The Day In Israel: Wed July 1st, 2009

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Ha’aretz on Monday’s meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and US special Mideast envoy George Mitchell:

Israel, U.S. inch toward deal on settlements

Ynet  on the same meeting:

Barak, Mitchell remain disputed on settlements

I guess it’s all about the glass being half empty or half full.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:45PM: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the fourth of July US Independence Day reception at the American ambassador’s residence in Herzliya:

“We have a brave relationship with the United States, a bond that President Obama himself defined as unbreakable; Indeed, our bond with the US is unbreakable.”

9:40PM: Yet more proof that the Arab states really don’t care that much about the palestinians when it comes down to it.

Nativity Church deportees who left Gaza last week were detained at Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport after Egyptian authorities refused to allow the men to return to their port of origin.

The two men, Nadir Abdul Aziz and Issa Abu A’ahour, were deported from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip in 2002 following the siege of the Church of the Nativity and its negotiated end which saw the thirteen men dispersed to locations in Gaza and Europe with promises not to return to the West Bank.

Abdul Aziz and Abu A’ahour left Gaza on Tuesday using Jordanian passports via the Rafah crossing, and flew to Jordan where they had arranged to live with their wives and children, from whom they have been estranged since their deportation.

As West Bankers supported in part by the Palestinian Authority, who negotiated their release, the men said previously that they felt at risk in their non-native Gaza, particularly following the Hamas takeover and waves of internecine fighting.

The men were denied entry into Jordan and when authorities called Egypt to notify airport officials that they were being deported to their port of origin, Egyptian authorities said they would not receive the men. They remain in custody at Queen Alia International Airport.

The families of both men have appealed Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to convince either the Egyptians or the Jordanians to host them, so far without success.

Paging Tom Hanks.

8:42PM: Introducing what the AP refers to as “the first serious Palestinian attempt at animation” (I don’t know if I would go that far)

The 30-minute film is inspired by the story of a Gazan woman whose battle against breast cancer included fighting inept Palestinian doctors and indifferent Israeli soldiers, documented in a report by the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights after she died in 2004.

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In early 2004, the 28-year-old woman who inspired “Fatenah” felt a lump in her breast but Palestinian doctors dismissed her concerns. One doctor told her having children would cure her lump, but the cancer quickly spread and she had to undergo a double mastectomy.

Israeli activists had to lobby courts to let the woman enter Israel, because she did not have a valid ID — Israeli officials had halted procedures for Palestinians to obtain them at the time. She often missed appointments because soldiers wouldn’t let her cross into Israel.

The climactic scene in “Fatenah,” where a female Israeli soldier demands she disrobe for a security check occurred in September 2004, according to the Physicians for Human Rights report.

Weakened by cancer, the Gazan woman lay on the floor because there were no chairs in the border crossing at the time, the report said. She opened her long Muslim robe to reveal a T-shirt and stuffed bra to disguise her mastectomy, but was sent back to Gaza.

It wasn’t clear why she failed the security check, the report’s author said. The Israeli military said it would look into the report’s description.

Here’s the trailer:

This truly sounds like a tragic story, but I somehow doubt it includes various realistic scenes to provide context, such as:

8:05PM: At the Congress of World and Traditional Religions in Kazakhstan – a place put on the map by Borat, the character who advocates throwing Jews down the well – those who would readily wipe Israel off the map and really throw Jews down the well have left their mark.

Carrying out their threat, the Iranian representatives staged a walkout during President Shimon Peres’s keynote address at the Congress of World and Traditional Religions in Astana, Kazakhstan on Wednesday morning, refusing to return as long as the Israeli leader spoke.

“We have come to listen to religious leaders,” Iranian delegation member Mehdi Mostafavi told The Jerusalem Post,” and Peres is not a religious leader.”

When asked if he would speak to the attending Israeli chief rabbis or any of the American rabbis present, Mostafavi, an adviser to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said: “We’ll see.”

Meanwhile, one of them spoke to the Israeli press.

Another member of the Iranian delegation, one of Mostafavi’s aides, spoke with Israeli journalists during the joint exodus through the hallways of the Astana convention center, ascertaining that “Israel won’t attack us [Iran]; we’re not afraid of Israel or the United States.”

“Your president is a stealer of lands and a conqueror, and we’re not willing to hear him,” the delegate continued. “Peres represents an abominable Zionist personality, and his place is not here [at the interfaith conference].”

