Israel intercepts rocket shipment

Israeli navel aid nabs rocket shipment

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli naval forces on Wednesday seized a ship laden with rockets allegedly bound for militants in the Gaza Strip, and officials accused Iran of orchestrating the delivery in an elaborate 5,000-mile (8,000-kilometer) journey that included covert stops across the region.

The Syrian-made M-302 rockets would have put Israel’s biggest cities well within range of Gaza, where militants already possess thousands of less powerful rockets. During eight days of fighting in 2012, armed groups fired 1,500 rockets into Israel, including several that reached the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The naval raid, which took place in the Red Sea hundreds of miles from Israel, came as Iran showed off powerful new ballistic missiles equipped with multiple warheads. The arms bust drew renewed Israeli calls for world powers to toughen their stand in negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program.

Iran has been exposed for what it is. It smiles in the Geneva talks about its own nuclear ambitions, gives soothing words, and as they’re doing that, they’re shipping these deadly weapons to the world’s worst terrorists,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in California during a U.S. visit. “Such a regime must not be able to have the capacity to make nuclear weapons.

More http://www.mail.com/news/world/2694198-israeli-naval-raid-nabs-rocket-shipment.html#.7518-stage-hero1-12

Churches call for Congressional investigation into aid to Israel

 

The NY Times is reporting that a group of Christian churches are asking Congress to investigate and hold hearings on US aid to Israel, due to what they call human rights abuses toward Palestinians.

It also reports that while they claim both sides are responsible for problems, they only call for an investigation “into Israel’s activities.”.

Church Appeal on Israel Angers Jewish Groups

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: October 20, 2012

“The controversy began on Oct. 5, when the Christian groups sent a letter urging Congress to hold hearings into whether Israel was violating the terms for foreign aid recipients. The Christian leaders wrote that they had “witnessed widespread Israeli human rights violations against the Palestinians, including killing of civilians, home demolitions and forced displacement, and restrictions on Palestinian movement.”
/…
The signers, besides the Presbyterians, included leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Methodist Church, the National Council of Churches, the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker agency) and the Mennonite Central Committee. Two Catholic leaders also signed, one with the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, an umbrella group of men’s religious orders. “

The Christian leaders’ letter acknowledged that both Israelis and Palestinians had suffered, and that both sides bore responsibility. But it called for an investigation into only Israel’s activities.

The Jewish leaders said such an approach was a double standard. The Palestinian Authority also receives foreign aid from the United States and has also been accused of rights violations, they said.

“Where’s the letter to Congress about Syria, which is massacring its own people?” said Rabbi Steven Wernick, the chief executive of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. “When Israel is the only one that is called to account, that’s when it becomes problematic.”

The letter says
U.S. churches and religious organizations committed to seeking a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians. [in closing]

Unfortunately, unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel has contributed to this deterioration, sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians. This is made clear in the most recent 2011 State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices covering Israel and the Occupied Territories1, which details widespread Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinian civilians, many of which involve the misuse of U.S.-supplied weapons.

Accordingly, we urge an immediate investigation into possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act which respectively prohibit assistance to any country which engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations and limit the use of U.S. weapons2 to “internal security” or “legitimate self-defense.”3 More broadly, we urge Congress to undertake careful scrutiny to ensure that our aid is not supporting actions by the government of Israel that undermine prospects for peace. We urge Congress to hold hearings to examine Israel’s compliance, and we request regular reporting on compliance and the withholding of military aid for non-compliance.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/us/church-appeal-on-israel-angers-jewish-groups.html?hp&_r=1&

________________________________________________________

Israel Seizes Pro-Palestinian Activist Ship off Gaza

Saturday, 20 Oct 2012

The Israeli navy seized an international pro-Palestinian activist ship on the Mediterranean high seas on Saturday to prevent it breaching Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, a military spokeswoman said.

She said no one was hurt when marines boarded the SV Estelle, a three-mast schooner, and that it was rerouted to the Israeli port of Ashdod after it ignored orders to turn away from the Hamas-governed Palestinian enclave.

Read more on Newsmax.com: Israel Seizes Pro-Palestinian Activist Ship off Gaza