Today's issues: Trump in denial over rising American anti-Semitism, Netanyahu’s puppet in the Communications Ministry, Trump and the territories, and the case of disappearing support.
The Jerusalem Post focuses on US President Donald Trump’s tendency to ignore the rising wave of anti-Semitism in the United States, and asserts: “His failure and inability to publicly and unequivocally denounce antisemitism and to say something as simple as: I have ordered the Justice Department to crack down on hate crimes, is concerning. The failure to be clear on the issue will give antisemites the impression that the president actually supports them, and their attacks might even escalate as a result.”
Today's issues: The ill-conceived regulation law, the Court’s duty, the invisible motives of Monday’s unusual Gaza strike, and the inadvertent boost to Bannon.
The Jerusalem Post discusses the many problems with the settlement regulation law, which was passed by the Knesset on Monday night, and reiterates a previous call that the prime minister provide the people of Israel with his vision for the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations in the West Bank. The editor states: “If he has given up on the two-state solution, he should say so. If not, he should explain how he expects to still achieve a negotiated peace deal with the Palestinians despite taking unilateral measures like the regulation law,” and declares: “The majority of Israelis still wants to see Israel remain both Jewish and democratic. We would like to believe that the government and the prime minister agree. They need to explain how.”
Haaretz believes the Supreme Court must use its exceptional authority to overturn the law to expropriate private Palestinian lands in Judea and Samaria adopted by the Knesset on Monday night, and states: “The political circumstances, by which politicians from the right warn the court lest it intervene as everyone expects it to, makes it easier for the court to do the right thing. In a situation where overturning the expropriation law is an expected and necessary move, the court is not approaching the outer edges of constitutional law. Rather, it is simply fulfilling its professional and conscientious duty.”
Yediot Aharonot contends that the reason behind the recent escalation in the Gaza Strip is that the fighting on the Gaza border likely has other dimensions, which are less visible to the public, and states: “Israel is doing everything in its power to disrupt Hamas’s intensive tunnel digging; bombing Hamas posts from both the air and the ground may be part of that secret war.”
Israel Hayom believes that the recent by the Washington Post to discredit U.S. President Donald Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, inadvertently did just the opposite, and declares: “That he realizes the threat posed by both radical Islamists and their Jewish and other ‘fellow travelers’ is a help, not a hindrance, at a time when the greatest state sponsor of global terrorism has just received billions of dollars with which to build nuclear weapons."
[Ron Ben-Yishai and Ruthie Blum wrote today's articles in Yediot Aharonot and Israel Hayom, respectively.]
IDF Response to the Attacks Against Israeli Civilians and IDF Forces from the Gaza Strip
Earlier this evening February 6, 2017, the IAF targeted three Hamas posts in the northern Gaza Strip.
Today's issues: Trump’s support – a new challenge for Netanyahu, the absurdity of the anti-BDS Law, Israel’s war on Hezbollah’s accurate missiles, and the weaponization of threat.
The Jerusalem Post comments on the vacuum caused by PM Netanyahu’s apparent reticence concerning the Palestinian issue, and notes: “with a new US administration taking over that has announced it does not see settlements as an obstacle to peace, Netanyahu will find it increasingly difficult to ward off pressure from within in his own party, not to mention from Bayit Yehudi, to move forward with annexation.”
Haaretz notes that “The Knesset Interior Committee last week advanced a bill that, if passed, would forbid the granting of entry visas or residence permits to foreign nationals who have called for economic, cultural or academic boycotts of Israel or the settlements,” and argues: “If the bill indeed passes its final readin gs and is implemented, a ‘blacklist’ will be input into the border inspection computers and anyone appearing on it will be stopped at Ben-Gurion Airport. This, together with enforcement of the Anti-Boycott Law, which applies to Israeli citizens, will turn Israel into a model of McCarthyism.”
Yediot Aharonot believes that the strike attributed to the IAF in the Damascus area early Friday was aimed at destroying a shipment of accurate Iranian surface-to-surface missiles, which threaten most essential facilities in Israel, and states: “Experts say this is part of the war between wars, in which the IDF is supposedly trying to minimize casualties among the civilian population and damage the essential facilities in Israel, in case a war breaks out. It’s a Sisyphean battle which has to be waged constantly, as the other side is also finding ways and means to smuggle improved, high-quality weapons to Hezbollah. That is exactly what Israel is trying to thwart – both vis-à-vis Hezbollah and vis-à-vis Hamas.”
Israel Hayom comments on the Paris Conference and contends its intent was to impose an arrangement upon Israel that threatens its security, and warns: “The conference and its abhorrent decisions are final attempts by certain European countries in decline, in part due to the Islamist threat from within, to influence the international theater, but they can still inflict harm, even if not for long.”
[Ron Ben-Yishai and Reuven Berko wrote today's articles in Yediot Aharonot and Israel Hayom, respectively.]
Today's issues: Israel's false peace partner, ahead of a disaster in Gaza, the foolishness that is making terror attacks possible, and copycat terrorism.
The Jerusalem Post believes that the incitement that comes out daily from the Palestinian Authority played an important role in last Sunday’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem, and states: “The failure by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the attack by Monday night – more than 36 hours since it took place – is part of a culture of hate, violence and intransigence. A ‘peace partner’ does not remain silent when innocent 20-year-olds are deliberately run down by a truck on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Jerusalem. A real peace partner speaks up, shouts and condemns.
”Haaretz contests Israel’s claim that since the 2005 disengagement, it no longer controls the Gaza Strip and has no responsibility for Gaza&rsquo ;s some 2 million residents, and asserts that whether it’s responsible or not, Israel holds the key: “Israel must create a supervised, transparent and humane process for patients to leave Gaza, as a first step toward a fundamental revamping of its failed tactic of blockading the Strip. It must send water to Gaza in quantities large enough to save the aquifer and run additional electricity lines to Gaza to halt the environmental devastation. Israel has both the ability and the responsibility to prevent the UN’s warning from coming true: that in 2020, Gaza will no longer be fit for human habitation.
”Yediot Aharonot criticizes the annexation of 22 villages to Jerusalem, although they are not part of the city proper and serve as a breeding ground for crime and terrorism, and calls instead for the building of a separation fence between them and Jerusalem. The author notes that already today, 40% of Jerusalem residents are Arabs, and adds: “A new separation line, which will not affect the city’s unity, would give the Jews an 80 percent majority.” The author declares: “If we wish to know what the right wing's vision of ‘one big state’ looks like, we don’t have to wait for the future. It’s already here. Instead of a united Jerusalem, we have received a large, violent city of conflict,” and argues: “The process can be stopped. For this purpose, the Right must come to its senses. For the sake of Jewish Jerusalem and in order to stop the Jewish bloodshed, this had better happen fast.
”Israel Hayom contends that Sunday’s terrorist attack was neither the work of a dangerous, underground terrorist cell, nor was it a sign of a new wave of terrorism but rather simply and most likely a surprise attack on untrained soldiers insoired by similar recent attack in Europe. The author believes that “The main challenge security forces must face is to prevent a renewed outbreak of terrorism,” and adds: “Contrary to what was implied on Sunday, there are no Islamic State cells or operatives in Jerusalem, and the organization has no operational capability in Israel. What we saw was a lone terrorist, armed with a truck and hatred -- a familiar and fatal formula for which we have yet to formulate a conclusive response. This will continue to challenge Israel in the future.”
[Ben-Dror Yemini and Yoav Limor wrote today's articles in Yediot Aharonot and Israel Hayom, respectively.]
Earlier tonight, March 11th 2016, sirens sounded in Sderot and the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council after four rockets were launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip. The rockets landed in open areas in southern Israel.
In response to the aggression, the IAF targeted four Hamas sites in the northern Gaza Strip.
There have been 7 rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF Spokesman: "Today's rocket attack is just one example of extremist incessant efforts to threaten the security and safety of the people of southern Israel. The IDF will continue to act to protect against those who threaten innocent lives and Israel's sovereignty."
President Reuven Rivlin’s Comments on the Passing of Israel’s Fifth President, Yitzhak Navon
"Yitzhak Navon, the State of Israel’s fifth president, created a new style and practice for the presidency. Yitzchak was a noble man, unceremoniously aristocratic, a president who came from the people, and whom the people greatly loved and appreciated.
