The Day In Israel: Mon Oct 4th, 2010

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Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly said US President Barack Obama is trying to force a solution on Israel.

avigdor lieberman wallIsrael must not be tempted to adopt US President Barack Obama’s suggestion to declare a two-month settlement construction moratorium, as it may lead to a forced (peace) agreement with the Palestinians and a return to the 1967 borders, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday.

During closed-door discussions (not so closed if this made it to the press – ed.) with fellow members of his Yisrael Beiteinu party, Lieberman said, “The pressure won’t work. We are not leaving the coalition in order to bolster the majority in government, which is against continuing the settlement construction moratorium.”

According to the foreign minister, five, maybe even six Likud ministers – Moshe Yaalon, Yossi Peled, Silvan Shalom, Yuli Edelstein and possibly Gilad Erdan – would vote against Obama’s proposal.

“During my recent visit to the US I learned that Washington is planning to force a permanent agreement on Israel – two states for two peoples along the 1967 borders, plus-minus 3 or 4% of the territory exchanged,” Lieberman said. “This is the objective of a continued freeze – to give the US and the international community two months to come up with a solution that will be forced on Israel.”

According to the FM, in two months’ time “The US, along with the Quartet, the Arab League and the Palestinians will tell Israel, ‘This is the solution, take it or leave it. If you don’t, there is a price – a confrontation with the international community’. Therefore, we must not quit the coalition. It’s the only way to solidify a majority against the freeze, which is a decoy.”

It bears mentioning that a return to the 1967 borders is not supported by the language of UN resolution 242 and was not contemplated by its drafters.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:52PM: Wow.

Norwegian troops helped two Lebanese arrested by the Israel Defense Forces to escape from Israeli jail, a Norwegian journalist claims in a new book.

The author, Odd Karsten Tveit, covered the Middle East for many years and served in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, whose members – according to the book “Goodbye Lebanon – Israel’s First Defeat”, helped the prisoners escape from the al-Khaim Prison in southern Lebanon.

The incident took place in 1992. According to the book, the Norwegian forces feared that two prisoners who managed to escape from the detention facility would be tortured or executed in Israel if caught by the IDF or South Lebanon Army, and decided to help them out.

Tveit says that the soldiers dressed the detainees in UNIFIL uniform and included them in a UN convoy which left southern Lebanon through roadblocks set up by the Israeli forces.

In interview to Norwegian media, Tveit noted that the incident was kept a secret for more than 18 years and that he was given permission to reveal its details only recently by Hagrup Haukland, the former commander of UNIFIL’s Norwegian battalion, who made the decision to help the two prisoners.

According to Tveit, the UNIFIL headquarters and senior Norwegian army officials were not informed of the decision.

The book states that one of the incidents which prompted Haukland to help the prisoners was when Moshe Tamir, one of IDF’s top commanders in Lebanon, arrived at the UN camp and accused the Norwegian commander of “sheltering terrorists” after the two had escaped from the prison.

According to the book, immediately after the confrontation with Tamir, Haukland ordered his forces “to smuggle the two Lebanese immediately” and decided to hide them in a bus used by Norwegian soldiers on leave.

“The Israelis did not suspect that the Lebanese are hiding among our soldiers,” the book says. When the bus arrived in Beirut, the two were free to go.

Norwegian daily Aftonposten reported that the two held a press conference in September 1992 and spoke about their escape, without revealing the help they had received from the Norwegian force. According to the report, the name of one of the prisoners was Daoud Faraj.

7:42PM: Short documentary dealing with the question: Is Israel an Apartheid state?

7:32PM: Photo of the day:

Ahmadinejad hose
A man uses a hose to wash down an image of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the 'Iran Gardens' in the southern Lebanese town of Marun al-Ras on October 4, 2010, as the town prepares for an official visit by the Iranian President to Lebanon on October 13-14. MAHMOUD ZAYAT/AFP/Getty Images

I could think of a better way to irrigate an Ahmadinejad poster.

