Israel Political Brief June 8, 2012: Ulpana Supporters Prepare for Struggle after the Regulation Bill Failed to Pass Knesset



Ulpana Supporters Prepare for Struggle

Residents of the Ulpana neighborhood and their supporters sat down after the Regulation Bill failed, spoke about next stage of struggle.
Ulpana neighborhood

Ulpana neighborhood
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Dozens of activists and regional leaders sat down with residents of the Ulpana neighborhood after the Regulation Bill was voted down to discuss the next stage of the struggle. Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Council head Danny Dayan spoke to Arutz Sheva about the meeting.

“We’re very determined, I believe that we will ultimately be the winners here,” Dayan said. The residents have not yet decided exactly what form the struggle will take, he added, “or what kind of physical confrontation, if there will be one.”

Residents, regional officials, and rabbis sat and talked from Wednesday night until early Thursday morning.

The meeting took place in the home of Didi Dickstein and his wife. Dickstein lost his parents and a sibling in a terrorist attack in 2002; he and his wife and two children now live in Beit El, where he chairs the official Ulpana neighborhood Neighborhood Committee….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 6, 2012: Knesset Votes Down Ulpana Bill to Legalize Five Ulpana homes in Beit El Retroactively



Knesset votes down bill to legalize outposts retroactively

Source: JTA, 6-6-12

A bill to legalize West Bank outposts retroactively was voted down by the Knesset….READ MORE »

Ulpana Bill Falls, Nationalists in Coalition Cave In

Nationalists in the coalition caved in and abstained from the Knesset vote rejecting legalizing five “Ulpana” homes in Beit El.
Ulpana neighborhood protest ent

Ulpana neighborhood protest ent
Avi Shimshi

Nationalists in the coalition caved in and abstained from the Knesset vote Wednesday afternoon that rejected a bill aimed at circumventing a court order to destroy five residential units in the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El and expel their 30 families.

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.

Among those who left the Knesset before the vote were Jewish Home leader Daniel Hershkowitz and Likud minister Yuli Edelstein and deputy minister Ayoub Kara.

Shas ministers also were absent from the vote on the bill, whose sponsor Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev noted that it was on the same day seven years ago that the Sharon government approved the “Disengagement” plan that resulted in the expulsion of more than 9,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza and four northern Samaria communities.

Following the  expulsions, which were promoted as guaranteeing peace and quiet for southern Israel, the government ordered the demolition of houses and then withdrew all soldiers from the Gaza region.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pressured nationalist Cabinet ministers not to vote against the Ulpana demolitions and won the day after it was clear he had a solid majority and after he made several concessions to nationalists.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised to build 10 new homes for every one torn down and has won legal approval from the attorney general for his plan to take down the houses, brick by brick, and rebuild them nearby on land used by the military.

He also said he will head a new committee on Jewish development in Judea and Samaria, effectively removing the authority of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who has ordered dozens of demolitions of outpost communities and has blocked Jews from living in homes that were legally purchased, most recently in Hevron.

Nationalists fear the failure to pass the bill will encourage more demolitions and expulsions at more communities, such as Migron and Givat Asaf, where left-wing groups have challenged the legality of their construction.

MK Orlev chided Prime Minister Netanyahu for offering to expand building in Beit El in return for the demolitions. “If the prime minister wants to expand building, why tie it with this destruction in the Ulpana neighborhood?” he asked.

Israel Political Brief May 17, 2012: New Poll: Kadima Crashing from 28 to 3 Knesset Seats



Poll: Kadima Crashing to 3 Knesset Seats

Kadima would crash from 28 Knesset seats to 3 if elections were held today, Knesset Channel poll says.
MK Shaul Mofaz

MK Shaul Mofaz
Flash 90

Kadima, the largest faction in the present Knesset, would crash from 28 seats to just 3 if elections were held today, according to a new poll conducted by the Panels Institute for the Knesset Channel.

