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August 14, 2014

AN ISRAELI 'APOLOGY' FOR GAZA

 In light of the tsunami of criticism against Israel's defense against the Hamas rocketing blitz from Gaza, IsraCast has extended the following 'apology' to US President Barack Obama. According to the Wall Street Journal, Washington has suspended the delivery of Hellfire missiles to Israel in response to 'Israel not knowing its place' in the eyes of some U.S. officials. This then, is why Israel should 'apologize' for its military operations against Gaza:


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August 09, 2014

Gaza - Britain's Ed Miliband Should Know Better

 How should Israel react to the renewed rocketing from Gaza? The question is being hotly debated after Hamas announced that it would resume the rocketing because neither Israel nor Egypt capitulated to its demands at the Cairo negotiations. Three Israelis have been injured and Israeli aircraft are again carrying out limited strikes on Hamas targets inside Gaza. The major obstacle in Cairo was the Hamas demand that a seaport be built in Gaza, which Jerusalem rejects on the grounds that it would be used to smuggle more rockets into Gaza, including anti-aircraft missiles. What options does Israel have in the face of the international tsunami of criticism over the Palestinian fatalities numbering some one thousand civilians? Bear in mind that some eight hundred terrorists are among the overall figure of eighteen hundred. 

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August 05, 2014

GAZA CEASEFIRE EXPECTED TO HOLD

 7:48 AM-August 5th, two minutes before the latest Egyptian brokered ceasefire was to go into force: Hamas launches a barrage of 25 more rockets at Jerusalem and communities in central Israel. Again, air raid sirens wail and hundreds of thousands of Israelis rush to their bomb shelters. Israel's Iron Dome missiles blast off, knocking seven of the incoming rockets out of the sky. They were on target for population centers. Several others do explode on the ground but there are no Israeli casualties. The rest are allowed to land harmlessly in open areas. Imagine how many Israeli children, women and men would have been killed and wounded if those seven rockets had hit apartment buildings. This has been at the core of the current conflagration and the IDF's mission to suppress this rocketing of Israeli civilians that has escalated ever since Israel totally evacuated the Gaza Strip in 2005. The IDF estimates that Hamas terrorists fired 3,350 rockets during its 26-day Operation that was triggered by hundreds more rockets in the preceding week. Yet critics of Israel, including some foreign governments, are castigating the Jewish state for not acting proportionately to the Hamas threat. 

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July 21, 2014

AMERICA IN ISRAEL'S POSITION?

 

 The deaths of 13 Israeli infantrymen killed in house-to-house fighting with Hamas in Sajaiya has shocked and saddened Israel. In a news conference with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared: “We are fighting for our very home and we are determined to win this battle. No other war has been so justified as the IDF's campaign to halt Hamas rocketing of Israeli civilians.” Make no mistake, Israel is determined that the deaths of the Golani soldiers will not be in vain. The country's leaders and people are resolved to follow through and prevent another rocket blitz of Israel or tunnel attack whenever the Hamas Islamists in Gaza decide to do so. Netanyahu noted that many world leaders, starting with U.S. President Barack Obama, had expressed understanding for Israel's right of self-defense. Even more telling were the countries in the region (Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan) who were also in Israel's corner. The only two countries rooting for Hamas were Iran and Qatar. 

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July 18, 2014

ISRAEL TARGETS TERROR TUNNELS FROM GAZA

 'Seek out and destroy' - that is the mission of thousands of Israeli troops who are now advancing into Gaza to demolish the Hamas terror tunnels. Only 24 hours earlier, thirteen Palestinian terrorists popped out of one such tunnel near Kibbutz Sufa; under the cover of dark, they were armed to the teeth and bent on massacring as many of its members as possible…  

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July 16, 2014

NETANYAHU GOT IT RIGHT IN GAZA

 It is the mindset of the Palestinian terrorists – 'we exist to kill and wound Israelis and annihilate the Jewish state'. That is their credo, and why they split from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement that opposes terror. For the third time in six years, Hamas unleashed their heaviest barrage of rockets for seven straight days and nights. Granted, they sent millions of Israeli children, women and men dashing for bomb shelters, but at the time of the ceasefire proposal, they had not killed even one Israeli, and only a small number were injured.

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July 12, 2014

ISRAEL'S OPTIONS FOR GAZA CONFLICT

 

 Has the time come to invade Gaza? That is now the question as Israel's Operation Protective Edge enters its fifth day. The Israel Air Force has been clobbering Hamas terrorists in Gaza who have been launching hundreds of rockets into Israel with the express aim of killing and maiming as many Israeli children, women and men as possible. Israeli aircraft and naval vessels have been knocking out Hamas targets concentrating on their launch pads, arsenals and personnel. Hamas has countered by extending its range of rocket attacks far beyond the adjacent Israeli communities in the Western Negev to the metropolis of Tel Aviv and then north to the outskirts of Haifa. Flying around the clock, Israeli jets and choppers have been systematically striking more than 1,100 targets as the campaign continues without let-up. 

