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敘利亞援助機構 感覺更像是投降而不是合作 - 分析
作者：MIKE WAGENHEIM / THE MEDIA LINE
2021 年 7 月 12 日 11:54
2020 年 2 月 24 日，在土耳其哈塔伊省土耳其村莊 Bukulmez 附近的邊境地區敘利亞一側，可以看到在敘利亞伊德利卜省 Atma 營地安置境內流離失所者的帳篷。
有關 The Media Line 的更多故事，請訪問themedialine.org
這就是一名前美國國家安全委員會官員如何看待週五聯合國安理會對一項決議的投票，該決議將通過敘利亞 - 土耳其邊境的重要援助走廊保留至少六個月。
每月約有 1,000 卡車人道主義援助物資通過 Bab al-Hawa。過境點原定於本週末關閉。
敘利亞總統巴沙爾·阿薩德的批評者指責他在敘利亞內戰期間將人道主義援助政治化和武器化。在前基地組織附屬組織 Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) 和土耳其支持的反叛團體的控制下，叛軍的最後一個堡壘正在西北部的伊德利卜省開展行動，這使得 Bab al-Hawa 過境點尤為突出重大。
受過境點影響的地區居住著大約 400 萬敘利亞人，其中約 75% 的人從該國其他地區流離失所，其中 70% 的人依靠聯合國援助來滿足基本需求。
美國駐敘利亞大使杰弗裡·普雷斯科特 (Jeffrey Prescott) 表示：“我認為我們對美國和俄羅斯能夠在外交上共同努力達成這項協議，幫助滿足敘利亞人民嚴峻的人道主義需求感到非常高興。”聯合國在周六的簡報會上告訴記者。
但是，就在最近的 2020 年 1 月，有四個援助過境點進入敘利亞——一個從約旦進入南部，一個從伊拉克進入東北部，兩個從土耳其進入西北部。俄羅斯與中國一起在安理會行使否決權，將其縮減為一個過境點，並且根據最新決議中含糊不清的措辭，它可能能夠將 Bab al-Hawa 走廊的延長線提上日程。爭取在六個月內進行投票，而不是美國和其他國家認為他們通過週五的投票購買的一年。
華盛頓一直在通過自己的決議推動重新開放通往東北部的雅魯比亞過境點，但莫斯科認為這是不可能的。3 月，聯合國秘書長安東尼奧·古特雷斯 (António Guterres) 警告大會，在關閉來自伊拉克的 Yaroubiah 過境點後，人道主義局勢惡化。
土耳其已經收容了 400 萬敘利亞難民，需要確保敘利亞西北部的人道主義危機不會在其南部邊境引發大規模流離失所，同時還要對東北部的庫爾德人領導的政府施加壓力，該政府對援助表示擔憂.
安卡拉表示，聯合國的行動使東北部以庫爾德人為主的自治政府受益，它認為這是庫爾德工人黨（PKK）的延伸，庫爾德工人黨是土耳其軍方已與該組織作戰了數十年的指定恐怖組織。這可能就是為什麼莫斯科認為在 2020 年否決聯合國在 Yaroubiah 過境點的跨境行動擴展不會危及它與安卡拉的關係的原因。
拜登政府將恢復跨境援助運輸作為外交政策的優先事項，更加重視與俄羅斯達成的某種協議。早在 3 月，美國國務卿安東尼·布林肯 (Antony Blinken) 首次在安理會露面，除了重新開放至少兩個從土耳其和伊拉克進入敘利亞的已關閉過境點之外，還為延長巴布·哈瓦 (Bab al-Hawa) 的任期爭取支持。美國駐聯合國大使琳達·托馬斯-格林菲爾德和副國務卿溫迪·謝爾曼最近前往土耳其，推動安卡拉提供援助。與此同時，在拜登的授意下，他和普京在 6 月日內瓦峰會期間討論了聯合國援助問題。
事實上，週五通過的決議包括一項敦促國際社會支持重要基礎設施項目的條款，包括水、衛生、健康和教育項目。它呼籲聯合國成員國“鑑於 COVID-19 大流行對敘利亞的深遠社會經濟和人道主義影響，採取實際步驟解決敘利亞人民的緊迫需求”。
西方列強在跨境談判期間發出的唯一公開威脅來自法國駐聯合國大使尼古拉斯·德·里維埃 (Nicolas de Rivière)，他在本月的新聞發布會上告訴媒體專線和其他新聞媒體，西方將切斷對敘利亞的所有援助。如果俄羅斯人關閉了 Bab al-Hawa。
“正如我反复說過的，對敘利亞的人道主義救援 92% 是由歐盟、美國、加拿大、日本提供的。這是西方的錢，沒有人應該指望這些錢會通過交叉線（由中央政府控制並跨越衝突線的援助）重新分配，這是行不通的。這是一個艱難的選擇，我們希望能夠繼續為敘利亞的人道主義救援提供資金，”大使說。
但莫斯科可能會在 1 月份再次掌握這些牌。安理會通過的決議對 Bab al-Hawa 任務的期限含糊不清，這需要古特雷斯在六個月內進行審查，以確定是否應再延長六個月。關於延期是否在提交審查後自動進行，或者是否需要再次投票的爭論已經開始。
“很明顯，這個過境點已經更新了一年。決議案文明確指出，一旦聯合國秘書長發表報告，最初的六個月授權將再延長六個月。這意味著，重要的是，不需要在 1 月份進行投票，在隆冬之際，這是我們希望實現的關鍵外交成果，我們已經通過這項決議實現了這一目標。因此，我們非常有信心，聯合國將繼續使用該過境點，為明年提供緊急人道主義援助，我們對這一結果感到滿意，”普雷斯科特說。
“通過阻止一項授權將 Bab al-Hawa 的授權簡單延長 12 個月的決議草案，並阻止將重新開放敘利亞東北部迫切需要的來自伊拉克的 al-Yaroubiah 過境點的先前版本，俄羅斯和中國表現出了完全對那些依賴人道主義援助生存的人的生命的可恥無視，”塔德羅斯寫道。
Syrian Aid Res. feels more like capitulation than cooperation - analysis
Russia uses its influence in the United Nations Security Council, even as Washington and Moscow hail coordinated effort.
By MIKE WAGENHEIM / THE MEDIA LINE
JULY 12, 2021 11:54
Tents housing internally displaced people in Atma camp in Idlib Governorate of Syria are seen on the Syrian side of the border zone near the Turkish village of Bukulmez in Hatay province, Turkey, February 24, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS)
“The Russians held a gun to the heads of millions of desperate Syrians, and the US patted Moscow on the back for not pulling the trigger.”
