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Israeli left blames Netanyahu for embassy decision – The Jerusalem Post


The Jerusalem Post
Israeli left blames Netanyahu for embassy decision
The Jerusalem Post
Politicians on the Israeli Left and center-left said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should take responsibility for US President Donald Trump's decision to sign a waiver preventing the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem Opposition leader Isaac
Netanyahu says Israel 'disappointed' by Trump decision not to move embassyThe Hill
Netanyahu 'disappointed' over Trump embassy decisionNews24
Netanyahu: Israel 'disappointed' in Trump's decision not to move US embassy to JerusalemWashington Examiner
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Israeli left blames Netanyahu for embassy decision – The Jerusalem Post

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Netanyahu made last-ditch effort to convince US of Israel embassy move – The Jerusalem Post


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Netanyahu made last-ditch effort to convince US of Israel embassy move
The Jerusalem Post
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to US Ambassador David Friedman on Monday in a final and apparently futile attempt to persuade US President Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign promise and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, …
Israeli minister Naftali Bennett threatens to derail Donald Trump's peace solutionThe Sydney Morning Herald
The real story behind Trump's meetings with Abbas and NetanyahuAl-Monitor
Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas Admits Meeting with Trump was 'Uncomfortable'Newsweek
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Netanyahu: Israeli land swaps with Palestinians won’t bring peace – The Jerusalem Post


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Netanyahu: Israeli land swaps with Palestinians won't bring peace
The Jerusalem Post
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on Tuesday that any future peace agreement reached with the Palestinians must include an Israeli military presence in the West Bank and offered insight on security concerns the government may have following a …
Netanyahu: We need to retain full West Bank military controlThe Times of Israel
Israeli right convinced Netanyahu will soon swerve leftAl-Monitor
Netanyahu: Trump Says We Should Reach an Agreement, So We Must TryThe Jewish Press – JewishPress.com
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Netanyahu: Israeli land swaps with Palestinians won’t bring peace – The Jerusalem Post

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Benjamin Netanyahu may encounter Moroccan king at Liberia … – The Jerusalem Post


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Benjamin Netanyahu may encounter Moroccan king at Liberia …
The Jerusalem Post
The summit in Liberia is expected to last for only five hours, with Netanyahu scheduled to fly there late Saturday night.
Israeli PM to visit West Africa for the first time in 50 years | TheCableTheCable

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Israelis support Netanyahu, but also two-state solution – Al-Monitor

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a basket of fruit he received from local children, a custom associated with the upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot, during a special Cabinet meeting held in the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem, Israel, May 28, 2017.(photo byREUTERS/Gali Tibbon)

Author:Mazal Mualem Posted May 30, 2017

President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel May 22-23 had a dramatic impact not only on the political arena, which was jolted awake after a long period of lethargy, but on Israeli public opinion. The Likud, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would winaround 30 seats if an election were held today,according to a poll released May 26by Channel 2. It is the continuation of a trend thatshows a significant rise in support for Netanyahucompared with previous polls.

TranslatorDanny Wool

The most recent poll has given Netanyahu a few more reasons to revel in the euphoria that has taken hold of him ever since Trump landed in Israel. The strengthening of the Likud came at the expense of Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party continues to grow weaker: The poll indicated it would win just 22 seats, compared with the 24 and 26 seats predicted in previous polls. And yetLapid is still considered the greatest threat facing Netanyahu in the next election.

Naftali Bennett,the chairman of HaBayit HaYehudi, has also challenged Netanyahu’s leadership, and even expressed a desire to replace him as head of the right-wingnational camp. Nevertheless, he has also seen a decline in the polls, which predicted his party would win just nine seats. It looks like Bennett’s strategy of flanking Netanyahu from the right is not bearing any fruit, at least at this stage. In response to the question, “Who is best suited to be prime minister?” Netanyahu has a significant lead over all hiscompetitors (35% think he is best suited). Lapid comes in second (14%), but trails by a significant gap.

