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April 13, 2007

CORPORAL SHALIT & PALESTINIAN KILLERS

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his top advisors have been consulting on the list of hundreds of security prisoners that the Palestinians are demanding in return for the release of IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit. The Israeli cabinet is expected to take a final decision on whether to free Palestinians with Israeli blood on their hands. IsraCast analyzes the various views on this painful issue that has been dominating the Israeli media.

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April 13, 2007

SYRIA, SHOW ME

In an unprecedented step, Dr. Ibrahim Suleiman a Syrian citizen who now resides in Washington, briefed the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee. In the years 2004 - 2006, Suleiman and Alon Liel, a former director-general of the Israeli Foreign ministry conducted informal private contacts under the auspices of Switzerland. Although not officially authorized they updated their respective governments on understandings they have worked out in the private talks. Meretz Knesset Member Zehava Gallon initiated a move for Suleiman to go to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee to present the Syrian position. Later committee members told IsraCast they differed on whether Assad is really interested in peace.

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Listen to Dr. Ibrahim Suleiman Includes transcript of interview
Listen to MK Tzachi Hanegbi Includes transcript of interview
Listen to MK Colette Avital Includes transcript of interview
April 06, 2007

FOREIGN POLICY ON HOLD

Are new developments afoot in the Middle East? The 'to and fro' of international figures coupled with the Arab League's peace offer might be misleading. The IsraCast assessment is that Israeli foreign policy is so closely tied to the Bush administration that it has been put on hold until the Iranian nuclear crisis is resolved.

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April 01, 2007

FROM KHARTOUM TO RIYADH

The Arab League convened in Riyadh, to approve the Saudi peace initiative that was first raised five years ago. Israel is now debating how to react to the Arab peace offer that comes with some serious strings attached. In any event, the IsraCast analysis is that Jerusalem is faced with the dilemma of how to advance the latest Arab peace initiative without officially accepting the Arab conditions for a total Israeli withdrawal and the so-called right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel proper.

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March 29, 2007

MEANWHILE, BACK IN GAZA

On the very day the Arab League was convening in Saudi Arabia to approve their peace plan, Palestinian terrorists launched seven more Qassam rockets at Israel. For the first time since last November, Israeli helicopters went into action to strike the rocket launchers. In the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, the new IDF Chief of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi that the Hamas military buildup in Gaza must be eliminated one way or another. IsraCast presents a detailed assessment of major changes being implemented by the new Chief of Staff in light of the Second Lebanon War.

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March 28, 2007

ISRAEL TO REJECT SAUDI DICTATE

A senior Israeli official has welcomed the Arab League's offer to make peace with Israel however it must be the starting point for negotiations. The official told IsraCast that Jerusalem could not agree to the Arab demand that the Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to Israel and that Israel must withdraw to the old 1967 lines including East Jerusalem. However, the Arab League declares  that it's a take-it-or-leave-it offer. In an interview with IsraCast, Labor MK Danny Yatom says the best option for Israel in light of the impasse on the Palestinian tract is to explore peace talks with Syria.

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March 23, 2007

PERES FAULTS OLMERT

Former prime minister Shimon Peres has starred in the first installment of closed door testimony to the Winograd Inquiry into last summer's war with Hezbollah. Deputy-Premier Peres, who has voiced public support for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in effect hauled Olmert over the coals for his performance after the Hezbollah attack that killed eight IDF soldiers and abducted two others. Maj. Gen.(res.) Amos Malka, IDF intelligence chief at the time of the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000 also blamed the IDF General Staff for being preoccupied with the war on Palestinian terrorism. IsraCast analyzes part of the testimony against the backdrop of Israel's political scene.

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March 20, 2007

ISRAEL NOT CZECHOSLOVAKIA!

Several European countries have indicated they will recognize Hamas cabinet ministers in the new Palestinian government.  In Gaza, a senior Norwegian diplomat has met with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh who has declared his support for 'resistance' - that is terrorism against Israel. Hamas also claimed responsibility for the shooting of an Israeli electricity worker who was repairing a power line that supplies electricity to the Gaza Strip. The Israeli was seriously wounded. In addition, more Qassam rockets have been fired into Israel  from Gaza. In Jerusalem, IsraCast asked Deputy Premier Shimon Peres  if there were now a danger  that  European countries will try and appease the Hamas government  by selling out Israel, like Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany in 1938?

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March 18, 2007

DRESSING UP HAMAS

The Israeli government has voted overwhelmingly to boycott the new Palestinian unity government. At its weekly cabinet session, 19 ministers voted against conducting a dialogue with the Hamas-lead cabinet. Only two ministers abstained in the vote. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called on the international community to maintain its boycott of the Palestinian government until it accepts conditions set up the international Quartet; they call on the Palestinians to recognize Israel, halt terrorism and implement former agreements. In an interview with IsraCast, Dr. Dan Schueftan said the Palestinian unity government is a ploy to dress up Hamas as a legitimate partner while the terror organization continues to plot the destruction of Israel.

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Listen to Audio Interview with Dr. Dan Schueftan Includes transcript of interview
March 17, 2007

OLMERT PRE-EMPTS WINOGRAD

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert acted swiftly after  the Winograd Enquiry into the war with Hizballah announced that it would include 'personal conclusions' in its partial agreement to be made public in the second half of April. This will apply to the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister and the IDF Chief of Staff. At a meeting of his ruling Kadima party, Olmert admittted that he was an unpopular prime minister but rejected his critics attacks.  A  IsraCast analysis of the Olmert speech indicates that the Prime Minister may have tried to pre-empt public reaction to possible criticism in the upcoming Winograd findings.

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March 13, 2007

IRAN TRAINING HAMAS

Shabak Security Chief Yuval Diskin presented a grim picture when he briefed the Knesset Foreign & Affairs Committee. Diskin disclosed that hundreds of Hamas terrorists are now undergoing 'extended training in Iran'. 

