Newsletter : 12fx1108.txt
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Palestinians Hope Obama will Support Their Statehood Bid
By Israel Hayom
While some ballots for the 2012 U.S. presidential elections were still being counted,
leaders in the Arab world already began to congratulate President Barack Obama on his
re-election on Wednesday. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Obama and
said he hoped the president would advance his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that he hoped Obama would support the
PA's bid for the upgraded status of a non-member state in the U.N. Erekat also urged the
re-elected president to oppose Israeli settlement expansion in Judea and Samaria.
AFP reported that Hamas leaders expressed hope on Wednesday that Obama would change his
approach toward the Palestinians in his second term, after what they said was a
disappointing approach during his first four years in office. Hamas spokesman Taher
al-Nunu said the organization would wait to see if Obama's policies would be more positive
this time around, AFP reported. "We hope that Obama commits to legitimate Palestinian
rights and stops his policy of double standards and bias towards Israel," he was quoted as
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi congratulated Obama as well and wished him success in
his second term in office.According to Al-Ahram, Egypt's official news agency, Yasser Ali,
a spokesman for Morsi, said the Egyptian people congratulate the Americans on their choice
and hope Obama and his administration work to achieve the interests of both the American
and Egyptian people.
A spokesman for the main Syrian opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council, expressed
hope that the election victory would free Obama to do more to support those trying to oust
Syrian President Bashar Assad. "We hope this victory for President Obama will make him
free more to make the right decision to help freedom and dignity in Syria and all over the
world," SNC spokesman George Sabra said on the sidelines of an opposition conference on
the Qatari capital of Doha.
Experts: Second Term Obama will Offer Iran a 'Grand Bargain'
By Israel Hayom
According to Dr. Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for
Near East Policy, President Obama in his second term is likely early on to focus on a
"grand deal" with Iran, testing the Iranians to see if there is a political settlement
before he needs, probably by the end of the second quarter of 2013, to decide on other
means perhaps military means to prevent the Iranians from achieving nuclear
Israel Hayom Staff
In its second term the Obama administration will likely offer Iran a "grand deal" to
test whether diplomacy can stop its nuclear research program or whether other means, such
as military force, may be necessary, according to Satloff.
In a video released by the research organization, Satloff predicted that while the
Obama administration will likely be preoccupied with domestic economic affairs in its
early days, it will take steps to end the violence in Syria, to take advantage of
opportunities to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and to forge a new
relationship with the Islamist government in Egypt.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martyn Indyk, speaking on Army Radio Wednesday
morning, said he believes that the Obama administration would launch "direct, bilateral
negotiations with the Iranians."
"Obama will attempt to reach an agreement with the Iranians that prevents them from
obtaining a nuclear weapon. 2013 will be a year of decision. Obama will do his best to
exhaust the negotiations, but if the Iranians refuse, I believe Barack Obama will use
American force to eliminate Iranian nuclear capability. If he will do that, he will turn
to Benjamin Netanyahu and say 'look I've dealt with the Iranian issue, now it's your turn
to make progress on the Palestinian issue,'" Indyk said.
After Obama Victory, Political Knives Come Out in Israel
By Israel Hayom
With Barack Obama's victory in the U.S. presidential elections blowing wind into their
sails, there are some in Israel speculating that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and
former Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni will make an attempt to return to government.
Olmert, who is currently in the U.S. and is expected to return to Israel this week, is
thought to have waited for the U.S. election results before deciding whether to return to
politics after resigning in 2009, due to immense pressure following corruption charges.
Apart from being convicted on one charge of breach of trust, and despite facing a possible
appeal against his acquittal, Olmert still faces legal challenges in the Holyland real
Olmert, it is thought, will seek to strike a deal with current Kadima Chairman Shaul
Mofaz and return to the party, since by law it is already too late to form a new party.
Current polls show that Kadima will not pass the electoral threshold and will be wiped out
in the Jan. 22 Israeli election. Olmert and Livni met last Wednesday to coordinate their
positions and released a statement following their discussion saying, "The current
government must be replaced."
Both the Kadima and Yesh Atid parties attacked the government of Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu for what they perceive as his preference for Romney. In an official
statement Kadima said it was "happy for Obama," although it is "concerned for Israel.By
betting on the wrong president, Bibi [Netanyahu] got us into trouble with the U.S," read
the statement, which was issued on Wednesday morning.
"Israel cannot afford to forego its bond with the U.S. just because Bibi cannot get
along with Obama; Israel's security should never be part of a wager; Israel cannot afford
to have a prime minister who has become persona non grata at the White House," the
Yair Lapid, a popular journalist who left his job at the Channel 2 Friday night news
magazine to enter politics less than a year ago, congratulated Obama for his victory on
A statement released by his party, Yesh Atid ["There is a Future"] said the party calls
on the president to "stand by his explicit promise to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear
weapons, and to jump-start talks between Israel and the Palestinians as soon as
possible.The gridlocked peace process in the Middle East threatens the region's
stability," the statement read.
