European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 05/12/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 05/12/2016

Major Headlines 
  • Netanyahu: Israel does what it wants on settlements

Israel’s settlement policy is not governed by the United States and the incoming Trump administration will not change that, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the annual Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum for Middle East Policy on Sunday.

In his comments delivered via video link, the prime minister also said he would raise the “bad” Iran nuclear deal with president-elect Donald Trump, and urged continued US intervention in the Middle East. He also appeared to brush off fears of an uptick in antisemitism in the US, noting that the fringe trend of anti-Jewish hatred was a feature of all democracies, the Times of Israel reports.

During the event, Netanyahu was asked whether Trump’s incoming administration will allow Israel to do whatever it wants regarding settlement building in the West Bank.

“Well, I think we have been doing what we want,” Netanyahu told host Haim Saban.

Right-wing politicians have contended that settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem has nearly ground to a halt under the Obama administration, which forcefully condemns any building over the Green Line.

In remarks delivered at the symposium titled “Challenges for the Trump Administration in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said the US should maintain its longstanding position of exerting power in the Middle East, in a departure from Trump, who has spoken of curbing US intervention in Middle East regional affairs.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Police may charge Sara Netanyahu with fraud

Police on Sunday stated that evidence in their possession justifies charging Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, with fraud and misuse of public funds, Israel today reports.

For more than a year, police have been investigating claims that Sara Netanyahu used taxpayers’ money for personal matters.

Among the accusations are that the prime minister’s wife employed a live-in assistant for her late father and ordered exorbitantly-priced catering for Israeli friends, all at the public’s expense.

Last Thursday, Sara Netanyahu was questioned by police for nearly 12 hours. The result of that session was that police feel confident that the accusations are true.

Click here to read the full article in Israel Today


  • Israel shuts down polluting charcoal plants in West Bank

For years, residents of central Israel have been complaining about air pollution from Palestinian factories in the nearby West Bank.

The story of the northern West Bank town of Yabed, and its now-idle collection of charcoal plants, illustrates how for Israelis and Palestinians, Middle East politics seems to permeate the most basic elements of daily life, whether it be education, construction or sports. The environment is no exception, Yediot Aharonot reports. 

In Israel, factories face close environmental oversight, but in the semi-autonomous West Bank it is far trickier. For instance, the home of the Palestinian charcoal industry in Yabed is located in what is known as "Area B," a category of territory that under interim peace accords falls under Palestinian civil authority — but where Israel retains security control, as in most of the West Bank's area.

After years of failed dialogue with the local Palestinian leadership, Israel's military took matters into its own hands in November, shutting down more than a dozen factories and confiscating equipment and 160 tons of wood that was to be used to produce charcoal. 

Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who heads COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), the defence body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs, said it was a matter of public health that "harms both Israelis and Palestinians alike."

Yael German, an Israeli lawmaker and former health minister who has advocated against the pollution, said she was saddened at the job losses but noted Israel faced similar concerns when shutting down factories that laid off Israeli labourers too. But she said health concerns had to prevail, particularly with pollution that the World Health Organisation says has a direct link to cancer and other illnesses.

"There are always conflicting values and it is painful to see people harmed," she told The Associated Press. "But you cannot allow factories to pollute and break the law ... if we choose to have a healthy society, there is a price to pay."

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot

Monday, December 05, 2016
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President's Page Security and Crisis Centre by EJC European Parliament Working Group On Antisemitism