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Efforts Continue for an Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire Agreement

Israel and Hamas appear to be one step closer to a cease-fire agreement though the fighting continues to rage on from both sides. Israeli tanks and gunboats fired into Gaza while as many as 200 rockets were launched at Israel.

In the meantime, officials from both sides work to propose a deal to put the fighting to a halt. The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton along with the U.N Chief and Egypt’s president has also got involved.

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has publicly announced that the country hopes for a diplomatic solution to resolve the conflict though it will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to defend itself.

Clinton has expressed her desire for an outcome that involves comprehensive peace talks and expressed her sorrows for the casualties on both sides but also stated that the U.S. remains committed to Israel’s security.

According to a spokesperson, Clinton met with the Prime Minister to discuss efforts on de-escalating the situation. The Secretary of State also has plans to make stops in Cairo and Ramallah to meet with Egyptian officials.

The fighting began on Nov 14th when Israel launched a retaliatory attack in response to months of rocket launches directed at its border. The attack began with an airstrike that killed a Hamas military chief. This was followed by a series of additional strikes that targeted militants and weapons storage sites.

So far, 130 Palestinians have reportedly been killed by the strikes with dozens of civilians injured. The rockets launched by Hamas have so far killed five Israelis, which included a soldier and civilian.

U.N. Chief Ban Ki-Moon criticized the rocket attacks by the Palestinians but also urged Israel to restrain itself from exercising too much military force.

Israel is demanding that Hamas puts an end to the rocket fires from Gaza and to put an end to weapons smuggling that is taking place through underground tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. It is also calling for Hamas to pledge that it will not use Egypt’s Sinai region as a staging point for launching attacks at Israel.

Palestinian’s Do The UN

On Wednesday, the Palestinians received approval for a statehood bid for full membership in Unesco (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as part of their broader campaign for recognition as a state by the United Nations Security Council. But full membership in Unesco could mean a legally mandated cutoff of all contributions from the United States, both dues and voluntary.

Currently, the peace-process is at an impasse, according to the PLO, as a result of expanded settlement construction by Bibi. Israel who has just returned murderous Palestinian terrorists in exchange for Shalit was pounded Sunday and Monday by rockets fired at civilian areas.

Existing United States legislation will cutoff of money to the United Nations or any of its agencies should they grant “full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.” Currently, the United States contributes 22 percent of Unesco’s budget.

The first approval came in a vote by Unesco’s executive board of 58 nations. Full membership would require approval by the 193-nation General Conference. Membership would permit Palestinian officials to seek the protection of Palestinian historical sites by the cultural organization.

Sponsored by several Arab states, the executive board approved a draft resolution for membership by a 40-to-4 vote. Fourteen delegations have abstained, including ones from France, Belgium, Italy and Spain, while America, Latvia, Germany and Romania in opposing the measure; Russia joined African and Arab states to support the bid.

Hillary Clinton said:

“Unfortunately there are those who, in their enthusiasm to recognize the aspirations of the Palestinian people, are skipping over the most important step, which is determining what the state will look like, what its borders are, how it will deal with the myriad issues that states must address…”

However, Palestinian officials have said that failure at the Security Council would push them to seek an upgrade in their United Nations status to that of a “non-member state.”

Aren’t You Glad I Said Gilo?

The United States is warning that should the Israel expand settlements in Judea and Samaria, the prospect of peace with the Palestinians will be put in peril. The truth is that should the Jewish County not expand settlements in Judea and Samaria, the Palestinians will still not recognize Israel; there will be no peace. So there is actually nothing that can be “placed in peril” in the first place.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined a wave of global condemnation of Israel’s decision to build 1,100 new homes in the town of Gilo which is situated between Jerusalem and Bethlehem and is home to some 500,000 Israelis. She said the move could be seen as “provocative” and “counter-productive”.

The European Union’s head of foreign policy, Lady Ashton, says that the settlement expansion “threatens the viability of the agreed two state solution” and calls for the decision to be reversed. However, a two-state solution has not necessarily been agreed to.

The negotiator for the Palestinian Saeb Erekat told the press that the move was “a slap in the face”.

