-- April 15, 2012-Israel Turns Back Would be Demonstrators, Killing Continues in Syria, Egyptian Election Chaos

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Israel Update
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

April 15, 2012-Israel Turns Back Would be Demonstrators, Killing Continues in Syria, Egyptian Election Chaos

For the last few days the Israeli news has been obsessed with the story of the Pro-Palestinian demonstrators who flew into Tel Aviv today and wanted to go to Bethlehem to protest the occupation. From a tactical standpoint the actions of the Israeli government have been a great success. The government convinced European governments, as well as airlines, not to allow the majority of the expected demonstrators to board their aircrafts. Of those that did board planes, the authorities managed to intercept 49 of them at Ben-Gurion Airport. Many of these hopeful demonstrators were immediately put on planes back to their cities of origin. Though, 29 French citizens will spend tonight in an Israeli jail, until they can be placed on a departing flight tomorrow.

It seems less than a dozen of the demonstrators escaped the Israeli dragnet and made it to Bethlehem. The question that remains is why? Israel went to tremendous efforts to stop this attempted protest. To many, these efforts seemed like self-defeating over kill. It might not matter in any case, considering the events of the world in the past few months, these intended demonstrations have received very little coverage outside of Israel.

One event commandeering the world stage remains the continued killings in Syria. A ceasefire has supposedly gone into effect. As a result, only 19 people were killed today. Since Kofi Anan announced his peace plan, 1,100 Syrians have lost their lives. The number of casualties is greater than died all those who died in all of the wars between Israel and Syria.

Meanwhile, Egypt has descended into additional chaos, with the decision by the Egyptian election commission to void the leading Salafi, the official candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, and an old confidante of Mubarak as candidate in the Presidential race. Each of the aforementioned, as well as a group of minor candidates were disqualified for different technical reasons. These disqualifications have further clouded the race and strengthened the feeling that nothing has really changed in Egypt. Meanwhile, the Egyptian economy continues to slide toward oblivion.

I wish I could say something intelligent about the talks that took place yesterday between Iran and the West, in Istanbul. However, I have no insight. Any progress, or lack of it, has been covered up for the moment by positive statements about the atmosphere of the talks. Hopefully in the coming days we will know more.

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