Friday, March 20, 2015

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: The urgent business of the next government
On Tuesday, the people of Israel spoke. They gave a clear mandate to the nationalist camp, led by the Likud and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to lead the country.
Now that the people have spoken, our leaders must consider the steps they must take, immediately upon entering office, that will enable them to advance their agenda and so meet the public’s expectations.
To understand why this is necessary, we need to recall why Netanyahu decided to dismantle his last coalition government and opt for an early election. What made Netanyahu decide that he would be better off going to an election and risk losing power rather than maintaining his existing government intact? There were two developments that caused Netanyahu to break up his coalition government by firing then-justice minister Tzipi Livni and then-finance minister Yair Lapid. First, they voted in favor of the so-called “Israel Hayom” bill, legislation that would have forced the closure of the mass circulation free daily “Israel Hayom.”
Second, they opposed draft legislation for a basic law that would give a new quasi-constitutional anchor to Israel’s Jewish identity – the so-called Nation-State bill.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas Paving the Way to Turn West Bank into an Islamist State
Abbas has chosen to align himself with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, thus facilitating these two organizations' dreams of taking over the West Bank. These two radical groups seek to destroy Israel and are opposed to any peace process in the Middle East.
These threats are primarily aimed at getting the international community into providing the Palestinian Authority with more financial and political support.
This alliance could also result in renewed terrorist attacks against Israel, because Hamas and Islamic Jihad will interpret Abbas's anti-Israel moves and rhetoric as a green light for such actions.
Abbas's rapprochement with Hamas and Islamic Jihad will only confirm the fears of many Israelis that the West Bank will fall onto the hands of Islamists once Israel withdraws from that area.
The two-state solution started the day Hamas kicked Abbas out of the Gaza Strip and turned it into an Islamist emirate. In the end, the Palestinians got two states that are even at war with each other.
JPost Editorial: America, wake up!
This year, Passover should be a wake-up call for America. A sour note has been injected into our celebration as we look forward to Seder night and the four cups of wine that commemorate the four expressions of the freedom bestowed upon the Jewish people at this time in history.
Unless Jonathan Pollard is home in Jerusalem to celebrate as well, it will be virtually impossible to sustain the illusion that Israel has a fair and reliable relationship with our foremost ally, the United States of America.
Too much time has gone by; the Pollard travesty of justice remains unresolved. It is no longer possible for any Israeli, or any honest person for that matter, to remain aloof and to imagine that what is happening to Pollard, concerns only Pollard.
Pollard has become a symbol – a powerful icon of Israeli weakness and of American disregard for Israel as a valued ally.

JCPA: Israel and the Gaza Strip: Why Economic Sanctions Are Not Collective Punishment
The economic measures that Israel uses against the Hamas proto-government in Gaza fall under legitimate uses of economic sanctions, and conform to the requirements set forth in Article 50 of the 1899 Hague Regulations; Articles 23, 43, 51, 54, 57, 59, 69, and 70 of the Fourth Geneva Convention; Article 75 of the Additional Protocol I to the Fourth Geneva Convention; and Article 4 of the Additional Protocol II to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Other global organizations and countries, including the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations routinely impose similar economic sanctions without being criticized. In fact, United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1373, 1456, and 1566 require that Israel prevent Hamas from obtaining funding and supplies that it could use for terrorist purposes. It should be kept in mind that Hamas, together with its sponsors, is among the entities included on the United States’, Europe’s, and others’ lists of proscribed organizations.
Many supposed ‘human rights’ organizations that condemn Israel for committing war crimes do so out of bias rather than a true search for justice. The manner in which they single-mindedly focus on Israel’s misdeeds, no matter how trivial, and downplay other countries’ atrocities, shows their partiality. The NGOs’ misuse of their roles is most glaring in the fact that they often must twist the definition of ‘war crimes’ or ignore legal safeguards in order to make their arguments.
