Tag Archives: Netanyahu

A SURPRISE AT SUNRISE!

BLOG 483
August 16, 2020

palestine flag

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.

A SURPRISE AT SUNRISE!

Israel has agreed to suspend West Bank annexation plans in exchange for the normalization of ties with the United Arab Emirates, according to a joint statement from Israel, the UAE and the US released by US President Donald Trump. UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayad confirms in a tweet that Israel has agreed to suspend annexation plans, but says that the countries have only agreed to work toward the normalization of relations. The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.

While this is big news this week, it not actually new. Israel and the UAF have been doing business under the table for a considerable amount of time. The driving force behind this mutual public recognition is animosity toward Iran. The Arabs are particularly hostile and the world knows Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons. In this agreement, Israelis is the big winner and Iran the loser.

Israel had already put annexation on hold because of Washington’s preoccupation with their own problems. Trump continues to lag in the polls and the White House struggles with those worries. Reactions across the region have been predicable.

The mayor of the Beit El settlement Shai Alon accused Netanyahu of selling out his movement. “They pulled a fast one on the settlers. Our future is in Judea and Samaria and in courageous decisions which our leaders will make. Notagreements that we sign today and are not worth the paper they are written on tomorrow.” But Oded Revivi, mayor of the Efrat settlement says suspending the annexation bid is a “proper price,” for normalizing ties, while predicting a change in how settlements are perceived.

Of course, Palestinian officials were not happy. Hanan Ashrawi said, “Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it’s been doing to Palestine illegally & persistently since the beginning of the occupation,” She also said the UAE has come forward with its “secret dealings/normalization with Israel.”

Arab countries are recognizing the reality of Israel’s endurance and economic wellbeing. Israel’s are the major military power in the Middle East. It makes more sense to play ball with them than to stand outside the stadium.

Undoubtedly more normalization will 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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Filed under America, Arabs, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump

ANNEXATION HEATS UP!

BLOG 475
June 15, 2020

palestine-gaza-strip

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.

ANNEXATION HEATS UP!

The idea of annexing part of Palestinian land has been pushed off the front page by concerns about the virus and the protests over the death of George Floyd. Not so in Israel! Taking advantage of urging by President Donald Trump, Netanyahu continues to pursue the idea. However, the response in Israel has been tense.

Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday evening to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to begin annexing parts of the West Bank next month. Some called his idea a war crime. Police initially sought to block the rally but backtracked Friday after meeting with organizers, who urged participants to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Dozens of officers were securing the demonstration after police said attendance would be capped at 2,000, though the Haaretz Daily put the turnout at 6,000 people in what appeared to be the largest protest in the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Of course, the Palestinians are not happy. Announced at the end of January in Washington, US President Donald Trump’s peace plan provides for the annexation by Israel of 30 percent of the West Bank — covering all the settlements and the Jordan Valley — with conditional provisions for a Palestinian state in the rest of the territory, including some areas on the outskirts of East Jerusalem. The Palestinians have rejected the US plan in its entirety.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex the 132 settlements, home to some 450,000 Israelis, next month, and the rest of the territory allocated to Israel soon after, subject to American approval.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said the Palestinians were hoping that Netanyahu would not go ahead with his annexation plan. He called annexation an “existential threat” that would mark the “total erosion of our national aspirations.” The PA’ has submitted a counter plan that calls for the creation of a “sovereign Palestinian state, independent and demilitarized” with “minor modifications of borders where necessary.” The Palestinian text foresaw possible land swaps between the two future states on a like-for-like basis, he said at a press conference. Shtayyeh declined to provide further details about the the 4 1/2-page proposal but said the Palestinian position on major issues is well-known.

What’s next? Sounds like Netanyahu is plowing ahead. Regardless.

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 – Pt 4

BLOG 467
April 6, 2020

meflag

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 4

When Americans heard that Benny Gantz had agreed to form a coalition government with Bibi Netanyahu, they were surprised as they knew almost nothing about Gantz. Netanyahu has made a special effort to cultivate American taste and influential political leaders, including the president. Consequentially, Americans are often surprised to learn how he is viewed in Israel. While considered a master politician, Netanyahu is seen as a manipulator, a flip-flopper, and is despised by many even though his rule has been positive for the country. As you probably know, he is currently under indictment and facing a trial in the immediate future.

