The Day In Israel: Wed Feb 4th, 2009

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For other liveblogging see The Muqata.

Today’s main news so far is that a Hamashole official has stated Israel offered to allow 75% of the goods currently banned from entering Gaza in exchange for the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and that Hamas would be willing to discuss  a prisoner exchange.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:44PM: The Election of Hot drinks: First we had Tzipi Livni saying “In the decision room, I make decisions, not coffee.”

Now we have Ehud Barak saying that Yisrael Beitenu leader, Avigdor Lieberman, is not his “cup of tea.”

11:28PM: The latest important video from my friend Pierre Rehov: UNRWA – Lords of Misery.

11:20PM: The latest Free Gaza boat is having a rough time in their quest to get to Gaza to further support Hamas. After being stopped by the Lebanese authorities, the ship left for Gaza with substantially less passengers. And now they claim to have come up against the dreaded Zionists!

8 pm (CET) M. writes: “T.  just phoned to say they have been approached by two Israeli gunboats, which are hovering around, and there are two Israeli helicopters overhead.  The Israeli’s told the captain of TALI that he cannot go to Gaza and, according to T., the Israelis told him they will sink the boat if it proceeds.  He refused to turn around and told them he is responsible for his boat and he is going to Gaza.  The Israelis said the boat can not go to Gaza, and it appears they will try to force it to Arish, but the captain intends to push forward. (And having been aboard the TALI I think it will take more than a ramming to sink it)  T. will let us know if anything more happens.  They are in international waters but some distance from Gaza water (at sea now close to 9 hours).” Position of the boat: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=32.8707,33.7776&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

10:15PM: Here’s more on Nazi Aribert Heim. Or rather Tarek Hussein Farid.

APEven in old age the imposingly tall, athletic German known to locals as Tarek Hussein Farid maintained the discipline to walk some 15 miles each day through the busy streets of Egypt’s capital. He walked to the world-renowned Al Azhar mosque here, where he converted to Islam, and to the ornate J. Groppi Cafe downtown, where he ordered the chocolate cakes he sent to friends and bought thebonbons he gave to their children, who called him Uncle Tarek.

Friends and acquaintances here in Egypt also remembered him as an avid amateur photographer who almost always wore a camera around his neck, but never allowed himself to be photographed. And with good reason: Uncle Tarek was born Aribert Ferdinand Heim, member of Adolf Hitler’s elite Waffen-SS, and medical doctor at the Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Mauthausen concentration camps.

It was behind the gray, stone walls of Mauthausen in his native Austria that Dr. Heim committed the atrocities against hundreds of Jews and others that earned him the nickname Dr. Death and his status as the most-wanted Nazi war criminal still believed to be at large by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Dr. Heim was accused of performing operations on prisoners without anesthesia; removing organs from healthy inmates, then leaving them to die on the operating table; injecting poison, including gasoline, into the hearts of others; and taking the skull of at least one victim as a souvenir. After living below the radar of Nazi hunters for more than a decade after World War II — much of it in the German spa town of Baden-Baden where he had a wife, two sons and a medical practice as a gynecologist — he escaped capture just as investigators closed in on him in 1962.

His hiding place remained unknown until now.

Read the rest here.

10:06PM: According to a German report, wanted Nazi Aribert Heim died in in 1992 in Egypt.

As in Egypt, our peace partner.

9:03PM: Dr El-Eish has responded to the IDF findings:

Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, who lost three daughters and a niece in an Israel Defense Forces strike in the Gaza Strip last month, responded Wednesday to an IDF statement confirming that it was Israeli fire that killed his daughters, thanking those responsible for investigating the incident and saying that “we all make mistakes, and we don’t repeat them.”

—-

“First of all, I would like to thank all those who worked, and had the courage and good conscience to shed light on the truth that I always believed. Thank you to everyone who took upon themselves to publicize this truth seeking investigation,” Abu al-Aish said in an interview with Channel 2.

