Israel Political Brief July 24, 2012: Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz Hints, Again, Iran Strike Imminent in Interview on IDF Radio

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Mofaz Hints, Again, Iran Strike Imminent

Kadima chairman accuses Netanyahu of “horse-trading with the Holy of Holies of Israel.”
Shaul Mofaz

Shaul Mofaz
Flash 90

Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz  hinted Tuesday, for the second time in 24 hours, that an Israeli strike on Iran is imminent. Mofaz was Deputy Prime Minister and a member of the inner security cabinet until a few days ago, and therefore was in a position to know if such a strike is indeed impending.

He did this in the context of a failed attempt by Likud to engineer a split in Kadima, and bring seven current Kadima Knesset members – as well as former MK Tzachi Hanegbi – into the coalition.

“I say this with a very heavy heart and with a very bad feeling,” Mofaz told IDF Radio. “It is worrisome that this is happening, of all places, in a state that used to know how to maintain the difference between political moves and personal security. This is horse-trading in the Holy of Holies of Israel.”…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 24, 2012: Journalist Uri Blau Convicted of Holding Classified Military Documents

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Journalist Uri Blau convicted of holding classified military documents

Source: JTA, 7-24-12

Uri Blau, the Haaretz journalist who accepted classified documents from an Israeli soldier, was convicted under a plea bargain….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 24, 2012: Avigdor Lieberman Tells Turkish Journalists: ‘No Reason’ to Apologize for Mavi Marmara Incident

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

‘No reason’ to apologize for Mavi Marmara incident, Lieberman tells Turkish journalists

Source: JTA, 7-24-12

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Avigdor Lieberman told Turkish journalists that Israel has “no reason to apologize” for the Mavi Marmara incident….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 24, 2012: GOP Leaders: President Barack Obama’s Announcing He Will Visit Israel in Second Presidential Term Comes 4 Years Too Late

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

GOP Leaders: Obama Announcement Comes 4 Years Too Late

Republican leaders have criticized an announcement made Monday that if President Obama were to get re-elected, he would visit Israel.
Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney
Reuters

Republican leaders have sharply criticized an announcement made Monday that if President Obama were to get re-elected to serve a second term in office, he would visit Israel.

“President Obama’s promise to visit Israel in his second term comes four years too late, and is emblematic of the lack of close coordination with Israel Candidate Obama led us to expect in 2008,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in a statement released by the Mitt Romney campaign.

“It also does not make up for the many shortcomings of his Middle East policy, ranging from the fact that Iran continues to race forward with its nuclear weapons program to his administration’s haplessness in the face of Syria’s support of terrorism, threats to use weapons of mass destruction and support of instability in the region,” he said, according to the statement….

“Our relationship with Israel should be a priority, not a distraction. President Obama has found time to visit dozens of other nations – including some near to Israel in the Middle East – and his treatment of our closest ally in the region has been profoundly disappointing,” he said.

Former United Nations ambassador John Bolton said in an interview with WABC Radio on Monday that, “Obama has been in office three and a half years, and he has had time to do more fundraisers than any other first-term American president, has probably played more rounds of golf than any other president since Dwight Eisenhower, and yet he has not had time to fit into his busy schedule even one trip to Israel.”

Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a backer of Republican Mitt Romney and the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also lashed out against President Obama for failing to visit Israel during his first term.

“Next week, Mitt Romney is traveling to Israel for the fourth time. Meanwhile, Barack Obama has yet to visit Israel as President, even as he has found time to visit numerous other countries around the world, including in the Middle East. We can only speculate about why the President has failed to visit the capital of our closest ally in the region, but we don’t need to speculate about the timing of the latest hint from the White House that President Obama will travel to Israel in his second term.

“It’s politically inspired, coming as it does only days before Mitt Romney heads off to Jerusalem.  One should not play political games with U.S. foreign policy, particularly at a moment when the Middle East is a tinderbox,” said Ros-Lehtinen.

Israel Political Brief July 24, 2012: Obama Aide: Expect President Barack Obama to Visit Israel During Second Term if Re-elected

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Obama Aide: Expect Him to Visit Israel if Re-elected

Americans can “expect” President Barack Obama to visit Israel during his second term, an aide tells reporters.
Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Reuters

Americans can “expect” President Barack Obama to visit Israel during his second term, an aide told reporters on Monday.

Colin Kahl, a former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for the Middle East, was quoted by Politico.com as having said attacks by presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who is visiting Israel on his European swing this week, that Obama hasn’t traveled to Israel are invalid.

“We can expect him to visit Israel on a second term if he is re-elected,” Kahl said.

Politico noted that Kahl did not offer an explanation for why Obama hasn’t visited Israel as president, adding he simply described the U.S.-Israel relationship as “in good shape,” contradicting Romney’s critique.

Kahl did acknowledge that the Obama administration’s relations with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government haven’t always been great, saying, “We’re all aware of the optics and some of the politics of personal relationships in the last couple years in the U.S. and Israeli relationship.”…

Kahl pointed out that Ronald Reagan “never visited Israel and George W. Bush didn’t visit until the final year of his second term” and neither were criticized by Republicans for their travel itinerary.

“I don’t think this is a serious policy difference,” he said. “It’s a distraction.”…

On Sunday, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton criticized Obama for not visiting Israel as president.

Chiding the president for recently playing his 100th round of golf since taking office, Bolton said, “Obama has been in office three and a half years and he has had time to do more fundraisers than any other first-term American president; has probably played more rounds of golf than any other president since Dwight Eisenhower. And yet he has not had time to fit into his busy schedule even one trip to Israel.”

Romney said last month he would do “the opposite” of Obama and stand firm with Israel.

Speaking to Evangelical Christians, Romney underlined the importance of backing Israel and stopping Iran from achieving nuclear capability. Obama is sounding “like he’s more frightened that Israel might take military action than he’s concerned that Iran might become nuclear,” he said.

Romney’s upcoming visit was an issue Netanyahu tried to downplay during an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

The Prime Minister said he would not get involved in U.S. election politics and that he will say to Romney “pretty much the same thing I said to the presumptive Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama when I greeted him four years ago, roughly at the same time in the campaign.”

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