Netanyahu doubles down with new settlement freeze

November 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

US pushing Netanyahu to the wall.
American Thinker Blog

Is Netanyahu Offering A Tahadiyeh?

November 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Dr. Aaron Lerner has made a translation of the remarks made by Netanyahu at the Start of today’s Cabinet Meeting.

Dr. Lerner notes that Netanyahu appears to make a particularly shortsighted comment:

Observation: PM Netanyahu and the Jewish Rip Van Winkle
Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA 14 November 2010

“I insist that any proposal meet the State of Israel’s security needs, both in the immediate term and vis-à-vis the threats that we will face in the coming decade.”

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of Today’s Cabinet Meeting
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)14.11.10

Mr. Netanyahu has children and grandchildren.

His only concern is for the next decade?

This attitude of sacrificing the welfare of future generations for the sake of short-term gain runs counter to Jewish tradition. The story is told (Ta’anit, 23a) of Honi Hame’agel, the Jewish Rip Van Winkle, who saw an old man planting a carob tree. He asked the man why he was working so hard, since the tree would bear fruit only in 70 years.

Replied the man: “I found a world with carobs because my forefathers planted them, and I say: I also plant a carob tree … for my children after me.”

We owe it to ourselves, to previous generations who sacrificed so much to get us here as well as to the unborn future generations, to resist the temptation to forfeit the future in return for what at best may be momentary relief.

As Jews especially, who have been around a good deal longer than the Muslims, we realize how short a time 10 years is and how much can happen and change over that period of time. Just as  Israel will not accept a Tahadiyeh-a mere lull in the fighting-it should not be suggesting one of its own.

From Jihad Watch:

“If Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a truce with the Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.16).

Netanyahu should not be doing their work for them.

Technorati Tag: and .

Daled Amos

The Scandal Of Cantor And Netanyahu

November 13, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


It is not the first time that this kind of direct attack on the president's ability to conduct foreign policy has occurred under this administration. John McCain and Joe Lieberman have gone abroad to assure Israel that they will undermine their own president to advance the interests of a foreign country in a critical diplomatic discussion with the US on that country's soil. But Eric Cantor has gone one further, openly bragging about something he once described as a felony. Kevin Drum:

This is a legitimate scandal worthy of far more attention. When dealing with foreign policy and climate change, Republicans believe in trying to deliberately sabotage the position of the U.S. government. The same is true of U.S. policy towards Iran, and in the case of New START, possibly even U.S. policy towards Russia. Now it's true of U.S. policy towards Israel, too.

It's obviously not unreasonable for Americans to debate whether the Obama administration is pursuing the correct course on foreign policy, and I fully expect members of Congress from both parties to demand accountability of the White House. People can and should speak out when they disagree with the administration's approach to Israel, Iran, Russia, or any other country.

But Cantor's move is something altogether different. Just a few years after he suggested it was literally criminal for an American official to talk to a foreign leader and work against the sitting president, Cantor has done just that.

Where's the outrage?

Where indeed?

(Photo: Jim Watson/Getty.)

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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan


November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The truth hurts - the brave protesters are “right” the whole world is watching!

A group of young Jews with the Young Leadership Institute of Jewish Voice for Peace has traveled to the largest gathering of Jewish leaders in the US and disrupted a speech by Israeli PM Netanyahu with banners that said:
The Settlements Delegitimize Israel
The Occupation Delegitimizes Israel
The Siege of Gaza Delegitimizes Israel
The Loyalty Oath Delegitimizes Israel
Silencing Dissent Delegitimizes Israel



In Our Own Words:

Intifada Palestine

In An ‘Unusual’ Meeting, Cantor Tells Netanyahu The GOP Majority ‘Will Serve As A Check’ On Obama’s Israel Policy

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Earlier this week, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sharply criticized the Israeli government after it announced plans to build more than 1,000 Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations,” Obama said, while Clinton called the move “counterproductive.” Indeed, the Israelis in 2003 agreed to freeze all settlement activity to jumpstart the peace process and the Palestinians refuse to engage in direct talks in the absence of a freeze.

Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday in New York for more than seven hours without producing any diplomatic breakthroughs, though veteran Middle East negotiator Aaron Miller said that the length of the meeting was a good sign that the two leaders were “ironing out differences.” Politico’s Laura Rozen reports that in an “unusual, if not unheard of” move, Netanyahu also met Wednesday with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). Cantor’s office stated that the presumptive Majority Leader would fight the Obama administration on behalf of Israel:

Regarding the midterms, Cantor may have given Netanyahu some reason to stand firm against the American administration.

Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington,” the readout continued. “He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other.”

Rozen also noted that a “veteran observer of U.S.-Israeli relations Ron Kampeas said he found that statement ‘an eyebrow-raiser.’” “I can’t remember an opposition leader telling a foreign leader, in a personal meeting, that he would side, as a policy, with that leader against the president,” Kampeas wrote, later adding, “I have it on good authority that as late as last week, Bibi’s people were at pains to deny that such a meeting would take place.”

While Cantor’s office later told Kampeas that it disputes his interpretation of what Cantor’s office said happened in the meeting, this isn’t the first time Cantor has undermined the Obama administration’s policy on Israel. On a congressional delegation visit to Israel last year, Cantor offered support for Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and countered Clinton’s criticism of Israel’s handling of the eviction of two Arab families from a house in East Jerusalem earlier that week. “I don’t think we, in America, would want another country telling us how to implement and execute our laws,” Cantor said.

As the Wonk Room’s Matt Duss has repeatedly noted, the Israelis agreed to a total settlement freeze in the 2003 Roadmap for Middle East peace and that “since then, Israel has consistently and spectacularly failed to honor that commitment.” With Cantor getting Netanyahu’s back at the expense of official U.S. policy, it doesn’t seem likely that the Israelis will have much incentive to change course.


Netanyahu after the midterms

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

More on the intersection of domestic politics with foreign policy: The Jewish Week’s Jim Besser writes that, in rebuffing Obama on a construction issue, it "looks like Netanyahu [is] testing how far he can go with a newly weakened administration in recasting some fundamental assumptions that both sides have agreed on as the foundation of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, starting with the assumption that any agreement will have to include significant compromises on Jerusalem."

Besser isn’t sure this is a good move:

[Netanyahu] may be expecting more from an administration that suffered big losses last week than he’s going to get, and in doing so, he is could be creating a new diplomatic crisis that could undo the positive work he and Obama have done this year in overcoming their differences.

And in another notable step, Laura Rozen reports that Netanyahu met today with Eric Cantor last night. Per the readout:

"Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the administration and what has been, up until this point, one-party rule in Washington," the readout continued. "He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other."

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Ben Smith’s Blog

A more publicly blunt Netanyahu, Part Two

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


We have noted the increased assertiveness of Israel in its public pronouncements since the November 2 election. We pointed to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement to Vice President Biden about the need for a more assertive policy towards Iran and to the announcment, while Netanyahu is in the United States, of the advanced planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem.

The State Department reacted to the latter development by stating it is “deeply disappointed” with Israel’s announcement. Spokesman P.J. Crowley sniffed that “it is counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties,” and that he “expect[s] this will be a topic of discussion when the secretary meets with the prime minister on Thursday.”

Netanyahu, through a spokesperson, Israel fired back as follows:

Jerusalem is not a settlement; Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel. Israel has never accepted upon itself restrictions of any kind on construction in Jerusalem, which has approximately 800,000 residents, including during the ten months in which construction was suspended in Judea and Samaria.

Israel sees no connection between the diplomatic process and planning and building policy in Jerusalem, which has not changed in 40 years. All Israeli governments in the past 40 years have built in all parts of the city. During this period, peace agreements were signed with Egypt and Jordan, and for 17 years, diplomatic negotiations have been conducted with the Palestinians. These are historical facts. Construction in Jerusalem has never hindered the peace process.

