Pro-Israel News

Date:
Friday, December 19, 2014

By TOVAH LAZAROFFKHALED ABU TOAMEHHERB KEINONMAYA SHWAYDER 

12/18/2014 21:06 | The Jerusalem Post| 

The United States would not support a new Palestinian-proposed UN Security Council draft resolution, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Thursday.

"It is not something we would support," Psaki told reporters. 

Jordan formally submitted to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday a draft resolution calling for peace between Israel and the Palestinians within one year and an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank by the end of 2017.

The Palestinian-drafted resolution was formally submitted to the 15-member council, which means it could be put to a vote as soon as 24 hours later, but it does not guarantee it will happen. Some drafts formally submitted have never been voted.

Diplomats say negotiations on the text could take days or weeks. Jordan's UN envoy Dina Kawar said she hoped the council could reach a unanimous decision on the resolution.

Date:
Thursday, December 18, 2014

12/17/2014 16:10 | The Jerusalem Post| 

 

Israel reacted furiously Wednesday to the European Court of Justice’s decision to take Hamas off the EU’s list of terrorist organization, rejecting EU explanations that this was just a “technical” step that will be overturned before it is implemented.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before a meeting with Joni Ernst, the newly elected Republican senator from Iowa,  said this was one example of “staggering”  European “hypocrisy.”

Hamas, he said, “has committed countless war crimes and countless terror acts. It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing. But we in Israel, we've learned. We'll continue to defend our people and our state against the forces of terror and tyranny and hypocrisy."

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who recently criticized Netanyahu for not taking a diplomatic initiative to rebuff anti-Israel moves internationally,  said that to take Hamas off the list for “technical reasons” at a time when terror was on the rise throughout the world, and not only in the Middle East, was a “wrong decision” that sends exactly the wrong message.    

Shortly after the angry reactions coming from Jerusalem, the EU's External Action Service (EEAS), essentially the EU’s foreign service,  said the  EU court's decision earlier in the day was a legal, not a political decision, that will likely be appealed.

The court  annulled  the bloc's decision on 2003 to keep Hamas on a list of terrorist organizations, but temporarily maintained the measures for a period of three months or until an appeal was registered.  The courts said that the evidence provided to place the organization on the list did not meet EU standards, and was based on media and Internet reports.

According to the statement, by the EEAS, which is headed by EU Foreign Policy chief Frederica Mogherini,  “This legal ruling is clearly based on procedural grounds and it does not imply any assessment by the Court of the substantive reasons for the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization.”

According to the statement, this is “a legal ruling of a court, not a political decision taken by the EU governments. The EU continues to uphold the Quartet principles,” the statement read.

The Quartet principles ban engagement with Hamas until it forswears terrorism, recognizes Israel, and accepts previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

The statement said that the EU institutions were carefully studying the ruling and “will decide on the options open to them. They will, in due course, take appropriate remedial action, including any eventual appeal to the ruling. In case of an appeal the restrictive measures remain in place.”

The statement was released soon after Jerusalem responded angrily to the decision, and after Netanyahu said Israel was “not satisfied” with the explanations of the EU that Hamas's removal is only a technical matter.

Two central EU countries have already been working on a dossier providing the court with the evidence that will satisfy it.

“The burden of proof is on the EU and we expect them to immediately return Hamas to the list where everyone realizes they should be,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization whose charter says that its aim is to destroy Israel. We will continue to fight it with determination and strength so that it will never realize its aims. "

The British Foreign Office issued a statement saying that the UK will work to ensure that Hamas remains on the EU’s terrorist list.

According to the statement, the court’s judgement “is procedural and does not mean the EU and UK have changed their position on Hamas. The effects of the EU Hamas listing, including asset freezes, remain in place. We are studying the detail of the judgment carefully, and will work with partners to ensure that the Hamas listing at the EU is maintained. Hamas’ military wing has been proscribed in the UK since 2001 under separate UK legislation. It is not affected by today’s EU General Court judgment.”

Regardless, the reaction from Israeli MKs and ministers was furious.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that if anyone thinks that sacrificing Israel can save Europe, they are mistaken.

"The corrupt law of the EU court gives license for the shedding of Jewish blood everywhere and demonstrates the loss of a moral path," he said.

"Israel is strong and can defend itself from its enemies, but Europe itself will be the one to suffer from the strengthening of terrorist organizations," he added.

Bennett said that terror which receives a justification in Tel Aviv will quickly spread to London, Paris and Brussels.

