UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Wednesday, February 12 2014:
**American influence continues to shrink dramatically in the Middle East as a direct result of actions taken by U.S. President Obama. This morning, Egyptian Defense Minister, and probable next president, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is in Moscow buying $2 billion worth of new weapons. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are footing the bill.
**There has been an egregious incident of “rock” throwing today in Hebron. The primary Jewish neighborhood in the city–which is completely surrounded by multi-storied buildings–was pummeled by Palestinians throwing “blocks” off of the tops of the buildings at the men, women, and children below. Particularly hard hit was the community playground where a number of children narrowly avoided serious injury or worse.
“Blocks”, by the way, refers to “cement blocks”–cement blocks being thrown off of rooftops.
**The proposed law making the Referendum Law a Basic Law took a major step today when it was approved for its second and third readings. It is now scheduled to come to a vote in the Knesset the second week in March–though it can be expected that Tzipi Livni and her cohorts will employ every conceivable legislative technique possible to slow or stop it.
The proposed law is meant to forestall any attempt by the Israel Supreme Court to halt public referendums on the giving up of sovereign Israeli land in any peace agreement.
The Referendum Law requires that, in whole or in part, the Golan Heights, the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and any land within the 1949 Armistice Lines cannot be turned over to the Palestinians or any other entity unless the Israeli public votes for such a surrender of sovereignty. It does not apply to Judea and Samaria because those areas have never been annexed to Israel.
The only case in which a referendum would not be required would be if more than 80 members of the Knesset approve the surrender of sovereignty.
The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz of Germany was in Jerusalem today speaking at the Knesset. Even before he spoke, Schulz’s appearance was controversial because he was representing a legislative body that never misses an opportunity to bash Israel and because Schulz decided to deliver his address in German–a decision that he conceded created a certain “awkwardness.”
Several Israeli lawmakers refused to attend. Likud MK Moshe Feiglin remarked that he refused to be lectured to in German.
In the speech itself, Schulz discussed his country’s Nazi past and the responsibility it bears for the Holocaust, He then took the occasion to tell the Knesset that “there is no European boycott of Israel” (just–as we all know–endless threats of one).
But then Schulz’s speech devolved into the Palestinian propaganda line to lambaste Israel over the construction of Jewish homes, schools, and hospitals in Judea and Samaria. He went on to repeat absurd Palestinian claims that Israel was stealing water from the Palestinians.
And then he turned his attention to Gaza–and remarkably accused Israel of a military blockade: “The blockade of Gaza creates despair and extremism.” Nowhere did Schulz note that Israel forcibly expelled every Jew from Gaza almost a decade ago, or that Israel is the only source of humanitarian supplies going into Gaza, or that Egypt has essentially closed down the Rafah Crossing from Egypt into Gaza.
It was at this point that the members of the Jewish Home Party (Bayit Yehudi) interrupted Schulz’s speech with shouts and got up and walked out.
Later in the afternoon, the head of Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett had this to say: “We will not be silent in the face of lies. . . As if we didn’t expel 8,000 (Jewish) people from their homes in Gaza and tens of thousands of rockets weren’t fired on us. While the government sits silent, I cannot restrain myself. Patriotic honor is not a luxury.”