Archive for the ‘Tzipi Livni’ Category

Israel Lurches Right; Prospects For Peace Gone

February 11, 2009

Israel headed for political gridlock on Wednesday after its election produced rival winners.

Analysts said the country was as split as the Palestinians and the prospects of the two making peace were dimmer than ever.

Reuters

Centrist Tzipi Livni’s Kadima party won the most votes but had little chance of building enough support for a coalition. Right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu can get the support, but analysts said the likely coalition would prove dysfunctional.

“I won,” read the headline of the country’s biggest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, over photos of both leaders. But to some commentators, the rival claims showed Israel had lost. “One thing is clear to all Israeli voters,” said the paper’s Eitan Haber. “The political system is shattered.”

President Shimon Peres must now decide whether to call on Livni or Netanyahu, who then has 42 days to form a government.

Israeli media said it seemed he would have no choice but to tap Netanyahu if the majority rightist parties all back him.

But it would be the first time in Israel’s 60-year history that the winner of an election would be passed over.

The results, not yet official, gave Netanyahu 27 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, while Livni’s Kadima won 28.

She said she would be prime minister and invited Netanyahu to join a “unity government”. But Netanyahu said he would lead the “nationalist camp” in parliament, and control 64 seats.

“With God’s help I will lead the next government,” Netanyahu, 59, told supporters of his Likud party.

“Tzipi Livni has only the slightest chance, or none at all, of forming a government under her leadership,” said Abraham Diskin, a political scientist at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

HARD RIGHT IN PIVOTAL POSITION

Avigdor Lieberman’s far-right, anti-Arab Yisrael Beiteinu party, now third largest, emerged as a potential kingmaker.

“We want a nationalist government. We want a rightist government,” he said. A deal was needed as fast as possible because the state “has been paralysed for half a year”.

Read the rest:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/middleea
stCrisis/idUKLB505486?sp=true

Israel Votes; Big Turnout

February 10, 2009

Despite talk about apathy in Israel, voters are turing out in droves for today’s election.

As of 14:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, some 34 percent of the 5.2 million people eligible to vote had cast their ballots at the 9,263 polling places, the Jerusalem Post said.

The elction is really between the centrist Tzipi Zivni and the far right Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu is favored to win by a slim majority.

Echoing Barack Obama, Netanyahu said, “The people want change, and today they will choose change.” 

“Those who want a new way will focus around the Likud and around me,” he said.

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meas
t/02/10/israel.elections.polls/index.html

Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?ci
d=1233304735433&pagename=JPost%2F
JPArticle%2FShowFull

Israel’s Netanyahu Warns Obama on Talks

February 9, 2009

Even before Benjamin Netanyahu finds out whether he will be Israel’s next prime minister, he is sending a message to President Barack Obama that he won’t be pushed around.

By Jonathan Ferziger and Hans Nichols
Bloomberg

Netanyahu, the Likud party candidate who narrowly leads Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni ahead of elections tomorrow, last week took reporters to Arab parts of Jerusalem, where he helped establish Jewish footholds when he was previously prime minister. No pressure, he said, would make him cede those neighborhoods “to our enemies.”

Just as he confounded former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, Netanyahu probably will resist if Obama pushes too hard to extract Israeli concessions for peace in the Middle East.

“He’s extremely effective politically, unbelievably smart and relentlessly suspicious when it comes to the Arabs and the Americans,” says former U.S. negotiator Aaron David Miller, author of “The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace.”
Livni, leading the ruling Kadima party, has campaigned on the need to continue peace talks and compromise with the Palestinians. She would likely have a more harmonious relationship with Obama — if she were able to cobble together enough support to form a governing coalition consistent with her views. That isn’t certain, given the decline in polls of the Labor Party, Kadima’s coalition partner, which advocates Palestinian statehood.

“A Livni coalition would be so fragile that it wouldn’t be able to take any decisive steps with the Palestinians and stay in power,” says Roni Bart, a researcher at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pi
d=washingtonstory&sid=aeKTFmR61kD0

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.