But who is Benny Gantz? Besides being Israel’s top general, he is not well known politically. In order to bring him into perspective, I felt that reading the General’s words might be one of the best ways for you to make a judgement about him. The following is a statement he made this past week.

  • I chose the only path possible at this time, a national emergency government
  • I will never compromise on democracy or on the underlying principles of the more than one million Israelis who voted for Blue and White
  • We are facing one of the most serious challenges in the history of our country. It is a global challenge of exceptional magnitude, and it has hit Israel at a time of crippling political deadlock and unbearable divisions — a lethal combination. Leadership has never been more necessary. Leading has never been more difficult.
  • As a soldier who has dedicated my life to protecting the State of Israel, I have vowed to carry my commitment to the country forward and inform my decisions as a political leader. At this time of crisis, I had no choice but to put politics aside and choose the only path that allows us to avoid fourth elections. Because at a time like this, pulling people out to the polls again — many of whom have lost their livelihoods and are riddled with anxiety about the future — is inconceivable. I chose the only path which positions Israel to effectively fight this horrific pandemic: the path of a national emergency government.
  • More than ever, Israel needs unity. Israel needs strong and capable leadership, able to relentlessly fight the coronavirus, while protecting Israel’s democracy.
  • And let me state clearly: No matter how fierce the battle, I will never compromise on democracy. I will never compromise on the principles underpinning the votes of the more than one million Israelis who voted for Blue and White. … I embrace the people who feel angry. I have love for the people who feel disappointed. I respect everyone. And I personally pledge to the public: I will use every means to ensure that our attitude and our way prevail.

Perhaps, Gantz’s own perspective will paint a picture of why so many in Israel voted for him three times in a row, bringing the Netanyahu administration to a halt and forcing a compromise from both sides.

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.

Leave a comment

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THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS Part 2

BLOG 466
March 30, 2020

israel

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 2

You think American politics is crazy? Israeli elections and results are off the scale. After three elections in a row, Israel remained divided with Prime Minister Netanyahu scurrying around like a scared mouse, trying to put a government together as well as avoiding going to jail. If you’ve followed this scenario for several months, you’d swear the Keystone Cops had made a come back.

Today we are possibly on the verge of a breakthrough.

Benny Gantz appears to be willing to give up on his political career to ally with Netanyahu in hopes of helping his beleaguered nation. Benny Gantz’s change of position on Thursday was met with bitter excoriation from his former allies.  “Benny Gantz decided today to break apart Blue and White and crawl into Netanyahu’s government,” declared Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid. “What’s being formed today isn’t a unity government and not an emergency government. It’s another Netanyahu government. Benny Gantz surrendered without a fight and crawled into Netanyahu’s government, joined the haredi-extremist bloc,” he said.

In a sense, he’s right. Gantz appears to be the most obvious loser from his decision to join Netanyahu. He surrendered his most valuable cards just as the fight was reaching its climax, with Blue and White finally in control of the Knesset and a new speaker set to be voted in, and just as Netanyahu, fearful of a Knesset set against him, was for the first time begging for serious unity talks.

Among the issues yet to be resolved are the distribution of a number of ministry portfolios and other senior posts, and promises the two parties are looking to extract from each other regarding what kind of legislation they will advance, particularly regarding Netanyahu’s legal fate. On Thursday, Gantz was sworn in as Knesset speaker with the support of Likud, signaling an apparent unity deal between the two that would put a year-long political deadlock to rest. Gantz, who had promised not to sit under Netanyahu as prime minister because of indictments in three criminal cases against him, said he was putting aside his vow given the health crisis plaguing the world.

Is the Israeli government crisis really over? Who can tell? Maybe yes; maybe no. As of this day, the log jam seems to have broken more because of the coronavirus crisis turning the country upside down rather than the will of the people. As in every good soap opera, you have to keep listening tomorrow to see what comes next.

Stay tuned!

