minister benjamin netanyahu

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This report is taken from the latest ‘Churches for Peace on the Middle East’ bulletin. The highlights are from Father Roy.

July 13, 2012

Israeli Report Rejects Occupation and Outpost Illegality 

On Monday a panel commissioned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released its final report on the status of settlements in the West Bank. The group decided that Israel’s presence in the West Bank does not constitute an “occupation” and therefore settlement activity does not violate international law. The results are only recommendations at this stage, but nevertheless, they received harsh criticism from Israeli peace groups and much of the international community.

The committee, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, concluded that the “classical laws of ‘occupation’ as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable” given the unique circumstance of Israel’s presence in the West Bank. Additionally, it found “the provisions of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, regarding the transfer of populations, cannot be considered applicable and were never intended to apply to the type of settlement activity” that is carried out in the West Bank. This means, “the establishment of settlements cannot, in and of itself, be considered illegal.”

There are several recommendations in the report based on these conclusions. Levy and his colleagues believe that since the government provided encouragement and tacit approval for outposts, they should be legalized. In cases where settlers built outposts on private Palestinian land, the report suggests that Israel should create a separate judicial tribunal to investigate claims to the land. This could make the process harder for Palestinians to pursue claims by establishing a “fixed time period” for the owner to take legal action.

The committee convened in January this year after settlers in Netanyahu’s coalition pressured him to resolve the illegal outpost issue that has plagued Israel for years. In 2005, Talia Sasson issued a report at the behest of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that revealed the Israeli government funded the building of settlements and outposts in the West Bank that were illegal under Israeli law. While the government voted to accept the report’s recommendations, there was no set timetable for evacuations and construction continued at a faster rate, often at odds with Israeli courts. The most recent example of this tension was the court ordered evacuation of Ulpana a few weeks ago, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed the court ruling, but vowed to physically relocate the settlers’ homes and build 850 new ones to compensate.

It is important to remember that the Levy Report’s conclusions are mere suggestions for the Netanyahu government. Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein must examine the findings and approve them before Netanyahu and his cabinet can entertain the idea of legalizing all settlements.

TAKE ACTION! Raise your voice and ask Secretary Clinton to express firm U.S. opposition to the legalization of illegal settlements.

Levy Report Fall Out

A press release from Americans for Peace Now quoted President and CEO Debra DeLee saying, “If the Levy Report’s recommendations become official policy, the Netanyahu government will be taking the country that we love and support one step closer to becoming an international pariah – a country whose government declares openly that it prefers land to peace and ideology over law and justice.”

Legal advisor to Yesh Din, Michael Sfard released a statement which, “The Levy Committee was conceived in sin to legalize a crime, and it has fully accomplished its mission. Its report is not a legal report but an ideological report that ignores the basic principles of the rule of law.”

If Weinstein does accept the findings, Jerusalem Post writer Jonathan Rosen cautions Netanyahufrom making the recommendations law. He writes, “To endorse the Levy report is to unmask the ongoing fraud by the Israeli government; it is to admit openly that the government has lent its tacit support to the establishment of the outposts and, as such, to the ongoing settlement of the West Bank, despite promises to the contrary. In short, to do so would be politically suicidal for Netanyahu.”

The report bolsters the settlers’ claims to the land in the West Bank and many of their supporters in the government praised the findings. Prominent Likud Knesset Member Danny Danon said, “The report will remove any leftist radicalism from previous court ruling on the outposts and bury once and for all the alarming report previously submitted by attorney Talia Sasson.”

The United States government says it has not changed its position on the issue of settlements. A State Department spokesman told reporters, “Obviously, we’ve seen the reports that an Israeli government appointed panel has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts.

This response uses the standard verbiage that has become commonplace in recent years. Several of the statements made by the President Barack Obama’s administration since 2009 involve the illegitimacy of the settlement enterprise but avoid deeming them illegal. However, the State Department says the outposts are illegal, but that view is in agreement with current Israeli law.

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I thank God for Jimmy Carter – a voice of sanity and compassion, and a man who understands the complexities of any peace process for Israel/Palestine. Dave

Don’t Give Up on Mideast Peace 

Image001

By JIMMY CARTER 

April 12, 2012 

The current focus of leaders in Washington and Jerusalem on Iran has obscured the near- death of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and the inevitable catastrophe toward which Israel is now moving. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have been establishing more and more settlements in Palestine on confiscated land. While they profess their support for a "two-state solution," their actions all aim to create a "Greater Israel," from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. Washington has voiced opposition to these steps, but has not made any strong efforts to prevent them. 

