An earthquake that measured 5.5 on the Richter scale according to the Israel Geological Survey (other sources say 5.1 or 5.2), with its epicenter in the northern Sinai, 90 kilometers south of Eilat, sent slight tremors through Israel on Saturday around 6:34 PM.
No damage was reported. The quake occurred on the East African rift.
Ben-Gurion airport shut down for the duration of the tremors.
Residents in Ashkelon said their furniture shook. Yediot Acharonot reported that cows in the Arava, north of Eilat, apparently sensed the earthquake was on its way and started mooing several minutes before the tremors were felt.
In Egypt, the earthquake shook buildings in Cairo, more than 200 miles away from the epicenter in the Sinai.
Tremors caused dust storms nears the Red Sea, and strong winds whipped sand through the air in Cairo, forcing people to remain indoors.
The first of three or four boats trying to break Israel’s anti-terror maritime embargo on Gaza left the Greek island of Crete Friday morning and is scheduled to dock in Gaza on Sunday or morning.
Israel has said that the boats will not reach Gaza under any circumstances.
The Israeli Navy will stop the flotilla, as it has done in the past, but activists say that since the Marianne of Gothenburg boat flies the Swedish flag, Israel could be accused of a war crime
“War crime” is the buzz words these days, usually referring to any action by Israel that does not further the aims of the Palestinian Authority, which yesterday said it is bringing to the International Criminal Court (ICC) charges that building homes for Jews and a highway in Jerusalem are war crimes.
Pro-Hamas activists have learned their lessons from previous publicity stunts and are keeping mum on the boats’ location, a rather childish act since the IDF has enough surveillance equipment to know exactly where they are without any help from the flotilla’s public relations staff.
The departure date of the flotilla had been delayed. Activists claim that Israeli agents sabotaged at least one of the boats, but others say that inclement weather forced the activists to postpone their trip.
As usual, the activists are trying to attract as much attentions as possible and have brought an Israeli Arab Knesset Member with them. MK Basel Ghattas and a former Tunisian president are among the 70 people on board the lead ship.
Organizers of the flotillas have assured Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that they are not bringing any weapons with them. In 2010, Turkish-based terrorists used iron bars and two pistols to challenge Israeli Navy officers who boarded the Mavi Mamara ship. Ten of the terrorists were killed in the clash.
“If there is some kind of violent confrontation, it won’t come from our side,” a left-wing Israeli activist said.
The Marianne is carrying one solar panel and medical supplies, all of which can easily reach Gaza by land from Israel. A single solar panel is absolutely useless, except as propaganda to “con the world,” as seen in the video below.
Lost in the hype and reports by establishment media that are hungry for anti-Israel news is the fact the solar panels and medical supplies cannot enter Gaza so freely from Egypt, which has blocked passage several times, including this past month.
The last word in the new flotilla stunt already has been written: The IDF will stop the boats before they can get too close to Gaza, the Foreign Ministry told The JewishPress.com.
If the passengers indeed are unarmed, the whole scene will be a circus for the media.
The IDF will warn the captain of the boats not to proceed. He will refuse, forcing the Navy to surround the ships.
The Navy officers will try to find a way to take over the wheel if the captain does not cooperate.
Everyone will arrive in the port of Ashdod, and the passengers will call the soldiers “war criminals” and perhaps will sit down in a circle and clasp hands, singing “We shall overcome” as four soldiers haul each passenger off the boat.
The news photographers will love it, and perhaps Gaza terrorists will celebrate by launching a rocket or two at Israel.
If they are lucky, the missiles won’t fall short and explode on a house in Gaza, in which case Israel would be accused of committing a war crime because the “occupation made them do it.”
Below is the video “We Con the World,” produce by the Latma satirical group after the Mavi Mamaras clash five years ago.
A New York-based group of journalists say there is an “unprecedented threat” to journalists in Egypt, where Obama backs the current regime.
The threat to journalists under Egypt’s regime of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi is “unprecedented,” the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), warned Thursday.
President Barack Obama has backed the Al-Sisi regime after backing, and then turning his back, on Hosni Mubarak and then Mohammed Morsi of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood party.
In a report filed by The Associated Press, the committee of journalists said that Egypt has imprisoned 18 news reporters , mostly for accusations that they are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
“CPJ spoke to high-level officials, including the prosecutor-general and the minister of transitional justice, who denied that Egypt was holding any journalists in jail in relation to their work,” the group said. “But CPJ research shows that the government of el-Sisi … has used the pretext of national security to crack down on human rights, including press freedom.