The Middle East Quartet which is made up of the European Union, the United States, Russia, and the United Nations is now attempting to bring both the Palestinians and Israel to the negotiating table within the next month.

The Palestinians called for a freeze on settlement construction as a condition for joining renewed peace-talks. However the building in Gilo should not come as a surprise as Bibi, after his UN speech stressed to the press there would be no renewed settlement freeze. The expansion of Gilo has been planned for more than two years and will still be subject to a round of public consultation before it is finally approved. The Quartet is anxious to restart peace negotiations before the United Nations Security Council votes on the Palestinian bid for statehood.

Naksa Day, the United Nations and Why Obama Hasn’t Taken Us Up On That Standing Mud Bath Offer?

Sunday marks ‘Naksa Day’ – the 44th anniversary of the Six Day War – and in anticipation of violent protests and terrorist activity similar to what went down ‘Nakba day‘, the alert level is raised.

United Nations Security CouncilUnder duress to strip the Jews naked of their geographical armor, the Jewish State issued a caveat that any attack on its sovereignty will not be tolerated. The message was directed as much at the United Nations as at Syria and Lebanon. The former country up to its neck in blood, engaged in genocide vicious enough to blemish its humanitarian record forever in the future annals of history. The latter, run by Mikati and Nasrallah of the Hezbollah militant gang.

Meanwhile, when the General Assembly is called upon to recognize Palestine as a new sovereign nation state, in September, the resolution is expected to receive the required two-thirds majority among the 192 members in the world body. However a single veto in the 15-member Security Council could derail the move. Well, the Obama administration has not only hinted about a possible veto but is lobbying European countries not to vote for the resolution.

President Obama.

What is your point?

What’s your problem with us?

You are absolutely ridiculous. If the Palestinians get a state it needs to come through a UN partition, like the one that permitted the Jews a state in 1947. Islamic fundamental terrorism will always be Islamic fundamental terrorism. Had the Palestinians a state, then declared war on Israel, you could not blame Israel for defending itself. Yet, without a sovereign state like Lebanon or Syria, when the Palestinian Occupied Territories (POT) declare war on Israel, which they do on an almost weekly basis, well, then the Jews are a grizzly pariah state where 500,000 settlers control millions of ex-Jordanians out in the desert.

Give the Jews a break; give the people a break!

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, because of what she claimed was a tight-schedule, denied a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liebeman, during the 50 year anniversary of the OECD, last week in Paris.

Lieberman traveled to Paris on Wednesday accompanied by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, to take part in a conference of economic organization which Israel was invited to. Lieberman has not met with Clinton since May 2009, when he first entered office.

President Obama, busy chasing around Qaddafi like a mad man has not been to either Israel or the POT, since he took office!

Obama, there is a mud bath waiting for you!

The Vanishing American Jew

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of one of the most prominent American families, is marrying a Jew, Marc Mezvinsky, who comes from a family of businesspeople and politicians. At one angle we might say, this is great. Look how far Jews have come in American society; and isn’t it wonderful that gentiles, today, accept Jews into their very families. But at another angle, we should be concerned – very concerned.
The answer is simple: We must congratulate the church in America, in its ability to befriend and stand by the nation of Israel; and especially its success in ridding itself of the anti-Semitic elements, which the history of old Christian churches, which have found a home in America, are all too laden with.

The Clinton’s are true friends of Israel and the Jews. When Hillary spoke, as first, on the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day, she began her speech by quoting the weekly Torah parsha. It should be noted that few Israeli politicians ever do this. Hillary proved that she is a very hip shixa. During the fight to restore Holocaust victims’ property from banks in Switzerland, Hillary recruited Bill to the effort. This does not make it right for a Jewish boy to marry into their family – especially because Chelsea has no plans to convert.

The number of mixed marriages in the Diaspora has increased by 200% in the last 50 years. About 55% of all Jewish marriages are mixed ones. In one-quarter of families, the children of the next generation will no longer be associated as Jews. A look at the future shows that within a number of generations, American Jewry will nearly disappear.

