Saar: ‘Autonomy yes, state no’

Arutz Sheva – Israel National News

Shimon Cohen, 29/01/19 19:05

Gideon Sa’ar supports canceling ambiguity in Syria, demands Gantz express clear positions, says ‘There’s no division in Likud.’

 

Sa'ar

Sa’ar

Flash 90

Former minister and political security cabinet member Gideon Sa’ar spoke to Arutz Sheva about a series of issues from Likud primaries to Benny Gantz’s speech to Israeli policy in Judea and Samaria and the northern border.

Sa’ar began the conversation with reference to the difficult incident in Jerusalem where a synagogue was desecrated, a Holy Ark broken into, and holy books vandalized. We asked Sa’ar if the cause of the act might be growing polarization in Israeli society in light of the election campaign. Sa’ar is in no hurry to judge:

“I don’t want to get into speculation because facts aren’t known and the conjectures aren’t helpful, but I want to express shock at the harsh images. I can’t believe such things are happening here in the Land of Israel and I’m convinced the police will act decisively to locate and punish the criminals – sick souls infected with terrible hatred.”

As for Benny Gantz’s speech, we asked Sa’ar if he did not find a connection between Gantz’s There’s no Left and no Right campaign and Meir Shitrit’s statements when Kadima was founded, on striving for a party that has no “baggage” as he put it, of Jabotinsky or Katznelson.

In Sa’ar’s opinion, the statement that emerges from Gantz’s campaign is more serious than Shitrit’s statement: “Here we’re told more than Shitrit’s words, that there is no Right and no Left here; this is absurd, because there is a Right and there is a Left, there were always Left and Right and always there will be. Or he has no worldview or path but he wants to blur it, hide it, and mislead the voters.

“Out of respect for Gantz’s many years in the IDF uniform, I say it’s good that people who want to contribute and have rich life experience come along, but the ideological path is very important. It’s the most important thing. What’s your way? Are you for or against establishing another Arab state? Are you in favor of strengthening settlement? What are your positions on the tradition of Israel? In these things there is Right and Left, and people have to choose between them after a penetrating clarification that must be conducted in respectful language,” says Sa’ar, emphasizing that “in everyday life there are many ideological issues that require reference and decision.”

Sa’ar with supporters at Likud event

Flash 90

Perhaps, we asked, so much support for Gantz’s party before he expressed himself indicates the desire of the general public to find leadership that’s not clearly located on the Right or on the Left, but rather one whose statements are more obscure. Perhaps the general public is fed up with the struggles of the Right and the Left? Sa’ar replies: “The public is much more intelligent, the citizens want answers on social and economic issues, and the public has the right to hear answers to decide between the different paths, and I tell Ganz and his friends, do you have a path? Present it and let’s argue.” He believes the past experience of the Israeli public, which has been disappointed by leaders who have dulled down their position, will also be reflected in the upcoming vote at the polls.

On reports that Gantz is expected to call the government of Israel in his speech a corrupt government that is dividing the people, Sa’ar was asked to take a stand: “He hasn’t yet said what he has to say and I wouldn’t like to address what hasn’t yet been said. Even this refusal to relate to what hasn’t yet been said is part of serious discourse. With this I think there’s no room for collective accusations, which isn’t right for any public.”

On the possibility that Gantz’s might join Lapid, Sa’ar says it’s quite possible such a union should bother the right-wing and the Likud less. Sa’ar estimates that a joint run will reveal some of Gantz’s hidden positions. “The public knows better what Lapid’s views on tradition and the Land of Israel are and doesn’t know what Ganz’s positions are. Joining would be to their disadvantage.”

From here, the conversation revolves around the political issue and assessments that after the US elections the American president will present his political plan and the right way to respond to this plan. Gideon Sa’ar also notes that seriousness requires hearing the plan and only then responding.

“I have to say that I told American Ambassador David Friedman that I oppose establishing an Arab state in the heart of the Land of Israel, I believe this is dangerous and won’t lead to peace. I hope this administration that is very friendly to Israel won’t repeat mistakes made by previous administrations such as the Clinton and Obama administrations that presented guidelines based on establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria.

“I proposed alternative ideas that are regional arrangements based on existing states and not on establishing another Arab state in the heart of the Land of Israel,” Sa’ar said. “Since thirty years ago, the Arabs of Judea and Samaria were Jordanian citizens and the one who deprived them of their citizenship is the Jordanian King,” he said. “We can consider a connection between autonomy and Jordan.”