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July 02, 2014

ISRAEL DECIDES ON SEVERE BUT CALIBRATED CRACKDOWN ON HAMAS

 'Hamas is responsible, Hamas will pay!' Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has warned that Israel is about to take off the gloves, after the bodies of three Israeli youths were found near Hebron, a hotbed of Hamas terrorism on the West Bank. After the massive 18-day search, the bodies of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach were uncovered in a hole. Two suspected Hamas terrorists from the Hebron area, named as Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha, are believed responsible. The manhunt continues for the two suspects, who are believed to be hiding out in the West Bank. Apparently, pretending to be religious Jews, the two killers gave a lift to the three hitchhiking Israelis and then shot them dead when Gil-ad Shaar tried to contact the Israel police on his cell phone. A police recording of the call indicates all three were shot dead in the car where bullet casings were found. 

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June 20, 2014

ISRAEL - ONE KIDNAPPING TOO MANY

 Hamas will likely rue the day it kidnapped three Israeli teens on the West Bank. Israeli leaders have declared war on Hamas military and social infrastructure in the West Bank while angry Palestinian President Abbas declares: 'Hamas is trying to destroy us'. IsraCast Assessment: Israel has taken off the gloves - top Hamas leaders should offer to immediately release three youths, if Israel calls off its systematic campaign to arrest Hamas members and close down its social assets on West Bank. Otherwise, Israeli campaign will continue and Hamas leadership could wind up on a new Israeli hit list. One of the most massive manhunts in Israeli history continues around the clock. For over seven days, Israeli troops and policemen backed up by the Shabak Security Service have been scouring the West Bank searching for the Hamas terrorists who are believed to have kidnapped three Israeli hitch-hikers. 

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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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June 11, 2014

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN BITUNIA?

 I have worked in tape analysis for over forty and have been appointed by Israeli courts to serve as 'expert witness' and present impartial conclusions when litigants present conflicting sound and sight evidence. At my Jerusalem studio I use sophisticated equipment to reach a true and objective analysis. I do not contend that tragic events did not occur in the clash between Palestinian rioters at Bitunia on May 15th. But before drawing any conclusions from what may appear to be evident from the photographs, it is essential to first conduct a detailed and professional analysis. 

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June 08, 2014

You Get What You Need

 On Tuesday night, The Rolling Stones reminded us just how subversive rock and roll can be. Without making any public response to pressure from the likes of Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and the BDS movement, who support an all out boycott of Israel, The Stones defiantly played their first show ever in Israel for over 40,000 gracious fans. Mick, Keith, Charlie and crew chose to perform for the people, rather than refusing to because of the decisions of the people’s government. In doing so they stuck it to the man and stood for the rock ethos that they helped create.

 

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June 01, 2014

U.S. - No Longer Policeman of the World?

 It was highly significant that U.S. President Barack Obama selected West Point as the venue to articulate his foreign and military policy. Without saying it in so many words Obama sent a message loud and clear - America has abdicated its role of 'policeman of the world'. Obama has jettisoned the projection of American military power that characterized his predecessor George W. Bush. Addressing the graduating cadets, their commander-in-chief told them: “The U.S. will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it - when our people are threatened, when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger.” But his punch line related to global issues that do not directly threaten the U.S.: "Then the threshold of military action must be much higher. In such circumstances, we should not go it alone. Instead, we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action." The truth is this has been a cornerstone of Obama's policy of 'leading from behind' in the Middle East, as exemplified by the crises in Libya and currently in Syria. Clearly, Obama's refusal to make good on his warning that Assad would face the consequences if he repeated his use of chemical weapons has actually tipped the scales in favor of the regime against the rebels. 

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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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May 18, 2014

ISRAEL'S 'AGE OF EXTREMES'

 "I gave the money to Ehud and he counted the bills, he used it to buy suits and cigars." This graphic description by Shula Zaken, Olmert's right hand woman, nailed the final nail in the coffin of the former PM. In her court appearance, she gave testimony, after which Judge David Rosen sentenced Olmert to six years in the slammer. Forget about the Palestinian issue and the Iranian nuclear threat - Israel has been pre-occupied by the Olmert saga, and for more than one reason. Not only have Israelis been shocked over Olmert's fall from the highest pinnacle to the lowest ignominy, and his exposure as a greedy, scheming politician. 
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April 27, 2014

WHY ABBAS DID IT

 What possessed moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to suddenly join forces with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, whose organization is bent on Israel's annihilation? As for the timing, it was even more puzzling - it came smack in the middle of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's apparent breakthrough in the clash between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu over the release of Israeli-Arab terrorists. The latest Abbas gambit has exposed the Palestinian leader's goal of seeking an imposed UN solution, rather than a U.S. brokered peace accord.

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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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