Since 1967, the consensus in the international community and among the majority of Israelis has been that there would be two political entities, with Israelis returning to their pre-1967 borders except for some small land swaps along the border. The Camp David Accords of 1978, accepted by Israel, called for the withdrawal of political and military forces from the occupied territories, and President George W. Bush specifically endorsed a Palestinian nation in this area. As late as May 2009, President Obama accepted this concept as the basis for peace. This strategy has been abandoned as Israel tightens its control over the West Bank and East Jerusalem, now populated by more than 2.5 million Palestinian Muslims and Christians. 

There is a profound difference between "two-states" and "one-state." The former contemplates two nations with citizens living side by side in peace under terms to be negotiated between leaders of the two principal parties. Other world leaders have almost universally acknowledged that strong help and influence of the United States will be necessary, and all the Arab nations have offered to support such an agreement. 

In the case of the "one-state" outcome, if granted the full rights of citizenship, Palestinians would play a major role in the new nation with a possible majority in the future. If deprived of these rights as inferior and second-class dwellers on the land, this will be a system of apartheid that will not be accepted by the international community. 

As former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said in 1999, "Every attempt to keep hold of this area as one political entity leads, necessarily, to either a nondemocratic or a non-Jewish state. Because if the Palestinians vote, then it is a binational state, and if they don’t vote it is an apartheid state." Eight years later, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that if the two-state solution collapsed, Israel would "face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, and as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished." 

During my last conversation with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon before his stroke, he discussed with approval the "small land swaps" along the 1967 border. His proposal was that Israeli settlers living near Jerusalem should remain, with Palestinians given a land corridor to connect the West Bank and Gaza, on which a highway and railroad could be established. He had earlier said that the "occupation" of Palestinian territories was "a terrible thing for Israel and for the Palestinians and can’t continue endlessly." 

Shaul Mofaz, the new leader of Israel’s Kadima party, said recently, "The greatest threat to the state of Israel is not nuclear Iran," but that Israel might one day cease to be a Jewish state, because Palestinians could outvote Jews. "So it is in Israel’s interest that a Palestinian state be created." 

The people are already greatly mixed. About 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Palestinians, although living under severe restrictions. The number of Israeli settlers in Palestinian territories has grown from about 5,000 when I left office in 1981 to about 525,000. 

However, the overall region is changing. Past efforts by Egypt, the Carter Center and others to bring about reconciliation among Palestinian factions, leading to another democratic election, have been frustrated by differences among them, exacerbated by opposition from Israel and the United States and acquiescence from former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The newly elected leaders in Egypt are determined to use their influence to reconcile Fatah and Hamas and press for a final status agreement including peace with Israel. With international support, such an agreement is entirely possible. 

It is heartening to realize that ‘peace in the Middle East," based on the two-state solution, is still feasible — but not for much longer. 

As published in the New York Times

Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States, is founder of the Carter Center, which works to advance peace and health worldwide.

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Father Roy writes: My Allies and I are helping to give Jim Wall’s latest essay the widest possible circulation on the Internet.   Peace, Roy

Should the US Go to War for Israel?

by James M. Wall

http://wallwritings.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/bibiletters.jpg

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the annual AIPAC conference earlier this week. He also held a private meeting with US President Barack Obama.

In his AIPAC speech, Netanyahu evoked the Holocaust as the source of Israel’s special privileged status that permits Netanyahu to do whatever he decides to do to “control Israel’s fate”.

That, of course, includes bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Netanyahu drew a parallel between the exchange of letters between the US War department and the World Jewish Congress in 1944. The Wall Street Journaldescribed the scene at the AIPAC conference:

Netanyahu got out copies of two letters he said he keeps in his desk, between the World Jewish Congress and the War Department in 1944, when the WJC called on the United States to bomb the extermination camp at Auschwitz, and the War Department refused.

The refusal included the argument that attacking the camp might unleash even more “vindictive” behavior. “Think about that,” Netanyahu said. “Even more vindictive than the Holocaust!”

During his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu elaborated further:

“Israel must reserve the right to defend itself. After all, that’s the very purpose of the Jewish state, to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny. That’s why my supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains master of its fate.”

To continue reading, click here

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Father Roy writes: It appears that President Obama did not allow himself to be bamboozled this time.  The following report published in an Israeli newspaper must be causing AIPAC a great deal of chagrin.   Peace, Roy

U.S. denies Obama promised bunker busters to Netanyahu

White House statement comes after Israeli media reports claim U.S. President agreed to give Israel the GBU-28 bombs; Netanyahu: Strike on Iran could be matter of weeks or years.

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not discuss in their meetings this week a reported Israeli request for advanced U.S. military technology that could be used against Iran, the White House said on Thursday.

