UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Friday, July 19, 2013
*Two more rockets were fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza at southern Israel’s Eshkol Region last night.
In response, the IDF spokesman ludicrously followed the Ya’alon-Gantz (Israel’s Defense Minister and IDF Chief of Staff) “response playbook” exactly: first he said that it was “probably” a false alarm; then he said that that no missiles could be found; then he said that the missiles “probably” hit Gaza or “Palestinian territory” in Judea; then when the missile craters were found this morning, the IDF spokesman acknowledged that two missiles did indeed hit Israel.
And, of course, there was the ridiculous appendage: “The missiles hit in open spaces causing no injuries.” Tell that to the tens of thousands of Israeli children, women, and men who had to run to their bomb shelters last night–and suffered incalculable stress in doing so.
*The missiles hit southern Israel about an hour after the opening ceremonies of the wonderful 19th Maccabiah Games had begun.
These are the largest games ever with more than 9000 athletes from 72 countries participating. As the athletes joyously walked into the stadium in Jerusalem last night, there was electricity in the air as representatives from as far flung places as Albania, Curacao, Mongolia, Kyrgistan, Mauritius, Guinea-Bissau, and Suriname paraded in behind their country’s flag–and the Israeli flag.
Your humble servant could not help but swell with emotion particularly as he reflected on how important the Maccabiah Games have been since their inception in 1932.
At those Games, held in Tel Aviv, there were approximately 400 athletes from 18 countries in attendance with more than 60 participants from Arab countries such as Syria and Egypt (Morocco is the only Arab country represented this year though there are a number of “Muslim” countries such as Turkey and Azerbaijan).
At the 1935 Games, the number had grown to 1350 athletes from 28 countries–including 134 German Jews who defied Nazi orders to not attend and refused to carry the German flag when they arrived. These games became known as the “Aliya Olympics” because a large number of the athletes from all countries chose to stay and make Israel their home. Today, the same process continues; many of the athletes who participate in the Games eventually return to live in Israel and raise families here.
Israelstreet wishes all of the athletes in this year’s Games the best of luck and will give updates on the sporting events as the Games progress.
“The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
Abba Eban, 1973
Sometimes the old truisms are the best. Last night’s entire fiasco with the PLO senior committee vehemently rejecting the John Kerry proposal to start “peace” negotiations with Israel–despite numerous absurdly dangerous concessions from Israeli PM Netanyahu–calls into question yet again the entire American “peacemaking” process.
But what it all seems to boil down to is simply this:
1. The Arab League holds no legitimacy with the Palestinians. The Palestinian street could care less what tired, old, corrupt Arab politicians think about anything. John Kerry’s misguided attempt to give Mahmoud Abbas cover by enlisting the Arab League is, well, badly misguided.
2. Mahmoud Abbas holds no legitimacy with the Palestinians or even within his own PLO. Your humble servant always describes Abbas as the “unelected” President the Palestinian Authority and has often said that Hamas would probably win an election if one were held tomorrow. Abbas is just a tired, old, corrupt terrorist, and any agreement Israel that Israel would make with him would be worthless. John Kerry’s misguided attempt to make Mahmoud Abbas Israel’s “partner for peace” is, well, badly misguided.
3. The European Union’s gleeful action in attempting to isolate Israel with a boycott on all businesses in eastern Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria two days ago may have driven a permanent nail into the “peace negotiations” coffin. Even a blind person on the Palestinian street thinks that he can see that by doing nothing, the Palestinians can achieve more than by doing something. What he cannot see of course is that the Palestinians stand to lose everything.
Three final notes:
*First, despite the PLO rejection last night, everyone including the Arab League, the PLO, the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas, and the European Union is blaming Israel and PM Netanyahu this morning. Even President Obama has been on the phone with Netanyahu in recent hours demanding more Israeli concessions–in particular a firm commitment to the 1949 Armistice Lines (aka the “June 4, 1967” lines) as a basis for the borders of a new “Palestine”.
*Second, Nafthali Bennett’s threat yesterday to blow apart Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Beiteinu coalition should Netanyahu agree to talks based on the 1949 Armistice Lines may be the least of Netanyahu’s political difficulties (Shelly Yachimovich is doing handstands in the background informing all who will listen today that she and her Labor Party will be more than happy to replace Bennett and his Jewish Home members in the governing coalition).
The problem for Netanyahu is that his own Likud Beiteinu party would almost certainly implode with Danny Danon and his legions joining forces with Bennett. In essence, as has been pointed out in previous israelstreet blogs, this has already happened as Netanyahu has increasingly become an emperor with no party.
*Third, this blog may be irrelevant by this afternoon. Who knows what the Palestinians will do and when, or what Netanyahu may give away and when. Stay tuned to israelstreet for further details.