Tag Archives: Benjamin Netanyahu

IS HE IN OR OUT?

BLOG 520

June 7, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

IS HE IN OR OUT?

There’s an old saying. “Two Jews; Three opinions.” Today in Israel there appears to be a hundred different opinions. It is not clear whether Benjamin Netanyahu is still the Prime Minister of Israel. The struggle is intense and not fully decided. Prime-minister-designate Naftali Bennetti appears to have forced a new government. (Only so it appears).

On Friday, counter-protesters also showed up to support the new coalition which will first be led by Bennett and then, from August 2023, by Lapid. Netanyahu’s Likud is also to meet Sunday. Netanyahu has urged all right-wingers in the “change coalition” to abandon it, and instead back him.

“We are of course fighting until the last moment,” Likud minister and close Netanyahu loyalist Tzachi Hanegbi said on Friday afternoon. “It’s not only about Netanyahu. We are a political camp with vast public support.  If the government s sworn in, we’ll of course act, in opposition, according to all the well-known rules. We’ll be] a fighting opposition. But until then, if there is a chance to prevent the establishment of a government based on votes that were stolen from the right, we of course will act to try to prevent it.”

Knesset speaker, Levin can legally delay a vote on the new government for a week or more, giving Netanyahu’s Likud party more time to try to peel away rebels from the right-wing factions of the unity coalition.  

Hundreds took part in the rallies, a day after Lapid officially declared that he can form a government, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing religious bloc are seeking to pressure lawmakers from Yamina and the fellow right-wing New Hope party to oppose. If formed, the government would end the premier’s run of 12 consecutive years in office and relegate his Likud party and allied factions to the opposition.

The demonstrations against the so-called “change government” have been particularly intense in recent days, taking place outside the homes of prospective ministers, including Bennett, the Yamina lawmakers and Meretz’s Tamar Zandberg. The hecklers have included pro-Netanyahu activists, right-wing families of terror victims and young members of the national-religious camp.

On Thursday morning the Shin Bet security service said its unit that protects the top officials of the state, Unit 730, had placed a security detail around Bennett, the coalition-to-be’s first prime minister.

All this make sense to you? Probably not unless you are an Israeli and then you’d probably be confused. The recent war with Hamas demonstrated that after three elections with a fourth coming ups, the current government is vulnerable.  This political weakness is a major reason why there is a current push to remove Netanyahu. Will the Bennett coalition succeed?

Stay tuned.

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by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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NETANYAHU ON TRIAL

BLOG 476
June 22, 2020

conspiracy

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

Netanyahu On Trial

The corruption trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on the back burner, yet it continues to loom large in Israeli politics. It is still the subject of regular media leaks, driving a persistent din of confrontations between the prime minister and prominent journalists, and affecting Netanyahu’s political calculations at nearly every turn. It is also the subject of the most significant and popular conspiracy theory in Israeli public life, one pushed by the prime minister himself.

The theory goes something like this: Netanyahu committed no wrong but is being hounded by police investigators and prosecutors, including an attorney general and police commissioner he appointed, with a leftist media egging it all on with the single overriding goal of ousting him from power and bringing the left, or at least some weak-kneed right-winger who will do the left’s bidding, to power.

It’s a ham-fisted claim, and few Israelis who don’t identify with Netanyahu’s politics take it seriously. Too many distinct individuals and organizations must all fall in with the conspiracy to make it work. One might convincingly claim that a single prosecutor in a prominent case could become enamored with their own power. Or even that a string of investigators might be driven to coordinated unethical behavior by a problematic organizational culture in the police. Or, too, that leftist leanings in the judiciary might stack the deck against a right-wing prime minister.

True or not, such claims are at least plausible. Cops, prosecutors and judges are only human, after all.

But Netanyahu’s claim is larger. “Citizens of Israel,” he declared in a televised broadcast shortly before the opening of his corruption trial on May 24, “what is on trial today is an effort to stymie the will of the people — an attempt to bring down both me and the right-wing camp…. Elements in the police and the prosecution joined forces with the leftist media — I call them the ‘anyone but Bibi’ gang — to manufacture baseless and absurd cases against me. The goal is to bring down a strong prime minister from the right and thus keep the right out of power for many years. “

It’s in the details that the scale of this claim becomes clear. Netanyahu is arguing that former police commissioner Roni Alsheich, a religious, conservative former deputy head of the Shin Bet appointed to head the police by Netanyahu himself — and last month called a “criminal” in his own right by the prime minister — pushed police investigators to pursue the prime minister despite knowing there was no case. The police investigators all cooperated, with none leaking any misgivings to the press from that famously leak-prone organization.

