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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shocking Photos of Near-Lynch Prompt Calls for Change

Source: Arutz Sheva
By Maayana Miskin


A shocking attack on a Border Police officer in northern Jerusalem recently received nationwide press coverage in which photos, shown by Channel 2, show an Arab mob hurling firebombs at a fortified police position in the Shuafat neighborhood and banging on its windows.

Attacks on officers are not uncommon in Shuafat, however, in this case the officer remained alone as fellow officers, standing just 100 meters away, were told not to intervene.

The officer can be heard on tape shouting, “I don’t know what to do,” and “I’m burning, come save me.”

Three officers stationed nearby were given orders not to intervene but rather to wait for the unit commander to issue an order.

The incident ended when more forces arrived in an armored jeep and drove the mob away. The officer who had been under attack was lightly wounded due to smoke inhalation.

Coverage of the incident prompted Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino to order the formation of a committee to recommend changes to the existing procedure regarding an officer under attack.

Border Police commanders have defended the inaction caught on film. The purpose of the fortified position the officer held is to serve as a front line in case of rioting, they said.

“The pictures were selectively edited by the photographer, and did not include the Border Police team’s assault on, and dispersal of, the riot,” they added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's camp says NYC trip cleared the air with Washington

Source: The Jerusalem Post
By Herb Keinon and Hilary Leila Krieger


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu left New York for Israel Saturday night with aides expressing satisfaction that the key objectives of his trip – clearly defining red lines on Iran and clearing the air with Washington – were achieved.

“The first thing that he succeeded in doing was sharpening the message on Iran,” one source in Netanyahu’s entourage said of the prime minister’s speech Thursday to the UN. “We were more specific about what we think should be the red lines, and that is important in framing the parameters of the debate.”

The official said that the visit, which included a phone conversation Friday with US President Barack Obama and a meeting Thursday with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “strengthened and enhanced our dialogue with the US administration over these issues.”

In addition, the official noted, Netanyahu’s UN speech and his red line on a rudimentary sketch of a bomb received “almost unprecedented coverage internationally” and succeeded in putting the Iranian nuclear program “at the very center of the international political agenda.”

It is more clear than in the past what Israel means when it talks about red lines, the official said.

Netanyahu, in an interview with Channel 1, said he believed that placing a red line in front of Iran reduced the chances Tehran would cross it. He defined that line in his speech as the point before Iran had stockpiled enough low-grade and medium-grade uranium to begin working on high-grade uranium and a nuclear detonator.

Defining where the red line is, he said, gave “a great deal of legitimization” to those who might want to act if Iran crossed it.

The prime minister, in a Channel 2 interview, said he did not discuss an Israeli attack in his speech – only that the red line had to be at a point before Iran completed the second stage of enrichment needed for a bomb. Regarding his comment that the Iranians could reach that stage by springtime, Netanyahu said this would happen only if they continued enriching at their current pace.

“But lets see if they continue,” he said. “I think that placing a red line is the best guarantor to prevent the need for military action.”

Netanyahu clarified that in saying Iran would not cross the line until at least spring, he “never gave up for even a minute Israel’s right to defend itself at any time. I think that right is clear and understood by everyone.”

He added that it was important to make clear to the international community that Iran was continuing to move forward on its nuclear program, and that if it wanted to stop the program it had to do so “before the finishing of the enrichment process.”

Washington’s refusal to articulate its red line has been a source of public tension in recent weeks between Israel and the US. Netanyahu, however, said that teams from both countries were working at the highest levels to try to translate into practical terms the joint objective of preventing Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon.

The White House stressed on Friday, following the Obama-Netanyahu phone conversation, that the US and Israel were “in full agreement” on preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The two men discussed the coordination of their efforts and cooperation in dealing with Iran, according to a statement by White House press secretary Jay Carney.

While the statement did not say how long the conversation lasted, Netanyahu said it was a “prolonged” discussion.

“The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” the statement said.

The conversation was their second in three weeks, an unusually short stretch of time for two publicly announced calls. It comes after criticism of Obama for declining a meeting with Netanyahu while the premier was in the US for the UN General Assembly, and amidst discord between the two countries on how best to thwart the threat from Tehran.

Netanyahu’s comments to the UN Thursday and his comments that Iran would not cross his red line until at least spring suggested the timeline for any Israel action would not come until well into next year, after the US elections in November, reducing some of the immediate tension between the two countries.

“The temperature is lower than it had been,” an Obama aide said after the call.

The White House readout also noted that Netanyahu “welcomed President Obama’s commitment at the UN to do what we must to achieve that goal.”

Netanyahu also spoke by phone Friday with Obama challenger Mitt Romney.

Romney, speaking to reporters on his campaign plane, said he and Netanyahu agreed that Iran must be denied nuclear capabilities but did not agree on specific red lines to confront Tehran.

“I do not believe in the final analysis we will have to use military action,” Romney said. “I certainly hope we don’t have to. I can’t take that action off the table.”

Friday’s White House phone call followed a meeting between Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New York Thursday night. The meeting lasted one hour and 15 minutes and was entirely one-on-one, according to the State Department.

