The Day In Israel: Tues Oct 12th, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu yesterday offered to extend the settlement freeze in exchange for the palestinians recognizing Israel as the Jewish homeland.

Only to have the offer rejected out of hand.

Binyamin NetanyahuPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered the Palestinians a trade off on Monday to revive peace talks they quit — a new freeze on building in settlements if they recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The Palestinians immediately rejected making any such declaration, which they have long opposed.

The impasse deepened doubts over the chances of resuming U.S.-brokered negotiations that stalled last month after Israel refused to extend a 10-month moratorium on housing starts in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

“If the Palestinian leadership will say unequivocally to its people that it recognizes Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, I will be ready to convene my government and request a further suspension,” Netanyahu told parliament.

“This is not a condition but a trust-building step, which would create wide-ranging trust among the Israeli people, who have lost trust in the Palestinian will for peace over the last 10 years,” he said.

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Netanyahu made his move on Monday just three days after the Palestinians and Arab powers had given the United States a month to persuade Israel to declare a new moratorium.

“All settlement is illegitimate, it must be frozen for a return to negotiations,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The issue of the Jewishness of the state has nothing to do with the matter,” he told Reuters, adding that the Palestinians had already recognised Israel and that this should suffice.

The Palestinian leadership argues that recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would compromise the rights of Arab citizens of Israel who make up 20 percent of the population.

Such a move, Palestinian officials say, also would effectively forgo the right of return of Palestinian refugees who fled or were forced from their homes in Arab-Israeli wars to return to territory that is now Israel.

George Giacaman, a political scientist at Birzeit University near the West Bank city of Ramallah called Netanyahu’s proposal a non-starter.

“I think the Americans will try a last ditch effort to find a formula acceptable to both sides,” he said.

“If this is the last word, the political process will stall and the Palestinian leadership will be forced to look at alternatives,” Giacaman said.

It’s amazing that we find ourselves 17 or so years into this “peace process”, and the palestinians won’t recognize something so fundamental as Israel being a Jewish state.

What’s even more amazing is the world thinks that Jews adding some new buildings in disputed territories is the obstacle to peace.

By the way, I wonder what the political scientist at Birzeit University means by “the Palestinian leadership will be forced to look at alternatives.”

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

8:25PM: Despite denying his 30th anniversary tour of The Wall includes imagery that could be interpreted as antisemitic, musician Roger Waters has made a change.

A few days after issuing this declaration, however, Waters did make one small change to the segment: Instead of dollar signs following the Star of David out of the B-52′s cargo bay, it now shows the Mercedes symbol doing so.

8:15PM: J Street gets caught in a lie.

7:56PM: Evil old bag Helen Thomas has told a radio host that she stands by the anti-Israel comments that got her fired.

Former White House correspondent Helen Thomas has acknowledged she touched a nerve with remarks about Israel that led to her retirement. But she says the comments were “exactly what I thought,” even though she realized soon afterward that it was the end of her job.

“I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive,” Thomas told Ohio station WMRN-AM in a sometimes emotional 35-minute interview that aired Tuesday. It was recorded a week earlier by WMRN reporter Scott Spears at Thomas’ Washington, D.C., condominium.

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“(It was) very hard for the first two weeks. After that, I came out of my coma,” said Thomas, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon.

Rabbi David Nesenoff, who runs the website rabbilive.com, said he approached Thomas after he’d been at the White House for Jewish Heritage Day on May 27. He asked whether she had any comments on Israel.

“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she replied.

“Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not Germany, it’s not Poland,” she continued. Asked where they should go, she answered, “They should go home.”

“Where’s home?” Nesenoff asked.

“Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else,” Thomas replied.

“I told him exactly what I thought,” she told Spears, who said during the interview that some accounts left off her reference to America. Thomas did not disagree.

“I was not talking about Auschwitz or anything else,” she said.

“They distorted my remarks, which they obviously have to do for their own propaganda purposes, otherwise people might wonder why they continue to take Palestinian land,” said Thomas. There was no explanation of whom “they” referred to.

When she soon began getting calls about her remark, “I said this is the end of my job.”

She issued an apology, she told the radio interviewer, because people were upset and she thought she had hurt people. “At the same time, I had the same feelings about Israel’s aggression and brutality,” Thomas said.

Asked whether she’s anti-Semitic, she responded “Baloney!” She said she wants to be remembered for “integrity and my honesty and my belief in good journalism” and would like to work again.

Here’s hoping the next job she gets is as one of the 72 virgins awaiting Islamic terrorists in hell.

5:50PM: Breathtaking photographs of Tel Aviv which are not photoshopped.

5:45PM: Noted Middle East expert Annie Lennox is back in the news, this time expressing her disdain for the idea of coming to Israel.

“I don’t have any interest to go to Israel. I don’t think I’d ever have a cause to go. It would be too volatile (to perform), I think, because people get carried away and they twist what you say,” pop icon Annie Lennox told The Observer.

