Archive for the ‘Ehud Olmert’ Category

Obama Envoy in Israel, Seeks End To Hamas Tunnels, Smuggling

January 28, 2009

President Barack Obama’s new Mideast envoy called Wednesday for an end to Hamas weapons smuggling and a reopening of Gaza’s borders, seeking to strengthen the shaky cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants thrown into turmoil by new violence.

Hours before George Mitchell met with Israeli leaders, warplanes pounded Gaza smuggling tunnels in retaliation for a Palestinian bombing on Tuesday that killed an Israeli soldier.

By STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writer

After talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Mitchell said consolidating the cease-fire is “of critical importance.” He said a longer-term truce should be based on “an end to smuggling and reopening of the crossings” into Gaza. Egypt and Israel have kept their borders with Gaza largely closed since Hamas seized control of the territory by force in 2007.

Mitchell’s tour launches the first Mideast foray of the Obama administration. Obama said his envoy would listen to all sides to then craft a way forward with stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Mitchell said that after finishing his consultations in the region and with Europeans, he will report to Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on his conclusions for the next steps.

“The United States is committed to vigorously pursuing lasting peace and stability in the region,” said Mitchell, who met earlier Wednesday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, the first stop on his Mideast tour.

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Endgame In Gaza? Will Hamas Collapse or Just Fade?

January 9, 2009

Israel’s leaders have purposely obscured their war aims in Gaza. But there are only two possible endgames: (A) a Lebanon-like cessation of hostilities to be supervised by international observers, or (B) the disintegration of Hamas rule in Gaza.

By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
Under tremendous international pressure — including from an increasingly wobbly U.S. State Department — the government of Ehud Olmert has begun hinting that it is receptive to a French-Egyptian cease-fire plan, essentially acquiescing to Endgame A.

That would be a terrible mistake.

It would fail on its own terms. It would have the same elements as the phony peace in Lebanon: an international force that abjures any meaningful use of force, an arms embargo under which arms will most assuredly flood in, and a cessation of hostilities until the terrorist side is rearmed and ready to initiate the next round of hostilities.

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Israeli Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi (L), Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (2nd L), Defence Minister Ehud Barak (3rd L) and Yoav Galant (R), head of the Israeli army Southern Command, sit together during a visit to an army base in an undisclosed location in southern Israel January 8, 2009, in this picture released by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO). Several rockets fired from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Thursday, slightly wounding two people, police and medics said, in an attack seen as linked to Israel’s war on Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip. REUTERS/Amos Ben Gershom

France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy Seeks Peace in Gaza

January 5, 2009

France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy is no longer President of the European Union, a rotating appoinment that ended on December 31.

But that has not stopped sarkozy from going where he believes he is needed:  during the next few day Sarkozy will be in Egypt, the West Bank, Tel Aviv, Jordan, and Syria, where he will meet with President Bashar al-Assad.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, reacts, with Palestinian ... 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, reacts, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009 as part of his two-day Middle East trip to seek ‘paths for peace’ in Gaza. Sarkozy left for Israel and the Palestinian territories where he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who lost control of Gaza to Hamas in June 2007.(AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
According to the Christian Sciences Monitor: “Sarkozy hosted Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Paris last week. Sarkozy works well with Washington, and French diplomacy has ties to Arabs, Palestinians, and the Islamist movement. He can talk with Syria. Moreover, Sarkozy’s criticism of Israel’s response to Hamas rockets puts him closer to core EU views than with Prague‘s,” (the Czech President is now in charge of the EU).
See the Christian Science Monitor report:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: Can He Regain Gaza?


Gaza, Israel Highlight Stark Obama, Bush Differences

January 4, 2009

George Bush has been such a good ally to Israel  that most members of the United Nations said last night they were unable to get any statement condemning the bloodletting in Gaza out the door because of the U.S.

Libyan Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi said the United States during the discussions objected to “any outcome” on the proposed statement.
Egypt’s U.N. Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said it was regrettable that one permanent council member — a clear reference to the U.S. — refused to accept any statement at a time when “the aggression is escalating and more people are dying and the military attack on the ground is at its full scale.”

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. observer, said: “We have war. We have aggression against the Palestinian people, and it is a sad and tragic moment when the Security Council cannot address this issue by at least demanding from Israel … to stop this aggression immediately.”

But the Obama camp was silent, almost, speaking only to again say there can only be one president at a time and that Obama was monitoring the situation “along with other global events.”
Not everyone was happy with that.
Obama’s  muted response has already drawn the anger of some in the Middle East.

“The start is not good,” said Khaled Meshaal, leader of the Hamas Islamist movement that has ruled Gaza since June 2007, said of the Obama statement.


“You commented on Mumbai but you say nothing about the crime of the enemy (Israel). This policy of double standards should stop.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke Saturday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Above: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke Saturday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

In July Barack Obama sought to boost his Jewish vote back in America with an emotional stump-speech in Sderot, a community in Israel which is a target for much of the Palestinian rocket-fire from Gaza.

Referring to his children Malia, 9, and Sasha, 7, the then US presidential candidate said: “If somebody is sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that – and I’d expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

But Israelis believes that Obama can and will never support them the way Bush has — and that in part drove the timing of the ongoing assault on Gaza.

Paul McGeough  wrote for The Advocate in Australia, “If Israel was to act against Hamas, it needed to move in these last days of the Bush presidency because, despite his words in Sderot, Israel worries that the incoming American president might be less supportive than his predecessor.”

Bush has often ignored the UN.  He even sent a very combatative Ambassador to the U.N. in New York, John Bolton.

Obama says he will embrace the UN and has said he’ll make his choice as Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, a cabinet level officer.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

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UN Diplomats Say US Blocked Any Gaza Statement:

Israel’s leaders are asking themselves two questions: Is the cost of sending sufficient ground forces into Gaza just too high? And, upon his inauguration on Jan. 20, will President Obama undercut Israel’s counterterror offensive before its goals have been reached?

