The Day In Israel: Sat Jan 31st, 2009

Click refresh to see new updates during the day.

For other liveblogging see The Muqata.

Here are the main stories I missed while celebrating the Jewish Sabbath:

  • The palestinians fired ‘only’ one Qassam into Israel today. Here’s the IDF response.
  • Palestinians in Nablus decided to get in on the projectile fun. Then there were those who preferred more conventional methods of attack.
  • After Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair said in in an interview that Hamas must be involved in the peace process, Hamas said it “testifies to Blair’s stupidity and the stupidity of those who insist on this idiotic offer.” They could have a point.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:35PM: Ynetnews reports:

briefs“We hope the briefs and documents we sent yesterday – and which they have already received in Spain – will result in them rescinding their decision to prosecute the seven Israelis in the killing of (Salah) Shehade,” a senior Justice Ministry official familiar with the case told Ynet on Saturday evening.

If that’s what works in Spain..

10:45PM: Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has asked her Cypriot counterpart Markos Kyprianou to confiscate the weapons aboard the ship on their way from Iran to Syria.

Earlier today, Cypriot authorities searched the ship, but then backed away from previous assertions that it was violating UN resolutions.

10:40PM: Terrorists earlier opened fire on an Israeli bus traveling northeast of Ramallah. No injuries were reported.

8:18PM: Are we heading for an intra-Hamashole smackdown?

Palestinian sources told the Egyptian daily newspaper Al Ahram that the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip sought to extend the six-month cease-fire that preceded Israel’s military offensive last month and are furious with Hamas’ Damascus-based political bureau chief Khaled Meshal’s decision to end the truce, Israel Radio reported on Saturday.

According to the report, two senior Hamas officials in Gaza – Mahmoud al-Zahar and Ahmed al-Jabari – warned Meshal that abandoning the cease-fire was “rash” given that the organization had not adequately prepared for an Israeli ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.

8:12PM: Israeli police had to shut down a rally in Haifa on Friday, since it was not really a pre-election rally at all, but rather a pro-PFLP (terrorist organization) rally.

Besides being yet another example of Israeli Arabs biting the hand that feeds them (well), think about how Hamas would react if a Fatah rally was planned in Gaza.

8:05PM: Egypt have reportedly begun installing cameras and motion sensors to combat the palestinian arms smuggling.

7:33PM: This is not just another story of Hamas’ use of human shields as you will see in a minute.

Members of a Gaza family whose farm was turned into a “fortress” by Hamas fighters have reported that they were helpless to stop Hamas from using them as human shields. They told the official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper that for years Hamas has used their property and homes for military installations from which to launch rockets into Israel, dig tunnels and store arms. According to the victims, those who tried to object were shot in the legs by Hamas.

The following are excerpts from the article from the official Palestinian Authority daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:

“The Abd Rabbo family kept quiet while Hamas fighters turned their farm in the Gaza strip into a fortress. Right now they are waiting for the aid promised by the [Hamas] movement after Israel bombed the farm and turned it into ruins…

The hill on which the Abd Rabbo family lives overlooks the Israeli town Sderot, a fact that turned it into an ideal military position for the Palestinian fighters, from which they have launched hundreds of rockets into southern Israel during the last few years. Several of the Abd Rabbo family members described how the fighters dug tunnels under their houses, stored arms in the fields and launched rockets from the yard of their farm during the nights.

The Abd Rabbo family members emphasize that they are not [Hamas] activists and that they are still loyal to the Fatah movement, but that they were unable to prevent the armed squads from entering their neighborhood at night. One family member, Hadi (age 22) said: “You can’t say anything to the resistance [fighters], or they will accuse you of collaborating [with Israel] and shoot you in the legs.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 27, 2009]

What makes this story even more interesting is the fact this family has the same name as the family that claimed Israeli soldiers killed its children in cold blood. And that family were also aligned with Fatah. In fact, in that story reported by The Independent:

The district is named Abed Rabbo after the clan who live in most of it.

Furthermore, there are hills in the Jabalya region.

So my question is are these the same families? If we are dealing with the same location, then chances are they at least from the same clan. And if members of the clan admit they were used as human shields by Hamas, then at the very least this shows why the IDF were on the lookout for terrorists.

It also begs the question as to why this information was not revealed by Khaled Abed Rabbo, the father of the dead children. In fact:

He is demanding a full inquiry and wants the chance to present his own evidence.

“Why do they come after us?” Khaled asked the Herald. “We are not militants here. We are not Hamas. We are just ordinary people.

If we are talking of the same clan, chances are Khaled would have been aware of the presence of Hamas terrorists using clan members as human shields. His family may also have been used in this way, and his children may have been killed by Hamas.

7:05PM: Here is Tony Blair saying that Hamas should be included in the peace process. And many, many other words without really saying anything.

Also note Christiane Amanpour’s line of questioning on Binyamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu.


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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