For more stories from The Media Line go to themedialine.org
That’s how a former US National Security Council official with purview over Syria views Friday’s UN Security Council vote on a resolution to preserve a vital aid corridor through the Syria-Turkey border for at least six months.
The unanimous vote on the Bab al-Hawa (“Gate of the Winds”) crossing came after weeks of intense negotiations between the US, which wants to expand the number of aid corridors into Syria, and Russia, which had threatened it would block the continuation of the aid program altogether under the banner of protecting Syrian sovereignty, claiming the Assad regime has the capacity to oversee the delivery of aid throughout the country.
Around 1,000 truckloads of humanitarian aid pass through Bab al-Hawa every month. The crossing was set to close at the end of the week.
Critics of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accuse him of politicizing and weaponizing humanitarian aid during the Syrian Civil War. The last bastion of rebel forces, under the control of former al-Qaida affiliates Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Turkish-backed rebel groups, is operating in Idlib Province in the northwest, making the Bab al-Hawa crossing particularly significant.
The area impacted by the crossing is home to around four million Syrians, some 75% of which are displaced from other parts of the country, and 70% of whom rely on UN aid for basic needs.
Syrian and Russian forces have pounded Idlib in recent years seeking to reclaim the province for the regime, routinely bombing hospitals, schools, markets and homes, causing a humanitarian crisis during a period in which the rest of Syria is under a relative calm. The COVID-19 pandemic also has worsened the already dire situation in Idlib.
The US and Russia co-sponsored Friday’s resolution, holding it up as a compromise that proved the two antagonists could coordinate on matters of international security.
“I think we’re very pleased with the work that the United States and Russia were able to do diplomatically together to forge this agreement, to help meet the dire humanitarian needs of the Syrian people,” Jeffrey Prescott, deputy to the US ambassador to the UN, told reporters during a Saturday briefing.
“The President [Joe Biden] had a chance to speak to [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin yesterday and they both welcomed the efforts by our teams to reach this agreement and to be able to provide the continuation of this critical assistance in the year to come. That’s obviously been a priority for the United States, and I think it’s a positive sign and positive signal that we were able to work together,” the American diplomat also said.
“Now, obviously, there are a whole host of other issues where we have disagreements with Russia, and the president and Putin were discussing some of those issues in their call yesterday, as the readout makes clear. But this is a positive outcome. It’s a good example of what diplomatic efforts between the United States and Russia can achieve,” said Prescott.
But, as recently as January 2020, there were four aid crossings into Syria – one from Jordan into the south, one from Iraq into the northeast and two from Turkey into the northwest. Russia, together with China, has wielded its veto power at the Security Council to whittle that down to a single crossing and, based on vague language in the latest resolution, it may be able to bring the extension of the Bab al-Hawa corridor up for a vote in six months, rather than a year that the US and others believe they bought with Friday’s vote.
Washington had been pushing for the reopening of the Yaroubiah crossing into the northeast in its own resolution, but Moscow deemed it a non-starter. In March, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned the General Assembly that the humanitarian situation had worsened following the closure of the Yaroubiah crossing from Iraq.
“The Russians and the Syrians are the big winners of this vote. The Turks come out neutral. The US lost,” said the former National Security Council official, who insisted on anonymity to speak candidly.
Turkey is already hosting four million Syrian refugees and needs to ensure that a humanitarian crisis in northwestern Syria does not provoke mass displacement on its southern border, while also keeping pressure on the Kurdish-led government in the northeast, where it has expressed concerns regarding aid.
Ankara has suggested that UN operations have benefited the northeast’s Kurdish-dominated autonomous government, which it sees as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a designated terrorist group that the Turkish military has battled for decades. This is likely why Moscow believed that vetoing the extension of UN cross-border operations at the Yaroubiah crossing in 2020 would not risk its relationship with Ankara.
“The Biden administration made the mistake of announcing there was no alternative to UN aid. It’s effectively ceding control of the debate to the Russians [with their Security Council veto], who now hold us and everyone hostage on this issue every six months,” the former official said.
The Biden administration made the restoration of cross-border aid shipments a foreign policy priority, placing added importance on some type of agreement with the Russians. Back in March, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken used his first appearance before the Security Council to drum up support for extending Bab al-Hawa’s mandate, in addition to the reopening of at least two of the closed crossings into Syria from Turkey and Iraq. US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman traveled to Turkey recently to push for Ankara’s assistance in aid delivery. Meanwhile, at Biden’s behest, he and Putin discussed the UN aid issue during their June summit in Geneva.
But the Russians do not see the issue as strictly a humanitarian one. Their goals include the international community normalizing relations with the Assad government, lessening or eliminating sanctions regimes in place against Assad and pushing global powers to aid in Syria’s reconstruction following its brutal civil war.
In fact, the resolution passed on Friday includes a provision urging the international community to support vital infrastructure projects, including water, sanitation, health and education projects. It appeals to UN member states to take “practical steps to address the urgent needs of the Syrian people in light of the profound socio-economic and humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Syria.”
Some observers see these so-called early recovery projects as reconstruction efforts in practice.
“The Biden administration was insistent that it would have nothing to do with reconstruction unless there was movement toward political change in Syria. The Russians got them to back down on that. There were early messages sent out that they [the Americans] were waiting to see how the cross-border aid mechanism played out before deciding on any kind of sanctions relief for Syria. The Russians essentially gave them nothing beyond the very bare minimum. It will be very interesting to see how sanctions play out going forward,” the former NSC official said.
“The sanctions have had the effect of also handcuffing the US in terms of developing an aid mechanism outside the UN forum in order to exclude the Russians, because NGOs and others are afraid of violating the sanctions by getting involved in a non-approved effort. But this is where the US needs to get creative. And instead, we’re simply waving a white flag to Moscow,” said the official.
Under the administration of President Donald Trump, Washington enacted the Caesar Act in an effort to prevent foreign entities or nations from taking part in Assad’s reconstruction plans by placing economic sanctions on them. A number of Gulf nations that had cut ties with Assad during the war have since re-engaged, and a few of them, including US allies such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, have pointed to the Caesar sanctions as the primary reason they cannot contribute funding to reconstruction efforts. There are carve-outs in the sanctions scheme, however, for humanitarian concerns.
The only public threat issued by Western powers during the cross-border negotiations came from French Ambassador to the UN Nicolas de Rivière, who told The Media Line and other news outlets at a news conference this month that the West would cut off all aid to Syria if the Russians closed Bab al-Hawa.
