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March 12, 2017

ISRAEL RESETS RELATIONS WITH MOSCOW & WASHINGTON

The state's two top leaders have returned from similar missions - Prime Minister Netanyahu went to Moscow and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Washington to determine how Israel can better 'coordinate' strategic policies with Russia and the U.S. There are several urgent reasons for doing so as a new strategic landscape is fast emerging in the region in the wake of the Iranian nuclear deal and the winding down of the Syrian Civil War; and in fact, there is a link between the two.

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March 04, 2017

WHO DOES BIBI FEAR MOST, ISRAELI SETTLERS OR TRUMP?

It was not Israel's finest hour. State Comptroller Yosef Shapira has lambasted both Israel's political and military echelons for their conduct before and during the 'Protective Edge' military campaign against Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014. Sixty-eight Israelis and five civilians were killed in the war that was triggered by the Hamas kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz barely received a passing mark. They were all found to be at fault for their failure to prepare to deal with the tunnels dug by Hamas under the border into Israel that cost many Israeli lives.

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February 26, 2017

'WHAT TRUMP DOES TO MUSLIMS WE'LL DO TO JEWS'

In America, the flare-up in anti-Semitism is somehow related to the ascension of President Donald Trump. But just what is the connection? Trump's daughter Ivanka even converted to Judaism and he has 'three beautiful Jewish grandchildren'. However, there is another way of looking at it. The new President is keeping his word about cracking down on Muslims at large. But in advancing this highly controversial policy, the President has run afoul of the US Constitution, as was pointed out to him by a federal judge. Nonetheless, he may have sent unintentionally a viral message to violent anti-Semites, who may be now saying to themselves:

    'Look at what Trump is doing to the Muslims; he not only talks, he does something about them! We must get off our asses and also do something about the Jews. Hell, they've even infiltrated Trump's family for Christ's sake!'

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February 19, 2017

POLL: ISRAELIS PREFER TWO STATE SOLUTION BY NEARLY 3 TO 1

'One state, two states'! Whatever, it's up to you guys, the Israelis and Palestinians. Whatever they decided would be fine with US President Donald Trump - just make the deal already! Has the new US President just thrown out the window several decades of American support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Over at the UN, American Ambassador Nikki Haley was quick to correct any mistaken impression - the US still backed the two-state scheme. Apparently, the boss sometimes gets carried away with his own rhetoric. Go figure.

That is just what Bibi's friends and foes are now trying to do back in Jerusalem. Channel 10 got the jump on everyone by conducting a snap opinion poll in the wake of Trump's bomb-shell. Where do Israeli voters stand today? The results were startling:

  • ISRAELIS FOR TWO-STATE SOLUTION: 43%
  • ISRAELIS FOR ONE-STATE SOLUTION: 15%
  • UNDECIDED: 30%
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February 11, 2017

WILL NETANYAHU AND TRUMP CLASH OR COOPERATE OVER SETTLEMENTS?

What's going on? Twice in the last week US President Donald Trump has opposed wide-scale Israeli settlement building on the West Bank. In Israel, Right-wingers have been shocked to the core - Trump and Bibi were supposed to be great pals. They had anticipated that Trump would give Israel the green light for constructing a brand new settlement and adding 5,500 new housing units to existing settlements. Moreover, there is the new controversial law that would enable Israel to legalize homes built on privately owned Palestinian land. But is this promising package is unraveling? In an exclusive interview with Yisrael Hayom, the pro-Netanyahu newspaper, Trump clarified his position:

  • 'The settlements don't help the process. I can say that. There is only so much land left (on the West bank). And every time you (Israel) take land for settlements, there is less land left (for a Palestinian state). But we are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options, we'll see. But no I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace'.
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February 05, 2017

TRUMP SIGNALS NETANYAHU - HOLD YOUR HORSES ON SETTLEMENTS!

