The Day In Israel: Sunday Mar 14th, 2010

US President Barack Obama has issued a stern ultimatum to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

A widely predicted crisis between Israel and the United States upon Benjamin Netanyahu taking office as prime minister finally erupted this weekend.

U.S. President Barack Obama did not hold back in condemning the humiliation caused to Joe Biden with the Israeli announcement of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem during what was supposed to be the vice president’s friendly visit to Israel.

Instead of accepting Netanyahu’s partial apology and letting bygones be bygones, Obama issued a stern warning to the Israeli prime minister and is now demanding that he take “specific actions” to show he is “committed” to the U.S.-Israel relationship and to the peace process itself.

Washington did not reveal the contents of the ultimatum or the list of demands reportedly presented to Netanyahu.

This follows Israel’s Ambassador in Washington Michael Oren being summoned and reprimanded by the US State Department, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling Israel’s conduct “insulting.”

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)?

9:36PM: I’ve always said that the only difference between Fatah and Hamas is the suits. But now it seems as though this may no longer be the case, if this photo of captured Hamashole Maher Odeh is anything to go by.

The mother of Maher Uda, a top Hamas commander arrested by Israel in the West Bank overnight, shows journalists a framed picture of her 47-year-old son in formal dress at the family's home in the village of Ein Yabrud near Ramallah on March 14, 2010. Uda, a senior commander in Hamas's armed wing in the occupied territory, has been arrested by the Israeli security services after more than a decade on the run, an Israeli military spokesman announced. Palestinian security official in the West Bank said his forces did not know of Uda's whereabouts because he had gone underground several years ago and said they had yet to determine where exactly he was arrested. AFP PHOTO/ABBAS MOMANI (Photo credit should read ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

9:22PM: Sorry for the lack of updates today, but work and a lovely dinner with some pro-Israel Canadian bloggers got in the way of my blogging.

1:32PM: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is displaying for the first time Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

1:16PM: A joint force of IDF, Shin Beit and police officers last night arrested Hamashole Maher Odeh, who headed a cell responsible for a number of deadly terror attacks including the Café Hillel bombing in Jerusalem and the suicide attack at the Zerifin junction hitchhikers’ station in 2003.

It should be noted he was arrested by the PA in 1998, but released shortly after.

Odeh has been wanted by Israel since the 1990s, and is considered one of the commanders of Hamas’ military wing in Ramallah – an organization that killed 70 Israelis during the second intifada.

The 47-year-old father of four, who was born in Ein-Yabrud, northeast of Ramallah, is one of the founders of the Hamas movement in the West Bank city. He began operating in the early 1990s, when he formed the Hamas cell in his village, which was responsible for kidnapping and interrogating Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel, and seeking weapons to use in terror attacks.

In 1998, he was questioned by the Palestinians security forces and spent several months in a Palestinian prison. After his release he became one of the organization’s most wanted men.

6:00AM: Further fallout from the Israeli announcement to build more houses in our own land: EU foreign policy chief said the EU might use its trade ties with Israel as leverage to pressure it into renewing peace talks with the palestinians (I purposely blogged this as an update, since I am not comfortable using That’s What Friends Are For when it comes to the Europeans).

Meanwhile, the Swedish Foreign Minister is still being a meatball head.

Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, said that Israel’s announcement on building in east Jerusalem during United States Vice President Joe Biden’s visit last week was intentional and not coincidental.


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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