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Tag Archives: Israel

PM Netanyahu: Disagreements with US ‘temporary’

PM Netanyahu and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Henri Kissinger. November 10, 2010 ( Photo by Avi Ochayon GPO )

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November 10, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned down the heat Wednesday and said differences of opinion between the US and Israel were “temporary.” On Tuesday, the prime minister responded with unprecedented vigor to US declarations against renewed settlement construction but on Wednesday, during a meeting with senior figures from US media, he spoke in more conciliatory terms.

The “differences” reached a peak when US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said construction in east Jerusalem was not conducive to the negotiations. Netanyahu retorted that Jerusalem is not a settlement.

During the meeting in New York, the prime minister was asked about differences of opinion between the US and Israel. He asserted that such differences were only temporary. He added that in his dealings with the US administration, he concentrated on issues that would have long-term effects on any peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu detailed the Israeli government’s position on Iran and the peace process. He is expected to meet Clinton on Thursday to discuss the need to reach wide-ranging understandings with the US about Israeli security needs in light of the significant security challenges expected in the coming decade.

He said the chances of achieving a peace deal would be much greater if security understandings could be reached with the US. He is also expected to raise the issue of peace agreements with a wider circle of Arab states in parallel to an agreement with the Palestinians.

(*)

PM Netanyahu : “Jerusalem is not a settlement, Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

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In US, Netanyahu says Israel sees no connection between peace process and construction in the capital. ‘All Israeli governments have built in all parts of the city for 40 years, and we still signed peace deals with Egypt, Jordan,’ premier adds.

November 09, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has toughened his stance ahead his scheduled meeting with the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on Thursday, rejecting any American and international criticism regarding building in east Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem is not a settlement – Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel. Israel has never restricted itself regarding any kind of building in the city, which is home to some 800,000 people – including during the 10-month construction moratorium in the West Bank,” the PM said Tuesday.

“Israel sees no connection between the peace process and the planning and building policy in Jerusalem, something that hasn’t changed for the past 40 years. All Israeli governments have built in all parts of the city in the past 40 years.

“During this time,” he added, “We have signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and have held negotiations with the Palestinians for 17 years. Construction in Jerusalem has never obstructed the peace process.”

Netanyahu spoke just hours after US President Barack Obama told a press conference in Indonesia that Israeli construction in east Jerusalem “is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations.”

The Israeli premier added that “the disagreements between Israel and the US regarding Jerusalem are well-known, and I hope to overcome them and move the peace talks forward. We intend to advance the peace negotiations during Thursday’s meeting with Secretary of State Clinton.”

On Monday, the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee approved the construction of 32 housing units in the eastern part of Pisgat Ze’ev, a neighborhood located beyond the Green Line.

The construction, which has been a bone of contention in the international community, was approved during Netanyahu’s visit to the United States.(*)

 

Israel plans 1,300 Housing Units in Jerusalem

A construction site in the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa in east Jerusalem, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010. The Israeli government is moving ahead with plans to build nearly 1,300 apartments in disputed east Jerusalem, an official said Monday, a move sure to escalate frictions between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American officials during his current visit to the United States. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

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November 09, 2010. JERUSALEM (KATAKAMI / IsraelNationalNews.com / Reuters) – The Jerusalem regional planning and building commission published plans over the weekend for building more than 1,300 housing units in the capital.

Almost a thousand are planned for the Har Homa neighborhood in southern Jerusalem, while 320 are planned for the northern neighborhood of Ramot,  the Interior Ministry said on Monday, despite fierce opposition from Palestinians.

The timing of the announcement could prove an embarrassment for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in the United States looking for ways to revive Middle East peace talks that have stalled over the issue of Jewish settlement building.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Efrat Orbach said plans for some 1,300 Jewish housing units in two neighborhoods on land Israel seized in a 1967 war had been made public, passing another procedural stage toward eventual construction.

She said the public could still raise objections to the plans and it could take a long time before building commenced.

“It can take months or years from this point until building can actually begin, or even before tenders for building are issued,” Orbach said.

The United States said it was “deeply disappointed” by news of the housing project.

