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Peres and Bibi address Jewish media at opening

Speaking to a room packed with journalists, Peres confirmed an earlier statement that he would be addressing the matter of the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who has languished in an American prison for longer than the 27 years of Madiba’s incarceration in SA. Peres praised PA leader Mahmoud Abbas as a man he could trust.

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ANT KATZ IN JERUSALEM

ABOVE: Video clip of beginning of Netanyahu’s speech

STORY AND PICS BY ANT KATZ REPORTING LIVE FROM THE SUMMIT


 

Security was very tight at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem as both President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were scheduled to speak.

Jewish media summit - PerezIn remarks contrasting Netnyahu’s more wary stance earlier in the day at a Cabinet briefing, outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres, hailed PA leader Mahmoud Abbas as “the best partner we have ever had. He made a valiant effort. He’s a great leader and we must not miss the opportunity to co-operate with him.”

LEFT: President Peres taking questions from Diaspora Jewish editors in Jerusalem.

Peres chose to use a Q&A format moderated by The Times of Israel’s David Horovitz. “Abbas is the best partner Israel has ever had, and has now,” Peres began, in answer to a question from Horowitz.
 
“I have known him for 20 years. I think he’s a man of his word. I think he’s a man of courage.”

Kicking off the first Jewish Media Summit, attended by over 100 senior journalists from world Jewish media, Peres answered questions with candour. Abbas had done the right thing, “right now, before a totally Arab audience in Saudi Arabia – being clear on peace, being clear on terror, risking his life,” said Peres. Abbas’ situation was “not a simple position”.

Jewish media summit stagePeres was referring to Abbas’ STATEMENTS LAST WEDNESDAY in Saudi Arabia when Abbas said: “Those who perpetrated this act want to destroy us https://www.sajr.co.za/images/default-source/events/jewish/jewish-media-summit-bibi.jpg” />
RIGHT: Prime Minister Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu at the Ramada Hotel.

But, whereas Peres had taken questions, the prime minister chose to deliver an address. He made an impassioned appeal to the international Jewish journalists to get the good news about Israel out to the world.

He spoke of being appalled at the US Presbyterian Church’s decision (yesterday) to divest from Israel.

Would they prefer to invest in the failed states surrounding Israel, he asked. Netanyahu stressed the positive Israeli parable, the wealth of the country and its intellectual capital.

Every cell phone, every medication in the world relied on some level of Israeli research and development, he said.

In a News Brief on ARUTZ SHEVA headlined: “Netanyahu: Israel’s Foes Not Averse to Any Means” tonight, the website said that Netanyahu used the Jerusalem Media Summit to express his condolences to Fahmi Karakara, an Arab defence contractor from the Lower Galilee who was wounded and lost his 15-year-old son in an explosion on the Golan Heights earlier in the day.

Netanyahu said: “Israel’s enemies are not averse to using any means, they’re not averse to attacking civilians, to kill children, as happened this morning. They don’t discriminate between Israel’s Jewish and non-Jewish civilians.”

Referring to the recent abduction of the three yeshiva students in Judea, the prime minister added: “As a people, our heart is torn with the kidnapping of every youth and the murder of every youth and I’m sure I represent everyone when I send my condolences.” 

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Turkey, Egypt, eastern Africa: Netanyahu pulls off trifecta

The conventional wisdom has it that earning the sobriquet “the most right-wing government in Israeli history” does not lead to diplomatic successes. In recent weeks, on the Turkish, Egyptian and African fronts, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is proving the conventional wisdom wrong.

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RON KAMPEAS

WASHINGTON

 Pictured: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meeting in Jerusalem last Sunday,

PHOTOGRAPH: GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE OF ISRAEL

How is it that the head of a government beating a hasty retreat from the two-state solution scored a triumphant tour of Africa, hosted a convivial summit with an Egyptian foreign minister for the first time in nearly a decade and renewed full ties with Turkey?

What Netanyahu’s diplomatic successes mean – and their limitations.

Oh, Bibi, Bibi, its a wild world

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, talks about retreating from America’s pre-eminent role in the world. Although he is adamant that he is pro-Israel, Trump has suggested he could charge Israel for the billions in defence assistance it receives.

Similarly, Europe, overwhelmed by a refugee crisis, is becoming more insular and, for the first time in decades, faces the prospect of falling apart as a common political force, with Britain’s planned exit from the European Union and other countries contemplating similar actions.

Meantime, calls to target Israel – or its settlements – with boycotts are increasing across the continent.

