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Category: Israel News (page 5 of 103)

News in Israel, current events, Israeli politics, daily life and commentary on life in Israel and the Middle East.

Paid Riots in Egypt, Jewish News Station Launch & Palestinian Statehood on the way

After being evacuated amidst the recent violent protests, four Israeli diplomats and security personnel will be returning to Israel’s embassy in Cairo. The return comes amidst reports by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram that the protesters were actually paid to attack the embassy.

The envoys will return to Cairo to a different building and work to retain the Jewish Country’s diplomatic presence in Egypt. The ambassadors left almost two weeks ago after Egyptian demonstrators stormed Israel’s embassy in Cairo, necessitating the emergency rescue of its staff by Egyptian commandos.

Egyptian protesters who were recently questioned by Egyptian security reportedly said that they were offered money to cause the riots. The riot and protest participants were bused to the area, then given dinner and envelopes containing money, according to al-Ahram.

Just Journalism and JN1
In other news, Just Journalism, the organization set up three years ago to monitor media coverage of Israel, is closing its doors. A statement announcing the closure on its website this afternoon told supporters: “Despite our extremely modest budget it has become increasingly difficult to financially sustain the operation in the current economic environment”.

Along with daily online briefings, Just Journalism published more detailed reports to expose “skewed” reporting of the Jewish Country.
Its advisory board includes MP Denis MacShane, political commentator Robin Shepherd, think-tank head Douglas Murray and the editor of Standpoint magazine Daniel Johnson.

Meanwhile, Ynet reports that the first-ever Jewish news network will commence broadcasting this week:

Jewish News 1 (JN1) was born as an alternative to the world’s leading news networks – CNN, Fox News and Sky News. But its main goal is to serve as the Jewish version of al-Jazeera, which has won the hearts of tens of millions of Arab viewers over the past 15 years.

According to the Makor Rishon newspaper, the channel will be broadcast via satellite to Europe, North America and the Middle East. In Israel it will be offered by the Yes satellite company.

“Jewish News 1″ will broadcast news from Israel and the world 24/7. The network has already set up studios in Tel Aviv, Brussels and Kiev, and additional studios will be opened in Washington, Paris and London in the coming months.

The network has 12 correspondents, all foreigners, who are currently deployed in six countries. The casting of reporters to cover the news in Israel, Europe and Russia will be completed in the coming days.

The network will begin its broadcasts in English, but its managers seek to offer news in seven additional languages, including Hebrew, French, Italian, Russian and German.

“We’ll broadcast everything that is newsworthy,” says Alexander Zanzer, the channel’s editor-in-chief in Brussels, where the station is based. “Alongside general news, we’ll offer economic and cultural items, as well as a peek into educational projects. Everything you can see on other global news channels, you’ll be able to see on our channel as well.”

Palestinian Statehood on track…
In other news, Palestinian diplomats are planning to submit their application for statehood to the United Nations Security Council on Friday, even as world leaders are pressuring President Mahmoud Abbas to return to peace negotiations with Israel as an alternative. The quartet of powers involved in brokering peace—that is the U.N., the European Union, U.S., and Russia—hope to set up a feasible timeline for new negotiations, alongside a pledge supporting Palestinian statehood should the negotiations fail. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said on Sunday, however,“Unfortunately, we didn’t get any solid or even medium-sized [offer] at all. As a result, yes, we are firm in our decision to go to the Security Council.”

Jews Against Obama?

With the first round of GOP primary debates already underway, a lingering question is whether President Obama honored the Jewish vote he had so clearly secured when he won the 2009 presidential race.

Republican Bob Turner’s upset victory last Tuesday in the special election for the mostly Democratic congressional seat in New York’s ninth district is said to be a referendum on Obama’s failed economic policies and relations with Israel.

House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Tuesday night that voters from New York “delivered a strong warning to the Democrats who control the levers of power in our federal government. It’s time to scrap the failed ‘stimulus’ agenda and the misguided policies on Israel and focus on getting America back to creating jobs again.”

Obama’s campaign is downplaying the suggestion that Jewish voters are turning against the president. Pete Sessions, the National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman however said in a statement that the race demonstrates “voters are losing confidence in a president whose policies assault job-creators and affront Israel.”

Other issues are lingering wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and Libya where a NATO assisted coup on the Qadaffi regime will win control over the region for the al-Qaeda.

Democratic State Assemblyman who lost to Turner, David Weprin, is an Orthodox Jew while Turner is a Catholic who has managed to maintain a stronger pro-Zionist stance than his Jewish opponent.

