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LBF Mission to Israel

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Friday, April 27, 2007 - 11:00 - Friday, May 4, 2007 - 11:00

The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies


Ambassador James BISSETT, Chairman of The Lord Byron Foundation
Julia GORIN, author and columnist
James George JATRAS, Director of the American Council for Kosovo
Dr. Srdja TRIFKOVIC, Executive Director of The Lord Byron Foundation

The visit had four main objectives:
·         To acquaint Israeli politicians, journalists, academics and policy analysts with the Kosovo crisis and warn of the consequences of its proposed independence.
·         To point out that it is in Israel’s interest to avert a needless and damaging concession to the forces of global jihad that threaten the Jewish state immediately, and the rest of the West in the medium term.
·         To discuss the effect of the separation of Kosovo from Serbia on the principle of territorial integrity of states with significant ethnic and religious minorities, such as Israel.
·         To stress that the imposition of a “solution” by the international community without the consent of the parties in the dispute would set a dangerous precedent for the future of Israel.


Saturday, April 28: Dinner with Shmuel Evyatar, former advisor to Ehud Olmert

Sunday, April 29: 15:00-16:30 Meeting with Zvi Rav-Ner, Director, Central European Dept, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

19:00 Dinner with Professor Efraim Inbar, Director, BESA (Begin-Sadat) Center, Bar Ilian University

Monday April 30: 09:00-14:00: Round table “The Future of Kosovo” at The Harry Truman Institute, The Hebrew University-Jerusalem. Hosted by Professor Raphael Israeli, followed by lunch at The University Club

14:00-15:00 Meeting with Member of Knesset Yuli Edelstein (Likud), followed by a visit to St. Gerasimos Monastery nr. Jericho

19:00 Dinner with Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center – Israel

Tuesday May 1: 10:00-11:30 Audience with His Beatitude Theophilos III, Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem

12:00-14:30 Visit to Yad Vashem Memorial Center

15:00-16:00 Meeting with Dr. David Kimche, President of the Israel Council of Foreign Relations and former Director-General of the Foreign Ministry of Israel, and Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, Director of Research of the World Jewish Congress

19:00 Dinner with Professor Martin van Creveld of The Hebrew University in Jerusalem

Wednesday May 2: Tour of Israel and the West Bank, followed at 15:00 by a meeting with MK Nadia Hilou (Labor-Jaffa), the first Christian woman member of the Knesset

18:00-19:30 Meeting at BESA (Begin-Sadat Center), Bar Ilan University, with Islamic affairs specialist Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Col. Dr. Shaul Shay (author of “Islamic Terror and the Balkans”) and Danny Grossman of the American Jewish Congress.

21:00 Meeting with Caroline Glick, columnist, Deputy Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post

Thursday May 3: 14:00-17:00 Round table “Kosovo: The Implications for Israel”; Rothberg International School, Hebrew University at Mt. Scopus. Organized and hosted by Professor Mordechai Nisan. Attended by Dr. Yohanan Ramati, Director of The Jerusalem Institute for Western Defence; Dr. Joel Fishman and Dr. Justus Weiner of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

All persons with whom we spoke displayed a high degree of understanding of the undesirability of Kosovo’s independence, particularly if imposed on Serbia without its consent. The dangerous precedent detaching Kosovo from Serbia would have for Israel was clear to everyone, not only with respect to the West Bank, but also to the Galilee. Some interlocutors were dismayed that prominent among the American proponents of Kosovo's independence were well-known supporters of Israel. They were particularly concerned that pro-independence American policymakers have stated that a major part of their motivation was to cultivate goodwill in the Islamic world and to appease Muslim threats of violence. From their own experience they knew that such approach is not only futile but counterproductive. Our mission has contributed to the growing realization in Israel that the stakes may be high for the Jewish state, too, if the U.S. and Europe move forward with a plan for Kosovo that would affirm the principle of imposed solutions without the consent of the parties thus affected; violate the long-standing principle of territorial integrity enshrined in the United Nations Charter and reaffirmed in the Helsinki Final Act; and stimulate the jihadists’ demand for further concessions elsewhere along the fault line between Islam and the rest.