Hatnua head Tzipi Livni called the court’s move a “grave mistake,” and said Hamas was an “extreme Islamic religious terrorist organization that must be fought with all force.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said that the European Union "must have lost its mind." Edelstein said that the decision displays "inflexibility, moral distortion and grants a prize to the extremist Islamic terror that is currently plaguing the entire world, including Europe itself."

The Knesset speaker said that he hopes the "injustice" will be remedied quickly.

Labor MK Nachman Shai accused the court of hypocrisy, saying that "the body responsible for justice should know that Hamas does not deserve the benefit of the doubt, even for one minute.

"Terror is terror is terror. In the unending struggle against it, as has been brought to light recently in Australia and Pakistan,any concession is a sign of weakness. Europe must put Hamas back on the terror blacklist immediately," he said.

Likud MK Danny Danon said that "the Europeans must believe that there blood is more sacred than the blood of the Jews which they see as unimportant - that is the only way to explain the EU court's decision to remove Hamas from the terror blacklist," he said.

"In Europe they must have forgotten that Hamas kidnapped three boys and fired thousands of rockets last summer at Israeli citizens," he added.

Date:
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Assets of group to remain frozen after ruling issued on technicality, but
Netanyahu says Jerusalem ‘not satisfied'; Hamas praises move
 
BY AFP AND TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF December 17, 2014, 11:31 am Updated: December 17, 2014, 1:05 pm | The Times of Israel| 
 
The Palestinian Islamic group Hamas must be removed from the EU’s terrorism blacklist,
but its assets will stay frozen, a European court ruled on Wednesday.
The move, described by the European Union as a technicality, quickly drew Israeli condemnation
and praise from the Gaza­based organization.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the EU to return the group to the terror list, saying
Israel was “not satisfied with EU’s explanations that taking Hamas off the terror list is a ‘technical
matter.'”
 
“The burden of proof falls on the EU, and we expect it to permanently return Hamas to the list, so
everyone will understand that it is an inseparable part of it — Hamas is a murderous terror
organization that emphasizes in its charter that its goal is to destroy Israel,” he said in a statement.
The original listing in 2001 was based not on sound legal judgments but on conclusions derived
from the media and the Internet, the General Court of the European Union said Wednesday.
But it stressed that Wednesday’s decision to remove Hamas was based on technical grounds and
does “not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a
terrorist group.”
 
The freeze on Hamas’s funds will also temporarily remain in place for three months pending any
appeal by the EU, the Luxembourg­based court said.
The General Court hears cases brought by individuals and member states against EU institutions.
“This legal ruling is clearly based on procedural grounds and it does not imply any assessment by
the Court of the substantive reasons for the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organisation,”
a spokesperson for the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said. “It is a legal ruling of a
court, not a political decision taken by the EU governments.”
 
The EU will continue to uphold the principles of the Middle East Quartet, which implies that it will
not engage with Hamas until the group renounces violence and recognizes Israel’s right to exist.
EU institutions are carefully studying the ruling will, “in due course, take appropriate remedial
action, including any eventual appeal to the ruling,” Mogherini’s spokesperson said. “In case of an
appeal the restrictive measures remain in place.”
 
In a meeting Wednesday morning with the Foreign Ministry, EU Ambassador to Israel Lars
Faaborg­Andersen said that EU intends to do everything it can to get Hamas back on the list.
The EU had asked Israeli officials not to cause a public row over the affair, according to Channel
10, and Jerusalem had kept quiet until Netanyahu’s statement Wednesday.
French­Jewish lawmaker Meyer Habib decried the decision and said the European Union failed to
combat the “modern cancer that is jihad.”
 
“We need to open our eyes! Yesterday the Taliban killed 120 children. IS, Hamas, Boko Haram,
Hezbollah, Taliban — each one is a separate branch on the same tree: a tree of hatred and terror.”
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the ruling a victory for the Palestinian nation and for its
rights. Barhoum’s counterpart Sami Abu Zuhri said it was a correction of a political mistake by the
EU.
Hamas’s military wing was added to the European Union’s first­ever terrorism blacklist drawn up
in December 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
The EU blacklisted the political wing of Hamas in 2003.
“The General Court finds that the contested measures are based not on acts examined and
confirmed in decisions of competent authorities but on factual imputations derived from the press
and the Internet,” the court said.
Instead, such an action had to be based on facts previously established by competent authorities,
it said.
 
