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The Day In Israel: Sun Nov 28th, 2010

The Fatah Revolutionary Council’s fifth convention, which concluded on Friday, reaffirmed that our so-called peace partners are more “irate” than “moderate.” 

Mahmoud Abbas
AP Photo/Amr Nabil

The Fatah Revolutionary Council concluded its fifth convention in Ramallah over the weekend by declaring its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.The council affirms its rejection of the so-called Jewish state or any other formula that could achieve this goal,” said a statement issued by the council. 

“The council also renews its refusal for the establishment of any racist state based on religion in accordance with international law and human rights conventions.” 


An Israeli government official on Saturday night called on the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations without any preconditions. 

“Let us meet and talk,” he said. 

The official said he was disappointed by the council’s statement with respect to a Jewish state. 

“I would ask the Palestinians the following question: If the Jewish state is fundamentally illegitimate in your eyes, what sort of peace are you offering us? “It is clear that their refusal to recognize the Jewish state’s legitimacy is the true obstacle to peace and reconciliation,” the official added. 

In its statement Saturday, the Fatah council said it was categorically opposed to proposals for a land swap between Israel and the Palestinians under the pretext that “illegal settler gangs can’t be put on an equal footing with the owners of the lands and rights.” 

Israel has long assumed that any final status agreement would include land swaps. 

You can see the resolutions of the Council here at the autotranslated version of Ma’an News’ Arabic web site (for some reason, they did not see it fit to publish the text on the English web site).   

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top) 

10:52PM: The secret US embassy cables have been leaked by WikiLeaks, and I am summarizing all the Israel-related ones here.

5:30PM: Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu on the impending Wikileaks report:

“Israel is not the center of international attention,” the premier said, adding that Jerusalem had not “been updated by the Americans concerning specific sensitive materials to be disclosed regarding Israel

4:25PM: Two Israelis have made Foreign Policy magazine’s list of ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers.’

I expected more Israelis in this list. That is, until I remembered that Foreign Policy magazine has a reputation for being anti-Israel.

4:20PM: Israel is on high alert in anticipation of the release of classified files by WikiLeaks.

The United States and Israel were bracing themselves Sunday for the expected release of classified diplomatic cables by the online whistleblower WikiLeaks website, which the Obama administration warned would endanger lives and interests. 

In a highly unusual step reflecting the administration’s grave concerns about the ramifications of the move, the State Department late Saturday released a letter from its top lawyer to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, warning that publication of the documents would be illegal and demanding he stop it.  

In the letter, State Department legal adviser Harold Koh said the publication of some 250,000 secret diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks will place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals, place at risk on-going military operations, and place at risk on-going cooperation between countries. 

The State Department said Koh’s message was a response to a letter received on Friday by the U.S. ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman, from Assange and his lawyer, Jennifer Robinson. The department said that letter asked for information regarding individuals who may be ‘at significant risk of harm’ because of the release of the documents. 

“Despite your stated desire to protect those lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals,” Koh wrote in reply. “You have undermined your stated objective by disseminating this material widely, without redaction, and without regard to the security and sanctity of the lives your actions endanger.” 

He said the U.S government would not deal with WikiLeaks at all in determining what may or may not released. 

“We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. government classified materials,” wrote Koh, who is considered to be one of the world’s top experts in international law and was reportedly considered for a seat on the Supreme Court. 

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen also urged WikiLeaks to stop its “extremely dangerous” release of documents, a transcript of a CNN interview set to air Sunday revealed. 

WikiLeaks is expected to post the documents online on Sunday and Koh said the U.S. government had been told that The New York Times, the British newspaper the Guardian and the German news magazine Der Speigel had prior access to them. 

WikiLeaks has said the release will be seven times the size of its October leak of 400,F0 Iraq war documents, already the biggest leak in U.S. intelligence history. 

The U.S. says it has known for some time that WikiLeaks held the diplomatic cables. No one has been charged with passing them to the website, but suspicion focuses on U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst arrested in Iraq in June and charged over an earlier leak.

So why is Israel on high alert?

An Israeli government source said that already last Wednesday the US had informed Israel that it could be mentioned in the anticipated WikiLeaks release of the classified US cables and documents.

“They did not want us to hear about it from the media. We appreciated the phone call and we thanked them for giving us the heads up,” the official said.

Another Israeli official added that the American Embassy in Tel Aviv had been calling Israelis named in the documents in order to warn them in advance. The list includes officials in the Foreign Ministry, as well as aides to prime ministers, this official said.

And here’s some more specific information.

The US Embassy in Tel Aviv has informed the Prime Minister’s Office that the website WikiLeaks was planning on releasing US diplomatic cables, of which some may deal with Israel-America relations.

The reason the US gave for informing the Israeli government is that they wanted to make sure Israel was prepared for publicity that might cause diplomatic embarrassment, and would not be surprised by the findings.

Methinks we are in for a hell of a ride.

1:00PM: When in Rome.. 

The Israel Air Force and the Italian Air Force concluded an extensive, two-week exercise in Sardinia on Friday November 26th, 2010. 

The participating IAF squadrons were “The Twin-Tail Knights” and “The Spearhead” F-15 squadrons from the Tel-Nof IAF base, and the “Defenders Of The South” and “The Golden Eagle” F-16 squadrons from the Nevatim IAF base. 

This exercise was the first overseas training for the “Eitam” (G550) Air Traffic Control Aircraft. 

The Italian Air Force trained using several advanced aircraft (Eurofighter Typhoon, AMX, Panavia Tornado, and F-16). 

The exercise was conducted in order to preserve IAF operational capabilities, train the aircrafts in large airspaces and unfamiliar spheres along with foreign aircrafts. 

This allows the IAF to learn from foreign air forces and to familiarize itself with the NATO military tactics while strengthening the ongoing cooperation with the Italian Air Force. 

The exercise was conducted according to a pre-planned yearly training schedule, and it is part of the extensive cooperation network between the different IDF forces and other nations and militaries around the world. 


11:22AM: Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
star of david iran 

Images published Saturday by Iranian media outlets show a Star of David on the roof of the main national airline’s building at the Tehran airport.  

While settlements halt and resume construction, Gazans building in full speed. Strip’s current real estate hit is Hamas’ flagship project: New multi-story buildings for young couples, families of ‘shahidim’  
The satellite image was taken from the Google Earth service. According to the Iranian report, the Iran Air building was “built by Israeli engineers,” who operated in the countries before the 1979 Islamic Revolution during the days of Shaa Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. 

“It’s interesting that even 32 years after the victory of the revolution, this Zionist star symbol has yet to be removed from this building,” a local news website wrote  

The calls to remove the Star of David, which the Iranian authorities view as a symbol associated with Israel, were accompanied by local media reports on the close relations with Israel in the past, which were completely severed after the revolution. 

According to the reports, since 1960 El Al planes used to regularly take off from the Tehran airport to Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. In addition, Israel sold weapons to the Shaa’s army in exchange for oil, and Israeli experts trained their Iranian colleagues in the fields of agriculture and trade. 

This is not the first time a symbol associated with Judaism sparks a media row in Iran. In August, a Star of David was spotted on one of the buildings in a main square in Tehran, which were accompanied by claims that “the Zionist regime is conquering the Revolution Square.” 

The square, which was redesigned as a dome, was covered with hundreds of Stars of David defined by Iranian media as “a symbol of evil standing in the center of strategic heart” of the Islamic Republic’s capital. 

One of the local news websites even wondered “whether this mistake stems from ignorance or indifference on the part of the artist who designed the square.” 

Ah yes, we miss old Iran. 

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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