Archive | November 7th, 2013

Appeasement dooms Palestinians to misery


UN’s precious gift empowering legal action is squandered while Israel, with US/UK/EU acquiescence, continues to seize land and resources with impunity

By Stuart Littlewood

Later this month Palestinians will be celebrating an important anniversary, namely the decision by the UN General Assembly a year ago to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state.

But not with much joy, I suspect.

Its upgraded status now enables Palestine to take part in UN debates and join bodies like the International Criminal Court (ICC). Predictably, Israel flew into a rage at the prospect and said the move pushed the peace process “backwards”, while the US said it was “unfortunate”.

So what has the Palestinian leadership done with this precious gift of empowerment from the international community?


Litany of crime

In March this year the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, concluding four years of investigations, called for the ICC to investigate “crimes” committed by Israel in the occupied territories. The tribunal said it would “support all initiatives from civil society and international organizations aimed at bringing Israel in front of the International Criminal Court”. Since Palestine was awarded observer status at the UN the previous November, it could file complaints on its own behalf against Israel with the court. The tribunal also called on the ICC to recognize Palestinian jurisdiction and for an extraordinary session of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, set up for South Africa, to examine the Israeli case.

Also in March the United Nations Human Rights Council said Israeli settlements in the West Bank were a “creeping form of annexation” and the international community should take steps to halt business ties with those communities. Their report claimed that Israel could be culpable for these acts before the ICC. The mission asked Israel to withdraw its settlers from the West Bank and East Jerusalem and urged the international community to comply with their obligation under international law to act.

In April senior Palestinian officials were saying that if Israel began construction in the area designated “E-1″, a piece of land in the West Bank adjacent to Jerusalem seized by Israel in 1967, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would request the ICC to seek indictments on war crimes charges. It is believed that Israel’s administration had just given provisional permission to build some 3,300 Jewish homes in E-1.

…why is Abbas waiting for the bulldozers to go into E-1 [occupied Palestinian land adjacent to East Jerusalem] when there’s a long list of other examples of criminal settlement building and atrocities that Israel ought to be charged with?

Palestinians say that Israeli construction there would make an independent Palestinian state virtually impossible because it would cut off East Jerusalem (which is Palestinian) from the rest of the West Bank.

But why is Abbas waiting for the bulldozers to go into E-1 when there’s a long list of other examples of criminal settlement building and atrocities that Israel ought to be charged with?

In June Saeb Erekat, Palestine’s chief negotiator, was criticizing the policies being pushed by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, “including aggressive settlement activity, home demolitions, evictions and ID revocations. This is part of Israel’s plan to destroy any possibility for a Palestinian state, by annexing and changing the status quo of Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and other vast areas of the occupied state of Palestine”.

The Israeli government, with its destructive policies, was determined to make US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts fail, he said. Israel’s actions made it clear they were declaring the end of the two-state solution. The international community should be pushing Israel to implement previous agreements and adhere to international law instead of calling for a resumption of negotiations. “There is a new urgency to face reality and finally hold Israel accountable for destroying the prospects of justice and peace.”

Israel was turning up its aggression against the Palestinian people while we were trying to reach a negotiated solution, grumbled Erekat. “After the announcement to intensify negotiations made by Kerry, Israel destroyed the village of Khirbet Makhoul for the fourth time and approved further settlement expansion aimed at sealing occupied East Jerusalem from Ramallah.”

Palestinian leadership shows no sign of starting the justice ball rolling

“Our position is clear and in line with international law: all Israeli settlements in Palestine are illegal… and undermine the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution. If Israel is serious about peace, they must cease all settlement activities.” Erekat again demanded action by the rest of the world “to make Israel pay the price for its institutionalized defiance of international law and UN resolutions”.

But there was still no sign of his own people – the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) – taking action on their own account, or at least starting the ball rolling, even though the international community had given them the wherewithal to do so.

