An uprising within the Israeli establishment is preventing an insane war from being started. In how many other countries could such a thing happen? This is a proud moment for Israel's democracy. People don't realize what a miracle is taking place in this country. A revolt by the Israeli military/intelligence establishment and Israel's best reporters, helped along by President Shimon Peres and ultimately enabled by the Obama administration, is stopping an insane war from being launched by Israel's two ideologically insane political leaders, a war they've been planning for years. The eight-member inner cabinet, or "octet," which in recent weeks has been reported to be split evenly between pro-war and anti-war ministers, has now tilted…Read More... | 39 Comments
Israeli readers woke up this morning to a deafening, orchestrated drumroll, with the headlines of all four Israeli dailies beating out a steady call for war. The soloist of this dubious ensemble was Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit, who was given prime-space on top of the Haaretz to interview Defence Minister Ehud Barak, hilariously presented as an anonymous but senior "decision-maker". Noam picked out the important bits of today's papers in general and the interview in particular in his post earlier today. I just wanted to dwell briefly on the style of the Barak interview and the role Shavit, still seen…Read More... | 14 Comments
The top stories in all Israeli dailies this weekend discuss a coming strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Thirty-seven percent of Israelis think President Obama would stop Iran from developing a bomb, while only 29 percent doubt it. The front page headlines in all major daily papers in Israel deal with the increased likelihood of a war with Iran. Yedioth Aharonoth has an important expose: the paper's diplomatic correspondents, Nahum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer, report that Defense Minister Ehud Barak has gathered senior army generals twice (the latest meeting took place at Mossad headquarters) in order to obtain their support for…Read More... | 7 Comments
With Netanyahu and Barak desperate to sell their case for an attack on Iran, they've been repeating the urban legend that Israel's 1981 bombing of Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor stopped Saddam's nuclear ambitions permanently. Since we are getting down to crunch time, I am reposting below an excerpt from my March 2 post, 'The myth of Osirak and the march to Iran.' Like all Israelis, I believed that the Air Force had knocked out Saddam's nuclear program for good in 1981, and that this had certainly proved a wise and brave decision. That was until 2007, when I was doing a story on Israel's attack on the Syrian reactor, and I interviewed Yiftah Shapir,…Read More... | 7 Comments
Over the years, Israeli politicians have used various disparaging remarks to describe Palestinians. During this U.S. election, it looks like American politicians have adopted the same tactic, as recently shown during Mitt Romney's visit to Israel. By Amer Zahr Look, as a Palestinian, I’m used to hearing racist epithets thrown my way. I’ve heard Abba Eban say that Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” I’ve heard Menachem Begin call us “beasts.” Ehud Barak called us “crocodiles.” Ariel Sharon once said he would “kill as many Arabs as necessary.” Benjamin Netanyahu labels us a “demographic threat.” Famously, Golda…Read More... | 16 Comments
This week the Israeli military/intellgence establishment, backed by the U.S., has come out forcefully against war, isolating Netanyahu. He needs the cabinet's support to attack, and there's no way he'll get it. It's not often that the story out of Israel, and out of America's relationship with Israel, is good, but the story that's emerged over the last few days is much more than good, and given Israel's build-up toward war with Iran for the last five years at least, the story is so out of character that it's hard to absorb. But here it is - Israel is not going to attack Iran. Not before the November 6 presidential election,…Read More... | 32 Comments
Israel's top-selling newspaper reports that Netanyahu hasn't convinced inner council to back war; his latest attempt to rig the game has only hurt him more. Yedioth Ahronoth is reporting some very good and surprising news on the Iran front: Prime Minister Netanyahu doesn't have a majority in the inner council of his government for an attack. In the eight-minister "octet," an unofficial body sometimes called the "security cabinet" or "inner cabinet," it's tied 4-4, with PM Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz in favor of war, and Interior Minister Eli Yishai and ministers-of-whatever Moshe "Bugi" Ya'alon, Dan Meridor and Benny…Read More... | 6 Comments
