Showing Results 1-20 of 287 for Netanyahu Obama
March 12, 2017
The state's two top leaders have returned from similar missions - Prime Minister Netanyahu went to Moscow and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Washington to determine how Israel can better 'coordinate' strategic policies with Russia and the U.S. There are several urgent reasons for doing so as a new strategic landscape is fast emerging in the region in the wake of the Iranian nuclear deal and the winding down of the Syrian Civil War; and in fact, there is a link between the two.
March 04, 2017
It was not Israel's finest hour. State Comptroller Yosef Shapira has lambasted both Israel's political and military echelons for their conduct before and during the 'Protective Edge' military campaign against Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014. Sixty-eight Israelis and five civilians were killed in the war that was triggered by the Hamas kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz barely received a passing mark. They were all found to be at fault for their failure to prepare to deal with the tunnels dug by Hamas under the border into Israel that cost many Israeli lives.
February 19, 2017
'One state, two states'! Whatever, it's up to you guys, the Israelis and Palestinians. Whatever they decided would be fine with US President Donald Trump - just make the deal already! Has the new US President just thrown out the window several decades of American support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Over at the UN, American Ambassador Nikki Haley was quick to correct any mistaken impression - the US still backed the two-state scheme. Apparently, the boss sometimes gets carried away with his own rhetoric. Go figure.
That is just what Bibi's friends and foes are now trying to do back in Jerusalem. Channel 10 got the jump on everyone by conducting a snap opinion poll in the wake of Trump's bomb-shell. Where do Israeli voters stand today? The results were startling:
- ISRAELIS FOR TWO-STATE SOLUTION: 43%
- ISRAELIS FOR ONE-STATE SOLUTION: 15%
- UNDECIDED: 30%
February 05, 2017
It was not long in coming – President Trump has signaled Prime Minister Netanyahu to back off on building new settlements or expanding any existing settlements 'beyond their current borders'. In fact, Israel's leader actually triggered the White House response. What did Bibi expect after he announced that Israel would build a brand-new settlement to compensate for the evacuation of the illegal settlement of Amona? For good measure Netanyahu also tacked on 5,500 new housing units to existing settlements on the West Bank! This was the official Trump statement:
- "While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal."
January 21, 2017
Israel's Right wing fervently hopes and believes US President Donald Trump will reverse America's former policy that opposed settlement building in the West Bank. From Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu on down, the Right wingers also trust the US will serve as a bulwark to anti-Israel moves at the UN and in other international forums. A first indicator will be if Trump keeps his campaign pledge to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the face of bitter Palestinian and Muslim threats. But his credibility is at stake. Could this mean he will, as reported, suffice with some half-measure like moving the Ambassador's official residence to Jerusalem, while the embassy would remain in Tel Aviv?
Trump's Inauguration address focused on his 'America First' theme and bringing back home American jobs. If so, this might trigger a global trade war. Or then again, will Trump's bark prove to be worse than his bite?
On Friday evening, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu rushed off his best wishes to Trump:
'Congratulations to my friend President Trump. I look forward to working closely with you to make the alliance between Israel and America stronger than ever. Shabbat Shalom'.
December 31, 2016
US President Barack Obama screwed Israel on the UN Security Council Resolution that blamed Israeli settlements solely for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Granted, Secretary John Kerry has tried to take out some of the sting, but the fact remains Professor Obama presented his damning thesis - 'if only the Israelis had halted the settlements we would have reached an historic peace accord and today the Palestinians and Israelis would be living happily ever after'. This is patently false and does not stand up to a fair and balanced examination of what has transpired since Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Agreement on the White House lawn in 1993.
December 24, 2016
Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu should have known better - but he didn't. He has now presided over Israel's greatest diplomatic debacle in years. Bibi knew U.S. President Barack Obama was gunning for him yet he persisted in concocting a ludicrous settlement law to placate forty families at the Amona settlement. This even after Israel's own Supreme Court had ruled it had been built on private Arab land, in violation of both Israeli and international law. Instead, Bibi gave in to the die-hard settlers who have now, in their infinite wisdom, agreed to evacuate peacefully.
