Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christians flee from the birthplace of Jesus

Palestinian police stand guard atop Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity


In Bethlehem, Palestinian Christians Are Suffering -Daniel Schwammenthal

Yussuf Khoury, 23, a Palestinian Christian from Gaza, fled his birthplace just two years ago. He wasn't running away from Israelis, but from his Palestinian brethren.

"Muslims tied to Hamas tried to take me twice," says Khoury, and he didn't want to find out what they'd do to him if they ever kidnapped him.

In 2007, one year after the Hamas takeover, the owner of Gaza's only Christian bookstore was abducted and murdered. Christian shops and schools have been firebombed. Little wonder that most of Khoury's Christian friends have also left Gaza.

Khoury, now a student at Bethlehem Bible College in the West Bank, tells me that Muslims often stand in front of the gate of the college and read from the Quran to intimidate Christian students. Other Muslims like to roll out their prayer rugs right in Manger Square.
(Wall Street Journal)


Bethlehem's Exodus: Christians Flee Muslim Pressure -Benny Avni

Bethlehem is fast losing its last few year-round Christian residents as rising Islamism pushes non-Muslims away.

There are frequent attacks on Christian cemeteries and churches; Christian-owned businesses are often defaced - and government jobs have grown scarce for non-Muslims.
(New York Post)
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

On covering women: 'social habit, not Islam'


Curb on Veil in Egypt Backed by Islamic Clerics -Dina Zayed

Egypt's three most prominent religious leaders have backed a government ban on the niqab, or full face veil, in dormitories and examinations, saying it had no basis in Islam.

"Al-Azhar is not against the niqab but against its misuse," the government-run al-Akhbar newspaper cited Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, the head of al-Azhar University, as saying.

He said it was a social habit that had no roots in sharia (Islamic law). More than 13 religious scholars have found that the face veil has no substantial roots in Islam, but rather can be considered a "form of extremism," the official MENA news agency cited Tantawi as saying.
(Reuters)
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Palestinian Authority banishes Christmas Choir


Choir caught in disharmony -Tim Franks

The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge [pictured above], will be singing Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the Israel Camerata Orchestra this week.

But the choir will not be able to perform in East Jerusalem or Bethlehem in the West Bank after a protest by the London-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Palestinian Authority against the choir's tour of Israel.
(BBC News)
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The cost of Gilad Shalit


Officials Warn Against Release of Terrorists -Yaakov Katz

As Israel's leaders discussed a proposed prisoner swap for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, senior defense officials said that a mass release of security prisoners to the West Bank would give Hamas a substantial boost and create major operational challenges and danger for the State of Israel.

A report published last year by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reported that out of the more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners released by Israel since 1985, over 50% have returned to the path of terror. "In the terror acts committed by these freed terrorists, hundreds of Israelis were murdered, and thousands were wounded," the report said.

For example, those freed in the Tannenbaum deal (in 2004) have since been responsible for the murder of at least of 35 Israelis.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Turning Darkness into Light: Chanukah in Sderot


Jewish Town Makes Menorah of Terror Rockets -Aaron Klein

Residents of the rocket-battered Israeli town of Sderot next to Gaza have every day this week lit a Hanukkah menorah [pictured above] fashioned out of Palestinian Kassam rockets that had been shot at their town.
(WorldNetDaily)
(Photo courtesy of David Cohen)
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Friedman calls for "parallel surge" among Muslims


Jihad.com -Thomas L. Friedman

A parallel surge is needed by Arab and Muslim political and religious leaders against those who promote violent jihadism and recruit young Muslims to engage in jihad against America and the West.

What is really scary is that this violent, jihadist minority seems to enjoy the most "legitimacy" in the Muslim world today. Few political and religious leaders dare to speak out against them in public. Secular Arab leaders wink at these groups.

[P]lease tell me, how are we supposed to help build something decent and self-sustaining in Afghanistan and Pakistan when jihadists murder other Muslims by the dozens and no one really calls them out?

Arabs and Muslims aspire to, are able to, and must be challenged to take responsibility for their world. If we want a peaceful, tolerant region more than they do, they will hold our coats while we fight, and they will hold their tongues against their worst extremists. They will lose, and we will lose.
(New York Times)
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New York Times blames Israel


Abbas Says No But Everyone Blames Netanyahu -Jonathan Tobin

The decision of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to freeze building homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank has earned him little credit.

Abbas, whose term in office will be extended without holding an election because his Fatah party knows it might lose to Hamas, has been telegraphing his lack of interest in talks all year.

Given the fact that the Palestinian public still won't accept any deal with Israel no matter where the borders are set, it's not likely that this will change.

Thus the conceit of Ethan Bronner's latest "Mideast Memo" in the New York Times, which ponders the sincerity of Netanyahu's desire for peace.

[T]he frustrating aspect isn't so much the condescension toward Netanyahu, but rather the way the peace process is framed - to put the entire onus on Israel to make concessions, while virtually ignoring the Palestinians complete refusal to accept the concept of peace with a Jewish state.

[T]he political culture of the Palestinians makes peace an impossibility even for their allegedly moderate leader.
(Commentary)
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

US should consider Iran strike


Why Iran Can't Be Contained -Danielle Pletka

Iran is proceeding with an aggressive nuclear weapons program, and much of the Obama administration has come to terms with that reality.

Official Washington has resigned itself to pursuing a containment policy that will [only] limit Iran's ability to proliferate, [after it has become] a nuclear power.

