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The Day In Israel: Thurs Oct 14th, 2010

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at a rally in Lebanon, showing why Iran + nuclear weapons = everybody panic.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Lebanon
REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is on a two-day visit to Lebanon, spoke before a mass rally organized in is honor by Hezbollah at the Dahiya quarter of Beirut, which is considered one of the Shiite group’s strongholds.

Wednesday’s rally, which saw masses gather at a local soccer field, waving Iranian flags and chanted “Welcome” in Persian, was missing Hezbollah Chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who welcomed Ahmadinejad to Lebanon via a video feed from his bunker: “I welcome you here on behalf of the injured, the dead, the released prisoners and this people, who have fought to create the miracle of victory. You are a steadfast staff for the resistance.”

“I come from the land of the Imam Khomeini, bearing the best wishes of the Iranian people and its leaders,” Ahmadinejad told the masses. “Lebanon is the an example and school for unwavering resistance to the world’s tyrants and a university for Jihad. Visiting Lebanon and meeting the leaders is a dream come true for me.”

Ahmadinejad spoke in Persian and used an interpreter.

The Iranian leader wasted no time in attacking Israel for violating the Palestinians’ rights: “Do you see anything but crimes in the past actions of the Zionist regime? The massacre of innocent people, the use of weapons, razing homes, confiscating medicine, food and water, attacking civilians in international waters and threatening the world is an everyday occurrence for them.”

The West, he added, considers Israel “means of dominating the world,” and to that end it has given it nuclear weapons.

‘Israel’s weakness exposed’

Turning his attention to the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead, the Iranian president said the two military campaigns “exposed Israel’s weakness… it is also possible that those barbaric Zionists will seek a new regional adventure to try and compensate. I say – any attack will only bring this phony regime closer to its end.”

‘A dream come true.’ Ahmadinejad

As for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the talks are taking place while Israel “is perpetuating the occupation and disrespects International Law,” he said. “The only way to resolve the problems in Palestine and bring peace to the region is to recognize the rights of the Palestinians, allow the refugees to return to their land and send the conquerors back to their homelands. The Zionists must return Palestine to its true owner, or they will be obliterated by the wrath of the Palestinian people.”

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

6:46PM: Well done to Ha’aretz for finding a way to demonize Israeli “settlers” in a story about palestinians who drowned in a well.

Three Palestinians in the West Bank drowned in a well full of olive mulch on Thursday after a boy fell into the pit and two men dived in to save him.

The freak accident at a village near Tul Karm occurred just a few days into the West Bank olive harvest season, where risks of injury are usually linked to clashes with Israeli settlers over access to olive groves.

The three drowned in a three-meter (13-foot) deep pool of thick liquid waste left over from the olive oil pressing process. Police took the owner of the press into custody for questioning.

I’m just surprised they didn’t accuse “settlers” of pushing them down the well.

3:32PM: Regarding that explosion in Iran I blogged about earlier:

More than 18 Revolutionary guards were killed and 14 others wounded in an explosion Tuesday at a base of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRG) Corps in the Western Iranian province of Lurestan, reported Iran’s official news agency IRNA Wednesday.

A Deputy Commander of the Corps said that blast resulted from a fire that spread to a munitions depot at the corps’s base in Khoramabad, 300 miles southwest of the capital, Tehran, and close to Iran’s restive Kurdistan region.

Police and fire-and-rescue teams were rushed to the IRG base and the injured were taken to a hospital in Khoramabad, the agency said.

The base houses underground launching and storage facilities for Iran’s medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, said research group Global Security.

Lorestan Governor General Hassan Shariatnejad visited the injured persons hospitalized and offered his condolences over the tragic incident. Local officials declared a two-day mourning Wednesday and a funeral was scheduled for Thursday.

Hat tip: Carl, via Shy Guy.

3:22PM: In the Independent, Adrian Hamilton argues that Israel has no future as a purely Jewish state.

