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The Day In Israel: Sunday Aug 8th, 2010

A Hamashole spokesperson has denied they were behind last week’s rocket on Eilar and Aqaba.

But he thinks he knows who was.

sami-khater
Sami "Forni" Khater

The militant Palestinian group Hamas is alleging that Israel fired the barrage of rockets that hit the Red Sea port resorts of Israel and Jordan earlier this week, killing one Jordanian civilian, as a means to justify another assault on the Gaza Strip.

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Sami Khater from Hamas’ Damascus-based political bureau said on Saturday the group had “no interest” in firing the rockets and even ruled out that they had come from Egyptian territory.

Khater explained that Israel may have fired the rockets in order to blame Hamas and consequently gain a pretext to launch fresh attacks on Palestinians.

If they weren’t so adept at murdering and maiming innocent people, I’d find them rather comical.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:50PM: The latest in my A Taste of “Concentration Camp” Gaza series: Al Azhar University

8:18PM: The inspirational Sherri and Seth Mandell.

8:06PM: To quote Avram from the Frisco Kid: “Would somebody please show this poor asshole the way out of town.”

3:50PM: Britain’s Chief Rabbi has laid into British PM David Cameron over the latter’s infamous “Gaza is a prison camp” comments.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth, said the Jewish community felt “dismay” over comments made by Prime Minister David Cameron in which he described  Gaza as a “prison camp”, the Telegraph newspaper reported Sunday.

During a sermon at St John’s Wood synagogue last Saturday, Sacks urged Cameron to show more “balance” when discussing the Middle East.

The rabbi’s spokeswoman said, “In a wide ranging sermon, the Chief Rabbi made a passing reference to the dismay many in the Jewish community and far beyond feel about the prime minister’s comments on Gaza.

“The Chief Rabbi emphasized the importance that previous prime ministers have always placed on displaying balance, even when being forthright.”

During an official visit to Turkey in July, Cameron called on Israel to allow the free flow of humanitarian goods and people in and out of Gaza. He also called the storming of a Gaza-bound flotilla in late May “completely unacceptable”.

“The situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions,” said the British PM. “Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.”

In other news, does anyone else feel that “St John’s Wood synagogue” just sounds so wrong?

1:05PM: Chief Hizbullah terrorist Hassan Nasrallah is to reveal evidence allegedly implicating Israel in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah will reveal “thunderous news” Monday revealing that Israel was behind the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, a party official said Saturday.

Hezbollah spokesman Ibrahim Mousawi told Ma’an that the evidence would be “comprehensive, revealing conclusive information” implicating Israel in the car bombing that killed Hariri in 2005.

A UN special tribunal set up to investigate the assassination will reportedly blame Hezbollah. Reports suggest that the tribunal will announce its findings before the end of 2010.

Speaking to reporters last Tuesday, Nasrallah said a Hezbollah team spent months compiling information on what he described as Israeli efforts to implicate the Shiite movement.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Saudi Arabian King Abdullah met in July with Lebanon’s President Michel Suleiman in an effort to diffuse the mounting political tension over possible indictments over the assassination.

In an Israellycool exclusive, I can reveal that part of their evidence is this photo, taken from near where the assassination took place.

zohan

11:18AM: Israellycool correspondent Brian of London describes his experience at – and after – the recent Diana Krall concert in Israel.

9:14AM: The lie: Iran’s Press TV claims Gaza’s power plant shut down as a result of Israel not fulfilling its obligations.

The truth: The power plant did shut down, but due to the PA reducing fuel shipments since Gaza’s Hamas government is behind on payments.

Power plant officials said a fuel shortage caused the shut-down, and blamed what it described as the PA’s refusal to ship sufficient fuel into the coastal enclave for the latest crisis.

The third time since January that the plant has been forced to close due to fuel shortage, earlier blackouts were blamed on a rocky transfer of responsibility for fuel supply to Gaza from the EU to the PA.

The Gaza Power Authority said in a statement that it held Ramallah’s finance ministry accountable, because “the government in Ramallah has not paid for industrial diesel, as agreed with the delegation of independent figures who visited Gaza recently.”

Fuel for the plant has been an ongoing issue between the governments, with Ramallah officials insisting that the plant collect a larger portion of its bills from Gaza residents, and transfer the cash to the PA to support fuel payments.

Ok, so we can expect this from Iran’s Press TV. Unfortunately, the mainstream media are serving up headlines which may give people who don’t read the entire reports the impression that Israel is to blame. Examples:

AP: Gaza power plant shuts down citing lack of fuel

AFP: Gaza power plant shuts down for lack of fuel

At least Reuters does the right thing in this case:

Fuel payments dispute forces Gaza power cuts

8:55AM: PA President Mahmoud Abbas wants everyone to know he’s ok with Jewish NATO soldiers deployed along the borders of a future palestinian state.

Because G-d forbid we’d think he hated Jews.

Mahmoud Abbas is not opposed to including Jewish soldiers in an international NATO force to be deployed along the borders of a future Palestinian state under a potential permanent peace agreement, the Palestinian president’s political adviser said Saturday.

Nimar Hamad told the Palestinian news agency Wafa that “Abbas is open to an international force along Palestinian borders of any religion or origin.”

Hamad was responding to earlier reports that Abbas opposed the deployment of Jewish soldiers along the future borders.

Hamad told Wafa that the American media had quoted Abbas as having said that he would refuse to allow Jewish soldiers on the border between Israel and the Palestinian state. “The remarks attributed to the president are baseless,” Hamad said. “The president said in his meetings with AIPAC and with Israeli journalists and world leaders that he welcomes the deployment of an international force regardless of the troops’ religion.”

It’s just Jews living inside such a state he’d have a problem with.

Meanwhile, in order to make his point, Abbas’ adviser has had to admit that Israel is not such an apartheid state after all.

Hamad added that Abbas refuses outright to have Israeli soldiers deployed along the borders, regardless of their religion, as “it is common knowledge that there are many non-Jewish soldiers serving in the Israeli army.”

6:05AM: In the wake of the Lebanese army soldiers attack on IDF troops last week and suggestions they were trained and armed by the Pentagon, US Congressman Ron Klein is demanding an investigation.

A Florida congressman is seeking an investigation into whether American equipment was used by Lebanese forces who fired on Israel last week or if the soldiers had received US-funded training.

Democrat Rep. Ron Klein, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, requested the investigation in a letter sent to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday.

“I would like to formally and respectfully request an investigation into the incident on the Lebanese-Israeli border,” Klein wrote, referring to Israel’s brush-clearing activity on Tuesday that triggered an attack from Lebanese soldiers on the IDF, killing one officer and seriously wounding another.

Israel returned fire and killed three Lebanese troops and a journalist.

“In addition, if the Lebanese government had authorized this attack, I would be very concerned about continuing to provide military support to Lebanon,” Klein wrote.

The US has provided $600 million in aid to the Lebanese military, largely for education and training, as well as some US-made equipment, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on Thursday.

Asked about Klein’s concerns, which had appeared in The Jerusalem Post before his letter was sent, Crowley responded, “We provide support to Lebanon because it is in our interest to do so.

We do so in close cooperation with the international community for the express purpose of improving the government of Lebanon’s security capability, protecting its sovereignty, and contributing to broad security across the region.”

Despite media reports that American guns might have been used by the Lebanese soldiers who fired at the IDF force, Crowley stressed, “We have no indication that US equipment played any role in this incident earlier this week.”

He also said, “In any US-origin equipment that’s been provided to Lebanon, we have very strong end-use monitoring to make sure it is used appropriately.”

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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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