State prosecutors then took up the cause, all, again, falling in line with the conspiracy; then-state attorney Shai Nitzan, known to favor a harsher line on corruption cases, including Netanyahu’s, then managed by some mysterious power to coerce Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, another religious conservative who once served as a top Netanyahu aide and was his choice for attorney general, to turn on his boss and pursue a prosecution of the prime minister he knows to be unfair.

Several judges, attorneys and state’s witnesses all played parts in the vast conspiracy — with everyone at every step knowing full well that it was all a lie meant to bring down an innocent man, but none ever breathing a word of it, even anonymously, to the media.

Netanyahu’s conspiracy theory encompasses too many unlikely conspirators and alleges a distinctly un-Israeli capacity for silence on the part of too many actors to be taken as a serious argument about the facts of the case.

So, the trial and the arguments continue. Stay tuned.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
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JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

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DENOUNCEMENT OF NETANYAHU

BLOG 474
June 1, 2020

truth

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

DENOUNCEMENT OF NETANYAHU

The trial of Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery and other criminal charges is underway with fireworks to follow. This week Netanyahu blasted the police and prosecutor’s office.

Flanked by ministers and lawmakers from his Likud party, Netanyahu delivered lengthy televised remarks before the start of the hearing at the Jerusalem District Court, ripping into police and prosecutors as he became the first Israeli premier to stand trial on criminal charges while in office, and declaring that all his right-wing supporters were on trial along with him. He said, “I’m not a poodle… and therefore they need to remove me by any means.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid on Sunday evening decried as a “horror show” the speech Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made just before entering the opening hearing of his corruption trial, and said it confirmed that a criminal defendant cannot serve as Israel’s leader. He noted that, “Israel’s prime minister stood and said people can’t trust police, the prosecution or the court,” the Yesh Atid-Telem party leader said. “What happens to an Israeli citizen who hears him and thinks he’s right? Are we supposed to close the country and throw away the key?

“I have been saying for more than 18 months that someone who sits on the defendant’s bench cannot also be the prime minister. Today we got a demonstration why that principle is correct. It was a horror show by a frightened man who is telling Israel’s citizens that they cannot trust anything here, with followers standing behind him and saying amen,” Lapid charged.

He also argued the premier and his loyalists were seeking to intimidate the judges.

A Supreme Court justice, in a ruling published Wednesday, took the unusual step of criticizing the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu is serving as prime minister while under indictment.

“The reality in which a criminal suspect forms a government and leads it reflects a social crisis and moral failure of society and of Israel’s political system,” Judge Menahem (Meni) Mazuz wrote in the full response to petitions that sought to prevent Netanyahu from forming a government due to the criminal charges against him.

Justice Anat Baron appeared to concur with Mazuz, writing in her response, “The petitioners and others like them are frustrated that the head of the State of Israel is someone who is facing a serious indictment. This is indeed an unusual situation in the democratic landscape, some would say dangerous.”

Who said watching Israeli politics is not fun… well, maybe not fun, but certainly interesting. You can bet there’s more to come!

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

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HOUDINI ESCAPES AGAIN!

BLOG 471
May 11, 2020

magic

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

HOUDINI ESCAPES AGAIN!

Often called a political magician, Benjamin Netanyahu has done it once more. Bibi has squeaked by many times over the last decade. Predictions of a failure this time haven’t proved true. Here’s the latest.

Netanyahu got the nod from Rivlin to form government, seemingly cementing rule. The move comes after large Knesset majority — including rival-turned-ally Gantz — tells president it endorses Likud incumbent as prime minister; government to be sworn in next week. After 17 months of heading a transitional government and fighting for his political survival, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was tasked Thursday by President Reuven Rivlin with forming the next government, which is expected to be announced and sworn in next week. Rivlin passed the baton to Netanyahu hours after receiving the signatures of 72 Knesset members endorsing him to lead the government, and hours before a deadline that would trigger a fourth round of elections. It is the third time in a year that Rivlin has given Netanyahu a shot at forming the Knesset, but unlike previous instances, the Likud leader is widely expected to actually succeed and forge a power-sharing coalition with rival-turned-partner Benny Gantz and other allies who have already agreed to join them. Already in power for over a decade, Netanyahu will now likely be prime minister for at least another 18 months, as he fights charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases.

On Wednesday, Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White party said the new government would be sworn in on Wednesday, May 13, once final decisions are made regarding ministerial appointments.

