Several unhappy news items caught my eye over the last day to start off 2012 on the left foot.
In case you thought the war with Hamas had quietened down in the south over the last few months you would be sadly mistaken. The latest in the worsening news is that white phosphorus has been found in the missiles shot from Gaza towards Israel’s southern communities. Yes, this is the same white phosphorus that Israel was libellously accused of shooting at civilians during Cast Lead 2 years ago.
The two mortar shells fired Sunday morning from the Gaza Strip at the Eshkol Regional Council contained while phosphorous, an examination revealed. The shells landed in an open field and caused no injuries or damage.
The Negev District Police bomb squad unit examined the shells and determined that they contained the substance, which is banned by international law for use inside dense population concentrations. Those exposed to white phosphorous might suffer from severe burns and other injuries.
Following Operation Cast Lead, the Palestinians claimed the IDF used white phosphorous during offensives in Gaza, however the army denied the claims. The Palestinians have reportedly fired shells containing the dangerous substance several times in the past.
Eshkol Regional Council Head Haim Yalin said in response: “This is the fourth time they fire mortar shells containing white phosphorous. We will complain to the United Nations, as we have done in the past, after we receive all the details.”
On the same subject but with a much wider and more dangerous reach, Iran announced that it had both test-fired a new radar-evading medium range missile and tested new nuclear fuel rods.
Iran test-fired a new medium-range missile, designed to evade radars, on Sunday during the last days of its naval drill in the Gulf, the official IRNA news agency quoted a military official as saying.
The 10-day naval exercise coincided with increased tension in Iran’s nuclear row with Western powers. Iranian state television reported Sunday that it successfully produced and tested fuel rods for its nuclear power plants.
And to finish up a morbid trifecta, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt announced that it does not view the Egypt-Israel peace treaty as binding.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood will not recognize Israel under any circumstances and might put the peace treaty with the Jewish state up to a referendum, the movement’s second in command told the Al-Hayat newspaper in an interview that was published Sunday.
The announcement comes days before the final round in the first parliamentary elections in post-uprising Egypt. The Islamist movement has emerged as the biggest winner in polls, capturing nearly half of the seats so far.
The Muslim Brotherhood “did not sign the peace accords,” Rashad al-Bayoumi told the London-based newspaper. “We are allowed to ask the people or the elected parliament to express their opinion on the treaty, and (to find out) whether it compromised the people’s freedom and sovereignty.
“We will take the proper legal steps in dealing with the peace deal,” he added. “To me, it isn’t binding at all. The people will express their opinion on the matter.”
While the Brotherhood intends to temporarily honor Egypt’s international pacts, al-Bayoumi told noted, “each side has the right to reexamine the treaty.”
He stressed that under no circumstances will the Brotherhood recognize the State of Israel.
“Is rising to power conditional on recognizing Israel?” al-Bayoumi wondered. “That’s out of the question, no matter what the situation is. On no condition will we recognize Israel. It is an enemy entity, an exploiting, criminal occupier.”
According to al-Bayoumi, no member of the Muslim Brotherhood will ever meet with Israelis.
I’m sure that’s going to make Israel feel so much more secure and ready to hand over valuable land to its Palestinian enemies. Not.
I fear that 2012 is going to be a repeat of 2011, but on turbo.