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Israeli officials have told us that they believe the U.N. is dominated by anti-Israeli forces.

“The U.N. is no friend to Israel.  And any move to help Israel in the Security Council is blocked by China and Russia,” a senior Israeli diplomat told Peace and Freedom.

Read more:
Israel Sees Existential Fight: Enemies, Uncertainty All Around

Most Dangerous Obama Appointee


Disagreements In Israeli Government; Olmert Orders Discussions “Secret”

December 31, 2008

Israel’s security cabinet met for four hours to proposals made by Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, that Israel’s offensive should stop for 48 hours to allow aid delivery.

The security cabinet was so divided on the issue that an order was given by Ehud Olmert, the outgoing Israeli prime minister, forbidding details of the discussion being released to the press.

Tim Butcher in Jerusalem
Telegraph (UK)

It is understood Ehud Barak, the defence minister, favoured a 48 hour lull to probe Hamas’s willingness to discuss a cessation of rocket fire from Gaza but Mr Olmert and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, disagreed.

They argued that a lull would ease pressure on the Islamist movement and allow it to regroup.

The meeting eventually broke up with Mr Regev saying that “at this time the operation will continue”.

He stressed that Israel was allowing some humanitarian aid into Gaza already.

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Israel’s Failed Wars: To Lebanon, Add Gaza

December 29, 2008

Israel’s new battle with Hamas in Gaza means that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will be remembered for fighting two bloody and wasteful mini-wars in less than three years in power. The first one, in Lebanon during the summer of 2006, punished but failed to defeat or even permanently injure Hezbollah, which is politically and militarily stronger today than it was before Olmert took office. This one will probably have about the same effect on Hamas, which almost certainly will still control Gaza, and retain the capacity to strike Israel, when Olmert leaves office in a few months.

By Jackson Diehl
The Washington Post

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at a cabinet meeting this month.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at a cabinet meeting this month. (Pool Photo By Gali Tibbon — Getty Images)

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Rockets Rain Down on Israel: Preparing For Gaza Battle?

December 22, 2008

Israeli diplomats have been instructed to highlight the plight of Israelis under rocket fire from Gaza, officials said Monday, with the apparent aim of preparing world opinion for possible stepped-up action by Israel‘s military.

By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer

Rocket fire by Gaza militants has spiked in recent days, and public pressure for an Israeli response has grown. Israeli leaders have consulted, discussed contingency plans and are now trying to prepare foreign governments for the possibility that the military could move beyond air strikes against militants and act with more force — even possibly sending ground forces into the territory controlled by the Islamic group Hamas.

There was a lull in militant fire Monday. Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha said his group was holding its fire for 24 hours in the hope that Israel would allow in humanitarian aid.

Israeli diplomats are meeting with their counterparts and decision-makers abroad as part of their new effort, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

“People abroad perhaps do not understand the real distress of Israelis in the south who live with the rocket threat. Then you wake up in the morning with an Israeli response and you don’t understand where it came from,” Palmor said.

Israeli soldiers sit atop tanks at a position near the border ...
Israeli soldiers sit atop tanks at a position near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Monday, Dec. 22, 2008. Israeli diplomats have been instructed to highlight the plight of Israelis living under increasing rocket fire from Gaza, officials said Monday, in a step aimed at preparing world opinion for a stepped-up response, or even a ground invasion, by Israel’s military.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Israel Called on “Brink of War”

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Israel Called on “Brink of War”

December 22, 2008

Israel has been called on the brink of war by Middle east experts concerned about Tel Aviv’s rhetoric over the Gaza situation and Iran.

Iran’t President Ahmadinejad continues to goad Israel and yesterday Russia started to arm Iran with the A-300 missiles….


Egypt warned Israel on Sunday against launching a massive military operation in Gaza, but Israeli defense officials said Cairo was angry with Hamas leaders for ending the six-month period of relative calm.

From the Jerusalem Post

“We say such a move would have devastating consequences, devastating humanitarian consequences,” Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki told the Post in a telephone interview. “This is something we cannot accept or condone under any terms.”

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attends a weekly cabinet ... 
Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attends a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem December 21, 2008. Israel’s prime minister on Sunday brushed aside calls for an immediate large-scale operation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in response to an escalation of cross-border rocket fire after a truce expired.REUTERS/Gali Tibbon/Pool (JERUSALEM)

Meanwhile, defense officials revealed that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met privately on Thursday and decided that Israel would respond militarily to rocket attacks against the western Negev. The timing of the operation will be determined at a later date, likely following a security cabinet meeting later this week.


Russia starts missile delivery to Iran

Israel Worries Too Much On Iran, Former Top Military Man Says

Iran, Missiles, Nuclear Efforts: China, Russia on One Side; U.S. Israel On the Other

 Iran’s Nuclear Threat Grows

Barak hints at Israel’s readiness to strike Iran

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Israel Told U.N. It Will Respond

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel notified UN chief Ban Ki-moon that it will respond to continuing rocket fire from Gaza following the expiry of a truce with Hamas, a foreign ministry official said Monday.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Gabriela Shalev sent the letter to Ban on Sunday as part of a diplomatic campaign to garner international support for any offensive against the territory, the senior official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“(Israel) will not hesitate to react militarily if necessary” to rockets fired by militants from the Gaza Strip, Shalev said in her letter, according to public radio.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, leader of the governing Kadima party, “is due to soon meet with foreign ambassadors to Israel and to speak with her counterparts abroad,” the official said.

Violence around the impoverished Gaza Strip has steadily escalated since Friday, when Hamas said it would not renew a six-month truce with Israel.

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