Posted tagged ‘Netanyahu-Trump meeting February 15th’

On Israel, Trump Confuses only the Confused

February 17, 2017

On Israel, Trump Confuses only the Confused, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, February 17, 2017

(Or perhaps only the willfully confused, some of whom apparently prefer a “final solution” to a mere two state solution, are confused. — DM)

The Washington Post claims that President Trump’s remarks about Israel have led to confusion about how he views the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. Reporters William Booth and Anne Gearan say that Israelis are confused, and they site conflicting interpretations of Trump’s several statements.

But Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, whom the Post also quotes, gets to the bottom of the alleged confusion. He says “everyone interprets this as they see fit.”

In reality, Trump’s comments were remarkably clear. Let’s start with the one that got most of the attention: “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.”

Trump was saying that if the Israelis and the Palestinians like a two-state solution, he likes it too. Otherwise, he doesn’t.

This is wise. A two-state solution makes sense only if both parties want it. If that’s not the case, there is no sense in America trying to impose it, and Trump won’t waste his time pushing this option. Or so he is saying.

Trump also said to Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Both sides will have to make compromises; you know that, right?” Netanyahu responded: “Both sides.”

Again, there’s nothing puzzling here. “Both sides” means both sides.

Coupled with his statement that he likes the solution both parties like, Trump is maximizing the likelihood of a peace agreement (although, to me, the odds of reaching one remain extremely low). President Obama’s approach was to obsess over a two-state solution and demand major compromises by Israel. The Palestinians believed they could sit back and wait for America to extract such compromises.

Trump has made it clear that both sides need to make compromises and has signaled that he won’t focus on obtaining them from Israel alone. If both parties don’t make concessions on behalf of a two-state solution, he will conclude that this is not the solution both parties like. And he won’t like it either. Or so he is saying.

Trump also told Netanyahu: “I’d like you to hold off on settlements for a little bit.” On the surface, this looks like an attempt to obtain a small concession from Israel. However, I agree with Charles Krauthammer that Trump was trying to bolster Netanyahu’s position in relation to hard-line Israeli politicians who are pushing for a major expansion of settlements, including the building of new ones.

A sensible approach to settlements is permit the natural growth of existing blocs — no community can be expected not to build out as its population expands — but to forego, for “a little bit,” major territorial expansion which would escalate tension, hurt Israel’s international standing, and perhaps make a peace agreement even more difficult to achieve.

Trump’s statement is consistent with this thinking, which, I gather, is the thinking of Netanyahu.

Only the confused are genuinely puzzled by Trump’s statements. Those in the American mainstream media who suggest otherwise are probably just trying to make the American president look confused.

Top Trump Aide: Despite Resignation of National Security Adviser, Administration Committed to Flynn’s Staunch Stance on Iran

February 17, 2017

Top Trump Aide: Despite Resignation of National Security Adviser, Administration Committed to Flynn’s Staunch Stance on Iran, AlgemeinerRuthie Blum, February 16, 2017

trumpandgorkaSebastian Gorka with US President Donald Trump. Photo: Facebook.

A top aide to US President Donald Trump told The Algemeiner on Thursday that despite the resignation this week of General Michael Flynn as national security adviser, Washington remains committed to his staunch positions on Iran.

“Flynn’s statements on the Islamic Republic reflect the new administration’s stance, as the president has been very clear,” said Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka. The author, most recently of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, was referring, in part, to the former national security adviser’s “officially putting Iran on notice” earlier this month, after it test-launched a ballistic missile, and its proxy terrorist group in Yemen — the Houthis — attacked a Saudi warship.

Speaking to The Algemeiner in the wake of Wednesday’s meeting between Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who has spent years warning against the dangers of a nuclearized Iran — Gorka said, “We are reassessing US policy to the regime in Iran and are committed to not facilitating the mullahs in their destabilization of the whole region as the Obama White House did, especially through the disastrous JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action),” otherwise known as the nuclear deal.

