(thejewess: Barak: We will negotiate with Hamas if they drop terror http://t.co/8GUFZ9mR #JPOST @JIDF 12 minutes ago from Twitter)(jpost.com) Israel will continue negotiating with a PA unity government if Hamas agrees to Quartet conditions and dismantles its terror infrastructure, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with Israel Radio Tuesday.
“The continuation of the peace process is in the interest of Israel, the Palestinians and the world,” Barak said. “If Hamas adopts the Quartet’s conditions and dismantles its terror infrastructure, we will negotiate with them.”
“We won’t bury our heads in the sand and we won’t give up on Israel’s security interests,” the defense minister elaborated.
Emphasizing that Israel was preparing for all possible scenarios, from successful negotiations to the outbreak of violence, Barak said, “We must be prepared to shake hands with our left hand and have our finger on the trigger with our right hand.”
22 July ’11
I’d like to add to Michael’s excellent reasons for why Israel shouldn’t apologize to Turkey about last year’s raid on a Turkish-sponsored flotilla to Gaza. As Michael noted, apologizing won’t restore the strategic alliance, because Turkey has made a strategic foreign-policy choice that precludes alliance with Israel. But apologizing wouldn’t merely be ineffective, it would be downright harmful – to both of Israel’s stated goals.
First, Israel wants to improve relations with Turkey. But by proving that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bullying tactics work – that Ankara can actively undermine every Israeli interest while promoting vicious anti-Israel sentiment at home, and Israel will still come crawling –apologizing will ensure more of the same.
Erdogan openly supports Hamas, which he insists isn’t a terrorist organization; his government actively backed last year’s flotilla, and he now plans a state visit to Gaza. He worked to block UN sanctions on Iran, then undermined them by boosting Turkey’s gasoline exports to Tehran. He reportedly promised arms to Hezbollah. He insisted that NATO’s planned missile-defense system not give Israel information on Iran. He deemed Israel’s 2009 war with Hamas in Gaza worse than the genocide in Darfur.
He also foments anti-Israel sentiment at home. An Israeli theater was forced to cancel an appearance in Turkey after Ankara said it wouldn’t stop radical Islamists from disrupting the performance. Israel cyclists were barred from an international bike race in Turkey because Syria and Iraq said their teams wouldn’t participate if Israel did. A Turkish-Israeli concert for religious tolerance was canceled after IHH, the viciously anti-Israel group behind the flotilla, insisted. As Turkish columnist Burak Bekdil noted, these and many similar incidents aren’t coincidental; they reflect “the systematic injection of Islamist sentiments about Israel into the minds of younger, ordinary Turks, especially in the past two and a half years” of Erdogan’s reign.
By apologizing, Israel would essentially say that none of the above precludes Turkey from being a valued ally. And if so, not only would Erdogan have no incentive to change his behavior, neither would any of his successors.
Yet Israel also has a second goal: sparing its soldiers facing legal action over the nine Turks killed in the raid. Its attorney general is thus reportedly pushing for an apology, bizarrely claiming this would preclude civil or criminal suits.
In reality, however, an Israeli admission of culpability – the only kind of apology Turkey would accept (it repeatedly rejected Israel’s offer to express mere “regret”) – would make legal action more likely. Absent such an admission, Israel has a strong case: A UN report due out later this month reportedly concluded that Israel’s blockade of Gaza was legal, that it had the right to intercept the flotilla and that its soldiers opened fire in self-defense, though it also found they used excessive force. But once Israel admits culpability, it has no case. And even if Ankara promises not to pursue legal action itself, it can’t stop flotilla passengers or their relatives from doing so –which, since most belonged to IHH, they presumably would.
In short, apologizing would undermine Israel’s own interests twice over. It’s high time for Jerusalem to recognize that the clock on Turkey can’t be turned back.
why doesn’t Turkey apologize for killing Kurds?
After more than a year of refusing to do so, Israel’s defenseless ‘defense minister’ wants to apologize to the Turkish Islamist terrorists who tried to murder IDF soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara in May of last year (Hat Tip: Joshua I).
Internal discussions between defense officials and Justice Ministry officials over the past few weeks have suggested that a cautious apology could stop possible lawsuits by Turkish organizations against Israel Defense Forces officers and bring the affair to an end.