Privately, Obama administration officials confess that they believe Israeli action will preempt our policy debate, as Israel's tolerance for an Iranian nuke is significantly lower than our own.

But subcontracting American national security to Israel is an appalling notion, and we cannot assume that an Israeli action would not provoke a wider regional conflict into which the U.S. would be drawn.
(Washington Post)
[Bruce's Note: Alternatively, a strike by the United States may limit such a post-attack scenario.}
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Hamas digs up Christian graves: world silent


Hamas Disinters Christians in Gaza -Matthew Wagner

Every three minutes a Christian is being tortured in the Muslim world, and in 2009 more than 165,000 Christians will have been killed because of their faith, most of them in Muslim countries, according to a human rights group visiting Israel.

"Hamas digs up the bodies of Christians from Christian burial sites in the Gaza Strip claiming that they pollute the earth," said Rev. Majed El Shafie, 32, an Egyptian-born Christian and President of One Free World International, who heads a delegation of human rights activists visiting Israel for a conference on persecuted minorities.

El Shafie said that some 200-300 million Christians are being persecuted in the world, 80% of whom lived in Muslim countries.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Iran clamps down


Iran's New Crackdown on Women -Dana Goldstein

As part of an intensified crackdown against Iranian civil-rights activists in recent weeks, at least 11 feminist leaders have been summoned to court, threatened over the phone, or banned from traveling, according to the One Million Signatures Campaign, a national effort by Iranian feminists to collect 1 million signatures on a petition demanding an end to discrimination against women.

Last month, Iranian state television ran a documentary attacking the women's rights movement, and female TV announcers were barred from wearing makeup on air.
(Daily Beast)
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Iran's smoking gun


Iran's Nuclear Trigger Exposed -Catherine Philp

Confidential intelligence documents show that Iran is working on testing a key final component of a nuclear bomb. The notes, from Iran's most sensitive military nuclear project, describe a four-year plan to test a neutron initiator, the component that triggers an explosion.

Mark Fitzpatrick, senior fellow for non-proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said: "Is this the smoking gun? That's the question people should be asking. It looks like the smoking gun. This is smoking uranium."
(Times-UK)
[Note: a short video from SkyNews accompanies the full article; if you watch it, note the reporter's discomfort when she's asked about the "smoking gun" label...contrast that with Mr. Fitzpatrick's bolder assertion above]


Only Harsh Sanctions Can Halt Iran -Ephraim Kam

There is a chance that the Americans will mobilize international support - including that of Russia and China - for the imposition of a new round of sanctions against Iran, but the prospects are that they will not be very far reaching, and in such circumstances Iran sees no need to give in, as long as it attains its strategic goal: achieving nuclear weapons capability.

If Iran is to be stopped, two conditions need to be met: Much harsher sanctions must be imposed, and the Iranians must believe they truly face the threat of a military operation if they do not suspend their nuclear program. At present, neither of these conditions sufficiently exists.
(Ha'aretz)
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UPDATES:

Washington: Tough Sanctions Against Iran Needed Urgently
-Tim Reid, Giles Whittell & Catherine Philp

Revelations that Iran has been working secretly on a trigger for a nuclear bomb urgently underscore the case for tough new sanctions against Tehran, the Obama administration said...
(Times-UK)


The Mullahs Could Have the Bomb Any Day Now - Editorial

A smoking-gun document has emerged that indicates Iran is closer than ever to developing a nuclear weapon.

There is no peaceful use for the neutron initiator. It is not a "dual-use" technology; it only sets off bombs.
(Washington Times)


What to Expect from a Nuclear Iran -William S. Cohen

It should now be patently clear that the effort to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons has failed.

Iran's possession of a nuclear bomb would likely start a nuclear cascade across the Middle East, as nations threatened by Iran, question U.S. security guarantees and seek their own deterrent capability. Within a decade, we could see Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and others seeking nuclear weapons to protect against Iranian aggression.

Furthermore, Tehran might share nuclear materials with radical extremists who would not hesitate to use them against the U.S., Israel and other allies.
(Washington Times)

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Is the US walking away from the Arab-Israeli conflict?


Disappointed U.S. Scales Back Diplomacy -Herb Keinon

The U.S. is scaling back its intensive involvement in the diplomatic process. Middle East envoy George Mitchell has not been to the region in over a month and is not expected back until January.

The feeling in Jerusalem is that Washington believed that Netanyahu's moratorium would move the process along a bit, and when the Palestinians failed to respond positively to the move, the U.S. decided to sit back.
(Jerusalem Post)


Why Won't the Palestinians Make Peace? -Barry Rubin

Right now the Palestinian Authority is refusing to negotiate at all, nominally because Israel is building a few apartments in Jerusalem. So what? That should be an incentive to negotiate faster so that the construction doesn't go on and on, becoming even more irreversible.

Why, if the Palestinians are suffering so much, won't they make peace?

The answer: The Palestinian leadership wants total victory and Israel's elimination. It is willing to go on letting its people suffer for a century in pursuit of that goal.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Obama's finest moment: Is he posturing for an Iran strike?


We Cannot Stand By as Nations Arm for Nuclear War
-President Barack Obama

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, President Obama said:

"There will be times when nations - acting individually or in concert - will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified."

"I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism - it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason."

"I understand why war is not popular, but I also know this: The belief that peace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it."

