a different side of Israel

Tag: Avigdor Lieberman (page 1 of 2)

The Switcharoo – New Party in the Making Threatens Biberman Union

Photo: Eyal Yitzhar Reuters

Yep, there is no rest for the wicked in Israeli politics. A little while ago Bibi was on top of the world. He annexed Kadima into a unity government lead by Shaul Mofaz by giving him the Vice Prime Minister “position”, a step that created the largest coalition in government in Israeli politics history (April 2012).

October 12, 2012 Moshe Kahlon a widely supported member of the Likud party and rising star, (as well as Minister of Communications and Minister of Welfare & Social Services), suddenly announced his retirement from politics. He was walked out with much fanfare, hugs kisses and warm wishes from Bibi who was actually, for his own agenda, sorry to see him go. What Bibi was worried about was the ever lurking, Moshe Feiglin. The pesky Manhigut Yehudit leading hardliner, ran against Bibi for the 2012 Likud leadership election in January 31 and received 23% of the vote.

October 25, 2012 Bibi, the Wiley Coyote that he is, announced the now infamous Biberman union (Bibi+Lieberman) of the Likud party and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu – merging to a single party Halikud Beiteinu that will premier in the coming elections Jan. 22, 2013.

“A joining of forces will give us the strength to defend Israel from military threats, and the strength to spearhead social and economic changes in the country,” he said.

The polls showed that the union would form a strong base of at least 30 electoral votes with the other parties, Kadima, Labour, Shas (religious), Yesh Atid (Lapid’s new gig) holding smaller less threatening portions.

BUT THEN, the switcharoo. Moshe Kahlon who earlier announced his political hiatus for the sake of making some of the mighty green (he got a job from one of the local tycoons) had a change of heart. Why? Maybe the Biberman move was too much for him, maybe he realized that leaving the political scene would mean that when he got back he would need to contend with Lieberman. But in any case, today the news is that he is running some polls. The Polls are good. They show that if he runs with Tzipi Livni’s Kadima (what’s left of it) they would get 27 electorals opposed with the 30 electorals the Biberman union would get (Halikud Beiteinu). Or alternatively, if he ran with Shelly Yachimovich and her Labour Party the total would be the same as Bibi and that is an interesting place to be.

People are concerned with the Biberman union. It smells bad, here is a little parody just on that (Hebrew)

Israel Offers Assistance to Syrian Civilians

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs approached the Red Cross and offered to send assistance to the Syrian people. Lieberman: “The Jewish nation cannot sit by and do nothing while citizens of our neighboring country are being slaughtered”.

As the Syrian people flee Syria by the thousands and make their way to Lebanon, Israel’s foreign affairs minister Avigdor Lieberman announced that Israel is willing to send humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. Under Lieberman’s orders, Evyatar Manor, CEO of international organizations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, approached the Red Cross and suggested that Israel will send the assistance. Red Cross representatives in Israel replied that they will examine the Syrian people’s needs and will inform Jerusalem with the requirements forth with.

Lieberman said in regards to the humanitarian assistance:

“the Jewish nation cannot sit by and do nothing while our neighbor country is being slaughtered and people are losing their world. We cannot interfere due to lack of diplomatic relations, but we will at least offer our hand with humanitarian assistance as it is our moral duty to awaken the world and stop the massacre”.

Earlier this week official representatives of the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that approximately 1,000 to 2,000 Syrian refugees fled Syria and are now making their way to Lebanon. The report is consistent with other reports that reached news agencies earlier this morning. According to which, refugees are fleeing Syria by foot from the town of Qusair that has been bombard under the orders of President Assad, the refugees mainly consist of women and children.

Eye witnesses report the shelling began suddenly and that they had to flee their homes immediately. The Syrian army has been reported to bombard rebel camps all over Syria. The number of refugees is predicted to rise unless serious action will be taken to stop this genocide.

Ben-Arieh Gets the Indefinite Boot

The former ambassador to Belarus, Zeev Ben-Arieh, was forcefully suspended without pay on Wednesday.
The actions came after accusations that Ben-Arieh leaked information to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman concerning the investigation against him.

Police handed a report on Ben-Arieh to the Civil Service Commission which describes the accusations: they say that the former ambassador confessed to the allegations against him during the questioning.

The police did however deny that there were any leaks, Mickey Rosenfeld said:

“…There have been no press leaks…we published a statement on Tuesday about the questioning of Mr Lieberman because it is a very serious investigation….”