Sa’ar sees the dangers of a Palestinian state not only from the security aspect but also from the demographic point of view, since it has the ability to open its gates to absorb millions of Muslims. “This is a very dangerous scenario of loss of security and demographic control,” Sa’ar says, noting that his position was clarified in his talks with the American Ambassador.

“They tell us in a somewhat demagogic way, do you want a binational state? It’s like giving a person a choice whether to commit suicide by strangulation or shooting. There’s no need to commit suicide on a binational state or by establishing another Arab state. The Palestinian autonomous government may have a connection to Jordan within the framework of a regional arrangement. It cannot be that our enemies have security and demographic control over the territory.”

Gideon Sa’ar and Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Grossman

Flash 90

Sa’ar also rejected the idea of ​​a “state minus” that was heard in the past: “A lot of slogans are being thrown around. They say ‘a state minus’, which means a demilitarized state. I ask the same people: Is Gaza demilitarized after the Israeli withdrawal? The power building there that threatens Israel and its citizens only grows. We mustn’t do anything like this in Judea and Samaria. If I’m elected as a public representative I will act to prevent such a danger and to implement the decision of the Likud Central Committee to impose Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlement areas in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley. The issue of the Palestinian state in the Land of Israel should be removed from the agenda. It will not happen and we won’t let it happen. Autonomy yes; a state, no. Even today they have autonomy where they control civilian and municipal life, but in the areas of security and demography, we cannot allow them independence.”

As a member of the security cabinet in the past, Gideon Sa’ar was asked about the policy of ambiguity that seems to have dissipated vis-à-vis the Syrian arena: “Not only do I have no problem with this, but I think it’s correct, and I’ll explain: There wasn’t exactly ambiguity beforehand. It was clear that Israel was opposed to Iranian consolidation in Syria and was acting by means of attacks to prevent this establishment. Reality has changed. There was a long civil war and there was chaos, and there were Israeli military operations under the term ‘battle between wars’. Today things have stabilized, the internal war has been decided, the survival of the Assad regime has been assured, and there’s no question of who’s working with the Iranian elements.”

In his opinion, canceling ambiguity is important because “Iran’s trying to create capability for a qualitative strike on the Israeli home front from neighboring countries like Syria and Lebanon, because it’s far from here and wants to hit any target in Israel from the front line. We cannot allow this and we must be determined to prevent it. Therefore I not only back the IDF operations under the government’s guidance, but also think they should be intensified, because in a year’s time conditions won’t be better, and all the players must understand our determination on this issue. I believe the Russians will respect those who will be determined in this struggle.”

Toward the end of the conversation we asked Sa’ar about the internal struggle in the Likud, whether the tense feelings had already dissipated between the Netanyahu camp and the Sa’ar camp, which marked the beginning of his return to the political arena. Sa’ar replies: “There’s no tension on my part, there’s no division in the movement, we’re all one camp that must ensure the victory of the Likud and the national camp headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and so I’ll act in the future after the primaries are over. We’ll face a battle that won’t be easy because it’s vital for the future of Israel that the right wing and the Likud at its center continue to lead Israel in the coming years.”

On one issue Saar refuses to speak absolutely, that is the issue of the ministry he wants to receive in the next government: “I don’t talk about this, the bear hasn’t yet been hunted, so there’s no reason to divide up his hide,” he says.

Gideon Sa’ar

Flash 90
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The Lost Jewish Communities of the Arab world

This memorial day commemorates the tragedy of people who were forced to flee from their homes and to leave the countries where they had lived for millennia, solely because of their Jewish identity. ?

 