"It is also incumbent upon all of us to insist that nations like Iran and North Korea do not game the system. Those who seek peace cannot stand idly by as nations arm themselves for nuclear war."
(White House)
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cancer Passport: Palestinians Flee to Israel


Palestinians Fake Cancer to Flee Gaza -Diaa Hadid

Several thousand Palestinians have succeeded in fleeing Gaza this year using bribes and fake medical reports.

Of more than 7,000 Gazans who crossed into Israel this year to seek medical treatment, some 500 haven't returned, said Col. Moshe Levi, an Israeli defense official.

One healthy 30-year-old woman, said she was desperate to leave Gaza after being harassed by Hamas officials. She bribed a Gaza doctor to certify she had "whatever cancer could only be treated in Israel."

The doctor then paid off a physician serving on a Palestinian committee that certifies medical reports for Israeli military officials. She eventually succeeded in reaching the West Bank.
(AP)
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Palestinian Authority crushes childrens peace orchestra



Wanted: A Palestinian Peace Movement -Khaled Abu Toameh

When the Strings of Freedom Orchestra returned home to the refugee camp of Jenin in the northern West Bank, the musical director, Wafa Yunis, was fired and her studio apartment in the camp was sealed.

The Palestinian Authority, whose leaders have been talking to Israel for more than fifteen years, accused Yunis of "exploiting the children for the purpose of normalizing ties with Israel."

Those who are passionate about the Israeli-Arab conflict should start [by] encourag[ing] the emergence of a serious peace camp in the West Bank and Gaza.
(Hudson Institute New York)
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Friday, December 04, 2009

Is Iran losing influence?

Ali Ansari, an academic,
believes Iran is losing vital political chips


Iran Loses Clout in Arab World -Scott Peterson

Six months after Iran's contested presidential election, a new narrative is arising around the Arab world in which Iran is no longer a political demigod.

Beset in recent months by the bloody spectacle of regime enforcers stamping out pro-democracy protests, and by dozens of deaths, torture, and allegations of rape in secret prisons, Iran is losing influence among some of its friends in the region.

Many analysts believe the autocratic crackdowns in Iran may mark the end of a years-long arc of expanding Iranian and Shiite prominence across a wide swath of the Arab world.

"I think we have seen the peak of the Islamic Republic's power in its current configuration," says Ali Ansari [pictured above], director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Iran's influence has "slipped very badly," he said.
(Christian Science Monitor)
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Another Israel Bashing Book


The Latest Word in Israel-Bashing -Benny Morris

"New historian" Avi Shlaim earns Israel-bashing brownie points for his newest book, Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations.

This collection of academic essays and reviews are mostly an extended exercise in anti-Zionism, nothing more.

Nowhere in his book does Shlaim say a word about the Jewish people's three-thousand-year-old connection to the Land of Israel.

Nor does he mention that the Arabs, who had no connection to Palestine, conquered the land in the seventh century from the Byzantine Empire and settled in it, forcibly converting it into an "Arab" land.
(New Republic)
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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Are Israeli settlements illegal?

Olive trees on a hill overlooking the settlement town of Har Homa, south of Jerusalem

The Illegal Settlements Myth -David M. Phillips

The conviction that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal is now so commonly accepted, it hardly seems as though the matter is even open for discussion. But it is.

Indeed, the analysis underlying the conclusion that the settlements violate international law depends entirely on an acceptance of the Palestinian narrative that the West Bank is "Arab" land. Followed to its logical conclusion, this narrative precludes the legitimacy of Israel itself.

For several hundred years leading up to World War I, all of Israel, Jordan, and the putative state of Palestine were merely provinces of the Ottoman Empire. After British-led Allied troops routed the Turks from the country in 1917-18, the League of Nations empowered Britain to facilitate the creation of a "Jewish National Home" under a mandate while respecting the rights of the native Arab population.

Following World War II, the League of Nations' successor, the UN, voted in November 1947 to partition the land into Arab and Jewish states. [F]ive Arab countries invaded the fledgling Jewish state. Those Jewish communities in the West Bank that had existed prior to the Arab invasion were demolished, as was the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Eugene Rostow [pictured at right], former dean of Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs in 1967 during the Six-Day War, argued that the West Bank should be considered "unallocated territory," and that Israel had the status of a "claimant to the territory."

To Rostow, "Jews have a right to settle in it under the Mandate," a right he declared to be "unchallengeable as a matter of law." In accord with these views, Israel has historically characterized the West Bank as "disputed territory."

All legally authorized Israeli settlements have been constructed either on lands that Israel characterizes as state-owned or "public" or, in a small minority of cases, on land purchased by Jews from Arabs after 1967.
(Commentary)
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Palestinian economy thriving


Independent Palestine - with Israeli Assistance -Tom Gross

Nablus [pictured above], the West Bank's largest city, is bursting with energy, life, and signs of prosperity in a way I have not previously seen in many years of covering the region.

The shops and restaurants were also full when I visited Hebron recently, and life is even better in Ramallah, where it is difficult to get a table in a good restaurant.

We had driven from Jerusalem to Nablus without going through any Israeli checkpoints. The government of Benjamin Netanyahu has removed them all since the Israeli security services were allowed to crush the intifada, restore security to the West Bank, and set up the conditions for the economic boom that is now occurring.

Nablus stock exchange head Ahmad Aweidah explained to me why there is no rush to declare statehood, saying ordinary Palestinians need the Israel Defense Force to help protect them from Hamas, as their own security forces aren't ready to do so by themselves yet.

