Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

MK Chanin Zouabi from Israeli Palestinian BALAD faction should lose her diplomatic passport, special travel rights abroad and free legal council, recommends parliamentary commission investigating Zouabi’s participation in a violent attack against IDF troops on board a ship heading to Gaza:

The vote was 7-1, with only MK Ilan Gil’on of Meretz voting against. The full Knesset must now vote on the committee’s recommendation. "We are pushing for it to take place quickly," Ben-Ari’s parliamentary aide Baruch Marzel told Israel National News. "It’s a good atmosphere." MKs Ben-Ari, Moses (United Torah Judaism) and others drank a L’Chaim after the vote. (Channel 7 News)

Extremist elements in Israeli society upped the stakes, sending threatening letters and death threats against Israeli Palestinian MKs:

Knesset Member Talab El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta’al) says he was verbally attacked by a guest in the Knesset building on Monday. Earlier, El-Sana received threatening messages on his phone and a fax reading, "You are dead." (Ynet)

"Because of your poisonous positions against Israel and Zionism,” the letter said, “the organization’s management has issued a Pulsa Dinura against you.”

"You have 180 days left to live. Your death will be sudden and cruel, accompanied by much pain… It is time that you prepare your will.”

Tibi said that “the incitement by right wing Knesset members is the reason for the threats, and right wing Knesset members will bear responsibility for any harm inflicted upon me or or any of my Arab colleagues in the Knesset.” He filed a complaint with the Knesset Officer. (Channel 7 News)

DURING PAST WEEK, many Israelis expressed their outrage over Israeli Palestinian MKs’ support of violent rioters on board Mavi Marmara, as well as support for Palestinian ‘resistance movement’. Recently, MK Ahmad Tibi threatened Israelis, saying Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping conditions to suffer if Jewish government would decide to worsen Hamas prisoners’ conditions in Israeli jails:

His denial notwithstanding, video shows that in an interview Sunday with Channel 1 Television’s Uri Levy, MK Tibi said: “Just as you are putting pressure on the prisoners in the jails we will put pressure on Gilad Shalit.” Tibi did not say whom he was referring to by “we” but the only possible explanation seems to be that he was speaking for Hamas, the terror organization holding captured Israeli soldier First Sergeant Gilad Shalit for close to four years.

The fact that his utterance was broadcast on television and is freely available for viewing and listening did not prevent Tibi from denying he ever said it, in a speech Wednesday from the Knesset podium. (Channel 7 News)

Israeli Jews feel threatened by the Palestinian minority, which assisted Palestinian terror during the past decade. On more than one occasions, Palestinians carrying Israeli IDs helped suicide bombers arrive at their destinations inside the ‘Green Line’, prompting IDF and the government to make extraordinary steps such as constructing the separation barrier.

Israeli Palestinian MKs’ fiery ‘fascist’ rhetoric never did them any good among Jewish population. However, radical speeches certainly keep their popularity high among Palestinians – target audience of the speakers.

GBU-28 Bunker Buster Barry Rubin, of Global Research in International Affairs, says that while the Obama administration put quite some political pressure on Israel, it never transformed into actual moratorium on military equipment:

As proof, for example, take the article by Barbara Opall-Rome in Defense News, May 3, 2010, "U.S. Backs Israeli Munitions Upgrades." She writes of "ever-expanding bilateral security ties unharmed by the unusually high-profile political rift" that took place temporarily.

In fact, the United States is equipping Israel with GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs for its F-15I fighter-bombers and this will be followed by the same system on F-16I planes. These 250-pound bombs are called bunker busters because they are smart bombs that will go through more than six feet of reinforced concrete.

In addition, Israel has equipped F-15Is to carry the 5,000-pound-class GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrator, designed to burrow 100 feet into earth or 20 feet into concrete.