“It is counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, adding that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was expected to bring the matter up in a meeting with Netanyahu in New York on Thursday.

At a meeting in New York with former President Bill Clinton, Netanyahu was asked by reporters to comment on the U.S. criticism.

“You know, President Clinton and I have a lot of things to discuss, but this particular issue I’m going to discuss, I’m sure, with Mrs Clinton on Thursday, so you can ask me then,” Netanyahu said.

Earlier, Netanyahu held talks at the United Nations with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who the U.N. press office said “expressed concern at the resumption of settlement activity and recent announcements of further settlement construction in East Jerusalem.”

PALESTINIAN REJECTION

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in September almost as soon as they had begun, after Netanyahu rebuffed Palestinian demands to extend a partial freeze on West Bank settlement building.

The limited moratorium did not include construction work in areas Israel considers part of Jerusalem.

An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ruled out any return to negotiations as long as Israel continued to build and called on the United States to act against the Jewish state so that the talks could restart.

“Israel is continuing to create obstacles … There will be no return to negotiations while Israel pursues settlement activities,” Nabil Abu Rdainah told Reuters.

“(Netanyahu) is giving a signal to the Americans that (Israel) will not agree to halt settlements … We demand that the U.S. administration take practical steps to resume the peace process, there will not be a peace treaty without having East Jerusalem as the capital of (the) state of Palestine,” he added.

The State Department’s Crowley said the United States was seeking to understand the background to the announcement, and said “it could very well be that somebody in Israel has made this known in order to embarrass the prime minister and to undermine the process.”

“This is expressly why we have been encouraging the parties to remain in direct negotiations, to return to direct negotiations and to work through these issues face-to-face,” he told a news briefing.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank, in 1967 and regards all of Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they hope to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

PM Netanyahu, UN’s Ban discuss peace process, Ghajar withdrawal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at U.N. headquarters November 8, 2010 in New York City. Israeli media reported that Netanyahu will announce the Israeli withdrawal from Ghajar, a village straddling the Lebanese-Israeli border. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slams UNESCO decision to classify ancient Jewish holy site as mosque, saying ‘historical facts should not be distorted in the name of politics.’

November 09, 2010 (KATAKAMI / HAARETZ) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held talks late Monday on the stalled Middle East peace talks and the planned Israeli withdrawal from a site on the Lebanese border.

The two issued a readout of their meeting at UN headquarters in New York, according to which the “secretary general and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed the ongoing efforts to move the Middle East peace process forward.”

“The secretary general emphasized that it was vital to break the current diplomatic stalemate, resume negotiations and produce results,” the statement said.

Peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians have been stalled since September, when an Israeli moratorium on settlement activity ended. The Palestinians want the freeze extended to continue talks, and Washington has unsuccessfully tried to convince Netanyahu to do so. US President Barack Obama oversaw the relaunching of the direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in early September, only to see them falter once the settlement freeze expired on the 26th of the month.

Ban said he expressed concern at the resumption of the Israeli settlement activities and recent announcements of further settlement construction in East Jerusalem.

The two leaders also discussed the “current proposals on the issue of Ghajar,” a reference to Israel’s plan to end its occupation of the village with 2,200 inhabitants on the Lebanon-Israel border.

Haaretz had reported that Netanyahu planned to announce a withdrawal from Ghajar and the return of control of the village to Lebanon. The planned withdrawal would comply with UN Security Council resolution 1701, which ordered a ceasefire in the fighting between Hezbollah and the Israeli Defense Forces in 2006.

The two leaders also reportedly “reviewed the regional situation, including Iran,” in addition to Ban’s urging that Israel “ease the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza.”

Netanyahu also referred to a recent controversial ruling by the UN’s cultural agency, according to which West Bank heritage sites holy to both Jews and Muslims, such as Rachel’s Tomb, would be considered Palestinian.

The ancient tomb, which lies between Jerusalem and the nearby Palestinian-controlled city of Bethlehem, is traditionally regarded as the burial place of a biblical matriarch and is holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews.