The truth is that an independent Palestine is now quietly being built, with Israeli assistance.
(Wall Street Journal)
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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Iran's defiant posture: can Obama & the West put teeth into Iran policy?


Iran Announces Ten New Uranium Plants -Thomas Erdbrink

Iran's government will build ten new sites to enrich uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, a dramatic expansion of the country's nuclear program.

The announcement comes just days after a censure of Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency over the Islamic republic's refusal to stop enriching uranium, a key demand of Western powers.
(Washington Post)


UN Censure May Start Confrontational Phase -Glenn Kessler & Joby Warrick

The resounding censure of Iran by the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency signals the start of a potentially more confrontational phase in the Obama administration's dealings with Iran...
(Washington Post)


The Arabs Have Stopped Applauding -Fouad Ajami

In the Arab-Islamic world, Barack Obama has come down to earth. He has not made the world anew, history did not bend to his will.

[T]he Indians and Pakistanis have been told that the matter of Kashmir is theirs to resolve, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the same intractable clash of two irreconcilable nationalisms, and the theocrats in Iran have not "unclenched their fist," nor have they abandoned their nuclear quest.

Obama's election has not drained the swamps of anti-Americanism.
(Wall Street Journal)


Iran's Adventurism -Editorial

The plan to build ten new plants is a new declaration of recalcitrance. Coming from a leader who believes in a literal and imminent apocalypse and who gleefully anticipates the extinction of the Jewish state, it is chilling.
(Times-UK)


Iran May Be Planning Decoy Sites -Ali Akbar Dareini

Iran's announcement of plans to build ten more uranium enrichment facilities is largely bluster, analysts said.

Nonetheless, the...announcement is of major concern because it could signal an intention to put up numerous decoy sites to deceive the outside world, while building a few secret military enrichment sites [for] use in weapons production, nuclear expert David Albright said. "
(AP)
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Netanyahu meets Obama's demand


Israel Announces 10 Month West Bank Construction Freeze
-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

My cabinet authorized a policy of restraint regarding settlements which will include a suspension of new permits and new construction in Judea and Samaria for a period of ten months.

We hope that this decision will help launch meaningful peace negotiations. We have been told by many friends [read the United States] that once Israel takes the first step towards peace, the Palestinians and the Arab world would respond positively with steps of their own to create a virtuous cycle of goodwill.

I have already said that we will not build new settlements and that we would not expropriate additional land for existing settlements. I promised to enable normal life to continue for the three hundred thousand Israeli citizens, our brothers and sisters, who live in Judea and Samaria. That is why this suspension will not affect construction currently underway.

Regarding Jerusalem, our sovereign capital...we do not put any restrictions on building in our sovereign capital.
View Video of Netanyahu Statement
(Prime Minister's Office)



Settlements Have Never Been Obstacle to Peace -Tovah Lazaroff

The gaze of the international community will now turn to the Palestinians and to the Arab world, something that the Palestinians in particular have fought hard to prevent for the last eight months.
(Jerusalem Post)


Palestinians Reject Temporary Israeli Settlement Ease -Ron Bousso

The Palestinians rejected the offer as insufficient. "Netanyahu did not advance any formula for the relaunching of negotiations," said chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat.

But Washington praised the offer.
(AFP)


Will U.S. Twist Arab Arms as Firmly as It Twisted Israel's?
-David Horovitz

Prime Minister Netanyahu appreciate[s] the irreplaceable strategic value of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

President Obama was emphatically of the opinion that Israel needed to call a settlement freeze in order to generate goodwill for Arab states to bolster international leverage against Tehran, and goodwill for some of those same Arab states to begin the process of normalizing their ties with Israel.

[I]n order to prevent a crisis in ties with Washington, while placing the negotiating ball firmly in the Palestinian and Arab court, Netanyahu made his choice.

Presumably, the U.S. is now trying to twist Arab arms as firmly as it twisted his.
(Jerusalem Post)

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UPDATE:

Settlement Freeze Improves U.S.-Israel Relations - Barry Rubin

In giving something in exchange for no material gain or even a gesture from the other side, Israel can only hope that the president appreciates this and remembers that he did not deliver on his promise to get some concession from the Arab side to match it.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Women in the Israel Defense Force: the most feminist army in history


Female Soldiers Command Missile Batteries -Yaakov Katz

[T]he IDF Air Defense Division appointed its fourth female battery commander.

"[U]ltimately there is no difference if the battery commanders are male or female," said Capt. Revital Uzon, 23, commander of a Hawk missile battery.

"It is a lot of responsibility, but we are ready and train for what we do every day," she said.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Outrageous: Pakistan fails to act against terror king


Mastermind of Mumbai Attack Preaches in Pakistan -Zahid Hussain

Hafiz Mohammed Saeed [pictured above], the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, is neither in hiding nor in jail. The founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba is instead delivering a sermon to thousands of devotees at the Jamia al-Qadsia mosque - one of the biggest in the city.

"God has promised to make Muslims a superpower if we follow the right path," Saeed told his followers.

Timothy Roemer, the U.S. Ambassador in Delhi, backed Indian calls this week for Pakistan to bring Saeed and six other Mumbai suspects to justice, after India handed Pakistan a seventh dossier of evidence on the Mumbai attacks.