The lawyer for Hamas, Liliane Glock, told AFP she was “satisfied with the decision.”
The move stemmed from a petition recently submitted to the European Court of Human Rights on
a related matter concerning Tamil terrorists.
During those proceedings, it was argued that the EU had designated Hamas a terror group on the
basis of information provided by the United States, while EU regulations require that the EU’s own
material be used as the basis for such a designation, Israel’s Channel 10 news reported Tuesday.
 
Based on this, the EU would temporarily remove Hamas from its list of designated terror groups,
but swiftly return it to that list once the correct paperwork has been processed.
Channel 10 said that the EU has kept Israel informed about the process, and that there have been
contacts with top Israeli officials, including Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Israel had raised concerns that Hamas could exploit any time lag to operate in Europe, the TV
report said. The EU has promised Israel, however, that it will seek to block that possibility,
including by issuing interim regulations.
Israel fought a 50­day war with Hamas­led fighters in the Gaza Strip over the summer
Date:
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Attempts to ‘impose conditions’ will backfire, PM warns; French FM
says US will veto Palestinian withdrawal proposal
 
BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF, AFP AND AP December 15, 2014, 11:17 pm| The Times of Israel| 
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday rejected bids to impose a United Nations
deadline on the Israeli­Palestinian conflict amid a flurry of talks led by US Secretary of
State John Kerry.
 
Addressing a renewed drive to push the Israeli­Palestinian peace process to the top of the global
agenda, Kerry and Netanyahu met for nearly three hours in the US ambassador’s sumptuous
residence in Rome.
 
“The attempts by Palestinians and some European countries to impose conditions on Israel will
only deteriorate regional security and endanger Israel, so we strongly oppose it,” Netanyahu said
after rejecting the proposed withdrawal to Kerry.
 
The Americans are seeking to avert an end­of­year showdown at the United Nations Security
Council, which could place them in a diplomatic quandary.
The Palestinians have said they will submit an Arab­backed draft text — setting a two­year
deadline for an end to Israel’s decades­long control of the West Bank — to the UN as early as
Wednesday. Meanwhile, France has been leading European efforts to cobble together a more
nuanced resolution that could prove more palatable to the US administration.
 
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, said Monday the Palestinians were planning to
put a resolution in a form that could be voted upon on Wednesday, though the council was unlikely
to vote immediately.
What that resolution says will depend on the outcome of the high­level negotiations in Europe,
Mansour said. He told a group of reporters Monday that the Americans are key.
They have two options: to negotiate on the Palestinian and French texts, or produce their own
draft resolution, he said.
 
Mansour said the French draft is “very, very close to the Arab ideas” and includes a timeframe for
negotiations, but the Palestinians “want to define clearly the end to occupation.”
He stressed that the Palestinians will not return to direct negotiations with Israel and strongly
support the French proposal for an international conference to promote a peace deal that would
include the five veto­wielding Security Council nations, key Arab countries and others.
“We tried direct negotiations for 20 years and they failed,” Mansour said. “That is history.”
The French text would set a two­year timetable, but for concluding a peace treaty without
mentioning Israeli withdrawal.
 
Paris is also hoping to seize more of the initiative by not leaving the negotiations solely in the
hands of the US.
“What we are hoping for is a resolution which everyone can get behind,” French Foreign Minister
Laurent Fabius told AFP.
 
“Even if the Palestinians have a text in their hand, the Americans have already said that they will
veto it,” he said. “So on the one hand this resolution cannot be accepted, but on the other that will
clearly get a strong reaction from the Palestinian side.”
“The absence of a peace process is fueling tensions on the ground, so it is imperative to make
rapid progress on a UN resolution,” said French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal.
“It is vital to relaunch the peace talks as soon as possible and on a credible basis to offer some
kind of concrete political horizon to the parties,” he told AFP.
US officials have said Kerry is aiming to learn more about the European initiative during his hastily
arranged pre­Christmas trip.
 
Traditionally, the US has used its power of veto at the UN Security Council to shoot down what it
sees as moves against its close regional ally, Israel.
But there is a growing impatience in Europe over the peace impasse amid fears the Middle East
risks spiraling into even greater chaos.
 
Several European parliaments have called on their governments to move ahead with the
recognition of a Palestinian state.
 
US officials told reporters accompanying Kerry that Washington has not yet decided whether to
veto or back the French­led UN initiative.
The US administration opposes moves to bind negotiators’ hands through a UN resolution —
particularly any attempt to set a deadline for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.
Kerry also met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and thanked Pope
Francis for “his engagement to try to reduce tensions in the region.”
 
