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IsraCast Archive | January-February 2009

Gaza Pasta Vs. Gilad Shalit

Secretary Hillary Clinton: "Why is Israel barring pasta from Gaza Strip!"

IsraCast: Clinton is obviously aware that Israel has not fully reopened all of Gaza crossings in order to pressure Hamas into humanitarian treatment of Gild Shalit – is Clinton really sending a signal to Netanyahu on his coalition building?

Netanyahu's challenge will be to persuade right wing coalition partners to give him room for maneuver in Palestinian negotiations

After failing to draw Kadima and Labor into his government, the Likud's Binyamin Netanyahu has started negotiations with his right wing partners on drafting the foreign policy and domestic guidelines for his new coalition. Meanwhile, an Israeli press report says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has chastised the current Israeli government for not allowing food products such as pasta to enter the Gaza Strip. Could this be a veiled hint to the incoming prime minister? IsraCast analyst David Essing assesses the situation as Netanyahu sets about forging guidelines for his right wing coalition.

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Iran & Israel Trade Warnings

Menashe Amir: "Lebanese rockets fired at Israel apparently an Iranian warning"

"Russians playing a very dirty role in sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran"

"Israel awaiting outcome of Obama negotiations before deciding whether to go it alone against Iran"

Terrorists in south Lebanon have again fired Katyusha rockets at Israel, apparently as a warning to Prime Minister designate Binyamin Netanyahu who has declared: "Iran will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons!" In another development, more key Iranian military advisers have reportedly been stationed in south Lebanon. These events come against the backdrop of the latest IAEA report that Iran is continuing its nuclear program. Menashe Amir, a leading Israeli expert on Iran, assesses the current situation.

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Listen to interview with Menashe Amir Includes transcript of the interview

Peres To Prod Netanyahu & Livni

Prime Minister Shimon Peres Tasked with finding an equitable solution to picking Israel's new prime minister

Netanyahu and Livni refusing to budge

Public Opinion Growing For Likud & Kadima To Form National Unity Cabinet

Israel state president Shimon Peres will require his entire political prowess to resolve the disputed outcome of Israel's recent election. No clear winner emerged, although the Likud's Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima's Tzipi Livni both claim victory. Netanyahu argues that the rig is ht wing bloc of parties took more seats, while Livni contends that she won the more actual votes than did Netanyahu.

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Israeli election cliffhanger

Final count of soldiers' votes may determine whether Livni or Netanyahu won election

Livni holds slight lead over Netanyahu, but Likud leader claims victory on basis of 'national bloc's clear majority'

Livni and Netanyahu court support of Lieberman party

The outcome of Israel's general election still hangs in the balance. Only when the last votes of Israeli soldiers and diplomats are tallied will it become clear whether Kadima's Tzipi Livni or the Likud's Binyamin Netanyahu won the most votes. With over 99% of the ballots counted by hand, Livni leads by one Knesset seat, but that could change when the last soldier votes are tallied. Meanwhile both party leaders are claiming victory and already courting the support of Avigdor Lieberman who won third place.

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Lieberman – King Or Queen Maker Of Israeli Election

Avigdor Lieberman's far-right party may hold key to Israel's next prime minister

Lieberman has been drawing voters from front runner Bibi Netanyahu of Likud

Although Netanyahu coalition is still leading option, Kadima's Tzipi Livni might form coalition with Lieberman and Labor

Avigdor Lieberman is without doubt the biggest surprise of Israel's current election campaign. When the votes are tallied in the February10th ballot, Lieberman may even beat out Labor's Ehud Barak for third place. If so, Lieberman could end up as king or queen maker by supporting wither Netanyahu or Livni for the premiership. Lieberman takes a tough stand not only against the Palestinians but also against Israeli Arabs, charging they are disloyal to the Jewish state. What is behind the electorate's obvious swing to the right? IsraCast examines why this crucial swing has transpired and will probably determine the composition of the next Israeli government.

