Saturday, January 07, 2017

From Ian:

Denis MacEoin: UnCorked: Ireland's Pseudo-Academic Anti-Israel Hate-Fest
This will not be an academic conference in any real sense of the word. It is, from the outset, a hate-fest of international anti-Zionist, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric and distortion. It is totally without balance.
Some of those 45 participants will be more vehement in their criticism of Israel, but none, so far as is known, is wholly without some degree of association with bias. How do we know this? First, because a significant majority of the participants have made no secret of their support for the boycott of Israeli academics.
For more than 3,000 years, the "original 'aboriginal' inhabitants" were the Jews – along with Ethiopians, Nubians, Carthaginians, Phoeneicians, and eventually the Romans, Christians and eventually several Arab Muslim imperialists, culminating in the Ottoman Turks. The Jews were the people who inhabited Canaan; the Jews are why Judaea is named Judaea. An Arab "Palestine", bluntly, never existed. If the Jews do not belong in Israel, then the Europeans do not belong in New Zealand, Australia or North and South America.
Prominent at Southampton, and again planning to address the conference, were some of the leading academic activists working both in the universities and outside for the destruction of Israel, regardless of whether that means the expulsion or genocide of the country's Jewish population.
In "Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust," Richard Falk compared some Israeli policies with regard to the Palestinians to the Nazi record of collective punishment, warning (unbelievably) that Israel may be planning a Holocaust in the same way Nazi Germany did. It is arguable that he has done more than any other figure to inspire loathing for Israel worldwide.
This conference is an outright attack on everything academic work is about. Many are already protesting in the hope that UCC can be persuaded to recognize the threat to scholarship that such a conference poses for academic teachers and researchers everywhere.
Spain's Valencia region adopts official BDS policy
Spain’s Valencia region reportedly adopted a boycott against Israel as its official policy.
A vote on Israel at the Provincial Council of Valencia, a semi-autonomous region with over 250 municipalities and 2.5 million inhabitants, took place during a general assembly on Dec. 29, according to the local faction of the far-left party València en Comú, which submitted the motion with other far-left factions.
“Today the Provincial Council of Valencia declared itself a free space from Israeli apartheid,” a party spokesman wrote on its official Facebook page.
The approved motion, the statement read, was co-written by the local branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, or BDS, and party deputy Roberto Jaramillo Martínez. Boycott promoters celebrated the vote as a major victory.
“It is a grand success for the Palestinian cause,” the statement also read, vowing to “keep on fighting until Palestine is free.” On Twitter, Martinez’s party also said the motion passed “unanimously.” It provided no additional information about the vote.
State Dept. Grilled on Why Obama Admin Abstained From Anti-Israel UN Resolution Vote
State Department spokesman John Kirby was grilled Friday by Associated Press reporter Matt Lee on why the U.S. abstained from a United Nations Security Council vote last month on a resolution condemning Israel rather than voting either for or against the measure.
“If you support the resolution enough to allow it go through, why didn’t you just vote ‘yes?'” Lee asked.
Kirby said that he did not want to reopen debate on the abstention but added that Secretary of State John Kerry still supported the decision.
“Why isn’t an abstention a cop out here?” Lee asked. “You allowed it to go through, yet you didn’t vote because you clearly, it would seem that you supported it because you didn’t veto it. So why not take a stand for what you apparently believe in and vote ‘yes,’ or ‘no’ if you disagree with it?”
Kirby referred to an explanation put out by the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power.
“You talk about leadership and taking an active role, and you essentially vote present. That doesn’t seem to be taking a leadership position,” Lee responded.

Will Trump Embrace Bush’s Letter?
President Obama came into office determined to create more “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel. But, as was evident from his first days in office until his parting shot at the United Nations Security Council last month, he was particularly obsessed with Israeli settlements. Though defenders of the administration’s abstention on a vote declaring the Jewish presence beyond the June 1967 lines illegal claim there was continuity between this stand and those of Obama’s predecessors, the fact remains the president’s position on settlements was a departure from that of the man he succeeded. As Elliott Abrams wrote last week in National Review, the key difference between the last two presidents with respect to Israel was Obama’s decision to treat George W. Bush’s 2004 letter to Ariel Sharon as null and void.
The Bush letter was forgotten for the last eight years, but with an incoming Republican administration that wants better relations with Netanyahu, it now provides a clear path forward for President-elect Donald Trump.
