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Egyptian policeThe Defense Ministry rep Amos Gilad is in Cairo (it’s never the other way around; Egyptian officials never visit Israel) to discuss relaxing the Camp David quota on Egyptian troops in Sinai. The increase does not impinge on Israeli military security and might help against weapons smugglers.

The increase sets a dangerous precedent of re-thinking what were touted as stone-cut security guarantees made at Camp David. Extra troops would have little impact on weapons-smuggling for two reasons. First, their commanders are traditionally corrupt: with a salary of less than $100 per month, they cannot but accept bribes from smugglers. Second, the smuggling up to Rafah is run by Sinai Bedouins, who have fought and defeated Egyptian police in several encounters. Mubarak’s government is not keen on provoking the next wave of Bedouin terrorism with a crackdown on smuggling.

George MitchellAccording to the Washington Post, Barack Hussein Obama has chosen an Arab for his Middle East envoy—George Mitchell’s mother is Lebanese.

Mitchell was instrumental in shaping the post-2000 US policy toward Israel. He’s a vocal opponent of Israeli villages in Judea and Samaria. Mitchell is characteristically pushy.

Mitchell’s attitude toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is shaped by his participation in the Northern Ireland talks. What he doesn’t understand is that Irish guerrillas did not consider London their homeland or seek to liberate Southampton from the Brits. Also, Irish people did not constitute a third of the population in England. Separation solved the Irish conflict, but cannot work in the Israeli-Palestinian one.

The Bank of Israel’s report details a larger-than-expected drop in orders, sales, and employment, especially among small businesses. Israeli export industries have hit hard by the international crisis.

USS San AntonioThe USS San Antonio intercepted a Russian ship chartered by Iranians to deliver weapons to Gaza. The ship also carried undisclosed “dangerous substances,” which could be either explosives or chemical/biological weapons.

The US Navy continues hunt for other Iranian weapons shipments.

IDF intercepted a 17-year-old Palestinian at a roadblock near Jenin, one of the checkpoints the US Administration demands be removede checkpoints the US Administration demands be removed. The Palestinian was armed with a knife and told interrogators he was planning to kill a few Jews.

During the Gaza operation. Police arrested more than 700 Arabs; even though most were released without charges, the number of indicted Arabs is unusually high, which reveals a planned crackdown.

bio weaponsDozens of Al Qaeda operatives in Algeria have died from plague. The Washington Times reports that the CIA intercepted a call between Al Qaeda commanders regarding a failure in a bio or chemical weapon experiment.

Though commercially available plague strains are treatable, the Russians (and reportedly the Iranians) have developed military-grade strains totally resistant to treatment.

During his trip to Cairo, Amos Gilad will discuss a prisoner exchange for the return of Gilad Shalit. Avodah and Kadima desperately need to bring Shalit back before the elections to boost their ratings.

During the Security Cabinet meeting, Livni and Barak twisted the arm of Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, forcing him to change his stance on prisoner “exchange.” Now Dichter accepts releasing Jew-murderers (“blood on hands”) and only asks that they be transferred to Gaza or Lebanon.

From a practical viewpoint, the terrorists can return to their trade in Gaza even more easily than in the West Bank. Even in Lebanon, they would take on an educational role, as Samir Kuntar did.

Previous governments also have released Jew-murderers, as Rabin did in the Jericho deal.

It is far from certain whether Shalit is alive. During the Gaza campaign, Hamas refused to take responsibility for his safety.

Two Arabs from Acre (Haifa), father and son, attacked an ER doctor and threatened to kill him for discovering gallstones in the son’s bladder.

The ultra-left Geneva Institute is probably surprised with the results of the poll it commissioned: 45 percent of Israelis do not want any negotiations with Fatah thugs. 55 percent oppose final-status negotiations. The percentage is still higher among Jews.

Dennis BlairDennis Blair, Obama’s choice for the director of US National Intelligence, pledged cooperation with Iran “based on mutual interests.” The only common interest between Hussein Obama and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to be the destruction of Israel.

The choice of Blair underscores the falsity of Obama’s concern for human rights. During his tenure in Indonesia, Admiral Blair befriended General Wiranto, who commanded the Indonesian Army in a series of war crimes against Christian East Timor. Despite clear orders from President Clinton to request that Wiranto dismantle the Indonesian militia that had perpetrated numerous war crimes, Blair, on the contrary, offered Wiranto US military assistance.

The choice of Blair is equally odd choice if Obama is concerned with transparent government; Blair is being targeted in a major corruption investigation.

The Tax Administration’s trade union has refused to process wartime compensations to residents of South Israel until the government agrees to a wage hike for the union’s members.