The security chief also reported on the growing strategic threat posed by Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, he  issued a warning about tens of thousands of Israeli Arabs who are members of the Islamist Movement inside Israel. Knesset Member Effy Eitam of the National Union, a retired combat officer, told  IsraCast that many MKs were alarmed by the revelations saying that Israel must take action against the looming threat from Gaza.

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Listen to Interview with MK Effy Eitam Includes transcript of interview
March 12, 2007

THE SAUDI OPTION

The Saudi Arabian peace proposal of several years ago is back in the limelight. When first presented, it called for the Arab world to make full peace with Israel in return for a total Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders. But a short time later, a Beirut summit meeting added the so-called right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. IsraCast examines various aspects of the plan that splits the Israeli political spectrum.

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March 09, 2007

POW Expose

The screening of the Israeli documentary on the 'Shaked' special forces unit in the Six-Day War of 1967 has sparked a fierce reaction in Egypt. One part of the film aired on Channel One television related to the Shaked pursuit operation against a battalion of 250 Egyptian soldiers who had been attacking Israeli targets in Sinai. It is the practice and policy of the Israel Defense Forces to respect the rights of POWs. In time of war, Israel shows captured POWs each one saying his  name on television to show they are alive and being fairly treated. In contrast, Arab states do not even release the names of Israeli POWs so their anguished families can know they are alive. Who did what to Egyptian and Israeli POWs? IsraCast presents new information on the burning issue that is threatening Israeli-Egyptian relations.

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March 02, 2007

RUSSIAN ARMS SALE ROILS ISRAEL

Israeli officials charge that a billion dollar sale of Russian anti-tank and anti-missile rockets will encourage Syria to go to war against Israel. The new anti-tank missiles were said to be more accurate and effective than the Russian weapons that destroyed a number of Israeli tanks in last summer's war with Hezbollah. Moscow had sold those weapons to Damascus but they ended up in the hands of Hezbollah fighters. Some Israeli experts warn the sale of such advanced weaponry to Syria could alter the balance of power with the Jewish state. Does the latest weapons sale to Syria signal that Russia is renewing its cold war confrontation here in the Middle East or are the Russians trying 'to make a fast rubble'? IsraCast interviewed Prof. Galia Golan, Prof. (Emeritus) of the Hebrew University and currently Professor of Government at the Herzliya Inter-Disciplinary Center. Professor Golan assessed the latest Russian arms sale as well as other aspects of Russian policy.

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Listen to Interview with Prof. Galia Golan Includes transcript of interview
February 25, 2007

ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE & NORTHERN THREATS

The Israeli intelligence establishment has presented its annual intelligence assessment to the cabinet for the coming year. While the Palestinians go through the motions of forming a national unity to halt the bloody internal feud between Hamas and Fatah and to con the international community into renewing financial aid, the gravest threats to Israel come from the north and north east.

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February 19, 2007

REPUBLICANS & DEMOCRATS SUPPORT STIFFER IRANIAN SANCTIONS

In Jerusalem, a  U.S. Congressional delegation of Republicans and Democrats has discussed national security issues with Israeli Knesset members. The Iranian nuclear weapons threat was obviously high on the agenda at their closed door session in the Knesset. Delegation leader  Senator Jon Kyl (R) of Arizona and Representative (D) Jane Harman of California were interviewed by IsraCast on how Republicans and Democrats view for stiffer international sanctions may prevent Tehran from acquiring 'the bomb'.

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February 16, 2007

IRAN & NORTH KOREA

What's the impact on Iran of the international agreement with North Korea on halting its nuclear weapons program? Israeli expert Menashe Amir says that the international sanctions on Tehran are already having an effect. Amir, who follows Iranian developments on a daily basis, says there are fears in Tehran that harsher sanctions could lead to the fall of the regime. Mounting voices are also calling for a halt to the nuclear enrichment program necessary for developing nuclear weapons in return for economic concessions from the international community. Interviewed by David Essing at IsraCast, Menashe Amir analyzes various aspects of Iran's nuclear weapons drive in light of the agreement with North Korea.

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Listen to Audio Interview - Menashe Amir Includes transcript of interview
February 12, 2007

ARROW BULL'S EYE

Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz, the former chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, says the latest Arrow success proves Israel has a very good defense against Iranian missiles. No other country in the world has succeeded in doing what the Arrow did in the latest test. Steinitz, who attended the test, told IsraCast that the Arrow proved it can destroy ballistic missiles fired from about any range. In a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also called the Arrow test a most impressive achievement.

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February 09, 2007

MECCA SUMMIT - AGREEMENT OR MIRAGE?

What are the prospects for the vaguely worded agreement hammered out by Hamas and Fatah in Mecca, Saudi Arabia?  Shalom Harari, a senior reserve officer in the IDF Intelligence Corps and analyst at the Herzliya Counter - terrorism Center centre assesses various aspects of the accord aimed at ending the bloody Palestinian power struggle that has killed dozens of Palestinians in recent weeks. Interviewed by IsraCast,  Harari also analyzes the possible impact of the Mecca Accord on Israel and the ongoing struggle between Radial Islam and established regimes in the Middle East.

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February 02, 2007

Exclusive Interview With Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens

In Iran, President Ahmadinejad continues his drive to acquire nuclear weapons on one hand while threatening 'to wipe Israel off the map' on the other. Nevertheless, two world leaders Jacques Chirac and Vladimir Putin appear to be putting their narrow national interests first. In an exclusive interview with David Essing for IsraCast, a former Israeli defense minister Moshe Arens, assesses this security threat to the Jewish state.

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Listen to Interview with Prof. Moshe Arens Includes transcript of interview