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September 22, 2013

ISRAEL'S 'LANTERN ON THE STERN'

 Forget the current rhetoric coming out of Washington and Tehran. Both sides are playing each other as they prepare to kick off yet another round of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue, the most critical crisis facing the world today. Iran's newly elected President Hassan Rouhani is the new smiling face of the tyrannical Islamist regime that supports Syria's use of chemical weapons. On the other hand, US President Barack Obama is trying to regain some of the credibility he lost to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although he will not be taking part, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu will be a key absent partner, and he has left no doubt about where he stands on a nuclear Iran. On the basis of past experience, there is little chance that Iran will really back down from its nuclear weapons drive. On the other hand, Obama's erratic handling of the Syrian chemical weapons atrocity has raised questions about his staying the course. If Iran does eventually make a dash for the A-bomb and Obama choses to procrastinate, what will Israel do? Analyst David Essing refers to historian Barbara Tuchman's analogy of ‘the lantern on the stern' to illuminate how past history can aid in foretelling a future course of action.

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September 12, 2013

NETANYAHU CONNECTS SYRIA WITH IRAN

 "The message that emerges on Syria will be grasped in Iran" - Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has indicated that the Iranian nuclear project is still Israel's major concern. Addressing a graduation ceremony for Israeli Navy cadets, Netanyahu hinted that Israel would not be dependent on the U.S. for its security: ‘In these days, probably more than ever, this is the rule that guides me mainly in my actions - 'If I am not for myself, who will be for me’. And he followed this Talmudic saying by adding that Israel would always be prepared to defend itself. Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have steered clear of commenting on what course President Barack Obama should navigate on Syria. Netanyahu did say that an agreement must guarantee the Syrian regime will be disarmed of its chemical weapons and the world must make certain that whoever uses weapons of mass destruction will pay the price. 

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July 28, 2013

WILL BIBI NETANYAHU BE ISRAEL'S CHARLES DE GAULLE?

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is known to be a great admirer of Winston Churchill, who led Britain's battle for survival against Nazi Germany. However on the eve of the negotiations with the Palestinians in Washington, Netanyahu may be signaling that he may be about to follow in the footsteps of France's Charles de Gaulle, who against all the expectations, decided to relinquish French control of Algeria in order to end an extremely bloody war. Apparently, Netanyahu has crossed another milestone on his way to seeking a territorial compromise on the Land of Israel with the Palestinians.

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June 30, 2013

WHAT DO THE PALESTINIANS REALLY WANT?

 Do the Palestinians hate the Jewish state more than they love their dream of a Palestinian homeland? That is the question amid the latest peace effort by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The fact is, the Palestinians could have had their own state years ago, if they were only willing to accept the Jewish state in return. 

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June 20, 1948

The Altalena Affair

The Altalena Affair was a violent confrontation that took place in June of 1948, during the War of Independence, between the newly-formed Israel Defense Forces and the Irgun (Etzel), a paramilitary Jewish group. The confrontation involved a cargo ship, Altalena, which carried weapons and fighters for the Irgun.

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January 21, 2013

Israel at the Ballot Box

 With Israeli society more polarized than ever, a staunchly right-wing government is only more likely to exacerbate these divisions. Gilead Sher and Olivia Holt-Ivry discuss the elections in Israel.

 Projecting elections is a risky task, even more so in Israel. At the end of the dramatic 1996 Election Day, the public went to bed with expectations of Shimon Peres as the next prime minister, only to awaken the following morning to Binyamin Netanyahu having won by a slim 30,000 votes. Beating all political commentators, politicians and analysts, the outcome of those elections — held after the traumatic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin — should be a lesson in humility when predicting developments in the Israeli political arena. Consequently, the following is a guide for perplexed observers, rather than a projection of the general elections’ results.

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November 27, 2012

Likud Swings Right –Livni Enters & Barak Exits

While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu portrayed the new Likud list as 'a strong young national team', Labor's Shelly Yachimovich has blasted it as 'an extreme Right wing party with no social agenda'.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak probably left political life after his successful contribution to the recent Gaza operation before his party's poor showing in upcoming election. But he has also left his options open for a possible Netanyahu offer to return as defense minister if he forms the next government.

Tzipi Livni has entered the campaign claiming only she can attract moderate Likud supporters who are turned off by the new Likud ticket.

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November 10, 2012

Isracast Weekend Report: Now to Israel's Election Campaign!

 Will Barack Obama now retaliate against Israel for Bibi Netanyahu's betting on Mitt Romney? Netanyahu's rivals are attacking the Prime Minister for acting irresponsibly by showing his preference for the defeated Republican candidate. Although Netanyahu bet and he bet wrong, the issue is unlikely to be a game-changer in Israel's election campaign that has yet to move into top gear for January 22. First Likud and labor must hold their primaries for the party list of candidates and Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni must decide once and for all whether to throw their hats into the ring. Meanwhile Netanyahu is trying vigorously to repair some of his damaged bridges with Obama with statements like: "I will continue to work with President Obama to protect the security interests of Israeli citizens". And the PM stressed:"The strategic alliance between Israel and the U.S. is stronger than ever'. (In all fairness it should be said that the much maligned Defense Minister Ehud Barak deserves most of the credit for the 'unprecedented' military collaboration between the two countries. Netanyahu often dispatched Barak on special missions to Washington to smooth over the not infrequent tiffs with the White House and keep relations on the rails with the Pentagon. But the overbearing Barak is often his own worst enemy when it comes to Israeli politics and his Independence party might not win even one seat in the election).

