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Wiesenthal Center urges Germany to stop funding Palestinian sports

The Simon Wiesenthal Center anti-Semitism watchdog called on the German government to end its funding of Palestinian sports agencies over their practice of naming teams and tournaments after Palestinian terrorists, saying that Germany should not support the “blatant sanctification of Jew-killers.”

A statement Tuesday from the organization’s director for international relations Shimon Samuels came in response to an agreement signed last week between the head of Germany’s representative office in Ramallah, Peter Beerwerth, and Palestinian Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub. Under the agreement, Germany agreed to pay “all expenses and fees” for a German soccer expert to help the association improve the quality of Palestinian soccer, according to the Palestinian Media Watch monitoring group.

Rajoub has previously said that he “won’t allow and won’t agree to any joint game between Arabs and Israel,” and has called on soccer’s main governing body, FIFA, to suspend Israel’s membership.

In its statement, the Simon Wiesenthal Center provided a list of teams and tournaments sponsored by the Palestinian Football Association named after Palestinians who killed Jews and Israelis, such as a team named after Salah Khalaf, who helped plan the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics in which 11 Israeli athletes were taken hostage and murdered by the Palestinian terrorist organization Black September.

Samuels said that by funding an organization that glorifies terrorists such as Khalaf, Germany was associating itself “with the blatant sanctification of Jew-killers” and “thereby evoking the shadows of the 1936 Nazi Olympics and the 1972 Munich Olympics atrocity.”

Palestinian Football Association (PFA) head Jibril Rajoub holds a press conference on October 12, 2016 in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Palestinian Football Association (PFA) head Jibril Rajoub holds a press conference on October 12, 2016 in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Samuels called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel “to suspend this unthinkable agreement until the Palestinian Authority removes all names of terrorists from all sectors of Palestinian sport and their acts of terror be publicly condemned by Ramallah.”

He added that “if Berlin wishes to reignite the spirit of peace, it should perhaps invite Israeli and Palestinian football teams for a ‘friendly’ match, despite Sports Minister Rajoub’s definition of sports encounters of young Palestinians with their Israeli peers as a ‘crime against humanity.’”

Other examples of Palestinian sports teams and tournaments named after terrorists, according to PMW, include a soccer tournament named after Khalid al-Wazir, also known as Abu Jihad, who masterminded a number of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis for the Palestinian Liberation Organization prior to being killed in Tunisia 1988 by Israeli commandos; and a soccer team named after “the engineer” Yahya Ayyash, who was Hamas’s chief bomb-maker and was responsible for the deaths of dozens of Israelis before Israel assassinated him in 1996 with an explosives-rigged phone.

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Top EU lawmaker urges vigilance amid rise in anti-Semitism

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The new president of the European Parliament on Wednesday urged calm over threats of resurgent anti-Semitism on the continent, calling on local Jewish communities to remain vigilant, but not fearful.

Speaking at an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event at its Brussels headquarters, Antonio Tajani, who replaced Martin Schulz as the European Parliament president last week, said “no Jew should be forced to leave Europe.”

However, other speakers at the event countered that Jewish fears were indeed justified, with former British prime minister Tony Blair warning that “any sense of security is false.”

Tajani, a veteran Italian politician, told attendees that “Europe has always been able to draw lessons” from its sordid past. “But unfortunately, anti-Semitism is not an issue of the past,” he added.

Singling out deadly terror attacks against Jews in Toulouse, Paris and Brussels, the EU parliament head condemned the violence “against Jewish people — only because they wear a kippah.”

“It is important to remain vigilant, but not to be afraid,” he said.

Armed French soldiers secure the access to the 'La Source' Jewish school in Marseille, southern France, on January 12, 2016. (AFP/BORIS HORVAT)

But as Tajani called for Jews to remain in Europe, the head of the European Jewish Congress said the future of European Jewry was increasingly in doubt.

Since the Holocaust, “two generations of Jews grew up believing they had a home in Europe, like anyone else. But that is now changing,” said Moshe Kantor.

