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December 01, 2012

Isracast Weekend Report

 It is a diplomatic debacle for Israel - that is an accurate description of the massive support by the UN General Assembly for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Back in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu downplayed the impact charging that nothing had changed on the ground - only direct negotiations with Israel could ever lead to a Palestinian state. Moreover, by taking a unilateral step to bypass talks with Israel, Abbas had violated the Oslo Accord and two could play that game. Israel would also react with its own one-sided measures. Later Israeli officials announced government approval for the construction of 3,000 new housing units that will link the West Bank settlement town of Maale Adumin with Jerusalem. There is no question that Israel will insist on the area remaining part of Israel in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians.

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October 27, 2012

Why Netanyahu Did It!

 Why has Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu shocked Israel by running on the same ticket with Avigdor Lieberman, probably the most controversial Right-wing politician in the country? And how will this surprising partnership affect the general election slated for January 22. Netanyahu and Lieberman are selling their deal as a means to improve 'governance and political stability' at a time the state is facing the Iranian nuclear threat and economic challenges. However analyst David Essing is of the view that Netanyahu studied recent opinion polls and was alarmed by what he saw.

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August 22, 2012

Israel's Iranian Dilemma

 By chance or design, President Barack Obama has bowed out of the war of rhetoric with Israel on when, if at all, to bomb Iran. So with Obama on the hustings Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joints of Staff, has stepped in as Obama's point-man. Arriving on a trip to Afghanistan, Dempsey said he consulted bi-weekly with his Israeli counter-part Gen. Benny Gantz: 'We compare intelligence, we discuss regional implications and we've admitted that our clocks are turning at different rates. And Dempsey admitted candidly: 'They (the Israelis) are living with an existential concern that we are not living with'. Analyst David Essing says this is the crux of the controversy between Jerusalem and Washington over what to do about Iran's relentless drive for nuclear weapons, in spite of the latest international sanctions.

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August 14, 2012

Morsi Inaugerates New Egypt

The shock waves are still reverberating and will for some time to come in Egypt, Israel and the entire Middle East. In a stunning coup, Egypt's newly elected President Mohamed Morsi has purged the all-powerful top brass of the Egyptian Army that has ruled the country since 1952. After his election, most pundits jumped the gun - take TIME magazine's cover story of July 9: 'The Revolution That Wasn't, Why The Generals Remain Egypt's Real Rulers'. Analyst David Essing has this assessment from Jerusalem of what is being viewed as an historic development in the country along the Nile.

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June 30, 2012

Yitzhak Shamir (1915-2012)

 

Israeli politician and the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms, 1983-84 and 1986-1992. He was the country's second longest-serving prime minister after David Ben-Gurion.

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June 10, 2012

Netanyahu - Settler Showdown

 The recent inclusion of the Kadima party into the coalition has already paid dividends for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. With Kadima's support, the PM was able to sail through Right wing opposition, even from inside his Likud party, and comply with a Supreme Court ruling to evict Israeli residents from five buildings built on West Bank land that belonged to a Palestinian owner. Meanwhile just over the borders in Egypt and Syria, Analyst David Essing is of the view that the term 'Arab Spring' has obviously become a media oxymoron.

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January 09, 2012

Lieberman: 'Russia is No Switzerland'

 Israel's For Minister Avigdor Lieberman, notorious for his tough talk, pulled no punches when he briefed the Knesset's Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee in Jerusalem. Lieberman commented on Russia's controversial election, new Palestinian peace contacts, Iran, Jordan and Turkey. Although Lieberman's diplomatic discourse dealt with the numerous problems, the Foreign Minister rejected any notion that Israel was facing diplomatic isolation on his watch.

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January 05, 2012

EU Oil Embargo & Iran

 Has the European Union decided to call Iran's bluff? That is the implication of an EU diplomat's dramatic disclosure: 'The principle of an oil embargo is agreed, it is not being debated any more'. The EU's foreign ministers are slated to vote for the embargo at their next meeting in Brussels on January 30th. Analyst David Essing is of the view the EU leak is aimed at exerting further pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program before a possible military confrontation in the Straits of Hormuz.

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September 25, 2011

Aftermath of Abbas-Netanyahu Clash

 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has apparently failed in his attempt to acquire UN Security Council for full recognition of a Palestinian state. This after U.S. President Barack Obama declared that peace between Israel and the Palestinians could only be negotiated by the parties and not imposed by UN resolutions. The U.S. could cast her veto to block the Palestinian application, if nine of the fifteen members voted in favor. The international Quartet is now trying to resuscitate the moribund peace talks - Netanyahu has said Yes, Abbas has yet to announce his position.

