a different side of Israel

Tag: Washington

Just Say No to the Ebb and Flow

Last December, the High Court of Justice rejected appeals made by Yigal Amir to alter the terms of his imprisonment. The high court ruled that Amir is to be held in solitary confinement for six more months. Amir, who, if you were unaware, is in year 15 of serving a life sentence for assassinating Yitzhak Rabin, rejected last Sunday, an offer from the State Prosecution, permitting him to hold a one hour, bi-weekly Torah study session with one fellow prisoner – in conjunction with permission to join a prayer Minyan with other prisoners. Amir, protesting his rejected appeal, told the court, “no thank you.”

Amir’s attorney, Ariel Atari wrote to the Petach Tikvah District Court:

“The offer disrespects the High Court’s decision…There is no doubt that this position reflects the attitude of the Shin Bet in general and of the Prison Service especially, that the court is at their service – otherwise it is impossible to understand their contempt towards the High Court conveyed by this proposal…There is no doubt that the prosecution wishes to drag out the High Court’s decision, and attempts to draw the court into some kind of negotiations, starting at the opening point, as though the High Court did not speak out…Of course, there is nothing to stop a prison service official from joining the quorum as a 10th man, enjoying Amir’s poetry and hearing all his thoughts and conversations with the rest of the worshipers and with his God…If he finds any faults, he can report them to the court immediately.”

And meanwhile, in Washington, Jewish-American diplomat, Aaron David Miller, wrote a great op-ed in the Washington Post citing the mainstream Arab insanity and anti-Semitism:

“…There’s no doubt that a new Egyptian government and president, more responsive to public opinion – indeed, legitimized by the public in free elections – will be, by necessity or inclination, far more critical of Israeli actions and policies and far less likely to give Israel the benefit of any doubts. Will the new Egyptian leadership monitor smuggling across the Egypt-Gaza border as carefully? Will it be more supportive of Hamas and less understanding of Israeli concerns about Hamas’s acquisition of rockets and missiles? And how will a newly elected Egyptian president interact with an Israeli prime minister? (Mubarak met regularly with Netanyahu; it’s hard to imagine a new Egyptian leader doing so without demanding concessions for Palestinians or progress in the peace negotiations.)”

Miller asked:

“…Would a new Egyptian government be taken over by radical Islamists? Would it break the peace treaty between the two nations? Would it seek to go to war again? All Israeli prime ministers since the treaty was signed in 1979 have carried such fears in the back of their minds, yet they gambled that in giving up the Sinai Peninsula, the country had exchanged territory for time, perhaps in the hope that a different relationship with Egypt and their other Arab neighbors would emerge.”


According to a recent article in Reuters, Washington lawmakers are delaying funds of aid to the Lebanese army for fear of their working with Iran.The article made no specific mention of the Hezbollah.

Could they be more idiotic?

“Isn’t it obvious?”

Thought OneJerusalem. Why else would the Jewish Country have needed to crush the country’s infrastructure during the 2006 invasion? Who else could be responsible for the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri? UNIFIL, Michel Suleiman – nay – democracy isn’t calling the shots in Beirut. The Iran-funded Hezbollah is.

What Lebanese Defense Minister, Elias al-Murr had in mind with his personal contribution of $670,000, according to the Reuters article, was to convince Lebanese citizens living abroad throughout the world and domestically to help pitch in – build up the Lebanese army that is.

But would the $100 million from the United States really be such a good idea? Firstly, after recent clashes between Lebanon and the IDF along Israel’s northern border, it undermines the Jewish Country, which – let’s face it – is only to be expected from this current American administration. At the same time the dangerous Tehranian goofballs too have donated $720 million to Lebanon since 2006. Why should we believe that money donated to Lebanon is going anywhere but into the pocket of Nasrallah the notorious?

Disappointing two days in Washington

Bibi and ObamaNo sooner did Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu go off to Washington, a Hamas fired rocket hit a residence in the town of Sderot, the first in over two months. One woman was lightly injured when the rocket slammed into a storeroom in her back yard damaging it and her home as well. She was taken to Ashkelon’s Barzelai Hospital for treatment, and some other people were treated locally for shock. Later on, Israeli Air Force planes attacked targets in Gaza in retaliation, including areas in the Philidelphi corridor where suspected smuggling tunnels might be located.

Coincidentally, Noam Schalit, father of captured Israeli solder Gilad Schalit, was touring the town together with Rome Italy mayor Gianni Alemanno. Schalit said that he “doesn’t envy Sderot residents” and both men wished that the town would be spared further attacks. Schalit said he is “waiting patiently to receive good news regarding his son’s release.

It seems like nothing ever fails to cause problems when a prime minister is away, especially when going to try to get assistance from the new U.S. president regarding even greater dangers in the region, the Iranian nuclear weapons program. At the conclusion of Netanyahu’s visit with President Obama, the Israeli prime minister appeared to come out on the short end with Obama pressuring Netanyahu to freeze the building of new settlements in the West Bank as well as to start preparing for a two state solution. Obama did confirm that his plan includes making sure that a new Palestinian state would be de-militarized and that it would not be allowed to ally itself with countries that are in a state of war with Israel. How this plan would work in actuality is up to speculation, especially due to the radical Hamas faction (not so far included in this plan) being friendly with both Iran and the Hezbollah party in Lebanon, also said to be virtual proxies of the Iranians.