The ayatollahs, he noted, “are not only behaving in ways that are antithetical to the American values of freedom and human rights, but through their proxies, they are harassing our partners in the Middle East, and have become a particularly negative force in the region since being emboldened by the nuclear deal and by the Obama administration, which rewarded bad behavior with billions of dollars and undisclosed annexes to the JCPOA.”

Asked whether Netanyahu’s input had an effect on Trump’s statement about not allowing Iran to achieve “nuclear capability” — rather than merely preventing it from building a nuclear weapon — Gorka said, “The key is that this administration has been adamant that it will treat friends as friends. And you listen to your friends’ concerns.”

The Jewish state, he said, is in this category, “as was expressed in yesterday’s meeting, and through Trump’s insistence that America’s bond with Israel is ‘unbreakable.’ The warmth shown to Netanyahu was palpably different from the cold shoulder he received from the previous president.”

Gorka went on to explain that the opposite messages being conveyed to Israel and Iran from the White House are in keeping with a Marine Corps motto — which, he said, has been informally adopted by the Trump administration — “No better friend, no worse enemy.”

“It means that America is back on the scene,” he said. “No more oxymoronic ‘leading from behind.’ We have restored our relationship with the Israeli government to the place where it should be.”

Gorka, a naturalized American whose parents escaped Communist Hungary and was raised in the UK, came under the critical scrutiny this week of several media outlets for wearing the medal of a Hungarian order of merit re-established in 1920 by Miklós Horthy. Horthy, the wartime Hungarian regent accused of not doing enough to prevent the Nazi deportation of Jews — and whose own son was kidnapped by Nazi commandos — was eventually replaced by the fascist Arrow-Cross Regime, allied to Hitler.

The honor, today, however, is recognized by the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry, and was awarded to Gorka’s father as a recognition of his suffering and resistance to the Communist dictatorship that followed the fascists.

“Smearing individuals is what the Left does when it can’t win an argument on substance,” Gorka said, explaining that his father had been granted the merit more than 30 years after WWII.

Gorka recounted:

He was nine years old when the war broke out and 15 when it ended and the puppet Nazi regime fell. He was imprisoned at the age of 20 for his anti-Communist activities, and was later given the medal in exile. I wear his medal during official occasions in homage to my father and my Hungarian roots.

It is especially appalling that I was smeared, when the writer, Eli Clifton, who first made the allegation was allegedly fired from his previous position for making antisemitic and anti-Israel statements. To quote one authority: “The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee have all termed the anti-Israeli rhetoric of … Eli Clifton …. to be infected with Jew-hatred and discriminatory policy positions toward Israel.”

It is therefore “galling,” he said, “that I should be slandered in this way, when my family lived through and opposed all dictatorships.” Still, he added, “When your political opponents resort to this kind of defamation, it’s a sign that your side is winning.”

Trump & Netanyahu agree: Israel-Gulf peace first

February 15, 2017

Trump & Netanyahu agree: Israel-Gulf peace first, DEBKAfile, February 15, 2017

“One state, two states, I like this state,” Donald Trump joked, turning to visiting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when they addressed a wide-ranging, friendly news conference Wednesday, Feb.15, at the White House, ahead of their face-to-face talks.

Trump reacted positively to Netanyahu’s proposal to broaden the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to a regional effort as a “very important” new idea “on a broader canvas” which he believed could succeed. Netanyahu said that the regional fears of Iran also presented an opportunity for cooperation against the Islamic State and radical Islamic terror.

DEBKAfile reports that these sentiments reflected agreement in principle between Trump and Netanyahu to seek an Israeli peace accord with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates as the lead-in to negotiations for an accord with the Palestinians. Egypt, Jordan and Turkey with whom Israel already has normal relations would jump in later. This deal fits in with the US plan reported more than once on these pages for a regional peace between the Sunni Arab nations and the Jewish State.

Some of the spadework may have been performed by CIA Director Mike Pompeo who paid a secret visit to Ramallah Wednesday morning for talks with Mahmoud Abbas, after trips to Ankara and Riyadh, following which Turkey upgraded its diplomatic mission in Israel

This plan was the fulcrum for the president to push back against the two-state solution advocated by the Obama administration as the cure for the conflict. It remains to be seen if this plan takes on life outside the White House and in the region’s capitals.

