- Pope Francis wins another ‘Person of the Year’ — from gay rights magazine
- Rep. Steve Stockman: Give my campaign $10, and you’ll get an Obama barf bag
- Putin: Russia to buy $15 billion in Ukraine bonds
- Expert: Obamacare ‘death spiral’ fears exaggerated
- Alabama firefighters dig for survivors of apartment blast
- Big Sur wildfire destroys home of firefighting chief
- ‘ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas’ set for mock trial to argue authorship
- Angela Merkel’s third term as Germany’s chancellor to be marked by move to left
- Mega Millions entices with record-setting jackpot: Half a billion so far
- Dennis Rodman heads to North Korea — despite execution, political purge
Palestinian firefighters barred from Israeli fete
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel barred a group of Palestinian firefighters who helped battle the country’s worst wildfire from attending a ceremony in their honor Tuesday, the latest in a series of embarrassments over Israel’s handling of the blaze.
Eleven Palestinians were invited to attend the event in northern Israel, where the fire raged earlier this month.
Israeli Arab lawmaker Ahmad Tibi, one of the event’s organizers, said the fete was called off when three of the Palestinians were refused entry.
Palestinian fire chief Ahmed Rizek, whose permit arrived too late for him to attend, said entry refusals for no apparent reason were routine — an example of what West Bank Palestinians put up with daily.
About 20 Palestinian firefighters joined the international effort against the blaze that killed 43 people as it swept through the Carmel forest in Israel’s north, the biggest forest fire Israel has ever seen. In the end, firefighting aircraft and crews from abroad helped put it out.
Tuesday’s ceremony was set to take place in Usfiya, an Israeli Arab town near to where the blaze erupted, and the Palestinian firefighters were to be awarded certificates at the event.
The cancellation was an embarrassment to Israel at a time when its leaders insist they want to negotiate a peace deal with the Palestinians, and called into question the effectiveness of Israeli security measures.
Palestinians need permits to enter Israel from the West Bank, and many complain that approval or rejection can be arbitrary.
Mr. Tibi said the military turned the firefighters away on security grounds.
“It’s a theater of the absurd. This is a regular day-to-day practice of the occupation, and it exposes its ugly face,” Mr. Tibi told the Associated Press.
The Israeli military said the slight was unintentional.
“The delay in handing out the permits occurred because of a technical error in coordination between the two sides,” military spokesman Maj. Guy Inbar said in a statement, adding that he “regretted the incident.”
“The Israeli approach toward the Palestinians is about control rather than security,” Mr. Khatib said.
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
- PRUDEN: The scam that will not die
- Wasted: Tom Coburn's 'Wastebook targets 70 days in bed, Facebook
- Robert E. Lee and 'Stonewall' Jackson tributes face Army War College removal
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Zadzooks: The Joker sixth scale figure review (Sideshow Collectibles)
- House seeks Fast and Furious gun-walking documents
- Army to cut up to 4,000 captains and majors
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
- Domino's launches its first vegan pizza
- OBAMASCARE: Huge premium hikes rock employer-insured workers
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow