Full Text Israel Political Brief March 3, 2014: President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks / Speech before Bilateral White House Meeting — Transcript

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Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu before Bilateral Meeting

Source: WH, 3-3-14 

Oval Office

2:04 P.M. EST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, it’s a pleasure to welcome once again Prime Minister Netanyahu to the Oval Office.  There’s nobody I’ve met with more or consulted with more than Bibi.  And it’s a testimony to the incredible bond between our two nations. I’ve said before and I will repeat, we do not have a closer friend or ally than Israel and the bond between our two countries and our two peoples in unbreakable.

And that’s the reason why on a whole spectrum of issues we consult closely; we have the kind of military, intelligence and security cooperation that is unprecedented.  And there is a strong bipartisan commitment in this country to make sure that Israel’s security is preserved in any contingency.

We’re going to have a wide range of issues, obviously, to discuss given what’s happening on the world stage and the Middle East, in particular.  So we’ll spend some time discussing the situation in Syria and the need for us to not only find a political solution to the tragic situation there, but also to address growing extremism inside of Syria, the spillover effects on Lebanon and Jordan, in particular.

We’ll have an opportunity to discuss the work that we do in counterterrorism and the work that we are going to be continuing to do to try to stabilize an environment that has become very dangerous in many respects.

We’ll also have a chance to talk about Egypt, a country that obviously is of critical importance and where we have the opportunity, I think, to move beyond recent events over the last several years to a point in which once again there is a legitimate path towards political transition inside of Egypt.  And that’s important to Israel’s security as well as to U.S. security.

We’re going to be talking about Iran and my absolute commitment to make sure that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon — something that I know the Prime Minister feels very deeply about.  And we will discuss how the Joint Plan of Action that is currently in place can potentially at least lead to a solution that ensures that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon.

And we’ll spend time talking about the prospects of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.  I want to commend publicly the efforts that Prime Minister Netanyahu had made in very lengthy and painstaking negotiations with my Secretary of State, John Kerry, Abu Mazen.  They are tough negotiations.  The issues are profound.  Obviously if they were easy they would have been resolved many years ago.  But I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu has approached these negotiations with a level of seriousness and commitment that reflects his leadership and the desire for the Israeli people for peace.

It’s my belief that ultimately it is still possible to create two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine in which people are living side by side in peace and security.  But it’s difficult and it requires compromise on all sides.  And I just want to publicly again commend the Prime Minister for the seriousness with which he’s taken these discussions.

The timeframe that we have set up for completing these negotiations is coming near and some tough decisions are going to have to be made.  But I know that, regardless of the outcome, the Prime Minister will make those decisions based on his absolute commitment to Israel’s security and his recognition that ultimately Israel’s security will be enhanced by peace with his neighbors.

So, Mr. Prime Minister, I want to welcome you again, and thank you again for your leadership and your friendship with the American people.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you today, especially since I know you’ve got a few other pressing matters on your plate.  During the five years of your presidency, you and I, and Israel and the United States have worked very closely on critically important issues — security, intelligence-sharing, missile defense — and we’re deeply grateful for that.

I look forward to working closely with you in the years ahead to address the main challenges that confront both our countries, and of these, the greatest challenge, undoubtedly, is to prevent Iran from acquiring the capacity to make nuclear weapons.  I think that goal can be achieved if Iran is prevented from enriching uranium and dismantles fully its military nuclear installations.

Now, Mr. President, if that goal can be achieved peacefully and through diplomacy, I can tell you that no country has a greater stake in this than Israel.  Because, as you know and I’m sure you’ll appreciate, Iran calls openly for Israel’s destruction, so I’m sure you’ll appreciate that Israel cannot permit such a state to have the ability to make atomic bombs to achieve that goal.  We just cannot be brought back again to the brink of destruction.  And I, as the Prime Minister of Israel, will do whatever I must do to defend the Jewish state.

We’re also going to discuss the peace process, as you said. I want to thank you and Secretary Kerry for when I say tireless efforts, I mean tireless efforts that he has put into this quest, as you are.

It’s an opportunity to congratulate Secretary Kerry on the birth of his new granddaughter.  Mr. Secretary, you may not be aware of this — but the news of the new granddaughter came to Secretary Kerry while we were discussing the peace process.  So we’ve had many productive meetings, but this is truly a productive meeting.  (Laughter.)  And so I thank you both for you efforts and your team’s.

The 20 years that have passed since Israel entered the peace process have been marked by unprecedented steps that Israel has taken to advance peace.  I mean, we vacated cities in Judea and Samaria.  We left entirely Gaza.  We’ve not only frozen settlements, we’ve uprooted entire settlements.  We’ve released hundreds of terrorist prisoners, including dozens in recent months.

