The Day In Israel: Thursday June 24th, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the flotillas planning to sail to Gaza in the coming days:

Binyamin Netanyahu

Photo by Gali Tibbon-Pool/Getty Images

“They are not organized by peace supporters but by peace opposers. Their real goal is to create a provocation against the siege on the import of missiles and rockets. Now they have a new method: Using women to demonstrate their cynicism. The same forces, which are the darkest in the world, where women have no freedom, are organizing flotillas against Israel. It’s time to put an end to this hypocrisy.”

“I call on all peace activists across the world, go to the places where women are really oppressed, where homosexuals are hung in squares, places where there are no human rights.

“Go to Tehran, go to Gaza. Anyone who really cares about human rights should support the democratic and liberal Israel. Those who really want to care about human rights should also care about (kidnapped soldier) Gilad Shalit. The international community must stand by Israel in a firm demand to release him immediately.”

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

9:12PM: Separated at birth?

palestinian watermelon

A Palestinian leans against a pile of watermelons, displayed for sale in a market in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, June 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

9:05PM: From gas to gas masks?

National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau said Thursday that Israel is willing to use force in order to protect the natural gas reserves discovered off its northern shores. During an interview with the Bloomberg news agency the minister responded to Lebanon’s claims that some of the Leviathan and Tamar oil sites, estimated to be worth some $40 billion, are within its territorial waters.

“We will not hesitate to use our force and strength to protect not only the rule of law but the international maritime law,” Landau said. “Whatever we find, they will have something to say. That’s because they’re not challenging our findings and so-called occupation of the sea. Our very existence here is a matter of occupation for them. These areas are within the economic waters of Israel.”

Earlier this month, Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri claimed that Israel was ignoring the fact that according to the map the reserves are partly within Lebanon’s territorial waters. Last week, Lebanese Energy Minister Gebran Basil said that his country will not allow Israel “or any company serving Israeli interests to drill gas that is in our territory.” He noted that Beirut has warned the American Noble Energy company, which is involved in the drills, not to come near its territory.

The Israeli companies involved in the drills, on their part, stressed there was no basis for Lebanon’s claims. A statement issued by Avner and Delek drilling companies noted that the issue had been carefully examined and that all of the pertinent drilling areas are within Israel’s jurisdiction.

3:14PM: Terrorist Kenneth O’Keefe admits he and his fellow “activists” aboard the Mavi Marmara attacked IDF naval commandos, but justifies it (see from 4:20).

Which is a far cry from the denials and cries of doctored footage we were hearing.

Note also how he denies there were knives used, despite the clear evidence to the contrary.

1:40PM: A Turkish businessman plans to sue Turkish PM Erdogan for damaging his business in Israel.

A Turkish construction company has become the first to renounce Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his public anti-Israeli remarks, which the company says is damaging its business in Israel, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

CEO of Yilmazlar Holdings, Ahmet Reyiz Y?lmaz, said the company would be suing Erdogan for his part in causing an Israeli judge to freeze $2.6 million of the company’s assets at an Israeli bank last week.

“The reason was only the politics of our prime minister,” Yilmaz told Bloomberg. “He has a responsibility to his country, and he cannot say irresponsible things.”

Yilmaz said the judge had cited one of the Turkish prime minister’s speeches as the reason for the verdict, saying it sparked concern that Turkish companies would be forced to leave Israel soon.

The judicial system in Israel was unfamiliar with Yilmaz’s case. “To the best of my knowledge, the Israeli government has not frozen the assets of any Turkish company because of a remark by the Turkish government,” an official government source told Ynet.

“Especially since the Turkish government has not yet made any moves to act on its declaration that it would freeze joint business projects, and as far as we know it never will,” the source added.

Yilmaz, who has earned the title of “Israeli Ahmet” with his business partners in the country, has been working in Israel for 16 years. Among other things, he has been involved in the construction of the YOO tower and the square Azrieli tower in Tel Aviv, as well as the controversial Holyland complex in Jerusalem.

10:50AM: A taxi in Amsterdam (hat tip: Yochanan)

Amsterdam taxi

9:30AM: The game I mentioned at 8:38AM is back here. See where your EU funds are going if you dare (thanks to Michael for alerting us to the game’s return).

8:45AM: Last week, I posted this speech by Pilar Rahola, Spanish politician, journalist, activist and member of the far left.

Here she is in action.

[warning: her English is not the best, but she is still understandable – and worth hearing]

safe passage

8:38AM: Yesterday, I planned on posting about this latest anti Israel propaganda ploy: an online video game in which you play the role of a Gaza student who must negotiate a web of Israeli obstacles in order to attend university in the “West Bank.”  A game you can’t “win.”

The game was here. But today, it seems to have disappeared.


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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