"Yitzhak was a man of spirit and action, who alongside Ben-Gurion dealt with the establishment and founding of the state, and created one of the most significant works of Jewish and Israeli culture,Bustan Sefardi ("Sephardic Garden"), which became a landmark in Israeli culture.
"Yitzhak the Jerusalemite, son of Jerusalemites, strove to preserve the Jewish Ladino traditions, a tradition which created a new Israeli identity, proud of its origins, and not forgetting its roots.
"Throughout his life, Yitzhak walked along with the State of Israel. Time after time, he was found at the significant crossroads in the country’s history. Always in a position of significance.
"Always as a compass which did not hesitate to speak what was in his heart, nor intervene when he felt it his moral duty – even at the end of his tenure when he threatened to resign were there not to be a full inquiry commissioned following Sabra and Shatila.
"The State of Israel has today lost a beloved son, a president of the people, one who never saw himself above the people, but to whom we all looked up in love and admiration."
PM Netanyahu Expresses Deep Sorrow on the Passing of Israel's Fifth President, Yitzhak Navon
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has released the following statement on the passing of former President Yitzhak Navon:
"I would like to express deep sorrow over the passing of Israel's fifth president, Yitzhak Navon, and send my condolences to his wife, children and grandchildren.
As David Ben-Gurion's secretary, Minister of Education and President, Navon was a full partner in shaping the State of Israel as a free, Jewish and democratic state.
I was always impressed by the depth of his knowledge, his openness to everyone and his deep love for the people of Israel and its heritage. As president, author and playwright he was active in advancing unity among Israel's various communities, commemorating Sephardic Jewish communities and in promoting awareness of the history of the Jerusalem in which he was born and lived his life.
Navon will be remembered as one of the finest of the nation and among its greatest builders. May his memory be blessed."
Photo provided by President’s office
Amb Roet addresses UNSC on wave of violence in Israel
Even now, as the violence continues and lives are lost every day, instead of calming tensions, Palestinian leaders continue to lie and use inflammatory rhetoric. They are stoking the flames by portraying terrorists as innocent victims.
Israel's Deputy Permanent Representative, Ambassador David Roet, addressed the emergency Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East:
As we sit here today, Israel is facing an onslaught of terrorism; men, women and children are being stabbed to death on the streets on a daily basis. Yet for them there has been no demand for an emergency session at the Security Council; no calls for the Palestinian leadership to stop their incitement; and not even a whisper of condemnation of these acts in this hall.
Eitam and Naama Henkin were shot to death while driving in their car. Their four children were in the vehicle and watched their parents die in front of their eyes. These are just a few of the silent victims of Palestinian terror. Apparently, this Council has not seen fit to honor their memories with even the slightest recognition.
Over the course of the last month, 24 terror attacks have claimed the lives of eight Israelis, and injured 70. Fifteen of them are still hospitalized. This tide of terror has washed over the entire nation and it spares no one: Young and old are being targeted every day. Israelis do not feel safe walking down the street, they avoid taking the bus to work, and they fear for the lives of their children every time they walk out the door.
The root cause of this wave of terror is clear. It is inflammatory rhetoric and lies lit the fuse, and incitement that keeps feeding the flames.
The wave of violence that Israel now faces began with lies about the Temple Mount. Abbas has continually accused Israel of trying to change the status quo. Just two days ago he claimed that, quote "Israel intends to make Al-Aksa Jewish." This is a deliberate and malicious lie.
Let me be clear. Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated time and time again, including from the podium in the UN General Assembly just two weeks ago: Israel is firmly committed to the status quo which protects the right of Muslims to pray in the mosque, as well as the freedom of all people, Muslims, Christians, Jews and others, to visit the Temple Mount.
Since 1967 Israel has placed the utmost importance on protecting the freedom of religion and worship for all faiths. From the outset, Israel has done everything in its power to preserve the sanctity of this site, which is sacred to the three monotheistic faiths.
In contrast, militant Islamist agitators have used the al-Aqsa Mosque as a staging grounds for a calculated, violent provocation. On the Eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, radical Islamists stockpiled rocks, planks, wooden sheets and fireworks, as well as Molotov firebombs and explosive devices to prevent Jews and Christians from visiting the Temple Mount.
The Palestinians and the representatives of the Arab countries speak of the sacredness of their holy sites. When the Islamist militants desecrated al-Aqsa by using it as a weapons depot, did any of them speak out?
Of course not. Instead, Mahmoud Abbas defended these rioters, and lit the spark which set our region ablaze. He declared, and I quote: "We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem... With the help of Allah, every shaheed will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward... Al-Aqsa is ours, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is ours, everything is ours, all ours. They have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet." I repeat, their filthy feet.
Can you imagine the reaction if an Israeli leader, any leader, would have uttered such a hateful statement? The Security Council would have wasted no time in convening to condemn it. Yet, when the President of the Palestinian Authority makes such a blatantly prejudiced statement, the reaction of this Council is complete silence.
Even now, as the violence continues and lives are lost every day, instead of calming tensions, Palestinian leaders continue to lie and use inflammatory rhetoric. They are stoking the flames by portraying terrorists as innocent victims. Just two days ago, in a television broadcast to the Palestinian people, Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of killing an innocent thirteen year old Palestinian boy.
There are two facts that Abbas did not share with his public. First, he is not dead. He is fully conscious and is being treated in an Israeli hospital. Second, he is not innocent. This 13-year-old Palestinian terrorist brutally attacked a 13-year-old Israeli boy who was riding his bicycle, stabbing him no less than 15 times. When a young child decides to pick up a knife, instead of a basketball or a book, something is deeply wrong.
Such acts of terror do not occur in a vacuum. They are a product of a deliberate policy of incitement aimed at filling the minds of Palestinian children with hate.
From an early age, Palestinian children are subjected to propaganda that promotes hatred and incites to violence; Young children watch TV shows with friendly hosts that encourage them to kill all the Jews and become martyrs. Schoolchildren in the West Bank study using official Palestinian Authority textbooks that legitimize indiscriminate violence against Israelis. Palestinian teenagers follow facebook posts and twitter feeds that call on them to stab Jews and that applaud violent acts like the murder of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin.
The situation is indeed dire, but there is a way forward. Just yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed his willingness to meet with the Palestinian leadership in order to bring calm to the region.
Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu stood here in the UN and declared that he is ready for direct negotiations with the Palestinians without any preconditions. If this Council is serious about promoting peace, it must join in Prime Minister
Netanyahu’s call, and insist that President Abbas comes to the negotiating table.
Israel’s historic agreement with Egypt and with Jordan proves that direct negotiations can lead to a real and a lasting peace. Only such negotiations can create a new reality for all the people of the region.
Amb. David Roet delivers remarks at UNSC's emergency meeting on the Situation in the Middle East
Photo : Ambassador David Roet addresses the UN Security Council
Photo Scene of terror attack in Pisgat Zeev neighborhood of Jerusalem on Oct 12. 13-year-old boy riding his bike critically wounded.
Copyright: Israel Police
Palestinian incitement and terrorism: Truth and lies
The recent series of attacks against Israelis is the direct result of incitement by radical Islamist and terrorist elements, calling on Palestinian youth to murder Jews. The incitement includes the spread of false claims against Israel, in particular regarding the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The culture of hate in the Palestinian media, schools and social networks, together with the statements of Palestinian leaders, has reached new and gruesome heights.
The Palestinian Authority, including its chairman Mahmoud Abbas, are using inflammatory Islamic rhetoric to spread false and malicious claims against Israel, and treat those who engage in the murder of Israelis as heroes. These statements amount to official incitement to violence and can only serve to exacerbate the situation.
Israel expects the international community to condemn the recent terror attacks and to call for an end to the Palestinian incitement to violence.
Israel remains committed to dialogue with the Palestinian leadership and would like to see the renewal of direct peace talks as soon as possible.
The Palestinian Authority and radical Islamist elements are using inflammatory Islamic rhetoric to spread malicious lies against Israel. Israel calls on Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders to stop incitement to violence and to call for calm.