Lieberman said:

“When I left the interrogation room, I was warned that I must not comment on any detail from the investigation, and must not talk to anyone about it…what a surprise it was when an hour after I left the interrogation room, all the distorted details were released by the police commissioner’s office.”

Investigators are saying that during the period Lieberman was serving as a Knesset member, back in 2008, Ben-Arieh received a request to transfer a document discreetly from the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem to the authorities in Belarus concerning Lieberman’s investigation.

The document was originally handed to the Justice Ministry by Israel Police. It contained a request for legal assistance from the certified authorities in Belarus and also outlined details regarding the investigation.

The ambassador allegedly copied the classified information detailed in the request right before Lieberman’s visit to Belarus a year and a half ago. He then informed Lieberman of the request and unlawfully passed it on to him when the two met during the visit.

Do the Eyes Deceive?

Over 100 Israeli Arabs arrived Thursday morning at the Erez crossing point of Gaza and called for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, as well as Palestinian prisoners.
Malik Faraj of the Arab village Kafr Qasim founded the “Ner LeShalom ve Ahva” (a candle for peace and love) foundation that initiated the event. Faraj said that the foundation was established following the October 2000 riots and works to promote harmony between Arabs and Jews, and helps weak sectors of society by giving student scholarships.

According to Faraj, the foundation decided to initiate the event after realizing that the negotiations to release Gilad Shalit have come to a standstill:

“Politicians are simply doing nothing to promote the matter and have completely neglected the issue of releasing Gilad Shalit and the Palestinian prisoners. That’s why we decided to go out and protest.”

The group’s visit to Erez crossing was co-initiated with another group from the Gaza Strip, whose members were waiting on the other side of the road. Throughout the demonstrations, the two groups held phone conversations and encouraged one another.

“Our goal is to pressure decision makers and members of Knesset who regretfully are more preoccupied with whether or not to travel first class, and Lieberman who is trying to inflame our relationship with Turkey or Syria but does nothing for Gilad Shalit,”

said Faraj.
He added that:

“We received many positive feedbacks on our initiative and hope it will help promote the matter.”

Don’t Mess with Lieberman

When a “hot-tempered” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened Syria he was not necessarily expressing the sentiments of every representative of the Jewish country.

Last Thursday Lieberman warned Syrian President Bashar Assad, that in the event of a war with Israel,

“not only will you lose the war, you and your family will no longer be in power.”

During a business conference at Bar Ilan University, Lieberman said,

“Whoever thinks (Israeli) territorial concessions will separate Syria from the axis of evil is mistaken. Syria must be made to understand that it has to relinquish its demand (that Israel cede) the Golan Heights.”

His chutzpa is to be admired, but he was undermined by his colleagues:

“The foreign minister is busy with internal politics rather than diplomacy,”

Minorities Minister Avishay Braverman (Labor Party) said to a cultural forum in Ramat Hasharon on Saturday:

“Given Israel’s sensitive position in the international community, we are in need of diplomacy and a responsible and prudent foreign policy, not a policy that is driven by domestic political considerations.”

It is not that Lieberman’s sentiments were disagreeable, but it took Prime Minister Netanyahu to clear things up:

“Israel aspires to peace accords with all of its neighbors. We have done it with Egypt and Jordan and we can do it with Syria and the Palestinians…There are conditions for this. Negotiations must take place without preconditions that mean huge concessions on Israel’s part ahead of time. Also, the accord must finally be accompanied by security agreements in order to last for generations.”

Netanyahu also presented to his cabinet his plan to limit dependence on oil:

“Certain countries which control oil support terror…This is a global problem that requires international effort. I spoke of this with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the Polish prime minister, and others, and they have expressed interest in this issue…This is an effort that will not bear fruit within the next two or three years, but within a decade we may reach a solution, for example on the issue of dependence on oil for transportation.”

Another Blood Libel, This Time from Turkey

It’s now gone farther than Turkey banning Israel from a joint military exercise with the US and other EU countries, or Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan ripping Shimon Peres in public at Davos, or accusing Israel of aiming phosphorus bombs at civilian targets, or even staging war games with Syria, which Turkey did a few days ago. Now, they’re starting the blood libels.

Turkey’s new show, “Ayrilik”, broadcast on State television station TRT1, depicts a love story between two Palestinians that takes place during Operation Cast Lead. The IDF is portrayed as a bloodthirsty merciless band of murderers, shooting Palestinian children at point blank range and lining civilians up to the firing squad.

No time for a long post about this right now, but if any of you want to listen to Arabic with Turkish subtitles, then here’s a clip from the show.