So what did the PM do? He let himself be railroaded by cabinet ministers both in the Likud and the Jewish Home parties into approving a new law that would prevent the evacuation of other settlements that were also built on private Palestinian land. It is called the 'Regulation' law. The only hitch is that it opened the door for the UN Security Council to pass a resolution of its own - one that outlaws all Israeli housing built on the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Since the Six Day War in 1967, this territory was considered to be a subject for negotiation in eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Now the UN Security Council has weighed in saying in effect that all the West Bank belongs to the Palestinians for their future state. Bibi believed that US President Barack Obama, despite the bad blood between them, would again cast a US veto. But for Obama, soaking up the sun in Hawaii, it was too good to miss; he told Ambassador Samantha Power to simply abstain. The result was a landslide of 14-0 for the pro-Palestinian resolution. Bibi blew it big time and Palestinian President Mahmoud won by a knockout.
December 10, 2016
Common sense will apparently prevail. The government has agreed to comply with Israel's Supreme Court that some 200 men, women and children must be evacuated from forty homes built on private Arab land at the settlement of Amona in the West Bank. After an acrimonious tug of war, it has been touch and go, and it's not over yet. The pro-Amona camp led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the far Right Jewish Home party played to the settler gallery. He tried, by hook and by crook, to circumvent the Supreme Court by promoting a new law that would retroactively enable Israelis to build and remain on private Arab land. This was to include Amona. His idea was that this would legally allow the settlers to remain in Amona.
However, international law stipulates that it is illegal for an occupying power to confiscate private land for private purposes. In practice, successive Israeli governments have tried to comply with it by building settlements on public or absentee Palestinian real estate. But there have been mistakes. Bennett's cockeyed idea was that if the government passed a new law making this legal, and including Amona retroactively, this would all be legally kosher.
December 03, 2016
In the final days of US President Barack Obama's second term, it is time to sum up his foreign policy. Obama has done his damnedest to keep America out of foreign wars and he succeeded. The question is at what price? Syria will go down as his most deplorable and bloodiest failures. Historians will debate whether Obama's 'leading from behind' approach contributed to the ongoing bloodbath that has dragged on into its sixth year. Aleppo will be remembered as one of the worst international atrocities since World War II. Obama has simply abandoned this hapless city to barbaric Russian and Syrian air strikes, at times with chemical weapons.
November 19, 2016
Gone are the days when Time magazine crowned Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu 'King of Israel! Today Bibi has to share his top job with Education Minister Naftali Bennett who has just taught Netanyahu a painful lesson. It focused on a key Knesset vote to circumvent a Supreme Court ruling that ordered an Israeli evacuation of some forty Israeli homes that were built illegally on private Arab-owned land at the Jewish settlement of Amona on the West Bank. The pro-settlement camp went on the warpath, with Bennett leading the charge.
November 11, 2016
Israel is split - The Right is jubilant whereas the Center-Left worries that the election of President Trump will spur the Netanyahu government to build new settlements on the West Bank. There is no question that Netanyahu will be under immense pressure from the far Right to do so. In heralding the Trump victory, Cabinet Minister Naftali Bennett leader of the Far Right 'Jewish Home' party declared 'The two-state solution is finished! It is now in our hands to change the course of Israel - to take Israel out of the Oslo perception of a Palestinian state, which has only brought us conflict and bloodshed!'
In Jerusalem, the chairman of the local planning committee at City Hall has announced he will present plans to build 7,000 housing units in territory across the old 1967 line. The fire-brand called Meir Turgeman told Israel Radio that Prime Minister Netanyahu himself froze the plans for one reason or another due to pressure from the Obama administration. However Turgeman added now that Trump has been elected, Netanyahu will have no excuse to intervene. Though, the building plans must first be approved by the Israeli cabinet before the bulldozers start rolling.
