The Lekarev Report - Israel News July 14, 2008

Written by The Lekarev Report


July 14, 2008
Israelis Prefer McCain as Obama Backtracks on Jerusalem

Less than three weeks after his speech to AIPAC in which he stated that Jerusalem must remain undivided, Barak Obama has changed his mind.

The presidential hopeful said in an interview aired yesterday on CNN, "You know, the truth is that this was an example where we had some poor phrasing in the speech. And we immediately tried to correct the interpretation that was given."

"The point we were simply making was, is that we don't want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to the way it was prior to the 67' war, that it is possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent," Obama said.
Obama's campaign has issued similar clarifications since the candidate's speech to the pro-Israel lobby group after he clinched the Democratic presidential nomination early last month.
In the speech, Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that if elected president in November, he would work for peace with a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
"Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," the Illinois senator said. Palestinian leaders reacted with anger and dismay.

Meanwhile, a recent poll conducted by the Peace Index Project of Tel Aviv University showed that 46% of Israelis prefer Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain as the next President of the United States. Only 20% said they back Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama.
The poll was conducted before Sen. Obama's recent interview with CNN, in which he admitted he made a "mistake" in stating earlier this year that Jerusalem should be the undivided capital of Israel.

olmert1.jpgPoliticians and Public Stunned by Latest Revelations

It as bad enough before this, but the aftermath of this past Friday's interrogation of Prime Minister Olmert has left the nation stunned and disgusted beyond description.

In an entirely new set of accusations, the Prime Minister was confronted Friday, in a surprise move that caught him off guard, with indisputable evidence of fraud and money laundering.  To make it even worse, it appears that over a series of years, he has carried out a scheme with the cooperation of a travel agency in Rishon LeTzion to bill various organizations as well as the government for the same trip abroad and in the process, pocketed over $100,000. 

Commentators from across the spectrum of Israeli media have come out strongly against Olmert, as utter disgust as swept the nation.  To learn that one's Prime Minister has alledgedly stolen money from organizations like Yad Vashem, Achim (which benefits disabled children), from the American Friends of the IDF, and others makes the other accusations against him pale by comparison.

Ha'aretz published copies of receipts seized from the travel agency, showing clearly that multiple bills were sent for the same flight abroad and several agencies paid for the same ticket, all thinking that they alone were funding Olmert's trip for the purpose of raising funds for their causes.

Police estimated that an indictment will be handed down within a few weeks.  If so, Olmert will be forced to resign by law as soon as he is indicted.

Israel Prepares for Swap

Early this morning, the Israeli Prison Service transferred four of the Lebanese prisoners to be released in the framework of the upcoming exchange deal with Hizbulllah from the Ashmoret Prison to the Hadarim Prison, where terrorist Samir Kuntar, who is also included in the deal, is held.

Lebanese newspaper Al- Safir reported Monday that the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hizbullah will take place on Wednesday, at 9 am at the Nakura crossing, located north of Rosh Hanikra. German mediator Gerhard Konrad is expected to be present during the exchange.

Hizbullah has apparently dubbed the exchange Operation Raduan, in honor of its senior operative Imad Mugniyah, who was nicknamed Sheik Raduan. Mugniyah was assassinated in Damascus in February. The Shiite group has blamed Israel for his death.
A Hizbullah rally in south Beirut Wednesday afternoon will welcome the released Lebanese prisoners. 

The remains of some 200 slain Lebanese gunmen will be transferred to Lebanon via the Nakura crossing first.   Afterwards, the five Lebanese prisoners, headed by Kuntar, will also pass through Nakura and then be flown by a Lebanese military helicopter to the international airport in Beirut, where a ceremony will be held with the participation of senior government officials.

arad.jpgHeartbreaking Photos for the Arad Family

The photo at right of IDF soldier, Ron Arad, is about 20 years old but to his family it's brand new for they just saw it for the first time.  An anonymous Hizbullah photographer shot this picture of an emaciated, bearded and sad Ron Arad in captivity.
He is looking at us.  Was he asking himself: Who is the photographer? Where will the photos end up? Will my family, Tami, Yuval, Batia, Chen and Dudu see this photo?

After 22 years, two photographs of missing IAF airman Ron Arad, as well as three letters written by him and fragments of a diary, were given to his wife Tami yesterday.

The personal material was part of an 80-page report by Hizbullah detailing the group's search for Arad, who was shot down over Lebanon and captured alive in 1986. The letters were addressed to Tami and spoke of his love for her and their infant daughter Yuval, said the family's attorney, Eliad Shraga.

While the letters and diary fragments were kept private, the two photographs were released to the public on Sunday.

The report, which did not solve the mystery of what happened to Arad, represents the first stage of a planned prisoner swap that includes the release of reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were captured by Hizbullah in July 2006.

livni1.jpgLivni Steers Clear of Olmert in Paris

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made a point of keeping her distance from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday during French President Nicholas Sarkozy's conference of Mediterranean countries in Paris.

After the State Attorney's Office accused Olmert on Friday of asking several charities and institutions to pay for the same work-related trips abroad, Olmert's associates said they had decided to prevent the prime minister from seeing the bad press he got on Sunday.

Livni and other top Kadima officials decided not to try to expedite Olmert's departure from politics due to the new scandal. Instead, it appears, they will wait patiently for the mid-September Kadima primary.

In between meetings with her counterparts from Europe and the Arab world on Sunday, Livni told reporters that change in Kadima was under way.  "If anyone still has any doubt about my position, I laid it out before the recent revelations [in the Olmert case]," Livni said. "I didn't need the new episode to determine my position. As you know, we have already started taking action, and the changes are beginning." 

giladshalit.jpgIsrael Won't Free Terrorists Til Shalit is Home

Israel is insisting that Hamas return kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit before the government frees hundreds of Arab terrorists, according to a report published Monday in the London-based Arabic daily newspaper A-Sharq Al-Awsat. The report said Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman told Hamas that Israel has withdrawn from a previous understanding that it would release terrorists who are serving long prison terms without receiving Shalit.

David Baker, spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, told Israel National News in a terse statement, "This office has no comment on that report. We have no further comment on the Shalit issue at all."

The newspaper quoted a Palestinian Authority (PA) source as saying that Suleiman claimed Israel would also not release terrorists who were convicted of murdering soldiers or Jews who lived in communities located in Gaza, Judea or Samaria.
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