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March 05, 2011

Netanyahu's Palestinian Peace Proposal

Faced with growing international isolation and strained relations with U.S., Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is now in the throes of formulating a new proposal for a Palestinian state. In an interview with Channel 1 TV, Likud Knesset Member Ofir Ecunis, a confidant of the Prime Minister has alluded to some key points. Earlier this week, Netanyahu startled his Likud caucus in the Knesset by declaring: 'Wake up, we can't break our heads against the wall by insisting on settlement building in areas designated for Palestinian state!' This week, Israeli security forces also fired with rubber bullets at violent settlers who tried to prevent the demolition of an illegal outpost on the West Bank.

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February 26, 2011

Middle East Meltdown?

Maj.Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, a senior adviser to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, has warned that one lesson from Libya is that radical regimes such as Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Gen. Gilad noted that Muamar Kadafi had been forced to abandon his nuclear weapons project in the past, otherwise he would now be threatening to use them today against his opponents at home and abroad. IsraCast analyst David Essing reports on some of the issues now facing Israel.

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February 13, 2011

New Egypt - Big Question Mark For Israel

 At the end of the sabbath, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed Egypt's ruling Supreme Council pledge to honor all its international agreements including the peace treaty with Israel. Netanyahu praised the praised the peace agreement as serving the interests of both countries and a cornerstone of Middle East stability. As the monumental events unfolded, there was no telling what they would portend for Israel. While visiting the U.S., Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel must 'upgrade' its long term security while pushing for peace with both the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors. For the foreseeable future the Egyptian Army, that has served as an anchor of moderation that has resolved the crisis, will be running the country. David Essing assesses how Mubarak's departure is being viewed in Israel.

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February 05, 2011

Gen. Galant to the Guillotine!

Barring last minute developments, Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz will reportedly become the new IDF Chief of Staff after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein disqualified Maj.Gen. Yoav Gallant. However Gallant has not given up - in TV interviews he declared: 'I never lied, deceived or acted dishonorably in the land dispute near my home'.
Nonetheless, Gen. Gallant is fighting a rear guard action against overwhelming odds, despite growing public support for his case. David Essing has this assessment of the controversial affair that has rocked the IDF and the entire country.

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January 30, 2011

Israel Braces For Post Mubarak Era

Israeli leaders and the IDF are closely monitoring the rioting across Egypt that is threatening to topple the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, Israel's closest ally in the Middle East. A former Israeli cabinet minister, who has been the closest Israeli official to Mubarak, has now warned that Israel must prepare for the post-Mubarak era. And Binyamin Ben Eliezer adds: 'I believe a new Egyptian regime will be more militant and radical Islamist'! Analyst David Essing has this assessment on how the tumult in Egypt is being viewed in Israel.

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January 17, 2011

Israeli Eyes Peeled on Arab Turmoil

 Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reacted swiftly to the sudden upheaval in Tunisia and the threat of a new civil war in Lebanon, Israel's northern neighbor, where Hezballah, an Iranian proxy is threatening to take overall control of the state. The shock waves are still reverberating throughout the entire Middle East and are likely to do so for some time to come. Iraq was formerly the epicenter, now Tunisia the quiet state on the Mediterranean that welcomed Israeli tourists, has become a new focus of turmoil. Its tyrannical President Ben Ali was toppled by thousands of citizens who took to the streets ending his regime of twenty three years. Meanwhile 'Lebanon is Lebanon'. The Sunni-Shiite, Christian and Druze ethnic tensions have again escalated after a UN inquiry has found Hezbollah guilty of assassinating former Sunni Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Analyst David Essing has this assessment of how the recent developments may affect Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's strategic outlook.

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December 04, 2010

Haifa Inferno - Israel's 'Katrina'

It is the biggest fire in Israel's history killing forty-two people, three others are missing in the fire zone, animal and plant life over 8,000 acres has been decimated, one kibbutz razed and seventeen-thousand Israelis evacuated form their homes in the Mount Carmel region. The Israel Fire Departments were found to be woefully lacking in manpower, equipment and even the vital chemical suppressants for blocking the fire from spreading. For the first time, an Israeli prime minister had to appeal for foreign assistance to cope with the national disaster. Analyst David Essing says one fire expert has already charged that the forty-one prison guards were virtually 'murdered' due to the negligence of public officials.