Netanyahu who steered clear of expressing support for either Trump or Clinton issued a statement congratulating the President Elect and thanking Clinton for her support in the past. He is obviously delighted that Trump won. It's a safe bet that Bibi will want to cement ties with Trump as soon as possible. Therefore he will not want to arouse Trump's ire with hasty decisions. Bibi has also apparently instructed his Likud cabinet ministers not to go overboard by giving the impression that Trump is now in Israel's pocket. Netanyahu and his colleagues including Naftali Bennett would do well to remember that Trump has risen to power on his 'America First' platform and this will continue to be his prism for all his foreign policy decisions. If anything, policy-makers in Jerusalem must have realized Trump is impulsive and at times totally unpredictable.
November 06, 2016
For most Israelis Hillary Clinton is the safest bet - it's based on 'Better the devil you know than the devil you don't!' The roller-coaster polls have switched back to Hillary while the Israeli media have sent their star reporters to cover, some with baited breath, the latest ups and downs in the two rival camps. 'Israel Today', the freebie newspaper, that backs Bibi and is financed by American casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, is beating the drums for Trump. However, Netanyahu has remained neutral and has also ordered his cabinet ministers to do the same when it comes to supporting Clinton or Trump. This also applies to the rest of the political parties. After his feud with Democratic President Barack Obama, and his Adelson connection, it is probable that Bibi is pulling for Trump. But barring some unexpected bombshell, I'm sticking with the prediction of my twelve-year old grandson Ariel who is pretty good at Math. The other day, when the polls indicated that Trump was leading Clinton, Ariel asked me how Trump could possibly win?
October 16, 2016
Israelis are also scratching their heads over the shenanigans of Donald Trump and how he is still even running for President. It would appear that Trump has passed the point of no return and only some new catastrophic disclosure about Hillary Clinton would bar her from entering the Oval Office. The most intriguing question is why Russian President Putin favors Trump and has mounted a cyber-campaign against Clinton leaking damaging material to American voters. In return, Trump has praised Putin as a 'strong leader'. But on the face of it, would the tough talking Trump not pose a more formidable rival to Putin than Hillary? Would she not follow in the footsteps of Obama by pulling in America's horns and giving Russia a free hand on the world stage?
October 03, 2016
Why did world leaders and ninety delegations from seventy countries attend the funeral of Shimon Peres in Jerusalem? An amazing number for a tiny country that is more often than not the butt of unbridled criticism in the corridors of the UN. They did so, as stated by US President Barack Obama, because Peres achieved the international stature of a Nelson Mandella during his incredible career that never ended until his final stroke.
First Peres bolstered the capability of the fledgling Jewish state to survive the repeated attempts by its Arab enemies to annihilate it. His contribution to Israel's defense was possibly more, and certainly no less, than many of the state's vaunted military commanders. To this very day, Israelis stand strong against threats unparalleled by any other democratic country. Although survival had to come first in the reborn homeland of the Jews, it was to be followed by a ceaseless quest for peace with her Arab neighbors.
September 25, 2016
At this week's UN General Assembly session, Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, poured on the rhetoric but ignored the two key elements at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They both stuck to two straight lines in the war of words and we all know that straight lines almost never meet, except in outer space. And until the two leaders start talking in the same plane there will be no peace. Leading off the debate, Abbas actually refused to come to terms with the idea of a Jewish state while Bibi glossed over the Israeli occupation of the West Bank (Judea & Samaria).
