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Barak Skeptical of Iran Agreement


Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday expressed doubt over the value of an agreement reached between IAEA and Iran.

"It appears that the Iranians are trying to reach a 'technical agreement' which will create the impression of progress in the talks, in order to remove some of the pressure before the [P5+1] talks tomorrow in Baghdad; as well as to put off the intensification of sanctions. They want to reduce some of the pressure ahead of tomorrow's talks in Baghdad," Barak said.

Iran has previously said its goal in talks with the P5+1 is the removal of crippling Western sanctions that have deeply impacted the Islamic Republic's economy. Over the weekend, the G8 affirmed there would be no easing of sanctions until Iran signed an agreement the world powers deemed suitable concerning its controversial nuclear program.

The P5+1 - the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany - has indicated it expects Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20%, ship all uranium enriched to 20% outside of the country, and to shut down its nearly impenetrable Fordow enrichment facility.

It also expects Iran to allow the IAEA full access to all of its nuclear facilities in accordance with Tehran's obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Barak said, "Israel believes that Iran should be set a clear bar; so that there is no 'window or crack' which the Iranians can [creep] through to advance their military nuclear program. Iran must stop enriching uranium, both to 20% and to 3.5%. In addition, all enriched uranium should be removed from Iran, under the tight protocol, called IAEA protocol 3.1.

"If Iran retains a token amount of several hundred kilograms of uranium enriched at 3.5%, it should be closely monitored. It must be certain, at any given moment, that Iran does not have sufficient uranium to pursue nuclear weapons," he said.

"Even if the Iranians are allowed to hold a symbolic amount – a few hundred kilograms of 3.5% enriched uranium – it needs to be under tight supervision. This will guarantee that at any given moment, the Iranians will not have enough uranium to enable the development of a military nuclear [program]," he explained.

"It is forbidden to make concessions to Iran," Barak said, echoing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's tough line on Iran. "The requirements of the world powers must be clear and unequivocal."

Rabbis to EU Ambassador: Torah Doesn't Allow Giving Up Land


A senior delegation of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) met on Tuesday with Ambassador Andrew Standley, the Head of the European Union in Israel, to present the Torah view on the issue of giving up land to the Arabs.

The rabbis made it clear that the majority of rabbis in Israel and abroad are of the opinion that it is absolutely forbidden to give up an inch of land to the Arabs. The rabbis cited the Halakha in the Jewish Code of Law Chapter 329 that the sanctity of life overrides all other considerations and giving up land has proven more than once that it leads to violence, bloodshed and instability.

"As rabbis we are committed to peace and promote peace, but a true and lasting peace, not one that will blow up in our faces before the ink of the agreement has a chance to dry," they told the ambassador.

Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin, Director-General of the RCP, asked the ambassador how long the EU will continue the futile exercise of supporting a "territory for peace" formula, which has proven over and over again that it is really "territory for terror. The EU is urging Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders. We did that in Gaza and what did we get? 10,000 missiles? Do you want that to happen in Judea and Samaria too?" Lewin asked Standley.

Rabbi Shlomo Rosenfeld, the rabbi of Shadmot Mehula in the Jordan Valley, emphasized that it is precisely the EU, that represents the European countries where the Holocaust took place, must feel the responsibility for a secure Israel.

"What is happening today in Israel is an extension of the Holocaust," he told Standley. "The Jewish people are again being made a scapegoat for the lack of world peace while the Palestinian terrorists and murderers are depicted as innocent peace seekers. I want to state in no uncertain terms that the EU's one sided support of the Palestinian demands is an extension of the Holocaust."

Standley listened attentively to the rabbis and thanked them for coming to present the Torah view. He said that it is hard to argue with the rabbis, since they live in Israel and feel the heat on a daily basis, while he will only be in Israel for a few years before moving on to another. Standley added, however, that while the Jewish people are bound by the Torah which is eternal, he and the EU are bound by international law which has not yet accepted laws of the Torah.

Last month, Standley made it clear that the EU continues to regard Israel's presence in the Jewish people's ancestral homeland as "occupation. They [Judea and Samaria] are indeed occupied territory under international law, where Israel is the occupying power," he told Arutz Sheva.

"Under international humanitarian law, the Geneva Conventions, the occupying power has certain obligations and certain prohibitions, including having its population settle the occupied territory," he added. "And this is why, under international law, including the interpretation of the European Union, it has... there should not be settlement by Israel or by Israelis in the occupied territory."

At the same time, Standley denied that the EU takes an anti-Israel position, saying that his opinion is that Europe was solicitous over Israel's security. The EU is not anti-Israel and views the two state solution as the best way out, he said.

Last week, as part of EU's assessment of its partnership with 12 neighboring countries, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton listed a set of characteristically harsh `recommendations' regarding relations with Israel.

The recommendations include a call on Israel "to continue to step up its efforts to minimize settler violence in the occupied Palestinian territory and to bring all perpetrators to justice" and "address the excessive use of administrative detention."

Ashton previously made a skewed comparison between the lethal, unprovoked shooting attack at a Jewish school in Toulouse and the unintended deaths of children in Gaza when Israel attempts to stop missile launchings and apprehend terrorists. She later categorically denied making that comparison.

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