Israel Political Brief June 3, 2014: US State Dept Contradicts Netanyahu Says There Are No Hamas Members in Unity Government

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

US: There Are No Hamas Members in Unity Government

The United States on Tuesday rejected Israel’s expressions of disappointment over its statements that Washington was planning to cooperate with the new Palestinian Authority (PA) unity government. Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said….READ MORE
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Israel Political Brief June 10, 2012: US Blocks Israel from the Global Counterterrorism Forum Due to Turkey’s Objections

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

US Ousts Israel From Counterterrorism Forum

The US blocked Israel’s participation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s, due to fierce objections from Turkey.

 

GCTF

GCTF
Reuters

The United States blocked Israel’s participation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s (GCTF) first meeting in Istanbul on Friday, despite Israel’s having one of the most extensive counterterrorism experiences in the world.

Israel was excluded from the meeting due to fierce objections by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Washington-based source told Globes news.

According the State Department’s website, the GCTF, which was established in September 2011, aims at “strengthening the global counterterrorism (CT) architecture in a manner that complements and reinforces the CT work of existing multilateral bodies.”

Twenty-nine countries are participating in the GCTF, ten of which are Arab and/or Muslim countries.

“The GCTF sought from the outset to bridge old and deep divides in the international community between Western donor nations and Muslim majority nations. And it has, I think, done that quite effectively,” a top US official said at the press briefing prior to the opening session.

Republican politicians claim that since one third of the GCTF’s members are Muslim countries, the Obama administration is trying to deepen ties with the Muslim world at Israel’s expense, Globes noted.

“Our idea with the GCTF was to bring together a limited number of traditional donors, front line states, and emerging powers develop a more robust, yet representative, counterterrorism capacity-building platform. A number of our close partners with considerable experience countering and preventing terrorism are not included among the GCTF’s founding members,” a State Department spokesman said in response to questions about Israel’s exclusion from the GCTF.

“We have discussed the GCTF and ways to involve Israel in its activities on a number of occasions, and are committed to making this happen,” he added.

Pro-Israeli sources say that the Obama administration decided to ignore the fact that Turkey, which has a key role in the GCTF, opposes calling Hamas a terrorist organization, even though the State Department lists it as such.

In May, Turkey blocked Israel’s participation in a NATO summit in Chicago and maintained that NATO–Israel relations cannot be restored until Turkey-Israel relations are normalized.

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.

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.”

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