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The Day In Israel: Sun June 14th, 2009

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With Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu set to deliver his policy speech today, former US president/current Elder or Moron Jimmy Carter said that Israel and the United States are on a collision course if Israel refuses to comply on the two-state solution and Israeli settlements issues.

Meanwhile, Carter let his feelings be known after being honored by the PA.

“I have been in love with the Palestinian people for many years,” he said Saturday, adding that this is a feeling shared by members of his family.

“I have two great-grandsons that are rapidly learning about the people here and the anguish and suffering and deprivation of human rights that you have experienced ever since 1948,” he said.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:18PM: And now for a positive reaction to the speech, courtesy of the The American Jewish Committee.

AJC Applauds Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Vision for Peace

June 14, 2009 – New York – AJC applauded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for setting forth his vision today of Arab-Israeli peace.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu could not have been clearer about Israel’s desire to live in peace and security with all its Arab neighbors, including an independent Palestinian state,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. As the prime minister declared, “No one in Israel wants war.”

“We salute the prime minister’s call for immediate negotiations without preconditions with the Palestinian Authority,” said Harris, “and for his bold offer to go to Beirut, Damascus, and Riyadh to pursue peace. Arab leaders, we hope, will demonstrate similar goodwill by extending invitations to the Israeli leader and reciprocating the desire for visits to each other’s capitals in the pursuit of peace.”

The prime minister set forth his vision in a major and much anticipated policy address delivered tonight at the Begin-Sadat Center of Bar-Ilan University.

“President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have now expressed the shared U.S.-Israel commitment to achieve negotiated Arab-Israeli peace,” said Harris. “Let us hope that Palestinian and Arab leaders will seize the opportunity to join with Israel on the path of peace. As Egypt and Jordan already have found, Israel will be a willing partner.”

AJC fully agrees with the Israeli prime minister that the potential is enormous for regional cooperation in business, technology, tourism and other fields that can only further peace, development and mutual understanding, and urges Arab businessmen and governments to invest in the Palestinian territories and in joint projects with Israel.

But advancing peace also requires a clear understanding of history and of current challenges, said AJC.

As the prime minister stated, “To achieve peace, courage and honesty are necessary from both sides. The Palestinians must say – ‘Enough with this conflict. We recognize Israel’s right to exist, and want to live by their side.’”

11:00PM: More palestinian seething:

A top Palestinian official dismissed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy speech as “a zero” on Sunday.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, the secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee, said the speech was empty of any content and pointless.

He explained that the speech would impede any progress toward a balanced peace settlement. He said Netanyahu is “a swindler, a fraud, and a liar who makes up tricks [about] achievement of this peace.”

10:25PM: Believe it or not, I had to go out just as Netanyahu was starting his speech, hence no liveblog.

Here’s more on the speech:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on Palestinian leaders to restart Middle East peace negotiations without preconditions, in a highly anticipated foreign policy address at Bar Ilan University.

“I call on you, our Palestinian neighbors, and to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority: Let us begin peace negotiations immediately, without preconditions,” he said. “Israel is committed to international agreements and expects all the other parties to fulfill their obligations as well.”

In an apparent reveral of Israeli policy, Netanyahu also declared that he was prepared to see the creation of a Palestinian state, so long as the international community can guarantee that it not have any military capabilities.

“Israel cannot agree to a Palestinian state unless it gets guarantees it is demilitarized,” Netanyahu said. He also said that Jerusalem must remain the unified capital of Israel.

The address at Bar Ilan came in the wake of the Obama administration’s insistence that Israel impose a complete freeze on West Bank settlement construction and recognize the two-state solution.

During the speech, Netanyahu vowed that Israel would not build any new settlements and would refrain from expanding existing Israeli communities in the West Bank. Still, he said the government must be allowed to accommodate natural growth in these settlements.

Netanyahu has until now been adamant that a settlement freeze is unfeasible and that he would concentrate on strengthening the Palestinian economy, rather than agreeing to their statehood.

The prime minister said he was prepared to meet with the leaders of neighboring Arab countries at any time, to promote regional peace and to gain their contribution to the Palestinian economy.

Netanyahu reiterated that Israel has no desire to control the Palestinian people, and declared that both nations should be able to live side by side in peace.