The pair held a lengthy discussion on Iran, and also discussed developments in the broader region and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“It was an open, wide-ranging constructive conversation,” the State Department statement said. The Prime Minister’s Office released no information about that meeting.

Netanyahu also met Friday with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and praised Harper again for Canada’s recent decision to cut ties with Iran.

“I think that what you did, severing ties with Iran, was not only an act of statesmanship, but an act of moral clarity,” he said to the Canadian leader before the meeting.

Harper said Canada wanted to see a peaceful resolution to the Iranian crisis, “and we work closely with our allies to try and alert the world to the danger this presents and the necessity of dealing with it.”

Later in the day, at the Appeal of Conscience Foundation’s annual dinner in New York, Harper said “the appeal of our conscience requires us to speak out against what the Iranian regime stands for. Likewise, it requires us to speak in support of the country that its hatred most immediately threatens, the State of Israel.”

Harper said that while Ottawa does not sanction every policy Israel pursues, “neither its existence nor its policies are responsible for the pathologies present in that part of the world.”

He was also mindful, Harper said, “of a lesson of history, that those who single out the Jewish people as a target of racial and religious bigotry will inevitably be a threat to all of us. Indeed, those who so target Israel today are, by their own words and deeds, also a threat to all free and democratic societies.”

Mohammed Morsi willing to meet with Moshe Peres, says senior Egyptian official

Source: The Times of Israel
By Ron Friedman and The Times of Israel staff


Egypt’s Islamist president, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, is willing to meet with a high-ranking Israeli and would like it to be President Shimon Peres, a senior Egyptian official said.

According to a report in Israel Hayom on Sunday, the official said that despite reports that the Muslim Brotherhood had decided to hold off on holding meetings with high-ranking Israelis until a settlement is reached with the Palestinians on statehood, Morsi would agree to a meeting before that and mentioned Peres as his preferred partner.

If such a meeting were to take place, the source said, it would be held in Washington D.C. shortly after the US elections, and the leaders would try to re-establish the ties between the two countries, which have deteriorated since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak and the assault on the Israeli embassy in Cairo last year.

The source, who accompanied the Egyptian president to the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, said that Morsi’s statement during his Wednesday address to the UN, in which he said he would honor all of Egypt’s international obligations — including the peace treaty signed with Israel — was the result of attempts by the US to bring the sides together.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Morsi on Monday and called on Egypt to strengthen its communications with Israel.

In his speech, Morsi said that the first issue for the world body should be certifying the rights of the Palestinian people.

“The fruits of dignity and freedom must not remain far from the Palestinian people,” he said, adding that it was “shameful” that UN resolutions are not enforced.

He decried Israel’s continued building of settlements on territory that the Palestinians claim for a future state in the West Bank.

In July, Peres’s office said it received a friendly letter from Morsi in which the new Egyptian leader said his country was committed to regional security and stability, including for the Israeli people. After Israeli media reports about the missive, a spokesman for Morsi denied any correspondence had been sent to Peres. Some analysts saw Morsi’s friendly overture to his Israeli counterpart as an “encouraging sign” that the new president was acting in accordance with diplomatic protocol, and worried that Israel embarrassed him by publicizing the letter.

Avigdor Lieberman: Sanctions could push Iran into Tahrir scenario by summer

Source: Haaretz
By Barak Ravid

NEW YORK - Iran is facing severe internal unrest due to the international economic sanctions, which could lead to the regime's overthrow, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Saturday.

In an interview with Haaretz, Lieberman also predicted that Israel's elections would be brought forward to the first third of 2013. He termed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' speech to the UN General Assembly last week "worse than a slap in the face."

"The opposition demonstrations that took place in Iran in June 2009 will come back in even greater force. In my view, there's going to be an Iranian-style Tahrir revolution," he said, referring to the protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square that brought down Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "The young generation is sick of being held hostage and sacrificing their future."

Though Lieberman's views haven't changed much, his tone was a bit more moderate than in the past. In fact, some of his responses were downright diplomatic.

Lieberman has been trying hard to tone down Israeli-American tensions over Iran, believing they are harmful to both countries. Though he refrained from criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it seems clear he doesn't agree with everything Netanyahu has done.

"There's no alternative to a genuine, serious ally like the U.S.," he said. "We have differences of opinion, but in the end, what we have in common is much greater than what divides us. In my view, the dialogue with the Americans shouldn't be through the media."

Lieberman's views on whether Israel should attack Iran remain a well-kept secret. He prefers talking about international sanctions. Last week, Haaretz published an internal Foreign Ministry document that concluded that sanctions have hurt Iran's economy much more than previously thought.

Lieberman revealed that aside from intelligence reports and diplomatic cables, he receives periodic briefings from friends and acquaintances - businessmen and diplomats from the former Soviet Union - who travel regularly to Iran.

"The situation in Iran, and the feelings of the man on the street, is one of economic catastrophe," he said. "Just this week there was another devaluation of the Iranian rial .... There's a shortage of basic goods, a rise in crime, and people are trying to flee the country, sending money abroad."

According to Lieberman, "Based on my conversations with people who visit Iran, if you held a referendum - the nuclear program or quality of life - 70 to 80 percent would choose the second option. It's not that they're opposed to the nuclear program, but they aren't willing to pay these crazy prices."

