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The Day In Israel: Sun Nov 7th, 2010

Bye bye Ghajar?

Israel intends to withdraw from the northern part of Ghajar village located by the Lebanese border, Israeli officials announced overnight Saturday.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to inform United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of this plan, when the two men meet in New York on Monday, during Netanyahu’s five day visit to the United States, according to officials.

The withdrawal plan has been discussed with senior members of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

Upon his return from the United States, Netanyahu is expected to ask the Security Cabinet to approve the plan, officials said.

The village of Ghajar has 2,200 residents and is located on the border between Israel and Lebanon.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

8:12PM: Gingaling: Ha’aretz reports:

The defense establishment has taken the unusual step of granting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency approval to take four weapons into Gaza. The weapons, submachine guns, are to serve the security detail guarding the heads of the agency in Gaza.

The request to bring in the weapons was made three years ago and approved last week.

The director of UNRWA’s activities in Gaza, John Ging, said on his website that his life is in constant danger and he needs more suitable protection than the handguns his bodyguards had been carrying.

The UN body asked for German Heckler and Koch submachine guns for UNRWA’s commissioner general, Filippo Grandi, and for Ging.

The organization told Israeli security officials that its personnel are being threatened by Hamas representatives. UNRWA operates 221 schools in Gaza and dozens of medical centers, employment centers and women’s help centers.

More than a million refugees and their descendents are registered with UNRWA, which operates eight refugee camps in Gaza.

In March 2007, gunmen fired at Ging’s convoy and he escaped without injury. In the summer of 2007, armed men again attacked him, in Rafah, killing one. After previous assurances by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories that authorization was forthcoming, in July, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said he would not approve the request.

Ya’akov Imut, in charge of weapons registration at the Interior Ministry, said the ministry turned down the request because it is authorized only to license handguns. Only last week, after pressure from the UN, was the request approved.

The COGAT office said “the delay was because UNRWA received authorization from the Germans only five months ago.”

UNRWA’s representative in Israel said it does not issue responses on security matters.

But surely Ging does not believe Hamas is capable of killing him, just as he does not believe they are capable of using UN facilities as cover for attacks against Israel.

I say the request should have been denied.

5:56PM: Cover-up of the day: Hardly any flesh in sight.

Pamela Anderson Israel
US model and actress Pamela Anderson waves at the start of her press conference in Tel Aviv on November 7, 2010 during her visit to Israel where she is making a guest appearance in the Israeli version of the popular TV show "Dancing with the Stars". AFP PHOTO/DAVID BUIMOVITCH

Given her PETA-like sensibilities, I am guessing she is staying away from the shwarma.

5:50PM: According to a UN report, Arabs live better in Israel than anywhere else.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) just published its 20th Human Development Report, which includes its Human Development Index (HDI) rankings. That third link is the one that shows Israel as 15th of 169 countries; there is only one country which isn’t English-speaking or European, South Korea, which is higher at 12th place. The Economist has a brief description of what it’s all about, here.

Israel is the only one of the top 25, with the exception of the US, which is at war or has been at war in any significant way since 1954. It is the only one with almost 20% of its population being Arabs (the highest Arab country, the United Arab Emirates, is ranked at 32). I’d add that it’s also the only one among the top 25 in which something like 20% of the population arrived as impoverished immigrants within the past 20 years, but actually I think it’s the only one anywhere, world-wide, with that particular distinction.

5:42PM: Last week, I posted about the first same-sex duo to compete in any version of Dancing With The Stars. Right here in Israel.

Here’s their performance.

4:30PM: Remember the Iranian weightlifter who refused to shake the hand of the Israeli who won gold in the event?

Reminder:

Well, he’s been banned for life..not for the lack of sportsmanship but because he dared even compete with the Zionist scum.

Mir Rasool Raisi, Head of Delegation to Iran’s Weightlifting Team, and Hossein Khodadadi, a veteran weightlifting champion, have been banned from all sport activities for life. Mr. Khodadadi appeared on the platform beside an Israeli weight champion during the Poland competitions.