Now I hear that Israel is drilling into 3.5 billion barrels of oil reserves straddling the armistice “green line”, most of it lying under the West Bank. According to official agreements, says Al-Jazeera, “Israel is obligated to coordinate any exploration for natural resources in shared territory with the Palestinian Authority, and reach agreements on how to divide the benefits”.

Ashraf Khatib, an official at the PA’s negotiations support unit, described the oil field as part of Israel’s “general theft of Palestinian national resources… the occupation is not just about settlements and land confiscation. Israel is also massively profiting from exploiting our resources. There’s lots of money in it for Israel, which is why the occupation has become so prolonged.”

And, of course, the world knows how the Palestinians are prevented from benefiting from their offshore gas field and how, if Israel has its way, they’ll never get a sniff of their own gas either.

“Life in Palestine is subject to the rule of the jungle”

Since the beginning of the Oslo process over 20 years ago, the rights of the Palestinian people have been sacrificed on the altar of so-called political progress, the glittering prize being “peace and security”. But that was never really on the cards. All we’ve seen is a continuous slide downhill for the Palestinians while the Israelis’ colonization and expansion programme goes from strength to strength. “In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the expansion of settlements continues relentlessly, while the illegal annexation wall creates a situation that is completely at odds with both international law and the stated goals of the peace process,” says Shawan Jabarin in an excellent article, “Time for the ICC to act on Palestine. He says:

Life in Palestine is subject to the rule of the jungle: generals and politicians know that they can violate the law with impunity, fuelling a continuous cycle of violations and suffering. The result has been an increase in war crimes committed against innocent civilians. Throughout Palestine we are struggling for the right to live, and the right to live in dignity.

Talking of the right to live in dignity, only today I was reading how some of the Palestinian villages are used by Israel for military training exercises in which soldiers enjoy virtual impunity with regard to their cruel behaviour in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, the pretext being that the Israeli military is the sovereign authority over the whole territory. “This edict contradicts international law and numerous United Nations resolutions that question the Israeli claim to sovereignty over all Palestinian land,” reports the International Middle East Media Centre.

The Israeli military frequently invades Palestinian towns and villages, with soldiers running through streets and alleys with loaded automatic weapons, ransacking homes and terrorizing residents, for the purposes of “training”. Residents and the human rights groups representing them have provided numerous examples of the soldiers tearing through homes and yards, breaking into houses, running up and down stairs and taking over rooftops of family homes as part of these exercises.

It’s bad enough that villages experience actual Israeli military invasions on a regular basis. Now, since the military makes no attempt to differentiate between an invasion and a “training exercise”, the villagers are just as terrorized as they are during real raids.

Wasting that all-important empowerment on a dumb promise

International justice remains out of reach for millions of civilians because the corrupt US, UK and EU political establishments conspire to “persuade” Palestine not to join the ICC or press war crimes charges and other complaints against racist Israel. The Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC, meanwhile, is waiting for Palestine to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court and become a full member if it wishes to commence proceedings.

To pretend there is something wrong with pursuing a brutal oppressor for war crimes through the proper channels – that is, the ICC – while talking peace, is absurd. No peace is sustainable unless it’s underpinned by international law and justice.

So a week ago I sent a press enquiry to the Palestinian embassy in London, addressed to Ambassador Manuel Hassassian. It said:

What is the PA/PLO doing, please, to regularise its position regarding the ICC statute and satisfy any remaining requirements for exercising its membership rights and bringing charges against Israel for its crimes?

What still remains to be done and why the continuing delay after the international community cleared the way and upgraded Palestine’s status?

No reply, no acknowledgement, despite follow-up phone messages. Silence speaks volumes and is par for the course when dealing with Palestinian officials.

However, I’ve heard it said that Abbas promised Kerry not to seek justice through the ICC during the nine months or more the going-nowhere peace talks will be… well, going nowhere. That takes us by my reckoning to May next year, or beyond. And he gave the undertaking without wringing from the Israelis a corresponding promise to halt settlement planning, construction and enlargement.

