Ynet, the Yediot website, reports that the Libyan blockade-buster ship headed for Gaza this week agreed to divert to El-Arish in Egypt following a secret Israeli-Libyan deal. Under the deal, mediated by Egypt, Israel agreed to let Libya send $50 million worth of construction material into Gaza, via the U.N., for post-Cast Lead rehabilitation.
The report says the deal was sealed in a phone call from Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to Egypt’s intelligence minister, Omar Suleiman.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, chairman of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation which tried to send an aid vessel to Gaza, says he reached an Egyptian-mediated agreement with Israel on Wednesday, allowing him to infuse $50 million for the restoration of the Strip and transfer construction materials to Gaza. “We got the grapes, so why kill the vineyard guard?” the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi told the London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper. “We will soon start funneling $50 million in coordination with UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) to begin rebuilding Gaza and transfer humanitarian aid and construction materials, without any objection on the part of the Israeli government.”
Would the deal have been reached if the Labor Party were in the opposition and Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon or Avigdor (Yvet) Lieberman were defense minister? Hardly likely. Do such small mercies justify Labor remaining in the Bibi-Yvet coalition and keeping Barak at the helm? Hmmm. You decide.
Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).