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Palestinian Rocketing Impacts Israel Election

Israeli civilians again under rocket fire from Gaza, this time in Ashqelon

Angry Residents: 'Nothing Has Changed Since IDF Operation - Hamas Is Again Rocketing Us'

Continued Palestinian rocketing may convince many of Israel's undecided voters to support Netanyahu or Lieberman

Since the end of Operation Cast Lead, Palestinian terrorists have carried out sporadic attacks killing one IDF soldier and wounding several civilians. On February 3rd, for the first time they escalated those attacks by launching a GRAD missile at the town of Ashqelon on the Mediterranean Sea. Angry residents charged that Israel halted its recent military operation into Gaza too early and now they were again paying the price. IsraCast assessment: Today's rocketing on Ashqelon will impact on Israel's national election on February 10th. Many undecided voters may now cast their ballots for front runner Binyamin Netanyahu of the Likud or for Avigdor Lieberman's party on the far right.

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An Open Letter to A citizen Of Gaza: I Am the Soldier Who Slept In Your Home

Hello, While the world watches the ruins in Gaza, you return to your home which remains standing. However, I am sure that it is clear to you that someone was in your home while you were away. I am that someone.

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Peres - Erdogan Confrontation

Israel's President Shimon Peres Pulls No Punches In Rebuttal Of Turkish Leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Condemnation Of Israeli Operation Against Hamas

Israeli Experts Believe Erdogan Is Bashing Israel To Win Islamist Votes In Upcoming Turkish Election

IsraCast Comment: Peres Could Have Recalled Turkey's Past Oppression Of Armenians & Current Warfare Against Kurds

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, there were fireworks after Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan again condemned Israel for its Operation 'Cast Shield' against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Sharing the stage was Israel's President Shimon Peres who refuted Erdogan's allegations. Also taking part in the discussion were UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa.

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Pope Benedict XVI Appeases Holocaust Denier

Dr.Yitzak Minerbi: "Pope Benedict's revoking excommunication of Holocaust denier Williamson is a very sad day for Jews who believe in dialogue with Vatican"

"Vatican feels unity with Holocaust denier as more important than the dialogue with the Jews"

Today the UN marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day - universal commemoration in memory of the victims of The Holocaust

The decision of Pope Benedict XVI to revoke the excommunication on Holocaust denier Richard Williamson has shocked the Jewish world. Dr. Yitzak Minerbi, an Israeli expert on Jewish Vatican affairs, told IsraCast it was a very sad day for Jews who believed in the dialogue with the Vatican.

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Israel's Military Morality In Gaza

Col. Herzi Halevi: "Israel's conduct of Gaza war was in full compliance with international law and rules of warfare"

"Palestinian civilian casualties were result of Hamas decision to fight behind civilians in populated areas"

"My Paratroopers Even Warned Palestinians Civilians In Advance To Leave Neighborhoods & Buildings Before We Attacked, Even Though This Tipped Off Hamas"

Col. Herzi Halevi, who spent the entire ground war inside the Gaza Strip, has given an inside description of the fighting against Hamas. The officer commanded 2500 Israeli paratroopers who killed an estimated 170 Hamas fighters, while one of his officers died and four other paratroopers were wounded. The colonel is married and has four children. He was interviewed by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot.

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Obama Goes Aggressive On Middle East

Ambassador Zalman Shoval: "President Obama is sending George Mitchell on fact-finding mission before reaching decision on how to proceed"

"Doubtful that Obama will adopt any half-baked plan that could end in failure"

IsraCast assessment: After the Gaza war, Obama peace mission will become a major issue of Israeli election campaign

US President Barack Obama has officially announced that he is sending former U.S. Senator George Mitchell to the Middle East in a new attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At a State Department news conference, Obama spoke of aggressively tackling the issue but what can realistically be expected after the recent war between Israel and Hamas? IsraCast turned to Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, who believes president Obama will look before he leaps into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Ehud Barak On Barack Obama

Defense Minister Barak: "I refer you to another Barack who said in Sderot that he would do all possible to prevent his daughters from being rocketed"

"I believe Hamas violations of cease-fire are only tail-end of the warfare"

Barak indicates Israel will link Hamas release of captured IDF soldier Glad Shalit to reopening of Gaza border crossings

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the architect of Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has said the IDF achieved all its operational goals. Barak saw little or no possibility that Israel could be prosecuted internationally over its conduct of the war and quoted from U.S. President Barack Obama.

