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December 10, 2010

Israeli Fire-Fight And Netanyahu Dominoes

 In Israel, Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu to staving off demands for the resignation of Interior Minister Eli Ishai, who is seen as bearing most of the responsibility for the Fire Departments' failure to cope coping with the disastrous fire on Mount Carmel near Haifa. IsraCast analyst David Essing says that if Ishai is forced to go a domino effect might topple Netanyahu's government. The U.S. failure to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is already creating more pressure on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to take the party out of the coalition.

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December 01, 2010

Bomb Iran And New Middle East

 Ironically the latest WikiLeaks revelations, and there are more to come, may be of long-term benefit to Israel- that's the assessment of IsraCast analyst David Essing. The fact that Arab leaders have quietly been urging the U.S. to bomb Iran reveals a new strategic balance in the region - the Sunni Arab states are lining up against Shi'ite Iran that is seeking nuclear weapons to impose regional hegemony.

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November 20, 2010

Gates' Misreading Of Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Robert Gates has come out against a military strike against Iran arguing that it would only provide a short term solution of two-to-three years to the Iranian nuclear weapons threat. At the same time, Gates told the Wall Street Journal that the latest UN sanctions are biting much harder than anyone expected. Israeli analyst Menashe Amir takes issue with the Gates assessment charging that it is another misunderstanding of the Iranian situation, similar to the approach of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter that led to the Khomeini Revolution and the Islamist regime that now rules Iran. If Israel ever decides to go it alone against Iran, Israel Air Force pilots will likely lead the way. The traditional seven days of mourning has just ended for two airmen. Maj. Emmanuel Levi and Maj. Amihai Itkis who were killed when their F-16I crashed in the Negev. Writing a tribute in the Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom, a former Israel Air Force commander Maj.Gen.(res.) Eitan Ben Eliyahu shared his thoughts and feelings.  

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November 07, 2010

Obama And Netanyahu In Tests Of Leadership

 The Israeli-Palestinian peace effort is still side-tracked after Israel' ten month moratorium on settlement building expired on Sept.26th. After refusing to conduct talks with Israel during the freeze, Pa;estinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas now demands the moratorium be further extended as a condition for returning to the table. Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said he would stick to his ten month commitment, the Obama administration has urged Israel to extend the moratorium and the issue is likely to be at the top of the agenda when Netanyahu meets with Vice-President Joe Biden when they meet in the U.S. IsraCast analyst David Essing assesses the impact of President Barack Obama's defeat in the U.S. mid-term elections and some of the implications for Prime Minister Netanyahu. 

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October 31, 2010

Iran - Paper Tiger That Bites

 After Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili has announced that Tehran is now ready to resume nuclear talks with the P5+1, what are the prospects? None according to Menashe Amir, an Israeli expert on Iran. Amir told IsraCast there was no possibility that Iran would halt its nuclear weapons program unless the international community was prepared to adopt more drastic steps to deter the Iranians. Interviewed by David Essing, Amir explained how 'the bomb' plays a crucial role in Iran's grand design for regional and international domination something that is misunderstood by some foreign commentators who either view Iran as a 'paper tiger' or preach 'the need to live with an Iranian bomb'. 

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October 25, 2010

Israel And Saudi Arabia Vs. Iran

There may be more than meets the eye behind the monumental U.S. arms sale of $60 billion to Saudi Arabia. IsraCast analyst David Essing assesses some of the possible ramifications against the backdrop of what could be a silent shift of some of Israel's strategic security considerations from Turkey to the Gulf. But there is still a fly in the ointment. In order for such a shift to jell there is a need for at least a semblance of progress on the Israeli- Palestinian track in order to placate public opinion in the Arab world. On the domestic scene, President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, two of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's strongest supporters have been urging Netanyahu to accept a U.S. request to extend the settlement freeze in the face of stiff opposition from the Right-wing coalition.