“We want both Israeli and Palestinian children to live without war,” Netanyahu said, but added: “We must ask ourselves – why has peace not yet arrived after 60 years?”

Israel would not accept any situation in which it was forced to exist beside a terrorist state. Every withdrawal from settlement territories would contribute to such terror, said Netanyahu.

The prime minister also said that Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state, and cited the root of the regional conflict to “even moderate” Palestinian elements’ refusal to do so.

“When Palestinians are ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, we will be ready for a true final settlement,” the prime minister said.

He emphasized that the Jewish people have been linked to the land of Israel for over 3,000 years and ruled out the option of granting Palestinians refugees the right to settle within Israeli borders.

Netanyahu said that Israel would not negotiate with terrorist who wish to destroy it, and said that Palestinians must choose between path of peace and Hamas.

The prime minister opened his address by saying that he had formed his new government earlier this year with three major challenges facing Israel: the economic crisis, the Iranian threat, and the Middle East peace process.

He stressed that the greatest threat to the world today was the link between Islamist extremism and nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu, who until now had not endorsed U.S. President Barack Obama’s goal of Palestinian statehood, used this policy speech as an opportunity to reverse course and try to narrow a rare rift between Israel and its closest ally.

The prime minister met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres over the weekend for consultations about his speech.

Peres and Barak reportedly pressed Netanyahu to announce in the speech his acceptance of the road map and willingness to recognize a Palestinian state with security limitations.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, himself at loggerheads with Hamas, has said talks with Israel cannot resume until Netanyahu halts settlement and accepts a two-state solution.

Netanyahu’s speech has drawn fire from both the left and the right in Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was chided from both sides of the political spectrum on Sunday night, following his foreign policy address at Bar Ilan University.

The criticism was not only exclusive to parties outside the government, with the Habayit Hayehudi party saying that it would “reconsider its future” in the coalition following “the dangerous ramifications of Netanyahu’s speech.”

Even from within the Likud, party leader was chastised by MK Danny Danon.

“Unfortunately, the prime minister succumbed to [US President Barack] Obama’s pressure. Israeli citizens are not the new American president’s guinea pigs. Enough Israeli citizens have been killed because of our unilateral concessions,” Danon said in a statement.

“I will act with all my force among the party members and the coalition to thwart the premier’s intention to establish a Palestinian state,” he added.

National Union MK Arye Eldad was especially harsh in his criticism.

“Today Netanyahu has lost the leadership of the national camp, when he crossed not only the red lines of his elections promises, but also converted,” Eldad said.

“In saying ‘a demilitarized Palestinian state’ Netanyahu is trying to eat a pig that has been slaughtered according to Jewish dietary laws. There is no such thing as a Palestinian state. Netanyahu knows that no political force can keep it from arming, forging pacts or acting like any recognized state,” he added.

Almagor (Terror Victims Association) head Meir Indor called the speech a victory to Palestinian terror.

“Tonight, Netanyahu established the Palestinian state. As in the past, nobody will remember the preconditions, and all that will remain is the call to establish a Palestinian state with all the dangers,” he said in a statement.

“All previous Likud warnings of such an entity have disappeared tonight following the recent pressure applied to Netanyahu,” the statement continued.

“The Palestinians have won another victory in their war against Israel, and proved that terror and violence against [Jews and Israelis] pays off.”

The Israeli Left was unimpressed by Netanyahu’s qualified endorsement of Palestinian statehood.

“Although the speech does bear evidence to an encouraging shift from a person who, throughout his entire public life, warned against the establishment of a Palestinian state, and has finally acknowledged history’s rules – Netanyahu’s speech is too little, too late,” Meretz leader Haim Oron said in a statement.

“The array of reservations that Netanyahu put forth, including the stateless-state condition and his continued support of the settlements, will create difficulties for purposeful negotiations,” Oron added.

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) expressed disappointment with the speech, saying, “The mountain of Netanyahu’s address has given rise to a molehill.”

“The speech displayed an ideological fixity that wants a non-sovereign Palestinian state with continued settlement building,” Tibi said. “I hope that the White House reveals Netanyahu’s public relations deceit. The PLO does not have to and will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

The only party that seemed to express support for Netanyahu after his speech was coalition partner Labor, in a statement released by MK Daniel Ben Simon.