The sad part is that not only is this opinion obsolete in the American mind, both gentile and Jewish, but it is so taboo to say Jews should romantically stick to Jews, that I risk being called a racist. The truth is our nation’s impressive longevity and survival depends completely on our solely sticking to one another. Assimilation and mixed marriages destroyed entire European communities, even before the Holocaust.
Judaism, as opposed to its sister religions Christianity and Islam – is not a missionary religion. It does not seek to increase the number of its believers. Not by persuasion and not by force. At the same time it is also not a closed religion, which people cannot enter. Those who wish to join can do so, but under the conditions and stipulations of Jewish Law.

Just something to think about,
Next Year in Jerusalem

Hillary Leaves Settlers Freezing

hillaryUS Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has offered Israel half praise and half criticism on their plans for a semi-freeze of settlement expansion. On Monday she said that the proposed plan “falls short of US expectations.” Israel says that it is willing to limit settlement expansion, while not freezing it altogether.

Clinton said:

“Successive American administrations of both parties have opposed Israel’s settlement policy. That is absolutely a fact, and the Obama administration’s position on settlements is clear, unequivocal and it has not changed. As the president has said on many occasions, the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements…I will offer positive reinforcement to either of the parties when I believe they are taking steps that support the objective of reaching a two-state solution,” she said.

“This offer falls far short of what we would characterize as our position or what our preference would be. But if it is acted upon it will be an unprecedented restriction on settlements and would have a significant and meaningful effect on restraining their growth.”

Clinton also insisted that the Palestinian Authority deserved credit for their “unprecedented” steps toward improving security in the West Bank.
After her stop in the Holy Land, Mrs. Clinton continued down the path to Morocco, to speak with Foreign Ministers from several Persian Gulf countries, including Prince Saud al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

Barack Obama Slipping with Jewish Minds

World Jewish opinions of U.S. President Barack Obama have seemed to have slipped a bit recently, especially following his “reach out to Islam” address in Cairo and his subsequent meeting with Israel P.M. Binyamin Netanyahu. This fact is especially true in Israel where the country’s Jewish population (now the largest in any one country) is becoming increasingly concerned with Obama’s plans toward a “two state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians. This together with remarks made by U.S. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, during Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s recent visit to Washington DC, appear to be brewing up a very bitter “lager” (or is it stout) that we living in Israel will eventually have to swallow.

These feelings of apprehension, especially by Jews in Israel, was reflected recently by a poll conducted jointly by the Jerusalem Post and the Smith Research Institute, regarding Jewish “before and after” feelings towards the Obama Administration.

Obama appears to have more than just tried to reach out to both world Muslims and the Palestinians, whose situation he has referred to as “intolerable”.

When asked whether Jews felt the Obama Administration was pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, or somewhere in between, the answer before the Cairo speech and Netanyahu White House visit was:

Pro-Israel: 31%, Pro-Palestinian: 14%, and Neutral: 40%

The response following the address and Netanyahu’s visit turned out a bit different:

Pro-Israel: 6%, Pro-Palestinian: 50%, Neutral: 36%

Another key post Cairo Address question, regarding freezing of construction and “expansion” in large settlement blocs like Gush Etzion, Ma’aleh Adumim , and Ariel, also indicated the respondents’ concerns:

In favor of construction freeze: 27%, Against: 69%, No-opinion: 4%

The post address poll was conducted on June 16/17 among 500 Jewish adults (their place of residence not indicated) and with a 4.5% margin of error. The pre-address poll was conducted on May 17/18, among a similar number of respondents, their residences also not noted.

When asked how they felt about the previous Bush Administrations feelings towards Israel, the response also indicated a difference in feelings now emanating from the White House:

Pro-Israel: 88%, Pro-Palestinian 2%, Neutral: 7%

And these feelings were despite remarks by former secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice concerning the “road map” for Israel Palestinian relations, and the security barrier being built between Israel and the PA controlled areas in the West Bank.