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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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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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May 30, 2012

Israel's Nuclear Alarm Bells Ringing!

 Is Israel on the verge of a preventative strike on Iran? Just consider the recent statements from Israel over the past twenty-four hours. They reflect the current view that the current P5+1 nuclear talks are doomed to failure and the U.S. and the rest of the world are actually letting Tehran off the hook. From Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on down there is a mounting school of thought that the nuclear talks have turned into a farce - the Obama administration is categorically opposed to a military operation against Iran before the U.S. presidential election in November, if at all, while Tehran is again stonewalling as it continues its nuclear weapons program. Analyst David Essing assesses the latest developments.

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March 02, 2012

Atomic Bomb and Israel's Children

 The Obama-Netanyahu summit in Washington may very well seal Israel's future course of action against Iran and its drive to acquire nuclear weapons. Although the U.S.President can be expected to hail the success of sanctions in reining in North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Israel's leader is not likely to be convinced. IDF General (res.) Amos Yadlin, a former Military Intelligence Chief, is one of the very few Israelis who know the facts about a potential Israeli air strike on Iran's nuclear weapons program. On the eve of summit, IsraCast analyst David Essing reports on Yadlin's opinion piece in the New York Times; he also has a suggestion for Prime Minister Netanyahu.

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January 24, 2012

Preposterous Pundits & Israel

 From their vantage point thousands of miles away, foreign pundits love nothing better than preaching to Israel on how to cope with the Iranian nuclear threat. Recently, Roger Cohen of the New York Times and Andrew Adler formerly of the Atlantic Jewish Times Weekly took diametrically opposed positions, but both were preposterous in their own right. They centered on U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Meanwhile, back in in Israel, Maj. Gen.(Ret.) Amos Yadlin, the former commander of the IDF intelligence branch, who actually knows the facts, discussed the current reality that analyst David Essing compared to the fantasizing of Adler and Cohen.

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November 26, 2011

Chaos In Cairo

The Arab Spring has focused on Cairo, where the gigantic demonstrations in Tahrir Square have signaled Gen.Tantawi and his junta that they must go, and the sooner the better. In Jerusalem, the question was whether the radical Muslim Brotherhood will now rise to power and jeopardize the Israeli- Egyptian Peace Treaty. And also in the Egyptian capital, West Bank Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Mashal, who rules Gaza from Damascus, appeared together in a public display of friendship after their blood feud. David Essing reports on what all this may mean.

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November 05, 2011

Israel & Fateful Sanctions on Iran

 The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, may soon disclose that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. If so, it will mark a milestone in Israel's campaign to alert the international community of the danger. In Israel, a public debate is now raging after the Yediot Ahronot and Haaretz newspapers disclosed that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak are pushing for an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. So how close could Israel be from going it alone against Iran? Analyst David Essing has this assessment.

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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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August 10, 2011

Israel's Fool's Paradise

 The stage has been set: hundreds of thousands of young Israelis have signaled Netanyahu they mean business and the PM has pledged to remedy their economic plight as best he can. But can the PM reset his capitalistic ideology for a more welfare state policy as demanded by the protestors. Analyst David Essing is of the view that the stakes are extremely high.

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July 18, 2011

Marvin Kalb: 'Rabin Opposed 'Overwhelming' US presence in Vietnam'

Yitzhak Rabin privately expressed his opposition to America's use of “overwhelming military force” in Vietnam and was concerned the Arabs would misread the U.S. defeat as a sign it could no longer keep its word to an ally, according to Harvard University Professor and veteran network correspondent Marvin Kalb. The interview was recorded at IsraCast Studios in Jerusalem.

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June 08, 2011

Israel's Border Intifada and Mossad

 Israel has reacted firmly to Arab attempts to launch an uprising, or intifada in Arabic, along its borders. Rioters from Syria tried again and were repulsed as were Palestinians at the Kalandia check point on the West Bank and at the Gaza border. In another development, the tight-lipped former Mossad Director Meir Dagan, has set off a major controversy by launching a peace initiative to the Palestinians and not Israeli jets at Iran's nuclear weapons facilities.

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May 21, 2011

Netanyahu - Seize The Day!

Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went into the White House on the brink of a bitter crisis with U.S.President Barack Obama. This time it was not over West Bank settlements but Obama's setting the 1967 border as baseline for a Palestinian peace agreement. While still in Israel, Netanyahu had immediately rejected it in no uncertain terms. Fireworks were in the offing at a time the Jewish state needed U.S. support in the face of a successful Palestinian campaign to acquire UN General Assembly this fall for recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 border. However after the meeting, when the two leaders appeared together before the media, both Obama and Netanyahu parted as friends and agreed to work for an Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement despite their differences. Analyst David Essing has this appraisal.

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