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ehud barak

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.

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After Concordia allowed the Netanyahu riot to set a precedent by initially not allowing Ehud Barak to speak, it seems free speech is now only a privilege of the side of rioters. A planned speech by US Ambassador Paul Cellucci at UQÀM was cancelled for “security concerns”:

Following on Concordia University’s decision last month to call off a speech by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, the Universite du Quebec a Montreal yesterday cancelled an address by the U.S. ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci.

Cellucci was to have spoken at 2 p.m. yesterday at a conference organized by the Raoul Dandurand chair in strategic and diplomatic studies.

[ . . . ]

Nobody was able to say what the nature of the security risk was, but this week a group calling itself Bloquez l’empire (Block the Empire) sent out a statement by e-mail urging Montrealers to rally to “stop Cellucci from speaking.”

The University claimed that RCMP and US Security Officials recommended cancellation. But spokespeople from both deny that claim, and say the decision was made by the University.

The violence-rules contingent is crowing over their success:

Cellucci represents a regime whose ambitions to political and economic domination are expressed ruthlessly, but have the merit, at least, of being openly acknowledged. His legitimacy, especially after the concerns raised about election fraud in the US, should not be recognised. The only place Cellucci should be allowed to speak is before a tribunal, trying him for complicity with crimes against humanity.

The cancellation is a minor victory, and a little indication of what can be done – especially around the coming visit of Bush to Ottawa (30 November-1 December).

If this keeps up, it will kill free speech everywhere. Mob rule is being permitted far too much success. Eventually, only one viewpoint will be represented: that of the groups willing to resort to violence to suppress all speech besides theirs.

Concordia has set a very dangerous precedent. What people need to realize is that yesterday, it was an Israeli former PM who wasn’t allowed to speak. Today, it was a US ambassador. Tomorrow, it may be your speech that’s suppressed.

This is an issue that affects us all.

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Concordia: We didn’t really change our minds

11.07.2004

After reversing its decision to allow Ehud Barak to speak on campus, Concordia is now trying to claim that they didn’t really change their minds: Nov. 5, 2004 — Media coverage of a statement issued by Federation CJA yesterday may have caused misunderstanding about Concordia’s position regarding inviting Ehud Barak to speak at Concordia. Concordia’s […]

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Concordia will allow Barak to speak

11.05.2004

Concordia University has had a change of heart. Reversing its initial decision to disallow the speech due to “security concerns”, now Barak will be allowed to speak on campus: Backtracking on a decision that fuelled a furor over free speech, Concordia University in Montreal has agreed to invite former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to […]

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Concordia responds

10.15.2004

The Concordia administration has answered back with their side of the whole Ehud Barak mess: Let’s be fair and truthful. We have not compromised freedom of speech by our decision regarding Mr. Barak. We simply do not have the facilities that allow us to hold this particular event in a safe environment without disrupting the […]

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Editorials decrying Concordia’s decision

10.06.2004

Editorials all over the place today decrying Concordia’s decision: From the Gazette: “We were pleased to hear,” Lowy told us, “that it was Barak who was invited. Barak is quite different from Netanyahu. We were surprised to learn that there wasn’t a distinction made,” by some Muslim students and their allies. Oh really? Then Concordia’s […]

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University stands firm

10.06.2004

Concordia is defending its decision to refuse to allow Ehud Barak to speak on campus, despite yesterday’s free protest attended by a couple of hundred people… and despite the fact that the RCMP contradicts Concordia’s assessment of how difficult the security situation really is: They (police and Concordia security) may or not have exaggerated their […]

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“Peaceful protest” at Concordia

10.05.2004

The Gazette reports that today’s Hillel rally outside Concordia was “peaceful”: Almost two years after a violent demonstration outside Montreal’s Concordia University against former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, there was another protest. Only this time, it was more vocal than violent. About two hundred people staged a peaceful demonstration outside the university’s downtown campus […]

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Concordia: What they’re saying

10.05.2004

Hillel: “A small group of thugs are holding an entire university community hostage and deciding who is allowed to speak and who is not. All people who value democratic principles such as freedom of expression and speech should share our outrage with this intolerable situation.” – co-Presidents Jason Portnoy and Yacov Fruchter, in a press […]

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Tommy on Concordia

10.05.2004

Tommy Schnurmacher, as you might expect, has been all over this story. A few choice quotes (and excuse me for paraphrasing, it’s hard to listen to the radio and type simultaneously): “Why doesn’t the government say to Concordia, wait a minute, you get government funding and you don’t have the right to decide which political […]

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