Truth and Lies
PM Bureau (October 14): "Abu Mazen's comments this evening were incitement and lies. The youth he is talking about is alive and hospitalized in Hadassah, after he stabbed an Israeli youth, who was riding a bicycle at the time. While Israel maintains the status quo on the Temple Mount, Abu Mazen, with his words of incitement, makes cynical use of religion and thus brings about terror."
Over the past two weeks, numerous terrorist attacks have been perpetrated against Israeli citizens across the country. Seven Israelis have been murdered and 15 of the wounded are still hospitalized. Most of the terrorists are Palestinian youth under the age of 25 (the youngest attacker is 13 years old), incited to violence by a widespread Palestinian culture of hate.
For years, Palestinian youth has been indoctrinated in schools and on television to follow in the footsteps of arch-terrorists and to engage in indiscriminate violence against Jews. In recent years, this poisoning of children's minds has been exacerbated by hate speech and calls for murder on the Palestinian social media, which are playing a critical role in the latest wave of terror.
The Palestinian Authority, as well as radical Islamist elements, are using inflammatory Islamic rhetoric to spread malicious lies against Israel:
The Truth: Israel guarantees freedom of worship in Jerusalem for members of all faiths and is fully committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount, which protects the right of Muslims to pray on the Mount, as well as the freedom of all people, to visit the Mount.
PM Netanyahu's Press Conference Statement
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Thursday, 8 October 2015), issued the following statement at a press conference with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Israel Police Acting Commissioner Bentzi Sau:
"This has been another difficult day for all of us, citizens of Israel. We are in the midst of a wave of terrorism. Terrorists that have been incited and who are riven with hate are trying to attack our people – babies, children, men and women, civilians and soldiers.
Our hearts – the hearts of the entire nation – are with the families of the victims whose lives were cut short by reprehensible murderers. In recent days and hours I have seen displays of heroism by soldiers, police and – no less – by civilians. I see this in Jerusalem, Kiryat Gat, Hebron, Petah Tikva, Tel Aviv and now in Afula.
Israelis are acting with bravery, composure and determination to neutralize and eliminate the terrorists. This requires extraordinary courage and resourcefulness and we are proud to be part of a country that has such citizens.
This vicious terrorism did not start today. It has accompanied the Zionist enterprise since its beginning. We have always known how to defeat the rioters and build up our country and so it will be now. The terrorists and the extremists behind them will achieve nothing. We will rebuff them and we will defeat them.
We are in the midst of a wave of terrorism with knives, firebombs, rocks and even live fire. While these acts are mostly unorganized, they are all the result of wild and mendacious incitement by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, several countries in the region and – no less and frequently much more – the Islamic Movement in Israel, which is igniting the ground with lies regarding our policy on the Temple Mount and the purported changes that we want to make to the status quo. This is an absolute lie. We are also taking action against the inciters and the attackers.
The IDF, Israel Police and the ISA are working on all fronts – stakeouts, undercover, arrests, presence on the roads, guarding communities, operational entries into Palestinian towns, in-depth entries into neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem and the demolition of terrorists' homes.
We have also sharpened open-fire against those who throw rocks and firebombs and we will impose minimum sentences on them and fines against minors. We have detained for investigation those who cooperated with the murderers in the Old City of Jerusalem. I demanded that the legal establishment close the shops of the merchants who either took part in this heinous act or stood aside.
Yesterday, I ordered that politicians – Jewish and Arab alike – be prevented from going up to the Temple Mount at this time. We do not need more matches to set the ground afire. We will take aggressive measures against the Islamic Movement in Israel and against other inciters. Nobody will be immune.
I would like to tell you, citizens of Israel, that we live in the Middle East and that the flames of radical Islam, which are burning the entire region, are also reaching us. But Israel is a very strong country and Israelis are a strong people. The measures that I have detailed, as well as others which I will not detail, are not an immediate, magical solution. But with persistence, thoroughness and determination, we will prove that terrorism does not pay – and we will defeat it.
I was asked today what I would say to a mother who fears to send her children outside. I would like to tell her – I would like to tell you, mother – your concerns are natural. They need not be overlooked nor should they be swept under the rug. We have a difficult situation now and we must show maximum alertness. Of course, we must also listen to instructions from the security forces and the authorities. But I would like to tell you something else: The security team that is sitting here – Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Public Security Minister, IDF Chief-of-Staff and the Israel Police Commissioner, and all other security elements – are doing our utmost to restore your security and that of your children, to all Israel."
Photo by Amos Ben Gershom, GPO
Following is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's adress to the United Nations General Assembly:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you greetings from Jerusalem. The city in which the Jewish People's hopes and prayers for peace for all of humanity have echoed throughout the ages.
Thirty-one years ago, as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, I stood at this podium for the first time.
I spoke that day against a resolution sponsored by Iran to expel Israel from the United Nations.
Then as now, the UN was obsessively hostile towards Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East.
Then as now, some sought to deny the one and only Jewish state a place among the nations.
I ended that first speech by saying:
Gentlemen, check your fanaticism at the door.
More than three decades later, as the Prime Minister of Israel, I am again privileged to speak from this podium.
And for me, that privilege has always come with a moral responsibility to speak the truth.
So after three days of listening to world leaders praise the nuclear deal with Iran, I begin my speech today by saying:
Ladies and Gentlemen, check your enthusiasm at the door.
You see, this deal doesn't make peace more likely.
By fueling Iran’s aggressions with billions of dollars in sanctions relief, it makes war more likely.
Just look at what Iran has done in the last six months alone, since the framework agreement was announced in Lausanne.
Iran boosted its supply of devastating weapons to Syria.
Iran sent more soldiers of its Revolutionary Guard into Syria. Iran sent thousands of Afghani and Pakistani Shi’ite fighters to Syria.
Iran did all this to prop up Assad's brutal regime.
Iran also shipped tons of weapons and ammunitions to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, including another shipment just two days ago.
Iran threatened to topple Jordan.
Iran’s proxy Hezbollah smuggled into Lebanon SA-22 missiles to down our planes, and Yakhont cruise missiles to sink our ships.
Iran supplied Hezbollah with precision-guided surface-to-surface missiles and attack drones so it can accurately hit any target in Israel.
Iran aided Hamas and Islamic Jihad in building armed drones in Gaza.
Iran also made clear its plans to open two new terror fronts against Israel, promising to arm Palestinians in the West Bank and sending its Revolutionary Guard generals to the Golan Heights, from which its operatives recently fired rockets on northern Israel.
Israel will continue to respond forcefully to any attacks against it from Syria.
Israel will continue to act to prevent the transfer of strategic weapons to Hezbollah from and through Syrian territory.
Every few weeks, Iran and Hezbollah set up new terror cells in cities throughout the world. Three such cells were recently uncovered in Kuwait, Jordan and Cyprus.
In May, security forces in Cyprus raided a Hezbollah agent’s apartment in the city of Larnaca. There they found five tons of ammonium nitrate, that's roughly the same amount of ammonium nitrate that was used to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City.
And that’s just in one apartment, in one city, in one country.
But Iran is setting up dozens of terror cells like this around the world, ladies and gentlemen, they're setting up those terror cells in this hemisphere too.
I repeat: Iran’s been doing all of this, everything that I've just described, just in the last six months, when it was trying to convince the world to remove the sanctions.
Now just imagine what Iran will do after those sanctions are lifted.
Unleashed and un-muzzled, Iran will go on the prowl, devouring more and more prey.
In the wake of the nuclear deal, Iran is spending billions of dollars on weapons and satellites.
You think Iran is doing that to advance peace?
You think hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and fat contracts will turn this rapacious tiger into a kitten?
If you do, you should think again.
In 2013 president Rouhani began his so-called charm offensive here at the UN. Two years later, Iran is executing more political prisoners, escalating its regional aggression, and rapidly expanding its global terror network.
You know they say, actions speak louder than words.
But in Iran’s case, the words speak as loud as the actions.
Just listen to the Deputy Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quds Force. Here's what he said in February:
“The Islamic revolution is not limited by geographic borders….” He boasted that Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Yemen are among the countries being “conquered by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
And for those of you who believe that the deal in Vienna will bring a change in Iran’s policy, just listen to what Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said five days after the nuclear deal was reached: “Our policies towards the arrogant government of the United States will not change.”
The United States, he vowed, will continue to be Iran’s enemy.
While giving the mullahs more money is likely to fuel more repression inside Iran, it will definitely fuel more aggression outside Iran.
