On the final day of his reelection campaign, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that as long as his party stays in power, there will not be an independent Palestinian nation.
“I think anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state, and to evacuate territory, is giving radical Islam a staging ground against the State of Israel,” in a video interview in a last minute bid to win over right-wing voters.
So… is he going to make Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza full citizens of Israel with all the civil rights that come with?
Nope. Instead, he pledged to build more settlements in the West Bank.
“We will continue to build in Jerusalem, we will add thousands of housing units, and in the face of all the [international] pressure, we will persist and continue to develop our eternal capital,” Netanyahu declared.
Millions of Israelisin what is expected to be a pretty close electoral race. The latest opinion polls showed Netanyahu and his Likud party are facing a surprisingly strong challenge by the centre-left Zionist Union electoral alliance, lead by Yitzhak Herzog and former peace negotiator Tzipi Livni.
The only thing standing in Netanyahu’s way (besides many voters’ aversion of his extreme right-wing views) is… ARABS! Netanyahu warned on election day that a large turnout by Arab voters could endanger the country体彩手机在线怎么下载’s political right.
“Right-wing rule is in danger. Arab voters are going to the polls in droves. Left-wing organizations are bringing them in buses,” Netanyahu said in a video message on his Facebook page.
Israeli citizens voting in an Israeli election? Damn those Arabs and their voting rights! What’s next? Demanding equal rights for all human beings in Israeli society!?
Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners convicted of killing Israelis – but also announced plans to build 1,500 new housing settlements on land in East Jerusalem that had been marked by Palestine for a future state. So… they’re even?
An Israeli prison spokesperson announced on Tuesday that Israel has released 26 Palestinian prisoners, as part of a deal that spurred the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The release was the second part of an expected four rounds. A total of 104 prisoners (or terrorists, as the Israeli public calls them) are expected to be released as part of the deal.
The reaction in Palestine: Joy! Celebrations erupted in the Palestinian territories as the prisoners (or heroes who fought for independence, as the Palestinian public calls them) were freed.
The reaction in Israel: Anger! The decision to release the prisoners triggered a lot of rage in Israel, where many view the prisoners as terrorists who have committed horrible crimes against Israelis.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in a bit of a pickle. On the one hand, he had to release the prisoners as part of that stupid US-brokered peace deal John Kerry badgered him into. But on the other hand, everyone was pretty pissed at him for freeing the convicted killers – especially his right-wing coalition members.
So in a bid to appease the haters, Netanyahu announced on Wednesday plans to build hundreds of new settlement 体彩手机在线怎么下载s on land that the Palestinians want for a future state.
Naturally, the Palestinian Authority reacted angrily to Wednesday’s announcement, calling the move “destructive to peace efforts”.
To sum up: there are problems in the region that not even John Kerry can fix.
Forget the crippling poverty, the widespread media censorship and the rampant human rights abuses – North Korea needs a luxury ski resort!
The question is, who in North Korea can afford to go to a luxury ski resort? Kim Jong-un and… well just Kim Jong-un I guess. Maybe he built it so he won’t be tempted to go to Japanese Disneyland and pull a Kim Jong-nam (Kim Jong-un’s infamous half brother who ruined his chances as North Korea’s leader by sneaking into the amusement park). Or perhaps the multimillion-dollar ski resort was built to stick it to South Korea who is hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics. Regardless of the reason, the project suffered a few set-backs (aside from the fact that only 0.02 percent of the population know how to ski) – Switzerland, Austria and France have all refused to sell ski lifts to North Korea because of ongoing sanctions on the sale of luxury goods to the communist state. North Korea called the refusal to sell ski lifts a “serious human rights abuse.” Huh.
The new Iranian leader, Hassan Rouhani is trying to butter up the Jews by recognizing the holocaust – but Israel isn’t buying it.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took another moderate step away from his predessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by calling the Holocaust a “reprehensible” crime committed by the Nazis against the Jewish people. Ahmadinejad
famously infamously denied the Holocaust, calling it a “myth”.
Rouhani’s comments come after he was criticized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to adequately denounce Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust comments. Netanyahu ordered the Israeli delegation to boycott Rouhani’s speech to the UN on Tuesday – partly because of Iran’s denial of the Holocaust and partly because they just hate each other.
So Rouhani sucked it up, figuring he’s already made a few moderate moves – so why not another? But the clever cleric that he is, he spoke in pretty vague terms, and evaded the interviewers question on whether he accepted the Holocaust and the scale of its atrocities.
“I have said before that I’m not a historian and when it comes to speaking about the dimensions of the holocaust, it’s the historians who should reflect on it,” he said, speaking through a translator. “But in general I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis created towards the Jews, is reprehensible and condemnable.
“Whatever criminality the Nazis committed against the Jews, we condemn. The taking of human life is contemptible. It makes no difference whether that life is Christian, Jewish or Muslim. For us it is the same.”
But it just wouldn’t be a speech from an Iranian leader if it didn’t take a small swipe at the Jews and throw in a little support for Palestine.
“This does not mean that on the other hand you can say ‘Nazis committed crimes against a group, now therefore they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it,'” he said. “This too is an act that should be condemned. There should be an evenhanded discussion.”
Meh. I’ll take what I can get, but Israel wasn’t too pleased. Netanyahu denounced Rouhani’s address as “a cynical speech that was full of hypocrisy.” The Israeli PM didn’t think Rouhani did a great job condemning the Holocaust and isn’t buying his nuclear weapons promise either. Netanyahu said Iran’s strategy was “to talk and play for time in order to advance its ability to achieve nuclear weapons.”
“We will not be fooled by half-measures that merely provide a smoke screen for Iran’s continual pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Netanyahu told reporters in Tel Aviv hours before Rouhani spoke at the U.N. General Assembly. “And the world should not be fooled, either.”
Well, we’ll see about that. Obama and Rouhani are pen pals now after all.
President Barack Obama landed in Israel today to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The trip is part of a 4 day Middle Eastern adventure to tackle issues such as Iran’s nuclear progress, the Israel-Palestinian peace process and the Syrian civil war. Yes, 4 days is all that’s needed!
This is Obama’s first trip to Israel as President. It only took him 4 years and a second term to make it to the Jewish state, where he plans to assess the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process and prove his undying loyalty to Israel. At the arrival ceremony, Obama told the Israeli people:
“The United States is proud to stand with you as your strongest ally and your greatest friend.”
Relations between Obama and Netanyahu haven’t been the greatest. The Israeli prime minister was more of a Mitt Romney fan, supporting him in last year’s presidential election. But now that they’re stuck with each other for another four years, the two are making an effort to be friendly. Why?
Netanyahu will want US support if Hezbollah gets its hands on Syria’s chemical weapons (if they exist) or if Iran’s nuclear program starts causing problems. Also, that $1 billion Iron Dome funding is a pretty good reason to be friends.
Obama needs friendly relations with Netanyahu for political reasons. The American public is so pro-Israel that Obama must be pro-Israel as well. You (if you are …) make one sort of semi-not really-anti-Jewish comment and you get the Republicans all up in your face. So Obama has to put aside his opinions on Palestinian suffering and freezing Jewish settlements in the West Bank and give his full support to Netanyahu.
Hopefully the Obama’s first trip will not disappoint. I know some Israelis were very/weirdly excited about the visit. The Israeli Embassy to the U.S. put out this bobble head/Golden Girls-themed video promoting Obama’s trip.