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A British Conference on Israel's Right to Exist: Really?

By George Phillips
Gatestone Institute
April 12, 2015


Iran has violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty time after time, often undetected; it also continues to violate Article 2, clause 4, of the United Nations Charter: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state..."

During the British Mandate, the entire area was known as Palestine. The official listing for "Place of Birth" on all passports at the time -- for everyone, including Jews -- was Palestine.

One can only hope that what clearly seems such a fatally dangerous deal -- that threatens the existence of not only Israel, the Middle East and Europe, but, with Iran's intercontinental ballistic missile program, also the United States -- will not be allowed to happen.

 
Survivors, veterans recall Buchenwald horror 70 years on

When a friend told inmate Henry Oster the camp was being liberated, he thought he’d gone mad. ‘We had no idea the Allies were in Europe’

By Dorothee Thiesing
The Times of Israel
April 11, 2015


Henry Oster looks over the main square of the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp in Weimar, eastern Germany, April 10, 2015 (Photo credit: Markus Schreiber/AP)

ImageWEIMAR, Germany (AP) — Buchenwald survivor Henry Oster recalls thinking that a fellow inmate had “lost his sense of reality” when he said 70 years ago Saturday that the concentration camp was being liberated, bringing an end to the long ordeal of the 21,000 surviving prisoners.

Oster, 86, visited the site near the German city of Weimar for the first time since its liberation on April 11, 1945 — one of a group of survivors and veterans who came to mark the anniversary of the liberation. Buchenwald was the first major concentration camp entered by American forces at the end of World War II.

 
As Iran digs in, US says no to immediate sanctions relief

State Department says penalties will only be eased once nuclear breakout time increased to one year, after Tehran indicates issue could torpedo deal

By AP and Times of Israel staff
April 10, 2015


Any sanctions relief for Iran as part of a landmark nuclear accord will only come once curbs on enrichment are verified, the US State Department said Thursday, rebuffing demands in Tehran for an immediate lifting of the punishing restrictions.

"Sanctions will be suspended in a phased manner upon verification that Iran has met specific commitments under a finalized joint comprehensive plan of action,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters in Washington.

“The process of sanctions suspension or relief will only begin after Iran has completed its major nuclear steps and the breakout time has been increased to at least a year,” he said.

“That’s consistent with what we said over the last week or so, and that was agreed upon by all the parties in Lausanne,” Rathke added, referring the Swiss city where the framework agreement was reached last week.

 
Israel: Iran’s latest demands prove nuke deal unworkable

After Khamenei, Rouhani insist sanctions be lifted immediately, in breach of US-claimed understandings, Jerusalem derides notion of ‘deal based on trust with regime that can’t be trusted’

By Times of Israel staff
April 10, 2015


ImageThe demand by Iran’s leaders for the immediate lifting of all sanctions on the day a deal on its nuclear program takes effect represents proof that the US-led powers are adopting an unworkable approach to thwarting Iran’s push to the bomb, Israeli sources said Friday.

A day after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ail Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani insisted that there would be no deal unless sanctions were lifted on the day it went into effect — contradicting what the US says were understandings reached in a framework agreement last week in Lausanne — Channel 2 News said Israel regards the Iranian leaders’ declarations “as proof of its central argument” against the emerging accord: “You can’t make a deal based on trust with a regime that can’t be trusted.”

Despite its relentless objections to the deal, which is supposed to be finalized by June 30, Israel actually believes that Iran will take it, the Channel 2 report said, because the deal as it stands is good for Iran and will pave its path to bomb. Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told the TV station that Israel would spend the coming weeks “trying to get some of the loopholes” in the agreement closed. In a Times of Israel interview on Wednesday Steinitz complained that the deal, which he called “a big mistake,” neither full freezes nor fully inspects the Iranian program.

 
Dangers to Democracy in the Prosecution of Senator Menendez

By Alan M. Dershowitz
Gatestone Institute
April 10, 2015


Whenever a prominent political figure is indicted on charges of alleged corruption, serious questions arise. Is the prosecution part of a growing and dangerous trend toward criminalizing policy differences? Does it endanger the free speech rights of contributors? Will it constrain the legislative branch from serving as a check and balance on the executive?

