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Blogging the Conflict: May 31st, 2007

Unlike yesterday, there have already been a number of Qassams that have landed in Israel. So far, there have been no reports of injuries or damage, although it is being reported that another victim has succumbed to wounds he received last week, making him the 11th victim of Qassam rocket fire, and the 3rd in this current period of intensified attacks that commenced over 2 weeks ago. The victim, 13-year-old Chai Shalom, was a deaf mute, who was confined to a wheelchair, and who sustained his injuries after a Qassam landed next to a bus transporting him and 3 other disabled children.
 
Meanwhile, the IAF has launched attacks against 2 Qassam rocket launchers in northern Gaza (including one of the sites used earlier today to launch a Qassam towards Israel), and has arrested 8 wanted palestinians in the West Bank.
 
In other news, South Africa’s largest trade union is seeking to follow in the morally bankrupt footsteps of the Britain’s University and College Union and demand a boycott of Israel, and the Home Front Command plans to launch a publicity campaign to prepare the public for war. Oh joy.
 

 
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
Latest updates here.

11:50PM: The missing soldier (10:52PM update) has been found alive and well.

11:20PM: Hamas are claiming that they  have not launched a rocket in 48 hours, and that the rockets fired into Israel during this period were fired by other groups such as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC).

10:52PM: Ynet reports that an 18-year-old female IDF soldier has been missing since this morning. 

8:20PM: Random thoughts on the utter stupidity of the UCU’s vote to promote a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

  • If UK academic institutions do sever ties with their Israeli counterparts, they will be missing out on collaborating with world experts in pretty much all fields. Israel will be missing out on collaborating with a bunch of clueless and pompous nickenpoops with bad dental hygeine.
  • If UK academics want to protest occupation, how about they start with their own country, which is one of the most prolific countries in the world when it comes to the number of other counties occupied.
  • There are many Israeli academics who lie on the Left side of the political spectrum, and would agree with many of the contentions put forward by their British colleagues.
  • 8:00PM: Take that! An American research foundation that supports scientists around the world in the quest for a cure for brain cancer funds research has cancelled its plans to open a grant application process for UK researchers.

    In a letter to British academic institutions, foundation leader Elizabeth Goldhirsh writes: ” As a director of a $150 million foundation that supports scientists around the world in the quest for a cure for brain cancer, I am profoundly disappointed in your union’s decision to boycott Israel today.

    “This action represents a severe setback for academic freedom and open discourse. Moreover, the decision to single out and demonize Israel above and beyond all other countries – remaining silent over Russia’s brutal occupation in Chechnya, for example, or China’s ongoing oppression of Tibet – is, at best, troubling. At worst, it points to a far more sinister and tragic motivation.

    “Equally disturbing is to do so at a time when Israel’s civilians are facing near-daily missile attacks from Gaza and her partner for negotiations is an organization that dispatches suicide bombers and refuses to recognize the Jewish State’s right to exist.

    “Given this decision, I am deeply saddened to say that while my foundation had been considering opening up our scientific grant process to British researchers we will no longer be able to do so. I urge you to work against this boycott and restore learning’s highest ideal of fairness free of prejudice to British academia.”

    6:25PM: More on the Helen Mirren update (5:50PM):
    Oscar-winner Helen Mirren is being lined up to star in a film set in the Gaza Strip, as a woman whose journalist daughter falls in love with a Palestinian and is killed, the company making the film said Thursday.
     
    The film, described by Left Bank Picture head Andy Harries as more human interest than political, is expected to be shot in Jordan because the fighting between rival factions in Gaza.
    6:05PM: Education Minister Yuli Tamir writes about the British Academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
     
    Excerpt:
    There is considerable irony in the fact that now of all times, while Qassam rockets are raining down on Sderot schools and on Sapir College, not only does Britain’s University and College Union (UCU) not find it appropriate to express its support for Israeli students forced to endure incessant life-threatening attacks ‚Äì but it has also chosen this particular time to announce its call for a boycott of Israel’s academic institutions.
    5:55PM: A couple of Qassams fell in Israel over an hour ago, bringing today’s tally to 4.
     
    5:50PM: Qassams Boycotts in the air, everywhere I look around: Now the UK’s public services union UNISON is considering a proposal for imposing a boycott on Israel.
     
    And still on the subject of the UK, Oscar-winner Helen Mirren is lined up to star in a film set in Gaza. I wonder if it also stars Vanessa Redgrave.
     
    11:00AM: The IAF has struck another Qassam-launching area.
      
    10:30AM: An IAF Skyhawk warplane has crashed into the sea near Ashdod, with the pilot ejecting to safety.

    About the author

    Picture of David Lange

    David Lange

    A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
    Picture of David Lange

    David Lange

    A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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