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Sunday, January 20, 2013
Excerpts: Naftali Bennett. 10,000 more Syrians escape to Jordan in 1 week January 20, 2013

Excerpts: Naftali Bennett. 10,000 more Syrians escape to Jordan in 1 week
January 20, 2013

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 20 Jan.’13:”Israeli settlers throw weight behind
rising star [Naftali Bennett], Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Naftali Bennett

QUOTE:”[Bennett] won over a significant chunk of voters among the Jewish
settler population, which numbers more than 550,000”

FULL TEXT:KIRYAT ARBA, Palestinian Territories — Israel’s settlers, once
firm supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, have a
new political star: Naftali Bennett, head of the hardline nationalist Jewish
Home.

His determined stance against the creation of a Palestinian state and
outspoken support for the settlement enterprise have won over a significant
chunk of voters among the Jewish settler population, which numbers more than
550,000.

“Bennett has a better platform than Netanyahu’s,” said Roni Akrich, a
teacher of Jewish thought who lives in Kiryat Arba, one of the West Bank’s
more hardline settlements which is located next to the Palestinian city of
Hebron.

“It’s important that Netanyahu has to his right real representatives of our
ideas,” added Akrich, a one-time Likud voter.

“Likud believes in our ideals but it is very flexible,” he said.

Polls show Bennett’s Jewish Home party could win around 15 seats in the
120-seat Knesset, making it the third biggest party in parliament.

The settler vote accounts only for about 4 per cent of the Israeli
electorate, but the bloc generally turns out en masse to cast their ballots,
giving them outsized sway.

Bennett is so sure of winning the community’s support that he has barely
campaigned in the settlements.

“Those for whom the integrity of the land of Israel is important will vote
for our party,” he told AFP.

Bennett cannot, however, count on uniform support from the settler bloc, and
he has seen the settler leadership, including his former employers at the
Yesha Council which represents settlers throughout the West Bank, stand
against him.

Last week, council president Danny Dayan announced he was stepping down to
campaign actively for Likud, which is running on a joint list with Yisrael
Beiteinu, led by former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, himself a
settler.

“The most important thing is to strengthen Likud and not divide the
right-wing vote among multiple parties,” said Dayan, who was Bennett’s boss
when he served as director of the Yesha Council.

“I admit that I’m disappointed by his reaction,” Bennett told AFP.

Other settler leaders have also sided with Likud, with 15 mayors and
regional council heads signing an appeal for residents to vote for
Netanyahu.

Bennett’s camp dismisses such tactics as an attempt to curry favour with
Netanyahu, who is virtually guaranteed to head the next government.

“It seems mostly like tactical support to ensure further construction
projects in the future,” a member of Bennett’s camp told AFP on condition of
anonymity.

A smaller portion of the settler bloc is also eschewing Bennett, because
they consider his views to be insufficiently pro-settlement.

“It’s an important part of my platform, but it’s not the only part,” Bennett
acknowledges.

“What we want is to take part in the building of a society that is more just
for all Israeli citizens, and not just those in Judaea and Samaria,” he told
AFP, using the Biblical name for the West Bank.

That admission concerns Israelis like Yehuda Shimon, a lawyer who lives in
Havat Gilad, an unauthorised settler outpost.

The Palestinians and the international community consider all Israeli
settlements to be illegal under international law, but the Israeli
government only frowns on those built without state permission, such as
Havat Gilad.

“I don’t trust him, he’s too much like Netanyahu, a man who has dismantled
outposts and frozen Jewish construction,” Shimon told AFP.

“He’s prepared to give the Arabs autonomy, which is against the [biblical]
Torah,” he adds, referring to Bennett’s plan to annex 60 per cent of the
West Bank to Israel and give some measure of self-rule to Palestinians in
the remaining parts.

For Shimon and most of the others in Havat Gilad, the only party worth
voting for is the ultra-right Otzma LeYisrael faction, which pledges “no
compromise” with the Palestinians and is regarded as extremist and racist by
many Israelis

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 20 Jan.’13:”Syrian inflow to Jordan reaches record
levels”, by Taylor Luck
SUBJECT:10,000 more Syrians escape to Jordan in 1 week
QUOTE:”(Jordan’s) open-border policy has led to the influx of over 300,000
refugees “

EXCERPTS:AMMAN — Syrians continued to pour into Jordan in record numbers
over the weekend, with relief officials reporting the entry of over 3,500
refugees in less than 36 hours and the government seeing no end in sign to
the mass exodus.

According to the UN, some 1,300 Syrians crossed into Jordan early
Saturday[19 Jan], raising the total number of new arrivals over the past
seven days to over 10,000.

. . . Rebels claim that the renewed aerial assault has sparked a “mass
migration” of Syrians towards Jordan, with some 20,000 displaced Syrians
amassing along the border.

“Thousands of people are coming from Idlib, from Homs, from Damascus,” said
Abu Hani Al Darawi, a Free Syrian Army coordinator stationed in the border
region.

“Syria is no longer safe for anyone.”

. . .

During a gathering of Arab foreign ministers in Riyadh,F.M. Judeh said Amman
was preparing for a record influx of Syrian refugees, noting that Jordan has
spent “hundreds of millions of dollars” hosting the refugee community, the
Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Jordanian officials have recently stressed that they will move to close the
country’s borders with Syria only as a “last resort”, stressing their desire
to maintain an open-border policy that has led to the influx of over 300,000
refugees since March 2011, more than half of a total of 600,000 displaced in
Syria’s neighbours

==========
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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