The Obama Administration’s disapproval of what is referred to as “natural growth” in the above mentioned settlement blocs may have been what is causing the most concern among Jewish Israelis – so strong in fact that Israel F.M. Lieberman made a comment towards this issue during his visit with Sec. of State Clinton: “All over the world, people living in various locations are born, get married, and die. Why is this fact any different in areas where Israeli Jews now live (i.e., the settlements)?” He was perhaps referring to whether Jewish families living in these settlement blocs will be prevented from “natural expansion”, i.e., marriages and births, in addition to a freeze on new housing construction in these locations.

Opinion polls always appear to reflect the feelings of the persons conducting the interviews; and most certainly a similar poll conducted by another news media entity, such as Haaretz, CNN or Sky News would have had a different set of results. Or would it have?

Netanyahu, Obama, and Hillary

If nothing extraordinary occurs, 3 months from now Benyamin Netanyahu will be once again Prime Minister of Israel, while Barack Obama sits at the Oval Office in Washington, DC.

How will they communicate with each other? Netanyahu is a devoted Capitalist, who’s currently promising his constituency to be a strict hard-liners when it comes to security and foreign policy. On the other hand, Obama may be the most Socialist of all American presidents to date, and he’s the poster boy of “swapping conflicts with diplomatic efforts”. Tensions between the two men are almost certain.

Luckily, Hillary Clinton is also involved in this picture. And Netanyahu would have a much easier time in securing a common ground with the next Secretary of State.

This unique play of interests and personality is sure to make the next four years very interesting.

Liking the Kid or Is Obama good for Israel?

Are Israelis really for Obama? I am not sure. I came across this ad for Obama. It’s a campaign piece but it made me think a little.

Today the front pages of the newspapers were showing the pearls of wisdom provided for us by the good Rev. Jessy Jackson. I clearly remember the famous Haimi speech that basically flushed Jessy’s political career down the toilet – that was one of those “brilliant” moments that I just know left Jessy scratching his head for years to come.

Since then Jessy tried to stay relevant (even remembered) and whenever possible tried to stick it to Israel. So I guess when I see that he suggested that he says that: Obama will be less of a friend to Israel and will be better for Palestinians, I am a little skeptic.

I asked my nephew (4 yrs old) about his opinion. These days I think that his opinion is actually as relevant as anyone I see on the news.. And he had a simple answer. I showed his both McCain and Obama on TV (he recognized both) and asked him who he preferred – “I like the kid” he said. You know what, I have a feeling he is right and that he is predicting the future.

McCain’s woman strategy was a good idea on paper but not the “woman at all cost” execution. Palin is a problem and a tough pill to swallow for probably the one group he was mostly trying to reach – Women. My Mom (self proclaimed old school lady) was first very impressed – she loved the fresh attitude and the glasses were just fabulous…. But then some cracks appeared. The talk about Anti Abortion, Pro NRA and the fact that she had such a narrow point of view of life (mostly from Alaska) started making her a little nervous.

Let’s face it – Sarah’s views belong in a different century and of all demographics women, are the one group that knows it. Can the US really afford to go marching into 2010 with a leader (any leader) that feels its a sin to abort a pregnancy no matter the circumstances? Wasn’t this issue laid to rest ages ago?

I like John McCain. I am more confident that he is the better leader for Israel-US relations. Period. No doubt. I think that Obama is young and inexperienced. I think Obama is Naive. Can Obama get past that – can he learn and improve? Yes.

Look at his track record during these elections:

In these elections Obama proved a couple of things. He has the balls to bypass the Clintons (no small thing). He had a good potential running mate there with Hillary that would have taken him all the way to the brass ring but she would have stabbed him in the back the first chance she would have had.
What’s worse, Hillary comes with a built in Ex President with an over developed ego that makes her even more difficult to control and predict.

Joe Biden was a good choice. Obama brought in a “deal maker” to make those uneasy political moves he is going to need some grease and Biden is the right Mechanic for the job.

Now back to Pailin. If anything happens to John (God forbid) SHE WOULD BE PRESIDENT! Let me say that again: Sarah Pailin would be the US President!

And now for a commercial break…


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2VFRt5W4FM[/youtube]

Obama’d!