One case cited is that of Mahmoud Abou-Zeid, arrested in August 2013 while taking photographs of the violent dispersal of a pro-Morsi protest where Al-Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ‘s police and army killed hundreds of demonstrators.
The journalist still is in prison, but no charges have been filed.
President Barack Obama is “deeply troubled” over yesterday’s death sentence to former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, who led the Muslim Brotherhood’s violent rebellion against Hosni Mubarak and then wears thrown out of office for the same crimes as his predecessor.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said:
We are deeply troubled by the politically motivated sentences that have been handed down against former president Morsi and several others by an Egyptian court today. The United States has repeatedly raised concerns about the detention and sentencing of a variety of political figures in Egypt. We are concerned that proceedings have been conducted in a way that is not only contrary to universal values but also damaging to stability that all Egyptians deserve.
The death sentence actually was a confirmation of the same ruling previously delivered by an Egyptian court, which re-affirmed it Tuesday after its approval by the Grand Mufti. Morsi will appeal the ruling.
Morsi was convicted for murder and kidnapping during a massive jailbreak he helped organize in the uprising against Hosni Mubarak in 2011. He also was sentenced on Tuesday to 25 years in jail, which is considered “life” in the Egyptian courts, for espionage.
Mubarak was a ruthless autocrat who maintained stability with the usual Middle East Arab anti-democratic rule.
The Arab Spring protest movement, which was encouraged by President Obama, swept through Egypt, forced Mubarak out of office and was followed by American-backed elections that were democratic, but only by Egypt’s standards
The Muslim Brotherhood, which had been outlawed under the Mubarak regime, swept into power and was welcomed by Obama, whose office said at the time:
The United States will continue to support Egypt’s transition to democracy and stand by the Egyptian people as they fulfill the promise of their revolution He [Obama] emphasized his interest in working together with President-elect Morsi, on the basis of mutual respect, to advance the many shared interests between Egypt and the United States.
After it became clear that Morsi was Mubarak by a different name, only worse, and after his regime murdered, tortured and imprisoned thousands of protesters, Obama stated:
When I took a position that it was time for Egypt to transition [away from Hosni Mubarak in 2011], it was based on the fact that Egypt had not had democratic government for decades, if ever. And that’s what the people were calling for.
So why is Obama so troubled over the death sentence to Morsi and not death sentences for Palestinian Authority Arabs who sell land to Jews, or drug dealers and even those convicted for blasphemy and who are executed in Saudi Arabia?
And if he is so concerned that the death sentence was politically motivated, how about alleged spies for Israel who are hanged by Iran?
Or could it be that President Obama doesn’t want history to record that a man whom he once supported was sentenced to death for murder and terror?
Obama also has supported Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who has turned out to be another version of Mubarak.
But it does not matter so long as the United States has declared there is democracy in Egypt.
In the Sinai, the local ISIS chapter launched rockets at an airport used by Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) peacekeepers in the Sinai. The MFO are there as part of the 1979 Camp David treaty between Egypt and Israel.
It is unclear is the rockets landed inside or outside the boundaries of the airport. There are no reports of injuries from the attack.
ISIS/Sinai took credit for the attack via Twitter.
Egypt has expanded its war on Hamas smuggling and terror tunnels and is forcing 10,000 families out of their homes in an area up to a third of a mile from the Gaza-Egypt border.
Egypt’s Al-Sisi regime announced last year it would evacuate families from the northern Sinai Peninsula border area to create a buffered zone of approximately 300 meters in an effort to shut down the tunnel system that has helped terrorists kill dozens of Egyptian soldiers.
That area now has been extended to 500 meters and includes 10,000 more families on the Egyptian side of the city of Rafah and in adjacent neighborhoods.
Shutting down the tunnel system not only makes it more difficult for terrorists to attack but also hits Hamas in the pocket book because the tunnels are a high source of revenue for the terrorist organization.
More than 1,000 families also have been relocated after being forced out of their homes, which have been destroyed.
However, Gaza terrorists still maintain and expand a terror tunnel system on its northern and western borders with Israel, which would not dare expand its buffer zone along the security fence.
The United Nations still condemns Israel for the “blockade” that is almost non-existent. It has not yet blamed Israel for Egypt’s expansion of the buffer zone.