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The Day In Israel: Tuesday July 6th, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is on his way to Washington to meet with US President Barack Obama for the fifth time since the two leaders took office.

A senior source in Jerusalem said that Netanyahu hoped the meeting would enable him to regain Obama’s trust after months of tension regarding West Bank settlement construction. Netanyahu was planning to present Obama with a number of proposals for coordinating progress in the Middle East peace process, said the source.

Netanyahu reportedly does not carry any dramatic new diplomatic initiative, but at least brings a message of significant changes in what goods Israel will allow into the Gaza Strip, with the Foreign Ministry having unveiled a detailed list of prohibited items.

The list is now available on the MFA website:

According to the decision taken on June 20, 2010, by the Israeli Security Cabinet, the Government of Israel – having reviewed the propositions put forward by the USG, the OQR and others – formed two categories of listed items whose entry into Gaza would be subject to Israeli control. Items not included in either would be allowed into Gaza without specific permission.

The lists are:

List no. 1: Items Subject to Specific Permission

1. Arms and Munitions: forbidden transfer under all circumstances across Israel’s frontiers without specific permits – as defined in the Control of Exports Security Order (Arms and Munitions) 5768-2008, and in the Control of Exports Security Order (Missile Equipment) 5768-2008.

2. Dual Use goods and items: liable to be used, side by side with their civilian purposes, for the development, production, installation or enhancement of military capabilities and terrorist capacities. This list comprises:

* Items listed under the Wassenaar Arrangement: As specified in the updated (2008) “Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Arms and Dual Use Goods and Technologies – List of Dual Use Goods and Technologies and Munitions List.”
* Items whose entry into the PA Areas is controlled based on Israeli legislation: i.e. materials and equipment liable to be used for terror attacks and technology that could be used by terrorists – as defined in the Control of Exports Security Order (Controlled Dual Use Equipment Transferred to the PA Areas) 5768-2008 and in Orders of the OC Central Command.
These lists include, in detail, a range of chemicals used in the production of explosives (including certain fertilizers); specific types of metal profiles; ball bearings; lathes and their parts; composite materials; hunting knives and machetes; optical equipment, such as lasers and night vision goggles; certain navigation aides; diving equipment; parachutes, gliders and other nonmotorized airborne vehicles; flares and fireworks; avionics and flight control equipment; missile related computer technologies; rock drills and equipment drawing water from excavated sites.
* Items not necessarily included in the lists above but whose entry into Gaza is controlled, as detailed below:

i. Items and chemicals which could be used in the production of high trajectory weapons (rockets and mortars) by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza – Fertilizers or other mixtures – specifically containing KCl at more than 5%; Epoxy and Vinyl Ester resins; Hardeners for Epoxy Resins containing Amides or Amines; Accelerators for Vinyl Esters; HTPB; Water purification solutions at concentrations higher than 11%.

ii. Items used as raw materials for improving protection for terror activists
– Fibers or woven fabrics containing Carbon or Glass variants.

iii. Vessels.

List No. 2: Construction Items and Materials to be Allowed Entry into Gaza only for PA-authorized Projects Implemented by the International Community

While such items are liable to be used for Hamas military purposes (building bunkers, fortifying positions and digging tunnels) Israel will permit their entry into Gaza so as to facilitate construction projects in Gaza – authorized by the PA and implemented and monitored by the international community.

This list includes:

* Portland cement and lime (in bulk, bags or barrels)
* Natural and Quarry aggregates and all varieties of gravel
* Ready concrete
* Precast concrete elements and products
* Steel elements and/or construction products
* Iron for foundations and columns, at any diameter (including wielded steel nets)
* Steel cables of any width
* Forms for construction elements (plastics or galvanized iron)
* Industrialized forms for casting concrete
* Plastic or composite beams more than 4 mm thick
* Thermal isolation materials and products
* Blocs (at any width) – Concrete; Silicate; Ytong or its equivalent; or gypsum
* Materials and products for sealing structures
* Asphalt and its components (Bitumen, emulsion) in aggregate or packaged
* Steel elements or framing products for construction
* Cast concrete elements and products for drainage over 1 m in diameter
* Precast units and sea-borne containers
* Vehicles, excluding private cars and including 4X4 vehicles and other categories of motor vehicles liable to be used in terror activities
* Lumber beams and boards more than 2 cm thick, (liable to be used in “offensive” tunneling aimed at penetrating Israeli territory), unless incorporated in finished products
* Specific procedures, on a case by case basis, will be established so as to permit the transfer of such lumber for other purposes in Gaza.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

5:12PM: The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has created an iPhone application providing the latest official news from the website, newsroom, featured videos, and photos of current events going on in Israel and the Middle East.