(GLORIA Center through Israel Behind the News)

WHILE THE POLITICAL confrontation somewhat subsided, Obama understands it cannot simply stop supplying Israel with weapons. The reason is far from being friendly, as Israel’s critics usually say. The reason for the supply is power: as long as the United States allows Israel to purchase US-manufactured military goods, it both supplies its own manufacturers with money – thus keeping the business – and prevents Israel from seeking new military friends, particularly in Asia.

Livni attacks to gain surrender

Posted: May 8, 2010 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Politics
Tags: ,

Kadima's chairwoman Zipi Livni In political classes, you are usually taught that diplomacy, not violence, is the path to a solution for a problem – for the most part, of course. It seems Kadima’s chairwoman Zipi Livni missed the class, as she now assaults Likud in order to score points, calling for peace between the two, and then attacking Netanyahu:

Livni blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for "paying off" the ultra-Orthodox so that he could avoid making a decision on the peace process. She said Netanyahu is also evading a decision on social issues.

Livni blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for "paying off" the ultra-Orthodox so that he could avoid making a decision on the peace process. She said Netanyahu is also evading a decision on social issues.

(Haaretz)

LIVNI CERTAINLY CAVES in to pressure within her own party. While winning majority of seats in recent Israeli elections – 28 versus Likud’s 27 – Livni failed to set up a government, thus giving way to Netanyahu. In months after elections, Livni fiercely attacked Netanyahu, hoping his government would soon fall apart – just as her attempt did – and would force PM into concessions to gain Kadima’s seats in the Parliament.

Netanyahu, however, played his cards differently, not only keeping his seat, but also gaining some popular support, thanks to his tough stand against United States President Barack Obama. Now Kadima is left on the sidelines, with little opportunity to influence the direction the country is heading, left out with radicals such as Left-wing MERETZ.

Livni’s “pacified attack” would work swell in the opposition; it is useless if you are seeking cooperation. Netanyahu knows Livni would fight him all the way to next elections – and then some – even if he does accept her to the government and grants her a Minister’s seat. Thus, he chooses to sit with other opponents, such as the ultra-orthodox.

Zipi Livni, take notice: if you really want change, work for cooperation. You have already been defeated, it is no time to play face-saving games now. If you indeed want to change the direction the country is headed, present yourself as a pragmatist, now a hawk.

Tension all around. Netanyahu and Abbas. As I have covered extensively the cat-and-mouse games between Israelis and Palestinians – each throwing rocks into the other’s garden, expecting to blame the other for talks failure, Israeli Military Intelligence seems to have reach similar conclusions:

"[PA President Mahmoud] Abbas’ goal is to expose Israel’s true face and show that we do not want peace," Baidatz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, adding that "Abbas is interested in an agreement with Israel, but his leeway on the core issues is limited."

"We do not detect any real attempt on Abbas’ part to show flexibility on the core issues, and he will start the talk with the same positions he presented to the previous [Israeli] government," he continued, concluding that "Abbas is laying the groundwork for the failure of the talks."

(Haaretz)

IN WHAT COULD be considered to be one of humanity’s grandest stalemates, neither Israel nor the Palestinians want to talk, and differences grow exponentially over time. Israel demands Palestinians recognize it as Jewish state first; Palestinians demand freeze to construction, obligation to many concessions and untangling security over PA as a precondition.

Netanyahu has his point: it is meaningless to restart talks unless Abbas recognizes Jews’ right for own state. No, not as means for Jews to feel better with them being in Israel, but in order to come to an understanding that the Jews go nowhere and peace must be reached with the Jews. Abbas, on the other hand, wants to see two states: a Palestinian Palestine, and an eventually Israel as state for all people, where Jews would become a minority within 50 years.

The absolutely worst part is that even if Abbas actually would want to talk and give Israel desired recognition, he would be unable to do so. After decades of incitement, the Arab world – his own people in particular – would not accept an official Jewish state. On the contrary – such recognition would be used by Abbas’ adversaries to tie him to “Zionists” and “Great Satan” in order to oust him.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Fearing the incoming pressure from the Americans to begin either direct or indirect talks, Mahmoud Abbas chose a tactic to disrupt any possibility of such, by setting various preconditions:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will demand already in the stage of proximity talks that Israel transfer vast areas in the West Bank, including those currently under full and partial Israeli control, to sole Palestinian control.

