Netanyahu’s “explicit support or implicit consent”… .

Even Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu has now said tensions re: the Haram Al-Sharif are the cause of the October 2015 violence…  But Netanyahu boastfully says Israel did nothing wrong, and he’d never say he did something wrong.

No, the Palestinias are entirely to blame.

Chemi Shalev, US bureau chief for Haaretz, has just written this:

“just as the U.S. has been hard-pressed in the past to accept Israeli explanations that lowly civil servants are solely responsible for the announcements of massive building projects in settlements that have often enraged and embarrassed U.S. administrations – remember the March 2010 debacle during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit – they are likewise finding it difficult to digest that provocative tours by government ministers of the Temple Mount, calls by coalition Members of the Knesset to upend the status quo, religious edicts by venerated rabbis and public chanting by their disciples to burn down the Muslim mosques in order to rebuild the Jewish temple – that all of these could be going on against Netanyahu’s explicit support or implicit consent”… This full analysis by Chemi Shalev is posted here here.

Avi Issacharoff reported this afternoon in the Times of Israel that Netanyahu – who insists he’s maintaining the “Status Quo” on the Haram Al-Sharif (as he defines it, the Status Quo is unwritten) — refuses to return to the Status Quo of 28 September 2000 (when Ariel Sharon’s visit there with a massive amount of armed Israeli security forces, as a result of which the Islamic Waqf lost possession of the keys to the Moghrabi Gate where non-Muslim visitors enter:

    “Israel recently rejected a Jordanian proposal that would have seen the Hashemite Kingdom begin to oversee visits to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem instead of Israel, Arab sources told The Times of Israel on Monday. During recent meetings between officials in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Jordanian government, the latter proposed giving the Jordanian-run Muslim Waqf control over entry to the contested holy site — as it had until the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000. Since then Israel has effectively exerted control over entrance to the Temple Mount complex, which is considered Judaism’s holiest site and the third holiest to Muslims.

      The current outbreak of violence has been fueled by rumors that Israel is plotting to take over the area, where Jews can currently visit but not pray. Israel has adamantly denied the allegations, saying it has no plans to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, and accused the Palestinians of incitement by spreading the rumors.
      (In addition) According to a report in a Kuwaiti Arabic-language paper on Monday, Israeli officials proposed in a clandestine meeting with PA security officials that Palestinian plainclothes police officers be stationed on the Temple Mount. The meeting reportedly took place in Ramallah last Saturday. Undercover Palestinian police had been stationed on the Temple Mount in a similar fashion before the outbreak of the Second Intifada.
      (There is no indication in Issacharoff’s report as to whether or not Palestinian security officials agreed…)

    The Jordanian suggestion came as France submitted a United Nations proposal for an international presence on the Temple Mount, to ensure that the status quo is upheld. Netanyahu on Saturday slammed the French proposal and the Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the French ambassador in Israel over the matter”. The Issacharoff report is published here.

Yesterday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said an international presence was not necessary, as Netanyahu has declared he will maintain the “Status Quo” — “Israel understands importance of that status quo. What’s important is to make sure everybody understands what that means”, Kerry noted.

Is Kerry beginning to catch on?

After winning early elections + forming coalition, Netanyahu vows to fight… the calls for boycott

Israel’s re-elected Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has announced he’s dedicating some 100 million shekels to “to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS)”, as YNet reported here. According to the YNet report, Netanyahu will give his Strategic Affairs and Information Minister Gilad Erdan “10 new positions for employees who will deal solely with the boycott and de-legitimization activities against Israel”.