Ed Koch, former New York Mayor and Jerusalem Post columnist said this summer he was endorsing Turner as a way to “send a message” to Obama on his policies toward Israel.

Executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Matt Brooks said in a statement “without question, Obama’s policies are causing significant numbers of Jewish voters to re-examine their loyalty to the Democratic Party.”

Abe Novick wrote on his blog over at Jerusalem Post:

“From Rick Perry to Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum et al., their backing is clear. During the last decade, especially since President George W. Bush had to confront the reality of terrorism head on, the GOP has worked to position itself as the more supportive party, favorable and in line with Israel and therefore to many Jewish voters. At the same time, for the past several elections, Democrats have taken the Jewish vote for granted. Behind the scenes, JStreet, the leftwing lobbying organization, has been overly influential on the Obama administration and has shaped and influenced its policy vis-à-vis Israel.”

Nonetheless, Abe Novick writes:

1. Prior to yesterday’s win in the Brooklyn-Queens district where Anthony Weiner had been the Democratic Representative to Congress, a Democratic polling firm (Public Policy Polling) found that 54% of all voters in the Weiner district and 68% of Jewish voters, disapproved of Mr. Obama’s position on Israel. Additionally, 37% of all voters and 58% of Jewish voters said Mr. Obama’s Israel position was “very important” in deciding their vote. Yesterday, even in the heavily Democratic district where they have a 3-1 majority, Republican Bob Turner won. Moreover, in a district that is 40% Jewish, Turner is a 70-year-old Catholic who won against David Weprin, a Jewish Democrat. If that’s not a wake-up call, then the Whitehouse needs to install air raid sirens from Israel.

2. In the midst of the upcoming U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood, the Obama Administration has only recently publicly said they plan to veto it in the Security Council. Why the long wait in making a public statement and elongating the mystery? Meanwhile, he has sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton off in a last minute attempt to beg and cajole the PA not to go through with it. By not understanding that the PA is now one-half Hamas, due to their alliance, he’s dealing with a terrorist organization and one that does not and will not recognize Israel.”

Protect the Levant in Case Egypt Flakes on Oil

IAF drones are reportedly patrolling the vast blue above the country’s gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea on charge of security concerns, citing Hezbollah. Lebanon has been complaining in a world forum about the Leviathan (16 trillion cubic feet) and Tamar (estimated 8.7 trillion cubic feet) oil wells, of the enormous Levant Basin Province. Together, the two Israeli sites are twice as big as the British fields in the North Sea, with an estimated value of $300 billion, enough gas for 50-70 years of domestic consumption.

It should be noted that recently Cyprus, inspired by Israel’s discovery, started looking for oil off of their shores, however, Turkey threatened Cyprus over these actions. Ahmet Davutoglu a senior Turkish official said that they would show the “necessary response” if the country goes ahead with the marine oil dig. For years, Cyprus and Turkey have been in dispute over who owns the northern region of Cyprus, with the Turkish government claiming the region as theirs and threatening military action time and again.

Because Israel and Lebanon have no maritime border, Lebanon claims the Levant Basin as its own. The Hezbollah, which constitutes much of the Lebanese military, despite contrary claims has threatened to use force to protect the natural wealth it insists belong to Lebanon. Hopefully it would not result in a situation like the Israel-Lebanon War of 2006.

Hassan Nasrallah said:

“We warn Israel not to touch this area or try to steal Lebanon’s resources…Those who harm our installations will have their own installations harmed,” he said.

Israel says it would use force to defend its gas fields should an attack by Hezbollah happen.

Usually, countries negotiate their maritime border, as did Israel and Cyprus, several months ago.

Because the Arab League refuses to supply gas to Israel, the Jewish Country, who imports coal, mainly from South Africa, is starving for fossil fuels. Egypt is the only nation which supplies gas to the Jewish Country, but in a post-Mubarak situation this is a fragile reality. The Arab gas line supplies Egyptian gas to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and a separate feed for Israel

When the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt went down last spring, Israel began to sweat. On February 5th, an explosion happened near the El Arish compressor station which supplies Israel and Jordan, and as a result, the supply was temporarily halted.

On April 27 an explosion at the pipeline near Al-Sabil village in the El-Arish region once again halted natural gas supplies to Israel and Jordan. And on July 4th, an explosion near Nagah, in the Sinai Peninsula halted gas to Jordan and the Jewish Country once again. These incidents are behind a failed attempt to blow up a pipeline supplying the Jewish Country, last March.