September 19, 2016
This time it was over the record US military aid package to Israel. No less than $38 billion dollars will go to the Jewish state over a ten year period starting in 2018. Even if every penny will go back into the American economy for the purchase of American weapons, why did former Prime Minister Ehud Barak again smack Bibi in the kisser for bungling the matter? Recently Barak hauled Netanyahu over the coals for jeopardizing Israel's national security but he refused to elaborate and left the country guessing. Now after the disclosure of the details, Barak has weighed in. Writing first in the Washington Post, Barak accused Bibi of playing fast and loose by continuing to oppose US President Barack Obama even after it should have been clear the US and Iran had closed the nuclear deal. Bibi should have backed off, even if it was a ' very bad deal' and tried to salvage what he could with the US leader. But on the contrary - Bibi tried to go over Obama's head and accepted a Republican invitation to address the US Congress on this very contentious issue. Barak contends it was an act of folly that only antagonized Obama. This was a crucial period when the US leader would have been ready to listen favorably to some of Israel's legitimate concerns. After all is said and done Obama had agreed to leave almost all of Iran's nuclear weapons facilities in place which could mean a possible breakout in the future.
September 10, 2016
Iranian nuclear scientists have visited North Korea in the past, so they may have also been invited to the latest nuclear bomb test. So North Korea, one crazy state, has supplied nuclear weapons aid to another one, Iran. And note this troubling aspect about the North Korean statement:
'The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable (North Korea) To produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher striking power... This has definitely put us (North Korea) on a higher level for mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles'.
For Israel, does this raise the possibility of North Korea selling nuclear bombs to Iran in the future? A flush Iran will now have the cash. This is something that Israel must take into account although the International Atomic Energy Agency believes that Tehran is abiding by the nuclear deal forged in July 2015.
August 20, 2016
This is the appalling reality of the Middle East that faces Israel today: next door in Syria, over five-hundred thousand people, mostly civilians, have already been killed in a six year blood-bath. Several times more have been wounded while millions of refugees flee to Western Europe. Marking time until he soon retires, US Secretary of State John Kerry will jaw-jaw some more with the Russian's Sergey Lavrov. Meanwhile the Russians are now flying air strikes from an Iranian air base to make it easier to hit their civilian, rebel and Da'esh targets. Human rights groups estimate that 17,000 people have been tortured to death in Assad prisons. At this moment, Da'esh sadists are carrying out their genocide of the Yazidi people. The rebel held town of Aleppo was just attacked with chlorine gas in barrel bombs. From the town, a group of doctors has sent out a frantic plea to US President Barack Obama, leader of the Free world:
'We do not need tears or sympathy or even prayers. We desperately need a zone free from bombing .. and international action.'
August 14, 2016
So what if an Egyptian judoka refused to shake hands after an Israeli defeated him? It was not the first time. In Rio, even Lebanese Olympians refused to travel in the same bus with Israelis. However it came in stark contrast to the under-current of relations that are slowly gaining momentum between Israel and the Sunni Arab states. Egypt's President Al-Sisi has forged a military understanding with Prime Minister Netanyahu on coping with the mounting mutual threat from Islamic State fighters in Sinai. (The Egyptian Sinai was demilitarized in the peace treaty with Israel). But much of the 'Arab street' in Egypt still views the Jewish state as an enemy. Most certainly, members of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood. It was not clear whether the Egyptian Judoka was a fanatical Muslim, probably not. Otherwise he would have refused to compete with a Jew. More likely the Egyptian was worried about the hot reception he would get back home, if he were filmed shaking the hand of an Israeli.
August 06, 2016
Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and his new Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman have crossed swords for the first time. U.S. President Barack Obama actually started those fireworks. A year after the great powers reached the nuclear deal with Iran. Obama stated categorically, that the Israeli defense community now acknowledged, that Iran was abiding by the agreement which had turned out to be a 'game-changer'. Defense Minister Lieberman took umbrage and issued a strongly worded statement denying that he and his minions had backed the Iran accord. On the contrary - Lieberman compared it to the notorious Munich accord signed by Britain's Neville Chamberlain and Adolph Hitler of Nazi Germany. Lieberman's statement went on to say that Munich did not prevent either World War II or the Holocaust. He stated that today Iran was following in Hitler's footsteps.