will be joined by 300 new families.  I tell those who think they can use the judicial system to hurt settlement, that they are mistaken, because in practice, the exact opposite will occur. Instead of shrinking Beit El – Beit El has expanded.  Instead of hurting settlement, settlement has been strengthened.

I also received a clear legal opinion which I would like to cite. ‘The verdict set no law and in any case does not constitute a precedent.  Nothing may be construed from it regarding other cases.’

I have also decided to establish a ministerial committee on settlement to ensure that the Government’s policy of strengthening settlement is implemented.

I would like to thank my ministerial colleagues for showing responsibility at a difficult time. Yuli Edelstein and Daniel Hershkowitz spoke to me at length about the importance and necessity of establishing the ministerial committee. Benny Begin and Moshe Yaalon invested considerable time in the work of the ministerial team to strengthen settlement. Gideon Saar and Gilad Erdan certainly lost much sleep in recent days in the discussions to find a legal outline that would forestall a precedent.  I would also like to thank my colleagues, my partners, the heads of the coalition factions, Shaul Mofaz, Eli Yishai, Ehud Barak, Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni. I would also like to thank Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman for acting responsibly.  There is responsible leadership in Israel.

In conclusion, I would like to say a few words to my brothers and sisters from the settler public. I understand your pain, and I share it. I met several of the families. I saw the people. I saw the children and I would like to tell you what I told them. There is no government that supports, or will support, settlement more than my government.  I also say that there is no government that has withstood such heavy pressures, which could have hurt settlement, and it must be understood that ours is a very complex diplomatic, national and legal environment. And in this complex reality, one must navigate wisely, sagaciously and responsibly. Thus the members of the Government and myself have acted up until now and thus we will continue to act. We will continue to strengthen settlement and we will continue to strengthen democracy in the State of Israel.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 22, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the MASA Mega Event — Tells Masa Participants: Israel is Your Country

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu to Masa Participants: Israel is Your Country

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses the thousands of young Jews who came to Israel as part of the Masa Israel project.

Source: Israel National News, 5-22-12

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed on Tuesday the thousands of young Jews from around the world who came to Israel as part of the Masa Israel project, which is co-sponsored by the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency.

In his speech, Netanyahu called on the participants to make aliyah to Israel and to defend Israel in their countries.

“You come from many different countries, but deep down this is your one ancestral home,” said Netanyahu. “Israel is your homeland, Israel is your birthright, and Israel is your future.”

He added, “We embrace and welcome all of you who are coming here physically to join us to build a Jewish future and we send with love all of you who are planning to go back to your countries. You’re taking back with you the truth. You can speak the truth about Israel, and that’s what I expect you to do.”

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky mentioned Aaron Zindani, the Jew who was murdered in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, and said to the youth, “We must do everything to protect the Jews of Yemen and Iran. On a day like this, when someone was killed just for being Jewish, you should know that if you are thinking about making aliyah you should not hesitate, but do it now.”

The Masa Israel project brings each year about 10,000 young Jews from around the world for study and volunteer in Israel. The project aims to strengthen ties between Israel and the Jewish world. Upon their return to their countries, many participants assume key positions in their communities and become ambassadors of Israel in their countries. In recent years, many Masa Israel participants have made aliyah.

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the MASA Mega Event

Source: PMO, 5-22-12

Natan Sharansky just said something absolutely shocking.  He said that there are differing opinions among Jews.  No!  That may imply that you have four people with four opinions.  See, it’s not true – it’s four people with eight opinions.  We debate, we argue, we discuss, we disagree.  Then we agree.

I’ll tell you what we agree on.  See, when Natan, who is a hero of the Jewish people, when he was jailed in the Soviet Union and he could have avoided going to jail; all he had to do was give up his desire to come to Zion, to come to Israel.  All he had to do was do that.  But he wouldn’t.  So they put him on trial, and they sentenced him to a long prison term.  And then they asked him, “Do you have anything to say?”  He said, “To you, this court, I have nothing to say, but to my people and to my beloved wife, I say, ‘Next year in Jerusalem'”.  That’s what we agree on.  This year in Jerusalem.

