December 30, 2012 -Peres Attacks Netanyahu Government, Lieberman Indicted, Supreme Court Clears Hannan Zouabi to Run Marc Schulman

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Israel Update
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

December 30, 2012 -Peres Attacks Netanyahu Government, Lieberman Indicted, Supreme Court Clears Hannan Zouabi to Run

A number of election-related events took place over the weekend, as well as earlier today. At a meeting with Israel's Ambassadors from all over the world, this morning President Peres took the opportunity to attack the Netanyahu government's foreign policy. Peres stated he knows Abu Mazen for 20 years, and that Abu Mazen is someone with whom one could make peace. He went on further to say, that if you do not work towards a two-state solution, you need to work toward something else... otherwise, the future will determine itself. In an indirect attack on former Foreign Minister Lieberman, Peres stated that the job of diplomats was "to make friends and not make enemies". The President continued, saying we will still have enough enemies without actions on our part to help them.

The Likud immediately attacked Peres "for helping our enemies and making statements with which most Israelis do not agree". The Center-Left parties, including the usually silent Shelly Yachimovich, immediately came out in support of the President. Peres has been very successful in keeping his views on the Netanyahu government's policies and actions to himself during tenure as President. According to observers, the Ambassadors who continued their meetings after Peres’ speech were mostly supportive of his views. Many believed their jobs abroad were made needlessly difficult by some of the actions of the government.

The second major development today was the actual indictment of Avigdor Lieberman for "breach of trust." While this charge was originally expected to be a minor charge, (compared to the larger case that was closed), after the case was briefly reopened, the charge against Lieberman changed from alleging he just passively did not tell about his conflict of interest in the appointment of the ambassador to Belarus, to alleging he actively promoted the appointment. The case itself seems to be strong. Many of the members of the appointment committee gave statements accusing Lieberman of exerting his influence. Like I said last week, it looks like Lieberman will be going down like Nixon, not for the crime, but for the cover-up.

Finally, the Supreme Court voted unanimously to reinstate the candidacy of Hannan Zouabi for the Knesset. The Knesset elections committee, which is a political body, voted to remove her from consideration for the Knesset due to her involvement in the "Marmara Affair". The Israeli law requires an immediate approval by the Supreme Court for such actions. In the past, the Supreme Court never upheld the elections committee's votes for removal, with exception of their removal of Meir Kahane. The right wing parties are, needless to say, foaming at the mouth over the decision. Of course the initial Knesset decision was big news all over the world. This decision did not make the news feeds of AP, Reuters or CNN.

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