The Fourth Netanyahu Government: Time to Go to Work
The 2015 election results give Binyamin Netanyahu and the national camp a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact on the country's future · For the first time, Netanyahu will be able to for a stable center-right coalition which will enable him to enact long term changes · Mida's recommendations for the Fourth Netanyahu Government
Beyond all the usual post-election chatter, one thing is clear: Binyamin Netanyahu can now form a stable center-right coalition capable of truly governing the country, instead of just muddling through and surviving. The man and the hour have met, and after years of unstable governments, Binyamin Netanyahu has a golden opportunity to set the national agenda.
Over the past few months, Mida published its own proposed "platform" for a future elected government. With the election results now in, we take this opportunity to focus on three key policy areas in which the Fourth Netanyahu Government can make an appreciable difference: conducting a growth-oriented economic policy, restoring sovereignty and internal security to the country's periphery, and strengthening the governing capacity of the Knesset and government.
David M. Weinberg: Rethinking the peace process
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu activated a cacophony of global clucking and groaning with his statement late in the election campaign that he no longer viewed establishment of a Palestinian state as a realistic or possible path to peace in the near term. There would be no Israeli territorial withdrawals during his tenure, he said.
While Netanyahu made these hawkish comments in the context of a last-ditch attempt to draw voters to Likud from the hard Right, they nevertheless probably faithfully represent Netanyahu's worldview and assessment of the situation.
Netanyahu, like most Israelis, would prefer a two-state solution to bring clarity of borders, stability and quality of life to Israelis and Palestinians. However, given the track record of Palestinian leaders who have consistently rejected good-faith and far-reaching Israeli peace offers, most Israelis do not believe that a realistic compromise with the Palestinians is in the offing.
Moreover, under current circumstances, Israeli withdrawals would likely lead to establishment of a second "Hamastan" in the West Bank (or worse, an Islamic State type regime), not to a stable and peaceful reality.
Palestinian State? A "Crazy State" Does Not Play By The Rules
Palestinian Arabs using non-conventional types of violence can surely take credit for “inventing” skyjackings, a political vehicle that permitted taking hostages and extorting political concessions for their release. Palestinians initiated attacks on El Al passengers and airliners at international airports and escalated the violence by blowing up civilian airliners in midair – the first; the killing of 47 passengers and crew aboard a Swissair flight from Zurich to Tel Aviv in February 1970.
As far as “not reacting predictably to deterrence or other tools of diplomacy,” in 1974 Palestinians claimed responsibility for the first-ever Palestinian suicide-bombing, when 18 hostages near the town of Kiryat-Shmona in northern Israel were murdered by a Palestinian terrorist loaded with explosives.
Today, the battle that Israel wages against terrorism, and one the Western world must also wage, affects the entire free world.
A rogue state, said Rabin “requires special treatment and high levels of international pressure in order to prevent it from wrecking public order, setting off wars, and subverting whole areas of the world” … “an international equivalent of incarceration or committed to a mental institution, until there is sufficient recovery to permit re-entry into the international system.”
Unfortunately, the world community has been ignoring the prospect that a full-blown independent Palestinian state will become just that kind of rogue state and renegade organization the world is grappling with today.
Netanyahu: “I Want a Sustainable, Peaceful, Two-State Solution”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to a peaceful two-state solution with the Palestinians, in his first post-election interview, with Andrea Mitchell of NBC. Netanyahu also expressed his pride leading people of all different ethnicities, downplayed his differences with President Barack Obama, and reiterated his concerns about a nuclear Iran.
When Mitchell asked him if he had abandoned his commitment to a two-state solution, following his controversial election-eve comments, Netanyahu pushed back:
The premises of your questions are wrong. I haven’t changed my policy. I never retracted my speech in Bar Illan University 6 years ago calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state. What has changed is the reality. Abu Mazen the Palestinian leader refuses to recognize the Jewish state, has made a pact with Hamas, that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, and every territory that is vacated today in the Middle East is taken up by Islamist forces. We want that to change so can realize a vision of real sustained peace. I don’t want a one state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful, two state solution but for that circumstances have to change.
