Archive for the ‘Likud’ Category

Israel May Elect Netanyahu; Disappointing Outsiders

February 8, 2009

Israel’s Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, last night launched a concerted final effort to become her nation’s first woman leader since Golda Meir, despite the rightwards shift in public opinion that has threatened to propel Benjamin Netanyahu back into the premiership.

The leader of the centrist Kadima party, who began the closing stages of her campaign with a rally for Druze Arab voters in Galilee last night, issued a direct personal challenge to Mr Netanyahu to agree to the television debate which he has consistently refused.

As polls showing the lead of Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party has narrowed to only two seats ahead of Kadima, Ms Livni’s campaign team believes she can overtake her rival by the time Israel goes to the polls on Tuesday.

Mr Netanyahu has emphasised the threats from Hamas and a nuclear Iran in his campaign.

By Donald Macintyre
The Independent (UK)

Israel's Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu smiles during ... 
Israel’s Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu smiles during a meeting with supporters in the northern city of Tiberias February 8, 2009. Surveys predict a narrow win in Tuesday’s vote for hawkish ex-premier Netanyahu, his comeback fuelled by the inconclusive wars in southern Lebanon and Gaza, formerly areas under Israel’s control and now bastions of hostile Islamists.REUTERS/Baz Ratner (ISRAEL)

Ms Livni, who strongly supported the recent invasion of Gaza, but has pledged to continue talks on a two-state solution with the moderate West Bank Palestinian leadership, said there was a public demand from potential leaders “to specify with which policies they plan to cope with the threats, and lead [Israel] to a better future of peace and quiet”. Meanwhile the outgoing Kadima premier, Ehud Olmert, was making what the Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, said were “supreme efforts” to leave a positive legacy by securing the release of Gilad Shalit, the army corporal seized by Gaza militants in 2006, before polling day.

Turkish TV reported on Friday that Turkish officials were holding talks in Damascus with exiled leaders of Hamas, which has been seeking a large-scale release of Palestinian prisoners in return.

At the same time Mr Barak, Labour’s prime ministerial candidate, told Channel 1 TV that Cpl Shalit was known to be “well, alive, breathing and OK”.

He added: “You know that I am a fierce critic of the Prime Minister, but in these matters, in these days, he is making a great effort, as am I … in order to expedite the process.” Whether the formidable obstacles to securing the release can be overcome remains to be seen, however.

A Hamas official, Osama al-Muzaini, said talks on the issue had so far made little progress because Israel “remained unwilling to pay the price”.

While Mr Barak warned the release of Cpl Shalit would require “painful decisions” – presumably on a prisoner exchange – the electoral effect, if it happened, would probably be to help Labour and Kadima at the expense of Likud and the increasingly popular Yisrael Beiteinu, led by the hard-right Avigdor Lieberman.

According to the polls, the main features of a relatively lacklustre election so far have been the Likud comeback under Mr Netanyahu from its three-decade low of just 12 Knesset seats in the 2006 election, and the seemingly relentless rise of Mr Lieberman, who could yet prove the kingmaker in forming a coalition after Tuesday.

Polls published on Friday – the last allowed before election day – showed Likud with 25 to 27 seats, just ahead of Kadima, with 23 to 25. Mr Lieberman’s party with 18 or 19, which, if fulfilled in actual voting, would push the once-dominant Labour Party into fourth place.

Most analysts think the rightward shift has resulted from a combination of two factors. One is Hamas’s continued control of Gaza. The other is the stillbirth of the centrist programme under Mr Olmert of withdrawing from settlements and negotiating a peace deal with the moderate Palestinian leadership. This was envisaged at the international Annapolis summit sponsored by President George Bush at the end of 2007.

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Iran Behind Hamas, Hezbollah, Key Israelis, Others Say

December 29, 2008

Benjamin Netanyahu recently repeated his call for decisive action against Iran, saying, “We have never had a situation in the history of the world in which a radical regime with a retrograde ideology and apparently known ambitions on the use of force will get access to the weapons of mass death. The coming year or two—this is the timetable we are talking about—will be a pivot of history. (…) If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, then a terribly dangerous threshold will be crossed.”

Today, on Fox News Channel, Netanyahu again firmly linked Gaza, Hezbollah and their funding and arming with Iran, and specifically President Ahmadinejad.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a religious decree to Muslims around the world on Sunday, ordering them to defend Palestinians in Gaza against Israeli attacks “in any way possible.”

A group of Iranian hard-line clerics is signing up volunteers to fight in the Gaza Strip in response to Israel’s air strikes that have killed at least 300 Palestinians, a news agency reported on Monday.

Time Magazine’s Tony Karon writes:  “This is, however, an Israeli election season in which polls show voters moving so quickly to the right that even the hawkish front runner, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, is losing support to parties more extreme than his own.”

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Israel Sees Existential Fight: Enemies, Uncertainty All Around

Israel's Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu attends a ...
Israel’s Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu attends a party meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem October 27, 2008.REUTERS/Eliana Aponte/Files

Netanyahu said Hamas “commits a double war crime: Attacking [Israeli] civilians and hiding behind [Palestinian] civilians.”

Netanyahu rejected all accusation of using force disproportionately. “Israel is not using even a fraction of its power. The Israeli army is doing what any normal defense force would do.”

“I think all decent people everywhere should back Israel in this just action of self defense,” Netanyahu concluded.

Netanyahu is in an election battle at home in Israel.


From The Jerusalem Post

Among the many negative consequences of the Second Lebanon War in summer 2006 was the distraction it provided from Iran’s nuclear program.Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is ahead of Kadima leader Tzipi Livni in Israel, according to a poll by Maagar Mochot released by Israel Radio. 28 per cent of respondents think Netanyahu is the most appropriate politician to serve as prime minister, while 25 per cent select Livni.




Retired U.S. Army General Bob Scales said on the Fox News Channel that the rockets Hamas is launching into Israel are made in Iran using a Soviet design….

Remnants of several types of rockets.  Experts say the country of origin can often be determined from such remains….


From Reuters:

An Israeli television poll showed 81 percent of Israelis backed the massive attacks on the coastal strip, ruled by the Islamist group Hamas, in a bid to stop Palestinian militants firing rockets into southern Israel.

Whether Livni can defeat the right-wing leader at the polls may depend on whether Israel achieves its objective without incurring heavy Israeli civilian or military casualties, analysts said.

Both Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak are gambling with their political careers by launching this attack on Hamas, they said.

“If they hadn’t taken action, they would have been finished politically,” though the outcome is uncertain, said Shmuel Sandler of Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

He said the Christmas holiday, the global economic crisis and the presidential interregnum in the United States made for good timing for Israel to launch its offensive after Hamas declared its 6-month-old truce with Israel dead on December 19.

“Hamas didn’t understand how they fell into a trap, between Washington not functioning at Christmas and all eyes turned on the world economic crisis,” Sandler said.

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So focused was the international community on 34 days of fighting, and so inarticulate was Israel in explaining that it was (indecisively) confronting the Iranian takeover of southern Lebanon, that Teheran slipped gratefully into the global shadows, there to quietly advance its progress toward the bomb.

Today, there is a danger of the same process repeating itself.

Hizbullah is an Iranian creation. Hamas is not. But it has drawn itself increasingly into Iran’s orbit.

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 Iran Diplomat Says Gaza Violence is US Plot Against Islamic World

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)