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June 12, 2014

CRACKS IN NETANYAHU'S COALITION

 Israel now faces international isolation - that is what Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's diplomacy has achieved on the Palestinian track. Make no mistake, this has all the components of weakening Israel's international position and could eventually topple his coalition government. First the PM lost the 'blame game' to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by letting Housing Minister Uri Ariel announce plans for building new housing units on the disputed West Bank.  U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry pointed the finger at Netanyahu. Adding insult to injury, Abbas then gambled that he could join forces with terrorist Hamas and this would not upset the U.S. and the rest of the international community. He proved to be right...

 

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May 25, 2014

NETANYAHU MUST CHOOSE ISRAEL'S NATIONAL INTEREST

 Israel in diplomatic doghouse...

 Is Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu getting the message? His interview with the Bloomberg News may indicate that Netanyahu realizes that he has lost the 'blame game' in the wake of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's failed peace mission. Not only Kerry and diplomat Martin Indyk pointed the finger at Bibi, but also President Barack Obama. Even Bibi's own negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, has blasted Housing Minister Uri Ariel for torpedoing the talks by announcing plans for new settlement building. At the time, the PM could have stepped in but chose not to do so in order not to rile the Right-wingers in his coalition. Israel finds itself in the diplomatic doghouse, although Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did nothing to advance Kerry's peace mission and has even teamed up with terrorist Hamas. 

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April 27, 2014

WHY ABBAS DID IT

 What possessed moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to suddenly join forces with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, whose organization is bent on Israel's annihilation? As for the timing, it was even more puzzling - it came smack in the middle of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's apparent breakthrough in the clash between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu over the release of Israeli-Arab terrorists. The latest Abbas gambit has exposed the Palestinian leader's goal of seeking an imposed UN solution, rather than a U.S. brokered peace accord.

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March 30, 2014

KERRY TACKLES ISRAELI - PALESTINIAN LOGJAM

 What happens if the Kerry mission is unable to break the Israeli-Palestinian logjam by the April 29th deadline? So far the Secretary of State's diplomatic marathon has barely made a dent in the impasse. Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are sticking to their guns. It hasn't come as any big surprise, what was apparent at the outset has prevailed: the maximum that either side is ready to offer is less than the minimum that the other side will accept. So rather than cobble a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians, the US Secretary of State is now trying just to keep the ball rolling on an agreed framework of principles. Even that is an uphill struggle. 

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February 13, 2014

LIEBERMAN'S LEAP TO ISRAEL'S CENTER

 Does Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman realize something about U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that the rest of his far Right wing colleagues do not?  Lieberman, who has a well-earned reputation for his caustic comments, is no fool; so surely there is more than meets the eye about the Foreign Minister's recent praise for Kerry. By contrast, in the Knesset, Lieberman once declared that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to 'go to hell!' for refusing to visit the Jewish state.

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February 02, 2014

U.S. PEACE PLAN & NETANYAHU'S DILEMMA

 'Most Israelis do not want a bi-national state, I do not want a bi-national state!' If Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu means what he says, it is an indicator of where he is headed now.  Coming into the home stretch of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's exhaustive peace mission, Bibi's timing was crucial. Netanyahu has taken a meaningful step forward beyond his vague declaration in support of a two-state solution- Jewish and Palestinian. Obviously a Palestinian state would have to be founded on some undefined territory in the West Bank and Gaza. However, by rejecting the concept of a bi-national state, the Israeli leader has indicated that he is willing to part with the densely populated Palestinian parts of the West Bank, and with good reason. The high Palestinian birth rate would eventually threaten the very essence of the Jewish state of Israel, which Netanyahu insists the Palestinians must recognize. Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat once said that if Israel remained in all of the West Bank: 'The womb of the Palestinian woman would achieve the eventual victory for Palestine'.

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January 22, 2014

NETANYAHU AT THE RUBICON, AGAIN

 Above and beyond the egregious gaffe by Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, this crucial question remains unanswered - what will Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu do when he next meets U.S. Secretary of State? Yaalon certainly highlighted some of the Right wing's exasperation over Kerry's 'messianic and obsessive' mission to hammer out an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. However, Netanyahu has apparently been telling Kerry that he would be willing to cut a deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, under certain conditions. The Israeli leader is already on record as accepting the two-state solution.  Is he now prepared to go one step further and possibly risk the breakup of his cabinet and Likud party? Although Yaalon has adopted an 'in-your-face' rejection, he represents the far Right of the Likud and Jewish Home party. But in a dramatic shift, Avigdor Lieberman of the Israel Our Home party has pleaded for giving Kerry a chance. So what's going on and why?

