The Jerusalem Post is a good place to go for the latest developments in Gaza and Israel. The Post reports that Israel arrested a number of Hamas ministers as part of a criminal investigation, but is nevertheless willing to talk about exchanging them for the kidnapped soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit. Hamas says that proposal is premature.
President Mubarak of Egypt says that Hamas has agreed, conditionally, to hand over Cpl. Shalit, but there is no hint as to what the “conditions” are.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert put off a planned incursion into northern Gaza, hoping that Mubarak’s diplomatic initiative might bear fruit.
The ever-helpful United Nations warned of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza:
Hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Gaza Strip are on the brink of a humanitarian crisis after the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier and Israel’s response, the top UN humanitarian official said Thursday.
Israel’s bombing of a power plant Tuesday night cut 40 percent of power to the Gaza Strip and threatens to leave many of its 1.4 million civilians without water, Jan Egeland said.
Frankly, though, stories of diplomatic maneuvering didn’t have much impact on me. The story that I found affecting was about the funeral of Eliyahu Asheri, earlier today in Jerusalem. Asheri was abducted by Palestinian terrorists, for no apparent reason. He was murdered by them, also for no apparent reason, but in a manner that made DNA tests necessary to identify his corpse. Thousands of Israelis attended Asheri’s funeral. His mother Miriam gave an interview:
Miriam said it became clear to her during the course of these trials and tribulations, how wonderful Israel really is. She expressed gratitude to all the people who called to offer moral support.
“The help there was… I don’t have the words to describe how encouraging [it was]…how everyone was truly so wonderful,” she said.
“And I think this was also Eliyahu’s way. …Whenever there was a fight, he would always say, ‘Stop, everyone should have their place…,’ and his way was always one of peace. And I think this is an impetus – god forbid we should ever have such a terrible impetus – but an impetus for true unity between all factions, despite disagreements – and they do exist – but to see the good in the Jewish nation….”
Eliyahu’s grandfather spoke a more traditional lament at the funeral:
“Woe upon us that a grandfather has to eulogize his grandson,” said NRP MK Yitzhak Levy. “Eliahu, pray before God that no harm will come to Itamar, not from our enemies, and not from our brothers.”
Asheri was buried on the Mount of Olives.