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The Day In Israel: Monday July 26th, 2010

After successfully testing the Iron Dome, Israel has signed an agreement with the US under which the Defense Ministry will receive full funding for the development and production of the Arrow 3 ballistic missile defense system.

The agreement was signed in Tel Aviv by head of the ministry’s MAFAT Research and Development Directorate, Brig.-Gen. Ofir Shoham, and the head of the US Missile Defense Agency, Lt.-Gen. Patrick O’Reilly.

In May 2009, the Obama administration said it would continue to support the Arrow project, as it had done since its inception over 20 years ago. However, Israel was concerned that the US would end the funding due to major cuts made to the US defense budget by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Development costs for the system are expected to reach some $100 million. The Arrow 3 will likely become operational in 2012-2013.

The Arrow 3 will be a longer-range version of the Arrow system currently in IDF operation, and will be capable of intercepting incoming missiles at higher altitudes and longer ranges. Israel and the US are also developing David’s Sling, a missile-based defense system for projectiles with a range of 70-250 kilometers.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:00PM: IDF on the crash:

IAF Helicopter Crashes During Exercise in Romania

An IAF ‘Yasur’ (CH-35) helicopter has crashed earlier today during an exercise flight in Romania. On board the helicopter were seven personnel- four pilots, two aerial mechanics and a Romanian Air Force member. Extensive Searches are currently taking place on the scene.

Representatives of the IDF  have notified the crew members’ families  of the incident.

The IAF is preparing for the departure of an air plane to Romania, carrying medical teams, research and rescue teams etc.

Commander of the Air Force, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan has corresponded with his Romanian counterpart, Maj. Gen. Ion- Aurel Stanciu, and has come to agreements with him regarding a mutual examination of the incident by the two militaries. Heading the Israeli research team is an IAF Brig. Gen

10:58PM: The palestinian Ma’an news is reporting all the Israelis on board were killed. However, given their track record when it comes to the truth, I suggest we await confirmation.

10:56PM: BREAKING NEWS: A helicopter carrying one Romanian and six Israeli soldiers has crashed in mountainous terrain in central Romania.

It is not yet known whether or not there are any survivors.

8:05PM: You have to hand it to the auto-translation. It can produce some rather..ehh….direct results.

2:25PM: Khaled Abu Toameh asks: Why the silence?

When was the last time the United Nations Security Council met to condemn an Arab government for its mistreatment of Palestinians?

How come groups and individuals on university campuses in the US and Canada that call themselves “pro-Palestinian” remain silent when Jordan revokes the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians?

The plight of Palestinians living in Arab countries in general, and Lebanon in particular, is one that is often ignored by the mainstream media in West.

How come they turn a blind eye to the fact that Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and many more Arab countries continue to impose severe travel restrictions on Palestinians?

And where do these groups and individuals stand regarding the current debate in Lebanon about whether to grant Palestinians long-denied basic rights, including employment, social security and medical care?

Or have they not heard about this debate at all? Probably not, since the case has failed to draw the attention of most Middle East correspondents and commentators.

A news story on the Palestinians that does not include an anti-Israel angle rarely makes it to the front pages of Western newspapers.

The demolition of an Arab-owned illegal building in Jerusalem is, for most of these correspondents, much more important than the fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon continue to suffer from a series of humiliating restrictions.

Not only are Palestinians living in Lebanon denied the right to own property, but they also do not qualify for health care, and are banned by law from working in a large number of jobs.

Can someone imagine what would be the reaction in the international community if Israel tomorrow passed a law that prohibits its Arab citizens from working as taxi drivers, journalists, physicians, cooks, waiters, engineers and lawyers? Or if the Israeli Ministry of Education issued a directive prohibiting Arab children from enrolling in universities and schools?

But who said that the Lebanese authorities have not done anything to “improve” the situation? In fact, the Palestinians living in that country should be grateful to the Lebanese government.

Until 2005, the law prohibited Palestinians from working in 72 professions. Now the list of jobs has been reduced to 50.

