Tumult can be identified on several fronts right now, starting with the issue of the death of PA official and terrorist Zaid Abu Ein yesterday.
I had hoped that the autopsy, once it was done, would firmly put to rest the charge by the PA that we “killed” this man because our soldiers beat him with a rifle butt, etc. What actually happened after the autopsy, which was attended last night by an Israeli pathologist as well as Jordanian and Palestinian Arab medical personnel – and done under Jordanian auspices – was a bit more convoluted:
Reports earlier today seemed to indicate that the Israeli doctor, who said the cause of death was clearly a heart attack, was at odds with the Jordanian and Palestinian Arab officials who continued to maintain that Abu Ein had died from being struck, inhaling tear gas and not receiving prompt medical attention. But that assessment apparently came from one Palestinian official who shared this perspective with Reuters.
Now, it seems the various assessments are not so far apart. Abu Ein died of a heart attack. Not from a beating or being strangled or the like. That the heart attack was brought on by stress is a possibility.
This is the statement from the Israeli Ministry of Health:
Abu Ein’s death “was caused by a blockage of the coronary artery (one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart) due to hemorrhaging underneath a layer of atherosclerotic plaque. The bleeding could have been caused by stress…
“Indications of light hemorrhaging and localized pressure were found in his neck. The deceased suffered from ischemic heart disease; blood vessels in his heart were found to be over 80% blocked by plaque. Old scars indicating that he suffered from previous myocardial infarctions were also found.
“The poor condition of the deceased’s heart caused him to be more sensitive to stress. It is necessary to wait for the medical treatment report before determining more incisive explanations on this matter.”
IDF Spokesman, Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner, speaking with Sky News about the investigation:
The report on medical treatment is important because what is described as light hemorrhaging may have been caused not by anything IDF soldiers did, but rather by attempts by Arab medical personnel to resuscitate him.
I would like to make two other points here, and would hope then, to turn to other matters. My guess is that in the end, after all the requisite grandstanding, the PA will not break off security cooperation with Israel in spite of threats to do so. Quite simply: the PA will suffer if it does so.
IDF soldiers have made it clear (Algemeiner source cited above) that they acted “moderately” and within the “official rules of engagement” when dealing with Abu Ein. I make the point again here that this was a hostile man, prone to violence. Abu Ein and his group of protesters had been told that they could not advance beyond a certain point, but they attempted to advance anyway and had to be stopped. According to the report of one officer, the protesters were attempting to move towards an IDF jeep, with intent of hanging a Palestinian flag on it.
The rules of engagement would have required the soldiers to fire on the protesters, at their legs. But the officers instead acted with restraint and did not fire – just pushing them back instead.
Lastly, I would like to call my readers’ attention to something I learned after I wrote last night. I had indicated that an Israeli medic had offered medical assistance on the scene – assistance that might have saved him. But, according to reports, Abu Ein refused this assistance, requesting that he be taken to Ramallah instead.
As it turns out, it appears that it was not Abu Ein who made the decision to reject the assistance of the Israeli medic – it was the decision of his “associates” – those who were surrounding him.
See the video at Sky News Arabia. About 9 or 10 seconds into it, you see Abu Ein being lifted up by those around him and carried away. In that moment, there is a glimpse of someone with a blue glove. That is the Israel medic, who was standing right there, prepared to lend assistance. The actions of the Arabs surrounding Abu Ein, who had just had the heart attack, may have sealed his death. The charge of “lack of medical care” points the finger in the wrong direction.
Briefly, now, I want to do a turn about and look at the political circus, which is filled with its own sort of ferment. Please understand that three months is a very long time in an Israeli campaign. Polls leaning in one direction may reflect something else in a matter of weeks. Thus, I prefer at this point to only paint a political picture in broad strokes.
The Likud Central Committee has approved Prime Minister Netanyahu’s proposal to move up the date of the primaries – which determine the order of candidates on the party list -until December 31. This is considered a major victory for Netanyahu. It is presumed that he sought this change in the primary date so that potential candidates who would challenge him as head of the list would not have time to put their campaigns in order.
“Potential candidates” = Gideon Sa’ar. And what do you know? Sa’ar has just announced he would not be running in the Likud primary after all. At least not this time around.
The scuttlebutt of the last few days has been that Netanyahu has gotten weak and is losing control in Likud. But this victory goes a long way to dispelling that impression. All the more is this so, as the proposal that has been approved also permits the chair of the party to select the candidates for the 11th and 24th spots on the Knesset list.
Danny Danon – who has been locking horns with Netanyahu for some time – will be challenging him in the primary. Danon has his eye on the premiership, certainly, but I do not believe that he or anyone else seriously considers that he will achieve the number one spot on the list now.
On the left, Yitzhak “Bujie” Herzog (Labor) and Tzipi Livni (Hatenua) have decided to join forces and combine their lists, in order to successfully challenge Netanyahu. And right now the polls are looking good for them. From where I sit, this is the stuff of nightmares. They say they would take turns serving as prime minister.
The big story, in the end, may rest with those parties that are relatively centrist, as they might swing in either direction.
There are rumors of all sorts of cooperative efforts or list mergers among the parties of Lapid (Yesh Atid – “there is a future”), Lieberman (Yisrael Beitenu – “Israel our home”), and Kahlon (the brand new Kulanu – “all of us”).
They deny these rumors, and I do not trust their denials. Anything is possible.
I expect nothing of Lapid and wish he would disappear from the political map with this election.
Kahlon, originally from Likud, seems to have a solid following, but he makes me mighty uneasy. He calls himself “centrist-right,” but declares that he knows when to give up land and is for negotiations with the PA. Centrist-right?
And Lieberman? His self-serving game-playing is a huge disappointment. Remember that he had a combined list with Likud the last time around. There is the possibility that he won’t go along with Lapid and Kahlon, but is lending the impression that he might in order to be better able to name his political price when going with Likud.
It seems a reasonable certainty that the Ultra-Orthodox parties (Shas, Sephardi, and United Torah, Ashkenazi) will figure in the next coalition. Right now there is considerable tension within Shas itself, between Aryeh Deri and Eli Yishai. Something else to track.
And today’s good news:
An Israeli start-up company called White Innovation has developed a machine – the “Genie” – that prepares food in pods that have a shelf life of up two years. We’re talking about healthy meals, without preservatives added. There are savory dishes and sweet; breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, gluten-free meals and other specialties – all of which are reconstituted by the “Genie.” A launch is planned for mid-January.
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