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April 04, 2006

OLMERT & PERETZ & CO.

In Jerusalem, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Labor Party leader Amir Peretz have told the country they are now ready to cooperate in forming a new coalition government. Since Olmert's Kadima party won the March 28th election, both leaders have been broad siding each other by leaks from their officials to the media. However, Olmert and Peretz called a surprised news conference at the PM's office to announce that they have cleared the way for negotiating of a new coalition government. The two biggest parties comprise 48 seats in the 120-member Knesset. President Moshe Katsav is now expected to formally call on Olmert to officially launch officially launch coalition negotiations with potential partners.

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March 06, 2006

HOW TO TACKLE HAMAS

The Hamas issue was at the top of the agenda, when Foreign Minister Zippi Livni gave her first briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee. Livni said Hamas officials can now be expected to tone done their ideology about destroying Israel by making more moderate and vague statements about recognizing the Jewish State. She explained that Hamas now needs international recognition to receive foreign aid but Israel would not fall for it.

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February 24, 2006

CAMPAIGN UPDATE

The Israeli election campaign is about to enter the home stretch with a host of burning issues on Israels national agenda. The fallout from the Hamas election victory and the looming Iranian nuclear threat will be dominating the race. Kadimas Ehud Olmert is maintaining his lead while Labors Amir Peretz and Netanyahus Binyamin Netanyahu toil to close the gap. At the same time, Palestinian terrorists continue to launch more rockets and Israeli security forces step up the counter-terror campaign. Former Shabak security chief now allied to Olmert has been assessing developments.

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February 12, 2006

Putin's Realpolitik & Olmert's Dilemma

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the Israeli government are now facing a major dilemma after Russian President Vladimir Putin officially invited Hamas leaders to visit Moscow. Although the terror organization still vows to annihilate Israel, Putin says the Palestinians elected it to power in a democratic election and Hamas should be treated accordingly. Israeli leaders and the country at large are furious at what is being called 'Russia's stab in the back'; however Prime Minister Ehud Olmert must now block any international legitimizing of Hamas without causing a major rift with President Putin.

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February 03, 2006

HAMAS - ONE WEEK LATER

Shalom Harari, a top Israeli expert on the Palestinians, analyzes the new emerging situation after the stunning Hamas victory in the Palestinian election. Interviewed by IsraCast, Harari says the Hamas rise to power has implications far beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Harari is a reserve Brigadier-General in the IDF intelligence corps and is on the staff of the Counter-Terror Policy Center at the Herzliya Inter-Disciplinary Institute. Listen to the impact of the Hamas victory on Palestinian society, Israel, the Middle East and the international arena.

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January 20, 2006

TEHRAN, DAMASCUS, TEL AVIV & BIN LADEN

Is there a connection between the Iranian-Syrian backing for the latest Palestinian suicide bombing in Tel Aviv and Osama bin Laden's new threat to attack the U.S? There may not be at present, but if Iran is allowed to acquire nuclear weapons, it may be just a matter of time before terror organizations such as Al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad also go nuclear.

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January 09, 2006

EHUD OLMERT PRESENTS HIS PALESTINIAN POLICY

Who is Israel's acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and what is his approach to the Palestinian issue? With doctors working to save the life of Ariel Sharon In Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital, Olmert will likely serve as prime minister until the March 28th general election. If the Kadima party wins that election, Olmert would then form a new coalition government. In the corridors of power throughout the Middle East and around the world, questions are being asked about who may be Ariel Sharon's political successor. In an address back in February 2004, the now Acting Prime Minister of Israel spelled out how he views the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

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January 06, 2006

FAREWELL, ARIEL SHARON

As Sabbath approached in Israel, Ariel Sharon had undergone a third brain operation and remained in a critical condition at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. However, Sharon's indomitable spirit makes it difficult for many Israelis to grasp that he has departed and that they face a new reality.

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January 01, 2006

U.S. PLANNING IRAN ATTACK

In its latest edition, the German magazine weekly Der Spiegel reports the U.S. could be planning to attack Iran's nuclear installations within 'coming months'. The article reveals that senior American officials have visited several states to seek support for such an offensive as Iran threatens to renew its program to enrich uranium required for nuclear weapons development and production. In Israel, former Prime Minister Shimon Peres has proposed that Jerusalem approach the U.S. for 'an American umbrella' to cope with the Iranian nuclear threat to the Jewish state. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared recently that the Jewish state 'should be wiped off the map'.

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December 27, 2005

MOSSAD ON IRANIAN BOMB

Maj. Gen.(res.) Meir Dagan, the chief of Mossad's Secret Service, has presented his annual assessment of Israel's state of security to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee. If not stopped, Iran will be able to start producing enriched uranium within months of reactivating its centrifuge process. But at the same time, Dagan was optimistic the international community could deter Tehran by imposing economic sanctions.

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October 31, 2005

ISRAEL & IRANIAN NUCLEAR THREAT

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon opened the last session of Israel's parliament with a stern message for Iran and the Palestinian terrorists, as well as his political critics at home. After the new winter session, Israeli votes are scheduled to the polls, next fall, if not before then. In a carefully worded comment, Sharon referred to the threat by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about wiping Israel off the map. He also warned there would be no let-up in Israel's war against Palestinian terrorism. As for the future, Sharon declared he intends to win the next general election and open the new Knesset in 2006.

