The Day In Israel: Monday Feb 15th, 2010

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With Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu set to visit Russia, senior Russian security officials said that Moscow sees no reason to delay the sale of the powerful S-300 air-defense system to Iran.

“There is a signed contract [for the S-300 missiles] which we must follow through on, but deliveries have not started yet,” Vladimir Nazarov, deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council secretary, told Interfax news agency in an interview. “This deal is not restricted by any international sanctions, because we are talking about deliveries of an exclusively defensive weapon.”

Nazarov added that a military strike on Iran would be a big mistake and that the problems linked to Tehran’s nuclear program must be resolved by diplomatic means only.

“Any military action against Iran will make the situation explode and will have extremely negative consequences for the entire world, including for Russia, which is a neighbor of Iran,” he noted.

Israel has expressed concern in the past over Russian plans to sell Iran the S-300 system, which will be used to defend its nuclear installations against a possible attack. During the past two years, both Israel and the United States have pressured Russia not to implement the agreement with Iran, and there may be other opposition, according to sources in the premier’s entourage.

Netanyahu is expected to raise the subject of the arms sales to Iran in meetings with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putting (Putin! ed). In recent months Russia had promised not to go through with the deal. However, the economic crisis and pressure from the military establishment have resulted in major disagreements within the country’s leadership on the issue.

Medvedev recently told President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that Russia needs the revenue from the deal and suggested that a different buyer be found.

Where’s Jack Bauer when you need him?



Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:36PM: Photo of the day:

Paris Hilton Films Israeli Lottery Commercial

Paris Hilton was chosen to be the face of the new Israeli TV Ad that was filmed in New York. The Ad shows Paris walking the streets of NY surrounded by paparazzi and then walking in to shops and spending big. The Ad finishes with Paris in the streets of NY with lots of bags after a busy day. I’m pretty sure that his Ad wasn’t too difficult for Paris as she is known around the world for her luxury life style.

9:15PM: Hollywood Squares?

Not quite.

A team of 11 “mercenaries” was behind the assassination of senior Hamas man Mahmoud al-Mabhouh last month, the Dubai Police said Monday.

Two Palestinians were detained in connection with al-Mabhouh killing, police officials added.

According to an al-Arabiya report, the two suspects were turned over to Dubai by Jordan. One of them was said to have met with the team’s commander, a Frenchman known as “Peter,” while the second suspect served as a security officer in the Palestinian Authority.

The police said the assassins dressed up as tennis players while moving from one hotel to another and charged that the killers left medicine by al-Mabhouh’s body in order to mislead investigators.

According to information released by police officials, team members carried the passports of various nationalities, including Irish, British, French, and German. The team included one female, carrying an Irish passport, police said.

The assassins were said to have ambushed al-Mabhouh in his hotel room after compromising the room’s entry code and killed him in complete silence. Police also presented photographs of the suspected assassins.

Doesn’t sound like it was the Mossad after all. But try telling that to Dubai, who seem hellbent on somehow blaming Israel.

“We do not rule out Mossad, but when we arrest those suspects we will know who masterminded it. [We have not] issued arrest warrants yet, but will do soon,” police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim told reporters.

6:36PM: Added insight into a terror enabling numbskull.

5:36PM:  According to the Times, the amending of current British law in order to ensure Israeli officials visiting the UK are not arrested on charges of war crimes may be in jeopardy, prompting Kadima head and opposition leader Tzipi Livni to suggest she “take the bullet” and face arrest in the UK on a future trip in order to force Britain’s hand.

She’s willing to do this, yet she’s not willing to make coffee.

5:28PM: It’s good to see this kind of statement coming out of the Arab world.

Arabs have no choice but to engage in negotiations with Israel in order to promote peace, Qatari Prime Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabir al-Thani said Monday in a conference of Muslim states in Doha.

“In order to advance the peace process, there is no choice but to sit at the negotiating table with Israel,” the Qatari leader said. “We may agree or disagree with Israel, yet sitting at the negotiating table is the only way to achieve a satisfactory result,” the Qatari leader said.