Analysts say the problem lies with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, which backed Saeed when he founded Lashkar-e-Taiba in 1990 to fight Indian rule in Kashmir.
(Times-UK)
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Columbia & Rutgers Pimping for Iran


Rutgers University Professor Hooshang Amirahmadi pictured alone and with Iranian President Ahmadinejad

Columbia & Rutgers on Iran's Gift List -Isabel Vincent

Anti-Israel, pro-Iran university professors are being funded by a shadowy multimillion-dollar Islamic charity that the feds charge is an illegal front for the repressive Iranian regime.

The Alavi Foundation has given away hundreds of thousands of dollars to Columbia University and Rutgers University for Middle Eastern and Persian studies programs that employ professors sympathetic to the Iranian dictatorship.

"We found evidence that the government of Iran really controlled everything about the foundation," said Adam Kaufmann, investigations chief at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

Federal law-enforcement authorities are in the midst of seizing up to $650 million in assets from the Alavi Foundation, which they charge funnels money to Iran-supported Islamic schools in the U.S. and to a syndicate of Iranian spies based in Europe.

The foundation donated $100,000 to Columbia University after the school agreed to host Iranian leader and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to the foundation's 2007 tax filings.

Rutgers professor Hooshang Amirahmadi [pictured above], [who] head[ed]the school's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and [is] president of the American-Iranian Council, unabashedly has touted Hizbullah and Hamas as legitimate organizations and not terrorists.
(New York Post)
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Israel's Medical Miracles


Israeli Invention: Early Detection of Skin Tumors -Dan Even

A new Israeli invention allows cancerous tumors on the skin to be detected and examined before they become visible to the naked eye, Ben-Gurion University announced. The developer of the new instrument said the technology "allows manipulation of different light frequencies and adjustments to electric fields to examine skin lesions."
(Ha'aretz)


Tel Aviv University: New Wound Dressing with Antibiotics

About 70% of all people with severe burns die from related infections. But a revolutionary new wound dressing developed at Tel Aviv University could cut that number dramatically.

Prof. Meital Zilberman of TAU's Department of Biomedical Engineering has developed a new wound dressing based on fibers she engineered that can be loaded with drugs like antibiotics to speed up the healing process, and then dissolve when they've done their job.
(Medical News)


Bone Repair "Breakthrough" at Hadassah -Judy Siegel-Itzkovich

A team at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Medical Center has managed to separate platelets and adult stem cells from the blood and bone marrow of patients with fractures and inject them - causing the bones to meld in a quarter to third of the time, and repairing some breaks that would have failed to heal.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Should the curtain fall on the "Peace Process?"


The Show Needn't Go On -Michael J. Totten

It has been years since I spoke to a single person in the Middle East who thinks the Arab-Israeli conflict will be resolved any time soon. Almost everyone knows, at least in their gut if not their head, that peace today between Israelis and Arabs is a fantasy.

The Middle East will stop performing its "peace process" theater as soon as we stop demanding it. And as soon as we stop demanding it, time, resources, and energy can be spent on something that might be slightly productive.

We can't solve this problem right now, but we can try to make it less deadly...
(Commentary)
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Lebanese Newspaper: Abbas playing charades


Palestinians Need Clarity, Not Charades -Rami G. Khouri

Mahmoud Abbas has reverted to an old political trick by saying he will resign and not run for re-election, and he only accentuates his own weaknesses and the dysfunctionalities of the Palestinian national institutions he heads when he engages in silly charades like his current tour of Palestinian towns and villages where the multitudes demand that he remain in power.

The last thing the Palestinians need now is to be reminded that they are on track to become yet another Arab security state with a leader for life who basks in hero worship and personality cults and faces no serious forms of accountability.

The Palestinians need honesty, humility, consensus-building and clarity from their leaders, and Abbas gives them none of these.
(Daily Star-Lebanon)
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Another Unilateral Declaration of Independence -Victor Kattan

The Palestinian Authority is reportedly seeking international support for issuing another unilateral declaration of independence (UDI).

This would not be the first declaration of "independence" the Palestinians have issued. In 1948, the Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini declared the independence of Palestine. In 1988, the Palestinian National Council issued a declaration of a state of Palestine.

The Palestinians did not attain independence in 1948 or in 1988 and are unlikely to attain independence now if the PA goes ahead with another UDI.

The EU and the U.S. have cautioned Abbas from prematurely issuing a UDI. And their support is crucial.
(Guardian-UK)
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Target: Tel Aviv


The Implications of Long-Range Hamas Rockets -Jeffrey White

The IDF recently monitored Hamas' launch of a 60-km-range Iranian rocket from Gaza into the Mediterranean Sea. A rocket with such a range can reach the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv as well as targets across much of southern Israel.

According to [the] IDF director of military intelligence, Hamas now has "dozens" of rockets with a 60-km range.

Hamas' new rocket capabilities must also be seen in the context of Hizbullah's acquisition of rockets with a 300-km range. In a possible two-front war, this means that most of Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, would be within rocket range.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

US Students organize against Israel

Student poster tries to portray Israel as child killers and Palestinians as helpless victims


What Does "Pro-Palestinian" Really Mean? -Khaled Abu Toameh

In recent years there has been a significant rise in the number of non-Palestinians who describe themselves as "pro-Palestinian" activists. Many of these activists have never been to the Middle East. What these folks have not realized is that their actions and words often do little to advance the interests of the Palestinians, and in some instances are even counterproductive.

It is hard to see how organizing an "Israel Apartheid Week" on a university campus could help the cause of the Palestinians.