The secretary of state was due to fly to Paris for a dinner meeting with his French, German and
British counterparts and the new EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at Orly Aairport.
He will then travel to London to meet with the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and the
secretary general of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, on Tuesday.
 
Fabius, the French foreign minister, is also to meet with Elaraby on Tuesday.
Diplomatic sources say Paris is hoping to persuade the Palestinians to back their compromise
resolution, rather than risk a US veto of the more muscular Arab version.
 
But the Palestinians appear divided, as frustration grows over the snail’s pace of diplomatic
efforts, with the decision resting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
 
Date:
Monday, December 15, 2014
Israel will ‘stand firm’ against a possible Security Council schedule for
West Bank pullout, Netanyahu says before leaving for Rome
 
BY AFP AND TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF December 15, 2014, 11:50 am
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Monday that Israel will not be forced into
accepting a scheduled withdrawal from the West Bank, even if the Palestinians are
successful in obtaining a United Nations Security Council resolution that lays down a
deadline for a pullout.
Netanyahu’s comments came as he prepared to board a plane to Rome for a meeting later in the
day with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on the
Palestinian Security Council bid, which is expected to be submitted Wednesday.
Israel Radio’s Gal Berger tweeted that Kerry’s team canceled the photo­op with Netanyahu
planned for the beginning of the meeting.
 
The resolution calls for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank within two years. Netanyahu
decried the Palestinian move to cajole Israel into actions against its interest.
“In a reality in which Islamic terror is spreading its branches to every corner of the globe, we will
rebuff every effort that will bring this terror into our own home, into the State of Israel, and these
things I say in the clearest possible way,” Netanyahu said. “Even if they are dictated we will stand
firm against them.”
Saying the Palestinian attempts were “incompatible with genuine peace,” he added that Israel
would not “not accept attempts to dictate to us unilateral moves on a limited timetable.”
The Palestinians announced late Sunday night that they were set to present a text to the UN
Security Council on Wednesday demanding an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines and
the recognition of a Palestinian state.
 
“The Palestinian leadership took a decision to go to the Security Council next Wednesday to vote
on their project to end the occupation,” senior Palestine Liberation Organization member Wassel
Abu Yussef told AFP Sunday after a Palestinian leadership meeting in Ramallah.
 
Kerry arrived in Rome Sunday where he met for more than three hours with Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov seeking to head off the looming UN showdown.
The United States has already said it opposed the timetable as complicating the stalled peace
negotiations.
“That’s not the way I think that we would look at handling a very complicated security negotiation
by mandating a deadline of two years,” a State Department official said, asking not to be identified.
Kerry will fly to London on Tuesday to meet chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Arab
League chief Nabil al­Arabi.
France stepped in last month to try to cobble together along with Britain and Germany a resolution
that would win consensus at the 15­member council. The text would call for a return to
negotiations aimed at achieving a two­state solution by which Israel and a Palestinian state would
co­exist.
 
The Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the statehood bid ahead of Monday’s meeting in
Rome.
After Netanyahu called snap elections for March, some Europeans have pointed to a narrow
window of opportunity to push a Palestinian resolution at the Security Council.
In the past, the United States has consistently used its UN veto power to block moves it sees as
anti­Israel, but US officials said they drew a distinction between a unilateral step and an effort to
draw up a multilateral resolution at the UN Security Council, which would have the backing of
many nations.
US officials said Kerry was seeking to learn more about the European position, adding there did
not appear to be a European consensus on any resolution.
A number of European countries have passed motions this year calling for the recognition
of Palestinian statehood based on the 1967 lines.
 
The recent pro­recognition wave, which was spearheaded by Sweden and the UK in October, has
been welcomed by the PA, but tested relations between Israel and the EU. Jerusalem has
maintained that recognition should only come once bilateral negotiations produce a two­state
solution.
Similar initiatives have also been voted on in France, Spain and Ireland. The European Parliament
is expected to vote in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state on December 18.
The motions, however, are largely symbolic in nature and intended to put pressure on both sides
to renew peace negotiations, which stalled in April after a nine­month, US­brokered effort.
Netanyahu on Sunday rejected all talk of withdrawing from East Jerusalem and the West Bank
within two years.
Pulling out now would bring “Islamic extremists to the suburbs of Tel Aviv and to the heart of
Jerusalem,” he said.
 