First of all that state would become a terror state. Iran has said that it would the arm the West Bank the way it armed Gaza. We withdrew from Gaza. We got, just a few months ago – not ancient history but a few months ago – thousands of rockets, Andrea, on our heads … we don’t want it to happen again.
And I think that the administration has said time and time again that the only way to achieve peace is a negotiated solution. You can’t impose peace. And in any case, if you want to get peace, you’ve got to get the Palestinian leadership to abandon their pact with Hamas and engage in genuine negotiations with Israel for an achievable peace.
PLO Council Declares Economic War on Israel
The Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), held a meeting on Thursday in which it formulated a new economic plan to attack Israel and try to save the financially floundering Palestinian Authority (PA).
PLO Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Economy Dr. Mohammed Mustafa revealed details of the meeting in Ramallah on Thursday to the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency.
"We talked about ending economic cooperation with Israel that is in line with policies designed to shackle and stifle the Palestinian economy, and create Palestinian economic dependence on Israel," said Mustafa.
The move comes after Israel in January froze the transfer of $127 million in taxes on imported goods collected monthly for the PA, as a penalty for the PA applying to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to sue Israel for "war crimes" in a unilateral move breaching the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Revealing the scope of the effect in the punitive measure, PLO Finance Minister Shukri Bishara in February acknowledged the freeze is costing the PA 70% of its budget.
Elections Driving Hamas to Try Again for PA Unity Government
Hamas is not pleased with the 2015 elections results, which saw Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu re-elected and the Likud party with a record 30 seats that will likely lead to a right-wing government.
"The regional, international, and Zionist developments teach us that the future carries hope for people of principles," Ismail Haniyeh, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau and former head of the Hamas government, said on Thursday.
Haniyeh said that Hamas was not surprised by the results of the elections, stressing the need for "formulating a strategy based on adherence to Palestinian rights, through struggle, application of the unity government [with the Palestinian Authority - ed.] and the end of general appeasement."
In this context, Haniyeh said the split between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) must come to an end through the implementation of the reconciliation agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas, and he called for presidential elections, as well as for parliament and the Palestinian National Council to convene the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leadership.
Media distorts Bibi’s statements, then claims he’s walking them back
The distortion of Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election statements on a two-state solution and Arab voting was a classic Obama and media distortion.
If you take the actual text of Netanyahu said, he never ruled out a two-state solution and never discouraged Arab voting. But those were the headlines and the foaming-at-the mouth hyperbole, fomented by the Obama administration in numerous anonymous statements to the media.
Schmuel Rosner has the analysis, from earlier today, Is Obama getting ready to throw Israel under a UN bus?:
Prime Minister Netanyahu has no “newly declared opposition to a Palestinian state”. If the White House wants to use a badly framed statement by Netanyahu as an excuse for a change in American policy – if it wants, as the WH hinted, to “turn to the U.N. to help force a deal” with the Palestinians on Israel – it should not come as a great surprise. But Netanyahu’s words are the excuse, not the reason, for the change. The reason is Netanyahu’s victory and the administrations’ vindictive mood toward him and toward the country that elected him….
The first statement was merely an assessment of the situation. Netanyahu did not say that he opposes the two state solution – he said that under current circumstances he doesn’t see a Palestinian State established in his coming term as Prime Minister. And he is probably right in this assessment.
After wait, Obama congratulates Netanyahu on election victory
US President Barack Obama on Thursday called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his recent election win, after a campaign that soured relations between the two allies.
Obama spoke to the Israeli leader “to congratulate him on his party’s success in winning a plurality of Knesset seats,” the National Security Council said in a statement.
But Obama also told Netanyahu that the US is reassessing its approach to Israeli-Palestinian peace in light of Netanyahu’s pre-election comments rejecting the establishment of a Palestinian state, a White House official said. Netanyahu had backtracked on those comments earlier Thursday, but the White House had swiftly dismissed his new, more moderate comments.