Read the rest:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/isr
aeli-elections-be-afraid-be-very-afraid-160405
2.html

Israel Evaluates Cease Fire As New Government May Form This Week

February 8, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met Sunday to discuss an Egyptian cease fire proposal with Hamas, as voters preparered for Tuesday’s elections.

The first phase of the deal bokered with Egypt woud mandate a cessation of all hostilities between Israel and Gaza gunmen and would include a Hamas commitment to refrain from firing rockets into southern Israel for 18 months.

The second phase would be worked out later and would involve prisoner exchanges.

Polls in Israel show the far right leader Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party will be favored by most voters in Tueday’s election.

Likud generally takes a hard line against removing Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights and around Israel.

The Jerusalem Post also said on Sunday that twice as many lawmakers will recommend to President Shimon Peres that Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu form the next government as will back Kadima leader Tzipi Livni.

related:
 UN halts aid to Gaza, accuses Hamas of stealing

 New Israeli Government Clear: Netanyahu Won’t Debate

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/0
2/06/israel.elections.likud.netanyahu/index.html

New Israeli Government Clear: Netanyahu Won’t Debate

February 6, 2009

As John McCain fell further behind in the polls last year, he wanted to debate Barack Obama more and more.

That is the way the Israeli Prime Minister’s race is shaping up as the poll leader Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to debate Tzipi Livni.

Polls in Israel’s newspapers gave Netanyahu’s Likud Party a slight lead over the Tzipi Livni’s centrist Kadima centrist Party in the Tuesday ballot.

Netanyahu is a hard line right wing defender of Israel who might have just taken Gaza over during the last military action — and talked about destroying Hamas.

Netanyahu probably won’t debate issues with Hamas, Iran or Hezbollah either.

Tzipi Livni sent a letter to Netanyahu asking — begging, really —  for debates.

“I turn to you personally, on the eve of the elections, to again ask you to join me in a public debate in which we, the candidates for prime minister, can present our positions and our proposals for the coming years,” she wrote.

Most observers say Netanyahu will win the election — and that could complicate Middle East peace efforts.

Related:
From the Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=123330
4705531&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Netanyahu Ahead in Polls (From AP):
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9
666SC00&show_article=1

AFP:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090206/w
l_mideast_afp/mideastvote_20090206134801

Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, center, reacts during ... 
Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, center, reacts during an election campaign event in the settlement of Beit Arieh in the West Bank, Friday, Feb. 6, 2009. Israeli polls Friday showed a narrowing race between front-runner Netanyahu and his rival, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, giving Livni a chance at an upset victory just days before Tuesday’s national election.(AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

Netanyahu says Iran will not get hands on nukes

February 1, 2009

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s leading candidate for prime minister, said Saturday that Iran “will not be armed with a nuclear weapon.”

Aron Heller
Associated Press

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV, Netanyahu said if elected prime minister his first mission will be to thwart the Iranian nuclear threat. Netanyahu, the current opposition leader and head of the hardline Likud party, called Iran the greatest danger to Israel and to all humanity.

When asked if stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions included a military strike, he replied: “It includes everything that is necessary to make this statement come true.”

Iran has denied it is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and says it is pursuing nuclear power for peaceful uses. It also denies it is engaged in terrorism, instead accusing Israel of terrorist policies against the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, which were occupied by Israel after the 1967 Mideast War.

The Channel 2 TV broadcast interviewed all three candidates for prime minister ahead of the Feb. 10 election. The three did not debate each other and appeared one after the other to answer questions posted by Israelis in YouTube videos.

Tzipi Livni of Kadima and Ehud Barak of Labor were both asked about how they intended to deal with the continuing rocket threat from Hamas militants in Gaza. Both took a hard line.

“Hamas was hit like it was never hit before,” Barak, the defense minister, said. “If they try us again, they will be hit again.”

Read the rest:
http://malaysia.news.yahoo.com/ap/200
90201/twl-ml-israel-politics-38359fb.html

Leader of the Likud Party in Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, gestures ... 
Leader of the Likud Party in Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, gestures as he speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday Jan. 29, 2009.(AP Photo/Michel Euler)

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

Hillary’s First Move For Obama: Closer to Israel

January 24, 2009

Israel’s daily Haaretz said Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the new US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the deal during a phone conversation on Thursday, according to Iran’s state news network.