These questions are now being raised in the context of the prosecution of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, as they previously were in several other ill-advised prosecutions, including those of former agriculture secretary Mike Espy, former presidential candidate John Edwards, the late Senator Ted Stevens, former Congressman Tom Delay and former Texas governor Rick Perry.

The reason these questions arise is not because there is no corruption in government. It is because the laws distinguishing between constitutionally protected political activities and illegal payments to office holders are vague and indeterminate. These laws give prosecutors enormous discretion to determine whether to prosecute questionable transactions. And the courts refuse to second guess prosecutorial decisions even in cases where selective prosecution based on improper considerations seems evident.

 
Iran: The Only "Good Deal" - And How to Work for It

By Malcolm Lowe
Gatestone Institute
March 27, 2015


Even if, as the US Administration ceaselessly assures us, Iran's drive to acquire nuclear weapons can be frustrated for a while, any relaxation of the current economic sanctions will be used to finance Iran's other drive: its quest for regional hegemony.

To begin with, the P5+1 could adopt the very successful style of negotiation practiced by Palestinians as well as Iranians. This is to whittle away at the position of the other side by extracting one little concession after another, but then to delay the negotiations indefinitely when the deal seems to be imminent. The result is that when negotiations do resume, it is not from zero, but from an inferior initial position of the other side.

Whenever a deal seems near, one of the P5+1 should come up with a further demand or demands. What they could do is adopt that role in succession, so that Iran is the party that needs to keep starting afresh from a worse position.

In his celebrated address to both houses of the US Congress on March 3, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu castigated the looming agreement on Iran's nuclear program in these words: "Now we're being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That's just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal." Given Netanyahu's clear analysis of Iran's aims and methods, however, one might conclude that even better would be no deal, but just to continue pressure on Iran until it abandons its nuclear program, its long-range missile programs and its designs on other Middle East countries.

 
Israeli victim’s family blames airline for letting ‘suicidal’ pilot fly

By JTA
The Times of Israel
March 27, 2015


ImageEyal Baum’s brother demands to know why Germanwings failed to properly screen Andreas Lubitz before fatal crash

The family of the Israeli feared killed in the crash of Germanwings flight 4U 9525 accused the airline of failing to monitor its staff.

French and German officials are investigating why co-pilot Andreas Lubitz on Tuesday flew the Airbus 320 into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.

 
As US lets Yemen fall, Israeli ire pales next to Arab fury

By Avi Issacharoff
The Times of Israel
March 26, 2015

Image
Jerusalem is worried by the Iran-backed Houthi takeover of Aden, but Saudi Arabia is burning with anger, and not at Tehran.

A few months ago, when Yemen’s Houthi uprising was still in its infancy, Israel was already worriedly watching over the progress of rebel forces making advances in the peninsula.

It’s little surprise the group got Jerusalem’s attention. In almost every demonstration held by Houthis in recent months, the slogans heard may as well have been taken straight out of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran: “Death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam.”

The Houthi Zaidiyyahs belong to a Shia school of Islamic thought which is distinct from the beliefs held by Shiites in Iran, but they act in accordance with the regime in Tehran, which supplies the Yemenite rebels with advanced equipment that allows them to wage battle on the forces of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

As the rebels have managed to sack much of the port town of Aden, pushing Hadi out of his home Wednesday and sparking Saudi-led airstrikes, the concerns on the Israeli side are clear.

Firstly, an Iranian takeover of the strategic Bab el Mandeb Strait and the possibility of a Israeli ships coming under fire with no one officially taking responsibility for such attacks would not bode well for the Jewish state.

 
Netanyahu win dashes prospect for a thaw with Obama

By Julie Pace
The Times of Israel
March 19, 2015


US official says PM reversal on idea of independent Palestinian state would have consequences.

ImageWASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration signaled on Wednesday it could take a tougher stance toward Benjamin Netanyahu following his decisive Israeli election victory and campaign tack to the right, saying there will be consequences for his sudden reversal on the idea of an independent Palestinian state.

While senior American officials said the administration was still evaluating options, they suggested the US could ease its staunch opposition to Palestinians turning to the UN Security Council to create a state.

