JNS News Briefs: October 18, 2012
(JNS.org) The Palestine Committee of the Arab Lawyers Union recently bestowed its “highest honor” on female suicide bomber Hanadi Jaradat, who killed 21 Israelis in a 2003 attack on Maxim’s restaurant in Haifa, Palestinian Media Watch reported on its website here.
Jaradat, who worked as a lawyer, also injured 51 Israelis in her bombing of Maxim’s. The lawyers union “created the ‘Martyr Hanadi Jaradat plaque of honor’” for her, according to an Oct 14 report in the Palestinian daily publication Al-Ayyam.
A delegation “conveyed to the family of Martyr Jaradat the good wishes of the head of the Union, Mr. Omar Al-Zayn… and also emphasized the pride of the Arab Lawyers Union for what their daughter had done in defense of Palestine and the nation.”
(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to adopt some conclusions of the Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea and Samaria by retired Supreme Court Judge Edmond Levy.
The report’s main premise is that, under international law, Israel is not an occupying force in Judea and Samaria and has a legal right to build communities there. The report recommended reforming the status of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria in such a way that would legalize most of those that are currently illegal under Israeli law.
While Netanyahu intends to bring the report before his cabinet, Israeli Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein expressed reservations about that move on Wednesday, Israel Hayom reported. Netanyahu has said that a formal discussion of the topic in the cabinet would depend on Weinstein’s recommendations.
Allan Gerson—former counsel to the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations under President Ronald Reagan and author of the book Israel, the West Bank, and International Law—told JNS.org when the report was introduced in July that Israeli building in Judea and Samaria is not “inherently unlawful” because “there are claims that Israel has” to do so.
Israel can stop building in Judea and Samaria simply to “be nice to the other side,” Gerson said, but “If you have a claim [as Israel does] that you’re entitled to [build in the area], there’s an argument to be made that you don’t forfeit that claim.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that adopting the Levy Report “would contribute greatly to the fortitude of the State of Israel,” but Defense Minister Ehud Barak said doing so would “undermine Israel’s diplomacy efforts and further isolate Israel from the world.”
(JNS.org) Seven Jewish groups on Wednesday pulled out of an annual interfaith dialogue meeting due to the recent letter from 15 Protestant leaders asking Congress to investigate U.S. military aid to Israel without making the same request for Palestinian aid.
Joining the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)—which had been the first Jewish group to remove itself from the annual Christian-Jewish Roundtable, scheduled for Oct. 22-23—the American Jewish Committee (AJC), B’nai B’rith International (BBI), Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), Rabbinical Assembly (RA), Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) left the roundtable and asked instead “for a meeting with the senior leadership of our agencies and the senior leadership of the Christian institutions that joined the letter to Congress and have participated in the Roundtable in the past.”
“While we remain committed to continuing our dialogue and our collaboration on the many issues of common concern, the [Protestant leaders’] letter [to Congress] represents an escalation in activity that the Jewish participants feel precludes a business-as-usual approach,” the Jewish groups wrote in a letter to Christian roundtable participants.
Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the JCPA, said in a statement Wednesday that the Oct. 5 Protestant letter to Congress went “a step too far.”
“The participation of these leaders in yet another one-sided anti-Israel campaign cannot be viewed apart from the vicious anti-Zionism that has gone virtually unchecked in several of these [Protestant] denominations,” Gutow said.
(JNS.org) More than half of the tourists visiting Israel are Christian, according to a recent poll by the country’s tourism ministry.
According to the poll, Christians comprised 58 percent of tourists in Israel during 2011, while 25 percent were Jewish and only 1 percent were Muslims.
Among returning tourists to Israel, however, 82 percent were Jewish and 80 percent came to visit family or friends. Sixty-one percent of total tourists were first-time visitors.
“This data supports the basic assumption of the new ‘Everyone brings someone’ campaign, in which friends and family are the main significant factor in the decision on whether to visit Israel,” Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said, according to Israel Hayom. “Everyone can participate in the effort to bring more tourists to Israel, thereby contributing to the economy, job creation and Israel’s image in the world.”
(JNS.org) What is the leader of the Palestinian Authority up to these days in cyberspace?
PA President Mahmoud Abbas—outlining his plans to ask to the United Nations for recognition of “Palestine” as a non-member state—virtually redrew the borders of Israel by posting on Facebook that the state he would request from the UN includes “all the territories that Israel occupied before June 1967,” the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported Oct. 17, according to a translation provided by dailyalert.org.
Abbas’s official Facebook page said that such UN recognition “won’t liberate the land the day after, but it will prove our right according to which our land is occupied [by Israel] and not disputed.”
(JNS.org) The ambassadors from Egypt and Jordan took up their diplomatic posts on Wednesday following a formal ceremony at Israeli President Shimon Peres’s residence in Jerusalem.
Egypt’s ambassador arrives amid increased concern within Israel over the ascendency of the Muslim Brotherhood and its commitment to the 1979 peace treaty. Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi has publicly promised to honor the treaty signed by former President Anwar Sadat (who was assassinated in 1981 by Islamic extremists), though some of his advisers have called for the treaty to be amended.
“I came with a message of peace and I came to confirm that we are working for mutual trust and transparency and we are committed to all the agreements we signed with Israel,” Atef Mohamed Salem Sayed Elahl said upon presenting his credentials to Israeli President Shimon Peres, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Jordan’s new envoy, Ambassador Walid Khalid Abdullah Obeidat, also presented his credentials to Peres. Obeidat fills a slot that has been vacant for over two years because of Jordanian protests over the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Israel and Jordan established full diplomatic relations following their 1994 peace treaty.
– Jacob Kamaras Editor in Chief, JNS.org
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