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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

9th August Israel Newslinks

Israel Investigation into Gaza Flotilla

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday became the first witness to give evidence in its domestic inquiry into the Gaza flotilla. The Prime Minster according to the Jerusalem Post made clear that he was responsible for the actions which he described as necessary, when Israel was defending itself against Hamas. However, he made clear that Ministers never discussed the military actions against the flotilla which according to Haaretz was managed by the Defence Minister Ehud Barak and the IDF’s leadership.

In an opinion piece for Ynet, Nahum Barnea writes that Benjamin Netenyahu gave a poor performance yesterday - when he gave evidence to the Turkel inquiry about the Gaza flotilla - in which he showed that he failed to show leadership during the planning for flotilla to Gaza.

UN Investigation Gaza Flotilla

Meanwhile, as the UN investigation is about to begin Ynet’s Yitzhak Benhorin reports that the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has not ruled out the investigation questioning Israeli soliders. The Israeli Government though has said that they made clear that they agreed to the UN investigation only if soldiers were not interviewed, according to Barak Ravid in Haaretz. The Jerusalem Post understand that Israel will quit their support for the investigation if soldiers are called to testify. Jordana Horn also in the Jerusalem Post, writes the panel will meet for the first time today in New York to investigate the incident which occurred on 31 May. The panel will have the power to make recommendations as to how to avoid such events in the future. The four-member panel will include businessman Joseph Ciechanover representing Israel and Özdem Sanberk representing Turkey. It will be chaired by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer and co-chaired by former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister

There is much coverage around the world including on the BBC of the accusation by the head of Hezbollah that Israel was behind the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Herb Keinon in the Jerusalem Post says that Hezbollah accused Israel of doing this in order to force Syria’s forces out of Lebanon. The Israel Foreign Ministry responded to the accusation calling it a ‘ridiculous lie’ as reported in Ynet.

Will the Palestinians agree to Peace Talks

George Mitchell is back in Israel for another round of talks with Israeli’s and Palestinians to discuss peace negotiations. However, it is generally assumed as reported in Jerusalem Post that the Palestinian leadership will continue to refuse to negotiate unless a terms of reference can be reached.

Benni Begin a senior Likud Minister in the Israeli inner cabinet, writes a op-ed for the Jerusalem Post in which he argues that the Palestinians are not interested in agreeing to a peace agreement because they only interested in a solution where they have control over all of Israel.

Israel’s new Chief of General Staff

Following days of revelations that a contender for the position of Chief of General Staff have been using dirty tactics to try and gain the position, (which will be fully investigated) Haaretz has an opinion piece by Yoel Marcus about the intrigue that has always existed among the top echelons of the army.

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