Still, Palestinians are not allowed to work as physicians, journalists, pharmacists or lawyers in Lebanon.

Ironically, it is much easier for a Palestinian to acquire American and Canadian citizenship than a passport of an Arab country. In the past, Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were even entitled to Israeli citizenship if they married an Israeli citizen, or were reunited with their families inside the country.

Lebanese politicians are now debating new legislation that would grant “civil rights” to Palestinians for the first time in 62 years. The new bill includes the right to own property, social security payments and medical care.

Many Lebanese are said to be opposed to the legislation out of fear that it would pave the way for the integration of Palestinians into their society and would constitute a burden to the economy.

The heated debate has prompted parliament to postpone a vote on the bill until next month.

Nadim Khoury, director of Human Rights Watch in Beirut, said, “Lebanon has marginalized Palestinian refugees for too long and the parliament should seize this opportunity to turn the page and end discrimination against Palestinians.”

Rami Khouri, a prominent Lebanese journalist, wrote in The Daily Star that “all Arab countries mistreat millions of Arab, Asian and African foreign guest workers, who often are treated little better than chattel or indentured laborers…The mistreatment, abysmal living conditions and limited work, social security and property rights of the Palestinians [in Lebanon] are a lingering moral black mark.”

Foreign journalists often justify their failure to report on the suffering of Palestinians in the Arab world by citing “security concerns” and difficulty in obtaining an entry visa into an Arab country.

But these are weak and unacceptable excuses given the fact that most of them could still write about these issues from their safe offices and homes in New York, London and Paris. Isn’t that what most of them are anyway doing when they are write about the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip?

2:15PM: Honest Reporting has received hate mail from an UNRWA employee. Guess he forgot to use a bogus email address.

12:40PM: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has warned that Israel will strike directly at Lebanese government institutions if Hizbullah launches rockets at Israeli towns.

If Hezbollah fires a rocket into Tel Aviv, “we will not run after each Hezbollah terrorist or launcher. . . . We will see it as legitimate to hit any target that belongs to the Lebanese state, not just to Hezbollah.”

8:25PM: Last night, 5 palestinians were arrested with improvised weapons, two firebombs, and a knife in their possession.

The Palestinians were arrested southeast of Nablus, by an IDF force patrolling near Beit Fourik village. The soldiers noticed two burning tires on the side of the road, and approached with caution until they saw two Palestinian men hiding nearby.

A preliminary investigation has revealed that the men were trying to attract soldiers with the tires, after which they planned to attack them with the weapons in their possession.

A military official said the incident was unusual. “The first interrogation revealed their intention,” he said. “In any case, proper conduct by the reserve force thwarted the intention of the Palestinian cell to ambush soldiers and attack them.”

Head of the Samaria Regional Council, Gershon Mesika, commended the troops on the arrest. “We are proud of the fighters and officers of the IDF, who fight terror day and night for all of the citizens of the state,” he said.

“The removal of checkpoints and irresponsible easements in restrictions for the terrorists of the Palestinian Authority, who are dubbed ‘police’, are part of the roulette played by the state with its citizens. This incident could have ended horribly. We must learn of determination in the fight against terror from the IDF.”

Last week a Palestinian was shot dead by an IDF force in the West Bank settlement of Barkan. The
soldiers noticed two or three Palestinians enter the settlement, and called on them to halt when they came within a few dozen meters of the homes.

The suspects split up, and soldiers say they identified a weapon in the hands of one. They attempted to arrest him but say that when he didn’t heed their calls or stop when they fired in the air, they were forced to kill him.

This after the palestinians fired more rockets and mortar shells into Israel.

Yet PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has the chutzpah to blame Israel.

President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that Israel’s continued settlement building on what would become a future Palestinian state was impeding a two-state solution and renewing the cycle of violence.

Where is the cycle of violence? The palestinians – whether in Gaza or Judea and Samaria – are launching attacks against Israeli targets. And even if they were doing it because of “settlement building” (which is not the case), how is this violence justified?

6:02AM: Excellent video on the Palestinian Authority’s use of humanitarian aid received from the international community.

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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