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January 1, 2010

A7News: 29 MKs Challenge Construction Ban in Letter to PM

Filed under: Uncategorized — jewishupdates @ 1:54 pm

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Friday, Jan 1 ’10, Tevet 15, 5770
29 MKs Challenge Building Freeze 29 Lawmakers sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu challenging the government’s current ban on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria.mini_0.jpg Today`s Email Stories:
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1. 29 MKs Challenge Construction Ban in Letter to PM
by Avi Yellin 29 MKs Challenge Building Freeze

Nearly 30 members of Knesset sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) this week challenging the government’s current ban on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. The letter, initiated by the Matot Arim organization in cooperation with Knesset House Committee Chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) and opposition MK Uri Ariel (National Union), claims that because of the colossal infringement of human rights resulting from the construction ban, the policy violates Israel’s Basic Law and would require extensive and protracted legislation in order to be legally implemented.

Suzie Dym of Matot Arim told Israel National News the letter signed by 29 members of Knesset will – in addition to focusing on the human rights issues and dubious legality of the policy – take the struggle against the construction ban to an entirely new level. “Until now there has been shock at the infringement of human rights resulting from the freeze. This is what has been dealt with up to now. But this letter is asserting that the problem is not only about human rights. The lawmakers who signed the document are saying that they as elected officials know that the Zionist enterprise requires an extensive momentum of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. This construction is central to the Jewish people, to the Zionist endeavor and to the security of Israel.”

The letter was signed by 29 parliamentarians from seven different political factions representing a wide spectrum of Israeli society. According to Dym, the State of Israel is a representative democracy and therefore a letter to the prime minister signed by such a large number of lawmakers should have sweeping implications and be honored by the prime minister and defense minister on a policy level.
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2. ‘Grad’ Rockets Fired at Netivot, No One Hurt
by Gil Ronen Gaza Rockets Hit Near Netivot

Gaza terrorists fired two Russian-made ‘Grad’ rockets at the southern Israeli town of Netivot Thursday night. There are no reports of casualties. Residents said that they heard two explosions. There was no warning siren before the rockets struck.

Gaza terrorists fired two mortar shells Wednesday night. They struck an uninhabited area in the Eshkol Regional Council. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

Two weeks ago, terrorists fired two Kassam-type rockets at the town of Sderot. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

According to an Israel Security Agency (Shabak) report released Wednesday, there has been a significant decrease in the number of terrorist attacks recorded in 2009 as compared with previous years. The most dramatic drop in terror incidents was recorded in Gaza, where the number of rockets fired at Israel by terrorists dropped from 2,048 in 2008 to 566 this year. Of the 2009 total, 406 were fired in January during Israel’s counter-terrorism operation in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead.

According to the report, ever since the conclusion of that mini-war, the Hamas regime in Gaza has been concentrating on building its military capabilities and training ahead of an expected additional round of large-scale fighting with IDF forces.
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3. MK Danon Proposes Bill: Oust MK Who Incites
by Hana Levi Julian and Gil Ronen Bill Would Oust MK Who Incites

Following an apparent act of brazen incitement by MK Taleb a-Sanaa at the Erez Crossing Thursday, MK Danny Danon announced that he had formally proposed a law that would make it possible to oust a serving Knesset Member for inciting against the State of Israel.

"A-Sanaa’s place is not in the Knesset or in the Palestinian Authority but in the Hamas leadership,” Danon said. “The act of incitement which he initiated does not require the launching of an investigation but immediate dismissal from his position in the Knesset. I hope that the bill will pass quickly so that we can quickly throw out the terror supporters and inciters from the Knesset.”

Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch demanded that MK a-Sanaa (United Arab List – Ta’al) be charged with supporting a terrorist organization after he used his cell phone to allow Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to speak publicly at an anti-Israel demonstration. The event was held at the Erez Crossing, through which dozens of Arab residents of Gaza enter Israel on a daily basis in order to obtain medical treatment at Israeli hospitals.

The demonstration, organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, a body composed of radical leaders of the Arab citizens of Israel, marked the first anniversary of Israel’s counter-terrorism Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. That operation was launched on December 27, 2008 to silence eight years of constant rocket and mortar fire that Gaza terrorists had rained down upon the residents of the western Negev.

Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch demanded that A-Sanaa and another Arab Knesset Member be charged with a series of crimes ranging from insulting a public official to supporting a terrorist organization.

Aharonovitch called on Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to file the charges against MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) after he publicly insulted Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday by comparing him to a Nazi. Zahalka proclaimed during a protest outside a crossing into Gaza that Barak "enjoys classical music and killing children in Gaza.”

MK Zahalka added that the Kassam rockets which “supposedly came from Gaza” were fired “because of Israel’s policies against the Palestinians” and accused the government of “starving Gaza.”

Israel Foots Bill for Call

A-Sanaa facilitated an address by Hamas terrorist leader Ismail Haniyeh, who called the MK’s cell phone in order to address the demonstration via the phone over a loudspeaker from Gaza. Haniyeh told the demonstrators, “We are proud of the Palestinian citizens of the 1948 territories who have come to identify with us."

