The Day In Israel: Sunday Jan 10th, 2010

Islamic Jihad yesterday accused Israel of trying to drag them and other terror organizations into war.

Our bad. I guess we misinterpreted all the Qassams and mortar shells launched into Israel. Not to mention their name Islamic Jihad (Jihad is a spiritual struggle).

Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades affirmed resistance factions’ readiness to confront any attack on Gaza, spokesman Abu Ahmad announced Friday.

He told Ma’an by phone that “the latest Israeli military escalation on Gaza comes within ongoing attempts by the occupation to provoke the resistance by dragging it into a military confrontation.”

The comments came after a sequence of 14 mortar shells were reported fired at Israeli targets by the Popular Resistance Committees’ militant wing, which were followed Friday morning by a series of four airstrikes all across the Gaza Strip.

On Friday afternoon the PRC issued a call for “retaliation” for the airstrikes. Later Friday the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s military wing said it launched four mortars at Israeli targets.

The recent airstrikes and a series of limited incursions were what Abu Ahmad called Israeli aims to taunt the resistance in Gaza. The spokesman also cited targeted assassinations of resistance leaders as a method to antagonize factions.

“They can’t stop the projectiles of the resistance,” Abu Ahmad said, dismissing recent reports that Israel is completing work on an anti-rocket system.

The resistance is developing its expertise, he said. “The occupation’s attempts will fail in weakening the spirit of resistance, and that could change the equation of the circumstances in the region.”

On a related pointed, isn’t “Can’t stop the projectiles of the resistance” a great name for a movie?

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:50PM: In the wake of the recent decision to cancel a palestinian beauty contest, here is Dr. Kifah Al-Ramali on Hamas TV explaining that the real palestinian beauty queen is the Jihad-fighting mother.

Here are a couple of such “Jihad-fighting mothers.” You be the judge of their credentials as possible beauty contest winners.

No wonder we see things like this and this.

Mind you, Dr. Kifah Al-Ramali is covered head to toe, so how can we trust she herself was not struck with the ugly stick?

11:30PM: The IDF has vaporized three terrorists preparing to fire rockets in to Israel, including one of Islamic Jihad’s senior field commanders known to be behind dozens of IED and gunfire attacks.

7:50PM: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has vowed not to release “terror symbols” for Gilad Shalit.

4:36PM: This time last year, Danish Television ran the following discussion about Operation Cast Lead between Danish palestinian leader Fathi Al-Abed, Israeli ambassador in Denmark Dan Oryan and the Danish journalist Adam Holm. The video was apparently removed from YouTube after copyright claims from The Danish Broadcasting Company, but seems to have been uploaded once more. View it while you can.

I think Dan Oryan comes off way better than the palestinian representative, whose cause is not helped by the fact he looks like Christopher from The Sopranos.

3:55PM: Driving here in Israel could never be characterized as a pleasure, thanks to dangerous drivers, bulldozer terrorists and the occasional horse.

Now for many drivers, it is going to get even worse.

Opening Route 443 for Palestinian traffic could lead to the “total collapse” of Highway 1 connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, a Transportation Ministry representative said at a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense sub committee on Sunday.

The committee convened to discuss a High Court of Justice ruling from late December, according to which the IDF must open Route 443 – which links Jerusalem to Ben-Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv – to Palestinian traffic within five months. The road was closed to such traffic in 2002 following a spate of terror attacks along the road, in which six civilians were murdered.

“According to our calculations, if twenty percent of the vehicles [currently commuting on Route 443] move to Highway 1 due to security concerns, the road will completely collapse. Already today we are feeling the pressure near Motza,” the ministry official warned.

Security concerns, he said, meant that drivers would fear for their personal safety and even their lives.

“If drivers don’t have a good or secure feeling on Route 443 we will have to deal with them on Route 1. The significance of this is that during rush hour, not everyone who works in Jerusalem will be able to make their way up to the city,” the official concluded.

