Israel news

Netanyahu will face 'tough' US demands

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 5, 2009

Sources close to Prime Minister-elect Binyamin Netanyahu have warned that they anticipate "a tough time" from the Obama administration over the Middle East peace process.

Visiting Israel this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a clear indication that she expected Israel to do more on both the Palestinian and Syrian fronts.

"Clinton left us with no illusions," said a senior adviser to Mr Netanyahu.

More..

Analysis: Squandering the victories of Operation Cast Lead

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 5, 2009

Six weeks since the end of Operation Cast Lead, Palestinian groups are still launching missiles, Hamas is busy replenishing its arsenal and Gilad Shalit remains incarcerated. Israelis are beginning to ask if it was all worth it.

Brigadier-General (res) Shmuel Zakai, former commander of the Gaza Division, fears that politicians will waste the IDF’s military victory . “The political leadership has, in the past, proved incapable of taking advantage of the opportunities afforded it by the IDF’s achievements.”

More..

Ram: why I played in Dubai

By James Martin, February 26, 2009

Israeli tennis star Andy Ram has explained his reasons for deciding to go ahead and play in the Dubai Open after being labelled unpatriotic by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Mr Ram was given a visa to play in the UAE only after a high-profile controversy the previous week over the exclusion of his compatriot, Shahar Pe’er, from the women’s tournament.

Ha’aretz quoted the Prime Minister as saying: “It would be highly worthwhile for someone to advise him to demonstrate patriotism and solidarity, and boycott the tournament.”

More..

Israel makes last-gasp attempt at Shalit deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 26, 2009

The efforts to secure a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas are to proceed through two different channels in a last-gasp attempt to finalise the deal before a new right-wing government is formed in Israel.

Negotiations are taking place simultaneously in Cairo and Europe through joint mediation by the French and Qatari governments, both of which are eager to deepen their involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

More..

Netanyahu’s coalition offer splits Kadima

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 26, 2009

Senior figures in Kadima are putting pressure on leader Tzipi Livni to accept Prime Minister-elect Binyamin Netanyahu’s offer to participate in a national unity coalition.

The two party leaders met on Sunday and Mr Netanyahu, tasked by President Shimon Peres last Friday with forming Israel’s next government, offered Kadima eight ministerial positions — equal to that of Likud — including two out of the three senior portfolios of defence, finance and foreign affairs.

More..

Peres turns to Netanyahu

By Marcus Dysch, February 20, 2009

Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu has been asked to form a government and be the next prime minister of Israel.

President Shimon Peres met Mr Netanyahu and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni this morning, and will entrust the former PM with creating a coalition.

Mr Netanyahu is likely to ask Ms Livni and Labo u r party chairman Ehud Barak to join him in a broad administration, although Ms Livni has suggested she will turn down any approach.

The new prime minister will have six weeks to create a cabinet.

More..

Lieberman endorses Netanyahu

By Daniella Peled, February 19, 2009

The head of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party has publically backed Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu to be the next prime minister of Israel.

Avigdor Lieberman told President Shimon Peres today that his party - which holds 15 seats in the Knesset - would endorse the Likud chairman, providing he could create a broad coalition.

Mr Lieberman said the options were “a broad government, which is what we want. A narrow government, that will be a government of paralysis, but we don’t rule out sitting in it.

“And the third option is going to elections, which will achieve nothing.”

More..

Share power, Peres tells main parties

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 19, 2009

President Shimon Peres is to spend the coming days trying to convince the leaders of Kadima and Likud to find a way of power-sharing in a national unity government.

Senior members of Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu are already conducting quiet talks on a possible coalition of the three largest parties in the Knesset.

However, Likud is still trying to form a right-wing government as a first step before offering cabinet places to Kadima.

More..

No truce with Hamas until Shalit is freed

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 19, 2009

Israel will refuse to agree a new truce with Hamas unless the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit is part of the deal.

The decision, approved unanimously by a cabinet vote on Wednesday, came as both Israel and Hamas appeared to toughen their negotiating positions.

The indirect talks over a ceasefire, mediated by the Egyptian government, reached an apparent impasse this week despite an earlier agreement by the Hamas leadership in Gaza to link a prisoner exchange deal to a two-year truce.

More..

Amnesty charges Hamas with torture and murder

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

Hamas gunmen used last month’s conflict in Gaza to murder, kneecap and torture Palestinian political opponents suspected of collaborating with Israel, Amnesty International has reported.

The human rights organisation said they had learnt of at least two dozen cases during Operation Cast Lead in which men were abducted from their homes and later dumped with horrific injuries or found dead in hospitals.

More..