And when you look at what we got in return, it’s been scores of suicide bombings, thousands of rockets on our cities fired from the areas we vacated, and just incessant Palestinian incitement against Israel.  So Israel has been doing its part, and I regret to say that the Palestinians haven’t.

Now, I know this flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but it’s the truth.  And the people of Israel know that it’s the truth because they’ve been living it.  What they want is peace.  What we all want fervently is peace.  Not a piece a paper –- although that, too — but a real peace; a peace that is anchored in mutual recognition of two nation states that recognize and respect one another, and solid security arrangements on the ground.

Mr. President, you rightly said that Israel, the Jewish state, is the realization of the Jewish people’s self-determination in our ancestral homeland.  So the Palestinians expect us to recognize a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people, a nation state for the Palestinian people.  I think it’s about time they recognize a nation state for the Jewish people.  We’ve only been there for 4,000 years.

And I hope President Abbas does this, as I hope that he’ll take seriously Israel’s genuine security needs.  Because, as you know and I think everybody does, in the Middle East, which is definitely the most turbulent and violent part of the Earth, the only peace that will endure is a peace that we can defend.  And we’ve learned from our history — Jewish history, but I think from general history — that the best way to guarantee peace is to be strong.  And that’s what the people of Israel expect me to do –- to stand strong against criticism, against pressure, stand strong to secure the future of the one and only Jewish state.

And I think there is a partnership there, a partnership between Israel and America, that I think is important for this end.   I want to thank you again for your friendship and your hospitality, and the warmth you’ve shown me on the snowy Washington day.  I thank you.  It’s good to see you again.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.

Q    The initial punishments that the U.S. is threatening against Russia for their advances into Ukraine don’t seem to be having much of an effect.  What leverage do you believe you have over President Putin at this point?  And is the U.S. concerned primarily about getting Russian forces out of Crimea, or are you also concerned about Russian forces moving into parts of eastern Ukraine?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  All of the above.  I spent the weekend talking to leaders across Europe, and I think the world is largely united in recognizing that the steps Russia has taken are a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, Ukraine’s territorial integrity; that they’re a violation of international law; they’re a violation of previous agreements that Russia has made with respect to how it treats and respects its neighbors.  And, as a consequence, we got strong statements from NATO, from the G7, condemning the actions that Russia has taken.  And we are going to continue these diplomatic efforts during the course of this week.

My interest is seeing the Ukrainian people be able to determine their own destiny.  Russia has strong historic ties to the Ukraine.  There are a lot of Russian nationals inside of Ukraine as well as native Russians, as there are a lot of Ukrainians inside of Russia.  There are strong commercial ties between those two countries.  And so all of those interests I think can be recognized.  But what cannot be done is for Russia, with impunity, to put its soldiers on the ground and violate basic principles that are recognized around the world.

And I think the strong condemnation that its received from countries around the world indicates the degree to which Russia is on the wrong side of history on this.

We are strongly supportive of the interim Ukrainian government.  John Kerry is going to be traveling to Kyiv to indicate our support for the Ukrainian people, to offer very specific and concrete packages of economic aid — because one of the things we’re concerned about is stabilizing the economy even in the midst of this crisis.  And what we are also indicating to the Russians is that if, in fact, they continue on the current trajectory that they’re on, that we are examining a whole series of steps — economic, diplomatic — that will isolate Russia and will have a negative impact on Russia’s economy and its status in the world.

We’ve already suspended preparations for the G8 summit.  I think you can expect that there would be further follow-up on that.  We are taking a look a whole range of issues that John Kerry mentioned yesterday.

And the question for Mr. Putin, who I spoke to directly, and the question for the Russian government generally is if, in fact, their concern is that the rights of all Ukrainians are respected, if, in fact, their primary concern, as they’ve stated, is that Russian speakers and Russian nationals are not in any way harmed or abused or discriminated against, then we should be able to set up international monitors and an international effort that mediates between various parties, that is able to broker a deal that is satisfactory to the Ukrainian people — not to the United States, not to Russia, but to the Ukrainian people — and we should be able to deescalate the situation.

And so we’ve been very specific with the Russians about how that might be done under the auspices of either the United States or the OSCE, or some other international organization.  And John Kerry will pursue that further when he arrives.

And so there are really two paths that Russia can take at this point.  Obviously, the facts on the ground in Crimea are deeply troubling and Russia has a large army that borders Ukraine.  But what is also true is that over time this will be a costly proposition for Russia.  And now is the time for them to consider whether they can serve their interests in a way that resorts to diplomacy as opposed to force.

