Commentary‎ > ‎

When Israel will fight Iran and Palestinians

posted May 31, 2011, 7:30 AM by Guidogeorge Lombardi
The time is now. Read on how Obama plans war to be re-elected. May 31, 2011Ynet News

IDF Chief of Staff: Army gearing up for mass riots

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz addressed the various threats Israel faces amid unrest in the Middle East on Tuesday. Speaking at the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Gantz said that while past threats were still relevant, new ones present challenges to the IDF in handling numerous fronts under a tight timetable. "There's a new player in the Middle East - the street," he noted. "The IDF has drawn lessons from the Nakba Day events and knows it may find itself facing large-scale popular protests in the coming months. The IDF is preparing for demonstrations in the West Bank, the Gaza strip and Israel's borders by training relevant forces, forming the right MO and readying equipment. These threats warrant an extended budget framework for the security establishment." 

 Palestinians organizing June 5th "Naksa Day" protests

In another week the Palestinians will mark June 5, which is known as Naksa Day, to commemorate the

naksa or setback of the Six-Day War. Palestinians are now being asked to march on Israel’s borders, and they are trying once again to enlist masses of demonstrators who will intensify this event and turn it into a recapitulation of the Nakba Day events, only more successful.


Arab League to seek full UN membership for Palestinian state

An Arab League committee decided on Saturday to seek full UN membership for a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital, it said in a statement. The Arab League's peace process follow-up committee said it would request membership for the state of Palestine at the UN General Assembly's meeting in New York in September. Earlier on Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said there were "no shared foundations" for peace talks with PM Benjamin Netanyahu and seeking UN recognition of Palestinian statehood was his only option.


PM: Israel cannot prevent UN recognition of Palestinian state

"No one has the power to stop the decision to recognize a Palestinian state in the UN General Assembly in September," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday. "It can also be possible to make the decision there that the world is flat… We have no way to obstruct the UN decision," Netanyahu said, but warned that that the Palestinians will not succeed in their efforts in the UN Security Council. "It is impossible to recognize a Palestinian state without passing through the Security Council and such a move is bound to fail."

On Friday, the president of the United Nations General Assembly said there was no way that a Palestinian state could become a member of the United Nations without a recommendation from the Security Council.


Jerusalem continues to become more religious

The Central Bureau of Statistics’ figures leave no room for doubt: Jerusalem 2011 is more Haredi, more Arab and has particularly high negative immigration percentages. The data, which were released yesterday to mark Jerusalem Day which falls tomorrow, show that whereas the general population of Jerusalem is growing (789,000 people), the percentage of secular is shrinking and comes to 31.1%, numbering only 247,000 (In 2004 – seculars numbered 261,000, 37% of the population).

On the other hand, the number of Haredim and Arabs has risen. Today the number of Haredim in the capital is 245,000 people (30.9%), in contrast to 2004 when their number was only 204,000 (29%).

The percentage of Arab residents has also increased significantly. As of 2010, the Arab population is 273,000 residents (35%) compared to 2004, when their number was about 220,000 (31%).

(by Yossi Eli)

Yedioth Ahronoth

The Value of the Settlements: USD 18,793,513,125

The participants at a special meeting that was held about three years ago in the Prime Minister’s Office received a first-of-its-kind report: basically, it was the first study ever prepared in Israel, with government funding, on the settlement enterprise. The report that they received estimated, in minute detail, the value of each settlement and every community beyond the Green Line—from places like Oranit and Har Adar located on the border, to large cities like Ariel and Maale Adumim to tiny settlements like Avnat or Neguhot.

A price (in dollars) was determined, in this unique report, for each and every home and every public property in each of the 123 cities and communities located beyond the Green Line. This was in order to prepare the economic basis for the evacuation-compensation bill, for a possible future scenario of evacuation or of a land swap. The report did not address the illegal outposts. According to the report’s data, there was significant development in the overall cost of the settlement enterprise over the years: In 2004 the overall value of the settlements was estimated at USD 12.7 billion, in 2010 it soared to USD 17.5 billion and in May 2011, it came to USD 18.8 billion.

(by Shosh Mula and Ofer Petersburg)


Olmert begins testifying, declares 'I am fighting for my life'

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert began testifying Tuesday at the Jerusalem District Court, opening the defense phase of the ongoing corruption trial against him. As he took the stand as the first defense witness, Olmert began to tell the judges his life story. When they tried to cut him off and direct him toward the issue at hand, Olmert said: "Maybe these sound like stories from a distant past, but they have to do with who I am and what I represented, not the person that they are making me out to be… I am fighting for my life here and nothing else."

Over several court sessions, Olmert will respond to the three main charges against him: double-billing nonprofits for the same overseas flights and using the surplus to fund personal vacations, receiving cash-filled envelopes from American Jewish businessman Morris Talansky, and improperly interfering in decisions at the Industry Ministry's Investment Center. Most of the alleged offenses occurred while he was either industry minister or finance minister.

