Tag Archives: benjamin netanyahu

Observations of an Expat: Poor Bibi

Spare a thought for Bibi Netanyahu. He is caught between a rock and several hard places. He is fighting external wars against Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran; an internal war against his cabinet colleagues and a diplomatic one against the Biden Administration and most of the rest of the world, if not all of it.

The results of this complex picture could be Armageddon, stalemate or any one of the many in between scenarios.

While pondering the fate of the Israeli prime minister you may also want to consider all the other players who are dragging the world to the brink of a Middle Eastern abyss: President Joe Biden, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar. They are locked in a dangerous escalating tit for tat dance of death.

Within the Israeli cabinet there is a four-way tug-of-war between Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and War Cabinet Minister and Opposition Leader Benny Gantz. They all appear to hate and distrust each other.

According to sources, Gallant and Gantz have hardly spoken to each other since Benny Gantz beat out Yoav Gallant for the top military job ten years ago. Itamar Ben-Gvir is an ultra-Orthodox Jew who said Netanyahu should “go berserk” after Iran’s missile attack on Israel. He described Israel’s retaliatory attack on Iran’s third most populous city, Isfahan, as “lame.”

Gallant is not as extreme as Ben-Gvir, but not far off. Benny Gantz is the nearest thing to a dove that there is in the Israeli war cabinet. But even he is calling for the “total destruction” of Hamas. If elections were held today, Gantz would be prime minister.

All four men have conflicting views on a post-war Gaza. Netanyahu wants the army to take over. Gallant wants an ill-defined arrangement with the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority. Ben-Gvir is pushing for replacing the 2.2 million Gazan Palestinians with Israeli settlers and Benny Gantz is keeping his cards close to his chest, but hints at a politically slimmed down two-state solution.

Netanyahu, according to sources, deals with his rivals by ignoring them. All the major decisions since October 7 have been made by the prime minister without – or with the minimum – consultation.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 9 Comments

Tom Arms’ World Review

Trump

Trump has been too tight-fisted for his own good. That is the judgement of number of those observing the trial of ex-president Donald Trump on racketeering charges related to his alleged efforts to subvert the Georgia electoral process.

So far, three lawyers and one bail-bondsman out of 19 of Trump’s co-defendants – have flipped, pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the ex-president.

One of the main reasons for their change of heart is believed to be astronomical legal fees. America’s top legal eagles are expected to turn up in the Georgia courtroom for the Trump trial. Their fees can be as high as $5,000 per hour and each defendant is expected to have two or three attorneys each for the six-month trial.

The fees for just one lawyer could run to $3.6 million. The latest co-defendant to change sides is Jenna Ellis. Her crowdfunding page raised $216, 431 for legal fees – a drop in the proverbial ocean. This means that most of the co-defendants face the prospect of bankruptcy unless they turn against Trump.

The ex-president may have been able to retain their loyalty by paying their legal fees. He has refused to do so. All the money being raised by his crowdfunding efforts is going to his legal fees alone, except for what he can siphon off for his presidential campaign.

There are other reasons for bail bondsman Scott Hall, and lawyers Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro to switch sides. Agreeing to help the prosecution means that prison time has been more or less ruled out. And the lawyers are hoping that the most they will be found guilty of is a misdemeanour. If the jury opts for a felony charge then they will be disbarred and lose their legal license.

There are, however, risks in turning against Trump. He has repeatedly proven himself to be a vengeful man with thousands of followers prepared to harass those who turn up against him and even issue death threats. And death by shooting is a very real danger in America – as the people in Lewiston, Maine discovered this week.

Israel

Why are we waiting? Is the question being asked by thousands of Israeli soldiers camped on the Gaza border and in the street cafes of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised a ground invasion of Gaza to end the power of Hamas once and for all. But so far no Israeli boots have trod on Gaza ground.

There have been a lot of exploding artillery shells – an estimated 8,000 of them. And there has been a watertight blockade which has left 2.2 million Gazans without food, water, electricity and vital medicines. As a result an estimated 6,000 Gazans – many of them women and children – have died, and the world’s sympathy is shifting from Israel to Gaza.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

Observations of an expat: Israel’s political demographics

Supreme Court changes. West Bank settlers. Fighting on Temple Mount and renewed missile exchanges between Israel, Lebanon and Gaza.

They are the result of growing divisions within Israeli society and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is as much a reflection of these realities as he is a driver and exploiter of the splits.

Roughly a quarter of Israel’s 9.2 million Jews are Orthodox. Another quarter regard themselves as Secular. The 50 percent balance are a variety of in-between shades which means a more or less even split between the two sides of the debate.

And it is a debate. A vicious and increasingly divisive one. Virtually everyone is agreed on Israel’s role as the Jewish homeland. A big majority support the 2018 law which defines Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and were pleased that the Israeli Supreme Court upheld that law with a 10-1 vote.

But there are heated arguments about what should be the values of the state of Israel and how to achieve them.

One big difference is the special treatment handed out to religious Jews. Until 2014 they were exempt from military service– a big deal in a country which prides itself on a semi-professional citizen’s army. In that year the Supreme Court ruled the exemption unconstitutional. They have, however, allowed postponements for the purposes of religious studies. They have also allowed the exemption for Orthodox Jewish women to continue.

Unsurprisingly, secular Jews are angry that they bear the brunt of physically protecting their homeland.

The situation is exacerbated by generous welfare subsidies paid to Orthodox men to allow them full-time study of the Torah. Sixty percent of Orthodox Jewish men live on welfare compared to 10 percent in the population as a whole.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

David Steel writes… Time to talk to Hamas

Gaza Burns - photo by Al Jazeera EnglishI suspect that there is growing dismay, not to say anger, among our population as they watch on television the daily slaughter and destruction in Gaza, at the mealy-mouthed statements from both our Government and the American’s in response.

Spokesmen for the Israelis regularly recount the huge number of rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli territory, but fail to tell us that the vast majority of these have been successfully intercepted without casualties. In fact, over the entire last decade they have killed …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 44 Comments

Will Israel attack Iran, and will this break the Coalition?

Although not widely reported in the British media, there is a build up of expectation that Israel will attack Iran. It amazes me that this was barely discussed at our recent Brighton conference. There were two motions on this submitted for conference but both with rejected by Federal Conference Committee and, perhaps as a consequence, there were no foreign policy motions debated at conference.

To raise the question I had to wait until Tuesday when there were two Centre Forum fringe meetings on foreign policy. Neither of the fringe meetings was specifically on Iran, but the question was asked about what …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 29 Comments

Daily View 2×2: Jenga special

It’s Sunday. It’s 9am. It’s time for jenga, but first the news.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • A failure of scrutiny on digital bill: Peter Black blogs about the letter signed by, amongst others, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidates Bridget Fox and Julian Huppert. Danger of Parliament rushing through legislation without proper debate? Who would have thought it.
  • Elementary errors: Giles Wilkes on the important difference between a stock and a flow. More interesting and useful than I’ve made it sound.

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

BA fights to limit the impact of cabin crew strike

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 1 Comment
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