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under COVID-19, Elections, Israel, The Middle East

THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS

BLOG 465
March 23, 2020

virus

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

I promise to write nothing about the coronavirus. You can’t turn on the TV without being inundated with that story. I promise none of that this week!

The headline in The Jerusalem Post was “KING BIBI, THE MAGICIAN.” While Netanyahu doesn’t have a coalition in the bag, he seems to have pulled a rabbit out of the hat.

Having served as Prime Minister for 14 years and just two weeks before trial on bribery and breach of trust charges, he eked out a few seats in the Knesset giving him another shot at forming a government.

The biggest boast to his attempt to stay in office now turns out to be the coronavirus scourge. (Oops! I broke my promise.) While there is still a political impasse, Netanyahu is calling for an emergency coalition government, leaving his political opponent Mr. Gantz little room to do much more than cooperate. This clever manipulation would push the government more toward Netanyahu’s control.

While most of Israel thought that he was down and out, this rapidly spreading illness has actually brought him back to life. Netanyahu reached into an empty hat and pulled out a new angle on staying in office.

Netanyahu stated that this would only be an emergency government for a limited time. Gantz has not responded to the idea, but the leader of the Blue and White party said he would be willing to discuss the idea. These gyrations showcase Netanyahu’s skills as a leader. It puts him in the driver’s seat to lock-down the country if the disease continues to spread. The self-imposed quarantine means that all contacts with other foreign leaders would be by video or telephone.

The political advantage to Netayahu is that it showcases him. While some leaders say he’s doing way too much, no one can claim he’s not doing anything. Critics accuse him of exploiting the problem for political gain. If they like him, he’s a genius. If they don’t, he’s a fraud.

The political situation in Israel continues to be more intriguing than those old Saturday afternoon movie serials. Can the hero win? The villain be caught? Keep showing up at the box office for more exciting adventures.

Now here’s something you really can sink your teeth into! I have a new book just out.

82 DAYS ON OKINAWA has been proclaimed as an unforgettable firsthand account of the Pacific’s war’s greatest Battle. The book has been released by Harper-Collins under the name of Col Art Shaw and Robert L. Wise. You’ll find it to be a great diversion during this virus crisis.

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

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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THE LATEST!

BLOG 463
March 9, 2020

82 DAYS ON OKINAWA

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!

And why didn’t you hear the results of the Israeli elections on television?

Well, there’s a reason.

Here’s the latest. A full 68 hours after the polling stations closed and exit polls predicted a surge for Likud and its right-wing bloc, the Central Elections Committee on Thursday confirmed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party as the largest after Monday’s general election, with final results giving it 36 seats to rival Blue and White’s 33.

Netanyahu had won 58 seats, three short of a majority needed to form a coalition.

Sorry, It’s not all over.

After three elections there’s a continuing effort to retire the Prime Minister. Because of indictment on corruption charges, Netanyahu couldn’t break through even with a nudge from President Trump. Sorry. Netanyahu had won 58 seats, three short of a majority needed to form a coalition. There’s no headlines because there’s no story.

Now here’s something you really can sink your teeth into! I have a new book just out.
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA has been proclaimed as an unforgettable firsthand account of the Pacific’s war’s greatest Battle. The book has been released by Harper-Collins under the name of Col Art Shaw and Robert L. Wise.

I met 96-year-old Col. Art Shaw in my wife’s congregation. Hardly looking his age, the Colonel is now 100-years-old. He confided that for the scope of his long life, he had never talked about the war. I kept asking questions and the story flooded out.

On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, the Allied Army fleet descended on the Japanese island began the most vicious struggle of World War II. The Army expected an 80% casualty rate. Then a Major, Art Shaw was the first American soldier to step ashore. Becoming legendary for its brutality, the struggle was a fight to the death for the Japanese. The U.S. Army’s 361st Artillery Battalion killed 37,763 of the enemy.

The confrontation was the last major battle of World War II as the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war to an unconditional surrender on the part of Japan. Art shared with me the details of what he saw and experienced. I have tried to write both the spirit and the facts of this horrendous struggle.

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon. I believe reading this story will give you a new confidence in America and the values that have made this country the land of the free. You will recover new conviction about our country’s great democracy.

