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April 09, 2017

AFTER SYRIA, ISRAEL & PALESTINIANS WILL NOT BE FAR BEHIND

The aftershock of the US military strike has shaken the globe far beyond Syria. President Trump showed the world that if necessary, he will 'put his money where his mouth is'. Russia's own Machiavellian Vladimir Putin probably admires Trump for it. But those 59 Tomahawk missiles served not only as a cynical super-power ploy, they were also blow dealt in the name of international morality against the Syrian war criminal Bashar Assad.

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April 02, 2017

NETANYAHU IMPOSES PARTIAL FREEZE ON SETTLEMENTS

Remember Henry's Kissinger's 'constructive ambiguity'? We are now seeing President Trump's version of it, possibly on the advice of his special emissary Jason Greenblatt, who recently visited the region to meet separately with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But how can Bibi's decision to establish a new settlement, the first new one in 25 years, aid in a resumption of peace negotiations? (All the other construction of housing units was within the boundaries of existing settlements on the West Bank).

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March 27, 2000

We don't need another failure

 Two days after the Israeli elections, Islamic State carried out suicide attacks at two mosques in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, murdering around 150 individuals. The day before, an Islamic State offshoot perpetrated a terror attack in Tunisia that killed 23 people, mostly tourists. During the same two-day period, seven people were murdered in an attack in Kathua, India, and 70 bodies were discovered in Damasak, Nigeria. Who heard? During the course of February, 1,977 people were murdered by Jihadists around the globe – all in acts of terror only. And as I write these words, reports are coming in about massacres being carried out by Iraqi-Iranian forces in the city of Tikrit, Iraq.

 

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March 27, 2017

LONDON & JERUSALEM IN 'CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS'

What motivated a 52-year-old citizen, born and bred in Britain, to attack the sacred 'Mother of Parliaments' while running over, stabbing and shooting scores of his fellow countrymen? It was yet another road mark in the 'Clash of Civilizations' that radical Islam is waging world-wide. Even Canada, with no imperial past to atone for, was targeted in October 2014. The British terrorist, Adrian Elms, was apparently converted to Islam in prison when he served a term for stabbing, and adopted his new name of Khalid Masood. Daesh has confirmed he acted in its name. What may have sent him around the bend may have been the heavy bombing now being inflicted by the US-led coalition on the Daesh force in the Iraqi city of Mosul. The Daesh 'capital city' of Raqqa in Syria is next in line. In response, Daesh Internet has adopted the old Marxist battle-cry with its version, 'Muslims of the world unite - come and join our forces in the Middle East, but if you cannot, kill the infidels wherever you can!'

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March 26, 1979

Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat sign on the peace agreement between the two states.

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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 11, 2017

WILL NETANYAHU AND TRUMP CLASH OR COOPERATE OVER SETTLEMENTS?

What's going on? Twice in the last week US President Donald Trump has opposed wide-scale Israeli settlement building on the West Bank. In Israel, Right-wingers have been shocked to the core - Trump and Bibi were supposed to be great pals. They had anticipated that Trump would give Israel the green light for constructing a brand new settlement and adding 5,500 new housing units to existing settlements. Moreover, there is the new controversial law that would enable Israel to legalize homes built on privately owned Palestinian land. But is this promising package is unraveling? In an exclusive interview with Yisrael Hayom, the pro-Netanyahu newspaper, Trump clarified his position:

  • 'The settlements don't help the process. I can say that. There is only so much land left (on the West bank). And every time you (Israel) take land for settlements, there is less land left (for a Palestinian state). But we are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options, we'll see. But no I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace'.
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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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January 14, 2017

ISRAELI EARTHQUAKE IF ISRAEL'S ATTORNEY GENERAL PROSECUTES BIBI FOR FRAUD

The fate of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is now in the hands of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. A full blown police investigation of the PM is now underway on two counts:

  1. A tape recording, now in the hands of the police, reportedly proves Bibi and Yediot Ahronot newspaper owner Noni Moses discussed how to rig control over the sale and content of newspapers in Israel. This included the freebie Yisrael Hayom that totally backs Bibi and is financed by Sheldon Adelson, the American casino tycoon. (Get this: Bibi himself taped Moses. The PM now claims he did so to discredit the owner of the newspaper that hauled him over the coals day in and out. The only problem is that their secret powwows took place years ago and Bibi never handed over the recordings to the police after colluding with Moses on what was apparently a serious breech of trust, if not more).
  2. Bibi and his wife Sara (who has a habit of getting into hot water with the law) are suspected of having received some one hundred thousands dollars in super expensive cigars and champagne from Israeli film producer Arnon Milchan. The Netanyahus contend these were legitimate gifts between close buddies and not bribes.
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January 07, 2017

ISRAELI COURT-MARTIAL RAISES SPECTER OF ANOTHER 'RABIN' ASSASSINATION

The IDF court-martial convicting IDF Sergeant Elor Azaria guilty of manslaughter for shooting dead a captured Palestinian terrorist has sent shock waves throughout Israel. This time the potential target is none other than IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot. Overnight Israel's top soldier turned, in the eyes of some Right wingers, from an admired commander to a subject of controversy. And why is that? Simply because he reprimanded Azaria for shooting to death a wounded Palestinian prisoner in Hebron last March. After the verdict in the drawn-out trial, Right wing rabble-rousers clashed with Israeli police outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, chanting in Hebrew:

       'Gadi Gadi Tizahair, Rabin mechakeh le Haver!'

This translates into:

       'Gadi,Gadi Beware, Rabin is waiting for a friend!'

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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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November 27, 2016

ISRAEL ENGULFED IN DISASTROUS FOREST FIRES & GERMAN SUBS

So far, no people have been killed, but over one thousand homes have been destroyed or damaged while tens of thousands of people were evacuated as the flames raced towards their communities. Some Israelis had to race for their lives carrying their small children and pets. Thousands of animals perished in the flames while tens of thousands of trees have been incinerated in over two hundred separate fires. Forestland that was planted and developed over the decades has been left a wasteland. It is a national disaster.

Visiting the Hatzor Air Base from where special firefighting aircraft have been 'bombing' the fires around the clock, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said experts have concluded there is no doubt that arsonists are involved, although the dry weather and strong winds may have started the inferno. Thirty-three Palestinian suspects have been arrested as the investigation continues. Netanyahu believes the arson campaign is a 'derivative' of the wave of 'lone wolf' terrorism that started over a year ago. Now it is a case of terrorists deliberately igniting forest fires rather than wielding knives or hatchets. In other words: 'If you can't stab them, let's burn them!'

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November 25, 1987

Night of the Hang-Gliders

Four terrorists were sent on a suicide mission to fly 80 kilometers on motorized hang-gliders into an IDF army base next to the city of Kiryat-Shemonah. One of the attackers reached his target,  killing 6 IDF soldiers.

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November 23, 2004

Rafael Eitan (1929-2004)

Rafael "Raful" Eitan was an Israeli general, former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces and later a politician, a Knesset member and government minister. Born in Afula during the Mandate era, Eitan was raised in Moshav Tel Adashim, where he spent most of his life.

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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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