Friday, June 12, 2009

Today's Israel Headlines and the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

As we await Iran's election results and speculate on the contents of Netanyahu's upcoming speech, here are some weekend headlines, compiled by Daily Alert.

One theme emerging in the Israeli press and elsewhere is that a win for the Iranian "reformers" would likely not change Iran's policies re. nukes and the support of terror. I'm no expert on these things, but it seems to me that when such powerful popular forces are unleashed, it would be hard for any leader to disregard the message being received. And Mousavi has clearly stated his opposition to Holocaust denial and the international isolation Iran has endured. Most of his message has been economic, but he's also been playing to a deep resentment of the international perception of Iran's radicalism. Whether Mousavi is just a wolf in sheep's clothing remains to be seen - and tested - if he wins. But given the choice between one who has expressed less dangerous views and one openly calling for the destruction of Israel, give me the sheep's clothing any day. The mere fact that he realizes that he's got to put on that clothing is a positive sign that he - and Iran - can be reached.

And after all, the clothes make the man.

Israel to Outline Conditions for Palestinian State - Eli LakeIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will accept the notion of a Palestinian state under strict conditions, Israeli officials and Americans briefed on the Israeli leader's thinking said Thursday. Mr. Netanyahu will deliver a major speech Sunday setting Israeli parameters for recognizing Palestinian sovereignty. The officials said Mr. Netanyahu will emphasize Palestinian obligations under the Roadmap - a three-phase process for negotiations initiated by the George W. Bush administration, which so far has not been followed. The conditions he is expected to put forward include: Any Palestinian state must be demilitarized, without an air force, full-fledged army or heavy weapons. Palestinians may not sign treaties with powers hostile to Israel. A Palestinian state must allow Israeli civilian and military aircraft unfettered access to Palestinian airspace, allow Israel to retain control of the airwaves and to station Israeli troops on a future state's eastern and southern borders. (Washington Times)

Gazans Increasingly Frustrated with Hamas' Hard-Line Policies - Erin Cunningham Nearly six months after the fighting with Israel, Gazans are growing increasingly restless under Hamas rule. Many privately complain that Hamas' hard-line approach with both Israel and the rival Palestinian party, Fatah, has intensified their suffering. According to a poll conducted by the West Bank-based Bir Zeit University in May, just 23% of Palestinians in Gaza would vote for Hamas in a new parliamentary election, as opposed to to 37% for Fatah. "People who voted for Hamas did not know their real policies. And if they knew the consequences of these policies, they wouldn't have voted for them," says Abu Khaled, a Gaza City shop owner. (Christian Science Monitor)

Mousavi Win Wouldn't Stop Iran's Nuke Drive, Israel Warns - Yaakov KatzSenior Israeli defense officials stress that the outcome of the Iranian elections on Friday is unlikely to have any impact on Tehran's continued race toward nuclear power. If elected, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who helped lay the foundations of the country's atomic program when he was prime minister from 1981 to 1989, may succeed in "laundering" the program in a dialogue with the U.S., the officials fear. Some officials are concerned that Iran will be allowed to build and operate nuclear reactors like Japan - which has reactors but no weapons. This would put the Islamic republic a turn of the dial on the centrifuges and mere months away from an atomic bomb. (Jerusalem Post) See also All Iran Candidates Will Bolster Hamas, Hizbullah Ties - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)

Poll: 56% of Israelis Back Settlement ConstructionNearly six of every 10 Israelis think Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should resist U.S. demands to completely freeze construction in Jewish West Bank settlements, according to a new poll released Friday by the Maagar Mohot Polling Institute. 56% said Netanyahu should not consent to the American demand, as opposed to 37% who said he should. 50% said failure to comply would not provoke a crisis with the U.S., while 32% said they thought it would. Maagar Mohot also found in a separate poll that two-thirds of Israelis have little appetite for dismantling West Bank settlements. 36% oppose any evacuation as part of a final peace deal and 30% said only a small number should be dismantled. (AP/Ha'aretz) See also Poll: 69% of Israelis Oppose Dividing JerusalemAccording to a poll carried out on 10-11 June by the Maagar Mohot Polling Institute, 69% oppose, while 18% support, rescinding Israeli sovereignty over the Old City and other parts of Jerusalem. (IMRA)

What Would Come After a Settlement Freeze? - Mitchell BardShould Jewish communities be uprooted from the West Bank? If so, this endorses the Palestinian idea that Jews should not be allowed to live in the state of Palestine. Does President Obama want to endorse the idea that Jews can live anywhere in the world except in the country America helped create? Must Israel dismantle cities such as Ma'ale Adumim with a population comparable to Annapolis, Md.? Most Israelis believe the settlement blocs should be incorporated into Israel. The Israelis have fought three wars in the last nine years during which more than 1,000 of their people were killed. They continue to face terrorist threats and rocket bombardments. Does the Obama administration expect them to accept the possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank with the capability of launching rockets into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, or targeting commercial jets at Ben-Gurion Airport? Finally, will pressuring Israel change the attitude of the Arabs to abandon six decades of hostility? Will the radical Islamists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah suddenly accept a Jewish state in the Muslim heartland? (JTA)

OPINION / Netanyahu turned Palestinian statehood into bargaining chip
Had PM agreed to settlement freeze from outset, he'd have forced Obama to demand more concessions.

Rightist MK: PM's policy speech won't cause 'earthquake'
Netanyahu consults with Habayit Hayehudi, Shas, prominent authors ahead of upcoming address.

Needed: An Affirmation of Israel's Historical Right to Exist - Judea Pearl (Wall Street Journal)

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