“There are policy ramifications for what he said,” one official said of Netanyahu’s campaign rhetoric rejecting the creation of a Palestinian state. “This is a position of record.”

If Netanyahu holds firm to his opposition to a two-state resolution to the Mideast conflict, it could force whoever sits in the Oval Office — now and in the next administration — to choose between the prime minister and a longstanding US policy with bipartisan support.

 
Netanyahu scores crushing victory in Israeli elections

With almost 99% of votes tallied, Likud climbs to 30-24 seat win over Zionist Union in overnight drama; PM promises new coalition with other ‘nationalist parties’; Meretz head may quit over poor showing

By Times of Israel staff and AP
March 18, 2015

ImagePrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party was the clear winner in Tuesday’s election, a near-final tally showed early Wednesday morning, defeating the Zionist Union by a margin of some six seats.

That margin was far more decisive than TV exit polls had predicted when polling booths closed at 10 p.m. on Tuesday. All three TV polls had put Likud and Zionist Union neck-and-neck at 27 seats, albeit with Netanyahu better-placed to form a coalition.

On the basis of those TV polls, Netanyahu hailed a Likud victory, though Herzog initially refused to concede. As counting proceeded through the night, however, the Likud opened a growing margin of victory.

By 6 a.m., with some 99% of votes counted, the Central Elections Committee was indicating a dramatic victory for Netanyahu, with the Likud heading for 30 seats, compared to Zionist Union’s 24 seats.

ImageNext came the Joint (Arab) List on 14 seats, Yesh Atid on 11, Kulanu on 10 and the Jewish Home on 8. They were followed by Shas, 7, United Torah Judaism on 6, Yisrael Beytenu on 6, and Meretz on 4 seats.

Results of the 20th Knesset with 99 percent reporting

Meretz head Zahava Gal-on was reportedly expected to quit the party if the final result of 4 seats is confirmed, according to Channel 2. She was set to hand over the leadership to popular Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg.

ImageAccording to official results, the Likud won big in the central Israeli cities of Bat Yam and Holon and the southern towns of Beersheba, Dimona, Sderot and Arad, between 30%-42% of the votes. In towns in the Gaza periphery, which were hard-hit during the past summer war, the Zionist Union was more popular among voters. In Kibbutz Nahal Oz, the Hatnua-Labor joint list won some 56% of votes while in Kibbutz Beeri, 66% of residents voted for the party.

Results of the 20th Knesset with 99 percent reporting

Five hours earlier, at 1 a.m., Netanyahu claimed a victory “against all odds” and promised to form a new government without delay. But Herzog also said he would make “every effort” to build a coalition. Both were hoping for the support of Moshe Kahlon of the Kulanu party, whose campaign focused almost entirely on bread-and-butter economic issues, refused to take sides, but he is a former Likud minister.

 
US concerned by Netanyahu's 'divisive rhetoric' in election

White House says administration maintains support of two-state solution despite Likud leader's reversal of position on Palestinian independence in last days of campaign.

By Yitzhak Benhorin
Ynet News.com
March 18, 2015


WASHINGTON – The White House said on Wednesday that the United States would seek the best approach to implementing a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following the re-election of Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Senior officials in the US administration expressed concerns over the Israeli prime minister's statements during the final days of the campaign, when he reversed his support for a Palestinian state – the creation of which is fundamental to American policy in the Middle East.

The administration of President Barack Obama will not accept Netanyahu's policy reversal since his historic speech at Bar-Ilan University in 2009 and have handled his statements as driven by electioneering. Meanwhile, the Americans emphasized the special relationship Israel enjoys with the superpower.

White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest said that President Obama continues to believe that the best solution for the conflict is an independent state for Palestinians. However, he added that the US will reevaluate its position given Netanyahu's recent statements.

Earnest said Obama would call Netanyahu "in the coming days" to congratulate him on his re-election victory. He said that US Secretary of State John Kerry had already called the prime minister to congratulate him.

But despite the diplomatic overtures, the Obama administration also criticized the Likud leader for using "divisive rhetoric" to undermine Arab Israeli voters.