The White House official said Obama also raised Netanyahu’s critical comments about Israeli Arabs voting in disproportionately high numbers on election day, which the White House has denounced as a “cynical” effort to mobilize voters.
In First Post-Election Interview Netanyahu Says He Supports ‘Sustainable’ Two-State Solution, Never Changed His Policy
In his first interview with American media after his Likud party’s election victory, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he supports a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state, if specific circumstances make that a realistic possibility.
“I don’t want a one-state solution,” he said in an interview with NBC News. “I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution.”
In a pre-election interview on Monday, Netanyahu had told the NRGwebsite that he would not support Israeli withdrawal from its territory to make room for a Palestinian state, due to the possibility of attacks by Islamic extremists.
“I haven’t changed my policy,” Netanyahu told NBC News on Thursday. “I never retracted my speech at Bar-Ilan University six years ago calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state.”
Netanyahu said he believes “circumstances have to change” for there to be a Palestinian state, adding that current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has made a pact with Hamas that calls for Israel’s destruction.
Netanyahu to Fox: Comments over Arab voters need to be taken in context
Netanyahu, during a Friday interview on the Fox News channel, was asked by host Megyn Kelly if he regretted comments he made on election day about Arab-Israelis turning out to vote against him "in droves," the Israeli premier said his words "should be taken in a larger context."
"I warned of foreign money coming in to selectively try and bring out supporters of a list that includes Islamists and other factions that oppose the State of Israel," he said, referring to the Joint Arab list, which on March 17 became the third largest party in the Knesset.
Regarding comments he made in a 2009 speech at Bar Ilan University endorsing a two-state solution, Netanyahu charged that the conditions for a "solution in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes a Jewish state" have changed.
The four-time prime minister of Israel said he did not retract comments, adding that "the conditions for that, today, are not achievable" for a simple reason.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' rejection of a Jewish state, his alliance with the Gaza-based Hamas organization, and the volatility in the region have changed "the terms" for an agreement, Netanyahu told Kelly, host of "The Kelly File" on Fox.
Washington rejects Netanyahu backtrack on two-state solution
Netanyahu seemingly attempted to mend ties with Washington by walking back a pre-election promise not to support a Palestinian state, but spokespeople in the White House and State Department did not express any sentiments welcoming Netanyahu’s assurances that he continued to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu was the prime minister three days ago as well,” responded State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki to his Thursday assurances. “We believe he changed his position three days ago.”
On Monday, the day before the elections, Netanyahu was asked by an interviewer from Israel’s NRG website about policy on the Palestinians and said: “Anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state, anyone who is going to evacuate territories today, is simply giving a base for attacks to the radical Islam against Israel. This is the true reality that was created here in the last few years.” Asked in a follow-up if it was true that no Palestinian state would be established during his premiership if he were re-elected, he answered: “Indeed.”
The comment was an about face from Netanyahu’s landmark 2009 Bar-Ilan University speech, in which he declared support for a two-state solution.
AIPAC urges Obama to strengthen ties with Netanyahu
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Thursday night called on Washington to strengthen its ties with Israel following the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and castigated the White House for its cool response to the Israeli leader’s statements that — contrary to his preelection stance — he supports the two-state solution.
“Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly and clearly reaffirmed his commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” a statement by AIPAC said.
“Unfortunately, administration spokespersons rebuffed the prime minister’s efforts to improve the understandings between Israel and the US,” it continued. “In contrast to their comments, we urge the administration to further strengthen ties with America’s most reliable and only truly democratic ally in the Middle East.
Likud in Jerusalem, Zionist Union in Tel Aviv
Nationally, the right-wing Likud Party garnered 23.3 percent of the vote and the center-left Zionist Union coalition garnered 18.7 percent of the vote, followed by the United Arab List with nearly 11 percent of the vote, according to Israel’s Central Elections Committee.