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Hamas Dirty Tricks

Recording indicates Hamas used Arabic media Center in Gaza as launch-pad for Grad missiles

IDF withdraws all forces from Gaza Strip

Israel declares zero tolerance for any future attacks from Gaza or new arms smuggling into Gaza Strip

A rare recording indicates that Hamas did use Arabic media Center in Gaza as a launch-pad for launching Grad missiles at Israel during the recent fighting. The recording was broadcast for the first time on Israel Radio on January 21st. IsraCast says more and more indications are coming to light about a deliberate Hamas policy of exploiting civilians and then to blame Israel for 'war crimes'.

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Obama - I Have A Dream

Barack Obama defeated John McCain to become the 44th President of the United States and the first African American President in U.S. history.

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Gaza & Obama's New World Order

Europe supports Israel against Hamas arms smuggling while urging an accelerated peace process with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

IsraCast assessment: Europe has coordinated with US President Elect Obama On Gaza Test Case

Key European leaders converged on Jerusalem in a strong show of support for Israel against Hamas arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip. But at the same time, they strongly urged Israel to use the outcome of the war in Gaza to jump-start the peace process with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the West Bank. The IsraCast analysis is that the impressive show of European as well as American backing for Israel against radical Islam is a prelude to a new world order that will be headed by President Barack Obama.

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Israel Announces Unilateral Cease-Fire

Israel Announces Halt To Offensive Operations In Gaza At 02:00 GMT Sunday Morning-Any Hamas Violation Of Cease- fire To Be Met With Severe Israeli Response

Israeli Forces To Remain In Gaza Until Quiet Takes Hold

Egypt, Incoming Obama Administration & NATO Ready To Act To Prevent New Hamas Military Build- up In Gaza After Cease-fire

Israel's security cabinet has voted overwhelmingly to accept an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire in Gaza. However, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that Israeli troops would respond severely if Hamas continues attacking Israel. But while Israeli leaders in Jerusalem were announcing the unilateral cease-fire, Hamas launched more rockets into Israel.

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Gaza Cease-Fire In Offing

Hamas & Israel appear ready to consider Egyptian brokered ceasefire agreement for Gaza

Israeli official hopes: The devil will not be in the fine print of the arms smuggling arrangement

IDF keeps up military pressure while Al-Qaeda's Osama Bin-Laden eggs on Hamas

Israeli leaders hope that Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad will return from Cairo with a serious Egyptian deal for a durable ceasefire that will also prevent future arms smuggling from Egypt into the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip. If so, Israel and Hamas are expected to implement a halt to the current warfare. However an Israeli official told IsraCast: "we hope the devil will not be in the fine print of the arms smuggling arrangement".

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Red Cross Disappoints On Gilad Shalit

Gilad Shalit is held hostage by Hamas for more than two years

Hamas has not allowed any access to Shalit by the Red Cross, or anyone else

Even Nazi Germany accepted visits of the Red Cross delegates to the concentration camps

"The International Red Cross should be more active and persuasive in getting a visit with abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit" - that's the view of Noam, the father of corporal Shalit who was captured over two years ago by Palestinian terrorists from the Gaza Strip. Since then, in total violation of international law, the Palestinians had not allowed the Red Cross to pay even one visit to Gilad to testify to his treatment and condition. Today Israeli protesters gathered outside an Israeli prison where Red Cross Representatives once again visited captured Palestinian prisoners.

