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The Day In Israel: Tues Aug 4th, 2009

Click refresh to see new updates during the day

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called Israel’s eviction of palestinian families from homes in east Jerusalem “deeply regrettable” and “provocative.”

Because we all know there’s nothing quite as regrettable and provocative as Jews living in their holiest city, Jerusalem. Forget the fact they have the legal documents to prove their ownership of the homes, as opposed to the forged documents presented by the Arab families.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:15PM:The Jerusalem Post reports:

50 Palestinians who were supposed to cross into Israel from the Gaza Strip Tuesday, mostly to receive medical treatment here, were repelled by Hamas security forces at the Beit Hameches Junction just west of the Erez Crossing in the north-eastern Gaza Strip.

Hamas operatives blocked off the road and prevented the Palestinians from reaching the crossing with Israel.

Israeli officials said the Hamas blockade was likely due to suspicions that among the sick were disguised Fatah officials trying to sneak out of Gaza to attend the Fatah conference which got underway in Bethlehem Tuesday morning.

Human rights organizations have condemned Hamas.

Yeah, right.

10:00PM: Hizbullah-sponsored TV network Al-Manar TV has been granted permission to broadcast in Australia.

9:26PM: Here is fellow Aussie, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev, doing a stirling job responding to international criticism of the evictions of palestinians in Jerusalem.

3:45PM: Then (February 2008):

He was once one of Israel’s most wanted men, an icon of the intifada, the Palestinians’ uprising against the Israeli occupation. But Zachariya Zubeidi is a changed man.

Surrounded by children in the West Bank town of Jenin where he lives, he revealed why.

“I lost my childhood from the beginning of the intifada. When I was their age I was in prison.

“These children deserve their childhood like any other kid in the world.A better childhood than I had.”

Zachariya Zubeidi fast-tracked to notoriety in the intifada. At the age of 28 he was the head of the al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade in Jenin, responsible for ordering many attacks on Israelis.

When the Israelis flattened much of the town’s refugee camp in Operation Defensive Shield, in retaliation for a series of suicide bombings, he was in the thick of the fighting. But that he says is all behind him now.

“After seven years of intifada and after all that we sacrificed, unfortunately there is no strong politician who has been able to translate it into political gains for the Palestinian people. The intifada achieved nothing,” he told Sky News.


Zakariya Zubeidi, the prominent former leader of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades in Jenin Refugee Camp, called for the party to adopt a platform that includes “resistance” during its conference which begins on Tuesday.

To fellow Fatah members at the conference Zubeidi said he would stress that resistance can and should coexist with the strategy of negotiation with Israel that has become identified with Fatah since the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s.

“This resistance is not defined yet. It could be armed resistance and it could be peaceful resistance,” said Zubeidi, who signed an “amnesty” deal with Israel in which he agreed to give up armed struggle.


The Zubeidi also said that the second thing he will stress in the convention is “regarding our relations with the occupation.”

“We see that the Israeli political map is heading to the extreme right, and that indicates that there is no conciliation. This indicates that we are heading toward confrontation. And we will request that the members of the conference prepare for that confrontation,” he said, speaking in an interview with Ma’an in Bethlehem.

Asked if he saw a renewal of the Intifada (Palestinian uprising), he said, “before deciding on that renewal, we should to define what kind of intifada we want. If it was decided by the leadership, the leadership has to go into the street. … Intifada is a popular phenomenon. The people who will pay the price are the people in the street, and the Palestinian leadership must take that into consideration.”


Asked his views on the program of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Zubeidi smiled and said that he was happy that the PA security forces are being trained internationally.

“I am happy that our army is trained in Jordan in Egypt, in Russia, in several countries all over the world,” he said. “In case there is a future war, we will have some people who will be trained.”

I am guessing Tali Fahima would be willing to take him back.

12:45PM: Pay special attention, all those of you who are investing time, money and effort in the so-called peace process between Israel and the “moderates” of the PA.