Instead of investing money and efforts in organizing Israel Apartheid Week, self-described "pro-Palestinians" could dispatch teachers to teach young Palestinians English. Or they could send a delegation to Gaza to monitor human rights violations by Hamas and help Palestinian women confront Muslim fundamentalists who are trying to limit their role to cooking, raising children and looking after the needs of their husbands.

Let's substitute Israel Apartheid Week with Palestine Democracy Week. Or is delegitimizing Israel and inciting against "Zionists" much more important that pushing for an end to financial corruption and violence in Palestinian society?
(Hudson Institute New York)
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Obama spits fire at Israel: calls Jerusalem neighborhood "settlement"

Concrete barrier protects residents of Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood from sniper's bullets. The barriers were painted by local artists after children living close by were upset by the barrier


Obama Criticizes New Israeli Move

President Barack Obama says Israel's latest move to build hundreds of new apartments in a [Jerusalem] neighborhood complicates administration efforts to relaunch peace talks and embitters the Palestinians.
(AP)


Livni: No Debate in Israel Over Gilo -Attila Somfalvi

Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni [said] that "there is Israeli consensus on the neighborhood of Gilo."
(Ynet News)


Israel: No Restriction on Jerusalem Building -Herb Keinon & Hilary Leila Krieger

It is highly unusual for the U.S. to criticize construction in Gilo, a neighborhood straddling the Green Line in the city's south and considered noncontroversial among Israelis.

Initially the White House statement was titled a response to "the approval of settlement expansion in Jerusalem," but the version the White House later posted on its Web site does not use the word "settlement."
(Jerusalem Post)


Jewish Neighborhood Had Been Under Palestinian Seige -Ronen Medzini

Gilo's residents remember the Second Intifada at the start of the decade when their homes became a target for attacks from the neighboring Palestinian town of Beit Jala for many months.

At the time, the managers of the American CNN network issued an instruction to stop referring to Gilo as a "settlement" and call it a "Jewish neighborhood."
(Ynet News)


Abbas Has Only Himself to Blame -Shmuel Rosner

[T]he frustrated Obama administration has finally realized that negotiations are unlikely to happen anytime soon.
(New Republic)
*

UPDATE:

U.S. Demands Deemed "Strange and Bizarre" -Naama Lanir

Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Zalman Shoval said: "The demand not to build in Gilo seems strange and even bizarre since it has been inhabited for 30 years....It's not east Jerusalem - Arabs have never lived in Gilo and its houses weren't built on private Arab land."
(Ynet News)

*

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mumbai terror shocker: Attackers assisted by American

The Taj Hotel in Mumbai, during the terror attack

Pakistani American Mapped Mumbai Terror Targets
-Samyabrata Ray Goswami

[Pakistani American] David Coleman Headley personally visited every target site of the terror strikes last year in Mumbai, carrying out reconnaissance on behalf of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Posing as a Jew, he even visited Nariman House, the Jewish Chabad center, in July 2008. Headley, a Pakistani-born U.S. national, was arrest by the FBI last month.

Headley, who changed his name from Daood Gilani in 2006, posed as a Jewish American during his Mumbai stay. "The FBI seized a book called [T]o Pray [As] a Jew from him at the time of his arrest in Chicago. He had prepared himself thoroughly to pose as a Jew," a top Mumbai police officer said.
(Calcutta Telegraph-India)
*

UPDATE:

Tiny Survivor Doesn't Remember Mumbai Attack -Amy Teibel

Moshe Holtzberg celebrated his third birthday with his first haircut. He appeared not to recall the tragic events of a year ago, when his parents were killed in a terror attack at Chabad House in Mumbai, India.

His caretaker, Sandra Samuel, rescued Moshe from the bullet-raked building. She said he recognizes his parents in pictures, but he no longer cries out when he sees them. The child is being raised by his grandparents.
(AP)
*

Saturday, November 14, 2009

VideoBite: Krauthammer takes on Obama's 9-11 trial decision

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a 2009 photo




Video of Charles Krauthammer on Obama's decision to give Sheikh Mohammed a criminal trial


NYC trial of 9/11 suspects -Delvin Barrett

In a move both politically and legally risky, the Obama administration plans to put on trial the professed mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and four alleged accomplices in a lower Manhattan courthouse.

Held at Guantanamo since September 2006, [Khalid Sheikh] Mohammed said in military proceedings there that he wanted to plead guilty and be executed to achieve martyrdom. In a letter from him released by the war crimes court, he referred to the attacks as a "noble victory."
[Associated Press]
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Cartoon Bites Iran

For a larger view, click on the image above

Understanding How Iran Negotiates -Emily Landau

[O]ver the past seven years we've seen Iran agree, then disagree, then agree a little bit, then reject again, then say more time is needed to consider, then finally present a counter-proposal, then say it wants cooperation, then say it will never give up on its rights.

[T]he Iranians never took cooperation so far that it diverted them from their overall goal in the nuclear realm.

Iran knows that when armed with a military nuclear capability it will be much better positioned to get a better deal from the international community. Iran's rational interest is to put off any real negotiation until it has reached [nuclear] capability.
(bitterlemons-international.org)
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

VideoBite: Major Hasan's radical ties

CBS News video highlighting Major Hasan's radical ties

A cartoon is worth a thousand words


Click image for larger view

The Rush to Therapy -David Brooks

[M]any Americans had an understandable reaction. They didn’t want the horror to become a pretext for anti-Muslim bigotry. The possibility of Islamic extremism was immediately played down. This was an isolated personal breakdown, not an ideological assault, many people emphasized. Major Hasan was portrayed as a disturbed individual who was under a lot of stress.

