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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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April 09, 2010

Middle East 'March Of Folly'

 In a leak to the Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, two White House officials have disclosed that President Barack Obama is 'seriously considering' an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan by the fall. The authoritative leak exerts additional American pressure on Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to accept Obama's demands to halt all Israeli building in Jerusalem, beyond the old 1967 line. This is an American and Palestinian condition for holding 'proximity talks' with West Bank Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. IsraCast analyst David Essing assesses the White House leak in the context of the current confrontation between Washington and Jerusalem.

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March 16, 2010

Obama Clobbers Netanyahu

The Obama administration indicates it has no intention of letting Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu off the hook. Administration officials, from Secretary Clinton on down, have hauled Netanyahu over the coals and demanded 'actions not just words' after the Israeli announcement about 1600 new housing units to be built in eastern Jerusalem made during the visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. IsraCast analyst David Essing believes the U.S. has been softening Netanyahu for the return of envoy George Mitchell. In basketball terms this is a full court press so intense that it might even threaten political sanctions on Israel. Read More...
February 14, 2010

Closing The Ring On Iran

 By enriching uranium from 3% to 20%, Iran appears to have startled most of the international community into finally believing that her ultimate goal is to acquire nuclear weapons. However China, which can cast a veto in the UN Security Council against stiffer sanctions, is still holding out. Amid the mounting tension, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be flying to Moscow to discuss the situation with Russian leaders, while U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen flies to Israel. Meanwhile Brig.Gen.(res.) Uzi Eilam, a former top Israeli nuclear official, has contended that although Iran's move was dramatic, the Iranians apparently still do not have the required capability to build an atomic bomb.

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February 07, 2010

Nuclear Iran And Israeli Palestinian Talks

 The U.S. announcement of a $6 billion arms sale to Taiwan could not have come at a worse time for President Barack Obama's attempt to rally UN Security Council backing for new sanctions against Iran. A former senior Israeli official in Washington says chances are now slimmer than ever of getting China's crucial support. Meanwhile, the U.S. is beefing up the missile defenses of four Gulf states as Iran launches a missile which could potentially reach America's eastern seaboard. Analyst David Essing assesses this and other developments over the past seven days.

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January 16, 2010

Israel's Diplomatic Debacle & Mossad Success

 Defense Minister Ehud's Barak's official visit to Turkey has been saved by the eleventh hour apology of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. Barak will be able to examine what can be salvaged from the relations after Ayalon tried to humiliate Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol while delivering a protest over Turkey's verbal attacks on Israel and the screening of anti- Semitic programs on Turkish TV. The Barak visit will now have added importance at a time that relations between Jerusalem and Ankara have hit an all time low. On the other hand, none other than the Egyptian newspaper Al-Aharam credits Mossad chief Meir Dagan with stalling Iran's nuclear weapons project.

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January 09, 2010

Israel's Zero Tolerance For Gaza Rocketing

Palestinian terrorists in Gaza escalated their rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians this week - the Israeli response came within hours with pin-point air strikes. On Gaza's southern border, Egyptian security forces also repulsed Palestinians rioters who stormed the border area in protest over Egypt's blocking of the arms smuggling tunnels. In another milestone, Israel has uncovered 'Iron Dome', a state-of-the art missile defense system designed to intercept Kassam rockets fired at Israeli population centers from Gaza. Analyst David Essing also has some thoughts on the outcome of the failed Al-Qaeda attempt to blow up an American airliner and the reaction of U.S. President Barack Obama.

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December 11, 2009

Iran Passes Nuclear Weapons Threshold

This week, Israel officially revealed that Iran now has sufficient enriched uranium for proceeding with the production of at least one atomic bomb. The disclosure came from Brig.Gen. Yossi Bidatz, the commander of the research department in the IDF Intelligence Branch. However, the intelligence officer told the Knesset Foreign affairs & Defense Committee there is still no evidence the Iranian regime has defied the international community and taken the decision to go nuclear. At the same time, the Iranians have developed missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. Also addressing the closed door hearing, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated: ' Israel's paramount security concern is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons'. Analyst David Essing assesses some of the key issues in Israel over the past seven days.

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December 05, 2009

Settlers Rebel Against Netanyahu's 'Suspension'

Israeli settlers in Judea & Samaria (West Bank) are defying the Israeli government's ten month housing freeze. In several incidents, the residents have prevented housing inspectors from entering their communities to serve the building freeze orders. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has tried to allay the settlers' fury by stressing that Israeli construction will be resumed after the ten month 'suspension' and that 3,000 current housing units will be completed. IsraCast assessment: Israel is now bracing for a showdown between settlers and their former champion, right-wing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. In other developments this week, are there new manifestations of the 'clash of civilizations' in Europe and even in the Middle East?

