US officials are claiming that Prime Minister Netanyahu has agreed to release 40 ‘Palestinian’ terrorists as a ‘goodwill gesture’ in order to jumpstart ‘talks.’ The move – which would not be conditioned on any reciprocal Palestinian steps – is reportedly intended to convey Israel’s seriousness about returning to peace talks. The offer is said to include the eventual release of up to 104 other prisoners, steps that would be taken once negotiations were underway. Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry are now waiting for a response to the offer from Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. Should he agree, the prisoners will be released over the coming weeks, during the Muslim holy period of Ramadan. The 40 prisoners in question have been deemed by Israel’s Shin Bet security service to not represent a public danger, though they were originally convicted on terrorism charges. They could not enter Israel without special permission, as none are Israeli citizens or residents of East Jerusalem. The gesture comes at a time when Abbas is under increasing pressure to respond to repeated Israeli calls to return to the negotiating table without preconditions. In its lead story on Thursday, Yedioth Ahronoth quoted “foreign sources” to the effect that Abbas will be unable to withstand the growing pressure placed on him by Kerry, and will ultimately agree to return to talks. They also predicted, however, that he will shortly thereafter walk away, blast Israel for intransigence, and renew the PA campaign for recognition in various UN agencies. Two months ago Abbas rejected an Israeli-American offer to free 60 prisoners in a bid to return to negotiations. Should he decline this offer as well, the sources said, Abbas will send a clear message that he is uninterested in returning to the negotiating table. The terrorists include the perpetrators of some memorable and heinous terror attacks in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s. Read the whole thing.
…for a second there I thought Abdullah II was finished. Good thing he started the bullshit in the last few paragraphs. Being an agent of Israel does not go well on his resume. Time will tell, but if the Hashemites are as close to Israel as Goldberg is claiming then we can expect the King to see his end like Mubarak.
(Carl) So much for all those Leftists who believe that King Abdullah hates Binyamin Netanyahu and would gladly see Israel replaced by a ‘Palestinian state.’ The King is much smarter than all that, reports Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Israel, in some ways, is Jordan’s most important ally. As the guarantor of quiet on Israel’s eastern front, and as the defender of the peace treaty that King Hussein forged with Yitzhak Rabin in 1994, Abdullah’s Jordan is essential to the Israelis. Jordan and Israel are also working together to prevent the chaos of Syria from spilling into their countries. The king would not talk about joint Jordanian-Israeli operations, but several sources in Amman and Tel Aviv told me that Israeli drones are monitoring the Jordan-Syria border on Jordan’s behalf, and that military and intelligence officials from the two countries are in constant contact, planning for post–Bashar al‑Assad chaos.
Even as Abdullah envisions ceding more of his power, he draws one red line: “I don’t want a government to come in and say, ‘We repudiate the peace treaty with Israel.’ ” He is cautious when speaking about the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he is reportedly in regular communication. He would say only that his relationship with Netanyahu is “very strong. Our discussions have really improved.”
Abdullah says he is pessimistic about Israel’s future.
Though he acknowledges the role Netanyahu plays in maintaining Jordanian stability, he is not optimistic about Israel’s future. King Abdullah is known as an advocate of two states for two peoples—Israel secure in its pre-1967 borders, Palestine to be established in Gaza and the West Bank—but when I asked him in January how much time he thought was left to implement this idea, his answer surprised me. “It could be too late already for the two-state solution,” he said. “I don’t know. Part of me is worried that is already past us.”
If it were too late, what would that mean?
He responded with a single word: “Isratine.” That’s a neologism popularized by the late Muammar Qaddafi to describe his vision of a joint Arab-Jewish state. If Israel doesn’t agree to a Palestinian state quickly, Abdullah said, “apartheid or democracy” will be its choice. “The practical question is, can Israel exert permanent control over Palestinians who are disenfranchised ad infinitum, or does it eventually become a South Africa, which couldn’t survive as a pariah state?”
There are some Israelis, I said, who value Israel more as a Jewish state than as a democratic state. “The only way you’re going to have a Jewish part is if you have a two-state solution. That’s the Jewish part,” he said.
Abdullah is smart enough to understand that Israel’s continued existence is the only thing that ensures that his country will not be overrun by its ‘Palestinians.’ Given that is the case, one has to wonder why Abdullah does not do more to bring about the conditions for a ‘settlement.’ For example, he could make the ‘Palestinian refugees’ in Jordan citizens of his country rather than holding them for a ‘right of return’ that he knows will never happen.
I have the impression from reading Goldberg’s piece that perhaps Abdullah would like to do just that but is prevented from doing so by the Bedouin tribes on whom he is dependent to maintain his power. In any event, a ‘two-state solution’ and the ‘right of return’ which would demographically extinguish Israel don’t go together. Abdullah is smart enough to understand that.
I wonder whether he’s discussed this with Netanyahu, or perhaps their discussions have been limited to other areas of mutual interest like Syria and Iran.
