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Posts tagged ‘Shimon Peres’

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Dead.


JERUSALEM — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the trailblazing warrior-statesman who transformed the region and was reviled by Arab foes, died on Saturday at the age of 85 and after eight years in a coma caused by a stroke.

The Sheba Medical Center that has been treating Sharon said last week that his health has been declining. Sharon had been suffered from failure vital organs including his kidneys shortly before his death.

The Associated Press reported that his son, Gilad Sharon, said: “He has gone. He went when he decided to go.”

Sharon’s nurse, Marina Lifschitz, said he had not suffered while lying comatose, though he had at times given basic responses to stimuli. She recalled at one point holding up a picture of his late wife, Lily, for him to view.”And suddenly I saw a tear simply rolling out of his eye. That is very difficult to forget,” Lifschitz told reporters.

A maverick in war and politics, Sharon reshaped the Middle East in a career marked by adventurism and disgrace, dramatic reversals and stunning rebounds.

“Arik was a valorous soldier and a bold statesman who contributed much to the security and building up of the State of Israel,” said President Shimon Peres, a former political ally of Sharon and, with the ex-premier’s death, the last of the Jewish state’s founders still in public life.

“Arik loved his people, and his people loved him,” Peres said, using the nickname of Sharon, a famously burly and blunt figure with a prizefighter’s rolling gait.
“He knew no fear and never feared pursuing a vision.”
Officials said Sharon, who took power in 2001 soon after the start of a second Palestinian uprising that raged until 2005, would be given a state funeral.

One official said Sharon’s remains would lie in state in parliament in Jerusalem on Sunday. A memorial service will be held there on Monday morning, followed by an afternoon funeral near Sycamore Farm, Sharon’s residence in southern Israel.Among foreign dignitaries expected to attend are U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and former British prime minister Tony Blair, the official said.

Loathed by many Arabs and a divisive figure within Israel, Sharon left his mark on the region as perhaps no other through military invasion, Jewish settlement building on captured land and a shock decision to pull out of Gaza.
“The nation of Israel has today lost a dear man, a great leader and a bold warrior,” Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a statement.
There was no immediate comment on the death from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, with whom Sharon’s Likud party successor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been holding U.S.-sponsored peace talks.
But in Gaza, the Hamas Islamists whose political fortunes rose with the Israeli withdrawal savored Sharon’s demise.
“We have become more confident in victory with the departure of this tyrant,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zurhi, whose movement preaches the destruction of the Jewish state.
“Our people today feel extreme happiness at the death and departure of this criminal whose hands were smeared with the blood of our people and the blood of our leaders here and in exile.”
A commander in the army from the birth of Israel in 1948, he went on to hold many of the top offices of state, surviving fierce debate over his role in refugee camp massacres in the 1982 Lebanon war to be elected prime minister in 2001.
Famously overweight, he suffered a stroke that put him into a coma in 2006, when he was at the height of his power, and died on Saturday without ever apparently regaining consciousness.
Some diplomats believed that had he remained in good health, he would have secured peace with the Palestinians after overcoming domestic critics to force through the withdrawal of troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
“As one who fought in all of Israel’s wars, and learned from personal experience that without proper force, we do not have a chance of surviving in this region . . . I have also learned from experience that the sword alone cannot decide this bitter dispute in this land,” Sharon said in 2004, explaining his move.
But critics said the unilateralism he favored helped discredit diplomacy and embolden ideological hardliners.
As prime minister, Sharon presided over some of the most turbulent times in Israeli-Palestinian history, a Palestinian uprising that erupted in 2000 and an Israeli military crackdown after peace talks collapsed. As Israel’s leader, he besieged his arch-nemesis Yasser Arafat with tanks after suicide bombers flooded Israel from the occupied West Bank.
Long a champion of Jewish settlement on land Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war, Sharon, serving in 1998 as foreign minister, urged settlers in the West Bank to “run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge settlements, because everything we take now will stay ours.”
He said the contested decision to quit the Gaza Strip, which pulled apart his Likud party and persuaded him to form a new political force, would enable Israel to strengthen its hold over “territory which is essential to our existence.”
It was a reference to the West Bank, where his government began the construction of a massive barrier during the Palestinian uprising. Israel called it a security measure – Palestinians condemned the project as a land grab.
Sharon dominated Israel to a degree not seen since the era of its founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.
Like many native Israeli leaders, Sharon, born in British-mandated Palestine, grew up in a farming community. He later lived in a sprawling ranch in southern Israel, and was often photographed lumbering through its fields.
Sharon joined the pre-state Haganah Jewish underground at the age of 14.
Wounded as a young officer in the 1948 war of Israel’s founding, he went on to lead key commando units and crafted a policy of reprisals – even at the cost of innocent lives – for cross-border Palestinian guerrilla raids.
Along with a reputation in the military for recklessness and disobeying orders, Sharon was hailed for daring operations that brought victories on the battlefield. He retired a major-general.
“It was he who set out the principle that no one who attacked our troops or civilians would be immune, no matter where they were,” said ex-Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai.
Passed over for chief-of-staff, Sharon left the military in the summer of 1973. Three months after he quit, he was back as a reservist-general, commanding troops that launched a counter-offensive that helped rout Egyptian forces in the Yom Kippur 1973 Middle East war.
A photo of Sharon in the desert, in battle fatigues and with his head bandaged, became an iconic image of the conflict.
He helped form the Likud party, which courted Israel’s underclass of Jews of Middle Eastern descent and rose to power in the 1977 election, ending the dominance of the “European” Labor Party.
Appointed agriculture minister, Sharon used that post and his chairmanship of a ministerial settlements committee to break ground on new settlements – helping to earn him the nickname “Bulldozer.”
As defense minister under Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Sharon masterminded the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, one of Israel’s most divisive campaigns.
What started as a stab against Palestinian guerrillas on the border evolved into a murky and costly bid to install a government more friendly to Israel in Beirut.
Arab hatred of Sharon crested with the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila by Israeli-allied Christian militiamen.

