November 9, 2009 - A Depressing State of Affairs

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

November 17, 2009 -Ramifications of Soldier Protest, More on Syria, and the Bluff of New Building In Jerusalem

Israeli news today was dominated by yesterday's story of a group of religious soldiers who protested the removal of an illegal settlement. Politicians on all sides of the political spectrum decried the action, warning that it could result in the end of the IDF. Former MK Effi Eitam, who has been one of the leaders of the religious Zionist movement and himself a resident of the Golan Heights, stated all that has to be done is to look northward and see what happened to the Lebanese Army and the country when the army became rifled with political and ethnic fragmentation. PM Netanyahu was equally strong in his criticism of the actions. Unfortunately an internal IDF study has shown that as many as 30% of the soldiers might refuse an order to dismantle a settlement. Many of the soldiers are being directed or influenced by a group of Rabbis; Heads of Yeshivot in West Bank claim that any attempt to remove Jews from any part of the holy land is itself illegal.

Meanwhile the UN inspectors carried out an emergency inspection in Syria today. The UN report yesterday was unusually strong in its castigation of the Syrian deception in the atomic program. The Iranians have not responded to yesterday's report. President Obama does not seem to have made significant progress in his talks with the Chinese. They were forthcoming in their support for actions relating to North Korea, but seem to almost be clueless on the question of Iran. White House reporters, in their daily briefing today in Peking, questioned why it seemed that Obama was briefing his Chinese host on the Iranian situation. The White House could not really answer the question and could only say that the Chinese are obviously more concerned with the situation in North Korea. In the meantime, the Pentagon announced the fact that it has developed and deployed a new 15 ton bunker busting bomb that can penetrate 20 feet of concrete. This is a clear hint to Iran that the US has the capability to strike the underground nuclear targets the Iran has developed.

The Palestinian plans to unilaterally declare statehood suffered dual setbacks today when both the US and the EU stated it would oppose the project.

Finally, one of the weakness' of the Israeli political system was showcased today when Eli Yishai of Shas, who is minister of Interior for domestic political considerations, announced that approval had been given by a planning commission to build a new neighborhood in Gilo, which is considered in East Jerusalem. The announcement resulted in worldwide condemnation. However, the announcement was irrelevant, as this decision was just one in a many phased process, with the last part being on total hold by Netanyahu. So, Israel suffered the pain for no gain.

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