Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued the following statement on US President Barack Obama's nomination of US Senator (D-Massachusetts) John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State

"I welcome the nomination of John Kerry to the post of US Secretary of State. Kerry has considerable experience and is a known supporter of the security of the State of Israel. John Kerry and I have been friends for many years. I very much appreciated the fact that six months ago, after my father passed away, he came to visit me during the week of mourning. I look forward to working together with him."

 

 

The annual strategic dialogue between Israel and Italy was held yesterday (March 21st ) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.


The dialogue was headed by the Secretary General of Italy's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Giampiero Massolo, and the Director General of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Rafael Barak.

The strategic dialogue is an additional expression of the close and friendly network of relations between the two countries.

In the discussions, a wide variety of regional issues which are at the center of today's strategic agenda were dealt with, as were various bilateral topics.

By Jonathan Danilowitz
Veteran American media personality Christiane Amanpour of ABC TV taped an interesting interview with His Excellency Sameh Shoukry,
Egypt’s Ambassador to the USA.

 She led him along politely with mild “who-is-in-charge” and “where-is-Mubarak” type queries, gradually leading to questions about how the new Egypt will relate to the presently-strong ties with the USA, and more importantly to us: would Egypt continue to uphold the 30-something-years peace agreement with Israel? Amanpour obviously expected this issue to be the crowning concern of the interview.
 
The Ambassador wasn’t rattled. He demonstrated his diplomatic mettle. He spoke of the importance to Egypt of continuing firm and friendly US-Egyptian relations (despite Egypt’s horrendous human rights record, it is a major beneficiary of US largesse), and went on to talk of how the close relationship benefits Egypt, including its stability and prosperity.
On the subject Israel-Egyptian relations, the Ambassador was adamant that these would not change. He went so far as to say that “[ … Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel] is a main element of Egyptian foreign policy”, and that it had benefitted both countries.
In my daydreams, Israel and the Palestinians have signed a peace accord. The Middle East blooms. Prosperity comes to the region. Peace at last. Then I wake up to discover that Mahmoud Abbas is no longer President of the Palestinian National Authority.

(For argument’s sake, let’s imagine there was a revolution, and that he was deposed – sound familiar?)
Shall I expect that the next day Christiane Amanpour will be interviewing some other high-up Palestinian and asking worriedly if the Palestine-Israel peace accord is in danger of collapse?
Is the question also relevant to Israel-Jordan relations?
Why should Israel’s peace accords with Arab states be so fragile and shaky, so seemingly subject to revoke if leadership there changes? It is an issue that Israel’s leaders must consider before rushing to sign away rights and achievements, before signing on the dotted line of documents that are hardly worth – a hill of hummus beans.

©  Copyright  Jonathan Danilowitz 2011
 
 

Israel regrets that a resolution on an important subject - elimination of racism - has been diverted and politicized by the automatic majority at the UN.


Signs outside Durban programme of action

(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)


 The UN General Assembly has adopted on December 24th a resolution on "Combating racism and follow-up of the Durban Programme of Action".

Israel is part of the international struggle against racism. The Jewish people  was itself a victim of racism throughout history.

Israel regrets that a resolution on an important subject - elimination of racism - has been diverted and politicized by the automatic majority at the UN, by linking it to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (2001) that many states would prefer to forget. The Durban Conference of 2001, with its antisemitic undertones and displays of hatred for Israel and the Jewish World, left us with scars that will not heal quickly.

In the coming months, Israel will follow closely the preparations for the upcoming September 2001 meeting.  Israel expects the participants to deal appropriately with the serious manifestations of racism throughout the world, and to reject attempts to once again divert world attention from this dangerous phenomenon by means of cheap politicization.

Under the present circumstances, as long as the meeting is defined as part of the infamous "Durban process", Israel will not  participate in the meeting scheduled to take place in UN Headquarters in New York in September 2011.

I do not intend to argue that Israel is a perfect, democratic state free of any crticism nor am I going to justify all the political actions that the Israeli government pursue, I merely want to highlight and underline what Israel definitely isn't - an apartheid state.


Segregation sign
In order to dismantle the assertion that Israel is an apartheid state it is essential for us to define what exactly the word apartheid entails and the Oxford Dictionary provides the following definition: a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race or caste etc. and underneath this definition there is also a small subheading entitled, sexual apartheid. With these definitions in mind I intend to put forward a few facts about Israel, which most people do not even know and I believe that they will clearly undermine the ignorant referral to Israel as an apartheid state.

I moved to Israel just four months ago and during this time I have encountered many day-to-day circumstances where Arabs and Israelis work/live together in an integrated environment besides in the medical field. I am currently studying a Masters in Security and Diplomacy at the Tel-aviv university. First of all, not only do I see daily many Arab students, one of my fellow course mates is in fact a Palestinian, from East Jerusalem. I am also a passionate football supporter and went to see Hapoel Tel Aviv play in their stadium in Bloomfield, in the Champions League. During the match, I soon discovered that the captain of the team, Walid Badier, is an Arab. And even if we turn to politics we see that since the first Knesset election in 1949, there has always been some arab representation in parliament. Finally, I can't help but notice the recent increase in Darfurian people living in Israel today. There are several hundred Darfurians living in Israel and many of them having been given refugee citizenship. In fact, Israel is one of the only countries in the Middle East which is willing to accept them, despite their nationality, race or religion, they are given the opportunity to live amongst Israeli citizens. So, now I ask you, where in these mundane examples do we see traces of apartheid?