One last point I would make on this:  I’ve heard a lot of talk from Congress about what should be done, what they want to do.  One thing they can do right away is to work with the administration to help provide a package of assistance to the Ukrainians, to the people and that government.  And when they get back in, assuming the weather clears, I would hope that that would be the first order of business.  Because at this stage there should be unanimity among Democrats and Republicans that when it comes to preserving the principle that no country has the right to send in troops to another country unprovoked, we should be able to come up with a unified position that stands outside of partisan politics.  And my expectation is, is that I’ll be able to get Congress to work with us in order to achieve that goal.

END
2:22 P.M. EST

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Israel Political Brief August 20, 2013: Israel warns on High Holidays travel

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Israel warns on High Holidays travel

Source: JTA, 8-20-13

The Israeli government has advised Israelis and all Jews to avoid travel to several countries, including Egypt and Turkey, during the High Holidays, a popular time for leisure travel….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 17, 2013: Long-range rockets strike Eilat

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Long-range rockets strike Eilat

Source: JTA, 4-17-13

Two long-range rockets fired from the Sinai Desert struck the Israeli resort city of Eilat….READ MORE

Israel Brief March 27, 2013: Israel battling new swarm of locusts

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Israel battling new swarm of locusts

Source: JTA, 3-27-13

Israel was battling a new swarm of locusts that crossed the border from Egypt….READ MORE

Israel Brief March 5, 2013: Swarm of 1 million locusts hits Israel

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Swarm of 1 million locusts hits Israel

Source: JTA, 3-5-13

A swarm of 1 million locusts crossed into Israel from Egypt….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief February 17, 2013: ‘Israel, Hamas in Egypt-mediated indirect talks’

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‘Israel, Hamas in Egypt-mediated indirect talks’

Source: Jerusalem Post, 2-17-13

According to the Al-Masreyoon website, an Israeli delegation of four people arrived in Cairo on Thursday on an Israeli military plane. They met with members of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service led by intelligence chief Raafat Shehata….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief January 2, 2013: Main section of Israel’s border fence with Egypt is completed

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Main section of Israel’s border fence with Egypt is completed

Source: JTA, 1-2-13

The main section of Israel’s border fence with Egypt, meant to keep infiltrators from entering the country, has been completed….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 2, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Remarks at Ceremony to Mark the Completion of the Security Fence along the Egyptian Border

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PM Netanyahu Attends Ceremony to Mark the Completion of the Fence along the Egyptian Border

Source: PMO, 1-2-13

יום רביעי כ’ טבת תשע”ג

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today attended the ceremony marking the completion of the fence along the Egyptian border, the section between Kerem Shalom and the Eilat area. The construction of the fence – 230 kilometers in length – took two years, approximately half of the time that was originally planned, and cost approximately NIS 1.6 billion. Last year, the phenomenon of infiltration into Israel was reduced almost to nil. In January 2012, 2,153 illegal work infiltrators entered Israel’s cities, as opposed to the 36 who entered last month, all of whom were placed in detention. Last month included the first week in six years in which not even one infiltrator crossed the fence. Work on the 12 kilometers of fence in the Eilat area is expected to be completed within three months.

IDF Deputy Chief-of-Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo, Defense Ministry Director-General Udi Shani, Fence Construction Authority head Brig.-Gen. Eran Ofir and Hagai Hadas, who was appointed by Prime Minister to be responsible for repatriating the infiltrators to their countries of origin, also attended today’s tour and ceremony.

Maj.-Gen. Russo briefed Prime Minister Netanyahu on the fence and its contribution to defending Israel’s borders and noted that in addition to its original purpose of blocking illegal work infiltrators, it also plays a main role in preventing attempted infiltrations by terrorists. Brig.-Gen. Ofir reviewed the construction of the fence and said, “Just as Iron Dome defends Israel’s skies, the fence is an iron wall defending Israel’s border.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “For seven months, not one infiltrator has reached Israel’s cities. Just as we have stopped infiltration into Israel’s cities, so too will we succeed in the next mission – repatriating the tens of thousands of infiltrators in Israel to their countries of origin. We have already begun to do so. I have appointed Hagai Hadas to deal with the issue and we can already see results of his efforts. We also need to complete the work on the country’s other borders.” The Prime Minister told those in charge of the project, “This is a great achievement. You did the impossible. I would like to convey to you the gratitude of all Israelis.”

