The battle for Israeli voters is red hot. J.J. Goldberg says the real debate is over the Zionist Union’s odds of forging a coalition — and the surprising partners who could put it over the top.
The Netanyahu government’s most left-wing member, environmental defense minister Amir Peretz, quit the cabinet on Sunday and declared war on the prime minister, vowing to work for a new government committed to peace and economic justice. Peretz, a onetime Labor Party chairman and defense minister, is a member of Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah party.
In what may be the largest-ever joint protest by senior Israeli security personnel, 106 IDF ex-generals and spy chiefs signed a letter urging Netanyahu to ‘initiate a diplomatic process.’
Conventional wisdom says Benjamin Netanyahu will allow peace talks to plod along, albeit at a snail’s pace. J.J. Goldberg writes even that may be way too much to hope for.
Israeli politics were turned upside down this week by the surprise acquittal on Wednesday of Avigdor Lieberman, the blunt-talking, Arab-bashing, Soviet-born former foreign minister and head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party. He had been charged with fraud, witness tampering and breach of trust for allegedly promoting a crony to an ambassadorship. The promotion was allegedly in exchange for leaked information about an ongoing police investigation into Lieberman’s business affairs.
Israel’s latest announcement of permits for 1,200 new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has stirred a hornets’ nest of angry responses. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said it could undermine the negotiating process before it’s even started. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said America does “not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity” and had communicated its “concerns” to the Israeli government. And Haaretz diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid wrote in a scathing blog post today that Bibi Netanyahu still hasn’t decided whether he’s ready to “cross the Rubicon.”
Three weeks after Israeli finance minister Yair Lapid stunned his liberal base by staking out a hardline stance on peace issues, his disappointed lieutenants are coming out in open rebellion.
Some say ‘Gatekeepers’ doctored the anti-occupation opinions of Israeli security insiders. They will have to eat their words when Israel TV starts airing parts of the documentary.
Israel faces the prospect of a new Palestinian uprising because of despair over the gridlock in peacemaking, a former head of the Israeli internal intelligence agency who is standing in the Jan. 22 election said on Tuesday.
Recently retired Mossad chief Meir Dagan, fresh from calling a military attack on Iran “the stupidest thing I ever heard,” said at a conference in Tel Aviv that Israel should embrace the Saudi peace plan.