Thursday, January 23, 2014

From Ian:

Fatah publicizes threats to bomb Tel Aviv on its official Facebook page
Once again Fatah has chosen to post threats of terror against Israel on its official Facebook page. Yesterday, the movement posted a video in which Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, threatens to turn Tel Aviv into a "ball of fire":
"We swear to you that we will turn the beloved [Gaza] Strip into a graveyard for your soldiers, and we will turn Tel Aviv into a ball of fire."
These threats are made by a masked man in uniform standing in front of a group of other masked men, all of whom are holding weapons. The full video is eight minutes long and shows footage of masked men in military training, arsenals of weapons, missiles being launched, as well as footage of Israelis running for shelter during missile attacks.


Only the Jewish State survives
To close; Israel’s existence comes down to the need for a Jewish state. It is a need generated by years of persecution, pogroms, and hatred; The persecution of the Jewish people is an incredibly deep contrast to the purity of the Jewish veneration of life. The history of the Jewish people but also the land of Israel, is written and bound in blood- yet what is written in that blood reads ‘hope’. If the Palestinian people, if not least their elected representatives, cannot end their hope for a demographic annihalation of their Israeli neighbours, any peace created out of those circumstances is impure and bound to fail. Peace should be, and will be achieved only when Israel is accepted as what it has always been- the only Jewish state in the world. Then and only then, is the time that friendship can come from enmity, and the hope of peace can come alive.
Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick discusses 2-state solution (starts 2m40s)