Sharon denied wrongdoing but was eventually forced to resign as defense chief in 1983 after an Israeli probe said he bore “personal responsibility” for not preventing the bloodshed.

Sharon described those findings as a “mark of Cain”, and many thought that his political career was finished. But after holding a series of cabinet posts, he was elected as the head of the Likud in 1999 and prime minister in 2001, serving until his stroke five years later.
As a cabinet minister, he visited Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound in 2000, the third holiest place in Islam, which is also revered by Jews as the site of the Biblical Jewish Temples.
The visit, in a part of Jerusalem that Israel captured in the 1967 war and annexed in a move that has never won international recognition, was widely seen as a spark for the second Palestinian uprising.
During the subsequent tsunami of violence, the respected Palestinian-American academic Edward Said called Sharon a “homicidal prime minister” who deployed “systematic barbarity” against the Palestinians throughout his career.
“Isn’t it clear that Sharon is bent not only on breaking the Palestinians but on trying to eliminate them as a people with national institutions?” Said wrote in The Nation newspaper in 2002, a year before his death.
Known in Israel by his popular nickname “Arik”, Sharon could charm with a grandfatherly glint in his eye and a jocular laugh. He could also flash disapproval with a cold, steely stare. He had a penchant for Broadway musicals and copious amounts of food.
Sharon was married twice. His first wife, Margalit, died in a car accident in 1962. They had one son, who was killed in 1967 when a friend accidentally shot him while playing with a rifle. In 1963, Sharon married Margalit’s sister, Lily, who died of cancer in 2000. They had two sons.
“Sharon was a mass of contradictions – a peerless cynic and a proven patriot, a man who built up the Likud and then walked out on it, who mixed up Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank while pulling out of Gaza,” said Uzi Benziman, author of “Sharon: An Israeli Caesar.”
He noted the varying theories about what motivated the Gaza withdrawal, including that it aimed to distract from corruption allegations at the time that dogged Sharon and his sons.
“Whatever the truth, it cannot be denied that Sharon’s legacy was to convey to Israelis that holding on to all of the (Palestinian) territories would not last,” Benziman said. “He was the last of the real leaders.”