I am very happy to see all of you here, this year in Jerusalem.  I know that you’ve come here from many countries.  I have to say that I saw some of you outside, but you come from all over the world.  You come from Mexico, from Britain, from France, from Australia, Canada, Brazil.  What about Russia?  Or from the Ukraine?  But I gather there is no one here from the United States?

So, you come from many different countries, but deep down this is your one ancestral home.  This is your country.  Israel is your homeland; Israel is your birthright; and Israel is your future.  So, I want to ask a direct question: how many of you plan to make Aliyah?  Stand up if you’re making Aliyah.  That’s great.  Let’s give them all a round of applause.  Thank you.

Now, first of all, we embrace and welcome all of you who are coming here physically to join us to build the Jewish future, and we send with love all of you who are planning to go back to your countries, and I think Natan said a very important thing: you’re taking back with you something very, very precious.  You’re taking back with you the truth.  You can speak the truth about Israel.  And that’s what I expect you to do.  You see, there are many people around the world who, day in and day out, malign Israel.  It used to be acceptable to spread the vilest lies about the Jewish people, and now, unfortunately, it’s acceptable to spread the vilest lies about the Jewish state – to slander and malign Israel.

But all of you have gotten to see the truth for yourselves.  You’ve seen what a great nation this is.  You’ve seen the signs.  You’ve seen the technology.  You’ve seen the progress.  You’ve seen the growing, bustling cities.  You’ve seen fun.  There’s a lot of fun in Israel.  By the way, it’s not true that it’s only fun in Tel Aviv; it’s also fun in Jerusalem.  It’s great.  You’ve seen that Israel is an open, pluralistic society.  You’ve seen that in the Middle East, where the rights of women, gays, minorities – anyone who’s different or anyone who’s a minority or anyone who’s not cut from that rigid ideological cloth – you see that in Israel people are free; people are endowed with rights; that Israel as a liberal democracy stands out.  And you’ve seen about something else: how this nation cares about each and every individual.

You know, today we had a terrible tragedy in the North.  It was an entire family, eight souls that were lost in a tragic car accident.  And you know, the whole country is focused on one survivor, a little girl called Rachel.  Rachel, the entire nation is with you.  The entire nation embraces you.  Everybody embraces this little girl, and that’s the truth about Israel.  The whole world wondered how we could unite and sacrifice so much for a single soldier, just to return one soldier: Gilad Shalit.  We did that because we care about each and every life.  See, our enemies think that because they celebrate death – they have a cult of death – they think they’re strong and they think that because we celebrate life, we’re weak.  But it’s exactly the opposite.  We’re strong because we celebrate life and we’re strong because we’re prepared to defend our lives.  And Israel will win because Israel loves life.

I want you to go back to your countries, and I want you to do two things.  One: I want you to reconsider Aliyah, that’s the first, because you have a brilliant future here, brilliant future.   This is a cutting edge country – in technology, in agriculture, in medicine, in art, in literature.  In anything.  This is a country not only of a lot of opinions, but a lot of talents.  You know we have more Nobel Prizes per capita than any other country in the world?  Maybe one of them is sitting here.  We have tremendous opportunities for young people, but we have something that we can offer you that I think you’ve figured out in the time that you’ve been here, and when you leave, you’ll have a perspective.  This is where the heart is.  This is where the Jewish past and the Jewish future blend.  This is where you can shape not only your own individual lives, but the lives of our people, and we’ve travelled for nearly 4,000 years – 3,000 years in this city alone – to ensure our future.  Be part of it.  Don’t pass it up.  You can give deep meaning to your lives.  So I want you to reconsider Aliyah, and defend Israel.  Defend Israel by saying the truth and defend Israel by being proud – proud of your heritage, proud of your Jewish identity, proud of the fact that together, we’re building and ensuring our common Jewish future.

Thank you very much.  Thank you Masa.

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