Our first story of the day is one that broke earlier concerning the "Waves of Freedom" Two boat flotilla to Gaza. As everyone expected the boats were stopped, were peacefully boarded, and were redirected to the Israeli Port of Ashdod.
Haaretz reports: Israel Navy intercepts Gaza-bound aid vessels; no injuries reported
The Israel Navy on Friday afternoon intercepted two boats that approached the coast of the Gaza Strip with the intent to violate Israel's naval blockade of the territory.
After the boats failed to heed calls to turn around or dock in Egypt or Israel, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz ordered naval forces to board the ships. Nobody was injured during the boarding of the ships, a military source said.
Video both on Haaretz and at Maan News show the Israeli's using Water Cannons to make sure the decks were clear and then peacefully boarding the ships after the two ships refused to turn back due when the Israelis told them too.
According to Maan News:
"Following their unwillingness to cooperate, and after ignoring calls to divert to the port of Ashdod, the decision was made to board the vessels and lead them there," the statement said.
Huwaida Arraf, a spokeswoman for the activists, said in a statement that "27 civilians on two small boats, carrying only medicine, constituted no security threat to the Israeli state, and that the determination to keep them out is only a furtherance of Israel’s policy of collective punishment, a crime against humanity.
"Despite this Israeli aggression, we will keep coming, wave after wave, by air, sea, and land, to challenge Israel’s illegal policies towards Gaza and all of Palestine," she said.
"Our movement will not stop or be stopped until Palestine is free."
At the time of the stoppage the ships were in International Waters however, their stated goal was to run the Israeli Blockade to Gaza.
Our second story regards news about any action with regards to Iran's attempting to get produce a nuclear weapon. This story gets stranger and stranger everyday. First, as I reported in a story regarding brinksmanship on Wed, we had reports that the U.K. would be moving assets into the region in the event there is a Western Strike (U.S. or Israeli). Following that, we had a quick denial by NATO that they would indeed engage in a Strike, and following that by the U.S. who also denied planning a strike. Oh yeah... and in Israel, The government is accusing the IDF and Shin Bet of leaking information to reporters regarding any potential strike.
But add to this the Iranians and their allies are not taking this lying down. In Gaza, Palestinian Islamic Jihad is pledging to go all out in the event of a war between Israel and Iran. Maan News reports: Islamic Jihad ready for all-out war with Israel
GAZA CITY (Reuters) -- Islamic Jihad, which traded deadly fire with Israel at the weekend in Gaza, does not expect a subsequent truce to last long and has at least 8,000 fighters ready for war, a spokesman said....
...."We are proud and honored to say that the Islamic Republic of Iran gives us support and help," Abu Ahmed, the spokesman for Islamic Jihad's armed wing, the al-Quds Brigades, said in a rare, long interview.
He denied widespread reports that Iran had provided his group with arms and smiled at suggestions it now receives more sophisticated weaponry from Tehran than Hamas. He also declined to comment on rumors that the brigades were trained by Iran....
....Al-Quds Brigades cells are dotted around Gaza and Abu Ahmed said there was huge demand from youngsters to join.
"We take some, but can't accept everyone ... It is a question of quality, not quantity," he said, giving for the first time an estimate of the strength of the force. "We have at least 8,000 fighters, who are fully equipped."
Then in Teheran today Iran boosts anti-U.S. rhetoric ahead of IAEA report on nuclear program
Iran marked the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy on Friday with burning flags and chants of "Death to America", escalating its anti-U.S. rhetoric ahead of the release of a pivotal UN report on its nuclear program.
Thousands of students burned the Stars and Stripes, an effigy of Uncle Sam and pictures of President Barack Obama outside the leafy downtown Tehran compound that once housed the U.S. mission....
.....For its part, Iran accuses the United States and Israel of killing several Iranian nuclear scientists in recent years.
"America has carried out terrorist acts against Iran and other countries ... We will support those who are against America's policies outside and inside America," the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, told the crowd outside the former embassy.
Since this.... breaking news has the French condemning the Iranians but ruling out participation in a preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. The IAEA report on Iran is due out next week. It will be interesting to see what they have to say.
Our third story is inspired by a FANTASTIC article by Bradley Burston in Haaretz regarding those that talk of the end of Israel. Burston, a progressive Israeli, wrote this: What does 'Death to Israel' mean to you?
....My daughter is an unarmed noncombatant. That should matter. It should matter, in particular, to progressives who believe, and justly so, that the inalienable rights of human beings, children in particular, take clear precedence over the strategic designs of nation-states and the appetites of nationalism.
It should matter, as well, when progressives turn a blind eye to war crimes committed against Israel - or, for that matter, to war crimes committed by Syria against Syrians. The assumption is that Israel's crimes are of such Third Reich magnitude, that anti-civilian violence committed by its enemies is either negligible or justified.
I'll grant that it may be easier to see things this way from a distance. Say, the greater Akron, Ohio area, where last week Kent State history professor Julio Pino stormed out of a lecture given by Israeli diplomat Ishmail Khaldi - the first Bedouin Arab to serve in Israel's foreign service - shouting "Death to Israel."
.... Please read the article, I think it speaks for itself.
Finally, on it's first day back in session the other day it appears the Israeli government survived (and handily) four no-confidence measures from Opposition parties (though one was from the extreme rightist National Union):
* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The Netanyahu government’s failure in meeting the housing demand of the citizens of Israel’ was defeated 29-45 with one MK abstaining.
* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The government’s failure in the political, economic and social sectors’ was
defeated 24-47 with one MK abstaining.
* Labor’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The failure of the Netanyahu government to reduce social and economic gaps’ was defeated 12-45.
* National Union’s no-confidence titled ‘The demolition of houses of Israeli citizens living in Judea and Samaria’ was defeated 4-47 with 18 MKs abstaining.
One other note: Professor Steven M. Cohen wrote an interesting piece in Haaretz about being Liberal and Jewish. Liberal, but still pro-Israel. It is a very interesting read about American and Israeli Jewery
As Always... discuss.