Welcome to the Palestinian School of Appeasement.

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KSA responsible for innocent Muslims deaths


Interview with Mark Glenn
Press TV has conducted an interview with Mark Glenn, author and journalist, about the Syrian information minister saying Saudi Arabia is responsible for death and destruction throughout the Muslim world today, including in Syria.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Mr. Glenn, Saudi Arabia seems to be increasingly concerned about the regional developments. What do you expect the Saudis to do at this point in time?

Glenn: What else can they do expect to find some corner of the room and try to shield themselves from what is a Tsunami of criticism.

The Saudis have been the ones primarily responsible for the deaths of several hundred thousand innocent people in Syria and let’s just keep in mind that this is not the only time that Saudis have cooperated with Israel and with America in destroying Islamic countries as your newscast indicated earlier, you listed as well Iraq and this goes all the way back to the very first [Persian] Gulf war which was almost twenty years ago.

So Saudi Arabia really is in a position where she really cannot do anything except to squirm in a very uncomfortable situation that she has made for herself. And the question that we have to ask is besides the known instances of Saudi Arabia collaborating with United States and Israel to see innocent Muslims killed around the world such as in Syria and Iraq, what other instances have taken place that we do not know about.

Press TV: And it is interesting, we are seeing Saudi Arabia thinking twice about its relations with the West in light of the fact that the West is trying to mend its ties with Iran, with regards to Iran’s nuclear issue?

Glenn: Well Saudi Arabia is not going to think very far in this regard. Saudi Arabia is completely on the hook as far as her dependency for American money and military support goes.

What is she going to do, is she going to try to make alliances with Russia knowing the close relationship that Russia enjoys with Iran? That is not going to happen. She will make a few noises like any stuck pig would when they are cornered but in the end there is very little she can do except to cry and to complain about her situation but in the end she will be a dutiful slave.

Press TV: And of course in light of the fact that we saw the Arab Spring in the past two years, how much do you think Saudi Arabia will be literally affected by this Spring?

Glenn: Well if the ruling family in Saudi Arabia decides to go there on course and to challenge the United States in terms of their foreign policy, in terms of American money and all the rest of that, then you will see Saudi Arabian Spring taking place as we saw take place in Egypt and in Algeria and in other places but as long as the ruling family continues to maintain their posture as a dutiful slave, then you will not see any uprisings in Saudi Arabia as you have seen as I said in Egypt and Algeria and Tunisia and also in Bahrain.

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Ken O’Keefe’s Middle East Show


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Dirty NaziTzipi Livni claims she had sex with twoZionist Rat’s Erekat and Abed Rabbo and threatens them with video proof

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Tzipi Livni claims she had sex with two Palestinian figures, Erekat and Abed Rabbo and threatens them with video proof
Saeb Erekat , Tzipi Livni , Yasser Abed Rabbo Source:
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni shake hands before their meeting in Jerusalem

The chief Israeli negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, said this week that she has had sex with the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority in the peace negotiations with Israel, Saeb Erekat and the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation(PLO) Yasser Abed Rabbo.

Livni’s sexual misdemeanours have been the fodder of the political Arab rumour mill for years, but until now, what the foxy Israeli politician got up to behind closed doors was all guess work.

Lebanese newspaper Al Diyyar broke the story earlier this week that the Knesset Beauty had publicy stated that she and the chief Rabbi of Israel had decided that “It was ok for her to sleep and have sex with strangers, as long as it benefits Israel”.

According to Al Diyyar, Livni said :“The room where I had sex with Palestinian figures as Saeb Erekat and Yasser Abed Rabbo was equipped with cameras.”

She also confirmed that the videos show Palestinian officials, nude, having sex with her.

Livni is now threatening a number of Arab figures to post these shot videos on YouTube if they do not execute what she orders them.

The Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth republished an interview with Livini by Time Magazine in which she admitted that during her years working for the intelligence agency Mossad, she performed “special operations” — including having sex with prominent political figures and then blackmailing them. We’re sure it was “special” for both of you, Livni!

Yedioth Ahronoth quoted the Rabbi Ari Shefat as saying: ” The Jewish religion allows Israeli women to have sex with enemies to get important information that leads to their arrest”.

According to the Arab press, Livni has previously admitted that she doesn’t mind killing or having sex with someone in exchange for information that could benefit Israel.


Of course, the Palestinian people are very shocked from these allegations. Many are calling for the Palestinian leadership to respond to these allegations, which if proven, will certainly destroy the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority is negotiating since 1993, for the Palestinian people to have an independent state on the territories occupied in 1967.

I think if Livini’s allegations are true, she should publish the video to prove her claims.

The Israel minister has previously admitted that she had sex with Arab leaders. She also admitted that she assassinated an Iraqi scientist in Paris, in addition to the assistant of one of the Palestinian revolution leaders, Khalil al-Wazir, in Athens. None of these allegations had been confirmed or proven either by videos or photos as she claimed.

However, her statements, this time, carry several meanings, one of them is to impose pressure on the Palestinian people to give up on their conditions for negotiations, most important among these conditions is East Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine.

For sure, Livni’s declarations are the beginning of the storm. Certainly, more details on this regard, will be released in the coming days.

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Australian Jew living in U.S. arrested for child sex abuse





An Australian-born man who resides in the United States was charged with two counts of indecent assault against two children at a Sydney Chabad center in the 1980s.

Daniel (Gug) Hayman, who now lives in Los Angeles, was back in Sydney for the funeral of his mother last week. The 49-year-old was arrested Monday for allegedly assaulting two boys, then aged 14 and 16, between 1985 and 1986. He is alleged to have preyed upon them while he was a volunteer for a Chabad-run camp.

Hayman, the first alleged child sex offender to be arrested from the Sydney Jewish community, appeared in court Monday but the case was adjourned until November 20. He was refused bail, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Although Hayman was involved in the Yeshiva Center, the headquarters of Chabad in Sydney, he was never an employee, according to a Chabad spokesman.

“Mr. Hayman attended Yeshiva Synagogue to pray or for classes but was never an employee or teacher at the Yeshiva Center,” Rabbi Eli Feldman said in a statement. “Any volunteer work that he offered Yeshiva did not include responsibility for children.”

Media reports have suggested that Hayman’s alleged assaults had been brought to the attention of Pinchus Feldman, the chief rabbi of Chabad in Sydney. But he reiterated this week that he had no recollection of such warnings.

“I endorse the unequivocal rabbinical rulings encouraging any victims of abuse to report to the police and I will continue to support the efforts of law enforcement agencies in investigating and taking action to protect our community,” Feldman said.

Tzedek, a support group for Jewish victims of child sex abuse, said in a statement Tuesday that it had tipped off police that Hayman was in the country.

“We look forward to seeing justice for the courageous victims in the Hayman case,” Tzedek CEO Manny Waks said.

Hayman’s arrest comes as David Cyprys, a former security guard contracted to the Chabad-run Yeshivah College in Melbourne, faces a sentencing hearing next week for multiple crimes perpetrated on students in the 1980s and ’90s; David Kramer, an American-born former teacher at the college, was jailed in July for crimes against four students in the 1990s.

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Putin, Naziyahu to meet in Moscow this month



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on November 20 during a brief visit to Russia, the Kremlin announced Tuesday.

In September, Russia raised a brief alarm in the Middle East after apparently detecting a joint Israel and US missile launch test in the Mediterranean.

Israel’s Defense Ministry confirmed that it carried out a successful trial involving a new type of Sparrow target missile, which was meant to test Israel’s missile tracking capabilities.