In Jerusalem, Likud finished with 24 percent of the vote and United Torah Judaism won 21 percent. The Sephardic Orthodox Shas party was next with 11 percent, followed by the Zionist Union at 10 percent and Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party at 8 percent. The Yachad party, led by former Shas lawmaker Eli Yishai, garnered 7 percent of the vote in the city but failed to meet the minimum number of votes nationally required to enter the Knesset. The Joint Arab List picked up 1.2 percent of the vote in Jerusalem.
In Tel Aviv, the Zionist Union won 34 percent of the vote and Likud had 18 percent. Next were the left-wing Meretz with 13 percent and the centrist Yesh Atid with 11 percent. Both Jewish Home and the Joint Arab List had 3 percent of the city’s vote.
In Sderot, the southern Israeli city that has borne the brunt of rocket attacks from Gaza, 42 percent of ballots went to Likud, 11 percent to Jewish Home, 8 percent to Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party and 7.5 percent to the Zionist Union.
Can the Israeli Left Ever Win Again?
They remain unconvinced because the left’s story says nothing about the mounting evidence of Palestinian belligerence, from the PLO’s embrace of Hamas to the Palestinian Authority’s repeated insistence upon shunning negotiations in favor of symbolic but futile appeals to a host of international institutions. They remain unconvinced because they’re not exactly clear on how committing not to build in Itamar or Beit El or Ariel would mollify Hamas or Hezbollah. They remain unconvinced because when they consider the left’s exhortations and look to Washington and London and Paris for inspiration they see no sensible game plan to halt Iran’s nuclear ambition, not to mention its giddy support for terrorism and violence the world over. They remain unconvinced because they see those ghoulish ISIL videos and they know that it’s only a matter of time before the turmoil spreading everywhere from Libya to Syria knocks at their door.
How, then, might the Israeli left proceed? First, it should return to Israel. The starring role played by an American run and funded anti-Bibi PAC this election season isn’t coincidental; it reflects the left’s growing financial and emotional reliance on foreign support. Rather than try to win elections and effect change by turning to the EU or the DNC, the left might try chatting with those actual Israelis who gave Netanyahu his most impressive political upset yet, and learn why so many of them opted to overcome their personal distaste for the man and give him another term.
Rubio Delivers Blistering Speech on Obama’s Assault on Israel
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) took to the Senate floor Thursday to voice his opinion on President Obama’s assault on Israel.
It has taken two days for Obama to call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and congratulate him on his reelection. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have taken part in very sensitive talks with Iran about its nuclear program.
Rubio began speaking on how Obama has always been among the first to call controversial leaders and congratulate them on winning their elections but has remained silent when it came to congratulating on the United States’ biggest ally in the Middle East. Rubio continued, making multiple points that the Obama administration has not stood with Israel.
“If America does not stand with Israel, who would we stand with?” Rubio said.
Marco Rubio Delivers Blistering Speech on Obama's Assault on Israel

March 19, 2015: Sen. Tom Cotton speaks on the Senate floor about the U.S.-Israel Alliance (h/t Jewess)

Syrian rebel groups congratulate Netanyahu on his election victory
Various Syrian rebel group leaders have sent congratulatory messages to newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to an Israeli Druse who has acted as a go-between with Israel.
“We extend to you and the great leadership of the Israeli people our warmest congratulations and blessings in the democratic wedding witnessed by the State of Israel,” wrote one opposition political activist, Musa Al-Nabhan, in a letter sent to Mendi Safadi and shared with The Jerusalem Post.
Specifically, Nabhan addressed his congratulations to Netanyahu as well as newly elected Druse Likud MK Ayoub Kara, adding, “We hope that your government will continue to provide the necessary support to the Syrian people, which are fond of you and looking to build the best of relations on all levels.”
Expert: Failure of US to Renew Israeli Emergency Oil Pact Will Not Hurt Israel
Energy expert Ed Chow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies downplayed the present day importance of the US emergency oil pact with Israel, in an interview with The Algemeiner on Tuesday.