On the one hand, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has done the expected, summoning the Turkish ambassador. On the other, Defense Minister Barak warns against breaking ties with Turkey. So once again, a confused stance.

I’d just like to add that I am not at all surprised, or really all that much offended by this. It may just be me, but recently, anti Semitic displays have only given me encouragement. In my estimation, Israel should continue to expect a tightening of international relations with all countries and a general increase in isolation. Life will get a bit more difficult, until some sort of breakthrough is made and the status quo is altered in the Middle East.

The good news in all this is that if history has shown anything about the Jewish people, it is that they persevere under severe pressure. After all, you can’t have perseverance without severe. So prepare for some rough seas, and look forward to coming out safe on the other side. The only question is how long and bumpy will the ride be?

Avigdor Lieberman’s Back in the News

About to be indicted for money laundering and bribery, Avigdor Lieberman has finally made a headline once again. Believed to be keeping a low profile, spending time in Africa while Barak and Bibi talk to the Americans about Iran, he decided to make another one of his comments about the peace process. According Israel’s foreign minister, there’s no chance of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for many years.

Avigdor LiebermanI have a hard time figuring out why statements such as these make headlines at all. Isn’t that what everyone says in the street all the time? The only thing special is that Lieberman is the only government official who says it out loud, and he seemingly represents the State. Everyone else wants to sound diplomatic. It is Israel’s top diplomat, however, that doesn’t really care about diplomacy all that much.

Going a bit deeper, Lieberman says it’s unrealistic to think a long-term agreement can be reached at this time and that whoever thinks an agreement can be reached soon just doesn’t understand the situation. Instead, he wants interim agreements that will keep the situation calm until such a time as a permanent agreement can be reached.

To me, this is just more of the same. What’s the difference between a permanent agreement and a temporary agreement? For both of them, you need both sides to agree to something. And that’s what’s proven so impossible these years. So why would temporary work better than permanent? This I fail to understand.

“What is possible to reach is a long-term intermediate agreement … that leaves the tough issues for a much later stage.” He failed to elaborate, as politicians often do.

Does anyone ever think of the possibility of no agreement? After all, this is the direction Israel has been going in lately. The disengagement was one form of that, as it was unilateral. Argue about the direction taken in that unilateral decision one may, but it seems we are on the course of imposing some sort of solution rather than signing more papers.

It’s just a question of what the next unilateral move by Israel will be and who will make it. Oh, it won’t be Lieberman. He’ll probably be in prison or some such place.

Top Watch Category in Israeli Politics

This is the latest list showing who the top 6 are and what they’re wearing as advertised in Globes..

Top 6 Watches in Israeli politics

Lieberman “If I’m indicted, I’ll quit all my political positions”

Avigdor LiebermanIs Avigdor Lieberman the big bad wolf, or really a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Following a number of allegations being made against him by the police for crimes that include money laundering, and accepting bribery, Israel’s Foreign Minister now appears to be ready test his popularity among his own party, Yisrael Beitenu, as well as the Likud led Netanyahu government. By threatening to leave political life, including heading his own party, his cabinet post, and even his Knesset seat, Lieberman hope to get his constituents to rally around him and in the end make him even stronger politically. This supposition became apparent when he stated yesterday that he believes that he will no only win out over the legal case that is built against him, but will even garnish more Knesset mandates (as many as 20) in the next election.

“I reviewed everything I said in the questioning sessions, and I am at peace with all of my actions,” he said. “If I had the opportunity to do things over again, I would do the same.”

The question a lot people are asking, what “things” is Lieberman talking about? Obviously, the F.M. still has a number of issues to work out concerning his activities, both business and political, which seem to be mounting up against him. Since being chosen for the second highest cabinet post behind the Prime Minister’s, Lieberman has not exactly won over most of the world as well as many people here in Israel. Only perhaps in Russia has he been able to find a bit of respect, as he sees eye to eye with people such as Russian P.M. Vladimir Putin. But in the rest of Europe, as well as the USA, his manner has been not well received by virtually everyone he has come in contact with.

Political circles in Jerusalem are already speculating as to who would replace Lieberman should he step down. Most likely, Deputy F.M. Danny Ayalon (a former ambassador to the USA) would temporarily replace him, which makes a lot people happy as Ayalon was very well liked during his tenure in Washington. As to who would replace him in his own party, right winged No. 2, Uzi Landau, would be a likely candidate; although his personal political views are a bit on the extreme side.

Kadima Party head Tzipi Livni doesn’t appear willing to join a Netanyahu led government, so her likelihood of again assuming the post is not likely at present. But in the game of Israeli politics, anything is possible, however.