“We send a greeting to all the members of parliament, to Sheikh Raed Salah [leader of the northern branch of the Israel Islamic Movement – ed and to all the people who have come to express their support for us,” Haniye added. “We will surely meet at the Al-Aqsa mosque and in Jerusalem, which will remain Arab and Islamic!”

A spokesman from Aharonovitch’s office had harsh criticism for the Arab MKs. “We cannot accept a situation in which every person, let alone a Knesset Member in the State of Israel, serves as a pipeline for a terror organization whose only goal is to destroy the state. There is a limit to cynicism… Even the bill for the phone the call was made on is paid by the State of Israel,” he pointed out.
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4. San Francisco Zionists Cow Anti-Israel Protestors
by Avi Yellin Zionists Cow Anti-Israel Protest

The first anniversary marking Operation Cast Lead, this week saw a surge of anti-Israel demonstrations – often billed as “Gaza Freedom Marches” – taking place throughout the Arab and Western worlds. But one rally in San Francisco, a city infamous for political activism hostile to the Jewish state, was met with an unexpectedly assertive Zionist counter-protest.

San Francisco Voice for Israel, a local pro-Israel group affiliated with the StandWithUs organization, has since 2004 been publically confronting what the group terms “anti-Israel hate speech” in the California Bay Area. Taking no position on Israel’s borders or on the fate of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, SFV4I attempts to present Israel as a Western democracy closely allied to the United States. To that end, the group holds regular counter demonstrations – often featuring American flags alongside Israeli ones – across from more belligerent and sometimes violent anti-Israel forces.

Opposite SFV4I this week at San Francisco’s crowded Union Square were Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!), International Solidarity Movement (ISM) of Northern California, Code Pink, Women in Black and a number or other organizations hostile to Jewish statehood that normally succeed in broadcasting their message of “Israeli atrocities and racism” much louder and more aggressively than the StandWithUs affiliate.

But this week the Zionist Freedom Alliance (ZFA) of Northern California, a new factor in the Bay Area Jewish scene with a much younger membership than other pro-Israel groups, joined SFV4I and for the first time succeeded in turning the tables on the anti-Israel demonstrators. Rather than talk about Israeli democracy, the Alliance assertively pushed a message of Jewish national rights to all territory between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River. Caught off balance by the unapologetic and forceful Zionist message, anti-Israel activists, although employing their familiar tactic of presenting Israeli policies in a negative light, found themselves unable to challenge the assertion of Jewish rights.

ZFA’s message was not only directed against the anti-Israel protestors across the square but also against the Barack Obama administration in Washington and its pressure on Israel to freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. And while many of SFV4I’s members were visibly appreciative of the fresh and proudly Zionist message put forward by the younger ZFA activists, the organization’s leadership was initially apprehensive about working together.

“Our position is simple,” said Michael Harris of SFV4I. “We stand in support of a Jewish democratic state of Israel. We take no position on issues such as settlements, various peace proposals including final borders, et cetera, as those are for the elected government of Israel to decide… [Howeve some of ZFA’s positions are in direct opposition to the policies of all of the recent governments of Israel and that can confuse people who don’t understand the issue very well.”

The more conservative SFV4I organizers were initially concerned that the Alliance was going to “hijack” their event and told Israel National News that they will not allow their “events [to taken over by those who want to push a particular political agenda.” But once it became clear how effective ZFA activists were in cowing their anti-Israel opponents while at the same time educating passersby to the justice of Jewish rights, SFV4I became more appreciative and welcoming to the new group.

ZFA leader Yehuda Katz, who reportedly also organized his activists to act as security guards to the older SFV4I demonstrators, told INN that when he learned that the anti-Israel event would be taking place in a part of the city with heavy pedestrian traffic and slow moving cars, his team quickly prepared materials and organized their activists for a counter-protest. “The Zionist Freedom Alliance opposes all forms of racism and bigotry, whether directed against Arabs, Jews or anyone else. Right now we see two forms of discrimination directed against our people so we go out and protest. On a local level here in San Francisco, people who call themselves progressive are constantly trying to delegitimize the rights of the Jewish people to sovereignty in our homeland. And on a larger scale, the government of this country is pressuring the government of Israel to prevent Jews from building in Israel’s heartland simply because they’re Jews. We can’t sit still in the face of injustice so we go out and give a voice to the voiceless Jews of Judea and Samaria.”

When asked how they connect their message of Jewish national rights to the anti-Israel protestors’ specific focus on last year’s war in Gaza, Katz said that if not for the expulsion of Jews from the Gaza region there would have been no need for a war. “The war was a direct result of the forced expulsion of Jews from their homes in Gush Katif. If not for that tragic crime, both Jews and Arabs would be living better lives in Gaza right now.”
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5. MK Uri Ariel to Nationalist Camp: Wake Up!
by Hillel Fendel MK Ariel to Nat'lists: Wake Up!