Three Turkey Sandwiches

40 Israeli passengers on board a Turkish Airlines flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul were held for several hours by local Turkish police on Monday after their passports were taken confiscated. Authorities in Jerusalem estimate that the detention of the Israeli passengers came in response to a recent incident during which Turkish citizens were detained for questioning by border police at Ben Gurion Airport. Turkish Foreign Ministry officials said there is no news regarding any change in the policy concerning the reception of Israelis. Israeli businessmen who were on the flight said the attitude of the police officers was extremely rude, holding Israelis without any explanation, and causing passengers to miss their flights without caring.

The Turkish news agency, Anatolya reported that Turkish tourists encountered similar treatment at Ben-Gurion Airport.

Turkey on Monday informed Israel’s top diplomat in Ankara that nearly all senior Israeli embassy personnel must leave the country by Wednesday.

Meanwhile, deputy ambassador to Turkey, Ella Ofek, has been summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and informed that all Israeli diplomats ranking above the level of second secretary, including the IDF military attaché, must leave Turkey by Wednesday. The only Israeli diplomats who will be permitted to stay are embassy spokesman Nizar Amir and other personnel who provide consular services.

On Monday, Opposition Leader Tzippi Livni attacked the Likud government for its handling of the crisis with Turkey, saying that the Jewish Country should have acted earlier to avoid the current situation that she described as the “worst of all possible situations.” Livni said that with appropriate diplomacy, an arrangement could have been reached which did not have the significance of “an apology with a gun pointed at our head.”

Livni said:

“I was there when relations with Turkey were not simple and they invited Hamas after Palestinian Authority elections. After my meeting with [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, they took back [the invitation]. I have been in the negotiating room and I know what can be obtained and what cannot be obtained, so enough with the slogans.”

The French government has also expressed concern over diplomatic deterioration between Turkey and Israel. A statement from the French government said:

“France regrets that the parties have not arrived at an agreement to overcome their differences, despite the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General…with reservations, [France] is concerned by the deterioration of Israeli-Turkish relations and calls these two countries to recover, without delay, the path of dialogue and calm…We have taken note of the conclusions of the Palmer Commission report. We have equally noted that the authors of the report stress that the document reflects the view of the panel on the events and does not constitute a juridical analysis on the legality of the actions undertaken…France had condemned the military operation carried out in international waters off Gaza… and the disproportionate use of force by Israel…”

Meanwhile, Turkey (the second largest army of NATO) has more on their plate. A new NATO early-warning radar system is to be deployed in Turkey to help spot missiles coming from outside Europe and namely Iran. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Ghashghavi was quoted as saying:

“Iran and Turkey are neighbors and friends and fully capable of maintaining their security by themselves and without any interference by foreigners…The presence of non-regional countries would not only fail to improve the security level in our region but rather make it worse…”

But the Turkish foreign ministry defends itself:

“Turkey’s hosting of early warning radar will constitute our country’s contribution to the defense system being developed in the framework of NATO’s new strategic concept…It will strengthen NATO’s defense capacity and our national defense system…”

In recent years, according to the Turkish publication, Zaman:
“Turkey has sought stronger ties with fellow Muslim states in the Middle East, including Iran, to rebalance a foreign policy that previously gravitated heavily toward the West. But it has split with Iran recently over Syria’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests… Turkey, seen as a bridge between the Middle East and the West, has become increasingly critical of Iranian ally Syria, with Turkish President Abdullah Gül saying he has lost confidence in the country…”

Meanwhile, Turkey has been involved for some time in a war with Kurdish rebels on the Iraq border. CNN reports:

A pick-up game of soccer for policemen in the eastern Turkish town of Tunceli turned deadly Sunday night when suspected Kurdish militants opened fire on players and spectators.
A police officer and his wife were both killed in the attack, a local police officer said Monday, on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to give interviews to the media.
The officer said nine other police officers were wounded, while one of the attackers was killed in the ensuing gunbattle.

CNN reports that:

The government of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tried to improve relations by launching a state Kurdish language TV station in 2009. But tensions have escalated between Erdogan’s government and the main Kurdish nationalist political party in recent months. After winning a larger number of seats in June parliamentary elections, the main Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) boycotted the swearing-in ceremony for new lawmakers. Kurdish lawmakers are protesting a decision by Turkey’s electoral board, which disqualified a prominent Kurdish candidate from participating in the June election.

Riots have erupted periodically in Istanbul and other Western Turkish cities over the last six months.

More on Turkey today 8/9/2011

At a Tel Aviv conference, Israeli vice premier Moshe Ya’alon confronted the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayip Erdoganon, Wednesday, “How can you trust a government that consorts with Iran and Hamas… Since his government rose to power, Turkey has decided to turn East instead of West. Turkey turned into an Islamic republic from a secular republic.”