It was not long in coming – President Trump has signaled Prime Minister Netanyahu to back off on building new settlements or expanding any existing settlements 'beyond their current borders'. In fact, Israel's leader actually triggered the White House response. What did Bibi expect after he announced that Israel would build a brand-new settlement to compensate for the evacuation of the illegal settlement of Amona? For good measure Netanyahu also tacked on 5,500 new housing units to existing settlements on the West Bank! This was the official Trump statement:

  1. "While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal."
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January 21, 2017

ISRAEL AWAITS TWO SAVIORS

Israel's Right wing fervently hopes and believes US President Donald Trump will reverse America's former policy that opposed settlement building in the West Bank. From Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu on down, the Right wingers also trust the US will serve as a bulwark to anti-Israel moves at the UN and in other international forums. A first indicator will be if Trump keeps his campaign pledge to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the face of bitter Palestinian and Muslim threats. But his credibility is at stake. Could this mean he will, as reported, suffice with some half-measure like moving the Ambassador's official residence to Jerusalem, while the embassy would remain in Tel Aviv?

Trump's Inauguration address focused on his 'America First' theme and bringing back home American jobs. If so, this might trigger a global trade war. Or then again, will Trump's bark prove to be worse than his bite?

On Friday evening, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu rushed off his best wishes to Trump:

       'Congratulations to my friend President Trump. I look forward to working closely with you to make the alliance between Israel and America stronger than ever. Shabbat Shalom'.

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January 07, 2017

ISRAELI COURT-MARTIAL RAISES SPECTER OF ANOTHER 'RABIN' ASSASSINATION

The IDF court-martial convicting IDF Sergeant Elor Azaria guilty of manslaughter for shooting dead a captured Palestinian terrorist has sent shock waves throughout Israel. This time the potential target is none other than IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot. Overnight Israel's top soldier turned, in the eyes of some Right wingers, from an admired commander to a subject of controversy. And why is that? Simply because he reprimanded Azaria for shooting to death a wounded Palestinian prisoner in Hebron last March. After the verdict in the drawn-out trial, Right wing rabble-rousers clashed with Israeli police outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, chanting in Hebrew:

       'Gadi Gadi Tizahair, Rabin mechakeh le Haver!'

This translates into:

       'Gadi,Gadi Beware, Rabin is waiting for a friend!'

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December 31, 2016

OBAMA MAY HAVE SCREWED ISRAEL BUT BIBI ALSO SCREWED UP

US President Barack Obama screwed Israel on the UN Security Council Resolution that blamed Israeli settlements solely for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Granted, Secretary John Kerry has tried to take out some of the sting, but the fact remains Professor Obama presented his damning thesis - 'if only the Israelis had halted the settlements we would have reached an historic peace accord and today the Palestinians and Israelis would be living happily ever after'. This is patently false and does not stand up to a fair and balanced examination of what has transpired since Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Agreement on the White House lawn in 1993.

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December 24, 2016

ISRAEL REELING FROM UN RESOLUTION OUTLAWING WEST BANK SETTLEMENTS

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu should have known better - but he didn't. He has now presided over Israel's greatest diplomatic debacle in years. Bibi knew U.S. President Barack Obama was gunning for him yet he persisted in concocting a ludicrous settlement law to placate forty families at the Amona settlement. This even after Israel's own Supreme Court had ruled it had been built on private Arab land, in violation of both Israeli and international law. Instead, Bibi gave in to the die-hard settlers who have now, in their infinite wisdom, agreed to evacuate peacefully.

So what did the PM do? He let himself be railroaded by cabinet ministers both in the Likud and the Jewish Home parties into approving a new law that would prevent the evacuation of other settlements that were also built on private Palestinian land. It is called the 'Regulation' law. The only hitch is that it opened the door for the UN Security Council to pass a resolution of its own - one that outlaws all Israeli housing built on the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Since the Six Day War in 1967, this territory was considered to be a subject for negotiation in eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Now the UN Security Council has weighed in saying in effect that all the West Bank belongs to the Palestinians for their future state. Bibi believed that US President Barack Obama, despite the bad blood between them, would again cast a US veto. But for Obama, soaking up the sun in Hawaii, it was too good to miss; he told Ambassador Samantha Power to simply abstain. The result was a landslide of 14-0 for the pro-Palestinian resolution. Bibi blew it big time and Palestinian President Mahmoud won by a knockout.

