The Day In Israel: Sunday Aug 15th, 2010

Turkey has denied reports they’ve  agreed to Iranian requests to transfer weapons to Hizbullah.

stuffed TurkeyTurkish foreign ministry officials denied reports that Ankara had agreed to Iranian requests to transfer missiles and other weaponry to the Lebanese terror group Hizbullah, Army Radio reported on Saturday.

“The claims mentioned are without basis,” said a senior foreign ministry official

Rumors were circulating that Turkey and Iran are helping Hizbullah obtain new weapons, Italian daily Corriere Della Sera reported on Wednesday evening.

Sources told Corriere Della Sera that Turkey will “send sophisticated weapons, rockets and guns to Syria, that will end up in Lebanon,” where the Iranian Army will ensure the weapons are transferred to Hizbullah.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards “will facilitate the transition, ensure safety, watch loads on the routes, and provide support to the border,” the report said.

The Iranians reportedly want to build a weapons network similar to that in the Sudan, and hope to help Hamas as well.

The Italian newspaper reported that Western intelligence sources “view the Turkish-Iranian plot with concern, as they are obvious risks to safety.”

Of course, Turkey has also denied using chemical weapons against Kurds (hat tip: Carl).

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

7:50PM: What’s the secret behind Israeli innovation?

7:44PM: Iran’s national sport: forfeiting.

4:55PM: 1500 West Australians, including over 100 Federal and State Parliamentarians and community leaders, recently attended the launch of the Friends of Israel (Western Australia).

I believe the organization is part of this initiative. According to the site:

The organization has been established to enable Western Australians to express their support for Israel.

All over the world, people are joining together to take a stand for democratic values and freedoms.

They know that to take such a stand also means to support Israel, her right to defend her citizens, and to live in peace and security, free from threats of terrorism.

They know that Israel is the best ally of the free nations – a champion of democratic values in the Middle East; and a dynamic and open society that has contributed abundantly to culture, science and technology.

They know that Israel is in the front lines of the global battle between those who love life and those who glorify death.

They know that if Israel falls, we all fall.

By joining Friends of Israel WA, you can join with this groundswell of global support for Israel, for democracy and for freedom.

4:36PM: The Simon Wiesenthal Center has criticized Israeli President Shimon Peres for paying tribute to Romania for “rescuing 400,000 Jews” during World War II.

The Jerusalem-based center voiced its “surprise and strong disappointment” at Peres who failed to mention “the central role played by the regime of Romanian dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu in the mass murder of an estimated 280,000 to 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.”

During a press conference with Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu Thursday, the visiting Israeli president said: “We shall never forget that in the darkest days in Europe under the Nazis Romania stood up and saved the life of many of the Jewish people here and that 400,000 of them went to Israel and they were the builders of Israel.”

The center said in a statement that Peres “sought to emphasize a positive element of the history of Romanian Jewry …”
But “his failure to condemn the horrific crimes of the Antonescu regime against the Jewish people is likely to have very dire consequences, especially in Romania and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, where there is a growing tendency … to deny or minimize the highly-significant role played by local Nazi collaborators in the annihilation of the Jews.”.

The group called on Peres to “correct and fully clarify his unfortunate remarks.”

Romania had long denied its participation in the Holocaust, triggering criticism from Israel and Jewish organizations.

An international commission of historians set up in 2003 established that some 270.000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews died between 1940 and 1944, during marshal Ion Antonescu’s pro-Nazi regime, while some 25,000 Gypsies were deported, half of whom died.

2:00PM: According to the IDF, Hizbullah has changed its tactics in anticipation of the next war, coming soon to a theater near us.

These tactics involve hiding behind even more civilians, including handicapped children.

Israel’s military says Hezbollah has changed strategy since the last war, moving most of its fighters and weapons from wooded rural areas into villages. It says the aim is to avoid detection and use to civilians for cover if war erupts.

The military says all of this exists under the nose of 12,000 international peacekeepers who, by their own count, conduct up to 340 patrols a day in south Lebanon but are hobbled by a hostile population and rules preventing them from searching private property.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Mount Adir, a hill overlooking the border, an officer from the military’s Northern Command pointed through the summer haze at the village of Aita al-Shaab.

One of its southernmost buildings, a white structure housing mentally handicapped children, is a Hezbollah lookout post, the officer said. Several guerrilla command posts are in civilian buildings in the center of Aita al-Shaab, she said, with several dozen fighters able to move among houses through underground tunnels. The military would not allow her name to be used because of the sensitivity of her job.

