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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Links

From Ian:

Who Really Cares About the Palestinians?
The answer lies in a simple but inconvenient truth — no one really cares about the Palestinians – unless Jews are involved.
This is not new; you can go back to the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. The popular misconception is that the Arab states invaded to help the Palestinians. Actually, they intended to carve up Palestine for themselves, not to create a Palestinian state.
From 1949 until 1967, Egypt could have given Gaza to the Palestinians for a state, just as the Jordanians could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank. Neither did, but no one in the world cared because the Palestinians were not interested in a state and the occupiers were Arabs.

The irony is that the people who care the most for the Palestinians are probably American and Israeli Jews. In the United States, Jews are among the most vociferous supporters of the Palestinians. The Jewish establishment organizations are also pro-Palestinian, advocating a two-state solution that would give Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza the same freedoms Israelis enjoy, but are currently denied to them by their own leaders. In Israel, many Jews advocate for the Palestinians: Israelis represent them in the courts, join them in protests and speak out on their behalf in the press and the Knesset. The many Arab-Jewish coexistence projects are nearly always initiated by Israeli Jews.
With the slaughter in Syria, Palestinians can see who their real friends are, and most are not the ones they expect.

EU: designate Hezbollah a terrorist organisation now
From the beginning, Hezbollah has been involved in terrorist activities. What has changed in the last decades is that the organisation has stepped up its criminal and terrorist activities abroad. According to a newly released report by Dr. Matthew Levitt – head of the Stein Programme on Counter-terrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy – between May and July 2012, Hezbollah operatives, in close co-operation with the Qods Force, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s international arm, attempted more than 20 foreign terror operations.
Hezbollah remains confident that with the backing of Germany and France, the EU will not designate the group. Critically, it is this sense of complacency which would allow it to plan future attacks. Now is the time for action and the political leadership of the EU needs to take the lead and designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

BBC Watch: No BBC reporting on Hizballah in Cyprus
The story has been reported by media outlets around the world, including the New York Times, the Huffington Post, the Australian and even the BBC’s paper of choice, the Guardian. The BBC, however, has to date not seen fit to report on the trial in Cyprus itself or on its wider significance as another example of the fact that Hizballah is operating within Europe, despite the fact that the subject of the terror organisation’s designation is currently on the EU agenda.

Marco Rubio: U.S. Shouldn’t Dictate Israeli Policy on Settlements
While on a Middle East tour that has fueled speculation that he will run for president in 2016, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio arrived in Israel on Wednesday, wading quickly into politically sensitive territory by saying Jerusalem was “of course the capital of Israel.”
Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida and a rising star in his party, made the comment during a meeting with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, according to the Associated Press. The United States, like many other countries, has never recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, instead maintaining that the city’s status can only be determined through negotiations with the Palestinians.

'Israel monitors weapons transfers to Syrian rebels'
Rebel weapons could pose security threat if they end up in the wrong hands, Israeli intelligence officials tell US news agency.
“On the one hand, there is a great deal of pressure on the Western world to bolster arms to moderate – what we call ‘friendly’ – rebel groups so that they are on a level playing field with the groups that might be getting support from Islamist movements,” this official told McClatchy.
“On the other hand, once you send a weapon somewhere, you can’t control where it goes. The fear is that the same gun used to shoot a Syrian soldier will one day be used to shoot an Israeli soldier.”

Analysis: The Egyptian army is making a comeback
As the clash between the regime and the opposition shows no signs of abating, can the military remain indifferent to the country’s slow degradation?
Morsi will do all he can to achieve the complete takeover of the country before the new parliament can be convened in July. The opposition is up in arms threatening to boycott the elections if a new national unity government is not formed to ensure that they are free and fair, the large Coptic minority is outraged since polling will be held on their holy Easter week – and the country’s economy is still spiraling out of control.
What will the army do, if anything? On the one hand, the new constitution grants it powers beyond its wildest dreams. On the other hand, the army, for so long the symbol of Egypt’s greatness, cannot remain indifferent to the country’s slow degradation.

The silent Islamization of Egyptian society
A court in Cairo allows Islamist police officers to wear beards to Islamic way. Slogan praising Islam also appears on army tanks. The Muslim Brotherhood program to impose lessons on Islam and Koran, even in foreign schools.

4 Egyptian Students Arrested After Making ‘Harlem Shake’ YouTube Video ‘A Scandalous Act’
Egyptian media has reported on the incident, but few are posting the exact video.
It seems the Harlem Shake is actually quite popular in Egypt — a YouTube search shows at least 3 videos filmed in the post-revolution “Arab Spring” nation.

Iran: Jailed pastor describes ‘psychological abuse'
Prison authorities in Tehran ratchet up pressure on American-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini to renounce Christianity.
Iran’s prison authorities have ratcheted up the pressure on American- Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini to renounce Christianity.
In a letter written by the 32- year-old Abedini – and released on Friday – he says the conditions in Tehran’s Evin Prison, are “so very difficult that my eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky.”

Polish TV regulators receive anti-Semitic threats
Poland National Broadcasting Council members receive death threats after deciding not to renew ultra-Catholic TV station license.
Jan Dworak, the chairman of the council, and Krzysztof Luft, a senior board member, received a handwritten letter sent from a Warsaw post office stating: “If you continue to carry out the orders of the anti-Polish and anti-Catholic Jewish mafia of [Prime Minister Donald] Tusk and [President Bronislaw] Komorowski by not granting TV Trwam a license, the Freedom and Independence Court will issue a death sentence against you,” the Polish Press Agency reported.

Start-up’s ‘indoor GPS’ solves huge retail dilemma
WiseSec has installed its location solution in one of Europe’s largest indoor shopping malls
With smartphones everywhere, retailers have begun using location protocols on phones to recruit customers. It’s a great idea — unless your store is indoors, like in a mall, where location services don’t work. One Israeli company claims to have the answer, and a large shopping center in Moscow agrees — with the mall installing the “beacons” location system made by Israeli start-up WiseSec.
One of retailers’ greatest dreams for mobile is to recruit the location services on smartphones in the service of selling things to customers. Imagine, retailers say, if they could automatically send out coupons to customers who are walking or driving by their store, tempting them to come in for a special deal and, hopefully, recruiting new customers?

Defying Boycotts, Jagger, Stones, to Honor Israel’s 65th Birthday.
Despite a barrage of attacks from British, European and U.S. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups, the Rolling Stones will perform their planned concert in Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day, Monday, April 15.
“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s leader and most recognizable member since 1963. “All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday.”