As Abrams points out, the genius of the letter was matched by the stupidity of Obama’s substituted position. The letter conceded the obvious in that the U.S. acknowledged that any peace deal with the Palestinians must also recognize the changes on the ground since the 1967 Six Day War. The U.S. recognized that the major settlement blocs and Jewish neighborhoods built in East Jerusalem—most of which were decades old even then—would remain part of Israel. The letter assured Israel that Washington would not oppose growth in those areas either in the form of new housing projects, “natural” population increases due to births, or people moving into existing housing. In exchange for this and a U.S. declaration that the Palestinian refugee problem would have to be solved by a putative Palestinian state and not in Israel (the negation of the so-called “right of return”), then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed not to incentive settlement outside of those areas.
The Bush letter not only set in motion the train of events that led to Sharon’s withdrawing every soldier, settler, and settlement from Gaza. It also put in place a blueprint for a peace deal in which the Palestinians could have their state in the rest of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Sharon’s successor, Ehud Olmert, made just such an offer in 2008 and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas refused even to consider it.
Israel cuts $6 million in UN funding over anti-settlement vote
Israel on Friday suspended about $6 million in funding to the United Nations to protest a Security Council resolution demanding an end to settlements in the West Bank.
The council adopted the resolution last month after the United States refrained from using a veto to block the measure in a break from its usual practice of shielding its Middle East ally.
The cut to Israel’s $40 million annual contribution to the United Nations represented the portion of the UN budget allocated to four committees on Palestinian issues, the Israeli mission said.
“It is unreasonable for Israel to fund bodies that operate against us at the UN,” Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement.
“We seek to stop the practice where the UN is used solely as a forum for unending attacks against Israel.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, holds up a Bible as he speaks to the UN Security Council after it passed an anti-settlement resolution, December 23, 2016 (Courtesy: UN)
Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, holds up a Bible as he speaks to the UN Security Council after it passed an anti-settlement resolution, December 23, 2016 (Courtesy: UN)
The announcement came a day after the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in favor of a measure condemning the UN stance and chastising President Barack Obama’s administration for abstaining in the Security Council vote.
Deputy Israeli FM: We’re Talking With Incoming Trump Administration About UN Security Council Resolution That Would Recognize Our Right to Build in West Bank
The Israeli government is in touch with the incoming Trump administration about the formulation of an American-proposed UN Security Council resolution that would “recognize Israel’s right to build in the Judea and Samaria regions as long as there is no peace deal” with the Palestinians, Israel’s deputy foreign minister said on Friday, according to the Hebrew news site nrg.
“The recent Security Council decision was very bad and put Israel in a not good position,” Hotovely was quoted as saying in reference to the anti-settlement Security Council resolution that was passed last month due to the abstention of the Obama administration. “Incoming President Donald Trump has made clear he does not plan to force agreements on us. Also, he has given us two promises. One is moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and we believe this will lead to other embassies being moved to Jerusalem. The second is the US will veto any anti-Israel matter. For us, this is a lot.”
The Israeli UN delegation did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday from The Algemeiner about the potential US-proposed Security Council resolution mentioned by Hotovely.
The Pro-Israel Center Holds: House Reps Condemn UN Resolution on Israel
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to condemn the recent United Nations Security Council resolution targeting Israel, and implicitly rebuked the Obama administration for failing to veto its passage. By a tally of 342-80, including 60 percent of Democrats, the House declared that “The United States Government should oppose and veto future United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to impose solutions to final status issues, or are one-sided and anti-Israel.” A similar bipartisan resolution is currently being circulated in the Senate.
“Allowing such a one-sided resolution to pass at this moment sent the wrong signal to our ally Israel, to Israel’s enemies and to the world,” Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said. “It’s time to repair the damage done by this misguided hit job at the UN,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in an impassioned speech. “It’s time to rebuild our partnership with Israel and reaffirm our commitment to her security. And it’s time to show all of our allies that, regardless of the shameful events of last month, the United States remains a force for good.”
These bipartisan congressional efforts—like AIPAC’s September letter signed by 88 senators calling on the administration to oppose “one-sided” U.N. action against Israel—signify that the traditional pro-Israel center continues to hold in American politics, despite eight years of strain from the right and left. As Politico put it, “That so many Democrats and Republicans joined to condemn the U.N. resolution once again underscored the depth of the bipartisan support for the Israeli government in Congress.”