But here’s the clincher:

The more closely you define Israel as a uniquely “Jewish” state, the less room there is for it to act as a co-operative member of a Muslim majority Middle East. Its role becomes that of an enclave which views itself as not just separate but in clear opposition to everyone else about it.

In other words, Hamilton opposes a Jewish state because it is not a Muslim one (hat tip: Just Journalism).

3:08PM: Oneindia News reports:

18 guards from the powerful Revolutionary Guard force were killed in an explosion in Iran’s military base on Oct 12.

According the country’s domestic media report, 14 other Guard troops were wounded in the blast at the military base, which was situated in 300 miles southwest of the capital, Tehran.

As per the report, a fire, which spread to the ammunition depot, caused the massive explosion in the military depot.

Iran is battling armed militant and separatist movements in the remote southeast along the border with Pakistan and in the far northwest along the border with Iraq.

2:42PM: Quote of the day:

“If you’re going to the Middle East to look for oil, you can skip Israel. If you’re looking for brains, look no further.
Israel has shown that it has a disproportionate amount of brains and energy.”

– Businessman Warren Buffet

2:35PM: It has been reported that Israel has one of the hottest property markets in the world.

Israel, despite perennial fears of war, has emerged as one of the hottest — and least likely — property markets in the world: Since real estate collapsed around the globe in 2008, at least one industry watchdog lists it as the fastest-rising property market on earth.

But with global economic meltdown — and the sub-prime mortgage fiasco that precipitated it — still fresh in people’s minds, officials are stepping up efforts to rein in its overheated property sector. The fear is that a property bubble could shake confidence in an economy that withstood the worst of the world’s financial crisis.

In the span of months, the central bank has raised interest rates several times and the government is rallying to build new units in this land-strapped country.

“The housing market has set off enough crises, and we’re not going to let that happen in Israel,” Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said earlier this month in announcing his sixth rate hike in just over a year.

According to Global Property Guide, a trade magazine that monitors the housing market, Israeli housing prices in the second quarter of 2010 rose sixth-fastest in a ranking of 36 countries. Four of the top five, including Singapore and Latvia, were rebounding from sharp price drops. So looking at the past two years ended in June — the last period for which there is data — Israeli real estate clocks in at No. 1.

9:46AM: If only…

Ahmadinejad sign
(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

6:10AM: Meet Hisham Abu Varia, the first Arab-Israeli IDF officer.

“The army is the entry pass into the Israeli society,” Hisham explains. “The Arab sector thinks it’s second rate here, but to get privileges one has to give and not just receive. The state protects its citizens even if they don’t serve – my parents live off income support. You must contribute to the country you live off. What other country would have an Arab Knesset member, who is being paid by the state, promoting the interests of the Islamic movement and screwing the promotion of the sector it is supposed to represent?”

Read the whole thing here.

6:05AM: Ahmadinejad speaking at the rally in Lebanon:

5:56AM: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has extended Israel’s blessings to Chile following the rescue of the miners. Followed by a “I predicted this.”

Say what?

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the rescue of the Chilean miners today that it was one of those rare moments of elation,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement Wednesday, adding that “the entire world has been moved by this human act of saving miners trapped in the belly of the earth. We extend our blessings and the blessing of the people of Israel to the Chilean nation and to everyone who assisted in the rescue.”

The statement goes on to mention that “Netanyahu predicted such an event – a mine disaster – in his book Terrorism: How the West can win from 1987.” Quotes from the book were sent to reporters in addition to a scanned page from the actual volume.

In his book, Netanyahu described a possible mine disaster, saying that even though only a handful of miners may be trapped, the entire world’s attention would be riveted to their welfare “for a long time.” He explained his argument, saying that it would not only be the intense media coverage of such an event that would turn people’s attention to the event, but every individual’s private feeling that it could be him or her trapped in a similar situation.

Here’s my prediction: conspiracy theorists are going to use this to argue that Israel was actually behind the mine collapse.

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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