In reference to the issue of apologizing to Ankara for the Mavi Marmara mishap Ya’alon said:

“We are talking about a phenomenon that goes beyond this specific incident. The goal is to defeat the State of Israel. If anyone thinks that one word can settle the matter, they fail to understand…what happened during the flotilla was without a doubt a Turkish provocation… We had no intention of ending the incident with fatalities but the soldiers had no other choice but to defend themselves.
The result was not good and we tried to resolve the crisis later on… Israel is not at fault for the situation with Turkey. I regret hearing the Opposition chairwoman say that the absence of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks led to the situation with Turkey. Whoever says that in an interview is asking for outside pressure. Perhaps he fails to understand or perhaps he is driven by political interests.”

Hungarian Nazi Dies of Natural Causes

According to OneJerusalem.com sources, one Sandor Kepiro, former Hungarian war crimes suspect, wanted for his connection to the massacre of as many as 2,000 Serbs and Jews during World War two has died of natural causes. He died in Budapest on Saturday at the age of 97.

Kepiro was once the numeral uno most wanted man on the most wanted list at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based organization of Nazi hunters.

The center and Hungarian prosecutors said that Kepiro was a member of Hungary’s pro-Nazi police during World War Two; he was what is known as a gendarmerie. He was accused of participating in the January 1942 massacre and allegedly assisted in the dumping of the bodies into the icy Danube River. Kepiro was specifically accused of the murder of thirty people.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s top Nazi hunter found Sandor Kepiro living in Budapest in 2006 and he alerted the Hungarian authorities. He had returned to Hungary in 1996 after spending the post-war years in Argentina. However, Hungarian court dismissed Kepiro in July of this year, on grounds of a lack of evidence. Many of those in attendance at the court session cheered and clapped when Judge Bela Varga read out the verdict of the three-member tribunal.

However, the ruling by the Hungarian court ignited demonstrations in Budapest and Novi Sad, the town where the massacre took place. In January 1944, Kepiro and several other officers were convicted of disloyalty by a military court for their role in the Novi Sad raids. The 10-year prison sentence, originally applied to the deceased Hungarian, of which he served a few weeks in January 1944, was later annulled and his rank reinstated.

Prior to reading out the verdict, Mr. Varga said that Kepiro was brought to the tribunal by ambulance and had spent the past week in a hospital after being given the wrong medication.

In a statement read out by Kepiro’s psychologist, the accused said:

“I am innocent. I never killed, never stole. I served my country…because for him without Hungary there is no life.”

Prior to the Kepiro’s trial, the last man to be accused of Nazi-era war crimes was John Demjanjuk, a retired autoworker from Ohio. He was convicted in May of 2011 of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder by a court in Munich.

This week Demjanjuk became the subject of a new investigation, accusing him of guarding not only the Sobibor death camp, for which he has already been convicted, but also the Flossenbuerg concentration camp. This case was the first ever instance of someone being convicted on evidence of being a guard alone, sans evidence of any specific killing. Attorney Cornelius Nestler said that his goal in filing the new complaint was to expand the precedent to apply to concentration camp guards and death camp guards alike.

West Side Story

It could be a brawl.
It could be worse.
Some may fall,
On this disputed turf…

During an upcoming militia to militia melee of sub-government warfare like the Bloods and the Crips or the Red Sox and the Yankees.

The IDF is arming and training settlers in preparation for attacks by Palestinians that will likely take place around the time the UN is asked to recognize a Palestinian state.

Stun grenades and teargas are being distributed and training sessions held with settlement security teams.

The IDF has also drawn lines on maps around Jewish settlements close to villages of Palestinians to guide troops, police and settlement security chiefs. Palestinian Protesters who cross the first line will be subject to teargas and other means of crowd dispersal. If a second “red line” is breached, soldiers are ordered to open fire at protesters’ legs.

The IDF confirmed that it was working with settlers over Operation Summer Seeds, its codename for the exercise. Palestinian leaders deny that violent protests are in the works and Ehud Barak says he expects September to pass quietly.

The IDF released a statement to OneJerusalem.com saying:

“The IDF maintains an ongoing, professional dialogue with the community leadership and security personnel throughout Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] while devoting great efforts to training local forces and preparing them to deal with any possible scenario…Recently, central command has completed training the majority of the first response teams; these exercises are ongoing. Beyond the aforementioned training, the IDF cannot comment further regarding its operational preparedness.”