The disagreements with the US over Jerusalem are well-known. They are not new and have continued for 40 years. We hope to overcome them and continue to advance the diplomatic negotiations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking forward to his planned Thursday meeting with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in order to advance the peace talks.

I don’t know whether either party is actually looking forward to the meeting, but I’m looking forward to the fact that it likely will be less one-sided than previous discussions between Netanyahu and the Obama administration.

Power Line

Netanyahu responds to Obama: “Jerusalem is not a settlement: Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel”

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Netanyahu is a lonely voice speaking the truth in an increasingly insane world. “Netanyahu Sharply Insists on Building in Jerusalem,” by Ethan Bronner in the New York Times, November 9 (thanks to Weasel Zippers):

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office sharply rejected international criticism of Israel’s most recently announced building plans in East Jerusalem, saying in a statement: “Jerusalem is not a settlement: Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel.”

The statement said that Israel had “never agreed to limit its construction in any way in Jerusalem where 800,000 inhabitants live.”

The comments came on the heels of President Obama’s criticism of the construction plans. Speaking during his visit to Indonesia, Mr. Obama said that the Israeli announcement — plans for 1,000 new units for a contested part of East Jerusalem — added to the difficulties of Israeli-Palestinian talks. “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations,” he said, “and I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough.”

The statement from Mr. Netanyahu’s office addressed the talks by saying that “Israel sees no connection at all between the peace process and building plans in Jerusalem.”

It also noted that Israeli governments had built housing in Jerusalem for the past 40 years and that Egypt and Jordan had signed peace treaties with Israel during that time….

Jihad Watch

Israel announces East Jerusalem building plans as Netanyahu visits U.S.

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


The Israeli government has announced that construction will proceed on more than 1,300 housing units in East Jerusalem. The announcement comes while Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is in the U.S. The U.S. has duly expressed its “disappointment.”

Our readers will recall how incensed the Obama administration became when, during Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, the Israeli Interior Minister unveiled plans to build 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem. The timing of that announcement apparently was mistake, for which the Israelis apologized. President Obama nonetheless took deep offense and attempted to humiliate Netanyahu when he visited the White House.

The timing of the latest announcement, which comes in advance of a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, surely was premeditated. Presumably, the timing was intended, at least in part, to demonstrate that Israel is not concerned about the prospect of additional attempts at bullying by Obama administration.

As I suggested last night in connection with Netanyahu’s statement to Biden about Iran, in the aftermath of the American voters’ rebuke to the Obama administration, the one-sided nature of Obama’s relationship with Netanyahu looks like it’s going to change.

Power Line

A more publicly blunt Netanyahu

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


The Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today told Joe Biden that “the only way to ensure that Iran is not armed with nuclear weapons is to create a credible threat of military action against it, unless it stops its race to obtain nuclear weapons.” Netanyahu reportedly reminded Biden that ‘”the only time Iran stopped its nuclear program was in 2003, and that was when they believed that there was a real chance of an American military strike against them.”

Netanyahu’s remarks represent an escalation of his past statements on Iran, which focused on the need for diplomatic measures such as harsh economic sanctions, rather than military deterrence. But now Netanyahu apparently has told Biden that, although economic sanctions have made it difficult for Teheran, there is no sign that they have caused the regime to halt its nuclear program.

Netanyahu’s statements about Iran reflect a reality that is obvious even to Joe Biden and his boss. What’s interesting here is that Israel has now laid out this message to the administration and publicized that it has done so. The Jerusalem Post’s report of what Netanyahu told Biden cites “diplomatic sources.” presumably Israeli ones.

During the first two years of the Obama administration, the significant public pronouncements regarding U.S-Israeli relations have come from the White House and the State Department, mostly in the form of demands for Israeli concessions to the PA. The Jerusalem Post’s story suggests that, in the aftermath of the American voters’ rebuke to the Obama administration, this one-sided state of affairs may be about to change.

Power Line

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