In short, Lieberman thinks sanctions are working, and if ratcheted up further in the months remaining before Iran's presidential election in June 2013, could even help topple the regime.

At the United Nations, Lieberman urged diplomats to prepare for a new outbreak of protests in Iran. If it happens, he said, the West must be ready to support the demonstrators both politically and economically.

"Last time, the West didn't expect it and was confused," he said. "This time, it could lead to the fall of the regime. Israel must not interfere."

Still, Lieberman praised Netanyahu's UN speech. "You can laugh, but everyone is talking about ... the red line" Netanyahu slashed through a cartoon-like drawing of a bomb, he said.

Regarding the Palestinian Authority's bid for UN recognition as a nonmember observer state, Lieberman said Israel couldn't prevent the UN General Assembly from approving it, but "we'll exact a price" from Abbas.

For months, Lieberman has called for Abbas to be replaced. The fact that Abbas accused Israel of commiting ethnic cleansing in the West Bank and of planning "a new Nakba [catastrophe]" only helped Lieberman portray him as someone who is not a partner for peace.

"His speech was more than a spit in the face," Lieberman said. "The second time we transferred to him a down payment that would allow him to pay the PA workers' salaries, he didn't even say a single word of thanks. I told the French foreign minister all the things we did [to help the PA] in recent months, and he wasn't aware of all this. Everyone has woken up."

"I wish," Lieberman added when asked what would happen if Abbas resigned.

Lieberman says the Arab states are also tired of Abbas, and the Saudis and Qataris have stopped transferring funds to the PA because they don't want to see their money go to waste.

When asked about the chaos that might ensue if Abbas left, Lieberman said: "There's chaos right now. "Abbas is just getting in the way. He's neutralizing [Palestinian Prime Minister] Salam Fayyad, taxes aren't being collected and militias are returning to operate in the Palestinian cities."

Lieberman says Israel must stop "artificial" attempts to support Abbas, which prevents a new leadership from flourishing and increases the danger that Hamas will take over the West Bank.

He says he is in contact with Palestinian figures who warn that Hamas intends to take control. Lieberman refuses to say who these Palestinians are, but at least some are probably connected to the opposition to Abbas such as former Yasser Arafat adviser Mohammed Rashid and former leading Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan.

"There are enough alternatives in the PA today that are not Hamas," he said. "I speak to some of these people and they say Israel and the United States are keeping Abbas [in control]. Abu Mazen [Abbas] is lost. His time has passed. There's no need to wait, unless we want to deliver the keys directly to Hamas."

Regarding the Israeli elections, Lieberman said he would prefer that they be held a year from now, as scheduled. But he expects it will prove impossible to pass the 2013 budget in the coming months, and that would force the elections to be held early - most likely in February or March. 

Jordan Names New Envoy to Israel

Source: YNet NEWS
By Koi Kais


Jordan's King Abdullah II is dissatisfied with Benjamin Netanyahu's conduct, and considers the prime minister "a rightist who rejects the peace process," Jordanian officials told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday.

The claims come alongside reports that Jordan has named a new ambassador who is to be sent to Israel, after over two years that the role remained vacant.

This is the second time in a month that the Jordanian monarch speaks out against the Jewish state; on September 12 he accused Israel of sabotaging his country's nuclear program.




"When we started going down the road of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, we approached some highly responsible countries to work with us," he told AFP. "And pretty soon we realized that Israel was putting pressure on those countries to disrupt any cooperation with us."

The Jordanian sources told Al-Hayat that the decision to send a new ambassador was linked to a similar decision made by the Egyptian government. Jordan's new envoy is Walid Obeidat, a longtime diplomat and a consultant in the country's foreign ministry. The former ambassador, Ali Al-Ayed, was recalled to Jordan in 2009 in protest against Israel's Cast Lead Operation in Gaza. He was not sent back and in 2010 was appointed as communications minister.

According to the Asharq Alawsat newspaper, Obeidat was appointed to the role a year ago but was not sent to Israel in protest against the Jewish state's policies towards the Palestinians and the fact that the peace process was stalled.

The ties between the two countries suffered a blow as result of the 2009 offensive on Gaza and deteriorated further during Netanyahu's term as prime minister. Netanyahu met with the king only once since getting elected, over three years ago.

Former Ambassador Al-Ayed (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

Jordan's minister of information, Samih al-Maaytah, denied in an interview with the paper that there is any change or deterioration in the relations between Amman and Jerusalem, but hinted that such a downturn could happen if "Israel continues to hinder the peace efforts." He branded the decision to send an ambassador "a natural step."

"The Jordanian stance is clear to everyone, and the preservation of the Jordanian and Palestinian interests obligate us to maintain the peace accords," he added.

King Abdullah II addressed the UN General Assembly earlier this week, and said that the Israeli settlement construction is causing setbacks in Jordan's attempt to mediate talks with the Palestinians.

"Earlier this year, in Amman, we succeeded in getting both sides back to the table for exploratory talks," he explained. "Then positive traction stopped again. Illegal settlement-building and unilateral actions continue, constituting direct threats to a negotiated peace."