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I.D.F Defanging Hamas

IDF Chief Of Staff Ashkenazi: "We have dealt a severe blow to Hamas but there is still work to be done to accomplish our mission"

President Peres: "Israel is not seeking ceasefire, Israel is seeking cease terrorism"

In Cairo, Hamas considers Egyptian proposal for halt to fighting and arms smuggling

The IDF continues to close the ring around Hamas guerrillas on land, sea and in the air. However, Israel's political leadership is giving more time for an Egyptian initiative leading to a ceasefire that would prevent future arms smuggling to Hamas leading to another explosion after Hamas regroups. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in Gaza, has made a televised statement from inside his underground bunker, agreeing to cooperate with the Egyptians - but in distant Damascus, his Hamas colleague Haled Mashal is hanging tough. Israel is still on hold awaiting the outcome before deciding how to proceed in the current crisis.

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Israel's Moderate Military Pressure In Gaza

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: "Israel must not miss a chance to smash Hamas at the last minute"

Defense Minister Ehud Barak: "We are continuing effort to restore quiet while examining possibility of preventing future arms smuggling from Egypt into Gaza"

IsraCast Assessment: "Israel attempting to synchronize military and political moves for solution to end war and threat of future Hamas rocketing"

In Cairo, the diplomatic effort continues in the search for a solution to block future arms smuggling from Egyptian controlled Sinai into Gaza. This is a crucial Israeli goal required to prevent the Gaza Strip again becoming a ticking time bomb regardless of the UN resolution calling for an immediate and durable ceasefire. Meanwhile, Israeli is keeping moderate military pressure on Hamas as the terrorists continue to lob rockets at an estimated one-million Israeli civilians in southern Israel. At this juncture the Israeli approach appears to be a blending of military and diplomatic steps to resolve the crisis. If it does not succeed within the coming days all options maybe open.

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U.S Surprises Israel?

Has the US pulled rug out from under Israel's military operation in Gaza to halt Hamas rocketing?

Israeli security cabinet considers its options in light of UN security resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire leading to Israeli withdrawal from Gaza

Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser: "Egypt and international community have obligation to show Israel an operational plan to prevent future arms smuggling from Egypt to Hamas in Gaza"

The U.S failure to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire leading to a full IDF withdrawal from Gaza has sent shock waves through Israel. The Israeli leadership must now decide whether to comply with the resolution, defy it by launching an escalation against Hamas or to try and buy time for a plan to block future arms smuggling from Egypt into Gaza.

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Gaza At Crossroads

Israeli leaders consider cost effectiveness of expanding Gaza military operation or accepting ceasefire

IsraCast analysis: Egypt must get serious about blocking arms smuggling into Gaza if Israel can be expected to halt operation

Israeli officials: "Three rockets from South Lebanon are a Palestinian attempt to draw Lebanon into a war with Israel"

Rockets are being launched at Israeli civilians not only from the Gaza Strip but also from Lebanon. However, Israeli officials view the new Lebanese rocketing as a Palestinian attempt to draw Israel into war with Lebanon. IsraCast quotes one Israel source as saying "we have no intension of retaliating or being drawn into a second front, but let's hope Lebanon does not let it become a habit". Meanwhile, Israel has agreed to more three-hour ceasefires to allow Palestinians in Gaza to stock up on food supplies via Israel, while the Israeli leadership considers whether to expand the military operation in light of the continuous Hamas rocketing or to go for a ceasefire.

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Hamas Exploits Gaza Children As Shields

IDF: "Hamas exploited UNWRA School as launch pad for firing rockets at Israel"

Dr. Dore Gold: "Mounting evidence that Hamas members use Gaza children for protection from Israeli attacks"

Gen. Yossi Kupperwaser: "Hamas terrorists invite children to rocket storehouses after IDF warns buildings will be bombed"

The tragic killing of Palestinian children among the people including a Hamas rocket team has aroused shock and anger. However, it is now apparent that the school building was being used as a launch pad for rocketing Israel, a tactic repeatedly used by Hamas. IsraCast presents an official IDF statement on the incident as well as comments by Dr. Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, and Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kupperwaser, a senior IDF intelligence officer.

