Full Text Israel Political Brief December 31, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Addresses the 7th Galilee Conference on the Prospects for Peace

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PM Netanyahu Addresses the 7th Galilee Conference

Source: PMO, 12-31-13
יום שלישי כ”ח טבת תשע”ד

Photo by GPO

Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks, this morning to the 7th Galilee Conference in Tiberias:

“The essence of the difference between us and our neighbors may be seen in one picture. While we are prepared to take very painful steps in an effort to try and reach an agreement that would put an end to the conflict, they, along with their highest leadership, are celebrating. Murderers are not heroes. This is not how one educates for peace. Peace can exist only when the education toward incitement and the destruction of Israel stops. There will be peace only if our security interests and our communities are assured. Peace will be established only when we can defend ourselves by ourselves against any threat.”

Israel Musings October 10, 2013: PM Netanyahu refuses early Palestinian prisoners release after rise in attacks

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Netanyahu refuses early Palestinian prisoners release after rise in attacks (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused on Oct. 9, 2013 to release the second set of Palestinian prisoners before the scheduled date of Oct. 29, 2013 according to the peace talk’s preconditions; both the United States and Palestinians…READ MORE

Israel Musings August 12, 2013: Israel approves new housing and prisoner release days before peace talks begin

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Israel approves new housing and prisoner release days before peace talks begin

By Bonnie K. Goodman

On the same day August 11, 2013, that the Israeli government both announced that nearly 1200 additional housing units will be built in East Jerusalem and the West Bank settlements, and approved that 26 pre-Oslo Accords Palestinians prisoners who…

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Israel Political Brief March 5, 2012: Pres. Shimon Peres & PM Benjamin Netanyahu discuss Jonathan Pollard release with President Barack Obama

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Peres, Bibi bringing up Pollard release with Obama

Source: JTA, 3-5-12

Israeli President Shimon Peres asked President Obama to release convicted spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard.

Peres told Pollard’s wife, Esther, on Monday that he discussed the possibility of releasing Jonathan Pollard, who has been jailed for 27 years since being convicted of espionage in 1987 and sentenced to life in prison, during his meeting with Obama on Sunday at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also was set to raise the issue of releasing Pollard with the U.S. president during Monday’s meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office told Ynet.

American Jewish groups have long sought Pollard’s release, arguing that he has received a sentence far harsher than others convicted of similar espionage crimes. Pollard also has expressed remorse and is said to be suffering from medical ailments.

In recent years, a renewed push on his behalf has gained support from a number of members of Congress from both parties as well as former U.S. government officials.

Israel Political Brief October 27, 2011: Ilan Grapel Lands at Ben Gurion Airport

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Ilan Grapel Lands at Ben Gurion

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-27-11

Ilan Grapel was released from an Egyptian jail and boarded a jet bound for Israel on Thursday afternoon as a part of an ilan grapel ben gurion exchange for 25 Egyptians held in Israeli prisons, Reuters reported.

Grapel, 27, who has been held in Egypt for five months on spying charges, landed at Israel’s Ben Gurioun Airport shortly after 7PM local time.

Israeli representatives reported that Grapel was in good health and is happy to be free. His mother Irene met him at Ben-Gurion Airport. Grapel is expected to meet briefly with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening.
Ilan Grapel Hugs with his Mother Upon Arrival Avi Ohayon/GPO/FLASH90

Grapel was being escorted to Israel by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho, and Kadima MK and former deputy Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yisrael Hasson. Both men were insturmental in negotiating his release.

Meanwhile, the 25 Egyptian prisoners to be swapped for Grapel crossed into Egypt via the Taba crossing. According to the Israel Prison Service all of the Egyptian prisoners were serving time for criminal – rather than security-related – offenses.

ilan grapel ben gurion On Wednesday, MK Michael Ben Air took issue which that characterization saying, as weapons smugglers [who sold arms to terrorists -ed.] they should be classified as terrorists.

The United States, which provides Egypt with billions of dollars in military aid, took a hand in the negotiations due to Grapel’s dual American-Israeli citizenship.

The US-brokered exchange deal was reached on the heels of an Egyptian-brokered swap between Israel and Hamas that freed captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners.

