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April 28, 2006

FORWARD TO WITHDRAWAL?

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert may be on his way to forming a commanding coalition majority but his key foreign policy goal of a unilateral withdrawal on the West Bank may soon peter out. After Kadima (Forward) and Labor signed a coalition agreement, Olmert is now expected to wrap up similar accords with other parties to build the required majority in Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

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April 21, 2006

TERRORIST SECURITY CHIEF

The Hamas government has now appointed Jamal Abu Samhadana, a leading warlord in the Gaza Strip, to rebuild the Palestinian security apparatus. Samhadana founded the Popular Resistance Committees that carried out numerous deadly terror attacks over the years. Israel declares that it still wants Samhadana dead of alive. What are the implications to the surprise appointment by the Palestinian Authority now run by Hamas? IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari is a senior analyst at the Counter-Terrorism Center at the Inter-Disciplinary Centre in Herzliya. In an interview with IsraCast, Harari assesses the current situation including this weeks suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. The general also explains why the IDF is finding it difficult to halt the launching of those Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip.

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April 17, 2006

ISRAEL SEEKS NEW SOLUTIONS

Hours before Israeli Knesset members took their oath of office in Jerusalem, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself in Tel Aviv. The sixteen-year old member of Islamic Jihad picked a crowded shuarma snack bar. Within hours of the explosion, nine people were dead. More than sixty others were wounded.

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April 09, 2006

BALLISTIC INTIFADA

Since Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip last summer, that area has been used as a launch pad for mounting rocket attacks at Israel. Recently, the terrorists have been launching an average of forty a week and Israeli civilians in the area are fed up with having to run with their children to bomb shelters. The IDF has been ordered to step up its counter-terror campaign in what is turning into a ballistic intifada.

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March 28, 2006

ALL ABOARD COALITION TRAIN!

If the unofficial exit polls hold up, Ehud Olmert and His Kadima party will win most seats in the Israeli election. After consulting with all the parties, which enter the Knesset, state President Moshe Katzav will then call on the party leader with the best chance of forming a coalition government with a Knesset majority. Although not obligated to select the party with the most seats, every Israeli president has always selected the party leader with most seats.

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March 24, 2006

C.E.O. OLMERT

Israeli voters are about to go to the polls in one of the strangest elections in the countrys history. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Kadima is frontrunner to win the election on March 28th with Labors Amir Peretz and Likuds Binyamin Netanyahu trailing far behind. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who bolted the Likud to form Kadima, remains in a coma at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem after suffering a stroke three months ago.

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March 15, 2006

OLMERT HAS TAKEN OFF THE GLOVES

The IDF was ready and waiting. Only minutes after British and American monitors evacuated the Jericho prison where the Palestinian Authority had jailed wanted terrorists, Israeli tanks and troops moved in. Five of the terrorists, including Popular Front leader Ahmed Saadat, were believed responsible for gunning down Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi in a Jerusalem Hotel in 2001. Not only had the Palestinians been threatening the international monitors, Hamas talked about freeing the terrorists. IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz says the military strike was not political although it comes in the midst of the Israeli election campaign. However, there are various ramifications.

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March 10, 2006

STATING THE NUCLEAR OBVIOUS

Speaking at the Hudson Institute in Washington, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon startled Israel by declaring publicly: 'The IDF has the military capability to destroy Iran's nuclear installations and setting back Tehran's quest to acquire the bomb for years'. The subject of the lecture was Halting Iran's Nuclear Program, Is there any Israeli Option? Reacting in Jerusalem, Israeli officials severely reprimanded the general for just about detailing how it could be done. However, speaking shortly before Yaalon's briefing, Acting PM Ehud Olmert also declared that 'Israel will not tolerate Iran's acquiring nuclear weapons'.

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March 05, 2006

DICHTER'S DISENGAGEMENT AGAIN

On February 24th, IsraCast reported that if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party wins the upcoming election, it will prepare to withdraw unilaterally from isolated settlements on the West Bank. Today, two leading Israeli newspapers, Yediot Ahronot and Haaretz have now confirmed this.

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March 02, 2006

RISE OF ISRAELS FAR RIGHT

The Israeli election campaign is finally moving into high gear. The opposition parties are stepping up their drives to try and catch up with acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Kadima before election-day on march 28. this, as Olmerts Kadima party dips in the latest polls.

