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According to Ynet, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Housing Minister Ariel Atias agreed upon a de facto moratorium on new building in the “settlements,” in order to provide an opportunity for a Mideast peace process to gain momentum in hopes that the new “waiting” tactic will allow international recognition of Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem and the large settlement blocs.
Like that’s going to happen.
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
8:08PM: Here’s more Lady Gaga going gaga over Israel.
A leading Swedish newspaper reported this week that Israeli soldiers are abducting Palestinians in order to steal their organs, a claim that prompted furious condemnation and accusations of anti-Semitic blood libel from a rival publication.
“They plunder the organs of our sons,” read the headline in Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, the left-leaning Aftonbladet, which devoted a double spread in its cultural section to the article.
The report quotes Palestinian claims that young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israel Defense Forces, and their bodies returned to the families with missing organs.
“Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,” relatives of Khaled from Nablus said to me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin as well as the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who all had disappeared for a few days and returned by night, dead and autopsied,” writes author Donald Boström in his report.
Boström’s article makes a link to the recent exposure of an alleged crime syndicate in New Jersey. The syndicate includes several American rabbis, and one Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who faces charges of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant.
Boström also cites an incident of alleged organ snatching from 1992, during the time of the first Palestinian intifada. He says that the IDF seized a young man known for throwing stones at Israeli troops in the Nablus area, who was shot in the chest, both legs, and the stomach before being taken to a military helicopter which transported him to “a place unknown to his loved ones”.
Five nights later, Boström says, the young man’s body was returned, wrapped in green hospital sheets.
“The sharp sounds from the shovels were mixed with the occasional laughter from the soldiers who were joking with each other, waiting to go home. When Bilal was put into his grave, his chest was revealed and suddenly it became clear to the present what abuse he had been put through. Bilal was far from the only one who was buried cut-up from his stomach to his chin and the speculations about the reason why had already started,” he writes.
But the liberal Sydsvenskan – southern Sweden’s major daily – had harsh criticism for the rival paper, running an opinion piece under the headline “Antisemitbladet” (a play on the name Aftonbladet).
“We have heard the story before, in one form or the other. It follows the traditional pattern of conspiracy theory: a great number of loose threads that the theorist tempts the reader to tie into a neat knot without having been provided with any proven connection whatsoever,” writes leading columnist Mats Skogkär of Sydsvenskan.
“Whispers in the dark. Anonymous sources. Rumors. That is all it takes. After all we all know what they [the IDF] are like, don’t we: inhuman, hardened. Capable of anything,” the opinion piece says. “Now all that remains is the defense, equally predictable: ‘Anti-Semitism’ No, no, just criticism of Israel.”
The Foreign Ministry reacted angrily on Tuesday to the report. Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said the newspaper’s decision to publish the story is “a mark of disgrace” for the Swedish press.
“In a democratic country, there should be no place for dark blood libels out of the Middle Ages of this type,” Palmor said. “This is an article that shames Swedish democracy and the entire Swedish press.”
A Foreign Ministry official said that Israel’s embassy in Stockholm have communicated a harsh condemnation to the Swedish government and the newspaper itself.
6:02PM: OK, it’s back now.
5:50PM: My 2:57PM update on Lauren Booth seems to have vanished. WTF?
5:40PM: Once again, Mike Huckabee is saying the right things.
“The question is should the Palestinians have a place to call their own? Yes, I have no problem with that. Should it be in the middle of the Jewish homeland? That’s what I think has to be honestly assessed as virtually unrealistic,” he said.
“Israel is a place where they’re going to allow other cultures and religions, but don’t ask the Jewish people whose homeland it is to completely yield over their ability to live within the context of their country,” said Huckabee.
The problem is, we don’t even have Israeli leaders saying these things!
4:52PM: According to the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and US President Barack Obama are set to discuss a new initiative which would see a demilitarized palestinian state within amended 1967 borders and Jerusalem as its shared capital with Israel, as well as have palestinians give up their demand for the right of return, in exchange for compensation. The initiative is to be supervised by Jimmy Carter, former Foreign Minister James Baker and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft.
Color me skeptical. Skeptical that such a plan exists, but especially skeptical that such a plan would ever succeed.
2:57PM: Child abuse: Here are two young British children dressed in Kaffiyehs, singing a “palestine” propaganda song and flashing the “V for Victory” sign made famous by Yasser Arafat.
If you are wondering what kind of parent would have their young kids engage in such vile propaganda, wonder no longer. I followed up on a hunch and discovered who their mother is.
Lauren Booth, the vehemently anti-Israel terror enabler (and sister-in-law of Tony Blair) who was in the news late last year after calling Gaza the “world’s largest concentration camp”, and then proceeded to gain weight after complaining about the horrid conditions and poverty.
1:07PM: Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Twitter:
Hopes the rumored settlement freeze is just a rumor, because it hasn’t gone through appropriate forums
6:25AM: According to a new poll, the terrorist in the suit would defeat the more blatant terrorist if palestinian elections were held today.
6:18AM: Former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee talking about the so-called settlement issue with Fox News.
Meanwhile, here is footage from dueling demonstrations between the Right wing Im Tirtzu and the Left wing ‘Peace Now’ outside the Shepherd Hotel (while Huckabee and a number of MKs attended a private reception inside), the site of future Jewish apartments opposed by President Obama.
6:04AM: Freudian slip of the day: Egyptian President Hozni Mubarak, in an interview with PBS:
And instead of saying stopping more settlements – and we heard this many times, now for over 10 years, and [they] never come to a stop – what I can say is that we have to consider the whole issue holistically, to negotiate on the final resolution. They wanted to have some temporary or final solutions. I said, forget about temporary, because the people will think that this is the final step. My point of view is to see the final solution.