“We European Jews want to remain in Europe and be loyal to it, as we have always been. Even after [the] Holocaust, we didn’t give up on Europe. But today, our young generations have doubts about their future on the continent,” he said.

Illustrative. Police guard a synagogue during a visit by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, in Marseille, southern France, Thursday, January 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

“We count on Europe to continue to show its loyalty to us. Loyalty to the idea that Jews have a future here in Europe,” he said. But not “behind high walls, bulletproof glass” or the other safety measures European Jewish communities have been forced to adopt, he added.

“We cannot and should not live this way,” he said.

He also claimed that “every global tragedy begins with attacks on Jews.”

‘Any sense of security is false’

Blair said he was “ashamed” by a string of anti-Semitic attacks in London over the weekend, while warning that “any sense of security” among Jews in the face of rising anti-Jewish hatred was “false.”

“These acts of anti-Semitism are here and now, even in Britain in the last few days,” said the kippah-clad Blair — who serves as the chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation.

“I’m ashamed to say there have been such acts perpetrated against the Jewish community,” he said.

The former prime minister was referring at least three incidents in north London on Friday and Saturday — including a swastika-daubed brick hurled into a Jewish home, a family pelted with eggs, and swastika graffiti next to the words “Heil Hitler” and “F*** Jews” painted on a residential building.

A truck with the words 'fuck off' and another with swastika graffiti on it were found outside a Jewish school in a Hasidic neighborhood in London, November 14, 2016. (Shomrim N.E. London/Twitter)

‘Every global tragedy begins with attacks on the Jews’

Kantor, who according to The Independent was set to meet Pope Francis on Friday and warn about the threat of anti-Semitism in the face of rising populism in Europe, characterized the threat against the Jews in Europe as “unique.”

“Unlike any other minority, we are not just a target of the far-right but also of the far-left, as well as Islamists. Few would believe, but we have seen cooperation and coordination between these… groups on one issue only: Jews,” he said.

“This is the new anti-Semitism, without limits, without borders, with multiple identities and political homes,” he said.

Friends and relatives seen mourning during the funeral ceremony of the four Jewish victims of the HyperCacher store terror attack in Paris, that was held at Har HaMenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem, on January 13, 2015. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Kantor was also appealing to the European Union to formally adopt a legal definition of anti-Semitism, specifically proposing that of the Berlin-based International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. In a statement, Kantor called it “absurd” the 28-nation bloc has no such definition on the books.

Responding to Russia sanctions, Trump urges nation to ‘move on’

US President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday responded to a slew of US election related sanctions against Russia with a call for the country to “move on” and a conciliatory pledge to meet US spy chiefs he has harshly criticized.

“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” Trump said, echoing previous prickly reactions to allegations his November win over Hillary Clinton was somehow tainted by Russian interference.

“Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation,” he added.

President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered a series of diplomatic and economic sanctions against Russia over the hacking which US officials say was aimed at disrupting the November election.

The move put Trump — who has expressed open admiration for Russia and Putin, and who has dismissed the hacking allegations — in the position of having to decide whether to roll back the measures once in office.

Trump has long treated such accusations as a thinly veiled effort by a Democratic president to delegitimize a Republican victory.

A dog is walked past the main gate into the Russian Embassy December 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

But that defiant stance is running up against increasing opposition in his own party.

While Trump has already received intelligence briefings about the election and substantial evidence is in the public sphere, his pledge to meet with intelligence chiefs could provide a face-saving opportunity to further soften his stance.

Russian officials had earlier indicated they would wait to see how Trump responded to the sanctions before deciding how to retaliate against the US.

Konstantin Kosachev, the foreign affairs committee chairman of the Russian parliament’s upper chamber, told the Interfax news agency that Russia “needs to consider the circumstances of the transition period and a possible reaction of the US president-elect.”

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters on Thursday that the measures signal Obama’s “unpredictable” and “deal a blow on the foreign policy plans of the incoming administration of the president-elect.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, right, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 29, 2016. (AFP / Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev)

Peskov said Putin has yet to study what the new sanctions involve and work out what retaliatory steps could be.

