I begin by correcting a goof of major proportions (and thanking Dianne E. for picking it up). Martin Indyk has NOT joined the Obama team, Daniel Kurtzer has. The link I provided in connection with this item was correct. In a pre-Pesach haze, I simply mixed up one former US ambassador to Israel who was not a friend for us with another. Apologies.
And speaking of a "pre-Pesach haze," this may be the last message I send before Pesach begins Saturday night. During the week of Pesach my postings will be sent infrequently, if at all.
To all on this list who will be celebr ating, I extend my wishes for a joyous and meaningful Pesach.
Just when we think Abbas’s terrorist predilections could not be more obvious, another incident comes to our attention.
According to Israel Radio, the Al Kuds Mark of Honor, the PLO’s highest medal, will be given to two women terrorists who were complicit in killing Israelis: Ahlam Tamimi, involved in planning the suicide bombing of the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem, and Amra Muna, who seduced a young Israeli man over the Internet and then lured him to Ramallah where he was murdered.
Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs Ashraf el Ajami said that his ministry gave PA President Mahmoud Abbas a comprehensive list of prisoners who were potential nominees, and Abbas’s office made the choices from this list. The decision rests with the PA president.
There have been at least 19 Kassams launched into Israel today.
There has been, as well, considerable activity between the IDF and Palestinians in Gaza, starting late last night and continuing into today.
In what was called a routine operation, troops had entered Gaza to target terrorists launching rockets. When a Givati Brigade near the border with Gaza identified several armed Palestinians approaching the fence at the border — and suspected that they either intended to infiltrate into Israel (as had happened only days ago) or to plant an explosive device at the border — they, too, moved into Gaza. Heavy exchange of gunfire ensued, as it became apparent that there was a Palestinian cover force that had not been identified. Ultimately, three of our soldiers from this Brigade were killed.
IDF officers are saying that it was a tactical error to not have identified the terrorist covering force before moving into the area, but that the impulse to engage with the terrorists who had been spotted was correct.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians are saying that these operations , which included two air strikes, have killed some 12 people, which includes five children. This claim should surprise no one: the IDF says the targets of the strikes were armed fighters.
The convoluted fuel story: After the attack that killed two Israelis who worked at the fuel terminal at Nahal Oz last week, Israel stopped shipments of fuel into Gaza. The IDF rapidly identified a situation in which Hamas was deliberately stockpiling what fuel was had, in order to generate an artificial crisis. (Sound familiar?) The claim was that the electric generator in Gaza would have to be shut down for lack of fuel. (Note: This generator only supplies some 20% of the electricity of Gaza, with 70% coming from Israel.)
But the manufactured crisis seems to have worked , as Barak then made the decision to resume shipments — only diesel for the power plant.
According to Asharq Al-Awsat in London today , Olmert has offered the Palestinian 64% of Judea and Samaria, with a variety of shared options for Jerusalem.
This, of course, would have to be confirmed. But my cynical take is that this is actually good news if true. Because the PA will never ever accept only 64% of Judea and Samaria and the sharing of Jerusalem. Sad, indeed, that there is the hope that, once again, we will be saved by our enemies.
The US has agreed to allow Israel to hook into its world wide radar system that would supply early warning of any ballistic missile launched at us from anywhere in the world. This is good news.
Israel, meanwhile, has just tested the Green Pine Radar system that showed itself capable of identifying and tracking a missile that mimics an advanced Iranian Shihab 3 ballistic missile carrying a split warhead and with advanced radar evading capabilities. The radar system ties into the Arrow missile defense system: Had a real threat been identified, the Arrow — which has been shown effective in previous tests — would have been activated.