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November 27, 2009

Netanyahu's Constructive Ambiguity

In a dramatic diplomatic development, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has announced a ten-month suspension of housing permits for building in West Bank settlements. At the same time, Netanyahu made clear that housing construction would continue in Jerusalem's suburbs such as Gilo, which were constructed beyond the 1967 line after the Six Day War of 1967. In the existing West Bank settlements, public buildings such as schools, kindergartens and synagogues will continue as well as the completing of 3,000 housing units now underway. Analyst David Essing is of the view that Netanyahu's ambiguous approach on settlement construction may prove to impact as much on Israel's confrontation with Iran as it does on the Palestinians.

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October 18, 2009

Israel Gears Up For Goldstone

 Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his cabinet are now considering how to react to the decision by the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the Goldstone Report that accuses the israel Defense Forces of alleged war crimes during its 'Cast-Lead' operation into Gaza to halt eight years of Palestinian rocketing. IsraCast Assessment: Israel likely to consider independent inquiry in order to cope with what appears to be an escalated diplomatic war against the Jewish state by the pro- Arab bloc at the UN.

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September 07, 2009

CNN Lauds 'Beautiful Americans' In Afghanistan While Blasting 'Ugly Israelis' In Gaza

 The latest U.S. bomb strike that killed an estimated 90 people in Afghanistan on Sept. 4th, many of them reportedly civilians, has again raised the dilemma of how conventional forces should fight terrorists that deliberately use civןilians as shields. This is the case in Gaza no less than Afghanistan. However, international forוums such as the U.N. and the international media often skew their reporting when it comes to Israel. The CNN's recent report 'Generation Islam' is a case in point.

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August 12, 2009

Nazareth

 Nazareth is the cradle of Christianity, the city where, according to tradition, the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the place where Jesus spent his childhood and youth. Nazareth, in the lower Galilee, is located in the heart of a valley surrounded by mountains that embrace several of the most important Christian sites in the world.

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July 20, 2009

Arabs Need to Talk to the Israelis

We need fresh thinking if the Arab Peace Initiative is to have the impact it deserves on the crisis that needlessly impoverishes Palestinians and endangers Israel's security. This crisis is not a zero-sum game. For one side to win, the other does not have to lose. The peace dividend for the entire Middle East is potentially immense. So why have we not gotten anywhere?

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July 12, 2009

Israel's Nuclear 'Yes We Can!'

The G-8 summit in Italy has set a deadline of September 25th for progress in the U.S.- nuclear dialogue. A former Israel Air Force Commander, Maj.-Gen.(res.) Eitan Ben Elihu states unequivocally that Israel has the military capability to take out Iran's nuclear weapons installation. French President Nicole Sarkozy warns Israel not to do it on her own declaring that Israel is not alone. Back in Jerusalem Dr. Uzi Arad, a senior defense advisor to Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has reckoned that the international community still has sufficient time to stop Iran while the idea of 'living with an Iranian bomb' is absurd. An IsraCast analysis attempts to join the dots.

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July 07, 2009

U.S. Unshackles Israel Against Iran

U.S. Vice president Joe Biden has done it again; several months ago he warned Israel against attacking Iran's nuclear installations, now he has said it is Israel's sovereign decision. What is behind America's shifting ground on one of the gravest dangers on the international agenda? And how and why are ' moderate' Arab states indicating they are more worried about Iran than Israel? IsraCast assesses recent changes that go far beyond diplomatic nuances.

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July 01, 2009

Barak-Mitchell Tackle Big Picture

After a four-hour meeting in New York, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. Middle East George Mitchell have reduced the gap over Israeli building in West Bank settlements. Interviewed on Israel Radio, Barak said the main thing was 'to put the settlement question in the wider context of peace between Israel and the Arab world'. In a new twist, Arab religious leaders refused to follow an Iranian delegate's lead and stayed to hear an address by President Shimon Peres at an inter- faith conference in the Islamic state of Kazakhstan.

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June 17, 2009

Mossad's Estimate Of Iranian Unrest

While the ayatollahs in Tehran tried to restore quiet after the post election violence, the Mossad, Israel's equivalent of the American CIA, has presented its latest assessment of the situation. Appearing at a closed-door session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Mossad director Meir Dagan and one of his top aides evaluated Iran in the midst of the bloody controversy over whether incumbent, radical Islamist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or 'reformist' Mir-Hossein Mousavi had won the election.

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June 10, 2009

Netanyahu Takes Up Obama's Gauntlet

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's response to President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo will not be long in coming. On June 14th, Netanyahu will lay out his foreign policy goals in a 'major address'. Coming against sharp differences between Jerusalem and Washington over the settlements question as well as the two-state solution, Netanyahu will have to steer a tricky course between preserving Israel's vital relations with the U.S. while not abandoning the principles of his Right-wing coalition government.

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June 07, 2009

An Obama Diktat To Israel?

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have put a brave face on U.S. President Barack Obama's historic speech in Cairo. However, the new American leader has called on Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make the first major concession on the explosive settlement issue in order to restart the stalled Israeli- Palestinian peace effort. In Jerusalem, Obama is perceived as sending a diktat to Israel or else be held responsible for sabotaging America's entire Middle East policy.

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