Tag Archives: Barak

The Mofaz Plan: Fox Loose in Livni’s Kadima Hen House (Link Update)

Mofaz tables Disengagement+ in bid to top Livni

The internal battle for the Kadima leadership rolls on. Shaul Mofaz the party #2 seized an opportune moment (all Israeli political heavy weights abroad) to let loose a bombshell as part of his leadership bid, a new peace plan.. To recognize a Palestinian State!

[...] Under the plan, Israel would annex settlement blocs while withdrawing from 60 percent of the West Bank, comprising Areas A and B, where 99.2 of the Palestinians live, and additional land to create territorial contiguity. A Palestinian state would be set up in those areas of the West Bank and in Gaza, while no settlements would be evacuated at that stage.

Israel would then negotiate the fate of the rest of the West Bank and other core issues of the conflict with the leadership of the new Palestinian state, while passing legislation sanctioning compensation for settlers living in outlying settlements that would be evacuated.

“As a candidate to lead the country, I felt I had to present a plan” – Mofaz. [...]

Mofaz’s plan is very different than Livni’s Annapolis process, in which Israel would make no concessions to the Palestinians until a final-status deal would be reached on all issues. Bypassing Livni on the left, Mofaz said he would be willing to negotiate with Hamas under certain conditions to advance the plan.

“If Hamas would be elected and would want to negotiate and accept the quartet’s conditions, from that moment, it is no longer Hamas,” Mofaz said. “Responsible leadership in Israel would sit with those who changed their agenda.” [...]

Please everyone but Israel plan..

Shaul Mofaz goes gunning for Livni

Shaul Mofaz goes gunning for Livni

Not quite sure what if any benefit would arise from Mofaz’s plan. We already tried the disengagement plan in Gaza with poor results. This time out Mofaz seems convinced the entity leading this proposed Palestinian state may be Hamas from the get go, yet he’s undeterred. Isn’t the objective supposed to be gaining some peace? It seems highly unlikely any deal would result from this disengagement+ plan, we’d be in the same spot we are in now less the land and with 10x the security threat.

Equally, this doesn’t assist us in any way securing a regional peace deal with the Arab world. Sorta looks like a plan full of rewards for all the wrong people (including terrorists) with little payoff for Israel. Mofaz is clearly gambling he can rely on his solid right military credentials.. While leaping way left, poaching at Livni’s support base in the mix of Labor, Kadima, Meretz liberal soup that exists.

Time will tell how solid that keeps his right flank in Kadima & beyond. The center party is comprised of both right & left after all. Is this electable? Olmert certainly tried, but witness the backlash in Israel with the resurgent right as a result.

Not that it matters much – Hamas responds..

Former Palestinian Authority foreign minister Mahmoud Zahar of Hamas responded that it would never accept the Quartet’s conditions, which include recognizing Israel, disarming terrorists, and accepting diplomatic deals signed by the PA.

“Hamas will not negotiate with Israel,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. “We do not believe in engaging with the occupation, or in talks that would beautify its face in the eyes of the world.” [...]

Mofaz is gunning for Livni

Shaul is sure to get much more headway with his plan internally within Kadima. He upstages Livni who’s leadership qualities are being weekly challenged within the party, he even tosses in the fact Ehud Barak & President Peres support the initiative. All subtle jabs at Tzipi. Her personal relationship with Barak is frosty at best, and her own plan beyond opposing Netanayhu in everything remains obscured. The strategy of undermining her here is already paying off..

Kadima warms to Mofaz plan for Hamas talks, despite Livni opposition (Haaretz)

Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni on Tuesday slammed party rival Shaul Mofaz’ plan to open negotiations with Hamas in order to push forth the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying the concept ran contrary to their faction’s political platform.

While Livni would prefer to ignore the initiative of her number 2, however, she will not be able to avoid the issue for very long, as Kadima MKs are demanding a serious discussion. [...]

A number of Kadima MKs, some of whom supported Livni in her primary fight against Mofaz, support discussing his proposal. [...]

Not Ready for Prime Time

All in all it doesn’t look like Mofaz’s plan will gain much traction in the wider Israel arena, it’s too far left for the climate, not too mention dreamy in regards to Hamas. But I’m not sure it was designed for that purpose. With Bibi, Lieberman, Barak, Livni all clamoring at the top for the leadership of Israel stakes, it is a bit crowded up there right now.

Mofaz has other things to worry about, he’s got to knock Livni out of the Kadima leadership perch before he can play on their turf.  His plan looks like the latest in a series of ever more forceful branch shakes.

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Link Update: Mofaz taking heat & clarifying his Hamas statements (Jpost)

“I was the one who fought Hamas through the crosshairs of an Apache [assault helicopter], I stood behind the assassinations of [Sheikh Ahmed] Yassin and [Abdel Aziz] Rantisi and did everything I could to halt the suicide-bombers’ terror from Judea and Samaria during Operation Defensive Shield, and was in charge of the ongoing hits on top Hamas figures between 2003-2005 in Gaza. Nobody can doubt what I think about Hamas.”


Lion of Zion: War Fighter Ashkenazi Draws Iranian Line in German Sand

Shocka! There appears to be “Daylight” between America & Israel on Iran

IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi was in Germany this week speaking at a Holocaust remembrance memorial, he gave an inspired speech. There are a number of reasons to examine the text;

  1. Ashkenazi as head of the IDF is probably the 3rd most powerful man in Israel.
  2. Ashkenazi is intensely popular, trusted & respected by an Israeli public which will support his judgment. 
  3. Ashkenazi is intensely popular, trusted & respected by an IDF which will also support his judgment.