“As I said repeatedly, 92% of humanitarian relief to Syria is provided by the European Union, US, Canada, Japan. This is Western money, and nobody should expect this money to be reallocated through cross-line [aid that is controlled by the central government and funneled across conflict lines], which does not work. This is a hard choice to make, and we hope to be able to continue to finance humanitarian relief in Syria,” the ambassador said.
The Russians deemed the threat a form of blackmail.
But it is Moscow that will likely hold the cards again in January. The resolution adopted by the council is ambiguous about the duration of the Bab al-Hawa mandate, which will require a review by Guterres in six months to determine whether it should be continued for an additional six months. A debate has already started over whether the extension is automatic upon the filing of the review, or if it will be subject to another vote.
“It’s very clear this crossing has been renewed for another year. The text of the resolution makes clear that the initial six-month authorization will extend for an additional six months once the UN secretary-general issues his report. That means, importantly, there is no need for a vote in January, in the dead of winter, and that was a key diplomatic outcome that we were hoping to achieve and that we have achieved through this resolution. So, we’re very confident that this crossing will continue to be available to the UN for providing this urgent humanitarian assistance for the next year, and we’re happy with that outcome,” said Prescott.
Not so, say the Russian and Chinese missions to the UN, who insist that renewal of the mandate after six months will be conditioned on the contents of Guterres’ review, which will focus on operational transparency and progress on cross-line access.
“This compromise resolution is once again an example of Russia ignoring the humanitarian needs of Syrians, and instead playing political games with the lives and welfare of millions of people,” wrote Sherine Tadros, the UN representative and deputy director of advocacy for Amnesty International, in a statement to The Media Line.
“By blocking a draft resolution authorizing a simple 12-month extension of authorization for Bab al-Hawa, and blocking a previous version which would have reopened the al-Yaroubiah crossing from Iraq urgently needed for northeast Syria, Russia and China have displayed an utterly shameful disregard for the lives of those who are reliant on humanitarian aid to survive,” wrote Tadros.
“A compromise on a compromise on a compromise. Russia successfully lowers the bar to the point where council members pat themselves on the back for a deal that still leaves millions of Syrians in a state of uncertainty,” Tadros tweeted after the vote.
2021 年 7 月 12 日 15:31
2013 年 7 月，穆斯林兄弟會成員和埃及總統穆罕默德·穆爾西的支持者在開羅的 Raba El-Adwyia 清真寺廣場展示他的照片。
根據法院命令加入恐怖主義名單的個人通常會受到資產凍結和旅行禁令的影響，並且有 60 天的時間對該決定提出上訴。公訴人向法庭提出請求，將個人或團體列入名單，由法庭決定。
自 1972 年以來，《無紀律解僱法》允許政府解僱任何被認為對國家安全構成威脅的公職人員。
自 2013 年領導推翻穆斯林兄弟會主席穆罕默德·穆爾西 (Mohamed Mursi) 擔任陸軍總司令以來，阿卜杜勒·法塔赫·塞西 (Abdel Fattah al-Sisi) 總統一直在監督對伊斯蘭主義和自由派政治反對派的廣泛鎮壓。
Egypt now has right to sack civil servants with suspect links to terrorism
The move was described as a major step in a campaign to "purify" government bodies of members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Opinions on the amendment are mixed
JULY 12, 2021 15:31
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD members and supporters of Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi display his photo at Cairo’s Raba El-Adwyia mosque square, July 2013.
(photo credit: KHALED ABDULLAH/FILE PHOTO/REUTERS)
Egypt's parliament on Monday approved legal amendments expanding the government's ability to sack civil servants with suspected links to terrorist groups without prior disciplinary action, parliamentary sources said.
The legal amendments seen by Reuters allow the government to immediately fire any employee whose name appears on its terrorism list. This includes suspects still under investigation or on trial as well as those convicted in terrorism cases.
The list includes some liberal and leftist activists.
Individuals added to the terrorism list by court orders are generally subjected to an asset freeze and a travel ban and have 60 days to appeal the decision. Public prosecutors submit requests in court to put people or groups on the list, and the court decides on the matter.
Since 1972, the Dismissal Without Disciplinary Action Act has allowed the government to dismiss any public employee considered a threat to state security.
The amendments classify presence on the terrorist list as "serious evidence" of such a threat, while also allowing dismissed employees to appeal before administrative courts.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has overseen a broad crackdown on Islamist and liberal political opponents since leading the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi as army chief in 2013.
A parliamentary committee said in a report on the legal amendments that they aim to preserve Egypt's national security and combat corruption, and were in line with a constitutional commitment for the state to fight terrorism.
Many Egyptians welcomed the amendments on social media, while others expressed concerns that the state could target any employee who is not pro-government regardless of any affiliation to Islamist groups.
2021 年 7 月 12 日 21:26
（照片來源：REUTERS/VINCENT KESSLER/文件照片和 KOBI GIDEON/GPO）
“以色列議會議員比比·內塔尼亞胡，給我解釋一下。我真的很想知道，”貝內特說，強調內塔尼亞胡的新頭銜。“你說以色列領導人有時必須為了以色列的利益與其他國家對抗。MK Bibi Netanyahu 破壞我們與約旦的關係是為了以色列的什麼利益？”
貝內特說內塔尼亞胡“放棄了以色列土地的部分地區”，指的是以色列從約旦租用莫沙夫佐法爾和納哈拉伊姆的土地結束。該租約是 1994 年以色列和約旦之間和平協議的一部分，約旦去年拒絕續簽。
“不幸的是，阿卜杜拉同意通過 [約旦] 從伊朗主導的伊拉克到埃及的管道，從而賦予伊朗強大的經濟力量來發展其經濟，主要是其核計劃、征服計劃及其行動。恐怖，”他說。
約旦和埃及自 1980 年代以來就與伊拉克有著密切的經濟聯繫，它們是 2003 年美國入侵伊拉克後最早與伊拉克新政府建立關係的阿拉伯國家之一。
內塔尼亞胡說，阿曼外交部長賽義德·巴德爾·本·哈馬德·布賽迪 (Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al-Busaidi) 發表聲明說，阿曼不會成為第三個與以色列實現關係正常化的海灣國家，這表明新政府對伊朗的軟弱。
“阿曼相信在兩國解決方案的基礎上實現公正、全面和持久和平的原則，”布賽迪週六告訴總部位於倫敦的 Asharq Al-Awsat 報。
“我提醒你，我在 2018 年與前任蘇丹進行了正式會晤，”他說。“現在，因為弱點，一切都在朝著另一個方向發展。”
今年 2 月，內塔尼亞胡還是總理時，布賽迪說阿曼“對我們目前的關係和對話水平感到滿意，這涉及適當的溝通渠道。”
Bennett: Ties with Jordan essential for Israel’s security
PM Naftali Bennett met with King Abdullah.