According to the guardian, the IDF has stockpiled some 200,000 litres of foul-smelling liquid to be fired out of water cannon at protesters, or perhaps dropped from planes; this is with supplies of stun grenades, rubber bullets and riot gear.

According to an IDF document leaked to Haaretz, the Jewish country is expecting:

“…marches towards main junctions, Israeli communities and education centres; efforts at damaging symbols of [Israeli] government. Also there may be more extreme cases like shooting from within the demonstrations or even terrorist incidents. In all the scenarios, there is readiness to deal with incidents near the fences and the borders of the state of Israel.”

Mahmoud Abbas is calling for peaceful demonstrations in September to cheer on the Palestinians’ UN statehood bid, like cheerleaders at a college football game. He said, “I insist on popular resistance and I insist that it be unarmed popular resistance so that nobody misunderstands us…”

And speaking of protesters:

A Jewish activist who protested during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the U.S. Congress is suing four security guards whom she says attacked her.
Rachel Abileah of El Grenada, California the Middle East Coordinator for CODEPINK, has filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia’s Superior Court against the four unnamed people for $500,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages for assault, battery and false imprisonment.
Abileah, an American/Israeli stood up in the House Gallery during the May 24 speech and opened a banner which said “Occupying Land is Indefensible” and shouted, “No more occupation. Stop Israeli war crimes! Equal rights for Palestinians!”

Legions of Pharoah and Google Street View

Al-Youm al-Saba, the Egyptian daily, reported Wednesday that Egyptian citizens have created groups on Facebook calling for “a million-man protest” outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Friday.

The focus of the demonstration will be the demand to have the Israeli ambassador expelled from Egypt and Israel’s embassy in the capital closed.

The protests come after 5 Egyptian policemen were killed on the border by IDF soldiers in friendly fire, after eight Israeli citizens were killed by Palestinian terrorists. Israel apologized to Egypt for the incident.

For the fifth day in a row, protesters continue to demonstrate outside the embassy holding signs and chanting slogans saying, “Expel the ambassador immediately” and “force the ambassador to leave Egypt”.

Protesters burnt Israeli flags, and threw fire crackers at the embassy building attempting to burn an Israeli flag on a flagpole at the embassy.

In other news, Israel will allow Google Street View cameras to snap 360 degree photographs of its street. They are the first Middle Eastern country to do so. However, there are conditions.

/>Using the electronic tool to plot terrorist attacks and other privacy issues are concerns which prompted the Law, Information and Technology Authority to develop guidelines with Google for Google Street View. Here are some of the stipulations:

Google must provide citizens with an account of what Google Street View does and means, the rights of citizens and routes the camera crews will follow.

Users will be offered an efficient and reliable way online to blur residences and other objects.

Google must instruct Google Israel to heed legal proceedings in the country, meaning that any civil litigation brought by citizens against the company will be carried out in this country, despite the fact that Google’s main center is in the U.S.

Google has promised not to dispute criminal claims that might be raised against Street View by arguing that the Law, Information and Technology Authority lacks standing to prosecute criminal claims against the company in Israel.

A Strange Relationship: Israel, Egypt, and introducing Ghost!

If there is anything bizarre about the Middle East, besides permitting genocide in Syria, it is Israel’s strange relationship with an Egypt that still exists in a state of formless static – still no elections, alas no formal government. After a coordinated terror attack on the road to Eilat that left eight Israeli nationals dead (The Popular Resistance Committee claimed responsibility) IDF soldiers accidently killed four Egyptian police officers, victims of friendly fire.

The IDF also was successful in their retaliation by killing the top commanders of the Popular Resistance Committee and setting off cross-border exchanges of gunfire.

Needlessly, Israel released a public apology for the incident. But on Friday as evening prayers were winding down, the people of Cairo rioted, vandalizing the Israeli embassy, burning Israeli flags and calling on Hamas to attack Israel. Dually noted, as the Associated Foreign Press reported, Egyptian Presidential hopeful, Hamdin Sabahi, praised the actions of the demonstrators.

Despite the fact that Ilan Grapel, the alleged Mossad agent arrested back in June in Egypt, (an American citizen who served in the IDF Paratrooper’s Brigade during the Second Lebanon War and interned at the Israeli Supreme Court) is still being held in custody, Israeli President Shimon Peres held a Ramadan dinner for senior Arab sector officials at his home in Jerusalem. Peres told Egyptian diplomat Mustafa al-Kuni that “he has great respect for the Egyptian people.”
Meanwhile, Israel remains under a rain of rocket fire, while Hamas claims to be in fire of an immediate ceasefire.