Jalal Yahya-Zadeh, head of Physical Education Committee for Youth Committee announced this news and and added: “The fact that an Iranian weightlifting veteran has competed against an Israeli during the worldwide competitions and has stood beside him during the distribution of medal is unjustifiable.”

He added: “Unfortunately, those who supposedly had the primary responsibility in this regard did not see any problem in this matter, however did not see it fit to be distributed within the public, which itself is an obvious mistake on their end.”
Mr. Yahia-zadeh pointed to Mir Rasool Raisi’s remarks on publication of news and pictures of Iranian and Israeli athletes beside one another.

Mr Raisi has stressed the accompanying members of the Iranian expeditionary team  had destroyed all CDs and photos and did not expect happening of such matter.

Physical Education and Youth Committee has stated the Cultural Commissioners have been informed and the president has also been warned of such matter.

Mr. Yahia-zadeh has recommended to the safeguard organization of the Physical Education Committee to prevent such matters from happening.

2:15PM: Following on from last week’s news of a new Gaza mall comes word of a new luxury hotel.

Nablus businessman Munib Al-Masri on Sunday toured industrial projects being carried out by the Palestine Development and Investment Company in the Gaza Strip.

—-

The West Bank multimillionaire told journalists Friday that after three years of waiting, his company decided to inaugurate a five-star hotel in the northern Gaza Strip. The hotel was completed in 2007, but its opening was delayed due to the dire conditions in the Strip.

I look forward to the photos.

11:00AM: Nice one, Goldstone.

goldstone palestine scarf
Photo by Marco Longari/AFP

South African Judge Richard Goldstone’s name may be infamous in Israel, but in the Gaza Strip it is sewn onto souvenir Palestinian headscarves in honour of his controversial war inquiry.

Tariq Abu Dia, owner of the President Arafat souvenir shop in Gaza City, says Goldstone, who is Jewish, deserves the honour of appearing on the iconic Palestinian keffiyeh made famous by Yasser Arafat, for whom the shop is named.

“Today we put out 50 keffiyehs made of white fabric with the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the name ‘Goldstone’ embroidered on them, to honour his work,” Abu Dia says, as he shows off one of the scarves.

It tells you a lot that Hamas is publicizing this story on their site.

Goldstone must be kvelling.

9:45AM: This next story sums up the palestinian approach so well.

Stones were thrown Saturday at an ambulance and an MDA mobile intensive care unit near the village of Al-Azariya just a day after some young Israelis were attacked  as they drove through nearby Issawiya, in east Jerusalem. The ambulance teams had been called to village to treat a young man who had fallen from the fifth floor of a building.

At about 6 pm, an ambulance was called to Al-Azariya, in the vicinity of east Jerusalem. Due to the critical condition of the patient, the intensive care unit was called. As paramedics treated the patient, a number of teens from Issawiya began throwing stones at the vehicle, making the paramedics’ task difficult. The windscreen of the vehicles was damaged, as was another Israeli vehicle that was driving behind them.

Hagai Bar-Tov, an MDA paramedic, spoke of those minutes of fear. “On the way to the hospital, as the paramedics treated the patient… we had to take care of our own lives at the same time,” he said. “A shower of stones fell on us… Luckily the vehicle was armored, so the windscreen was damaged but not completely broken in.”

“Unfortunately, we see once again how terror groups operate without limits, even when it’s clear to all that ambulances don’t do any damage anywhere in the world” said Danny Rotenberg, MDA spokesman in the Jerusalem region. “The team, which was in the middle of intensive treatment saving the life of a seriously wounded Palestinian patient, feared for its life, making the situation even worse.”

Police said they had begun searches in the area to find those responsible for throwing the stones. The police view the incident gravely, as they do the attempted lynch of three students from Givatayim and an Australian tourist. Police sources said they intend to increase operations against stone throwing in Issawiya, to pressure the local population to keep public order.

The students and tourist, who only wanted to go to a pub in the city, almost paid with their lives after making a wrong turn. They said they followed the directions of children in the neighborhood and almost reached the center of Issawiya. When they tried to go back they saw the street was blocked, and saw the eldest child who had given directions throw stones at them. None of the group was injured, despite the shower of stones.

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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