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October 19, 2010

Lebanon, Ahmadinejad And Chile

Was there a connection between the Lebanese visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad and the rescue operation of the trapped 33 miners in Chile? Menashe Amir, an Israeli expert on Iran, told IsraCast that Ahmadenijad had planned his trip to Lebanon to heighten tension with Israel and capture international headlines. However, Iranian officials back home in Tehran were peeved that the rescue mission upstaged Ahmadenijad! But if the Iranian leader failed to persuade the Lebanese leadership to follow Hezbullah into the Iranian web of influence, he did demonstrate a strong show of support for Hezbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. IDF Gen.(res.) Yaacov Amidror believes Tehran will keep tight rein on Hezbullah for retaliation against Israel if Iran's nuclear sites are attacked.  

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October 06, 2010

Israeli Settlement Freeze & Iran

 Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continues to agonize over what to do about U.S. President Barack Obama's demand that Israel extend the settlement freeze in Judea & Samaria for another two months. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is sticking to his guns and refusing to carry on direct peace talks after the freeze expired on Sept.26th. The Arab League is scheduled to meet on Oct.8th to decide where it stands. Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmud Achmadenijad is due to visit Lebanon shortly in a demonstration of support for his Hezbollah surrogate forces and travel down to the Israeli border. IsraCast analyst David Essing sees a link between the issue of the settlement freeze and the Iranian nuclear threat.

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September 28, 2010

Ahmadinejad vs. Obama

 At the UN General Assembly, U.S. President Barack Obama again appealed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to walk through the 'door of diplomacy' to resolve the crisis over Iran's nuclear weapons project. Ahmadinejad was swift to respond; he charged that the U.S. government was responsible for the 9/11 terror atrocities. The two speeches were revealing - they exposed not only the sharp divergences in how the two leaders conduct their statecraft but also revealed totally different mindsets. IsraCast analyst David Essing is of the view that Ahmadinejad and the Iran regime will reject Obama's 'door of diplomacy'- they've already walked through the door of radical Islam. 

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September 19, 2010

Yom Kippur War & Palestinian Negotiations

 Israelis and Jews around the world have marked the Yom Kippur Day of Atonement. Thirty-seven years ago, the Egyptian and Syrian armies exploited the holiest day in the Jewish calendar to launch a massive surprise attack that nearly succeeded in defeating the IDF and possibly wiping Israel off the map. What are the ramifications today when it comes to Israeli territorial concessions to the Palestinians and Syria? This assessment by IsraCast analyst David Essing deals with some of the issues.

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September 13, 2010

Israel's Critical New Year

 Israelis and Jews around the world have marked the Jewish New Year of 5771. In the homeland of the Jews, which the Palestinians steadfastly refuse t recognize as a people with the right of national self-determination, analysts were assessing some of the strategic issues in the coming year. There was agreement that Iran was still proceeding at full tilt toward acquiring nuclear weapons while its fanatical leaders call continually for Israel's destruction. As the new year got underway, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he was ready to compromise on a partial building freeze in Judea & Samaria in order to save the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

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September 04, 2010

Israeli And Palestinian Summit Optimism

 Both Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have come away from the Washington summit in an upbeat mood. Back home in the Middle East, their critics on both sides will be asking: 'Just what did he concede at the summit?' IsraCast analyst David Essing says the stage may have been set for both Netanyahu and Abbas to take some fateful decisions in the coming year with the U.S. acting as adjudicator. Meanwhile, the Arab world appears ready to support a resolution of the conflict while Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah are enraged and trying to inflame the Arab world against the current peace move.

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August 31, 2010

Netanyahu's Tightrope In Washington

 With U.S. President Barack Obama presiding, Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are set to launch New peace talks in Washington on Sept.2nd. However, a major clash is threatening to torpedo this latest peace effort. Netanyahu has said he is committed to start rebuilding in Israeli settlements in Judea & Samaria (West Bank) after Israel's unilateral building suspension expires on Sept 26th. - Abbas warns that he'll walk out of the talks if Israel builds anew. IsraCast analyst David Essing assesses Israel's approach to the new peace talks.

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August 18, 2010

Secret U.S.-Russian Deal On Bushehr?