Trump realistically called on Israel to “hold back settlements,” show flexibility and make compromises for a peace deal. He urged the Palestinians to “get rid of hate starting in the schoolroom.” Whatever the Israelis and Palestinians agree to in direct talks – one state or two – “I will accept,.” he said, adding “I believe we will have a deal that is better than many Israelis think.”

In answer to a question on settlements, Netanyahu replied that he did not believe they were the core of the conflict and the issue could be addressed in peace negotiations. With regard to a two-state formula, the prime minister said this was a label and he preferred to deal in substance. An independent state was contingent on the Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, giving up incitement to violence and Israel remaining responsible for security up to the Jordan River. “Do we want another failed state, another terrorist state?” he asked.

Netanyahu commended the US President for pledging that Iran must never, ever obtain a nuclear weapon and stressed that its missile program was a threat – not only to Israel and the region, but to America due to the ICBMs under development and Iran’s plans for a nuclear arsenal.

President Trump greeted the Israeli leader with stress on the “unbreakable bond with our cherished ally, Israel” their cooperation against violence and terror and shared values in respect of human life. He said that his first sit-down with Netanyahu as president would be the first of “many productive meetings.”

The president made the exceptional gestures of welcoming Netanyahu and his wife Sarah at the door of the White House, with the First Lady at his side. The couples exchanged warm embraces.

Melania Trump took a seat beside Sarah Netanyahu in the front row of the news conference. They were joined by Ivanka and Jared Kushner, who holds the post of special adviser to the president.

Netanyahu ends his Washington visit Thursday after meeting Vice President Mike Pence and leaders of Congress.

President Trump Participates in a Joint Press Conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu

February 15, 2017

President Trump Participates in a Joint Press Conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu, The White House via YouTube, February 15, 2017

(The press conference begins at approximately 45 minutes into the video. — DM)

 

Trump-Netanyahu meeting can expose Obama collusion on Resolution 2334

February 14, 2017

Trump-Netanyahu meeting can expose Obama collusion on Resolution 2334, Israel National News, David Singer, February 14, 2017

Netanyahu issued a Press Release on 28 December 2016 declaring:

“We have it on absolutely incontestable evidence that the United States organized, advanced and brought this resolution to the United Nations Security Council. We’ll share that information with the incoming administration. Some of it is sensitive, it’s all true. You saw some of it in the protocol released in an Egyptian paper. There’s plenty more; it’s the tip of the iceberg.”

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One of the intriguing aspects of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to the White House on February 15th will be the evidence he can produce to President Trump to establish former President Obama’s collusion in promoting Security Council Resolution 2334.

America abstained from voting on Resolution 2334 – but the language used in that Resolution was inimical to the national interests of Israel and the Jewish people by declaring that:

  • the establishment by Israel of ‘settlements’ in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity and constituted a flagrant violation under international law
  • Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem

This language identifies as “Palestinian territory”:

– and seeks to erase the legal rights vested in the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in these areas under the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.

Such language gives credence to the PLO claim that the Mandate – a critical building block in the 100 years old Arab-Jewish conflict – is null and void.

Resolution 2334 contravenes article 80 of the United Nations Charter – exceeding the Security Council’s powers and condemning the hypocrisy of the Security Council which sanctimoniously professes to be concerned about “legal validity” and “international law”

The Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabea was the first to allege American collusion in promoting Resolution 2334 – claiming to have a transcript of a meeting in December – prior to the passage of Resolution 2334 – between Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and US National Security Advisor Susan Rice in which Kerry said the US was prepared to cooperate with the Palestinians at the Security Council.

White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price claimed no such tripartite meeting took place and that the ‘transcript’ was a total fabrication – although he admitted Erekat had met with Kerry and Rice separately.

Netanyahu issued a Press Release on 28 December 2016 declaring:

“We have it on absolutely incontestable evidence that the United States organized, advanced and brought this resolution to the United Nations Security Council. We’ll share that information with the incoming administration. Some of it is sensitive, it’s all true. You saw some of it in the protocol released in an Egyptian paper. There’s plenty more; it’s the tip of the iceberg.”