When Israel assassinated Hezbollah's Imad Mughniyeh and five Iranian nuclear scientists, it was picking a fight, and the payback - or part of it - was Wednesday's bus bombing. It says something about Israeli society's fear of facing hard truths when the only public figure who dares to state the obvious about the Burgas attack is Dr. Uzi Arad, who used to be known as "Dr. Strangelove" before he fell out of grace with Netanyahu over Iran. While everybody else here either doesn't believe or is afraid to say that Israel's all-but-confirmed assassinations of five Iranian nuclear scientists and Hezbollah military chief Imad…Read More... | 74 Comments
A leading Israeli defense reporter writes that Barak and Netanyahu have decided to attack Iran before November, and only IDF chief Benny Gantz can stop them. I say even he can't. Channel 10 defense reporter Alon Ben David, who's been covering the Israeli security establishment for about 20 years and is as plugged in up there as anyone alive, writes in Haaretz today that the only person who can stop an Israeli attack on Iran before the November 6 presidential election is IDF chief Benny Gantz. This is an extremely newsworthy op-ed because Ben David is not a pundit, he's a top-drawer reporter (also writing for the "Bible" of military affairs, Jane's Defence…Read More... | 20 Comments
Netanyahu is not hiding his commitment to expanding settlements - he is making it loud and clear. The New York Times didn't seem to hear. Given relatively sparse international coverage of the Knesset vote yesterday rejecting a bill that would have legalized West Bank settlements facing legal challenges (specifically, the Ulpana Hill of Beit El), it was particularly disappointing to see the New York Times offer one of the few editorials on the topic – and get it so completely wrong. This line from the first paragraph exemplifies the problem: There may be some glimmer of hope in Mr. Netanyahu’s…Read More... | 10 Comments
By Roni Schocken Congratulations to Benjamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz. I've been fond of Mofaz for a while now. Ever since he served as defense minister in Ariel Sharon's government during the disengagement from Gaza, Mofaz has been building himself up as a serious politician and perhaps even a statesman. It was during the disengagement that Mofaz morphed into a political dove, and despite the takeover of Israeli politics by the right-wing settler movement, he has stood his ground. Then in 2009, during a period of political stagnation, he introduced a gutsy plan for a peace process and when asked,…Read More... | 10 Comments
Ex-Shin Bet chief launches the latest attack on Netanyahu and Barak's character, warning that they can't be trusted to deal with Iran. What is it about these two? This is just about unprecedented in Israeli history, these public attacks on the reliability of the prime minister and defense minister by the security chiefs who served under them. On Friday, Yuval Diskin, who headed the Shin Bet from 2005 until last May, joined the club by describing Netanyahu and Barak as two super-rich "messianics" who are not to be trusted with such a fateful challenge as that of Iran. Last year, Diskin and ex-IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi were named by ex-Mossad director Meir Dagan as having been…Read More... | 17 Comments
Will Diskin crack Netanyahu's "good for security" armor? A review of public surveys on the Iran issue shows that even prior to the damning critique on Friday by Yuval Diskin, former head of the Internal Security Agency, the public already diverged sharply from the leadership's policy: Survey after survey, as I wrote in March, showed that only a minority – somewhere between 19 percent and 31 percent – favors a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran. The majority – at least half (here's a similar survey in Hebrew), and up to nearly two-thirds (Hebrew) – is against a unilateral attack. There are a few…Read More... | 16 Comments
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'Wars on Gaza have become part of Israel's system of governance': An interview with filmmaker Yotam Feldman http://t.co/7dMiksBo9t
Israel officially drank the Kool Aid on the al-Dura affair http://t.co/MF3x14NKe4
On visiting the victims of occupation in the south Hebron Hills http://t.co/YO37AXd75k by @MairavZ (via @haaretzcom)
Court questions law enabling confiscation of Palestinian land in Jerusalem http://t.co/4oGUPJYILt
Israel's A-G laments: Nobody criminally investigates settlers for illegal building http://t.co/O6zmeYz8M1
On the al-Dura affair: Israel officially drank the Kool Aid http://t.co/MF3x14NKe4 (By Larry Derfner)
#Israel Extends Zone for Fishing Off #Gaza http://t.co/aQkRdGvs60 via @nytimes