Iran is set to join the 'Nuclear Club' on August 21st - that's when Russia will install nuclear fuel rods in the core of Iran's nuclear reactor at Bushehr. Surprisingly, Israeli government officials have not condemned the step that will upgrade Iran's nuclear capability and that could, if unchecked, even provide plutonium from the spent fuel rods for the eventual production of a nuclear bomb. Iranian affairs analyst Menashe Amir believes there is more to the Bushehr case than meets the eye.

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August 15, 2010

Russia To 'Launch' Iran's Nuclear Reactor

 It's now official - 'Rosatom', Russia's Atomic Energy Agency has announced that on August 21st, Russian technicians will load Iran's Bushehr reactor with nuclear fuel. Spokesman Sergei Navikov was quoted as saying: 'From then on the rector will be qualified as a nuclear plant'. A Russian delegation headed by Rosatom director Sergei Kiriyenko is due to attend the ceremony. The news came just before the Sabbath when Israeli officialdom closes down until Sunday. However, IsraCast analyst David Essing has some unofficial comments.

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July 24, 2010

Netanyahu & Abbas at Crossroads

 Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and West Bank Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas continue to spar over the conditions for starting direct negotiations. Netanyahu's condition is that there be no prior conditions; Abbas now demands an Israeli commitment to extend the current freeze on settlement building that expires on September 26th. American envoy George Mitchell is trying hard to square the circle in the current proximity talks he is conducting between the two sides. The Washington Times report that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is seriously ill with stomach and pancreas cancer has caught Israel's attention. However the reaction is one of confidence - Israeli experts believe there will be a smooth succession of power, whenever Mubarak departs.

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July 13, 2010

Friedman, 'Al-Hama Rules' & Israel

 To say that most Israelis were shocked by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman is putting it mildly. Did Friedman really compare the IDF's Cast Lead operation last year with Syrian President Hafez Assad's massacre of twenty thousand or more of his own people in the town of Hama in 1982? In the view of IsraCast analyst David Essing, Friedman has made the appalling comparison in order to attack Israeli settlement policy. However, Friedman appears to have forgotten that it was former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who launched Operation Cast Lead and who also offered unprecedented concessions to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Abbas refused to accept.

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July 08, 2010

Obama's About-Face To Netanyahu

 After being humiliated on former visit to the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received a remarkable red carpet welcome this time by President Barak Obama. Not only in words but also in deeds. IsraCast analyst David Essing sees President Obama's about- face as having two main objectives: he is signaling the Israeli public that he is not the enemy and showing Netanyahu the benefits of extending the current ten month settlement freeze in Judea and Samaria. But as Americans say 'there are no free lunches' and the Israeli leader will be expected to reciprocate. This is will likely spark a political firestorm by Netanyahu's Right- wing coalition partners.

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July 04, 2010

Netanyahu & Abbas Vying For Obama's Support

 Recently Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met President Barack Obama in the White House, on July 6th it will be the turn of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. According to the London based Al- Hayat newspaper, Abbas has now presented the U.S. with a series of proposals starting with Israeli acceptance of the future borders for a Palestinian state. However, Netanyahu has declared he would discuss Palestinian proposals only within the framework of direct negotiations not in the current 'proximity talks' being brokered by special U.S. envoy George Mitchell. IsraCast analyst David Essing says Abbas is seeking U.S. agreement on the final borders for a Palestinian state as a pre-condition for direct negotiations with Israel.

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June 20, 2010

Israel Ready To Consider Extension Of Settlement Freeze

In an interview with Israel Radio's English News, Ambassador Michael Oren has indicated the Netanyahu government will be ready to consider an extension of the ten month settlement freeze in Judea & Samaria. However, such a possibility had to be dealt with in direct negotiations with the Palestinians. Until now, Prime Minister Netanyahu has declared the building freeze will expire after its ten month time-frame runs out on September 26th. Until now, government leaders have indicated that building in the settlements woll then be resumed. In another development, Israel has made clear that she will not permit any vessels sailing to Gaza to violate her maritime blockade. IsraCast analyst David Essing assesses the implications.

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