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Showing Results 81-100 of 433 for Likud
December 19, 2014

ISRAELI ELECTION CAMPAIGN FOR DUMMIES

 They are fed up with both his foreign and domestic policies. Israel has been suffering one diplomatic defeat after another in the international arena and the cost of living, mainly housing prices, has been skyrocketing during his tenure. And that is why the March 17th election is now up for grabs and why the ruling Likud party is now in trouble. While the polls show that no other candidate comes close to Netanyahu for being the most experienced 'in taking the telephone call at three AM in the morning', Israelis do not select the prime minister but vote for the list of candidates presented by the various parties running in the election. This is the crux of the current campaign. 

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December 03, 2014

ISRAEL'S EARLY ELECTION SET FOR MARCH 17

 The process has been set in motion for the Knesset to dissolve parliament after just 18 months in office. There are no snap elections in Israel - the law stipulates some three months for an intensive election campaign that is funded by public money. Each party selects lists of candidates that are presented to the voters. After ballots are tallied, it will then be up to State President Reuven Rivlin to meet with the various elected parties with the aim of selecting the party leader with the best prospect for forming a new coalition government; in other words, one that can command a parliamentary majority in the 120-member House. 

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November 15, 2014

KERRY TO THE RESCUE OF TEMPLE MOUNT

 While there was sporadic Palestinian rioting elsewhere, U.S. Secretary John Kerry's mission to Amman has succeeded so far in dousing the flames that threatened to ignite a third Palestinian intifada (uprising). Credit where credit is due, and this time hats off to Kerry. Meeting first with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and then together with Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah, Secretary Kerry was able to persuade the sides to take 'constructive steps, real steps, not rhetoric to de-escalate the situation'.

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November 06, 2014

ANOTHER PALESTINIAN TERROR ATTACK IN JERUSALEM

 Jerusalem: It was only a matter of time - a Palestinian terrorist has again driven his vehicle at high speed into Israelis at a crowded intersection in Jerusalem. One Israeli border policeman was killed and thirteen other people were injured, several of them seriously. After deliberately crashing into the Israelis near a light rail station, the terrorist jumped from his van wielding an iron bar and clubbed bystanders. More policemen arrived quickly to shoot dead the attacker. Hamas has claimed responsibility for what it termed "the heroic running over operation." The assailant has been identified as Ibrahim Akari, a thirty-five year old resident from the nearby Shuafat refugee camp. He was the brother of one of the terrorists released by Israel in exchange for the kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. The brother, who had murdered another policeman, was banished from Israel to Turkey, where President Erdogan has reportedly permitted Hamas to set up shop.

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September 19, 2014

GEN. DEMPSEY COVERS HIS BUTT

 The current chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has this policy - he calls them as he sees them. Apparently he has serious doubts about President Barack Obama's strategy for defeating ISIL in Iraq and Syria by air power. And that is why Gen. Martin Dempsey has told Congress:

 'If there are threats to the US, then I, of course, would go back to the President and make a recommendation that may include the use of US military ground forces'.

 Predictably, Obama hit the roof. If Dempsey had opened the door to the military need for an eventual deployment of American 'boots on the ground', Obama slammed it shut. Appearing before American troops twenty-four hours later in Tampa, Florida hours later, the President declared unequivocally:

 'The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission'.

 In an effort to drum up support for his newfound ISIL strategy, Obama noted that Britain and France were already flying missions over Iraq, and that Canada and Australia were sending military advisors. 

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September 05, 2014

ISRAEL - LAND GRAB & ISIS & BAN KI-MOON'S SILENCE

  Why in Jerusalem, did Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu annex another 1,000 acres of West Bank land, if he knew that in Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama would hit the roof? Indeed the annexation has thrown a monkey wrench into the already strained relations between the two allies after Obama, in effect, ordered Netanyahu to call a unilateral ceasefire, although Hamas was still launching rockets and mortars at Israel. The answer is that Netanyahu has been hauled over the coals in his own Likud party and the far Right for reigning in the IDF before it finished off the Hamas leadership and its forces, and therefore, he used the annexation to placate his Right wing supporters. But surely the national interest should trump domestic politics. On this score, Henry Kissinger's observation that 'Israel has no foreign policy, only domestic politics' does apply. However this generalization, like most others, is only partially correct. 