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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Filed under Israel, The Middle East, Trump, United States History, War, World

UPDATES ON ISRAEL

BLOG 455

January 13, 2020

peace

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.

UPDATES ON ISRAEL

Egypt remains quiet as does Jordan. Lebanon still struggles under the grip of Hezbollah. The Ayatollah Supreme leader of Iran warned the leader of Hezbollah that American might strike him next after the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani. The media has been full of the story of the exchange between the USA and Iran with Iran’s tragic shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner. Tehran’s streets were filled with protesters screaming for the Ayatollah to resign because of the strike on the commercial airliner.

You might be interested to learn that the Christian population has grown in Israel. Over 177,000 new citizens moved in to make Christians 2% of the Israeli population. Three quarters of this population are Arabs. In the past year 2.5 million tourists came to Israel. No wonder tourism remains at the top of the list of Israel’s industries. My, my, does the Middle East ever give us something to think about.

You probably know that the third election for Prime Minister of Israel will be held March 2. The political upheaval in Israeli politics keeps the public in turmoil. The latest blow to Netanyahu is the ruling by the Knesset legal adviser that it is okay for their parliament to proceed with the immunity debate. Israeli Channel 12 political analyst Ammon Abramovitch reported, “I think Netanyahu can wave farewell to immunity.”

With charges of bribery and corruption hanging over his head, Bibi Netanyahu has sought to maneuver the Knesset into making him an exception to the law. Three charges of corruption hang over his head. Of course, many, many Israelis resent this attempt to make the Prime Minister an exception to the law and maintain it amounts to an admission of guilt. Will they vote that conviction? March 2 will tell us.

Netanyahu has been attempting to prevent the Knesset committee from being formed until after the March 2 election. His strategy is to hopefully win a majority of seats that would then vote to halt the charges from going forward. The entire matter is filled with almost more twists and turns that now exist in American politics.

Isn’t there someone, somewhere, to stand up and ask for the truth regardless of the political consequences? Like American politics, the pushing and shoving only discredits the politicians further and they are already at the bottom of the list of people who Americans trust.

Keep your eyes open. Much more to follow.

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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THE ONGOING STRUGGLE IN ISRAEL

BLOG 454
December 23, 2019

trumpy

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 ONGOING STRUGGLE IN ISRAEL

With the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the headlines, the deadlocked prime minister’s election controversy in Israel has gone unreported. However, the kettle is boiling. Here’s something of the give and take now going on.

Senior members of the Right-wing bloc have moved toward creating a third election to settle the question of who is the prime minster. However, the Likud party (Netanyahu’s base) has not expressed an interest in this position. Netanyahu continues to attempt to form a coalition government. Recent polls appear to give him an edge in such an election. However, 24% of the electorate remain undecided and that vote would certainly determine the outcome. Such an election would determine the prime minister and force the Knesset members to get along with the winner whether they like him or not. Not a very happy solution!

The kicker remains. Bribery charges.

For over two decades the Israeli High Court has stood by a singular position. They expect anyone charged and indicted on bribery charges to resign. If a leader cannot carry out the public’s trust, then they should step down. This volatile issue is what is smacking Netanyahu in the face. The general opinion is that it is hard to imagine the High Court allowing him to stay in officer if convicted of bribery.

Bribery is the legal death knell for any prime minister.

Consequently, there have been and continue to be charges and counter-charges. The under the table rumors are equally damaging. Currently, there are staunch witnesses against Netanyahu and they are not going away.

There is a strange irony between Netanyahu and Trump. Both men have continued to kick up dust to obscure the actual charges against them. Moreover, there appears to be little or no evidence to support their volatile claims. Yet, they continue to pound the pavement and claim to be misrepresented. At best, they have come out as little more than politicians trying to cover their tracks. At worst, they are lying.

Where will it all go? The clock is ticking. The Israeli Attorney General isn’t backing down and there is no agreement anywhere in sight. There’s an old saying. Two Jews; three opinions. That’s the convoluted, lingering crisis hanging over Israel.

Netanyahu has gone from hero to legal system censurer. Rather than making Israel great, he has done the opposite. Irony or ironies, Washington has the same problem.