But the police appear to be putting a case together against Lieberman, and are being backed up by former Police Chief Inspectors, and other high police officials. But Lieberman has managed to keep himself ahead of his accusers before, and could very well be successful again. It all depends on who really is running the police.

A Decade Later – Will Lieberman Finally Face the Music?

For such a young country that has sprung up out of the desert as a regional powerhouse in a matter of decades, Israel sure takes its sweet time when it comes to investigations and legal action against its leaders. An ongoing probe into Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that started back when I was in middle school (I’m now 25 and married) is now, finally, coming to a close. Lieberman is suspected of funneling millions of dollars through Cyprus for some good old-fashioned money laundering purposes.

We all have to ask ourselves what, indeed, went on these past 10 years that it took an entire decade to figure out what was going on? The answer, as far as I can tell, is lots of coffee breaks and paid sick days, with some coalition government deals helping the sloth along a bit.

The way coalition government deals work here is, let’s say a government controls 65 seats out of a 120-seat parliament. Now let’s say a big Russian guy named, oh, Avigdor Lieberman to pick a randomly preselected name out of a hat, heads a 15-seat faction in that government. If he leaves, then the government falls, which the Prime Minister doesn’t really want, because that would mean he doesn’t get to be Prime Minister anymore, which would make him sad. So Avigdor says something like, “Hey, Bibi, would you mind making sure the police take plenty of coffee breaks and paid sick days so I don’t get indicted for money laundering? That would be really convenient. I mean, I wouldn’t want to *cough* leave the *cough* government or anything.”

Oh, I don’t have a recording of this conversation or anything, but I’m willing to bet that coughing was involved in some way or another. It usually is in these government setups.

Weimar RepublicAnd most people don’t even know this, but the system of government on which the functionality of the Israeli Knesset is based is, actually, the Weimar Republic of post World War I Germany (flag on right) which quickly fell and led to the rise of the Third Reich. This is an encouraging statistic for those of us who like uneasy excitement in the world. For those of us who suffer from ulcers, it’s a different story.

As reported by Ynetnews, Dr. Aviad HaCohen of Sha’arei Mishpat Academic College was quoted as saying on the case that:

“Although this is complicated and intricate, there is no justification for spreading this over such a long period of time.” In a fit of understatement, he continued, “This is not just causing a delay of justice for Lieberman, but also casting a heavy shadow over the Israeli government.”

It’s hard to say if shadows can indeed be cast in the dark, with the glorious history of the Weimar Republic hanging over your head already.

And what happens if, at the close of the decade, by some sudden lack of a coffee break, Lieberman actually does get indicted? Given that Netanyahu’s coalition consists of no less than 6 parties, you’ve got the equivalent of a pack of hungry wolves converging on the steak that is his position as foreign minister. Given the fact that Lieberman can barely speak English, there are probably some more qualified people that may lay claim to the post, and make some new threats of their own about government stability for the 31st Israeli government in 61 years of statehood.

I’d recommend, for now, that the government take a daily intake of fiber to keep it regular, but I’m not sure that will *cough* work.

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”.

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?

Lieberman says to arrest Sheikh Nasrallah

Avigdor Lieberman
The findings may only be symbolical, but the findings by a United Nations backed tribunal that the Hezbollah is mostly likely responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, and 23 others. The findings may be poetic justice, especially after Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah recently announced that he believes that Israeli intelligence agents were actually responsible for Hariri’s death, which occurred in 2005 when Hariri’s motorcade was passing through central Beirut.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman hopes to make the best of the situation by calling on the International Court of Justice to issue an arrest warrant against the Sheikh, even though his apprehension is very unlikely. Israel has been accused of committing this terror act, along with the more recent assassination of Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyah, whose SUV jeep was blown up in a Damascus suburb in August, 2008.

The U.N. tribunal findings, published first in the German newspaper Der Speigel, had quoted “un-named sources” as saying that their investigation has linked Nasrallah and his organization to the crime by using special technology to sort out information from lists of cell phone numbers being used at the time of the Beirut attack. Arab newspapers, including the Kuwait newspaper Al Anbaa, quoted Hezbollah sources as saying the finds are “a fabrication to exert influence on the upcoming national elections in Lebanon” in which Hezbollah is expected to win even more seats in parliament, and then be able to exert its influence in Lebanese national affairs even more.