The most interesting result of this poll, however, is that it shows that most Israelis support the creation of two states, one Israeli and the other Palestinian. Of the respondents, 47% saidthey support a diplomatic arrangement based on the 1967 borders but keeping the major settlement blocs while 39% opposed such an arrangement.

This finding reflects a certain dissonance in the positions of many Israelis. On the one hand, in Knesset elections voters have movedsteadily to the right, electing an unabashedly right-wing government in 2015. On the other hand, Israelis still believe that an arrangement can be reached with the Palestinians based on a two-state solution. Today, Bennett heads the only coalition party to demandthe two-state solution be taken off the table. The fact that he has failed to take off in the polls further indicates support for the latter position.

Everything that has happened since Trump’s election points to the idea that Netanyahu is an outstanding diplomatic tactician. The prime minister did not succumb to enormous pressure from the right, and he continued to support a two-state solution publicly. Nevertheless, he also insisted that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is an opponent of peacewho heads a Palestinian campaign of incitement against Israel. Netanyahu uses this to explain why he has avoided making any practical moves toward reaching an agreement.

Even if Netanyahu has done nothing to advance a two-state solution, he has flirted with the idea ever since he returned to power in 2009. There are two reasons for this: the need to contend with international pressure,and the results of internal polls, with which he is so familiar. The two-state solution still has significant support among the party center and the moderate right, a political bloc that could potentially offer many votes to the Likud.

Apart from its political significance, it is worth considering support for a two-state solution on the 50thanniversary of the occupation (since the 1967 war), with a right-wing government at the helm and many Israelis feeling frustrated and exhausted after long years of intifada and terror.

Ever since the 1993 Oslo Accord, and despite last decade’s second intifada (2000-2005) and the intifada of individuals of the past few years, the public continues to support an arrangement based on the creation of a Palestinian state. While support for this has been worn away, it is quite obvious that it still exists.

After Netanyahu explicitly declared his support for a Palestinian state in his 2009 Bar Ilan speech, polls showed that support for him increased significantly. According to a poll conducted at the time by Haaretz daily, 71% of the public thought Netanyahu “said the right things.” The more important finding, however, was that Netanyahu kept his political base despite what he said. Some 90% of Likud voters even agreed with the content of his Bar Ilan speech.

A July 2014 poll conducted by Haaretzfound that most Israelis (60%) still see a two-state solution as preferable in the long term, provided that it is backed by the prime minister. An August 2016poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 59% of Israelis still support a two-state solution.

Much has been written over the last few years about how the far right has taken over the Likud ever since members of the settler movement joined the party en masse. Party members select the Likud’s list for the Knesset, which means that to climb the ranksofthe party’s Knesset list, candidates are forced to present extreme positions. The result has been a situation in which the Likud’s leadership is much further to the right than most party voters.

In 2004, when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to disengage from Gaza, he polled Likud members about his decision and was soundly defeated. The far right already dominated the party’s membership rolls and proved its strength. In a display of real leadership, Sharon went ahead with the plan anyway, and then divided the party to form a new centrist party, Kadima. Polls showed that the new party led by him would receive as many as 40 seats. While Sharon did not lead the party in the next election (he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke in 2006), he proved that a decision based on leadership has power, unlike decisions based on the positions of some extremist party mechanism. If Netanyahu were to lead some similar move, he might lose the support of the Likud’s far right, but he would also win numerous seats from the center, a bloc thatnow lacks political leadership.

At this point, Netanyahu is not expected to make such a turnabout. While he will continue to flirt with the idea of a two-state solution, he will not take steps to achieve it. Instead, he will continue to worry about losing his right-wing base to Bennett, even at the cost of giving up seats he could win from the center and making any meaningful progress in the diplomatic process.

Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/05/israel-palestinians-two-state-solution-benjamin-netanyahu.html

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Israelis support Netanyahu, but also two-state solution – Al-Monitor

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu wishes Muslims ‘Ramadan Kareem’ – ABC News

The leader of the Jewish state sent Ramadan greetings to its Muslim citizens Saturday.