The village also houses a network of warehouses holding arms trucked in from Iran via Syria, she said, some in stand-alone structures and some in smaller stashes in garages, basements and buried under backyards.

The officer said the guerrillas now have 5,000 fighters operating in the buffer zone between the border and the Litani River _ a strip ranging from 5 kilometers to 30 kilometers (3 miles to 18 miles) wide _ which is supposed to be free of militant activity under the 2006 cease-fire. In late 2009, Nasrallah said Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal stood at 30,000. Israel says it’s now about 40,000.

Israel’s intelligence probably comes from surveillance flights over Lebanese territory, spy satellites and Lebanese agents. But the military provides no proof of its claims, saying that could compromise its sources, and the peacekeeping force says it sees no evidence of new military infrastructure. Hezbollah officials did not respond to requests for comment on Israel’s accusations.

It’s difficult to independently confirm the allegations on the ground. The south Lebanese, mostly Shiite like Hezbollah, tend to support the movement and rarely criticize it publicly or volunteer information. Hezbollah members or supporters often attach themselves to journalists entering villages, shadowing them and discouraging photography.

South Lebanon is festooned with posters of the bearded, turbaned Nasrallah, but the only visible hint of Hezbollah fighters are the bearded men in civilian clothes who travel on motorbikes or in cars and occasionally approach reporters working in the area.

In July, looking to build its case that Hezbollah is digging in among civilians, the military released maps, photographs and a 3-D simulation of the streets and houses of another Lebanese town, Khiam.

The simulation shows one arms storeroom, a squat, freestanding building colored red, located 130 meters (150 yards) from a school, colored blue. A map on the military’s Web site purports to pinpoint 12 arms storerooms and three command posts in the town.

The Israeli implication is clear: If another war erupts, many civilians will die.

Regarding the handicapped children, don’t be shocked. It won’t be the first time Hizbullah has resorted to such heinous tactics.

Remember Qana 4 years ago?

“We have it from a credible source that Hizbullah, alarmed by Siniora’s plan, has concocted an incident that would help thwart the negotiations.

Knowing full well that Israel will not hesitate to bombard civilian targets, Hizbullah gunmen placed a rocket launcher on the roof in Qana and brought disabled children inside, in a bid to provoke a response by the Israeli Air Force. In this way, they were planning to take advantage of the death of innocents and curtail the negotiation initiative,” the site stated

12:58PM: Surprise, surprise: A show presented by anti-Israel journalist Lauren Booth has been found to have broken broadcasting code rules on impartiality.

Ofcom has ruled that a current affairs TV show discussing the ill-fated Gaza flotilla, which was presented by Cherie Blair’s sister Lauren Booth, has broken broadcasting code rules on impartiality.

Booth presents a regular programme on Press TV, the news network controlled by the Iranian government that has a bureau in west London, called Remember Palestine.

On 5 June Booth presented an edition that discussed the events during and following the interception by Israeli military forces of a pro-Palestinian aid convoy in the Mediterranean on 31 May, which resulted in nine deaths.

The show, which started with a pro-Palestinian song and anti-Israeli imagery, featured a range of pre-recorded and live interviews that included comments such as “massacre” and “barbarous attack”, according to Ofcom.

Ofcom said that the content “could be interpreted as being highly critical of the actions of the Israeli government and its military forces in this case”.

The media regulator received a complaint that the show failed to air alternative views.

Press TV maintained that it had complied with the due impartiality requirements of the broadcasting code. The broadcaster said that the “intensity of the descriptions in the programme merely reflected the general atmosphere around the world”.

The media regulator said that while the programme included a number of viewpoints all of them were portrayed as critical of the Israeli state’s policies.

“In summary the programme accused the Israeli government of a massacre and of breaking international law and human rights,” said Ofcom. “We considered the broadcaster did not provide sufficient evidence of alternative views within the programme. Overall the programme gave a one-sided view on this matter of political controversy.”

Meanwhile, here is Booth sprouting her venom against Israel, which she refers to as a “pariah state.”

Regarding the flotilla, notice how she dismisses completely the notion that people on board were carrying weapons (from 1:32), and right after calling Israel “liars” (1:46), she claims 19 innocent people were killed (leaving aside their “innocence”, there were 9 fatalities).

This woman has no business being a journalist.

9:06AM: Here is a  Sky News report on some Gazan swimmers trying to make the Olympics, which besides showing more images contradicting the Gaza concentration camp/prison camp narrative (swimming pools/riding horses at the beach) also has the distinction of not once blaming Israel for their plight.

6:24AM: Either we have another JPost headline blunder, or the US is taking the Iranian threat even less seriously than previously thought.

jpost blunder


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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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