Russia had reported that two ballistic objects had been fired from the central Mediterranean to the eastern coast of the sea at 10:16 a.m. Moscow time, which is an hour ahead of Israel.

Netanyahu and Putin last met for emergency talks at the Black Sea resort of Sochi in mid-May to discuss the situation in Syria, amid concerns that Moscow could soon provide Damascus with a cutting-edge missile defense system.

At the time, Moscow’s overriding message to Netanyahu was one of restraint, urging political, rather than military, means of resolving the almost-three-year conflict. While Putin and Netanyahu acknowledged that the ongoing violence in Syria is detrimental to the entire region, the Russian president said that the only way to resolve the crisis was “the soonest end to armed conflict and the beginning of political settlement,” Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

Netanyahu, however, said that the volatile situation in the Middle East requires action to improve security.

Russia has continued to ship weapons to Syria, despite the civil war there, but it has, so far, refrained from providing Damascus with the S-300s, a powerful weapon that has a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles), can intercept fighter jets and cruise missiles, and the capability to track down and strike multiple targets simultaneously with lethal efficiency.

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Thousands mark 30 days to Nazi Ovadia Yosef’s passing in Jerusalem



‘The people of Israel miss him daily,’ former Shas chairman Eli Yishai says on one-month anniversary of esteemed rabbi’s death

Times of Israel

Thousands attended a memorial service in Jerusalem Tuesday to mark the one-month anniversary of the death of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, an outspoken leader of Sephardi Jewry who passed away in October at age 93.

The service was held at the intersection of Shmuel Hanavi and Yehezkiel streets, near the Sanhedria cemetery where the esteemed rabbi was laid to rest last month.

Former Shas party chairman Eli Yishai eulogized Yosef at the event, comparing him to biblical figures such as Moses and Aharon.

Liberally peppering his words with quotes from the Bible and the Talmud, Yishai compared Yosef’s death to that of Aharon, who was “mourned for 30 days” by the Israelites.

“Each day, each moment, the people of Israel miss him,” Yishai said of Yosef, adding that the rabbi had ascended to heaven “by a whirlwind,” like the prophet Elijah.

“I miss him on a personal level, every morning at prayer time, at consultation time,” Yishai admitted.

Yishai urged the ultra-Orthodox community to follow the great rabbi’s teachings.

“If we want to receive Yosef’s blessing… we ought to follow his path,” Yishai said, lamenting the void created by the loss of the rabbi’s leadership and guidance.

Over 800,000 people crowded Jerusalem’s streets and alleys outside the Sanhedria cemetery last month to pay their last respects to Yosef.

“We’ve been left orphans,” Aryeh Deri, the political leader of the Shas political party steered by Yosef, wailed at the funeral ceremony. “We have no father. We have no leader.”

Yosef died in a Jerusalem hospital last month, sparking outpourings of grief from across the rainbow of Israeli society, though his passing was most deeply felt in the large, and largely traditional, Sephardi community.

Yosef was remembered as a leader of the Shas party, a political kingmaker but also a genius of Torah who brought thousands closer to Jewish halacha through lenient rulings.

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Iran buries Guards commander ‘killed in Syria’

Mourners carry the coffin of Brig-Gen Mohammad Jamali-Paqaleh in Kerman (5 November 2013)
Mehr reported that Gen Jamali-Paqaleh was killed “in the recent days”

A funeral has been held in south-eastern Iran for a Revolutionary Guards commander who was reportedly killed by rebel forces in Syria.

Brig Gen Mohammad Jamali-Paqaleh was buried with full honours in Kerman.

He had volunteered to “defend the Syrian people against terrorists” and “protect the [Shia] holy shrine of Sayyida Zainab” outside Damascus, the semi-official Mehr news agency said.

Iran has denied sending combat troops to support President Bashar al-Assad.

On Monday, a Guards spokesman insisted that its personnel were only in the country to “provide advice and transfer its experience in the defence field”.