Absolutely Uncertain

Source: YouTube
By RightChange
Submitted by Ira L. Jacobson

"Dear friends Shalom,

This important video was launched less than 24 hrs ago. There are already over 500,000 hits.  It seems to be the hottest video currently on youtube. For those of you who received a video from me earlier today, this is not the same one.

I was forwarded this short film today, and I think it does a good job explaining the challenges Israel is facing with the Obama Administration as the threat of a nuclear Iran looms overhead.  Please take a few minutes to watch and please send it to your family, friends, colleagues, and closest twitter followers. The truth most of the media loves to ignore must finally be heard.

With blessings,"

"A new, 18-minute mini-documentary follows the journey of Irina, a 23-year-old liberal, Jewish New Yorker who voted for Obama in 2008. Yet as her connection to Israel has grown, and she has learned more about the President's policies across the Middle East and towards Israel in particular, Irina has come to realize that "when the chips are down," the President may not "have Israel's back" as he says.

The short film features:

Exclusive interviews with leading journalists and politicians in Israel
(Bloomberg, London Times, Jerusalem Post, etc.)

Mainstream news reports (CNN, MSNBC, ABC, BBC, etc.),

Clips from longtime Democratic supporters including: Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)"

Jewish Israeli leaders embrace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in NYC

Get out your barf bags before watching these videos because I guarantee you will feel nauseated.


Excerpt from Analysis: The Anti-Israel, Self-Hating Jew:

What is the real message behind the slogan above (right)? "We have no means to defend ourselves because we do not serve in the army even though we live in Israel. Therefore, the only way we can avoid terrorism and defeat is to succumb to our enemies demands. We are showing you that we do not support Israel and we refer to the region as 'Palestine' ; please notice that we are waving 'Palestinian' flags.  Hopefully you (Arabs) will see the signs and the flags and not hurt us because we appear to be on your side."  The sign might as well say, 'I AM TERRIFIED OF ARABS'.

Read more  Analysis: The Anti-Israel, Self-Hating Jew

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Egyptian professor: Israel will be gone by next year

Source: The Times of Israel


An Egyptian political science professor told an Iranian TV station that, with Allah’s help, “Israel will be annihilated” by 2013.

In an interview with Iran’s state-run Arabic news channel Al-Alam last week, Professor Gamal Zahran, head of the political science department at Egypt’s Port Said University and a former Independent MP, said: “Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian cause, and the Palestinian cause is the cause of all Arabs and Muslims. The elimination of the Zionist entity is beyond debate, and the only question has to do with the circumstances.”

Zahran added that “the Arab revolutions, which broke out in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen – as well as in Bahrain and elsewhere – generate the people’s hope that one day, Jerusalem and Palestine will return to them.”

The interviewer interjected: “Why keep it only as a hope? Why not act on it?

Zahran responded that “the revolutions have not reached the throne of power. It is difficult to transform this hope into reality until these revolutions come to the forefront.”

He went on: “We are constantly keeping the memory alive among the younger generations, so that they will realize that the Palestinian cause is an essential one. The hope and the memory will later turn into action. By next year, Allah willing, Israel will be annihilated.”



The clip was recorded and transcribed by Arab media watchdog MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute).

Russian security services strip-searched Israeli minister's bodyguards

Source: Haaretz
By Barak Ravid


A serious diplomatic incident occurred on Friday, when Russian's internal security agency, the FSB, detained the bodyguards of Israel's Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov during an official visit, and strip-searched them.

Foreign Ministry Spokespam Yigal Palmor said in a statement that Israel has protested strongly against the incident to the Russian government.

At the weekend a large economic conference was held in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod. The Deputy Prime Minister of Russia asked Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to send a senior Israeli representative to the conference.  Lieberman asked the Tourism Minister Misezhnikov to attend.

As with any visit of a minister abroad, Misezhnikov was escorted by a number of bodyguards.

On Friday, when the minister and his security personnel arrived at the hotel where the conference was being held, a number of FSB agents approached and detained them. The FSB -  the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation -  is the Russian equivalent to Israel's Shin Bet Security services.

The Russian security officials asked Misezhnikov's security detail to accompany them for an inspection in order to make sure that they were not armed. Misezhnikov tried to explain that this was an official Israeli delegation, but the Russian security officials ignored him and took the bodyguards to a side room where they forced them to remove their clothes for inspection.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said on Friday that the Israeli embassy in Moscow immediately submitted a strong protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry, and later in Jerusalem the Foreign Ministry presented a strongly-worded protest to the Russian Ambassador in Israel, Sergey Yakovlev. Lieberman will meet later on Friday in New York with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, and will address the incident with him. 

Israel disappointed over Argentine bombing talks with Iran

Source: YNet NEWS
Reuters


Israel said on Friday it was greatly disappointed by Argentina's decision to meet Iranian officials to discuss the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center allegedly masterminded by the Islamic Republic.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez ordered her foreign minister to accept Iran's request for talks in New York this week, marking a sharp change in diplomatic policy and drawing criticism from Jewish leaders in Buenos Aires.

Ties between Argentina and Iran had been virtually frozen since authorities secured Interpol arrest warrants for five Iranians and a Lebanese in 2007 over the bombing of the center, which killed 85 people. Iran denies links to the attack.

