Shevat 24, 5777
February 20, 2017
The talk of the Israeli street today
The secret conference in Aqaba last year . . .
As you undoubtedly know by now, PM Netanyahu, John Kerry, King Abdullah of Jordan, and President Sisi of Egypt all met in Aqaba in last year. Whether they were convened at Netanyahu’s suggestion or Kerry’s remains a source of contention today with Netanyahu claiming it was his idea–and others claiming it was Kerry’s.
What apparently is not contentious is that Netanyahu presented a five point plan for restarting talks with the Palestinians:
1. Israel would state that it was willing to negotiate with the Palestinians based on elements of the Saudi Peace Initiative (aka the Arab Peace Initiative).
2. Israel would expect a “public” regional peace conference attended by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt and other Sunni Muslim countries.
3. Israel would freeze construction in “isolated settlements” east of the separation fence in return for American recognition of Israel’s right to construction in the main “settlement blocs.”
4. Israel would permit the Palestinians to massively build homes and economic projects in Area C and Gaza. Israel would tighten security coordination with the PLO and provide the PLO with more weapons to carry out “security operations.”
5. Israel demanded that the U.S. would work to stop anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations and would veto anti-Israel resolutions in the Security Council.
What is not clear today is exactly why the conference and proposal fell apart.
Whatever the reason, many in Israel are aghast today at Netanyahu’s willingness to accept parts of the Saudi Initiative, virtually hand over Area C to the Palestinians, and supply the PLO with more weapons.
Mixed messages about Amona . . .
On the one hand, PM Netanyahu told the Cabinet yesterday that President Trump’s positions on the “settlements” makes it impossible to create a new community for the 40 Amona families. On the other hand, the PM’s office issued a statement today that Netanyahu intends to keep his promises to the people of Amona.
Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to Tehran we go . . .
The sixth conference to fulfill one of the commandments of Ayatollah Khomeini takes place tomorrow in Iran. That commandment was that Muslims should retake Jerusalem.
More than 80 countries are expected to send representatives to support a renewal of a violent Palestinian “intifada” against the “Zionist entity.”
Think about that. 80 countries. More than 40% of all the countries in the world.
And think about the fact that at least 30 of the countries are not Muslim-majority countries.
The Bitter Battle for Israel’s Supreme Court
As you may not know, four Justices out of the 15 who serve on Israel’s Supreme Court are retiring in the next few months. All four of them (Elyakim Rubenstein, Zvi Zylbertal, Salim Joubran and Chief Justice Miriam Naor), as most of the other 15 are certified “leftists.”
And so, it is not surprising that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who heads the committee to find replacements, has been eager to change the ideological composition of the court.
At least she was eager. An open rebuke from Naor several months ago has apparently dampened that eagerness.
In recent weeks, Shaked and fellow coalition member Moshe Kahlon signed onto an agreement which ridiculously specified that incoming Chief Justice Esther Hayut could have her choice of 3 leftists Justices in return for Shaked and Kahlon getting to choose one conservative Justice, Haifa District Court Judge Yosef Elron.
As of this morning, however, the deal is out the window because Naor and Hayut are refusing to go along with the selection of Elron.
Can you believe this?
Getting their way on 3 out of 4 Justices is not enough for the Left. For them it is all or nothing.
Today, there is a movement underway to get Shaked to go back on the ideological warpath. The following placards have appeared all over Jerusalem:
Let’s all hope that Shaked regains her footing and does not allow herself to be cowed by the Israeli judicial establishment.