After the story about Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s black supremacist, anti-semitic, troofer pastor (“Jesus was a poor black man who lived in a country controlled by rich white people…”) broke this week in the mainstream media, many Americans and non-Americans are scratching their heads, mumbling to themselves, “Really?”

The Wright story comes on the heels of Samantha Power– a “humans right expert” and former top adviser to the Obama campaign– calling Hillary Clinton “a monster,” a term she’d previously reserved for brutal dictators like Milosevic and Saddam Hussein.

A closer look at these Obama advisers showed their more frightening sides: Samantha Power, who vehemently condemns the invasion of Iraq, once said that the US should invade Israel in order to force a peace settlement between us and the Palestinians. Nice.

Obama’s connections with the former leader of the American terror group the Weather Undergorund, Bill Ayers, are well established and go un-denied by the campaign. Likewise with his connection to radical PLO supporter Rashid Khalidi, who now takes cover under the flimsy umbrella of Columbia University.

Obama sat on the board of a Chicago charity called the Wood’s Fund with Bill Ayers. During the boardroom tenure of Obama and the former terrorist, the charity funded an organization called the Arab American Action Network, which happened to be founded and run by none other than Rashid Khalidi’s wife.

Obama and his lever-pullers (including those in the media) have fired back saying the group was a “local” charity that helped “local” people improve their “local” lives. The claim looks silly in the face of photos of Barack and Michelle Obama sitting next to the academic Palestinian crusader Edward Said at AAAN fund raisers.

But here’s the rub: Obama was aligned at the time with an Arab intellectual with ties to the PLO; he fund raised directly and indirectly for an organization called the Arab American Action Network; he was tutored by an anti-Semitic, anti-white preacher who carries on a global oppressor-oppressed narrative as if it’s scientific fact; he hired a “human rights” expert who made statements in support of an American ground invasion (!) of Israel.

Any of these associations on their own could be dismissed as benign and passing. Together they leave us asking only one question: Have we been Obama’d?

A Tale of Two Scumbags: Spitzer and Katsav

SpitzerJust what does the guy who looks like he just ate a very bitter persimmon have to do with the former President of the State of Israel? Well, it appears that both of them had to resign over a few “problems” concerning women; that’s what! Elliot Spitzer, who just resigned his position as Governor of the State of New York, was nailed by U.S. Federal officials for being involved with prostitutes. This is despite the fact that he was a former prosecuting attorney and won the governorship over a campaign to fight organized crime, of which the world’s oldest profession is definitely a part of. Spitzer, seen standing at a press conference with the future ex-Mrs. Spitzer, confessed that he had been “consorting” with high priced hookers for several years. Some of them, especially a young nymphet named “Kristine” ( actually Ashley Alexandre Dupree), were charging Spitzer fees amounting to as much as $4,500 for a two hour romp.

All together, the now Ex-New York Governor is alleged to have spent more than $80 Grand on these gals, some of which may have come from the State Treasury. What complicates this matter even further is that Spitzer, A Democrat, is a close friend and confidant of Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, who just happens to the a U.S. Senator from New York. In fact, Mr. Spitzer was one of a group of super delegates whose votes might be crucial for Clinton to push her past Barack Obama and be elected her party’s candidate for the Presidency.

KatsavNow for the other guy. No need to say much about him as Mr. Moshe Katsav, former President of the State of Israel, has been mentioned numerous times on this web blog. Katsav’s crimes are far worse than Spitzer’s who only faces misdemeanor charges for consorting with prostitutes, should he be arraigned at all. Katsav refused to resign his post when first implicated for a number of serious sex offenses which included rape, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse; as well as perjury and extortion. In order to get off the hook, Katsav cut a deal with the State Attorney, Manny Mazuz, in which Katsav would plead guilty to much lesser crimes, pay a modest fine and compensation to some of his alleged victims, and formerly resign his post. He finally did resign about two weeks before his term of office officially came to an end.

Both of these guys are now considered as real jerk-offs and scum bags by people in their respective countries. The question is how low a public official can go while holding the people’s trust. Obviously, they can go a hell of along way!

