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B A LT I M O R E J E W I S H H O M E . C O M


FEBRUARY 22, 2018


The Week In News

Abbas Addresses the UN

On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the United Nations Security Council, calling for a “multilateral international mechanism” to pave the way for Palestinian statehood, while accusing Israel and the United States of obstructing peace efforts. “To solve the Palestine question, it is essential to establish a multilateral international mechanism emanating from an international conference,” the PA president said, adding that he anticipated a summit by mid-2018. Abbas wants to replace the central role that the United States has played as mediator in the peace process. The Palestinian leader took aim at Washington’s handling of the issue over the past year, namely U.S. President Donald Trump’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “The administration has taken Jerusalem off the table,” Abbas said, quoting the words used by Trump last month to describe the declaration. The Palestinians, Abbas argued, have a historical presence in the territory dating back “5,000 years.” “We are descendants of the Canaanites that lived in Palestine 5,000 years ago, and have continuously remained there to this day,” the PA president insisted as he began his speech, adding that there are currently 13 million Palestinian refugees in Israel, the West Bank, and abroad. The PA president also panned the U.S. administration’s failure to clarify its position on whether or not it sup-

ports a two-state solution to the conflict. He lashed out at Washington’s decision to cut aid from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, “which they helped establish,” and blasted the U.S. threats to close down the offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington. Abbas asserted that the Palestinians “are ready to begin negotiations immediately in order to achieve peace.” But he also conditioned negotiations on the withdrawal of Trump’s Jerusalem recognition and the cessation of Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. He said his proposed “multilateral international mechanism” should lead to full UN membership for the state of Palestine, mutual recognition of Israel and a Palestinian state, and the creation of a new international mechanism to reach a final settlement. Abbas also pledged to “intensify” his efforts to obtain full member state status at the UN, where the Palestinians are currently considered a non-member observer state. Arguing that it undermined peace efforts, Abbas lambasted Israel’s continued settlement construction and “continued occupation of Palestinian lands,” claiming that that the PA had “become an authority without authority.” “We are working for the occupation, we are employees for the occupation, and we say that Israel must be held to its obligations as an occupying power.” However, Abbas asserted that “our problems are not with the Jewish people. Our problem is only with the occupiers of our land.” Both Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy for the peace process, were in the room when Abbas spoke. The United Nations granted Palestine the status of a non-member observer state in 1992, but an upgrade to full membership would require unanimous backing from the Security Council – an unlikely outcome, given the near-certainly of a U.S. veto. In December, the General Assembly voted 128-9, with 35 abstentions, to reject the US decision to recognize Jerusalem. That vote in the 193-nation assembly came after 14 of the 15 council members voted in favor of a similar measure. The United States vetoed that draft resolution.

IDF Returns Terrorist Bodies The bodies of two terrorists were returned to the Palestinian Authority by the Israeli government last week. Nimer Jamal, who murdered three Israelis in Har Adar in September of last year, and Hamza Zamareh, who tried to stab an Israeli in Gush Etzion’s Karmei Tzur this month, were both returned to the Palestinians for burial. The parents of IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, whose body is being held by Hamas, were very upset with the news. Simcha and Leah Goldin accused the Israeli government of showing “security weakness and betrayal of IDF soldiers.” “We thought the prime minister and the Cabinet members were merely lying to the public in the media, but have now learned they have no qualms about lying to the High Court as well,” the Goldin family said in a statement. “This past Thursday, the state vowed before the court to implement the Cabinet’s decision regarding [terrorists’] bodies in full, but 24 hours later released the terrorists’ bodies for burial,” Hadar Goldin’s enraged parents said. “This government has no respect for its kidnapped soldiers and no shame about lying in court. It’s sad we have come to a point where the government lies to a bereaved family and does not implement its own decisions,” the Goldin family lamented. The court hearing that the Goldin family is referring to is one that deals with a petition they submitted to have the Cabinet make the conditions of incarcerations for Hamas prisoners harsher and to not return terrorists bodies to the PA. “My son was killed in Operation Protective Edge and we are now entering the fourth year of his body being held by Hamas in Gaza,” Simcha Goldin said. “I’m a reserve lieutenant colonel, my children are all officers, and I know soldiers may die in battle. I raised my children that the IDF sends soldiers to battle and the prime minister is also responsible for bringing them back.” The Goldin family is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next month. The Goldin family has been very critical of how Netanyahu’s government has dealt

with their son’s missing body. “The government did not forget Hadar; it abandoned and ignored him,” Goldin said.   “Netanyahu knows he left in Gaza and excellent Golani officer and an excellent Givati officer. He knows that. The defense minister and the IDF chief also know that. The question is, what are they doing [about it]? They ignore and abandon, which is a very bad way to begin the 70th anniversary celebrations to the State of Israel.”

Arrests in Case 4000 Case Scandals continue to rock the Netanyahu household, even when they aren’t directly connected to the prime minister. On Tuesday, police lifted a gag order on the Bezeq fraud case, known as Case 4000, revealing the names of seven people who had been arrested earlier in the week. Shaul Elovitch, the owner of the Walla news website and the controlling shareholder of Israel’s largest telecom company Bezeq, his wife Iris, and his son Or were among those arrested and held for five days. Director General of the Communications Ministry Shlomo Filber, former Netanyahu family spokesman Nir Hefetz, Bezeq CEO Stella Handler, and senior Bezeq executive Amikam Shorer were also arrested. The case revolves around a suspected quid pro quo deal between Elovitch and Netanyahu that would have seen the prime minister granted positive media coverage in exchange for financial benefits for Bezeq. On Monday Elovitch “categorically” denied allegations leveled against him, saying that “no offense has been committed.” According to law enforcement sources, Elovitch swayed the Walla news site’s coverage of Netanyahu and his family in exchange for the Communications Ministry enacting policies potentially worth hundreds of millions of shekels for Elovitch. Netanyahu, who has also been said by Israeli media to be a  suspect in the case, is suspected of furthering that deal. Netanyahu also denies any wrongdoing. The prime minister was acting communications minister at the time of several alleged illicit deals made

Baltimore Jewish Home - 2-22-18  

Baltimore Jewish Home - 2-22-18

Baltimore Jewish Home - 2-22-18  

Baltimore Jewish Home - 2-22-18