Archive for November, 2009

Last week the Nato chief, Di Paola, visited here to enlist Israel in the Mediteranean mission. During his meeting on Wednesday, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi and Di Paoloa discussed ways to upgrade Israeli-NATO military ties as well as the plan to include an Israeli Navy vessel in Active Endeavour, a NATO mission established after the 9/11 attacks under which NATO vessels patrol the Mediterranean to prevent illegal terror trafficking.
 
It was decided that our Navy will dispatch a missile ship in the coming months to participate in a NATO mission to patrol the Mediterranean Sea and prevent weapon smuggling, Di Paola arrived Wednesday in Israel for a three-day visit as a guest of Ashkenazi. This is Di Paola’s third visit to Israel in the past four years both in his current position as well as in his last post as top military commander of Italy. The timing of Di Paoloa’s visit was considered significant since it came at a time that the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) is under increasing criticism in wake of the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead as well as a decision by Turkey – a NATO member – to ban Israel from joint aerial exercises.
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A few weeks ago I wrote about water rationing in Israel, and that people using more than the quantity allowed will have to pay a fine. Now we are informed that apart from this “rationing” , the price of water will also go up for all. It will be done gradually and may reach  an increase of about 40% within a number of months. Invalids and people with special needs will evidently  get cheaper prices. I only hope that the money paid will go to water projects like distilling sea water – after all that’s what it is all about after so many drought years.
 
Another subject I have already mentioned, is about the Swedish journalist Donald Bostrom, whose August article in the Swedish publication Aftonbladet accused the Israeli defence Forces of harvesting the organs of Palestinians during Operation Cast Lead. He has apparently had a change of heart, after visiting Israel last week, and being told the truth. 
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Last week the Hammas organisation instead of sending rockets into Israel, for a change sent a test rocket out to sea from Gaza. This rocket can evidently reach 50 miles, which means that it can even reach Tel Aviv from Gaza. This is a real new danger, but evidently no one except Israel can see that..
 
And a few days ago special Israeli Navy forces discovered weapons and ammunition on a cargo ship  called Francop, flying an Antiguan flag  some100 nautical miles west of Israel.  Military intelligence had been following the ship’s progress for several days. An Israeli navy missile boat made contact with the Francop and asked to conduct a routine inspection of its cargo. Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship , meeting with no resistance from crew of 11.  Defense officials said the 140-meter long Francop was carrying arms sent by Iran and destined for Lebanon, and Syria for the Hizbullah . The Israeli naval personnel checked the ship’s manifest, and began opening the containers. They found sacks of polyethylene near the opening and along the walls of the containers, but behind the sacks, they discovered numerous crates of ammunition and artillery shells. At that point, they ordered the crew to sail to Ashdod.
 
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Hurray ! Rain at last ! Lots of it and even some floods in different places and we’ve been promised more for another day.  Hope there’ll be much more this coming winter. But even so, the “water rationing” in homes is still a fact and those using more than the rationed quantity will pay a fine.

And again Katjusha rockets from Southern Lebanon. Some time later Lebanese army forces discovered four rockets mounted on launch pads in the Lebanese village of Houlo – from where a Katyusha rocket had been fired at the Upper Galilee region of northern Israel last Tuesday evening. The rockets, which were reportedly ready for launching, were neutralized by Lebanese troops. But where are the U.N troops who are supposed to prevent this? The Hizbullah seem to have taken over the whole of southern Lebanon and the U.N. don’t want to “have any business” with them.

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