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June 12, 2014

CRACKS IN NETANYAHU'S COALITION

 Israel now faces international isolation - that is what Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's diplomacy has achieved on the Palestinian track. Make no mistake, this has all the components of weakening Israel's international position and could eventually topple his coalition government. First the PM lost the 'blame game' to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by letting Housing Minister Uri Ariel announce plans for building new housing units on the disputed West Bank.  U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry pointed the finger at Netanyahu. Adding insult to injury, Abbas then gambled that he could join forces with terrorist Hamas and this would not upset the U.S. and the rest of the international community. He proved to be right...

 

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May 25, 2014

NETANYAHU MUST CHOOSE ISRAEL'S NATIONAL INTEREST

 Israel in diplomatic doghouse...

 Is Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu getting the message? His interview with the Bloomberg News may indicate that Netanyahu realizes that he has lost the 'blame game' in the wake of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's failed peace mission. Not only Kerry and diplomat Martin Indyk pointed the finger at Bibi, but also President Barack Obama. Even Bibi's own negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, has blasted Housing Minister Uri Ariel for torpedoing the talks by announcing plans for new settlement building. At the time, the PM could have stepped in but chose not to do so in order not to rile the Right-wingers in his coalition. Israel finds itself in the diplomatic doghouse, although Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did nothing to advance Kerry's peace mission and has even teamed up with terrorist Hamas. 

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April 19, 2014

MOSHE KAHLON - ISRAEL'S FUTURE PRIME MINISTER?

 Could Moshe Kahlon, who is barely known outside of Israel, become a future prime minister? Who knows? It's a long shot, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. The Likud Cabinet minister achieved immense popularity and prestige in the former Netanyahu government, but then dropped a bombshell by refusing to run in the last election in January 2013. At the time, Kahlon turned down the pleas of the Likud and Netanyahu, saying he wanted some time off from politics. After attending an advanced course at Harvard for foreign administrators, Kahlon has returned to Israel and to Israeli politics. The affable and soft Kahlon has now sounded a political war cry that is likely to shake up the next election campaign when it comes around. If Kahlon does decide to make a serious bid to run for the premiership, it will be the first time a Mizrachi Jew has done so, and that could have an important impact on traditional voting patterns in Israel. (Mizrachi Jews hail from Middle East countries, and Ashkenazi Jews are from Europe or Americas). 

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April 13, 2014

Israel-US-Palestinian Conundrum

 It is not only about saving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the nature of Israeli -U.S. relations may be at stake.  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu are trying to forge a deal that will apparently see Israel freeing fourteen Israeli Arabs with 'Israeli blood on their hands'. In return, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas will carry on the peace contacts after April 29, when the current round runs out. The highest hurdle is now inside Israel's coalition government. The Jewish Home Party, which is led by Naftali Bennett, has issued an ultimatum: its twelve members will bolt the coalition if the Netanyahu government agrees to free the Israeli Arab terrorists. Netanyahu would then lose his 68 majority in the 120 member parliament. But on the other hand, another coalition partner has taken the exact opposite position. Tzippi Livni's Movement party has also threatened to quit the cabinet, if peace contacts are not continued with the Palestinians. After consulting with Livni before a Channel 22 interview, Knesset Member Amir Peretz declared: "If there is no peace process, there will be no government!" Currently, there are six Movement members in the coalition. So how on the Palestinian question has Prime Minister Netanyahu managed to wind up with both a confrontation with the U.S. and a major crisis in his coalition government? It is not all his fault.

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April 06, 2014

EHUD OLMERT - ISRAEL'S NATIONAL TRAGEDY

 It is a sorry tale of high politics and low morality. In the same week, a former Israeli prime minister from the moderate camp is convicted of bribery while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warns he may suspend his peace mission if Israel and the Palestinians fail their 'reality check'. Analyst David Essing connects the dots between these two seemingly separate developments. 

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March 30, 2014

KERRY TACKLES ISRAELI - PALESTINIAN LOGJAM

 What happens if the Kerry mission is unable to break the Israeli-Palestinian logjam by the April 29th deadline? So far the Secretary of State's diplomatic marathon has barely made a dent in the impasse. Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are sticking to their guns. It hasn't come as any big surprise, what was apparent at the outset has prevailed: the maximum that either side is ready to offer is less than the minimum that the other side will accept. So rather than cobble a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians, the US Secretary of State is now trying just to keep the ball rolling on an agreed framework of principles. Even that is an uphill struggle. 

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March 20, 2014

NETANYAHU’S POLITICAL HEADACHES

 

 It makes no difference if you are a supporter of Israel's Prime Minister or not, you just had to sympathize with Bibi Netanyahu when he saw the headlines this morning. Staring him in the face were two political nightmares, but not the Iranian nuclear threat, Syria, or Palestinian terrorism. They were far closer to home.

