US President Barack Obama has reportedly told French President Nicolas Sarkozy that he is determined to keep the pressure on Israel and the palestinians to renew peace talks and implement confidence-building measures.
According to a Western diplomat familiar with the details of the Sarkozy-Obama meeting two weeks ago in Washington, Obama said the administration’s latest moves were not meant to cause a crisis with Israel, but to create an atmosphere that would allow the peace process to proceed. Obama made clear that he was pressuring both Israel and the Palestinians.
However, Obama said he was skeptical about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ability and willingness to advance the peace process. The source said the U.S. president was disappointed that Netanyahu was unwilling to distance himself from his right-wing governing coalition.
No word on what Obama said about the palestinian’s ability and willingness to advance the peace process.
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)?
10:10PM: The Syrians continue to insult our intelligence.
Syria: Israel’s Scud accusation may be pretense for attack
Israel might be preparing a military strike against Syria by accusing Damascus of supplying Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon with long-range Scud missiles, the Syrian government said on Thursday.
President Shimon Peres on Tuesday accused Syria of sending Hezbollah long-range Scuds. The United States said on Wednesday it was “increasingly concerned” about the transfer of more sophisticated weaponry to the Syrian and Iranian-backed Islamist group that fought a war with Israel in 2006.
“Israel aims from this to raise tension further in the region and to create an atmosphere for probable Israeli aggression,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The Syrian Arab Republic denies these fabrications.”
Hizbullah admits receiving Syrian scuds
Hizbullah sources confirmed Thursday that the terror group received a shipment of Scud missiles from Syria, the Kuwaiti paper Al-Rai reported.
6:22PM: Something odd about the British ASA ban on the Israeli tourism ad.
5:42PM: Hamas has executed a couple of palestinians it accused of collaboration.
Ma’an News reports:
Two men found guilty of collaboration with Israel were brought to Gaza’s Ash-Shifa Hospital Thursday morning, in circumstances originally deemed suspicious by Gaza rights organizations.
Following investigations, however, it appeared that the men were executed early in the morning, following a last visit with their families.
The Gaza rights organizations must be relieved that there was nothing suspicious about their deaths then. Just a standard collaborator execution. Nothing to see here, move along.
3:02PM: It seems the last update about Goldstone being barred from his grandson’s bar mitzvah is true, given it has been reported by South Africa’s Jewish Report (hat tip: Maurice).
Meanwhile, it’s not just those on the Left who think the decision to bar Goldstone is a disgrace.
1:05PM: Richard Goldstone has reportedly been banned from attending his own grandson’s bar mitzvah in South Africa.
Judge Richard Goldstone, who authored a damning report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip, has reportedly been banned by pro-Israel activists from attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah in his native South Africa.
According to the report circulating on Web logs, the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol in Sandton reached an agreement with the Goldstone family under which the judge would not be permitted to attend the synagogue service in Johannesburg next month.
“We understand there’s a bar mitzvah boy involved – we’re very sensitive to the issues; at this stage there?s nothing further to say,” the Writing Rights blog quoted the SAZF chairman Avrom Krenge as saying.”
The Zionist federation was “coming across most forcefully because we represent Israel,” the blog quoted Krenge as saying.
The head of South Africa’s Beth Din – or Jewish religious court – told the blog the court had not been officially involved in the matter, but that he supported the move as it spoke to the sentiments of many in the community and could prevent potential “unpleasantness.”
“I know that there was a very strong feeling in the shul, a lot of anger,” the blog quoted Rosh Beth Din Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag as saying. “I heard also that the SAZF wanted to organize a protest outside the shul ? [there were] all kinds of plans. But I think reason prevailed.”
According to the blog, Kurstag said he believed Goldstone had done “a tremendous disservice not only to Israel but to the Jewish world. His name is used by hostile elements in the world against Israel and this can increase anti-Semitic waves.”
“I understand that he is a judge, but he should have had the sense to understand that whatever he said wouldn’t be good and he should have just recused himself. People have got feelings about it, they believe he put Israel in danger and they wouldn’t like him to be getting honor,” Kurstag was quoted as saying. “I think [the agreement] was quite a sensible thing to avert all this unpleasantness.”
According the blog, Goldstone confirmed that he would not be attending the bar mitzvah. “In the interests of my grandson, I’ve decided not to attend the ceremony at the synagogue,” he was quoted as saying.
Assuming this is true, I think it’s a good move. I could imagine if his grandson sounded off key, Goldstone would accuse him of a war crime.
6:02AM: Anti-Israel terror supporter George Galloway has learned the hard way that he is not appreciated by all radical Muslims.
George Galloway’s entourage has been attacked by “students” of a controversial Muslim leader, the politician’s spokesman has said.
The Respect party candidate for Poplar and Limehouse was campaigning in Watney Market, east London, when three men allegedly abused and lunged at him.
The spokesman said that the trio pushed members of the group and would have attacked Mr Galloway if they could.
Anjem Choudary, ex-leader of Islam4UK, said the claim was “fabricated”.
He said the men were his former students who had studied the Islamic religion with him, but refused to say if they were former members of the now-banned Islam4UK group.
Police arrested and bailed three men on suspicion of behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
The alleged incident took place at about 1500 BST on Saturday. No one was injured.
Mr Galloway’s spokesman said: “There were three characters who were shouting abuse.
“They were shouting ‘kafir’ [a derogatory word for non-believer], which is very insulting, and that Mr Galloway deserved to die.
“They were very aggressive and then they lunged forward towards Mr Galloway.
“I would certainly consider it an attack.”
The spokesman said that the men barged and pushed other members of the entourage and, had they not been in the way, he believes Mr Galloway would have been assaulted.
He said: “It was their intention to have physical contact.
“Their ire is directed at us because we have Muslims involved in the campaign, and they don’t think Muslims should play a part in democracy.
“People are entitled to their opinion – but not when they are trying to violently intimidate people from voting.”
On second thoughts, he didn’t really learn the hard way, since he still has his head. Literally speaking.
Meanwhile, I am not sure if this is video from the same incident, but it is apparently a Muslim directing his ire against Galloway.
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