Netanyahu’s claim that some of the information is sensitive suggests that there has been an interception of emails or other classified American documents emanating from Obama or Kerry’s offices.

America’s cybersecurity record has been appalling – as the hacking of the Democrats web site and Hillary Clinton’s emails and private server has shown.

Netanyahu’s description of the transcript held by the Egyptian newspaper as “the tip of the iceberg” suggests Israel holds a Wiki-style treasure trove of incriminating documents.

Sensational claims of Israel-hacking will doubtless fuel the media.

There appears to be no evidence that this material has yet been given to the Trump Administration. If it had – some leak would surely have emerged by now.

Netanyahu’s visit to the White House presents the perfect opportunity to personally hand his evidence to President Trump – enabling him to decide whether to disclose such evidence publicly or not.

Netanyahu’s moment exposing Obama’s betrayal of Israel is fast approaching.

The art of the ‘no deal’ with the PA

February 14, 2017

The art of the ‘no deal’ with the PA, Israel Hayom, Ruthie Blum, February 14, 2017

Meanwhile, even Fatah and Hamas can’t bury the hatchet, other than literally, in the backs of one another’s operatives. But the one thing the two terrorist groups do share is a mutual antipathy to Israel and the aim to eradicate the Jewish state. The author of “The Art of the Deal” and his secretary of state will learn this soon enough, if they don’t know it already. In any case, the appointment of world-renowned expert in Islamic terrorism Sebastian Gorka as deputy assistant to the president is a sign that they want to be told the truth. Let us hope that Netanyahu feels welcome and comfortable enough during his visit in Washington to do the same.

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There is much speculation about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming meeting at the White House with U.S. President Donald Trump. Typically, rather than waiting to hear the outcome of Wednesday’s deliberation, Israelis have been analyzing a conversation that has yet to take place, and weighing in on the extent to which the Jewish state can count on the new administration in Washington to embrace the policies of the Israeli government, and on the level of personal chemistry that emerges between the two leaders.

The assumption is that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers in July 2015 — will be on the agenda, and that the issue of achieving a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be raised. The second topic includes several directly related issues, such as the possibility of the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the newly passed Judea and Samaria Settlement Regulation Law, which retroactively grants permits to a number of outposts on privately owned Palestinian land.

Whatever the upshot of the meeting, however, one thing is certain: The Trump administration will not be able to broker an agreement that resolves the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, no matter how talented, smart or well-intentioned Jared Kushner — the president’s son-in-law who is purportedly being charged with this task — may be.

The charade in which Netanyahu has participated since he announced his conditional support for Palestinian statehood in a televised address to the nation in June 2009, is that there is a “solution” to the ongoing war waged by the Arabs in Judea and Samaria, Gaza and east Jerusalem against the very existence of the Jewish state. Netanyahu knows better than anybody else that this is as much an exercise in rhetoric as it is in futility. He is fully aware that the only way for peace to be possible is for the Palestinians to oust their corrupt and evil leaders in Fatah and Hamas and — in striving for the freedom and prosperity they have been denied by the honchos in Ramallah and Gaza City — emulate Israeli society.

If such a day ever comes, no more than five minutes will be required for the sides to agree on the technicalities — maybe 10, if the negotiators get stuck in traffic on the way to the table.

The same holds true for Iran, which is why the JCPOA was not flawed due to the wording of its clauses, but rather to the fact that the mullah-led regime in Tehran had no intention of reaching any genuine agreement with the “infidels” it wishes to annihilate. Its goal was not to have international sanctions lifted in order to get on with the business of improving the economic lot of the Iranian people. It simply wanted a more unfettered path to obtaining nuclear weapons with which to impose its hegemony on the Middle East and force the rest of the world to capitulate to its Islamist will.

Meanwhile, even Fatah and Hamas can’t bury the hatchet, other than literally, in the backs of one another’s operatives. But the one thing the two terrorist groups do share is a mutual antipathy to Israel and the aim to eradicate the Jewish state. The author of “The Art of the Deal” and his secretary of state will learn this soon enough, if they don’t know it already. In any case, the appointment of world-renowned expert in Islamic terrorism Sebastian Gorka as deputy assistant to the president is a sign that they want to be told the truth. Let us hope that Netanyahu feels welcome and comfortable enough during his visit in Washington to do the same.