Mehr reported that Gen Jamali-Paqaleh was killed “in the recent days”, without giving a specific date or location.

He was a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War, and trained at the same Guards facility as Gen Qasem Soleymani, the head of its elite overseas operations arm, the Quds Force.

Footage sheds light on Iran’s involvement in Syrian conflict

At his funeral, the Guards’ deputy chief Gen Hoseyn Salami vowed that the era of military intervention in Islamic countries by “arrogant” world powers had “come to an end”.

“They will have to succumb to the rooted determination of the Iranian and other Muslim nations,” he was quoted as saying by the Isna news agency.

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The extremist rabbi who reigns unobstructed


lior - Archive / Tess Scheflan - February 11 2011

If Rabbi Dov Lior were Muslim, Israel would probably have assassinated him, but the religious leader who calls for murder has support even from moderates.


Sometimes, one advertisement is enough to make everything clear. On Sunday, the day before the 18th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, an advertisement appeared in this paper about Rabbi Dov Lior. It wasn’t an ad calling for him to be indicted. Rather, it was a statement of sweeping support for “the great Rabbi Lior, may he live long and happily,” calling him a “teacher of tens of thousands” and attacking the Knesset member who dared say something negative about Lior and thereby merited having someone spit in his face. It is signed by 105 important rabbis – rabbis who receive their salaries from the state.

For anyone whose memory has been blurred by the comprehensive campaign of oblivion, it’s important to recall just who this great rabbi, this “teacher of tens of thousands,” really is. This is the man whom Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun fingered as the source of the religious rulings that ultimately led to Rabin’s death, since the rulings deemed Rabin a rodef and a moser, meaning that his murder was permitted under Jewish law because it was considered self-defense. This is the man to whom the murderer turned again and again to hear his teachings.

Lior was also the rabbi of Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Muslim worshippers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron the year before the Rabin assassination. After the 1994 massacre, Lior praised him and said, “Baruch Goldstein is a holier martyr than all the holy martyrs of the Holocaust.”

Lior is also the person behind the incitement-filled book “The King’s Torah: Laws of Killing Non-Jews.” And Menachem Livni, the commander of the 1980s-era Jewish Underground who was convicted of murder, testified that Lior was the one who conceived the idea, pushed it and sent him and his fellows to murder innocent Arabs. In particular, he said “the great Lior” was the one who pressed them to blow up six buses, with the passengers aboard. It was while they were planting bombs in these buses that the underground members were caught.

This is the man behind whom 105 of Israel’s rabbis, including those from so-called “moderate” communities like those of Gush Etzion, have mobilized. Behind a man who praised mass murder. Behind a man whom the murderers of innocents fingered as the one who sent them. Behind a man whom important rabbis identified as the one behind the rulings that led to a prime minister’s assassination. Behind him. They got together to urge that nothing be allowed to detract from the rabbi’s glory, which fills the entire earth.

If Lior were a Muslim religious leader responsible for similar attacks on Jews, in a best-case scenario Israel would try and convict him, sentencing him to dozens of consecutive life terms on the basis of far weaker evidence. The more likely scenario is that he would be the target of a “pinpoint prevention,” as the army euphemistically terms assassinations.

But Lior is Jewish. And therefore, his partner in orchestrating demonstrations where they chanted “With blood and fire, we will expel Rabin” publicly called Lior “the elite unit leading the State of Israel.” That partner is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, seven months after this incitement, took over Rabin’s official residence.

In a state that was even semi-normal, anyone who was involved, even slightly, in the incitement leading to a prime minister’s murder would vanish from the public stage forever. Here, the exact opposite occurred. Crime and punishment were turned on their heads. Ever since, this has been a criminal state.

How brazen, therefore, was the tirade by that man who poses as finance minister against the young people who escape to Germany. Israel no longer exists. It has been conquered by the State of Lior. And when the poseur embraces his “brother,” Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, he is embracing a party in which one-third of the MKs were essentially appointed by Lior.