“I wish #Ramadan Kareem to Israel’s Muslim citizens and Muslims around the world, hoping for much needed brotherhood, mutual respect & peace,” tweeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Ramadan Kareem” means “have a generous Ramadan.”

Netanyahu also tweeted his well wishes in Arabic.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, according to Islamic belief. Muslims are expected not to eat or drink during daylight hours, including water and medicine. Faithful people may also avoid smoking and sex.

Netanyahu’s greetings follow gestures of goodwill by the Israeli government timed to the start of Ramadan.

Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai of the Israeli defense body COGAT said in a statement Friday that one such gesture is access for 100 Gaza residents to attend prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem each Friday throughout Ramadan. West Bank crossings will alo be open longer, the statement said.

And hundreds of hunger-striking Palenstinian prisoners ended their 40-day fast Saturday, after Israel reached a deal with the Palestinian Authority and the Red Cross for prisoners to receive a second family visit each per month.

The Israel prison service said 1,578 prisoners participated in the hunger strike and 834 ended their fast Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu wishes Muslims ‘Ramadan Kareem’ – ABC News

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May 30, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Netanyahu appoints new minister to oversee Israel telecom reforms – Eyewitness News

Ayoob Kara will join the communications ministry which has oversight of the telecoms and broadcast media industries.

FILE: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Picture: AFP.

JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed on Sunday Ayoob Kara, a minister in his Likud party, as communications minister, who will oversee Israel’s telecom market as it undergoes significant reforms.

Netanyahu himself held the post until he relinquished it in February amid allegations he had negotiated a deal with a newspaper owner for good press coverage.

The communications ministry has oversight of the telecoms and broadcast media industries.

The cabinet has approved the appointment of Kara, who was previously a minister without portfolio, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Netanyahu kept the communications portfolio for himself after re-election in 2015, but shortly after gave up much of the job’s responsibility when he was barred from dealing with Israel’s largest telecom provider, Bezeq, due to his personal friendship with the company’s chairman.

Netanyahu stepped down from the role completely three months ago after being questioned by police over allegations he tried to secure a deal with the owner of Israel’s best-selling newspaper for better coverage. He did not give an official reason for stepping down.

Likud lawmaker and Netanyahu confidant Tzachi Hanegbi filled the post in the interim.

One of the biggest decisions Kara will have to make is whether to allow Bezeq, one of the most profitable companies in Israel and a favorite among foreign investors, to combine its fixed-line, mobile, satellite TV and internet units, which currently are separate companies.

He also faces the challenge of enhancing competition in the fixed-line sector and enabling mobile phone operators like Cellcom and Partner to better compete with Bezeq.

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Taking Trump’s peace push seriously, Netanyahu said looking to broaden coalition – The Times of Israel

With President Donald Trump pushing for Israeli-Palestinian peace progress, Israels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is again looking to widen his coalition by bringing in politicians from the center left, a TV report said. The report coincided with a new poll showing more Israelis backing than opposing a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines.

The report, on Israels Channel 2 news on Friday night, said that Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog spoke by phone on the eve of Trumps visit to Israel this week, and have arranged to meet in the aftermath of Trumps trip. Herzog, who met with Trump briefly on Tuesday, has said repeatedly in the last few days that he would back Netanyahu from outside the coalition were the prime minister to push for substantive progress in peacemaking with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu is working to broaden his coalition because he wants room for maneuver should direct Israeli-Palestinian talks resume, said the TV report, which was not confirmed.

The same TV station on Friday night also published a survey showing Israelis backing a two-state accord deal with the Palestinians, based on the 1967 borders adjusted to include the major settlement blocs, by 47% to 39%, with 14% undecided.