In other positive Arab news, Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer is playing in this year’s Dubai Tennis Championships, a year after being denied a visa to the UAE for the same event. And in further good news, she won her opening match.

2:10PM: Caption of the day:

Palestinian militants stand guard in Gaza City, 2008. The government said it was very concerned about the bizarre arrest of a Briton by the Hamas masters of Gaza as its representatives met the detainee in the enclave. (AFP/File/Mohammed Abed)

1:05PM: A Muslim student who shouted “slaughter the Jews” in Arabic at Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon during his talk at Oxford university last week has invoked the tried and tested “I was misunderstood” defense.

The Oxford Student newspaper named the student as sophomore Noor Rashid and said that Rashid claimed he used a classical Arabic chant “Khaybar ya Yahod” which commemorates a seventh-century battle between Arabs and Jews.

The battle of Khaybar was an attack launched by the prophet Muhammad in 629. It led to the defeat of the Jewish community in the Arabian peninsula, forcing the Jews to pay half their income to the Muslim victors.

“My version went: ‘Khaybar, O Jews, we will win.’ This is in classical, Koranic Arabic and I doubt that apart from picking up on the word ‘Jew,’ that even the Arabic speakers in the room would have understood the phrase,” Rashid told The Oxford Student.

“As you can see, I made no reference to killing Jews,” he said, adding that the remark had “absolutely no derogatory or secondary meanings.”

Rashid – who on his Facebook page is a “fan” of Abdul Rahman al-Sudais – the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca – and veteran anti-Israel activist British MP George Galloway – claimed in the article that “Jew” and “Israel” were interchangeable terms and that he had been misunderstood.

Sudais has publicly prayed to God to “terminate” the Jews, and as a result has been barred from conferences in America, and been refused entry to Canada. In 2002, in a sermon, Sudais called the Jews “monkeys and pigs.” He was listed as an example of theological anti-Semitism by the Anti-Defamation League, when he called curses down upon Jews and labeled them the “scum of the earth” in his sermons.

Rashid said, “There was a great deal of confusion and several people were shouting at the same time so I do acknowledge that people may have misheard me and assume that I uttered something else – namely to “slaughter the Jews,” which is something that I do not believe.

“I express the deepest regret if my remarks were misunderstood or misheard to mean anything that even comes close to encouraging the slaughter of innocents. I will be writing letters to all my Jewish friends to express my sincere apologies, and also to clarify my remarks,” Rashid added.

Assuming Rashid actually has Jewish friends. And if he does, you can bet they are of the schmekky/self-hating variety.

Regarding the remarks themselves, it is hard to glean from footage of the protest the words actually shouted.

But as this blogger posits, the distinction is not entirely relevant.

Khaybar was an Oasis not far from medina that was inhabited by Jews before being conquered by Muhammed in the 7th Century. It’s Jewish inhabitants were later expelled by the Caliph Umar. According to its Wikipedia entry, the phrase ‘Khybar khaybar ya yahod’, that the protestor allegedly said, is the start of a chant that translates as:

“Khaybar, Khaybar o Jews, the army of Muhammad will return”

Well that still sounds like incitement to me – especially when shouted aggressively in a room with many Jews.

Or perhaps even better put:

So, let’s get this straight.

Noor Rashid was heard to shout “Kill the Jews”

No no no, responds Noor Rashid. He merely wished to remind Jews of the way that Muslims, led by Mohammed, used to conquer, kill and dominate Jews.

Whether the word was “Khaybar” or “Itbah”, the meaning was essentially the same. Except the “Khaybar” version brings in Mohammed to endorse the killing and enslavement of Jews by Muslims.

In other words, Noor Rashid has admitted to shouting something even worse than “Kill the Jews”.

Here’s hoping the next time Rashid shouts out loud, it involves a prison shower and soap.

5:55AM: Saeb Erekat does Blue Steel.

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