Newsletter : 9fax0617.txt
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Arens: PA State is 'Fantasy'
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's stated goal of creating a demilitarized PA-led Arab
state is "a fantasy," former Defense Minister Moshe Arens said Tuesday. The PA is clearly
unable to meet the conditions that Netanyahu and most Israelis believe it
must meet before Israel gives up territory, he said.
Arens praised Netanyahu for insisting that Jerusalem remain Israel's unified capital,
and for giving voice to the need for normal life to continue in Jewish towns in Judea and
Netanyahu Tells CBS: I Have Opened the Door to Peace
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told CBS News Tuesday that he has opened the door to
peace by declaring Israel's readiness to see a Palestinian state created alongside a
"I'm disappointed because I took a step, not an easy step," the prime minister said
when asked whether he was disappointed by the negative Arab response to the foreign policy
address which he delivered on Sunday. "And I said, 'Here's what we are prepared to do for
peace. We're prepared to have a Palestinian state next to a Jewish state.'
"I think this is an equitable formula for peace. It's one that enjoys enormous unity in
the in the Israeli public and I think among Israel's friends and supporters abroad and the
supporters of peace abroad," he said.
"So, yes, I supposed I'd like a better response. And maybe it'll sink in over time. But
I think I've opened the door for peace. And I hope that the Palestinians and the Arab
world respond to it."
Bending to U.S. pressure, Netanyahu unveiled his peace policy for the first time in an
address at Bar Ilan University on Sunday, backing down on decades of opposition to
Palestinian statehood by endorsing an independent - but demilitarized - state beside
President Barack Obama has welcomed Netanyahu's endorsement of Palestinian independence
as a way to restart peace talks and called on Arab neighbors to join the discussion and
downplayed criticism of the prime minister's remarks.
When asked by CBS how he expects Palestinians to rein in their extremist elements
without a military, Netanyahu said: "Well, there is a long-standing agreement on a strong
security force, on a strong police force, which is sufficient to deal with
Israel must have the right to halt rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and the illegal flow
of weapons, Netanyahu told CBS. "We want to make sure that we have security arrangements
and effective monitoring that prevent that," he said.
"That's an essential part of demilitarization. And I think anybody who is grounded in
the real world and how things really operate here in the Middle East would say that Israel
has every right to expect that the Palestinian state would be demilitarized. That I think
is an essential component of peace."
With regard to the U.S. demand for a total freeze of settlement construction in the
West Bank, Netanyahu reiterated his remarks that Israel would "not build new settlements,
that we won't expropriate additional land for the existing settlements."
He told CBS that he hopes that Israel and the U.S. "can find a common position on this
because we'd like to move the peace process forward. We'd like to put it behind us and get
on with peace negotiations, direct between us and the Palestinians."
When asked whether he would be willing to freeze settlements altogether, Netanyahu said
such a decision must be left until a final agreement is reached with the Palestinians.
"I think the question of-not expanding the territory is different from the freezing
life," he said. "You know, you have children there. You have babies that are born. What do
you do with them? You have to give them kindergartens. You have to give them schools. Can
you build a classroom or not? Can you build a kindergarten or not?
"What we talked about is just continuing normal life without prejudging the territorial
outcome, without grabbing new land. I don't want to grab new land," he added. "We really
want to have people live normal lives until that final peace agreement is reached. Then
we'll decide on the rest."
Carter: Gaza Palestinians Treated Like Animals
By Reuters, IsraelNationalNews.com & WorldNetDaily.com
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are being "treated more like animals than human beings",
former President Jimmy Carter said on Tuesday.
On a visit to the enclave, he condemned Israel's January bombardment of Gaza and its
continuing trade blockade, which he said forbids even children's toys. "I understand that
even paper and crayons are treated as a security hazard," he told Gazans at a local United
Nations office. "I sought an explanation of this when I met with Israeli officials and I
received none, because there is no explanation."
Carter, 84, has spent far more years as a human rights activist than he did in the
White House from 1977 to 1981. He is easily the most outspoken former U.S. president on
the Middle East conflict, and seen by many Israelis as a harsh critic. He ignored a U.S.
government ban on dealings with Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas and had talks with its
Israel tightened a blockade on Gaza in 2007 when Hamas took control after routing rival
Fatah forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, who favors a peace deal with Israel. In
late December, Israeli forces bombed then invaded Gaza, devastating its already battered
Since then, Israel has blocked imports of steel, cement and other goods to the
population of 1.5 million Palestinians, saying Hamas could use many items for military
Carter, a Democrat, said he had seen for himself there had been almost no
reconstruction in Gaza over the past five months. "Never before in history has a large
community like this been savaged by bombs and missiles and then been deprived of the means
to repair itself," he said.
The Obama Administration should remove Hamas from the terrorist list, Carter told media
following Tuesday's visit to Gaza. He said he plans on pushing for the change when he
meets with U.S. officials on Thursday to discuss his latest trip to the Middle East.
Carter's comments came during a joint press conference with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
following their meeting in Gaza. The former president said he tried to convince Hamas
leaders to denounce violence, accept the existing interim agreements and recognize the
right of the Jewish state to exist.
"Hamas leaders want peace and they want to have reconciliation not only with their
Fatah brothers but also eventually with Israelis to live side by side, with two nations,
both sovereign nations recognized by each other and living in peace," Carter said.
