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March 13, 2010

Netanyahu Goverment's Fiasco

 U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has come and gone but the dust is still swirling around Middle East sand storm in his wake. Biden, a close personal friend of Netanyahu, was sent by President Barack Obama, on a good will mission to clear the air with Netanyahu, kick off the long awaited proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians and to make sure that Washington and Jerusalem are on the same page in the confrontation with Iran. And smack in the middle, the startling announcement by Israel's Interior Ministry that a planning committee had approved 1600 new housing in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo. Analyst David Essing is of the view that the insult to Biden, unintentional as it was, will paradoxically enable the Obama administration to exercise more leverage over the Israeli Prime Minister.

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February 23, 2010

Marjah, Gaza & Judge Goldstone

 NATO forces waging the current campaign are discovering that Taliban forces in the Marjah region of Afghanistan are copying the Hamas tactics against the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza. The Islamist guerillas in Marjah are also exploiting innocent civilians as ' human shields' with some of them being killed and wounded in the cross-fire. U.S. Brig. Gen. Nicholson has been quoted as saying that despite precautions such casualties are inevitable. Ironically, Judge Richard Goldstone who accused the Israel Defense Forces of being guilty of war crimes and possibly 'crimes against humanity' in Gaza has said that the IDF should 'follow the example of the U.S. Forces fighting in Iraq and elsewhere. David Essing urges Judge Goldstone to 'join the dots' between the NATO warfare in Afghanistan and the IDF's 'Cast Lead' operation into Gaza to suppress the the rocketing of Israeli civilians.

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February 11, 2010

Holocaust is the most heinous crime against modern humanity

 Fellow Knesset members, there is no more natural an occurrence than for the Knesset and all its factions to unite and mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the day of liberation for the Auschwitz extermination camp. The forces of evil sent tens of millions of people - Jews, Soviets, Poles, Gypsies, and political rivals - to an awful death. This wasn't a simple death, but an industry of death, which was borne of an ideology of hate, racism, and ethnic cleansing.

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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 29, 2010

Gaza Compared With Iraq And Afghanistan

 In early February, the Goldstone Report that accused Israel of perpetrating war crimes in Gaza will again make headlines. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is expected to address the question of Israeli and Palestinian compliance with the Goldstone demand for independent inquiries into the IDF's Cast Lead Operation to suppress the eight years of Palestinian rocketing of Israeli civilians. The Israeli government is now considering, what if any, investigation to set up after refusing to cooperate with the probe that was mandated by the UN's Council of Human Rights to investigate Israel's 'war crimes'.

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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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January 02, 2010

Israel, Iran & New Year

Israel has entered 2010 facing with a wide range of both dangers and prospects in the security and foreign affairs arena. The Iranian regime is now battling for its political survival at home against a mounting campaign for democratic reform while time has apparently run out for its clandestine nuclear weapons project. At year's end, the international reach of Islamist terrorism struck again at Schiphol Airport and at a CIA base in Afghanistan, while a divided Palestinian camp remained split over terrorism or negotiations. Analyst David Essing assesses the situation from an Israeli perspective.

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December 29, 2009

Iran - Atomic Bomb Or Revolution?

 Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak has criticized the Free World for not lending sufficient support for Iranian dissidents in their confrontation with their country's dictatorial regime. In a closed door briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Barak assessed current developments against the Iranian government's drive to acquire nuclear weapons and Analyst David Essing says these issues are intertwined from Israel's perspective. The Defense Minister also sized up other threats to the Jewish state such as failing to reach an agreement on separation from the West Bank Palestinians.

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December 26, 2009

Terrorism In Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

 It took Israeli security forces just over twenty-four hours to track down and kill three Palestinian terrorists who murdered Israeli settler Meir Avshalom Hai on the West Bank Thursday night. Acting on intelligence from the Shabak Secret Service, two IDF units located the terrorists holed up in three separate buildings in the town of Nablus. They were called upon to surrender and when they refused, the soldiers stormed the buildings. One of the three, was discovered in a secret hiding place with two M-16 automatic rifles and ammunition. Analyst David Essing assesses the latest developments that come against the backdrop of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange for hundreds of Palestinian terrorists and some rare comments made by Shabak chief Yuval Diskin.