(by Nir Hasson) 4

New York Times

Inspectors Pierce Iran's Cloak of Nuclear Secrecy

The International Atomic Energy Agency last week presented a report to its board that laid out new information on what it calls "possible military dimensions" of Iran's nuclear program. The report raised questions about whether Iran has sought to investigate seven different kinds of technology ranging from atomic triggers and detonators to uranium fuel. Together, the technologies could make a type of atom bomb known as an implosion device, which is what senior staff members of the IAEA have warned that Iran is able to build.

(by William J. Broad)

Jerusalem Post

MK Ya'alon: Military strike may be needed to stop Iran nukes

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon called on the world to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, by all means necessary, including a military strike, the Associated Press reported on Monday. Ya'alon made the comments in an interview to Russian news agency Interfax ahead of a visit to Moscow. "We strongly hope that the entire civilized world will come to realize what threat this regime is posing and take joint action to avert the nuclear threat posed by Iran, even if it would be necessary to conduct a pre-emptive strike," Yaalon said.

Yedioth Ahronoth

Al-Qaida in Sinai

Israel has been monitoring events in Sinai with concern: in light of reports about an infiltration of al-Qaida and Palestinian terror elements, Israel fears that the Egyptians have lost control over the peninsula. The Arabic-language newspapers,

Al-Hayat and Asharq al-Awsat, reported yesterday that Egyptian security forces were currently looking for 400 al-Qaida activists who are suspected of carrying out a number of attacks on Egyptian army bases and outposts in Egyptian Rafah and in el-Arish. The activists are reportedly planning more acts of terror in Sinai.

Yedioth Ahronoth

Europe Invests in Israeli Desalination

The European Investment Bank signed a financing agreement to facilitate the construction of a desalination plant at the mouth of the Soreq river, providing EUR 142 million. The desalination plant will have production capacity of 150 million cubic meters water annually. The bank also helped finance the construction of the desalination plant in Hadera at a cost of UER 130 million.

(by Eldad Beck)


Israel’s AG to investigate Ofer brothers over Iran ties

Israel's attorney general is investigating the Ofer Brothers Group, which was sanctioned for its role in providing a tanker valued at $8.65 million to an Iranian shipping company; the brothers deny knowledge of involvement in the sale, saying the ship had been sold to a third party before it was sold to Iran. At least eight ships belonging to companies owned by the Ofer group are also alleged to have docked in Iranian ports to load and offload cargo in recent years, according to reports.


Reuters – May 29, 2011

For Israelis, "defensible" border means more land

By Dan Williams

To ask Israeli officials how the border with a future Palestine should look is to invite a deluge of data -- from the regional military balance, to topographical surveys, to intelligence projections on Hamas strength. But no one will map it out. For while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused any return to the "indefensible" lines held before the West Bank's occupation in the 1967 war, the Israelis themselves have no ready alternative to hand.

The issue was at the center of a White House spat last week between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, who in an unprecedented step proposed publicly the 1967 boundaries serve as the basis for delineating the Palestinian state.

"Is there some kind of borders chart that can be whipped out and presented now? No," said Yosef Kuperwasser, a former chief military intelligence analyst who now serves as director-general of Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry. Such planning, he argued, is impossible given the nebulous menaces of a Middle East in upheaval and of the Palestinian polity, which has balked at Netanyahu's peacemaking terms that include recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. "We can't have a map until we know what the solutions will be, in terms of both strategic security and the philosophical security of being assured that the Palestinians have ceased to be even a prospective source of hostility," Kupperwasser said.

The Netanyahu government's sequencing promises to bedevil U.S. peace mediation that seeks to set borders before other core disputes -- such as Jerusalem's status and the future of Palestinian refugees -- are tackled.

Palestinians, and Netanyahu's domestic critics, see in his rejection of the pre-1967 lines a right-wing legerdemain designed to scrap draft territorial deals of previous Israeli governments and prepare for sweeping West Bank annexations. While Israel's hope of keeping swathes of its West Bank settlements under an accord would appear to have been met by U.S. and Palestinian calls for "mutually agreed swaps" of land, this falls far short of satisfying Netanyahu's defense doctrine.

Like his predecessors, Netanyahu insists the Palestinian state be demilitarized and that Israel have free access to its airspace and control of sensitive communications frequencies.


The worst-case scenario posited by Netanyahu advisers and confidants for the post-withdrawal West Bank, meanwhile, recalls the pan-Arab mobilizations in 1967 against a fledgling Israel just 10 miles wide at its coastal heartland:

Once U.S. forces leave Iraq, it could close ranks with Iran and send tanks toward Israel; the buffer offered by Jordan might not hold, especially if revolutions seen in Egypt and Tunisia reach Amman; the West Bank would risk becoming a springboard for Palestinian militants, bolstered by Arab armies as well as the Hezbollah and Hamas guerrillas to Israel's north and south.