Speaking during his meeting with the UN chief, the PM said that the “the profound link between the Jewish people and the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb had existed for close to 4,000 years.”

“Over a billion people know of this bond and it is documented in the Bible,” Netanyahu said, adding that “historical facts should not be distorted in the name of politics. That would only injure the UN’s stature and the way serious people around the world regard it.”

Last week, Israel said it would reduce cooperation with the United Nations’ cultural watchdog following the classification of Rachel’s Tomb as a mosque.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel would not cooperate with UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – in administering five protected sites in Palestinian territory as a dispute that has escalated in recent weeks came to a head.

Speaking with journalists in Jerusalem, Ayalon blamed the Palestinians for influencing the UN to side against Israel.

“This is another attempt at de-legitimization by the Palestinian Authority,” he said.

Germany’s Foreign Minister called on Hamas to free captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, during a visit to the Gaza Strip

Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (L) stands next to Noam Shalit, father of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, at the start of their meeting in Jerusalem November 7, 2010. Shalit was captured by Palestinian militants who tunnelled from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel in June 2006. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun )

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November 08, 2010 (KATAKAMI / Jpost) — Westerwelle says his country sees speedy return of soldier to his family as humane step; comments come a day after meetings with Noam Schalit, Lieberman, Shimon Peres in J’lem.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Monday called on Hamas to free captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, during a visit to the Gaza Strip.

He urged the terror group to “finally free this young man, after so many years in captivity.”

Westerwelle says his country sees speedy return of soldier to his family as humane step; comments come a day after meetings with Noam Schalit, Lieberman, Peres in J’lem.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Monday called on Hamas to free captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, during a visit to the Gaza Strip.

He urged the terror group to “finally free this young man, after so many years in captivity.”

Westerwelle stressed that Germany views the speedy return of Schalit to his family as the humane step.

His comments came a day after a meeting with the soldier’s father, Noam Schalit, as well as President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat in Jerusalem.

During a press conference after their Sunday meeting, Lieberman said that the biggest threat to the Middle East is Iran.

“Not only Iran with its nuclear problem, but Iran through its proxies in its terrorist activity in all our regions. We see Iranian activities through proxies in Lebanon through Hizbullah, in the Palestinian Authority through Hamas, their deep involvement in Iraq, in Yemen, in Somalia and, of course, this threat may be the biggest threat that we are facing as a Western society, as a free society in the modern world,” Lieberman told his German counterpart.

He also said that while Israel has a “political dispute” with the Palestinians, it also has “very good cooperation with the Palestinians on the security level and on economy.”

Westerwelle referred to Schalit, saying that Germany has an “abolultely clear position” that the soldier be “released very soon.”

“We think that our Israeli friends know that they can count on us. And I do not want to comment any further because it is very important that we help the family, that we help this poor young man and that we see him as soon as possible, safe and healthy, back in the arms of his family,” the German foreign minister said.  (*)

Incentives for settlement freeze likely on agenda as Netanyahu heads for U.S.

File photo : US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a meeting in Washington, DC, on August 31, 2010. The Obama administration geared up for a bold bid to relaunch direct Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and clinch a peace deal within a year as Middle East leaders arrived in Washington. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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Netanyahu envoy arrived in Washington earlier this week to meet chief Palestinian negotiator on ways to renew negotiations.

November 07, 2010 (KATAKAMI/ HAARETZ) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to leave for the United States Saturday night to address the Jewish Federations’ General Assembly in New Orleans.

Netanyahu will not be meeting President Barack Obama, who is in India, but he will meet with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Americans are expected to tell Netanyahu that their package of diplomatic and security incentives is still on the table if he agrees to renew the freeze on construction in the settlements.

Netanyahu’s flight to the U.S. reportedly cost the state more than $1 million, because it is a direct flight from Ben-Gurion International Airport to New Orleans. El Al was selected to fly the prime minister without a tender.

The administration’s involvement in the Middle East peace process has been almost nil in recent weeks as they attempted to shore up support at home ahead of last week’s midterm elections. However, Netanyahu’s envoy Isaac Molho arrived in Washington three days ago for a meeting with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on ways to renew negotiations and possibility of refreezing construction in the settlements.