© 2014 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.

By Newsmax Wires

Passenger Vigilance Foils Terror Attack on Bus Near Tel Aviv.


Israeli bomb
Israeli police explosive experts survey a damaged bus at the scene of an explosion in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam December 22, 2013. A bomb hidden in a bag exploded on a bus near Tel Aviv on Sunday after passengers were evacuated from the vehicle, and no one was hurt in the blast, a police spokesman says. (Nir Elias/Reuters)

A potentially devastating terror attack was averted in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam on Sunday, thanks to the vigilance of the passengers aboard Dan bus No. 240. Several passengers noticed a suspicious bag that was left in the rear portion of the bus and alerted the driver, who immediately stopped the vehicle. The passengers disembarked from the bus minutes before a bomb concealed in the bag exploded.

One police sapper suffered a light blast injury and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Police officials believe the explosion was a Palestinian terrorist act. It is unknown at this time whether the attack was the work of a major terror group or a lone terrorist.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said in a statement that the blast was a “heroic action” in response to what he called Israel’s “continued crimes against the Palestinians.”

According to a report from the Palestinian Maan news agency, an Islamic Jihad official lauded the attack, saying he hoped it “could usher the resumption of suicide attacks.”

“[This is] a sign that the Palestinian people no longer accept that Israeli attacks [against the Palestinians] continue without any real response,” he says.

Israeli security forces have formed a joint task force to investigate the attack and apprehend the perpetrators, Army Radio reported Monday. Following the attack, the search for the perpetrators focused on roads in southern Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces troops operating in Judea and Samaria overnight apprehended 12 wanted Palestinians. The men were turned over to security forces for questioning.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says there were no civilian injuries in the blast. The explosion blew windows out of the bus and charred the sides of the vehicle.

“Based on the findings at the scene by bomb disposal experts, it was a terrorist attack,” Rosenfeld says. “We’re continuing to search the area for suspects.”

He says the nature of the target and the nature of the device led authorities to determine that terrorists, not criminals, were behind the bombing.

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino held a security assessment following the incident and ordered to bolster police presence on the ground in all major cities and main bus stations nationwide. The police further urged the public to remain vigilant and alert security forces to any suspicious objects of individuals.

“The incident in Bat Yam proves that the threat of terror is always in the background, especially now, when [Israel] is trying to advance the peace process,” Danino says.

‘I’m No Hero’

The incident took place around 2:30 p.m., when the bus, which travels through Tel Aviv on its way from Bnei Brak to Bat Yam, was approaching a stop on Katznelson Street in Bat Yam.

David Pappo, 40, a resident of Bat Yam who was aboard the bus, noticed that a bag placed near the rear of the bus had a wire coming out of it and decided to look inside.

“It nearly cost me my life, but at least I helped find the bomb,” Pappo said Sunday.

Pappo says a 15-year-old passenger sitting next to him alerted him to the bag.

“I didn’t think twice—I looked inside and immediately realized what it was,” Pappo says. “I shouted to the driver to stop and get people off the bus. I know it was a mistake to touch it, because it could have exploded, but at least I helped save lives.”

Bus driver Michael Yoger, 59, has been praised by authorities for reacting quickly and ensuring his passengers’ safety.

“I’m no hero. I just did what needed to be done,” he said Sunday evening. “A passenger said there was a bag with wires near the rear door. I made sure that everyone was off the bus and away from it. I was the last one to get off the bus, only after I made sure all of the passengers were safe.”

President Shimon Peres later phoned Yoger and thanked him and the passenger who discovered the explosive, saying their actions saved lives.

“The nation owes you a debt of gratitude, and I would like to personally congratulate you for this act of bravery,” the president said.

According to Eitan Fixman, a spokesman for the Dan bus company, there were 12 passengers on the bus when the bomb was discovered.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced the attack in a post on his Facebook page, saying that it served as a reminder that the terror that threatens Israel “never rests.”