By LAHAV HARKOV
JULY 12, 2021 21:26
King of Jordan Abdullah II and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
(photo credit: REUTERS/VINCENT KESSLER/FILE PHOTO AND KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Relations with Jordan are important to Israeli security, and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu destroyed them, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday in the Knesset.
Bennett spoke in response to an accusation by Netanyahu that by moving to repair ties with Amman, the new government is indirectly empowering Iran.
“Knesset member Bibi Netanyahu, explain it to me. I really wonder,” Bennett said, emphasizing Netanyahu’s new title. “You say a leader of Israel must sometimes confront other nations for Israel’s interest. What is the Israeli interest for which MK Bibi Netanyahu destroyed our relationship with Jordan?”
“We are fixing the relationship,” he added.
Bennett said Netanyahu “gave up parts of the Land of Israel,” referring to the end of Israel’s lease from Jordan of land in Moshav Tzofar and Naharayim. The lease was part of the 1994 peace agreement between Israel and Jordan, and Jordan declined to renew it last year.
Jordan is in between Israel and Iran, Bennett said, and as such, “a good relationship with the Kingdom of Jordan is a national security interest of Israel.”
Bennett met with Jordanian King Abdullah less than two weeks ago, and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi. Israel agreed to double the amount of water it sells to Jordan and to allow Jordan to increase its exports to the Palestinian Authority.
Bennett “didn’t understand that when he gives him water, Abdullah is giving gas to Iran,” Netanyahu said earlier Monday.
“Abdullah, unfortunately, agreed to a pipeline through [Jordan] from Iraq, which is dominated by Iran, to Egypt, and thus giving Iran great economic power to develop its economy and, mainly, its nuclear program, its conquest program and its acts of terror,” he said.
Under Bennett, the government is not standing up to Iran, and “everyone understands it,” Netanyahu said.
Jordan and Egypt have had close economic ties with Iraq since the 1980s, and they were among the first Arab states to build relations with the new Iraqi government after the US invaded in 2003.
Last month’s talks between the three countries on the pipeline and the possibility of connecting Iraq to Jordanian and Egyptian power grids could reduce Iraqi dependence on Iran, which imports much of Iraq’s electricity and gas.
A statement by Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al-Busaidi that his country would not be the third Gulf state to normalize ties with Israel indicated the new government’s weakness against Iran, Netanyahu said.
“Oman believes in the principle of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace on the basis of the two-state solution,” Busaidi told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Saturday.
“It’s no wonder that Oman is also moving in Iran’s direction,” Netanyahu said, adding that it is canceling the normalization process with Israel.
“I remind you that I was in an official meeting with the previous Sultan” in 2018, he said. “Now, everything is moving in the other direction because of the weakness.”
In February, when Netanyahu was still prime minister, Busaidi said Oman was “content so far with the level of our current relations and dialogue, which involves the appropriate channels of communication.”
In February, he said Oman would wait for the establishment of a Palestinian state before forging ties with Israel.
Oman values its neutrality in the Middle East, and maintains ties with Iran as well as countries that oppose the Islamic Republic, Busaidi said.
Haredi MKs 指責聯盟為了埃爾金的利益推進立法
“他們為什麼不直接在法律中寫明所有拉比法官都將由埃爾金任命？” 要求UTJ主席MK Moshe Gafni。
2021 年 7 月 12 日 20:35
週一，幾名極端正統派議員指責該聯盟專門製定立法，以幫助住房和建築部長 Ze'ev Elkin 被任命 為拉比法官遴選委員會成員。
聯合托拉猶太教主席 MK Moshe Gafni 和他的黨內同事 MK Uri Maklev 在議會憲法、法律和司法委員會的委員會聽證會上發表了他們的評論，該委員會就政府立法改變拉比法官遴選委員會的組成進行了聽證。
埃爾金的新希望黨和 Yesh Atid 之間的聯盟協議明確指出，住房部長埃爾金， 被任命為拉比法庭任命委員會的成員。 但 2013 年通過的一項法律要求委員會中至少有一名部長和一名 MK 是女性，這給埃爾金帶來了問題，因為委員會主席必須是宗教服務部長，目前是亞米納的馬坦卡哈納。由於 Kahana 和 Elkin 都是男性，根據現行法律，Elkin 不能在委員會中佔有一席之地。上個月通過一讀的政府法案的初始版本改變了 2013 年的法律，因此該法案不是保證一名女部長和一名女 MK 在委員會中佔有一席之地，而是規定四名代表中至少有兩名來自議會和政府都是女性。
這意味著 Elkin 可以與 Kahana 一起服務，而兩位女性代表可以都是 MK。
此外，極右翼宗教猶太復國主義黨的 MK Avi Maoz 辯稱，85% 的以色列議會成員將受到法律歧視，因為他們將無法獲得委員會的席位。
2021 年 4 月 5 日，在新政府的以色列議會會議開幕之前，新的以色列議會成員阿維·毛茲出現在以色列議會。（圖片來源：OLIVIER FITOUSSI）
議會的一名法律顧問承認了這些問題，因此週一向議會委員會提出了新版本的立法，其中該小組的成員人數將從 11 人增加到 13 人，並包括一名任何性別的新部長.
這將使 Elkin 在委員會中佔有一席之地，以及第二位女性拉比法庭辯護人，留下男性 MK 仍然可以當選為小組成員的可能性，從而消除了以色列議會法律顧問和毛茲的擔憂。
“我們都明白，這裡所做的一切都是為了讓我們 [超正統 MKs] 不在委員會之外，”他補充道。
UTJ MK 繼續說：“政府不是為了國家利益行事，而是乾預政府部長之間的個人爭吵。
在委員會聽證會上發言的宗教-猶太復國主義者 Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah 遊說團體的宗教和國務院負責人 Tani Frank 補充說，遴選委員會的 13 名成員中有這麼多來自或由政府和聯盟任命。
Haredi MKs accuse coalition of advancing legislation for Elkin’s benefit
‘Why don’t they just write in the law that all the rabbinical judges will be appointed by Elkin?’ demands UTJ chairman MK Moshe Gafni.
JULY 12, 2021 20:35
Several ultra-Orthodox MKs accused the coalition on Monday of formulating legislation specifically to help one individual, Housing and Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin, get appointed to the Selection Committee for Rabbinical Judges.
