The Day In Israel: Wed Oct 7th, 2009

Much has been made of the PA’s decision to delay the vote on the Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of war crimes.

While the decision has mainly been attributed to US pressure, Al Jazeera is reporting something else entirely.

A videotape is behind the decision by the Palestinian Authority to delay the vote on a UN report accusing Israel of war crimes during its offensive on the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian news agency has reported.

Quoting what it called reliable sources, Shahab news agency said PA representatives at a meeting in Washington had initially rejected Israel’s request not to endorse the report and were determined to stick to this position.

But, the agency added, Brigadier Eli Avraham played a videotape showing a meeting between Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister. The meeting was also attended by Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister.

The video showed Abbas trying to convince Barak to continue the war on Gaza, while Barak looked hesitant, although Livni appeared to be in support of the plan, Shahab quoted its sources as saying.

Israel launched a major offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in December 2008, saying it wanted to stop rockets fired by the Palestinian factions into its territory.

The war left at least 1,400 Palestinians – and 13 Israelis – dead and prompted a UN investigation that has accused Israel of commiting war crimes.


Shahab also reported that Avraham played an audiotape of a telephone call between Dov Weissglas, the director of the Israeli chief of staff bureau, and al-Tayyib Abdul Rahim, secretary-general of the Palestinian presidency.

In the conversation, Abdul Rahim says that circumstances were suitable for entry of the Israeli army into Jabalya and al-Shatea refugee camps, and adds that the fall of these two camps would end Hamas’s rule in Gaza Strip, Shahab says.

Weissglas then told Abdul Rahim that this operation would lead to the death of thousands of civilians, but, according to Shahab, Abdul Rahim said: “They have all elected Hamas, so they are the ones who have chosen their fate, not us.”

Shehab says that the Israeli delegation threatened the PA representatives that it would present the recorded material to the UN and news organisations, forcing the delegation to accept Israel’s request to delay the vote on the report.

While I hardly find Al Jazeera to be a credible or reliable news outlet, and Shahab News is Iranian (and may thus be trying to strengthen Hamas over Fatah), this scenario is not entirely fanciful. After all, Fatah did blame Hamas for Operation Cast lead, did crack down on Hamas in the “West Bank” during the operation, and were accused of assisting Israel in Gaza.

I just hope this video makes it to YouTube.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

5:10PM: Isn’t it weird how you sometimes stumble upon things?

I was just choosing some music on and decided to go for the Doors’ Alabama Song.

This led me to do a Wikipedia search on Jim Morrison and then Val Kilmer, who played Morrison in the 1991 Doors movie.

Which led me to the Wikipedia “fact” that Kilmer revealed his mother is Jewish (making Kilmer Jewish) on a recent trip to Israel (I cannot find this confirmed anywhere else).

Which led me to this article and pictures of Kilmer in Israel – from last week!

kilmer israel1

kilmer israel2

After making six films this year, you’d expect Val Kilmer to want to take some time out chilling on a beach somewhere.

But clearly in a contemplative mood as he approaches his 50th birthday in December, the actor decided to make a spiritual pilgrimage to the Western Wall in Israel.

The millionaire star looked like a regular traveller as he strolled through the streets of old Jerusalem wearing combats, T-shirt, baseball cap and a pair of Crocs.

After making six films this year, you’d expect Val Kilmer to want to take some time out chilling on a beach somewhere.

Kilmer, who was raised a Christian Scientist, joined dozens of Jews to pray and seek solace in the foreboding ancient wall.
Following in the footsteps of fellow worshippers around him, the actor wrote a prayer on a piece of paper, before slipping it between the large stone bricks.

While Kilmer is not believed to have converted to Judaism, he learned a lot about the religion while playing Moses in a Los Angeles production of The Ten Commandments: The Musical in 2004.

He also voiced Moses in Disney film The Prince Of Egypt in 1998.

Speaking about his religious beliefs a few years ago, Kilmer said: ‘I am a religious person. I do pray for specific needs. I do read the Bible every Sunday. I’ve read the Bible all of my life.

‘I also pray for things that are going on in the world; it has given me a deeper sense of responsibility as a person.

‘So to represent the person who defined, who wrote this moral code that we live by, it has given me a deeper sense of selflessness.’

When he landed the role of Moses in the musical, Kilmer immersed himself in Jewish culture, spending times with Rabbis and taking part in Shabbat dinners.

4:28PM: Malcolm Mahmoud X:

Mahmoud Abbas poster- AP

A Palestinian protester tosses a shoe at a poster of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a demonstration in Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009. A group of Palestinian teachers and protesters hurled shoes at a large poster of President Abbas during a demonstration on Wednesday, a severe insult targeting Abbas’ decision to suspend action on a U.N. report on Gaza war crimes. The Arabic writing on the poster reads: ‘To the trash heap of history, you traitor, Mahmoud Abbas.’  (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

3:50PM: The University of California, Irvine, has launched an internal probe and contacted law enforcement authorities over a Muslim Student Union-organized event featuring George Galloway, which may have raised money for Hamas.

Organized by the Muslim Student Union at UCI, the event featured British politician George Galloway, who reportedly solicited funds for “Viva Palestina,” his organization that brings aid to Gaza.

ZOA officials said evidence shows Viva Palestina monies may have ended up in Hamas hands. ZOA officials said Galloway visited Gaza in March, when he donated 100 vehicles and some $1.4 million.

“We are giving them to the elected government of Palestine,” Galloway reportedly said at the time.

Upon his return, he launched a Viva Palestina speaking tour of the United States, making stops at college campuses, including UCI’s event, billed as “Israel: The Politics of Genocide.”

In July, Galloway returned to Gaza with more aid.

Meanwhile, here is Galloway defending Iran’s right to nuclear weapons.

1:05PM: Well done to Israeli scientist Ada Yonath, for being awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry.

11:22AM: Everyone’s favorite anti-Semitic nutjob is back (ok, maybe just mine).

7:58AM: UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Richard Falk, seems genuinely upset that the PA decided to delay the Goldstone report, in this interview with Al Jazeera.

And he seems to have dressed up for the occasion.

7:42AM: Videotape? What videotape? Ha’aretz is reporting that the PA is threatening to resume pushing through the Goldstone report to the UN Security Council if Israel does not give in to the PA’s negotiating demands.


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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