As the leader of a country defending itself every day against Iran’s growing aggression, I wish I could take comfort in the claim that this deal blocks Iran’s path to nuclear weapons.
But I can’t, because it doesn’t.
This deal does place several constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.
And rightly so, because the international community recognizes that Iran is so dangerous.
But you see here’s the catch:
Under this deal, If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, In fact, if it becomes even more dangerous in the years to come, the most important constraints will still be automatically lifted by year 10 and by year 15.
That would place a militant Islamic terror regime weeks away from having the fissile material for an entire arsenal of nuclear bombs.
That just doesn’t make any sense.
I’ve said that if Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.
But this deal, this deal will treat Iran like a normal country even if it remains a dark theocracy that conquers its neighbors, sponsors terrorism worldwide and chants “Death to Israel”, “Death to America.”
Does anyone seriously believe that flooding a radical theocracy with weapons and cash will curb its appetite for aggression?
Do any of you really believe that a theocratic Iran with sharper claws and sharper fangs will be more likely to change its stripes?
So here's a general rule that I've learned and you must have learned in your life time - When bad behavior is rewarded, it only gets worse.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have long said that the greatest danger facing our world is the coupling of militant Islam with nuclear weapons.
And I’m gravely concerned that the nuclear deal with Iran will prove to be the marriage certificate of that unholy union.
I know that some well-intentioned people sincerely believe that this deal is the best way to block Iran’s path to the bomb.
But one of history’s most important yet least learned lessons is this:
The best intentions don’t prevent the worst outcomes.
The vast majority of Israelis believe that this nuclear deal with Iran is a very bad deal.
And what makes matters even worse is that we see a world celebrating this bad deal, rushing to embrace and do business with a regime openly committed to our destruction.
Last week, Major General Salehi, the commander of Iran’s army, proclaimed this:
“We will annihilate Israel for sure.”
“We are glad that we are in the forefront of executing the Supreme Leader’s order to destroy Israel.”
And as for the Supreme Leader himself, a few days after the nuclear deal was announced, he released his latest book.
Here it is.
It’s a 400-page screed detailing his plan to destroy the State of Israel.
Last month, Khamenei once again made his genocidal intentions clear before Iran's top clerical body, the Assembly of Experts.
He spoke about Israel, home to over six million Jews.
He pledged, “there will be no Israel in 25 years.”
Seventy years after the murder of six million Jews,
Iran’s rulers promise to destroy my country.
Murder my people.
And the response from this body, the response from nearly every one of the governments represented here has been absolutely nothing!
Perhaps you can now understand why Israel is not joining you in celebrating this deal.
If Iran’s rulers were working to destroy your countries, perhaps you’d be less enthusiastic about the deal.
If Iran’s terror proxies were firing thousands of rockets at your cities, perhaps you’d be more measured in your praise.
And if this deal were unleashing a nuclear arms race in your neighborhood, perhaps you’d be more reluctant to celebrate.
But don’t think that Iran is only a danger to Israel.
Besides Iran’s aggression in the Middle East and its terror around the world, Iran is also building intercontinental ballistic missiles whose sole purpose is to carry nuclear warheads.
Now remember this: Iran already has missiles that can reach Israel.
So those intercontinental ballistic missiles that Iran is building - they're not meant for us – They’re meant for you.
For raining down mass destruction – anytime, anywhere.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s not easy to oppose something that is embraced by the greatest powers in the world.
Believe me, it would be far easier to remain silent.
But throughout our history, the Jewish people have learned the heavy price of silence.
And as the Prime Minister of the Jewish State, as someone who knows that history,
I refuse to be silent.
I’ll say it again:
The days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies – those days are over.
Not being passive means speaking up about those dangers.
We have. We are.
Not being passive also means defending ourselves against those dangers.
We have. We are.
And we will.
Israel will not allow Iran to break-in, to sneak-in or to walk-in to the nuclear weapons club.
I know that preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons remains the official policy of the international community.
But no one should question Israel’s determination to defend itself against those who seek our destruction.
For in every generation, there were those who rose up to destroy our people.
In antiquity, we faced destruction from the ancient empires of Babylon and Rome.
In the Middle Ages, we faced inquisition and expulsion.
And In modern times, we faced pogroms and the Holocaust.
Yet the Jewish people persevered.
And now another regime has arisen, swearing to destroy Israel.
That regime would be wise to consider this:
I stand here today representing Israel, a country 67 years young,
but the nation-state of a people nearly 4,000 years old.
Yet the empires of Babylon and Rome are not represented in this hall of nations.
Neither is the Thousand Year Reich.
Those seemingly invincible empires are long gone.
But Israel lives.
The people of Israel live.
עם ישראל חי.
The re-birth of Israel is a testament to the indomitable spirit of my people.
For a hundred generations, the Jewish people dreamed of returning to the Land of Israel.
Even in our darkest hours, and we had so many, even in our darkest hours we never gave up hope of rebuilding our eternal capital Jerusalem.
The establishment of Israel made realizing that dream possible.
It has enabled us to live as a free people in our ancestral homeland.
It's enabled us to embrace Jews who've come from the four corners of the earth to find refuge from persecution.
They came from war-torn Europe, from Yemen, Iraq, Morocco, from Ethiopia and the Soviet Union, from a hundred other lands.
And today, as a rising tide of anti-Semitism once again sweeps across Europe and elsewhere, many Jews come to Israel to join us in building the Jewish future.
So here’s my message to the rulers of Iran:
Your plan to destroy Israel will fail.
Israel will not permit any force on earth to threaten its future.
And here's my message to all the countries represented here:
Whatever resolutions you may adopt in this building, whatever decisions you may take in your capitals, Israel will do whatever it must do to defend our state and to defend our people.
As this deal with Iran moves ahead, I hope you’ll enforce it…how can I put this? With a little more rigor than you showed with the six Security Council resolutions that Iran has systematically violated and which now have been effectively discarded.
Make sure that the inspectors actually inspect.
Make sure that the snapback sanctions actually snap back.
And make sure that Iran’s violations aren’t swept under the Persian rug.
Well, of one thing I can assure you:
Israel will be watching… closely.
What the international community now needs to do is clear:
First, make Iran comply with all its nuclear obligations.
Keep Iran’s feet to the fire.
Second, check Iran’s regional aggression.
Support and strengthen those fighting Iran’s aggression, beginning with Israel.
Third, use sanctions and all the tools available to you to tear down Iran’s global terror network.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Israel is working closely with our Arab peace partners to address our common security challenges from Iran and also the security challenges from ISIS and from others.
We are also working with other states in the Middle East as well as countries in Africa, in Asia and beyond.
Many in our region know that both Iran and ISIS are our common enemies.
And when your enemies fight each other, don’t strengthen either one – weaken both.
Common dangers are clearly bringing Israel and its Arab neighbors closer.
And as we work together to thwart those dangers, I hope we'll build lasting partnerships – lasting partnerships for security, for prosperity and for peace.
But in Israel, we never forget one thing. We never forget that the most important partner that Israel has has always been, and will always be, the United States of America.
The alliance between Israel and the United States is unshakeable.
President Obama and I agree on the need to keep arms out of the hands of Iran’s terror proxies.
We agree on the need to stop Iran from destabilizing countries throughout the Middle East.
Israel deeply appreciates President Obama’s willingness to bolster our security, help Israel maintain its qualitative military edge and help Israel confront the enormous challenges we face.
Israel is grateful that this sentiment is widely shared by the American people and its representatives in Congress, by both those who supported the deal and by those who opposed it.
President Obama and I have both said that our differences over the nuclear deal are a disagreement within the family.
But we have no disagreement about the need to work together to secure our common future.
And what a great future it could be.
Israel is uniquely poised to seize the promise of the 21st century.
Israel is a world leader in science and technology, in cyber, software, water, agriculture,
medicine, biotechnology and so many other fields that are being revolutionized by Israeli ingenuity and Israeli innovation.
Israel is the innovation nation.
Israeli knowhow is everywhere.
It’s in your computers’ microprocessors and flash drives.
It’s in your smartphones, when you send instant messages and navigate your cars.
It’s on your farms, when you drip irrigate your crops and keep your grains and produce fresh.
