Tag Archives: Netanyahu

Netanyahu Says His Reelection May Fail Because “Arab Voters Are Coming out in Droves”

Israel’s parliamentary elections are underway, and incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is engaged in a tough battle to retain his position. According to Yahoo News by way of Agence France-Presse, last Friday’s polling gave the Zionist Union coalition, represented by Isaac Herzog, a slight lead over Netanyahu’s Likud party. The above-embedded video by Inform captures the election day drama.

This year’s election appears to have attracted an unusually high voter turnout. “I’ve never seen such a long queue outside a polling station,” said 73-year-old Israeli voter Gideon Leber.

Politico notes that Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to rally his voters to the polls today by sounding the alarm and saying that he feels his party may be on pace to lose the race if his supporters do not hustle to the voting booth. Said Netanyahu in Hebrew in a Facebook video translated by Haaretz, “The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out… Get out to vote, bring your friends and family, vote Likud in order to close the gap between us and Labor.”

An Arab Israeli voter named Ehab Hamam described the election day scene, “This is the first time that I’ve seen so many people here to vote… For the Arabs, voting in this election is saying to the right: We are here.” Of the 5.8 million eligible Israeli voters, 800,000 identify as Arabs.

According to NBC News‘ comprehensive breakdown of the Israeli parliamentary elections and the coalition process (rather than a direct election) through which the nation chooses its prime minister, 1,280 candidates representing 26 political parties are fighting for seats in Israel’s 120-member parliament. Polls are set to close today at 4:00 PM Eastern, and election results are expected to come in by Wednesday morning.

Rift Widens as Netanyahu Arrives in US for Speech

Planned Speech a Top Political Issue in Both US and Israel

by Jason Ditz, March 01, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in the United States today, just days ahead of his planned speech to the US Congress aimed at convincing them to end nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Netanyahu’s visit, over the objection of the Obama Administration, has fueled political tensions in both the US and Israel, with bilateral relations a key political issue in a way not seen in decades.

Dozens of Congressional Democrats are planning to boycott the speech, and administration officials have said they won’t meet Netanyahu this close to the Israeli election, scheduled for March 17.

In Israel, the opposition is also blasting Netanyahu for risking US ties over Iran diplomacy, and the Israeli election commission is only allowing the speech to be broadcast in Israel on a tape delay, to allow TV stations to filter out any political content the premier may make.

In the past, Israeli leaders going to DC were trying to hype their tremendous level of influence and the strong ties they enjoy with all top officials. Netanyahu, by contrast, will be underscoring the level of influence he’s already lost, while hawkish Republicans embrace him primarily as a way to thumb their nose at the administration.

News agency reports they have obtained ‘Spy Cables’

Al Jazeera, a news broadcasting agency owned by the government of Qatar, has reported they have obtained hundreds of confidential and hidden documents, which the agency are calling the “Spy Cables.”

The report from Al Jazeera announcing the cables says the documents offer “an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicised realm of global espionage.” Al Jazeera also says they will release the documents over the next couple of days alongside the newspaper the Guardian.

The leaked documents, according to the Business Insider, come from many government agencies around the world, including Russia’s FSB, South Africa’s SSA, Britain’s MI6, and others. Documents from any American intelligence agencies though seem to be absent from the Spy Cables.

Even though documents from American intelligence agencies are not included, some of the documents point to the CIA working in correspondence with South Africa’s SSA agency. The documents also allegedly say the CIA had attempted to contact the group HAMAS, even though the U.S. government has labeled the group a terrorist organization.

Other documents say MI6 had attempted to recruit a spy in North Korea with the help of the South African government. MI6 reportedly met with a North Korean man and offered him an “undisclosed amount of money” for the man’s cooperation in a “long term clandestine operation.”

Another document claims Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu had exaggerated Iran’s nuclear production levels in a 2012 declaration made in front of the UN. A secret Mossad document released in the leak, however, says Iran was not at the time “performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”

Al Jazeera writes they will only publish documents which they believe serve the public interest. They also write, “We believe it is important to achieve greater transparency in the field of intelligence…. Publishing these documents, including operational and tradecraft details, is a necessary contribution to a greater public scrutiny of their activities.”

More leaked documents will be released in the next few days on Al Jazeera and the Guardian.

As fighting continues in Gaza, airstrikes kill Hamas leader’s wife and child

After a week-long ceasefire was called as leaders from Hamas and Israel met in Cairo, Egypt, to hold peace-talks, air strikes have resumed and claimed the lives of over 19 Palestinians, including the wife and child of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif.