In other news, over the weekend, Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled its latest development in the secret unmanned aerial vehicles sector – a tiny aircraft weighing four kilograms, known as GHOST. According to Haaretz, “GHOST has a low acoustic signature, and can stay airborne for half-an-hour including a payload for both daytime and nighttime observations.” The unmanned aerial vehicle can be used by both the military company as well as fighters in the field. The system can be carried in two backpacks by fighters, and it includes two aircrafts, several batteries and a portable computer that is used to oversee and control the device, including communication.

Conflict: where does Egypt stand?

Southern Terror Attack August 2011The Egyptian government’s state of Tohu Bohu is evident during the nation’s behavior amidst recent warfare between Israel and terrorist factions in the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of protesters congregated in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo last Friday after prayers, torching Israeli flags and calling on Hamas to attack the Jewish state.

Seven Israelis were killed and at least 26 wounded on Thursday in a series of terrorist attacks near Eilat. IDF soldiers who rushed to the scene were hit by several explosive roadside devices that detonated alongside the IDF vehicle. At about 12:35, another mortar was fired from Egypt.

A senior Egyptian official said that the death toll among security forces after Thursday’s attacks in Israel had reached six.

Israel says the men were killed by the same terror cell that killed eight Israelis Thursday.

So, given the terror attack’s juxtaposition to the border, Egyptian forces assisted Israeli forces. However, al-Jazeera falsely reported that the six Egyptian soldiers were killed by an Israeli airstrike.

However, protesting in Egypt persists. The protesters, demonstrating against the deaths of the six Egyptian soldiers, waved
Palestinian flags and called out, “Israel will be torched” and “Death to Israel”. They also shouted, “Jihad, jihad!” and “The army of Mohammed will return” and “We want fire, we want war!” and “The people demand an end to Camp David Accords!”
Officials hold that Thursday’s attacks were carried out by the Popular Resistance Committees, but the terror group denies involvement after the IDF killed five of its members. A separate terror group affiliated with al-Qaeda, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the fire of a Grad rocket at Ashdod Friday morning, saying it was in response to “Israel’s crimes”.

Meanwhile, Saturday the rockets continued to be fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel. Four were fired at Ofakim, injuring two Israeli children. Another mortar shell was fired from Gaza toward Eshkol Regional Council; no injuries or damage were reported

Luckily, the new Iron Dome anti-missile system shot down a Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at Beersheba, southern Israel’s largest city.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office says that over 45 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza since the action started

Thursday. Police bomb squad officers have successfully retrieved the remains of 18 rockets. The Lachish sub district was hit with 28 rockets and nine in the Negev region. Three Palestinians working in Israel were also injured when a number of Grad rockets exploded in southern Ashdod.

BREAKING NOW – Eilat Bus Attack Near Egyptian Boarder

There is initial news of an attack on an Eged Bus near Eilat on HWY 12 running close to the Egyptian border. The shooting was by three gunmen who stormed the bus as it was making its way 28 KM north of Eilat. There are apparently 4 injured on the bus that continued without stopping. Emergency crews are on the scene.

= UPDATED =

On Thursday shots were fired at an Egged bus on Route 12, connecting Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat.

The bus, line 392, was fired upon by a long-barreled hand gun from a vehicle.

The terrorists escaped in the direction of the Egyptian border.

Eilat sub-district police set up road blocks throughout the entire area, including at the entrance to Eilat, as part of police efforts to assist the IDF in capturing the gunmen.

It remains unclear whether the shots were fired from Egypt or whether gunmen had infiltrated the border.

The terrorists either came from Egypt or Gaza, firing across the border, or the gunmen had crossed into Israel.

While the government has been working on completing a border barrier along the Sinai peninsula, it has yet to be finished.

Soon after the shooting, multiple roadside bombs were used against IDF forces patrolling the Israel Egypt border fence.

Then at around 1pm rockets were fired at IDF vehicles near the border.
Casualties were reported in all incidents.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy who heads the Senate Appropriations Committee’s sub-committee on foreign operations is promoting a bill which intends to suspend U.S. assistance to three units in the Israeli Defense Forces on grounds they are guilty of human rights abuses in Judea, Samaria.

Leahy Blues

Leahy’s legislation will seek to withhold assistance from the Israeli Navy’s Shayetet 13 unit, the undercover Duvdevan unit and the Israeli Air Force’s Shaldag unit.

