UPDATE: Palestinian Hamas terrorists fire mortars and a Qassam at southern Israel last night. The IDF, as usual, did nothing in response.
“It sometimes feels like a strange movie, you know, it’s all so weird that sometimes I wonder if it is really happening.” Eminem
Your humble servant is not so fond of quoting music rappers, but the casual and even not so casual observer of the Middle East can surely identify at times with Eminem’s words.
The last 24 hours saw Iran refuse to let IAEA observers into its most sensitive nuclear facilities at Parchin leading the IAEA inspectors to term their mission “a failure”, while at the same time Iran absurdly promised the desperately gullible West that it now wants to engage in serious nuclear negotiations. Of course this apparent contradiction is not really strange at all; the Iranians are almost as good at manipulating the world as the Palestinians.
Meanwhile King Abdullah of Jordan lambasted Israel in public yesterday as the “obstacle to peace” in regard to the break off of recent “negotiations” with the Palestinians in Amman, and then immediately had it leaked in private that he “praised Israel for the positive ideas” that Netanyahu brought to the negotiating table. Of course this apparent contradition is not really strange either; Arab leaders always talk out of both sides of their mouths, and the unctuous Abdullah never misses an opportunity to ingratiate himself with anyone he can find.
From the Persian and Arab ‘strange’ to the Israeli ‘strange’:
Remember the israelstreet blog of two days ago about the inexplicably strange IDF decision to move an Iron Dome battery away from either Beersheva, Ashkelon, or Ashdod and place it “for practice purposes” in Tel Aviv? This morning the IDF wisely changed course and announced that the battery would stay in the South after all (could the IDF be reading israelstreet?). Of course, all of this back and forth seems strange to a non-Israeli, but it is not really strange because Israel is a place where almost no decision is ever final.
And what about the strange scene of Jewish community members in Samaria thanking an NGO yesterday for having filed a petition against the community (of course it was a ‘sarcastic’ thank you)? The community members of Shiloh were thanking Peace Now for a petition it filed to have 190 housing units that had already been built declared illegal and razed.
Why would the Shiloh community thank Peace Now? Because in the process of considering the petition, the Civil Administration amazingly decided to retroactively approve the 190 units because it discovered that the residences were not built on private land. The Shilo Community members thanked Peace Now by noting that “It [the buildings’ approval] wouldn’t have happened without the petition.” Not so strangely, Peace Now was outraged by the decision and the comment.
And finally, every piece of proposed legislation in the Israeli Knesset (legislature) takes its own strangely circuitous route.
“Knesset Rejects Mandatory Service Bills” blared a headline in Yediot Aharonot this morning. The newspaper would have us believe that the Knesset had rejected new legislation designed to ensure that every Israeli engages in some form of national service (of course Israeli newspapers never miss an opportunity to try to denigrate Netanyahu).
These bills were introduced just days after the Supreme Court’s decision not to extend the Tal Law–a law that granted national service exemptions for yeshiva (religious) students on the grounds that everyone should serve the country.
Indeed it seems strange that the Netanyahu coalition, one considered to be on the “right” in Israeli politics, would vote down such legislation. Until you understand that these particular bills were introduced by Tzipi Livni on behalf of Kadima (a leftist party that has faded badly in the polls).
In fact, the Netanyahu Coalition is preparing its own bills. Before the vote actually took place, Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that his party plans on promoting a bill which will see enlistment for all. A bill mandating national service will pass the Knesset, just not Tzipi Livni’s bill.
The Middle East is indeed a place where the truth often seems stranger than fiction.
THIS DATE IN ISRAELI HISTORY:
On February 22, 2004, eight Israelis (primarily school children) were blown to pieces and more than 60 were wounded when a Palestinian suicide murderer from Bethlehem detonated himself on Jerusalem bus 14A as it approached the Liberty Bell Park.
The PLO’s Al Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades proudly claimed responsibility for the slaughter.