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January 11, 2014

ARIEL SHARON (1928-2014)

 'I know best' this characterized Arik Sharon, both as a vaunted military commander and an unpredictable politician. He is destined to be remembered as the most controversial of all Israeli public figures. To friend and foe he became known as the 'bulldozer'- his driving determination could overcome most obstacles in his way whether his superiors or political supporters agreed or not. Some military commentators have rated him as the best field commander and strategist in the annals of the IDF, while in his subsequent career in politics he was a formidable opponent.

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December 26, 2013

PALESTINIAN BUS BOMBING & ISRAELI SECURITY REQUIREMENTS

 It was potentially the most dangerous Palestinian attack since U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry started his current mission to conclude a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. This was the scene:

 Early on the afternoon of December 21st, an Israeli bus is traveling in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam. A youngster notices an unattended black bag, which had been placed near the rear door of the bus. Israelis are understandably wary of such situations. So the teenager points it out to fellow passenger, David Papo, who immediately gets up and approaches the suspicious object. Moving gingerly, Papo opens the bag and the yells to the bus driver, "It’s a bomb!" Driver, Michael Yeager, hits the breaks, opens the bus doors, and yells to his passengers, "Get out!"

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November 29, 2013

NOVEMBER 29th - ISRAEL & PALESTINIANS: WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

 NOV. 29th is one of the most monumental dates in the history of the Jewish people. On this day in 1947, the UN General Assembly approved the Partition Plan for Palestine that was to be implemented after the termination of the British mandate. It called for the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and heralded the rebirth of a Jewish state in its ancient homeland of over three thousand years. Similarly, it granted for the first time a Palestinian state. Designated Resolution 181, it was immediately accepted by the Jews but categorically rejected by the Arabs who later launched an all out war to literally drive the Jews into the Sea! If the Arab states had also accepted the partition there would have been no refugee problem - Palestinian or Jewish. An estimated 650,000 Palestinian refugees fled their homes while at least that number of Jewish refugees were driven out of the neighboring Arab countries. The resolution was carried by a vote of 33 in favor, 13 opposed, 10 abstentions and one member was absent. On the anniversary of that vote, you are invited to listen to this background report by David Essing that includes authentic recordings of the events as they unfolded: 

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October 07, 2013

PM Netanyahu's speech at Bar Ilan University

 I recently read a hundred-page book by a wonderful American historian who passed away nearly 50 years ago. His name was Will Durant and he wrote many books. He wrote an eleven volume history of civilization, but at the end of his life, he wrote a hundred-page book, The Lessons of History. You should read it. Every line is carved from the stone of truth, and I will give you the bad news and the good news. 

 The bad news is that when you finish reading this book, you understand that in history, greater numbers rule. They matter. But here is the good news. On page 17, if I am not mistaken, he mentions that there may be exceptions to this rule and that through the unification of a cultural force, that's what he called it, the odds could be overcome. He gives the State of Israel as an example of such an exception. 

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August 17, 2013

EGYPT - APPEARANCES & REALITY

When it comes to understanding Egypt today, U.S. President Barack Obama and other Western leaders really don't get it. They are confusing the outcome of an indecisive election with the reality of the anti-democratic Muslim Brotherhood hijacking the Egyptian Revolution in order to found an Islamist state like Iran. These are some of the key questions that America and the West should be addressing: 

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August 04, 2013

ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PARLEY & ROUHANI'S NUCLEAR DECEPTION

 Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has made the first move in the Israeli-Palestinian peace parley by agreeing to release 104 Palestinian terrorists starting on August 15th. In Tehran, the newly installed President Hassan Rouhani appeared to adopt some of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's rhetoric by describing Israel 'as a wound on the body of the Islamic world that must be removed'. 

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July 28, 2013

WILL BIBI NETANYAHU BE ISRAEL'S CHARLES DE GAULLE?

