Tzipi Livni, head of the Kadima party, informed President Peres late this afternoon that she could not form a coalition. Theoretically, Peres has the latitude to pick another faction head to see if someone else can put together a government. But this won’t happen…we’re going to elections. The talk now is that they would be held in about three months.
This is not the absolute answer to all of our problems, but in my opinion it’s a very necessary step in the right direction. It’s a sort of cleaning house that would not have taken place if Kadima had continued in power — especially as there seems to have been some “funny business” with regard to how Livni won the recent Kadima primary.
As I indicated recently, unless there’s some great change in the situation, Likud, headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, is likely to garner the most mandates (seats) next time, with Netanyahu putting together a coalition. We’re going to have to watch this play out.
The down side of what’s going to happen now is that Olmert (who’s been extraordinarily quiet of late) gets to stay as head of the caretaker government until those elections take place. It must be hoped that he does a minimum of damage in that time.
Shin Bet and the IDF have released the information that they foiled a plan by Hamas to kidnap soldiers last month. When Jamal Abu Duabeh of Rafah infiltrated into Israel from the Sinai recently he was caught. Under interrogation he admitted he had been sent as part of a plan to anaesthetize Israeli soldiers and bring them to Gaza. He had been trained and financed by Hamas.
The Israeli navy has announced deployment of a new sophisticated missile defense system that protects ships from missiles all 360 degrees around the ship.
Daniel R. Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana, and Charles S. Robb, a former Democratic senator from Virginia, are co-chairmen of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s national security task force on Iran. They recently wrote a piece on the need for a strong policy on Iran that is the most encouraging thing I’ve heard in a long time. Seems not everyone is asleep at the wheel.
They call for much stricter sanctions as the only way that a diplomatic solution might be possible. This requires building alliances for genuine international cooperation.
“The U.S. military,” they say, “is capable of launching a devastating strike on Iran’s nuclear and military infrastructure — probably with more decisive results than the Iranian leadership realizes.”
This should be the solution of last resort. However…”both to increase our leverage over Iran and to prepare for a military strike, if one were required, the next president will need to begin building up military assets in the region from day one.”
The encouraging news: “These principles are all supported unanimously by a politically diverse task force that was assembled by the Bipartisan Policy Center. The group, which includes former senior Democratic and Republican officials, retired four-star generals and admirals, and experts in nuclear proliferation and energy markets, offers a clear path for constructing an enduring, bipartisan consensus behind an effective U.S. policy on Iran.”
Now if the people in power would just pay attention.
In less than three weeks, there will be mayoral elections in Jerusalem. Palestinian Authority’s chief Islamic judge, Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, has issued a fatwa (a religious injunction) forbidding Arabs in Jerusalem from voting in this election.
Late in June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued his latest report on the implementation of Resolution 1701. It discussed Israeli claims that Hezbollah was rebuilding in the south of Lebanon, but said that while UNIFIL had investigated, they found “no evidence of new military infrastructure in the area of operations.”
Jonathan Spyer, a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center, has a pretty good idea as to how this could be so:
“UNIFIL does not conduct patrols, establish checkpoints or maintain a presence of any kind within the towns and villages south of the Litani [River]. Indeed, the UN forces have little unmediated security-related contact of any kind with the population of the area.
“Thus, while UNIFIL, according to its own figures, carries out around 400 foot, vehicle and air patrols in each 24-hour period, these take place exclusively along recognized patrol paths and in rural areas.
“UN forces maintain no independent checkpoints and are involved in a minimum of joint checkpoints with the LAF [Lebanese army] …
“…given the physical absence of UN forces from any of the areas where evidence of Hezbollah infrastructure-building has emerged [in built-up areas], it is not surprising that UNIFIL reports ‘no evidence’ that such activity is taking place.
“In general, the two sides appear to do their best to stay out of each other’s way.”
Charming state of affairs, is it not?
This alone is enough reason to not want Livni to head the government: the “diplomatic solution” to end the War in Lebanon, which she pushed as a great victory, is what led to these arrangements.
The fact that the stockpiling of arms is being done in populated, built-up areas should be noted. This will make going after them much harder, and if we accidentally hit civilians in the process, Hezbollah will garner a PR victory, something it knows very well.
Meanwhile, Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin reported today at a Cabinet meeting that Syria’s relationship with Hezbollah is strengthening:
“Hezbollah operatives are working from within Syria. The Syrians are loosening all restraints, and [are irresponsibly giving] Hezbollah access to almost all of their strategic capabilities.
“Currently, Assad is continuing to open up its warehouses to Hezbollah.”
Said Yadlin, Syria was “turning into the arms granary” for Hezbollah.
What was it Olmert said about negotiations with the Syrians turning them from terrorism?
I would like to end with an unusual article about Obama that appeared in this past Friday’s Jerusalem Post, done by an Israeli journalist who came to Chicago to interview Jews who know/knew Obama.
This article must be read in its entirety, and it’s long. It starts fairly positively. But as you read you see that the Jews who like Obama are extremely left wing. In fact, one rabbi who had a relationship with him expresses disappointment that Obama has not been true to his far left positions but has moved more centrist — but, said the rabbi, he understands that Obama has to do this to win. This echoes precisely what I have felt regarding Obama’s tendency to say one thing and mean another.
There is one quote from a resident of Obama’s neighborhood that says it all: “Now it’s like he wants to hug and kiss Israel every five minutes. That’s completely not the Barack I had as a neighbor. That started this year when he was trying to get elected.”