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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 14, 2017

ISRAELI EARTHQUAKE IF ISRAEL'S ATTORNEY GENERAL PROSECUTES BIBI FOR FRAUD

The fate of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is now in the hands of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. A full blown police investigation of the PM is now underway on two counts:

  1. A tape recording, now in the hands of the police, reportedly proves Bibi and Yediot Ahronot newspaper owner Noni Moses discussed how to rig control over the sale and content of newspapers in Israel. This included the freebie Yisrael Hayom that totally backs Bibi and is financed by Sheldon Adelson, the American casino tycoon. (Get this: Bibi himself taped Moses. The PM now claims he did so to discredit the owner of the newspaper that hauled him over the coals day in and out. The only problem is that their secret powwows took place years ago and Bibi never handed over the recordings to the police after colluding with Moses on what was apparently a serious breech of trust, if not more).
  2. Bibi and his wife Sara (who has a habit of getting into hot water with the law) are suspected of having received some one hundred thousands dollars in super expensive cigars and champagne from Israeli film producer Arnon Milchan. The Netanyahus contend these were legitimate gifts between close buddies and not bribes.
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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 24, 2016

EUROPE & U.S. SHOULD ADOPT ISRAELI SYSTEM OF PROFILING MUSLIM TERRORISTS

Radical Islam has declared war on both Europe and America, whether Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin or President Barack Obama in Washington like it or not. Berlin is only the latest target - a copycat of the horrific truck attack in Nice, France last July that also plowed over may innocent people. Western leaders have been living in denial - civil liberties come first. And that is why most democratic countries in the Western world are paying for it in blood with their innocent civilians being blown to smithereens by bombs or run over in the streets by trucks driven by Muslim fanatics.

Since the current wave began, over 3,000 civilians have been killed in the US; Germany is relatively new to the game. One could not help feeling sorry for the dispirited Chancellor for recently letting hundreds of thousands of pitiful Arab refugees into Germany only to be repaid by a terrorist hijacking a truck and running over scores of people in her capital city. But unless and until Western leaders come to their senses and take the necessary security measures at home, more Muslim terrorists will murder more civilians - it's almost like Leonard Cohen's prophetic lyrics 'First we take Manhattan (9.11.2001) then we take Berlin'.

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December 17, 2016

IMPACT OF ISRAEL'S F-35 SLEUTHS ON IRANIAN NULCEAR THREAT

All systems are go for Israel's Air Force to start operational training on their F-35s, touted to be the top fighter-bomber in the world. Israeli top pilots have long been training on simulators and are eager to get inside the cockpit. Maintenance crews have also been burning the midnight oil studying the myriad of hi-tech that comes with the $100 million price tag (although funded by U.S. military aid). Squadron leader IAF Col. Yotam promises the F-35s will go operational within a year. In addition, the IAF has permission to upgrade the F-35 with secret Israeli improvements - the products of Israeli hi-tech that have proved so effective in the F-15 and F-16. In an unguarded moment, the squadron leader went gung ho saying we'll make changes the designers never dreamed about and they won't believe it a year from now.

While only the first two landed at the Nevatim Air base, more and more will be coming. Fifty are now on order. The IAf has dubbed the F-35 in Hebrew by the name of 'Adir' - the Mighty. Israel is the first foreign country to be supplied with the F-35. The rest of America's allies will keep an eagle eye on how successfully the IAF integrates this aircraft. If things go well they can be expected to also start ordering F-35s from Lockheed-Martin. So economically a lot is riding on its going operational in Israel.

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December 03, 2016

OBAMA CONDUCTED U.S. FOREIGN POLICY LIKE A BUDDHIST MONK

In the final days of US President Barack Obama's second term, it is time to sum up his foreign policy. Obama has done his damnedest to keep America out of foreign wars and he succeeded. The question is at what price? Syria will go down as his most deplorable and bloodiest failures. Historians will debate whether Obama's 'leading from behind' approach contributed to the ongoing bloodbath that has dragged on into its sixth year. Aleppo will be remembered as one of the worst international atrocities since World War II. Obama has simply abandoned this hapless city to barbaric Russian and Syrian air strikes, at times with chemical weapons.

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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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November 06, 2016

Israel & US Presidential Election

For most Israelis Hillary Clinton is the safest bet - it's based on 'Better the devil you know than the devil you don't!' The roller-coaster polls have switched back to Hillary while the Israeli media have sent their star reporters to cover, some with baited breath, the latest ups and downs in the two rival camps. 'Israel Today', the freebie newspaper, that backs Bibi and is financed by American casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, is beating the drums for Trump. However, Netanyahu has remained neutral and has also ordered his cabinet ministers to do the same when it comes to supporting Clinton or Trump. This also applies to the rest of the political parties. After his feud with Democratic President Barack Obama, and his Adelson connection, it is probable that Bibi is pulling for Trump. But barring some unexpected bombshell, I'm sticking with the prediction of my twelve-year old grandson Ariel who is pretty good at Math. The other day, when the polls indicated that Trump was leading Clinton, Ariel asked me how Trump could possibly win?