Gotcha! Hillary Hits Back

Hillary Rodham Clinton can definitely be called “the comeback kid” following Tuesday’s American primary contests in four states. Winning handsomely in both Ohio and Rhode Island, and squeaking by in Texas by a 3% margin. Clinton now has considerable breathing space in which to prepare for the next and perhaps most decisive contest, the Pennsylvania primary in late April.

Hillary BackAlthough her opponent, Barack Obama only won in the Vermont primary and is just slightly ahead in the Texas caucuses he still leads the overall delegate count by at least 100; and is now having to re-plan his overall strategy if he expects to win the Democratic Party nomination in July. When interviewed Wednesday morning in Austin, Hillary Clinton seemed to have regained her confidence and said that what made the difference is her overall experience as compared to Obama’s. When interviewers from CNN asked whether the recent commercial about which candidate would be able to make the right decision after receiving a 3 a.m. phone about a national security emergency, she reiterated about her past experience in such matters, including her being sent to such places as Bosnia (during their civil war) to mediate a peace agreement. She compared herself to Obama who she said “only continues to talk about a speech he made back in 2004 concerning America’s involvement in Iraq”.

I suppose that Hillary can say that she has a bit of experience, as the “red phone” did ring a few times at 3 a.m. when she was in bed with her husband Bill. She also could include her “experience” in dealing with that very uncomfortable period from November 1998 until July, 2000, when she had to deal with another kind of crises that was “a bit too close to home”.

Disregarding those unpleasant episodes, Hillary does probably have a bit more of a track record than Obama has; and whether or not this will help her to wind up making a “V” sign at the speakers podium of the convention will be determined in the coming weeks ahead.

People all over the world have been following the U.S. Presidential campaign; and these primary races have for sure been followed by those living in the Middle East and elsewhere in Islamic World. Barack Hussein Obama is no doubt the favorite of many who make up what is known as Dir Al Islam – the World Community of Islam, and these include many of America’s present enemies, such as Hamas, the Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and most certainly The Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a recent short visit to Iraq, said during a speech there that nearly everyone hates Americans. Well, he does anyway.

Jews around the world, especially in Israel, have from the start been a bit apprehensive about the possibility of Obama winning the Presidency; and what could afterwards be in store concerning America’s future relations with the Jewish State. There is really no way of knowing how Obama will deal with the Israel-Palestinian issue until he is actually sitting in the Oval Office. But in the weeks and months ahead, this matter will most certainly crop up; and it will most likely be used against Obama by both Clinton and John McCain, the Republican nominee.

This year’s contest has so far been anything but boring; and with the U.S. heading towards what may be a moderate to severe recession, the U.S. economy will be a top issue in the months ahead as well. If Hillary does manage to win over the remaining primary contests and become her party’s candidate, she’ll still need all the help she can get to beat McCain in November. And to do this, she’ll have to get real friendly again with a guy named William Jefferson Clinton, who has a bit of “experience” himself.

Hillary’s Night Shift

Well I guess its unavoidable.. This is an ad for Hillary Clinton on YouTube… Sounds like she isn’t doing very well right now on our end. The race in the minds of Israelis is beginning to look like McCain VS Obama and the talk is that she is out. At least that’s what I hear when I am in line to the movie last night.

Super Tuesday for Israel

Super Tuesday 08
Picture: Salon.com
The mega American primary elections known as Super Tuesday are now over in America, and its implication is still to be seen in a Presidential race that is far from over. Many Americans living here in Israel had the chance to vote by absentee ballot. Those who didn’t should find out what needs to be done in order to vote in the main elections in November. Republican Party candidate John McCain appears to be the front runner and likely party candidate when the GOP convention convenes in August. He racked up the largest number of delegates over his rivals Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. Huckabee, who fared better than many thought he would, wound up winning a number of Southern States, as well some others that might make him a “king maker” at the convention and even force McCain to give him a top cabinet post of even offer the Vice Presidency spot. That will of course depend on how Romney fares in the upcoming primaries as he has many more delegates than “Huck”.