Israel Political Brief November 22, 2012: Israel warns of tougher operation if truce agreement violated

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Israel warns of tougher operation if truce agreement violated

Source: Xinhua, 11-22-12

An Israeli minister said Thursday that Hamas can expect an aggravated military response in the event that it or other militant groups in the Gaza Strip resume rocket attacks on Israel….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 22, 2012: IDF reservists released after Gaza operation: ‘We’ll be back’

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IDF reservists released after Gaza op: ‘We’ll be back’

 Source: YNet News, 11-22-12

הביתה. שמחה מהולה בתחושת החמצה (צילום: רועי עידן)

Soldiers recruited during Operation Pillar of Defense disappointed that IDF ‘didn’t get to finish the job’

The army began releasing on Thursday tens of thousands of reserve soldiers who were recruited under emergency orders during Operation Pillar of Defense.

Some of the soldiers were disappointed by the fact that the operation was cut short and they were not given the chance to “complete the mission,” as one soldier put it, while others said it is just a matter of time before they are called up again….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: 12 rockets fired on Israel since cease-fire truce takes effect

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12 rockets fired on Israel since truce takes effect

Source: YNet News, 11-21-12 

Twelve rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel since 9 pm, when a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza was set to take effect.

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: Text of Ceasefire Agreement Between Israel & Hamas

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Text of Ceasefire Agreement

The partial text of the ceasefire agreement as reported by news agencies.
Source: INN, 11-21-12

This is the partial text of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, as brokered by Egypt and the U.S. and reported by AFP.

“Israel shall stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals.

“All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.

“Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas. Procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

“Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.”

“Implementation mechanism.

“Setting up the zero hour understanding to enter into effect.

“Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.

“Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt as a sponsor of this understanding, shall be informed to follow up.”

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: I’m Giving Ceasefire a Chance before Using Greater Force

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Bibi: I’m Giving Ceasefire a Chance before Using Greater Force

According to Egyptian foreign minister, ceasefire will go into force at 9:00 p.m. Netanyahu’s statement leaves room for resumed fighting.
Source: INN, 11-21-12

According to the latest reports from Cairo and Israel, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Wednesday evening and asked him to agree to abide by a ceasefire with Hamas.

The terms of the ceasefire are not yet known in full….READ MORE

Israel Brief November 21, 2012: President Barack Obama Hails Ceasefire Agreement

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President Obama Hails Ceasefire Agreement

Source: News One, 11-21-12

President Barack Obama is hailing a ceasefire agreement to end a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement at Press Conference with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense – Operation Pillar of Defense – Cease-Fire

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PM Netanyahu’s Statement at November 21 Press Conference with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense  – Operation Pillar of Defense – Cease-Fire

Source: PMO, 11-21-12

Photo by GPO

“Citizens of Israel,

Eight days ago, Israel embarked on operation Pillar of Defense. The Government decided to launch the operation after the frequency of the terror attacks originating from Gaza increased over the last few months. I announced that we would respond forcibly to these attacks when we see fit. I said that we would exact a heavy price from the terror organizations.

The terror organizations assumed that we would avoid offensive action against them; they were wrong. We hit their senior commanders, we destroyed thousands of rockets which were aimed towards the South and most of those aimed towards central Israel, and we crushed Hamas’ control facilities. I must say that we did this with the strong support of the leading authorities of the international community.

In particular, I wish to thank President Obama for his resolute support for Israel’s actions, for this operation and for Israel’s right to defend itself. I also thank him for supporting the Iron Dome systems. I thank Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and express my gratitude to the Egyptians for their efforts in achieving this cease-fire.

In a phone call I had this evening with President Obama, I agreed with him that we should give the cease-fire a chance in order to enable a lull in the situation and allow for the citizens of Israel to return to routine. However, Israel obviously cannot sit idly while our enemy reinforces itself with weapons of terror. Therefore we decided, President Obama and myself, that the United States and Israel would work together to fight the smuggling of weapons to the terror organizations – weapons, virtually all of which come from Iran.

From the day the State of Israel was established, it has had to deal with complex challenges in the Middle East, and we can all see that these challenges have become even more complex in the last few years. Under these conditions we are required to navigate this ship, the State of Israel, wisely and responsibly while taking into account all considerations – military and political alike. This is what a responsible government does, and it is what we did here: we made use of our military might while applying political considerations.

Now, I realize that there are citizens who expect a harsher military action and we may very well need to do that. But at present, the right thing for the State of Israel is to exhaust this possibility of reaching a long-term cease-fire. As Prime Minister, I have the responsibility, and it is the highest responsibility, to make the right steps to ensure our security. That is what I have done and it is what I will continue to do.