The Palestinian leadership also decided Sunday to continue the security coordination with Israel
for the time being, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported, backtracking on earlier threats to
dissolve security ties in the wake of the death of a senior PA official last week.
Following the death of senior Fatah official Ziad Abu Ein last Wednesday after clashing with Israel
Defense Forces soldiers, former Preventive Security Force head Jibril Rajoub said the PA had no
choice but to respond, given that Israel had “crossed a red line.”
Date:
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Leaders to hold urgent consulations in Rome next week as Palestinians
press ahead toward Security Council bid
 
BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF December 10, 2014, 7:34 pm | The Times of Israel |
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry on
Monday for an urgent consultation on Palestinian statehood efforts at the United Nations
Security Council, senior Israeli officials said Wednesday.
The US State Department confirmed that Kerry would fly to Rome Monday to meet with
Netanyahu.
 
“They will discuss a number of issues, including recent developments in Israel, the West Bank,
and Jerusalem and the region,” the State Department said in a statement.
The two leaders will convene in order to discuss an expected UN Security Council vote which
would effectively set a timetable for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority has stated that it is determined to present the resolution to the UN by the
end of 2014. The US, however, has reiterated its opposition to holding the vote, which it sees as
unilateral Palestinian measures that bypass peace talks with Israel.
 
The resolution would call on Israel to completely withdraw from the West Bank by late 2016.
“We are at the (UN) Security Council now, today. We are continuing our consultation. We want a
Security Council resolution that will preserve the two­state solution,” top Palestinian negotiator
Saeb Erekat said Tuesday. “We want a specific time frame to end the occupation.”
His remarks came after several European parliaments pressed their governments to recognize full
Palestinian statehood.
“We’re being helped a great deal in the Security Council by many nations,” he added, referring to
recent votes of British, French and Spanish MPs in favor of recognizing Palestine as a state.
“We are hoping to achieve this resolution before the end of the month, before Christmas as a
matter of fact.”
 
The Palestinians are still lobbying to get nine out of 15 security Council members to commit to
voting in favor of the resolution, but say they will go ahead with the bid either way.
The US is widely expected to torpedo the resolution, though some officials say fraying ties
between Jerusalem and Washington could make the US less likely to exercise its veto.
Last week, France, Germany and Britain reportedly began working on a draft resolution to be
submitted to the UN Security Council, as a counter to the Palestinian draft. The resolution is set to
outline the principles of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians in the time frame of two
years.
 
On Wednesday, following a Palestinian official’s death en route to a Ramallah hospital after he
was struck in the chest by an IDF soldier, a top Fatah leader, Jibril Rajoub, told The Times of
Israel that the PA will now immediately apply for membership in international organizations. He
was referring to dozens of United Nations and other forums that the Palestinians have long
threatened to seek to join in unilateral moves opposed by Israel.
On November 17, the European Union harshly condemned Israel for settlement expansion,
threatening to “take further action” to respond to Israeli moves deemed harmful to the two­state
solution, but refrained from announcing concrete sanctions.
 
At the same time, an internal EU document was revealed in Haaretz that showed preliminary
sanctions the union is considering imposing on Israel, including recalling European ambassadors
and cutting ties with Israeli leaders who publicly oppose the two­state solution.
 
Date:
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
President’s defense secretary nominee has worked closely with Israeli
counterparts; advocates a tougher stance on Iran
 
BY RON KAMPEAS December 9, 2014, 11:12 pm |The Times of Israel| 
 
WASHINGTON (JTA) – Ashton Carter has championed the sale to Israel of state­ofthe­art
combat aircraft, has aligned himself with Iran hawks and was observed
becoming misty­eyed when serenaded by Israeli soldiers.
Carter, 60, President Obama’s secretary of defense nominee, has been depicted in the media as
the un­Chuck Hagel: Assertive and a bureaucratic in­fighter where Hagel, whose two­year stint as
defense secretary ended this month with his forced resignation, was seen as passive and at times
at sea; and hawkish, where Hagel, a Vietnam vet who as a GOP senator was virtually alone in his
caucus in criticizing the Iraq War, was brought in by Obama to draw down US military involvement
overseas.
 
Yet on Israel policy, Carter would represent more continuity than change should he be confirmed.
That is in part because, despite diplomatic tensions between the Obama and Netanyahu
governments, the security relationship remains as solid and ever — and also because Carter, until
last year a deputy defense secretary, is a loyal soldier to his boss’ agenda.
“Ash Carter is a very respected guy in Washington; he should have no trouble being confirmed,”
said Michael Makovsky, the CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, who served
as a senior defense official in the George W. Bush administration.
“He knows the building,” Makovsky said of Carter, using a Pentagon euphemism for an inside
player.
 