More immediately, Israel's commercial hub of Tel Aviv and nearby Ben-Gurion Airport, its international gateway, could be paralyzed should Palestinian rocket and mortar crews have the run of the West Bank highlands overlooking them.

"Israel cannot base itself on a snapshot of reality in 2011," said Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations who accompanied Netanyahu to Washington as a consultant. "No one can guarantee, for Israel, which regimes to the east will be in power in five years' time."

Past Palestinian land offers to Israel had amounted to single-figure percentages of the West Bank -- enough, Gold said, to take in settlements but not to ensure national security.

How much might that require? Gold, like Kupperwasser and other officials, would not be drawn on figures. But he said Israel would be hard put to compensate the Palestinians. "You would have to carve out from the living flesh of Israel -- roads, kibbutzim, military bases," he said.

Shaul Arieli, a center-left peace activist who in the late 1990s served as a military consultant under first-term premier Netanyahu, said Israeli negotiators' maps then called for a 40 percent West Bank annexation.

That has likely been pared down to between 15 percent and 20 percent due to Netanyahu's current openness to keeping a minimal Israeli military garrison in the Jordan Valley, Arieli said: "In any event, Israel does not have land that it can give up in exchange for anything more than a 3 percent swap."

Though few dispute the region's volatility, Netanyahu's views are challenged by experts who say they play down Israel's military primacy and the corrosion caused to its demographics and international legitimacy by remaining mired over Palestine.

"Any border the political echelon sets as the State of Israel's border is a border that the Israel Defense Forces would be capable of defending," said Dan Halutz, a former military chief now aligned with the centrist opposition party Kadima.

"Of course I wouldn't rule out that we must prepare for the possibility of tanks being lined up on the border, but the kind of wars being waged in recent years do not have a territorial dimension as much as an aerial one," he told Israeli television.

Military historian Martin van Creveld credited Israel's current containment of Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria to its superior arms and said these could be brought to bear in turning the kidney-shaped West Bank into a "noose" for any Arab invader.

"It is crystal-clear that Israel can easily afford to give up the West Bank," he wrote in the Jewish Daily Forward. "Strategically speaking, the risk of doing so is negligible. What is not negligible is the demographic, social, cultural and political challenge" of maintaining the West Bank occupation.


Ha’aretz – May 30, 2011

Obama is preventing a solution to Mideast peace

Obama is trapped in a worldview that has become obsolete. He believes that Israel and the Palestinians must and can reach a final-status agreement that will solve all the issues.

By Gidi Grinstein, Founder and President of the Reut Institute

President Barack Obama is unable to succeed. He tries and misses. He wants to bless the peace process and ends up cursing it. Another chapter in this sad story was written last week when the president once again channeled the sides into the dead end of a final-status agreement, while standing in the way of the establishment of a Palestinian state - the only chance for diplomatic progress between Israel and the Palestinians.

His intentions were good: to anchor the principle of two states for two peoples, which ostensibly is acceptable to both the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships. Obama shared his goodwill: He gave the Palestinians 1967 and the Israelis recognition of Israel's Jewishness. He called on both sides to return to negotiations on a final-status agreement, while stating his opposition to the declaration of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September.

But there's a catch. Since the Hamas victory in the January 2006 elections, there is not and cannot be a Palestinian partner to such a diplomatic process. On the one hand, a Palestine that includes Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel and existing agreements, cannot be a partner to negotiations on a final-status agreement. On the other hand, without Hamas, the Palestinian system lacks internal legitimacy, which prevents a historic concession. That's why all the calls out of Washington, Brussels and Jerusalem for a renewal of talks between Israel and the Palestinians are hollow, and the negotiations that were conducted during the Annapolis process had no chance of success in the first place.

Only one format is likely to enable progress to a permanent situation based on the principle of two states for two peoples: coordinated unilateral steps based on understanding and quiet cooperation. That's how the Palestinian Authority's institutions were established in recent years, with security achieved in Judea and Samaria and economic growth in the West Bank. Despite this significant progress, the array of possible agreements and cooperation among Israel, the PA in the West Bank and the United States is far from exhausted. The upcoming declaration of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September should be seen in this context.

[…] Obama is missing the opportunity under his nose; a declaration of a Palestinian state in September includes the possibility of a diplomatic breakthrough as well as significant advantages for Israel. The establishment of such a state will help anchor the principle of two states for two peoples, shape the permanent situation with Israel controlling the security assets and the new state's surroundings, and diminish the refugee problem by marginalizing UNRWA and limiting refugee status.

Despite Obama's speeches, the diplomatic process will remain at a dead end as the moment of decision in September approaches. Then the United States will have another opportunity to do

the right thing: to ensure that the establishment of a Palestinian state conforms to Israel's needs

ead on and you'll see the time is quickly approacing of a major confrontation. That is OBAMA's master plan to get re-elected.