First, there was Alawi offering a handshake to the Israeli ambassador in the UN General Assembly. Now there's this from the Jerusalem Post:
Used Israeli buses end up in Iraq
THE JERUSALEM POST
Dec. 9, 2004
Some 150 decade-old buses from Israel were sold to Iraq in recent months, general manager of Shasha Tours & Transportation Udi Shasha told The Jerusalem Post.
Shasha, who is part of a trade delegation visiting India, said that his company was approached less than a year ago by a Jordanian company asking it to buy dozens of used Israeli buses for Iraq.
"They called us and said they need as many buses as possible immediately," he said. "They were looking specifically for 10-year-old Mercedes 303 buses as they have spare parts for those buses in Iraq."
Shasha has managed to buy some 70 buses, which were exported to Jordan through the Allenby Bridge and were driven from there to Iraq. An additional 70 buses were acquired by the Jordanian company directly from Israeli Arab car dealers.
The buses, which were originally used by Egged, were purchased from different tour companies. Shasha said he has also sold four or five other buses from the same model that could not be fixed, for spare parts. The buyers have asked for more buses, but Shasha said there were hardly any such buses left in Israel.
"I believe that the buses are used by the American army to transfer civilians in Iraq," Shasha said. "I don't think there are private merchants in Iraq who have enough money to buy so many buses."
The buyers have instructed Shasha to strip the vehicles of all Hebrew signs and to take out the video screens from the buses that had them.
"They were under real pressure to buy the buses and they didn't even check them before the delivery. Any bus that was moving was taken right away," he said. "We managed to send them all the buses within four to 30 days."
The buses were sold for $25,000 apiece, some 20 percent above their market price in Israel.
Shasha said he had received a request earlier this week to try and locate Volvo buses manufactured in 1990-93 and he believes they would also be sent to Iraq.