Abbas said that he would also demand that the Jordan Valley be included in the territories to be transferred to the Palestinians, although Israel has made it clear that it will not accept any pre-conditions to peace talks.

(Ynet)

NETANYAHU SET A precondition himself – for Palestinians to recognize Israel as a state of the Jews – prior to any talks about two states for two peoples. Abbas’ outright refusal to view Israel as a Jewish state (rather than state for all peoples – Abbas’ goal) hurts Palestinian PM, as American and European demands pour in, requesting he declares recognition. Not wanting to be left out of the party, Abbas decided to drop shift attention towards Israeli refusal on several issues, such as the Jordan Valley. This way, Abbas can again claim it is the Israelis – not him – who dropped the ball on the talks.

Right-wing proposes PA counter-boycott

Posted: May 2, 2010 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Palestinians, Politics, West Bank

A Palestinian store Following recent outlawing of settler goods by the Palestinian authorities, some Israeli Right-wing propose a counter-boycott:

Mr. Dayan suggested that Israel deduct the cost of lost sales from excise taxes that Israel collects for the P.A., as the P.A. boycotts good from the Territories and eastern Jerusalem.

Pointing out that tens of thousands of P.A. Arabs, amounting to 10% of the P.A. work force, is employed by Israelis, National Union MK Uri Ariel had urged that Israelis fire them and cease purchasing from Arabs in the P.A.  (Arutz-7, 4/30/10).

(Examiner.Com)

THE JEWS ALREADY have some experience with Palestinian boycotts. In 1929 the Palestinians started the first boycott of the Palestinian Jews – which eventually failed, due to Palestinian Arabs’ heavy dependence on the Jews, their hospitals and jobs.

The situation today is entirely different. While modern political correctness requires Israel to provide the PA with funds, food, fuel, power, water and others, a true boycott of the PA by Israel would immensely hurt Palestinian civilians.

This is precisely why Israel should not consider such move. While PA’s boycott is purely a political move (which many Palestinians despise), similar move by Israeli authorities could affect each and every Palestinian on the street.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton The indirect talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians would begin next week, according to US SoS Hillary Clinton:

On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed that next week, the United States would start indirect talks, in which the administration’s special envoy, George J. Mitchell, would ferry proposals between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

“Ultimately, we want to see the parties in direct negotiations and working out all the difficult issues that they must,” Mrs. Clinton said to reporters at the State Department, after meeting with Kuwait’s deputy prime minister, Muhammad al-Sabah. “They’ve been close a few times before.”

Beyond all these hurdles, some analysts say a fundamental rethinking of Middle East peacemaking is needed, given the strength of Israel and the weakened, divided nature of the Palestinian Authority.

“There is a fundamental asymmetry between the parties, and unless we acknowledge that, we’ll be stuck,” said Daniel Levy, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.

(The New York Times)

THE MOVE MIGHT signal Obama administration’s change of heart regarding the peace process between Israelis and the Palestinians. With President Obama forcefully pushing the negotiations through since day one – and eventually bringing the whole thing to a grinding halt – the Americans might believe it is time to change the attitude. Demanding total construction halt from the Israelis – including Jerusalem – was one of the worst moves by the Obama administration as it left Netanyahu with very little options. Option one – give in to American demands, which wouldn’t necessarily advance the peace talks, but where Netanyahu would be forced off the chair by his Right-wing partners. Option two – stay steady and not give in: worse for the Americans, but eventually garnered much support for Netanyahu among the Israelis. With Netanyahu seeing much support from his own people, he decided not to budge. Obama surely did not like the scenario, but understood his mistake. Now, he is trying to fix the damage he did in the past year – which might not be easy.