Leahy began pushing the bill recently after allegedly being approached by pro-Palestinian constituents in his home state of Vermont. Yet more recently, another pro-Palestinian activist group protested in front of Leahy’s office demanding that he condemnd Shayetet 13 for killing nine Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Other News

Glenn Beck will be in Jerusalem for the “Restoring Courage” rally starting on August 24th.
The roughly 600 tickets for the event at Jerusalem’s Davidson Center are sold out, but the event will be broadcasted in Israel and internationally.

Despite being a self-proclaimed, ardent Zionist, Beck dismissed the recent youth protests in Israel about high taxes come “from the far left” and evidence the protesters “hate the rich.” He added, “That worked out well for the Soviets…”

He also said, “I wonder if there’s any financing behind [the protests] … look to see if there’s any leftist global financing in Tel Aviv…And don’t look to see if there’s any Islamist group that’s joining them…Well, the National Socialists [Nazis] got together with [Islamists] but that’s completely … OK, the communists and the Islamists got together, but that’s completely isolated … well, it’s happening in Egypt and in Libya, but there’s nothing to look into there.” He continued, “Why even look if there is any leftist global financing involved?…Do not look to see if there is any Islamist movement that is joining them.”

Crises and Solutions

photo by Scott Krane

As the Knesset has decided to build homes in East Jerusalem and settlements in Judea and Samaria such as the town of Ariel, a wave of adverse sentiments stress that this solution is counter-intuitive.

Sever Plocker of Ynet wrote that “east Jerusalem, West Bank settlements and the Golan Heights in Israel’s statistic figures reduces the per capita income and increases inequality.” He gets his facts from a recent study done by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Have a look at data done by the study:
Israel’s population within the Green Line included 6.7 million residents in 2009. An additional 440,000 residents lived in east Jerusalem, 290,000 in West Bank settlements, and 41,000 in the Golan Heights. From 1997 to 2009, the east Jerusalem population grew by 40% and the settlement population rose by almost 100% – at a pace of 8% a year. The Israeli population within the Green Line grew at a pace of only 2.2% a year during that period.

The economic inequality in the territories, which include the settlements and east Jerusalem, is 10% higher compared to the inequality in income within the Green Line – and in both cases it is one of the highest among OECD members.

The poverty rate in Israel, both within the Green Line and in the territories, is the second highest among developed countries – after Mexico.

The inclusion of the settlements and east Jerusalem adds about 4% to Israel’s gross domestic product, but reduces the GDP per capita by a significant rate of 6.5% a year. “Without east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the settlement, the GDP per capita within the Green Line would have been 6.5% higher. The post-1967 territories pushed Israel’s GDP per capita down,” the OECD rules.

In the budget year of 2007, the Israeli government spent some NIS 12.5 billion (NIS 14.5 billion in 2011 prices) on the West Bank settlements, Golan Heights and the annexed part of east Jerusalem – a 10% addition to the State Budget. In addition, NIS 5.5 billion were invested that year in the settlements and east Jerusalem, NIS 2.4 billion of them on housing construction.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the Knesset Finance Committee in response to the month long protests for social justice said the issues will “not be solved in days, but in weeks”.

Bibi said told reporters,

“They lived beyond their means using financial leverage and loans. That bubble has now popped… In addition to global issues Israel has specific problems. The first is housing, because Israelis pay three times the Americans do for housing and that’s not fair. The second one is deformity in taxes, and the third is that we have cartels and monopolies and we will take care of this. The last problem is the distribution of the burden…Certainly not in days, but we will do it in weeks…”

One Way to Solve the Housing Crisis

In a story broken by NYGrime’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Ethan Bronner, the US State Department said it would withdraw $100m of funds to the Gaza Strip, if Hamas insists on the audit of American-financed charitable operations in the region.

Such funds go to health care, agriculture and water infrastructure. Hamas officials suspended International Medical Corps operating in Gaza upon their refusal to submit to Hamas inspections in their offices.

Now, despite the Fatah/Hamas merger meant to strengthen the Palestinian Authority, after slight guerilla warfare and a war of attrition between the factions called the Wakseh, the United States still forbids any kind of direct contact between American-backed groups and Hamas, which is considered by the State Department as terrorist organization.

Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nounou told the NYGrimes:

“These organizations do not recognize and do not want to recognize the Palestinian law. We do not kneel down to any threat. Any organization that wants to operate in the Palestinian territories must respect the laws.”

