Israeli Minister: Obama Wrong To Be Optimistic on Peace
Sunday, December 08, 2013 |
Israeli Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday took the Obama Administration to task for sounding such an optimistic note regarding the current Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Over the weekend, both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry told the Brookings Institute’s Saban Forum that they had high hopes for the peace talks, and that a final status framework could be put in place within months.
At around the same time Obama and Kerry were making their lofty remarks, Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip fired two missiles into southern Israel.
Speaking to Israel Radio from Australia, Bennett noted that America cannot oversee a final status deal that somehow does not take Hamas into account.
“Imagine you’re negotiating over a car with someone who only owns half the car, and the owner of the other half says he won’t recognize any agreement you reach. You give him all the money but only get half the car,” the minister explained.
Washington has tried to ignore Hamas for the time being as it pushes forward talks between Israel and the government of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Bennett went on to say that he is “for an agreement, but a real one that doesn’t harm our interests.”
In other remarks carried by France’s AFP, Bennett said that what Israel needed to do was extend its sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”).
“I favor implementation of Israeli sovereignty over the zone where 400,000 Jews live and only 70,000 Arabs,” said Bennett, referring to what is known as “Area C” - territory that is already under full Israeli security control.
As part of that plan, Bennett would grant Israeli citizenship to those 70,000 Arabs.
Expert: Israelis Don't Believe in 2-State Solution
Sunday, December 08, 2013 |
Israel Today Staff
Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies says Israelis have almost totally lost their faith in the two-state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Whereas a decade or two ago a majority of Israelis viewed the internationally-backed diplomatic effort as a harbinger of peace after 50 years of war, the number of Israelis who still feel that way can “fit in two telephone booths,” Kedar told Israeli radio station Arutz Sheva.
What happened in the intervening years to change most Israelis’ minds? In a word, Gaza.
In 2005, Israel “disengaged” from Gaza, uprooting 21 Jewish communities with a combined population of some 10,000 people. It was a gut-wrenching move for the Jewish state, but it was also the first major test of whether or not the Palestinians were serious about living in peace if they were given the lands they demanded.
“We gave land, they fired rockets into Israel,” noted Kedar. Since Israel pulled out of Gaza, nearly 10,000 rockets have been fired into southern Israel from the coastal enclave.
Kedar explained that Israelis aren’t about to let the same thing happen in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”), from which terrorist rockets could easily hit Israel’s largest population centers and its only major international airport.
Kedar is currently promoting a peace plan that would grant the Palestinians increased autonomy in their own cities, but would stop far short of the independent, sovereign control over Judea and Samaria that the current negotiations are aimed at achieving.
Son of Pro-IDF Arab Priest Attacked in Nazareth
Sunday, December 08, 2013 |
The 17-year-old son of Green Orthodox Priest Gabriel Nadaf was beaten in Nazareth over the weekend, presumably as retribution for his father’s work to encourage young Arab Christians to join the Israeli army and become loyal citizens of the Jewish state.
The boy was hospitalized with head injuries.
Nadaf has received numerous death threats from local Muslims in the past. But the culprit in the severe beating of his son appears to be a supporter of the radical left-wing Arab Knesset party Hadash.
Nadaf has been the target of much outrage from Arab Muslim members of Israel’s Knesset, who typically use their high position to deride and delegitimize the state that pays their generous salaries.
In response to the attack on his son, Nadaf told Israeli television that “while I am trying to further integrate our youth into Israeli society, extremists are trying to further divide Israeli society by inciting hatred against me.”
The beating of the boy had crossed a red line, said Nadaf. “My wife won’t leave the house, and my other son, just 15-years-old, refuses to go outside for fear he will also be injured.”
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon met with Nadaf over the weekend and reiterated the Jewish state’s gratitude for the brave stand taken by he and other Arab Christians. Danon called on Israeli authorities to put an end to the incitement against Nadaf by Arab members of Knesset.
“From words have now come deeds,” said Danon. “Father Nadaf and his family, as well as other Christians who want to serve in the IDF, have been made to live in fear.”
In a previous interview with Israel Today, Nadaf said he had always just taken it for granted that one can not claim benefits offered by the state without also being willing to serve. He also pointed out that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians can fully practice their faith freely.
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Messianic Performance Asks: Is Israel Ready to Accept Jesus?
Friday, December 06, 2013 |
A performance put on by the Messianic Jewish Alliance of Israel (MJAI) in central Israel on Thursday asked the pertinent question: How would Israel react today if Yeshua (Jesus) were to show up?
Titled “HaKochav Nolad” (“The Star is Born” - a play on the name of a popular television singing competition), the Hebrew-language stage show recounted the miraculous births of both John the Baptist and Yeshua, and the trials both pairs of parents faced.
The first half of the performance drove home the point that at the time of Yeshua’s birth, the Jews of Israel believed nothing could be worse than the Roman occupation, and were certain the promised Messiah was coming to right that particular wrong.
As such, it is perhaps understandable why so many failed to believe. It is also the same reason the Bible teaches so many in our own time will be taken in by the promises of a great man who promises and appears to bring peace from today’s particular troubles.