United Torah Judaism chairman MK Moshe Gafni and his party colleague MK Uri Maklev made their comments during a committee hearing of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee in a hearing on the government’s legislation to change the composition of the Selection Committee for Rabbinical Judges.
Elkin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The coalition agreement between Elkin’s New Hope Party and Yesh Atid states specifically that the housing minister, Elkin, be appointed as a member of the rabbinical court’s appointments committee.
But a law passed in 2013 requiring that at least one minister and one MK on the committee be women has created problems for Elkin, since the chairman of the committee must be the religious services minister, currently Matan Kahana of Yamina.
Since Kahana and Elkin are both men, Elkin cannot claim his place on the committee under the terms of the current law.
An initial version of the government bill, which passed its first reading last month, changed the 2013 law so that instead of guaranteeing one female minister and one female MK a spot on the committee, the bill stipulated that at least two of the four representatives from the Knesset and the government be women.
This meant that Elkin could serve alongside Kahana, while the two female representatives could both be MKs.
The opposition however denounced this change, saying firstly it would mean that the ultra-Orthodox parties could not have a representative on the committee since they have no female MKs.
In addition, MK Avi Maoz of the far-right Religious Zionist Party argued that 85 percent of Knesset members would be discriminated against by the law, since they would be precluded from obtaining a place on the committee.
New Knesset member Avi Maoz seen at the Knesset, ahead of the opening Knesset session of the new government, on April 05, 2021. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI)
A Knesset legal adviser acknowledged these problems, and so a new version of the legislation was proposed to the Knesset committee on Monday, in which the number of members on the panel would be increased from 11 to 13, and include one new minister of any gender.
This would allow Elkin a spot on the committee, along with a second female rabbinical courts advocate, leaving open the possibility that a male MK could still get elected to the panel, defusing the concerns of the Knesset legal adviser and Maoz.
But Gafni, Maklev and others still panned the new version of the legislation as designed specifically for one politician, Elkin.
“Why don’t they just write in the law that all the rabbinical judges will be appointed according to how Elkin decides,” asked Gafni sardonically.
“We all understand that everything being done here is so that we [ultra-Orthodox MKs] will be outside the committee,” he added.
Maklev said the bill was “personal legislation which has been created for political purposes because of suspicion and greed among members of the government members who all want to be a member of the committee.”
The UTJ MK continued, “The government is not acting in the interests of the state, but is rather intervening in personal quarrels between government ministers.
“This should be called the Cronyism Law and not the Rabbinical Judges Law.”
Elkin has not responded to questions as to why it is so important for him to obtain a position on the committee.
Tani Frank, head of the religion and state department of the religious-Zionist Ne’emanei Torah Va’Avodah lobbying group who spoke during the committee hearing, added that it was problematic that so many of the 13 members of the selection committee come from or be appointed by the government and the coalition.
Frank said that an “appropriate balance” needed to be found between representatives of the government and the Knesset.
2021 年 7 月 11 日 20:30
2021 年 7 月 5 日，人們看到總理納夫塔利·貝內特在以色列議會發表講話。
（圖片來源：MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/耶路撒冷郵報）
安全部隊在跨越黎巴嫩和以色列戈蘭邊界的阿拉維派阿拉伯村莊 Ghajar 拘留了擁有 43 支手槍的嫌疑人。以色列國防軍錶示，正在進行調查以確定真主黨是否參與其中。
聯合國兒童緊急基金會報告稱，77% 的黎巴嫩家庭無法購買食物，基本藥物已經用完，電力和天然氣短缺已經司空見慣。世界銀行表示，黎巴嫩的局勢是自 1850 年代以來世界上最嚴重的金融危機之一。
Bennett: Israel ‘on alert’ over Lebanon crisis
“Lebanon is on the verge of collapse, like every country that Iran takes over," Bennett warned.
JULY 11, 2021 20:30
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is seen speaking at the Knesset, on July 5, 2021.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israel is monitoring the crisis in Lebanon to ensure it does not spill over the border, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday.
“Lebanon is on the verge of collapse, like every country that Iran takes over,” he said at the opening of the cabinet meeting. “The citizens of Lebanon are paying a heavy price for the Iranian takeover of the country.”
Israel is “watching the situation closely… and we will continue to be on alert,” he added.
The IDF and Israel Police prevented an attempt to smuggle weapons from Lebanon into Israel last Friday, which Bennett cited as “one of many examples.”
Security forces detained suspects who had 43 pistols in their possession at Ghajar, the Alawite-Arab village astride the border between Lebanon and the Israeli Golan. An investigation was underway to determine whether Hezbollah was involved, the IDF said.
The IDF and the police have stopped at least five major drug- and weapons-smuggling attempts from Lebanon this year.
Senior Hezbollah official Hajj Khalil Harb was operating a drug- and weapons-smuggling ring across the Lebanon-Israel border, the IDF said last week.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz last week sent the UN Interim Force in Lebanon a proposal for Israel to send humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people amid the country’s worsening economic and humanitarian crisis.
Seventy-seven percent of Lebanese households are unable to buy food, essential drugs have run out, and electricity and gas shortages have become commonplace, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund reported. The World Bank has said the situation in Lebanon is one of the world’s worst financial crises since the 1850s.
“As an Israeli, as a Jew and as a human being, my heart aches seeing the images of people going hungry on the streets of Lebanon,” Gantz tweeted last week. “Israel has offered assistance to Lebanon in the past, and even today we are ready to act and to encourage other countries to extend a helping hand to Lebanon so that it will once again flourish and emerge from its state of crisis.”
Lebanon is expected to refuse the help, as it did last year after an explosion in Beirut killed dozens of people and Israel offered humanitarian and medical aid.
土耳其總統雷傑普·塔伊普·埃爾多安於 2017 年 12 月 13 日在伊斯坦布爾舉行的伊斯蘭合作組織特別峰會上與巴勒斯坦民族權力機構主席馬哈茂德·阿巴斯握手。 （Yasin Bulbul / Pool Photo via AP）
在 2018 年與加沙邊界發生致命衝突之後——在美國駐耶路撒冷大使館奉獻的那一天——土耳其召回了其駐以色列大使，並將以色列特使驅逐到安卡拉。在 2010 年馬爾馬拉船隊事件引發外交關係中斷 6 年之後，兩國僅在不到兩年前交換了大使，在該事件中，9 名土耳其活動人士在與以色列國防軍的衝突中喪生，當時一艘試圖破壞加沙海上封鎖。
In possible sign of thaw, Turkey’s Erdogan talks with new Israeli president
Isaac Herzog and Turkish president pledge to maintain contact ‘and ongoing dialogue’ despite differences, after years of strained ties
By AMY SPIROToday, 11:59 pm
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and President Isaac Herzog (right). (AP)
President Isaac Herzog spoke Monday evening with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a rare direct communication between leaders of the two countries after over a decade of fraught relations.
