Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is positive about the chances of “peace talks” with the palestinians resuming soon.
“In recent weeks, I’ve had the impression there is a certain change in atmosphere, and I hope that a maturation that would enable the negotiating process to move forward has occurred,” he told a meeting of his Likud faction at the Knesset.
Meanwhile, here is PA leader Mahmoud Abbas demonstrating that “change of atmosphere”:
We are interested in negotiations, we do not object to resuming the meetings with the Israelis and we are not setting any preconditions, but at the same time in order for us to return (to the negotiation table) – there must be a halt to settlement building and recognition of the peace process’ principles.”
Translation: We will negotiate without preconditions. Well, not exactly.
How exactly has anything changed?
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
10:44PM: You can’t make this stuff up.
An Iraqi parliament member said Tuesday that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki plans to sue Israel for damages done to his country following its destruction of the Tammuz nuclear reactor.
The Air Force bombed the site in 1981. Now, 29 years later, al-Maliki has instructed the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad to clarify with the UN whether it would be possible to extract compensation from Israel.
An Iraqi source told the German DPA that MP Mohammad Naji said UN Resolution 487, approved after the strike, allowed his country to sue Israel.
“Al-Maliki’s appeal follows an answer received from the UN Secretariat by the government of Iraq on November 25, which says Iraq has a right to demand compensation for the damage Israel did to it with the attack on the reactor, through a neutral committee which will assess the extent of the damage,” the report says.
Naji estimated that Baghdad would complete the suit very soon. In an interview with the Iraqi al-Sabaah, he said a number of parliament members were leading the initiative and “trying to carry out international decisions on the matter”.
8:30PM: In an interview with the New York Times regarding his “toy” photographs from the 2006 Israel/Lebanon war, AP stringer Ben Curtis admits he witnessed Hizbullah’s weapons and equipment inside a civilian apartment building.
BEN CURTIS: Yes. I couldn’t say it’s the same street, but it’s the same area. We’d been in a building where we had come across some weapons and, what do you call them, those green khaki pouches that you’d wear around your waist that soldiers would wear? We’d come across some of those piled up next to a door with nobody around. And we took a couple of pictures of them, but it wasn’t particularly exciting visually.
(hat tip: Snapped Shot)
8:20PM: Someone’s been telling porky-pies.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, July 5th, 2009:
“Jews, to the extent they choose to stay and live in the state of Palestine, will enjoy those rights and certainly will not enjoy any less rights than Israeli Arabs enjoy now in the state of Israel.”
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, January 3rd, 2010:
The future Palestinian state will be “free of fences and of settlements.”
Pray tell, if a palestinian state is to be free of the “settlements”, how are Jews to live there?
Meanwhile, Fayyad took part in a demonstration in which products made in Jewish communities were burned.
Economics Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh said the Western-backed Palestinian government had already confiscated $1 million worth of products, including foods, cosmetics and hardware, and the goal is to eliminate all settlement-made goods from Palestinian store shelves next year.
Israel’s Histadrut labor federation said a few months ago that a boycott would harm the Palestinians more, as many of them are employed by Israeli factories that are based in the West Bank.
Draw your own conclusions.
7:34PM: Palestinian Media Watch has the latest on the PA’s glorification of terrorists.
Wafa Idris, the first Palestinian female suicide terrorist, was honored as a “Shahida” – holy Martyr – in a new Fatah promotional music video broadcast this week on Palestinian Authority TV. Idris killed one Israeli and wounded 150 in her suicide bombing in 2002.
This picture of Wafa Idris with the text “The Shahida (Martyr) Wafa Ali Idris” appears in the new PA TV music video, which blends scenes and pictures paying tribute to the PLO, Fatah, Yasser Arafat and PA and Fatah Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. PA TV is under the control of Abbas’s office.