The lost Jewish communities of the Arab worldThis memorial day commemorates the tragedy of people who were forced to flee from their homes and to leave the countries where they had lived for millennia, solely because of their Jewish identity. ​
The lost Jewish communities of the Arab world
​On 30 November, Israel and the Jewish world remember the fate of more than 850,000 Jews who were forced out of Arab countries and Iran in the 20th century.
This memorial day commemorates the tragedy of people who were forced to flee from their homes and to leave the countries where they had lived for millennia, solely because of their Jewish identity. Many were deprived of their belongings and many suffered from violence and persecution.
The story of the expulsion of entire Jewish communities from Arab lands is an important part of modern Jewish history that profoundly affected the Jewish nation as a whole as well as the demographic composition of the Middle East and North Africa. This is a story that has to be told.
Current research estimates that the number of Jews living in Arab countries and Iran totaled more than 850,000 at the time of Israel’s independence. Some scholars even think the number is closer to one million. In the North African region, 259,000 Jews fled from Morocco, 140,000 from Algeria, 100,000 from Tunisia, 75,000 from Egypt, and another 38,000 from Libya. In the Middle East, 135,000 Jews were exiled from Iraq, 55,000 from Yemen, 34,000 from Turkey, 20,000 from Lebanon and 18,000 from Syria. Iran forced out 25,000 Jews.
The following descriptions typify what Jews living in Arab countries and Iran went through in the 1940s and following Israel’s declaration of independence up to the second half of the 20th century.
Iraq 
In Iraq, where a large community of Jews lived for 2600 years, violent riots known as the Farhud erupted in June 1941, targeting the Jewish population, mainly in Bagdad.  Dejected soldiers of a failed coup took advantage of a power vacuum and swarmed into Jewish communities together with a bloodthirsty mob, killing 179 innocent people, injuring more than 2,100, and leaving 242 children orphans. This act of violence was celebrated across the Arab world and in Nazi Germany.
In 1948 as a response to UNGA Resolution 181 (“the Partition Plan”)  and Israel’s independence, laws were passed making Zionism a criminal offense, allowing the police to raid and search thousands of Jewish homes for any evidence of Zionism. Jews were removed from thousands of government positions and their homes were valued at 80% less than those of their Arab neighbors.
In the years 1948-1951, over 120,000 Iraqi Jews immigrated to Israel to forge a new life. In doing so, they forfeited their citizenship and (after March 1951) their property. The ancient Jewish community in Iraq (which at one time constituted nearly one-third of the total population of Baghdad) is now non-existent.
Egypt 
The story of the Jewish population of Egypt is similar. In the 1940s, hostility against the Egyptian Jewish community, which numbered around 80,000 people, increased. Laws were passed setting limitations for employing Egyptians of Jewish descent, as well as requiring majority shareholders of companies to be Egyptian nationals. Since Jews were denied citizenship as a rule, many Jews lost their jobs and businesses.
During the 1948 War of Independence, thousands of Egyptian Jews were put into internment camps, forced from their jobs, and arrested for supposed collaboration with an enemy state, Jewish synagogues, homes, and businesses were bombed; many Jews were killed and wounded. More than 14,000 Jews immigrated to Israel during this time seeking safety. Between 1948 and 1958, more than 35,000 Jews fled Egypt. While much of this immigration was due to systematic oppression, another contribution factor was Zionism and the desire to live in the newly reestablished Jewish homeland in Israel.
Between 1956 and 1968 another 38,000 Jews fled Egypt, mostly to Israel, to escape systematic injustices such as government expropriation of their homes and businesses and arbitrary arrests of Jewish citizens.
Yemen
The Yemeni Jews faced some of the worst persecution. At the end of November 1947, the Arab population of Aden in Yemen decided to hold a 3-day strike in protest against UNGA Resolution 181 (the Partition Plan). The protest quickly turned violent. Over 80 innocent Yemeni Jews were slaughtered, over 100 Jewish-owned businesses were completely looted, and homes, schools, and synagogues were burnt to the ground. This was one of the most violent attacks on any Jewish population in the Arab world.
A unique and creative solution was found for saving the persecuted Yemeni Jews. From 1949 to 1950, the Israeli government enacted Operation Magic Carpet (known in Hebrew as “On the Wings of Eagles”). The operation was implemented by US and British aircraft, which flew to Aden and airlifted the Jews from Yemen to Israel. By the end of the operation, over 47,000 Yemeni Jews were rescued from persecution and taken to their new home in the State of Israel.
Libya
Jews had lived in Libya for more than 2,300 years, and had a thriving culture, with a population of over 37,000. During World War II, The Libyan regime implemented their own Nazi-inspired holocaust, where more than 2,000 Jews were transported to desert concentration camps, and hundreds of them died. In post-war Libya, Arab nationalism grew in popularity, resulting in violent pogroms against the Jewish community. In 1945, in the city of Tripoli, more than 140 Jews were killed in a violent antisemitic riot, and a few years later in 1948, another pogrom erupted, resulting in 12 Jewish deaths and the destruction of over 280 Jewish homes. In the three years between 1948 and 1951, 30,972 Jews fled to Israel due to the hostile Arab government of Libya.
Remembering their stories
The descendants of these immigrants from Arab countries now account for a majority of Israel’s Jewish population. The Jewish exiles who were forced to flee their homes overcame personal and communal tragedy and not only persevered, but thrived; many have risen to important positions in the national government and in the public and private sectors. They have made an invaluable contribution to the fabric of Israeli society, and their vibrant cultures are an integral part of the colorful mosaic of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. It is time for the world to hear their story.