Molho made no progress, but Erekat and the Americans agreed that the Palestinians would wait until the end of November before making another move, such as approaching the UN Security Council with a demand to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu-Rudeina, told Agence France Presse that the Palestinians had given the Americans another three weeks to reach understandings with Israel. If no agreement was forthcoming by that time, they would approach the Security Council.

Senior American officials, who asked to remain anonymous because of the issue’s sensitivity, told Haaretz at the end of the week that during Netanyahu’s visit another attempt would be made to address the construction freeze gambit.

“Talks with Molho were serious although no solution was found, and we are still trying,” an official said.

The incentive package the Americans offered Israel two months ago includes advanced fighter planes and other security aid, as well as guarantees of a U.S. veto of any attempt at a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood in the Security Council in the coming year.

Although the Americans are reportedly angry at Netanyahu’s refusal to restart the freeze, they apparently do not want to clash with him at this time.

Both Biden and Clinton are expected to press Netanyahu into renewing the freeze and show willingness to move ahead on the issue of borders, but will not accuse him of responsibility for the impasse.

Israeli sources familiar with the U.S. position said American enthusiasm for offering incentives has cooled and that “the formulation of the letter with the guarantees has changed and Netanyahu will not be able to make do with a new two-month freeze.”

Netanyahu did not convene the forum of seven senior ministers before he left, but spoke with some of them individually.

He will be meeting this evening at 8 P.M. Israel time with Biden, who will also be addressing the general assembly.

Netanyahu will leave for New York immediately after his address to the GA tomorrow, to meet with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Netanyahu will meet with senior American economists, industrialists, Jewish leaders and with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell. He will also give a number of television interviews.

On Thursday, Netanyahu is to meet with Clinton.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman and opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima ) will also be attending the GA.

On Tuesday, Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit will come to Washington, following separate visits to Ramallah and Tel Aviv over the past 10 days.

The Egyptians, who are working to help Washington restart direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, are pressuring both sides.

The Egyptian leaders will meet with Clinton a day before she meets with Netanyahu.

Washington think tanks have been discussing the best way for Obama to reach a breakthrough. David Makovsky, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said in a speech last week that if Israel wants to avoid a U.S. accusation of responsibility for an impasse with the Palestinians, Netanyahu should change his coalition and include Kadima.

(MS)

Photostream : Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman visits Israel

Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, shakes hands with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman during their meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010. Suleiman met with Israeli officials Thursday, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss ways to boost stalled Mideast peace talks with the Palestinians. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Debbie Hill, Pool)

Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, shakes speaks with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman during their meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010. Suleiman met with Israeli officials Thursday, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss ways to boost stalled Mideast peace talks with the Palestinians. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Debbie Hill, Pool)

Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyau (R) meets with Omar Suleiman, head of Egyptian Inteligence on November 04, 2010 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman visits Israel to meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of renewing negotiations with the Palestinians. (Photo by Moshe Milner /GPO/Getty IMages)

Gaza rocket hits Israel, no casualties: army

File photo : An Israeli soldier keeps watch on the border between southern Israel and the Hamas-controlled Palestinian coastal territory in July. Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have fired a rocket into southern Israel but caused no casualties or damage, the Israeli army said.

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November 06, 2010 (KATAKAMI / FRANCE 24 / AFP ) – Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into southern Israel on Saturday but caused no casualties or damage, the Israeli army said.

The rocket exploded in an open field near the Gaza border, a military spokeswoman said.

Since the start of this year, Palestinians have fired more than 165 rockets or mortar rounds at Israel from the Hamas-controlled coastal strip, according to the military. (*)

PM Benjamin Netanyahu: Palestinians not ready for peace

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem November 3, 2010. Netanyahu said on Wednesday he would meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a U.S. visit next week in addition to previously announced talks with Vice President Joe Biden. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Ammar Awad )

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November 03, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — During debate titled ‘The world against Israel – how the Netanyahu administration isolated Israel in the international arena,’ PM says, ‘Rejecting Israel’s right to exist doesn’t advance reconciliation.’ MK Bar-On: Bold decision required.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a special Knesset debate titled “The world against Israel – how the Netanyahu administration isolated the State of Israel in the international arena.” A request to hold a discussion on the matter was signed by 40 Knesset members, including Amir Peretz, Eitan Cabel and Daniel Ben-Simon.

