An increase in building permits for Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank is not what it seems. It is, in fact, part of the Israeli government's process of concentrating Palestinians in order to make room for settlements to expand. By Alon Cohen-Lifshitz It's the responsibility of anyone who wants to build a house to follow the law. For any type of construction work to be carried out, one must request a permit in accordance with a detailed, approved master plan. In fact, illegal construction goes on in all areas under Israeli control. The majority of these offenses — around…Read More...
Netanyahu may have found an opportunity to take revenge on the old IDF elites, but in doing so has put one of Israel's most hawkish politicians in charge of the occupation. Avigdor Liberman's appointment as defense minister is, in my eyes, one of Netanyahu's most surprising moves (in fact, on Wednesday I argued that it wouldn't happen; two hours later I was proven wrong). Netanyahu is a careful politician that does not like big egos surrounding him, and Liberman is Liberman — a person who deliberately chooses to be unexpected and undisciplined — even when it doesn't serve his interests…Read More... | 2 Comments
The Israeli government approves a plan for five new settlements in the Negev/Naqab. Rights group says the plan, like Israel's overall policy regarding its Bedouin citizens, is discriminatory. The Israeli government on Sunday approved a plan for five new Jewish settlements to be built in the Negev (Naqab) in the south of Israel. The plan, which was submitted by Housing Minister Yoav Galant of Kulanu, threatens to displace thousands of Bedouin from their homes. [tmwinpost] Two of the settlements are due to be built where Bedouin villages already exist, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). The…Read More... | 36 Comments
As elections approach, Israeli politicians are misleading the public about war crimes probes, and according to one general-turned-politician, about war itself. (This analysis originally contained a previous section called, 'Is the ICC running against Netanyahu in Israeli elections?' It has been published as a separate article here.) “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.” — Carl von Clausewitz Retired Israeli army general Yoav Galant suggested that Israel's assassination of a senior Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general in Syria on Sunday might have been timed with electoral politics in mind. Appearing as a guest commentator on Israel’s…Read More... | 33 Comments
Major General Benny Gantz spoke frequently on Iran, but his position regarding the military option remains unclear. Haaretz military correspondent: pro-active line on Iran "disintegrating". After an unprecedented series of events, consisting of a public dispute between the Defense Minister and the departing Chief of Staff and two canceled appointments to replace the latter, it seems that the IDF finally has its new commander: Major General Benny Gantz. Gantz was the head of the Northern Command, the military attaché in Washington and in his last role, Deputy Chief of Staff. Last summer, after Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided not to appoint…Read More...
According to reports in the Israeli media, a major reason for the bad blood between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and departing Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi was their differences on the issue of Iran, and especially what Barak saw as an attempt by Ashkenazi to bypass him Did the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran play a major role in leading to the current IDF generals' wars? Yedioth Ahronoth's veteran diplomatic pundit Shimon Shiffer claims that one of the reasons for the all-too-public rift between Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the IDF's departing Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi…Read More... | 3 Comments
In Israel, reporting on the upheaval in Egypt has been sidelined by news that the appointment of Major General Yoav Galant to IDF Chief of Staff has been cancelled. Yedioth, Israel's most widely read newspaper, devoted half of its pages to coverage of this development, pushing news of Mubrak's decision not to run for reelection to page 14. The Galant affair is petty and farcical, but is also instructive, and could have significant implications for Israel and the region. The background is a bitter power struggle between the popular incumbent Chief of Staff, Lt. General Gaby Ashkenazi, and the increasingly…Read More... | 1 Comment
The winds of change blowing across the Mideast appeared to have reached the Jewish State yesterday, as hundreds of politicians and public servants took to the streets of Jerusalem to demand the removal of State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss from office. The group of protesters, led by General Yoav Galant, chanted slogans against the Comptroller’s never-ending interference in their daily lives, in what they coined as an attempt by the former district judge to “screw them over”. “He’s not a State Comptroller, he’s a State Controller!”, and “Lindenstrauss, c’mon gimme a break, I’m dyin’ out here!” were just a few of…Read More... | 1 Comment
Israelis received a new glimpse today into the lifestyle of the military elite. Something happened this morning that calls for breaking a tradition. It's not a religious tradition, nor is it very old. In fact, it's nothing but a simple design standard. Then again, design is meaningful, as we will soon discover. I made myself a rule of elegance: to only use black and white images as illustrations from my posts. Let's break this rule in favor of the above image, which appears in today's Haaretz. It is an arial view of a property belonging to General Yoav Galant. General…Read More... | 24 Comments
A war between Israel and its neighbors could be triggered by an Israeli miscalculation. Recent statements by Israeli Generals, warning of an upcoming conflict – the worst yet, according to them - may act as a self-fulfilling prophecy Foreign observers of the Middle East have lately begun to sound the alarm about the possibility of a large scale war breaking out between Israel and its neighbors. Le Monde, for example, warns: This deadlock [in peace negotiations] is forcing the Israeli army to draw up plans for further wars based on the “security concept” – that anyone who refuses to accept…Read More... | 7 Comments
Hebrew media roundup: Ehud Barak fires back, while the search for someone to replace him continues; Yedioth: Government was blackmailed by high-ranking official > Defense Minister Barak fires back at the Labor insurrection against his leadership (more on the move against Barak here). In their desperate search for a candidate to replace Barak, some MKs are mulling [Heb] a bill that would shorten the “cooling-off” period and allow the outgoing chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, to compete in the next elections As Labor's head. Ashkenazi became Barak’s bitter rival when the two fell out over the appointment of Ashkenazi’s successor,…Read More...
The Headlines: Unilateralism > Palestinian President Abbas has raised the possibility of asking the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state, if negotiations with Israel are stalled. In response, Netanyahu called for avoiding unilateral moves. He did not mean to include, of course, settlement construction that changes facts on the ground. Two prominent Jewish Americans, considered close to Obama, visited [Heb] Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and urged Netanyahu to proceed with negotiations. In the background, the administration is increasingly frustrated by Israel’s policy. > The German mediator, working on a deal between Hamas and Israel to secure the…Read More...
The Headlines: Bad Fences > A senior government official is accusing [Heb] the Defense Ministry of refusing to comply with a government decision to build a fence between Israel and Egypt. The official further alleged that the Ministry channeled funds allocated for this purpose, to pay salaries, and refused to allow any other government authority to review the fence’s routes. The fence is meant to stop the entrance to Israel of asylum seekers, fleeing massacres and persecutions in Darfur, Eritrea and Cote d’Ivoire. Their entry is often depicted as a “flood” (Ma’ariv), despite the fact that the numbers are negligible…Read More...
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