MFA iTunes

While it sounds like a good idea, the app has received some negative reviews on iTunes, including from someone who claims it crashes upon opening.

3:15PM: Did the Huffington Post crop this AP photo to give Binyamin Netanyahu devil horns?

netanyahu devil horns

8:40AM: Now even the Sydney Morning Herald has posted the video of the now infamous IDF flash mob.

For the record, I know that officially, the soldiers involved should be disciplined, but I think this video is positive for Hasbara (public relations).

8:32AM: On Eve of the Obama-Netanyahu summit, a new poll indicates Americans continue to support Israel.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travels to Washington to meet with President Obama, a new national poll (PowerPoint) of likely voters, conducted for The Israel Project (TIP), underscores the importance of the United States’ relationship with Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The poll shows that almost two-thirds of U.S. voters believe relations with Israel are important to the U.S. national interest. While the majority (53 percent) of Americans agree that Israel’s government, led by Netanyahu, is committed to reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians, only a third (32 percent) believe the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, share the same commitment to peace.

Americans agree (63 percent to 19 percent) across party lines that the only way to bring lasting peace for Israel and the Palestinians is to be partners in the process without the United States setting out terms of a settlement. Only 13 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats believe it will be necessary for President Obama to outline a specific solution and push Israelis and Palestinians to accept it.

Americans continue to stand with Israel,” said Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder and president of The Israel Project said, “Prime Minister Netanyahu has said he is willing to come to Ramallah to meet with the Palestinian leaders. When will the Palestinian leaders say ‘yes’ to face-to-face talks?”

By a more than 2-1 ratio, Americans said Israel has the right to impose a blockade on Gaza. More than two-thirds agree that Israel has a right to inspect cargo coming into Gaza. Additionally, 58 percent of Americans believe that the so-called activists aboard a Turkish flotilla are to blame when Israel intercepted a ship carrying supplies to Gaza and encountered armed and violent participants, resulting in nine deaths.

A strong majority – 58 percent of Americans – said they believe the United States “should” take Israel’s side in the conflict. That compares to only nine percent who believe the United States should take the Palestinians’ side. Fully 56 percent of Americans personally support Israel in the ongoing conflict.

The survey was conducted jointly by Public Opinion Strategies (POS) and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research June 19-22, 2010 with 867 likely voters. Also cited is a national survey of 1,000 adults conducted by National Broadcasting Corporation and the Wall Street Journal on June 17-21, 2010, and a national survey of 800 likely voters conducted by POS May 26-27, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.

6:46AM: Speaking of Netanyahu’s trip to Washington, Israeli “human rights” organization B’tselem has deliberately timed its latest anti-Israel report  to coincide with it.

The media in Israel has had the report for several days, but largely played along and acceded to B’tselem’s request not to publicize it until Tuesday, when Netanyahu and Obama meet.

I can confirm this as fact, since I was sent the following from a concerned citizen.

—– Forwarded message from [email protected] —–

Date: Mon, 5 Jul 2010 16:55:55 +0200

From: “xxxxxxxxxxx” <[email protected]>

Subject: Press release – embargo tomorrow, 6 July –  Official data:

One-fifth of settlements’ built-up area is private Palestinian land

Press release – Not for publication until 6:00 A.M. on 6 July 2010

Army and Civil Administration data:

One-fifth of settlements’ built-up area is private Palestinian land

Settlements control 42 percent of West Bank land area

Today (6 July 2010), B’Tselem is publishing By Hook and by Crook <http://www.btselem.org/Download/201007_By_Hook_and_by_Crook_Eng.pdf> :

Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank. The report, which analyzes the mechanisms used to gain Israeli control of land in the West Bank for building the settlements, is based on official state reports and documents, among them army and Civil Administration maps, state comptroller’s reports and Brig.-Gen. Baruch Spiegel’s database.