In addition to this terror glorification, Abbas spoke at a PA event marking the 45th anniversary of the Fatah Movement, and honored as “Shahids” (Martyrs) the six most recent terrorists killed by Israel. By giving them this title of honor, Abbas is once again legitimizing and glorifying their acts of terror.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas:
“Our latest Shahids (Martyrs) are the six who were killed in cold blood by Israeli forces in Nablus [terrorists who killed Rabbi Avshalom Meir Hai] and in Gaza [terrorists carrying explosives and a ladder near Israel’s border fence].”
[PA TV (Fatah), Dec. 31, 2009]
These are the latest two examples of the PA’s policy of honoring terrorists.
4:48PM: Goldstone and other NGOs say they have “no evidence” that Hamas hid among civilians in Gaza.
3:42PM: What’s missing from this picture?
British Member of Parliament George Galloway attends a news conference with fellow members of pro-Palestinian organisation Viva Palestina, upon arriving from Syria at El-Arish airport, 344 km (214 miles) northeast of Cairo, January 4, 2010, A convoy from Viva Palestina, which has been granted entry to Gaza by the Egyptian authorities, arrived in Arish on Monday, led by Galloway, before proceeding to Rafah to enter Gaza with 200 truckloads of basic food and medical supplies. Picture taken January 4, 2010.
Answer: A boot to Galloway’s head.
Galloway and his merry bunch of terror-enablers were due to enter Gaza via the Rafah crossing from Egypt an hour and a half ago, but I have not seen anything regarding them having entered.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has gone to the extraordinary length of ripping Galloway and company a new one.
Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry welcomed the entry of the ship carrying the biggest part of “Lifeline 3” relief convoy to Al-Arish port in order to pave its way for entering Gaza Strip.
The Spokesman said that the media hype that accompanied this convoy was mainly due to the convoy failing to following the required procedures set by the Egyptian authorities from the very beginning. He pointed out that Egypt, during the past period, continued to welcome the convoy entrance through its land to the Gaza Strip, while highlighting the importance for the convoy to follow the procedures set by the concerned Egyptian authorities and within the framework of organizing the entrance and the passage of relief convoys into Gaza Strip through Egypt.
Meanwhile, the Spokesman expressed deep regret regarding some publications inside and outside the Egyptian arena, which criticized the Egyptian adherence to its procedures and the keenness of Egypt for foreigners to respect these procedures. The Spokesman described such method as being shortsighted, taking into consideration that it follows the known political agendas of certain groups inside Egypt and abroad.
In this regard, the Spokesman outlined that some media publications, coverage, and comments seemed, during the past days, to imply that it is ok for a group of foreigners to impose their will on the Egyptian state under the allegations of assisting Palestinian in Gaza. He added that assisting the Palestinians, which is an important issue, must not contradict by any means respecting the Egyptian procedures, as well as not to challenge it under any circumstances.
The Spokesman once again reviewed the most important facts related to the convoy issue, as follows:
1- The Egyptian concerned authorities (Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry, General Intelligence Service) set in July 2009 “the Egyptian mechanism to receive the relief convoys directed to Gaza Strip”, and within this mechanism Al-Arish port was selected to be the only entry point for relief materials, because of the administrative confusion that occurred when tons of assistance arrived at different ports, especially if the clearance process was taken into consideration, as well as the returned relief cargos which were not valid for usage (expired, used,…). Also, Al-Arish port is considered the closest point to Gaza Strip, and is near warehouses of Al-Arish city, if some of the materials needed to be stocked.
2- The Egyptian concerned authorities (Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry, General Intelligence Service) followed up the news on preparing for “Lifeline 3” convoy on the Viva Palestina website, which is under the supervision of the British MP George Galloway. The Egyptian embassy in London sent a letter, on November 10th, 2009, to the British MP informing him of the Egyptian mechanism to receive relief convoys in Gaza Strip, which underlined the importance of the convoys to enter through Al-Arish port.
3- The convoy launched from London, on December 6th, in front of the British Parliament, while neither the Egyptian Embassy in London nor the Egyptian Foreign Ministry received any information or requests from the organizers of the convoy. Moreover, the embassy did not receive a response to its letter sent on November 10th
4- Following the departure of the convoy from London, the Egyptian embassy sent a letter to MP Galloway, on Dec. 10, highlighting the Egyptian mechanism and the importance of entering relief materials through Al-Arish port. Yet, the Embassy did not receive a response to its letter.