The survey also showed Netanyahu backed by 35% as their choice for prime minister, far ahead of centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid on 14%, with no other candidate in double figures. It also gave the Likud a healthy lead in Knesset seats, on 30, compared to Yesh Atid on 22, an improvement for the Likud on previous polls.

(R-L) US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, opposition leader Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal Herzog at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Herzog, head of the center-left Zionist Union came close to joining the coalition last year, but their negotiations collapsed amid mutual recriminations, and Avigdor Libermans right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party joined the government instead, with Liberman becoming defense minister. Herzog was set to join the coalition to advance peace talks, following a February 2016 summit, attended by Netanyahu, secretary of state John Kerry, Jordans King Abdullah and Egypts President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, which was intended to jump-start negotiating efforts. Herzog later blamed Netanyahu for spurning the opportunity under pressure from Likud and Jewish Home right-wingers.

Trump reiterated on his May 22-23 visit here that he seeks to broker an Israeli-Palestinian accord. While Netanyahu highlighted his skepticism about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbass readiness for a deal, he did tell Trump that for the first time in many years and, Mr. President, for the first time in my lifetime I see a real hope for change.

For his part, Trump was adamant in his final speech at the Israel Museum on Tuesday that Abbas and the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace.

Trumps son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner Kushner, who along with international negotiations envoy Jason Greenblatt has been tasked by Trump with relaunching the peace process, reportedly told Herzog on Tuesday: We are planning to move fast in starting a diplomatic process in order to reach a deal.

White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (L) watches as US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall in Jerusalems Old City on May 22, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

Senior ministers were quoted in the Channel 2 report saying that it was clear that Trump will be pressing Israel for compromise, and that celebrations on the right because Trump did not refer to Palestinian statehood during his visit, and did not criticize the settlement enterprise, were misplaced. Were all dancing on the Titanic, an unnamed top minister was quoted as saying.

The Channel 2 report quoted Israeli ministers who met with Trump and his team saying that the US president and his key advisers drew three conclusions about peacemaking from their trip: That progress on the Israel-Palestinian front is central to progress elsewhere in the Middle East; that Abbas, with whom he has now met twice, is a viable partner; and that the notion that Netanyahu cant make compromises because of the constraints of his right-wing coalition is false, since the center-left would support him.

Bringing the Zionist Union into the coalition would be extremely complicated because of opposition from existing coalition partners and from many in Herzogs party. Furthermore, Zionist Union is holding leadership elections on July 4, and Herzog faces a serious threat to his hold on the party.

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni (L) speaks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the opening session of the World Economic Forum held in the Dead Sea resort of Shuneh in Jordan on May 20, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

Channel 2 suggested that Tzipi Livni, the former foreign minister who heads a 5-member faction (Hatnua) inside the Zionist Union, could break away from Herzog and join Netanyahu, but noted that Livni is skeptical about Netanyahus readiness to move forward. Livni, who shares the sense that there is an opportunity for a breakthrough, is said to have established a good relationship with Greenblatt.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that Trump pressured Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table during his visit. There were very substantive discussions in Israel with both PM Netanyahu as well as President Abbas, Tillerson told reporters aboard Air Force One. He put a lot of pressure on them that its time to get to the table.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to reporters aboard Air force One shortly before arriving in Brussels on May 24, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

Tillerson further said that Trump very forceful pushing both sides that a peace deal will require them to make difficult compromises. The president was very forceful in his encouragement to both of them to be serious about approaching these discussions in the future and recognize they have to compromise; everyone has to compromise, he said.

Americas top diplomat also suggested that Israeli-Palestinian peace could be a catalyst to greater regional peace, what is sometimes referred to as the linkage argument.

Trump has made the point several times: We solve the Israeli-Palestinian peace dilemma, we start solving a lot of the peace throughout the Middle East region, Tillerson said.