“This is a large step for the state of Israel and one giant leap for Netanyahu,” said Ben Simon in a paraphrase of Neil Armstrong’s famous 1969 moon statement.

“This is the first time the head of the Revisionist right-wing says the words ‘Palestinian state'”, he added.

Needless to say, the PA is unhappy with the speech.

An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the speech “sabotages” regional peace efforts, due to Netanyahu’s refusal to accept an influx of Palestinian refugees into Israel and his unwillingness to compromise on the status of Jerusalem.

“Netanyahu’s remarks have sabotaged all initiatives, paralysed all efforts being made and challenges the Palestinian, Arab and American positions,” said Nabil Abu Rudeinah.

He noted Netanyahu’s demand that Jerusalem be the undivided capital of Israel and that Palestinian refugees not be allowed into Israel: “This will not lead to complete and just peace,” Abu Rudeinah said. “His remarks are not enough and will not lead to a solution.”

He described Netanyahu’s setting of a condition of demilitarization as a condition for Israel agreeing to a Palestinian state as “detail”.

“Our main demand is the end of the occupation and finding a fair solution for Palestinian refugees and halting settlements,” Abu Rudeinah said. “Other details should be resolved in negotiations.”

A senior Palestinian negotiator called on U.S. President Barack Obama to intervene to force Israel to abide by previous interim agreements that include freezing settlement activity in the West Bank. The alternative, he said, was violence.

“President Obama, the ball is in your court tonight,” Erekat said. “You have the choice tonight. You can treat Netanyahu as a prime minister above the law and … close off the path of peace tonight and set the whole region on the path of violence, chaos, extremism and bloodletting.

“The alternative is to make Netanyahu abide by the road map,” he said, referring to a U.S.-sponsored document under which Israel agreed to freeze settlement activity and Palestinians agreed to rein in militants hostile to Israel.

“The peace process has been moving at the speed of a tortoise,” negotiator Saeb Erekat said. “Tonight, Netanyahu has flipped it over on its back.”

Erekat said that Netanyahu had “unilaterally ended the negotiations” and took the possibility of peace talks off the table.

“[Netanyahu] spoke about a Palestinian state, [but only] after he removed from it the issue of Jerusalem, placed the issue of refugees outside negotiations, placed security outside negotiations when he spoke about a demilitarized Palestinian state,” he said.

Erekat also said that there was no chance of Palestinian ever approving Netanyahu’s vision for their state.”He will have to wait 1,000 years before he finds one Palestinian who will go along with him with this feeble state,” said Erekat.

From my side, I was not surprised by the speech. I think it was clear that Netanyahu would try to find some middle ground between Obama’s vision and his own vision. He knew he had to mention the dreaded “S” word (state), but softened the blow with the qualifier “demilitarized.” I think he deserves credit for citing the reason for the conflict being the refusal of  “even moderate” palestinian elements’ to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, rejecting Obama’s notion that Israel was established because of the Holocaust instead of thousands of years of history, rejecting the so-called right of return, stating that Jerusalem must remain the unified capital of Israel, and not caving in on the issue of “natural growth” in existing Israeli communities in Judah and Samaria.

7:55PM: The Prime Minister’s policy speech will be starting soon. You can watch it live here or here.

7:42PM: This is becoming a Carter-centric post, but what can I say? He provides grist for my mill like few others.

Former US President Jimmy Carter on Sunday condemned Israel’s “maltreatment of the people in Gaza, who are literally starving and have no hope at this time.”

Meanwhile, here is some visual proof of this taken from the newswires.

Palestinians on Gaza beach, who have taken to scavenging for food in the water for fish and other forms of sea life. It has all clearly become too much for the man second from left.

5:45PM: Like dude, lighten up..with this hellfire missile: These days, when Adam Gadahn mentions getting stoned, it does not take on the same meaning as it once did.

Al Qaeda’s part-Jewish poster boy for the dangers of heavy drug use is back in a new video in which he denounces Israel and talks of his “Zionist” grandather, who was also a  “zealous supporter of the usurper entity”, and a “prominent member of a number of Zionist hate organizations.”

I’m guessing pops shortchanged him with the Chanukah gelt.

5:25PM: Introducing Koogle, the new “kosher” search engine.