“In Israel, there’s broad recognition for no substitute for the US-Israel alliance. It remains crucial,” said Jonathan Schanzer, a vice president at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, a think tank with a focus on the Middle East. He mentioned some challenges.

“Enhance security ties with Egypt, reinvigorate decades-old ties in Africa and mend ties with Turkey.”

The shared Sinai threat

The vastness of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, its strategic positioning between Asia and Africa and the porous nature of its Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea coasts, have been like catnip to terrorist groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State.

That poses a shared challenge to Israel and Egypt and has helped already friendly ties between the nations.

Israel in recent months quietly has allowed Egyptian forces entry back into the peninsula, effectively allowing Egypt to abrogate one of the tenets, demilitarisation, of the 1979 Camp David Peace Agreement. Commensurately, Egypt has allowed Israel to target terrorists with drones.

That helps explain why Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi was willing to send his foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, to Israel for a high-profile visit. Keeping the Sinai secure trumped the domestic blowback Sissi knew he would endure for the visit.

Pre-empting the Palestinians, France and (maybe) the Obama administration

The French are trying to kick-start peace talks with the Palestinians under an international umbrella. The Palestinians hope to advance statehood recognition during the UN General Assembly launch in September. And President Barack Obama may deliver his own post-US election surprise, setting out the US parameters for a final-status arrangement.

All are anathema to Netanyahu, who favours direct talks with the Palestinians, where Israel is able to exercise greater leverage. Shoukry, the Egyptian foreign minister, appeared to favour the direct talks track.

Turkey is more about what Erdogan needs

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, pressed for the rupture with Israel in 2010 after Israel’s deadly raid on a Palestinian convoy aiming to breach Israel’s blockade with Gaza. Now he’s the force behind the reconciliation.

Erdogan is dealing with restive Kurds in the south, the chaos in Syria across his country’s border and the blowback from his decision recently to take tougher measures against the Islamic State. He needs to smooth waters elsewhere.

Re-establishing ties with Israel not only returns an important trade partner to eminence and restores full security ties at a time of crisis, it addresses a longstanding US demand that its two most important allies in the Middle East reconcile.

Back to Africa

The last time there was a movement on the rise to isolate Israel – in the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when the Arab League used oil leverage to pressure third parties to join their boycott – Israel countered by quietly reinforcing ties in Africa. The ties were, established as early as the 1950s and 1960s. (JTA)

 

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Palestinian boy wanted to be a ‘martyr’

JERUSALEM – The 13-year-old Israeli girl killed in her West Bank bedroom last week Thursday, Hallel Yaffa Ariel of Kiryat Arba, a Jewish settlement near Hebron, was also a US citizen.

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JTA CORRESPONDENT

Pictured : Rina, the mother of Hallel Ariel, a 13-year-old Israeli girl who was fatally stabbed by a Palestinian attacker in her home, mourns during her funeral near Hebron, on June 30.

GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

 Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy from a nearby village, stabbed Ariel multiple times while she was sleeping. Civilian guards shot and killed him.

The State Department issued a statement condemning the murder “in the strongest possible terms”.

“This brutal act of terrorism is simply unconscionable,” the statement said. “We extend our deepest condolences to her family. We also understand another individual who was responding to the attack was wounded by the attacker. We extend our hopes for a quick and full recovery.”

Tarayrah, who had posted on social media about wanting to die as a martyr, reportedly jumped over the fence to enter the settlement, activating an alarm. Guards were already heading to the area when he started stabbing the teen, according to reports.

Meeting after the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman decided to close off the village where the assailant lived and revoke work permits in Israel for members of his village. They also launched the process to demolish his family home.

“The horrifying murder of a young girl in her bed underscores the bloodlust and inhumanity of the incitement-driven terrorists that we are facing,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The entire nation deeply identifies with the family’s pain and declares to the murderers: You will not break us.”

Netanyahu said he expected the Palestinian leadership to “clearly and unequivocally” condemn the attack and to take immediate action to stop the incitement.

Sari Bashi, the Israel and Palestine country director for Human Rights Watch, in a statement called the murder a “ghastly crime. The fact that settlements are illegal under international law does not make their inhabitants, the children as well as their parents, subject to lethal attack.

“At the same time,” she said, “the killing provides no legal justification for the Israeli government to punish the alleged attacker’s family members. Destroying the home of the attacker’s relatives and cancelling their work permits is an unlawful act.”

