More results...

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

More results...

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

The Day In Israel: Tue Aug 11th, 2009

Click refresh to see new updates during the day

Christer Nordal - Photo: Courtesy of UNRWAHamas has claimed to have confiscated three ambulances that were imported into the Gaza Strip for UNRWA several weeks ago, in line with an earlier IDF claim that the ambulances had been seized. But true to form, UNRWA has denied everything.

But UNRWA, which last week denied an earlier Jerusalem Post article quoting IDF claims that the ambulances had been confiscated, reiterated Monday that the reports were false, said that the ambulances were safe and sound in its Gaza compound, and even distributed a photograph of one of its officials, Christer Nordal, posing with what it said were the vehicles in question.

According to a statement released by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Crossings Directorate on Monday, the ambulances were confiscated in late July because UNRWA did not have proper documentation to import them into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

In an August 4 e-mail obtained by the Post, UNRWA official Jodi Clark wrote to Israeli defense officials to state that the ambulances had been “impounded by the authorities in Gaza.” The e-mail was sent by Clark to several Israeli defense officials as well as to John Ging, the director of UNRWA, and Nordal, his deputy. The e-mail later circulated throughout the Defense Ministry.

“The three ambulances we imported into Gaza two weeks ago are still impounded by the authorities in Gaza and we continue to negotiate their release which is not going well at this stage,” Clark wrote in the e-mail.

She went on to ask the Israeli defense officials for their assistance in coordinating the transfer of three new ambulances into Gaza, but through the Erez crossing, “to avoid the authorities having the opportunity to seize the vehicles from us.”

Asked about Clark’s e-mail, and about the official Hamas-run Gaza Crossings Directorate’s claim to be holding the ambulances, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said that the e-mail had been recalled by Clark immediately after being sent and that the story based on its content was untrue. The Post was able to confirm that the e-mail was indeed recalled.

“The e-mail was recalled within minutes because the information contained in it was wrong,” Gunness said. “The story is a house of cards based on information that was wrong. We have circulated pictures which prove it was wrong.”

And after the e-mail was sent, Gunness added, there was a follow-up communication with an Israeli official “to make it quite certain that he knew that the information was wrong.”

In the Gaza Crossings Directorate statement, released to several Palestinian news sites on Monday, Hamas said it confiscated the ambulances since they “did not have proper identification and documentation to confirm UNRWA’s ownership.”

The directorate said that the ambulances were being stored near the Kerem Shalom crossing and would be released once UNRWA provided the necessary documentation.

On Monday, Gunness released photos of what he said were the three ambulances, with Nordal standing alongside them.

“The story that UNRWA had its vehicles stolen continues to not be true,” Gunness said. “The pictures show clearly that these ambulances were not stolen.”

Asked if he could provide proof that the ambulances in the picture were the ambulances imported into Gaza in late July, Gunness repeated that the pictures proved that the IDF and Hamas claims were inaccurate.

When you think about it logically, what reasons does Hamas have to lie about confiscating the vehicles? UNRWA, on the other hand, have plenty of reasons to lie – as they have done repeatedly in the past – not the least being to reject accusations they are helping Hamas terrorists willingly or involuntarily.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

8:44PM: According to Ma’an News, Israel has transferred Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmad Sa’adat from one prison to another in preparation for a possible prisoner exchange.

According to Ynet, the Israel Prison Service has explained the transfer as being due to “internal IPS considerations.”

6:45PM: Mindblowing headline of the day comes courtesy of AP, no less:

Palestinian vote boosts hopes for Mideast peace

Yes, despite the fact that Fatah has made clear their support for terrorism, the AP would have us believe the election results (which includes the election of imprisoned terrorist mastermind and murderer Marwan Barghouti) boosts the hopes for a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Another person elected was Mohammed Dahlan. Here he is showing some good faith:

Former Palestinian security commander Mohammed Dahlan, who was apparently elected Tuesday to Fatah’s Central Committee, said that he would allow no one to negotiate with Israel unless a deadline for peace talks is announced in advance, according to Israel Radio.

Future so bright, I gotta wear shades.

6:22PM: A Bar Mitzvah boy has put his gift money to good use.

No, not for that.

A 13-year-old from New York has decided to give $40,000 he received from his parents for his bar mitzvah to the children of Sderot. The municipality says the money will go to build a park with recreational facilities.

Although Sderot’s municipal workers are currently on vacation, they turned up to thank the boy, Benjamin Sternklar Davis, at a festive reception.

Sternklar Davis, who has reached manhood according to age-old Jewish tradition, celebrated the event in the area that his gift will help transform to a park. In addition to the religious ceremony, the celebration featured young talents from Sderot performing on stage.

