A new unity government was formed in Israel during the last week and in order to properly discuss the ins and outs of the new government and its foundation, the Jewish Press’ Yishai Fleisher is joined by Jeremy Man Saltan, an insider on the Israeli Knesset and host of the definitive English-language Knesset blog. Together, they discuss the situation that created the new government including a wide-reaching agreement between Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and leader of Kadima Shaul Mofaz to create an overwhelming coalition government. Specifics about the new government are discussed along with thoughts on how long it could last.
Posts Tagged ‘Shaul Mofaz’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton that Iran must agree to halt all uranium enrichment in upcoming talks.
Ashton was in Jerusalem on Wednesday to brief Netanyahu in the run-up to the second round of nuclear talks with Iran scheduled for May 23 in Baghdad.
Netanyahu also accused Iran of “playing for time” by agreeing to continue to negotiate with the six world powers: the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany. The powers and Iran met last month in Turkey, where they agreed to the Baghdad meeting.
Netanyahu invited Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and new coalition member Kadima head Shaul Mofaz to join the meeting with Ashton, Ha’aretz reported.
Mofaz has spoken out in the past against a unilateral Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. The United States has called on Israel to hold off on attacking Iran and instead give sanctions time to take hold.
It appears that Tuesday night’s big winner of the Kadima party primary vote, like the Royal house of Bourbon, has not forgotten anything and has not learned anything. On November 11, 2009, the Israel Policy Forum (a NY based American Jewish organization which has been criticized for being pro-Palestinian) hosted a conference call discussion with former Defense Minister and former IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz, in which he laid down his plan for a Permanent Palestinian State. If you or your loved ones reside in Judea and Samaria – be afraid, be very afraid.
Indeed, over the past few years, Mofaz has been visiting the parts of Judea and Samaria located within the security fence, to reassure residents that their future is safe. Ynet quotes him as saying, in late 2005: “I intend to operate on two issues: The first is to continue to promote the building of the fence in order to provide the citizens with maximum security, and the second is to strengthen settlement blocs, because I believe that the settlement blocs must be strong, together with the Jordan Valley.”
But anyone else, apparently, is fair game. On a visit to Ma’ale Adumim, days before the Kadima vote, Mofaz reiterated that he considered this settlement with its 39,000 residents, near Jerusalem, as “an integral part of Israel’s political agenda.” Meaning, this one gets to stay, others – not so.
The truth is that Shaul Mofaz, who may become Israel’s next prime minister, is as firm on uprooting thousands of Jewish families from Judea and Samaria as he was about doing the same to the Jews of the Gaza strip.
And it is clear that he acted in Gaza’s Gush Katif with the full expectation that once the settlements were cleared, a reign of terror and attacks on Israel were likely to follow.
Back in June, 2005, the Jerusalem Post’s David Horovitz reported that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was preparing to hand over to the Palestinian Authority written information on the location of settlements and on settlement infrastructure in Gush Katif, to keep the PA (which still ruled in Gaza) in the know and help coordinate with them the uprooting of the Jewish settlers.
Briefing reporters, Mofaz “took a swipe at former chief of General Staff Moshe Ya’alon,” whose term at the helm of the IDF was not renewed because Mofaz did not trust him to carry out the removal of Jews from their homes.
The week before that June briefing, Ya’alon had “warned of an upsurge in terrorism and ultimately war with the Palestinians in the aftermath of disengagement,” recorded Horovitz. Mofaz declared, without mentioning Ya’alon by name, that some people were inventing “radical scenarios about what will happen the day after,” when in reality, there were “lots of possibilities” and Israel had to be “ready to deal with any and all of them.”
But then, at the very same briefing, Mofaz warned that Hamas was growing stronger in Gaza, outpacing the PA, and that—as Horovitz put it—he “envisaged a possibility of Hamas becoming the dominant player there.”
With prophetic foresight, Mofaz said: “An alternative leadership is rising up under the noses of the PA.” He warned that Hamas had “a people’s army” which was bringing weapons in clandestine ways into Gaza. Indeed, all of Hamas’ soldiers were now armed and trained, unmolested by the PA’s security forces.