The Palestinian doctor went on to say “I have two options – the path of darkness or the path of light. The path of darkness is like choosing all the complications with diseases and depression, but the path of light is to focus on the future and my children. This strengthened my conviction to continue on the same path and not to give up.”

Abu al-Aish did not neglect to thank the Israelis who met with him and offered him strength, saying “the love that I’ve received, from people I knew and people I didn’t know, gave me strength.”

8:57PM: Peacekeepers have discovered five Katyusha rockets in southern Lebanon, along with a launch pad.

8:23PM: Here’s how CNN decided to report the IDF’s findings on the deaths of Dr. Abu El-Eish’s daughters:

The Israeli military took the blame Wednesday for the deaths in Gaza of three daughters of a prominent Palestinian doctor during fighting in mid-January between Israeli troops and Hamas militants, the Israel Defense Forces said.

However, the military said the deaths were unintentional, and came as the Israelis were targeting suspects in the upper level of the doctor’s home which they didn’t know was his.

“Investigations were held on many levels in the IDF, with regards to the incident at the residence of Dr. Az A-Din Abu El-Eish,” the IDF said in a written statement.

“The conclusions found that two shells were fired from an IDF tank, resulting in the deaths of Dr. El-Eish’s three daughters,” the statement says.

No mention of the IDF being fired on by terrorists in the adjacent house, nor any mention of Dr El-Eish being asked to evacuate the area well before the incident.

6:35PM: Caption time: What is the baby thinking?

AP

I am driving home now. I expect to see plenty of hilarious captions in the comments by the time I get home.

6:23PM: The IDF has released the results of its investigation into the incident at the residence of Dr. Abu El-Eish, which resulted in the deaths of 3 of his daughters.

The investigation found that it was an IDF shell that killed the daughters, but  considering the constraints of the battle scene, the threats that endangered the forces in the area, and the intensity of fighting in the area, the forces acted reasonably in firing towards the building.

Of particular note, it was found that:

  • IDF forces came under sniper and mortar fire from a house adjacent to that of the doctor’s
  • In the days before the incident, the doctor was contacted personally several times by officers in the Coordination and Liaison Administration in order to urge him to evacuate his home

Here’s the full text of the results:

IDF Investigation Regarding Incident at the Residence of Dr. Abu El-Eish

The IDF held a thorough investigation regarding the incident that occurred at the residence of Dr. Az A-Din Abu El-Eish, on Friday, January 16, 2009, in which three of the doctor’s daughters were killed. As per the results of the investigation, the IDF has concluded that two shells were fired from an IDF tank, resulting in the aforementioned deaths.

The investigation found that a force from the Golani Infantry Brigade operated in the area of Sajaiya for several days, during which they were engaged in face to face combat within short range of Hamas terrorist cells. The forces also located tunnels used for ambushing and attacking IDF forces, and identified homes which were booby-trapped.

On that Friday (Jan. 16), the force came under sniper and mortar fire in an area laden with explosives and IEDs (improvised explosive devices). The force identified and located the source of fire from a house adjacent to that of the doctor’s, and in response, opened fire. During this defensive fire, suspicious figures were identified in the upper level of Dr. Abu El-Eish’s house and were thought to be spotters who directed the Hamas sniper and mortar fire. Upon assessing the situation in the field while under heavy fire, the commander of the force gave the order to open fire on the suspicious figures. It is from this fire, that the three daughters of Dr. Az A-Din Abu El-Eish were killed.

Following the opening of fire, screams were heard from the direction of the house, and the IDF immediately halted all fire. Only later was it understood that this was, in fact, the house of Dr. Abu El-Eish. When contact was made with the doctor, the IDF force operated in order to allow for ambulances to evacuate the injured via the Erez Crossing for immediate emergency medical treatment in Israel.

The IDF Spokesperson Unit stresses that in the days leading up to the incident, Dr. Abu El-Eish was contacted personally several times by officers in the Coordination and Liaison Administration in order to urge the doctor to evacuate his home, as many others already had, because of Hamas operations and the intense fighting that was already taking place in that area for several days.