First to speak was MK Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima), who slammed Netanyahu. “Before you go off to a visit in the US you should sit down and read Thomas Friedman, the most prominent US commentator.

Maybe this time the sound of danger suggested in his articles will sound clearer. In the first round he called our leadership ‘drunk drivers.’ In the second round, he claimed the cabinet was inhabited by lunatics. Friedman’s words point to bad times of changes in Israel’s relations with the US and it’s not because of any particular president.”

Bar-On repeated President Shimon Peres’ statements calling for an immediate political decision. “Do you need a clearer warning sign? You know, it’s never too late to fix things. Make a bold, uncompromising decision and go for it. We’ll be there for you and for ourselves.”

MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) said, “You’ve been running the country for a year and eight months, what decision have you made except create one committee after the other. Shunning responsibility is not leadership; it’s a weak, indulgent and irresponsible government.”

 

Freeze on hold

Addressing the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said, “Rejecting Israel’s right to exist certainly doesn’t advance reconciliation between the nations and our desire to bring about a peace agreement. The Palestinians made an official commitment in this regard – as part of the Wye agreement and other agreements. I promise to discuss this commitment during the process, but for now I want the process to move forward without preconditions.

“If (the process) fails, it will be because the Palestinian Authority is trying to bypass the negotiations and move the process to the international track,” he said.

As for the public uproar surrounding the yeshiva student bill, Netanyahu said, “We are doing exactly what has been done for the past 30 years. The haredim are part of our nation, and should be treated as such. This public should be encouraged to work.”

Likud MK Ofir Akonis responded to the Kadima claims and said, “Your Alzheimer’s is really advanced. You decided to take a cynical, political ride on the backs of Israeli students,” he said. “Have you no shame – to insinuate that Israel is to blame for the Marmara flotilla?”

Akonis noted that substantial stipends were given to haredim during the Kadima administration and presented a newspaper with the title: “Livni to Shas: Receive NIS 1 billion (about $280 million).” He was then escorted from the podium by security guards for violating Knesset protocol. Later, Kadima’s Yoel Hasson was also removed from the hall after verbally attacking MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu).

MK Nissim Zeev (Shas) addressed the Labor MKs and said: “You can’t crush the coalition from the inside because of problems with your party chairman. I have unresolved business with the defense minister. I think he made a fool of himself, with the Galant document, with his foreign worker…they caught the most dangerous terrorist in the world – Virginia.”

Earlier this week, Netanyahu addressed the peace process during a Likud faction hearing at the Knesset. When asked about the possibility of the resumption of settlement construction freeze he replied there was no concrete US proposal and that the matter was on hold.

 

(MS)

PM Netanyahu says he will meet Clinton during U.S. visit

File photo : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton September 15, 2010 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israeli and Palestinian leaders are deadlocked in peace negotiations over Israeli settlement building. (Photo by Amos Ben Gershom / GPO via Getty Images)

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November 03, 2010 (KATAKAMI / HAARETZ) — PM will arrive in New Orleans on Sunday to address a conference of the U.S. Jewish community, where Joe Biden will also speak.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he would meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a U.S. visit next week in addition to previously announced talks with Vice President Joe Biden.

In a speech to parliament, Netanyahu again voiced strong criticism of the Palestinian Authority, which has suspended peace talks over his refusal to resume a partial freeze of construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

“The truth is, there is great readiness in Israel for a real peace process,” he said. “The truth is, we have not found a corresponding readiness within the Palestinian Authority.”

Netanyahu has resisted U.S., Palestinian and international calls to impose a new building moratorium in settlements after a 10-month freeze expired in late September, some three weeks after the U.S.-brokered negotiations began.

Palestinian officials have accused Netanyahu of destroying prospects for peace by allowing settlement building to continue on land that Palestinians want for a future state.