On a different occasion, during a tour of Gush Katif that summer, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told reporters that Ashkelon was within the range that needed extra protection from terrorist rockets.
But with all this prophetic insight, Mofaz still did not hesitate to move in on the Jews of Gush Katif and plant the seeds for the very scenario about which he was so worried. Deprived of a base within Gaza, the IDF was later forced to employ a great deal more power than would have been necessary to curtail rocket attacks on Israel — just as Mofaz had predicted.
A brilliant analyst he is — if only he listened to his own analysis.
There is no love lost between Shaul Mofaz and the settlement movement.
Two years after the annihilation of Jewish Gaza, in his capacity as Transportation Minister in the Kadima government led by PM Ehud Olmert, Mofaz was invited by the Gush Etzion municipality to participate in a ceremony naming the intersection at Efrat’s northern entrance after the convoys that brought aid to the Jews of Gush Etzion and Jerusalem, who were under Jordanian siege during the 1948-49 War of Independence.
The Kadima Party has asked all its Knesset Members and assistants to attend a faction meeting scheduled for today at 3 PM. “With rumors of an impending split in the party next week no matter who wins, Opposition leader Tzipi Livni is looking to keep her ship together,” said a source in the Knesset.
Dalia Itzik, Kadima’s Faction Chairwoman and the last faction member yet to announce who she will support in the upcoming primary between Livni and Shaul Mofaz, has been linked to discussions with Mofaz’s campaign over the weekend. Last week, Kadima’s faction meeting was cancelled because of tensions between the two camps, but with Itzik expected to declare her support today at the faction meeting, Mofaz appears to be gaining in his challenge against the incumbent.
Itzik’s announcement of support for Mofaz would be a particularly stinging blow for Livni, as Itzik has reportedly been a longtime political confidante and friend of the Opposition leader.
The leaders of two of Israel’s largest political parties are fighting for their political lives, with one contending with challengers from within and the other facing a criminal indictment.
Kadima leader and opposition chairwoman Tzippi Livni announced that her party would hold primary elections two months from now, responding to pressure from party members dissatisfied with Kadima’s slipping position in recent opinion polls.
Two years ago, Livni led Kadima in general elections that gave the party the highest number of Knesset seats, but her inability to build a coalition allowed Likud to lead the government under Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Since then, Livni and Kadima have gradually faded; in recent weeks, various polls have even forecasted a major decline for Kadima, with many of its voters preferring the party that new political entrant Yair Lapid intends to create.
In her announcement on Wednesday, Livni said that only she could lead Kadima to victory over Netanyahu and the Likud in the next general elections. She will face stiff competition, however, from former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, who narrowly lost a bid for the Kadima leadership last time. Mofaz welcomed the announcement of party primaries in March, declaring Livni’s tenure at the top of the party over.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Knesset’s third-largest party, Yisrael Beiteinu, faced a possible indictment on charges of fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and witness tampering. Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein is overseeing hearings with prosecutors and defense lawyers as he weighs whether to indict Lieberman.
The accusations relate to alleged offenses dating from 2001 to 2008. Prosecutors say Lieberman set up straw companies to launder millions of shekels that he did not report to tax authorities.
Following the pre-indictment hearings, Weinstein could take several months to reach a decision. The decision would likely have significant political consequences, as Lieberman has said that he would step down as Foreign Minister and leave the Knesset if he is charged.
Kadima MK and Chairperson Tzipi Livni announced Wednesday that the party would hold primary elections on March 27, two days after the Knesset’s winter session ends.
Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz is expected to compete with Livni for leadership of the party, hoping to vindicate his narrow loss in the last primary vote. MKs Avi Dichter and Meir Sheetrit are also expected to enter the running for chairman.
Mofaz spoke of the primaries as a new beginning for Kadima: “She [Livni] is finished as head of the party . . . Today has begun the journey to replace Netanyahu. I am going to lead this journey.”
Dawn of Reality
To learn more about Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership), and their plan for Israel’s future – and to order Feiglin’s newest book, The War of Dreams – visit www.jewishisrael.org.