HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) – Israel’s defense minister said on Tuesday he did not believe a stable peace agreement could be reached with the Palestinians in his lifetime – one of the bleakest assessments from a top-level cabinet member since talks collapsed last year.
Moshe Yaalon, one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest allies, accused the Palestinians of having “slammed the door” on efforts to keep discussions going, and said they had rejected peace-for-land deals for at least 15 years.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A far-right ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged world powers on Sunday to recognize Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights, saying Syria no longer functions as a country that could reclaim the strategic plateau.
The remarks by security cabinet minister Naftali Bennett appeared aimed at capitalizing on global debate over how to handle Syria’s de facto break-up during a four-year-old insurgency, as well as at undermining support for Palestinian statehood on other land Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli military sees potential security benefits in an expected international deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program, a senior officer was quoted as saying on Thursday in an unexpected analysis of the issue.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has presented the planned deal as a threat to Israel. But in a closed-door briefing to Israeli reporters published in part by local media, the officer said the deal – if agreed by its June 30 deadline – could provide clarity on whether Iran is on course to a bomb.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s terms for diplomacy that might lead to a Palestinian state meant Israel had lost international credibility as a potential peacemaker.
Obama also suggested that continued U.S. diplomatic defense for Israel at the United Nations over the Palestine dispute may be reviewed, while reaffirming U.S. support for Israeli security in a conflict-riven Middle East.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – U.S. defense aid to Israel is likely to increase after 2017, sources on both sides said on Thursday, seeing a possible link to Washington’s efforts to assuage its ally’s fears over nuclear diplomacy with Iran.
A current package worth $3 billion a year expires in 2017. A U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said negotiators were close to a new deal that would bring annual payouts to $3.6-$3.7 billion on average.
HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) – The chief of Israel’s air force on Wednesday played down worries voiced by some fellow officials about the possibility of Egypt acquiring advanced Russian-made air defenses.
The Russian news agency TASS said in March Egypt would receive the Antey-2500 missile system, an S-300 variant, and put the value of the contract at more than a billion dollars. Neither Egypt nor Russia has formally confirmed it.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new rightist coalition government, hobbled by a razor-thin parliamentary majority, was sworn in late on Thursday amid wrangling within his Likud party over cabinet posts.
The evening ceremony in the Knesset was postponed by two hours so Netanyahu could divvy up for Likud the remaining ministries, after others were assigned to its four partners. Some Israeli commentators called the manoeuvring “farcical”.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – An Israeli official made unusually detailed allegations on Wednesday of secret Hezbollah guerrilla sites in Lebanese villages, driving home its warning that civilians there risk bearing the brunt of any future war.
Though neither side appears keen on coming to blows, Hezbollah has been building up its arsenal since the last, inconclusive conflict of 2006 and Israel regards the Iranian-backed Shi’ite guerrillas as its most immediate threat.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – A senior Israeli intelligence official who tracks the regional arms balance said on Wednesday that Egypt was buying Russia’s advanced S-300 air defense system, a deal reported in Russian media but not confirmed by Cairo.
Asked about the Israeli remarks, an Egyptian official reached by Reuters did not corroborate them but said that Israel should not feel threatened.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Benjamin Netanyahu is unlikely to find much comfort at home or abroad in his fourth term as prime minister after taking six weeks to form a coalition that will hold a parliamentary majority of just a single seat.
Long at odds with Western allies over his views on the Palestinians and Iran, Netanyahu could be similarly vexed by domestic legislation that even his right-leaning, five-party alliance will not necessarily agree on, political analysts say.