Netanyahu arrives in New Orleans on Sunday to speak at a conference of U.S. Jewish leaders that Biden also will address. President Barack Obama will be visiting Asia during Netanyahu’s U.S. trip, which also includes a four-day stay in New York.

“I will, of course, meet with the senior leaders of the United States, with Vice President Biden and subsequently with Hillary Clinton,” Netanyahu told parliament.

He gave no date or venue for the meeting with Clinton, but Israeli officials said it was likely to take place in New York.

“I greatly appreciate the efforts of the Obama administration — the president and his people — to find a way to advance the peace process,” Netanyahu said in his speech, giving no sign of bending in the settlement impasse.

 

(MS)

Meeting of British Foreign Secretary William Hague with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (L) and British Foreign Secretary William Hague sign a bilateral film co-production agreement marking resumption of cooperation between Israel and UK film industries, in Jerusraem on November 3, 2010. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

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November 03, 2010 (KATAKAMI / BRITISH EMBASSY IN ISRAEL) — The meeting focused on the status of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and the need to get beyond the current impasse.

The Rt. Hon. William Hague MP, First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on 3 November as part of his first visit to Israel as Foreign Secretary.

Their meeting focused on the status of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and the need to get beyond the current impasse. In addition they discussed shared concerns including the threat posed by Iran’s attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon capability and the need for international cooperation against terrorism. The two Ministers also discussed Middle East regional developments, including the situations in Yemen, Iraq, and Sudan.

The meeting was also a chance to build on the UK’s and Israel’s strong bilateral relationship. The Foreign Secretary reiterated the UK government’s commitment to urgently resolve the “unacceptable situation” with regard to universal jurisdiction. Both Ministers expressed their appreciation for the breadth and intensity of official exchanges between the two Governments and affirmed their shared commitment to an early meeting of the High-Level UK-Israel Strategic Dialogue. Both Ministers also touched upon the strength and depth of current partnerships in areas such as business, science and innovation.

At the end of their meeting, Foreign Secretary Hague and Foreign Minister Liberman signed a Film Co-production Agreement, marking another milestone in the extensive cultural cooperation between the two countries.

Photostream : British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Israel

Israeli President Shimon Peres (R) shakes hands with British Foreign Secretary William Hague at the presidential compound in Jerusalem, on November 3, 2010. Hague is on an official two day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli President Shimon Peres (R) meets with British Foreign Secretary William Hague at the presidential compound in Jerusalem, on November 3, 2010. Hague is on an official two day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, right, meets with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman as they prepare to sign an agreement which will increase cooperation between the two countries' film industries, in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010. Israel announced Wednesday that it has suspended a special strategic dialogue with Britain to protest repeated attempts by pro-Palestinian activists to arrest Israeli dignitaries on war crimes charges during visits to the United Kingdom. The announcement came as Hague was meeting with senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem and senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah on Wednesday. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (2nd L) and British Foreign Secretary William Hague (2nd R) sign a co-production film treaty after their meeting in Jerusalem November 3, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun )

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (L) and British Foreign Secretary William Hague shake hands after signing a co-production film treaty after their meeting in Jerusalem November 3, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun )

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak: Negotiations to resume after US elections

File Photo : Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak (R) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell during their meeting in Tel Aviv January 21, 2010 (Getty Images / REUTERS/Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy/Handout )

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November 02, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Defense minister says stalemate in negotiations with Palestinian Authority coming to an end, addresses religious-secular tensions.

The peace talks with the Palestinian Authority will move forward after the midterm elections in the US,  Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday.

“There are elections in the US today, and I suppose that it will take them a few weeks after the elections to settle in,” he said during a visit to a high school in Emek Hamaayanot Regional Council in northern Israel. “I hope and believe that we can see real progress in the negotiations in the next few months.”

Barak also addressed the escalating tension within Israel between ultra-Orthodox and secular citizens. He told the high school students about a visit he paid to the IDF’s Menashe Regional Brigade, where a haredi combat unit serves.

“In the past, 10 years ago, an entire unit of haredi soldiers would have been considered impossible,” he said.

