Flotilla shuns Schalit
Pro-Palestinian activists on a convoy of ships planning to dock in Gaza port refused to bring a letter to Gilad Schalit from his family. The Freedom Flotilla, organized by the Free Gaza group, left from ports in Ireland, Greece and Turkey last week and is scheduled to arrive this Thursday off the coast of Gaza. Noam Schalit, father of the Israeli soldier who has been held captive in Gaza for four years, asked leaders of the flotilla to take the letter and a package to Hamas to give to his son, offering in exchange to try to convince the Israeli government to allow the convoy to land in Gaza. Israel decided that its navy would prevent the convoy from reaching Gaza, including by using force, and would deport the hundreds of activists aboard to their countries of origin. The humanitarian aid on board the ships, including food, clothing and construction materials, will be transferred to Gaza, however.
Gaza attack foiled
Israeli troops prevented three Palestinians from carrying out a terror attack near the border with Gaza. At least seven Palestinians reportedly were wounded last Thursday evening when Israel’s air force fired at three Palestinians planting explosives near the fence, close to Kibbutz Nahal Oz, Ynet reported. The Palestinians reportedly were taking advantage of heavy fog to carry out their mission. Following the foiling of the attack, several mortar shells were fired from Gaza at the area.
Joint paramedic training
Jordanian and Israeli paramedic students are training together for the first time. Fifteen Jordanian students spent the past academic year at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er Sheva as part of the Israeli-Jordanian Academic Emergency Medicine Collaboration. The three-year program, taught in English and Arabic, will allow Jordanian paramedics to obtain the same high level of emergency medical training as their Israeli counterparts, allowing them to respond more effectively to crises and natural disasters. Israel’s Magen David Adom and Jordan’s Red Crescent, as well as both governments, have sanctioned the program. In a region where collaboration with Israel is often shunned, project organizers noted the co-operation characterizing the program, the result of more than a decade of negotiations.
Israel, Vatican make headway
Israel and the Vatican are making progress toward finalizing an agreement on unresolved financial issues clouding relations between the two states. A Vatican communique said talks May 20 between the bilateral permanent working committee of the Holy See and the State of Israel “took place in a constructive atmosphere and made progress towards the mandated agreement.” The Vatican said the two sides will meet again at the Vatican later this month. Israel and the Vatican established diplomatic relations in 1993 but several financial issues, including tax exemptions and property rights for the Church, have remained unresolved despite years of fitful talks.
Minister’s indictment urged
Israeli police have recommended that the state prosecutor indict Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on charges of breach of trust for allegedly receiving classified information from an ongoing investigation against him for fraud and embezzlement. The recommendation carries no legal weight. Lieberman is suspected of laundering millions of shekels through various straw companies while serving as a public official and of obstructing the investigation into the money laundering charges. He denies wrongdoing.