The Day in Israel: Tues Mar 3rd, 2009

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Yesterday evening, Palestinian terrorists fired yet another rocket into Israel, this one landing in Ashkelon (pop: 110,000).

Instead of merely bombing a smuggling tunnel, Israel showed it really means business this time.

Meanwhile, Israel filed an official complaint with the United Nations on Monday over the continuing rocket fire.

I can just smell the terrorists’ fear now.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:02PM: Believe it or not: Holocaust denier David Irving has tried to enter the Israeli market.

Needless to say, success has not been forthcoming.

Two weeks ago a literary agent, Efrat Lev, received a package at her office in Jerusalem from a British publisher , Focal Press.

Inside was a letter from an author asking her to represent his books in Israel and have them translated into Hebrew. The signatory at the bottom was David Irving.

“I hesitated,” Ms Lev said yesterday. “I knew this name, but surely, I thought, it could not be the same David Irving I was thinking of – the Holocaust denier?

“I then looked at the enclosed material – jackets of books – and indeed, staring back at me was the most infamous Holocaust denier. In his letter he suggests that we do this service for him and relays his contact information, inviting me to be in touch.

“My reaction when I realised it was indeed him was of revulsion, for the chutzpah. My initial gut feeling was to write something about my grandmother’s sisters who perished in Treblinka, but I held back.

“In the end I replied to his letter in a professional manner.”

Ms Lev told Irving she did not see a market for his writing in Israel. Academics who needed to know about his interpretation of history would go to the original writing in English, she said.

The average reader would not want to spend time and money on his books.

She went on to tell him that her firm – The Deborah Harris Agency – represented authors such as Primo Levi and Eli Wiesel, the Anne Frank House publishing arm and other memoirs and diaries dealing with the Holocaust.

“I informed him that I would not even consider working with a man who violated the memories of my own family who perished in the Holocaust, supposedly of ‘natural causes’ as he preaches.”

Irving has written several books that defend Adolf Hitler and deny the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews by the Nazis.

He was labelled by Justice Charles Gray as an “active Holocaust denier”, as well as an anti-Semite and racist, when he lost a widely publicised legal battle in Britain with Professor Deborah Lipstadt, whom he had accused of libel.

Three years ago, while on a visit to Austria, he was apprehended, tried and convicted of glorifying and identifying with the German Nazi Party. He was released from jail in December 2006.

Irving remains unrepentant. In a telephone interview yesterday he maintained that his books were highly regarded by historians and publishers – many of whom, he said “are Jews” – and he sees no reason why the public in Israel would not be receptive to his literature.

9:50PM:

Clinton: “Ha-ha!”

8:25PM: Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has called US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “a good friend of Israel.”

The last time Hillary was called a “good friend” by anyone, I think it was by her husband Bill.

8:15PM: More on the peaceful ways of those darlings of the Left, Hamas.

6:10PM: After meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu has said he “found common ground with Clinton in attaining the common goals of our two countries.”

The common ground?

“We need to think creatively in order to move forward and create a different reality, both in terms of security and politically, and this is a common goal for both sides.”

Sounds to me like they have nothing in common.

5:20PM: We’ve been Ahmadinejaded by Newsweek (hat tip: Snapped Shot).

Newsweek now have this handy interactive map of countries with Muslim populations. When you mouse over Israel, this is what you get:

newsweek

What makes this even more shameful (if that’s possible) is the fact this interactive map contains religious freedom scores. Israel would have undoubtedly received the highest score of all these countries. Perhaps this is why Newsweek wiped us off the map?

4:50PM: Behold, our “painful” response to the rocket attacks of the past few days: the IAF has struck 6 smuggling tunnels.

A Hamashole reportedly almost choked on his chicken bone laughing.

3:45PM: Anyone wanting to know what really happened in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead: please read this:

I’m a poet, an English Jew and a frequent visitor to Israel. Deeply disturbed by the reports of wanton slaughter and destruction during Operation Cast Lead, I felt I had to see for myself. I flew to Tel Aviv and on Wednesday, January 28, using my press card to cross the Erez checkpoint, I walked across the border into Gaza where I was met by my guide, a Palestinian journalist. He asked if I wanted to meet with Hamas officials. I explained that I’d come to bear witness to the damage and civilian suffering, not to talk politics.

What I saw was that there had been precision attacks made on all of Hamas’ infrastructure. Does UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticize the surgical destruction of the explosives cache in the Imad Akhel Mosque, of the National Forces compound, of the Shi Jaya police station, of the Ministry of Prisoners? The Gazans I met weren’t mourning the police state. Neither were they radicalized. As Hamas blackshirts menaced the street corners, I witnessed how passersby ignored them.

THERE WERE empty beds at Shifa Hospital and a threatening atmosphere. Hamas is reduced to wielding its unchallengeable authority from extensive air raid shelters which, together with the hospital, were built by Israel 30 years ago. Terrorized Gazans used doublespeak when they told me most of the alleged 5,500 wounded were being treated in Egypt and Jordan. They want it known that the figure is a lie, and showed me that the wounded weren’t in Gaza. No evidence exists of their presence in foreign hospitals, or of how they might have gotten there.

From the mansions of the Abu Ayida family at Jebala Rayes to Tallel Howa (Gaza City’s densest residential area), Gazans contradicted allegations that Israel had murderously attacked civilians. They told me again and again that both civilians and Hamas fighters had evacuated safely from areas of Hamas activity in response to Israeli telephone calls, leaflets and megaphone warnings.

