June 30, 2009 Fallout From French Presidents Remarks

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

June 30, 2009 Fallout From French Presidents Remarks

The new in Israel today was dominated by yesterday’s story that French President strongly suggested Netanyahu remove Lieberman from being Foreign Minister. The furor was caused by the fact Netanyahu had not said anything to Lieberman about Sarkozy’s comment; rather Lieberman heard the statement from news reports. Netanyahu issued a statement that he had full confidence in Lieberman. Rumors have begun to circulate that if Lieberman is indicted, which most people expect, Aryeh Deri, the former Shas minister will be asked to become Foreign Minister. Deri was convicted of public corruption and spent a couple of years in jail, but that should not stand in the way of his appointment as Israel’s ambassador to the world.

In Washington, Defense Minister Barak met with Senator Mitchell to try to negotiate an agreement on the settlements. Progress was said to have been made. The Netanyahu government is trying to deflect the question of who has been standing in the way of peace-- the Palestinians. They have referred to the negotiations that took place with the Olmert government, in which the Palestinians were offered between 96-98 pct of the west Bank after territory exchange, and still said no. This does follow a pattern that goes back to Camp David, that nothing seems enough to them.

In the meantime, negotiations between Fatah and Hamas continue. The Egyptians set a firm deadline of July 7th for the completion of those negotiations. That deadline was extended today to the last week of July. Very few observers believe the negotiations can succeed.

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