"The Israeli government received with great disappointment the news that Argentina accepted a meeting with Iran at the foreign ministerial level to advance on the issue of the investigation into the attack," a statement from Israel's Embassy in Buenos Aires said.



Scene of the attack (Arcvhies: Reuters)

"The investigation report led by the special team at Argentina's attorney general determined in detail and without any doubt that the decision to blow up the building was taken in the upper echelons of the Iranian government," it added.

"We hope (Argentina) keeps this evidence in mind during their meetings with the Iranians."

Iran and Argentina – home to Latin America's biggest Jewish community – said on Thursday they would keep talking and that their goal was to "explore a legal mechanism that does not go against the systems of either Argentina or Iran."

The detente is also likely to rile the United States as it seeks to isolate Iran over its nuclear program.

Western and Israeli sources have voiced concerns that Argentina might have lost its interest in pursuing investigations of the 1994 attack, as well as a bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people two years earlier.

The Islamic Jihad, believed to be linked to Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, claimed responsibility for the 1992 bombing.

Obama, Netanyahu seek to get past Iran differences

Source: Reuters
By Matt Spetalnick


(Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a show of unity on Friday on preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, seeking to tone down the acrimony between the two leaders that has become an issue in the final stretch of the U.S. presidential race.

Obama, widely seen as having snubbed Netanyahu by not meeting face to face with him during his U.S. visit, spoke instead by phone to the Israeli prime minister amid signs of movement toward a truce in their war of words over how to confront Tehran.

Netanyahu used his U.N. speech a day earlier to keep pressure on Washington to set a "red line" for Tehran, something Obama has refused to do. But in a softening of his approach, the hawkish Israeli premier signaled that no attack on Iran was imminent before the November 6 U.S. presidential election.

With an eye to the close presidential contest, Netanyahu also fielded a call during his New York visit from Obama's Republican rival, Mitt Romney, who has accused the president of being too hard on a close ally and not tough enough on Iran.

Romney has sought to use Obama's differences with Netanyahu to raise doubts with Jewish-American voters about Obama's commitment to Israel's security.

Obama's aides believe, however, that he has played his cards right with Netanyahu, with whom the president has had a notoriously testy relationship.

Netanyahu's strident complaints about U.S. policy on Iran in mid-September plunged U.S.-Israeli relations into crisis, but also spurred a backlash at home and in the U.S. media for seeming to meddle in American politics.

In recent days, the Israelis have sought to dial down the rhetoric, culminating in Netanyahu's speech to the General Assembly, which was seen as sending a message that Israel would not blindside Washington with a unilateral attack on Iran any time soon.

"The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," the White House said in a summary of their 20-minute phone conversation.

The White House said the two agreed to continue their cooperation, b ut it stopped short of saying Obama had given any ground on his resistance to issuing an ultimatum to Tehran, as Netanyahu has repeatedly demanded.

"I had a very good conversation with President Obama," Netanyahu told Israel television. "Our teams are talking."

An Obama aide went further, saying, "The temperature is lower than it had been."

TONING DOWN DIFFERENCES

Netanyahu dramatically ramped up pressure on Obama earlier this month when he insisted the United States did not have a "moral right" to hold Israel back from taking action against Iran because Washington had not set its own limits on Tehran.

That was followed by word that Obama would not meet Netanyahu during the Israeli leader's visit to address the United Nations. Obama later said pointedly that he would ignore the "noise that's out there" on the Iran issue.

Obama's aides were furious that Netanyahu was trying to put pressure on the president in the midst of the election campaign and refused to budge on the red-line issue, despite the risk of alienating pro-Israel voters in election battleground states like Florida and Ohio.

At the same time, Israeli officials - mindful of the danger of antagonizing the Jewish state's main ally and of poisoning relations with the man who could occupy the White House for another four years - moved into damage-control mode.

Michael Oren, Israeli ambassador to the United States, flew back to Jerusalem last weekend, during which he urged Netanyahu to tone down public statements that could be construed as interfering in the U.S. election or supporting Romney, according to sources in the Jewish community in Washington.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Chicago and met privately on September 20 with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former close Obama aide, raising speculation that Emanuel might be used as a back-channel conduit to mend ties with the president.

The Israeli desire to defuse the crisis may also have reflected an interpretation of recent U.S. opinion polls showing a widening of Obama's lead over Romney, who has suffered a series of political stumbles.

Romney, speaking to reporters on his campaign plane, said he and Netanyahu agreed Iran must be denied nuclear capabilities but did not agree on specific "red lines" to confront Tehran.

"I do not believe in the final analysis we will have to use military action," Romney said. "I certainly hope we don't have to. I can't take that action off the table."

In his U.N. speech, Netanyahu held up a cartoon-like drawing of a bomb with a fuse and literally drew a red line just below a label reading "final stage," in which Iran would supposedly be 90 percent along the path to having weapons-grade material.

Nevertheless, his warning that Iran would be on the brink of developing a nuclear weapon in less than a year was widely interpreted as some giving breathing space to Obama, who has urged more time for sanctions and diplomacy to work.

By referring to a spring or summer 2013 time frame for Iran to complete the next stage of uranium enrichment, the Israeli leader seemed to dispel fears that Israel might strike Iran before the U.S. election.