In the interview, published by the British magazine Sunday to mark the release of her new single and her nomination for the Barclays Woman of the Year Award, the former Eurythmics singer addressed her criticism of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, launched in December 2008. “I was critical of Israel’s policy of bombing Gaza, that was populated by mainly children in a space where they couldn’t escape from. I said that it was not the way forward to peace,” she explained.

At the time Lennox flatly rejected claims that in attending a demonstration against Israel, she was effectively supporting Hamas. She was also accused of naivety and even anti-Semitism.

“That really hurt,” she told the Observer, “and it’s a pack of nonsense. My children are half-Israeli. Why should I ever be anti-Semitic?”

Lennox also told the British magazine that her Israeli ex-husband respected her stand and told her there were many Israelis who were proud of her.

I really wish she would come to Israel. We make a great cup of STFU.

2:38PM: From Ynetnews:

peres freezeLooks like he has used the formula on Shimon Peres.

1:50PM: Here is Sinn Fein councillor Toireasa Ferris, who just went to Syria to join another flotilla against Israel, refusing to condemn terror attacks.

It is amazing how these flotillas attract such scum and villainy.

1:44PM: Quote of the day:

“In the eyes of Palestinians, the occupation began in ’48 and not in ’67. Not only Hamas thinks this – Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] does too.”

“Their refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state shows they have no interest in having Israel as a state beside theirs.”

- Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon

He gets it.

1:20PM: Classic British comedy Yes Prime Minister ended over 20 years ago, but this scene seems as relevant today as ever.

9:40AM: Hebrew University students have kicked off the year with a “lip dub.”

9:28AM: No doubt the AP photographer was licking his proverbial chops after taking this unflattering photo of the Israeli Prime Minister.

Binyamin Netanyahu angry

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the opening of the winter session at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. Netanyahu offered to renew a moratorium on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank on Monday, but only if the Palestinians meet his demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

8:56AM: Visiting Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher has some advice for Israel:

Social networking wunderkind and That ’70s Show star Ashton Kutcher delivered a talk on new media at the Bezeq Expo in Tel Aviv on Monday, where he provided tips on how to use new forms of communication and networking to market Israel.

“The first thing I would do is ask you, who do you want to market to? Because a general marketing campaign for the whole world doesn’t work; in some parts of the world they won’t like the message, and in other parts of the world they will,” he said. “The first thing you need to decide is who do you want to influence and what do you want to say to them.”

Kutcher, who this year was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for his mastery of social networking, said Israel must figure out which groups to target, by “being honest with them and having open, candid conversations about what Israel is and who it is, because the people here are amazing – the young people here are amazing. The entrepreneurs here are incredible.”

Kutcher added that Israel needs to showcase its “smart, intelligent, bright, caring people who are looking for solutions in the world.”

I think that is actually good advice.

6:22AM: Who needs Al Jazeera when you have Ha’aretz:

haaretz silwanAllegedly threw stones at it? Did the journalist not see the widely available video tape??

6:18AM: The AP’s Aron Heller spins the Netanyahu offer rejection story so as to make the palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state sound reasonable:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said for the first time that he would extend the settlement restrictions in the West Bank — if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish national homeland.

The idea, while innocuous to Israel’s supporters, is widely seen as undermining the rights of Arab Israelis, and was immediately rejected by the Palestinians. But it could signal that Netanyahu is willing to bend and save a U.S.-led peace effort in exchange for a different concession.

Yet he does not mention a settlement freeze as “undermining the rights of Jewish Israelis.” Nor, for that matter, the idea of a palestinian state to begin with.

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

comments

  • stv

    Bugger it, let's pick up our stuff and go home. If they want a peace process I'm sure they'll call us.
    Until then can American presidents PLEASE stop using the middle east as some sort of impotency proving ground. Thank you.

  • Jim from Iowa

    I loved the Hebrew University students' lip synching video. I see an Israeli "Glee" spinoff in your future.

  • stv

    Sinn fein are all about the Terror though. You seriously couldn't slip a piece of toilet paper between them and the many IRA factions especially the PIRA, it is there own private army and a disgrace to the many people who died to stop terror taking power in Ireland in general but particularly Northern Ireland.

    Toireasa Ferris is an offensive character, after the murder of Garda Jerry McCabe (a policeman in her own country) by the PIRA during an armed robbery, she refused to condemn the act. It is no surprise that she sees the murder of innocent civilians in Israel as inconsequential.

    • juvanya

      Toilet paper is hard to slip between anything. :p

      • stv

        I can think of one place……

    • juvanya

      Why is it always the bad girls that look good…

      • http://www.israellycool.com/ israellycool

        I assume you are referring to the Irish terror lover, and not Helen Thomas

        • juvanya

          I wouldnt call Hell N Tomato ass a girl

    • stv

      I do have to say I didn't watch the video, I wrote the first thing that I thought of when I read her name.

