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Saturday, January 5, 2013
Excerpts: Ex Shin Bet chief criticizes Netanyahu. Abbas orders State of Palestine as official name 5 January 2013

Excerpts: Ex Shin Bet chief criticizes Netanyahu. Abbas orders 'State of
Palestine' as official name 5 January 2013

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 5 Jan.’13:”Netanyahu sought a ‘messianic’ war with
Iran, Ex-chief of Shin Bet”, by Agence France Presse

SUBJECT: Ex Shin Bet chief criticizes Netanyahu

QUOTE:”there was no indication (ex-Shin-Bet chief) Diskin was citing any
official assessment of the prime minister”

FULL TEXT:OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — The former head of Israel’s internal security
service said Friday[4 Jan] that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was
wavering and weak in an unusually personal condemnation of the right-winger,
who enjoys a strong lead in polls ahead of the Jan. 22 election.

Yuval Diskin, who retired as Shin Bet chief in 2011, last year warned that
Netanyahu sought a “messianic” war with Iran.

His new criticism was potentially more potent given that Shin Bet duties
include vetting civil servants’ psychological fitness for security posts,
though there was no indication Diskin was citing any official assessment of
the prime minister.

“At play inside Netanyahu, in my opinion, is a mix of ideology, a deep sense
that he is a prince of a ‘royal family’ from the Jerusalem elite, alongside
insecurity and a deep fear of taking responsibility,” Diskin said in a
front-page interview published by Israel’s biggest-selling daily Yedioth

Ridiculing what he deemed Netanyahu’s “zig-zag” style in decision-making,
Diskin added that the prime minister “has no strong core, no tough kernel
about which you can say, ‘Know what? In an extreme situation, in a crisis
situation, I can follow him. I can trust him.’”

Yedioth, which has often editorialized against Netanyahu, published a
response by the prime minister’s office dismissing Diskin’s remarks as

The statement accused Diskin of being motivated by politics and resentment
at not having been chosen to head the Mossad spy service when he left the
Shin Bet.

An Israeli official, who declined to be named, played down the impact of
Diskin’s remarks.

The Shin Bet does not conduct psychological “profiling” of prime ministers,
the official said, predicting that the public would perceive Diskin as
having voiced his own opinion only.

A Diskin confidant, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that he
had sought the Mossad post, but argued that the former Shin Bet chief saw in
it the opportunity “to ensure the right decisions are made on national

Topping these concerns is the Iranian nuclear program, in which Israel sees
a mortal threat and against which Netanyahu has threatened military strikes.

Israel’s threat has complicated diplomatic efforts to find a solution with
Tehran which denies it is seeking to make nuclear weapons and has pledged
wide-ranging reprisals if attacked. Opinion polls show that while only
around a fifth of Israelis would support a unilateral war on Iran, Netanyahu
is still strongly favoured to win a third term.

Maariv daily Friday predicted his party list would take 36 of parliament’s
120 seats in this month’s ballot, positioning him to build another
conservative coalition government.

Addressing the United Nations in September, Netanyahu set out a mid-2013
“red line” for Iran’s uranium enrichment, signalling that Israel was
postponing any military action.

Many experts question whether Israel, even though it is widely reputed to
have the region’s sole atomic arsenal, is capable of taking Iran on alone.
Some see Netanyahu’s years of sabre-rattling as a bluff.

Keeping the issue simmering, the prime minister told Israeli diplomats on
Thursday: “Our commitment was and remains preventing Iran from attaining
nuclear weaponry.”

Other retired Israeli national security figures have joined Diskin in
criticising the Netanyahu government. At least one of them, former top
general Gabi Ashkenazi, had his tenure in uniform cut short in a spat with
Defence Minister Ehud Barak. — AFP

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 5 Jan,’13:”Palestinian Authority gives way to the
‘State of Palestine’ “ by Mohammed ar’i
SUBJECT: Abbas orders ‘State of Palestine’ as official name

QUOTE:”change (to State of Palestine) went into effect immediately”

FULL TEXT: RAMALLAH – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered all
Palestinian institutions to stop using the term Palestinian National
Authority on official documents, a report said Friday[4 Jan].

The state-run Wafa news agency said that Abbas asked the institutions,
including all Palestinian missions abroad, to replace the term with “the
State of Palestine” in accordance with the UN recognition of Palestine as a
nonmember observer state.

The report said that the change went into effect immediately, and was
applied to official documents, seals and medals.

The report said that the embassies should “coordinate the change with the
(Palestinian) Ministry of Foreign Affairs” to handle it with the countries
that opposed the Palestinian move at the UN General Assembly.

According to presidential decree, the Palestine Liberation Organization
(PLO), with whom Israel signed the Oslo Peace Accords, will not change its
official documents, signs and seals.

On Sunday, a senior PLO official recommended that the Palestinian Authority
(PA) add the label “State of Palestine” to all of its official documents and
signs. Sa’eb Erekat, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee and head of
its Negotiations Department, also suggested that the PA prepare a new
constitution, achieve reconciliation with Hamas, and seek membership in UN
conventions and agencies following the upgrading of the status.

The PLO official said that following the UN vote, the “occupation has become
an occupation of a member of the UN by another member. This requires
creating a new political dynamic and approach between the international
community and Israel.”

Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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