Chow said that the oil markets are markedly different than in the 1970s when the US first made its pact with Israel. If Israel were to experience a true emergency, it would have greater access to the oil markets than it did 40 years ago.
Chow made the comments amidst concerns that the US might not renew the historic pact with Israel. As reported in Globes on Monday, the US has not yet renewed the agreement. The publication questioned whether the US’s failure to renew the pact was the result of “renewed friction between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House.”
Last year, signs pointed to the successful renegotiation of the oil pact.
Israel and the US first entered into the emergency oil pact in 1975. The agreement was formalized in 1979 after the Iranian revolution jolted oil markets. In the event of an emergency, the US agreed to provide the Israel with oil, and even secure transit in certain circumstances. President Clinton renewed the agreement in 1994, as did President Bush in 2004.
Boehner said to visit Israel at end of March
According to three anonymous Israeli officials, Boehner was expected to arrive in Israel on March 31 at the head of a delegation of Republican congressmen. The officials told the paper that Boehner’s visit was finalized during Netanyahu’s visit to the US earlier this month.
The senior Republican lawmaker’s visit is set to coincide with the deadline of nuclear talks between world powers and Iran. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that talks have stalled over the issue of sanctions relief, with Iran demanding an immediate lifting of economic restrictions — a move the US and European powers refuse to concede.
There was no immediate official comment from the House speaker’s office about the report.
The New York Times' Anti-Bibi Campaign
The New York Times is so consumed with everything that goes on in Israel that it actively 'campaigned', so to speak, against Israeli leader Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu in the run-up to Israeli elections. Even Paul Krugman, an economic affairs columnist, weighed in with an attack piece on Netanyahu a day before the election ("Israel's Gilded Age", March 16, 2015). Accusing Netanyahu of deflecting attention away from Israelis' economic discontent,” Krugman expounded on what he declared was the "disturbing transformation in the country's income distribution and society" under the Israeli leader's helm.
But many Israelis put security concerns above economic ones, giving Bibi’s party the most support,and apparently leaving The New York Times editorial staff fuming.
The newspaper’s lead editorial following the election was a hysterical screed against Netanyahu. Under the headline, “An Israeli Election Turns Ugly,” the editorialist piled on the insults against the Israeli leader: Netanyahu was labelled “desperate,” “craven,” “duplicitous,” “subversive,” “inflammatory,” “outrageous,” “racist,” and more.
New York Times News Pages Go Into Editorializing Overdrive
The New York Times news pages are in editorializing overdrive today. Diaa Hadid has looked into Benjamin Netanyahu's heart and determined that, in light of his statements while campaigning for votes on election day, his earlier support for a Palestinian state was nothing more than a "pretense." And she looked into Mahmoud Abbas's heart to conclude, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that he "has long preferred negotiations for statehood rather than acting unilaterally."
Her colleague Jodi Rudoren, meanwhile, echoes critics who argue that Israel's proposed nationality bill from late 2014 downgrades Israeli democracy — but takes their opinion and repackages it as a fact.
Observers and pundits are, of course, entitled to hold any of the above views. Hadid and Rudoren, too, are welcome to those beliefs. But in their role as news reporters, they are expected to avoid such editorializing. That's for the opinion pages. As the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics puts it, newspapers must "distinguish between advocacy and news reporting."
Elections 2015: round up of BBC coverage – the run-up
Among those foreign journalists who arrived in Israel especially for the election were the BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen, its chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet and Turkey correspondent Mark Lowen.
Of course an inflated number of journalists means a high volume of coverage and the BBC is no exception to that rule. However, quantity is not necessarily a guarantee of accuracy or impartiality.
