Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

WORLD LEADERS MOURN SHARON’S DEATH

January 12, 2014

Fox News on January 11, 2014, reported world leaders mourning the passing away of Ariel Sharon. Excerpts below:

“Ariel Sharon is one of the most significant figures in Israeli history,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron. “And as prime minister he took brave and controversial decisions in pursuit of peace, before he was so tragically incapacitated. Israel has today lost an important leader.”

Sharon was “a brave soldier and a daring leader who loved his nation and his nation loved him,” said President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres, a longtime friend and rival. “He was one of Israel’s great protectors and most important architects, who knew no fear and certainly never feared vision.”

Sharon died at Tel Hashomer hospital just outside Tel Aviv, where his family had gathered at his bedside over the past several days as his vital organs reportedly deteriorated.

“Ariel Sharon’s journey was Israel’s journey,” Secretary of State John Kerry said. “The dream of Israel was the cause of his life, and he risked it all to live that dream. … During his years in politics, it is no secret that there were times the United States had differences with him. But whether you agreed or disagreed with his positions … you admired the man who was determined to ensure the security and survival of the Jewish State.”

Sharon, an iconic figure who fought in three wars before entering politics, was elected prime minister in 2001.

In the months leading up to his stroke, longtime hard-liner Sharon had shocked his political base by expelling Jewish settlers from 21 Gaza settlements and from four on the West Bank.

He also resigned as head of the Likud party and formed a new centrist party called Kadima (“Forward”).

Sharon’s longtime rival and current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was elected his replacement as head of Likud.

“Laura and I join our friends in Israel and around the world in mourning the loss,” said former President George W. Bush, commenting for himself and his wife. “He was a warrior for the ages and a partner in seeking security for the Holy Land and a better, peaceful Middle East.”

However, Sharon was loathed by many Palestinians as a bitter enemy who did his utmost to sabotage their independence hopes — by leading military offensives against them in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza and a settlement drive on the lands they want for a state.

Word of his death elicited muted expressions of satisfaction. Some said they regret he wasn’t held accountable for his actions during his lifetime.

Sharon suffered a mild stroke in December 2005. A little more than two weeks later he suffered the massive, intra-cerebral hemorrhage from which he never recovered.

Sharon’s deputy, Ehud Olmert, was elected prime minister two months later.

Sharon was born February 26, 1928, in the then-British Mandate of Palestine to a family of Lithuanian Jews. By the age of 10 he had entered the Zionist youth movement Hassadeh and later the Haganah, the military precursor to the Israel Defense Forces.

His military career flourished as he became a commander in the Israeli army, celebrated as a military strategist.

Sharon was an instrumental figure in the 1956 Suez War, the Six Day War of 1967, the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and as Minister of Defense directed the 1982 Lebanon War.

Sharon joined the Likud party after retiring from the military, serving in a number of ministerial posts and then as party leader in 2000 before becoming prime minister from 2001 to 2006.

Widowed twice, he is survived by his sons Gilad and Omri.

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ISRAEL SAYS IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL BASED ON ‘DECEPTION AND SELF-DELUSION’

November 24, 2013

Fox News on November 24, 2013, reported that Israel harshly criticized the international community’s nuclear deal with Iran, accusing the world of “self-delusion” and saying the agreement would not halt Tehran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Excerpts below:

Israel has long accused Iran of trying to develop a nuclear weapon, and in the weeks leading up to the agreement, had warned the emerging deal was insufficient. It had called for increased pressure on Iran, and warned that any relief from economic sanctions would make Iran less willing to compromise down the road.

Israel’s Cabinet minister for intelligence issues, Yuval Steinitz, said the last-minute changes to the deal were “far from satisfactory” and did nothing to change Israel’s position.

The minister compared it to a failed 2007 international deal with North Korea and said it “is more likely to bring Iran closer to having a bomb.”

“Israel cannot participate in the international celebration, which is based on Iranian deception and (international) self-delusion,” said Steinitz, whose responsibilities include monitoring Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran a threat to its very survival, citing Iranian calls for Israel’s destruction.

Israel has repeatedly threatened to carry out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities if it concludes international diplomacy has failed to curb the Iranian nuclear program.

“Despite our disappointment, we will remain steadfast in our position and work with our friends and allies in the United States and the rest of the world in an attempt to achieve a comprehensive solution which includes a full and genuine dismantling of Iran’s military infrastructure,” he said.

INTERNAL PLOT, NOT ISRAEL, EYED IN LATEST HIT ON IRANIAN SCIENTIST

October 9, 2013

Fox News on October 8, 2013, reported that when a key Iranian scientist was gunned down last week, many observers figured Israeli spy agency Mossad had struck again. But new signs point to deadly intrigue within the rogue nation’s fractious leadership. Excerpts below:

In the days since the body of Mojtaba Ahmadi, who worked on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) secretive cyberwarfare unit, turned up in a wooded area north of Tehran, the mystery behind his death has only deepened. As with five previous hits on top scientists, witnesses reported black-clad gunmen seen speeding away on motorcycles. But this time, the regime did not immediately point the finger at Israel. In fact, it hasn’t pointed the finger anywhere – despite an exiled group’s claim of responsibility.

The IRGC specifically ruled out an assassination, curious in light of witnesses who said Ahmadi was shot twice in the chest at close range in a nation where gun crime is virtually nonexistent. The murky circumstances, uncharacteristically deliberative approach of the IRGC and new President Hassan Rouhani’s recent overtures to the West have prompted speculation.

Since 2007, five Iranian nuclear scientists, as well as the nation’s ballistic missile program director, have been assassinated in attacks the regime routinely blamed on Israel. Typically, Israel has declined to comment on the assassinations, other than to convey off the record to reporters that it was not dismayed by such developments. But Yaakov Peri, former chief of Israel’s security agency, Shin Bet, and a current cabinet minister, told Israel Radio Ahmadi’s murder has the hallmarks of an “internal dispute.”

“The fact that a cyber commander or this or that scientist was wiped out or killed in this or that assassination does not necessarily mean that Israel’s hand is in the matter,” Peri said.

Other regime watchers have noted that Ahmadi’s team launched a cyber attack at the U.S. Navy that coincided with Rouhani’s trip to New York for the UN General Assembly, a move that some saw as aimed at undermining Rouhani, a self-styled moderate. Ahmadi’s death may have been Rouhani loyalists sending a message to hard-liners within the nation’s complex leadership matrix.

Ahmadi was found dead Oct. 2 in a wooded area near his home in the town of Karaj, northwest of Tehran. A witness told the regional media outlet Alborz that Ahmadi had two bullet wounds in his chest, and the local police chief told the outlet two motorcycles were seeing fleeing the scene.

The cyber attack on the U.S. Navy was one of the most serious breaches yet against an American government infrastructure. The Navy believes the attack showed an increased ability and sophistication on the part of Iran’s cyber capabilities, and officials told Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel the attack appeared to indicate a strengthening of ties and friendship between the Russians and Iranians.

Lisa Daftari is an Iranian journalist and Fox News contributor