The party also expressed hope Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "takes immediate action
to repair the damaged relations with the U.S. administration," explaining that "throughout
the U.S. campaign the prime minister acted in a way that came across as over-the-top
meddling on behalf of the Republican nominee; this is foreign to the way the two countries
have normally interacted with each other; undoing the damage inflicted by such
irresponsible conduct is of paramount importance to Israel."
Deputy Knesset Speaker Shlomo (Neguse) Molla (Kadima) echoed his party's statement,
saying that "Netanyahu's meddling and efforts to have Mitt Romney win have hurt Israel."
Molla explained that Netanyahu's conduct was "mind-boggling and condescending. This will
ultimately have the effect of compromising the strategic relations between the two states;
as has been stated before, Netanyahu not only lost his bet, he was also disgraced,"
Appearing at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University on
Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel B. Shapiro said Obama's relations with
Netanyahu will not be affected by any personal disputes the two may have had during his
first term, calling the re-elected president a "strategic thinker. "His policies are not
governed by emotion," he said. "Anyone who knows the president understands that this is
not how he thinks."
Vice Prime Minister and Negev and Galilee Development Minister Silvan Shalom was one of
the first to comment on the election results, appearing on Israel Radio early Wednesday
morning. Sounding an upbeat note, Shalom said Obama's experience in the Oval Office might
spare the region of the learning curve a new administration would have experienced and
categorically denied the assertion that Israel might have tried to affect the results of
He said the U.S. administration was well aware of Iran's nuclear ambitions and knows
Israel did its utmost to resume talks with the Palestinians." The Israel-U.S. bond is
robust and is based on shared principles," Shalom told Israel Radio. He then dismissed the
claim that a Netanyahu victory in the upcoming Israeli elections might put the Israeli
premier on a collision course with Obama because of their alleged personal animosity.
"International relations are not based on vendettas or personal relationships, but rather
on joint interests and values," Shalom stated.
Head of the Yesha Council, Dani Dayan, whose organization serves as the umbrella body
of the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria (and until the 2005 pullout, in the Gaza
Strip as well) told Israel Radio on Wednesday that Romney's defeat saddened him because
the Republican nominee's understanding of the Israeli-Arab conflict was "immensely
superior" to that of Obama. "The settlement enterprise is a fait accompli; a Palestinian
state would never come into being," Dayan said.
'Two Thirds of US Jews Happy, One Third is Less Happy'
By Israel Hayom
U.S. President Barack Obama had a 70% share of the Jewish vote, according to national
exit polls Tuesday evening four points less than his share four years ago. Jews
constituted 2% of the overall CNN response group, but the network did not reveal the total
number of people polled, so it was impossible to assess a margin of error.
The poll, posted on CNN's website, was commensurate with projections by pre-election
polls by Gallup, the American Jewish Committee, among others, that Obama would win between
65 and 70% of the Jewish vote, JTA reported on its site Wednesday.
"The early results suggest Republicans' barrage of criticism about the president's
commitment to Israel have had an effect. In the crucial swing state of Florida ... the
president's share of the Jewish vote was lower than the national average, at 66%," the
political blog The Hill wrote.
Exit polls reported that 66% of Florida Jews voted for Obama. In stark contrast, exit
polls of absentee ballots in Israel show that some 85% of American Jews living in Israel
voted for Mitt Romney.
Steven Dishler, director of International Affairs at Jewish Federation of Metro
Chicago, said he was not surprised by the Jewish vote."Two thirds of the Jewish community
were happy and one third was less happy," he told Army Radio in an interview on Wednesday
"The American Jewish community traditionally votes Democratic at around the 70% mark
and I don't see that changing in the final tally of today's vote. Some of Obama's early
decisions worried the Jewish community, but in the end we are one nation, we are a
community that works to strengthen the bond between America and Israel there are many
challenges; we also work to fix the relationship between the president and the prime
minister in Jerusalem," Dishler said.
"American Jews vote on the same issues that all American voters vote on, like the
economy, jobs, and the debt crisis. According to our surveys Israel is fifth place on the
agenda after the debt, immigration, the economy etc. Although Israel is important to
American Jews, when they walk into the voting booth, they vote on internal issues."
"I expect we'll see an effort in the coming year or two to further the peace process
between Israel and the Palestinians," he said. "I don't think Obama will visit Israel
before the Israeli elections because he won't want to interfere in them," Dishler
AIPAC's Jerusalem director, Wendy Singer, said "that despite the alleged anti-Israeli
positions by Obama he still got 70% of the Jewish vote, and this shows that American
voters want continuity."
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