In the days running up to the election the BBC News website’s Middle East page published four items, beginning with an appeal to Israeli voters for interviews on March 6th which later produced an article titled “Israel election: What do voters want?” – previously discussed here. On March 13th Kevin Connolly asked “Israel election: Will outcome revive peace process?” which focused on the topic of the potential effect of the elections on talks with the PLO, despite the fact that Israeli voters had repeatedly made it clear that was not the main election issue. On March 14th the BBC News website finally got round to providing some very limited background information on the leaders of six of the 26 lists running for election in an article titled “Israel election: Who are the key candidates?“.
Elections 2015: round up of BBC coverage – election day filmed reports, part one
After having found two people on the streets of Ramallah to endorse her claim that “many believe it doesn’t even matter if the next Israeli prime minister is Left or Right wing”, she closes by promoting the debatable notion that “the Palestinian president says he’ll work to revive peace talks with Israel”.
In less than two months’ time, the British public will also be going to the polls. It is highly unlikely that the BBC’s election coverage will include “UK election: The view from Buenos Aires”, reports in which Spanish officials bemoan the fact that the issue of Gibraltar is not on the British voters’ agenda or interviews with IRA officials claiming that the ‘occupation’ of Northern Ireland has gone on “too long”. Were the BBC to indeed produce such reports, British voters would no doubt question its editorial priorities – and perhaps its collective sanity.
The decision to allow the broadcast of this piece of blatant political propaganda from Yolande Knell, which actively detracts from accurate audience understanding of the topic she is supposed to be covering (as well the broader subject of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in general), should likewise be questioned.
Elections 2015: round up of BBC coverage – election day filmed reports, part two
Bowen’s suggestion that the previous government had put “expensive Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territory ahead of the cost of living” failed to clarify to BBC audiences that the status of Area C (in which all Israeli towns and villages are located) is in fact subject to negotiation according to the terms of the Oslo Accords and his categorization of that land as “occupied Palestinian territory” is hence misleading. Similarly, on a helicopter ride Bowen purported to show viewers “…the barrier that separates Israel from the Palestinian West Bank…” without any mention of the issue of final status negotiations and with no clarification of the reason why that anti-terrorist fence had to be built. According to Bowen, the anti-terrorist fence”…shows Israel’s security preoccupation with the Palestinians…” but again, no effort was made to explain to viewers what that actually means, or why.
Whilst he acknowledged that economy related issues were of prime importance to Israeli voters in this election, Bowen failed to provide audiences with any meaningful factual background on that topic, instead – like so many of his colleagues – constantly bringing the focus of his reporting back to the issue upon which Israelis did not go to the polls to decide.
US Intel Report Adds Fourth Netanyahu Term to List of Terror Threats (satire)
The just published Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Communities included an electoral victory for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party.
According to Ferris Appleby, the Assistant Director of National Intelligence who delivered the annual report to the United States Senate: “Netanyahu’s nonstop bellyaching about a nuclear holocaust is a major buzzkill. Every time the United States gets ready to hand over the keys to the Middle East to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Israeli premier slaps them away. Where’s the love, Bibi? It is the conclusion of this report that Prime Minister Netanyahu is so uptight, if you stuck a centrifuge up his ass, in two weeks, you’d have a dirty bomb.”
US State Department Endorses Hamas in Upcoming Elections (satire)
Now that Benjamin Netanyahu has been reelected as Israel’s Prime Minister, an outcome that the U.S. says they are absolutely not totally way upset about, the State Department has decided to endorse a party on the other side: Hamas.
“We would like to extend our support to the Hamas party in Gaza’s upcoming election,” said State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “We have similar views when it comes to Iran,” she added. Hamas, Hezbollah, the Tasmanian devil, the regular devil, Voldemort, and the Obama Administration have all insisted that Iran can be trusted with a nuclear weapons program, given that it’s peaceful, of course.
Like Israel, determining the timing of Gaza’s next election cycle can be a bit tricky. Hamas was democratically elected in 2006 on what’s called a ‘conditional term cycle’, meaning that elections take place once Israel is annihilated, either by Iran or otherwise.

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