After reforming the IDF and coming off of what is widely regarded as a successful military regional war in Gaza, no one has more solid support in Israel today than Ashkenazi. On military matters he is even more trusted than the Defense Minister Ehud Barack, to which can be added the public’s respect for him which rivals that of Benjamin Netanyahu. In Israel, such superheros cut across post-partisan lines and appeal across the strata on a much more emotional level -  As the no-nonsense General, defender of Israel.

Chief of Staff General Ashkenazi in Germany has words for Israel's enemies. (Photo: IDF Press Office)

Chief of Staff General Ashkenazi in Germany has words for Israel's enemies. (Photo: IDF Press Office)

Poignant, not so veiled words

Ashkenazi fills the top General role and void left by the legendary Ariel Sharon himself. This status in Israel, and the sharp words in his German speech make for a heady mix..

“We will never look lightly upon those who scheme our demise, we will not deposit our security in the hands of foreigners and we will allow no one to control the future of the State of Israel,” he said during a ceremony held at the ill-famed Platform 17 in Berlin, from which many Jews left for concentration camps.

“Out of the silent steel plates on this platform rise the screams of our Jewish brothers, who were marched into the train cars, beaten and humiliated. Their screams echo until this very moment and they are the screams of Israel’s obligation and my own, as the man who stands at the head of its army. It is our obligation to remember forever the most horrible tragedy in the history of mankind,” Ashkenazi said [...]

Not pulling punches.. in contrast to President Obama

Ashkenazi went to add that Anti-Semitism and this threat continues to this day alluding to Iran, and that Israel would assert itself in its own defense. He has been fairly clear until now and apparently going forward as well – His is the hawkish view in regards to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It is a view which stands in contrast to the Obama administration, which for all intents & purposes seems to have given up on stopping Iran.

Analysis: US making plans for Iran nuke strategy

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is quietly laying the groundwork for long-range strategy that could be used to contain a nuclear-equipped Iran and deter its leaders from using atomic weapons.

U.S. officials insist they are not resigned to a nuclear Iran and are pressing negotiations to prevent it from joining the world’s nuclear club. But at the same time, the administration has set in place the building blocks of policies to contend with an Iran armed with atomic weapons.

Those elements, former officials and analysts said, include the newly revised defense shield for Europe and deeper defense ties to Gulf states that feel threatened by Iran.

Daylight? Looks more like High-Noon.

The Obama administration may be resigned to apparent surrender on a nuclear Iran, but the Israeli position seems continuously clear. Netanyahu the PM is clear, Barak the Defense Minister is clear, Ashkenazi the top man in uniform is clear.. Together with the heads of Israel’s intelligence these three men will be the arbiters of judgment in regards to Iranian issues.

All options remain on the table.

Now Available in Stereo: Kadima’s Livni Cut Down by Both Labor and Likud

The Knesset is clearly back in session..

Been a while since I did some politics, mostly related to the fact that Israel’s Parliament was on summer recess. But, have no fear – They’re back & raring to go! Kadima’s Livni late last week opened things up pledging to bring ‘relentless opposition’ to counter internal party criticism of her, which has been mounting steadily.

Her first major move was to sharply criticize Defense Minister & Labor leader Ehud Barak for spending a wad-load of money on a recent excursion to a Paris military exhibition (He was representing Israel’s significant weapons export industry).

Will that be cash or credit? $150,000 dollar hotel bill

Barak & his crew certainly spent a pretty penny, staying in one of Paris’ most expensive hotels & burning serious cash. Not exactly a smooth move by Ehud in tough economic times while on public dime.

In response, Livni pulled her typical above the fray gambit taking an opposition position criticizing Barak on ethics.. Laudable, but surely it occurred to someone in the Kadima brain trust that with former Kadima PM Olmert literally on trial for corruption, playing the little angel might not be the wisest of moves or tactics!?

That’s when all hell broke loose..

Until now, most of the heat Livni has felt has been internal from Kadima, but her critique & the fresh Knesset session clearly caused a snap – Get a load of the Labor & Likud responses!

“The double standards and hypocrisy of Livni have reached new heights,” Labor responded in an official message. “She would be better off checking first what is going on in her own party, which is the most corrupt party in the history of Israeli politics [and] which has created, through a number of scandals, reprehensible norms in public, criminal and ethical fields. The entire public remembers the parade of suspects for violation of public trust, theft, false documentation, vice and other offenses.

There are some double entendres in there. Olmert as mentioned, but also the criticism that Kadima corruption resulted in Livni stealing the party leadership, sidelining her rival Shaul Mofaz in last years party leadership race – A key source of the welling of internal resistance Livni is facing within Kadima, a divided house. The statement goes on..

“Livni’s voice was not heard then,” the response continued. “Livni would be better off remaining silent rather than reciting slogans from her public relations advisers, and to act in accordance with the saying that ‘people who have butter smeared on their heads shouldn’t go out in the sun.’”

That’s coming from the Labor Peace Party! Never fear however, Kadima’s rivals in the Likud (her former home) had some choice words for her too. Effectively making this broadcast in stereo..

A senior Likud official also issued a response, blasting “Mrs. Livni’s hypocrisy,” which he said was “breaking records in Israeli politics.”

Everyone is clearly well rested and ready to rock up there in Knesset land.. We’re already in ‘record breaking territory’. Should be a fantastic silly season, nothing could make me happier. I’m going to need to buy more popcorn for the big show : )