It’s in your universities, when you study Nobel Prize winning discoveries in chemistry and economics.
It’s in your medicine cabinets, when you use drugs to treat Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
It’s even on your plate, when you eat the delicious cherry tomato.
That too was perfected in Israel, in case you didn’t know.
We are so proud in Israel of the long strides our country has made in a short time.
We're so proud that our small country is making such a huge contribution to the entire world.
Yet the dreams of our people, enshrined for eternity by the great prophets of the Bible, those dreams will be fully realized only when there is peace.
As the Middle East descends into chaos, Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are two cornerstones of stability.
Israel remains committed to achieving peace with the Palestinians as well.
Israelis know the price of war.
I know the price of war.
I was nearly killed in battle.
I lost many friends.
I lost my beloved brother Yoni.
Those who know the price of war can best appreciate what the blessings of peace would mean – for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren.
I am prepared to immediately, immediately, resume direct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority without any preconditions whatsoever.
Unfortunately, President Abbas said yesterday that he is not prepared to do this.
Well, I hope he changes his mind.
Because I remain committed to a vision of two states for two peoples, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state.
You know, the peace process began over two decades ago.
Yet despite the best efforts of six Israeli prime ministers – Rabin, Peres, Barak, Sharon, Olmert and myself – the Palestinians have consistently refused to end the conflict and make a final peace with Israel.
And unfortunately, you heard that rejectionism again only yesterday from President Abbas.
How can Israel make peace with a Palestinian partner who refuses to even sit at the negotiating table?
Israel expects the Palestinian Authority to abide by its commitments.
The Palestinians should not walk away from peace.
President Abbas, I know it's not easy. I know it's hard. But we owe it to our peoples to try, to continue to try, because together, if we actually negotiate and stop negotiating about the negotiation, if we actually sit down and try to resolve this conflict between us, recognize each other, not use a Palestinian state as a stepping stone for another Islamist dictatorship in the Middle East, but something that will live at peace next to the Jewish state, if we actually do that, we can do remarkable things for our peoples.
The UN can help advance peace by supporting direct, unconditional negotiations between the parties.
The UN won't help peace, certainly won't help advance peace by trying to impose solutions or by encouraging Palestinian rejectionism,
And the UN, distinguished delegates, should do one more thing. The UN should finally rid itself of the obsessive bashing of Israel.
Here’s just one absurd example of this obsession:
In four years of horrific violence in Syria, more than a quarter of a million people have lost their lives.
That’s more than ten times, more than ten times, the number of Israelis and Palestinians combined who have lost their lives in a century of conflict between us.
Yet last year, this Assembly adopted 20 resolutions against Israel and just one resolution about the savage slaughter in Syria.
Talk about injustice. Talk about disproportionality. Twenty. Count them. One against Syria.
Well, frankly I am not surprised.
To borrow a line from Yogi Berra, the late, great baseball player and part time philosopher: When it comes to the annual bashing of Israel at the UN, it’s déjà vu all over again.
Thirty one years after I stood here for the first time, I'm still asking:
When will the UN finally check its anti-Israel fanaticism at the door?
When will the UN finally stop slandering Israel as a threat to peace and actually start helping Israel advance peace?
And the same question should be posed to Palestinian leaders.
When will you start working with Israel to advance peace and reconciliation and stop libeling Israel, stop inciting hatred and violence?
President Abbas, here’s a good place to begin:
Stop spreading lies about Israel’s alleged intentions on the Temple Mount.
Israel is fully committed to maintaining the status quo there.
What President Abbas should be speaking out against are the actions of militant Islamists who are smuggling explosives into the al-Aqsa mosque and who are trying to prevent Jews and Christians from visiting the holy sites.
That’s the real threat to these sacred sites.
A thousand years before the birth of Christianity, more than 1,500 years before the birth of Islam, King David made Jerusalem our capital, and King Solomon built the Temple on that mount.
Yet Israel, Israel will always respect the sacred shrines of all.
In a region plagued by violence and by unimaginable intolerance, in which Islamic fanatics are destroying the ancient treasures of civilization, Israel stands out as a towering beacon of enlightenment and tolerance.
Far from endangering the holy sites, it is Israel that ensures their safety.
Because unlike the powers who have ruled Jerusalem in the past, Israel respects the holy sites and freedom of worship of all – Jews, Muslims, Christians, everyone.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, will never change.
Because Israel will always stay true to its values.
These values are on display each and every day:
When Israel’s feisty parliament vigorously debates every issue under the sun,
When Israel’s Chief Justice sits in her chair at our fiercely independent Supreme Court,
When our Christian community continues to grow and thrive from year to year, as Christian communities are decimated elsewhere in the Middle East,
When a brilliant young Israeli Muslim student gives her valedictorian address at one of our finest universities,
And when Israeli doctors and nurses – doctors and nurses from the Israeli military –
treat thousands of wounded from the killing fields of Syria and thousands more in the wake of natural disasters from Haiti to Nepal.
This is the true face of Israel.
These are the values of Israel.
And In the Middle East, these values are under savage assault by militant Islamists who are forcing millions of terrified people to flee to distant shores.
Ten miles from ISIS, a few hundred yards from Iran’s murderous proxies, Israel stands in the breach – proudly and courageously, defending freedom and progress.
Israel is civilization's front line in the battle against barbarism.
So here’s a novel idea for the United Nations:
Instead of continuing the shameful routine of bashing Israel, stand with Israel.
Stand with Israel as we check the fanaticism at our door.
Stand with Israel as we prevent that fanaticism from reaching your door.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Stand with Israel because Israel is not just defending itself.
More than ever, Israel is defending you."
Photo Reuters CarloAllegri
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Affirms Support for two State Solution at 2015 Herzliya Conference
The Middle East's leading security & policy gathering has concluded
The turmoil in the Middle East presents an opportunity for new alliances that can help bring about a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an hour long address at the closing of the 2015 Herzliya Conference.
"I committed to two states at Bar Ilan," he said. "The solution as I see it is a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state," Netanyahu said.
"The Palestinians expect us to recognize a Palestinian state. But they won't recognize a Jewish state for the Jewish people. That's what we want. Mutual recognition," he added.
Netanyahu said the crisis engulfing much of the Arab world presents an opportunity for Israel to form new alliances. "The trepidation of the Sunni states from Iran on the one hand, and Isis on the other, creates potential for cooperation," he said.
"Perhaps it could help resolve the problem we want to resolve with the Palestinians. Because I don't want a one state solution," he said.
He also spoke about danger of an Arab arms race in response to a nuclear Iran. Some states will seek nuclear weapons of their own, he said, while each of them will substantially increase their stocks of conventional weapons.
"It won't make Israel safer," he said, regarding the emerging nuclear deal with Iran. He said he's spoken to Arab leaders, and "no one believes that this deal with block Iran's path to the bomb, or many bombs."
Netanyahu also noted that Iran has been involved in "cyberattacks on Saudi Arabia, and even the United States".
Netanyahu also outlined an economic development program, with the goal of raising Israel growth rate to 5%.
The program is based on developing new markets in areas such as China and India, developing new products in areas such as cyber security, improving telecommunications and transportation for greater connectivity online and between regions of Israel, and developing Israel's natural energy resources.
"There is no security without a strong economy," he said. "And there is no prosperity without growth."
Preceding Netanyahu, Former Prime Minister and Former Minister of Defense Lt. Gen. (res.) Ehud Barak discussed the issue of the international legitimacy of Israel and its challenge facing the BDS movement.
Barak argued that only the core of the BDS movement is against Israel for what it is, regardless the actions it takes. "We must today create a barrier between the millions in the free world and the hard nucleus of BDS. A government that operates decisively to separate from the Palestinians shifts the attention to the Palestinians."
"The international legitimacy is fundamental source of power for Israel nowadays. Had Israel been willing to concentrate the building in settlement blocks and stop it outside of it, fundamentally changes Israel's situation. The lack of distinction between settlement blocks and outside them is very dangerous. The building beyond this settlement blocks essentially endangers the settlements themselves."
Barak also called for a regional arrangement, including the moderate Arab countries, The Palestinians and Israel. "Against the Palestinians Israel can mostly give. In front of the entire Arab world, Israel can get a lot. This is the source of a great opportunity of a regional arrangement."
Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Across the Middle East, terrorists and extremists are poisoning the minds of the next generation, teaching them to hate, vilify, and dehumanize Israelis and Jews. We have lost an entire generation to incitement. Enough is enough.
Thank you for convening this session. Allow me to take this opportunity to thank today's speakers for sharing their expertise and insights.
Around the world today children are exploited in conflict, targeted with violence, and used as instruments of war. The crimes are horrendous.
In January, Boko Haram wrapped a young girl in explosives and sent her into a busy Nigerian market. The explosion killed 16 people and injured another 20. This is not a world we should accept - a world where 10 years-olds are used as weapons of war. When we fail to protect children, we fail to protect our future.
I speak before this Council today as the Permanent Representative of the State of Israel, but also as a father and grandfather. I raised my sons, Lior and Tomer, and my daughter, Oren, in Israel and I know all too well the abnormal normality of raising a family in Israel.
Our children go to schools with security guards stationed at the door, we walk through metal detectors to enter a mall, and our homes are built with a reinforced concrete room to protect our families from rockets. Like other Israeli parents, I want to see the day when our children can grow up and grow old without hearing the wail of a red alert siren or the boom of rockets overhead. We want our children to enjoy a life free from terrorism - but that day has not yet come.
Last June, Israelis were numb with horror when they learned that Palestinian terrorists kidnapped and brutally murdered three Israeli teenagers, Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. We learned that terrorists will target an Israeli child making his way home from school.
Last August, 4-year-old Daniel Tregerman was playing with his younger siblings when a mortar fired by Palestinian terrorists from Gaza struck his home and killed him. We learned that terrorists will target an Israeli child playing in his own home.
In December, Palestinian terrorists threw a firebomb at a car carrying 11 year-old Ayala Shapira. Flames engulfed the car and Ayala suffered third-degree burns to her face and upper body. We learned that terrorists will even target an Israeli child sitting in the backseat of her parent's car.
The Israeli people have learned too many painful lessons. Terrorists have robbed our children of their dreams, their childhood, and their futures.
Hamas may claim to represent its people's wellbeing, but its actions reflect countless wrongdoings. The terrorist group deploys minors as suicide bombers and recruits them to carry out attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers; it uses children as human shields; and places children in harm's way by using schools, hospitals and civilian neighborhoods as a base for their terror activity.
We saw abundant evidence of these crimes last summer. Here in New York, the underground system is called the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. In Gaza, Hamas built a Metropolitan Terror Authority - miles of dense terror tunnels that extended like tentacles into Israel. These tunnels were built using Palestinian child laborers, many of whom were killed in the process. Hamas's terror tunnels opened at the doorsteps of Israeli communities - outside homes, kindergartens, and playgrounds - all with the deliberate intention of targeting and murdering Israeli children.
The Palestinian leadership regularly turns to the international community for financial support, but when it comes to funding, training, arming, and indoctrinating thousands of young Palestinian children, there is no shortage of money. In January of this year, Hamas - which sits in the Palestinian unity government - sent over 17,000 - I repeat, over 17,000 - Palestinian youngsters to 18 new military training camps. The boys who attend these camps are trained to fire weapons, storm IDF posts, and abduct IDF soldiers.
The indoctrination of Palestinian children is nothing new. They are born in hospitals named after violent Palestinian groups, attend schools named after terrorists, and are taught from textbooks that describe Zionism as racism. In mosques, religious leaders are spreading vicious libels accusing Jews of destroying Muslim holy sites. In their free time, Palestinian children play on sports teams named after murderers, watch television programs that teach that Jews should be killed, and read cartoons urging them to commit terror attacks against Israelis.
But you don't have to take my word for it. Senior Hamas official, Fathi Hamad, said (and I quote), "For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry... This is why [we] have formed human shields of the women, the children, [and] the elderly." The evidence is overwhelming. Hamas has no interest in building its people up - it is only committed to tearing Israel down.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said, "We will only have peace when our enemies love their children more than they hate ours."
Across the Middle East, terrorists and extremists are poisoning the minds of the next generation, teaching them to hate, vilify, and dehumanize Israelis and Jews. We have lost an entire generation to incitement. Enough is enough.
Send the message that children should be sent to playgrounds and not battlegrounds; that they belong in schools and not on suicide missions; and most importantly, that children have infinite value as human beings and not as human shields.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Photo Amb Prosor adresses UN Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict
Copyright: UN Webcast
Charter of the United Nations: If the Oscars for Maintenance of International Peace and Security were given at the UN, I would not be surprised if Iran, Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority were awarded prizes.
Seventy years ago, representatives of 50 nations met in San Francisco met to draw up the Charter of the newly formed United Nations. President Truman addressed the conference saying, "With this Charter the world can begin to look forward to the time when all worthy human beings may be permitted to live decently as free people."
The signatories believed that every man and woman on this earth has dignity and rights. After witnessing the ravages of two world wars in the span of a generation, they understood that freedom is never free. It is not enough to write a charter or give a speech, freedom must be fought for.
Article 1 of the UN's Charter outlines the institution's four purposes.
The first is to maintain international peace and security and take effective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace.
The greatest threat to global security is posed by radical Islamist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram. The battle being waged against these groups is a battle between civility and barbarism, between pluralistic and totalitarian societies, between tyranny and freedom.
Day by day extremism is spreading its ugly tentacles and in the process, destabilizing communities and nations. The threat is obvious and it is growing, and yet this Council has been reluctant to take decisive action. Worse, it has on occasion, surrendered to those nations that harbor, fund and support terrorist groups.
On January 28th Hezbollah terrorists fired anti-tank missiles at an IDF vehicle in northern Israel, killing two Israeli soldiers and injuring seven others. Hezbollah immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. One would think that in light of this clear admission of guilt, the Security Council would immediately and unequivocally condemn Hezbollah. Yet it took an entire week to release a statement that didn't even mention the terrorist group.
If we intend to fight terror, we must not differentiate between terror and terror - there is no good terror or bad terror group, and we must treat them all alike.
Hezbollah has held Lebanon hostage for the better part of three decades and now seems intent on holding the Security Council hostage as well. Thanks to the backroom dealings of its Iranian patron, Hezbollah has been allowed to continue its reign of terror.
Here in the theater of the absurd, it wouldn't surprise me if ISIS was given a starring role on the Human Rights Council. Let me be clear - this institution cannot claim to uphold international security while indulging those nations that are actively undermining peace and security.
The second purpose of the UN Charter is to advance relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights.
If we are honest with ourselves then we will admit that we have not done enough to defend basic freedoms. One example is the Middle East - Across the Middle East repressive regimes seek to control what people think, how they are educated, whom they can love, and what they believe.
For 2,000 years, Christian communities dotted the landscape of the Middle East. Today that figure has dwindled to less than 10 percent. We saw an example of this brutal persecution just last week when ISIS beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.
But it's not just Christians being persecuted; all minority groups are at risk. As we speak, Yazidis, Bahai, Kurds, Christians and Muslims are being executed and expelled by radical extremists at a rate of 1,000 people per month.
Extremists have unleashed a plague of persecution believing that by silencing individuals, they can silence civilization. Nobel prize winner and humanitarian activist, Elie Wiesel said (and I quote), "Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."
Millions of men and women look to us to defend their dignity and their rights and we are simply not doing enough to help them.
The third purpose of the Charter is to promote and encourage respect for human rights.
The primary body responsible for upholding this principle is the Human Rights Council. Members of the Council currently include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Algeria, and Venezuela. I imagine there isn't a person in this room who would want to be placed on trial in one of the countries. And I would think that no one here would be willing to write an article criticizing one of these governments while living under its dominion - certainly not if you valued your liberty or your life.
Yet these and other human rights offenders are given leadership roles in this institution. In 2008, for example, Saudi Arabia - a regime notorious for public executions, lashings, and beheadings - was elected the special rapporteur of the UN's Third Committee dealing with human rights.
The fact of the matter is that this institution has been hijacked. The ruthless autocracies that jail journalists rush to lecture us on the virtues of a free press. The repressive dictatorships that persecute political opponents filibuster on the sanctity of free and fair elections. And the mass-murdering tyrannical regimes preach to us about human rights.
