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October 15, 2017

TRUMP SENDS MESSAGE TO NORTH KOREA VIA IRAN

What is the most volatile crisis on the world agenda today? Obviously, it is the ongoing clash between the US and North Korea that has raised the specter of a nuclear war. President Trump's concern about 'the very bad deal' with Iran takes second place. But the American leader has now exploited the opportunity of not certifying the nuclear accord, finalized two years, to accuse the Iranians of violating the spirit of the agreement and imposing new sanctions. It appears that Trump is taking a very tough stand on Iran, against the advice of his European partners, in order to send a tough signal to North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un, as if to warn: 'If you continue to mess with me, I will take action no matter what everyone else thinks!' No doubt Trump is also peeved that his foreign allies are content to sit back and do nothing regarding North Korea while they cash in on lucrative trade deals with Tehran.

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September 20, 2017

WILL TRUMP NOW SHOOT DOWN ANY NEW PROVOCATIVE NORTH KOREAN MISSILES? THAT'S WHAT JFK PROBABLY WOULD HAVE DONE

President Donald Trump could not have been any clearer- the US is ready, willing and able to totally destroy North Korea, if it continues with its nuclear weapons program. Trump's verbal escalation in the UN General Assembly should have left little to the imagination – even for a lunatic like Kim Jong un. On the other hand, Trump's declaration should not come as a surprise. Remember Barbara Tuchman's memorable phrase about a 'lantern on the stern' when it comes to charting a course for America's ship-of-state. Not just the mercurial Trump, but probably all US presidents would have issued the same severe warning – are they not duty-bound by their presidential oath to 'protect and defend' the constitution, the embodiment of the USA? And is North Korea now bent on building ballistic missiles that can reach America's West Coast?

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August 26, 2017

Obama chose dishonor, and Israel will have war

Iran is taking over Syria. The distant enemy is coming closer. The US is out of the picture. Those who put their trust in the new world sheriff, Donald Trump, have to admit he appears to be far more concerned with the American media than the Iranian imperialism. That is who he is.

The world's sheriff is not whoever has more power—the United States has a lot more—but whoever uses the power he has. Netanyahu had to go to Vladimir Putin this week again for another round of talks with the Russian leader during his vacation in Sochi. It's not clear whether Putin is going to stop the Iranian threat. It is clear, however, that he's the only one there is any point in talking to.

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June 07, 1981

Israel and Nuclear Weapons Threats - Operation Opera

On the anniversary of Israel's air strike that destroyed Saddam Husein's nuclear reactor near Baghdad on June 7th, 1981 and against the background of former Mossad Chief Meir Dagen's warning that Israel should not attack Iran's nuclear weapons sites today, IsraCast presents a report broadcast shortly after the Israeli preventative attack on Iraq.

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June 04, 2017

PRES. DONALD TRUMP = HOMO DEUS OR YERTLE THE TURTLE?

Does U.S. President Donald Trump perceive himself to be a first and only master of humankind; a Homo Deus, to pinch the title of Prof. Yuval Harari's intriguing book? Never mind that the preponderance of serious scientists in the world agree that there is an urgent need to also 'repeal and replace' the Paris accord on the emission of dangerous gases into the atmosphere - our very future is at stake. But Trump has signaled that America's coal miners come first. However, just as Trump struck out on rejecting Obamacare, he probably will also fail again. Even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who opposed withdrawing from the Paris accord, was quick to play down the impact:

       “I think it's important everyone recognizes the U.S. has a terrific record of reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions. I don't think we are going to change our ongoing efforts to reduce these emissions in the future either. So, hopefully people can keep it in perspective.”

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May 14, 2017

ISRAEL SUCCEEDS IN BLOCKING CYBER ATTACKS

So far so good. As of this moment Israel's cyber defenses have prevented any major cyber break-in. After some one hundred countries have reported a major cyber offensive around the globe, Prime Minister Netanyahu told the regular cabinet session today that Israel's cyber wall had stood the test. The country was waiting for Sunday when Israel goes back to work after the Sabbath when everything shuts down. The PM reported only 'very minor' cyber attempts were detected and there had been no penetration of vital strategic networks. He also disclosed that several years ago Israel had established a 'Governmental Authority' to protect Israel's vital institutions. This obviously referred to the IDF and a vast array of other potential military and civilian targets. Netanyahu did not reveal details, but it's a safe bet that Iran poses the greatest cyber threat to Israel.

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April 30, 2017

PRESIDENT TRUMP TO PERSONALLY PROD ISRAEL & PALESTINIANS TOWARD PEACE

It's not official yet, but President Donald Trump is expected to arrive in Israel next month. It's a safe bet that he will prod Israel and the Palestinians to show progress on the peace track that has hit a dead end. Make no mistake, Trump can use something to show in the international arena now that he has those famous 'one hundred days' under his belt. In fact, he's showing signs of some 'wear and tear'.

'I loved my previous life - I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.'

Previously, the tycoon Trump did not have to cope with such pesky problems as the U.S. Constitution, political rivals and the 'checks and balances' of American politics. If some of the hired help failed to deliver, he could just shout at him or her 'You're fired!' Now it is far more complicated with many more hurdles to overcome on the path from setting a goal and actually reaching it.

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March 12, 2017

ISRAEL RESETS RELATIONS WITH MOSCOW & WASHINGTON

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.

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March 04, 2017

WHO DOES BIBI FEAR MOST, ISRAELI SETTLERS OR TRUMP?

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.

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February 19, 2017

POLL: ISRAELIS PREFER TWO STATE SOLUTION BY NEARLY 3 TO 1

'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%
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February 05, 2017

TRUMP SIGNALS NETANYAHU - HOLD YOUR HORSES ON SETTLEMENTS!

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:

  1. "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."
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January 21, 2017

ISRAEL AWAITS TWO SAVIORS

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'.

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December 31, 2016

OBAMA MAY HAVE SCREWED ISRAEL BUT BIBI ALSO SCREWED UP

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.

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December 24, 2016

ISRAEL REELING FROM UN RESOLUTION OUTLAWING WEST BANK SETTLEMENTS

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.

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December 10, 2016

AN ISRAELI SETTLEMENT 'TOO FAR'

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.

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December 03, 2016

OBAMA CONDUCTED U.S. FOREIGN POLICY LIKE A BUDDHIST MONK

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.

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November 19, 2016

ISRAELI MESSAGE TO TRUMP FOREIGN POLICY TEAM

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. 

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November 11, 2016

President Elect Trump Tells Israel He rejects Imposed Settlement With Palestinians

Jerusalem:

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.

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November 06, 2016

Israel & US Presidential Election

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?

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October 16, 2016

Maybe Putin believes 'President' Trump would weaken America...

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?

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