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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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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 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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November 20, 2010

Gates' Misreading Of Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Robert Gates has come out against a military strike against Iran arguing that it would only provide a short term solution of two-to-three years to the Iranian nuclear weapons threat. At the same time, Gates told the Wall Street Journal that the latest UN sanctions are biting much harder than anyone expected. Israeli analyst Menashe Amir takes issue with the Gates assessment charging that it is another misunderstanding of the Iranian situation, similar to the approach of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter that led to the Khomeini Revolution and the Islamist regime that now rules Iran. If Israel ever decides to go it alone against Iran, Israel Air Force pilots will likely lead the way. The traditional seven days of mourning has just ended for two airmen. Maj. Emmanuel Levi and Maj. Amihai Itkis who were killed when their F-16I crashed in the Negev. Writing a tribute in the Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom, a former Israel Air Force commander Maj.Gen.(res.) Eitan Ben Eliyahu shared his thoughts and feelings.  

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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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October 31, 2010

Iran - Paper Tiger That Bites

 After Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili has announced that Tehran is now ready to resume nuclear talks with the P5+1, what are the prospects? None according to Menashe Amir, an Israeli expert on Iran. Amir told IsraCast there was no possibility that Iran would halt its nuclear weapons program unless the international community was prepared to adopt more drastic steps to deter the Iranians. Interviewed by David Essing, Amir explained how 'the bomb' plays a crucial role in Iran's grand design for regional and international domination something that is misunderstood by some foreign commentators who either view Iran as a 'paper tiger' or preach 'the need to live with an Iranian bomb'. 

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October 25, 2010

Israel And Saudi Arabia Vs. Iran

There may be more than meets the eye behind the monumental U.S. arms sale of $60 billion to Saudi Arabia. IsraCast analyst David Essing assesses some of the possible ramifications against the backdrop of what could be a silent shift of some of Israel's strategic security considerations from Turkey to the Gulf. But there is still a fly in the ointment. In order for such a shift to jell there is a need for at least a semblance of progress on the Israeli- Palestinian track in order to placate public opinion in the Arab world. On the domestic scene, President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, two of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's strongest supporters have been urging Netanyahu to accept a U.S. request to extend the settlement freeze in the face of stiff opposition from the Right-wing coalition.

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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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August 15, 2010

Russia To 'Launch' Iran's Nuclear Reactor

 It's now official - 'Rosatom', Russia's Atomic Energy Agency has announced that on August 21st, Russian technicians will load Iran's Bushehr reactor with nuclear fuel. Spokesman Sergei Navikov was quoted as saying: 'From then on the rector will be qualified as a nuclear plant'. A Russian delegation headed by Rosatom director Sergei Kiriyenko is due to attend the ceremony. The news came just before the Sabbath when Israeli officialdom closes down until Sunday. However, IsraCast analyst David Essing has some unofficial comments.

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August 01, 2010

Arab League Green Light vs. Gaza Rocketing

 On July 29th, the Arab League put its seal of approval on a new round of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Since the election of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, nearly a year and a half ago, West Bank Palestinian President Muhmoud Abbas has refused to negotiate with Netanyahu. But after Netanyahu met recently with U.S. President Barak Obama, European officials and Arab leaders, they have all come in support of the direct negotiations. Netanyahu has declared repeatedly that he means business about implementing the two state solution and this has apparently done the trick. While Abbas considered his reply, Hamas controlled Gaza reacted swiftly with fresh rocket attacks on Israel.

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July 13, 2010

Friedman, 'Al-Hama Rules' & Israel

 To say that most Israelis were shocked by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman is putting it mildly. Did Friedman really compare the IDF's Cast Lead operation last year with Syrian President Hafez Assad's massacre of twenty thousand or more of his own people in the town of Hama in 1982? In the view of IsraCast analyst David Essing, Friedman has made the appalling comparison in order to attack Israeli settlement policy. However, Friedman appears to have forgotten that it was former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who launched Operation Cast Lead and who also offered unprecedented concessions to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Abbas refused to accept.

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June 26, 2010

Israeli Satellites Keeping Eye On Iran

In defiance of the latest UN Security Council sanctions, President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad has made clear that Tehran has no intention of halting her nuclear weapons program. Within days Israel launched 'OFEK 9', a space satellite that will provide up to the minute photos from inside Iran. At a closed door briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, a senior IDF intelligence officer presented the latest intelligence estimate on Iran's nuclear program. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu also spoke of some of the challenges he was facing in the 'uneasy days' before his next meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House on July 6th.

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June 12, 2010

Israel's 'Final Countdown' For Iran?