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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THE SETTLEMENT SITUATION

BLOG 453
December 16, 2019

israel

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 SETTLEMENT SITUATION

One of the major headlines in Israel has been the American declaration that the Israeli settlements in the area claimed by the Palestinians are now not considered illegal. In a historic reversal of US policy, the Trump administration announced that settlements in the West Bank area are now considered acceptable. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referenced a position once taken by former President Ronald Reagan that they were not considered inherently illegal.

The Trump administration felt it was ambushed in the waning days of the Obama Presidency when Obama went against Trump’s expressed wishes and allowed the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 that claimed such settlements were a “flagrant violation under international law.” The position stated by Pompeo rejects that previous perspective.

Of course, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately praised the decision as correct and rejected the idea that under international law the settlements in Judea and Samaria were illegal. In turn, the Palestinians completely rejected the new US position and saw the statement as further evidence of the American basis against the Palestinians. Their denunciation was scathing.

A letter from 106 Democratic representatives to Pompeo called on him to reverse his declaration that the settlements were currently considered legal. They stated that Pompeo’s declaration blatantly disregarded international legal standards. The letter written by Dore Gold claims that this decision casts doubt on Israel’s moral position.

What’s going on here?

Fundamentally, it’s politics. Netanyahu is in serious legal trouble and could wind up in jail. Trump has stuck his nose in Israel’s business to affect how Netanyahu is viewed. Nothing new here. Trump had sided with Israel previously with such moves as bringing the American Embassy to Jerusalem. Trump is now facing impeachment and his own legal troubles.

How one feels about these divisive issues rejects the position one took before the turmoil ever began.

Enthusiastic supporters of Israel view these actions as affirming their position. Individuals concerned with the rights of the Palestinians consider the matter as further evidence that America has lost all credibility in the Middle East and no longer can act to bring peace.

Fundamentally, the issue reflects the deep divide in American politics. Republicans do not seem to care what is the evidence against Trump. Democrats don’t want to just impeach Trump. They want to launch him.

Once more. a deep divide exists around the world. With Christmas shortly upon us, perhaps this is a good time to reconsider the meaning of the coming Prince of Peace. The world needs a new perspective.

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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Filed under Christians, Gaza, Israel, Palestinians, Trump

ISRAELIS COUNT DOWN

BLOG 452
November 25, 2019

countdown 1

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.

ISRAELIS COUNT DOWN

Time is running out.

The current quagmire in Israel is rumbling toward a third election.

The two main sticking points in efforts to reach a unity government have been the right-wing bloc, which Netanyahu has refused to part with, and Blue and White’s refusal to serve under a prime minister facing criminal charges. This week an unexpected indictment against Netanyahu exploded and the pieces are still coming down. For well over a year, I have been writing about this possibility and predicting such was coming.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit leveled and filed three charges of corruption against Netanyahu, putting him under criminal indictment.

Will the Israel public vote for a Prime Minister under criminal indictment? That just maybe the jackpot question. Quite possibly the impasse between Netanyahu and Gantz may have pushed patience too far and the charges were filled to dynamite the log jam. We will see.

Officials in Yisrael Beytenu, whose party is the deciding factor on whether Netanyahu or Gantz will be able to form a government without the other, told The Times of Israel that leader Avigdor Liberman would announce his decision on whether to support either Gantz or Netanyahu, or neither, this week. In his statement Gantz, who had 24 hours left until his deadline to form a governing coalition, said he would “continue to make every effort and turn every stone to try to reach understandings and form a government even in the remaining time, in order to prevent costly and unnecessary elections that are contrary to the will of the citizens of Israel.”

And then President Donald Trump dropped the bombshell! In an effort to support and shore up Netanyahu, he proclaimed West Bank settlements by Israel are not illegal. Needless to say this arbitrary action was rejected on many fronts. The principal Democratic presidential candidates denounced the decision. The European Union rejected the idea and said such a move would be an obstacle to peace. Russia and Turkey both weighted in and rejected the USA position.

Will Trump’s move mean anything? Not if the Israeli public rejects the idea of electing a Prime Minister under criminal indictment. Stay tuned. There’s more to come!

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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Filed under America, Gaza, History, The Middle East