Israel Warns Tehran:

‘We will not allow Iran to remain in Syria’

After Iran, Syria sign agreement, senior Israeli minister warns that Israel will not permit Iran to use Syria as base for attacks.

Arutz Sheva – Israel National News

By David Rosenberg 29/08/18 14:25

Israel blasted a newly-inked agreement between Syria and Iran, deepening the cooperation between the two rogue states in defiance of calls for Tehran to withdraw its forces from the war-torn country.

On Wednesday, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), who also serves as Transportation Minister, spoke on Israeli public radio, warning that Israel would not permit Iranian forces to use Syria as a base of operations for military activities.

Just two days earlier, Iran’s Defense Minister, Amir Hatami, signed an agreement with the Assad government, expanding cooperation between Damascus and Tehran. During his visit to Damascus, Hatami rejected calls by the US and Israel that Iran pullout its Quds Force from Syria.

“No third party can affect the presence of Iranian advisers in Syria,” Hatami was quoted as having told reporters in Damascus. According to Arabic media outlets, Iran pledged in the deal to help rebuild the Assad regime’s military and develop Syria’s arms industries.

Katz denounced the Syrian-Iranian agreement, calling it a “test” of Israeli resolve, and vowed to respond “loud and clear”.

“The accord concluded by Bashar al-Assad and Iran constitutes a test for Israel. Our response will be loud and clear.”

“We will not allow Iran to establish itself militarily in Syria,” Katz continued, saying that Israel will “react in Syria with all our might against any Iranian target that threats Israel.”

The Intelligence Minister included a warning for Syria’s military, which he said would be targeted if it interferes with Israeli operations against Iranian forces inside Syria.

“If the Syrian army’s air defense network intervenes against us, it will pay the price.”

Israel and Iran’s Quds Force have clashed repeatedly this year, including a major incident in February following the penetration of Israeli airspace by an armed Iranian drone operating out of a Syrian base.

After the drone was shot down, Israeli aircraft hit the drone’s control center inside Syrian territory, during which time one Israeli F-16I fighter jet was shot down by a Syrian surface-to-air missile.

Project Amad

“There were, he said, 55,000 pages of evidence and a further 55,000 files on 183 CDs relating to a nuclear weapons programme called “Project Amad“.”

Israel says Iran hid nuclear arms programme

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has revealed what he says are “secret nuclear files” proving Iran once covertly pursued nuclear weapons.

He said thousands of pages of material obtained by Israel showed Iran had deceived the world by denying it had ever sought nuclear weapons.

Iran agreed in 2015 to curb its nuclear energy programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.

It maintained that it had only been pursuing nuclear energy.

US President Donald Trump, who has long threatened to scrap the nuclear deal, said the situation was not “acceptable” and he would make a decision on the deal on or before 12 May.

European powers have said they are committed to upholding the accord.

Tweeting earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif appeared to accuse Mr Netanyahu of “fooling people”.

Political theatre

By Jonathan Marcus, diplomatic correspondent, BBC News

This was political theatre from the Israeli prime minister, but to what extent was it revelation?

Israel’s claim to have been able to steal or access files and documents from what it says was the secret Iranian nuclear archive located in a warehouse in south Tehran may be a tale of daring espionage in itself but, beyond that, what is really new?

Iran of course has insisted consistently that it never had a nuclear weapons programme but there were growing international concerns about its nuclear activities. That is precisely why the major powers entered into the 2015 agreement with Tehran in the first place, both to contain its nuclear programme and to introduce a greater level of outside scrutiny.

France, Germany and Britain who all back the maintenance of the agreement have had their say with Mr Trump – the US president must decide upon its fate in mid-May. Now Mr Netanyahu has had his turn to put the contrary view.

What ‘proof’ did Netanyahu produce?

Speaking in English from Israel’s defence ministry in Tel Aviv, Mr Netanyahu showed off what he said were “exact copies” of documents obtained by Israeli intelligence from a secret storage facility in Tehran.

There were, he said, 55,000 pages of evidence and a further 55,000 files on 183 CDs relating to a nuclear weapons programme called “Project Amad”.

