Netanyahu was criticized by the Left after a report Wednesday according to which he had rejected a promise of U.S. support in exchange for continuing the freeze on construction for Judea and Samaria Jews. Washington insider David Makovsky had claimed that the U.S. sent Israel a letter offering, among other things, to sell some of its most sophisticated weapons to Israel if it would freeze construction for two more months.
The letter also allegedly offered a U.S. veto on an Arab League attempt to get the United Nations to vote, without waiting for Israel and the PA to reach an agreement, for the creation of an Arab state, to be named Palestine, in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In addition, Obama was said to have committed not to ask for an additional construction freeze when the two months were over.
On Thursday night, White House officials denied the report. “No letter was sent to the Prime Minister,” they stated.
The officials went on to say that they “are not going to comment on sensitive diplomatic matters,” and did not confirm or deny that the U.S. may make future promises in exchange for a construction freeze.
Chairman Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) of the National Union party criticized Yitzchak Molcho, a senior advisor to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Thursday evening for his reported role in the affair. MK Katz warned, "The offer of advisor Molcho is like the advice of Achitofel, which will bring about the downfall of Netanyahu for the same reason he fell a decade ago." Achitofel was a wise man of the time of King David who gave the king bad advice with disastrous results. The expression "advice of Achitofel" is an Israeli idiom alluding to suggestions for actions which sound sensible but are fraught with disaster.
Ten months ago, Israel offered a one-time temporary construction freeze under which the hundreds of thousands of Jews living in Judea and Samaria would be prohibited to build in any way, including adding on to existing homes, building much needed classrooms or beginning construction on approved building projects. The offer was meant to bring the Palestinian Authority to the negotiating table.
The PA initially refused to negotiate despite the freeze, but agreed to start talks in the ninth month, so as to use the continuation of the freeze as a condition for continuing talks. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas then demanded that Israel continue the freeze, threatening to leave talks if building resumed.
Netanyahu refused, and building resumed this week.
The United States has ignored Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s controversial speech in the United Natio
ns Tuesday as U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell talks with Palestinian Authority and Israeli leaders in an effort to thaw the freeze in direct talks.
Lieberman raised a storm by suggesting a land transfer that in effect switches large Arab and Jewish population centers from Israel to the Palestinian Authority and vice versa without expelling anyone from his home, but he has stated the same proposal several times the past year. The only new element was that he chose the United Nations as a forum to repeat his idea.
Lieberman, known for a “straight talk” style that belies modern Western diplomacy that tries to cast an optimistic light on most issues, said that a peace agreement between the PA and Israel is likely to take several decades. U.S. President Barack Obama has said he wants a final status agreement in one year.
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told questioning reporters Tuesday, “I’m not questioning that there may be divergent views between the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, but I’ll defer to the Israeli Government to explain the difference."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu so far has played the diplomat by carefully preserving his government coalition while trying to satisfy both President Obama and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. He distanced himself from Lieberman’s speech without totally rejecting his oft-stated proposal.
However, the timing of the speech in the United Nations hours before Mitchell talked with the Prime Minister Wednesday morning was not welcome. "Lieberman's address was not coordinated with the Prime Minister," the office of the Prime Minister said in a statement. "Netanyahu is the one handling the negotiations on Israel's behalf. The various issues surrounding a peace agreement will be discussed and decided only at the negotiating table, and nowhere else."
Lieberman stated that his population transfer idea is not only nothing new but also has been reported several times,. He told The Australian
last week, "This is a subject that we've run away from until now, but we can't go on like this. It's as if someone were selling you an apartment on the condition that his mother-in-law continue living there."
Mitchell displayed his usual optimism although tempered it by saying that the Obama administration knew there would be “bumps” along the road. He added that the American government is "more determined than ever" to achieve Middle East peace.