A shroud of political correctness settled over the conversation. Hasan was portrayed as a victim of society, a poor soul who was pushed over the edge by prejudice and unhappiness. There was a national rush to therapy. Hasan was a loner who had trouble finding a wife and socializing with his neighbors.

The conversation was a willful flight from reality. It ignored the fact that the war narrative can be embraced by a self-radicalizing individual in the U.S. as much as by groups in Tehran, Gaza or Kandahar.

It denied, before the evidence was in, the possibility of evil. It sought to reduce a heinous act to social maladjustment. It wasn’t the reaction of a morally or politically serious nation.
[New York Times]
*

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pretend Play: when will we stop playing?


Stop Pretending that Iran Might Compromise -Editorial

The single greatest threat to peace and stability in the world is Iran's headlong rush to gain nuclear weapons to cow their Mideast neighbors, export Shiite fundamentalism and obliterate Israel.

At what point will the world take "no" for an answer?
(New York Daily News)


Iran's "Great Satan" Addiction -David Ignatius

It has been more than a month since what was touted as a breakthrough meeting with the Iranians in Geneva over their nuclear program.

[T]he Iranians now seem to be backpedaling - disavowing the tentative agreement that their own negotiators had signaled they supported. A Stanford professor, Abbas Milani, who closely follows events in Iran, says: "They clearly want to back out of the deal."
(Washington Post)
*

Abbas: 'moderate' or rejectionist


Abbas Hardens PA Position over Talks -Steven J. Rosen

It is a matter of record that Mahmoud Abbas [pictured] participated in 18 years of direct negotiations with seven Israeli governments, all without the settlements freeze that he now insists is an absolute precondition to begin even low-level talks.
(Foreign Policy)
*

Monday, November 09, 2009

Ft. Hood attack: Sudden Jihad Syndrome


Sudden Jihad or "Inordinate Stress" at Ft. Hood? -Daniel Pipes

When a Muslim in the West for no apparent reason violently attacks non-Muslims, a predictable argument ensues about motives.

[L]aw enforcement, politicians, the media, and the academy – stands on one side of this debate, insisting that some kind of oppression caused Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, to kill 13 and wound 38 at Ft. Hood.

It disagrees on the specifics, however, presenting Hasan as the victim alternatively of "racism," "harassment he had received as a Muslim," a sense of not belonging," "pre-traumatic stress disorder," "mental problems," "emotional problems," "an inordinate amount of stress," or being deployed to Afghanistan as his "worst nightmare." Accordingly, a typical newspaper headline reads "Mindset of Rogue Major a Mystery."

Instances of Muslim-on-unbeliever violence inspire the victim school to dig up new and imaginative excuses. Colorful examples include:

*1990: "A prescription drug for … depression" (to explain the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane)
*1991: "A robbery gone wrong" (the murder of Makin Morcos in Sydney)
*1994: "Road rage" (the killing of a random Jew on the Brooklyn Bridge)
*1997: "Many, many enemies in his mind" (the shooting murder atop the Empire State Building)
*2000: A traffic incident (the attack on a bus of Jewish schoolchildren near Paris)
*2002: "A work dispute" (the double murder at LAX)
*2002: A "stormy [family] relationship" (the Beltway snipers)
*2003: An "attitude problem" (Hasan Karim Akbar's attack on fellow soldiers, killing two)
*2003: Mental illness (the mutilation murder of Sebastian Sellam)
*2004: "Loneliness and depression" (an explosion in Brescia, Italy outside a McDonald's restaurant)
*2005: "A disagreement between the suspect and another staff member" (a rampage at a retirement center in Virginia)
*2006: "An animus toward women" (a murderous rampage at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle)
*2006: "His recent, arranged marriage may have made him stressed" (killing with an SUV in northern California)

Additionally, when a Osama bin Laden-admiring Arab-American crashed a plane into a Tampa high-rise, blame fell on the acne drug Accutane.

As a charter member of the jihad school of interpretation, I reject these explanations as weak, obfuscatory, and apologetic. The jihadi school, still in the minority, perceives Hasan's attack as one of many Muslim efforts to vanquish infidels and impose Islamic law. We recall a prior episode of sudden jihad syndrome in the U.S. military, as well as the numerous cases of non-lethal Pentagon jihadi plots and the history of Muslim violence on American soil.

Far from being mystified by Hasan, we see overwhelming evidence of his jihadi intentions. He handed out Korans to neighbors just before going on his rampage and yelled "Allahu Akbar," the jihadi's cry, as he fired off over 100 rounds from two pistols. His superiors reportedly put him on probation for inappropriately proselytizing about Islam.

We note what former associates say about him: one, Val Finnell, quotes Hasan saying, "I'm a Muslim first and an American second" and recalls Hasan justifying suicide terrorism; another, Col Terry Lee, recalls that Hasan "claimed Muslims had the right to rise up and attack Americans"; the third, a psychiatrist who worked very closely with Hasan, described him as "almost belligerent about being Muslim."

Finally, the jihad school of thought attributes importance to the Islamic authorities' urging American Muslim soldiers to refuse to fight their co-religionists, thereby providing a basis for sudden jihad. In 2001, for example, responding to the U.S. attack on the Taliban, the mufti of Egypt, Ali Gum'a, issued a fatwa stating that "The Muslim soldier in the American army must refrain [from participating] in this war." Hasan himself, echoing that message, advised a young Muslim disciple, Duane Reasoner Jr., not to join the U.S. army because "Muslims shouldn't kill Muslims."