Statements from Republican senators suggest that Carter, who is known for his ability to cut
costs and improve efficiency, may be a shoo­in.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R­Ill.) told JTA in an email: “I am hopeful that Ashton Carter’s expertise on
defense and military weaponry amid budget constraints, along with his deep understanding of the
culture at the Pentagon, will help the Administration to adopt a more coherent and effective longterm
strategy for combating the many threats faced by the United States and its allies.”
Kirk said the administration “is not doing enough to roll back Iran’s growing nuclear and terror
threats throughout the Middle East.”
Hagel, despite fierce opposition during his 2012­13 nomination process from pro­Israel hawks,
leaves the defense post with warm kudos from his Israeli counterpart, Moshe Yaalon, and from
the Anti­Defamation League — one of the groups that had reservations about Hagel’s Israel
criticism during his Senate career.
 
His “contributions to Israel’s defense infrastructure and to Israeli relations with the United States
were great and very substantive,” Yaalon said of Hagel in a Hebrew tweet. The ADL said Hagel’s
“energetic stewardship” of the US­Israel relationship had been “vital.”
Hagel was pushed out over his inability to pierce the inner circle in the White House national
security team, and because his approach to drawing down troops was seen as no longer
appropriate given increased US involvement in conflict zones overseas.
Consistency on Pentagon cooperation with Israel is a given, whether or not the candidate, like
Carter, has pro­Israel bona fides, said Anthony Cordesman, a strategy analyst at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies who has advised US governments on warfare.
“Virtually every administration has made close military ties with Israel a military priority,”
Cordesman said in an interview. “It is simply a fact of American political life.”
Still, those who know Carter say his record of understanding Israeli needs during stints as
undersecretary of defense for acquisitions from 2009 to 2011, and then as deputy secretary from
2011 to 2013, made him a choice pick from the pro­Israel point of view.
Carter, trained as a physicist, demonstrated a keen, detailed understanding of Israel’s technical
needs, said Udi Shani, the director­general of Israel’s defense ministry from 2010 to 2013.
“I found him very positive, very understanding of the needs of our country, our requirements for
security and developing the IDF and the Ministry of Defense,” Shani, now a consultant, said in an
interview.
 
Shani said one attribute made Carter an especially valuable interlocutor: He was honest and
would describe outright what reception the United States was likely to give an Israeli proposal.
“He had the transparency to say whether it was against their interests or for their interests,” Shani
said.
Carter is well known for shepherding through Israel’s inclusion in the Joint Fight Striker program, a
collaborative venture by the United States and a number of allies to manufacture a stealth fighter
that is due for release this decade.
 
A colleague of Carter’s at the Pentagon, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the project, said Carter played a critical role in cutting through red tape to make sure
Israel’s demands for the aircraft were included.
“We would laugh about how we can’t make decisions quickly” because of the respective US and
Israeli bureaucracies, Shani said.
Shani and Carter became close friends, spending hours chatting over meals and on outings.
Carter, Shani said, became emotional during a visit to Yad Vashem, and enthusiastically received
an army choral performance.
 
“It was simple soldiers singing Hebrew songs,” Shani recalled. “He enjoyed it very much.”
Carter was part of a team that drafted an influential 2008 report,“Meeting the Challenge,” on Iran’s
nuclear capability. Many of the recommendations in the report, which was prepared for the
Bipartisan Policy Center, comport with current Obama administration policy, particularly in
emphasizing the need for maintaining an international coalition in dealing with Iran.
Other recommendations, however, are closer to what is now the position of the Israeli government
and Republicans in Congress: not allowing Iran any uranium enrichment capacity whatsoever.
Obama administration officials have said that should nuclear talks now underway between Iran
and the major powers arrive at a deal, Iran would likely remain with a minimal enrichment
capability.
 
Makovsky led the writing of the Bipartisan Policy Center report and is critical of the talks. He said
that Carter, while fairly described as “tough” on Iran, would most likely hew to the administration
policy that has evolved since the launch of the talks.
Cordesman agreed, saying, “There’s a difference in talking in theory and dealing with actual
negotiation.”
 
Date:
Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12/09/2014 14:23| The Jerusalem Post| 

 

Support for Israel will increasingly come from the world’s growing Evangelical community, believes Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

The success of the IFCJ, which raises $140 million in Christian donations for Jewish and Israeli causes annually, has led some in the Israeli media to dub the American rabbi the “shadow welfare minister” for his social welfare work here, and has made Eckstein one of the most well- known Jewish figures among American Christians.