In the Knesset, Benny Gantz and [Blue and White No.2] Gabi Ashkenzi gathered signatures to recommend that the president task Netanyahu with forming the next government. They want to form a government within a week because in two weeks, Netanyahu’s trial starts. Within a week they will swear allegiance to him; in two weeks he will be on trial for breach of trust. They call it an emergency government when the emergency is over. They talk about unity, but don’t trust one another.

Just about the time the curtain falls on this story, it will rise again on Bibi going to trial.

The scenario is better than a soap opera.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

 

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MORE CHAOS IN ISRAEL

BLOG 470
Mat 4, 2020

middleast

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

MORE CHAOS IN ISRAEL

Just about the time you thought Israeli politics was settling down, BINGO! There’s a new problem. After Benny Gatz make a major concession for the sake of the country, an under the table move threatened to blow the reconciliation apart. Here’s the latest.

In a bombshell move that threatens to block his former ally Benny Gantz from becoming Israel’s prime minister, Yesh Atid-Telem leader Yair Lapid on Monday promised his party would vote with Benjamin Netanyahu if the prime minister seeks to cancel his rotation agreement with Benny Gantz, which is supposed to take effect 18 months into the lifespan of the planned Netanyahu-Gantz coalition. Lapid would thus help ensure the necessary majority to cancel the law anchoring the Netanyahu-Gantz power-sharing deal, and bring down the government.

Lapid’s extraordinary promise drew a furious response from Gantz’s Blue and White party, and an allegation from Yisrael Beytenu’s Avigdor Liberman that, in so doing, Lapid would be saving Netanyahu’s political skin. Lapid responded that it was Gantz who is saving Netanyahu by partnering with him in the new coalition, and that if, down the line, “we have an opportunity to topple the government, of course we will do so.”

Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff, entered politics early last year and formed an alliance with Lapid and former Likud defense minister Moshe Ya’alon. Their Blue and White party fought three elections on a promise never to sit in government with Netanyahu so long as he is facing corruption allegations, branding him divisive, corrupt and dangerous to Israel. Citing the current corona-virus pandemic and the need for government stability, Gantz changed his position and agreed to work with Netanyahu.

To prevent Netanyahu from later overturning the legislation with a regular majority of 61 in the 120-member parliament — which he could feasibly achieve — the bill stipulates that canceling it would require a special majority of 75 lawmakers. Such a significant change to the Basic Law, weakening the power of the Knesset’s basic majority, has been criticized in some quarters as detrimental to democracy. It was in that context that Lapid dropped his Gantz-blocking bombshell Monday.

Where does Israel and the Knesset go next? It’s possible to declare Yair Lapid’s assertion is sour grapes and should be rejected outright. Unfortunately, Israeli politics is not so simple or straight forward.

Stay tuned! More to come.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

 

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THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS Part 5 – Will this go on forever?

BLOG 468
April 20, 2020

israel-election

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS
Part 5 – Will this go on forever?

If you think you’ve seen it all… just keep looking at Israeli politics. My favorite description of Jewish thought is, “two Jews, three opinions” That’s where they still are in trying to form a new government in light of three previous elections that provided nothing. Here’s the latest.

After talks on Gantz’s side failed to produce government by Wednesday night deadline, President Reuven Rivlin says he hopes the legislature can choose a person to form a coalition. Rivlin gives Knesset 21 days to agree on the Prime Minister it wants, or go to new election

President Rivlin informed Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz on Thursday morning that his mandate to form a government had ended, after the Blue and White party leader failed to present a government to the parliament by Wednesday night’s midnight deadline.

Rivlin announced earlier this week he would not hand the mandate to Gantz’s rival, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, but would trigger the start of the 21-day period during which the entire Knesset as a whole may select a candidate to form a government. Under Israel’s Basic Law, if the Knesset fails to agree on a candidate in the allotted three weeks, the government is automatically dissolved and new elections are called. If a candidate does secure 61 votes, that person has 14 additional days to form a government before an election must be called. Revlin chose not to give Netanyahu another 28 days in which to attempt to negotiate a government himself, as he could have done under the law. The move was widely seen as intended to force Netanyahu and Gantz to stop dithering and seal a unity deal quickly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision Thursday marks only the second time in Israel’s history that the mandate to form a governing coalition was handed to the Knesset. The first time was after the September 2019 race. Both Netanyahu and Gantz have reportedly expressed a willingness to go to a fourth election, even as the nation remains under lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Can you believe it? Consider what it would be like in America to have three national elections without producing a winner. Run chills up your back.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

 

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YOU THOUGHT AMERICA HAD POLITICAL PROBLEMS

BLOG 445
September 23, 2019

isreal

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

YOU THOUGHT AMERICA HAD POLITICAL PROBLEMS

The situation in Israel makes America’s political issues almost look like a kindergarten problem. Like a Kentucky Derby ending in a dead heat, Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz finished the campaign for a new prime minister in a deadlock. Neither candidate won the election.