5- As a result of Galloway ignoring the embassy’s two letters, the Egyptian embassy in London, for the third time, contacted the Office of MP George Galloway on 17/12 (one week after sending the second message), emphasizing the need for the convoy to literally commit to the Egyptian mechanism used to receive such convoys. The embassy also asked the Office of Galloway to send data and names of participants in the convoy, as well as a list of the aid materials, as Galloway did not provide the embassy with such data (eleven days after the convoy had started from London). In that day 17/12, the embassy received the lists of participants and aids carried by the convoy, and then received a modification to such data on 20 December.
6- According to the instructions of Cairo, the Egyptian Embassy in London, in its contacts for the fourth time, reconfirmed to Mr. Galloway the decision of the Egyptian authorities to allow access for the convoy to the Gaza Strip, on December 27 as proposed by Galloway, on the condition that it commits to all Egyptian rules and procedures organizing the entry of relief convoys.
7- Notwithstanding the Egyptian successive assurances, Egypt was surprised by Galloway’s insistence on ignoring its instructions; the convoy traveled to Jordan, then south to the city of Aqaba, in preparation for trying to enter the Egyptian territories through the Nuweiba port sea, contrary to the mentioned mechanism.
8- In this regard, perceiving that the convoy organizers are trying to impose a fait accompli and ignore the Egyptian instructions, Egypt announced that it will not allow access for the convoy except through the port of El Arish, and the Egyptian consulate in Aqaba informed Galloway of such decision upon receiving him.
9- In the city of Aqaba, and following the discovery of the Turkish participants, having the biggest part of contributions in the convoy, that there is an Egyptian mechanism, concealed by George Galloway. The Turkish side in Egypt interfered to consider the best means to complete the trip of the convoy, Egypt has confirmed the need to adhere to the mechanism referred to, especially that the convoy organizers were informed of the procedures one month before launching the convoy. This has prompted the Turkish side to consult with the participants to adopt a resolution to return to the city of Latakia to navigate to El Arish.
10- Egypt had previously cooperated with Galloway in two convoys, “Lifeline 1”, which entered the Gaza Strip in March 2009, as well as “Lifeline 2” in mid-July 2009.
The Spokesman concluded the statement by asserting that any aid convoys, requesting access to the Gaza Strip through the Egyptian territories are welcomed by Egypt, on the condition that it commits to the Egyptian mechanisms and procedures.
Sounds to me like Galloway and company either have something to hide, purposely ignored instructions to create an “incident” to generate publicity, or both.
11:42AM: Israeli-UK relations have been further damaged after British authorities could not vouch that IDF officers invited to the UK by the British army would not be arrested.
Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has approached the British government in order to ensure that the officers, a colonel, lieutenant colonel and a major, would be able to stay on British soil without fear.
The British authorities could not make such a promise and therefore the delegation’s visit was canceled.
The incident is viewed with great severity by Israeli government officials.
Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said that “should we not get the appropriate securities and if the British law remains unchanged, Israeli officers and seniors will not be able to travel to Britain, which would undermine the good relations between the two countries who share common values and interests. The British must bear in mind that these visits serve both countries.”
Meanwhile, British Attorney General Baroness Patricia Janet Scotland is currently visiting Israel and is expected to meet with Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman and elements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Israeli side is slated to stress that it expects a change in British legislation that would prevent any arrests. Israeli elements are also expected to assert that British-Israeli relations are in danger of being cynically exploited by hostile Palestinian elements. The Israelis also noted incidents that could jeopardize relations, for example the academic and commercial boycott of Israel.
8:58AM: They may not be the most professional at reporting the news, but Ynet at least has a sense of humor.
6:10AM: Israeli police officers last night arrested three palestinians near Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, in town from Hebron for a game of “Stab the Jew.”
6:02AM: It’s not everyday you see a mo-hawked punk espouse the virtues of Israel. So enjoy!
For the record, he seems to have been raised in Israel.