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Netanyahu to make second trip to Africa in year to attend summit in Liberia – The Jerusalem Post


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Netanyahu to make second trip to Africa in year to attend summit in Liberia
The Jerusalem Post
In a sign of Israel's blossoming ties with Africa, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced Thursday evening that in two-weeks he will attend a summit of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to be held in Liberia …

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Israeli left blames Netanyahu for embassy decision – The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post Israeli left blames Netanyahu for embassy decision The Jerusalem Post Politicians on the Israeli Left and center-left said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should take responsibility for US President Donald Trump's decision to sign a waiver preventing the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem Opposition leader Isaac … Netanyahu says Israel 'disappointed' by Trump decision not to move embassy The Hill Netanyahu 'disappointed' over Trump embassy decision News24 Netanyahu : Israel 'disappointed' in Trump's decision not to move US embassy to Jerusalem Washington Examiner Haaretz  – CNN  – The Times of Israel  – – all 793 news articles »

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Netanyahu made last-ditch effort to convince US of Israel embassy move – The Jerusalem Post

Al-Monitor Netanyahu made last-ditch effort to convince US of Israel embassy move The Jerusalem Post Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to US Ambassador David Friedman on Monday in a final and apparently futile attempt to persuade US President Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign promise and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, … Israeli minister Naftali Bennett threatens to derail Donald Trump's peace solution The Sydney Morning Herald The real story behind Trump's meetings with Abbas and Netanyahu Al-Monitor Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas Admits Meeting with Trump was 'Uncomfortable' Newsweek Business Insider  – The Times of Israel  – The Hill all 299 news articles »

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Netanyahu: Israeli land swaps with Palestinians won’t bring peace – The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post Netanyahu : Israeli land swaps with Palestinians won't bring peace The Jerusalem Post Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on Tuesday that any future peace agreement reached with the Palestinians must include an Israeli military presence in the West Bank and offered insight on security concerns the government may have following a … Netanyahu : We need to retain full West Bank military control The Times of Israel Israeli right convinced Netanyahu will soon swerve left Al-Monitor Netanyahu : Trump Says We Should Reach an Agreement, So We Must Try The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com Ynetnews  – The Epoch Times all 1,172 news articles »

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Benjamin Netanyahu may encounter Moroccan king at Liberia … – The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post Benjamin Netanyahu may encounter Moroccan king at Liberia … The Jerusalem Post The summit in Liberia is expected to last for only five hours, with Netanyahu scheduled to fly there late Saturday night. Israeli PM to visit West Africa for the first time in 50 years | TheCable TheCable all 8 news articles »

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Israelis support Netanyahu, but also two-state solution – Al-Monitor