The project, he said, had had the explicit goal of producing five warheads, each with the yield of 10 kilotonnes of TNT.

Delivering a PowerPoint presentation, he said the dossiers showed Iran had pursued the key elements of a nuclear weapons programme, such as designing nuclear weapons and preparing for nuclear tests.

Iran, he said, had considered five different sites for conducting nuclear weapons tests.

“Here’s what the files included: incriminating documents, incriminating charts, incriminating presentations, incriminating blueprints, incriminating photos, incriminating videos and more,” he said.

“These files conclusively prove that Iran was brazenly lying when it said it never had a nuclear weapons programme.”

The files had been shared with the US, Mr Netanyahu said, and would be submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

A 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate assessed “with high confidence” that Iran did have a nuclear weapons programme up until 2003 but that Iran had stopped it after its discovery.

On Monday the Israeli prime minister argued the existence of the alleged files proved Iran had been “secretly storing Project Amad material to use at a time of its choice to develop nuclear weapons”.

How was the 2015 deal meant to work?

The agreement signed between Iran and six world powers lifted crippling economic sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

There had been fears that Iran would use the programme to create a nuclear weapon.

Under the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran is committed to slashing the number of its centrifuges, which are machines used to enrich uranium.

It is also meant to cut its stockpile of enriched uranium drastically and not enrich remaining uranium to the level needed to produce nuclear weapons.

The number of centrifuges installed at Iran’s Natanz and Fordo sites was cut drastically soon after the deal while tonnes of low-enriched uranium were shipped to Russia.

Furthermore, monitors from the IAEA have been able to carry out snap inspections at Iranian nuclear sites.

How dangerous is the enmity between Israel and Iran?

Tension between the long-standing enemies has grown steadily since Iran built up its military presence in Syria, Israel’s north-eastern neighbour.

Iran has also been accused of supplying weaponry to Lebanese Shia Muslim militant group Hezbollah, an enemy of Israel, and also smuggling arms to Palestinian militants.

Mr Netanyahu has long vowed to stop Iran from strengthening its military presence in Syria.

On Sunday night, a wave of unclaimed air strikes on targets in Syria reportedly killed a number of Iranians.

Sites allegedly linked to a covert Syrian chemical weapons programme were bombed by Western nations earlier this month.

Israel has also carried out, or is believed to have carried out, dozens of air strikes on facilities in Syria used by Iranian forces.

Airstrike was our first direct attack on Iran

Senior IDF Official:

‘Airstrike was our first direct attack on Iran’

IDF official says Israel now in direct conflict with Iran, no longer fighting just through proxies.

 

Arutz Sheva – Israel National News

David Rosenberg, 16/04/18 13:27

A senior Israeli military official confirmed that Israel’s air force was responsible for last week’s bombing of the T-4 airbase in Syria last Monday, adding that the conflict between Israel and Iran had entered a new phase of direct confrontation.

Last Monday, combat aircraft bombed Syria’s T-4 airbase, killing 14 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed.

Russia and Iran blamed Israel for the attack, claiming that two Israeli Air Force F-15 fighter jets had entered Syrian airspace from Lebanon.

While Israel never officially claimed responsibility, US officials told NBC News that Israel had consulted with the US prior to the attack. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu seemingly alluded to Israel having undertaken the attack in a speech in Sderot, saying “We have one clear and simple rule and we seek to express it constantly: If someone tries to attack you – rise up and attack him.”

According to a senior Israeli security official quoted by The New York Times Sunday night, Israel targeted Iranian forces stationed at the T-4 base, adding that the strike was the first direct attack by Israeli forces on the Iranian regime.

While Israel and Iran have been in conflict since the 1979 Islamic revolution, combat between the two was conducted through proxies, including the Assad-led Baathist regime in Syria, Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon, and the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip.

Seven Iranian personnel were killed in Israel’s strike on T-4.

“It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets — both facilities and people,” the source said.

The comments join a statement made by IDF spokesman, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, who said on Friday that an Iranian drone operated from T-4 which had violated Israeli airspace in February was en route to carry out an attack on Israeli forces, and was not merely on an information-gathering mission.

“This is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel — not by proxy,” the senior Israeli security official told the Times. “This opened a new period.”

Israel responded to the incursion into its airspace by the Iranian drone with a series of airstrikes by F-16I fighter jets on the T-4 facility. One F-16I was damaged by a Syrian surface-to-air missile, forcing the pilot and navigator to eject. Both were recovered inside Israeli territory.