The IDF representative at the meeting, head of the Central Command headquarters Brig.-Gen. Moti Almog, stressed the army was committed to securing the road.

“Our mission now is to find a way to ensure the joint Israeli-Palestinian traffic and the level of security,” Almog said. “The name of the game is the level of security checks. The defense establishment has not yet studied all the implications [of the court ruling]. This is a ruling that must be studied.”

12:54PM: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has vowed to respond decisively and strongly to any attacks (smuggling tunnels, beware!) and also criticized the PA for their constant incitement against Israel.

Twenty rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel from Gaza this past week, Netanyahu told the cabinet ministers.

The IAF immediately reacted by attacking rocket manufacturing plants and tunnels “used by Iran to smuggle missiles and rockets into the Strip,” the premier said, reiterating that Israel would continue to react swiftly and mightily to the firing of rockets into its territory.

The cabinet meeting centered on the frozen Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, with the prime minister sending a resounding message to Palestinian Authority leaders and accusing them of failing to prevent incitement in their territory.

“However, it is not just missiles and rockets that jeopardize our security and drive peace further away. Words too can be dangerous,” Netanyahu said. “Incitement continues in schools under the jurisdiction of the PA and in its official media networks … This is not the way to make peace.”

Netanyahu stressed that doing away with incitement was necessary for the two peoples to achieve true peace. He explained that the glorification of female terrorist Dalal al-Maghrabi, one of the perpetrators of the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre in which 38 Israeli civilians were killed, could only serve to incite to more violence.

Calling the killers of Rabbi Meir Chai shahids also constitutes an expression of support for terrorism by PA leaders, the prime minister said.

“Peace is achieved by education for reconciliation, by encouraging good neighborly relations and promoting mutual respect,” he concluded.

Here is more on some of the incitement to which the Prime Minister referred.

12:45PM: Israel has reacted to comments made by US special envoy George Mitchell in which he stated “”under American law, the United States can withhold support on loan guarantees to Israel.”

Israeli officials were up in arms Sunday after Washington’s special envoy to the Mideast suggested the U.S. might impose sanctions on Israel and withhold loan guarantees to press it to make concessions in negotiations with the Palestinians, with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz saying that Israel was “doing just fine” without American loan guarantees.

“We don’t need to use these guarantees,” Israeli media quoted Steinitz as saying. “We are doing just fine. But several months ago we agreed with the American treasury on guarantees for 2010 and 2011, and there were no conditions.”


Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar also addressed Mitchell’s remark, saying at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that Israel will always act in accordance with its own needs, and not yield to external pressure. “The American administration knows that those who are holding up the negotiations are the Palestinians. Israel made many concessions while the Palestinians didn’t do a thing.”

Environment Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said he didn’t think that there was anyone in the Israeli government who really believed that the U.S. really intends to withhold guarantees. “Israel’s economy is pretty strong, and the threat wouldn’t be appropriate,” he said.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement in response to Mitchell’s comments, pinning the blame for the negotiations logjam on the Palestinians.

“Everyone realizes that the Palestinian Authority refuses to renew peace talks, while Israel took significant steps to advance the process,” the statement said.

6:15AM: A rare visitor:

A monk seal, one of the world’s rarest mammals, was spotted near the Herzliya coast and off the coast of Caesarea over the weekend. This was the first time in decades that the monk seal has made an appearance in Israel.

One of the seals was spotted on Friday by Moshe Taviv and his son, Haim, while fishing. The seal appeared sick and exhausted. The two alerted Shmuel Landau of the Ramat Gan Safari Park, but the seal evaded Landau’s efforts to help and escaped.

Officials from the Israel Marine Mammal Research and Assistance Center subsequently tried unsuccessfully to locate the animal. Saturday they received a report from fishermen off the Caesarea coast who had seen the monk seal.

It makes sense that a monk seal would visit the Holy Land. Unless it was just a bad driver and got lost.

A picture of the seal taken by a fisherman was sent to experts in the Netherlands, who said the monk seal was probably a female.

Just jokes, people!


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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