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March 06, 2014

IRAN'S TREACHERY EXPOSED BY ISRAEL

 While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani smiles his way through the current nuclear negotiations, Tehran's campaign of terrorism also continues at full tilt. At the very same time that Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was warning of Iran's nuclear treachery and deception, an Iranian vessel flying under a Panamanian flag was sailing in the Red Sea with a cargo of deadly missiles bound for Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Within hours of Netanyahu's keynote speech to AIPAC in Washington, Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship in a daring operation before dawn.


 

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February 13, 2014

LIEBERMAN'S LEAP TO ISRAEL'S CENTER

 Does Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman realize something about U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that the rest of his far Right wing colleagues do not?  Lieberman, who has a well-earned reputation for his caustic comments, is no fool; so surely there is more than meets the eye about the Foreign Minister's recent praise for Kerry. By contrast, in the Knesset, Lieberman once declared that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to 'go to hell!' for refusing to visit the Jewish state.

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February 02, 2014

U.S. PEACE PLAN & NETANYAHU'S DILEMMA

 'Most Israelis do not want a bi-national state, I do not want a bi-national state!' If Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu means what he says, it is an indicator of where he is headed now.  Coming into the home stretch of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's exhaustive peace mission, Bibi's timing was crucial. Netanyahu has taken a meaningful step forward beyond his vague declaration in support of a two-state solution- Jewish and Palestinian. Obviously a Palestinian state would have to be founded on some undefined territory in the West Bank and Gaza. However, by rejecting the concept of a bi-national state, the Israeli leader has indicated that he is willing to part with the densely populated Palestinian parts of the West Bank, and with good reason. The high Palestinian birth rate would eventually threaten the very essence of the Jewish state of Israel, which Netanyahu insists the Palestinians must recognize. Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat once said that if Israel remained in all of the West Bank: 'The womb of the Palestinian woman would achieve the eventual victory for Palestine'.

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January 22, 2014

NETANYAHU AT THE RUBICON, AGAIN

 Above and beyond the egregious gaffe by Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, this crucial question remains unanswered - what will Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu do when he next meets U.S. Secretary of State? Yaalon certainly highlighted some of the Right wing's exasperation over Kerry's 'messianic and obsessive' mission to hammer out an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. However, Netanyahu has apparently been telling Kerry that he would be willing to cut a deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, under certain conditions. The Israeli leader is already on record as accepting the two-state solution.  Is he now prepared to go one step further and possibly risk the breakup of his cabinet and Likud party? Although Yaalon has adopted an 'in-your-face' rejection, he represents the far Right of the Likud and Jewish Home party. But in a dramatic shift, Avigdor Lieberman of the Israel Our Home party has pleaded for giving Kerry a chance. So what's going on and why?

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January 11, 2014

ARIEL SHARON (1928-2014)

 'I know best' this characterized Arik Sharon, both as a vaunted military commander and an unpredictable politician. He is destined to be remembered as the most controversial of all Israeli public figures. To friend and foe he became known as the 'bulldozer'- his driving determination could overcome most obstacles in his way whether his superiors or political supporters agreed or not. Some military commentators have rated him as the best field commander and strategist in the annals of the IDF, while in his subsequent career in politics he was a formidable opponent.

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December 26, 2013

PALESTINIAN BUS BOMBING & ISRAELI SECURITY REQUIREMENTS

 It was potentially the most dangerous Palestinian attack since U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry started his current mission to conclude a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. This was the scene:

 Early on the afternoon of December 21st, an Israeli bus is traveling in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam. A youngster notices an unattended black bag, which had been placed near the rear door of the bus. Israelis are understandably wary of such situations. So the teenager points it out to fellow passenger, David Papo, who immediately gets up and approaches the suspicious object. Moving gingerly, Papo opens the bag and the yells to the bus driver, "It’s a bomb!" Driver, Michael Yeager, hits the breaks, opens the bus doors, and yells to his passengers, "Get out!"

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October 02, 2013

NETANYAHU, ROUHANI & OBAMA UNRAVELLED

 What does all that UN rhetoric mean? It boils down to this: Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu believes Iran will continue, by hook or by crook, to develop a nuclear weapons capability; if necessary Israel will go it alone against Iran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is, by his own admission, a proven con artist, and his boss, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, will push on for the Bomb. US President Barack Obama says he is ready to give diplomacy a chance while keeping the military option on the table.

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