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) says the Land of Israel camp must actively fight the construction freeze, and that Netanyahu is liable to demolish Jewish towns. “We have to act now in order to prevent that,” he told Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew newsmagazine on Thursday.

“The nationalist camp must prepare itself by uniting and shake off its apathy,” Ariel said. “When there are problems of this nature, like the construction freeze and signs of possible demolition of communities, you have to kill [the problem while they’re still small – because if they get bigger, the consequences will be worse. We have to do everything we can now, and not in half-a-year from now.”

Ariel warns that Prime Minister Netanyahu should not be under-estimated: “I know the man, and I know how far he can go when he finds himself in difficult situations.”

Ariel, a former mayor of Beit El and Yesha Council head, outlined three phases of the public struggle he envisions: “First, we must convene once again what was once known as the Land of Israel Front. Second, we have to increase and focus public consciousness on what’s going on, and third is the activity on the ground and in the outposts. We are basically united in our goals, but unfortunately we are slightly asleep. People are having trouble believing that Netanyahu can do what Ariel Sharon did [in Gush Katif and northern Shomro.”

Continued construction in Judea and Samaria, such as the new initiative in the towns of Binyamin, is a welcome and important idea, MK Ariel said – “but that’s not what will stop Netanyahu. We have to stop him with concerted activities such as going door to door throughout the country and impressing upon people the importance of national awareness. We don’t have the media tools that the left-wing has, but we do have synagogues, internet sites such as Arutz Sheva and the B’Sheva newspaper. We can and must fight for public opinion; this is the time to do it.”

Ariel also said that the Knesset itself can be tapped: “We have just now written to Netanyahu, with 30 MK signatories, calling on him to approve zoning plans so that at the end of the ten-month freeze, work can begin immediately. We can get work hand-in-hand with many MKs and win.”
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6. Har Bracha Students Appeal Removal from Hesder Program
by Avi Yellin Har Bracha Students Go to Court

Students from the Har Bracha Yeshiva petitioned the Supreme Court Friday morning in an effort to revoke the decision of Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor) to oust their yeshiva from the Hesder program combining Torah study with IDF service.

The petition, filed by Attorney Gilad Corinaldi, argued that the defense minister’s decision lacks legal foundation and is instead based on personal political considerations, therefore creating a dangerous precedent that could have long term negative implications for Israeli society.

The petition further accused the defense minister of “creating a dangerous crisis by violating the holy alliance of Religious Zionism with the state and its institutions that may, heaven forbid, hurt the cohesion and unity of our people’s army.”

According to the students, who received letters from the IDF giving them 60 days to find another yeshiva or be expelled from the Hesder program, Barak’s decision amounts to collective punishment and forces them to pay the price of the defense minister’s personal rivalry with their Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Eliezer Melamed. The petitioners are hopeful that the Supreme Court will act in accordance with the law and overrule Barak’s decree.

Barak had claimed that Rabbi Melamed’s behavior was encouraging soldiers to refuse orders when the Rabbi wrote that although if asked he would have told soldiers not to demonstrate against expulsions of settlers while in the army, he admired their integrity. Barak removed the yeshiva from the Hesder program. Rabbi Melamed signed an announcement by the Organization of Hesder Yeshiva Heads against demonstrations in the army, but Barak remained adamant about the ouster.
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7. Fatah: Hamas is Harming Sick Gazans for Propaganda
by Hillel Fendel Fatah: Hamas Harming the Sick

The Fatah-Hamas rivalry continues. Fatah sources in the Palestinian Authority accuse the Hamas government in Gaza of inventing a supposed “medicine shortage” and preventing sick patients from receiving treatment abroad.

The PA’s health ministry in Ramallah denies the Hamas reports about a shortage of hundreds of medicines and medical equipment in Gaza. Spokesman Dr. Omar Al-Nasser said that a Hamas announcement to this effect “has no truth, and is designed to create confusion and harm the morale of patients and citizens in the Gaza Strip.”

Fatah is the central body in the Palestinian Authority, but was violently unseated from its control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 by Hamas. There are now two Arab entities in the Land of Israel: Hamas in Gaza, and Fatah in Judea/Samaria, making it hard for proponents of the “Israel/Palestine two-state solution” to specify which Palestine they mean.

Fatah’s Al-Nasser noted that the Ramallah ministry had sent last week no fewer than 13 truckloads of medical equipment and medicines for various diseases and medical conditions to Gaza. The deliveries, worth three million shekels, were paid for by the PA health ministry, and were sent to Gaza on Tuesday, Dec. 23.

Al-Nasser called on Hamas to stop “playing with patients’ lives” by placing various restrictions on their trips outside Gaza for treatment. He further said that Hamas had similarly lied when it denied receiving advanced medical equipment for the detection of swine flu.

Hundreds of people – some reports say 600 – have been killed in the past three years of Hamas-Fatah warfare.
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