Erdogan congratulated Herzog on being sworn into his new role as president last week, according to the President’s Office.
“The presidents emphasized in their call that the ties between Israel and Turkey are of great importance to the security and the stability of the Middle East,” according to the Israeli readout of the call, “and there is great potential for cooperation between the countries in many fields, in particular the areas of energy, tourism and technology.”
The readout also stated that Herzog and Erdogan stressed “the great importance of maintaining contact and ongoing dialogue despite the differences of opinion, with the goal of making positive steps toward a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which will also contribute to the improvement of Israeli-Turkish relations.”
The Turkish readout of the call largely mirrored that of Israel, though it noted Erdogan’s call for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be “settled through a two-state, lasting and comprehensive solution within the framework of UN resolutions.”
According to Walla News, the conversation between the two leaders lasted for about 40 minutes, and Herzog notified Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid of the call ahead of time.
For more than a decade, Israel and Turkey have maintained fractious relations, and ties have significantly deteriorated over the past few years. But despite Erdogan’s public diatribes against Israel, Ankara has continued to maintain open ties with the Jewish state, including on tourism and trade.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul, December 13, 2017. (Yasin Bulbul/ Pool Photo via AP)
Recent months have seen signals of a shift from Turkey, with Erdogan stating that despite their many differences of opinion, “our heart desires that we can move our relations with [Israel] to a better point.”
Much of the tensions relate to Gaza and Turkey’s backing for the Palestinian Hamas terror group which rules the Strip.
After deadly clashes on the border with Gaza in 2018 — on the day the US embassy in Jerusalem was dedicated — Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel and expelled the Israeli envoy to Ankara. The countries had only exchanged ambassadors less than two years earlier, following a six-year break in diplomatic relations spurred by the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, in which nine Turkish activists were killed during clashes with the IDF while aboard a ship attempting to break the maritime blockade of Gaza.
During the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in May, Erdogan accused Israel of “terrorism” against the Palestinians and said Israelis “are murderers, to the point that they kill children who are five or six years old. They only are satisfied by sucking their blood.” His remarks drew a condemnation from the US State Department, which called the comments antisemitic.
Over the weekend, Erdogan hosted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Istanbul. During their meeting, Erdogan reportedly said Turkey will not remain silent against “the Israeli oppression of Palestinians.”
Erdogan had a particularly prickly relationship with former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the two regularly accusing each other publicly of being terrorists or genocidal killers. Reuven Rivlin, Herzog’s predecessor, had been a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, though his term in the largely ceremonial role was marked by political moderation.
Turkey has reportedly been weighing appointing a new ambassador to Israel in recent months, although no official move has been made.
Analysts have speculated that Erdogan is looking to curry favor with new US President Joe Biden, who has taken a harsher approach to Turkey than his predecessor, and would view with favor Ankara adopting a more moderate tone on Israel.
通過拉扎爾·伯曼 今天，晚上 7:59
外交部長亞伊爾·拉皮德 (Yair Lapid) 於 2021 年 7 月 12 日在布魯塞爾會見了 26 位歐盟外長。（歐盟）
外交部長亞伊爾·拉皮德 (Yair Lapid) 支持與巴勒斯坦人的兩國解決方案，並在周一向歐盟高級外交官發表的講話中指出了歐洲和以色列的共同民主價值觀，尋求在十多年的緊張關係後開啟與歐盟的新篇章。
2014 年 11 月 7 日，時任以色列總理本傑明·內塔尼亞胡在耶路撒冷與歐盟外交政策負責人費代麗卡·莫蓋里尼舉行聯合新聞發布會。 (Amit Shabi/POOL/FLASH90)
匈牙利制定了拒絕泛歐後民族主義的民族主義外交政策，在內塔尼亞胡政府期間一再表明它非常願意為以色列出局。在以色列和哈馬斯 5 月的衝突期間，它是唯一一個否決歐盟外交部長聲明的歐盟國家，該聲明呼籲在“不可接受的”平民傷亡中立即停火。
Mitvim 以色列-歐洲關係項目主任 Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu 解釋說，西歐國家特別關注歐洲強烈民族主義的興起。內塔尼亞胡以他對歐洲的態度強調了這個特別敏感的地方。
他說，由前定居者領導人納夫塔利·貝內特 (Naftali Bennett) 領導並加入極左團體的新政府抹去了以色列傳統的右左框架。
前駐歐盟大使、特拉維夫國家安全研究所高級研究員奧德·埃蘭 (Oded Eran) 指出，多樣化的角色可能有助於以色列修補關係。
德系猶太人為改善與歐洲的關係付出了巨大努力，並在他 13 個月的任期內受到了好評。但這還不足以克服對內塔尼亞胡的挫敗感。
2021 年 11 馬赫，時任外交部長加比·阿什肯納茲和捷克總理安德烈·巴比斯在捷克共和國駐耶路撒冷外交辦公室開幕時剪彩。（拉扎爾·伯曼）
以色列於 1995 年簽署了一項確定其與歐盟關係並於 2000 年批准的結盟協定，其中規定雙方每年在結盟理事會舉行一次會議，討論共同關心的問題。雙方上一次會面是在 2012 年，當時阿維格多·利伯曼 (Avigdor Liberman) 擔任外交部長。
法國總統埃馬紐埃爾·馬克龍（中）於 2019 年 1 月 22 日在耶路撒冷會見藍白人 MK Benny Gantz（右）和 Yesh Atid MK Yair Lapid。（Elad Malka）
2009 年 1 月 6 日，在“鑄鉛行動”高峰期，以色列-加沙邊境上的一名步兵。 (Nati Shohat/ Flash90)
Navon 表示，法國外交部一直支持阻止以色列加入 Horizon Europe，這是一個 2021 年至 2027 年的歐洲研究和創新框架。
法國總統埃馬紐埃爾·馬克龍 (Emmanuel Macron) 與拉皮德 (Lapid) 有著親密的個人關係，這可能會帶來新的方法。
文化部長 Chili Tropper 上週在戛納會見了法國外長 Roselyne Bachelot，討論以色列加入創意歐洲計劃。以色列加入“創意歐洲”將使其能夠獲得數百萬歐元用於藝術和文化倡議。
文化和體育部長 Chili Tropper，2021 年 2 月 23 日在耶路撒冷可汗劇院。 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
2021 年 6 月 15 日，在加沙城，工人們清除了被空襲摧毀的建築物的瓦礫。（美聯社照片/Adel Hana）
法國仍計劃參加在南非舉行的德班 IV 會議，英國、荷蘭、奧地利和匈牙利等歐洲國家都在迴避該會議，因為他們擔心會議會帶有反猶太主義色彩。
說明：聯合國安理會成員與來訪的德國外交部長海科·馬斯於 2020 年 2 月 26 日在聯合國總部召開關於核不擴散條約的會議。（美聯社照片/ Bebeto Matthews）
北大西洋公約組織是美國、加拿大和 28 個歐洲國家的軍事聯盟，成立於 1949 年。
在與斯托爾滕貝格進行了長達一小時的會談後，拉皮德分別與德國外交部長海科·馬斯、法國外交部長讓·伊夫·勒德里昂、荷蘭外長西格麗德·卡格分別進行了 15 分鐘的會談，然後結束了與捷克共和國最高外交官雅庫布·庫爾哈內克的會晤。
外交部長亞伊爾·拉皮德於 2021 年 7 月 12 日在布魯塞爾會見北約秘書長延斯·斯托爾滕貝格。（北約）
Stressing new coalition’s liberal values, Lapid looks to revive ties with EU
Marking shift from Netanyahu cultivating Visegrad bloc while seemingly snubbing ‘old Europe,’ foreign minister backs two-state solution and seeks to get back in sync with Brussels
By LAZAR BERMAN Today, 7:59 pm
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with 26 EU foreign ministers in Brussels, July 12, 2021. (European Union)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid backed a two-state solution with the Palestinians and noted Europe’s and Israel’s shared democratic values in an address to top European Union diplomats Monday, seeking to open a new chapter with the bloc after over a decade of strained ties.