“The ‘quiet periods’ that we enjoy are the result of the important preemptive measures and work done all the time by the security services, and not because the terrorists have taken a time out because of the diplomatic negotiations or any other reason,” Lieberman wrote.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki issued a statement condemning the attack.

“We strongly condemn the bombing of a bus near Tel Aviv today,” Psaki said. “Violent acts targeting civilians are deplorable. We reaffirm our unshakable bond with Israel and our solidarity with the Israeli people. Our thoughts are with those affected and with the Israeli people at this time.”

Meanwhile, three other security incidents took place on Sunday. A rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip late Sunday night exploded on a road in the Ashkelon region, causing no harm. Warning sirens sounded in the area before the explosion. Police sappers canvassed the area in the early hours of Monday morning and found the rocket’s remnants.

The second incident took place at the Mishor Adumim junction near Jerusalem, around noon Sunday, when three Palestinians attempted to attack policemen stationed at the junction’s checkpoint.

The three arrived at the checkpoint in a taxi and exited the vehicle. The policemen noticed that one of the men approaching them had drawn a knife and proceeded to restrain him. The three were arrested and turned over to security forces for questioning.

In another incident, boulders that were placed on train tracks running between the southern cities of Dimona and Beersheba caused a minor accident, which left no injuries but damaged a train engine. Israel Railways suspended all train traffic in the area for a few hours following the incident to ensure the tracks’ safety.

The Beersheba police have launched an investigation into the incident. A police source says that several leads are being investigated, including the possibility of a nationalistically motivated attack.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

For the original article, visit israelhayom.com.

Israel’s Netanyahu Meets With Pope; Talks Tough on Iran.


Image: Israel's Netanyahu Meets With Pope; Talks Tough on Iran

VATICAN CITYIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Pope Francis on Monday as part of a visit to Rome during which he restated his firm opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran.

Netanyahu was received for the first time for a short audience by the pontiff, who is expected to travel to the Middle East next year.

Francis and Netanyahu met for 25 minutes for closed-door talks in the presence of an interpreter.

Doctor Reveals Healing Powers of PrayerThe Israeli prime minister gave the Pope a Spanish translation of his father Benzion Netanyahu‘s book “The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain.”

The dedication was made out to “Pope Francis, a great shepherd of our common heritage.”

Netanyahu and Francis had been expected to discuss negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, which resumed in July after a three-year hiatus but have faltered due to Israeli plans for new settlement building.

Israeli sources say Francis’ visit to the Middle East could take place before Israeli President Shimon Peres ends his term in July.

Although no date has been made official, sources on both sides say it is likely to take place on May 25-26.

Israel and the Vatican first established full diplomatic relations in 1993, but have been engaged in years of thorny diplomatic negotiations over property rights and tax exemptions for the Catholic Church, which have yet to be fully resolved.

Netanyahu is set later Monday to hold a meeting with his Italian counterpart Enrico Letta, and a joint press conference is expected at around 1400 GMT.

On Sunday, the Israeli premier attended a candle-lighting ceremony in Rome’s main synagogue, restating his firm opposition to an international nuclear deal with arch-foe Iran.

“It is very easy to receive a pat on the shoulder from the international community, to bow one’s head,” Netanyahu said.

“I would like to dispel any illusions. Iran aspires to attain an atomic bomb. It would thus threaten not only Israel but also Italy, Europe and the entire world,” he was quoted as saying on his website.

“There should be no going astray after the attack of smiles. Today there is a regime in Iran that supports terrorism, facilitates the massacre of civilians in Syria and unceasingly arms its proxies,” he said.

Iran has agreed to curb its nuclear program for the next six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief following marathon in Geneva last month.

But Israel has slammed the deal as an “historic mistake” and US Secretary of State John Kerry is due in Israel this week to try to ease tensions.

Tehran has a long history of belligerent statements toward the Jewish state, and Israel — the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear power — has warned that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat.