A report by the UN-sponsored Palmer Committee on the incident, of which Israel received a draft earlier this month, is scheduled to be released in a few weeks. The report focuses on the events of May 31, 2010, when nine Turkish nationals were killed and dozens of participants were wounded after Israeli commandos took over the ship, which was part of a flotilla to Gaza.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been trying to reach a compromise between Turkey and Israel.
The committee has accepted Israel’s claim – as has the Turkel committee which investigated the incident (where there were two foreign observers ) – that Israel’s maritime closure of the Gaza Strip is legal, and that Israel acted lawfully in deciding to stop the flotilla.
However, the report harshly criticized the way Israel acted in doing so; these actions led to the deaths of nine Turks, members of the radical Islamic group IHH, who were shot by Israeli naval commandos aboard the Mavi Marmara.
The committee determined that Israel used excessive force and said deaths could have been prevented in several cases – although participants armed with clubs and iron rods attacked the commanders as they descended from a helicopter to the ship.
Well, look at the picture above. It’s a picture of an IHH terrorist with a live weapons. The morons at the Defense Ministry just released it last month, even though they have known about it forever (in fact, they did not want to release it at all). Was that picture before the Palmer Commission when they decided that the IDF used excessive force in response to Islamist terror?
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has recently come out publicly against an apology, which he said would humiliate Israel and serve as a blow to national pride. Defense officials counter that an apology now will prevent legal problems later for officers and soldiers.
Lieberman is right and no, it won’t. The pictures are out there. Keep reading.
Photographs of several IDF personnel involved in the raid have been posted on the Internet and are now in the hands of leftist and Islamic groups in Europe. Defense and justice officials have expressed concern that these groups will take steps similar to those of British pro-Palestinian groups, which have prevented senior Israeli officials from entering Britain for quite some time.
In this case, however, a ban would extend to young soldiers who took part in the raid, many of whom are about to be released from the army and are planning trips abroad.
So we’re going to humiliate the IDF in the hope that they can peacefully join 60,000 other Israelis doing drugs on the beaches of India? Brilliant….
Senior defense officials told Haaretz that Israel has a major stake in improving relations with Turkey in light of Turkey’s standing in the region, its past economic relationship with Israel and the opportunity to renew defense-related export to Turkey.
Although these views do not represent the Defense Ministry’s official stance, Defense Minister Ehud Barak intimated as much in an interview last week on Channel 1: “From a strategic point of view, we have an interest in smoothing things over with Turkey,” Barak said. “National pride is important [but] in the end, we have to understand that we have other interests here … Turkey can have an important role in issues relating to Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Hamas.”
After the way Turkey has behaved for the last two years, only ‘Israel’s most decorated soldier’ – who is rumored to have slept through the biggest battle of his military career – who tried to give much of the country away to Yasser Arafat in 2000-01, could believe that Islamist Turkey has a role to play on our behalf.
What could go wrong?
a lot could go wrong with an apology. There is no benefit here. Forget the direct humiliation for a second and think… what was the real purpose of the flotilla in the first place? The intent was to humiliate so that Israel’s integrity was disrespected. That was the entire reason for the altercation. Right now Israel looks pretty good to those who are not biased. by threatening or showing signs that they will apologize Israel could hurt it’s own ability in the future to protect itself and it’s citizens. This is a real problem. If you have people in the government who really think they should apologize then they really need to be thrown out of their position. Are not these the same people who agreed to force these young IDF heroes to show up on the boat with paintball guns? This is really sick to now apologize.
The United States Senate and House of Representatives treated Bibi like a Rock Star, but you would not know it from the Progressive newspaper of record, the New York Times headline proclaimed:
“Israelis See Netanyahu Trip as Diplomatic Failure.”
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel returned from Washington on Wednesday to a nearly unanimous assessment among Israelis that despite his forceful defense of Israel’s security interests, hopes were dashed that his visit might advance peace negotiations with the Palestinians.”
Two new polls prove the NY Times report about Israeli reaction was totally biased.
A poll conduced by the liberal Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz which reported the positive Israeli reaction to Netanyahu’s trip.
“Ha’aretz Poll: Netanyahu’s Popularity Soaring Following Washington Trip”
“A new poll conducted by Dialog, under the supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs of the Tel Aviv University Statistics Department, showed that 47% of the Israeli public believes Netanyahu’s U.S. trip was a success, while only 10% viewed it as a failure.”