"In meetings the president had there was no such agreement proposed or reached," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. Obama and Netanyahu met in the Oval office for two hours on Monday and then had lunch together.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama - Reuters

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama.

Photo by: Reuters

Carney’s comment came after an Israeli official quoted by the Maariv newspaper earlier on Thursday indicated that Israel has asked the United States for advanced "bunker-buster" bombs and refueling planes that could improve its ability to attack Iran’s underground nuclear sites.

On Tuesday, Haaretz quoted a U.S. official as indicating that Netanyahu had asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for the GBU-28 bunker busting bombs as well as for advanced refueling aircraft.

The source added that Obama then instructed Panetta to start work on a request to work directly with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the matter, indicating that the U.S. administration was inclined to look favorably upon the request as soon as possible.

Referring to the prospect of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, Netanyahu told Channel 10 earlier Thursday that a strike of Iran’s nuclear facilities could be a matter of years, saying:" If I don’t make the right call [on Iran] maybe there won’t be anyone to explain to."

"Who will I explain it to? The next generations? The ones that will not come?" the PM asked.

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Father Roy writes: Netanyahu is saying that Iran is undermining the world’s stability.  Freud had a lot to say about “Psychological Projection“.  Jesus taught:  “Consider the speck and the mote” which is a lesson we all need to learn.   Peace, Roy

Netanyahu: Iran’s terror acts undermine the world’s stability

Five arrested on suspicion of involvement in New Delhi attack against Israeli embassy; Thai police investigating Tuesday’s botched bombing, one suspect reportedly fled to Malaysia.

By Barak RavidTags: Benjamin NetanyahuIsrael terrorism

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Iran is destabilizing the world and urged the international community to condemn its terror acts against Israeli targets.

The prime minister’s comments come a day after a botched terror attack in Thailand, which Israeli officials believe was meant to target Israel’s ambassador in Bangkok. The bombing followed an attack on Israel’s embassy in New Delhi and an attempted attack on Israeli diplomats in Tbilisi.

New Delhi bomb - AP - February 2012 Car bomb attack on the Israeli embassy in New Delhi.
Photo by: AP

“Iran’s terror operations are now exposed for all to see,” Netanyahu said during a Knesset plenum on Wednesday. “Iran is undermining the world’s stability and harms innocent diplomats. World countries must condemn Iran’s terror acts and draw a red line.”

Four Thai civilians were wounded in Bangkok in a series of blasts that began Tuesday when a cache of explosives ignited at a house, apparently by mistake. One explosion blew off the leg of an Iranian who had fled, carrying what looked like grenades.

On Monday, a bombing of an Israeli diplomatic car in New Delhi wounded four people, including a diplomat’s wife. A similar bomb found under a car in Georgia on Monday was defused.

The Indian police detained five suspects for questioning on suspicion of involvement in the New Delhi attack, India Today reported.

According to the report, the police was able to identify the assailant, who placed the bomb on the car of the wife of the Defense Ministry’s representative in India, Tali Yehoshua-Koren, using footage from CCTV cameras positioned on the embassy’s street. The police also identified a red motorcycle believed to have been used by the terror cell.

The New Delhi police suspect that the terrorist had followed the Israeli diplomat. A few hours before the blast, the Israeli diplomat met with his wife for lunch in the Khan Market. Security cameras from the market area caught several of the suspects loitering around Tali Yehoshua-Koren’s car that was parked nearby.

Moreover, the police have been going over international phone calls made from New Delhi to Iran, Lebanon, and Pakistan during the hours following the bombing. During the half-an-hour from 3:30 to 4:00 P.M on the day of the attack, 115 calls were made to those three countries. Four of them were made from a phone booth near the market where the Israeli couple met. Thirteen of the conversations lasted between eight to ten minutes, and the police are trying to identify the persons who made these calls.

According to the report in India Today, the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, gave its Indian counterpart a list of eight suspects, believed to have been involved in the attack.

The investigation of the Iranian terror cell in Thailand is also in progress. The Thai police set up a special command center dedicated to the search and seizure of cell members still at large. The police issued an arrest warrant for an additional member. Another suspect had apparently already fled the country on a flight to Malaysia. Thailand asked the Malaysia police to arrest the suspect.

Mohammad Haji, a member of the terror cell, who was arrested in Bangkok’s international airport trying to flee the country, denied all involvement in the bombing. Despite his denial, the Thai police believe they have enough evidence to prosecute him in the case. The police said the members of the terror cell arrived via Seoul, South Korea.

Link to original story in Haaretz: Netanyahu: Iran’s terror acts undermine the world’s stability