UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Monday, February 10 2014:
**Five hours ago, the residents of the Chof Ashkelon region just south of the city of Ashkelon were sent running to their bomb shelters by warning sirens of incoming rockets from Gaza. They had less than 15 seconds to make it before the explosions took place.
Luckily, the rockets did not hit any buildings, but is it any wonder that the incidence of PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome) in Israeli children along the southern border is among the highest in the world?
**Remember, dear readers, how lead Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat ludicrously claimed earlier this month that his relatives were living in Jericho when Joshua marched around its walls 5000 years ago? It turns out that Erekat now reveals on his Facebook page that his family of “indigenous Palestinians” actually immigrated to Palestine from Saudi Arabia and Jordan around 1860.
Of course, who knows if even this piece of information is really true? The truth is probably that his family showed up in Palestine with one of the waves of Arab immigration in the 1920s or 1930s.
**An infamous page in the history of attempted boycotts against Israel came to an end this past week in England. You may recall that from 2008 until 2011, the Ahava Cosmetics Store in the Covent Garden section of London was the scene of violent protests with four BDS demonstrators eventually chaining themselves to the front of the store.
The demonstrators were subsequently arrested and charged with criminal trespassing. At trial (as in their demonstrations), they claimed that Ahava was committing “war crimes” and violating the Fourth Geneva Convention by having its factory in the so-called “West Bank.” Nevertheless, the British court found them guilty and ordered them to pay about $410 in fines. Despite this ruling, Ahava unfortunately decided to close its Covent Garden store permanently.
But the BDS demonstrators continued fighting anyway and decided to appeal. In a sweeping ruling this past week in response to the final BDS appeal, the British Supreme Court rejected all of the BDS arguments and upheld the convictions imposed by the lower court.
In particular, it rejected the baseless BDS claim that Ahava was violating the Fourth Geneva Convention noting that in no way was Ahava encouraging people to move to the place where its factory is located.
**The special Knesset Committee charged with creating an “equal burden” of national service for ultra-orthodox young men who are studying in yeshivas and “non ultra-orthodox young men” recommended this afternoon that national service for the non ultra orthodox be shortened from 36 to 32 months while that of ultra orthodox studying in a yeshiva be lengthened from 16 to 17 months.
It appears that the journey of the IHH-Turkish terrorist ship Mavi Marmara is about to run its course with Israel giving in to Turkish PM Taycip Erdogan in every conceivable way.
As you know, the Turks have been absurdly demanding:
— compensation to the families of the terrorists who were killed by IDF soldiers as they tried to kill IDF soldiers
— an end to the legal maritime blockade that Israel has off the coast of Gaza
According to reports filtering out from the “negotiations”, Israel has outrageously agreed to:
1. pay the families of the terrorists $20 million dollars
2. permit Turkey to send a “significant diplomatic contingent” to Gaza to “monitor and to coordinate humanitarian aid to Gaza”
And what is Israel getting out of this deal? The same thing that Israel always gets–promises, promises, and more worthless promises. Turkey is apparently promising to normalize relations, end legal actions against Israeli soldiers, pass a law to stop civil lawsuits, resume ministerial meetings with Israelis, stop acting against Israel in international forums, and stop inciting against Israel in the media.
Will any of these promises really be kept? There are likely to be superficial gestures, but with Turkey inking new pacts with Iran almost every week (after having already turned over Israeli secret information to Iran) . . . well . . . your humble servant leaves it to you to answer that question.