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February 24, 2006

CAMPAIGN UPDATE

The Israeli election campaign is about to enter the home stretch with a host of burning issues on Israels national agenda. The fallout from the Hamas election victory and the looming Iranian nuclear threat will be dominating the race. Kadimas Ehud Olmert is maintaining his lead while Labors Amir Peretz and Netanyahus Binyamin Netanyahu toil to close the gap. At the same time, Palestinian terrorists continue to launch more rockets and Israeli security forces step up the counter-terror campaign. Former Shabak security chief now allied to Olmert has been assessing developments.

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February 22, 2006

OLMERT'S GAME PLAN

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ran into heavy flak from right-wingers when he made his first appearance before the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee. However, Olmert apparently gave as much as he got in the stinging exchanges. Top of his agenda was how to cope with the Palestinian Authority now being run by Hamas terrorists who threaten to exterminate Israel.

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February 21, 2006

HAMAS VS. ISRAEL

After the new Hamas-lead Palestinian parliament declared No to halting terrorism, recognizing Israel and prior agreements, the Israeli cabinet announced a series of sanctions. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responded by calling the Palestinian Authority a terrorist authority. The Israeli cabinet then imposed a series of sanctions. They included the freezing of tax revenues to the PA and stepping up security checks on Palestinian workers entering Israel. However, Israel would not interfere with humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people. Dr. Dan Schueftan, a Middle East expert at Haifa University, analyzed these developments and other aspects in a wide-ranging interview with reporter David Essing:

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February 20, 2006

SHABAK ON HAMAS

Shabak Security Chief Yuval Diskin has presented his assessment of the threat to Israel posed by the Hamas take-over of the Palestinian Authority. In a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Diskin warned that Hamas may bide its time in the short run in order to build its military power but its ultimate goal is to exterminate Israel.

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February 17, 2006

HAMAS LEADERSHIP & ISRAELI SANCTIONS

Saturday, February 18th, 2006: Hamas, a terror organization linked to al Qaeda, takes control of the Palestinian parliament. In reaction, the Israeli cabinet is to consider a series of sanctions when it convenes on Sunday.

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February 12, 2006

Putin's Realpolitik & Olmert's Dilemma

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the Israeli government are now facing a major dilemma after Russian President Vladimir Putin officially invited Hamas leaders to visit Moscow. Although the terror organization still vows to annihilate Israel, Putin says the Palestinians elected it to power in a democratic election and Hamas should be treated accordingly. Israeli leaders and the country at large are furious at what is being called 'Russia's stab in the back'; however Prime Minister Ehud Olmert must now block any international legitimizing of Hamas without causing a major rift with President Putin.

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February 08, 2006

OLMERT'S SEPARATION & ANNAN'S ADVICE

In his first sit-down interview, Israel's Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel will evacuate parts of the West Bank in order to separate from the Palestinians. But as previously reported by IsraCast, he spoke of retaining settlement blocs. He named name this time: Ma'ale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel. Meanwhile, the Israeli security forces are stepping up their targeted killing operations by hitting terrorists launching Qassam rockets at Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip. Israel unilaterally evacuated Gaza last summer but Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has refused to order his tens of thousand of security forces to halt the rocketing of Israel. However, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan does not approve.

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February 01, 2006

AMONA - BLOODY ISRAELI CLASH

Violence was expected when Israeli police were sent to evict some two thousand angry settlers who barricaded themselves inside the illegal outpost of Amona on the West Bank. However, the clash turned more bloody and ugly than most expected. When it was over, one Israeli policeman was in serious condition and some 115 Israelis were lightly injured. Bulldozers then enforced the ruling by Israel's Supreme Court to demolish the nine buildings at the outpost. But the question is what will happen next time if there is a further escalation in the violence?

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January 25, 2006

'OLMERT'S WAY' & PALESTINIAN ELECTION

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, tens of thousands of Palestinian are now voting in an historic election. For the first time, Hamas is running and challenging the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction. Hamas is a terror organization whose charter calls for the extermination of Israel. The implications are enormous for the future of the Roadmap peace process. Hours before the Palestinians went to the polls, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared that he was ready to give up territory in order to establish a permanent border with a Jewish majority. If possible by negotiation, if not Israel would do it by another way.

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January 24, 2006

IDF CRACK DOWN ON SETTLERS

Chief of Staff Dan Halutz declared the IDF is about to implement two rulings by Israel's Supreme Court on two illegal settler sites. The illegal Amona outpost on the West Bank would be demolished by January 31st. In addition, illegal Jewish settlers will be evicted from the controversial Hebron market area. In a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, General Halutz disclosed there is no agreement on the Gaza terminals after Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz had early implied that there was such a deal with Egypt and the Palestinians.

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