The IDF Spokesperson Unit also emphasizes that in addition to the personal contact made directly with Dr. El-Eish, the IDF issued warnings to the residents of Sajaiya by dropping thousands of leaflets as well as issuing warnings via Palestinian media outlets.

The investigation of the incident was conducted by commanders of the forces in the area, as well as the division commander, and was approved by GOC Southern Command and the Head of the IDF Operations Branch (both with the rank of Major General). The IDF is saddened by the harm caused to the Abu El-Eish family, but maintains that considering the constraints of the battle scene, the threats that endangered the forces in the area, and the intensity of fighting in the area, that the forces’ action and the decision to fire towards the building were reasonable.

The investigation’s results were presented yesterday to the Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, and received his approval.

6:02PM: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has once again criticized Hamas. But look closely at his words:

“How long will Arab blood continue to be spilled, only to hear those who admit to miscalculating the scope and scale of Israel’s response?” Mubarak asked in a speech marking Egypt’s national day to honor its police force.

Mubarak’s comment came in reference to remarks reportedly made by Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal, who admitted at the end of the three-week Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that he did not anticipate the scope of Israel’s operation. Similar sentiments were expressed by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah at the end of the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.

Mubarak went on to say that resistance movements must take responsibility over the welfare of their people. “The resistance must take into account victories and losses. It is responsible for the people, who in turn should settle the score [with the resistance] over the gains it has achieved, but also the sacrifices, the pain and the destruction

He sees Hamas not as a terrorist organization but as a legitimate resistance organization. He just feels they bit off more than they could chew this time around.

5:00PM: A Dutch Jewish center has reportedly been shot at.

4:53PM: United Arab List-Ta’al Chairman Ahmad Tibi has said Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman is like deceased Austrian leader Jorge Haider.

He’s gay?

4:00PM: Mummy’s boy? Ma’an News asks the question: Where is Mahmoud Az-Zahhar?

I’ve been all over this story like the wart on his nose, and have myself been wondering whether he remains in the land of the living.

According to Ma’an, the theories include him being smuggled into Egypt in an ambulance after being wounded, and – here’s my favorite – him shaving off his beard and living at his mother’s house.

Perhaps occasional Israellycool pest Michael can give him some tips on coping with that arrangement.

3:47PM: Suit-wearing senior Hamashole Dr Ahmed Yousef makes the most of the opportunity given to him by a way-too-polite reporter, by talking of how Hamas beat Israel and disseminating other propaganda.

3:32PM: Richard Landes has an extensive post on the allegations of IDF murder made by palestinian Khaled Abed Rabu, which includes links to my previous posts on the subject.

1:35PM: A short time ago, palestinian terrorists, who obviously did the math and decided what’s one more bombed smuggling tunnel, fired a mortar shell which landed  in Eshkol.

1:30PM: After denying Hamas had been stealing any aid earmarked for needy palestinians, UNRWA Spokesman Christopher Gunness has now said that Hamas police raided a UN warehouse in Gaza City late Tuesday, snatching 3,500 blankets and over 400 food parcels.

12:32PMSurprise, surprise: Aptly named Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, who spoke to many news outlets condemning Israel and presented himself as an objective doctor, is a member of the Norwegian socialist party Red, and has in the past expressed support for the Sept 11 attacks.

11:10AM: Housing and Construction Minister Ze’ev Boim has said that Israel must assassinate Hamas prime minister arch terrorist Ismail Haniyeh in order to stop the rocket fire.

I don’t think this will stop the rocket fire, but it sure as hell is a good start.

9:52AM: Cyprus has submitted a report to the UN on the cargo of the container ship suspected of carrying arms from Iran to Gaza.

6:03AM: Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni encountering some very “objective” journalists at the National Press Club in Washington.

6:01AM: Over 30 Qassam rockets, mortar shells, and Grad missiles have been fired at Israel since the ceasefire began.

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