The party was expected to lose much of its power in the next elections but the extremely unfavorable poll appears to be a direct result of the deal that party leader Shaul Mofaz recently made with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in which Kadima entered the coalition.

Polls held shortly after that deal showed Mofaz losing popularity.

Many of the seats lost by Kadima would go to the newly formed Yesh Atid party headed by journalist Yair Lapid. The poll gives Lapid 17 MKs.

Likud is at 30 Knesset seats, more or less as it has been in other recent polls. Labor reaches 20 seats and becomes the second-largest party.

Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu receives 12 seats, Shas – which currently has 11 – gets only 6, United Torah Judaism stays with the current 5, the National Union climbs to 9 and the Jewish Home receives 3.

Meretz doubles its power to receive 6 seats.

The projection gives the so-called right-religious bloc 62 seats and makes a Likud-coalition with more Lapid likely.

Israel Political Brief April 25, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Says He Can Deliver Peace Deal in CNN Interview



Netanyahu Says He Can Deliver Peace

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told CNN that he believes he can deliver a peace deal – but that the PA will have to make compromises, too


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told CNN interviewer Erin Burnett on Tuesday he can “deliver a peace agreement” with the Palestinian Authority.

“I think that I could deliver a peace agreement,” Netanyahu said. “I could get the Israeli people to follow me if I believe that I have a serious partner on the other side willing to make the necessary compromises on the Palestinian side.”

However, Netanyahu stressed that compromise was a two-way street and no agreement would be possible if PA officials refused to make concessions as well.

“Many compromises that people talk about are on the Israeli side. But there are necessary compromises on the Palestinian side… peace is always a two-way compromise,” Netanyahu told Burnett.

“I think that peace would benefit us, as I think it would benefit the Palestinians, as it would benefit the entire region,” he added.

He also said he was committed to a contiguous PA state in Judea and Samaria. The future PA state should not “look like Swiss cheese,” Netanyahu said.

“I’m the prime minister who removed 400 checkpoints, barriers, roadblocks and so on to facilitate the growth of the Palestinian economy. This is in line with what I believe is essential.” he said.

He added, “It’s not a substitute for a political peace… There are so many issues to discuss but you have to discuss them. We have to sit down opposite one another. That’s what leaders do.”

During the interview Netanyahu also told Burnett that his concerns were rooted in security, saying Israel had no desire to meddle in a future PA state’s domestic affairs.

“I don’t want to govern the Palestinians. I don’t want them as subjects of Israel or as citizens of Israel. I want them to have their own independent state. But a demilitarized state,” Netanyahu said.

He explained that a demilitarized PA state “just means that they can’t field the armies. They can’t fire rockets. That they won’t be used a third time by Iran and its Palestinian proxies to fire rockets on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. But we don’t want to run their lives.”

During the interview on Wednesday, Netanyahu also discussed Iran’s nuclear program, saying “they – they say they need it for, what? Medical isotopes?”

“Well, you know – well, you have a sense of humor…. This is a farce. Nobody can seriously– nobody can take them seriously,” Netanyahu said, laughing after Burnett asking him about Iranian claims that their nuclear program is peaceful.

Israel Political Brief April 24, 2012: Yom Hazikaron: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Attends Yad Lebanim Memorial Flag-Lowering Ceremony in Jerusalem



Memorial Day: Israel’s Flag at Half Staff

PM Binyamin Netanyahu attended a flag-lowering ceremony in Jerusalem, saying ‘it cuts your life in two’ when a family member dies in war
Binyamin Netanyahu, Memorial Day

Binyamin Netanyahu, Memorial Day

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, and Israel’s Chief Rabbis on Tuesday attended a flag-lowering ceremony in Jerusalem as Memorial Day is set to begin.

“For bereaved families, time stops when you get the terrible news… it cuts your life in two: what was before, and what will never be again,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told more than 200 soldiers and bereaved families gathered for the Yad Lebanim Memorial for the Fallen in Israel’s Wars.