“The haredim, whose incorporation in the job market – especially the haredi men, similarly to the incorporation of women of the Arab sector into the job market – requires attention from the State, as well as the creation of a foundation and a training system. But we must also recognize equality and the need for inclusion,” he said.

In response to the yeshiva funding bill, which has provoked demonstrations and arguments in recent days, Barak said that Israel must level the playing field between religious and secular students.

“The State, which has been giving different forms of support to yeshiva students, must find the way to give secular students and young people the same things, in an equal manner,” he said.

(MS)

Netanyahu says no realistic US proposals to freeze settlements

File photo : U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) walk from the podium after delivering statements to the press from the Colonnade outside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington September 1, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Jason Reed )

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November 02, 2010 (KATAKAMI / Rantburg.Com / KUNA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday there were no American proposals to freeze settlement construction in the West Bank, noting that the political situation was in a stalemate status.

“The American administration is busy with the Congress elections so they will not discuss the settlement freeze now, and until now there is no realistic American proposal to end this crisis,” Netanyahu said during a session of the Likud bloc members at the Knesset.

Netanyahu, quoted by the Yediot Ahronot website, said “The Paleostinians’ taking a unilateral step to declare the Paleostinian state will make the two parties pay high prices and these steps will not solve the dispute.” Paleostinian Authority President the ineffectual Mahmoud Abbas said last Thursday the Paleostinians could submit a request to the UN and the US to recognize a Paleostinian state on the pre-1967 war borders if the direct peace talks with the Israelis failed to resume.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague planning secret Iran talks during Israel trip

British Foreign Secretary William Hague

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November 02, 2010 (KATAKAMI  / HAARETZ) — William Hague arrives in Israel on Tuesday for his first visit since being appointed foreign secretary in Britain’s recently elected Conservative government.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday evening, will hold a secret roundtable discussion on the Iranian nuclear program on Wednesday morning with a long list of senior Israeli officials involved in this issue.

This is Hague’s first visit to Israel since being appointed foreign secretary in the recently elected Tory government, and the roundtable discussion is being held at his request. His goal is both to gain an in-depth understanding of the Israeli government’s positions on this issue and to hear assessments of Iran’s nuclear program firsthand from senior Israeli defense and intelligence officials.

The closed meeting is scheduled to take place at the British ambassador’s residence in Ramat Gan, and those invited include Mossad chief Meir Dagan and the director general of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, Shaul Chorev. Other Israelis on the guest list include Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Dan Meridor and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

But it seems that at least some of the ministers will skip the roundtable, because it apparently will conflict with a cabinet meeting.

The British embassy said Britain shares Israel’s concern about the threat posed by nuclear weapons in Iran’s hands and holds regular discussions with Israel about this issue, but cannot at this stage discuss the details of the secretary’s schedule for the visit.

Britain and France have spearheaded the battle against Iran’s nuclear program in the European Union. After the UN Security Council approved a fourth round of sanctions against Tehran in June, London and Paris worked hard to get the EU to approve additional sanctions of its own against Iran, which it did in late July.

Israel and Britain cooperate very closely on Iran in both the intelligence and the diplomatic spheres. This cooperation is particularly noteworthy given the two countries’ deep differences on the Palestinian issue.

And Britain’s new ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, is an expert on the Iranian nuclear issue. He dealt with it both when he served as deputy head of mission in Britain’s embassy in Tehran a few years back and in his most recent post before coming to Israel, as principal private secretary to then-foreign secretary David Miliband.

One thing Hague will be looking for at Wednesday’s roundtable is Israel’s assessment of how effective the new sanctions against Iran have been.

Two weeks ago, Ayalon and a group of senior Israeli intelligence and defense officials were in Washington for a strategic dialogue that dealt solely with the Iranian issue. At that meeting, the Americans opined that the sanctions had succeeded beyond their expectations, thanks to widespread cooperation by many countries worldwide.

The Israelis agreed that the sanctions had been more effective than anticipated and were causing economic hardship in Iran that had increased political pressure on its government.