5:06PM: Coming soon to Israel: The cashier-less checkout.

3:38PM: China’s Xinhua news reports that a palestinian man died while being chased by the IDF.

A Palestinian worker died on Monday of a heart attack as he was chased by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron, medical sources said.

Medical sources told Xinhua that a 55-year-old worker, named Shehda Karaja, died of a heart attack after Israeli soldiers hurled tear gas at a group of Palestinian workers who wanted to penetrate the Israeli security barrier separating Israel and the West Bank in search for job opportunities in the Jewish state.

The implication is that the heart attack was brought on by the tear gas, or at the very least the stress of the chase.

However, even the palestinian Ma’an News agency sees it fit to provide the Israeli response.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army confirmed the death but said the deceased “wasn’t being chased; he was running towards Israel and in the meantime suffered a heart attack and died.”

The representative also said no riot dispersal means were used and that Karja was spotted trying to climb the separation barrier.

12:50PM: Israeli ‘aid ships’ are to carry 4-legged animals to Turkey.

No, not this kind (unfortunately).

9:58AM: Not all Lebanese are happy about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s impending visit to Lebanon.

Antwone Andreus, deputy chief of the Al-Mustaqbal Movement, warned Sunday that Ahmadinejad’s visit is a provocation of the Lebanese people: “Ahmadinejad is an enemy of Lebanon because he gives Hezbollah weapons, and they walks into Beirut’s streets and gun us down.”

Fares Saeed, a senior member of the March 14 Alliance, the political bloc headed by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, added: “At a time when there are peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the Iranian president wants to underscore the fact that Lebanon is land belonging to the resistance and that his war plan against Israel in ongoing.

“Ahmadinejad wasn’t to remind the international community that Israel’s security is in Iran’s hands via Hamas and Hezbollah.”

The March 14 Alliance issues an official statement denouncing the visit, as well.

9:40AM: Unhinged commenter of the day: Is this lady, who thinks that merely reporting the news constitutes bashing her beloved President.

She also thinks she is back at school, and that the taunt “you have so few friends!” is effective.

6:06AM: How do the people of Gaza feel about Hamas?

Not so good, according to this article.

Except:

I ask him if that means the human rights situation was better under Israeli occupation that it is today for residents of both the West Bank and Gaza.

“Why do you think I ask you not use my name? Yes, 100 percent yes,” he said. “At least the occupation had a positive effect of drawing the Palestinian people together instead of dividing them. I now fear that we’re seeing a systematic effort by Hamas and its religious backers to enter every component of society.”

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Islamic Jihad, once the closest ally of the Hamas military wing, now refuses to call their former brothers-in-arms resistance fighters. According to Abu Musab, a top Islamic Jihad commander in the Rafah refugee camp, Hamas has failed at governance and resistance alike. “There’s no government in Gaza,” he said flatly. “We’re under Israeli and Hamas occupation.”

“They are as big harami as Dahlan,” he said, using the Arabic slang for “thieves”. “They used to be mujaheddin, but today they are fat millionaires with nice cars,” he added, pointing to his flat stomach. “Look, you can either be a millionaire or you can lead a resistance. But you if you take the medical aid sent by Europe to help the poor people of Gaza and sell it in your own pharmacies to make money for yourself and the government, you can’t have both.”

At this point he pulled a packet of antibiotics from his pocket; it is stamped: “A gift of the people of Norway. Not for resale.”

“I just bought this from a Hamas-run pharmacy here in Rafah for my son,” he said. “I had to go to a Hamas pharmacy to make sure the pills weren’t fake or made from poor materials in Egypt. If you want real medicine, you have to buy the aid Europe sends us.”

Meanwhile, Soccer Dad notes that the original of this story in The National was taken down, and speculates as to why.

5:54AM: Introducing what looks like the world’s most boring theme park (hat tip: Israeli Frontline)

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