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Netanyahu Tells Knesset Panel: We Have Defeated the BDS Movement

Prime minster tells Knesset committee meeting on Israel's Foreign Ministry and Hasbara that he does not intend to maintain control over the foreign affairs portfolio forever.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the State Control Committee that Israel has defeated the BDS movement and he does not intend to hold the foreign affairs portfolio indefinitely, during a session on the Foreign Ministry and Israel's public diplomacy policy on Monday in the Knesset.
Netanyahu also said that for now no Palestinian partner for peace exists, and he defended his personal lawyer Isaac Molho, who serve's Netanyahu's personal representative for various diplomatic missions.
The session is the first significant and open meeting about the Foreign Ministry since Netanyahu became prime minister in 2009. Netanyahu has also kept the role of foreign minister since the elections were held last year. The session was held to discuss two reports State Comptroller Yosef Shapira published on May 24 exposing a list of Israeli failures against the BDS movement and in the state Hasbara (public diplomacy) system.
Shapira pointed to an erosion of authority in the ministry, with roles having been transferred to other ministries. He also said there was a lack of coordination and power struggles taking place among the various ministries.
Shapira said that these transfers of responsibility had hurt the government's struggle against BDS, anti-Semitism and global attempts to delegitimize Israel, as well as Israel's public diplomacy (hasbara) abroad.
Committee chairwoman MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) opened the meeting, saying that since the March 2015 election Israel has not had a full-time foreign minister.
In response, Netanyahu said: "I have dealt with the Foreign Ministry for 35 years. I think I understand something about it."
Netanyahu pulled out a world map, color-coded to illustrate how Israel's foreign relations have improved. "People say we are isolated," Netanyahu said. "What isolation are we talking about?"
Netanyahu said that "we are acting against BDS and this why they are on the defensive," adding that "they are taking hits of many fronts. We have beaten them."
He continued that "I do not accept the claim that all foreign policy issues should be dealt with by the Foreign Ministry"
In response to the claims he had dismantled the Foreign Ministry and divided up its responsibilities, Netanyahu said: "I examine things according to results …. Foreign policy is made by the prime minister and that is obvious."
"Soon I will release myself from a number of portfolios and this will make it easier for me to deal with tasks I define as important," he added.
In a remark aimed at Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Netanyahu said: "Hasbara [public diplomacy] is not a goal in its own right, unless you are a virtual politician and deal with a virtual world."
A representative of the State Comptroller's Office told the committee that the Foreign Ministry had been continuously weakened internally, including administratively and in terms of manpower, as well as in the professional planning of diplomacy. This includes the relationship between the Foreign Ministry and the defense establishment, as well as redundant responsibilities between the Foreign Ministry and other ministries.
Netanyahu dismissed the claims by the State Comptroller's Office during the meeting: "You are dealing with processes – I don't deal with processes. Processes are important but results are more important." At one point, Netanyahu forced Elharar to show a clip of him shaking hands with many world leaders.
Elharar and other MKs questioned the coordination between the various government bodies that deal with hasbara, as well as Shapira's complaints about the failures during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of Gaza in 2014.
Netanyahu rejected such claims and said: The supreme test is whether they will tie our hands when we need to defend ourselves." He added that during the two most recent Gaza military operations, no one was able to force a UN Security Council resolution on Israel.
He added that "if not for Israel's diplomatic action and other actions, Iran would have obtained nuclear weapons long ago." Concerning the criticism of his address to the U.S. Congress on the Iran nuclear deal, Netanyahu noted that "President Obama spoke directly to the British people on Brexit."

Barak Ravid
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.733113Schermata 2016 07 25 alle 16.31.39

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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