Before Trump’s comment, the sanctions garnered some support from the Republican leadership, with House Speaker Paul Ryan calling the measures “overdue” and “appropriate.”

Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said the sanctions were “a small price” for Russia to pay for interfering with US elections. They said they’ll lead efforts in Congress to impose stronger sanctions.

McCain, of Arizona, and Graham, of South Carolina, called Russian cyberattacks on the 2016 election a “brazen attack on American democracy” and said retaliation measures announced by Obama were long overdue.

Netanyahu urges US to veto UNSC settlements resolution

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the United States to veto a UN Security Council resolution that demands an immediate halt to Israeli settlement building.

“The US should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council on Thursday,” Netanyahu wrote in a tweet posted early Thursday.

The Security Council is slated to vote on Thursday on the Egyptian-drafted resolution, which declares that all existing settlements “have no legal validity” and are “a flagrant violation” of international law, and demands that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

It stresses that “the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-state solution” as these activities are “dangerously imperiling” the viability of any future Palestinian state in the West Bank.

And it “calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground.”

A similar resolution was vetoed by the United States in 2011.

File: A United Nations Security Council emergency meeting on the situation in Syria, at UN headquarters in New York, September 25, 2016. (AFP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)

The measure also calls for “immediate steps” to prevent acts of violence against civilians, but does not specifically demand that the Palestinians stop incitement to terror, as demanded by Israel.

UN diplomats have for weeks speculated as to whether the administration of US President Barack Obama would decide to refrain from using its veto to block a draft resolution condemning Israel.

The Obama administration has expressed longstanding frustration over Israeli settlement policy, but some US officials have said in recent weeks that Obama is wary of implementing dramatic policy changes, such as a move against Israel at the UN, that would likely be opposed or reversed by the incoming Trump administration.

Egypt circulated the draft late Wednesday and a vote was scheduled for 3 p.m. (10 p.m. Israel time) on Thursday.

The United Nations, as well as the US and most of the international community, maintains that settlements are illegal. The UN has repeatedly called on Israel to halt them, but UN officials have claimed construction has surged in recent months.

Israel’s envoy to the world body, Danny Danon, lashed the resolution late Wednesday, calling it “the epitome of absurdity and UN hypocrisy.”

Israel's UN ambassador Danny Danon addresses the Security Council on October 19, 2016. (UN Photo)

“A resolution like this won’t advance any [peace] process, but will only serve as a prize by the UN for the Palestinian policy of incitement and terror.

“It’s strange that while thousands are massacred in Syria, the Security Council is devoting time to debating censuring the only democracy in the Middle East. In recent months, we’ve been working with Security Council member states and using all the means at our disposal to prevent the passage of this resolution.”

Referring to the US, Danon echoed Netanyahu: “We expect our greatest friend not to let such a one-sided and anti-Israel resolution pass.”

Iran urges Kenya to free 2 charged in plot to attack Israeli Embassy

Iran on Friday urged Kenya to release two of its citizens charged by a Nairobi court with planning a terrorist act after being arrested for filming the Israeli Embassy in the capital.

Kenyan State Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu said in court on Thursday that Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahimi and Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee were arrested Tuesday in an Iranian diplomatic car while taking the pictures of the Israeli mission using a mobile phone, including when they were intercepted.

He said the two were found with video footage of the embassy.

But according to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi, the two men are “official lawyers of the justice ministry… who traveled to Nairobi on behalf of the families of two Iranian prisoners in Kenya for a legal follow-up.”

The men, along with a Kenyan driver also charged on Thursday, had been to Kamiti prison outside Nairobi to visit two other Iranians, Ahmad Mohammed and Sayed Mousavi, serving a 15-year term for possessing explosives after being convicted in 2013.

Ghasemi said the arrest of the two lawyers had been the result of a “misunderstanding,” and called for their immediate release.

Kenya’s ambassador to Tehran was called to the Foreign Ministry on Thursday and told of the “hostile intervention of a third party in a finished case, undoubtedly with the intention of damaging good Iran-Kenya relations,” Ghasemi said, without specifically referring to Israel.