During the last week, Israel has lost several victims. On behalf of the entire population, I send condolences to the families, and wish the wounded a speedy recovery.

I would like to thank my colleagues, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. We worked together as a team, in full agreement. I also thank the Nine-Member Ministerial Forum, the Cabinet and the Government, for working – each in its field of responsibility – for the citizens of Israel. I also appreciate the factions of the Opposition and the factions in Knesset for standing with us and proclaiming their support.

I thank the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, the Chief of Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, the Director of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, and all of their people for their exceptional efforts in reaching our accomplishments in Pillar of Defense. On behalf of the people of Israel, I thank the IDF commanders and soldiers, the pilots, the Iron Dome operators and developers, the members of the intelligence services, all the members of the security services and to the reservists, who left their families and immediately signed up for duty.

I appreciate the mayors and heads of regional councils for displaying leadership and level-headedness at the Home Front, and above all – I salute you, the citizens of Israel. We have a strong army; we have a strong people. I am proud to by your Prime Minister

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: Hillary Clinton Announces Israel-Hamas Ceasefire

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Hillary Clinton Announces Israel-Hamas Ceasefire

Hillary Clinton Announces Israel-Hamas Ceasefire. Secretary of state says that there’s “no substitute for a just and lasting peace….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: Israel and Hamas reach a cease-fire

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Israel and Hamas reach a cease-fire

Source: JTA, 11-21-12

A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is set to begin at 9 p.m. local time….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: Cairo talks fail to yield cease-fire agreement, expected to continue

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Cairo talks fail to yield cease-fire agreement, expected to continue

Source: JTA, 11-20-12

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Nov. 20, 2012. (Avi Ohayon/ GPO/Flash90)

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Nov. 20, 2012. (Avi Ohayon/ GPO/Flash90)

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Makoto Otsuka, director general of the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama, Japan, with visiting schoolchildren in front of a photo of Anne Frank.–>

Talks between Israel and Hamas negotiated by Egypt have not produced a cease-fire.

The talks in Cairo are expected to stretch into Wednesday, a Hamas official reportedly said late Tuesday night.

A Hamas official had been quoted earlier on Tuesday by Reuters as saying that a cease-fire would go into effect at midnight.

Shortly after the Reuters report appeared Tuesday evening, Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN that an agreement on a cease-fire had not yet been reached….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 19, 2012: Khaled Mashaal says Benjamin Netanyahu asked for lull; Israel: He’s lying

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Mashaal says Netanyahu asked for lull; Israel: He’s lying

Exiled Hamas leader claims Netanyahu requested truce, but top Israeli official says his comments ‘about as accurate as Hamas’ claims that it downed F-15 or attacked Knesset’

Source: YNet News, 11-19-12

 

שיגורים, נפילות ותקיפות. יום שישי למבצע "עמוד ענן" (צילום:AP)

Day 6 of Operation Pillar of Defense (Photo: AP)

Israel and Hamas agreed on a ceasefire but still disagree on the implementation phases, the Al-Arabiya network quoted unnamed sources as saying Sunday afternoon.

According to the report, Hamas conditioned the agreement on the immediate implementation of a ceasefire, while Israel wants to implement it in two separate phases – apparently a lull in the first stage and the lifting of the naval blockade of Gaza at a later stage.

However, both sides denied the report and accused one another of spreading disinformation. Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has requested a truce in the Gaza conflict, but a senior Israeli official said in response that “Hamas’s comments about a ceasefire, alleging that Israel is begging for one, are about as accurate as its claims to have shot down an F-15 (warplane) or attacked the Knesset.”….READ MORE

 

Israel Political Brief November 19, 2012: Ceasefire Seems Unlikely, After Khaled Mashaal Speech

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Ceasefire Seems Unlikely, After Mashaal Speech

Hamas claims that Israeli is ‘suing for peace,’ but it is Hamas that is the big loser in this war, says an official

Source: INN, 11-19-12

There may be talk going on about a ceasefire, but Hamas is not interested, said Hamas top terrorist Khaled Mashaal. Speaking in Gaza Monday afternoon, Mashal said that there would be no compromises with Israel. “There may be or may not be an agreement, but that is up to Israel,” he said. “There are efforts by Qatar and Egypt, we are meeting with them every day. But we will not accept any Israeli conditions. If they want a ceasefire, let them stop attacking us. The one who started the violence should end it.”

Instead, he said, Hamas expects Israel to surrender to its demands – specifically the ending of the land and sea blockade around Gaza. “We are not seeking to aggravate the conflict and give the Israelis a reason to invade Gaza,” he said. However, he said, Hamas was prepared for a land operation by the IDF….READ MORE

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