The moderate Jerusalem post conducted its own poll conducted after Obama’s Speech to AIPAC:
When asked in the poll whether they saw Obama’s administration as more pro-Israel, more pro-Palestinian or neutral, just 12 percent of Israeli Jews surveyed said more pro-Israel, while 40% said more pro-Palestinian, 34% said neutral and 13% did not express an opinion.
Other polls taken after the Netanyahu trip agree with the other two:
A Telesker poll published in Ma’ariv on Wednesday found that the Likud had strengthened against Kadima. The poll predicted that the Likud would rise from 27 to 30 Knesset seats, while Kadima would fall from 28 to 27.
Asked who was more fit to be prime minister, 36.9% said Netanyahu; 28.3% said Kadima leader Tzipi Livni; 9.2% said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of Israel Beiteinu; 2.6% said Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Independence; and 18.2% answered none of the above.
A Sarid Institute poll broadcast on Channel 2 Tuesday night found that 38% of Israelis found Netanyahu most fit to be prime minister, and 35% Livni. The poll found that the Likud had grown in support at Kadima’s expense.
If the NY Times had any interest in the truth it would have declared that Israelis saw the Netanyahu trip as a success, and as a result the Likud party grew in support. But the truth isn’t the story the progressive media wanted to convey. They wanted to brand the Netanyahu trip as an object failure for the Israeli PM, after all he had dared to “school” the precious infallible President.
Despite AIPAC speech, 40% of 600 Jewish Israelis deem US administration pro-Palestinian in ‘Jerusalem Post’/Smith poll.US President Barack Obama’s attempt to portray himself as pro-Israel in a
high-profile speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Sunday
did not succeed, according to a Smith Research poll sponsored by The Jerusalem
The speech was intended to correct impressions that he was hostile
toward Israel, which may have been reinforced by a landmark address about the
Middle East that he delivered at the State Department last Thursday, and by a
tense press conference at the White House on Friday with Prime Minister Binyamin
In the AIPAC speech, Obama chose not to specifically rule out
the “return” to Israel of millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees, and
did not announce his first visit to Israel as president, as many hoped he would.
But he did insist that Israel must remain the Jewish “homeland,” indicating
opposition to the Palestinian demand for refugees’ “return, spoke about Jews’
yearning for Israel through the centuries, listed many ways in which his
administration was helping Israel and clarified his position on creating a
Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps.
When asked in the poll
whether they saw Obama’s administration as more pro-Israel, more pro-Palestinian
or neutral, just 12 percent of Israeli Jews surveyed said more pro-Israel, while
40% said more pro-Palestinian, 34% said neutral and 13% did not express an
Still, the poll found that the gap between Israelis who say the
administration is pro-Palestinian and those deeming it pro-Israel has narrowed
since previous surveys.
The poll of 600 Jewish Israelis, representing a
statistical sample of the adult Jewish population, was taken on Monday and
Tuesday and had a 4-percentage point margin of error.
defined themselves at the left end of the political map were more likely than
others to deem the Obama administration more pro-Israel – 28% compared to 12%.
Among Kadima supporters, 37% said the administration was more pro-Palestinian;
19% said it was more pro-Israel.
The respondents most likely to label the
Obama administration as more pro- Palestinian were Orthodox Israelis, at 58%,
and right-wing respondents, at 53%. Among Likud supporters, 49% said the
administration was more pro-Palestinian; 11% said it was more
The question asked was exactly the same as in five previous
polls sponsored by this newspaper since May 2009.
The first poll, which
was taken before the first Netanyahu-Obama meeting in the White House – and
Obama’s landmark speech in Cairo in June 2009 – found that 31% considered his
presidency more pro- Israel, and 14% more pro-Palestinian.
The next poll,
taken just one month later, found a huge shift, with the proportion calling the
Obama administration more pro-Palestinian rising from 14% to 50%, and the
proportion calling it more pro-Israel falling from 31% to only 6%.
calling the Obama presidency more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian fell in August
2009 to 4%, and rose to 9% in March 2010.
Since then, the share who
consider this White House more pro-Israel has risen gradually and slightly,
while the percentage saying it is more pro-Palestinian has gradually
Polls taken in March and July 2010 found that 9% and 10%,
respectively, called the administration more pro- Israel; 48% and 46%,
respectively, called it more pro-Palestinian.
The gap between Israelis
calling the administration more pro-Palestinian and more pro-Israel has fallen
from 47% in August 2009 to 28% this week.