Iran and Israel have been arch-foes since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem had no comment on the incident.

The Kenyan driver, Moses Keyah Mmboga, who was chauffeuring the vehicle belonging to the Iranian embassy has been charged along with the suspects and also faces a separate charge of “abetting terrorism,” Ondimu said.

In June 2013 a Kenyan court convicted Ahmad Mohammed and Sayed Mousavi of being Revolutionary Guards agents plotting attacks against Western targets in Kenya and sentenced them to life in prison. That sentence was reduced on appeal in February to 15 years imprisonment.

Mohammad and Mousavi were arrested in June 2012 and led officials to a 15-kilogram (33-pound) stash of the explosive RDX. At least 85 kilograms (187 pounds) of the explosives that authorities say was shipped into Kenya has not yet been found.

Kenyan anti-terror officials said the two Iranians are members of the Quds Force, an elite and secretive unit in the Revolutionary Guards.

Kenya has previously been the site of terrorist attacks against Israeli targets. In 2002, terrorists bombed a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city, after a large group of Israeli tourists had arrived. 13 people were killed in the attack, including 3 Israelis.

At the same time as the bombing, terrorists fired surface-to-air missiles at a plane belonging to Israel’s Arkia Airlines while it was taking off at Mombasa’s airport, but missed the plane.

The attacks were credited to al-Qaeda’s east Africa affiliate.

Israeli envoy urges Swedes to protest screening of anti-Israel film by state TV (NOT GOOD!!!)

Israel’s ambassador to Stockholm called on the Swedish public to join him in protesting to the country’s state-owned educational television station over its airing of a one-sided anti-Israel documentary. He also demanded that a pro-Israel documentary now be screened to correct the imbalance.

Earlier this month, Utbildningsradion, the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company, aired “The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States,” which features some of the world’s most prominent critics of the Jewish state.

Narrated by former Pink Floyd singer and vocal anti-Israel activist Roger Waters, the film contains interviews with Amira Hass, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Max Blumenthal, Stephen Walt, Rashid Khalidi, Yousef Munayyer and other “leading observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” according to its website.

The hour-long documentary presents footage from interviews top Israeli officials gave to US media outlets during the 2014 Gaza war, interspersed with comments by “experts” analyzing Jerusalem’s ostensible success in manipulating American public opinion in Israel’s favor. “What gets pushed out of the frame entirely [in American coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] is the fact that for almost 50 years Palestinians have been systematically dispossessed from their land and denied their most basic human rights,” one interviewee argues. Another charges that Israelis “have been allowed to defend the indefensible to the American public through mis-education and misinformation campaigns, through effective talking points.”

After the film was aired on Utbildningsradion — it will remain available on its website until March 2018 — Israel’s envoy in Stockholm, Isaac Bachman, wrote an angry letter to the station’s director, Christel Willers, and to Hanna Stjärne, the head of Sweden’s public service television company SVT.

“Very problematically, a number of the participating pundits and experts clearly fall outside the spectrum of accepted and respectable opinion,” Bachman wrote. He further lamented the film’s claim that the last Jewish presence in the land of Israel dates 3,000 years back. The claim “is patently false and absurd,” he said, assailing as well the assertion that Palestinians have no rights.

“The documentary suggests an altogether comfortable dominance — achieved by devious means — for the pro-Israel narrative in the United States. Nothing could be further from reality,” the Israeli envoy fumed in his November 11 letter.

On the contrary, it is virtually impossible to speak out on Israel’s behalf on American and British campuses “in the face of incredible threats, violence and intimidation,” Bachman continued.

The Swedish broadcaster had shown the film only after a disclaimer acknowledging its one-sided slant, he wrote, but if there were enough reservations about the work’s fairness, “one could ask why such a partial and unbalanced piece was in the end aired at all.”

For the sake of balance, the channel should now present “an opposite, pro-Israeli perspective,” Bachman demanded.

