December 8, 2009 Issues of State and Religion Dominate Todays News, Demonstrations Continue in Iran

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

December 10, 2009 Netanyhu Zig Zags- Nobel Prize Bestowed on Israeli Chemist

Today the Israeli government announced its new map of cities and towns that will receive additional government support. Some of those are not only in the West Bank, but are settlements are considered illegal. Yesterday the Knesset, with the support and encouragement of Prime Minister Netanyahu, voted to require a national referendum before Israel can withdraw from territory such as the Golan Heights.

Some commentators have defined Netanyahu’s policies as zig zaging. One day he announces a settlement freeze, and then next day he takes actions that are sure to make the world angry.

It seems very clear that Netanyahu and probably Barak have come to the conclusion (I believe correct) that the Palestinians are not willing to come to a peace agreement. It is clear if they did not accept Olmert’s offer similarly to the way they did not accept Barak's Camp David offer, they are not willing to come to an agreement. However, what Netanyahu is only partially grasping is that Israel must always be on the diplomatic offensive. The US State Department announced today the obvious that it has been unable to get negotiations going between Israel and the Palestinians. If Netanyahu had agreed to the settlement freeze six months ago, there would be no question of who is responsible. Instead, for domestic political considerations it took him six months to come to the decision and then he allowed the actions of the last two day to undermine the positive effect of that decision. The Palestinians are only going to renew their world wide attempts at undermining Israel diplomatically. That requires a nimble diplomacy, not one that is determined by domestic political concerns.

Today while most Americans were uninterested and somewhat embarrassed by President Obama's receiving his Nobel Peace Prize (although his speech was not bad), Israelis took pride in the first Israeli women, Aida Yona, to win the prize for her work in the field of chemistry. Some commentators worry about the future of Israeli science citing the fact that over the last 30 years only 1 senior academic position has been was added at the Technion while at both Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University the academic staff has been cut. This is taking place while the size of the country has doubled.

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