Haaretz’ veteran “Twilight Zone” correspondent Gideon Levy wrote today in Haaretz: “What are you defending? What are you fighting for? … As usual, there are questions that are not even asked. Soul-searching, after all, is a clear sign of weakness. And so an explanation has been invented that absolves us of responsibility: The boycott fell out of the sky, an unavoidable force majeure of Israel hatred, and the only way to fight it is to fight right back at them”…

Levy added:

    “Israel is now defending the preservation of the status quo. It is fighting against the whole world to preserve its advanced school of brutality and cruelty, in which it is educating generations of young people to act brutishly toward human beings, old people and children, to tyrannize them, to bark at them, to crush and humiliate them, only because they are Palestinians. Israel is defending the continuation of apartheid in the occupied territories, in which two peoples live, one of them without any rights…

    Continue reading After winning early elections + forming coalition, Netanyahu vows to fight… the calls for boycott

White House Chief of Staff: "We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made"

Almost a week after early general elections in Israel on 17 March resulted in a win for Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu after one of the ugliest campaigns in recent memory — not least of which due to Netanyahu’s election-eve remarks urging his supporters to rush to the polls because “Arabs were voting in droves”, and stating that a Palestinian state will never be established while he’s in office — the White House Chief of Staff strongly reinforced President Obama’s strong message that Netanyahu’s remarks were “troubling”.

“We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made”, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said in an address to the JStreet.org annual conference in New York [#JSt2015].

The text of McDonough’s remarks are now posted on the White House website, here.

Here are some selected excerpts:

    “In his call to congratulate Prime Minister Netanyahu last Thursday, President Obama committed to continuing consultations on a range of regional issues, including resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The process of forming a new Israeli government is now underway, and in the coming days and weeks, we’ll see what that looks like…I’d like to share with you how President Obama sees the road ahead.

    “First, no matter who leads Israel, America’s commitment to Israel’s security will never waver. As we all know, Israel faces real dangers in a tough neighborhood. I traveled with then-Senator Obama to Israel in 2008. I will never forget our time in the holy city of Jerusalem and following behind him as he approached the Western Wall—and even in the dark hours of that very early morning, it was a place bustling with energy afforded by one’s faith. On that trip, the President toured Sderot and saw the devastation wrought by Hamas-launched rockets. He met with Israelis living under the threat of rocket attacks. And, since then, I’ve seen President Obama’s personal commitment to increasing our security cooperation with Israel to unprecedented levels.

    Today, our security, military, and intelligence cooperation is stronger than it’s ever been, and that’s not going to change. The U.S.-Israel consultative group will continue to ensure cooperation at the highest levels of our governments. Under President Obama, we’ve spent hundreds of millions helping to develop David’s Sling and the Arrow missile defense systems. I recall very clearly a call with the Israeli Ambassador at 5:00 PM on a Friday evening last July, when he requested – and shortly thereafter the President and Congress delivered – an additional $225 million for Iron Dome missiles and batteries. That on top of the nearly $1 billion we had invested in Iron Dome already, which saved so many Israeli lives during the conflict with Hamas last summer. And, next year, when we deliver the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Israel will be the only country in the Middle East with a fifth-generation aircraft. In other words, we will continue to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge. As the President has said so many times, we have Israel’s back.

    “Second, we continue to believe that the best way to safeguard Israel’s long-term security is to bring about a comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples, living side-by-side in security and peace. To achieve this, the United States has long advocated direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. In 2009, Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly endorsed a two-state solution. Over the course of President Obama’s administration, most recently with the tireless efforts of Secretary Kerry, the United States has expended tremendous energy in pursuit of this goal. That is why the Prime Minister’s comments on the eve of the election—in which he first intimated and then made very clear in response to a follow up question that a Palestinian state will not be established while he is prime minister—were so troubling.

    “After the election, the Prime Minister said that he had not changed his position, but for many in Israel and in the international community, such contradictory comments call into question his commitment to a two-state solution, as did his suggestion that the construction of settlements has a strategic purpose of dividing Palestinian communities and his claim that conditions in the larger Middle East must be more stable before a Palestinian state can be established. We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made, or that they don’t raise questions about the Prime Minister’s commitment to achieving peace through direct negotiations.

    “In recent days, some have suggested our reaction to this issue is a matter of personal pique. Nothing could be further from the truth. America’s commitment to a two-state solution is fundamental to U.S. foreign policy. It’s been the goal of both Republican and Democratic presidents, and it remains our goal today…

    Continue reading White House Chief of Staff: "We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made"