Israeli PM Netanyahu Becomes D.C. Darling as Democrats Clamor for Meetings

February 13, 2017

Israeli PM Netanyahu Becomes D.C. Darling as Democrats Clamor for Meetings, Washington Free Beacon, , February 13, 2017

(“Now that our Dear Leader is gone, we sure do love Israel.” — DM)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on February 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GALI TIBBON

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on February 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GALI TIBBON

After years of tense relations with the United States under former President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is emerging as one of the most prominent international personalities, according to multiple sources who told the Washington Free Beacon that Democrats, Republicans, and high-level White House officials are clamoring for a sit down with the Israeli leader when he arrives in town on Tuesday.

Senior officials across party lines hope to let Netanyahu know that America has Israel’s back and that years of tension during the Obama administration is just water under the bridge, according to both congressional sources and those close to the Trump administration.

Netanyahu’s schedule is already packed with powwows between President Trump, senior administration officials, and a cast of leading lawmakers on Capitol Hill from both sides of the aisle.

Meetings will center on U.S. lawmakers’ desire to reset relations with the Jewish state. Multiple sources told the Free Beacon that sit downs with White House officials will focus on holding Iran accountable for violations of the nuclear deal, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and combatting efforts at the United Nations to delegitimize Israel.

Netanyahu already has confirmed a 6:30 p.m. dinner Tuesday evening with newly installed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The meeting will take place inside the State Department.

Netanyahu is expected to meet with Trump and other senior officials Wednesday before heading to Capitol Hill, where he will meet with leading Democrats and Republicans.

Netanyahu is expected to take separate meetings with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), sources told the Free Beacon.

Further meetings could take place with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before Netanyahu travels to the House side of the Capitol for an evening meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.).

There is a strong desire among all parties to show Netanyahu that after nearly a decade of chilly relations during the former administration, the United States is prepared to restore the historic relationship with the Jewish state.

“Netanyahu’s schedule is so full that he literally can’t find time for all the high level meetings people want to have with him,” said one veteran foreign policy adviser who is closely in touch with the White House on Middle East issues. “The truth of this is, it’s nature taking its course.”

Recent polling shows that support for Israel is at an all-time high among Democrats and Republicans. Democratic lawmakers in particular are no longer being pressured by the former administration to distance themselves from Netanyahu and Israel.

“Without Obama trying to force Democratic lawmakers to choose between Israel and the United States nature is taking its course and everyone wants to see how they can help bolster the U.S.-Israel relationship,” the source said. “Voters want to see this.”

One source characterized Netanyahu as the “cool kid in town.”

On Capitol Hill, senior sources focused on the Middle East expect that lawmakers will emphasize a reset in relations with Israel. They also will seek to reassure Netanyahu that key foreign aid packages to Israel will remain robust and fully funded.

“There’s broad recognition that it’s time to turn a page on years of hostility towards Israel from the Obama administration. President Trump and the Republican Congress are focused on strengthening Israel’s security and the U.S.-Israel relationship—not condemning housing projects in disputed territories and pushing anti-Semitic U.N. resolutions,” said one senior congressional aide familiar with the Israeli leader’s travel itinerary.

“This provides a major opportunity for both the United States and Israel to stand up to Iran and all those who seek to defame and destroy the Jewish state,” the source said. “Given the warm relationship between Bibi and Trump, everyone seems upbeat and optimistic about the future of the alliance moving forward.”

Dennis Ross, a veteran Middle East hand who worked for former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, told reporters on Monday that there is a strong desire to cast sour relations between the United States and Israel as a byproduct of the Obama administration.

That, Ross said during a conference call hosted by the Israel Project, is the “overriding message that emerges from this week,”

“Democrats will be anxious to show they’re close to Israel as well,” Ross said, adding that Netanyahu will convey the message that Israel’s relationship is with America as a whole, not any one administration.