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a basket of fruit he received from local children, a custom associated with the upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot, during a special Cabinet meeting held in the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem, Israel, May 28, 2017.(photo byREUTERS/Gali Tibbon) Author:Mazal Mualem Posted May 30, 2017 President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel May 22-23 had a dramatic impact not only on the political arena, which was jolted awake after a long period of lethargy, but on Israeli public opinion. The Likud, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would winaround 30 seats if an election were held today,according to a poll released May 26by Channel 2. It is the continuation of a trend thatshows a significant rise in support for Netanyahucompared with previous polls. TranslatorDanny Wool The most recent poll has given Netanyahu a few more reasons to revel in the euphoria that has taken hold of him ever since Trump landed in Israel. The strengthening of the Likud came at the expense of Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party continues to grow weaker: The poll indicated it would win just 22 seats, compared with the 24 and 26 seats predicted in previous polls. And yetLapid is still considered the greatest threat facing Netanyahu in the next election. Naftali Bennett,the chairman of HaBayit HaYehudi, has also challenged Netanyahu’s leadership, and even expressed a desire to replace him as head of the right-wingnational camp. Nevertheless, he has also seen a decline in the polls, which predicted his party would win just nine seats. It looks like Bennett’s strategy of flanking Netanyahu from the right is not bearing any fruit, at least at this stage. In response to the question, “Who is best suited to be prime minister?” Netanyahu has a significant lead over all hiscompetitors (35% think he is best suited). Lapid comes in second (14%), but trails by a significant gap. The most interesting result of this poll, however, is that it shows that most Israelis support the creation of two states, one Israeli and the other Palestinian. Of the respondents, 47% saidthey support a diplomatic arrangement based on the 1967 borders but keeping the major settlement blocs while 39% opposed such an arrangement. This finding reflects a certain dissonance in the positions of many Israelis. On the one hand, in Knesset elections voters have movedsteadily to the right, electing an unabashedly right-wing government in 2015. On the other hand, Israelis still believe that an arrangement can be reached with the Palestinians based on a two-state solution. Today, Bennett heads the only coalition party to demandthe two-state solution be taken off the table. The fact that he has failed to take off in the polls further indicates support for the latter position. Everything that has happened since Trump’s election points to the idea that Netanyahu is an outstanding diplomatic tactician. The prime minister did not succumb to enormous pressure from the right, and he continued to support a two-state solution publicly. Nevertheless, he also insisted that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is an opponent of peacewho heads a Palestinian campaign of incitement against Israel. Netanyahu uses this to explain why he has avoided making any practical moves toward reaching an agreement. Even if Netanyahu has done nothing to advance a two-state solution, he has flirted with the idea ever since he returned to power in 2009. There are two reasons for this: the need to contend with international pressure,and the results of internal polls, with which he is so familiar. The two-state solution still has significant support among the party center and the moderate right, a political bloc that could potentially offer many votes to the Likud. Apart from its political significance, it is worth considering support for a two-state solution on the 50thanniversary of the occupation (since the 1967 war), with a right-wing government at the helm and many Israelis feeling frustrated and exhausted after long years of intifada and terror. Ever since the 1993 Oslo Accord, and despite last decade’s second intifada (2000-2005) and the intifada of individuals of the past few years, the public continues to support an arrangement based on the creation of a Palestinian state. While support for this has been worn away, it is quite obvious that it still exists. After Netanyahu explicitly declared his support for a Palestinian state in his 2009 Bar Ilan speech, polls showed that support for him increased significantly. According to a poll conducted at the time by Haaretz daily, 71% of the public thought Netanyahu “said the right things.” The more important finding, however, was that Netanyahu kept his political base despite what he said. Some 90% of Likud voters even agreed with the content of his Bar Ilan speech. A July 2014 poll conducted by Haaretzfound that most Israelis (60%) still see a two-state solution as preferable in the long term, provided that it is backed by the prime minister. An August 2016poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 59% of Israelis still support a two-state solution. Much has been written over the last few years about how the far right has taken over the Likud ever since members of the settler movement joined the party en masse. Party members select the Likud’s list for the Knesset, which means that to climb the ranksofthe party’s Knesset list, candidates are forced to present extreme positions. The result has been a situation in which the Likud’s leadership is much further to the right than most party voters. In 2004, when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to disengage from Gaza, he polled Likud members about his decision and was soundly defeated. The far right already dominated the party’s membership rolls and proved its strength. In a display of real leadership, Sharon went ahead with the plan anyway, and then divided the party to form a new centrist party, Kadima. Polls showed that the new party led by him would receive as many as 40 seats. While Sharon did not lead the party in the next election (he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke in 2006), he proved that a decision based on leadership has power, unlike decisions based on the positions of some extremist party mechanism. If Netanyahu were to lead some similar move, he might lose the support of the Likud’s far right, but he would also win numerous seats from the center, a bloc thatnow lacks political leadership. At this point, Netanyahu is not expected to make such a turnabout. While he will continue to flirt with the idea of a two-state solution, he will not take steps to achieve it. Instead, he will continue to worry about losing his right-wing base to Bennett, even at the cost of giving up seats he could win from the center and making any meaningful progress in the diplomatic process. Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/05/israel-palestinians-two-state-solution-benjamin-netanyahu.html

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu wishes Muslims ‘Ramadan Kareem’ – ABC News