“The most dangerous regime in the world must not be allowed to have the most dangerous weapon in the world,” Netanyahu said on Sunday, adding that the sanctions regime on Iran was “liable to collapse”.

Doctor Reveals Healing Powers of Prayer 

President Barack Obama’s administration has argued that the preliminary deal will help ensure the security of the Middle East region as it seeks to nail down a comprehensive settlement with Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected earlier this year, has promised a more diplomatic approach to the West after eight years of stalled talks and escalating sanctions under his hardline predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

© AFP 2013

Source: Newsmax.com

Netanyahu Heads to Rome for First Talks With Pope.


JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for Rome on Sunday for a two-day official visit during which he will meet Pope Francis for the first time.

The Israeli leader took off around midday accompanied by six of his ministers, including his newly reappointed Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, public radio said.

During the visit, Netanyahu would also meet with his Italian counterpart Enrico Letta, and hold a joint session with the Italian Cabinet, it said.

On Monday, he will be granted his first audience with Pope Francis, who took over as the worldwide head of the Catholic Church in March.

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Six weeks ago, Netanyahu’s office had said he would meet the Pope during a visit to Rome in late October, but the meeting never happened — with a diplomatic source telling AFP it would not happen because it had not been coordinated in advance with the Vatican.

When the two meet on Monday, they are likely to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue and the ongoing peace talks with the Palestinians.

And they are also likely to discuss the Pope’s planned visit to the Holy Land early next year.

Pope Francis has already been invited to visit the Christian holy sites by Israeli President Shimon Peres in April, and by Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, who met him on October 17.

Israeli sources say the visit is likely to take place before Peres ends his term as president in July. Although no date has been made official, sources on both sides say it is likely to take place on May 25-26.

The papal visit will reportedly begin in Jordan, a senior Vatican official said on Saturday, according to Jordanian state news agency Petra.

“The Pope’s visit to the Holy Land will begin in Jordan,” Vatican foreign affairs official Dominique Mamberti said in Amman after meeting Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

Israel and the Holy See first established diplomatic relations in 1993.

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© AFP 2013
Source: Newsmax.com

Boko Haram possesses superior weapons –Yobe gov.


Gov-Alhaji-Ibrahim-Gaidam-01

Yobe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, yesterday said that members of the Boko Haram insurgents, who attacked Damaturu, the state capital last week were in possession of superior weapons than the Nigerian Army.

This was even as the Federal Government yesterday said that it would intensify its collaboration with the Governments of Niger and Cameroun in the patrol of their borders to curb the activities of the sect. Gaidam, who spoke after inspecting military and police formations destroyed in Damaturu last Thursday during an attack by the insurgents, challenged the Federal Government to deploy more troops and advanced military and communications hardware to be able to suppress the terrorists.

He said the provision of superior weapons would help to effectively combat insurgents’ attack on the state. “From personal observations, the insurgents used superior weapons and equipment in Thursday’s attack.

“So, the Federal Government must provide highcalibre arms and weaponry to succeed in the fight against terrorism. “Until the country’s security outfit is fully equipped with more superior arms, equipment and reinforced manpower, we may have slim chances of winning the fight against terrorism,” Gaidam said.

The governor also observed that inadequate intelligence report contributed to the massive onslaught by insurgents on the state capital. “If we had 24-hour surveillance and intelligence gathering by the security agents on ground, some of this dastardly incident would have been averted,” he said. He said the Federal Government should deploy more security personnel to the state and equip them with more sophisticated weapons.

“The Federal Government should provide additional and more advanced military and communications hardware to enable the security forces on the ground to respond more effectively to any security breaches,” Gaidam said. The governor praised the security agents for their ability to repel the attacks and urged them to continue to dedicate themselves to the security of life and property in the state.

“Government and Nigerians must see the problem of insurgency as a national problem, and not as a problem of Yobe and Borno States,” he advised. Gaidam announced a Yobe government assistance of N1 million each to the families of security operatives who were killed in the attack and N500, 000 for those injured.

