Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ofir Akunis took Netanyahu's position that settlement construction is not an impediment to a negotiated solution with the Palestinians to a whole new level. According to a report in Haaretz Tuesday: ... [Akunis asserted] that past experience has shown that a halt to construction has only driven the Palestinians away from negotiating with Israel. "The Likud policy is very consistent. Our call to the Palestinians to enter into direct peace negotiations without precondition is in effect," he said. (Emphasis mine) Akunis, the same Likud lawmaker who in the last Knesset proposed a bill to limit all foreign…Read More... | 14 Comments
Foreign Minister Lieberman may offer the Palestinians a 'temporary state' with no borders, which actually translates to no state at all. The Israeli government is so threatened by the Palestinian Authority's bid to go to the UN in order to achieve non-member observer state status, that it has gone through a series of moves in recent weeks that began with threats, and has now transitioned into what is being called an "offer" by the Foreign Ministry. According to a report in Haaretz on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Lieberman is considering offering the Palestinians recognition of statehood within "provisional borders" in exchange for…Read More... | 4 Comments
The reappearance of some veteran politicians on the scene had Netanyahu worried enough to merge with Lieberman. But while Bibi may be ensured another term, he will ultimately pay for the toll of his economic and political policies on Israelis and Palestinians. By Yacov Ben Efrat Benjamin Netanyahu's call for early elections initially evoked an instinctive response: Who needs this? The result of normal elections, scheduled for next fall, was predictable: Bibi could look forward to another four years as prime minister. He had split the Labor Party and pulverized his main rival, Kadima, dispersing its 29 mandates in all…Read More... | 8 Comments
By Ophir Pines-Paz On one hand, the storm of condemnations by the top levels of government and now the suspension of Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner from his position for beating an apparently unarmed Danish protester with his weapon, is the right response. On the other hand, this response is cynical and problematic, on several major counts. First, Israelis commonly complain about the country's hasbara – well, here it is! Israel has put its best foot forward in the communications effort, and the world saw the result on every channel. Here's the point: communications cannot turn black into white – that's…Read More... | 13 Comments
There has been plenty of sabre rattling between Israel and Turkey over the past couple of weeks, up to and including with the Turkish Air Force de-registering Israeli warplanes from their flight computers' friend/foe lists. But it is plucky little Tel Aviv that's contemplating a move that might just prove the last straw for Ankara. Namely? Israel Radio reported last night that Tel Aviv municipality is considering cancelling the Turkish embassy's free parking lot on Yarkon Street. Considering the inability to find paid parking in Tel Aviv got Israelis to create the first-ever Hebrew Hitler rant video and contributed towards…Read More... | 1 Comment
MK Faina Kirshenbaum from Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu Party - the same MK responsible for proposing the bill to establish parliamentary committees to investigate the funding of NGOs in Israel - was quoted today in Israel's Ynet as saying that the tent protest organizers remind her of Palestinians. I'm paraphrasing and translating: The tent leaders' demands are incoherent, and if we [the government] aren't prepared with a clear plan, they will continue to approach us with new demands. This reminds me of negotiations with the Palestinians - because when the issues are not well-formulated, they constantly come back to us with…Read More... | 5 Comments
Shortly after the Goldstone Report was published, a wealthy American Jewish woman at a New York cocktail event leaned in to tell me how horrible the report is. Waving her jeweled hands, she keened: “We’re living in a nightmare!” Israeli society seemed to feel the same. The Goldstone Report has been viewed as a turning point, when the whole world embarked on a coordinated campaign of something called “de-legitimization.” The threat is believed to be so real, that the report led some Israelis to viciously attack other Israelis who had provided information to the Goldstone Commission – branding them traitors.…Read More... | 22 Comments
Not too long ago, Peter Beinart chastised the American-Jewish establishment for stretching the ostensible bond between liberal values and Zionism ever-closer to breaking point, and serving as enablers for ultra-right trends that would eventually destroy Israel as a democratic state. In particular, Beinart slammed the Jewish leadership's attempts to smooth out the image of Avigdor Lieberman: After Israel’s elections last February, for instance, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice-chairman of the Presidents’ Conference, explained that Avigdor Lieberman’s agenda was “far more moderate than the media has presented it.” Insisting that Lieberman bears no general animus toward Israeli Arabs, Abraham Foxman, national director of…Read More... | 7 Comments
NOTE: This post has been twice hijacked and copied without permission by what seems to be a decidedly anti-Semitic website. If you know "Novanews", who runs "Shoah: The Palestinian Holocaust", please let me know. Read more here. I disagree (for once) with my Rt. Hon. Friend Noam Sheizaf. As you may have read, Noam reported on his blog the police and army recently concluded an extensive drill, practicing response to "riots" that would follow the signing of a peace agreement covering "population exchange". Here is a verbatim translation of the very careful phrasing used by Carmela Menashe, the IBA's veteran military…Read More... | 8 Comments
Reopening 1948: Israel made another step towards a transformation into a bi-national state Sunday, when the Supreme Court legitimized the Palestinian right of return. Naturally, that’s not what the Court had in mind, but that was the result. The Court decided that a large part of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood belongs to the heirs (and so-called heirs) of Jews residing there prior to the 1948 war. The Custodian General and several associations of settlers have declared their intention to evict Palestinian families living there for over forty years, and do so soon. The Jews residing in Sheikh Jarrah in the…Read More... | 7 Comments
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