The official data indicates that, although the built-up area of the settlements is about one percent of the land area of the West Bank, the municipal jurisdiction of the settlements and their regional councils cover more than 42 percent of the West Bank. In taking over all of these lands, the settlement enterprise has, since its inception, treated international law, local legislation, Israeli military orders, and Israeli law in an instrumental, cynical, and even criminal manner.

For years, Israel has declared that it is building settlements only on state land, and not on private Palestinian land. However, by cross-referencing Civil Administration data with aerial photos of the settlements taken in 2009, B’Tselem found that over one-fifth (21

percent) of the settlements’ built-up areas lies on land that Israel recognizes as private Palestinian land.

Some 66 percent of the settlements’ built-up areas are “state land”.

Allocation of this land for settlements was only possible through a manipulative interpretation of all relevant laws in force in the West Bank.

Officially, in the framework of implementing the Road Map, Israel undertook to freeze construction in the settlements. In practice, from then until the end of 2009, the settler population grew by 28 percent, from 235,263 to 301,200 (not including East Jerusalem). The growth rate in 2008 was almost three times greater than the growth rate of Israel’s population – 5.1 percent compared with 1.8 percent. Since the beginning of the Oslo process, the number of settlers almost tripled.

An argument used to justify the construction in the settlements is that it is intended to meet the needs of natural growth of this population.

However, figures of the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics for 2006 show that 20 percent of the population increase in the settlements resulted from migration from inside Israel, and not from the birth rate.

This figure was more than double the migration rate to Israel’s central region, in a year in which the migration rate to all other regions was negative.

The report provides updated information on the benefits and incentives Israel provides to encourage Israelis to move to the settlements. These benefits provide an immediate financial benefit to each family residing in a settlement. Most settlements are still recognized as National Priority Area A, which entitles their residents to various benefits in housing, education, industry, and agriculture.

The report also analyzes the illegality of the settlement enterprise under international humanitarian law, and the infringement of Palestinians’ human rights that result. For this reason, B’Tselem repeats its demand that the Israeli government evacuate all the settlements, in a manner that respects the settlers’ human rights, including the payment of compensation. Until then, interim measures include real freeze on new and planned construction, an end to land seizures, and cancellation of the benefits and incentives to encourage migration to the settlements.

A draft of the report was sent to the Ministry of Justice for response.

The Ministry’s official in charge of human rights and ties with international organizations informed B’Tselem that the state will not respond to the report “in light of its political nature.”

The complete report

<http://www.btselem.org/Download/201007_By_Hook_and_by_Crook_Eng.pdf>

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travels to Washington to meet with President Obama, a new national poll (PDF, PowerPoint) of likely voters, conducted for The Israel Project (TIP), underscores the importance of the United States’ relationship with Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The poll shows that almost two-thirds of U.S. voters believe relations with Israel are important to the U.S. national interest. While the majority (53 percent) of Americans agree that Israel’s government, led by Netanyahu, is committed to reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians, only a third (32 percent) believe the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, share the same commitment to peace.

Americans agree (63 percent to 19 percent) across party lines that the only way to bring lasting peace for Israel and the Palestinians is to be partners in the process without the United States setting out terms of a settlement. Only 13 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats believe it will be necessary for President Obama to outline a specific solution and push Israelis and Palestinians to accept it.

Americans continue to stand with Israel,” said Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder and president of The Israel Project said, “Prime Minister Netanyahu has said he is willing to come to Ramallah to meet with the Palestinian leaders. When will the Palestinian leaders say ‘yes’ to face-to-face talks?”

By a more than 2-1 ratio, Americans said Israel has the right to impose a blockade on Gaza. More than two-thirds agree that Israel has a right to inspect cargo coming into Gaza. Additionally, 58 percent of Americans believe that the so-called activists aboard a Turkish flotilla are to blame when Israel intercepted a ship carrying supplies to Gaza and encountered armed and violent participants, resulting in nine deaths.

A strong majority – 58 percent of Americans – said they believe the United States “should” take Israel’s side in the conflict. That compares to only nine percent who believe the United States should take the Palestinians’ side. Fully 56 percent of Americans personally support Israel in the ongoing conflict.

The survey was conducted jointly by Public Opinion Strategies (POS) and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research June 19-22, 2010 with 867 likely voters. Also cited is a national survey of 1,000 adults conducted by National Broadcasting Corporation and the Wall Street Journal on June 17-21, 2010, and a national survey of 800 likely voters conducted by POS May 26-27, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

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
Picture of David Lange

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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