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December 18, 2009

Iran's Smoking Gun Nears Mushroom Cloud!

 After months of fruitless dialogue, this week's expose by the London Times about an Iranian nuclear 'trigger' and the launching of a new long range Iranian missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead indicated that Iran may be closer to developing a nuclear weapon than previously suspected. Analyst David Essing assesses these latest developments from the Israeli perspective and what Israelis think about U.S. President Barack Obama and their own country's leadership at this crucial time.

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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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November 20, 2009

Peres, Gilo, Israeli Pilots & Iran

At week's end, speculation again swirled around the possibility that a German mediator may be closing a long awaited prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas - captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in return for hundreds of Palestinian terrorists. Meanwhile, the Israeli decision to build 900 housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhood Gilo, after Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to U.S. President Barack Obama's demand for a settlement freeze on the West Bank, is a new source of friction. But while these events were dominating the headlines, Iran for the umpteenth time, declared it would not concede on enriching uranium. Obama warned of 'consequences'. Meanwhile it was reported that while Israeli pilots were to undergo a refresher course to cope with the mental stress in attacking long range targets.

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November 05, 2009

Iran & Goldstone - The Missing Links

 Almost daily this week, there were dramatic developments in Israel's counter-terror campaign. At the center, what Israeli experts call the 'Iranian octopus' of terrorist activities - the Israeli seizure at sea of an innocent- looking merchant ship, the Francop, with a cargo of hundreds tons of weapons and explosives plying its course to Syria and then on to Hezballah in south Lebanon. Secondly, the Palestinians test launched a rocket with a sixty kilometer range that could hit the Tel Aviv metropolitan area of the Jewish state. This did not make any impression in the UN General Assembly. There, delegates of the 118 nations of the pro- Arab majority, took the podium to vilify the Jewish state for defending her citizens against Iranian sponsored terrorism. This time they had a new rallying point - what is viewed in Israel as the infamous Goldstone report that alleged that Israel had committed war crimes during the Cast Lead operation to halt eight years of rocketing of Israeli civilians from Gaza. IsraCast joins the dots of the big picture. 

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October 30, 2009

Stiff Sanctions On Iran Now

 Iran has rejected the latest proposal from the International Atomic Energy Agency for resolving the crisis over Tehran's nuclear weapons project. After a week's delay, Iran now contends the IAEA scheme is unacceptable in its present form. The offer was that Iran would send some 75% of its low grade enriched uranium to Russia and France, where it would be reprocessed into fuel rods for peaceful nuclear research (that are not suitable for nuclear weapons). What happens now? Menashe Amir, an Israeli expert on Iran who predicted that Tehran would reject the proposal, has revealed to IsraCast why the Free World should immediately impose harsh sanctions on the Iranian regime.

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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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October 06, 2009

Att: Judge Goldstone on IDF & Gaza Report!

 British Army Colonel (ret) Richard Kemp knows a thing or two about fighting a guerrilla war; Kemp has served as commander of the British contingent to the NATO force now fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. In a lecture to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on June 18th, Colonel Kemp compared the conduct of the IDF during the Cast Lead Operation in Gaza with that of the British and American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. His conclusion: 'The Israel Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare'. Nonetheless, the pro-Palestinian Human Rights Council of the UN has published an enquiry, based mainly on Palestinian allegations and chaired by Judge Richard Goldstone, that alleges the IDF perpetrated war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.

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September 25, 2009

Netanyahu Settles Score With UN

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu first caught the eye of the Israeli public when he served as an eloquent Ambassador to the U.N. He has now returned to the General Assembly to make a masterful defense of the Jewish state's struggle for survival, not only in the Middle East, but also in UN bodies that single her for 'special treatment'.

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September 21, 2009

Obama's Middle East Puzzle?

 Over the past seventy-hours, a series of events have been swirling around the Middle East and farther afield. U.S. President Barack Obama has in fact launched what amounts to a new initiative. On one hand, Obama's strategy is to try and halt Iran's nuclear weapons drive on one tract, in tandem with an Israeli-Palestinian summit at the UN. IsraCast tries to fit the pieces of Obama's puzzle into place.

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