The big news seems to be that Barak is re-entering the political game and making a bid for the Labour party leadership. Despite the recent announcement it looks like old news. Barak went to far when he was Prime Minister and it's doubtful if anyone will have forgotten that.
In more interesting news, the Cabinet Secretariat released their notes on Sunday's Cabinet meeting. An interesting it does not have further information. It seems the Cabinet discussed and rejected an appeal against the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and Law Enforcement’s decision that
approved various provisions of the 2006 Beverage Container Recycling Law. The interesting thing is that the objection came from the Environmental Protection Minister Gideon Ezra. So... what's all this about bottles then? It seems that last year Israel passed a law that extended the range of products the government was offering a recycling rebate on. HaAretz reported last year that 1.5L bottles were includes for the first time. So what was the object? Given the source it's unlikely to be a proposed budget cut to reduce recycling!
Israel increasing it's recycling and beingcomign a greener place is FAR more interesting news than Barak's re-enterence to politics. I just wish we knew what the objections were about...
A wanted terrorist, Muhammad Muntasser Taufik Abu Zaid, was shot and injured while attempting to escape arrest in Bethlehem today. The 19 year old who is responsible for numerous shooting attacks at Israeli Soldiers and who had recruited terrorists for bombing attacks against Israeli civilians is currently in an Israeli hospital receiving medical treatment.
Abu Zaid is an explosives expert involved in bomb construction and weapons dealing and according to security sources received directives and funds
from members of the Popular Resistance Committees terror organization in the
Gaza Strip. Abu Zaid was known to be planning further attacks as recently as the past few days. This is arrest has hopefully prevented the death of further Israeli civilians.
It looked like PM Olmet was taking a gamble, a big gamble. As the Palestinain flag flew along side the Israeli flag out side the Prime Minister's residence for the first time, Olmet was set to release Palestinians from Israeli jails as a good will indication. Mean time thousands of Jews around the world had just finished lighting chanukah candles with the fate of Israel's captured soldiers in their minds and hearts.
Following pressure from the Cabinate and Shalit's parents, Olmet backed down. Now he agreed was not the time. When Israel's kidnapped soldiers are returned, then some good will might be in order.
The response from Palestinians who have grown to expect this annual "good will guesture" where politicans of all stripes over turn the judgements of the judicial system and free those locked up for terrorism is still to be seen.
Complete with photographic evidence, this new report from NGO Monitor shows how Amnesty and Human Rights Watch failed to check their sources and were, to be blunt, acting as an extention of the Hizbollah propoganda machine during the July Hizbollah crisis.
The report highlights cases where the human right groups claimed Israel hit civilian targets which no near by military targets. The evidence shows exactly what Israel targetted and destoryed. It also tears to shreds the claims that villages like Bint Jbeil, Qana, Tyre, Aitaroun, Baflay and Zibqin were attacked without cause, and proves that Hizbollah were firing from amoungst civilians in these places.
Definitly worth a read, no so much because people still doubt Hizbollah was using human shields, but an a details example of Human Rights groups abusing their "authority" and "neutrality" to attack Israel unfairly. Next time these groups make claims about Israel perhaps people will take it wich as large a pinch of salt as they take the IDF reports (which in retrospect seem to be amazingly accurate and forthcoming).
In an Op Ed in the Jerusalem Post Palestinian Media Watch critisise Israeli Prime Minister Olmet for "giving in to blackmail" by asking Cabinet to release hundreds of Palestinian Prisoners. This is meant as a good will indication to Abbas.
Palestinian Media Watch cite a number of references showing how Israel's willingness to negotiate the release of hundreds of terrorists to free a single kidnapped soldier, or simply to have the bodies returned, is making kidnapping a standard practice amoungst Palestinain groups... and worse is making the release of dangerous people who later go on to kill Israeli children a standard practice in Israeli policy.
It sounds like a compelling argument. If Olmet was negotiating, it would be. But this seems to be more unilateral action. As such I assume he has free reign to choose those who are being released... and I hope and trust he'd have the sense to only release very low risk Palestinians who the Israeli security forces have now cleared. These people should be released anyway... why not now?
The logic goes like this: These people should not be in jail in the first place / have been their long enough for the crimes they did commit. They cost Israel money and take up space that real dangerous people should have. Releasing them is what any democratic country would and should do.
That doesn't negate the problems of releasing other prisoners, e.g. terrorists. Nor of prisoner deals leading to escalation. Israel should keep those who are a danger to society in jail. That is the bottom line of PMW's argument and in this they must be supported. Israel's justice system is second to none, but that is worthless if it over ridden by politicians.
People made the comparison between the kidnapped soldiers and the detention of Palestinians by Israel. There is no comparison. A kidnapped Israeli victim held by a terrorist group has no rights, no sentence and is being held not for what they did but for who they are. The lack of differentiation by some (particularly the British left, pushed in this direction by some local Muslim propoganda groups) makes the mind boggle.
Lets hope Olmet is chosing wisely and PMW is panicing too early.