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March 14, 2011

Itamar Massacre

On the quiet Sabbath eve of March 11th, two Palestinian terrorists penetrated the Israeli settlement of Itamar on the West Bank and literally slaughtered five members of the Fogel family, including two young boys and a four month old baby girl. Israeli security forces have mounted a manhunt for the killers while also deploying to prevent incensed settlers from retaliating against Palestinians. The atrocity now jeopardizes the relative quiet on the West Bank and prospects for any kind of progress in the peace process. Analyst David assesses some of the ramifications.

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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 26, 2011

Middle East Meltdown?

Maj.Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, a senior adviser to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, has warned that one lesson from Libya is that radical regimes such as Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Gen. Gilad noted that Muamar Kadafi had been forced to abandon his nuclear weapons project in the past, otherwise he would now be threatening to use them today against his opponents at home and abroad. IsraCast analyst David Essing reports on some of the issues now facing Israel.

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February 17, 2011

Iranian Naval Presence In Mediterranean

 Is Iran now seeking a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea? Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has disclosed that Tehran is sending two naval vessels to Syria in what is being viewed as a provocative step by the regime that talks of ' wiping the Zionist entity off the map.' The move also comes against the background of renewed protest demonstrations against the regime that has ruled the country with an iron fist, ever since it seized power in the Khomeini Revolution in 1979. Israeli analyst Menashe Amir assess these current developments in an interview with IsraCast's David Essing

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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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February 05, 2011

Gen. Galant to the Guillotine!

Barring last minute developments, Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz will reportedly become the new IDF Chief of Staff after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein disqualified Maj.Gen. Yoav Gallant. However Gallant has not given up - in TV interviews he declared: 'I never lied, deceived or acted dishonorably in the land dispute near my home'.
Nonetheless, Gen. Gallant is fighting a rear guard action against overwhelming odds, despite growing public support for his case. David Essing has this assessment of the controversial affair that has rocked the IDF and the entire country.

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January 30, 2011

Israel Braces For Post Mubarak Era

Israeli leaders and the IDF are closely monitoring the rioting across Egypt that is threatening to topple the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, Israel's closest ally in the Middle East. A former Israeli cabinet minister, who has been the closest Israeli official to Mubarak, has now warned that Israel must prepare for the post-Mubarak era. And Binyamin Ben Eliezer adds: 'I believe a new Egyptian regime will be more militant and radical Islamist'! Analyst David Essing has this assessment on how the tumult in Egypt is being viewed in Israel.

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January 26, 2011

Iran - Potentially One or Two Years to Bomb

 Maj.Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the new commander of IDF Intelligence Branch, has presented his first briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee. His main point was that Iran has the capability of producing a nuclear weapon within one to two years after its leadership takes a decision to 'break out' and dash for the bomb. IsraCast analyst David Essing says Kochavi, whose name is derived from the word for star in Hebrew, is indeed the rising star in the IDF, and committee members later said they were impressed by the incisiveness of the new intelligence chief.

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January 19, 2011

While Israel Sleeps!

 In 1940, John F. Kennedy wrote a book on the rise of Nazi Germany entitled 'Why Europe Slept'. In 2006, Bruce Bawer described how radical Islam is destroying the West from within in his book 'While Europe Slept'. Now Yuval Diskin the chief of Israel's Shabak Security Service, has warned that the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank had launched a diplomatic war that it is winning against Israel. Analyst David Essing says Diskin pulled no punches when he briefed a closed door session of the Knesset's Foreign affairs & Defense Committee.

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January 17, 2011

Israeli Eyes Peeled on Arab Turmoil

 Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reacted swiftly to the sudden upheaval in Tunisia and the threat of a new civil war in Lebanon, Israel's northern neighbor, where Hezballah, an Iranian proxy is threatening to take overall control of the state. The shock waves are still reverberating throughout the entire Middle East and are likely to do so for some time to come. Iraq was formerly the epicenter, now Tunisia the quiet state on the Mediterranean that welcomed Israeli tourists, has become a new focus of turmoil. Its tyrannical President Ben Ali was toppled by thousands of citizens who took to the streets ending his regime of twenty three years. Meanwhile 'Lebanon is Lebanon'. The Sunni-Shiite, Christian and Druze ethnic tensions have again escalated after a UN inquiry has found Hezbollah guilty of assassinating former Sunni Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Analyst David Essing has this assessment of how the recent developments may affect Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's strategic outlook.