Once again, however, the frayed edges of this consensus were also on display. On the one hand, some Republican lawmakers took issue with the House resolution’s commitment to a two-state solution. “I can’t vote for the resolution when we are advocating what Joel 3 says will bring judgment down upon our nation for trying to partition Israel,” said Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert. (Somewhat similar, if less biblical, objections were raised by some prominent Republican Senators who declined to sign AIPAC’s September letter.) On the other side of the aisle, the liberal Zionist lobby J Street lobbied hard against the House resolution, and two-thirds of its endorsees voted against it, including DNC chair candidate Keith Ellison.
Ellison and Israel: The Turning Point?
Friends of Israel cheered a resolution passed yesterday in the House of Representatives condemning the most recent United Nations Security Council’s attack on the Jewish state. It sent an implicit rebuke of President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who allowed the resolution to pass by abstaining rather than vetoing, and a warning to the international community that, in 2017, Washington was prepared to push back hard against any further anti-Israel bias at the UN. Even more importantly, the House resolution (like a similar Senate resolution that has yet to be voted on) had the backing of majorities of both Republicans and Democrats.
But there is still plenty for the pro-Israel community to be worried about. While Republicans backed the resolution by a resounding 233-4 margin, Democrats were split on it. In the final tally, 109 members of the minority party were in favor of the resolution and 76 opposed it. Though many, if not most of those who opposed it claim to be friends of Israel (including conservative Republican Representative Louie Gohmert, who felt its language was not pro-Israel enough to suit him) but would not vote for anything that could be construed as criticism of Obama, the schism within the Democratic caucus illustrated the current state of the party with respect to the Jewish state.
The most prominent “no” vote belonged to Representative Keith Ellison, who remains the leading candidate for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee. Ellison tried to amend the resolution to say that Congress affirmed that it was the “longstanding practice” of the U.S. to stand against anti-Israel resolutions at the UN. But his version failed to condemn the one that did pass, which put the blame for the lack of peace on Israel and essentially branded several hundred thousand Jews living in the West Bank and Jerusalem as outlaws. UNSC 2334 was a betrayal that, if Israeli reports are correct, was not merely acquiesced to by Obama and Kerry but the result of their active plotting.
Though Ellison and leftist Jews who have become his chief apologists keep insisting that he’s a friend of the Jewish state, the House vote was a potential turning point in his effort to capture the post that would make him his party’s boss until it nominates a presidential candidate in 2020. By refusing to stand against a measure that was not only biased but removed any incentive for the Palestinians to make peace, Ellison’s DNC candidacy is now, more than ever, a referendum on how Democrats feel about Israel.
A Disaster He's Proud Of
The Obama chapter in American foreign policy ends like the climax of an action movie—with a fireball growing in the distance and filling the screen as a man in silhouette approaches in slow motion and then veers off camera. Barack Obama has set the Middle East on fire, and now it's spreading.
The Obama administration's nuclear agreement with Iran has emboldened the world's leading state sponsor of terror, which now makes war openly in four Arab states (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen) and is a growing threat to Israel and Saudi Arabia. The deal with Tehran that Obama boasts of as his signature foreign policy initiative guarantees, as the president himself acknowledged, that Iran will have an industrial-scale nuclear weapons program within 15 years.
After a 40-year absence from the Middle East, Russia has returned to the region, where it bombs Syria's schools and hospitals as America and Europe watch helplessly. Washington's traditional regional allies are scrambling to adjust to the new reality, which for the likes of Israel, Jordan, and Turkey means an opportunistic power on their borders that is allied with their existential enemies.
For Europe, the millions seeking refuge from the conflagration are agents of potential instability on the continent in the years to come; some in their midst are terrorists plain and simple. In just four years, or one presidential term, a civil uprising that started in Syria became a great Middle Eastern war over a host of sectarian, religious, and political hostilities dating back centuries.
Critics and even admirers of the president say that Syria will be a stain on his record. But that's not how Obama sees it. The death and suffering of so many undoubtedly pains him, as he says. He says he wonders if he could have done anything else. Of course he could have, but he believed he had better reasons not to.
Theresa May was ‘blindsided’ over anti-Israel vote
Theresa May was “blindsided” by the Foreign Office over Britain’s support for the United Nations resolution on settlements, a senior Tory MP has suggested.