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is known to be a great admirer of Winston Churchill, who led Britain's battle for survival against Nazi Germany. However on the eve of the negotiations with the Palestinians in Washington, Netanyahu may be signaling that he may be about to follow in the footsteps of France's Charles de Gaulle, who against all the expectations, decided to relinquish French control of Algeria in order to end an extremely bloody war. Apparently, Netanyahu has crossed another milestone on his way to seeking a territorial compromise on the Land of Israel with the Palestinians.

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July 14, 2013

U.S. - CANADA IN IRAN'S NUCLEAR CROSSHAIRS?

 Thousands of Israelis along the Mediterranean Coast were startled by a resounding boom that was heard far and wide on the morning of July 12th -  it was far greater than an Israeli jet breaking the sound barrier. Defense officials were quick to announce the testing of a 'navigational rocket system' at the Palmahim launch site.  The Israeli media promptly reported, that according to foreign  sources, it was Israel's Jericho ballistic missile that purportedly has a range of over 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles). Jericho, like its biblical namesake, can bring 'the walls tumbling down' with its  warhead of one ton of explosives. It obviously provides another arrow in Israel's quiver for coping with Iran's nuclear weapons sites. Moreover the Jericho test served as a message to America and the West; Israel will not be lulled by the election of Iran's new President-elect ,Hassan Rouhani, who talks about 'interaction with the West through moderation' while supporting Iran's nuclear weapons program. 

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June 30, 2013

WHAT DO THE PALESTINIANS REALLY WANT?

 Do the Palestinians hate the Jewish state more than they love their dream of a Palestinian homeland? That is the question amid the latest peace effort by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The fact is, the Palestinians could have had their own state years ago, if they were only willing to accept the Jewish state in return. 

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June 08, 2013

MIDDLE EAST CAULDRON

 'Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.'  

 Could the Bard's memorable lines also portend that two non-Arab countries, Turkey and Iran, will now embark on the course of the 'Arab Spring'. Will Iran follow the latest round of anti-government protests that have rocked Turkey? Ten days before Iran's upcoming presidential election on June 14th, tens of thousands of Iranian mourners flocked to the funeral of dissident cleric Ayatollah Jalaluddin Teheri in the town of Isfahan. It was described as the biggest anti-government demonstration against the 'dictator' Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in recent years. The protesters also demanded the release of thousands of political prisoners who were slammed behind bars for demonstrating against the rigged election of 2009. That same political chicanery is happening again - the government has restricted the list of presidential candidates to supporters of the Khamenei regime. So how will Iranians who aspire to a more democratic society react to the 'election' of a new puppet to replace Muhammad Ahmadinejad? Will they again take to the streets in Tehran and other urban centers to challenge the Ayatollahs, who are supported by Muslims in the rural regions of Iran?

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May 06, 2000

Arab World's Jewish Refugee Problem

It is probably the least known fact in the long and vociferous Arab-Israeli conflict, but more Jewish refugees were forced to flee from their homes in the Arab countries than all the Palestinians who were forced to flee or left of their own volition, from the newly born state of Israel in 1948.

At a Jerusalem news conference, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon announced that Israel insisted that the Jewish refugees be ‘a core element in any future negotiation or settlement to resolve the conflict’.

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May 06, 2000

SPECIAL - NEVER BEFORE RELEASED MUSIC FROM 1967

 The stunning victory of the Six Day War gave way to nation-wide enthusiasm and euphoria, even some of the Palestinian residents were excited and now hoped that better days had arrived.

 As a result, this uplifting national spirit inspired many new songs that singers and military bands performed for troops all across the country - the Sinai, the West Bank, the Jordan Valley, and Golan Heights.

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March 10, 2013

THIS WEEK IN ISRAEL - COALITION CRISIS APPARENTLY OVER

 Isracast: Yair Lapid Has Guts In Accepting Problematic Finance Portfolio - Israel Will Be Watching If He Also Has Brains & Political Savvy To Cope With Huge Deficit Left By Outgoing Netanyahu Administration

 Yair Lapid has apparently resolved the current coalition crisis in Israel by agreeing to accept the Finance Portfolio in the new Netanyahu cabinet. It's still not official, but reliable sources on both sides are signaling the two leaders have now overcome this hurdle. When they meet again, they are also expected to agree on the numbers of ultra-orthodox men who will start serving in the IDF. Lapid, leader of 'There's a Future' party may be on his way to becoming Israel's next political hero or a washed-up politician, it will all depend on how he fares as new Finance Minister.



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