a different side of Israel

Tag: Nicolas Sarkozy

The Middle East According to Netanyahu

Our fearless Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu is pushing for talks with Syria, ones in which there would be a mediator, and he would prefer to hold the talks in Paris than in Ankara. He said:

“I spoke with Sarkozy, who told me that the Syrian stance is a retreat to the 1967 lines…Sarkozy also mentioned the Turkish mediation that the Syrians propose, I responded to him saying we are interested in direct negotiations, and if we are talking about a mediator – I prefer you.”

Israeli CabinetApparently Trade and Labor minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was able to strengthen ties between Israel and Turkey during his recent visit to Ankara – ties which have become loosened over the course of the year, really since Operation Caste Lead.

Ankara expressed hopes of a talk between Bibi and the Turkish Prime Minister – though on topics which regard to a Palestinian state it is clear that Bibi would prefer to speak under the auspices of Sarkozy and it is clear why.

During a foreign affairs and defense meeting on Monday, on the subject of the threat from the North, Netanyahu told the committee that

“If in the past we considered Hezbollah as a sideline militia, today Hezbollah is the real Lebanese army…it has replaced the Lebanese army as a significant force; it is arming and organizing as a real army. The Lebanese government and Hezbollah are becoming interwoven in each other – and they will suffer the consequences of any violation against Israel.”

On the topic of the recent settlement freeze on construction in the West Bank, Bibi said that it was

“an attempt to advance negotiations and clarify who is really interested in talks…there must be coordination between the cabinet’s decision and the injunction…we are the ones who renewed it.”

Bring Shalit Home Finally, Urges Bereaved IDF Moms

A group of bereaved mothers, including Miki Goldwasser, Rona Ramon and Esther Wachsman, sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week, requesting to meet with him urgently to advance the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

They wrote that they are a group that “knows a thing or two about losing loved ones,” the women urged the prime minister to bring Gilad home:

“We ask to meet with you in order to hear from you personally when the tragic saga of Gilad Shalit will be over, so that we will not have to continue our protest…Some of us have lost many family members in murderous terror attacks and have still found the courage to ask that the planners of those attacks would be released so Gilad is rescued. You must also find the determination and courage to stop gambling on the life and sanity of Gilad and return him to his family immediately…We hope the prime minister will agree to meet with us as soon as possible in order to finally bring an end to this unfortunate affair.”

Shalit has a dual citizenship with France and Israel. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to make every effort to bring about Shalit’s release from Hamas captivity.

Earlier this year a videotape surfaced, ensuring that Shalit, who has been held captive in the Gaza Strip by Hamas, since June 25th 2006, is in fact still alive.

Sarkozy to Bibi – Dump Lieberman

SarkozyReverberations are still being felt in Jerusalem following French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s remark to Israeli P.M. Binyamin Netanyahu to “get rid of your foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman immediately” in order to expect to have more amicable relations with the EU, as well as with the rest of world. Sarkozy’s immediate remark, made during a meeting of the leaders at Eleysee Palace in Paris, sent shock waves in Israeli government circles, especially within Lieberman’s own party, Israel Beitanu.

Things got so bad back in Israel that Israel Beitanu vice chairman, Uzi Landau, himself known for being a bit of a right-winger, was outraged and asked how the head of state of a country supposedly friendly with Israel could make such a statement regarding a high ranking Israeli cabinet official, especially the Foreign Minister. “It’s hard to believe that the head of a friendly government could make such remarks. If I had been present I would have banged my fist on the table in protest” Landau was reported as saying.

Sarkozy suggested to the P.M. that Kadima Party leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni would be much better choice for the position. The French President is reported to have gone on to say that remarks made by Lieberman in private “are much different than those he makes in public”.

Jean-Marie Le PenWhether Netanyahu takes this advice (said to have been “given from a friend”) to heart will be seen in the coming days. Lieberman’s appointment to the No. 2 government position was seen as a no-choice decision in light of Lieberman’s party garnishing 15 seats in the Knesset in the recent elections. Since Israeli governments are made up by building coalitions with other political parties, Lieberman’s party became the party of choice for Bibi’s Likud party, itself known for its right-of –center views. Netanyahu had offered to form a government with Kadima (now in Opposition), but Kadima Party head Livni rejected the idea as it would have made her party still playing “second fiddle” to the likud – even though Kadima won more seats in parliament than the Likud did.

Meanwhile, Kadima’s second in command, Shaul Mofaz, has been talking about calling a special meeting within his party to circumvent Livni and agree to join Netanyahu’s government –on condition that Bibi replaces Israel Beitanu with Kadima, of course, and perhaps even appoint Mofaz to be either foreign or defense minister (resulting in having to oust Labor Party head Ehud Barak from his cabinet seat in the process, with the result of the Labor Party leaving the government as well).

Getting back to Messier Sarkozy, he even said that French ultra right wing party leader Jean-Marie Le-Pen “is much more pleasant in private than Lieberman”.

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