As a part of the deal to release him, the US has reportedly promised to Egypt’s ruling junta the F-16 strike fighter.

via israelnn.com

Israel Political Brief October 27, 2011: Illan Grapel Freed in Prisoner Exchange with Egypt

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Grapel Freed in Prisoner Exchange with Egypt

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, JTA, 10-27-11

Dual American-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel reportedly has been handed over to Israeli authorities in Egypt.

Thursday afternoon’s release of Grapel, who has been held in Egypt since June and accused of being a spy, is part of the prisoner exchange between Egypt and Israel. He is scheduled to fly from Egypt to Israel on Thursday evening,

At the same time, 25 Egyptians were released from Israeli prisons and taken to the Taba border crossing for release. ilan grapel alleged israeli spy arrested in egyptThe Egyptians to be released under the Grapel deal, including three minors, are criminal and not security, prisoners, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) arrived in Israel late Wednesday to escort Grapel back to his parents’ home in New York, a statement from his office said. Grapel’s parents are Ackerman’s constituents and Grapel worked as an intern for the congressman.

Ackerman’s office said that the congressman had “personally” intervened with the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the prime minister of Israel and the U.S. State Department to secure Grapel’s release.

Grapel, who has refuted the spying charges, is scheduled to be debriefed by Israeli defense officials before he leaves for New York.

Arab reports, including in the Palestinian news agency Maan, assert that the United States, which was heavily involved in the prisoner swap negotiations, agreed to sell to Egypt several F-16 fighter planes in order to grease the wheels of the swap.

Grapel, arrested in Cairo in June, was accused of espionage. Later he was accused as well of incitement and the attempted arson of the country’s Interior Ministry building and police headquarters in Cairo during January’s riots in the capital.

The agreement comes a little more than a week after captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in an agreement reached with the terrorist organization Hamas.

Egyptian security officials said Grapel entered the country shortly after the start of the Jan. 25 uprising that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and posed as a foreign correspondent. A law student at Emory University, Grapel allegedly said he was Muslim on the visa application that he filed with the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv and then entered Egypt using his American passport.

Grapel moved to Israel following his graduation from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, served as a paratrooper during the Second Lebanon War and was wounded in Southern Lebanon in August 2006.

via jta.org

Israel Political Brief October 26, 2011: Gilad Shalit Was Not Checked by Red Cross Prior to Egypt TV Interview

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Shalit Was Not Checked by Red Cross

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, JTA, 10-26-11

Red Cross doctors did not interview freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit before his notorious interview with Egyptian state television, contrary to what the interviewer said.

Investigative journalist Richard Behar writes in Forbes magazine Wednesday that a Red Cross spokesman reported thatgilad shalit released an International Committee of the Red Cross doctor did not examine Shalit before the Oct. 18 interview, as the interviewer, Egyptian journalist Shahira Amin, claimed in an e-mail to Behar and in an open letter published in The Jerusalem Post.

Amin defended her decision to interview Shalit, saying that the interview was conducted “AFTER [her caps] he had been released by Hamas and had a medical checkup by the Red Cross.”

The Red Cross disputes the claim.

“ICRC representatives met Mr. Shalit briefly after his transfer to the Egyptian authorities,” Red Cross spokesman Hicham Hassan told Behar. “However, he was not met by an IRC doctor as this has [sic] not been solicited.”

In a statement issued by the Red Cross on the day that Shalit was released, the ICRC said that it “helped ensure that the release operation ran smoothly. ICRC delegates interviewed each detainee in private prior to his or her release to verify that they accepted their release. The ICRC also facilitated the transportation of the detainees into the West Bank and from the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip.”

Shalit was seen in the interview breathing heavily and having trouble focusing.

via jta.org

Israel Political Brief October 25, 2011: Shalits Try to Adjust to New Normal

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Shalits Try to Adjust to New Normal

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, JTA, 10-25-11

A week after Gilad Shalit returned to Israel after being held in captivity for more than five years in Gaza, things were getting back to normal at the Shalit family home — sort of.

The Israel Police said they would remove a barrier placed in front of the family’s house in Mitzpe Hila. The flowers, placards and other paraphernalia that littered the streets of the northern Israeli town following the celebration marking Shalit’s return have been cleaned up. Even the Shalit protest tent opposite the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem was taken down and carted away.

But with the 10-day moratorium on Israeli media intrusion in the Shalits’ town set to expire, and with Israelis still eager for images of the newly released soldier, it’s unlikely that Gilad, 25, will be able to have a normal life anytime soon.