Col. Abdullahi Aliyu, Commander of the Special Operation Battalion in Damaturu, said the insurgents attacked eight locations in a coordinated operation. He said 30 insurgents were killed, while various arms, ammunitions and vehicles were recovered from the attackers.

State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Sanusi Rufai, said the insurgents attacked the Mobile Police Base with armoured vehicle and burnt the armoury at the base. “They could not gain access into the armoury, they then set it ablaze, burning all arms in the armoury” he said.

In Abuja, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs II, Nurudeen Muhammed, speaking at a press briefing at the sixth meeting of the Board of National Boundary Commission, NBC, said that joint patrol of the borders with neighbouring Niger and Cameroun has become paramount to ensure peace and stability. Mohammed maintained that the joint patrol would ensure that Nigeria’s borders are not porous.

Also at the briefing, the Director-General of NBC, Ahmed Muhammed, disclosed that the commission has put in place all that was needed to make Nigeria and Cameroun work together to ensure security and proper resettlement of the people of Bakassi. According to him, the government has released funds on two occasions for the resettlement exercise. Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, also said that in order to check frequent boundary crises among states, local governments and communities in the country, the Federal Government would take steps to properly demarcate Nigeria’s internal boundaries.

The General Officer Commanding, GOC, 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Ahmed Jubrin, said that for the military to effectively fight insurgence, it must engage its personnel in contemporary security challenges.

According to him, terrorism is mainly the contemporary challenges facing the nation, which requires the military to be up and doing to be able to face the task of fighting it. He made this known at a training workshop organised at the 22 Armored Brigade, Sobi, Ilorin, He described the training as a routine programme, which takes place every year to prepare soldiers on exactly what he is expected of them during operations.

General Jubrin said the training bothered on skills at arms, which involves training them on how to handle weapons. While speaking, the Commander, 22 Armoured Brigade, Sobi Cantonment, Brigadier-General Idris Alkali, expressed the view that at the end of the training, the participants are going to be better prepared to undertake any task of facing contemporary challenges.

He also urged them to derive maximum benefit from the activities in order to apply it when attacked. Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday in Jerusalem pledged that his administration would continue to actively combat the menace of terrorism in partnership with all peace-loving countries of the world.

Speaking at a meeting with President Shimon Peres of Israel, Jonathan said Nigeria would welcome enhanced cooperation and assistance from Israel for its ongoing efforts to end terrorist attacks and incursions in parts of the country.

According to him, combating the menace of terrorism remains a challenge that must addressed in partnership with all peace loving countries and peoples of the world.

“I seek the cooperation of your country to confront the security threat from terrorist groups that my country is now facing. There is no doubt that Israel has had decades of experience in combating terrorism.

Nigeria can benefit tremendously from your experience in this area,” Jonathan told the Israeli President. Jonathan noted the growing economic relations between Nigeria and Israel and called for greater collaboration between them in other sectors, saying that his administration would also welcome the greater deployment of Israel’s renowned expertise in furtherance of Nigeria’s agenda for national transformation in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, electric power supply and the management of water resources.

In his remarks at the meeting, Peres said that he was delighted and privileged to have had the opportunity of hosting the first Nigerian President to visit the state of Israel.

Source: Radio Biafra.

FG seeks Israel’s support to fight terrorism.


Reuben-Abati

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday sought the support of the Israeli government in order to fight terrorism occasioned by the activities of the fundamental Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President made the appeal during a meeting with President Shimon Peres of Israel in Jerusalem during his ongoing Christian pilgrimage to the country.

Jonathan was quoted as reiterating his promise to combat the menace of terrorism in partnership with all peace-loving countries of the world.

He said, “Combating the menace of terrorism is a challenge that we must address in partnership with all peace loving countries and peoples of the world.

“I seek the cooperation of your country to confront the security threat from terrorist groups that my country is now facing.

 

“There is no doubt that Israel has had decades of experience in combating terrorism. Nigeria can benefit tremendously from your experience in this area.”

Acknowledging the growing economic relations between Nigeria and Israel, Jonathan reportedly called for greater collaboration between the two countries in other sectors.

