Corker Visits Israel, West Bank Settlements And Gaza

Monday, July 20, 2009
Senator Corker greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
Senator Corker greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Senator Bob Corker returned on Monday from a weekend trip to Israel where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to discuss the resumption of Middle East peace negotiations and see firsthand the disputed settlements on the West Bank.

As a result of a meeting when Prime Minister Netanyahu was in the United States, and with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell expected to return to the region this month, Senator Corker wanted to focus on the issues central to reaching a future peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Senator Corker also made a brief trip into Gaza, and while there, saw the tunnels at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt where supplies and goods are being trafficked.

Senator Corker said, “In my meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, I expressed my strong support for the long term relationship and many mutual interests shared between the United States and Israel and my hope that peace discussions between him, George Mitchell and Palestinian leaders are productive. We know that the issues are complex, particularly the domestic political currents Prime Minister Netanyahu must navigate in reaching a conclusion that Israelis and the international community can accept and simultaneously appropriately dealing with Israel’s security needs.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken often about the need for security and economic growth for the West Bank and Prime Minister Fayyad has demonstrated his commitment to enhancing security and shown an ability to create the conditions for economic growth. In addition, Mr. Fayyad has directly taken on Hamas through his crackdown in the city of Nablus and other areas in the West Bank.

“Based on the areas of commonality I found with these two leaders, I told Mr. Netanyahu that I found it hard to believe that they had never met or even talked on the phone. Prime Minister Fayyad appears not to be an ideologue and more pragmatic than previous Palestinian Leaders. During our meeting I told Prime Minister Netanyahu that when the time is right a meeting with he and Prime Minister Fayyad could be constructive.”

Since Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, seized control from the Palestinian Authority in Gaza two years ago, Israel has limited cross border traffic into Gaza to humanitarian assistance and some other essential goods. Hamas has subsequently permitted the construction of hundreds of new smuggling tunnels for the trafficking of materials from Egypt into Gaza.

After being in Gaza on a visit coordinated by the United Nations, where several of the meetings focused on the smuggling activity, Senator Corker drove unannounced to the city of Rafah to see the tunnels firsthand.

“The unrestricted flow of goods across the Egyptian border, which common sense says must include weapons and other illicit activity, is stunning,” Senator Corker said. “One of the many problems this leads to is that Hamas takes a tariff from all the goods that are smuggled across the border through hundreds of these tunnels, which enriches this terrorist organization financially in the short term. There has to be a better way of managing the need for humanitarian assistance and, at the same time, assessing sanctions.”

Senator Corker meets with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Jerusalem.
Senator Corker meets with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Jerusalem.

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, BRANDON ALEXANDER  7600 MEADOW STREAM LOOP CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 21 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (2ND) FAILURE TO MAINTAIN LANE DRIVERS TO EXERCISE DUE CARE --- BASILIS, JOB EMMANUEL  10445 SCENIC VIEW DRIVE OOLTEWAH, 37363  ... (click for more)

20,676 Cast Ballots In First 4 Days Of Early Voting In Hamilton County

In the first four days of early voting in Hamilton County, 20,676 have already cast ballots. That includes 1,900 ballots received by mail. There were 5,157 who turned out at early voting sites on Wednesday and 5,083 on Thursday. The total on Friday was 5,011, and it was 3,818 on Saturday. Sites: Brainerd 1,084, 1080, 1,030, 816 Election Office 1,848, 1,731, ... (click for more)

Where Is The Highway Patrol? - And Response

I am teaching my 15-year-old to drive in the North Georgia and Chattanooga area. I have warned her of the dangers of exceeding the speed limit both as a hazard to herself and in terms of receiving a ticket. What a liar I am.  Have you driven on the local freeways and highways recently? I never see any highway patrolmen helping to reduce speeding or pulling over those who ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Vol Is Worth $521,854

The definition for the term “fair market value,” this from the IRS tax code, “is the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.” So a recent article in Business Insider has just revealed a University of Tennessee scholarship ... (click for more)

UTC Defeats VMI, 30-13; Mocs Seniors Gain 34th Career Win

UTC junior running back Richardre Bagley rushed for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns to lead the host Mocs to a 30-13 Southern Conference win against VMI at Finley Stadium before 10, 505 fans. "It's a huge confidence booster," Bagley said. "All credit goes to our great offensive line and receivers blocking down field. The coaches did a great job preparing us. Everyone ... (click for more)

Goetz Outlasts Huwe To Win Signal Mountain Pie Run

The annual Signal Mountain Pie Run is one of those races where you don’t have to be the first across the finish line to be the overall winner. It’s a prediction run, so the runner getting nearest his or her predicted time was honored with cash prizes. Gregg Sutton crossed the line next to the old Signal Mountain Junior High with a time of 46 minutes flat, which was exactly ... (click for more)