Thursday, August 31

Armed Arabic-speaker threatens suicide at UK Embassy in Tel Aviv (UPDATE)

UPDATE at Haaretz:
Israel Police on Thursday night captured and disarmed a Palestinian man from the West Bank city of Ramallah, who had successfully infiltrated the British Embassy grounds in Tel Aviv, and threatened to shoot himself if Great Britain did not grant him political asylum.

The capture ended an hours-long standoff after the man managed to enter the embassy parking lot at around 3 P.M., and began yelling that he was holding a handgun and would shoot himself if he were not promised asylum.


Man enters British embassy with gun pointed at own head, threatens suicide unless he is granted asylum. Eye witness: Police have deployed all around the embassy, area is closed

Large police forces have been dispatched to the British embassy in Tel Aviv, where a man is threatening to commit suicide.

At around 2:45 p.m. embassy employees reported that an Arab-speaking man jumped over the embassy’s fence and entered the building with a gun pointed to his own head. Apparently the man is requesting asylum.

Read more.

And now back to our previously scheduled blog entry...

Hizballah's Rocket Campaign Against Northern Israel:
A Preliminary Report

From July 13 to August 13, the Israel Police reported 4,228 rocket1 impacts inside Israel from rockets fired by Hizballah.

No geographical area in the world has sustained such a large quantity of rocket strikes since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 1980s.

The rocket attacks on northern Israel were anticipated and were factored in to the decision to respond in force to Hizballah's July 12 attack.

Read more.

10 ways the Israeli media screwed up war coverage

Yair Lapid, in a strikingly honest column at Ynet News, acknowledges a string of media gaffes, errors of commission and omission, falsity, stupidity and even duplicity by Israel reporters, commentators, pundits and the media circus overall in covering the war:
We screwed up. All of us. Me too. The Israeli media failed in this war. No one will appoint an investigating committee to judge us – we are the ones who reserve the right to judge others – but it doesn’t change the fact that we have screwed up. It may be the only failure that isn’t being discussed in the media but that doesn’t mean it did not occur.

Even in the most vibrant democracy in the world, freedom isn’t just a privilege it is also a responsibility. We have to realize that if the rules change for the entire country, then they change for us journalists as well.

Now when the smoke settles, we need to demand from ourselves what we demand from others – to acknowledge that something is definitely wrong and to try and fix it. Or as Prime Minister Olmert said in his Knesset speech last week: “Mistakes were made that require investigation. We will not hide them nor brush them under the carpet.”
Now, how about some healthy introspection from the Anglo blogging community here in Israel and the Jewish world - and I include myself in here as well - not to mention Lebanese and Palestinian bloggers (Yeah - right...)

(HT: Allison)

Iran: Five Minutes to Midnight? (Editorial Cartoon, Op-ed)

Observing the events of today—the hesitation and uncertainty, the stubborn clinging to the fantasy that the enemy can be appeased if we just keep talking and find the right diplomatic solution—I now feel that, for the first time, I really understand the leaders of the 1930s. Their illusion that Hitler could be appeased has always seemed, in historical hindsight, to be such a willful evasion of the facts that I have never grasped how it was possible for those men to deceive themselves. But I can now see how they clung to their evasions because they could not imagine anything worse than a return to the mass slaughter of the First World War. They wanted to believe that something, anything could prevent a return to war. What they refused to imagine is that, in trying to avoid the horrors of the previous war, they were allowing Hitler to unleash the much greater horrors of a new war.

Today's leaders and commentators have less excuse. The "horror" they are afraid of repeating is the insurgency we're fighting in Iraq—a war whose cost in lives, dollars, and resolve is among the smallest America has ever had to pay. And it takes no great feat of imagination to project how much more horrible the coming conflict will be if we wait on events long enough for Iran to arm itself with nuclear technology. Among the horrific consequences is the specter of a new Holocaust, courtesy of an Iranian nuclear bomb.

Important, and worrying reading.


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