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UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Monday, December 9 2013:
**The agreement to begin the Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal (otherwise known as the Red Sea-Dead Sea Conduit, or the Two Seas Canal) is being signed today in Washington, D.C. at the headquarters of the World Bank. Construction is slated to begin immediately.
The signing parties are the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, and Israel. In its initial phase, the canal/conduit/pipeline will carry 100 metric cubes of water from the Red Sea toward the Dead Sea each year. Most of the water will be desalinated for use by the signing parties.
**The sands of the Israeli political landscape are beginning to dramatically shift. Following polls that show his and his party’s popularity at its lowest point ever, Yair Lapid has begun the process of dissolving the relationship of his Yesh Atid party with Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home Party.
Lapid seems to determine to take Yesh Atid and its 19 Knesset members out of the Israeli center and into the Israeli left to form a bloc with newly elected Isaac Herzog of Labor, Tzipi Livni of Hatnua, and Zahava Gal-On of the Meretz party. This bloc is already calling itself the “peace bloc” because it is willing to concede anything and everything to the Palestinians.
On the other hand, Bennett and Avigdor Lieberman have been reaching out to each other on a bundle of issues which suggests a future partnership between Jewish Home and Yisrael Beiteinu (if and when it separates from Netanyahu’s Likud).
Where this leaves Netanyahu is anyone’s guess. The only fact for certain is that when the time comes, Netanyahu will do what is most expedient to save his own skin.
As for the kingmakers, the religious parties will soon come to the fore again. Watch for Shas (the Sephardic orthodox party) and United Torah Judaism (Ashkenazi orthodox) to act in their own best interest when the time comes.
You may remember that just a couple of days ago, israelstreet was wondering aloud how it was possible that Israel has turned over security of Israelis in Judea and Samaria to the Americans. At that time, your humble servant noted that the Rantis checkpoint on the road to Ramallah had already been removed and that the Beit Anun checkpoint near Hebron will be taken down in the coming weeks–at the demands of the U.S.
In both cases, the result will be increased Palestinian terrorism as Palestinian terrorists can now drive with no restrictions from Jenin to Hebron.
This morning comes the astonishing news that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened the Palestinians yesterday that he would delay the next terrorist prisoner release because of the Palestinians’ unwillingness to “negotiate.” The threat came in the form of a letter sent by Kerry to Mahmoud Abbas in the last few days week informing him that he (Kerry) had decided to postpone the release by one month.
Can you fathom this? While we always thought that PM Netanyahu had completely caved in to the Americans by releasing terrorists from Israeli prisons, your humble servant does not think that any of us realized the degree to which the U.S. is now pulling the strings over an increasingly impotent Benjamin Netanyahu who has begun handing over Israeli sovereignty on numerous fronts.
It is Kerry who now controls the destiny of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons. It is Kerry who will decide when and to what degree the lives of Israeli citizens will be endangered by the release of those terrorists.
Step aside Yair Lapid, Tzipi Livni, Isaac Herzog, Naftali Bennett, and Avigdor Lieberman . . . John Kerry has, in effect, become the new prime minister of Israel.
It is simply unbelievable.