At the end of the play, the scene switches to modern times, and a young girl asks, “Israel turned away Yeshua once, what if they do so again?” Fortunately, for those of us who have read the end of the book, the answer to that conundrum is provided: God intends to turn the hearts of all Israel back to Him.
Israel: We Cannot Sit By and Watch Syrians Die
Thursday, December 05, 2013 |
Israel Today Staff
Israeli Defense Minsiter Moshe Ya'alon this week said the Jewish state is increasing efforts to provide humanitarian aid to average Syrians, noting that Israel cannot sit idly by and watch its neighbors die.
During a tour of the northern border, Ya'alon told Israel's Channel 2 News, without going into detail, that Israel is providing food, water, baby food and other humanitarian assistance to Syrian villages just beyond the frontier.
"We can not sit by in the face of humanitarian difficulties – not while they need preparations for winter and for other needs we can work to help them with," said Ya'alon.
Many of the villages in question have been isolated from the rest of the country by Syria's ongoing civil war. Many are strongholds for rebels forces, and have been besieged by government troops.
It is notable that Israel continues to do everything it can to help the Syrians, despite the fact that the two nations are still officially at war and that Syrian forces have repeatedly taken "pot shots" at Israeli soldiers on the Golan Heights over the past year.
Ya'alon stressed that Israel would respond harshly to all aggression, but would not allow those attacks to deter it from providing all the assistance it can to those in need.
Meanwhile, Israeli army officials told the Times of Israel that the military field hospital set up on the Golan to help treat wounded Syrians has seen recent improvements.
Speaking on the subject, Col. Dr. Tarif Bader, the Head of the Northern Medical Command, told the news site that over 500 Syrians have been "afforded tax-payer-funded treatment at Israeli hospitals... I don’t know who the wounded belong to and I don’t care. I don’t know what ethnic group he belongs to or what side he’s fighting for. The only criteria is need."
PHOTO: Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon looks into Syria from the Golan Heights.
French: Arafat Was Not Poisoned
Thursday, December 05, 2013 |
Forensic scientists from France have found no evidence that former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned, a conclusion many had already reached even before the French confirmed it.
However, a research group from Switzerland last month said it had found high levels of the chemical polonium in Arafat's remains.
Arafat died in a French hospital in 2004 after more than a month of severe stomach and digestive problems. At the time, French doctors were unable to provide a definitive cause of death, and were not allowed to perform an autopsy. Arafat was then hurriedly buried in Ramallah.
Arafat continues to be revered by Palestinians as a national symbol, and the anniversary of his death is marked as a national holiday, complete with violent demonstrations.
In 2012, the Palestinian leadership finally allowed Arafat's tomb to be opened and samples to be taken to determine how he died. However, results were surprisingly long in coming.
Arafat's widow, Suha - a Christian who lives in Paris - had always maintained that her husband was murdered by Israel. Following the release of the Swiss test results, Suha blabbed incessantly about the "crime of the century." But, Swiss experts immediately questioned the publicized test results, noting that polonium decays rapidly, and after so many years since his death, it should be barely, if at all, detectable on Arafat's corpse.
The French now have another explanation for the radioactive traces on Arafat's corpse: radon gas is believed to be emitted from somewhere near the tomb.
For the Palestinians, Israel has always been the "only suspect" in Arafat's demise. Israel repeatedly denied the charge, even though there was plenty of evidence that Arafat was directly involved in numerous terrorist attacks against the Jewish state.
Muslims Launch Fireworks at Police on Temple Mount
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 |
A group of Arab Muslim youth on Wednesday launched fireworks at Israeli police officers from inside the Al Aqsa Mosque that occupies the southern end of Jerusalem's Temple Mount.
Israeli authorities immediately closed the holy site to all visitors following the incident.
The Muslims today consider the Al Aqsa Mosque to be the third holiest site in Islam, despite the location never being mentioned in the Koran.
In other violence, three Palestinian Arab men hijacked a Jewish-owned car on Tuesday while a three-month-old baby was still in the back seat.
The child's mother told Israeli media that she was driving home just north of Jerusalem around mid-afternoon when the attack occurred.
"All of sudden a vehicle got close to me, so I sped up. But then I felt a blow in the back, and I immediately stopped and got out of the car to see what happened," she told Israel's Ynet news portal.
Stopping to check the damage turned out to be a mistake, as one of the Arab men immediately jumped in her car and sped away. Fortunately, a passerby let the distraught mother use his phone to call for help.
After receiving his wife's frantic call, the child's father, a former army commando, set off with a neighbor to find the little girl.
Both armed, the two Israeli men entered a hostile Palestinian village on the outskirts of Ramallah. "I wasn't scared," the man said. "I was only thinking about one thing – my daughter's life was hanging in the balance."
Fortunately, it appeared that the carjackers were surprised by the presence of the baby, and fearful of the consequences, so abandoned the vehicle near the entrance to the village. By the time the father arrived, a small crowed had gathered around the car, but no one had disturbed the sleeping child.
Shortly after, Israeli security forces entered the village and apprehended three suspects, who were later identified by the wife.
The father told Ynet that while the overall level of violence might appear low to outsiders, "we live in fear and there is a silent intifada going on here."