State Department reporters have become increasingly skeptical, and their questions at the daily State Department briefing suggest they feel the Obama administration is trying to reach an agreement more for the sake of having a document than for creating a lasting peace.
noted that a collapse in the diplomatic process would be a “major political embarrassment for Obama, “ who likely will lose his Democratic party majority in Congressional midterm elections in November, according to almost all polls.
Returning Mitchell's optimistic tone, Prime Minister Netanyahu told him at his private home in Caesarea Wednesday, "I am committed and the government is committed to reaching a peace agreement that will preserve the security and vital interests of the State of Israel. We are committed to following this path. I hope the good talks that began with (Abbas) will continue without interruption so that we can try to achieve this goal.”
Abbas has frozen the talks, threatening to put a final end to them if Israel does not restore a 10-month building freeze on new Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria that was instituted to meet his condition to sit down at the same table with Israel. He only agreed to the talks as the freeze was about to expire, an obvious ploy to have the freeze extended
Israeli Jews in 'Second Hakafot' Dances
by Gil Ronen
'Dubai police chief claims Mossad threatened to kill him'
Simchat Torah ended Thursday evening in the Land of Israel but tens of thousands of Jews will be dancing with the Torah scrolls in the 'Second Hakafot' (Hakafot Shniyot
), in a tradition that is meant to show identification with the Jews who live abroad, for whom Simchat Torah only began Thursday evening. The "plus" in the land of Israel is that the holiday is over and musical bands can accompany the dancers.
In Jerusalem, the official Second Hakafot were scheduled to begin at 8:00 PM in Gan HaPaamon's basketball courts. Second Hakafot will also be held in Nazareth, Akko and Yafo, with police approval and security arrangements, as well as in many towns, synagogues, and neighborhoods all over the country.
Shmini Atzeret falls on the eighth day of Sukkot but is considered a holiday unto itself, and is specified in the Bible. The holiday is an extension of Sukkot, signifying G-d and the Jewish people's desire to extend the holiday.
Simchat Torah is the celebration marking the annual completion of the Torah, which is read in weekly portions on Sabbaths. This holiday is not mentioned in the Bible but was established by the Jewish Sages at a later period. The two holidays occur on the same day in the Land of Israel, but for Jews living outside the land of the forefathers, Simchat Torah is held on the day after Shmini Atzeret. By dancing the Second Hakafot, Israeli Jews share the celebration of their brothers and sisters abroad.
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Lt.-Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim tells Emerati newspaper he has received 2 death threats since the Mabhouh assassination with Mossad origins.
Dubai police chief Lt.-Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim claims to have received threats from individuals connected to the Mossad to keep quiet about the details of the Mahmoud al-Mabhouh assassination if he wants to remain alive, according to a Thursday report by the al-Ittihad daily cited by AFP.
The first death threat reportedly came days after Tamim publicized photos of the suspected assassins and accused the Mossad of involvement in the murder. "Protect your back if you plan on keeping your tongues loose," said an email that Tamim allegedly received.
'Mossad doesn't accept losers'
Poland: Israeli 'spy' faces extradition
The second death threat according to the reports was received via a telphone call made to one of Tamim's relatives, a retired senior Emirati official, from a dual-nationality Westerner who "asked my relative to advise me to remain silent," Tamim was quoted as saying. He added that it was later proven that the caller was a former Mossad agent.
In another significant break in the Mabhouh case, Tamim also reportedly told al-Ittihad that a "Western country" had arrested one of the suspected Mabhouh assassins "two days ago" and the UAE is seeking the suspect's extradition to the UAE.
Tamim was eager to comment in June on a planned shakeup in the Mossad's leadership.
In an interview with the Emirati newspaper Gulf News which was cited by Army Radio, Tamim said that Meir Dagan was pressed to leave his job as Mossad chief because "the Mossad certainly does not accept losers."
Tamim was referring to the suspected Mossad hit of Mabhouh and the subsequent international fallout generated by the use of stolen identities and forged passports by the alleged members of the assassination team.