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Question of the Day
Credit Jerry Lewis, the London correspondent for Israel Radio News in English, for finally asking the question I've wanted to ask political leaders who matter. He was talking to William Hague before the UK foreign secretary departed for a visit to Israel.
The million dollar question -- about the nine-month settlement freeze -- comes up at the 2:03 point of this interview.
The Palestinians have had nine months. What did they do in that nine months?
The key snippet from Hague's answer:
Now I believe the important thing here is not what anybody has done in recent months but what they could do in the next few months . . .
The question remains.
Occasionally, the MSM Likes Israeli Expertise
When it comes to certain non-political issues, the MSM seems to appreciate Israeli expertise. Especially when it comes to aviation security. Case in point: A recent tour of Ben-Gurion Airport for a visiting delegation of airport security experts.
AP was on hand, describing "Israel's near-legendary methods" while "authorities on three continents were investigating cargo bombs intercepted at airports last week in Britain and Dubai."
Brings to mind Isaac Yeffet, former head of El Al and a very watchable sabra, commenting on Western airline safety after last year's Christmas bomber incident. Just watch the interplay between Yeffet and the Fox News team.
Iranian Weapons Smuggling: A Global Reach
Credit James Hider for looking into the global reach of Iranian weapons smuggling. This isn't just about one shipment of guns and rockets intercepted in Nigeria:
The capture of the arms, which included Katyusha multiple rocket launchers, underlines fears that Iran is developing a global network for moving weapons and people. Israel is concerned that Tehran is exploiting weak points in global security that have previously been used by drug cartels . . .
The scale of Iran-backed networks to smuggle men and arms around the world was demonstrated in July when Mexican police said that they had arrested the head of a Hezbollah cell in Tijuana, on the border with the United States, prompting fears that the militants could use drug and immigrant trafficking routes to infiltrate America.
Iran has made no secret of its intention to expand its global influence, forging strong ties with the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, another rival of the United States and a fellow member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Hider also notes previous incidents including:
And earlier this year, the NY Times looked into Iranian shell companies complicating the cat-and-mouse efforts.
Related reading: Nigerian Weapons Haul Shows Lengths Iran Will Go to Supply Hamas
Hamas Concedes on Gaza War Casualties
UPDATE: I see the Jerusalem Post has a clearer breakdown of the Hamas casualties, as quoted by Hamad himself:
Talking about losses in the war, Hammad confirmed significant personnel losses in Hamas' military wings for the first time. He said, "On the first day of the war, Israel targeted police stations and 250 martyrs who were part of Hamas and the various factions fell." He added that, "about 200 to 300 were killed from the Qassam Brigades, as well as 150 security personnel."
Bottom line: 250 Hamasniks died on the first day, followed by 200-300 from the Qassam Brigades, plus an additional 150 security personnel, for a total of 600-700. That's in line with the IDF's numbers all along.
* * *
Hamas conceded that 200-300 of its men died during Operation Cast Lead. Haaretz writes:
Hamas' Interior Minister Fathi Hamad, who was confirmed the figures in an interview with the London-based Arabic language daily Al-Hayat, said that the so-called "police officers" who were killed during the first day of the operation were actually 250 Hamas fighters, and that 150 additional "security personnel" were also killed.
This is significant, because during and after the war, Hamas inflated the casualty count and blurred the distinctions between civilian and "military" deaths. And earlier this year, Hamas interior ministry spokesman Ehab al-Ghossain told Time magazine there was no distinction between "civilian police" and "the resistance."
Bloggers -- Elder of Ziyon in greater detail than anyone else -- slammed the UN's Goldstone report over dead Hamas gunmen inappropriately labeled as civilian casulties.
As for the press, it's increasingly clear that the only thing disproportionate about the war were the headlines.
Vote For This Year's Dishonest Reporter
Now’s the time to vote for the 2010 Dishonest Reporting Awards -- our annual recognition of the year’s most skewed and biased coverage of Israel and the Mideast conflict.
Please choose one of the five nominees below, along with a brief explanation why he/she/it deserves to receive our ignoble award. (You may also nominate someone else not on the list). Then send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Nominees (in no particular order)
- BBC: For Panorama denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem, and Jeremy Bowen enjoying tensions with the US.
- Reuters photo desk: Poorly cropping Mavi Marmara photos, and suspicious access to the Lebanon border clash.
- Octavia Nasr: CNN editor fired over sympathy tweet for a dead Hezbollah leader.
- The Lancet: Throwing peer review out the window to skewer Israel.
- Time: For an imbalanced cover story claiming Israelis don't want peace.
We’ll announce the results at the end of year. Due to the volume of mail, we can't acknowledge nominations. See last year's "winners" -- and don’t forget to vote!