      BTW Dave, those photographs you linked to are beautiful, I'm a keen photographer myself and I've been toying with the idea of a trip to Israel in January or so.
      This has definitely swayed me into asking for the time off. I haven't taken a holiday in 5 years or so, I think I'm probably owed a bit of time.

  • Don Cox

    Marketing Israel to the Chinese, both those in China and the diaspora, would make sense. They have no bias towards Islam, and they are interested in the future rather than the past.

    Israel’s science, technology, and music will appeal.

    • juvanya

      That would be wise. Especially since China can provide a nice $5 billion yearly check in place of the US $3-4 billion, should that ever be a concern.

  • Jim from Iowa

    Moshe Ya'alon, now there's a strategic thinker for you. He appears and talks like a big bowl of bland nothingness. I think with a little reassurance he could become a fierce warrior for peace (well I can dream, can't I?) Here is my Ode of Encourage to Moshe Ya'alon (with apologies to Stephen Sondheim):

    Someone is on your side
    Someone else is not
    While you're seeing your side
    Maybe you forgot;
    They are not Ya'alon
    No one is Ya'alon

    Hard to see the light now
    Just don't let it go.
    Things will come out right now
    We can make it so.
    Some one is on your side
    No one is Ya'alon

    • Shy Guy

      What buffoonery!

      No, not Ya'alon.

      • Jim from Iowa

        If you're calling the great Stephen Sondheim a buffoon, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to step outside. See if these words of the master lyricist won't calm you down, Shy Guy:

        Sometimes people leave you
        Halfway through the wood.
        Others may deceive you
        You decide what's good.
        You decide alone
        But no one is alone.

  • juvanya

    Some people I was debating yesterday knee-jerk labelled Shas and Ichud Leumi as "Nazi" parties. I couldnt do much more than laugh. Especially considering Kach didnt reach Nazi levels and was banned!

    • Jim from Iowa

      When is a Nazi a Nazi? Aren't the Nazis their own unique standard of evil and should not be the basis of comparison to any other group? Even that guy who's running for Congress in the Toledo, OH area who dressed up as a Nazi SS soldier as a "reinactor" isn't really a Nazi. An idiot, yes, but not an actual Nazi. I should point out that he is the Republican candidate for that congressional seat.

      • juvanya

        But still you have to wonder what would drive someone to dress up as a Nazi, even for reenactments and take glory photos.

        • Jim from Iowa

          He gave the explanation that the weekends he and his son spent as Nazi SS reenactors helped them bond as father and son. I'd like to know what's wrong with playing Wii tennis or cosmic bowling as a way to bond? But then again there is something about a man and his son in a Nazi uniform. The uniforms had to have been designed by a gay man. They are so S&M.

      • juvanya

        I was actually working on a scale to compare the Israeli parties to Nazis and the KKK.

        Nazism/Hezbollah
        Palestinianism
        KKK
        Kahanism
        Nationalist Camp
        Likud

        This isnt really to scale, especially since Palestinianism doesnt necessarily advocate genocide, just ethnic cleansing. But were stepping into murky and infested waters here by making a spectrum…

        • Jim from Iowa

          "But we're stepping into murky and infested waters here by making a spectrum…" I actually think Roy G. Biv said that very same thing.

        • Michael Zvi Krumbein

          This would only work if the Blacks in the South actually WERE endangering anyone….

          Eastern Europe / Islam in extreme conditions
          Eastern Europe / Islam under normal conditions
          KKK

          • juvanya

            Ah good you are alive.

    • Y.K.

      Heh, the only reason Oslo happened in the first place is because Shas approved it.

      • Y.K.

        To be more accurate, not the "only reason". I mean the only way it could have passed via the Knesset was with Shas support (and some open bribery).

      • juvanya

        Thanks. Good to know. ;)

  • Shy Guy

    The Lip Dub was great! Are they always or usually contiguously filmed segments from start to finish or are they more often spliced screens edited together?

    • http://www.israellycool.com/ israellycool

      It did not look spliced to me

  • http://www.israellycool.com/ israellycool

    It's times like these I wish I had stayed awake during my Lip Dub classes

  • juvanya

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/

    First they say they are suffering because of the blockade. Now they say they are suffering because the blockade has been eased.

  • T34zakat

    Paul Howes of the Australian trade Union talks to the Zionist Federation of Australia about BDS: http://www.tuliponline.org/?p=2649&utm_source

  • juvanya

    Damn that was excellently executed and just so well choreographed. Wow..

    I guess thats what you get in an apartheid country.

  • http://twitter.com/JerusalemCenter @JerusalemCenter

    Joshua Teitelbaum's, a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affair, interesting look into how Israel became the Nation-State of the Jewish People. http://bit.ly/d8gJgY

  • Michael Zvi Krumbein

    So I have to thank our enemies for keeping our government from making a stupid decision?

    It's also become obvious, that of all the parties involved, only one actually truly believes in a two-state solution: Lieberman.

    Although his method appears to be too extreme for me.