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IsraCast Archive | November-December 2012

Israel's Election Pyromania

Israeli Politicians Ignite Election Campaign With Inflammatory Statements

IsraCast Assessment: Politicians In & Out Of Government Are Harming Israel's National Interests By Making Rash Statements Aimed At Attracting Voters

 Are Israeli politicians from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on down now shooting from the hip in trying to attract voters in the January 22nd election? It appears so. Just listen to the rash of reckless rhetoric that is now being bandied about by some party leaders. Naftali Bennet, who heads the ultra Right-wing 'Jewish Home' party, has set fire to the campaign by stating "If I were an IDF soldier and was ordered to evacuate a Jewish settler from his home, I would first ask permission to be recused and if not, I would rather be sent to the military brig!" Analyst David Essing updates the election campaign that was kicked off by the ruling Likud-Beiteinu party this week.


Palestinians & Israeli Elections

Hamas Leader Khaled Meshal's Latest Threat To 'Liberate All Of Palestine' Serves To Strengthen Netanyahu-Lieberman Against 'Peace' Camp In Israeli Election Campaign

Likud- Beteinu Leaders Binyamin Netanyahu & Avigdor Lieberman Escalate Rhetoric To Boost Their Strong Image In Face Of Threats Facing Israel

 What is the most dominant factor that determines the winner of an Israeli election campaign? Without fail it is how Israeli voters perceive Palestinian intentions and without fail the Palestinian leadership takes a hostile stance smack in the middle of the campaign. Analyst David Essing is of the view it is happening once again.



Jerusalem continues to make its mark in the global community - but this time no politics!

 On December 10, 2012, Jerusalem proper hosted its first TED event, TEDxJerusalem, and IsraCast was there to give you a first account. There have been other official and unofficial TED events held in Israel, however, TEDxJerusalem brought its own special angle to what TED in the Holy Land has to contribute.


George Orwell in Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation

Hamas Leader Khaled Mashal Arrives in Gaza Claiming Victory In Recent Battle With Israel, While Likud Leaders Claim New Settlement Building Was Proper Response To Palestinian Violation Of Oslo Accords

 George Orwell can best cast light on the persistent claims of Hamas and by Israeli officials in the current confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians. Hamas leaders Khaled Mashal and Ismail Haniya claim an historic Palestinian victory over Israel in the recent eight day battle with Israel – nothing could be further from the truth. Hamas rocket teams and their weapons arsenals were clobbered in Gaza and they know it. On the other hand, after 138 nations in the UN General Assembly voted in favor of recognizing Palestine as a non- member observer state, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu adopted the old Arab adage of 'cutting off your nose to spite your face' by announcing plans to build 3,000 housing units linking Jerusalem with the Israeli town of Maale Adumim in Judea & Samaria (West Bank). This construction plan was condemned instantly by nearly one and all including Israel's closest allies, even Canada. Yet Netanyahu and his Likud cabinet ministers stand by the settlement decision as a fitting response to the flagrant violation of the Oslo Accord by West Bank Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


Bibi Bungles Big Time!

Britain & France Warn Israel Not To Go Through With Building 3,000 New Housing Units In West Bank

Israeli Opposition Parties Lambaste Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu For 'Irresponsible & Dangerous Steps That Harm Israel's International Standing'

IsraCast Assessment: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Has Outfoxed Netanyahu At UN General Assembly – Netanyahu's Reaction Has Focused International Criticism On Israel's Settlement Activity At Time That Jewish State Needs To Be Rallying Support Against Iranian A-Bomb Project

 'Keep your eye on the ball!' This is one of Prime Minister Netanyahu's adages for smart politics. But Bibi has failed to follow his own advice in his ongoing confrontation, not only with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but also with the U.S. and nearly all the international community. Netanyahu's conduct of the Palestinian issue has been abysmal – so much so that although Abbas has refused to negotiate, it is Israel that is taking all the blame! This at a time that Israel is counting on vital international support for blocking Iran's nuclear weapons program that Netanyahu warned will soon come to a head. Analyst David Essing is of the view the current furor could affect the outcome of Israel's general election on January 22nd.


Isracast Weekend Report

Analyst David Essing: The UN General Assembly Recognition Of Palestine As Non-member Observer State Is Diplomatic Debacle For Israel

Question: Will Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbass Now Agree To Direct Talks With Israel After UN Upgrade Or Will He Continue His Diplomatic Warfare?

Israel Responds By Approving Construction Of 3,000 New Housing Units On West Bank Linking Town Of Maale Adumim And Jerusalem An Area That Israel Will Insist On Keeping In Any Future Peace Agreement With Palestinians - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: "UN Vote Is Meaningless, Palestinians Have Flagrantly Violated Oslo Accord - Only Direct Negotiations Can Lead To Palestinian State"

 It is a diplomatic debacle for Israel - that is an accurate description of the massive support by the UN General Assembly for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Back in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu downplayed the impact charging that nothing had changed on the ground - only direct negotiations with Israel could ever lead to a Palestinian state. Moreover, by taking a unilateral step to bypass talks with Israel, Abbas had violated the Oslo Accord and two could play that game. Israel would also react with its own one-sided measures. Later Israeli officials announced government approval for the construction of 3,000 new housing units that will link the West Bank settlement town of Maale Adumin with Jerusalem. There is no question that Israel will insist on the area remaining part of Israel in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians.


