Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Israeli Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz has dismissed concerns that US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state might undercut the expected peace initiative currently being prepared by the White House.
His comments — in a far-reaching interview with The Algemeiner in New York City last Thursday — came a day before the first reports that President Donald Trump planned to unveil the move in a speech this coming Wednesday.
Katz argued the timing of an embassy move was favorable now because Arab states were more preoccupied with the threat posed by Iran than with the Palestinian issue.
“Now it’s the highest chance to do it,” he asserted. “Because everyone that would be potentially against it has other very, very big problems to deal with.”
JNS.org – The Gaza-ruling Palestinian terror group Hamas on Sunday called on Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to change…
Katz — a leading Israeli political figure who recently stated his intention to succeed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — said that the issue of recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was one of two major objectives for his trip to the US.
The second, he said, was to “support the president’s policy” that “the United States and the world have to change, correct or cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran.”
For now, Israel still sees the value in working to modify the nuclear deal to include new components that it had initially suggested to the Americans, but were rejected by the Obama administration. The threat of new “paralyzing economic sanctions,” Katz said, may still convince Iran to change paths.
“Now the pain (of sanctions) is very familiar to them,” he said. “You know, sometimes when you do something and you release they are afraid to bring it back, it’s more frightening than even before.”
In the event that such new initiatives fail to bring the desired result — the end to Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon — Katz said that support for the military option was unanimous in the Israeli government.
“It’s not only on the table. It’s very clear,” he stated. “There were times that there was an argument inside Israel, you know (between late former Mossad chief Meir) Dagan and Netanyahu and others, but it was only a tactical argument because everyone agreed that we won’t let Iran have nuclear weapons, but the question was if it was the last time to prevent it. But I think there is a very, very broad consensus politically, and a security consensus in Israel that, if it will be the last thing to prevent Iran from nuclear weapons capabilities, Israel will act.”
In the meantime, Katz sees in Trump echoes of the late British statesman Winston Churchill, who, ahead of World War II, sounded the alarm about Nazi Germany when the prime minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain, was still pursuing a policy of appeasement.
Trump, he said, “has an opportunity that Churchill didn’t (have), to change the reality before the disaster comes.” The president’s October speech on Iran policy was “historical” for Israel and Jews “because we always ask ourselves what would happen if Churchill would have come before and canceled the Munich Agreement, maybe the Second World War wouldn’t happen with all its horrible price.”
And to the Israelis, the specter of a nuclear Iran is just one of five or six elements of the Iranian issue in its totality. Katz described the broader threat from Iran in the region — over which the Israelis have been voicing concern for some time — as being close to a boiling point.
“When someone jumps from the 20th floor there is no big change until he comes to the floor,” he said. “You are now describing the situation, it’s very close to the floor.”
Katz confirmed reports that Netanyahu had been active behind the scenes in efforts to stop the advancement of Iran-backed militias into Kurdish areas in northern Iraq in late October, described by Chagai Tzuriel — the director-general of Israel’s ministry of Intelligence, who joined the interview — as part of an “Iranian master plan to create an overland corridor from Iran through Iraq through Syria to Lebanon.”
According to Katz, “Netanyahu spoke not only with, let’s say, Tillerson and others, maybe with the president, the vice president, but also with Putin, with Merkel, with Macron and with others… He told them that the world cannot let the Iranians attack the Kurds.”
But, Katz admitted, “we don’t have the influence and the regional power the United States has, especially in Iraq.”
Expressing sympathy for the Kurdish cause, he noted that the Kurds “were the only one army and power that put their boots on the ground and defeated ISIS. The only one. No superpower did it; they didn’t want to do it, okay. It can’t be that one moment after they finish the job everyone throws them to the wolves.”
Regarding the expanding land path under Iran’s sway, Tzuriel lamented, “Unfortunately everybody’s late because to a large extent this corridor has been completed.”
Said Katz, “We have to push with the leadership of the United States to stop Iran and push them out of the region, including the Kurds’ area, including Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and all those places. It’s a common interest of the United States, the new administration of the United States, of Israel, of Saudi Arabia, of Jordan, and of the majority of the Arab Sunni countries.”
Furthermore, he added, “If Iran will not touch the Kurds’ area but will establish military bases, seaports, airports in Syria, it’s even more dangerous for us. ”
The minister also reacted positively to recent developments in Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been consolidating his power.
“If the de facto leader in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, is saying that Khamenei, the Iranian leader, is worse than Hitler, I don’t have to say anything after that,” he said. “And Iran, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia said at the recent Munich Conference that Iran is the biggest supporter of terror in the area and in the world. Those are things that Israel is talking about all the time.”
The Saudis, Katz pointed out, see Israel as the last line of defense against regional Iranian hegemony. “Saudi Arabia knows, even if they buy a lot of weapons, advanced weapons from the United States, maybe from other places, they know and Jordan knows and the Emirates knows that Israel is the only power that can stand against Iran,” Katz said.