Yet, instead of criticizing these regimes, the very nations that undermine international peace get elected to the UN bodies responsible for maintaining global security. In 2013, the General Assembly elected Iran to the UN committee that deals with disarmament and international security. This is like inviting North Korea to write a resolution on cyber security.
But the absurdity doesn't end there. Last year Iran was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the UN's legal committee - an unusual choice given that Iranian citizens are denied due process and fair trials. It's remarkable that Iran is so active in international affairs given that its citizens are not afforded opportunities to participate in Iranian national affairs.
The fourth and final purpose of the Charter is to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.
Mr. President - you convened this debate to reaffirm international commitment to the principles outlined in the UN Charter. The Charter speaks about the United Nations as a center for harmonizing the actions of nations, but the only harmony I hear, is the chorus of condemnations aimed against Israel.
This institution will never live up to the principles in its charter so long as it persistently, consistently, and insistently focuses on Israel. Last year, the General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions singling out Israel for condemnation and only three resolutions to protest the actions of all other nations combined.
The worst humanitarian crisis of our generation is taking place in Syria where over 200,000 men, women, and children have been murdered by a regime that employs torture, starvation, chemical weapons, and barrel bombs. And yet the General Assembly passed just one resolution condemning the brutal Syrian regime.
Since 2006, more than half of all resolutions adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council in criticism of a particular country have been directed at Israel. This isn't logical, it isn't moral - it is simply prejudice.
When the actions of the UN are placed against the yardstick of its Charter, the institution simply doesn't measure up. We are failing those who need us most.
Last night Hollywood celebrated the Oscars, and as millions tuned in, I thought of the following.
If the Oscars for Maintenance of International Peace and Security were given at the UN, I would not be surprised if these candidates were awarded prizes.
In the Best Actor Category - for acting like a peace loving country while developing nuclear capabilities, denying the Holocaust, and threatening the destruction of another member state... the Oscar goes to Iran.
In the category for Best Supporting Actor - for its unrelenting support to the Assad Regime in killing hundreds of thousands of civilians... the Oscar goes to Hezbollah.
In the category for Best Visual Effects - for making women disappear from the public sphere, the Oscar goes to... surprise surprise... Saudi Arabia. No competition there.
And finally, for rewriting history, the Oscar for Best Editing goes to... the Palestinian Authority. But the truth is - the Palestinian Authority already received enough prizes from this institution.
Mr. President, Oscars aside, if we want to pursue peace and security in the real world, it is time to bring down the curtain on this theater of the absurd and return the original values of the UN Charter back to center stage.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Photo Oscar for Maintenance of International Peace and Security
Copyright: Israel Mission to the UN, New York
The Municipality will operate a designated page on its website, www.jerusalem.muni.il, where residents can obtain up-to-date information on road conditions, schools and kindergartens, public transport, community advice and more from the city's emergency and rescue services.
The Jerusalem Municipality is completing preparations for the stormy weather and snow predicted for Jerusalem over the coming weekend.
Ahead of the snow expected in the capital, the Jerusalem Municipality will operate 230 snow plows, salt dispensers, and engineering equipment as necessary to clear main traffic arteries, as well as scores of 4x4 vehicles, during the snow. The Municipality has procured more than 400 tons of salt for snow removal and 1,500 sacks of salt, which will be distributed at community centers, in neighborhoods, and at 500 education institutions across the city.
The Municipality has thousands of shovels, heating supplies, hot water bags, emergency lighting, and hundreds of blankets and sleeping bags, which will be distributed to community centers for needy residents. In addition, the Municipality has instructed supermarkets and suppliers to prepare and equip as necessary to meet the needs of the capital's residents before the storm hits. The Municipality calls on residents to bring forward their weekend shopping to Wednesday night.
There will be changes in public transportation operations during the snowfall, and roads into the city will be closed. The Municipality advises residents of the city and visitors to bring forward the arrival to or departure from the city to early Thursday afternoon. It is possible to receive updates directly to mobile phones via the Jerusalem Municipality app, which is available to all iPhone and Android devices (see illustration).
The Municipality will assess whether classes will be held or not, and will announce its decisions via the media and other means.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat says, "The Jerusalem Municipality has completed preparations for the snow. Snow in Jerusalem is a cause for celebration for Jerusalemites, and we expect to see the most beautiful city in the world covered in white. Snow requires municipal preparedness and personal responsibility by all residents. We call on all residents to prepare for the snow, bring forward preparations, show responsibility, and listen to the instructions of the Municipality and Rescue Services."
Instructions for the public
Prepare for the storm in time with several days supplies of food and water, and bring forward Sabbath shopping and errands.
The Municipality call on residents and visitors to listen to the instructions of the Police and Rescue Services and avoid driving on the roads during the snowfall, and do not make unnecessary trips so that municipal and rescue teams can keep traffic arteries open.
In view of the storm, major disruptions in public transport are expected both within Jerusalem and intercity public transport.
The Police will close the roads into the city on the basis of assessments of the situation and the snowfall, and the Municipality calls on residents to be ready for this.
Bring forward arrival to or departure from the city and listen to the instructions and updates via the relevant media sources.
Take personal responsibility and thoughtfulness in order to be prepared to stay at home.
For patients taking regular medications, collect medications in advance for the days of the storm. Patients requiring electrical medical equipment, bring forward preparations for the storm and prepare an alternative source of electricity as much as possible.
Other recommendations for residents
Check that emergency systems are in working order, especially systems requiring ventilation, and prepare non-electrical emergency equipment.
Clean and open gutters and drainage outlets on roofs and in courtyards.
Cut trees and branches in private gardens and close to cables, check the safety of electrical systems, and purchase emergency lighting and back-up chargers for mobile phones.
Procure shovels to clear building entrances if necessary, strengthen antennas, solar hot water heaters, sheds, and other objects on roofs.
Clear unsecured objects that are liable to fall from high places, or blow away, such as potted plants, window boxes, furniture, and signs.
The Municipality website, www.jerusalem.muni.il, will open a designated page where residents can obtain up-to-date information on road conditions, the education system, public transport, community advice, and more from the city's emergency and rescue services. The website will collect important updates and publish them in an area that will be available for residents.
Out of a sense of personal responsibility and alertness, the Municipality asks the city's residents to check whether their neighbors need any help or assistance. If necessary, community centers will operate emergency services to help the public on their daily routines (the telephone numbers of community centers will be published on the Municipality website).
It is possible to report hazards in the following ways:
The Municipality website, www.jerusalem.muni.il
The Jerusalem Municipality app
The Municipal call center, tel. 106, which is prepared to receive calls about hazards and direct municipal employees to deal with them
In the event of an emergency or to report hazards, it is possible to call the Municipal call center, tel. 106,
or to the security and rescue services, as needed
(Police – 100;
Magen David Adom – 101;
Fire and Rescue Services – 102;
Electricity Corporation – 103).
Photo credit: Amos Fridlin
President Rivlin this evening (Thursday, 15 January 2015) addressed the swearing-in ceremony, at the President's Residence, for new President of the Supreme Court, Justice Miriam Naor, and the conclusion of the presidency of Justice Asher Grunis.
The President opened his remarks by saying, "The democratic system is a system with a body and soul, where one cannot exist without the other. One of the most important elements at the heart of democracy is trust. Public trust in the government systems and in particular in the organs of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial systems. Public trust is the essence of a democracy's strength or weakness, as it reflects the agreement between citizens, and between citizens and the government. An absence of public confidence in the public system is a death blow to democracy. It causes a lack of participation in the democratic process, and the erosion of the legitimacy of the government and its institutions."
The President added, "A democratic society is based primarily on the value of trust; it is built on progression and not revolutions. It is constructed through social processes, both explicit and implicit, which occur over time. A sound democratic regime is one that polishes and sharpens its path, by way of debate; by way of cooperation and dialogue, and while constantly checking and reviewing the boundaries and powers of all authorities involved in it. A democracy that has no constitution will always be lacking. In this reality the importance of the Supreme Court is reinforced; as the defender of minority rights, as well as majority rights, and addresses the plaintiffs equality before the law. However, it is exactly in this kind of democracy that it is important to formulate fundamental principles and constitutional traditions, through a process and by means of cross-fertilization, and mutual respect between the authorities, and through a fundamental, comprehensive, and constitutional discussion. It is important for us all to remember that if a sudden jolt undermines the process; and if exchanges and accusations replace balance and mutual restraint the only casualty is the Israeli democracy."
