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Nahum Barnea

  • Why Israel picks fights with Hezbollah

    And why it will probably pick another one before too long. After Hezbollah’s fatal attack on Israeli soldiers Wednesday, the two enemy sides are in a rare configuration: they’re even. Israel killed six Hezbollah guerrillas and an Iranian general on January 18, so Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven more, and now they’re quits, for the time being. They each told UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon that they didn’t want to escalate things anymore, they wanted calm, and that clearly seems to be the case today. What an opportunity. From this point forward, Israel and Hezbollah could start…

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  • In ceasefire talks, Netanyahu is letting Hamas win Gaza war

    The great mystery is: Why? In the Cairo ceasefire talks, Netanyahu is snatching diplomatic defeat from the jaws of military victory. I have no explanation for why he’s doing this and I have yet to hear a convincing one. There must be something Netanyahu knows that no one else does. Otherwise his concessions at the Cairo talks, after blitzing the Gaza Strip for five weeks, leaving Hamas able to do no more than fire short-range rockets over the Israeli border, and being hailed in Israel as a warrior king, make no sense at all. Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On gave an…

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  • The ‘terror tunnels’: Another Israeli self-fulfilling prophecy

    There were non-lethal ways to preempt Hamas’ underground attacks, but the Netanyahu government rejected them all. Here is the current, ostensibly airtight rationale for whatever the IDF chooses to do in Gaza: armed Hamas militats are coming up out of tunnels that start in Gaza and end not far from kibbutz and moshav communities on the Israeli side. So if the IDF doesn’t go as far into Gaza as necessary to destroy the last of these underground passages, sooner or later Hamas will succeed in carrying out “catastrophic” terror attacks, as Netanyahu puts it. The army has stopped several of…

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  • 'There was no generous offer': A history of peace talks

    Raviv Drucker, a prominent journalist who co-hosts a well-known television magazine program on Channel 10, wrote a tough blog post in which he takes some of Israel's best known journalists to task for presenting a completely erroneous interpretation of the Palestinian position regarding a negotiated agreement for a two-state solution. I have translated his post with permission.  By Raviv Drucker Ari Shavit has written another one of his fabulous treatises in his exemplary prose style that is, as his articles often are, completely detached from the facts. According to Shavit, Mahmoud Abbas is an intransigent negotiator who fails every time he…

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  • Which American billionaire advocated transferring 'every last Palestinian?'

    A friend of Netanyahu presents his own solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nahum Barnea, one of Israel’s leading political and diplomatic correspondents, had an interesting item at the end of his weekly feature in Yedioth Ahronoth. The Hebrew version is at the end of this post; this is my translation: A few years back, a known American billionaire, Sarah [Netanyahu's] friend [...], gathered a group of Israelis and gave them the following speech: “I hear that one Avigdor Lieberman is proposing land swaps with the Palestinians. What is this lefty thinking? We shouldn’t propose anything to them. Deport, that’s what is…

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  • Consensus wisdom: The boycott of Israel is working

    The only way to stop its spread is to end the occupation, say a growing number of prominent voices (none of whom, by the way, support the boycott).   From reading my digital mail, I see that a lot of people who say they oppose the occupation also oppose the boycott against Israel, and not only on moral grounds, but for practical reasons as well. It won't work, they say, it won't convince anyone, it'll have a boomerang effect by making Israel even more intransigent. I've made my arguments against the moral objections to the boycott (here, here and here),…

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  • Why it’s time to discuss the one-state solution

    Secular, binational, and more: there are plenty of one-state models that can and should be discussed. But what's becoming increasingly clear to figures from both the right and the left is that the feasibility of the two-state solution must be reconsidered.  By Yoav Kapshuk It is time to start a public discussion about possible and realistic arrangements for the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The importance of the discussion does not lie in reaching a consensus about a desired arrangement of one state or two states, but rather in creating an opening through which to understand…

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  • The miraculous antiwar uprising of the Israeli establishment

    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…

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  • The problem with Netanyahu’s judgment, when it comes to WMD

    Why was a paragraph removed from a Haaretz op-ed concerning an attack on Iran? Dr. Avner Cohen, the unofficial historian of the Israeli nuclear program, noticed today that a paragraph that appeared in the Hebrew print edition of a Haaretz op-ed by Sefi Rachlevski revealed for the first time a few details of a little-known incident from 1998. While arguing against “the gamble” of going to war with Iran, Rachlevski writes: In 1998, Saddam Hussein, weakened by the American no-flight zone, made one hollow threat. In response, [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu ordered to consider the arming of Jericho missiles. An order that wasn’t…

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  • Is an Israeli cover-up keeping Jonathan Pollard in prison?

    The Americans are convinced Pollard - who spied on behalf of Israel in the 1980's - didn't act alone, and have made it clear that if Israel gives up the other name(s), he can go free. It's been a mystery for many years why Jonathan Pollard is still in prison, why U.S. president after president refuses to pardon him. The reason in the minds of his hardcore right-wing supporters, those who see him as a Jewish hero, is anti-Israeli/anti-Semitic feeling high up in Washington, which is too stupid and rotten a claim to bother refuting. No, it has to be an American belief that freeing Pollard could do further damage to U.S. security, because…

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  • Tzipi Livni, another moral casualty of the Gaza war

    This week she lost the leadership of Kadima, but Livni lost her voice when she supported Operation Cast Lead - and she wasn't alone. In the euphoria immediately after Obama's election night in 2008, and with Israel's own election four months away, I wrote that "if there's any Israeli candidate who can catch the fire he lit, it's Livni." While granting that she wasn't a true "peacenik," meaning she didn't seem too bothered by the immorality of the occupation, I called her "a woman of integrity, a woman of justice...[and one] who appears sincerely eager to make peace with the Arabs." My opinion was based on Livni's having been the only member of Olmert's cabinet…

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  • Bloggingheads: Will Israel strike Iran?

    In recent weeks discussion has grown about the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Israeli media, politicians, and American officials have all spoken publicly about the advisability and ramifications of such a strike. Does this signal a real possibility for such an attack, or simply political posturing? Watch +972 Magazine's Larry Derfner debate Elliot Jager, Contributing Editor at Jewish Ideas Daily, on

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  • Finally, Iran plan wakes Israel up to "the Israeli threat"

    A storm of protest has arisen against a plan by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. This has been the Israeli media’s finest hour, and it started with a great journalist’s column. In all the rising volume over Netanyahu and Barak’s plot to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilties, by far the most important sound in the air is silence – the silence of the heads of the IDF, IDF Intelligence, Mossad and Shin Bet. In his Friday column that broke it all open, Nahum Barnea wrote in Yediot Aharonot that the four security/intelligence chiefs –…

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