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The Israeli Navy captured the German ship Francop in the Mediterranean. Among the ship’s hundreds of containers, a few contained weapons, which allegedly were being transported from Iran to Syria.

The US spotted the ship, but allowed Israel to intercept it to avoid disrupting Obama’s dialogue with Tehran.

Technically, Israel’s actions constitute a blatant act of piracy, which once again testifies to the inapplicability of idealism and international law in time of war.

Hijacking a foreign ship for routine deliveries of small arms and Katjyusha rockets would be too much. The explanation lies in a terse official announcement that the cargo included anti-aircraft batteries “not seen in the region before.”

Obama in Saudi ArabiaPushed by IDF generals, Netanyahu finally gathered the guts to object to Obama’s Russian gambit. In September, the US Administration made Moscow an offer: to refrain from selling S-300 to Iran in exchange for opening Saudi markets to the Russians. The multibillion-dollar weapons deal would give Saudi Arabia S-400 and other highly capable Russian weapons.

The deal is fishy: it is unthinkable that the US would surrender its major weapons market to the Russians. In terms of purchasing-power parity, a $7 billion Saudi purchase from Russia means a $35 billion loss for the American military-industrial complex.

S-400 would endanger all Israeli aircraft in the Negev. Just recently, IAF finished transferring its major base from Lod to Negev. In Lod, the base was in danger from Palestinian rockets.
Netanyahu asked for guarantees that the Saudis would deploy S-400 on the border with Iran rather than Israel, but nothing precludes the Saudis from reneging on their promises.

The location of the S-400 is not a problem because the Saudis won’t attack Israel. But Russian weapons sales to Saudi Arabia would open other Arab markets and flood the region with cheap and efficient Russian arms.

The Saudi deal won’t preclude the Russians from delivering S-300 to Iran. US officials imagine that everyone is motivated by money and that Russia would rationally abandon Iran for a better deal. But Russia sells S-300 to Iran to gain influence in the region, rather than earn a few hundred million dollars.

Clinton AbbasImmediately after Israelis sighed with relief following Clinton’s comments that Obama is satisfied with the current limits on settlement construction, she issued a different statement in Cairo.

Now Clinton wants the freeze to last “forever.” Unless she misspoke, this can only mean that Obama wants Israel to dismantle all the settlements, leaving 360,000 Jews homeless.

Clinton apparently changed her position in response to the Palestinians’ refusal to negotiate with Israel until we freeze construction.

Egged buses, IsraelAn Arab-Israeli Supreme Court judge, one Salim Jubran, has upheld the fine against Egged bus company.

In the complaint, an Arab passenger charged that the driver played the radio too loud. As the bus company correctly pointed out, the Arab was upset about the Jewish content of the radio station, rather than volume.

Thai workers in IsraelAs if the 360,000 migrant workers already here were not enough for the country, the Knesset Committee for Foreign Workers has promised to expedite visas for scores of Thai workers.

The state pays unemployment benefits to hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

Normal Jews moved into the Sheikh Jarrah home, despite violent protests by leftist Jews and Arabs on the site.

The legal battle has been going on since 1967: after Israel liberated East Jerusalem, Jews claimed ownership of 27 homes in the Sheikh Jarrah area, which Jordan had confiscated in 1948. Israeli courts are not very forthcoming when Jews claim their property from Palestinians.

Israeli media either ignored or downplayed a routine incident: Palestinians hurled stones at a Jewish car near Beit Syrah, wounding a seven-year-old Jewish child.

According to Der Spiegel, Iran demands that Syria return the uranium rods which Syria borrowed for its nuclear reactor, which was bombed by Israel two years ago.

But Iran does not need the rods: Russia fully supplies its Bushehr reactor, and consumption in Tehran’s medical reactor must be very small.

As we predicted, Iran is planning to reprocess uranium rods into weapons-grade uranium.

November 2009
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