The leader of the Jewish state sent Ramadan greetings to its Muslim citizens Saturday. “I wish #Ramadan Kareem to Israel’s Muslim citizens and Muslims around the world, hoping for much needed brotherhood, mutual respect & peace,” tweeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Ramadan Kareem” means “have a generous Ramadan.” Netanyahu also tweeted his well wishes in Arabic. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, according to Islamic belief. Muslims are expected not to eat or drink during daylight hours, including water and medicine. Faithful people may also avoid smoking and sex. Netanyahu’s greetings follow gestures of goodwill by the Israeli government timed to the start of Ramadan. Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai of the Israeli defense body COGAT said in a statement Friday that one such gesture is access for 100 Gaza residents to attend prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem each Friday throughout Ramadan. West Bank crossings will alo be open longer, the statement said. And hundreds of hunger-striking Palenstinian prisoners ended their 40-day fast Saturday, after Israel reached a deal with the Palestinian Authority and the Red Cross for prisoners to receive a second family visit each per month. The Israel prison service said 1,578 prisoners participated in the hunger strike and 834 ended their fast Saturday. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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May 30, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Netanyahu appoints new minister to oversee Israel telecom reforms – Eyewitness News

Ayoob Kara will join the communications ministry which has oversight of the telecoms and broadcast media industries. FILE: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Picture: AFP. JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed on Sunday Ayoob Kara, a minister in his Likud party, as communications minister, who will oversee Israel’s telecom market as it undergoes significant reforms. Netanyahu himself held the post until he relinquished it in February amid allegations he had negotiated a deal with a newspaper owner for good press coverage. The communications ministry has oversight of the telecoms and broadcast media industries. The cabinet has approved the appointment of Kara, who was previously a minister without portfolio, the prime minister’s office said in a statement. Netanyahu kept the communications portfolio for himself after re-election in 2015, but shortly after gave up much of the job’s responsibility when he was barred from dealing with Israel’s largest telecom provider, Bezeq, due to his personal friendship with the company’s chairman. Netanyahu stepped down from the role completely three months ago after being questioned by police over allegations he tried to secure a deal with the owner of Israel’s best-selling newspaper for better coverage. He did not give an official reason for stepping down. Likud lawmaker and Netanyahu confidant Tzachi Hanegbi filled the post in the interim. One of the biggest decisions Kara will have to make is whether to allow Bezeq, one of the most profitable companies in Israel and a favorite among foreign investors, to combine its fixed-line, mobile, satellite TV and internet units, which currently are separate companies. He also faces the challenge of enhancing competition in the fixed-line sector and enabling mobile phone operators like Cellcom and Partner to better compete with Bezeq.

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May 30, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Taking Trump’s peace push seriously, Netanyahu said looking to broaden coalition – The Times of Israel