Lieberman went on to say that the report of the tribunal’s findings should “send a warning signal to the international community”. What kind of “warning signal” Lieberman expects to send, will depend naturally on who is interested in dealing with an organization said to be a direct political and military proxy of Iran, and whose military fighters are said to be virtually under the guidance and control of Teheran.
Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanese affairs has reached the point where the organization has almost unlimited power there, and is able to do pretty much as they please. The Lebanese government is too weak to crush them, especially the Lebanese army, in which many of its officers and men are actually members of Hezbollah. It’s no wonder why Der Speigel notes that the report was not revealed to the Lebanese public, as it wouldn’t make much difference anyway, as life goes on there as usual.

Michael Oren Israel’s new US Ambassador

Michael OrenDr. Michael Oren, an American by birth and currently a professor of Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University, has been chosen by the new Israeli government as the next ambassador to the USA. Dr. Oren came to Israel in 1979, and has served in the IDF’s Paratroop Brigade, seeing combat duty during the 1982 war in Lebanon. Receiving a PHD in Middle East Studies in 1986, Oren’s connection to this region also includes a number of academic publications, including the best seller Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East ; an in-depth study of the June, 1967 war. This particular work, published in 2002, received the Los Angeles Times Literary Award for History and was on the New York Times best seller list for seven weeks. The Washington Post called this book the “Best history of the Six Day War written to date.”

He has also published numerous works dealing with Israeli foreign policy and political implications of recent Middle Eastern events. His most recent book, Power, Faith and Fantasy, published in 2007, deals with U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East from 1776 to present day.

Oren has also served as IDF spokesperson in recent military conflicts, and while on a break from his academic career in January served as an IDF spokesman during the recent Cast Lead operation. He also served as an Israeli liaison officer to the US Sixth Fleet during the 1991 Gulf War.

Both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are very impressed with Oren credentials to serve in this post. Oren will replace current ambassador, Sallai Meridor, who agreed to step down following the formation of the new Netanyahu government.

American politicians are also very pleased with the new appointment, including Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a leading Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; who said that Oren will be “an outstanding ambassador for Israel”.

It appears that Oren’s experience and background makes him one of the most outstanding appointees for this position to date. We wish him the utmost success as Israel’s new US Ambassador. Just watch out for those sex toys

Bibi’s Peace in Our Time

bibi_peaceBoth Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu and his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, are not wasting any time in indicating how they will deal with issues regarding Israeli domestic and foreign policies. An earlier post dealt with Lieberman’s speech on how he intends to helm his position, much to the chagrin of many world leaders, including those of both Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab countries who have diplomatic relations with Israel. In response to the European Union’s threat to suspend Israel’s upgrade in relations with the EU, Netanyahu’s curt response was “don’t set conditions for us!”. Nothing more bottom line than that, it appears.

The Europeans, and most likely the Americans as well, are not very happy about the new Israeli government, and its apparent right-of-center foreign policy direction. In contrast from the previous government, led by the Kadima Party, and it’s now former and disgraced leader Ehud Olmert, the new political realties emanating from Jerusalem appear to be along the lines of “don’t xxxx with us!” Netanyahu added to his previous noted remark by saying “we (the government) are in the process of reviewing our policies -don’t rush us”.

All of this comes on the heels of the recent fiasco of the Conference Against Racism in Switzerland, the outcome of which we noted earlier. In light of this, and the upcoming Durban II conference, which will most likely be similar to the previous one (in which Israel was truncated by most of the delegates, causing the Israeli delegation to “exit, stage right”), both Mr. Lieberman and Netanyahu have decided on an entirely different course in which to steer the Israeli Ship of State.

On Lieberman’s part, the policy of “land for piece”, so popular with both Olmert and his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni (now head of Kadima and leader of the opposition),
is no longer a negotiating factor in the new government. According to Lieberman, although the PA does not have to recognize Israel as a “Jewish State” the radical Islamic Hamas organization “must be suffocated”. “Don’t even mention the ‘right of return’ ” Lieberman was quoted as saying in regards to Palestinians being able to return to and settle within Israel proper.

Both Netanyahu and Lieberman want the members of the EU to “stop speaking in slogans” in reference to reaching a solution with the Palestinians; and in regards to other policies affecting Israel and its relations with other countries, including Iran.

Ironically, Lieberman has been invited to visit Egypt, which was conveyed during a just concluded visit by Egyptian intelligence chief Omer Suleiman. What reception Lieberman is likely to get in Cairo or some other location (such as Sharem al Sheikh) remains to be seen. But in any respect, countries like Egypt may even respect the new political reality now in place in Israel, as at least it is more predictable than the “poochy moochy” one espoused by Olmert. In any respect, it’s now a whole new political ball game.

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