Israel Political Brief March 15, 2012: British PM David Cameron says Britain opposes Israeli strike against Iran at this time

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Cameron says Britain opposes Israeli strike against Iran at this time

Source: JTA, 3-15-12

British Prime Minister David Cameron said his country has informed Jerusalem that it opposes an Israeli military strike against Iran at this time.

“I don’t think as we stand today that military action by Israel would be justified,” Cameron told NBC’s Brian Williams. “I don’t think the Israelis should take that action now. We told them they shouldn’t and said we wouldn’t support it if they did. We’ve been very clear. I’m a friend of Israel. Israel has a right to exist as a democratic state. It’s very, very important it knows it has strong allies like America, like the United Kingdom , but I don’t support action now because, frankly, we’ve got more road to run in putting in place sanctions and putting in place tough measures against the regime and saying to them they need to take a different path.”…READ MORE

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Israel Political Brief March 16, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Makes the Case for Going It Alone Against Iran

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu Makes the Case for Going It Alone Against Iran

By his own account, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Washington this month with two goals.

Source: Time, 3-15-12

Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images

Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a director-generals conference March 13, 2012 in Jerusalem, Israel.

By his own account, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Washington this month with two goals. One was to continue his 15-year campaign to push Iran’s nuclear program to the top of the world’s agenda. That mission was accomplished, Netanyahu declared to the Knesset on Wednesday. The other aim was to hear Washington acknowledge that Israel has the right to launch a military operation on its own against Iran if it sees fit. “This position was positively received in the United States, I would even say in the most profound way,” he said.

With that, the Israeli Premier launched an extended argument for defying American requests for restraint and going ahead with a strike on Iran. He cited as precedent the bold calls of three of his predecessors: David Ben-Gurion’s decision to announce independence in 1948 despite the U.S. Secretary of State’s advice to wait; Levi Eshkol’s decision to launch the 1967 Six-Day War despite President Lyndon Johnson’s warning; and Menachem Begin’s 1981 decision to strike Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak (though Ronald Reagan appeared mostly amused when he heard about that strike, famously remarking, “Boys will be boys!”).

(MORE: Diplomacy With Iran: Hey, What’s the Hurry?)

“I presented the example I just gave you to my hosts in Washington,” Netanyahu reported, “and I believe that the first goal I set — to strengthen the recognition of Israel’s right to defend itself — I think that goal was achieved.”

Never mind that, by the end of the speech, Netanyahu sounded as though the target of an Israeli attack would be the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian enclave from which militants launched more than 200 missiles over the previous week, many of them supplied by Iran. “Gaza equals Iran,” he said, concluding the speech with the warning: “Sooner or later, Iran’s terror base in Gaza will be uprooted.” Analysts came away from the session convinced that the first target remains Tehran and debated whether he was indeed serious about going it alone or merely giving the appearance in order to keep international pressure on Iran….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 15, 2012: Gaza rocket fire continues to strike Southern Israel despite cease-fire — Southern Israeli schools are closed

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

With rocket fire continuing, southern Israeli schools are closed

Source: JTA, 3-15-12

Schools were closed in southern Israel again as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip continued to strike despite a cease-fire.

The cities of Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi and Gan Yavne canceled classes for Thursday after several rockets targeted Beersheba the day before. Schoolchildren in Netivot were sent home Thursday after a rocket landed next to a school that morning while it was in session.

At least half a dozen rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel by mid-afternoon Thursday. Two rockets fired at Beersheba were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Islamic Jihad has denied responsibility for Thursday’s rocket fire, according to Haaretz. The military believes small, radical factions are firing the rockets.

Early Thursday morning, the Israel Defense Forces said it struck a rocket-launching site and what it called a “terror tunnel” in Gaza. “The targeting of these sites is in direct response to the rockets fired at Israel,” including rockets fired Wednesday night against Beersheba, an IDF statement said.

“Hamas uses other terror organizations to carry out terror attacks against the State of Israel and will bear the consequences of these actions in any future operation embarked upon by the IDF in order to eliminate the terror threat and restore the relative calm to the area,” the statement added….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 15, 2012: PM Netanyahu pledges to counter racism against Ethiopians

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu pledges to counter racism against Ethiopians

Source: JTA, 3-15-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a meeting with Ethiopian community leaders said he was committed to stopping racism.

“I asked for this meeting because I am committed to the Ethiopian immigrant public,” Netanyahu said at Wednesday’s meeting. “One of the things that I cannot tolerate is displays of racism.”

Netanyahu told the Ethiopian leaders — social activists and community religious leaders — about plans by his government to help the Ethiopian community’s integration into Israeli society….READ MORE

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