EU envoy: Naturally, Israel will be blamed if settlements wreck the peace process
Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen also said that if Israel’s settlement policies wrecked the current US-led peace efforts, then Israel would be held responsible for the failure of the negotiations, and rightly so. “Naturally” and “logically,” he said, “the blame will be put squarely on Israel’s doorstep.”
Briefing reporters in Jerusalem, Faaborg-Andersen said of the “Jewish Israel” issue: “I don’t think we have any clear position on that because we’re not 100% sure what is meant by this concept of a Jewish state.”
How to Fight Back When the Media Blames ‎Israel for Destroying Peace Talks
The Palestinian Arabs have not budged an inch from their maximalist, Israel-ending demands – “the 1967 borders,” the heart of Jerusalem as their capital, and destruction of even “green line” Israel through “the right of return,” and refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People. Israel, however, has agreed to a two-state solution. These are the facts everyone needs to know.
Lapid: Press the world to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel
Israel should take advantage of Syria’s poor image in the world to ask the international community to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Finance Minister Yair Lapid suggested in a recent meeting of the security cabinet.
Lapid’s office would not confirm or deny his statement, which was first reported by Army Radio. But a source present at the meeting confirmed the report.
'US perceives Israel as encouraging anti-Obama backlash among Jews'
A US official close to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry said both men are disturbed over what is being perceived in their inner circle as "Jewish activism in Congress" that they think is being encouraged by the Israeli government, Israel Radio reported on Thursday.
The official has informed Israeli government figures that the president and secretary of state are disappointed over repeated attacks made against them by leading members of the Jewish community in the US.
Three al-Qaida recruits in J’lem nabbed for planning ‘large-scale bombings’
The Shin Bet announced Wednesday that it had arrested three Palestinians from east Jerusalem who were recruited online by an al-Qaida operative in Gaza. It said the three were in the midst of preparations to carry out a string of large-scale bombing and shooting attacks on multiple targets in Israel.
The intended targets included the Jerusalem International Convention Center, a bus traveling between the capital and Ma’aleh Adumim, the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, and emergency responders who would have arrived at the scenes of attacks.
Evidence: Arabs Staging 'Price Tag' Attacks, Blaming Jews
For years, Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria have been accusing Arab and leftist activists of falsely blaming them for "price tag" revenge attacks that they never carried out. Now, one determined resident of Samaria appears to have found a "smoking gun", documenting how local Arabs have been damaging olive trees and then reporting the incidents to authorities and the media as "price tag" attacks carried out by local Jews. (h/t Bob Knot)
Australian Money-Laundering Scam Funding Hezbollah
A major money-laundering operation in Australia is helping to bankroll Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Islamist group which is proscribed as a terrorist organization by Australian government, among others.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the money-laundering scam is part of a wider criminal network linked to organized drug-trafficking.
The report comes amid Australia's biggest ever money-laundering investigation, named Project Eligo, which has revealed how 40 separate operations in the country are moving hundreds of millions of dollars offshore. At least one of those operations pays a percentage of its profits to Hezbollah.(h/t Bob Knot)
Former Hamas man behind Beirut bombing, say reports
The perpetrator of a suicide attack Tuesday on a Hezbollah stronghold in south Beirut belonged to an organization headed by a former member of Hamas, according to Lebanese media.
Reports on Wednesday said that Palestinian refugee Ahmad Taha’s group was responsible for the blast, a car bomb that killed three people and sent plumes of smoke over the area. It was the latest attack to target supporters of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group.
European Jihadists in Syria
European security officials say that in recent weeks they have noticed an "alarming acceleration" in the number of European jihadists traveling to Syria to obtain combat experience with Islamist groups linked to al-Qaeda.
"France, Germany and the U.K. may have the largest foreign fighter contingents in Syria, but Denmark, Norway, Belgium and Austria have contributed a much higher proportion of their population... [and] may have a larger problem on their hands than do their bigger European neighbors." — Thomas Hegghammer, Norwegian political scientist.
WATCH: UN chief Ban tries to quiet Syrian FM at peace talks
At the start of the talks, aimed at ending Syria's near three-year conflict, Ban had urged all participants to "refrain from language that could undermine chances of success at the conference", and to stick rigorously to their allocated time.
"I regret to tell you that from the beginning, this constructive mood and rules which I set and you agreed has been broken ... I hope that this will not be repeated.
"Please refrain from making any accusation from any specific countries and refrain from inflammatory remarks which must unnecessarily provoke the participating countries in good faith. I really appeal to all of you," Ban told the participants.
Israeli leaders pan Rouhani’s ‘deceptive’ speech
In an immediate response to Rouhani’s speech, Netanyahu said that the Iranian president was continuing “Iran’s deception show” and that the international community “must not be fooled and must prevent Iran from attaining the capability to produce nuclear weapons.”
“At a time when Rouhani talks about peace with the countries of the Middle East, he refuses – even today – to recognize the existence of the State of Israel, and his regime daily calls for the destruction of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “At a time when Rouhani claims that Iran is not interested in a nuclear project for military purposes, Iran continues to strengthen its centrifuges and heavy water reactor, and to arm itself with intercontinental missiles, the sole purpose of which is for nuclear weapons.”
Exclusive: Khamenei's business empire gains from Iran sanctions relief
Khamenei controls a massive business empire known as Setad that has invested in Iran's petrochemical industry, which is now permitted to resume exports. Under a six-month deal between Iran and world powers, Tehran has promised to scale back its nuclear development program in exchange for the suspension of certain economic sanctions, including curbs on the export of petrochemicals.
On Monday, the day the suspension of the restrictions took effect, the U.S. Treasury Department published a list of 14 Iranian petrochemical companies that previously had been sanctioned but are now permitted to do business abroad. The list includes three firms that the department said last year are controlled by Setad - Ghaed Bassir Petrochemical Products Co, Marjan Petrochemical Co and Sadaf Petrochemical Assaluyeh Co.
Iranian official on nuke deal: 'We did not agree to dismantle anything'
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted Wednesday that the Obama administration mischaracterizes concessions by his side in the six-month nuclear deal with Iran, telling CNN in an exclusive interview that "we did not agree to dismantle anything."
Iran Nuclear Agency Chief: “Iceberg of Sanctions is Melting While our Centrifuges are… Still Working”
Analysts fear that U.S. leverage will continue to bleed as data is compiled on the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), which as of Monday saw the West lifting sanctions on a range of sectors and irreversibly releasing restricted Iranian funds. The Los Angeles Times Monday conveyed statements by Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s nuclear agency, declaring on state television that “the iceberg of sanctions is melting while our centrifuges are also still working.”
New Report Details Iranian Concessions Necessary for Final Deal
It evaluates a controversial scenario under which Iran would be permitted to continue enriching uranium, despite half a dozen binding United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding otherwise and fears that U.S. allies who have forgone enrichment at Washington’s behest will end up marginalized. Tehran would be minimally expected, instead, to remove 15,000 centrifuges, shut down its uranium enriching underground military bunker at Fordow, downgrade the reactor at its plutonium-production facility at Arak, and agree to a 20-year inspection regime. The recommendations are designed to ensure that Iran would require between six months to a year should it, sometime in the future after the deal is implemented, decide to break off cooperation with the West and with international nuclear inspectors.
Elliott Abrams: Egypt's referendum
Egypt's constitutional referendum this week should be no cause for celebration. It was not free and fair; the turnout did not suggest a consensus among Egyptians; and the future stability of Egypt is in doubt.
According to the Egyptian authorities, turnout was 38.6 percent, and 98.1% of those Egyptians who voted said yes. The 98% figure should give anyone pause. If it is accurate, it's obvious that everyone opposed to the new constitution stayed away -- hardly a reliable basis for political stability and consensus. That more than 60% of Egyptians did not vote, despite a huge campaign by the government, is not reassuring either.
Report: Egypt's Sisi to quit post in a few days to run for president
Sisi came to the decision “in light of wide popular demands, in addition to signs of Arab approval, especially from the Gulf,” an informed source told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, in a report published on Tuesday.
The source also said that Sisi made his decision after carefully studying expected “Western reactions, especially American,” to his potential candidacy, and saw that the Pentagon welcomed the move.
Remembering 1960s Afghanistan, the photographs of Bill Podlich
Outside of higher education, Dr. Podlich was a prolific amateur photographer and he documented his family’s experience and daily life in Kabul, rendering frame after frame of a serene, idyllic Afghanistan. Only about a decade before the 1979 Soviet invasion, Dr. Podlich and his family experienced a thriving, modernizing country. These images, taken from 1967-68, show a stark contrast to the war torn scenes associated with Afghanistan today.
“When I look at my dad’s photos, I remember Afghanistan as a country with thousands of years of history and culture,” recalls Peg Podlich. “It has been a gut-wrenching experience to watch and hear about the profound suffering, which has occurred in Afghanistan during the battles of war for nearly 40 years. Fierce and proud yet fun loving people have been beaten down by terrible forces.”


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