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October 16, 2016

Maybe Putin believes 'President' Trump would weaken America...

Israelis are also scratching their heads over the shenanigans of Donald Trump and how he is still even running for President. It would appear that Trump has passed the point of no return and only some new catastrophic disclosure about Hillary Clinton would bar her from entering the Oval Office. The most intriguing question is why Russian President Putin favors Trump and has mounted a cyber-campaign against Clinton leaking damaging material to American voters. In return, Trump has praised Putin as a 'strong leader'. But on the face of it, would the tough talking Trump not pose a more formidable rival to Putin than Hillary? Would she not follow in the footsteps of Obama by pulling in America's horns and giving Russia a free hand on the world stage?

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August 06, 2016

Israel's Top Leaders Clash Over Reaction To President Obama's Statement On Iran Nuclear Deal

Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and his new Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman have crossed swords for the first time. U.S. President Barack Obama actually started those fireworks. A year after the great powers reached the nuclear deal with Iran. Obama stated categorically, that the Israeli defense community now acknowledged, that Iran was abiding by the agreement which had turned out to be a 'game-changer'. Defense Minister Lieberman took umbrage and issued a strongly worded statement denying that he and his minions had backed the Iran accord. On the contrary - Lieberman compared it to the notorious Munich accord signed by Britain's Neville Chamberlain and Adolph Hitler of Nazi Germany. Lieberman's statement went on to say that Munich did not prevent either World War II or the Holocaust. He stated that today Iran was following in Hitler's footsteps.

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July 31, 2016

Israelis Split Over Trump or Clinton

It is still hard to say whether most Israelis favor Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Going into the Democrats' convention, Trump had a slight lead. Coming out, Hillary got her expected 'bounce' and this will also be reflected in Israeli public opinion. Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians are wary about getting drawn into the U.S. presidential campaign for obvious reasons. A majority of Netanyahu's Likud party supporters hope Trump will make it to the White House, while the Centre and Left (Zionist Union-Labor) favor Clinton. Where does Bibi Stand? An indication is the clear-cut position taken by 'Yisrael Hayom' (Israel Today) the freebie newspaper that backs Netanyahu and is also in Trump's corner. Israel Today is financed by American casino tycoon, Sheldon Adelson. But the Clintons, both Hillary and Bill, have always been strong supporters of the Jewish state.

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July 15, 2016

France's '9/11', US Election Campaign & Israel

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite is a magnificent motto but it just got trumped by the battle cry of 'Allah Akbar'. The cold-blooded murder of over 84 children, women and men in Nice is a startling example of our age. After the Islamic terror attacks in Paris last November, French President Francois Hollande thought declaring a half-hearted 'state of emergency' would do the trick. And after hosting the huge Euro-Cup soccer tournament, France had breathed a sigh of relief. But then came the new slaughter that killed so many and wounded many, some critically, ironically at Bastille Day celebrations for what is probably the greatest democratic event in all of history, the French Revolution.

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June 24, 2016

F-35 Stealth Jets to Israel – Act II of Obama’s Political Drama

The delivery of the first two F-35 stealth fighters to Israel this week marks the close of Act II in President Barack Obama's Middle East policy. Act I was based on Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. It removed the only thing that could have fouled up his decision to cut America's losses and get out of the Middle East. Failure to find a diplomatic solution to suspending Iran's nuclear weapons program could have triggered an Israeli preventative strike that would have drawn in the US militarily. From Obama's point of view, this was and is a deliberate and rational policy. The fireworks with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu were simply an inevitable result - collateral damage, it wasn't all personal, 'it was business'. Even Ben Rhodes, apparently in a lapse of megalomania, bragged how he and his buddies had pulled the strings of the American media like puppets.

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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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May 06, 2016

Why Obama & Trump are Two Sides of the Same Foreign Policy Coin

As strange as it seems, President Barack Obama and Republican contender Donald Trump actually see eye-to-eye on America's new international role. Both are ‘American Firsters’. After the Bush era that squandered much blood and treasure in the Middle East, the American foreign policy pendulum has swung the other way. Not total isolationism, but in line with public opinion in the US today. It is a more Machiavellian approach or cost-benefit analysis when it comes to America's vital interests.

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