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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 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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September 22, 2010

Israeli Settlement Freeze And Palestinian Violence

 There is still no solution in sight to the tug-of-war between Israel and the Palestinians over the expiry of Israel's self-imposed building freeze at Israeli settlements in Judea & Samaria (West Bank). The Israeli government says construction will be resumed after the Sept.26th deadline - if it is, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatens to walk out of the current peace talks with Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The U.S. has been prodding Netanyahu to extend his 'building suspension' but the PM's Right-wing coalition colleagues are demanding that he keep his word to send the bulldozers back to work. Meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is preparing for 'all contingencies' including a possible renewed wave of Palestinian violence on the West Bank.

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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 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 01, 2010

Arab League Green Light vs. Gaza Rocketing

 On July 29th, the Arab League put its seal of approval on a new round of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Since the election of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, nearly a year and a half ago, West Bank Palestinian President Muhmoud Abbas has refused to negotiate with Netanyahu. But after Netanyahu met recently with U.S. President Barak Obama, European officials and Arab leaders, they have all come in support of the direct negotiations. Netanyahu has declared repeatedly that he means business about implementing the two state solution and this has apparently done the trick. While Abbas considered his reply, Hamas controlled Gaza reacted swiftly with fresh rocket attacks on Israel.

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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 12, 2010

Israel's 'Final Countdown' For Iran?

 The London Times has reported a dramatic new development after Iran rejected the latest UN Security Council sanctions and indicated she has no intention of halting her nuclear weapons program. According to the report, Saudi Arabia has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of her airspace in the north to shorten the distance for a bombing raid on Iran's nuclear facilities. The Saudis had even tested a 'stand-down' of their air defenses that would allow Israeli aircraft to fly through unscathed. The U.S. was said to have approved the arrangement. Analyst David Essing cautions that the U.S. involvement has yet to be confirmed - this is his assessment on the basis of available information.

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March 26, 2010

Obama Imposing Israeli-Palestinian Agreement?

 Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has started consultations with six other members of his top level security cabinet on a reply to U.S. President Barack Obama's demands. At their White House meetings, Obama called on Israel to halt all building in east Jerusalem as well as making other reported concession in order to start proximity talks with the Palestinians under American aegis. Defense Minister Ehud Barak Reportedly Called For Accepting Most Obama Demands Except On Jerusalem. IsraCast: Netanyahu Will Require Obama Commitment On Palestinian Concessions In Order To Sell His Compromises To Israeli Public

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December 29, 2009

Iran - Atomic Bomb Or Revolution?

 Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak has criticized the Free World for not lending sufficient support for Iranian dissidents in their confrontation with their country's dictatorial regime. In a closed door briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Barak assessed current developments against the Iranian government's drive to acquire nuclear weapons and Analyst David Essing says these issues are intertwined from Israel's perspective. The Defense Minister also sized up other threats to the Jewish state such as failing to reach an agreement on separation from the West Bank Palestinians.

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November 27, 2009

Netanyahu's Constructive Ambiguity

In a dramatic diplomatic development, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has announced a ten-month suspension of housing permits for building in West Bank settlements. At the same time, Netanyahu made clear that housing construction would continue in Jerusalem's suburbs such as Gilo, which were constructed beyond the 1967 line after the Six Day War of 1967. In the existing West Bank settlements, public buildings such as schools, kindergartens and synagogues will continue as well as the completing of 3,000 housing units now underway. Analyst David Essing is of the view that Netanyahu's ambiguous approach on settlement construction may prove to impact as much on Israel's confrontation with Iran as it does on the Palestinians.

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September 25, 2009

Netanyahu Settles Score With UN

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu first caught the eye of the Israeli public when he served as an eloquent Ambassador to the U.N. He has now returned to the General Assembly to make a masterful defense of the Jewish state's struggle for survival, not only in the Middle East, but also in UN bodies that single her for 'special treatment'.

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