Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category
Three coordinated attacks near Eilat and the Egyptian border have killed 7 people and injured 30:
In the first incident, Egged bus number 392, traveling from Beersheba to the southern resort city of Eilat, was ambushed by a three-man terror cell. Over a dozen people were wounded in the attack, which took place on Highway 12, about 30km north of Eilat, near the Ein Netafim junction.
Soon after that a second incident was reported, involving multiple roadside bombs and rocket fire at IDF forces patrolling the Israel Egypt border fence.
A third incident was reported at around 1pm, involving yet another shooting on a bus and a private vehicle traveling south. Five people reportedly suffered mortal wounds in the attack.
There’s no official word yet on whether lax security along the Egyptian border was responsible for the attacks, but carefully-worded statements seem to suggest as much:
“This was a grave terror attack at multiple scenes. It reflects Egypt’s failing hold on Sinai and the rise of terror elements,” Barak said. “This terror attack originated from Gaza. We will exhaust all measures against the terrorists.”
Israel has mostly been dancing on the head of a pin with respect to Egypt’s situation since Mubarak was outsted. On the one hand, nobody in Israel is going to come out publicly in support of an oppressive, dictatorial regime that the people clearly are glad to be rid of. On the other hand, there are legitimate concerns about what the next government will look like, and if terrorist elements hostile to Israel will gain control. Unfortunately, today’s attacks could only be a preview.
Update 8/20: Things go from bad to worse after what was apparently a suicide bombing that killed several Egyptian security forces members near the border. Egypt, of course, was quick to blame Israel, not terrorists, for the deaths, and now Egypt is withdrawing its ambassador to Israel and is accusing Israel of violating the ’79 peace treaty. The situation in Gaza is heating up, the UN – with Lebanon sitting on the Security Council – won’t condemn the terrorist attacks (who’s surprised?), and Hamas is threatening more attacks. With the 30+ years of cold peace with Egypt a hair’s breath from shattered — and without even mentioning what’s going on in Syria — there’s no word to describe the matzav right now other than “clusterfuck”.
Update #2: Meryl is, of course, all over the stories as they (d)evolve.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to US Congress yesterday. Among other things, he spoke about Iran, Bin Laden, Obama’s ill-advised comments on the ’67 borders, and Israel’s desires for – and obstacles to – a lasting peace with the Palestinians.
The full speech is available to watch on video here.
Or, you can read the text of the speech here.
I give this a week. Ten days, tops.
Rival Palestinian groups said they reached an agreement Wednesday on reuniting their governments in the West Bank and Gaza after years of bitter infighting that weakened them politically and caused the deaths of hundreds in violent clashes and crackdowns since. Even as the tentative agreement revived hopes among Palestinians that they might be able to form a unified front, unity between the rival groups Fatah and Hamas appeared unlikely to jump start negotiations with Israel for an independent Palestinian state.
There’s no way that Hamas and Fatah will be able to avoid going at one another.
Update: Why this deal is bad news for Israel.
The Palestinian leadership has hinted that they may be open to continuing talks with Israel even if “settlement” building resumes:
Speaking to a closed meeting of Jewish American leaders in New York late Tuesday, Abbas made clear that he wants to continue the dialogue with Israel and signaled that he was backing away from his ultimatum.
“I cannot say I will leave the negotiations, but it’s very difficult for me to resume talks if Prime Minister Netanyahu declares that he will continue his activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem,”Abbas said, according to a transcript of the event obtained by The Associated Press.
Abbas urged Israel to extend the building restrictions for several months while the sides negotiate the final borders between Israel and a future Palestine. “At that time, Israelis will be free to build in their territory and the Palestinians the same,” he said.
This could just be a stall tactic on Abbas’s part, sure. But the reality is that Israel cannot indefinitely put life on hold for nearly half a million of its citizens, while a peace that everyone knows will not happen is endlessly discussed just to boost Obama’s ego.