Seeing Al-Fakhora made it impossible to understand how UN and press reports could ever have alleged that the UNWRA school had been hit by Israeli shells. The school, like most of Gaza, was visibly intact. I was shown where Hamas had been firing from nearby, and the Israeli missile’s marks on the road outside the school were unmistakeable. When I met Mona al-Ashkor, one of the 40 people injured running toward Al-Fakhora – rather than inside it as widely and persistently reported – I was told that Israel had warned people not to take shelter in the school because Hamas was operating in the area, and that some people had ignored the warning because UNWRA previously told them that the school would be safe. Press reports that fatalities numbered 40 were denied.

I WAS TOLD stories at Samouni Street which contradicted each other, what I saw and later media accounts. Examples of these inconsistencies are that 24, 31, 34 or more members of the Fatah Samouni family had died. That all the deaths occurred when Israel bombed the safe building it had told 160 family members to shelter in; the safe building was pointed out to me but looked externally intact and washing was still hanging on a line on one of its balconies. That some left the safe building and were shot in another house. That one was shot when outside collecting firewood. That there was no resistance – but the top right hand window of the safe building (which appears in a BBC Panorama film Out of the Ruins” aired February 8th) has a black mark above it – a sign I was shown all day of weaponry having been fired from inside. That victims were left bleeding for two or three days.

I saw large scoured craters and a buckled container which appeared to have been damaged by an internal impact (its external surfaces were undamaged). Media accounts of Samouni Street don’t mention these possible indications of explosive caches (although the container is visible on media footage). The Samouni family’s elder told me during a taped interview that he had a CD film of the killings. As far as I’m aware, no such film has been made public. He also told me that there are members of his family who have still not been found.

The media have manufactured and examined allegations that Israel committed a war crime against the Samounis without mentioning that the family are Fatah and that some of its members are still missing. They have not considered what might flow from those facts: that Hamas might have been active not only in the Samouni killings but in the exertion of force on the Samounis to accuse Israel.

THE GAZA I saw was societally intact. There were no homeless, walking wounded, hungry or underdressed people. The streets were busy, shops were hung with embroidered dresses and gigantic cooking pots, the markets were full of fresh meat and beautiful produce – the red radishes were bigger than grapefruits. Mothers accompanied by a 13-year-old boy told me they were bored of leaving home to sit on rubble all day to tell the press how they’d survived. Women graduates I met in Shijaya spoke of education as power as old men watched over them.

No one praised their government as they showed me the sites of tunnels where fighters had melted away. No one declared Hamas victorious for creating a forced civilian front line as they showed me the remains of booby trapped homes and schools.

From what I saw and was told in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead pinpointed a totalitarian regime’s power bases and largely neutralized Hamas’s plans to make Israel its tool for the sacrifice of civilian life.

Corroboration of my account may be found in tardy and piecemeal retractions of claims concerning the UNWRA school at Al-Fakhora; an isolated acknowledgment that Gaza is substantially intact by The New York Times; Internet media watch corrections; and the unresolved discrepancy between the alleged wounded and their unreported whereabouts.

3:10PM: Since my last update:

  • US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reaffirmed the US commitment to a two-state solution
  • Deputy Hamashole Moussa Abu Marzouk reportedly received a letter written by Gilad Shalit during his visit to Gaza last week, and plans to deliver it to the Syrian foreign ministry
  • A draft of the closing statement prepared for the upcoming Durban 2 conference states that Israel’s policy in the palestinian controlled territories constitutes a “violation of international human rights, a crime against humanity and a contemporary form of apartheid.”

1:08PM: The Kisser strikes again!

AP

I am not even going to attempt a caption on this one.

9:20AM: The Jerusalem Post reports: No ‘fireworks’ expected at first Netanyahu-Clinton meeting

As opposed to the first private Lewinsky-Clinton meeting, where there were plenty of ‘fireworks’.

6:10AM: A senior political official has said that “Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s views on the Mideast peace process and the narrow right-wing government he is about to establish will undoubtedly harm Israel’s relations with the US.”

6:07AM: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with Israeli officials today after arriving in Israel last night. Israel plans to present her with a series of “red lines” it wants Washington to incorporate into its planned dialogue with Tehran about Iran’s nuclear program.

1. Any dialogue must be both preceded by and accompanied by harsher sanctions against Iran, both within the framework of the UN Security Council and outside it. Otherwise, the talks are liable to be perceived by both Iran and the international community as acceptance of Iran’s nuclear program.

2. Before the dialogue begins, the U.S. should formulate an action plan with Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain regarding what to do if the talks fail. Specifically, there must be an agreement that the talks’ failure will prompt extremely harsh international sanctions on Iran.

3. A time limit must be set for the talks, to prevent Iran from merely buying time to complete its nuclear development. The talks should also be defined as a “one-time opportunity” for Tehran.

4. Timing is critical, and the U.S. should consider whether it makes sense to begin the talks before Iran’s presidential election in June.

5:52AM: Israel’s Eurovision entry will be a “peace” song performed by Jewish-Arab duo Achinoam Nini and Mira Awad.

Here it is:

Catchy.

5:50AM: French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said his country would withdraw from the UN’s anti-racism conference  should any remarks be made against Israel or Jews. Or any French jokes made.

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About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

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