The President referred to the issue of a Basic Law on legislation and said, "Today, more than ever, I believe, a 'Basic Law on Legislation', is a necessity. Becasue, even if it does not provide us with a constitution, it will for the first time at least set out the rules of the game. The law will regulate the status of the Basic Laws; will ensure the judicial review, which in reality prevails today; and will allow new legislation of laws for a limited period that were not accepted in the judicial review, with a special majority. I believe that only through this Basic Law will we stop the attempts of the court to cross into the Knesset's jurisdiction. I believe that only through this law, can we guarantee that we will not find ourselves standing tomorrow or the day after, with the need to establish a constitutional court. After all, we all understand that the establishment of a political court for the constitution would not be the beginning of the end of Israeli democracy, but the end itself.
The President congratulated the outgoing Supreme Court President, Justice Asher Grunis, and thanked him for his work and leadership. He said, "My friend, the discretion, restraint and moderation which has characterized the years of your term as a Judge and your days as President of the Supreme Court, has brought some greatly anticipated calm to the Israeli ship of democracy. After many and painful years with highly publicized struggles between the Knesset and the Court, you have succeeded in restoring some stability to the relationship between the authorities. This is in no small way due to the humility by which you have led the Courts, and the honest respect you have given the legislature, its leader, and its spokesperson, while not detracting from the firm stand taken by the Supreme Court on human rights, civil rights and minorities, as well as the integrity of the public system. Your greatest strength, is expressed in the delicate navigation of the sensitive system of checks and balances between the authorities, and in finding the balance between them. The secret to achieving this balance is the true guarantee of democracy and the real guarantee of public trust. You have acted not only out of respect for public officials, but also out of respect for the public itself. The release of the bottleneck; shortening the duration of the procedures and improving service – these are the principles for which you fought, and struggled. Through these you strengthened the position and status of the Supreme Court, as a fort and protector of minorities' interests, as well for any who stand at its door, the Israeli hall of Justice.
"We were blessed with a President who was knowledgeable about the secret to maintaining the balance between authorities and as we are blessed with an incoming President who is also versed in this secret, we cannot forget the danger of an absence of regulation of the relations between the legislative and judicial branch. We have to consider that in the absence of a Basic Law on legislation we are facing a reality, whereby again and again the legislative branch and the judicial branch are at odds with each other. The 'Jewish-State Law' was the latest chapter in a series of these collisions; whereby the Knesset tried to ensure that the court will take preference of one aspect of the State of Israel over another; the Jewish and the democratic nature; the democratic and the Jewish nature. We see that in these cases the only victim is Israeli democracy."
The President also welcomed the incoming Supreme Court President, Justice Miriam Naor, "Today you enter one of the holiest of holies of Israeli democracy. Starting today you carry a huge responsibility on your shoulders, for the well-being, status and functioning of the Israeli legal system and the Supreme Court. Your name, as a judge in various courts, from the Magistrates' Court to the Supreme Court; your intelligence, dignity and abilities – have been recognized at home and from afar. The challenge laid before you is awesome and mighty. I have no doubt that you know to lead the Supreme Court and other courts with discretion and humility, and that you will know how to preserve both the body and soul of Israeli democracy. I hope that during your term will be found a formula that will define the boundaries of all the authorities, and I believe that the solution is already there. This will not only be a declarative achievement, but a vital achievement which will establish the defensive boundary of Israeli democracy, and establish public confidence in the entire government system in Israel."
In his address, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "A democracy that values life, must be strong, from inside and out. Therefore, we must continually reinforce the powers of the country's democratic authorities; primarily the legal system must be strong and independent. The Supreme Court is the pillar of democracy. Moreover, it is a beacon of justice and morality to rival any freedom-loving and law abiding state. It weaves together the Jewish and democratic principles, balancing our needs of sovereignty, also ensuring the Jewish character of the State of Israel and strict protection of human dignity and freedom. Just look at the harsh region around us. In so much of it, there is no room for differences of opinion, or disputes, or for the checks and balances which are the foundation of democracy. There, there is only one way of life, and one permitted truth, enforced by the sword. They long for the Middle Ages, while we choose the future. They have a legacy of tyranny and fanaticism, and we have a legacy of justice."
Outgoing Supreme Court President Grunis said, "In recent years, a bad habit has taken root whereby unsubstantiated criticism is made against judgments, as a tool for gaining political capital. Sometimes it is done while hurling personal insults at judges. Such conduct constitutes an attack on our democratic regime and affects public confidence in the judiciary. All judges act out of a sense of deep devotion. We judge any proceeding before us by our conscience, and according to the law. We find it difficult to defend ourselves against irrelevant criticism since as judges, in my view, we are supposed to speak only through court rulings."
Incoming Supreme Court President Naor said, "In my position as President of the Supreme Court I will act to guard the independence of the court system, the independence of which is a necessary condition for proper verdicts and bringing about justice. Israel can take pride in the fact that its judges are independent, and not pressured by anything but the law and truth. In fact, the public has an interest in real independence, even if the result of this procedure is not seen by part of the public. Knowing that any issue can be brought in front of independent judges brings many, including Knesset members from across the political spectrum, to appeal to the High Court of Justice."
Also in attendance were Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, head of the opposition MK Yitzhak Herzog, past and present Supreme Court justices, Governor of the Bank of Israel Dr. Karnit Flug, and members of the courts.
Photo Kobi Gideon GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Wednesday, 14 January 2015), met with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo y Marfil. Intelligence Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz also attended the meeting. At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister made the following remarks:
"I just came back from Paris where I marched with Prime Minister Rajoy and other world leaders in a show of unity against terrorism.
I know that you've experiences terrorist attacks. You had, I think, a decade ago, it was a great attack of terrorism, and of course we support it in Israel, all the efforts of the Spanish people to fight this. We think this is a common battle, and I think the march on the streets of Paris was a reflection of a desire to see unity in the battle against terrorism.
I have to say that marching is not enough. We have to fight the terrorists, and we also have to fight the inconsistencies in battling terrorists. Because I think the war of terror can only be won if we defeat the hypocrisy that is attached to it.
And I particularly refer to the statements made yesterday by the Turkish President Erdogan. He said that Israel should not have been represented in the march in Paris, and the reason he gave were the actions we took to defend ourselves against the thousands of rockets launched at our cities by Hamas terrorists.
I think these actions, these statements of the Turkish President should be reputed by all those who want to carry on the fight against terrorism. Because I think this battle requires clarity: Those who perpetrate terrorists and those who support them should be condemned, and those who fight terrorism should be supported.
I think that's the first stage. Everything else follows from it, and I hope that we'll continue our common battle against terrorism and against radical Islam that threatens our common civilization."
Photo by Kobi Gideon, GPO
Peres responded to Kim Jong Un's video message this morning and to the news of the renewal of relations between the United States and Cuba.
Happy New Year, to each and every one of you. We are departing from a very dramatic year during which we suffered from great evils but also enjoyed great achievements. We are entering a year full of expectation and hope. It looks to me that the year to come is already full with wishes to make this world of peace, a world of equality and a world of tolerance, where values are more important than material achievements.
I can see some surprising developments, if the leader of North Korea calls to meet the leaders of South Korea, then it's a welcome call. If the beautiful Cuba and the United States of America are renewing their good relations, it's a moment of promise. And even here in the Middle East, while there is still bloodshed and suffering, I can see a desire to depart from it and make the Middle East great again, like it has been and like it should be. A holy place, a place of peace. A year in which we bring an end to terror and beginning cooperation. Despite all the pessimism, I assure you that most of the people understand that pessimism leads nowhere. We can pray and we have the right to. We can move forward, we have the capacity to do so. And it seems that more and more leaders understand that to be a leader is to lead to a better world, to justice, equality and hope. Let's pray together. Let's understand that to be different is not a negative. Let's understand that to go together and bring peace is a possibility that must not be postponed. I particularly want to wish a Happy New Year to Pope Francis, who is a Pope of hope and peace, for all the Christians but not only for the Christians, for all us. God bless you. Happy New Year to all of you.
Photo by Kobi Gideon, GPO