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No Thanks, President Sarkozy

Four IDF soldiers killed by 'friendly fire'

Israeli leader turn down proposal for immediate ceasefire

Israeli leaders have rejected a proposal by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his European colleagues, calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. From President Shimon Peres on down, the Israeli officials made clear that not only must there be a stop to the eight years of Hamas rocketing, but a mechanism would also have to be in place to prevent any recurrence in the future. Meanwhile, inside the Gaza Strip, four IDF soldiers have been killed by 'friendly fire' in the campaign to root out the terrorists who have taken cover behind the civilian population.

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Iran 'Calls Hamas Shots'

Menashe Amir: "Iranian experts may now be launching Grad missiles for Hamas inside Gaza Strip"

"Europeans fail to understand that Iranians is manipulating Hamas in Tehran's confrontation with moderate Arab states"

"Iranian bank rollers ordered Hamas to break six-month truce and to escalate rocketing of Israel"

Iran has been 'calling the shots' for Hamas in the current war with Israel - that's the assessment of Menashe Amir, a leading Israeli expert on Iranian affairs. Iran, which supports Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza with hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as with military aid including instructors, apparently gave the order to Hamas leader Haled Mashal in Damascus who related to the Gaza Strip. In Amir's view, there is no doubt that Iran is manipulating Hamas, as it does Hezbollah in Lebanon, not only against Israel but as part of its ongoing confrontation with Sunni Arab state in the Middle East. Egypt, Saudi-Arabia, Jordan and other Arab countries are furious over Iran's interference, something which most European countries fail to understand. In this wide-ranging interview with IsraCast, Menashe Amir analyzes various aspects of the current hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

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Listen to Audio interview with Menashe Amir - Exclusive, includes transcript of the interview

Inside Gaza - I.D.F Hits Hamas

Moshe Arens: "IDF must reach Hamas rocket sites in Gaza in order to halt rocketing of Israeli cities"

"Operation can be completed quite shortly without requiring a permanent IDF presence in Gaza"

"There can be no cease-fire with Hamas, Al-Qaeda or other terror organizations – terrorists must be fought and defeated"

Eight days after the IDF launched major air strikes, Hamas continued its relentless rocketing of Israeli towns and villages from Gaza. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak both declared there was no alternative but to send in IDF troops and tanks to silence the shelling of Israeli civilians once and for all. Moshe Arens, a former Israeli Defense Minister and Foreign Minister and a Likud party member, assessed the evolving situation for IsraCast concluding this is a campaign that Israel can and must win.

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Listen to interview with former Defense Minister Moshe Arens - Exclusive, includes transcript of the interview

Attention French President Sarkozy!

Dr. Dan Schueftan: "President Sarkozy's cease-fire proposal was a major mistake that would have legitimized Hamas and undermined Israel's message of making Arab radicals pay for consequences of their deeds"

"Israel is in fact fighting for survival of moderate Arab states which are also threatened by radical Islam"

"Current Israeli campaign is restoring Israel's deterrence to far greater threats from Iran, Syria and even Lebanon"

What is the state of affairs, one week after Israel launched its aerial counter strike to suppress the Hamas rocketing of Israeli villages and towns over the border? Hamas is continuing its rocketing escalation now targeting the city of Beer Sheva, some 40 KM away. Israeli aircraft have been bombing day and night scores of Hamas targets in Gaza, focusing on the rocket teams and their arsenals. Israel has also began targeting Hamas leaders including one who called  for more suicide bombing attacks against Israel a day earlier. Dr. Dan Schueftan, director of director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa analyzed various aspects of the current campaign in an in-depth interview with IsraCast.

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Listen to interview with Dr. Dan Schueftan - Exclusive, includes transcript of the interview

Injured Palestinian Civilians Receive Medical Care in Israel

Two Palestinian youths were transferred from Gaza to Israel to receive medical treatment at Israeli hospitals.  The Gazan youths were injured during IAF strikes on Hamas targets, which include weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, terror operative training camps, and other facilities that are crucial to Hamas's terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. The youths were transferred to Israel via the Erez crossing. In addition to the two youth, approximately 20 chronically ill were transferred from the Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip to Israeli hospitals.

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IsraCast Archive | January-February 2009

IsraCast Archive