Obama fared better in a Dialog
poll published by Haaretz on Thursday, which found that a quarter of the public
considers him friendly to Israel, while 20% called him hostile and 43% described
him as “businesslike.”
The Dialog poll found that 47% of the Israeli
public deemed Netanyahu’s trip to Washington a success, while only 10% viewed it
as a failure.
Nearly half of the public felt pride at seeing Netanyahu
address Congress on Tuesday, while only 5% deemed it a “missed
The proportion of the population expressing satisfaction
with Netanyahu’s performance as prime minister rose from 38% in the last Haaretz
poll five weeks ago, to 51%.
Other polls also indicated a rise in support
for Netanyahu and his Likud Party since his speeches in Washington.
Telesker poll published in Ma’ariv on Wednesday found that the Likud had
strengthened against Kadima. The poll predicted that the Likud would rise from
27 to 30 Knesset seats, while Kadima would fall from 28 to 27.
was more fit to be prime minister, 36.9% said Netanyahu; 28.3% said Kadima
leader Tzipi Livni; 9.2% said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of Israel
Beiteinu; 2.6% said Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Independence; and 18.2%
answered none of the above.
A Sarid Institute poll broadcast on Channel 2
Tuesday night found that 38% of Israelis found Netanyahu most fit to be prime
minister, and 35% Livni. The poll found that the Likud had grown in support at
Since the last poll taken by the institute during a
crisis over gas prices, Kadima fell by five seats and Likud rose by
The poll found that if an election were held now, Likud would win
34 seats (up seven from the last election in February 2009); and Kadima 29 (up
A Geocartographic Institute poll broadcast on Channel 1 Tuesday
night predicted that the Likud would win 33 seats, and Kadima 22. According to
that survey, 61% of Jewish Israelis oppose Obama’s formula of the 1967 lines
with land swaps as a basis for an agreement with the Palestinians, while only
27% favor it.
Palestinian official says Hamas,
Ehud Barak says a STRONG country uses RESTRAINT? IDF conditionally ceases air strikes on Hamas targets…
The IDF stopped its air strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday after Palestinian terror groups cut back on rocket attacks against Israel, in what appeared to be the beginning of a shaky cease-fire. The decision was made shortly before a Kassam rocket exploded near Ashkelon. No injuries were reported and no damage was caused.On Sunday, 13 rockets were fired into Israel, and a senior official in the Defense Ministry, who requested anonymity, told reporters that Israel decided to hold its fire as long as Hamas and the other Palestinian terror groups ceased launching attacks on civilians.
“It all depends on the other side,” the Defense Ministry official said. “If a barrage of missiles falls in a town and there are casualties, that will change the situation – but if a rocket lands in an open field we will look at that differently.”
At the same time, a Palestinian official close to UN-and Egyptian-mediated negotiations told Reuters on Sunday that Israel and terrorist groups in Gaza had agreed to a truce, as cross-border violence abated.
“Palestinian factions have agreed to halt rocket fire and Israel agreed to cease attacks on the Gaza Strip,” the Palestinian official said.
A senior IDF officer said Sunday that the IDF has a list of 19 names of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who have been killed in air strikes and ground attacks since Israel stepped up military operations following Thursday’s anti-tank missile attack against a school bus near Nahal Oz.
Another 47 terrorists have been wounded, and there are two known deaths of civilians.
“We believe that Hamas has understood the message,” the senior defense official, who requested anonymity, said.
“We are ready to escalate our operations, however, if the attacks continue.”
Meanwhile, the star of the latest round of violence between Israel and Hamas continued to be the Iron Dome counter-rocket defense system, which has intercepted eight rockets since Thursday.
On Sunday, the Defense Ministry’s MAFAT Research and Development Directorate released video footage from the Iron Dome, showing how the Tamir interceptor shot down a number of Katyusha rockets over the weekend.
Israel plans to increase the number of operational batteries to six in the coming years, with the arrival of $205 million the Obama administration has pledged it will provide Israel to purchase additional rocket defense systems. The money is supposed to be included in the US’s upcoming annual budget.
The Defense Ministry recently completed negotiations with Iron Dome manufacturer Rafael about the upcoming deal.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the system’s success “has deeply impacted Israel’s ability to act operationally and to maneuver diplomatically against challenges, not just routinely, but also during much broader events.”
Once the money is received, it will still take at least 18 months before the first of the four batteries is delivered to the Air Force and up to two-and-a-half years before the last of the four is operational.