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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Israel to be excluded from weapons smuggling prevention meeting?

There's a meeting planned for next Wednesday in Denmark to agree on procedures to prevent weapons from being smuggled into Gaza from Iran and other sympathetic countries (presumably Syria).

The meeting follows the 11th hour agreement between English-impaired Tzipora Livni and then-US Secretary of State Condi Clueless, pursuant to which Livni agreed to place Israel's security in the hands of the American government by employing the US Navy to search for weapons smuggling ships on Israel's behalf. Pursuant to that agreement, the United States intercepted a weapons smuggling ship heading from Iran to Gaza in the Red Sea last week. The Americans were afraid to impound the cargo - apparently weapons in closed containers - because the legalities of doing so under maritime law are unclear. But they did not allow the ship to land on the Sinai coast.

Because the ship could not dump its cargo in Sinai, it decided to head up through the Suez Canal and leave it for 'fishermen' off the Gaza Coast. The Egyptians first did not want to allow the ship through the canal, hoping it would go back and dump its cargo in Sinai, but eventually they allowed it through, accompanied by the USS San Antonio. The San Antonio prevented the ship from dumping its cargo off Gaza, with the Israelis standing close by to make sure of that. The ship is now headed for the Syrian port of Latakia where the Syrians will try to figure out how to get the weapons to Hamas. (These are my conclusions based on several reports in the mainstream media and at DEBKA, but my scenario seems likely).

The meeting that is to take place in Denmark next week was supposed to bring together Israel, Egypt, the US and the Europeans to coordinate weapons smuggling prevention. But now Egypt has decided that the meeting is 'unnecessary' and as a result, Israel may not be invited.
Israel wants to participate in the meeting, initiated by the US and Denmark, but Egypt thinks it is unnecessary, one official said, adding that if Egypt didn't attend, Israel would likely not be invited.

Egyptian spokesman have said repeatedly that Cairo would not allow an international representation on its soil to help combat arms smuggling, but would accept technical assistance.

Egypt has also denied that the weapons were coming into Gaza via the tunnels running under its border with the Strip, saying that they were being smuggled in by sea.
And if you believe that the weapons are coming in only by sea, I have a bridge to sell you....

But of course, now that they want to bar Israel from the meeting, the Euroweenies and the Hopenchange administration are downplaying its importance.
Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, characterized the Copenhagen conference as a "meeting of low-level officials. It is not a political meeting, it is a technical meeting."


While both EU and US officials seemed to be downplaying the conference Wednesday, some sources in Jerusalem were playing up the importance of the event, with senior Foreign Ministry officials traveling to numerous European capitals to prepare for it.
There's a silver lining in this cloud. Foreign minister Tzipora Livni had hoped for a high level meeting to enhance her status just a week before Israel's elections. Instead, we will have yet another piece of proof of her incompetence.
One government official said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had an interest in the meeting, because just a week before the elections, the conference would put "meat" on the memorandum of understanding she signed two weeks ago with the US, and the discussions she has had with the Europeans since Operation Cast Lead relating to the arms-smuggling issue.
Meat? Sounds more like roughage to me.


At 9:54 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its another example of why Israel should not subcontract her national security out to other countries. If Israel does not want to bothered to protect her own borders, there is no point to her existence. Being a sovereign state means assuming the responsibility of defending yourself. If Tzipi Livni is too dense or too stupid to grasp it, she has no business running to be Israel's next Prime Minister.


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