UPDATES 6 pm Israel time, Thursday, December 26 2013:
**Another hollow, meaningless announcement has just been issued by PM Netanyahu’s office. Netanyahu has let it be known that he will order that 1400 bids for new residential units be issued for Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria in conjunction with the next release of Palestinian murderers on Sunday.
The bids will be issued and then immediately buried just like the last bids and the ones before that.
No bids will be actually be accepted; no construction will actually take place, but there will be no end of international condemnation. Benjamin Netanyahu is all talk and no action.
**A major change is coming in Israeli election law.
2% of the total number of votes is the minimum that a party must now win in order to have representation in the Knesset. If a party receives 2% of the vote in an election, it is entitled to two representatives in the Knesset.
According to a compromise agreement yesterday between Netanyahu and FM Lieberman, that minimum will now be raised to 3.25%. A party receiving that minimum threshold will receive four representatives in the Knesset. The Knesset Law Committee is expected to approve the change by the end of January.
The impact of the law may be dramatic. Many of the minor parties which already do not meet the minimum 2% will now have no chance whatsoever of reaching the higher threshold nor will parties on the “edge” such as Kadima. Even parties that that normally receive 3-5% of the vote such as the Arab parties may be forced to combine with each other in order to be certain of reaching the requisite 3.25%.
The Netanyahu-Lieberman argument is that the higher threshold will stabilize Israeli democracy by making the PM less liable to be extorted by smaller parties in return for their support. While this may be true, the higher threshold will surely have a deleteriously damping effect on the number of political parties in the country.
Sometimes your humble servant just wants to howl at the moon.
This is one such evening.
Here is part of an unbelievable press release from the IDF spokesman’s office this afternoon:
“Every month, the IDF authorizes the entry of thousands of Gaza Strip residents into Israel for humanitarian, medical and other purposes. Terrorists exploit this situation as an opportunity to carry out more acts of terror, to make money transfers for terror purposes, and to smuggle contraband into Israel.”
This is simply beyond belief.
By its own admission, the IDF is actively pursuing a policy that it knows results in dead and wounded Israelis.
And for what? Humanitarian gestures to help Palestinians?
What about the humanitarian rights of Israelis–such as the humanitarian right to survive? Apparently these are not an IDF priority.
By the way, the press release above was issued following the capture of Mohammed Abu-Amshah, a resident of Beit Hanoun in Gaza, and a sniper affiliated with the Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. He was arrested after requesting a permit to enter Israel in order to travel to Ramallah for the medical care of his eye.
The last sentence of the press release read: “In this case, the terrorist exploited the humanitarian situation in order to eventually be able to go through with his plan to kill.”