For his part, Netanyahu promised the President that Israel would not attack Iran, after receiving the President’s assurances that his administration “will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power”. How that is going to be guaranteed is also very much up in the air, especially with Iranian president Ahmadinejad announcing the successful launching Wednesday of a new 2,000 km range missile

Meanwhile, American CIA chief Leon Panetta was quoted as saying that if Israel tries to go it alone in regards to attacking Iran, “it will be in big trouble”; especially since such an attack is virtually impossible without some form of coordination with the U.S. and other countries. Panetta added that his country “has the US government’s full attention” and that the last thing the US wants to see is a “Middle East nuclear arms race”.

It appears that Bibi wasn’t the only one benefiting from the trip, as his wife Sara didn’t have a formal meeting with Michelle Obama. Oh well, maybe Sara got to go to the malls.

Washington not dealing with “Israeli interests”

Washington not dealing with Israeli interestsIsraeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit with U.S. President Barack Obama is only hours away, and already numerous commentaries are trying to predict what the two men will talk about when they meet today in the White House. Bibi Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah, will also have the opportunity to chat with Michelle Obama, who herself is an outspoken individual who even the President is aware of. Netanyahu has a lot to talk to Obama about, especially in regards to Israel’s future relations with a likely State of Palestine; and how to deal with the possibility of a nuclear Iran.

This will be Netanyahu’s first visit with Obama as prime minister, although he did meet Obama briefly last summer in Israel when Obama was campaigning for the U.S. presidency. We all remember how that went when Obama gave a speech in the beleaguered town of Sderot; while the town’s mayor, Eli Moyal, was pushed to the background. Sderot had been under intense bombardment by Palestinian launched Kassam rockets, and Obama went there to show his support; which really turned into a photo-op for the then U.S. Senator.

Bibi will find that his American host has his own ideas as to how things should be handled in the Middle East, and what Israel should expect from her American ally, now that a new administration is running things in Washington. For one thing, American will not be so keen on accepting everything that Netanyahu is in favor of; especially in regards to the future of the West Bank, where the proposed State of Palestine will be situated (the future of Gaze is still to be worked out). The Palestinians want all the things that they would be entitled to as a sovereign nation, including their own military forces. Netanyahu is not at all in favor of this and will try to convince Obama to be in favor of neutrality for any future Palestinian state, similar to countries like Austria and Switzerland. Other issues like the “law of return” for Palestinians to Israel is also a sensitive issue; and differences on this topic between the U.S. and Israel are already well known.

Finally, the Iranian issue with certainly be talked about, and it’s certain that Obama will caution Bibi against doing anything foolish like launching an air attack against Iran’s nuclear installations without U.S. knowledge and approval.

Judging from Bibi’s last visit to Washington as prime minister, during the Wye Plantation peace negotiations with then P.A. Chairman Yassir Arafat in October, 1998, it might be wise for Sarah Netanyahu to maintain a low profile, as she definitely didn’t contribute to that visit in a positive manner. Bibi will have enough trouble concentrating on his own PR image, rather than trying to keep Sarah on a short leash.

Or, just turn her loose in an upscale DC mall with some credit cards while he “shops” for other stuff at the White House.

A White House first: Obama’s Passover Seder

White House SederIn a never-before act of commemoration, U.S. President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, and a selected group of Jewish and Non-Jewish guests celebrated the Second Passover Seder on Thursday night in the While House. The event had never been celebrated there before, although many U.S. presidents had issued official Passover greetings to the American and World Jewish community on this annual festival of redemption and freedom.

Obama has appeared especially moved to be celebrating an event which he described the story of the Children of Israel’s redemption from human bondage as “one of the most powerful stories of suffering and redemption in human history”. Among those attending was Obama’s Chief of Staff Ram Emanuel, himself not only Jewish but Israeli by birth. A Seder had been conducted at the White House during the Clinton administration, the President himself had not attended. What made this event even more significant was that Obama, a descendent of both Christian and Muslim backgrounds, felt the holiday was worthy enough to be celebrated by himself and his family.

Members of the American Jewish Community, have expressed their satisfaction over the vent saying that American Jews have come a long way by this gesture, especially since U.S. President Franklin kept a very low profile and even “used the back door” to escape facing a protest of American Jewish rabbis protesting Roosevelt’s lack of assistance to save Jews who were dying in the Holocaust during World War II. Jews were prevented from entering the U.S. in large numbers before and during the war and it has been estimated that at least a million might have been saved if the U.S. immigration authorities had allowed a greater number to enter the U.S.

In a letter sent to the American Jewish community prior to the onset of the holiday Obama wrote of the symbolism of Passover highlights the beauty of freedom and the responsibility it entails. “As part of a larger global community, we all must work to ensure that our brothers and sisters of every race, religion, culture and nationality are free from bondage and repression, and are able to live in peace.”

Obama has attended Passover Seders in the past, including one last year in Harrisburg Pennsylvania during a campaign visit.

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