He said his administration would also welcome the greater deployment of Israel’s renowned expertise in furtherance of Nigeria’s agenda for national transformation in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, power supply and the management of water resources.

He assured Peres that his administration would continue to encourage the expansion of trade, economic and cultural relations between Nigeria and Israel, adding that the signing of a Bilateral Air Services Agreement between the two countries would boost such relations.

In his remarks at the meeting, Peres was quoted as saying that he was delighted and privileged to have had the opportunity of hosting the first Nigerian President to visit the state of Israel.

He said, “You are a most distinguished pilgrim. In recent years, our relations have extended to many other spheres, and are steadily growing. The relations between Nigeria and Israel are close and long-standing. They are based upon friendship and the shared values of freedom, democracy and faith. Today, we also face common menaces.”

Others include our request for the removal of Tukur as our party National Chairman knowing his flawed election as our party Chairman, and ending the impunity in Adamawa State, among other demands that will put PDP in a strong position as a political party but for reasons not too clear to some of us failed to receive the blessing of Mr. President.

“To us, we see all these as attempts by the Tukur’s faction to destroy the party seeing that they (those in Tukur’s group) have no stake in the party anymore.”

The meeting mandated its mobilisation/contact committee to explore other options available to the members of the faction should the dialogue with President Jonathan fails to yield any positive result for its future political activity.

Eze added that the committee was expected also to liaise with the new five other PDP governors and other leaders, who he said had indicated interest to join the group and to submit their report during the next meeting of the caucus that will hold in a week’s time.

On the deployment of Police to the vicinity of the Sokoto Governor’s Lodge, Abuja to scuttle the caucus meeting on Sunday evening, Eze said it was unfortunate that the police who were unable to find a solution to the menace of Boko Haram, kidnapping and other security challenges of the country could be cheaply used to harass innocent and unarmed civilians.

While reacting to the allegation against him, Tukur said he did not set up any parallel state executive in any state, adding that the party appointed caretaker committees in states where the tenure of their substantive officers had expired.

Tukur, who spoke through his Media Adviser, Oliver Okpala, said the aggrieved governors were not aware that the executives that were removed in the affected states wrote to the national headquarters of the party to inform it that their tenure had expired.

Source: Radio Biafra.

President Jonathan To Undertake Pilgrimage To Israel.


President Goodluck Jonathan will leave Abuja on Wednesday on a pilgrimage to Israel, spokesman Reuben Abati has said.

Mixing religion with politics and business, he will also meet with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, and with the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, Abati said in a statement.

The statement did not indicate where he will meet with the Palestinian leader, or specify that Mr. Jonathan will visit the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

“Talks between President Jonathan’s delegation and Israeli government officials are expected to focus on the enhancement of bilateral relations between Nigeria and Israel in areas including trade, economic development, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, communications, culture, education and tourism,” the statement said.

Mr. Jonathan will be accompanied on the trip by Senator Emmanuel Paulker, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Akinwunmi Adesina; the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe; the Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen; the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Prof Viola Onwuliri; and the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki.  The statement said the President will “tour some locations in Israel which are revered by Christians because of their association with the earthly mission of Jesus Christ.”

Abati described as “a misrepresentation of facts” reports that President Jonathan is leading 19 state governors and about 30,000 Nigerians to Israel, although he might meet and interact with some other Nigerians who are already on the pilgrimage.

Sounding defensive, the spokesman said, “Irrespective of President Jonathan’s visit, thousands of Nigerians visit Israel annually during the pilgrimage season which goes on for months and they will undoubtedly do so again between now and early next year.

“It is entirely fortuitous for some of these Nigerian pilgrims therefore that their visit to Israel this year will coincide with President Jonathan’s.”

Mr. Jonathan will be leaving behind the tumult accompanying several troublesome corruption issues concerning his friend and Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, who is alleged to have used using a variety of means to enrich herself in the Ministry.

According to the statement, Mr. Jonathan is expected back in Abuja early next week.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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