Monday, 23 May 2016

Palestinians in Gaza pour scorn on Lieberman threats

In February 2015, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's new defence minister, who was serving as a foreign minister at the time, declared that; "a fourth operation in the Gaza Strip is inevitable, just as a third Lebanon war is inevitable."

As the second anniversary of Israel's war on Gaza, dubbed Operation Protective edge, approaches, Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave say that Lieberman's appointment as the Israel's defence minister brings him a step closer to achieving his unsettling prophecy.

"We should not be fooled by Zionists who hate the Lieberman-Netanyahu unity," wrote Refaat Alareer, a Palestinian writer and activists, "they, too, want Palestinians killed, but with [silk] scarves, not bombs!"

Lieberman, a staunch opponent of peace with Palestinians who heads of the extreme right wing party Yisrael Beiteinu, has served two terms as foreign minister and has little significant military experience.

Over the past few years, Gaza in particular bore the brunt of Lieberman's bravado. During the 2014 war on Gaza, Lieberman publicly criticized Netanyahu accusing him of "not cracking down hard enough on Gaza". more

Shake-up in Israeli politics prompts 'seeds of fascism' warning

A military affairs commentator interrupts his broadcast to deliver a monologue: I'm alarmed by what's happening in Israel, he says, I think my children should leave.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak warns of "the seeds of fascism". Moshe Arens, who served as defense minister three times, sees it as a turning point in Israeli politics and expects it to cause a "political earthquake".

The past five days have produced tumult in Israeli politics, since conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unexpectedly turned his back on a deal to bring the center-left into his coalition and instead joined hands with far-right nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, one of his most virulent critics.

Lieberman, a West Bank settler, wants to be defense minister. So on Friday, Netanyahu's former ally and confidant, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, resigned and quit Netanyahu's Likud party in disgust.

After a weekend to digest the developments, which are expected to be finalised in an agreement between Netanyahu and Lieberman on Monday to form the most right-wing government in Israel's 68-year-old history, commentators have tried to put it in perspective and found themselves alarmed.

Arens, who has served as defense minister, foreign minister and ambassador to the United States, and is one of Netanyahu's early political mentors, said the machinations would have far-reaching repercussions.

"Yaalon's ouster is likely to be a turning point in Israel's political history," he wrote in the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper. "A political earthquake is in the offing. It may take a little time, but it is coming. The law of unforeseen consequences is at work."

The decision to jettison Yaalon in favor of Lieberman was all too much for Roni Daniel, a veteran military affairs commentator on Channel 2.

"I cannot urge my children to stay here, because it is a place that is not nice to be in," he said in his monologue, going on to name a number of far-right politicians. more

Newly appointed far-right Knesset member tours Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli right-winger Yehuda Glick was escorted under armed protection into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday morning, days after it was announced that he would be sworn in as the newest member to Israel’s Knesset.

Firas al-Dibs, a spokesperson for the Islamic Endowment that controls the compound, told Ma’an that a group of right-wing Israelis including the “far-right extremist Yehuda Glick” entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through the Moroccan gate escorted by Israeli forces, toured the compound, and left through the Chain gate.

After Moshe Yaalon announced his resignation as defense minister on Friday following Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to offer the position to the ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman, it was revealed that Glick would fill Yaalon’s seat as MK, as he was next in line on the Likud party’s list of candidates to replace a sitting Knesset member.

Under current agreements, Glick’s visit to Al-Aqsa on Monday would be his last legal opportunity to do so, as Netanyahu issued a ban in October on all Israeli Knesset members and governmental ministers -- including Palestinians and Muslims -- from entering the compound, in an attempt to ease tensions at the site. more