The office of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced July 6 that it expected approval for the construction of 800 new housing units in neighborhoods across the Green Line, but the statement received very little attention. The White House has not condemned the move, even though Barkat said in his statement, “Construction in Jerusalem is necessary, important and will continue in full force so as to enable more young people to live in Jerusalem, build their future there and strengthen the capital of Israel.”
The plan includes the Jewish neighborhoods of Pisgat Zeev, Neve Yaakov, Ramot and Gilo, in addition to the construction of 114 housing units in East Jerusalem. Still, this number is minuscule, considering the housing crisis in the city’s Arab neighborhoods, and certainly when compared to the planned scope of construction in its Jewish neighborhoods.
Netanyahu’s office was informed of the construction plan and gave it the green light, so that this was not a case of Barkat taking advantage of the situation. The procedure for updating the prime minister went into effect in 2010, during the Barack Obama administration. It was instigated by a serious crisis that broke out between Netanyahu and the White House, following an announcement that construction of 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem had been approved. That announcement was made on the day that Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Israel for an official visit in March 2010. The Americans were furious. Netanyahu claimed he knew nothing about it. To appease the Americans, he ordered the creation of a committee to investigate the chain of events that led to the approval.
Tracking Netanyahu’s attitude toward construction in the settlements ever since he was elected in 2009 is a fascinating exercise. It reveals that he adopts the same tactic time and again, maneuvering between the Israeli hard right and the US administration.
Unlike the chairman of pro-settlement HaBayit HaYehudi, Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu is not an ideologue who advocates construction in the West Bank. Nevertheless, as leader of the right, he is expected to show that he identifies with the settlement enterprise and is taking action to support it. On the other hand, Netanyahu is also well aware of how sensitive the international community and the United States in particular are to anything to do with construction across the 1967 Green Line, which is considered detrimental to the implementation of a two-state solution.
During the Obama administration, the White House showed zero tolerance toward construction in the settlements. For his part, Netanyahu agreed to freeze construction in the West Bank a as proof of how serious he is to advancing the idea of a two-state solution, as he declared in his Bar Ilan speech in 2009. As far as the right was concerned, it was nothing less than a disaster.
The freeze lasted 10 months, during which Israel kept its commitment. Even after that period, however, Netanyahu continued to act in a balanced manner. He showed restraint and would not allow a frenzy of construction across the Green Line.
The prime minister is using the same tactic today, during the Donald Trump administration. With the end of the Obama administration, the settler right, led by Bennett, called for a new wave of construction and annexation in the territories, arguing that Trump was pro-settler and that this was a historic window of opportunity, which they would probably never see again. To their chagrin, Netanyahu was unwilling to remove all restraints. He showed moderation, even before Trump asked him to do so.
Right after Trump’s inauguration, the Municipality of Jerusalem took the symbolic step of approving the construction of 566 housing units in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. It was a measured step, taken with Netanyahu’s knowledge. Several weeks later, Netanyahu took steps to block a law proposed by Bennett to annex the settlement town of Maale Adumim by presenting the Cabinet with plans to build new housing in the settlement blocs. At the time, he explained that it was important that the Israeli government not surprise the new US administration with an annexation proposal. Bennett was appeased and Netanyahu scored another successful maneuver to his credit.
Netanyahu and Minster of Defense Avigdor Liberman later approved the planning and construction of 2,500 housing units in the West Bank. Nevertheless, settlement umbrella organization the Yesha Council responded that the program was deceptive, as it failed to meet the settlers’ needs. Once again, they called on the government to approve all construction plans already on the shelf and to release construction tenders throughout the entire territory of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
From his perspective, Netanyahu once again showed his commitment to construction in the settlements. At the same time, however, he made sure not to get carried away. He restrained himself even before Trump asked him to do so explicitly, during the prime minister’s visit to the White House in February. “We will make an effort and assess it,” Netanyahu responded to Trump at the time.
One month later, the Cabinet approved the construction of a new settlement, the first in two decades, for the Amona settlement evacuees. At the same time, Netanyahu notified his ministers of the marketing of 2,000 housing units out of the 5,700 units planned for the West Bank.
As a result, the White House said that Trump expressed his concerns about the settlements both publicly and privately. Netanyahu got the message and immediately presented his Cabinet with the understandings he had reached with the US administration to restrain construction in the settlements. At the time, his office announced that in consideration of the president’s positions, Israel would take significant steps to limit construction sites beyond the existing allotted to construction in the settlements, all in an effort to advance the peace process. Furthermore, it was announced that Israel would not allow the creation of any new illegal outposts.
Netanyahu informed his Cabinet about the new policy, which took the position of the US president into consideration. He stressed to his ministers that the Trump administration will be keeping close tabs on its implementation and that “the policy of restraint should be implemented. We should not try to deceive the Americans, because they know about every house that is built in the settlements.”
In advance of Trump’s May visit to Israel, Netanyahu’s office even ordered that a discussion about construction in the settlements be postponed to avoid a conflict with the Whitehouse.
So far, Netanyahu has managed to maneuver successfully. He can use the pressure applied to him by Bennett to show the Americans how complicated his situation is, given the demands of his right-wing coalition partners. At the same time, in dealing with the settlers, he uses Trump’s demand to restrain construction and explains why he must act responsibly. He really is a whiz at survival.
Linda Sarsour (right). Photo: Screenshot.
Anti-Defamation League National Director CEO Jonathan Greenblatt slammed The New School on Monday over the Manhattan-based institution’s upcoming hosting of a panel discussion on antisemitism that will feature several prominent anti-Israel activists.
