Tuesday, November 19, 2013

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Abbas Cracks Down on Media, World Looks Other Way
These groups [human rights, media, Western donor governments] see only what the Israeli authorities do. On the side of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, or Hamas in the Gaza Strip, they "see no evil." For Western governments, so long as the Palestinian Authority leadership says it is committed to the peace process with Israel, its leaders are allowed to rule as a dictatorship.
The Palestinian Authority also apparently does not want the outside world, especially international donors, to hear about the financial corruption or violations of freedom of the media. It seems to want criticism to be directed only toward Israel in the hope that this will invite international pressure on the Israelis and force them to accept at the negotiating able all of Abbas's demands.
The UK is paying Palestinians to murder Jews
The following letter sent to my constituency MP is self-explantory:
The policy of the Palestinian Authority clearly encourages the terrorist murder of Jews, since the murderers are guaranteed not just wealth beyond the dreams of ordinary Palestinians, but also great adulation (it is standard for the PA to name roads, squares, and even soccer tournaments after convicted murderers). Since the Palestinian Authority is funded solely by the EU and USA perhaps you can assure me that you will ask the Foreign Secretary to:
a) immediately stop all payments to the Palestinian Authority, hence putting a stop to this incitement and direct support for terrorism; and
b) avoid pressuring Israel to release terrorist murderers (perhaps noting that this is the equivalent of expecting the UK to release people like the murderers of soldier Lee Rigby as a 'peace gesture').
CAIR's Ayloush Gives Dishonest, Bullying Answer to Hamas Question
Cornered by a straightforward question he did not want to answer, the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Los Angeles office chose instead to misrepresent his organization's actions and feign outrage that the question itself was bigoted.
"Will CAIR-Los Angeles or CAIR-National – will you condemn Hamas?" Hussam Ayloush was asked outside his chapter's annual fundraising banquet Saturday evening.
BBC’s Knell still can’t get Hamas terror designation right
Hamas is in fact defined as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, the European Union, Canada and Japan – as the BBC’s own profile of Hamas clearly states. In addition, Australia designates Hamas’ Izz al Din Al Qassam Brigades as a terrorist organization, as do New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
As also noted in the BBC’s profile, Hamas not only “refuses to recognise Israel”: its charter commits it to that country’s destruction.
Hamas: 'We'll Come to Your Homes, Your Schools'
Speaking on behalf of Hamas at the College for Science and Technology in Khan Yunis on Monday, al-Masri emphasized that the next conflict with Israel would be underground, and that "we will enter your homes, your schools, your positions and your strongholds."
Al-Masri also added that the terror organization now has missiles capable of a 100-km radius - capable of reaching Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - in its possession.
A strike on Iran: Complex, but possible
The number of facilities that would need to be hit to deal a fatal blow to Iran's nuclear infrastructure is generally overestimated. The essential ingredient for building a nuclear bomb is uranium enriched to a level of more than 90%, meaning that the enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo must be taken care of. The reactor at Arak, designed to produce plutonium (another fissionable material suitable for building a nuclear bomb), is not yet active, but it is a worthy target, similar to the reactor that was destroyed in Iraq in 1981.
Netanyahu has nothing to lose except losing
What could save the deal is if the Iranians fake throwing up their hands. What could save the world from a bad deal is if the ayatollahs harden their positions. The level of doubt over Iran's behavior, to the point where even Washington, eager for a compromise with Tehran, could resist acquiescence, marked the core of Secretary of State John Kerry's decision to take a rain check on his visit to Jerusalem this week; he's not sure what might be in his hands come Friday.
No doubt, Israel is stuck in an inferior position. Even Hollande's visit could not change that, mainly because the French president would not give up mixing the Iran deal with the settlement-development issue. But, in light of the current situation, just as peace talks are set to resume on Wednesday, there's no reason Netanyahu should back off the process he has practically been leading himself. He's still got the chance to succeed. He's got nothing to lose by persevering. At least it shows integrity.
Netanyahu: 'Partial deals are bad deals'
“I don't advocate partial deals. I think partial deals are bad deals,” Netanyahu told host Candy Crowley in an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “If you want to do a partial deal, then decide what the final deal is, and then do one step. Decide that the final deal will actually implement the very terms that you, the P5+1, have put in the Security Council resolution.”
He said a final deal should include dismantling all centrifuges and plutonium reactors in Iran. But negotiations aren’t heading in that direction, and President Barack Obama has said some sanctions could be lifted in a deal and quickly reversed if Iran doesn’t stand by its promises.
Reducing any sanctions now, however, could bring an end to sanctions in the near future, Netanyahu said, warning that was “not a good idea.”
US Jewish leaders feel misled by White House over Iran deal
The US Jewish leaders feel that the administration showed a “lack of trust” in them, a source close to the contacts said.
Obama administration officials did not tell them that they had been secretly negotiating with Iran for the past year, and that the Geneva talks were really “precooked,” The Times of Israel was told, and thus it was an act of bad faith for the administration to ask the Jewish groups to hold off on pressure for more sanctions with the promise that they would meet again in 30-60 days to consider where the negotiations had led.
PM: Iran already has enough material for five bombs
“The Iranians already have five bombs’ worth of low-enriched uranium,” he told the German daily Bild. “If you press the sanctions now, you might actually get a better deal. If you have a bad diplomatic solution — what this appears to be — you actually may get the consequences you want to avoid. That is, you would have no choice but to exercise a military option in the future.”
In order to build a nuclear bomb, highly enriched uranium in necessary, yet it is possible to convert low-enriched material to weapons-grade level rather quickly. According to some experts, Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build an atomic weapon within two weeks.
Steinitz: World willing to cheat itself over Iran
Warning that the "world is cheating itself" over the deal," Steinitz said, "Tomorrow, there will be a return to the negotiations table in Geneva, and in light of the agreement taking shape, I'd like to clarify that the government of Israel believes this is a bad deal. No one can force us to take part in the celebration, which could be a fake celebration. It's important to stress that if someone thinks that it is comfortable and pleasant to be the one who spoils the celebration, they are wrong. We would prefer to be part of the celebration, but on such a critical issue to our welfare and to world peace, we will not lie to ourselves," Steinitz said.
We’ll continue enriching, won’t shut nuclear sites, Iran lawmaker says
Speaking to Iran’s Arabic-language news station Al-Alam, Mohammad Hassan Asfari, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Affairs committee, reported on a meeting with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at Iran’s foreign ministry Sunday evening. Zarif updated the parliamentarians on the recent round of talks in Geneva and on Iran’s strategy for the upcoming round set to commence in Geneva this Wednesday.
According to Asfari, Iran’s halting of uranium enrichment and the closure of the nuclear plant in Fordo and the heavy water reactor in Arak are “not on the agenda of either side.” Iran, Asfari was told in the meeting, would negotiate based on “Iran’s pride.”
Iranian dissidents say Iran has built secret new nuclear site
An exiled Iranian opposition group said on Monday it had information about an underground nuclear site being built in Iran and that this was among a number of secret venues for an atomic bomb program.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran exposed Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy-water facility at Arak in 2002. But analysts say the NCRI has a mixed track record and a clear agenda of regime change in Tehran.
23 killed in attack on Iran's embassy in Beirut
Two suicide bombings struck near the Iranian Embassy in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday, killing 23 people, including the Iranian cultural attache.
The mid-morning blasts hit Beirut's upscale neighborhood of Janah, a stronghold of the Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group. One explosion blew out the large black main gate of the Iranian mission, damaging the three-story facility.
Hanegbi shoots down Iranian claims that Israel behind Beirut blasts
Hanegbi said that it was quite humorous that a country that has perpetuated terror around the world, now is blaming others.
His comments came after Al Jazeera reported that "the Iranian ambassador in Lebanon, who escaped from the attack uninjured, is blaming Israel for the attack."
Beirut bombing sees Iran drawn deeper into Lebanon quagmire
Evidently, however, even such stringent security precautions — introduced at potential Iranian targets as well — could not thwart Tuesday’s bombings. The Iranians are themselves now learning the bitter lesson they taught Israel: the combination of explosives and a highly motivated terrorist make the suicide bomber a devastating and hard-to-stop weapon.
Group behind Beirut bombing has fired rockets at Israel
The Abdullah Azzam Brigade, the al-Qaeda-affiliated group that claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s deadly attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut, has threatened in the past to launch an offensive against Israel.
Why Has the U.N. Given Assad a Free Pass on Mass Murder?
During the past year, the United Nations' chief relief agency has routinely withheld from the public vital details of the Bashar al-Assad regime's systematic campaign to block humanitarian assistance to Syrian civilians. This silence has infuriated human rights advocates, who believe that greater public exposure of Assad's actions would increase political pressure on the Syrian government to allow the international community to help hundreds of thousands of ordinary Syrians who are trapped in the line of fire.
Instead, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) -- which oversees international relief efforts in Syria -- has relied on low-key, behind-the-scenes diplomacy to quietly persuade the Syrian regime to open the aid floodgates. So far, critics say, the strategy has been ineffective. Worse, it provides a measure of political cover to the Assad regime as it carries out mass starvation and slaughter, these critics contend.
UN Watch: At UN, Syria's murderous regime compares Israelis to Nazis