Likud Swings Right –Livni Enters & Barak Exits

Likud's swing to the Right will provide Israeli voters with a clearer choice in the January 22 election.

While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu portrayed the new Likud list as 'a strong young national team', Labor's Shelly Yachimovich has blasted it as 'an extreme Right wing party with no social agenda'.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak probably left political life after his successful contribution to the recent Gaza operation before his party's poor showing in upcoming election. But he has also left his options open for a possible Netanyahu offer to return as defense minister if he forms the next government.

Tzipi Livni has entered the campaign claiming only she can attract moderate Likud supporters who are turned off by the new Likud ticket.


Israel & Gaza - 'Quiet for Quiet'

Israel's 'new rules' are now in effect in Gaza – IDF troops are now patrolling along the border prepared to prevent any fresh Palestinian violations of the cease-fire.

 After the intense eight-day conflict both sides claim victory with Israel pledging that 'quiet will be met with quiet'. However Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his government have been facing criticism for 'not finishing the job' and ordering a ground operation into Gaza to stop the repeated rocketing of Israeli civilians. Not only the Israeli residents in the south who have been terrorized for years from Gaza but also many of the IDF reserve soldiers mobilized for a ground attack, blamed Netanyahu for not going all the way. However analyst David Essing is of the view that Netanyahu along with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman succeeded in blending military force with diplomacy in furthering Israel's national interest at this time.   


Statecraft of Obama, Netanyahu and Morsi

IsraCast Assessment: By collaborating behind the scenes, the three leaders of the U.S., Israel and Egypt have laid the groundwork for an improved regional relationship that may surpass the terms of the Gaza ceasefire agreement.

 As of 21:00 hours local time, the Palestinian rockets from Gaza ceased flying through the air bound for Israeli towns and villages while Israeli aircraft stopped raiding Hamas targets in Gaza. The latest round in the latest slugfest between Gaza and Israel was over. Egypt's President Muhamed Morsi, the surprising Muslim Brotherhood leader, is now charged with overseeing that both sides honor the new truce. The silent and final arbitrator in this unlikely scenario is U.S. President Barack Obama who has skillfully pulled his substantial levers with both sides, possibly for the benefit of one and all, including the Palestinians in Gaza. Analyst David Essing is of the view that the process of achieving the latest ceasefire could be of paramount importance.


No Recycling of Hamas Ceasefires

 Isracast Assessment: Israel insisting the new ceasefire must include solid guarantees that will bar the renewal of Palestinian rocketing from Gaza for a long term. Will Hamas agree to such a demand that would pull the rug out from their vow to wipe Israel off the map? Analyst David Essing is of the view that behind the flurry of diplomatic activity to halt the violence, U.S. President Barack Obama and Egyptian leader Mohamed Morsi have been cooperating on a deal to resolve the crisis and possibly restart negotiations between Israel & Palestinians. In return, the U.S. would again view Egypt as a close ally with all that entails. As President, will Morsi put Egypt's crucial economic interests before his role as leader of the radical Muslim Brotherhood and lean on Hamas to halt its rocketing of Israel? In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is weighing the pros and cons: whether the ceasefire deal offers a reasonable prospect of peace and quiet for Israeli residents in the south and the subsequent improvement in relations with Egypt and the U.S. or to launch an IDF ground operation into Gaza. He will hold off at least until U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joins the bevy of diplomats visiting the region. Meanwhile, while the diplomatic deliberations continue, both Israel and the Palestinians are continuing to slug it out with civilians on both sides caught in the middle. So far the IDF has hit over 1400 terror targets in Gaza while signaling that there must be quiet on both sides of the border.


Gaza-Israel and the Bigger Middle East Picture

Assessment: Salvoes of Gaza rockets on Israeli civilians and the firing of antitank missile at IDF jeep patrolling inside Israeli territory left government with no option but to launch "Pillar of Cloud" operation.

On operational level: Israel's new rules on aggression from Gaza - after downgrading Palestinian rocket capability Israel will continue to meet any further attacks with a severe response.

 Regional implications: First, Israel will not allow Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi to hold Israeli peace treaty as ransom for Gaza rocketing of Israel. Second, after rise of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas felt it could cross Israel's red line with impunity. Analyst David Essing is of the view that Israel will also react with the necessary force, if Iran crosses Israel's nuclear red line this spring.


Israel on Verge of Major Ground Operation Into Gaza

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu To Foreign Ambassadors: "You Would Not Agree That Your Civilians Be Rocketed Day In & Day Out – Nor Will We!"