“When you hear the siren tonight, we will turn into one family, and the citizens of Israel will be united in our remembrance,” Netanyahu said, recalling his own brother – Yoni Netanyahu – who was killed during the 1976 Entebbe rescue operation.

Yad Lebanim (“A Memorial for the Sons”) is the organization that supports bereaved families in cooperation with the Defense Ministry and official government bodies. The Jerusalem memorial, located near the government quarter, is the central memorial for soldiers killed in action in the capital.

Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror will officially commence Tuesday night at 20:00 local time when the siren at the Western Wall is sounded for one minute of silent remembrance.

The ceremony there will be attended by President Shimon Peres, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and many families bereaved by war and terror.

Another siren will sound at 11 a.m., bringing the entire country to a standstill in memory of the fallen soldiers and those killed by acts of terror. Memorial events will take place at military cemeteries, at schools and places of work.

The number who have fallen in IDF service and in terror attacks in Israel since the First Aliya in 1860 presently stands at 22,993.

During its War of Independence the Jewish state lost 6,373 of its people, about 1% of its population, in the war. Of those 2477 were civilians. Some 120 foreign nationals, tourists, and workers were also killed during Israel’s War of Independence.

Last year, 15 Israelis were killed in hostilities. A total of 126 soldiers died while on active duty with the IDF during 2011, as well.

A ceremony at the Knesset this evening will include the reading of “memory poems” by the Knesset Speaker, assorted government ministers, and Israel’s police commissioner, Yohanan Danino.

The poems are written by the bereaved families and friends of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror.

The flag will remain at half-staff until sundown on Wednesday, when Yom Haatzmaut – Israeli Independence Day – begins.


Memorial Day: Israel Prepares to Remember

Natalie Leiba, sister of late Lt. Col. Yehuda Ben Shabbat, told Arutz Sheva that Memorial Day is when memories well up, and loss pervades
Fallen Soldier's Tomb

Fallen Soldier’s Tomb
edk תקשורת

As Israel prepares to begin its Yom Hazikaron [Memorial Day] observance on Tuesday evening many bereaved families are reminded their lives contain a vacuum….

Yom Hazikaron is not only the day on which Israel honors its fallen soldiers, but also those killed in terror attacks by those seeking the destruction of the Jewish state.

Memorial services are held in cemetaries, government buildings, military bases, schools, and private venues to honor the dead and remind the Jewish nation of the cost of freedom and national sovereignty in its ancestral homeland.

Beginning at sundown on Tuesday, Yom Hazikaron will continue until sundown on Wednesday, when Israel’s 64th Independence Day celebration will begin.

Israel Political Brief April 16, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: Talks with Iran Have Given it a ‘Freebie’



Netanyahu: Talks with Iran Have Given it a ‘Freebie’

PM Netanyahu meets U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, warns against Iran using talks to further advance its nuclear program.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed on Sunday the latest round of talks between Iran and six world powers, which were held in Turkey over the weekend.

Netanyahu, who met with U.S. Senator (ID-CT) Joe Lieberman, warned against Iran using the opportunity to advance its nuclear weapons program.

On Saturday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said the talks have been constructive and that the sides will meet again in Baghdad on May 23.

Ashton said future talks will be guided by the “principle of a step-by-step approach and reciprocity.”

“My initial impression is that Iran has been given a freebie,” Netanyahu said during his meeting with Lieberman. “It’s got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation.”

He added, “I think Iran should take immediate steps. First, stop all enrichment, take out all the enriched material and dismantle the nuclear facility in Qom. I believe that the world’s greatest practitioner of terrorism must not have the opportunity to develop atomic bombs.”

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it was now “urgent” for Iran to ease concerns over its nuclear program.

“We believe there is still time for diplomacy, but it is urgent that the Iranians come to the table to establish an environment conducive to achieving concrete results through a sustained process,” Clinton said.

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