“Israel has shared interests with the EU — but more than that, we have shared values: human rights, LGBTQI+ community rights, a commitment to the basic elements of democracy: a free press, an independent judiciary, a strong civil society, freedom of religion,” Lapid told the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday. “We are committed to fighting together the climate crisis, international terrorism, racism, and extremism.”
The comments appeared designed to mark a break with Israel’s previous administration, which under then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had aligned itself with a Central-Eastern European bloc within the EU — an area dubbed “new Europe” by Donald Rumsfeld — led by countries ruled by strongmen and right-wing populists and which opposed some of Brussels more liberal policies.
Netanyahu for years cultivated the so-called Visegrad Group as a pro-Israel bulwark against attempts to push what Jerusalem views as an anti-Israel line in Brussels and western Europe. At the same time, ties with the rest of the EU suffered.
“People in ‘old Europe’ were annoyed at Netanyahu’s policy of relying on the Visegrad Group to block decisions from the Council of Europe on Israel,” explained Emmanuel Navon of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security. “The fact of the matter is he was really quite successful at using the divide-and-rule tactic that really blocked decisions that were meant to condemn, for example, the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem and the Trump plan.”
The Visegrad Group is made up of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
Hungary, which has carved out a nationalist foreign policy that rejects what it sees as pan-European post-nationalism, showed repeatedly during the Netanyahu administration that it was more than willing to go out on a limb for Israel. It was the sole European Union country to veto a statement from EU foreign ministers during the May conflict between Israel and Hamas that called for an immediate ceasefire among “unacceptable” civilian casualties.
Then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) hold a Rubik’s Cube at the Hungary-Israel Business Forum in Budapest, Hungary, on July 19, 2017. (Haim Zach/GPO/Flash90)
Western European nations are especially concerned about the rise of robust nationalism in Europe, explained Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, director of the program on Israel – Europe relations at Mitvim. Netanyahu pressed on that especially sensitive spot with his approach to Europe.
“It’s like sticking a finger in the eye of the EU,” said Sion-Tzidkiyahu.
A fresh start
As foreign minister and prime minister in waiting, Lapid has sought to reset ties with major European countries and the EU itself, Israel’s largest trading partner and an important strategic ally.
He opened his remarks in English on Monday by asking for “a new start.”
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell earlier expressed his own desire to set ties on a new path, calling Lapid’s visit “an opportunity for a fresh start, for restarting the relationship with Israel from the point of view of our bilateral relations, but also about the situation in the Middle East.”
Borrell called the relations “quite deteriorated.”
In his speech, Lapid also addressed Israel’s security concerns, acknowledging that he is open to dialogue and critique of Israeli policies. Still, he demanded that his interlocutors be aware that “this dialogue will take into account that my home is under attack,” echoing language of the previous administration.
Unlike Netanyahu and foreign ministers who served under him, Lapid gave full-throated backing to Palestinian statehood, though he admitted that efforts toward that end were not advancing and that Israel would only agree to make peace with a democratic Palestinian state that truly seeks an end to the conflict.
“It is no secret that I support a two-state solution” he said. “Unfortunately, there is no current plan for this.”
“However, there is one thing we all need to remember. If there is eventually a Palestinian state, it must be a peace-loving democracy. We cannot be asked to take part in the building of another threat to our lives,” he said.
Lapid called for steps to improve the lives of the Palestinians, and said that he was for any steps that advance the Palestinian economy.
Turning to Gaza, Lapid said that Hamas uses Gaza’s residents as a “human shield” while holding them hostage.
“This does not relieve us of our responsibility to always try to minimize casualties amongst innocent civilians,” he said. “Children shouldn’t die in adults’ wars.”
He stressed the Iran threat, calling it the world’s number one exporter of terrorism and a country that has never given up its goal of acquiring nuclear weapons.
Lapid also laid out the threat that Iranian proxy groups like Hezbollah pose to Israel.
In addition to creating momentum on bilateral agreements, Lapid also sought to explain to EU ministers what the new Israeli government, which he put together, represents.
He said that the new government, led by former settler leader Naftali Bennett and joined by groups on the far left, erases the traditional right-left framework in Israel.
“The key message is that different people, with different opinions, can have a dialogue and work together without resorting to a zero-sum game. It is new, but it is also a return to the core roots of liberal democracies: making decisions that one can disagree with, without hating those with whom we disagree.”
Oded Eran, past ambassador to the EU and senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv noted that the diverse cast of characters may help Israel patch up ties.
Former Israeli ambassador to Jordan Oded Eran. (INSS)
“Israel has formed not only a new government, but a new political coalition,” he said. “It may be an opening to improved relations between Israel and the EU,” he explained.
The glass ceiling
Lapid took over the Foreign Ministry from Gabi Ashkenazi, a former general who had been allied with Yesh Atid politically, until Blue and White joined Netanyahu’s government and he went along with it.