In the long term, Katz is optimistic about the prospect of peace with the Saudis.
“I would like to see that Saudi Arabia — they don’t have any conflict with Israel, any territorial conflict — will sign a peace agreement with Israel, will make a full normalization with Israel,” he said. “Maybe it will not happen now, but I think that the threat, the Iranian threat is so big and the only power and only country that can stop Iran in the area is Israel.”
The UN Security Council. Photo: Twitter.
American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital should serve as a “reality check” for the Palestinians, the Jewish state’s UN envoy said on Friday, ahead of the start of a special Security Council session on the issue.
“President Trump’s declaration marks a milestone — for Israel, for peace and for the world,” Ambassador Danny Danon said.
The Palestinians, Danon further noted, “can choose violence as they have always done, or they can choose to join us at the negotiating table.”
“The Security Council must send a clear message that there is never an excuse for violence,” he declared. “Violence must never be used as a threat.”
The UN agency is currently dominated by the most oppressive regimes on education and culture. There is China, which recently let writer, poet and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo die an agonizing death in prison, where he was serving an 11-year jail sentence for his support of human rights and democracy.
Then there is Iran, where a dean of journalism, Siamak Pourzand, committed suicide to avoid more persecution by the regime.”UNESCO has been hijacked and abused as a tool for the persecution of Israel and the Jewish people, while concocting fake facts and fake history, meant to… rewrite global history.” — Carmel Shama Hacohen, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO.
Prague Old Town Square, Czech Republic. (Shutterstock)
In a sign of Biblical prophecy that the nations will gaze upon a unified Jerusalem with joy, and following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Wednesday night, the Czech Republic has said that it also recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.
“The Czech Republic currently, before the peace between Israel and Palestine is signed, recognizes Jerusalem to be in fact the capital of Israel in the borders of the demarcation line from 1967,” said a statement issued by the Czech foreign ministry.
A Palestinian protester holds stones during clashes with Israeli troops as Palestinians call for a “day of rage” in response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Bethlehem, West Bank, Dec. 8, 2017.
The next few days will show whether the Palestinian Authority (PA) is headed toward the kind of chaos that could result in the collapse of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ government, or whether the Palestinians will manage to contain their outrage over President Donald Trump’s announcement that he recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Afghan protesters shout slogans during a protest againstÊU.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in Kabul, Afghanistan December 8, 2017. (photo credit: OMAR SCOBHANI / REUTERS)
JERUSALEM – Thousands of Palestinians protested in a “day of rage” on Friday in the West Bank, Gaza and in east Jerusalem against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the ancient city as Israel’s capital.
Across the Arab and Muslim worlds, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Friday, the Muslim holy day, expressing solidarity with the Palestinians and outrage at the US move.
The real national camp—and no, I’m not referring to Likud but to the camp pursuing a Jewish, democratic and incorrupt state—has an actual chance of returning to power.
About one-third of Likud voters are presumably fed up with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s way. It’s true that he’s made achievements. It’s true that the attacks on him were often vile, exaggerated hypocritical and filled with lies, mistakes, and manipulations. But no more. What could have been argued two or three or five years ago, quite rightfully, can no longer be argued today. Something has changed..
Over the last five hundred years, famous rabbinic leaders have called to limit the overwhelming authority of Rabbi Yosef Karo’s Shulchan Aruch and Rambam’s Mishne Torah. (1) They felt that these works do not reflect authentic Judaism and its halachic tradition. (2) The reason is obvious. These great codes of Jewish Law are very un-Jewish in spirit. They present Halacha in ways which oppose the heart and soul of the Talmud, and therefore of Judaism itself. They deprived Judaism of its multifaceted halachic tradition and its inherent music. It is not the works themselves which are the problem, but the ideology which they represent: The ethos of codifying and finalizing Jewish Law.
The New York Times published the Palestinian response to an alleged Saudi peace plan. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly presented it to PLO chief and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas last month.
According to the Times’ report, Mohammed told Abbas he has two months to either accept the Saudi proposal or leave office to make way for a new Palestinian leader who will accept it.
Israel is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the historic visit of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem, that led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. The move by Egypt, the largest and strongest Arab state, changed the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Sadat violated the Arab taboo against good neighborly relations with the Jewish state and opened the way for additional peace agreements. The defection of Egypt from the Arab military coalition eliminated the option of a two-front conventional war against Israel and saved the Israeli taxpayer billions of dollars. The heavy price paid by Israel to Egypt was total withdrawal from the Sinai and removal of settlements. But, in retrospect, it worked out well, turning Israel into “the land had peace
Islamic world more than fifty years ago, when I became fascinated by the classes taught by my Arabic teacher, the late Dov Iron, in Tel Aviv’s Zeitleen high school. From the very first class in early September 1066, I realized that we are being exposed to a culture that differs in every respect from the one upon which I was raised. I realized that the Arabic language is the key to a whole new world, one that thinks, feels and behaves in a way that must be studied perceptively in order to be understood.