Participants in the Nov. 28 event — titled “Antisemitism and the Struggle for Justice” — will include Women’s March co-chair Linda Sarsour and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson.
“Having Linda Sarsour & head of JVP leading a panel on #antisemitism is like Oscar Meyer leading a panel on vegetarianism,” Greenblatt tweeted on Monday. “These panelists know the issue, but unfortunately, from perspective of fomenting it rather than fighting it.”
Mexico’s Sec. of Foreign Affairs, Luis Videgaray Caso, thanked the IDF team for their work to help the people of Mexico during the earthquakes. (IDF Spokesperson)
Mexico has reportedly announced that it will change its voting strategy at the United Nations and other international bodies by stopping to vote in favor of the Palestinians.
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Figari contacted Israeli Ambassador to Mexico Yoni Pelad and told him of the shift in strategy for all upcoming voting procedures related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Perpetuating the romance of the Bolshevik regime, whose ‘good intentions’ cannot mask the horrors imposed in its name
This was written not in the Soviet Union or one of its satellites, but in New York in 1947 by Robert Warshow in Commentary magazine about the American culture of the previous decade. While slightly hyperbolic (the Southern Agrarians, the American Scholar, etc.?) it faithfully describes American Jewish culture of the time, emphatically including its Yiddish branch. At the extreme of this movement were people like Julius Rosenberg, George Koval, and Mark Zborowski, who actively spied for the Soviet Union. At the same time, editors of Communist publications, Hollywood and union activists, party writers and institutional leaders were all directed by Moscow and were joined by rank-and-file members in promoting the virtues of Stalinism over the evils of American constitutional democracy.
How the grandparents of today’s Christian victims of ISIS were also butchered by Muslims.
Editor’s Note: The following review was written by Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The book reviewed is Year of the Sword: The Assyrian Christian Genocide, a History (published by the Oxford University Press, 2016), by Joseph Yacoub, an Honorary Professor of Political Science at Catholic University of Lyon. A significantly shorter version of this review first appeared in the Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2017.
This important contribution to genocide studies documents how the world’s oldest Christian communities—variously referred to as Chaldeans, Syriacs, and Arameans, but best known as Assyrians—were, along with the Armenians, “victims of the [Ottoman] plan for exterminating Christianity, root and branch,” to quote Lord Bryce, circa. 1920. In fact, as half of the Assyrian population was massacred—going from 600,000 to 300,000 in 1915-18—relative to their numbers, no other Christian group, including the Armenians, suffered as much under the Ottomans.
Three non-Jewish men and one non-Jewish woman went up to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, on Thursday morning, and took part in a ceremony in which they received upon themselves the responsibility of adhering to the seven Noahide laws and were officially accepted by a rabbinic tribunal.
The seven Noahides went up to the Temple Mount accompanied by a group of rabbis. One rabbi explained to them the significance of the place and how the Temple was intended as a House of Prayer for all Nations, that benefits the entire world. The rabbis then discussed the laws pertinent to a non-Jewish resident of Israel, righteous gentiles, and the commandments incumbent upon them.
Allahu Akbar. You hear it everywhere these days.
Special agent Scott Wickland said that he heard cries of “Allahu Akbar” before the Benghazi attack. And then the guards ran for their guns.
In Nice, France, the Islamic terrorist who killed 86 people and wounded over 400 by running them over with a truck, shouted, “Allahu Akbar”. In New York, the Islamic terrorist who was trying to imitate him, also shouted, “Allahu Akbar.” The 9/11 hijackers had the same message, “Allahu Akbar”.
With so many investigations and promised indictments, why is the prime minister’s popularity still so high? Part of it is certainly the convoluted nature of the allegations. The more closely one examines them, the more unbelievable they become.For all the differences between Israeli and American Jews, one thing is uncannily similar: the daily headlines lambasting their current political leader.
Normally, we’re allowed to discuss everything, even the salaries of senior judges and police officers. And if we want, we can even demand a pay raise for the prime minister.
There’s no taboo. Everything can and should be on the table. Even a law granting the prime minister immunity from police investigations, in a slightly more reasonable version, is an appropriate subject for a public debate.
But these are not normal times. We are in the midst of a dangerous campaign against the heads of the law enforcement system. They are not immune to criticism. But in the past few months, something completely different has been happening. of the campaign.
There has always been a debate about the “loyalty” of Israeli Arabs. Meaning, of course, Palestinians who are citizens of Israel, apart from those living in the West Bank/Judea-Samaria.
Now, a new poll bolsters the argument that these Palestinians are a sort of Fifth Column within the Jewish state.
Not loyal at all.
According to a report in the Times of Israel:
“Two-thirds of Arab Israelis believe Israel has ‘no right’ to define itself as the Jewish nation state, while a majority of Jewish Israelis (58 percent) say those who reject that definition of Israel should have their citizenship revoked, according to a new poll underlining deep divisions between the two communities.
A report on Channel 10—a known stronghold of Bibi-animosity—claims that
senior law enforcement officials have concluded there is sufficient evidence to file an indictment against [Prime Minister Netanyahu] on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust…. The report quoted an unofficial police opinion according to which the evidence that has accumulated against Netanyahu is robust…. The State Attorney’s Office, Channel 10 reported, was also coming to the opinion that there are grounds to file an indictment on bribery, but was not as sure as the police.
Most of the latest purported information—once again leaked by the police, guardians of virtue in the Bibi-hunt who have leaked ruthlessly and systematically throughout this affair—concerns Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is alleged to have done favors for his longtime friend, businessman and movie mogul Arnon Milchan, in return for gifts of cigars and champagne.