Iran denies it is seeking to build nuclear weaponry.

Netanyahu's praise for Obama's stern words for Iran in his own U.N. speech on Tuesday - although it lacked any specific ultimatum - was also seen as a sign that the Israeli leader wanted to quell the unusually public dispute with Washington.

"I think we are moving in a direction where the differences that were there, which were always tactical and not strategic, are in fact being managed at this point," Dennis Ross, Obama's former Middle East adviser, told MSNBC.

Still, White House officials were pleased at avoiding an encounter with Netanyahu, who used an Oval Office meeting in 2011 to lecture Obama on Jewish history. Obama instead kept a lower-than-usual profile at this year's U.N. gathering, making a campaign-style appearance on the popular talk show "The View" and then quickly returning to electioneering. (Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball, Jeffrey Heller, Sam Youngman and Ori Lewis; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Netanyahu’s Bomb Diagram During U.N. Speech Stirs Confusion in Israel

Source: The New York Times
By Isabel Kershner and Rick Gladstone


JERUSALEM — When the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, drew his red line on a cartoonish diagram of a bomb from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, he intended to illustrate in simple terms the point at which Iran’s uranium enrichment program must be stopped, at least in Israel’s view, to thwart a final sprint to a nuclear weapon.
Enlarge This Image

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Some in Israel thought the 90 percent in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bomb referred to uranium enrichment levels.

Instead, the attention-grabbing performance seems to have created confusion in, of all places, Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu’s bomb was divided into sections marked 70 percent and 90 percent, representing the progress Iran has made, and is expected to make, toward amassing enough enriched uranium for a bomb, Israeli officials and experts said. Mr. Netanyahu drew his red line at 90 percent, asserting that the Iranians would be 90 percent along the way by next spring or summer.

But on Friday, Yediot Aharonot, a popular newspaper, published a drastically different interpretation. It assumed, erroneously, that Mr. Netanyahu had been referring not to progress made by Iran, but to actual percentages of uranium enrichment in his diagram, now known as the “Bibi Bomb,” a reference to Mr. Netanyahu’s nickname.

Iran, which insists that its nuclear program is for purely peaceful civilian purposes, has a stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, or uranium enriched to the level of 20 percent purity. To build a bomb, it would have to convert that uranium to a much higher purity, above 90 percent, a relatively short process.

“On the assumption that we are talking about enrichment percentages, the Iranians have by now reached levels somewhere between 3.5 percent and 20 percent today,” Nahum Barnea, a leading Yediot Aharonot columnist, wrote on the front page. “Netanyahu said last night that they had reached 70 percent, a considerable leap. It seems to me that he is the first one in the world to name such a number.”

“Netanyahu draws his red line at a 90 percent level. This level is very close, perhaps too close, to a level that enables the production of a bomb,” Mr. Barnea continued.

Ronen Bergman, the newspaper’s resident security expert, also explained Mr. Netanyahu’s red line in terms of percentages of enrichment in an article accompanied by a graphic to clarify the stages.

Mr. Barnea said by telephone that the paper had based the analysis in part on what it had been told by Israeli officials, but added, “It doesn’t make sense; the numbers are not clear.”

Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and an adviser to Mr. Netanyahu during his first term as prime minister in the 1990s, said that interpreting the diagram in terms of enrichment was mistaken.

“Netanyahu cannot draw a line at 90 percent enrichment,” Mr. Gold said. “If you get to 90 percent enrichment, the whole of the West is in big trouble.”

“As soon as I saw the bomb, I understood what Netanyahu was getting at, because if you deal with percentages of enrichment, you leave people behind,” Mr. Gold added.

A member of the Israeli delegation to the General Assembly said the diagram had been effective in “augmenting the prime minister’s verbal policy message” in a setting notorious for long speeches. Mr. Netanyahu has frequently drawn such a diagram in meetings with visiting diplomats or members of Congress, according to an official who has attended the sessions. Never before, though, had the official seen Mr. Netanyahu actually take out a marker and draw a red line.

The episode left many Israelis wondering.

“Bibi is not an expert on uranium enrichment, and neither am I, so I’ll be careful,” said Shlomo Avineri, a professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “But it is not very clear where the red line is.”

Even Iran poked fun at the bomb in its rejection of the speech. Iran’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Eshaq al-e-Habib, drew an analogy to former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s ultimately flawed contention before the United Nations in 2003 that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

“For the second time in the recent history of the United Nations, today an unfounded and imaginary graph was used to justify a threat against a founding member of the United Nations,” Mr. Habib said in a statement. “However, it is worth mentioning that in our increasingly interconnected world and in the information age, it is hardly possible for the nations to be fooled by such absurd means.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s speech, in which he also thanked President Obama for his warnings to Iran, clearly helped smooth relations between the two leaders, who have differed over the most effective way to thwart what both see as an Iranian nuclear threat.

The White House said in a statement that Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu had spoken by telephone on Friday and “discussed a range of security issues, and the president reaffirmed his and our country’s unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.”

The statement also said both men “underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Isabel Kershner reported from Jerusalem, and Rick Gladstone from New York. Jodi Rudoren contributed reporting from Jerusalem.

