The family of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is set to embark on a 12-day march from its home in Mitzpe Hila to Jerusalem, joined by thousands of supporters, in a bid to pressure the government and secure Gilad’s release after over four years in Hamas captivity.
As they prepare to hit the road, members of the Shalit campaign headquarters admitted that they have learned some lessons from Hamas.
“I hope this march will be our flotilla,” campaign chief Shimshon Libman told Ynet. “Because of the flotilla, the State quickly gave up all the pressure levers it was so proud of – the Gaza blockade and the release of Hamas men from jail. Perhaps our own ‘flotilla’ to Jerusalem will also make a difference.”
Meanwhile, I think Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz represented the sentiment of many Israeli’s when he said this:
“I am opposed to the release of Gilad Shalit at any price. However, I respect the right of Shalit’s parents to do what they are doing. If it was my son I would do the same.”
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
10:25PM: The following document was seized on one of the flotilla ships.
1. The document notes that Hamas is designated as a “global terrorist” organization by the US Treasury Department. In addition, it states that the UN has also blacklisted Hamas as a terrorist organization. Consequently, a US citizen providing “material support” to Hamas may face criminal charges in US courts. This may also pose a problem to citizens of other countries, which is why Free Gaza advises them to check the laws and regulations on dealing with Hamas in their countries.
2. Reading between the lines, it appears that Free Gaza is well aware that transporting aid to the Hamas de-facto administration, considered to be an inseparable part of Hamas by the US administration, is a violation of US law.
3. The document illustrates that Free Gaza is aware that it is legally problematic to deliver aid to the Hamas de-facto administration in the Gaza Strip, particularly in the US, where Hamas is banned.1 Therefore, the document contains a legal briefing of sorts (“legal information”) to activists taking part in the flotilla, the main points of which are:
a. The activists from the various countries, particularly US residents, must avoid even the appearance of providing “material support” to Hamas, including its leadership.
b. Free Gaza has said publicly and repeatedly that it serves no political agenda whatsoever and that it is engaged solely in non-violent humanitarian support for the Palestinian people, not the Palestinian leadership. Under no circumstances should any participant make a public statement of affinity or admiration of any political group in Palestine (note: the public portrayal of providing humanitarian support for the Palestinian people as the movement’s goal is incorrect, since an inside document found aboard the Mavi Marmara defined the goals of the flotilla to be political, not humanitarian..)
Read the entire analysis here.
8:00PM: Quote of the day:
“Iran is not guaranteeing a peaceful production of nuclear power [so] the members of the G-8 are worried and believe absolutely that Israel will probably react preemptively.”
– Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, sounding sure of himself, following talks with other Group of Eight leaders.
7:28PM: Fatah’s Najat Abu Bakr expresses her optimism about peace in the Middle East.
4:33PM: Does this guy ever shut up?
Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim on Sunday commented on reports that the term of Mossad chief Meir Dagan would not be extended, saying Dagan should have resigned long ago and that Israel doesn’t accept “losers.”
“Dagan should have stepped down a long time ago as his intelligence service has been exposed by Dubai police,” Tamim said in an interview with the Emirati newspaper Gulf News. “We suggested to him that he resign in order to save his honor, but he didn’t do that.”
3:06PM: Here’s a good example of how the palestinian side blames Israel for things for which they themselves are to blame.
One can not predict when the crisis of electricity in the Gaza Strip will ever end, it began with the Israeli bombing of Gaza’s only power plant only four years ago to render the damage of two generators out of three which operate the whole power plant, and on yesterday evening the halt of this generator was announced, not because of the Israeli bombardment, but because of preventing the needed fuel from entering to Gaza.
Yesterday, Gaza’s only power plant stopped. The chairman of the energy and natural resources authority in Gaza, Kanaan Obeid, said that the power plant stopped working last night, because it wasnt provided with the required quantities of fuel to run the power plant, assuring that the deficit in the electric power supplied to the provinces of Gaza will come to 60 percent, warning of a major humanitarian disaster in Gaza’s hospitals.
And now for the real reason:
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) called on the different Palestinian factions Sunday to stop the infighting in order to solve a developing electricity crisis in Hamas-run Gaza.
“It is such a tragedy that, on top of all the other crises that we have in the Gaza Strip, we now have a crisis of electricity,” John Ging, director of UNRWA in Gaza, was quoted by AFP as saying.
“It’s an unbearable situation here at the moment, and it needs to be solved very quickly. It’s a Palestinian problem, made by Palestinians, and causing Palestinian suffering. So let’s have a Palestinian solution,” he added.
The single power plant in Gaza, which normally generates 25 percent of the electricity used in the Strip, was shut down over the weekend due to a payment dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
12:44PM: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has once again turned to the Evil Dictators’ Cliche Book for inspiration.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez described Israel on Saturday as a genocidal state that acted as an assassin for the United States, predicting the Middle East nation would one day be “put in its place.”
The socialist Chavez is a harsh critic of both Israel and the United States and cut relations with Israel after accusing it of “holocaust” for its 2009 offensive in the Gaza Strip.
“It has become the assassin arm of the United States, no one can doubt it. It is a threat to all of us,” Chavez said, during a visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Chavez said he supported a peaceful struggle for the return to Syria of the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in 1967.
“The territory will one day return to the Syrian hands,” Chavez said. “Of course we want it to be peaceful because we don’t want more war.”
“But one day the genocidal state of Israel will be put into its place, and let’s hope that a really democratic state emerges there, with which we can share a path and ideas.”
Chavez did not offer further details of what putting Israel “in its place” would entail.
6:15AM: Yet another example of our so-called peace partners showing how they really feel about us and educating the young (via PMW).
That interviewer really knows how to ask leading questions.