Hamas has been tightening the noose on NGOs in Gaza, demanding that they register with the central government, pay a fee and submit financial reports.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is seeking, despite adversity coming from Israel, the US and other heavyweights, a state without Jewish settlements.
To prove how far away the issue is from any feasible solution, on Thursday Israel’s Interior Ministry gave approval to build a 1,600-apartment complex in East Jerusalem in Ramat Shlomo and will soon be approving an additional 2,700 housing units there. Last week, Israel planned 936 new homes in Har Homa also in East Jerusalem, Jerusalem being the proposed capitol of a Palestinian State. Housing in East Jerusalem makes up more than 35% of projects in the city.
Interior Minister and Shas leader Eli Yishai suggested that expanding Ramat Shlomo was meant to alleviate a housing shortage which partly ignited a wave of protests throughout the country demanding social and economic reforms.

42 lawmakers, more than a third of Israel’s parliament, urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to solve the housing crisis by building tens of thousands of new units. This includes Judea and Samaria.

Peace Now, the Israeli NGO who advocates the dismantling of the settlements said there is no connection between expanding Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator said the building was “further proof that this government is committed to investing in occupation rather than peace…Recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and supporting our admission to the UN is the appropriate response to Israel’s rejectionist and expansionist agenda…”

Recent Earthquake Guide for Israelis

Lately there has been a lot of talk about the inevitable Earthquake Israel is facing. There have been earthquakes in the region over the years, some deadly, and geologists warn that a “big one” is on the way. So to all the locals that want the information, here is a presentation put out the homeland security (sort of) department.

Cleaning up the Streets

On Wednesday, four boys aged 13 were arrested by the police after having sex with a girl of their own age. They had consumed massive quantities of vodka and had gotten the girl drunk too. They took advantage of her in her state of intoxication.

Police received four calls about seeing the boys in a Ramat Gan park with the girl. Patrol cars arrived at the scene and spotted the party.

According to a Dan Region police investigation led by one Chief Superintendent Rafi Regev, the group of adolescents sexually attacked the girl for several hours while they went through a number of parking lots in the area.

The four youths suspected of the attack are awaiting a pending trial at the Juvenile Court and the police seek to extend their detention.
In other news, Ynet had a feature story about IT Works, an independent charity that has been operating in Israel since 2006. They are now introducing the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP). This is a holistic program for at risk Israeli teens that combines technological education with peer volunteering and personal mentoring. The program seeks to prepare high school dropouts for national army service and skilled employment in local communities.

Most at-risk Israeli youth are susceptible to poverty because of unemployment in their young and stupid years. Those who have left school without attaining a high school education often turn to criminal careers. Many of these otherwise good kids lack proper family support and live in foster homes.

YEP encourages positive engagement within the community by teaching useful employment skills, and prepares at-risk Israeli youth for integration into the skilled workforce by building vocational skills.

YEP courses are open to Jewish, Druze and Arab kids between the ages of 15 and 18. The program will occur in six low-income communities throughout the country in the first year of the program. Every class is comprised of 25 students from the local area.

The country’s National Insurance Institute has committed to fund 50% of 18 YEP cohorts over the next three years.
IT Works will be running two programs this year in Kiryat Gat and Netanya for Israeli Jews; in Umm al-Fahm for Israeli Arabs, and last but not least, in Usfiya and Shfaram for Israeli Druze.

Over 275,000 In Israel’s Largest Social Revolt Demonstrations

Over 200,000 in Israel's Largest Social Uprising

Over 200,000 in Israel's Largest Social Uprising

It was 70,000 two hours ago, then it started to rise and its still going strong. Israel Rail is asking people to step off the trains as more people are trying to get to the demonstrations. People have had enough. Tired of the political side stepping the injustice, tired of the 16% VAT, tired of carrying on their backs the orthodox organizations that leach on the rest of the population. Not being able to get to a home because of the cost of living. Tired of funding the pathetic excuse for government ministers whose only concern is stuffing their own pockets with complete disregard to the public, and office they are supposed to uphold. The public is demanding social justice. This can’t be ignored. This will not go away.

Over 200,000 in Tel Aviv

Over 200,000 in Tel Aviv

Who is missing in this demonstration? The orthodox groups and political representatives are not here. They are not here because they are partly to blame for the fleecing of the country and its people.

Israel has had a tradition of quite acceptance to what its leaders have dictated. Constantly playing on the fear of a lower defense budget. This is a time of change. This time the spell is broken. Empty promises by Benjamin Netanyahu and his finance minister, Yuval Steinitz and constant under estimation of this uprising is turning into the ideal climate for this fire to burn. Tonight it’s burning bright, and can no longer be ignored.

We may not place Bibi in a steel cage and put him on trial but in an advanced, civilized society, this is as close as his going to get.

Pictured Ynet

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