Religiously devout Jews barred by rabbis from surfing the Internet may now “Koogle” it on a new “kosher” search engine, the site manager said on Sunday.

Yossi Altman said Koogle, a play on the names of a Jewish noodle pudding and the ubiquitous Google, appears to meet the standards of Orthodox rabbis, who restrict use of the Web to ensure followers avoid viewing sexually explicit material.

The site, at, omits religiously objectionable material, such as most photographs of women which Orthodox rabbis view as immodest, Altman said.

Its links to Israeli news and shopping sites also filter out items most ultra-Orthodox Israelis are forbidden by rabbis to have in their homes, such a television sets.

“This is a kosher alternative for ultra-Orthodox Jews so that they may surf the Internet,” Altman said by telephone.

The site was developed in part at the encouragement of rabbis who sought a solution to the needs of ultra-Orthodox Jews to browse the Web particularly for vital services, he said.

Nothing can be posted on the Jewish Sabbath, when religious law bans all types of work and business, Altman said. “If you try to buy something on the Sabbath, it gets stuck and won’t let you.”

Of course, there is at least one other “kosher” search engine.

For the record, typing “Israellycool” into Koogle yields no results, while doing the same with yields some results, none of which include direct links to this blog.

Incidentally, Koogle was a Kraft foods flavored peanut butter in the 70s. Not sure if it was kosher, though.

5:15PM: Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech will be shown live here at 8:00PM Israel time.

4:25PM: Another surprise from Jimmy:

Former US president Jimmy Carter met with Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shaul Goldstein in his West Bank home on Sunday and issued a surprising declaration of support for the settlement bloc.

“This particular settlement area is not one I envisage ever being abandoned or changed over into Palestinian territory,” Carter said in Goldstein’s Neve Daniel home.

To continue with the Jimmy Carter-alien theme on this blog, I’m thinking Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

2:43PM: Joke of the day:

Former US President jimmy Carter met with former Meretz Head Yossi Beilin Sunday and reportedly told him he was “concerned” about the decreasing support shown by US citizens to Israel.

I think what must be meant here is that he is concerned there is support for Israel at all.

1:34PM: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak with this glowing endorsement of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s foreign policy speech tonight:

Defense Minister Ehud Barak sought to downplay expectations about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s long-awaited foreign policy speech he is set to deliver on Sunday night at Bar-Ilan University.

Speaking on Sunday morning at Labor’s faction meeting, Barak said “the speech will be cautious and extremely vague,” adding that “expectations should be lowered.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is expected to devote a more significant part of his speech to the Iranian threat.

9:52AM: The IAF struck two palestinian smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip in a pre-dawn raid, in response to yesterday’s Qassam attack. According to the palestinian Ma’an News Agency, 4 palestinians were injured.

6:20AM: It seems we may have gotten Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi all wrong. He’s not a crazy dictator. He’s really a hero.

“He told us that he was forced (to expel us) and that by doing so he saved our lives because the Libyan people wanted to kill us,” said Umberto Robbi, who was expelled in 1970.

“So to save us he also confiscated all our property.”

What a guy! *

* Yes, I am being sarcastic.

6:02AM: Hot on the heels of unleashing a version of Zionist Death PigsTM that break into houses, we’ve now outdone even that with our latest version:  Zionist Death PigsTM that farm the lands!

As the fear of the H1N1 virus mounts in the West Bank farmers of Salfit have intensified their efforts to rid the area of wild boar herds they say are unleashed by settlers to destroy crops.

On Saturday one Salfit farmer killed three boars and four stray dogs, he reported, noting dozens of herds still remained in the northern area woods.

Another farmer, Anas Abu E’ed, said a heard of boars attacked his neighborhood in the early hours of Saturday morning in search of food in trash containers left outside.

Mohammas As-Sununu, a third agricultural worker, said a heard attacked the Al-Ijheir area Friday evening and destroyed crops around several small gardens. He later contacted local authorities to complain about the lack of “efforts to rid the area of the dangerous animals.”

Head of the Union of the Agriculture Workers in Salfit Khalil I’mran said a campaign will be carried out to chase these boars away from residential areas, particularly after the recent discovery of the H1N1 virus in a Bethlehem child.

Last year the boars had attacked and injured four farmers from Salfit while working on their lands.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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