These are the aforesaid “moderates.”

President Mahmoud Abbas told a conference of his Fatah movement on Tuesday that Palestinians sought peace with Israel but “resistance” remained an option.

“Although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance, legitimate under international law,” Abbas said in a policy speech, using a term that encompasses armed confrontation with Israel and non-violent protests.

Abbas’ comment was echoed earlier Tuesday by Jibril Rajoub, a senior Fatah official who served as a key security advisor for late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Rajoub said on Tuesday that the movement has not relinquished the option of armed struggle against Israel.

Rajoub is one of over 2,000 Fatah delegates who have gathered in Bethlehem for the faction’s first convention in twenty years.

After a journalist asked Rajoub about a large picture of a young boy armed with a rifle that was displayed at the conference, the former Arafat aide responded that Fatah has not abandoned nor will it abandon the possibility of resuming “armed struggle,” which he says remains a tool at the Palestinians’ disposal.


“In the name of the shahidim (martyrs) and in the name of Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state, we hereby declare the opening of the sixth congress of our movement, the Fatah movement,” Qureia said, standing next to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

12:06PM: From the Department of Interesting Story-Photo Combinations:

maan police fightUnless Ma’an is trying to make a point about the likely punishment of the thief.

9:42AM: Revenge of the palestinian sperm smugglers!

Security prisoners jailed in Israel  are smuggling sperm out of prison in order to increase their wives’ birthrate, Palestinian websites say.

Palestinian prisoners held in the Nafha and Shikma prisons in southern Israel are eligible for various benefits: They have a television set, they can read newspapers, they are allowed to study for an academic degree, and they have visitation rights.

However, these prisoners are not entitled to conjugal visits with their wives. This restriction is considered a problem among the Palestinian inmates, as it prevents them from having children.

So how do they overcome this problem? Palestinian websites have reported of six successful attempts by security prisoners to smuggle sperm to their wives.

The Hasam organization, which cares for Palestinians prisoners, says the prisoners in question come from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. According to Mufak Hamid, head of the organization’s PR division, the sperm was smuggled in the presence of witnesses who are relatives of the couples.

The websites fail to detail the smuggling method, but it appears that if the claims are indeed true, the prisoners have been transferring the sperm secretly through family members or friends visiting them at the prison.

8:45AM: The US reportedly plans to relaunch the Arab-Israel peace process in the coming weeks.

The Obama administration is seeking a complete freeze on Israeli settlements in exchange for Palestinian security reforms and Arab gestures towards Israel. With those in place, the US plans to announce both those steps and a resumption of negotiations, likely at an international conference, a senior State Department official told The Jerusalem Post Monday. He noted that no final decision had been made about the format, and that a simultaneous release of press announcements in various capitals or other mechanisms might be used.

I’m not quite sure what is really meant by “Palestinian security reforms and Arab gestures towards Israel.” Palestinian security forces moonlight as terrorists, so unless the former means desisting from terrorism, I do not see the advantage to Israel (ignoring the fact that the PA committed to ending terrorism oh, like 16 years). As for Arab gestures, these are usually something like “not calling Jews the sons of monkeys and pigs.” Again, nothing really concrete or meaningful to Israel. On the other side, Israel is supposed to freeze building homes for Jews in their homeland. A real demand with real catastrophic consequences.



Palestinian workers hang a poster with the portrait of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat ahead of the Fatah party convention in Palestinian town of Bethlehem , Monday Aug. 3, 2009. The proposed new platform of the Palestinians’ moderate Fatah party marginalizes the once central theme of ‘armed struggle’ against Israel, but demands a complete Israeli settlement freeze before talks for a final peace deal can take place. The 41-page draft proposal, published Monday, is to be presented for approval this week to Fatah’s first convention in 20 years. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi) Palestinians practice their bending over techniques as a homage to their beloved leader and tiger, Yasser Arafat (AP Photo/Nasser Shakeyabouti)

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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