 The London Times has reported a dramatic new development after Iran rejected the latest UN Security Council sanctions and indicated she has no intention of halting her nuclear weapons program. According to the report, Saudi Arabia has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of her airspace in the north to shorten the distance for a bombing raid on Iran's nuclear facilities. The Saudis had even tested a 'stand-down' of their air defenses that would allow Israeli aircraft to fly through unscathed. The U.S. was said to have approved the arrangement. Analyst David Essing cautions that the U.S. involvement has yet to be confirmed - this is his assessment on the basis of available information.

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May 31, 2010

Israeli Counter-Terror Operation At Sea

 In the early hours of the day, Israeli naval commandos slid down ropes from hovering helicopters onto the six ships that were trying to break Israel's blockade of the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip. The flotilla's organizers had repeatedly ordered the flotilla to steer a course for the Israeli port of Ashdod and unload their humanitarian aid there to be checked for explosives and weapons before they were sent on to Gaza. On at least one of the ships, the soldiers were met with fierce resistance causing casualties. IsraCast analyst David Essing is of the view that while rockets continue to be launched from Gaza into Israel, Israel's message is that such ships will not pass.

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May 30, 2010

Obama's Sellout Vs. Netanyahu's Debacle

 Israeli officials were convinced that U.S. President Barack Obama's invitation to Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was a good omen. After the wrangling over Israeli settlement building in Judea & Samaria and east Jerusalem, Israeli-U.S. relations were back on track. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel even delivered the invitation during a private visit to Israel, where he was welcomed warmly. One Israeli daily even went as far as to quote Netanyahu as declaring in private 'I won!' Then came the bombshell; the U.S. for the first time in some forty years voted in favor of a UN decision for a conference in 2012 to discuss international inspection of Israel's nuclear facilities. IsraCast analyst David Essing says even Netanyahu's political rivals are flabbergasted by the U.S. vote.

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May 27, 2010

North Korea & Iran - Connect The Dots

North Korea's nuclear weapons capability enables that rogue state to literally 'get away with murder' - that is one lesson to be drawn from the current crisis. There are others that also reflect on Iran's current drive to get the bomb. Proof of North Korean startling aggression against South Korea coincides with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's upcoming visit to France, Canada and the U.S. IsraCast is of the view that the case of nuclear North Korea 'unacceptable' killing of forty-six South Korean sailors serves as a preview of what to expect from Iran, if she also acquires nuclear weapons. Netanyahu will likely call on his hosts to take more effective action against Iran before time runs out and to connect the dots between the latest North Korean atrocity and the looming Iranian threat.

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May 07, 2010

Richard Goldstone - Apartheid's 'Hanging Judge'

 In an exclusive report, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot has exposed the sordid past of Judge Richard Goldstone, who has accused the Israel Defense Forces of possible crimes during the Cast Lead Operation into Gaza to halt eight years of Palestinian rocketing on Israeli civilians. The Goldstone report has been widely condemned as totally biased against Israel. The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot has now published an investigative report into the background of Goldstone, who served the former apartheid regime in South Africa, during which he approved the death penalty and lashing for dozens of Black South Africans.

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April 19, 2010

Remembrance & Israel's Independence

 Israel has paid tribute to the 22,864 of Israelis who have fallen in defense of the state. The sirens wailed for two minutes - and the people paused throughout the land, to stand with heads bowed to remember those who had given their all in protecting the Jewish homeland. Since last Memorial Day, the Iranian nuclear threat has loomed larger - by next Remembrance Day, an Iranian nuclear capability could be a fact of life or, whatever. IsraCast analyst David Essing assesses the major issues on Israel's national agenda as the Jewish state enters its sixty-second year of independence.

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April 02, 2010

Chechnya & Gaza, Iran & Sanctions

 Radical Islamic terrorists are again on the rampage. In Russia, Chechnyan terrorists murdered over fifty people, while Palestinian terrorists from Gaza killed two IDF soldiers and launched over thirty rockets at Israeli civilians in March. Although, U.S. President Barack Obama has been talking confidently about the international community imposing a new round of sanctions against Iran within 'weeks', China is still balking. Analyst David Essing says it may be still too early to pop upon the champagne over a sanctions solution to the Iranian nuclear threat.

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March 26, 2010

Obama Imposing Israeli-Palestinian Agreement?

 Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has started consultations with six other members of his top level security cabinet on a reply to U.S. President Barack Obama's demands. At their White House meetings, Obama called on Israel to halt all building in east Jerusalem as well as making other reported concession in order to start proximity talks with the Palestinians under American aegis. Defense Minister Ehud Barak Reportedly Called For Accepting Most Obama Demands Except On Jerusalem. IsraCast: Netanyahu Will Require Obama Commitment On Palestinian Concessions In Order To Sell His Compromises To Israeli Public

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