Women in many Arab countries are recognized as second class citizens. In Iran there are recent cases where women have been stoned to death and in Saudi Arabia women do not even hold the right to vote. However let us turn to the area in debate and address women's rights in Gaza since Hamas have been in control. In July of this year, a study from the Women's Affairs Centre (WAC) showed that 88% of the women in Gaza that were interviewed had been denied from any inheritance. In addition, unlike men, women in Gaza are not allowed to sit in public with their legs crossed, smoking water pipes, why? Because arguably it violates tradition and leads to divorce. This is not the case in Israel, women in Israel are shown no forms of sexual apartheid or discrimination, they are given the vote, they are represented in the Knesset and they maintain the same civil rights as men.

There are plenty more examples that I could include in this article, but I believe that I have already successfully proved the argument, that Israel is not an apartheid. As a recent immigrant to Israel I can see and accept that Israel is capable of mistakes and I do not approve of all its actions, however, I will not and cannot understand the grounds for comparing Israel to South Africa.  


Zoe Knobil is a masters graduate Student in Security and Diplomacy at Tel Aviv University


 

Israeli President Shimon Peres and British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, held important talks on Wednesday discussing everything from the Middle East Peace process to the issues surrounding the possible arrests of senior Israeli officials upon their arrival in the United Kingdom

 

 

The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague and Israeli President Shimon Peres

 

 

Jerusalem - President Shimon Peres of Israel and the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, William Hague, held a critical meeting Wednesday that encompassed a formal meeting with the press as well as a lengthy private discussion between the two .. The two focused the meeting upon the strengthening of bilateral relations, advancing the peace process with the Palestinians and overall regional stability within the Middle East.  

A joint statement by the two addressed the Iranian nuclear issue as applied to the global terror scale: "The Iranians are not only on a path to developing nuclear weapons, but are also maintaining themselves as the center of global terrorism."

 

The statement continued: "It is always possible to find some connection between Iran and the things that happen in Lebanon, Yemen and other countries. Iranian aggressiveness, strong financial means and an overall disrespec for the law all contribute to regional instability."  The two concluded that the world must come together to counter these threats and instabilities.

The Israeli President continued by stressing the need for all nations of the world to make sure that the wrong technological and scientifc information does not fall into the wrong hands as this would only make things more uncontrolable.



Using the Gaza Strip as an example, Peres noted the difficulties democratic nations face in dealing with the threats eminating from those that have gone against respecting the need for democracy.  "From time to time, nations respecting the law meet others that do not and this is a major problem," Peres commented.  "I know there are strong criticisms of Israel; however, many of those criticisms not only de-legitimize Israel, rather they serve to legitimize terror. This is the same story that applies to Gaza and Hamas."

 

"The problem of Gaza is not Israel, but Hamas, " he concluded.

At the outset of the meeting, Mr. Hague explained to Mr. Peres that, "Britain is closely following the developments in Iran and its attempts to get nuclear weapons, as well as constantly monitoring developments in Sudan, Yemen and Lebanon. There are many issues which we must be very active as members of the UN Security Council in order to avoid future conflict." 

 

The British Secretary of State furthered added that developments across the region must be addressed while discussing the peace process.

 

 

The conversations

 

 

During the meeting, Peres also raised the the issue regarding the threats of arrests and/or extradition of senior Israeli officials upon their arrival to Britain. The President made it clear that Israel will not live with these attempts to carry out arrests on UK territory.

Hague, in his response said that the issue is itself that of a general nature and is not directly related to Israel.  He added that possible legislation was being discussed in the coming weeks with the goal of negating the issue completely.

 

[Images provided by Amos Ben Gershom]

 

 

 

 

 

"We are ready for a fair solution and we are ready to cooperate with the international community. However, we are not ready to compromise our national security or the vital interests of the State of Israel."

Liberman

Speech at the UN General Assembly
September 28 2010
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman

 

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen: when I arrived yesterday in New York, I received a phone call from a chairman of one of the  Jewish organizations who asked me how I am coping with all the pressure which is being placed on Israel; surely, he said, it must be very difficult. I recalled an old joke which speaks of five Jews who changed the way we see the world: Moses, law is everything; Jesus, love is everything; Marx, money is everything; Freud, sex is everything; Einstein, everything is relative.

FM Liberman: The agreement is the result of close and fruitful cooperation as well as an expression of the good and stable relationship between the two countries.
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister's Bureau)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko today (Wednesday, 21 July 2010) signed a reciprocal visa cancellation agreement between the two countries.

At the signing ceremony, FM Liberman stated that the agreement is the result of close and fruitful cooperation as well as an expression of the good and stable relationship between the two countries. FM Liberman added that it is no secret that the visa cancellation issue caused an argument in the government, but the positive results of the visa nullification agreement with Russia, which doubled the number of Russian tourists to Israel, and the good relationship with the Ukraine were the reasons behind the successful conclusion.

FM Gryshchenko said that this is an important agreement and a great step forward in the promotion of bilateral cooperation in many other spheres as well.

(Communicated by the MFA Spokesman's Bureau)

Following the fuel tanker explosion in the city of Sange in the Demoratic Republic of Congo on July 2, in which more than 250 people were killed and almost 200 injured, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sending aid to the disaster area through Israel's National Agency for International Cooperation (MASHAV). A delegation of six doctors from Sheba Medical Center, together with medical equipment, flew to the Democratic Republic of Congo to treat the seriously injured.

The doctors, all specialists in plastic surgery and burns, arrived this morning (12 July) and will be treating people with serious burn injuries in the towns of Sange and Uvira, located in eastern Congo, near the border with Burundi.

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