Video: Benjamin Netanyahu and Stephen Harper Meet in New York

Stephen Harper is a true ally! - Michelle

Source: Arutz Sheva
By Elad Benari


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met in New York on Friday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The two made statements to the press, during which Netanyahu thanked Harper for his recent decision to sever ties with Iran.



“I want to express my pleasure at seeing Stephen Harper again. He's proved he's a real statesman, and Stephen, I think that what you did, severing ties with Iran, was not only an act of statesmanship, but an act of moral clarity,” said Netanyahu.

“We've heard Iran talk about destroying Israel, even now, here at this current round of the UN General Assembly, and the fact that you took such clear, decisive steps is a great example to be followed by other nations, many of which attended a conference in Tehran and said nothing.

“I tried to say something yesterday, that I think reverberates now around the world, as you just told me, and that is to translate the agreement and principle of stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons to practice. In practice, that means setting red lines on their enrichment process. It's their only discernible and vulnerable part of their nuclear program.

“I think that if such red lines are set, I believe that Iran will back off...I also hope to take some minutes to discuss it with you as a great champion of freedom, and a great friend of Israel.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper responded by telling Netanyahu, “It's always wonderful to see you again and I look forward to discussing these very critical issues, obviously, our bi-lateral issues but some of these global issues. I spoke last night, certainly our country has not been shy about warning the world about the danger that the Iranian regime ultimately presents to all of us. As you know we want to see a peaceful resolution of all this and we work closely with our allies to try and alert the world to the danger this presents and the necessity of dealing with it.

“I look forward to discussing that with you, and our shared values,” he added.

The meeting between the two leaders comes a day after Netanyahu’s speech to the UN, during which he drew an actual red line with a marker on a chart symbolizing Iran's uranium enrichment program, and explained that Iran must be told that if it reaches enough uranium enriched to the 90% level in order to make a nuclear bomb, it will be attacked.

The Obama administration remained unimpressed after Netanyahu’s speech, and officials in made ​​it clear that the United States still opposes placing a red line for Iran.

Late on Thursday night, Netanyahu held a 75-minute one-on-one meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"They had an in-depth discussion on Iran, and reaffirmed that the United States and Israel share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," a senior State Department official said in a statement.

“They agreed that we will continue our close consultation and cooperation toward achieving that goal.”

Mudar Zahran: Let them call me crazy


Source: Israel Hayom


Yael Barnovsky 

“Actually, most of the Palestinians are angry with and hate their Arab 'brothers' more than they are angry with or hate the Jews. I have never heard about a Palestinian woman dying of cancer and one of the neighboring Arab countries, Lebanon for example, helping her. But I’ve heard of plenty of cases where hospitals in Israel have offered help,” said Mudar Zahran, 39, a lecturer and publicist — and a Palestinian blogger — in an interview with Israel Hayom. Zahran participated in an international seminar on new media and public diplomacy given by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry this week.

One might have expected such statements to come from a Jewish Israeli right-winger, not necessarily an extremist. But anyone who knows Zahran and attended the seminar, which was held in cooperation with the Ariel University Center of Samaria (which offers advanced studies in new media toward a bachelor's degree) was not at all surprised. This is not the first time Zahran has judged Israel favorably while speaking against the Arab states when it comes to the Palestinian question (just ask Jordan, which he accuses of practicing apartheid in one of his essays).

Zahran attended the seminar together with bloggers from all over the world: Israel, the United States, Denmark, Turkey, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France and other places. The bloggers included Muslims, Christians and Jews alongside Bedouin and Druze. Zahran himself, a citizen of the U.K. (along with other Palestinians from London), completed the picture, which is considered out of the ordinary, just like his opinions.

Zahran’s family is originally from east Jerusalem. His parents left after hearing on Egyptian radio that the Jews intended to slaughter all the Arabs remaining there. They reached Jordan, settled and raised their children there until they realized that their different, modern opinions were not suited to where they were living. They moved to the U.K., where they knew that their children would receive a better education.

Despite the distance, Zahran never stopped thinking about the Palestinian people. He explains why he expresses his unusual opinions.

“I don’t do it because I choose to, but rather because most of the people think this way and only I have the privilege of speaking out because I’m a British citizen. Most of my people think as I do, but they’re afraid to say so.” Zahran even went back to Jordan briefly to marry a Palestinian woman. He has also made sure to keep in contact with his cousins, some of whom work in Israel or are in prison here.

Nothing to worry about, Zahran found no freedom of expression in the Hashemite Kingdom, certainly not to the degree that he enjoys in the U.K. or at the seminar he attended. That the seminar was held at an Israeli academic institution across the Green Line, in Ariel, posed no problem for him.

“I have no problem with Ariel,” says Zahran. “It’s a university that Israel chose to build where it wished, like the Americans build in every state that belongs to them, and nobody says a word about it.”

Q. Does that find expression in a seminar with other Palestinians?

“People from various countries and all kinds of backgrounds attended the seminar, but I think that there should have been more Palestinians. Still, I understand why many of them didn’t attend. They’re not like me. I have nothing to worry about. I can come to Israel and attend a seminar at a university in the territories and nothing will happen to me because I’m going back to London.”

