Libyan-chartered ship docks in El-Arish

The New York Times is reporting from Cairo that the port director in El Arish says the Libyan-chartered Amalthea, docked at about 1 p.m today. and was expected to immediately begin unloading its cargo.

The NYTimes further reports, a propos continued speculation about some kind of “deal” or other: that “Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, son of Libyan leader. Muammar Qaddafi, said in an interview with Ash-Sharq al-Awsat “that the Israelis ‘agreed to let Libya spend $50 million’ through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees [UNRWA]. The money, he said, would be used ‘to support the Palestinians and for reconstruction, including allowing construction materials and prefabricated homes’ … A spokesman for the United Nations agency did not immediately comment”. This report is posted here.

This is all a bit mysterious, because Libya was always free to contribute as much as it liked to UNRWA, for the Palestinians, whenever it liked (though it probably did not do so, previously, up until now…)

Juan Cole has also posted on his blog, Informed Comment, an item reporting that “al-Quds al-Arabi reports in Arabic that the Qadhafi Foundation is maintaining that it extracted several concessions from Israel in return for diverting to the Egyptian port, including a pledge that travel abroad for treatment of ill Palestinians in Gaza would be expedited and reconstruction projects would be allowed to go forward (one in 8 Palestinians in Gaza had their homes destroyed in the 2008-2009 Israeli assault on the Strip.)”… This, published here, is also a bit mysterious…

Larry Derfner wrote today in his column for the Jerusalem Post that “Given the way Israel behaves now, it’s pretty sad to remember that it was envisioned as a country where the Jews ran their own national affairs – but nobody else’s. Now it’s not enough for Israel to have its own coast, its own territorial waters, its own airspace – no, we’ve got to control Gaza’s coast, Gaza’s territorial waters, Gaza’s airspace, too. The Gaza Strip is part of our sphere of influence. Let any Turkish ship, Libyan ship or any other ship we don’t like try to sail into Gaza, and they’ll get a taste of gunboat diplomacy, Israeli-style” …

The Larry Derfner article continued: “We fly spy planes over Lebanon on a daily basis. We blew up the beginnings of a nuclear reactor in Syria. We run the lives of two million Palestinians in the West Bank and take their land piece by piece. Why? Because might makes right. If anybody tried to blockade our coast and our airspace, if anybody flew spy planes over us, if anybody blew up one of our nuclear installations, if anybody ruled our lives at gunpoint and built foreign settlements on our land, we’d kill whoever we had to kill to stop it. But the Arabs are weak and we’re strong, so we get away with it … The Arabs want to destroy us, we say, that’s why we have to blockade this and bomb that and put up a new row of houses over there … All the Islamic countries are afraid of Israel, and for good reason – because this country is much stronger than all of them put together. We do things to the Palestinians, to Syria, to Lebanon and, reportedly, to Iran that we would never let anyone do to us in a million years – and they can’t stop us. They are extremely reluctant to even try; our military power deters them. So what more do we want from our enemies before we’ll stop screwing with them? Love? Recognition of the justice of the Zionist cause? An admission that they were wrong all these years and we were right? If that’s what we’re waiting for, we came to the wrong neighborhood. If we’re going to go on intercepting ships until their sponsors accept our right to keep Gaza under lock and key, we’re going to be engaged in gunboat diplomacy for a long time. If we think we can rule the West Bank Palestinians until they give up even nonviolent resistance, fly spy planes over Lebanon until Hizbullah agrees that we have the right to bear arms but it doesn’t, and bomb enemy nuclear sites until the whole Middle East acknowledges Israel as its sole, rightful nuclear power, then our future here is untenable. Maybe the United States and Russia can hold sway over their regions, maybe they can have spheres of influence, but a little Jewish state surrounded by 57 Muslim states cannot. Neither our enemies nor our friends will allow us to be a mini-empire, a hegemon, for long. That’s a recipe for escalating, never-ending conflict”. This commentary by Larry Derfner is published in the Jerusalem Post here.

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