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September 18, 2011

Israeli-Palestinian Uncharted Territory

West Bank Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniya, the Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza, have again crossed swords - this time over the attempt by Abbas to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state, based on the lines of June 4th,1967. This implies Abbas's recognition of Israel in the remaining territory. However in Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, who represents at least half of the Palestinian population has categorically rejected the Abbas move declaring: 'The Palestinians will never recognize Israel or give up an inch of their land!' Hamas, an ally of Iran, also subscribes to Tehran's vow to wipe Israel 'off the map'. In effect, Mahmoud Abbas will be calling on the UN to recognize a Palestinian state that also declares its intention to annihilate another UN member state.

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July 02, 2011

Lauder and Dershowitz Admonish Netanyahu

 Two prominent American Jewish figures Ron Lauder and Alan Dershowitz have called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to launch a viable peace initiative. In separate interviews with the Israeli media, the two friends of Netanyahu, have warned of the Palestinian PR campaign that is being spearheaded by the latest flotilla to Gaza and the UN General Assembly vote recognizing a Palestinian state expected in September. Analyst David Essing is of the view that both Lauder and Dershowitz would not have gone public with such critical comments, unless they felt that Israel's Prime Minister is unwilling to confront his Right wing supporters in and out of his Likud party.

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May 19, 2011

Netanyahu's Statecraft Put To Test

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's upcoming visit to Washington may be one of the most crucial in Israel's history. At stake, the outcome to the diplomatic warfare that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been waging against the Jewish state. At present, Abbas has garnered the votes of more than 130 members of the UN General Assembly for a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state on the lines of 1967. Israeli experts have warned that such a step will have a grave impact on the Jewish state's international status, security and economic well being. Analyst David Essing has this assessment:

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May 15, 2011

Bin Laden and Hamas vs Obama and Netanyahu

Speculation is mounting over just what U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyhau will tell the world when they make their much heralded speeches on the Middle East later this month. IsraCast analyst David Essing is of the view that two recent and dramatic developments will have a major impact on what they have to say - the U.S. targeted killing of al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and the recent 'reconciliation ' between Palestinian West Bank President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas that rules Gaza.

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May 07, 2011

Portraying Israel as Apartheid South Africa

 Defense Minister Ehud Barak has warned of a mounting attempt to smear Israel as an apartheid South Africa, paving the way for the enforcement of international sanctions. Barak issued his warning in an interview with the Haaretz newspaper. Barak also played down the danger that Iran might try and 'nuke' Israel, if it is permitted to acquire nuclear weapons. Returning from a visit to Britain and France, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told reporters that both states insist that Hamas must recognize Israel and prior agreements as well as halting terrorism against the Jewish state.

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April 30, 2011

Palestinian Hybrid

One of the greatest surprises of the 'Arab Spring', now sweeping the Middle East, is the sudden reconciliation between the two bitter Palestinian rivals for power. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from the West Bank and Hamas Chief Khaled Mashal, who virtually rules Gaza from Damascus, will go to Cairo on May 4th to sign an Egyptian brokered accord calling for a new election within a year. Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu swiftly rejected the step declaring: 'Mahoud Abbas must decide between Israel and Hamas that calls for Israel's destruction!' Analyst David Essing has this assessment of the latest political bombshell that has also taken Israel's security establishment by surprise.

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April 06, 2011

Wake Up Call to Netanyahu

 In September, West Bank President Mahmoud Abbas plans to call on the UN General Assembly to officially recognize the state of Palestine. Since the Netanyahu government took office two years ago, Abbas has succeeded in gaining the votes of 150 nations that will support a vote for Palestine independence Analyst David Essing says the step would bypass direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, internationalize the conflict and could open the door to an imposed agreement and Israel's international isolation. The peace proposal supported by former IDF Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and former Shabak Security Director Yaacov Perri is a wake-up call to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

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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 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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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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November 16, 2010

Netanyahu Starts Crossing Rubicon

 Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has signaled his readiness to accept a U.S. proposal to freeze building in West Bank settlements for another three months in return for U.S. political and security incentives. Although Netanyahu is facing fierce opposition from inside his own ruling Likud party and some of his Right-wing coalition partners, the Prime Minister is expected to win a narrow victory in the security cabinet. Analyst David Essing assesses the implications of Netanyahu's dramatic decision that is now expected to kick-start peace talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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