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January 09, 2011

Mossad's 'Superman' Retires

 At the latest Israeli cabinet meeting, when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu personally thanked outgoing Mossad chief Meir Dagan, all the ministers rose to applaud. Although Mossad operations are never confirmed or denied, Dagan mounted a daring an effective campaign against Iran's nuclear weapons program during his unprecedented eight year tenure. Mossad operations have set back Iran's plans to acquire nuclear weapons for years, although there is still no sign the regime of ayatollahs are ready to halt the project, in spite of the economic sanctions that are hurting the country's economy. David Essing has this assessment of the man the Egyptian newspaper Al Aharam once called Israel's 'Superman'.

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December 23, 2010

Gaza 'Kornet' Triggers Escalation

 After two years of relative quiet along the Gaza-Israeli border, recent Palestinian attacks have seriously escalated the situation. In fact, it's only by chance that the area was not turned overnight into a major battle zone. At a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, IDF Chief Of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi disclosed that on Dec. 6th, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired a Kornet anti-tank missile across the border hitting an IDF tank. Fortunately, the missile did not explode inside the tank after penetrating its armor. IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi warned: "The situation with Gaza is tense and fragile and could turn explosive if fresh Palestinian attacks injure Israelis".

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December 18, 2010

Israeli-Palestinian Diplomatic Warfare

Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas show no signs of budging. U.S. envoys George Mitchell and Dennis Ross have returned to the Middle East in a new attempt to break the deadlock but Netanyahu rejects a new settlement moratorium while Abbas will not negotiate unless there is a new freeze. IsraCast analyst David Essing assesses the situation which has turned into a diplomatic war that Israel does not appear to be winning.

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December 01, 2010

Bomb Iran And New Middle East

 Ironically the latest WikiLeaks revelations, and there are more to come, may be of long-term benefit to Israel- that's the assessment of IsraCast analyst David Essing. The fact that Arab leaders have quietly been urging the U.S. to bomb Iran reveals a new strategic balance in the region - the Sunni Arab states are lining up against Shi'ite Iran that is seeking nuclear weapons to impose regional hegemony.

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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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November 02, 2010

New Syrian Missile Threat To Isareli Jets

 Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, the outgoing head of IDF intelligence, has painted a somber picture of the various threats facing Israel today. In his last briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Gen. Yadlin disclosed that Russia has been supplying Syria with some its most advanced anti-aircraft missiles while Iran is building two new nuclear sites while advancing full steam ahead on its nuclear weapons program, despite the latest round of sanctions passed by the UN Security Council. And the relative quiet with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza is deceiving in more ways than one.

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October 19, 2010

Lebanon, Ahmadinejad And Chile

Was there a connection between the Lebanese visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad and the rescue operation of the trapped 33 miners in Chile? Menashe Amir, an Israeli expert on Iran, told IsraCast that Ahmadenijad had planned his trip to Lebanon to heighten tension with Israel and capture international headlines. However, Iranian officials back home in Tehran were peeved that the rescue mission upstaged Ahmadenijad! But if the Iranian leader failed to persuade the Lebanese leadership to follow Hezbullah into the Iranian web of influence, he did demonstrate a strong show of support for Hezbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. IDF Gen.(res.) Yaacov Amidror believes Tehran will keep tight rein on Hezbullah for retaliation against Israel if Iran's nuclear sites are attacked.  

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September 22, 2010

Israeli Settlement Freeze And Palestinian Violence

 There is still no solution in sight to the tug-of-war between Israel and the Palestinians over the expiry of Israel's self-imposed building freeze at Israeli settlements in Judea & Samaria (West Bank). The Israeli government says construction will be resumed after the Sept.26th deadline - if it is, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatens to walk out of the current peace talks with Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The U.S. has been prodding Netanyahu to extend his 'building suspension' but the PM's Right-wing coalition colleagues are demanding that he keep his word to send the bulldozers back to work. Meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is preparing for 'all contingencies' including a possible renewed wave of Palestinian violence on the West Bank.

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September 19, 2010

Yom Kippur War & Palestinian Negotiations

 Israelis and Jews around the world have marked the Yom Kippur Day of Atonement. Thirty-seven years ago, the Egyptian and Syrian armies exploited the holiest day in the Jewish calendar to launch a massive surprise attack that nearly succeeded in defeating the IDF and possibly wiping Israel off the map. What are the ramifications today when it comes to Israeli territorial concessions to the Palestinians and Syria? This assessment by IsraCast analyst David Essing deals with some of the issues.

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September 13, 2010

Israel's Critical New Year

 Israelis and Jews around the world have marked the Jewish New Year of 5771. In the homeland of the Jews, which the Palestinians steadfastly refuse t recognize as a people with the right of national self-determination, analysts were assessing some of the strategic issues in the coming year. There was agreement that Iran was still proceeding at full tilt toward acquiring nuclear weapons while its fanatical leaders call continually for Israel's destruction. As the new year got underway, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he was ready to compromise on a partial building freeze in Judea & Samaria in order to save the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

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