Now Netanyahu is scrambling day and night to make a deal with anybody in sight to establish a new government. He needs the Knesset’s support to survive the legal process that is after him. Should he fail, Bibi will be faced with criminal charges that now hang over his head, including bribery. The charges are serious business!

What is going on?

Once a military and public hero, Netanyahu has turned into little more than a conniving, manipulative politician who will say and do anything to win. The people who depend on him don’t care about the charges. They’ll do anything to keep him at the top.

On the other hand, a voter like Mrs. Yael Shrem Senator said she was so fed up with Mr. Netanyahu’s divisiveness and what it was doing to Israel that she had thought about emigrating if he wins. She said, “Every time I open the newspaper I want to cry.”

However, Mrs. Senator said of Benny Gantz, “He’s too nice. And I don’t think he has enough experience. But listen, we have no choice.”

Interestingly enough, this woman’s statements reflect the tension in Israel. Even people who voted for Netanyahu concede he lies, manipulates, and is clearly poised to snatch land from the Palestinians. President Trump’s backing that he has campaigned on, only defines and illuminates the dark side of the man.

On the other hand, critics have said that Gantz’s Blue and White Party’s strategy was indecipherable and their message muddled. A former general, Gantz’s biggest asset was his image. His combat experience and towering statue with steely blue eyes make him highly appealing. A spokesperson for Gantz said that Israel deserves a value-driven political culture as well as a needs-driven political platform. They want the current government without Netanyahu’s destructive rhetoric and behavior.

There you have it. At this very moment as Netanyahu’s Likud party scrambles to form a government before White and Blue pulls it off, you can bet the smoke-filled back rooms are humming with hot conversations. There is a strong feeling that if Netanyahu can’t pull off forming a government, he won’t get a third chance.

At this point, who can call what’s coming next? They make movies about this stuff.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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ISRAEL’S NEW NATION-STATE LAW

BLOG 401 September 10, 2018 

Prime-Minister-Benjamin-Netanyahu

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST Each week Robert L. Wise, PhD, explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the  surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

Can you believe summer is over? Maybe a little hard to realize, but footballs back and the morning breeze is decidedly a bit colder. Out here in the mountains, it was 36 degrees this morning. B-r-r-r. A sign of things to come.

You probably didn’t see much in the media this summer about a situation in Israel that has raised new ire in the region. It’s been the hot issue in Israel throughout the summer. On July 19, the Knesset  (Israel’s Parliament) passed the Nation-State Law. Applauded by Netanyahu and deplored by the Arab community, the law stated three things:

  1. Israel has the right to national self-determination and is unique to the Jewish people.
  2. Hebrew is the official language of the country. Arabic is downgraded to a “special status.”
  3. Jewish settlements are established as a national value and the state will labor to encourage and promote settlements.

Netanyahu’s far-right government applauded the legislation. Israeli Arabs considered the bill a slap in the face. One-fifth of Israel’s citizens are Arabs. On the floor of the Knesset, Arab parliamentary members tore up the bill and called it apartheid. This was only the beginning of the fireworks.

In early August tens of thousands of Israeli Druze protested in Tel Aviv. Other Israeli citizens joined them. Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Mowafaq told the crowd that Israel does not see them as equal even though they have been utterly loyal. Druze leaders had earlier met with Netanyahu and warned the new law would lead to apartheid. Netanyahu abruptly walked out of the meeting. Other Druze leaders proclaimed the law makes them second-class citizens.

Former Shin Bet director (Israel‘s internal security service) Yuval Diskin accused lawmakers of “petty and miserable political considerations.” He saw the new law as aimed at upcoming elections rather than a desire to strengthen the nation.

On the other hand, two polls taken shortly after the passage of the law found 58% of Israelis supporting the measure with only 34% opposing and 8% with no opinion. Another 61% of the Israeli population did not think the law will affect the Druze population. On the other hand, 88% of the Arab population felt it further degraded the use of the Arabic language.

There appears to be little disagreement that the passage of the legislation will give Netanyahu and his government a legislative accomplishment that will help them in the forth coming election. The wild card is whether the Supreme Court orders Netanyahu to resign because of an indictment on bribery charges.