Hamas has said in a televised address the attack was an assassination attempt on the life of Deif.  Instead, the attack claimed the life of his wife, Wedad, and their 7-month-old son Ali, but Deif was not present with them at the time.

Both were laid to rest after a day of mourning on Tuesday where, according to the Guardian, hundreds of supporters showed up to offer their condolences to those killed and their families.

While Israeli security forces and politicians have not commented on the attack, they have said, according to the Wall Street Journal, Deif is indeed a target and has been for some time.  Deif has been severely handicapped from past assassination attempts from Israeli forces, and it seems Israel will continue to make attempts on his life.

Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich has said, “There is definitely room to strike the leaders of Hamas… and if Mohammed Deif is among them, we will continue to strike them, wherever they are.”

Ceasefires have been called and broken in Gaza as Israeli and Hamas forces have fought a six-week conflict which has claimed, according to the BBC, the lives of over 2,100 Palestinians and injured at least another 10,000, while 67 Israelis have been killed.

The latest ceasefire was broken after three rockets were reportedly fired from Gaza and into Israel with no resulting injuries.  After these rockets were fired, the Israeli missile defense system known as Iron Dome, was reactivated and fighting commenced.  No Palestinian militant group has claimed responsibility for the three rockets fired as of now.

Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has said the rockets which were fired broke the ceasefire agreement needed to hold the talks in Cairo, but now these talks must be cancelled.  “When Hamas breaks the ceasefire they also break the premise for the Cairo talk,” Netanyahu said Tuesday.  “Accordingly the Israeli team has been called back as a result of today’s rocket fire.”

Greenwald: Israeli Aggression Would Be Impossible Without the Support and Protection of the U.S. Government

In a recent article, Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who brought attention to a series of documents from the National Security Agency one year ago, referenced newly released NSA documents in regards to the relationship between the United States and Israel.

“Top secret documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shed substantial new light on how the U.S. and its partners directly enable Israel’s military assaults – such as the one on Gaza,” wrote Greenwald.

While the fact that the U.S. supplies Israel with billions of dollars in aid is common knowledge, Greenwald maintained that the leaked NSA documents showed that the U.S. has also helped Israel by using NSA surveillance technology to collect data used to “monitor and target Palestinians.”

The new documents underscore the indispensable, direct involvement of the U.S. government and its key allies in Israeli aggression against its neighbors,” Greenwald wrote. “That covert support is squarely at odds with the posture of helpless detachment typically adopted by Obama officials and their supporters.”

Greenwald added that although Obama recently said it was “heartbreaking” to see what was happening in Gaza, Brooklyn College Professor Corey Robin said, ”Obama talks about Gaza as if it were a natural disaster, an uncontrollable biological event.

“The same process repeats itself in both U.S. media and government circles,” wrote Greenwald, who tied together three times Israeli has attacked Gaza, in 2008, 2012, and now in 2014. He wrote that first, the U.S. government “feeds Israel the weapons it uses and steadfastly defends its aggression both publicly and at the U.N.,” next the U.S. Congress “unanimously enacts one resolution after the next to support and enable Israel,” and lastly, American media figures “pretend that the Israeli attack has nothing to do with their country.”

Greenwald concluded that, in response to this, “all decent Americans helplessly throw up their hands as though they bear no responsibility.”

While last September, The Guardian exposed the fact that the NSA “routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens,” The Intercept recently published a new NSA document from April, 2013, which shows that the NSA “maintains a far-reaching technical and analytic relationship with the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU) sharing information on access, intercept, targeting, language, analysis and reporting.

According to the newly disclosed NSA document, “This SIGINT relationship has increasingly been the catalyst for a broader intelligence relationship between the United States and Israel.” The document went on to say that, “a dedicated communications line between NSA and ISNU supports the exchange of raw material, as well as daily analytic and technical correspondence.”

Greenwald pointed out that while the relationship between the United States and Israel has grown incredibly close in the last decade, “the cooperation between the NSA and ISNU began decades ago,” with U.S. President Lyndon Johnson and Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol.

The document from the NSA also revealed that, “The Israeli side enjoys the benefits of expanded geographic access to world-class NSA cryptanalytic and SIGINT engineering expertise, and also gains controlled access to advanced U.S. technology and equipment via accommodation buys and foreign military sales.

The new Snowden documents illustrate a crucial fact,” wrote Greenwald. “Israeli aggression would be impossible without the constant, lavish support and protection of the U.S. government, which is anything but a neutral, peace-brokering party in these attacks. And the relationship between the NSA and its partners on the one hand, and the Israeli spying agency on the other, is at the center of that enabling.”