The Democratic side is much more confusing, however, even though Hillary Clinton appears to have won more delegates, due to her winning big states like New York and California. Obama won more states in total and may fare better in upcoming primaries in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas, not to mention the District of Columbia which has a large Afro-American population. This race is likely to end up on the floor of the Democratic Party Convention this coming July, and be a real free-for-all.

What this election is gearing up to mean for Israel is how the new Presidential administration will deal with the Jewish State and with its Palestinian and other Arab neighbors. If Hillary Clinton should win the Presidency, she will probably use tactics similar to those her husband Bill used when he tried to put pressure on both Israel and the Palestinians to reach a peace agreement that failed miserably at the Camp David summit in July, 2000. If Barack Obama wins the Presidency, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen, especially in light of Obama’s Muslim influenced childhood; an issue that is still not definitely settled in the eyes of many Americans and Israelis.

As for Republican candidate McCain, his politics seem to fluctuate for ultra conservative to moderate. He has definite ideas concerning America’s Iraq involvement, and has even said that he would keep American troops in Iraq “for a hundred years if necessary”. That’s a bit different than either Hillary or Obama, both of whom favor eventual troop withdrawals. McCain might be a safer bet concerning America’s stand against Iran, though, as his military background makes him understand this kind of a problem more than his Democratic (and Republican) rivals.

Both political parties and their candidates need to understand a few basic points though. The situation in Iraq will not go away on its own, and Al Qaeda and its top leaders are still active and ready to have a go at America again. Iran and its proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas are also ready and waiting for the right opportunities, as we here in Israel are acutely aware of. And a worsening of the American economy will be bad for everyone, especially here in Israel.

So as the race heats up in the U.S. elections, all we in Israel can do is hope that the “flack” from it won’t come down too hard on our heads – literally!

Bush’s Visit and Presidential Primaries

Victories in the New Hampshire presidential primary by Republican Senator John McCain, and Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton appear the have little correlation with President George Bush‘s visit to Israel today and several other Middle Eastern countries. McCain, who is usually depicted as a bit of a hawk, won comfortably over his closest rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney; while Clinton, barely got by her closest rival, Illinois Senator Barack Obama. While it’s still too early to tell who will wind up as their party’s official nominee, the next few weeks will definitely tell which way the political winds are blowing for hopefuls in both major political parties.

As for Bush, in what will most likely be his last major visit to the this part of the world, he really doesn’t have to worry what happens to anyone representing his political party, the Republicans, as most of the people running are not depending on his support anyway. That means that Mr. Bush can concentrate of trying to realize some of his plans concerning implementing a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as making sure that oil rich countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia remain under America’s sphere of influence in order to keep that increasingly expensive commodity, oil, flowing into American refineries, and hence into American SUV’s.

Iran, especially after their aborted attempt to create an international incident with American naval vessels in the Straits of Hormuz, is another factor that Bush will have to deal with until he leaves office on January 20, 2009. Concerning who will be replacing him, all the outgoing president can do is to wish his successor will, whoever that person may be.

Perhaps that’s what is good about being an outgoing two term president. He is not really what is known as a “lame duck” as he is not under any serious political cloud such as an incumbent president is when losing a re-election bid. His vice president, Dick Cheney, is too old and too sick to run for the office, and Bush himself doesn’t appear, at this point in time anyway, to be personally indorsing any of his party’s candidates, including John McCain.

Bush’s main “cloud” if one wants to call it that is the matter of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath; which will be a main concern for his replacement, especially if he (or she) is a Democrat. Other issues, including the ongoing War on Terror and the current goings-on the Middle East (the focus of his current Middle East visit) will also carry over to his successor as no major breakthroughs will probably come to pass this year. And this is despite assurances by Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and P.A. Authority President Abbas that there might be some encouraging steps made towards a final peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Other problems including global warming, a possible U.S. recession, Pakistan’s current sate of flux, and Al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Ladin and Ayman al Zawahiri still presumed to be alive and kicking will be left to whoever is sitting in the Oval Office next January 21.

As for Bush, it will be back to Texas barbeques and Lone Star Beer, or whatever tickles his fancy.

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