On Friday, about two weeks after he sent the letter, Bachman angrily took to Facebook to complain about the “extremely short letter” he received by a lawyer representing SVT, who told him that he may address “any possible misgivings to the channel’s complaints board.” Clearly, the diplomat wrote on his profile, the TV executives are not interested in engaging him on this matter.

“This is hardly the way to treat the official letter of a foreign representative – and even more, the very serious concerns raised in the letter,” he posted.

Ambassador Isaac Bachman (courtesy Israeli embassy Stockholm)

Writing in English, Bachman went on to state that it is “more fitting for Swedish license payers” to complain about the station’s screening of the controversial documentary.

“However, long experience tells us that these formal complaints are of little avail,” he wrote. “Given the repeated maltreatment of Israel by Swedish State Media, unfortunately I see no other way but to urge the Swedish public and taxpayers — who are the ones financing the activities of SVT and Utbildningsradion — to choose a different avenue to express their very legitimate concerns.”

This was especially urgent since “The Occupation of the American Mind” — a film he called “terrible, inciting” — will remain available at the channel’s website for over a year.

He called on his followers to complaint directly to the head of SVT and Utbildningsradion and added their respective email addresses. “We should all protest this disgrace!” he concluded in the post.

Palestinian cleric urges Muslims to rise up, nuke Israel (VERY VERY GOOD!!!!)

A Palestinian cleric urged the “nation of Islam” to bring down Muslim rulers and use Pakistani nuclear weapons to “eliminate the state of the Jews in one or two strikes.”

In a video posted online last week, whose translation was provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Sheikh Abd Al-Salam Abu Al-Izz warns Muslims not to expect US President-elect Donald Trump to bring about hoped-for nuclear wars. It wasn’t stated in which mosque Al-‘Izz was preaching.

“The Muslims’ reaction to Trump’s victory was: ‘Hopefully, he will destroy (the US) and sit on its ruins. May he engage in nuclear wars, from which (the Muslims) will emerge intact.’ This is not how things go,” he warned.

“What is supposed to happen is that the nation of Islam will rise, and take its matters into its own hands. It should assume control and command over its armies. It should get rid of the governments, kings, sultans, sheikhs, and emirs. It should toss them into the garbage bin of history. It does not matter whether we hang them on the gallows or not. What matters is that we should kick them out and move forward.”

He urged: “We should take the armies and the weapons from them. We should take the Pakistani nuclear weapons from those criminals, and use them in the service of Islam. We should take these armies, and eliminate the state of the Jews in one or two strikes, and then bring Islam everywhere in the world.”

Netanyahu to urge Trump to ‘tighten noose’ on Iran, not scrap nuke deal (NOT GOOD!!!)

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to push President-elect Donald Trump into tougher Iran sanctions, officials told Bloomberg.

A senior Israeli official reportedly said that Netanyahu had already talked with national security advisors and plans are in the works.

Former national security adviser to Netanyahu, retired Major General Yaakov Amidror stated that, “The urgent task is to stop Iran from becoming a superpower in the region, something that has been occurring for some time now.”

“The prime minister will argue, first and foremost, that the US should work to diminish the partnership between Russia and Iran in the region,” Amidror added.

As far as the Iran deal itself goes, Netanyahu isn’t looking to end the Iran deal, he instead is looking for Trump to have a firm stance against Iran, according to an official.

The official elaborated, stating that stronger sanctions may be needed along with a stronger retaliations working to stop ballistic missile development in Iran.

Working to stop Iran’s proxies that are close to Israel, such as in the Gaza Strip as well as in Lebanon and Syria was also listed as a goal.

Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, explained that Trump attempting to trash the deal would not do much as other world powers would need to be convinced to sanction Iran and cut of trade with the country.

Satloff explained that, “The argument will be to work hand in hand with Israel on tightening the noose around Iran rather than sever the deal and open up a Pandora’s box between America and global powers, freeing Iran from whatever constraints that currently exist.”

According to a Netanyahu spokesman, Trump and Netanyahu have not yet set a date to meet. He also stated that he was unable to speak about strategy talks pertaining to Iran.

Pro-Iran group to urge Germans to vote Israel is illegal (GOOD!!!)