This is the moment, before the darkness swallows everything, to abandon petty political egoism and drop the self-deception that the government of Netanyahu, Bennett and Lior is the one that will evacuate more than 100,000 settlers; without an evacuation of that scope, there will be no peace agreement. This is the time to understand what ought to be self-evident – either this will be Rabin’s Israel, or it will be the State of Lior. There is no third alternative.

Even if it seems as if Israel has already been defeated by the State of Lior, there’s nothing more contemptible than losing without a fight. Anyone who doesn’t understand that the dream of generations has been put in the crosshairs by those who believe in the rightness of murdering Rabin will never learn anything. Lior doesn’t yet command a majority of the public. But defeating him will require a real unification of forces.

Just as 105 destroyers of Israel signed the ad in praise of Dov Lior, everyone who opposes their support of murderousness must also rise up. We must rise up and understand that it’s either the State of Lior or the State of Israel. Rise up and abandon the Netanyahu-Bennett government. Instead of rescuing it, topple it immediately.

Without Hatnuah chairwoman Tzipi Livni, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich, the government of Lior has no majority. This is the last possible moment.

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With Lieberman cleared, Netanyahu wins back his most stable partner


Avigdor Lieberman at the launch of Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu’s joint slate.


Accompanied by his two sons and his political aides, Avigdor Lieberman went to the Western Wall Wednesday morning to thank God who, in his great compassion, saved the former foreign minister from the dread of a conviction. Lieberman’s 17 years in moldy interrogation rooms and crowded courthouse corridors have ended in a denouement that can only be described as seventh-heaven-plus.

This is the first day of the rest of his political life, and for Lieberman it couldn’t be sweeter. Not only did he emerge the victor, he must have derived pleasure from the loud slap in the face the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court gave the state prosecution and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Still, emerging from the courthouse, Lieberman wisely didn’t gloat over the defeat of the pallid Justice Ministry officials from Saladin Street in Jerusalem. “I don’t wish to deal with this issue anymore,” he said in an almost half-whisper. “Many challenges face us.”

Unlike his friend, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who declared after his acquittal that “there were no cash envelopes” (even though there were), the leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party made no reference whatsoever to the indictment, nor did he complain that his blood had been shed or his back scarred.

Not only does Lieberman now return to the foreign minister’s office, from which he was forced to step down 10 months ago, he returns to his position as the coalition’s most responsible adult and skillful politician. Does anyone remember the saga of Lieberman’s embarrassing failure in backing Givatayim accountant Moshe Leon in the recent Jerusalem mayor’s race? Maybe only Leon.

So what does the future hold for Lieberman? Judging from what he said Monday at the meeting of the Likud Knesset caucus, he intends to become a mediator committed to crafting compromises and establishing ties among the coalition partners despite their contradictory agendas – and especially on issues of religion and state.

The bottom line: Lieberman’s return is wonderful news for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the previous Netanyahu government, Lieberman was the most stable partner in the coalition. There’s no reason why Lieberman can’t continue in this role over the next four years of Netanyahu’s current government. Despite the bad blood stemming from the Leon affair and other issues, their cooperation is expected to be robust once again.

It’s often said that Lieberman is a mystery and he can always be expected to do the unexpected. To this day it isn’t clear why, in the fall of 2006, following the Second Lebanon War, he joined the Olmert government, which was already on its last legs, or why he left that government a year later.

What’s clear to all political players is that Lieberman wants to be prime minister one day. To reach that lofty goal he’ll have to act accordingly – that is, in the responsible, cool-headed manner of a leader who sees the whole picture. And he’ll have to vie for the Likud leadership when Netanyahu steps down.

The second goal is much more difficult than the first. Over the next few weeks, the feasibility of the second goal will be clarified. Or it will emerge that opposition among Likud’s leaders to the Yisrael Beiteinu marriage is so solid that a merger of the two parties is simply not in the cards.

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