Nevertheless, the Israelis stressed, there is no evidence so far that the sanctions are causing Tehran to rethink its nuclear program, and they certainly have not caused it to stop enriching uranium. That is undoubtedly the assessment they will repeat to Hague tomorrow.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu instructed security forces not to allow the Palestinian Authority to hold events in Jerusalem Territory

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo : JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

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November 01, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — PM’s instruction follows order signed byInternal Security Minister Aharonovitch stating PA officials forbidden from taking part in political activities within Israeli territory without permit.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the security establishment on Monday to prevent the Palestinian Authority from conducting ceremonies and organizing events anywhere within the limits of the Jerusalem Municipality.

About a year-and-a-half ago police succeeded in dispersing a number of small events held in east Jerusalem as part of the Palestinian Culture Festival, meant to declare the city “the capital of Arabic culture for 2009.” More than 20 people were arrested, including Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

The instruction followed an order signed by Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch stating that Israeli law prohibits Palestinian Authority officials from taking part in political activities within Israeli territory without first obtaining special permission.

Aharonovitch’s order came following reports that Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad was due to arrive in east Jerusalem on Tuesday to attend dedication ceremonies for two schools as well as a new road project.

Then-Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter signed a number of injunctions banning a series of events that were scheduled to be held in Jerusalem, Nazareth and in other parts of the country under the auspices of the PA.

Dichter instructed Israel Police to “suppress any attempts by the PA to hold events in Jerusalem and throughout the rest of the country.” According to the minister, the events would constitute a violation of the interim agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which includes a clause that forbids the PA from organizing events in Israeli territory.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Will Attend 2010 General Assembly in New Orleans

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet in Jerusalem, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010. Netanyahu says he is heading to the U.S. next week to discuss Mideast peace efforts with Vice President Joe Biden. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Jim Hollander, Pool)

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NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Jewish Federations of North America will host Netanyahu at their annual conference running Nov. 7-10, along with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, other leading political figures

The Jewish Federations of North America is pleased to announce that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend the 2010 General Assembly in New Orleans.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will headline a roster of major global figures at the 2010 General Assembly (GA) and the 2010 International Lion of Judah Conference (ILOJC), which run Nov. 7-10 in New Orleans. Along with Prime Minister Netanyahu, GA speakers will include Vice President Joe Biden, Israel’s Defense and Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren.

Also speaking at the GA and the ILOJC is Israel’s Leader of the Opposition, Tzipi Livni. Joining Livni at the ILOJC are Israel’s former ambassador to the U.N. Gabriela Shalev and other VIPs.

Global Jewish leaders at the GA include Jewish Agency Chair and legendary Soviet Jewish activist Natan Sharansky and his wife Avital, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee CEO Steven Schwager, and others.

“The entire Jewish Federation movement is thrilled to have Prime Minister Netanyahu joining us,” said JFNA’s President and CEO Jerry Silverman. “The Prime Minister will be joining an array of inspiring world leaders who will help make this a powerful and memorable GA.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu has been a frequent participant at the largest annual gathering in the Jewish communal world, both as prime minister and minister in previous Israeli governments. Most recently he attended the 2009 GA in Washington, DC.

The General Assembly is the largest annual gathering of the North American Jewish community. The International Lion of Judah Conference occurs every other year in conjunction with the GA and is an event for leaders in women’s philanthropy.

This year, the GA and ILOJC will attract more than 4,100 participants from around the world. The GA will feature cutting-edge programs such as the Jewish Futures Conference, a Global Day of Jewish Learning, a first-time day of service in partnership with Repair the World, and other top speakers including David Simon, creator of HBO’s “The Wire” and National Jewish Book Award winner Rebecca Goldstein.

The ILOJC will also include a first-time service project – a literacy program in local schools in partnership with The PJ Library, Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Repair the World – and features leading women entertainers and speakers including singer Neshama Carlebach and comedian Judy Gold.

The Jewish Federation movement is the largest Jewish philanthropy collective in the world and the Jewish Federations of North America are dedicated to promoting awareness and involvement among the Jewish community in the United States and Canada.


SOURCE Jewish Federations of North America