Clinton-Livni
Tzipi Livni (Left) with Hillary Clinton

The report added that they also agreed to take joint measures to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

Clinton officially was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State this last week.

The US, Israel and their European allies accuse Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory Iran of developing a nuclear program for military purposes. Tehran says it only seeks civilian applications of the technology.

Last week, Mrs. Clinton said that the Obama administration would pursue ‘an attitude toward engagement (with Iran) that might bear fruit’.

Related:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/hillarys-first-act-as-sec-o
f-state-cozy-up-to-israel-in-iran-nuclear-agreement.html

http://abunakhli.wordpress.com/2009/01/24/hilla
ry-tzipi-to-stop-iran-enrichment/

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1058244.html

Hillary Clinton gets sworn in Wednesday in her Senate office by Judge Kathryn Oberly.

Israel Failed: Tunnels in Gaza Again Filled With Supplies, Diggers

January 22, 2009

Israel wanted to stop Hamas from sending rockets into Israel.  Israel also wanted to stop the flow of rocket parts and other supplies into Gaza by tunnel.

Israel pounded the tunnels by air for over 20 days.  Israel made an agreement with the U.S. and others to make sure rockets didn’t ever reach Gaza again.

But the tunnels have re-opened.

In the last 24 hours, CBS News, The Jerusalem Post and other news sources are saying the Gaza tunnels are again filled with supplies and more diggers are making repairs and improvments.

The last Israeli troops left Gaza on Tuesday.
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“For the tunnels, nothing will be as it was before,” Livni told public radio. “Things must be clear — Israel reserves the right to react militarily against the tunnels once and for all.

“If we have to act, we will do so, we will exercise our right to legitimate defence, we will not leave our fate … to the Egyptians, nor to the Europeans nor to the Americans,” she said.

During its massive 22-day offensive on Hamas in Gaza, Israel bombed hundreds of tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border, destroying 150 of them, according to Defence Minister Ehud Barak who on Wednesday issued a warning similar to Livni’s.

“If we are forced to, there will be more attacks,” Barak said on public television.

“During the operation that we have carried out in the Gaza Strip we have destroyed 150 tunnels, including some which were targeted several times,” he said.

The tunnels are used to smuggle supplies and weapons into the coastal strip that Israel has kept sealed to all but basic humanitarian supplies since Hamas seized power in June 2007.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related:
Israel Says Tunnels Brought Weapons Into Gaza: U.S. Paid $23 Million In the Deal

A Palestinian boy looks up from the entrance of a smuggling ... 
A Palestinian boy looks up from the entrance of a smuggling tunnel on the Palestinian side of the border between the southern Gaza Strip and Egypt and Rafah in the south of Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009. During its offensive in the Gaza Strip, Israel said it destroyed most of the hundreds of tunnels in repeated bombing runs by Israeli jets. But Wednesday, smuggling was under way again.(AP Photo/Eyad Baba)

*************

The Jerusalem Post:

As security envoy Amos Gilad prepared to meet Thursday with Egyptian officials to discuss a long-term truce with Hamas, fighting arms smuggling, and lifting the blockade on the Strip, goods were being smuggled into Gaza from Sinai on Wednesday.
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Four days after Operation Cast Lead ended, AP Television News footage showed Palestinian smugglers filling a fuel truck with gas that had come through a tunnel from Egypt.

The footage also showed workers clearing blocked tunnels, and bulldozers carrying out other repairs.

Read the rest:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=12322
92926583&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Iranian cleric calls for Israel’s Tzipi Livni to be shot

January 17, 2009

A high-level Iranian cleric called for the shooting of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in a speech before worshippers on Friday.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said during Friday prayers that “every time the picture of this woman is shown, I really wish that somebody would expend a bullet on her,” according to a recording of the sermon obtained by the Associated Press.

Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, right, poses for the ... 
Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, right, poses for the photographers with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
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A copy of the speech was also translated and published by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Middle Eastern press monitoring service.

Jannati is the head of the powerful hard line Iranian Council of Guardians which ensures the government remains true to the principles of the Islamic revolution.