THE HAGUE – A Dutch news show has stirred controversy by airing a fake satirical video of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu bragging to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about civilian deaths in Gaza.
“We are trying to maximize the number of civilian casualties. We prefer that,” Netanyahu is seen telling Clinton in the video, which the broadcaster Vara aired on November 21, as part of the satirical corner of the prime-time news show De Wereld Draait Door. Approximately 1.5 million viewers watch the show every evening.
The video, made to appear genuine through seamless splicing of sound bites from previous speeches by Netanyahu, was spread by thousands of Twitter and Facebook users who advertised it under the headline “Netanyahu finally tells the truth.”Related:
“We are conducting these surgical operations against schools, mosques, hospitals, children,” Netanyahu is heard saying, adding: “This is something I don’t have to explain to Americans.”
De Telegraaf, the Netherlands’ largest-circulation daily, reported that the video irked Israel’s supporters here. “The video is tasteless but the show’s satirical corner spares no one, so this isn’t about agenda,” said Esther Voet, deputy director of the pro-Israel Center for Information and Documentation on Israel. “The problem is that the clip is humorless and technically a good forgery, so many people don’t understand its satirical nature.”
Timon Dias, a Sri Lanka-born columnist for the Dagelijkse Standard – the Dutch equivalent of the Huffington Post – said the video is “reminiscent of the many blood libels that already exist about Israel and Jews.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Photo: LIFE.
A new Israeli poll released this morning, and conducted following the cease-fire with Hamas, announced yesterday after 8 days of fighting, shows a significant drop in public support for Israeli Prime Minister Netanayhu.
The poll which was commissioned by Israel’s Knesset website and conducted by the Panels Institute shows Netanyahu’s joint list with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, named Likud-Beiteinu dropping significantly from a current 42 seats combined to 33 seats.
Israel’s Labor party gained two seats from a previous poll rising to 22 seats, and the Yesh Atid party of former Journalist Yair Lapid dropped from 13 seats to 11.
Strong gains on Israel’s right were marked by the Jewish Home party headed by former Netanyahu Chief of Staff Naftali Bennett which rose from 11 to 13 seats, and the Power to Israel party of Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad, now projected to win 4 seats. The Orthodox Shas party remained static in the poll with 10 mandates, while Meretz and United Torah Judaism both came in with 6 seats.
The new figures may be a result of the unpopularity in Israel of the ceasefire agreement, which a Channel 2 poll taken before the ceasefire was announced concluded that 70% of Israelis opposed.
According to Israeli website Walla, a Likud mister who did not wish to be named said that the, “public response is very, very difficult. We do not remember such a magnitude of an enraged response. People call and say: this time we will not vote Likud.”
Another minister is quoted as saying that a reserve soldier said: “A week ago all of my battalion were Likudniks. Now, if you think anyone would vote Likud You’re kidding yourself.”
Another minister coming to the defense of Netanyahu said that the situation was more complicated, citing the famous Israeli saying: “what you see from here is not visible from there.”
Israeli political commentator and Algemeiner blogger, Arik Elman, said that he is not sure if these results will hold in the longer term. “Obviously the first reaction to the agreement is deep disappointment,” he said, ”and that is before all Israeli concessions to Hamas on the issues of movement and border crossings have been realized.”
“Likud Beitenu voters many of whom live in the South feel that Netanyahu and Lieberman bowed to Ehud Barak,” he continued. However he said, “it is hard to tell whether this opinion climate will endure – there are two months to elections, and if the calm will hold, perhaps Netanyahu will yet persuade right-wing voters to support him and not the untested alternative in the person of Naftali Bennett.”
“On the other hand,” he added, “Labor is benefiting from the renewed public image of Amir Peretz, who is considered a “father” of the Iron Dome and savior of lives.”
“The accounts of the negotiations published so far reveal that the Israeli government bowed to the American request not to push Egypt too far and accepted conditions that it first considered unsatisfying,” he concluded.
Naftali Bennett will support Likud if in danger of the Left ever taking over and if there were ever any bowing to the tyranny of the Obama administration. As for a guy like Amir Peretz taking credit for an Anti missile system… that is just typical of those who are self righteous in their own mind… like in Al Gore’s claim to of created the internet, they take credit for things that were made by millions through hard work.
There will be a press conference on Thursday night at 8:00 PM in the Dan Panorama Hotel in Jerusalem, where they will officially announce the merger.
Channel 2 said the joint party will be called “Likud-Beyteinu”. Netanyahu will be number 1 on the list, followed by Liberman who will be his number 2.
Liberman used to be a member of the Likud, and broke away to form his own party in 1997. At the time the speculation was this was part of a larger master plan, where Liberman would attract the Russian votes that the Likud couldn’t, and support the Likud with the seats they gained.
The Likud currently has 27 seats, and Yisrael Beiteinu 15. This merger has the potential to increase their seats, as well as practically guarantee that they will be the largest party and bloc in the upcoming election.
Internal surveys say the joint list could win up to 50 seats.