Friday, December 22

Israeli economy shrugs off military, political woes

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Israel business news
Fitch Changes Israel's Outlook to Positive:
Fitch Ratings Monday changed the outlook on Israel's foreign and local currency Issuer Default ratings (IDR) to Positive from Stable. "The Positive Outlook reflects the Israeli economy's increased dynamism and resilience following the reforms of recent years, demonstrated by the limited economic impact of the war in Lebanon and the strong rebound now underway," said Richard Fox, Head of Middle East and Africa Sovereign Ratings at Fitch.
Seeking Affordability in Israel:
Home ownership is widespread in Israel, where some 70% of the country's 5 million citizens own their own homes.
Refusal to Cooperate Leaves Arab Economies Far Behind Israel's:
This year Israel recorded the best economic year in its history. In the 1990s, Israel proposed that the Arab world join it to transform the Middle East in a grand renaissance of prosperity and renewal. The Arabs rejected the vision and a new Middle East didn't materialize. On the contrary, the vision only led to the rise of Islamic defiance that found itself threatened by it. Israel sincerely wanted to advance a joint economy with the Palestinians and Jordan, but Arab leaders refused.

'Peace Breaking Out' index: Sderot residents turn to Supreme Court over Kassam rockets


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V/O (1940's-style radio announcer): "And here's the latest
"Peace Breaking Out" index for Friday morning, December 22nd. Nearly a month into the reputed ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The Jerusalem Post
leads with a update that

A group of Sderot residents are set to submit a petition to the High Court of Justice to instruct the cabinet to react more harshly to Kassam rocket attacks against their city, it was reported on Friday.

One of the architects of the petition, Avi Farhan, told Army Radio that he was "sure that if one Kassam was fired on Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan or Ramat Aviv, the government would have acted long ago."

"I hope that the High Court will correct this injustice and order the government to act and to stop gambling with our lives," he added.

Haaretz adds:

The security cabinet will meet early next week to decide whether to uphold the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported Friday.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided Thursday to press on with Israel's policy of restraint toward the Qassam rocket fire from Gaza, which has continued despite the declaration of a bilateral cease-fire. Nonetheless, he informed Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that this restraint cannot last much longer if the launches of the past few days persist.

Olmert apparently does not want to jeopardize his planned meeting with Abbas, which he hopes will demonstrate that he is making diplomatic progress.

Israel National News reminds that:

A separate attack on Thursday hit the port city of Ashkelon. The city is home to strategic oil and gas pipelines and a large electric power plant.

Some 45 Kassam rockets have been launched from Gaza against Israel since the November 26 truce went into effect, according to remarks made by Prime Minister Olmert Thursday afternoon.

From Israel's Foreign Ministry:

his decision was taken in an effort on Israel's part both to bring about a calming of the situation and as a signal of Israel's readiness to contribute to an improvement in the security and political condition of the region.

Israel is interested in maintaining a cease-fire as a means to end the violence and to enable progress in the political negotiations. In doing so, Israel is knowingly undertaking the risk that the terrorist organizations will exploit the cease-fire to rearm and to rebuild their infrastructure.

Veteran Sderot resident and US immigrant, Mechi Fendel, movingly writes:

It seems the media and the politicians (from all parties) are starting to wake up to the abnormal situation of a city in Israel during “peacetime” being bombed.

Mechi Fendel at a protest against the
ongoing rocket attacks
. Click on the
photo for her blog.

I think MK Ms. Shelly Yechimovitch observed so well – most kids don’t remember a Sderot without Kassam missiles. My 4½-year-old son was born into a Kassam-falling world. He’s been taught since he’s 2 years old to run for cover if he hears the warning. Over the weekend we were at a family simcha near Jerusalem, and my son kept on “hearing” the warning siren and telling us to run to a shelter. He’s just not used to a Kassam-free Shabbat!

The Hamas terrorists are terrorizing the people of Sderot and at the same time causing terror within Gaza. Anyone trying to oppose the sending of Kassam missiles from his home in Gaza is killed. They are trying to kill us, in Sderot, all the time. I also feel bad for the “innocents” in Gaza – but it would be for their benefit too if Israel does a fully-encompassing attack to get rid of the Hamas once and for all.

A protest against the Kassam threat.
Click on the photo for her blog.

And finally, in the words of This Ongoing War:

There have been numerous injuries and plenty of damage from the random firings of these 'heros', mostly among their own children, siblings and cousins. Yesterday, though several rockets crashed into the southern Israeli city of Sderot, most of the injuries were among small Arab children in Gazan Bet Hanoun where a rocket fell short. Your local media won't report it (Pal Arabs injuring other Pal Arabs? Who cares?).
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This has been a "Peace Breaking Out" index update for Friday morning, December 22nd.

Previous "Peace Breaking Out" updates are here.



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