UPDATES 3 pm Israel time, Wednesday, October 16 2013:
**Yet another tunnel has been discovered branching off from the huge tunnel that was discovered earlier this week leading from Gaza to Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha. This latest tunnel led from the main tunnel to just beside a kindergarten in Kissufim, another Israeli community on the Gaza Border. Who knows how many such branches exist? And how many other main tunnels there are?
The simple fact is that while the state of Israel in general and the IDF COGAT unit in particular have been supplying Hamas with construction materials, Hamas has embarked on a mega-scale tunnel building project. Your humble servant is still shaking his head today over the idiotic comments of IDF Southern Commander Sami Turgeman who seemed incredulous yesterday that Hamas is acting in opposition to Israel’s “good intentions”.
**More information revealed today suggests that Israel is now looking for a way “to avoid getting blamed” for an impending breakdown in discussions with the Palestinians. Apparently, once the next batch of terrorists is released by Netanyahu, there is nothing to stop Abu Mazen (aka Mahmoud Abbas) from pulling out.
And what is more, laughably, is that Netanyahu is now suddenly concerned that once Abu Mazen says that the PLO is walking out, the U.S. will put its proposal on the table. That proposal will simply be a statement of the Palestinian position.
Why is this laughable? Because all of this was completely predictable from the start: Barack Obama’s position is the PLO position; the PLO will walk out of the negotiations once they have their fellow terrorists; and Israel will get blamed.
Your humble servant has been in beautiful Eilat, one of his favorite Israeli cities, for the better part of the last week. Normally my family and I only drive down during the summer, but we we had such a nice time in July that we decided to return.
Our drive took us from Ashdod to the Beesheva bypass, to Mitzpe Ramon on Highway 40 and on to Eilat. The only aspect of this week’s trip that was different was our stop at the Hill of the Ammonites just after the tortuous switchback road down the cliff from Mitzpe. More will be written about this remarkable place in a later blog.
From the moment we arrived in Eilat last Sunday, it was immediately apparent that something was dramatically different. Walking along the Eilat promenade, sitting in a sports bar, or just whiling away the hours by the beach, we found ourselves in the midst of thousands of vacationing Israeli-Arabs.
It is not unusual to see many Israeli-Arabs in Eilat, but your humble servant would hazard a conservative guess that there are at least 25,000 Israeli-Arabs currently in the city. They have chosen Eilat of all places, the home of the laid back beach life and decadent commercialism, as the place to spend their Eid Al-Adha holiday (Eid Al-Adha celebrates what the Muslims believe was the near-sacrifice of “Ishmael” by “Ibrahim”).
But what is the most striking aspect of the surreal scene in Eilat is just how “Israeli” Israeli-Arabs have become. On a materialistic level, each member of every Israeli-Arab family has a cellphone which they are on all the time; Israeli-Arabs are flooding the pizza joints, shwarma stands, and restaurant buffet halls; Israeli-Arab women are dressed in the latest fashions as they push their babies in elaborate baby strollers; and Israeli-Arab families have taken over the priciest suites in the priciest hotels.
Everywhere there is wall to wall people–with no policemen or IDF soldiers in sight. Israeli-Arabs and Israeli-non Arabs together, not exactly socializing, but displaying a commonality in demeanor that is frankly remarkable.
Your humble servant, who constantly hears the canard in the United States that the Israeli-Arab population in Israel is discriminated against and not treated as part of this country, only wishes that the people who say this could be in Eilat right now.