Q. In other words, many Palestinians will never dare to express similar opinions in public?

“True. Among other reasons, I came to Ariel to state clearly that the settlements are legitimate. The more Israelis delegitimize the settlements, the more they’ll complicate the situation and harm more Palestinians. You, the Israelis, need to wake up and realize that most of the Palestinians in east Jerusalem, for example, want you to stay. I know polls that show that 70 percent of the residents want that. I felt it was my duty as a Palestinian to speak the truth, to present the Palestinians and to represent them. I hope I’ll succeed in changing the situation.”

During the seminar in Ariel, Zahran listened with an open mind to both sides of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict. He spoke about difficult moments at the checkpoints and the procedure that Palestinians must undergo to enter Israel. On the other hand, he says, “Every country on earth would do the same to protect its citizens if it were living under the threat of terrorism. The extremists within the Palestinian people are the ones who caused it.”

Zahran describes himself as a religious Muslim. Although his parents wanted to give him a different kind of education, he grew up in a community with an atmosphere of hatred toward Israelis and, of course, toward Jews. “My parents had different opinions,” says Zahran, setting them apart from other Palestinians and continuing in that direction.

“Usually, in reality, most of the Palestinians feel hatred toward Arabs more than they do toward Jews. We suffer because of our Arab brothers, but we are also dependent on them. It’s a bizarre situation because the Arab countries don’t really care what happens to the Palestinian people.”

He adds, “The only assistance that we have ever received from any country was from the ‘Zionist enemy.’ We really have no other options. It’s not that I’m a Zionist. I care about Israel for selfish reasons, but how long are we going to fight against the only nation that helps us?” Of course, he does not understand the Israelis who oppose the settlements, because in his words, “They’re just encouraging the terrorist groups indirectly. They’re giving legitimacy to Hamas.” Zahran, who deplores the lack of good education and good leadership among the Palestinians, is certain that only cooperation with Israel can help. “Nothing can be done without Israel’s assistance,” he says again.

Q. Earlier, you mentioned how you keep in constant contact with your family. How does that happen when you’re at the opposite end of the spectrum as far as opinion goes?

“That they still call me speaks for itself. I got, and not only from them, emails and calls of support after I was interviewed on Al-Jazeera and said that I’d like the Arab countries to treat my people the way Israel does.”

Zahran is wrapped up in his desire to find a solution to the conflict and bring the truth, as he sees it, to light. “I want to change things and hope to succeed even if they call me crazy,” he says. “They once said that Ben-Gurion was crazy, too. Now that’s being said about me, a Palestinian who tells everybody, out loud, what everybody keeps secret and says only in private.”

Zahran says that he identifies with the Israelis and even says that the Palestinians are called “the Jews of the Middle East.” The comparison is not easy to take for Jew or Arab alike. “We’ve been feeling persecuted for 60 years and you’ve been persecuted for 2,000 years,” he says. Then he makes another statement that sounds strange coming from a Palestinian: “Your state is your own, and rightfully so. The two-state solution is already dead. There is no place for the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria. Any attempt to establish a state there will be bad for the Palestinians. Like I said, most of them don’t want that.”

Q. Can the situation be rectified?

“The current situation is a mistake that must be corrected, and Israel must annex all of Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Authority has no good health-care system or policing system in all of Judea and Samaria. The whole idea of establishing a Palestinian state here is not realistic at all. It cannot sustain itself, and many of the Palestinian residents would like to leave the area. Their lives are terrible. There’s a lot of corruption here.”

Zahran says that the Palestinians will live well only under Israeli rule. Once again he says that it is time to stop harassing Israel about the settlements. “As long as it doesn’t build in another country or in territory that belongs to other people, Israel has every right to keep on building here, and it shouldn’t be anyone’s business,” he says, referring not only to Palestinians or Israeli pro-Palestinian organizations, but also to foreign countries.

Q. Is there a chance that the Arab Spring might affect this region?

“We still need to wait and see what it will bring. I believe that a tougher time than ever is in store for us. What’s happening in the Arab world is a wake-up call, a warning light for the whole region, because despite everything that’s happening, the Arabs want to fight against Israel.”

Q. And Israel shouldn’t give them an excuse to do that?

“Exactly. Stay away. Israel should observe what’s happening from the sidelines and keep out of any conflict with an Arab country.”

Q. Like Iran, for example?

“The Iranians constitute a threat to the whole world, not just to Israel. They can bomb without caring what happens to them as a result. They must be stopped in any way possible. I think that [U.S. President] Barack Obama is making a mistake by preventing Israel from attacking there. Also, although Iran is threatening them and the Palestinian people as well, the Arab states are looking on from the sidelines and not doing a thing. Iran must be stopped, and that has to be agreed on by everyone.”

Q. To conclude: you recently visited Jerusalem, the city where your parents were born. How did you feel?

“Just like I felt in Washington when I visited there for the first time, or in any other city, really. I saw happy Palestinians in Jerusalem. I didn’t feel anything special. I didn’t see any Israeli soldier hitting a child, like many people describe throughout the world. Everyone should come and see this image with their own eyes, and then decide what they think of Israel. I also visited Al-Aqsa mosque, and I must say that I don’t understand what all the uproar is about. We all venerate Mecca, and nobody thinks about, or seeks to take this place and annex it.”