Meanwhile, Israel’s minister of public security said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had some of the “blood” of recent Israeli terrorism victims on his hands for allowing Palestinian incitement and hate speech to appear on the social media site.

 “Facebook, which has brought a positive revolution to the world, since the rise of Islamic State and the wave of terror has become a monster,” Erdan told Israel’s Channel 2 TV, according to the Times of Israel.

Erdan, a member of the Likud party, added that “to my great sorrow, some of the blood of those who have been murdered, including in the latest attacks, of Hallel” was on Zuckerberg’s hands because Facebook failed to report the killer’s incendiary posts. (JTA)

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Did SA set alleged Israeli Mobster free on bail

This week Israel’s Channel 10 News reported that suspected Israeli mob boss Shai Musli, who was scheduled to appear in court on January 18 and didn’t, was released on $10,000 bail. The TV channel merely quoted “sources” and SAPS spokesmen have not responded to Jewish Report Online’s enquiries – but it appears that there was, indeed, no hearing on the scheduled date. Channel 10 said that a gang member had agreed to turn state witness in Israel on the alleged charges of “assassinations, illegal possession of weapons, racketeering, arson and robbery”.

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ANT KATZ

Police have been unable to explain why one of the highest profile awaiting-trial prisoners in the country, alleged Israeli mob leader Shai Musli, was apparently granted bail.
It was first reported that Musli was not in court on his scheduled date of January 18, but it later emerged that this was incorrect and that he, in fact, did appear in court.

Musli, who has had his case remanded three times before, had arrived at court in November under unusually heavy police protection after police received a “credible tip-off” that there may have been a mob-plot to spring him.

Musli was arrested on the request of the Prosecutor’s Office of Israel and Interpol, His SA prosecutor, Christo Steyn said at an early hearing that his alleged crimes, for which Israel – through Interpol – is seeking his extradition, included murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder

This week Israel’s Channel 10 News reported that Musli, who was scheduled to appear in court on January 18 and didn’t, was released on $10 000 bail. The TV channel merely quoted “sources” and SAPS spokesmen have not responded to Jewish Report Online’s enquiries – but it appears that there was, indeed, no hearing on the scheduled date.

Channel 10 said that a gang member had agreed to turn state witness in Israel on the alleged charges of “assassinations, illegal possession of weapons, racketeering, arson and robbery”. The TV channel also claimed that the killer, who agreed to become a state witness, said that “a fee for every murder in Bat Yam and Rishon LeZion was   $50 000”. Jewish Report later established that the bail amount was R100 000.

The channel said, according to its “unnamed sources” that the SA courts had been shocked to hear that in Israel a state witness “gets paid for hi/her testimony, which is unacceptable in South Africa and stressed that this exemption will impede the process of extradition of a dangerous criminal”.

Israeli security officials have for years been hunting around the world for Musli. However, he has allegedly been hiding out in SA since 2012 – lying low and moving often. He is alleged to head one of Israel’s most feared crime families, a family claimed to have waged a reign of terror in Tel Aviv and using their connections to the global criminal underworld, including South Africa’s, to remove rivals and expand their empire.

On November 11, Jewish Report first published the Israeli’s bail and extradition hearings, telling how Israeli authorities had sought Musli across the globe, how he came to be arrested, his first appearance in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court and how he was being held under guard at an undisclosed Gauteng prison. His first appearance led to a remand in custody until later in the month when he would apply for bail.

Israel wants Musli for murders and other crimes. His case was again remanded. He was again remanded until last week, and then to January 18. A next date is said to be the beginning of March.
 

But so far no confirmation could be had that Musli is in fact out on bail and which magistrate granted it, if so. If the police initially took extra precautions to ensure that Musli’s “mob pals” don’t spring him, it is puzzling that he would be granted bail.

If he is in fact out on bail, will this elusive Israeli pitch for his SA extradition hearing?


Related Reads on SAJR:

On November 11, Jewish Report first published Israeli’s bail and extradition hearings paired telling how Israeli authorities had sought Musli across the globe, how he came to be arrested, his first appearance in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court and how he was being held under guard at an undisclosed Gauteng prison. His first appearance led to a remand in custody until later in the month when he would apply for bail.
Israel wants Musli for murders and other crimes appeared on SAJR on November 17 after Musli was again remanded. He had arrived at court under unusually high protection after police received a credible tip-off that there may have been a mob-plot to pry him free from his captors. He was again remanded until last week, and now, to January.

At the December hearing the case was again remanded to January 18 – but never took place. 

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