With President Donald Trump pushing for Israeli-Palestinian peace progress, Israels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is again looking to widen his coalition by bringing in politicians from the center left, a TV report said. The report coincided with a new poll showing more Israelis backing than opposing a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines. The report, on Israels Channel 2 news on Friday night, said that Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog spoke by phone on the eve of Trumps visit to Israel this week, and have arranged to meet in the aftermath of Trumps trip. Herzog, who met with Trump briefly on Tuesday, has said repeatedly in the last few days that he would back Netanyahu from outside the coalition were the prime minister to push for substantive progress in peacemaking with the Palestinians. Netanyahu is working to broaden his coalition because he wants room for maneuver should direct Israeli-Palestinian talks resume, said the TV report, which was not confirmed. The same TV station on Friday night also published a survey showing Israelis backing a two-state accord deal with the Palestinians, based on the 1967 borders adjusted to include the major settlement blocs, by 47% to 39%, with 14% undecided. The survey also showed Netanyahu backed by 35% as their choice for prime minister, far ahead of centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid on 14%, with no other candidate in double figures. It also gave the Likud a healthy lead in Knesset seats, on 30, compared to Yesh Atid on 22, an improvement for the Likud on previous polls. (R-L) US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, opposition leader Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal Herzog at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. (Haim Zach/GPO) Herzog, head of the center-left Zionist Union came close to joining the coalition last year, but their negotiations collapsed amid mutual recriminations, and Avigdor Libermans right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party joined the government instead, with Liberman becoming defense minister. Herzog was set to join the coalition to advance peace talks, following a February 2016 summit, attended by Netanyahu, secretary of state John Kerry, Jordans King Abdullah and Egypts President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, which was intended to jump-start negotiating efforts. Herzog later blamed Netanyahu for spurning the opportunity under pressure from Likud and Jewish Home right-wingers. Trump reiterated on his May 22-23 visit here that he seeks to broker an Israeli-Palestinian accord. While Netanyahu highlighted his skepticism about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbass readiness for a deal, he did tell Trump that for the first time in many years and, Mr. President, for the first time in my lifetime I see a real hope for change. For his part, Trump was adamant in his final speech at the Israel Museum on Tuesday that Abbas and the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace. Trumps son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner Kushner, who along with international negotiations envoy Jason Greenblatt has been tasked by Trump with relaunching the peace process, reportedly told Herzog on Tuesday: We are planning to move fast in starting a diplomatic process in order to reach a deal. White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (L) watches as US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall in Jerusalems Old City on May 22, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan) Senior ministers were quoted in the Channel 2 report saying that it was clear that Trump will be pressing Israel for compromise, and that celebrations on the right because Trump did not refer to Palestinian statehood during his visit, and did not criticize the settlement enterprise, were misplaced. Were all dancing on the Titanic, an unnamed top minister was quoted as saying. The Channel 2 report quoted Israeli ministers who met with Trump and his team saying that the US president and his key advisers drew three conclusions about peacemaking from their trip: That progress on the Israel-Palestinian front is central to progress elsewhere in the Middle East; that Abbas, with whom he has now met twice, is a viable partner; and that the notion that Netanyahu cant make compromises because of the constraints of his right-wing coalition is false, since the center-left would support him. Bringing the Zionist Union into the coalition would be extremely complicated because of opposition from existing coalition partners and from many in Herzogs party. Furthermore, Zionist Union is holding leadership elections on July 4, and Herzog faces a serious threat to his hold on the party. Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni (L) speaks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the opening session of the World Economic Forum held in the Dead Sea resort of Shuneh in Jordan on May 20, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi) Channel 2 suggested that Tzipi Livni, the former foreign minister who heads a 5-member faction (Hatnua) inside the Zionist Union, could break away from Herzog and join Netanyahu, but noted that Livni is skeptical about Netanyahus readiness to move forward. Livni, who shares the sense that there is an opportunity for a breakthrough, is said to have established a good relationship with Greenblatt. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that Trump pressured Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table during his visit. There were very substantive discussions in Israel with both PM Netanyahu as well as President Abbas, Tillerson told reporters aboard Air Force One. He put a lot of pressure on them that its time to get to the table. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to reporters aboard Air force One shortly before arriving in Brussels on May 24, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan) Tillerson further said that Trump very forceful pushing both sides that a peace deal will require them to make difficult compromises. The president was very forceful in his encouragement to both of them to be serious about approaching these discussions in the future and recognize they have to compromise; everyone has to compromise, he said. Americas top diplomat also suggested that Israeli-Palestinian peace could be a catalyst to greater regional peace, what is sometimes referred to as the linkage argument. Trump has made the point several times: We solve the Israeli-Palestinian peace dilemma, we start solving a lot of the peace throughout the Middle East region, Tillerson said.

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Netanyahu to make second trip to Africa in year to attend summit in Liberia – The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post Netanyahu to make second trip to Africa in year to attend summit in Liberia The Jerusalem Post In a sign of Israel's blossoming ties with Africa, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced Thursday evening that in two-weeks he will attend a summit of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to be held in Liberia … and more »

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