The Day In Israel: Sunday Mar 28th, 2010

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday reacted to Friday’s Hamas-initiated clash that resulted in the killing of two IDF soldiers by indicating his concern.

“I am very concerned at the escalation of violence and loss of life yesterday in the vicinity of the Gaza border,” Ban told a news conference on the sidelines of an Arab League summit in the Libyan town of Sirte.

“I reiterate my appeals made during my recent visit for maximum restraint and an end to all violence, in particular at this critical time when we are engaged in efforts to revive peace talks.”

His condemnation was not available for comment.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

8:25PM: Jimmy Carter, still a jerk.

8:06PM: They might look like buffoons, but there’s nothing funny about Syrian Dorktator Bashar Assad and Libyan leader Moammar Ghaddafi’s pressuring the PA to abandon any pretense of peace talks and go for the terrorism option.

AP

Syria and Libya teamed up Sunday to pressure the Palestinian leader to quit peace talks with Israel and return to violence, delegates to an Arab leadership summit said.

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Syrian President Bashar Assad urged Abbas to withdraw from a US-supported peace plan and resume armed resistance to Israel, according to two delegates who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

They said Assad also urged Arab countries to halt any contacts with Israel, though only Egypt and Jordan have peace deals with the Jewish state.

“The price of resistance is not higher than the price of peace,” one delegate quoted Assad as telling Abbas.

Libyan leader and summit host Moammar Ghaddafi warned that his nation may withdraw support for an initiative launched at a 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut calling for an exchange of land for peace with Israel, the delegates said.

4:38PM: White House senior adviser David Axelrod has rejected claims that Obama snubbed Bibi.

US President Barack Obama did not give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  the cold shoulder when they met in the White House last week, a top Obama aid said on Sunday.

Obama met the Israeli leader in the White House on Tuesday but did not dine with his visitor and, by keeping the talks closed to the media, also denied Netanyahu the courtesy of a photo-opportunity with the president.

This raised questions in blogs and at White House news briefings that it was a deliberately calibrated gesture by the administration to communicate its displeasure with Netanyahu over Jewish housing construction in east Jerusalem, which have stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians in the form of US-mediated indirect talks.

“This was a working meeting among friends. And so there was no snub intended,” White House senior adviser David Axelrod told CNN’s State of the Union news program.

Axelrod noted that the two leaders had met in private for two hours and had better things to do with their time than worry about protocol.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said prior to the leaders’ meeting that Israeli construction in east Jerusalem and the disputed West Bank undermines mutual trust.

Axelrod told CNN: “This was not about formalities. This was not about a ceremonial meeting. This was a working meeting. We have a deep, abiding interest in Israel’s security. And we believe the peace process is essential to that. And we are doing everything we can to move that process forward.”

Notice how the White House’s language mirrors Netanyahu’s (see 1:55PM update): it is all about working meetings/disagreements between friends. Question is: do both parties really believe this, or did they merely agree to portray it this way?

2:00PM: PA terrorist Suhil Koka has regrets over the killing of two IDF soldiers in 2005.

“If I regret anything, it is that I only killed two soldiers and not more.”

A military court found Suhil Koka guilty of murder last week and handed down two life sentences in prison plus another 30 years.

Peace!

1:55PM: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has distanced himself from severe criticism leveled at US President Barack Obama.

Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu stressed that the remarks quoted in Yediot Aharonot saying that Obama was a “tragedy” for Israel, were “unacceptable” to him and to everyone working on his behalf.

“There are disagreements between us and the Americans, but these are disagreements between friends,” he said.

9:02AM: Either this J Street poll is dodgy, or the majority of American Jews are even schmeckier than I thought.

6:15AM: Take that, pirates!

Crew on board a ship belonging to Israeli shipping company ZIM foiled an attempted hijacking off Somalia on Saturday, Israel Radio reported.

The ship Africa Star was on route from Mombasa in Kenya to Djibouti when pirates attacked as it sailed close to the Somali coast.

Two boats approached the ship and opened fire but were driven off following a gun battle with Israel security guards.
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This is the second time the Africa Star has been attacked in a week.

On Wednesday the ship was attacked close to the site of Saturday’s incident, but then too pirates were prevented from boarding the vessel.

Earlier this week pirates stormed a ship carrying Israeli cargo from the Ashdod to Thailand in the Indian Ocean.

No Israelis on board the MV Frigia, which was sailing under a Maltese flag.

The Turkish-owned vessel was carrying between 20,000 to 40,000 tons of potash for Israeli chemicals producer ICL – valued at some $11 million – when it was seized.

Piracy has become increasingly common in recent years off the coast of eastern Africa. Insurance costs for ships have multiplied 20 times because of this threat.

In recent weeks, NATO and EU naval forces have prevented 17 pirate attacks in the area off the coast of Somalia

Meanwhile, Egyptian security personnel have also repelled some Africans.

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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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