July 5, 2010 Netanyahu and Obama to Meet Tomorrow, Tension in North as Iran Sanction Begin to Bite

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

July 5, 2010 Netanyahu and Obama to Meet Tomorrow, Tension in North as Iran Sanction Begin to Bite

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu will finally meet, after their originally scheduled meeting had to be postponed last month as a result of the Turkish ship fiasco. By all indications, all efforts will be made to ensure the encounter will be friendly, including a "photo-op" and probably a joint statement. The Obama administration understands it may have overreached with the public pressure it put on Netanyahu. The administration clearly wants a successful meeting. On the other hand, it will be pressuring Netanyahu to take whatever actions necessary in order to get direct talks going with the Palestinians. The Palestinians are also feeling the pressure, since they have no real reasons for refusing direct talks. Of course, what direct talks might accomplish is an open question. The extremists on both sides will make any agreement nearly impossible. On the Palestinian side, Hamas is not willing to moderate its position on existence of Israel. On the Israeli side, the settlers are threatening much more militant actions if the building freeze continues.

As Netanyahu leaves Israel tonight the march demanding the freedom for Gilad Shalit arrived in Tel Aviv. A detour was made by the marchers to Eshkol Park, near the Gaza border, where a concert was held led by Zubin Mehta and Shlomo Artzi. Both Mehta and Artzi have sons in the army. Both described how they identified with the Shalit family.

Mubarak and El Hariri, President of Lebanon met today in Cairo. Mubarak wanted the meeting, due to his concern regarding the increased power of Hezbollah and the fear of war this summer. UNIFIL tried to undertake an exercise to simulate a Hebollah attack. This action was not acceptable to Hezbollah, who immediatey vandalized UNFIL vehicles throughout southern Lebanon.

There continue to be rumors of war this summer. How exactly when it might start remains an open question. One very real cause is if sanctions begin to really effect Iran, they may try to upset the apple cart by having Hezbollah start a war. Sanctions on Iran seem to be finally having an effect, after President Obama signed the strong sanctions bill passed by Congress. The immediate effect has been that Iranian planes have been denied refueling in many airports.

A disturbing statistic came to light last week. In 1950, 70% of those who were charged with a crime and were brought to criminal trial in Israel were found guilty. In 2009, that number was 98%. In the Bronx, NY, the rate is 50% found guilty, while in Manhattan it is about 70%. Keep in mind, there are no juries in Israel and all trials are decided by one single judge. Somehow, I am not sure if the US founding fathers would have appreciated a system in which 98% of those who go to triall are found guilty.

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