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October 20, 2005

IDF INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

The Chief of IDF Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash has warned that Iran's nuclear weapons program is a threat to Europe no less than it is to Israel. In an interview with the Israeli daily Maariv, the intelligence official also said Israel should not rule out a military option, if the diplomatic approach fails to deter Tehran from continuing its clandestine program to produce nuclear weapons. As for the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas will back down rather than face a military confrontation with the terror groups that defy his authority. Gen. Zeevi-Farkash believes it is only a matter of time before the U.S. attacks Syria, if President Bashar Assad continues to allow the flow of guerrillas and explosives across the Syrian border into Iraq.

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October 17, 2005

ROADMAP TO MORE PALESTINIAN TERRORISM

What are the implications on the ground of the two deadly drive-by shooting raids on the West Bank? Two Israeli young women and a teenage youth were shot dead when gunmen cruised by in a car spraying machine gun fire at a group of Israeli civilians near the hitch-hiking station at the Gush Etzion Junction. Three more Israelis were wounded. A short time later, terrorists in another car opened fire a group of boys walking near the settlement of Ali. One youngster was injured. Israel has reacted by closing some main roads to private Palestinian vehicles and reimposing roadblocks and closures. The IDF is also stepping up arrests and targeted killing of terrorists. The latest attacks came on the day that Palestinian leader Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) left on a trip to Washington for a meeting with U.S. President George Bush. In an interview with IsraCast, Shalom Harari a Palestinian expert at the Herzlyia Inter-disciplinary Center and a Brig. Gen. (res.) in the IDF intelligence Corps, assesses the situation.

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September 22, 2005

ISRAEL, EGYPT & IRAN

Middle East expert Dr. Dan Schueftan says Israel is at fault for not pressing Egypt to fulfill its peace treaty commitments with Israel and blocking the smuggling of arms and explosives from Egyptian controlled Sinai into the Gaza Strip. In an interview with David Essing, Schueftan argued that Israel also was mistaken to undermine the Sinai demilitarization by agreeing that seven hundred and fifty Egyptian army soldiers replace Egyptian policemen in the Philadelfi Corridor that separates Sinai from the Gaza Strip. In the first days after the IDF evacuation, the Egyptian troops did not prevent a massive flow of people and apparently weapons to and from the Gaza Strip. As for Iran, Schueftan says in the final analysis the U.S. and not the U.N. will determine whether Tehran acquires nuclear weapons with which it has threatened to exterminate the Jewish state.

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September 12, 2005

IDF COMPLETES GAZA EVACUATION

The Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip has been completed without hitch. Last month, the settlements were evacuated and now the Israel Defense Forces have pulled out. The Palestinians are now in control. What are the prospects? How did Israel take control of the Gaza Strip thirty-eight years ago? The fact is that Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin planned on bypassing the Strip that was populated by Palestinian refugees, in order to smash the Egyptian tank formations that were threatening Israel from Sinai. It was only after two divisions of Egyptian and Palestinian forces stationed in Gaza started shelling villages in Israel that the IDF was ordered to enter Gaza.

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September 09, 2005

THIS WEEK 9.9.05

What are the implications of the brutal killing of Moussa Arafat in the Gaza Strip? What does it reveal about the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas? Jordan's King Abdullah praises Ariel Sharon for implementing the disengagement while warning that al Qaeda may also be active in Israel. In the Likud leadership race, challenger Bibi Netanyahu is facing some tough decisions this weekend in the wake of latest public opinion polls.

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September 06, 2005

SHARON CLOSING GAP WITH NETANYAHU

Just one week after challenging Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for party leadership, former Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is forced to change his campaign strategy.

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August 18, 2005

GAZA WITHDRAWAL - CIRCLING THE WAGONS OR SLIPPERY SLOPE?

The inexorable eviction of the Gaza settlers continues amid heart-rending scenes of IDF soldiers dragging children, women and men from their homes. Most are religious Jews who believe they have also fulfilled an important national mission at the their country's calling and have now been evicted by a Prime Minister who for some reason has changed his mind. Some of these residents and their children have been killed in Palestinian attacks and all have come under the repeated shelling of more than 5,000 Qassam rockets and mortars launched since the outbreak of Palestinian violence in September, 2000.Why has Ariel Sharon changed course so dramatically? What can be expected from Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas who declares he will not confiscate the terrorists' weapons and Hamas that vows to use those arms to attack Israel when the time is ripe? Then there's the U.S. and the rest of the Quartet eager to plunge into the Roadmap process.

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August 06, 2005

GRAND DESIGN FOR GAZA STRIP DEVELOPMENT

What happens after Israel's upcoming withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements? Geographer Joshua Ben-Arieh says he doesn't know but he is certain of one thing; that unless jobs are created for the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip, the Roadmap is doomed to failure. Professor (Emeritus) Ben-Arieh of the Hebrew University has discussed his plan with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian officials. In this interview with IsraCast, Ben Arieh presents his program that may be put on the future Middle East agenda.

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June 10, 2005

INTIFADA #3 OR NOT?

Former Shabak Security Chief Avi Dichter rejects the assessment of former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon that the Palestinians are likely to launch a new war of terrorism after Israel implements a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and 4 settlements in West Bank this fall. In interviews with Israeli newspapers, Dichter says the Palestinians realize that after murdering 1042 Israelis during the past four and a half years, they have achieved nothing and have actually been losing the confrontation. The former security chief warned that Israeli extremists now realize that the Prime Minister is bound on carrying out the disengagement and would assassinate Sharon if given the chance. Dichter also reveals how the 'targeted killing' of terrorist leaders has been so effective in combating Palestinian terrorism.

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