The Day In Israel: Sun May 31st, 2009

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Israel is angry and disappointed.

Angry, following PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to Washington, after a report in which PA officials said they are waiting for US pressure to bring down Israel’s Netanyahu-led government.



Disappointed, after the US government’s demand that Israel completely freeze construction in all West Bank settlements, rendering all of the understandings reached during the Bush administration useless.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:18PM: It’s good to see UNRWA director John Ging dispense with any pretense of objectivity.

The UN’s director of relief operations in Gaza told Palestinians in Gaza that they had not been defeated by the Israeli military on Sunday.

“The Palestinians were not defeated by Israeli army in its latest offensive against the Gaza Strip, and they proved to be capable of resuming their life anew despite all their hardships,” said John Ging, the director of the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which serves hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in Gaza.

10:02PM: Dudu in the doo doo: Allegedly, when he’s not cracking jokes, he’s planning to crack skulls.

The police on Sunday said they have uncovered an extensive plot to hurt Israel’s top media brass.

Recent months have seen Avi Nir, CEO of Keshet TV, Reshet TV Vice President Shira Margalit – both franchise holders for Israel’s Channel 2 Television, and top actors’ agent Boaz Ben Zion assaulted to various degrees.

Entertainer and TV presenter Dudu Topaz was arrested Sunday at his Tel Aviv home on suspicion of being involved in the attacks, while security guards Saliman Hiadra (33) and Eiman Zabidath, (21) were arrested late Saturday night and were remanded by five days by the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court Sunday morning.

Police are reportedly in possession of records of calls indicating contact between Topaz and one of the other three suspects.

A fourth suspect, also a security guard, was detained Tuesday morning, and police assume more arrests will follow as the investigation proceeds.

Police Inspector Kobi Getanio told the court the suspects “are believed to have conspired to carry out several assaults on top media personnel.” When asked by the court if the suspects were acting on behalf of anyone, Getanio asked to state for the record that the police “believe the acts were committed as part of a criminal conspiracy.”

The two suspects, he added later, “were evidently working for someone.”

The police asked the two be remanded for 12 days, but Judge Zion Kapah ruled they will be held in custody for an additional five days, at this point. Nevertheless, he said, “This should not be taken to hint to the possible course of any future trial.”

The court also issued a partial gag order, barring the publication of the suspects’ photos.

This is just bizarre. It’s kind of like finding out Jay Leno is a hitman.

8:10PM: Weird Hamashole of the day: When this guy isn’t protesting or trying to murder Jews, he makes a mean hamburger.

7:50PM: A loyalty bill stating that anyone seeking an Israeli citizenship would have to pledge their allegiance to the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people has been shot down by the Legislation Committee.

As opposed to the palestinian legal system, where those who are deemed disloyal are shot down.

7:45PM: The Head of the Shin Bet has told cabinet that while the number of attacks coming from Gaza has declined over the past weeks, Hamas is simultaneously building its own force within Gaza and is trying to expand its rocket range, both through internal production and tunnel smuggling. They are also continuing to plant explosives along the border fence separating Gaza from Israel.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Defense Minister Ehud Barak has told the cabinet that “there is no hunger or crisis in Gaza, ” with more supplies passing through the border crossings today than during some points of the last ceasefire.

5:40PM: When the IDF kills palestinian terrorists after the latter resist arrest, you can bet the caption accompanying photos of the funeral procession/corpse are not this understanding of the Israeli position.

Mourners carry the bodies of Shaher Hanini and Abdel Rahman Yassin during their funeral after they were killed in a deadly shootout between policemen and Hamas gunmen in the West Bank town of Qalqilya. Six people were killed in the shoot-out on Sunday when an attempt to arrest a senior Hamas commander went awry, deepening the rift between the two main Palestinian factions. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

Don’t believe me? Here’s an example from a few days ago:

A Palestinian medical team carry the body of Abdel Majid Dudin after it was removed from the site where he was killed near the West Bank city of Hebron May 28, 2009. Israeli troops shot dead the fugitive leader of Hamas’s military wing in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian and Israeli officials said. Dudin, 45, was jailed by Palestinians after Israel accused him of planning two suicide bombings on buses in 1995, the army spokesman said.

Abdel Majid Dudin was killed in a gunfight after a special Israeli police force tried to arrest him. Why does this not qualify as an arrest attempt gone “awry”?

3:48PM: Senior members of the government have rejected US President Obama’s demand to halt all activity in West Bank settlements, with one going as far as to say:

“The American demand to prevent natural growth is unreasonable, and brings to mind Pharaoh who said: Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river.”

8:52AM: The Fatah-Hamas clash story has now made it to the Israeli news outlets, with reports that 6 palestinians – 2 Hamasholes, 3 Fatahniks and one bystander – were killed.

6:25AM: According to an LA Times report, Iran and Hizbullah were behind a plot to attack the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan a year ago, with two Lebanese and four Azerbaijanis on trial in Baku, on charges of terrorism, espionage and other offenses.

6:18AM: As a follow-up to the previous update, Ma’an in English is not running the story, but Ma’an in Arabic is (which is interesting in itself). This is what the latter says (thanks to my trusty auto-translator).

The outbreak of armed clashes between security forces and Palestinian gunmen in Qalqilya

Bethlehem – especially together – Palestinian security sources familiar with the agency, “together” the independent news and fire-fighting that took place before the middle of last night between Palestinian security forces and gunmen holed up in one of the places least one and refused to surrender.

In response to a rumor wounding six security men, the security source denied this information and said security forces had observed two gunmen refused to publicize themselves and opened fire prompting security cornered, and engaging with them – without depending on the source or explain the details of the other.

In turn, said Hamas and the Aqsa through space that the security forces have surrounded one of their collections in Qalqilya, calling out in the marches in solidarity with them and lifting the Bank encircled, with the authority responsible for their own lives.

Sounds like some rumor.

6:12AM: The Jerusalem Post has reported that PA policeman exchanged fire with Hamasholes in Kalkilya this morning, with one Hamashole dying in the shootout after attempting to detonate an explosives belt alongside the policemen.

What is interesting is that the Post originally quoted Ma’an News as the source of this story. I checked Ma’an and could not find any reference to it, after which time I returned to the Post report, only to find the reference to the Ma’an report replaced with the words “Earlier reports quoted Palestinian security officials who denied rumors that six police had been wounded in the shootout. The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the report.”

Yet another example of Jerusalem Post incompetence or did Ma’an yank the story?

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