A lot of people think that these rounds of peace talks are futile. I don’t. Increasingly, I think they’re dangerous, because at the end of each round of failed talks, Israel has conceded that much more and has moved the starting marker for the next round. It’s a war of attrition, all right, only going the other way. And where does it stop?
Phyllis Chesler takes on TIME Magazine in this column for Arutz Sheva:
According to Vick, Israelis don’t care about peace, peace negotiations, or about the Palestinians because they are simply having too good a time: sunbathing, swimming, café-hopping, profiting from start-up companies, and, according to polls cited by Vick, utterly disconnected from “politics;” indeed Vick suggests that Israelis resemble Californians more than they resemble Egyptians. These are all points which scream: Israel does not fit in; if Israelis were only more impoverished, more indolent, and paradoxically, even more “laid back,” they might be recognizable as indigenous to the region, a true part of the Middle East.
These are Vick’s thoughts, not mine.
[ . . . ]
Here is what Vick utterly fails to comprehend, namely, that the Israelis are not merely tired, disenchanted, living in la-la land a la southern Californians (hence, the Jewish star made of daisies on the cover). The Israelis are actually showing the entire world how to embrace life, even as they live, trembling, in the shadow of death. They are teaching the world how to “love life more than they fear death.”
That, and the fact that Israelis have had to learn to live in a state of constant war and fear since the birth of the nation. They want peace, but they’re not going to put their lives entirely on hold waiting for it to happen.
Of course, TIME’s editors have probably just caught onto the fact that Israel-bashing sells. It’s like the twenty-first century version of “if it bleeds, it leads”. And in these troubled times for the publishing industry, can we really blame them?
Yes. We can.
(Hat tip: Dana)
Conducting breakthrough medical research, that is. This time, it’s a research team from Hebrew University that has developed a breakthrough in the fight against AIDS: a treatment that appears to kill HIV cells:
A team of researchers from the Hebrew University has developed a treatment that completely destroys HIV-infected human cells in laboratory cultures, according to an article published last month in the scientific journal AIDS Research and Therapy.
The therapy, developed by scientists from the university’s Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences and the Institute of Chemistry, destroys cells infected with HIV without damaging adjacent healthy cells.
Yep, keep calling for those academic boycotts, haters. Have fun with that.
Good guest op-ed in the Gazette by Frida Ghitis: “No one much cares about what they endure, unless it can be blamed on Israel“:
Palestinians are indeed victims of mistreatment. But you won’t hear much about what they endure, unless someone can pin the blame directly on Israel. Conditions in Gaza, for example, have made for a tough existence there. But human-rights activists have turned a blind eye to the systematic assault on individual freedom that has beset the population ever since the Islamic militant movement Hamas took over in 2005.
Read the whole thing.
So what really happened in the game of “the tree was on my property” that broke out on the Israeli-Lebanese border yesterday, resulting in a lethal exchange of fire? Pajamas Media takes a crack at deciphering the finger-pointing and media spin games. And the Jerusalem Post has more on UNIFIL’s role in this mess.
A new Israeli study suggests that smokers have lower IQs than nonsmokers:
According to the researchers, 28 percent of the study participants smoked at least one cigarette a day, around 3 percent said they were ex-smokers, and 68 percent had never smoked.
The smokers had significantly lower intelligence test scores than non-smokers, and this remained true even after the researchers accounted for socioeconomic status measured by how many years of formal education a recruit’s father had completed.
The average IQ for non-smokers was about 101, while it was 94 for men who had started smoking before entering the military.
IQ steadily dropped as the number of cigarettes smoked increased, from 98 for people who smoked one to five cigarettes daily to 90 for those who smoked more than a pack a day.
The size and scale of this study, as well as its provocative findings, are sure to generate discussion and debate among the scientific community.
I have no basis to evaluate the scientific claims, and I’m not going to try. But I’m very sceptical, for one reason: Does anyone really find it believable that 68% of Israeli teenagers have never smoked?