Haniyeh told Carter that he supported any plan that aims at preserving Arab rights and
leads to the establishment of a sovereign Arab state on all the territories that were
occupied by Israel in 1967 "with Jerusalem as its capital." He urged Carter to pressure
Israel to lift the security blockade which was imposed on Gaza's border crossings to
prevent weapons smuggling.
During his visit Carter handed over a letter from kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad
Shalit's parents and asked the group to deliver it on humanitarian grounds. He shared his
version of a prisoner swap proposal which included releasing PA women, children, and
parliament members he claimed were being held by Israel.
Hamas said that it is considering passing a letter to captured soldier Gilad Shalit.
Haniyeh said Hamas desired to end the Shalit case and welcomed Carter's mediation
Israeli and Palestinian Authority media presented conflicting reports regarding an
attempted assassination of Carter during his visit to Gaza. Ma'ariv quoted an unidentified
"Palestinian security source" as saying that Hamas militiamen neutralized two explosive
devices placed along the route Carter's motorcade was to travel in northern Gaza.
The bombs were reportedly placed near the Erez Crossing after Carter had already passed
through, indicating an intention to strike at the former U.S. president on his way out of
Gaza. The newspaper claimed that Hamas sappers and other security forces responded to the
scene and eliminated the threat.
Contradicting the Ma'ariv report, however, a spokesman for the Hamas police force in
Gaza said that his forces found no bombs along the route to Erez Crossing. Islam Shahwan
confirmed that there was a brief suspicion of explosive devices placed along Carter's
travel route, but insisted that a sweep of the area turned up no security breaches.
Carter reportedly passed a message to Hamas from the Obama administration, according to
senior sources in the Islamist group. The sources did not disclose the content of the
purported message or whether the communication was written or oral. They spoke on
condition of anonymity, because they said Hamas had not yet reached a decision on
officially releasing the information they were divulging.
Separately, in an interview with WND today, Ahmed Yousef, Hamas' chief political
adviser in Gaza, refused to confirm or deny that any message was passed to his group from
the White House.
Youssef said, however, Carter is the "right person" to serve as a middle man between
Hamas and the Obama administration. "If we have anything to communicate, Carter will be
the right person to convey messages from the movement (Hamas) to this (Obama)
administration or from the administration to the movement," said Yousef, speaking from
Israeli Foreign Aid to Diaspora Communities?
A majority of Israelis are in favor of using their tax money to support Diaspora Jewish
communities, according to a recent poll by B'nai Brith. The survey of Israeli attitudes to
Diaspora Jewry was conducted by the B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem and will be
presented on Wednesday at the Begin Heritage Center.
In total, nearly 60 percent of Jewish Israelis support the State of Israel providing
basic services like education, health care and food to Diaspora Jewish communities that
are struggling due to the recent global economic situation. Among the youngest age bracket
polled - 18-24 - support stood at a staggering 73 percent.
Also expressing overwhelming approval (around 70 percent) for such Jewish foreign aid
were Ichud Leumi (National Union), Shas and Likud party voters. Kadima and Meretz party
voters expressed much less support for the idea, at 49 percent and 37 percent
Thirty-six percent of those polled were against sending Israeli tax revenues to
overseas Jewish communities.
Regarding the American Jewish community, 46 percent of Israeli Jews believe that
American Jewish organizations are not doing enough to ease tensions between the Obama
Administration and the Netanyahu government. Only 23 percent say the organizations are
On the other hand, 57 percent of Israelis believe that American organizations that
lobby the US government on Israel's behalf should always support the policies of the
current Israeli government, whatever they may be. Just under one-third of those polled
said such lobbying organizations should be free to openly oppose Israeli policies of which
Similarly, a majority of Israelis (53 percent) think that Diaspora Jewry should
consider the opinions of Israelis when deciding issues such as who to vote for or which
policies to support when those decisions can impact Israel's future. On the flip side,
only 40 percent believe that Israelis should consider the opinions of Diaspora Jewry when
deciding issues affecting Israel's future.
Israelis were somewhat contradictory in their approach to Diaspora religious movements.
While 54 percent of those polled said they support equal status and funding in Israel for
Reform and Conservative streams, most opposed incorporating two key elements of Reform
policy into Israeli society. Thirty-six percent opposed the idea.
Fifty-seven percent of Israeli Jews support defining a natural-born Jew as "someone
whose mother is Jewish," the traditional Halachic (Jewish legal) definition. Only 39
percent support the notion that "a Jew is someone whose mother or father is Jewish," the
Reform position on the issue.
Oy Vay, My Shtreimel
A Knesset member has decried a proposed ban on the import of fur, which would eliminate
the traditional fur hats worn by ultra-orthodox Jews.If approved, the traditional fur
hats, or shtreimels, worn by male members of the communities would be outlawed, Ma'ariv
The proposed amendment to the animal welfare bill, which has gained support in the
Cabinet, would ban importing products made of cat, dog and rabbit fur, as well as furs
imported from Southeast Asia, the newspaper said. Those violating the law could face up to
a year in prison, Ma'ariv said.
Parliamentarian Menachem Eliezer Moses, a member of the ultra-orthodox United Torah
Judaism party, said it was inconceivable to support a bill outlawing such an important
"Oy vay, you will send thousands of haredim to prison. The proposed bill will bring a
halt to the importing of shtreimels to Israel; it is inconceivable that anyone could
support it," he told the newspaper. Moses said while he does not object entirely to the
proposed bill, he would like it to exclude the shtreimel.
The shtreimel is worn by married men, particularly those affiliated with Hassidic
communities, on holidays and the Sabbath. It is made of a circular velvet center
surrounded by fur.
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