UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Sunday, March 23 2014:
*Violent rioting continues to take place just outside of Bethlehem in the area of Rachel’s Tomb.
Hundreds of Palestinian rioters have been attacking Israeli security personnel with “rocks”, Molotov cocktails, and IEDs (pipe bombs). At least one soldier has been badly wounded when hit in the head by a “rock.”
*Hamas held a huge rally in Gaza today to mark the anniversary of the death of its spiritual leader and arch-terrorist, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Yassin was killed in an IAF air strike.
*Last night saw intense rioting near the Damascus and Dung Gates in Jerusalem. Rioters attacked Israelis who were in the vicinity as well as buses that were passing by.
Ten Arabs were arrested.
Numerous reports are emanating from Washington, Jerusalem, and Ramallah that the so-called “peace process” is teetering on the edge of collapse.
Israel refuses to continue unless the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a framework agreement, and Mahmoud Abbas swears everyday that such recognition will never happen.
The Palestinians refuse to continue if Israel refuses to release Israel-Arab murderers next week in the final murderer release, and members of Netanyahu’s coalition and cabinet have sworn to leave the government if Israel agrees.
Both sides have hardened their positions.
But on the point about Israel-Arab murderer releases, a new wrinkle has been added today. Apparently, and there is no independent confirmation of this, PM Netanyahu has said that his coalition and cabinet might be assuaged were the United States to release Jonathan Pollard–the Israeli spy who has now served more than 29 years in an American prison.
As your humble servant has written before:
1. The fact that the U.S. continues to hold Pollard defies comprehension and is utterly reprehensible.
2. Making a moral equivalence between Palestinian terrorist murderers in Israeli prisons and Jonathan Pollard is also utterly reprehensible.
In any case, there is no evidence today that President Obama is even considering a pardon for Pollard despite the fact that numerous current and former U.S. government officials have gone on record saying that it is past time to let Pollard go. And it is noteworthy, that Obama has even rebuffed his “good friend” Shimon Peres on the Pollard issue (of course, it is Shimon Peres who is largely responsible for Pollard being in prison in the first place).
Your humble servant wonders what is going on behind the scenes. Is Obama asking Abbas what he thinks about a Pollard release? Is Kerry urging Obama to release Pollard to save his “peace talks”? Does Netanyahu have an agreement from his coalition partners to stay in the government if Pollard is released?
Whatever the case, the next week should prove interesting.