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December 10, 2016

AN ISRAELI SETTLEMENT 'TOO FAR'

Common sense will apparently prevail. The government has agreed to comply with Israel's Supreme Court that some 200 men, women and children must be evacuated from forty homes built on private Arab land at the settlement of Amona in the West Bank. After an acrimonious tug of war, it has been touch and go, and it's not over yet. The pro-Amona camp led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the far Right Jewish Home party played to the settler gallery. He tried, by hook and by crook, to circumvent the Supreme Court by promoting a new law that would retroactively enable Israelis to build and remain on private Arab land. This was to include Amona. His idea was that this would legally allow the settlers to remain in Amona.

However, international law stipulates that it is illegal for an occupying power to confiscate private land for private purposes. In practice, successive Israeli governments have tried to comply with it by building settlements on public or absentee Palestinian real estate. But there have been mistakes. Bennett's cockeyed idea was that if the government passed a new law making this legal, and including Amona retroactively, this would all be legally kosher.

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November 19, 2016

ISRAELI MESSAGE TO TRUMP FOREIGN POLICY TEAM

Gone are the days when Time magazine crowned Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu 'King of Israel! Today Bibi has to share his top job with Education Minister Naftali Bennett who has just taught Netanyahu a painful lesson. It focused on a key Knesset vote to circumvent a Supreme Court ruling that ordered an Israeli evacuation of some forty Israeli homes that were built illegally on private Arab-owned land at the Jewish settlement of Amona on the West Bank. The pro-settlement camp went on the warpath, with Bennett leading the charge. 

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November 11, 2016

President Elect Trump Tells Israel He rejects Imposed Settlement With Palestinians

Jerusalem:

Israel is split - The Right is jubilant whereas the Center-Left worries that the election of President Trump will spur the Netanyahu government to build new settlements on the West Bank. There is no question that Netanyahu will be under immense pressure from the far Right to do so. In heralding the Trump victory, Cabinet Minister Naftali Bennett leader of the Far Right 'Jewish Home' party declared 'The two-state solution is finished! It is now in our hands to change the course of Israel - to take Israel out of the Oslo perception of a Palestinian state, which has only brought us conflict and bloodshed!'

In Jerusalem, the chairman of the local planning committee at City Hall has announced he will present plans to build 7,000 housing units in territory across the old 1967 line. The fire-brand called Meir Turgeman told Israel Radio that Prime Minister Netanyahu himself froze the plans for one reason or another due to pressure from the Obama administration. However Turgeman added now that Trump has been elected, Netanyahu will have no excuse to intervene. Though, the building plans must first be approved by the Israeli cabinet before the bulldozers start rolling.

Netanyahu who steered clear of expressing support for either Trump or Clinton issued a statement congratulating the President Elect and thanking Clinton for her support in the past. He is obviously delighted that Trump won. It's a safe bet that Bibi will want to cement ties with Trump as soon as possible. Therefore he will not want to arouse Trump's ire with hasty decisions. Bibi has also apparently instructed his Likud cabinet ministers not to go overboard by giving the impression that Trump is now in Israel's pocket. Netanyahu and his colleagues including Naftali Bennett would do well to remember that Trump has risen to power on his 'America First' platform and this will continue to be his prism for all his foreign policy decisions. If anything, policy-makers in Jerusalem must have realized Trump is impulsive and at times totally unpredictable.

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July 01, 2016

Netanyahu: 'You Don't Slit a Little Girl's Throat…!'

Israelis must brace up to terror attacks of one kind or another - it is part of the nation's struggle for survival. None are easy, but some hit harder than others.