Now that’s progress!

Meanwhile, our optimistic President saw the positive side.

Speaking with some of the Israeli businessmen in his entourage shortly after the session’s conclusion, Peres marveled at the fact that the only people to leave the hall during his speech were Iranian delegate Mostafavi and his two aides.

“Don’t belittle what just happened,” the president said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen a Muslim [delegate] leave the room completely alone. Iran has learned that it is all alone.”

“This religious conference bears an atmosphere that is an asset to Israel,” Peres added.

4:20PM: Separated at Birth? Crazed Free Gaza tool Cynthia McKinney and crazed cartoon character Sideshow Bob.

cynthia mckinneySideshowBob

(hat tip: CJ)

2:45PM: From the Free Gaza twits’ Twitter page:

Two released, 19 still imprisoned. Keep up the phone calls, emails, anger at what has happened. Remember 11,000 Palestinians also imprisoned.

Remember, that figure of 11,000 includes those who planned and executed terror attacks against innocent people. So please do not refer to these Free Gaza tools as “peace activists.”

11:32AM: Bruno leading a discussion on Hamas..or is that Hummus?

9:15AM: After proving to be failures at the genocide game, we have now scored an epic fail at kidnapping, making known our decision to deport within the next few days the 21 Free Gaza terror supporters.

I mean, what kind of kidnappers are we? No long detention? No ransom? No violence?

Meanwhile, after making it abundantly clear on Twitter yesterday that they did not want to stay in Israel..

Website overwhelmed. Boat towed. Passengers turned over to immigration, ironic since we don’t WANT to be in Israel. They were kidnapped.

..we are hearing a different message from the Free Gaza tools now, or at least their relatives.

Hana Araf, of Meilia village in the Galilee, uncle of Houida Araf, one of the Israeli-American citizens on the Gaza-bound boat said, “We haven’t managed to get a hold of her, and we haven’t received any information. We are worried. They can’t deport her, and we will fight for this to the very end.

“She has an Israeli passport. She is a citizen of the state, and Israel has no right to detain her.

6:17AM: After being intercepted yesterday by the Israeli navy, who prevented them from reaching Gaza due to there being a naval blockade and security hazards, the Free Gaza tools continue to play the media, making this all about their people being “kidnapped” and in danger, as well as the people of Gaza not receiving the aid on board.

This, despite the fact that Israel obviously has no intention of harming these people and has stated that the aid can get transferred to Gaza through coordination with the relevant Israeli authorities.

For those of you in the U.S., the information below is really important and may be very helpful. What we know now is that the boat is being towed to Ashdod. That is all we know. Greta

Dear Friends,

Within the past hour the Free Gaza boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, was boarded by the Israeli Navy, and according to Free Gaza’s Tweet, http://twitter.com/freegazaorg, the Israeli military has issued a statement saying they have taken over the boat.

My contact at the U.S. State Department returned my call 40 minutes ago to say that they are in touch with the Israeli government and have been since the boat was surrounded some 6 hours ago. Overall, our State Department seeks to assure the safety of all on board and would like to see the boat get through as it is carrying humanitarian relief and cement to the people of Gaza, specifically aiding non-governmental organizations.

This is the right time to call your Senators and Representative to ask their senior staffer for foreign policy to place 2 urgent calls on your behalf. Ask them to call the Israeli Embassy and to call the U.S. State Department – and to call you back with what they learn.

Your Senators and Representatives, as strong supporters of Israel, are best positioned to urge the Israeli government to assure the safety of the crew (with four Americans on board, including former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Free Gaza Movement chairperson attorney Huwaida Arraf, International Solidarity Movement co-founder and filmmaker Adam Shapiro, and nurse / filmmaker Kathy Sheetz) and allow passage of the boats, crew, and humanitarian relief cargo to Gaza. They can express concern and counsel restraint. They can make their calls in private, no problem, and their calls are the ones that always get a response. Please note that when Senate and Congressional staffers call the U.S. State Department, it strengthens the State Department’s hand in negotiations with the Israeli government.

Do your best to connect with each senior staffer for foreign policy, but if you cannot get through to that key person just let the receptionist know your concern for the Free Gaza boat. Numbers matter now – so please ask your friends to call their Senators and Congresspersons too.

I contend that this was Free Gaza’s end game. They knew they would not be allowed through to Gaza, and were determined to create an incident and try to paint Israel in a bad light. This was not about the aid getting to Gazans.

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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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