The radical Islamic pro-Iran regime NGO “The Feather” announced that it will urge Germans to reject Israel’s existence on Saturday at an information stand in the the northern German city of Delmenhorst in the state of Lower Saxony.

The Feather, which shows a photograph of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on its website, announced the vote on its Facebook page.

The Weser-Kurier paper reported that The Feder member Hassan Mohsen said “the citizens have the possibility to drop a chip in a box for or against “ the creation of Israel. “It is our conviction that Israel should have never been founded,” said Mohsen. Pedro Benjamin Becerra, the chairman of the Jewish community Delmenhorst, told the paper that The Feder’s activity is “incitement to hate.“

The German-Israeli Friendship Society in Oldenburg plans to hold a counter-information stand across from The Feder’s booth in Delmenhorst—a city of nearly 75,000.

According to The Feder’s website, the organization was founded in 2007. The group wrote that they are “supporters of the Islamic Revolution.“

The governor of Lower Saxony Stephan Weil is an aggressive supporter of trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran. He traveled to Iran in April with a 30 member business delegation. The NWZ newspaper reported that Weil met with former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and both men engaged “in reciprocal praise of the good tradition of German-Iranian relations.”

Rafsanjani previously said: “Application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.”

The State of Lower Saxony has been embroiled in a series of antisemitic scandals targeting Israel, including leaders of a local teachers’ union in Oldenburg that advocate a full boycott of the Jewish state. The public school teacher Christoph Glanz has zealously pursued a BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign against Israel in Lower Saxony.

In response to the idea to eradicate the Jewish state and resettle Israelis in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, Glanz wrote “an absurd idea? I don’t think so.”

Glanz’s desire to abolish Israel mirrors the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has denied the Holocaust and called for Israel to be wiped off the map. Ahmadinejad said in 2005: “If European countries claim that they have killed Jews in World War II… why don’t they provide the Zionist regime with a piece of Europe.”

Ahmadinejad added, “Germany and Austria can provide… two or three provinces for this regime to establish itself, and the issue will be resolved.” The Lower Saxony school authorities are currently investigating Glanz for alleged Jew-hatred and misconduct.

Trump team urges Israeli right to tone down jubilation at win

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday said Donald Trump’s aides were urging right-wing Israeli politicians to curb their public jubilation at his election as US president, Israeli media reported.

Trump is seen as likely leading to a far more favorable policy toward Israel, though many analysts have cautioned his thinking remains unclear and he has proven himself to be unpredictable.

“Israel has received messages from Trump transition team to ‘tone down’ their post-election enthusiasm & act with more humility,” the English-language Jerusalem Post’s Herb Keinon wrote on Twitter after Liberman gave an off-camera briefing to Israeli diplomatic correspondents.

“I hope that we have enough sense to stop the jubilation and public enthusiasm,” Haaretz daily quoted Liberman, of the nationalist Yisrael Beytenu party, as saying. “It is undoubtedly damaging.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a ceremony at Defense Ministry headquarters in in Tel Aviv, November 3, 2016. (Flash90)

Local media said Liberman proposed Israel should strike a deal with the US president-elect under which it would freeze building in the more isolated of its West Bank settlements while ramping up construction in the major settlement blocs.

“If the new administration agrees to that we should grab it with both hands,” Israeli army radio quoted him as saying.

“It’s maybe not electorally popular but it’s the right thing to do.”

It was certainly not popular with deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, which leans heavily on settler support.

“The defense minister’s statement harms the Israeli interest and is not acceptable to the government,” she said in comments broadcast on public radio.

“It is important to form the teams for a discreet dialogue between ourselves and the United States and not to make public statements such as that we have heard from the minister.”

Netanyahu himself had on Sunday called for ministers to refrain from comment on Trump’s presidency after some said his presidential election win put an end to Palestinian aspirations for an independent state.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the nationalist Jewish Home party, said last week “the era of a Palestinian state is over”.

Israel is concerned that President Barack Obama may seek a UN resolution on its conflict with the Palestinians that the Jewish state opposes, before he leaves office on January 20.

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