On Monday, Israeli President Shimon Peres paid a visit to the Shalit family home, the first visit by an Israeli official. Almost immediately, photos and video of Peres and Gilad Shalit sitting side by side on the family couch landed on Israeli news websites and TV programs.

“You have no idea how thrilled I am to meet you here in your home alive, healthy and whole,” Peres said. “I came to express to you how proud I am, and how proud the entire nation is, by your ability to withstand extremely difficult conditions in captivity.”

Shalit thanked the president.peres and shalit

A day earlier, Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, head of the Kadima Party, slammed the prisoner swap that brought Shalit home Oct. 18 in exchange for the release of 1,027 Arab prisoners, saying it has weakened Israel and strengthened Hamas.

Her criticism during interviews with the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot and Reshet Bet Radio did not sit well with lawmakers in the coalition or the opposition. They swiftly assailed Livni for waiting until Shalit was freed to voice her opposition to the deal, saying it showed a lack of leadership. Livni reportedly did not go public earlier with her dissent at the request of Noam Shalit, the soldier’s father.

The Israeli Cabinet approved the deal by a 26-3 vote.

In the few days since his release, Shalit has been captured by news photographers lying in wait for his next move. He was pictured taking a short walk with his mother — and several security guards — on the first morning following his release and riding a bicycle near his home. He also has played Ping-Pong. On the Simchat Torah holiday, he met with old friends, his father told reporters.

The Shalits are starting to learn that they have to maneuver to avoid the paparazzi. On Saturday, Shalit and his father left home early and took a side road to evade photographers on their way to a beach outing reportedly at Gilad’s request. But a photographer from Haaretz was camping on the beach with his family and snapped a photo of the soldier swimming near the shore as his father watched over him.

“In the last few years I have taken many photographs of the Shalit family surrounded by countless cameras,” photographer Yaron Kaminsky told his newspaper. “It was nice to just run into them like that, at the beach, during Gilad’s first Saturday since being freed from captivity.”

Kaminsky said he told Noam Shalit that he had taken the photo and received his tacit approval to publish it.

Meanwhile, supporters and curiosity seekers continue to flock to Mitzpe Hila for a glimpse of Gilad or simply to have their photo taken in front of the Shalit family home. Many are leaving flowers, drawings and packages containing candy and other gifts for the family.

Noam has provided reporters with several updates since his son returned. On Oct. 20, he said he does not believe Hamas’ claims that Gilad was not tortured while in captivity.

“Gilad went through harsh things, at least in the first period. It is correct that after that, after that first period, the way he was treated improved,” the elder Shalit said.

During the same news conference in front of the family home, Noam Shalit also told reporters that Gilad had an appetite for food but that he was having trouble sleeping through the night. On the day of his release, Gilad appeared wan and pale.

Noam added that his son had few requests and that he was “going with the flow.”

via jta.org

Israel Political Brief October 24, 2011: Egypt Will Release Illan Grapel for Egyptian Prisoners

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Egypt Will Release Grapel for Egyptian Prisoners

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, JTA, 10-24-11

Egypt has agreed to release dual American-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel in exchange for 25 Egyptians being held in Israeli prisons.ilan grapel alleged israeli spy arrested in egypt

The Egyptians, including three minors, are not security prisoners, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on the deal released Monday evening. They are being held on charges such as crossing the border illegally, drug trafficking and holding unlicensed weapons, according to reports.

Grapel, arrested in Cairo in June, was accused of espionage. Later he was accused as well of incitement and the attempted arson of the country’s Interior Ministry building and police headquarters in Cairo during January’s riots in the capital.

The agreement is subject to the approval of Israel’s Security Cabinet, which will meet to discuss the swap Tuesday, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The agreement comes less than a week after captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in an agreement reached with the terrorist organization Hamas.

Egyptian security officials said Grapel entered the country shortly after the start of the Jan. 25 uprising that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and posed as a foreign correspondent. A law student at Emory University, Grapel allegedly said he was Muslim on the visa application that he filed with the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv and then entered Egypt using his American passport.

Grapel denies he is a spy. He says he came to Egypt to intern for a nongovernmental organization that assists refugees from Sudan and elsewhere.

Grapel is a New Yorker who moved to Israel following his graduation from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He joined the Israeli army, served as a paratrooper during the Second Lebanon War and was wounded in Southern Lebanon in August 2006.

Via jta.org

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