Stay tuned. More to come.

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NETANYAHU: TREADING IN DEEP WATER

LOG 386 March 12, 2018

Isaiah 5: 22-23 says, “Woe to those … who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!” Israelis have always taken such biblical injunctions seriously. Now the Prime Minister is having to ponder the same.

Benjamin Netanyahu is in his fourth term as prime minister, having been in office for a total of 12 years. In response to the police charges against him, he said, “I feel a deep obligation to continue to lead Israel in a way that will ensure our future.”

However, none of Netanyahu’s statements contest the actual charges brought against him. Involved in this dispute is Arnon Milchan who the police also recommend be charged with bribery.

On February 20th, the story broke that an adviser of Netanyahu offered the job of attorney-general to former judge Hila Gerstl in 2015 in exchange for a commitment to close the criminal probe against Sara Netanyahu, the Prime Minister’s wife.

Avichai Mandelbit wound up as the Attorney-General and has informed Sara Netanyahu he plans to indict her. At this time, it appears she will appear before him and try to convince him of her innocence.

Netanyahu’s “long arm” Shlomo Filber has signed a state’s witness deal as part of the police investigation. The now suspended Communications Ministry Director-General has been allegedly involved in a deal to sell telecommunications company options and influence. His testimony is expected to incriminate the Prime Minister.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak called on Netanyahu to declare incapacitation. Barak said, “These are difficult and sad hours, but it is also a moment of truth and a moment of trial for us all.”

As noted in earlier blogs, it is up to the Attorney General either to act or retreat from the police charges. This procedure can take months. During the delay there is no legal impediment to force the Prime Minister from office. Undoubtedly, there will be demonstrations, but unless such protests go over the top, Netanyahu will stay in his position.

Where’s all this going? Remember that statement by Richard Nixon, “ your president is not a crook.” That was what he said just before he was forced to resign and would have been indicted if Gerald Ford had not pardoned him. Does the Netanyahu scandal have a scent of that past debacle? Strange smells are floating through the air.

You remember that old joke? How can you tell when a politician is lying? It’s whenever his mouth is moving.

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IS THE TWO-STATE SOLUTION DEAD?

BLOG 338 February 21, 2017

For a long time no one wanted to say the words out loud. With President Trump’s talk of moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem, the thought has again become more current. Sh-h-h. Say it quietly. Could the two-state solution to the Israel – Palestinian problem really be dead? The appointment of David Friedman (whose father is a Rabbi) points in that direction. Is it possible that Prime Minister Netanyahu had this intention in the back of his mind all the time? Have these new settlements in East Jerusalem on land considered belonging to the Palestinians been part of an intention to kill a Palestinian state?

The last time I was in Israel, I was picked up at the airport by a man who worked in Netanyahu’s offices. As we chatted driving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he made it clear that he personally saw no future for a Palestinians state. None.

This is not new talk. As far back as May 2013, an entire issue of Moment magazine was given to a discussion of the death of a two state solution. Nine public figures ranging from Noam Chomsky to deputy defense minister of Israel Danny Danon weighed in with their view of the problem.

Although they have made political progress in the United Nations, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) is seen by their own people as inept and corrupt. The rise of Hamas and Hezbollah bear witness to the failures both political and financial of the leadership within the Palestinian camp. Many Israelis would say, “Negotiate with them? Are you kidding? There is nothing there.”

On the other hand, Israel’s continued encroachment on Palestinian claimed territory has put Israelis in a bad light. The problem is that many Israeli politicians aren’t bothered by the negativity. During the week of February 10, sixty politicians in the Knesset had voted into law the legalization of 4,000 homes built in the West Bank. Jewish communities that would otherwise be demolished are now declared legal. Surely, the wrath of the International Criminal Court will fall on them. The ultimate result will be the further isolation of Israel if the law stands.

This action personifies the current status of the conflict: Aggressive Israelis vs. Inept Palestinians. Jews believe the Bible is on their side. Palestinians maintain history supports them. And where is this going? Nowhere.

In the September 15, 2013 New York Times, Political Science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Ian Lustick wrote about his experience analyzing the Middle East political situation for the American government. His first-hand conclusion was that the two-state solution is a fantasy that impedes progress. He maintained that continued negotiations only camouflage the impossibility of a two-state solution.

With the change in the new political climate in Washington, these issues are going to surface in a new and potentially dangerous way. Keep your ear to the ground – far more will be said by politicians on all sides.

You heard it first here!

 

 

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