Thursday morning 8:38 AM in Kiryat Arba in Judea-West Bank:

Thirteen-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel is sleeping in her bed alone in her home. The summer vacation has already begun and Hallel, an ardent dancer is sleeping-in after performing the night before in Jerusalem.

A seventeen-year-old Palestinian from the nearby town of Bani Na’im jumps over the Israeli security fence built around the community sounding the alarm at the security headquarters. The terrorist races to the nearest Israeli home and enters. It is still not clear if the door or a window was left open. Armed with a knife, he rushes to the children’s' room, where Hallel is apparently still sleeping, and stabs her eight times.

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June 17, 2016

Netanyahu Faces Political Rebellion in Israel

Ongoing genocide of Yazidis in Syria...

Yazidis are neither Muslim nor Arab, and follow a distinct faith that is abhorred by Daesh. At this very moment, Daesh is perpetrating genocide of 400,000 Yazidi women, children and men, mostly in Syria. Everyone has known it's been going on and now the UN has verified it. Chairman Paul Pinheiro has issued a report by the UN commission of Inquiry in Geneva disclosing:

       'Genocide has occurred and is ongoing. ISIS (Daesh) has subjected every Yazidi woman, child and man that it has captured to the most horrific of atrocities. Girls as young as nine are being raped, as are pregnant women. More than 3,200 Yazidi women and children are being held mostly in Syria'.

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May 27, 2016

NETANYAHU-LIEBERMAN THUNDERBOLT FOR DUMMIES

Israel is still reeling after Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu appointed Avigdor Lieberman as his new Defense Minister. Half of the country thinks Bibi has lost his marbles while the other believes Lieberman is just what the doctor ordered to cope with the violence and bloodshed running rampant in the Middle East. In the past, Lieberman has called for imposing the death penalty on Palestinian terrorists, who have been killing Israeli civilians in the streets, and suggested that Israel should topple the Hamas regime in Gaza and target Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for backing terrorism against the Jewish State. In addition, if Cairo ever threatened Israel again, Jerusalem should destroy the huge Aswan Dam in Egypt.

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May 20, 2016

Is Netanyahu Playing Russian Roulette with Israel's National Security?

Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has just made the biggest mistake of his political career. He has forced the resignation of the popular Defense Minister Moshe 'Bogie' Ya'alon, who has also resigned from the Knesset and threatens to challenge Netanyahu for 'the national leadership' in the future. This is nothing less than one of the biggest political bombshells in Israel's history.

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April 01, 2016

Does Israel Carry Out 'Extrajudicial Killings' of Palestinian Terrorists?

Was the killing of a wounded Palestinian terrorist, who had just stabbed an IDF soldier, justified or not? The case has turned into both a domestic and international furor. Not all the facts are in as the IDF's military police and prosecutors continue their investigation. Here are the facts up to this point, and as the saying goes, 'the jury is still out'.

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February 12, 2016

Israeli High-Tech Takes on Hamas Tunnels

Why do Hamas tunnels keep caving in? Is it only due to heavy rain and work accidents, or has Israel solved the problem of those Hamas tunnels being excavated under the border from inside Gaza? More of those tunnels have mysteriously caved-in recently - five in the past three weeks. According to Hamas, twelve of its members have been killed under the rubble. (Yes, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has admitted publicly that his men are tunneling night and day with the aim of launching terror attacks against civilians and IDF soldiers just over the border).

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January 22, 2016

Netanyahu Outlines a New Strategy after Iranian Nuclear Deal

In Davos, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu charted a new course. In a memorable interview with Fareed Zekaria, Netanyahu stressed that new clandestine ties with the Sunni Arab countries will supersede a solution to the Palestinian issue:

          'There is a great shift taking place - we used to think that if we solved the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it would solve the larger Israeli-Arab conflict. The more I look at it, the more I think it may be the other way round. That by nurturing these relationships that are taking place now with the Arab world, that could actually help us resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we're actually working towards that end'.

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