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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Security Cabinet’

Netanyahu: Israel Will ‘Respond Fiercely’ if Attacked by Syria

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that while Israel is not part of the Syrian civil war, the Jewish state would “respond, and we will respond fiercely” if attacked.

Netanyahu held an urgent meeting with his security cabinet on Tuesday afternoon in Tel Aviv, following a meeting between senior Israeli officials and U.S. security officials in Washington, DC. After the Israeli security cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Israel “was prepared for any eventuality” relating to the Syria conflict.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon echoed Netanyahu’s stern warning to Syria.

“Those who dare to test us will encounter the IDF’s might,” Ya’alon said. “Facing the storm, the IDF’s spirit is no less strong.”

Meanwhile, late Monday, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice hosted a delegation led by Israel’s National Security Chairman Yaakov Amidror for consultations on Iran, Egypt, Syria and a range of other regional security issues.

“Today’s meetings were the latest in a series of regular, high-level consultations between the United States and Israel, consistent with our strong bilateral partnership, and part of our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security,” a White House statement read.

Netanyahu Furious Over Security-Cabinet Leaks, Cancels Second Meeting

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled the second meeting of the security cabinet due to leaks from the meeting held yesterday about discussions onIran’s nuclear program.

Yediot Aharonot had obtained and published yesterday evening information regarding the meeting, specifically differences of opinion regarding intelligence on whenIran’s nuclear program would enter a “zone of immunity” from Israeli attack.

The intensive 10-hour long marathon meeting was said to deal with other regional-security topics as well.

Today’s meeting was convened, but when it began, Netanyahu announced that due to the security leak the meeting would be adjourned.

“Yesterday, somebody severely undermined the confidence that Israeli citizens give to this forum,” Netanyahu said. “He violated the most basic rules regarding the conduct of Security Cabinet discussions. He also hurt the good name of those present at the meeting who did not leak its contents.”

Netanyahu In Tight Political Bind Over U.S. Initiatives

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

JERUSALEM – Following reports of an unprecedented U.S. offer of a host of assurances in return for a 60-day extension of the settlement building freeze, some political analysts are wondering why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not grabbed the deal with both hands.

According to the reports, President Obama is offering Netanyahu pledges that the United States will:

Not ask for additional extensions on the partial ban on settlement building, which expired Sept. 26;

Commit to using the U.S. veto to prevent UN recognition of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state, if Israeli-Palestinian negotiations fail to bear fruit;

“Accept the legitimacy” of Israel’s security needs as defined by the Netanyahu government – understood as referring to Netanyahu’s demand for a long-term Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, in the eastern West Bank;

Broker talks with neighboring Arab states on a “regional security structure” – a nod to Netanyahu’s desire for cooperation on confronting Iran;

Enhance Israel’s security through the sale of a second squadron of state-of-the-art stealth F-35 fighters and space cooperation, including access to U.S. satellite early warning systems.

The price: Israel must agree to extend for 60 days the recently expired West Bank building freeze.

If Netanyahu spurns the offer, Israel not only would lose out on all the above, but the Americans would come out publicly in support of the 1967 borders as the basis for all future territorial negotiations with the Palestinians.

On its face, the deal would seem like a no-brainer for Netanyahu to take. So why hasn’t he?

For one thing, it’s not only up to Netanyahu. He needs the approval of a settlement freeze extension from his 29-member Cabinet or at least his 15-member Security Cabinet, and he doesn’t have enough votes yet in those bodies. While by most accounts Netanyahu is inclined to take the deal and is pushing for Cabinet members to approve it, the United States first might have to sweeten the pot.

The U.S. offer followed intensive negotiations in Washington between Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and an American team led by veteran Middle East adviser Dennis Ross. The idea was to affirm the U.S. commitments in a presidential letter to Netanyahu to persuade him and pro-settlement members of his government to go along with a new temporary freeze – and in so doing keep alive the direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks launched in early September. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has pledged to quit the talks if the freeze is not extended.

For now, the Israeli prime minister is being pressed by Cabinet hard-liners not to accept the American package as is. They warn that it is all very general and that much of it will not stand up in practice.

The hard-liners are suspicious, too, of Barak’s motives. They believe Barak is behind the American offer because he fears that if the peace talks with the Palestinians break down, his Labor Party would be forced to withdraw from the government. Such a move would cost Barak the post of defense minister and, in all likelihood, his political future.

As things stand, Netanyahu does not have the votes for the deal.

In the full 29-member Cabinet, 14 ministers are for extending the freeze and 15 are against. In the 15-member Security Cabinet the count is seven for and eight against, and in the unofficial forum of seven top advisers, three are for extending the freeze and four are against. In Netanyahu’s governing coalition, without the support of Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, Torah Judaism, Habayit Hayehudi and Likud hard-liners, the prime minister would have the support of fewer than 40 members of the 120-member Knesset.

Netanyahu’s greatest political fear is of a repeat of 1999, when after making concessions to the Palestinians at Wye Plantation, he lost his right-wing political support base and was roundly defeated by Barak in the ensuing election. This time, the scenario that Netanyahu wants to avoid is accepting an American package, going ahead with the peacemaking and then losing the next election to Kadima’s Tzipi Livni.

Even if Netanyahu could jettison the pro-settler parties from his coalition and bring in Kadima – changing the balance of power in the government and the Knesset in favor of pro-negotiation parties, and accepting the U.S. package – it could cost him the premiership.

The Israeli prime minister also has a major strategic concern. According to confidants, he fears that as soon as any new 60-day freeze ends, the Americans will put a “take it or leave it peace plan” of their own on the table. With the U.S. midterm elections over, Obama might feel able to publicly present parameters for a peace deal that Netanyahu would find impossible to accept.

Israel might then find itself totally isolated and under intolerable international pressure. That is a scenario Netanyahu hopes the current negotiations with the Americans will help him avoid.

As so often in the past, Netanyahu is caught between the U.S. administration and his right-leaning coalition. If he chooses his coalition, he risks losing the support of the current administration; if he chooses America, he fears he could lose his coalition and, with it, the premiership. (JTA)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/netanyahu-in-tight-political-bind-over-u-s-initiatives/2010/10/06/

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