Sunday, March 15, 2009

Comments on the News From Israel

Benyamin Netanyahu has been holding secret talks with Tzipi Livni in an effort to broaden his coalition government beyond the ranks of the right wing parties. Agence France Presse reports as follows.

JERUSALEM (AFP) - - Israeli prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is holding new talks with centrist Tzipi Livni in a last-ditch effort to form a broad government instead of a narrow right-wing coalition, officials said on Sunday

Livni, the outgoing foreign minister and leader of the centrist Kadima party, had rejected joining a cabinet with Netanyahu late last month because of his hardline positions over the peace talks with Palestinians.

But the two held a secret meeting during the week that lasted into the early hours and were due to meet again on Sunday, officials in Netanyahu's Likud party said.

"Netanyahu and Livni met on Wednesday for new talks to examine whether Kadima would join a national unity government headed by Likud," one official said.

An old friend of mine who is a Soviet emigre from back in the 60's views Israeli politics with a cynical eye. He told me as follows.

"In Russia, we had one party. We voted and the Communist Party put in their candidate. In Israel, we have a multi party election and afterwards, we have a "national unity government". Two guys rotate in the Prime Minister's chair and have the same policies. How does this differ from Russia?"

Netanyahu seems to be conforming to my friend's predictions. Does he differ from Livni? Last time he was in office he sold out Hebron. What does he want to give away this time?


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Israeli negotiations for a prisoner swap with Hamas are at a sensitive stage. Agence France Presse reports as follows.

JERUSALEM (AFP) - - Egyptian-brokered negotiations on a prisoner swap with Hamas are at a crucial stage and any deal will be decided in days, senior Israeli officials said Sunday as two envoys held talks in Cairo.

A special cabinet session on Monday will hear the report of the two envoys and will then make its decision, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the start of the weekly government meeting.

"The government will receive the update and in accordance with the circumstances and the information, we will decide," he said.

Israeli media said the envoys were carrying an ultimatum from Olmert warning that if Hamas does not agree to a deal by Sunday night, the group will have to deal with the new Israeli government, which is likely to be less flexible.

But Hamas insisted it would not give in to "Zionist pressure" and said its demands for the release of hundreds of prisoners have not changed.

"We do not have anything new on this issue," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said. "We are sticking by our conditions and we don't care about the Zionist pressure."

What is passing without comment is the lopsided numeric ratio of prisoner swaps with Israel's enemies. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of Arabs are swapped for one Jew. Hamas has taken this to grotesque lengths, in which the Jews returned to Israel are not even alive. If the condition of the Jewish corpses were to become known, it is likely that Jewish rage would alter the political climate.

Israel's conditions should be simple. Live prisoners for live prisoners. Dead prisoners for dead prisoners. Additionally, we need to reconsider Israel's lack of a death penalty. Sami Kuntar, the baby killer who is a national hero in Lebanon was not in uniform when he committed his crimes. He should have been executed. We made exceptions to Israel's lack of a death penalty for Adolf Eichmann. There are new Nazis in our generation who worship Eichmann and Hitler as well. Let these modern day Jew killers join their role models in hell. And let the European grandchildren of Nazis and Nazi collaborators who protest join them as well. We will be cursed no matter what we do. If we can not earn peace through the love of our enemies, let our peace come through their fear of us.


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