“I felt bad during the war for the children of Sderot who had to go to school and come back with the constant thought they could be hit by a Qassam rocket at any given second,” the boy said.

Well done, Benjamin Sternklar Davis.

For the record, I probably received $1000 maximum for my Bar Mitzvah.

4:58PM: Interesting report on Hamas’ imposition of Sharia Law in Gaza.

4:38PM: The National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau has issued an updated travel warning, urging Israelis to refrain from traveling to our peace partners Jordan and Egypt, as well as Morocco and Kenya.

Israelis visiting the Sinai peninsula in Egypt have also been advised to leave the area immediately

2:08PM: Rules for AFP caption writing #794: A group of palestinians wearing masks should be referred to as “youths,” especially if they belong to Fatah who we are all trying to depict as being moderate.

Palestinian youths Picture: AFP

Palestinian youths hold up a poster of Marwan Barghuti, Fatah’s secretary general for the West Bank who was jailed in 2004. Barghuti, who is serving five life sentences in Israel, was among those elected to Fatah’s governing body at a landmark conference aimed at rejuvenating a party weakened by internal rifts. (AFP/File/Hazem Bader)

1:56PM: Only in Israel:

On Monday morning an Arkia airlines plane took off from Ben Gurion Airport carrying rabbis and kabbalists and flew over the country in a flight aimed at preventing the swine flu virus from spreading in Israel through prayers.

“The purpose of the flight was to stop the epidemic, thus preventing further deaths,” explained Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri whose father, Rabbi David Batzri had initiated the flight. “We are certain that because of our prayers danger is already behind us,” he added.

During the flight the passengers blew the shofar seven times and said prayers intended for abolishing illnesses.

I guess the Elders didn’t notify these Rabbis either.

11:46AM: The Fatah elections are taking place, and with 90% of the votes having been counted, it looks like much of the old guard have suffered upsets at the hands of the..errr.. new blood (or should that rather be to those with blood on their hands?)

One notable winner was Marwan Barghouthi, currently serving a life sentence in an Israeli jail for organizing the killing of Israelis.

Meanwhile, I wish I knew what this meant:

Fatah’s relatively militant leader in Lebanon, Sultan Abul Aynein, also appears to have picked up a seat.

He only terrorizes his family when they don’t take out the garbage?

11:25AM: Question: Why does it not pay to play Monopoly with the palestinians?

Answer: Because they get all the Get Out of Jail Free cards.

Hoyer, currently in the country leading a delegation of 29 Democratic legislators, also said the rhetoric coming out of the Fatah General Assembly in Bethlehem was “unfortunate.”

The delegation, sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, arrived on Sunday evening and met Monday with President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and US security coordinator Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton.

Lieberman told the group that the continued control of Gaza by Hamas, along with the rhetoric coming out of the Fatah conference in Bethlehem, essentially buried chances of peace for the near future.

“I think that kind of pessimism, while perhaps realistic, is not helpful to moving the ball forward,” Hoyer said, adding that he viewed the Fatah conference as PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s effort to charge up the faithful and reenergize his followers.

Still, Hoyer said he thought “some of the rhetoric was very unfortunate in the sense that it re-instilled a sense of confrontation and resistance, instead of being more positive and talking about what steps were needed to move forward.”

In other words, PA President Mahmoud Abbas makes it very clear that the palestinians will resort to terror if they do not get their way, and US House Majority leader Steny Hoyer characterizes this as “unfortunate” rhetoric designed to “reenergize his followers.” Not only that, but Hoyer employs the palestinian terminology of “resistance”, instead of “terrorism.”

How many chances should the palestinians receive? How come the West dismisses their statements as mere “rhetoric” instead of giving them credit for knowing exactly what they want to achieve and how to achieve it? Where is the accountability for their actions and words?

Also bear in mind that Hoyer is not exactly an enemy of Israel.

US House Majority leader Steny Hoyer praised Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, called for the Palestinian Authority to drop any preconditions to negotiations, and said that Congress differentiated between building in east Jerusalem and in the West Bank, during an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Monday.


The powerful Maryland Democrat said he was “not surprised” and could “understand” the perception in Israel that Obama had been too tough on Israel over the settlements.

At the same time, Hoyer – a staunch Israel supporter in the House – said he felt Obama was “very committed to Israel. I think he is very committed to its security and sovereignty, and to its being protected in terms of any agreement it would make. He is also very committed to Israel making its own decision regarding what actions it will take vis-à-vis an agreement.”

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
Scroll to Top