When he started working on interfaith issues some 30-odd years ago, he had no idea that Evangelical Christians would become such a powerful force in the battle over Israel, he recalls.

“Little did I have in mind or did I even think of the possibility that one day Israel would be essentially seen as a pariah almost by many Western nations, let alone Arab nations,” nor did he have in mind the current glob - al rise in anti-Semitism, he says.

“And little did I even think that the Evangelical community would become a force to be reckoned with in America and in other countries around the world. There has been a real upsurge in Evangelicalism,” Eckstein adds.

The original goal in working with the Evangelical community was “simply to have the dialogue,” Eckstein says, although he did see some potential at the time for “raising support for Israel in various forums in a broader way beyond the Jewish community.” Evangelical Christianity has exploded in popularity around the globe, making gains in places such as Latin America, which has always been strongly Catholic.

“It’s growing and it’s becoming normative and more acceptable and the same phenomenon is going on in the Far East – Indonesia, Singapore, China,” Eckstein explains, asserting that “where you have a rise in Evangelicalism, you have the potential for steering them to become supporters of Israel and the Jewish people.”

As such, he says, “we have barely touched the tip of the iceberg in rallying Christian support for Israel and in building friendships and rela - tionships.”

Israel and the Jewish people, however, “have not realized the potential of having a strategic alliance with Evangelical Pentecostal Christians around the world, and that should be the goal that [we] should grasp and make a reality.”

“It’s not an alliance, it’s a fellowship. It’s something beyond political exigencies and alliances. It’s more spiritual and it’s less realpolitik,” he explains, adding that he works to get this message out on the Christian side through radio broadcasts reaching a total worldwide audience of around 15 million to 16 million people.

According to Eckstein, while Amer - ica remains Israel’s key strategic ally regardless of the recent barbs and insults being traded between politi - cal leaders, its support does not come out of a vacuum.

“America is also a strategic ally because the people of America for the most part have a favorable view of Israel and the Jewish people... So Congress can be strong because they represent the people and the people can be strong because they represent [these] values. Israel’s security, which is tied to its strategic alliance to America, is also de facto tied to the people in America, many of whom are Evangelical and pro-Israel,” he says.

“Then when we extend [relationship-building activities] to other parts of the world where there may not be that many Jews, in Colombia or Costa Rica, if you can get the Christian community in Costa Rica, which numbers in the millions, to support Israel and to fight anti-Semitism and to come to Israel on tours and to donate to Israel, then you’ve taken an important step where Jews...are not there to apply that kind of pressure and influence as they are in America,” he concludes. 

Date:
Monday, December 8, 2014
PM tells US forum Abbas won’t confront fanaticism, claims Israel
helped prevent bad Iran deal, vows not to pass law undermining Israel’s
democratic character
 
BY RAPHAEL AHREN December 7, 2014, 8:01 pm | The Times of Israel|
 
 
Last year’s peace talks with the Palestinian Authority failed not because of Israeli
settlement expansion, but because the Palestinians are simply not ready for peace yet,
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged Sunday.
Speaking to the Brookings Institution’s 11th annual Saban Forum in Washington via a prerecorded
video, Netanyahu said continued incitement proved Ramallah was not prepared to make peace
with Israel, and layed out Israel’s three main demands of the Palestinians.
“The talks ended because the Palestinians wanted them to end,” Netanyahu said.
He charged that negotiations broke down because Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas entered a unity government with the Hamas terror group and because the Palestinians
rejected the security arrangements Israel demanded.
 
“Unfortunately, the Palestinian leadership is simply not prepared, and I hope this changes, but it’s
not yet prepared to truly confront violence and fanaticism within Palestinian society, within their
own ranks,” Netanyahu added.
“For nine months we negotiated with the Palestinians, but they consistently refused to engage us
on our legitimate security concerns, just as they refused to discuss recognizing Israel as the
nation­state of the Jewish people, while at the same time insisting that Israel recognize a nationstate
of the Palestinian people.”
 
The prime minister accused the PA leadership of fueling violence against Israel. “It engages in
incitement day in and day out,” he said. “I think it’s important to confront this. I don’t think sticking
our head in the sand promotes real peace and I don’t believe that false hopes promote real peace.
I think they just push peace further away.”
 