If the jihad explanation is overwhelmingly more persuasive than the victim one, it's also far more awkward to articulate. Everyone finds blaming road rage, Accutane, or an arranged marriage easier than discussing Islamic doctrines. And so, a prediction: what Ralph Peters calls the army's "unforgivable political correctness" will officially ascribe Hasan's assault to his victimization and will leave jihad unmentioned.

And thus will the army blind itself and not prepare for its next jihadi attack.
[FrontPageMagazine]


UPDATES:

Fort Hood Gunman: Infidels Should Have Their Throats Cut -Nick Allen

Hasan once gave a lecture to other doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in which he said non-believers should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats. Colleagues had expected a discussion on a medical issue but were instead given an extremist interpretation of the Koran, which Hasan appeared to believe.

One Army doctor who knew him said a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim soldier had stopped fellow officers from filing formal complaints.

(Telegraph-UK)

Ft. Hood Shooter Tried to Contact Al-Qaeda -Richard Esposito, et al

U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months ago that Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al-Qaeda, two American officials told ABC News.
(ABC News)

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Israel Innovation: Cancer research


Israeli Scientists Find Drug that Could Help Cure Cancer -Ofri Ilani

Israeli scientists have identified a substance that can kill cancerous cells without harming healthy ones, paving the way for more effective cancer treatment, the journal Breast Cancer Research reported.

"We actually found the Achilles heel of the cancer cell," said Prof. Malka Cohen-Armon from Tel Aviv University, who headed the research team.

"As soon as you can target cancerous cells without killing healthy ones, you can produce medications that would cause a lot less suffering to the patient."
(Ha'aretz)
*

Do Radical Muslims have a veto over EU policy?


Spain and the Fight over UNIFIL -Soeren Kern

Europeans are afraid that if they take a hard line against Hizbullah, their troops in Lebanon may be attacked. They are also afraid that Hizbullah may activate sleeper cells to carry out attacks inside Europe. And Europeans are afraid of inciting the thousands of Muslim immigrants throughout "Eurabia."

Indeed, the fear of angry Muslims is so pervasive in Europe that in practical terms Islam has already established a de facto veto on European foreign policymaking.

Spanish troops must look the other way as Hizbullah rearms for its next war against Israel.
The writer is Senior Analyst at the Madrid-based Strategic Studies Group
(Pajamas Media)
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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fort Hood Massacre: Jihad, insanity or both?



Army Tests Sole-Killer Theory: Details Emerge -Clifford Krauss & James Dao

Major Hasan [pictured], the 39-year-old Army psychiatrist accused of a shooting spree at Fort Hood that killed 13 people and wounded at least 30 others, [is] an American-born Muslim of Palestinian descent.

[O]fficials were not prepared to say whether the attack was the act of a lone and troubled man or connected to terrorist groups, foreign or domestic.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation became aware earlier this year of Internet postings by a man calling himself Nidal Hasan. The postings drew attention because they favorably discussed suicide bombings. But the investigators are still not clear as to whether the writer was Major Hasan.

Major Hasan [was] described as having few friends and being quiet to the point of introversion.

In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, the Fort Hood commander, was asked about reports that before opening fire, Major Hasan had yelled “Allahu akbar!” — “God is great!”

General Cone said soldiers at the scene had reported “similar” accounts.
[New York Times]


UPDATE:
Little Evidence of Plot -David Johnston & Eric Schmitt

After two days of inquiry into the mass shooting, investigators have tentatively concluded that it was not part of a terrorist plot. [But] [i]nvestigators have not ruled out the possibility that Major Hasan believed he was carrying out an extremist’s suicide mission.

[Investigators] have come to believe that Nidal Malik Hasan, acted out under a welter of emotional, ideological and religious pressures.

[O]fficials said a continuing search of Major Hasan’s computer indicates that he had logged on to Web sites that celebrated radical Islamic ideologies and that he had exchanged e-mail messages with like-minded people, some possibly overseas. In addition, they believe that he may have written inflammatory Internet postings that justified suicide attacks.
[New York Times]
*

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Iran caught shipping deadly cargo to Hizbullah




3,000 Missiles Found on Seized Arms Ship -Aron Heller

At least 3,000 missiles were on board the Francop, a vessel stopped by Israel off the coast of Cyprus and towed to the port of Ashdod.

Containers with dark green missiles inside bore writing in English that said "I.R. Iranian Shipping Lines Group." Israel alleged that the shipment of hundreds of tons of rockets, missiles, mortars, grenades and anti-tank weapons - the largest it ever seized - was headed for Hizbullah in Lebanon.

The ship had departed an Iranian port for Syria. [T]he ship carried ten times as many weapons as the Karine A, a weapons ship captured by Israeli forces in 2002.
(AP)


Revolutionary Guard Behind Arms Shipment -Hanan Greenberg

Israel hoped the operation will deter shipping companies, European harbors and insurance companies from doing business with seemingly innocent Iranian vessels which can blow up at any time.
(Ynet News)


Ship Proves Iran Supports Terror -Yaakov Katz & Tovah Lazaroff

Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

"Whoever still needed decisive proof that Iran continues to send weapons to terrorist organizations received it today in a very clear and unequivocal way."
(Jerusalem Post)

UPDATE: Click here for a 6 minute IDF Video of the Francop freighter, documenting it's capture and its contents