Tzachi Hanegbi: "We Are Past Point Of No Return For Major IDF Ground Operation Into Gaza – Air Strikes Cannot Halt Rocketing"

IsraCast Assesment: Unless Hamas Halts Immediately Rocketing of Israeli civilians, Israel Will Launch Major IDF Ground Offensive Into Gaza. Prime Minister Netanyahu Warns Foreign Ambassadors: " Your Governments Would Not Permit Your Towns To Be Rocketed Nor Will We!' Tzachi Hanegbi, A Netanyahu Confidant, Has Told Israel Radio That Only An IDF Ground Operation Can Stop Rocketing And IDF Countdown Has Already Begun.

 Within twenty-four hours over one hundred rockets and missiles launched from Gaza sent some one and a half million Israeli men, women and children racing for their bomb shelters. Only 'Color Red!', the wail of sirens, that give children and adults fifteen seconds warning to reach safety the 'Iron Dome' missile defense, have prevented many Israelis being killed. As it is, a number have been injured as the missiles landed as far away as the city of Beersheba. In some cases, parents caught in the open were seen huddling over their children to protect them with their own bodies. Life in southern has been paralyzed for days. Analyst David Essing is of the view that Tzachi Hanegbi, a confidant of Netanyahu was obviously speaking on instructions from the Prime Minister.


Isracast Weekend Report: Now to Israel's Election Campaign!

Analyst David Essing assesses the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel After President Barak Obama's Victory - at least Netanyahu did not spoil Obama's election chances by ordering an attack on Iran before Nov 6

Isracast also draws some conclusions about clandestine operations against Iran's nuclear weapons project as now revealed by Israel's top leaders

 Will Barack Obama now retaliate against Israel for Bibi Netanyahu's betting on Mitt Romney? Netanyahu's rivals are attacking the Prime Minister for acting irresponsibly by showing his preference for the defeated Republican candidate. Although Netanyahu bet and he bet wrong, the issue is unlikely to be a game-changer in Israel's election campaign that has yet to move into top gear for January 22. First Likud and labor must hold their primaries for the party list of candidates and Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni must decide once and for all whether to throw their hats into the ring. Meanwhile Netanyahu is trying vigorously to repair some of his damaged bridges with Obama with statements like: "I will continue to work with President Obama to protect the security interests of Israeli citizens". And the PM stressed:"The strategic alliance between Israel and the U.S. is stronger than ever'. (In all fairness it should be said that the much maligned Defense Minister Ehud Barak deserves most of the credit for the 'unprecedented' military collaboration between the two countries. Netanyahu often dispatched Barak on special missions to Washington to smooth over the not infrequent tiffs with the White House and keep relations on the rails with the Pentagon. But the overbearing Barak is often his own worst enemy when it comes to Israeli politics and his Independence party might not win even one seat in the election).


Kahlon's Cold Feet and Abbas's Hot Tip

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud Party Breaths Sigh of Relief After Moshe Kahlon Decides Not To Form New Party

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Chimes In By Declaring: "The West Bank & Gaza Is Palestine, All the Rest Is Israel"

 What is the impact of Likud Cabinet Minister's Moshe Kahlon's final decision not to form a new party to run against the Likud in the upcoming election? Kahlon's shooting star has now burned out and the campaign will now turn to whether former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will again throw his hat into the ring to lead a new Center bloc or whether he will succumb to his numerous legal problems. From another quarter, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also got into the action by trying to stir up interest in the moribund Palestinian issue. Analyst David Essing has this election update.


Kahlon and Israel's Election Vortex

Isracast Assessment: If Moshe Kahlon Does Not Run Now He'll Be Viewed As Vacillating Wimp Or Manipulative Con Artist

New Poll Indicates Kahlon Would Take Thirteen Seats, Five From Likud-Lieberman

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Calls On Kahlon To Stay In Party - Other Party Leaders Urge Kahlon To Bolt Likud-Lieberman Due To Economic Policy

Moshe Kahlon's political career could be finished if he does not carry through with forming his own party and running in the upcoming election. If he backs down now, or accepts a new Netanyahu offer, he will be viewed as either a political wimp or a manipulative con artist. In both cases he would lose face both inside the Likud and with the public at large. By first taking a 'time out' at the start of the election campaign, the 'darling of the Likud' was asking a lot of his party. But by now threatening to run against the Likud, which is in itself a glaring condemnation of Bibi's economic policies, Kahlon has gone one step too far. If Kahlon is as smart as he is cracked up to be, he must have realized this at the start; if he didn't he is a rank amateur playing at high stake politics.



TV 7 News Channel Interviews IsraCast News Analyst, David Essing, on History and Current Events Surrounding Turkey and Israel

Watch this informative 20-minute interview with IsraCast journalist, David Essing, to hear his expert opinion on the situation between Turkey and Israel. This program provides a deeper understanding of the current events taking place in Israel today, Israel's domestic and foreign policy, archeology, and religion, as well as insight into Turkey's politics and policies.


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IsraCast Archive | November-December 2012

IsraCast Archive