Relations between the American and Israeli leaders reached a new low in March when Netanyahu accepted an invitation by Republican lawmakers – against Obama's wishes – to address a joint-session of Congress on the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program.

 
The Role of the Palestinian Authority in Israel's Election Results

By Alan M. Dershowitz
Gatestone Institute
March 18, 2015


ImageThose around the world who are upset with Prime Minister's Benjamin Netanyahu electoral victory over the Zionist Camp party should put much of the responsibility for Israel's rightward turn squarely where it belongs: on the Palestinian Authority (PA).

At least twice over the last 15 years, Israel has offered the Palestinians extraordinarily generous two-state solutions. The first time was in 2000-2001 when Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton offered the Palestinians more than 90% of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip, with a capital in Jerusalem. Yassir Arafat turned down the offer and started an intifada, in which 4000 people were killed. This self-inflicted wound by the leader of the PA contributed greatly to the weakening of Israel's peace camp, most particularly of Ehud Barak's Labor party. The current Zionist Camp party, which is an offshoot of Labor, has continued to suffer from that weakening.

Then again, in 2007, Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians an even more generous resolution, to which Mahmoud Abbas failed to respond positively. This failure also contributed to the weakening of the Israeli center-left and the strengthening of the right.

Israel is a vibrant democracy, in which people vote their experience, their fear and their hope. In 2000-2001 and 2007, most Israelis had high hopes for a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian conflict. These hopes were dashed by Arafat's rejection and Abbas' refusal to accept generous peace offers. It is not surprising therefore, that so many Israelis now vote their fear instead of their hope.

 
Hero of the Middle East: The Israeli Messenger

By Bassam Tawil
Gatestone Institute
March 18, 2015


In its evident, inexplicable eagerness to sign just about any deal with Iran to allow it nuclear weapons capability, the U.S. State Department has removed Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah -- two of the world most undisguised promoters of terror -- from its Foreign Terrorist Organizations List.

Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani, has even openly admitted that Iran's diplomacy with the U.S. is an active "jihad." How much plainer does a message have to get?

The Islamists have nothing but contempt for Europe's weakness.

The West needs to paralyze Iran, rather than appease it.

A series of significant defeats to Islamist organizations will counter the effects of their efforts to entice young people to join them, especially ISIS.

 
Israelis prepare to vote; Palestinians prepare to fight

By Khaled Abu Toameh
Gatestone Institute
March 16, 2015

For some Palestinians, the election is not about removing Netanyahu from power. Rather, it is about removing Israel from the face of the earth and replacing it with an Islamist empire.

Kerry's statement about the revival of the peace process shows that he remains oblivious to the reality in the Middle East, particularly with regards to the Palestinians.

Kerry is ignoring the fact that the Palestinians are today divided into two camps; one that wants to destroy Israel through terrorism and jihad and another that is working hard to delegitimize and isolate Israel with the hope of forcing it to its knees.

As Kerry was talking about the revival of the peace process, Hamas announced that it has completed preparations for the next confrontation with Israel.

 
Netanyahu’s ‘gevalt’ gamble

By David Horovitz
The Times of Israel
March 15, 2015

ImageOp-ed: One of the Likud leader’s foremost electoral assets was his aura of invincibility. Herzog dented it. Has the PM’s own last-minute ‘save me’ plea shattered it?

A central theme in the barrage of interviews Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has delivered in recent days — including with this writer on Friday — has been “They don’t get it.” As in, a significant proportion of the Israeli electorate that really wants to keep him on as their prime minister, simply doesn’t realize that this may not happen if it votes for right-wing parties (such as Jewish Home, Yachad, Yisrael Beytenu) or right-wing-ish parties (such as Kulanu and Shas), rather than his Likud.

Netanyahu told The Times of Israel, “The public really has chosen: They really want us. They really want me and Likud to lead. But… (there are voters who)… think they have a choice to vote for those parties and still get me as prime minister. But in fact they won’t. The only way they’ll get me as prime minister is if Likud gets sufficient votes. That’s something that’s not been understood. They think that they have two votes, two ballots. But they don’t. They have one. And those that want me as prime minister have to vote for my party, Likud.”

 
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