Ashkenazi put significant effort into improving ties with Europe, and was well-received there during his 13-month tenure. But it was not enough to overcome frustration with Netanyahu.
“He had a glass ceiling,” explained Sion-Tzidkiyahu, “and that glass ceiling was Netanyahu.”
Then-foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis cut the ribbon at the opening of the Czech Republic’s diplomatic office in Jerusalem, Mach 11, 2021. (Lazar Berman)
“They were not willing to give Ashkenazi — in spite of his positive approach, and the good relations they had with him — they were not willing to give him an Association Council meeting.”
Israel signed an Association Agreement that defined its relationship with the EU in 1995 and ratified it in 2000, which stipulates that the two sides meet once a year in an Association Council to discuss matters of mutual concern. The last time the sides met was in 2012, when Avigdor Liberman was foreign minister.
Israel canceled the Council in 2013, when the EU angered Israel by issuing new regulations according to which no Israeli body that operates or has links beyond the Green Line can receive EU funding or have any cooperation with the EU.
Jerusalem replied by vowing not to sign any further agreements with the European Union until the EU “clarifies” its new regulations. In the wake of the heated arguments over the so-called guidelines, no Association Council was held that year.
EU-Israel relations took another hit in November 2015, when the union instructed its member states to label certain Israeli goods made outside the pre-1967 lines. Israeli officials fumed and, amid accusations of anti-Semitism, vowed to curtail bilateral ties.
In subsequent years, it was the European side that prevented the meetings from taking place. It was not the EU as an institution holding up Councils over the years, said Navon, but instead individual states, especially France.
French President Emmanuel Macron (C) meets with Blue and White MK Benny Gantz (R) and Yesh Atid MK Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, on January 22, 2019. (Elad Malka)
The Association Council is not a prize that Israel must show it deserves, emphasized Sion-Tzidkiyahu, but is a long-standing legal agreement to meet every year.
“If the EU holds association councils with all sorts of undemocratic states that have conflicts, that occupy land, there’s no reason that the Association Council with Israel shouldn’t take place,” she stressed.
Bogged-down bilateral agreements
The sides can agree on other ways to advance the bilateral relationship. In 2005, the two parties agreed upon a so-called Action Plan, an important bilateral agreement that sought to “gradually integrate Israel into European policies and programs.”
In 2008, the EU and Israel agreed to upgrade the Action Plan, but due to the break out of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in Gaza a few months later — and ongoing arguments over settlement buildings — Brussels froze these negotiations.
An infantry soldier on the Israel-Gaza border at the height of Operation Cast Lead, January 6, 2009. (Nati Shohat/ Flash90)
The 2005 action plan, though badly outdated, is in effect for the remainder of the year.
There are signs that France is softening its policy toward Israel.
In France, the president sets the course of foreign policy, but the foreign ministry, often referred to as the Quai d’Orsay, is also an influential player. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has been especially critical of Israel during his tenure.
The French Foreign Ministry has been behind the effort to block Israel from joining Horizon Europe, the European research and innovation framework from 2021-2027, said Navon.
French President Emmanuel Macron has a warm personal relationship with Lapid, which could result in a new approach.
Culture Minister Chili Tropper met with his French counterpart Roselyne Bachelot in Cannes last week to discuss Israel joining the Creative Europe program. Israel’s ascension to Creative Europe would allow it to access millions of Euros for art and cultural initiatives.
Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper, at the Khan Theatre in Jerusalem on February 23, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israel and the EU can also make progress toward signing a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement with the EU, which would give Israel access to the European market in specific sectors, and would create a comfortable regulatory environment for European investors in Israel. Currently Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are DCFTA states, and the EU is negotiating with Tunisia and Morocco.
Israel’s trade relationship with the EU still relies on the formulation in the decades-old Association Agreement.
The two sides can also work toward signing Partnership Priorities agreement, which will set the priorities in the ties for the next 3 to 5 years.
There is no illusion in Europe that a full-fledged peace process is possible, Eran explained. “They understand that the political leadership among the Palestinians is not in the position to take decisions concerning the solution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.”
“Europeans understand the limits of this government,” said Sion-Tzidkiyhau, “that it is not stable. There’s a limit to how much they can press. They don’t want it to fall apart, then Bibi can come back.”
They will push for confidence-building measures, however.
Workers remove the rubble of a building destroyed by an airstrike in Gaza City, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
“The EU will be ready to look at a new paradigm, and is not abandoning the strategic goal of a two-state solution,” Eran explained.
Lapid should demand changes in the EU approach in his private talks, said Navon, in exchange for progress on European priorities.
“I do think he should use this opportunity to send a very clear message to ‘old Europe,’ especially to France, on voting at the UN,” he said. “France for the past few years has been systematically voting against Israel at all international organizations, whether it’s the Human Rights Council or the Security Council, UNESCO, you name it.”
France is still planning to attend the Durban IV conference in South Africa, which European countries like the UK, the Netherlands, Austria, and Hungary are avoiding over concerns that it will be marked by antisemitism.
Even if no agreements are signed in the near future, the very fact of Lapid’s visit forces ministries across Israel’s government to deeply consider the relationship with the EU and what priorities should be. The EU is also made to examine its ties with Israel.
Illustrative: Members of the United Nations Security Council, with visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, convene a meeting on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, February 26, 2020, at UN headquarters. (AP Photo/ Bebeto Matthews)
“The relations between us and the EU is a win-win,” emphasized Sion-Tzidkiyahu.
NATO, Egypt, and more
Lapid also met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday, before a series of bilateral talks with several of his European counterparts.
Lapid expressed his desire to deepen ties with NATO, and his readiness to support the alliance in intelligence, cyber, counter-terrorism, climate change, maritime security, missile defense, and civilian emergency management.
He also invited Stoltenberg to visit Israel.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance of the US, Canada, and 28 European nations that was founded in 1949.
After the hour-long talk with Stoltenberg, Lapid spent 15 minutes each with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le-Drian, Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag, before finishing his meetings with the Czech Republic’s top diplomat, Jakub Kulhanek.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, July 12, 2021. (NATO)
On Sunday evening, Lapid met with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, on the sidelines of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
During the hour-long talk, the two diplomats discussed Israel-Palestinian relations, with Shoukry stressing the need to launch peace negotiations and break the impasse between the sides.
The new Israeli foreign minister also gave an interview to an official Egyptian media outlet. An interview by a senior Israeli official in an outlet affiliated with the regime has not occurred in recent years, and indicates an openness by Cairo to having official Israeli positions presented directly to the Egyptian public.