Jews help Syria’s innocent victims in Bulgaria
Unable to handle the growing number of refugees, the Bulgarian authorities are helpless to offer anything more than overcrowded camps in poor condition with little medical care or food.
“We count on external assistance,” admitted Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski during a meeting with Jewish Canadian philanthropist, pop musician/jingle writer Yank Barry on November 13. Driven by personal ties to Bulgaria and his humanitarian mission, Barry is among the most recent contributors to join the relief effort to aid the Syrian refugees in Bulgaria, the European Union’s least wealthy member.
‘Egypt signs missile deal with Russia’
The head of Russia’s state-controlled industrial holding company says Moscow has signed a deal to provide Egypt with air defense missile systems.
Monday’s statement by Russian Technologies chief Sergei Chemezov followed last week’s trip to Egypt by Russia’s foreign and defense ministries.
US to Train Libyan Forces As Militias Ravage Tripoli
On Sunday, following heavy violence in Tripoli, a senior US military official revealed plans to train up to 7,000 members of Libya's security and special operations forces, according to Al Arabiya.
Aside from training thousands of conventional forces, special operations forces will be trained to conduct counter-terror operations, according to Admiral William McRaven, head of the U.S. military's Special Operations Command.
Turkey's secularists alarmed over rise of Islamic 'moralism'
Tension between religious and secular elites has long been one of the underlying fault lines in the predominantly Muslim but constitutionally secular republic, forged from the ruins of an Ottoman theocracy by Ataturk 90 years ago.
But a stream of provocative comments from Erdogan, who is expected to stand for president in elections next year, has heightened accusations of religiously-motivated interference in private life and exacerbated secularists' sense of siege.
Erdogan suggested this month that rules could be drawn up to stop male and female students living together, one ruling party official suggesting such unregulated cohabitation could be used to harbor criminals.


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