Real peace will only come once the Palestinians accept “the three pillars of peace,” Netanyahu
said: recognition of Israel as the nation­state of the Jewish people; an end to all claims, including
the right of return; and a long­term Israeli security presence in the West Bank.
“I will never give up on this triangle of true peace,” he vowed.
In his comments, Netanyahu did not directly address reports of an Israeli strike on military sites in
Syria hours earlier.
 
But he said Israel was challenged by “unprecedented instability afflicting the entire region.
“Where once seemingly coherent nations and clearly defined borders stood, we now see chaos —
in Iraq, in Syria, in Libya, in Yemen and Lebanon,” he continued.
The collapse of the Middle East’s old order has made “pragmatic Arab governments” understand
that Israel is not their enemy, the prime minister said, saying that Jerusalem and its moderate Arab
neighbors have much to gain by cooperating. “And this cooperation could, in turn, open the door to
peace.”
 
Netanyahu also said Israel had helped head off a bad deal with Iran last month. “A November 24
deadline for an agreement has come and gone, and that’s fortunate,” he said. “Our voice and our
concerns played a critical role in preventing a bad deal… We must use the time available to
increase the pressure on Iran from developing a nuclear arms capability.”
The major powers and Iran agreed to extend the deadline for a deal in Iran nuclear talks to June
30. Israel has objected persistently to any deal that would leave Iran with uranium enrichment
capacity. The United States and other powers say that a minimal capacity is likely in a final deal.
Despite Israel heading toward new elections, which effectively freezes all current legislation,
Netanyahu also vowed he would not pass any law that “undermines Israel’s democratic
character,” responding to critics of a bill he has pushed enshrining Israel’s character as a Jewish
state.
 
Israelis are proud to have created “a genuinely democratic state” that guarantees “equal rights for
all its citizens, regardless of race, religion or sex,” he said. “And this will not change. In standing
up for Israel’s identity as the nation­state of the Jewish people, I will never agree to legislation that
undermines Israel’s democratic character. Not now, not ever.”
Date:
Friday, December 5, 2014
While almost three­quarters of respondents say America is a loyal ally,
only 37% see president’s attitude to Jewish state as positive
 
BY TAMAR PILEGGI December 5, 2014, 1:28 am | The Times of Israel| 
 
Israelis have an overwhelming appreciation of the United States, but harbor increasingly
negative views of US President Barack Obama’s Middle East foreign policy, according to a
public opinion poll carried out by Bar­Ilan University’s Begin­Sadat Center for Strategic
Studies.
Despite the positive attitudes towards the US, the poll found that Israelis are
generally mistrustful of the US president, with only 37 percent of respondents calling Obama’s
views of Israel “positive,” while 61% characterized his attitude towards Israel as “negative” or
“neutral.”
 
A similar BESA poll carried out in 2012 showed that 51% of Israelis termed Obama’s attitude
towards Israel as positive.
According to the new survey, 96% of Israelis categorized diplomatic relations with the US as
“important” or “very important,” and 74% said Washington would come to Israel’s defense against
existential threats.
Nearly three­quarters of respondents considered America a loyal ally to Israel.
Reflecting a lack of confidence in Obama’s foreign policy, 52% of respondents said his stance on
the Israeli­Palestinian conflict was “bad,” another 50% disapproved of his policies towards Iran,
and 47% indicated disapproval of his policies regarding the Islamic State.
Sixty­five percent of Israelis believe that since Obama’s election, the position of the United States
in the Middle East has been weakened or very weakened.
 
Turning to US support for Israel, 58% of respondents attributed it to the strategic partnership
between the two countries, 32% to the “political prowess” of American Jews, 5% to the shared
values of politicians, and 1% to the religious beliefs of Evangelical Christians.
If diplomatic efforts fail to stop Iran’s nuclear aspirations, 53% of Israelis said they would support a
military strike on Iran, and 45% said they would support a strike even if the US opposes it.
Survey co­director Dr. Yael Elkon said the survey’s results indicate “that despite the fact that
Israelis are deeply disconcerted about President Obama’s Middle East policies with regards to
Israel­Palestinian affairs, regional uprisings, and Iran — the Israeli public remains one of the most
pro­American communities in the world.”
 
“Overwhelming majorities view the US and Israel as having similar strategic interests in the Middle
East, see the US as Israel’s loyal ally, and as a friend that will come to Israel’s aid in times of
trouble,” she concluded in a press release Thursday.
The poll was released in advance of a two­day BESA Center seminar on America’s standing in
the world, scheduled to begin on Monday in Ramat Gan.
 

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