The comments represent the latest twist in a diplomatic saga provoked by the Security Council motion describing the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied” and settlements as having “no legal validity”.
The US and the UK, which abstained and backed the motion respectively, faced the brunt of Jerusalem’s anger – with Israeli officials claiming the latter helped draft the motion and then pushed for it to be brought back to the table when Egypt abandoned it.
Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said the “drip-drip of anti-Israel bias” from the UN “legitimises those seeking to delegitimise Israel” and vowed to push for it to be overturned.
But writing in Jewish News, he speculated the latest resolution could end up doing Israel a “favour” by creating circumstances which “might just cause the UN to adopt a more balanced approach, to reassess what it’s purpose is” or risk the UK and the Trump administration joining forces to penalise the body they are major funders to.
Demonstration planned to protest UK role in latest UN resolution on Israel
Jewish groups, led by the Zionist Federation, are to mount a protest this weekend against the UK’s support for the United Nations resolution demanding that Israel stops building settlements in the Occupied Territories.
The ZF is calling for supporters to “come and stand against the UNcredible”, with the organisation labelling Britain’s vote for the resolution as an “endorsement of UN bias”.
The rally is planned to take place at 2pm at a location in London, on Sunday.
A spokesman for the ZF said that 300 people were expected to attend. Colonel Richard Kemp, a former UK commander in Afghanistan and a strong supporter of Israel, is due to speak.
Other speakers will include Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies, Simon Johnson of the Jewish Leadership Council and Paul Charney, the chairman of the Zionist Federation.
Kerry warns Trump: Moving US embassy would cause regional ‘explosion’
Moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would cause “an explosion” in the region and have a detrimental effect on Israel’s relationships with Jordan and Egypt, outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry said over the weekend.
In an interview with CBS News on Friday, Kerry said the move promised by President-elect Donald Trump would cause “an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region.”
It would also “have profound impact on the readiness of Jordan and Egypt to be able to be supportive and engaged with Israel as they are today,” he warned.
Kerry also said any alternative to the two-state solution “would be extraordinarily dangerous for Israel, our friend… The simple reality is you cannot be unitary — one state — with more non-Jews than Jews and remain a democracy or a Jewish state. It’s impossible. You can’t do it.”
Abbas invites Trump to Bethlehem, warns against Jerusalem embassy move
Should the US embassy be moved to Jerusalem, the Middle East will enter a "crisis no one will be able to overcome," official Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as saying Friday.
"We heard a lot of statements relating to moving the US embassy, which we hope are not correct and will not be implemented, but if implemented then the peace process in the Middle East, and even peace in the world, will be in a crisis we will not be able to come out from."
"We say to those who said it, and this is the US President-elect Donald Trump, we invite you to visit Palestine, especially Bethlehem, next year, and that this statement is not on your agenda because any statement or position that will disrupt or alter the status of Jerusalem is a red line that we will not accept it.
"Some people in the past talked about this subject and did not do anything,” he added. “So we hope the US administration does not move the embassy, and to implement UN resolution 2334, which it did not object to nor did use its veto against him, and thus it had approved the resolution, which had international consensus," Abbas stated.
Charlie Hebdo journalist quits, says paper has gone soft on Islamists
One of Charlie Hebdo’s most outspoken journalists said on Friday she is quitting the French satirical magazine because it has gone soft on Islamist extremism.
Zineb El Rhazoui accused the weekly of bowing to Islamist extremists and no longer daring to draw the Prophet Muhammad.
Her parting shot comes on the eve of the second anniversary of the jihadist massacre that almost wiped out the controversial magazine’s staff.
“Charlie Hebdo died on January 7” 2015, the day the gunmen attacked the magazine killing 12 people, El Rhazoui said in a damning interview with AFP.
She said she felt Charlie Hebdo now follows the editorial line the extremists had demanded “before the attack — that Muhammad is no longer depicted.”
2016 was deadliest year ever for suicide bombings worldwide
The year 2016 was the deadliest in the history of suicide terrorism, an Israeli think tank said, with 469 suicide bombings carried out by 800 perpetrators in 28 countries, causing the deaths of about 5,650 people.
Islamic State was the leading perpetrator of suicide bombings worldwide, being directly or indirectly responsible for approximately 70 percent (322) of the attacks, according to statistics compiled by the Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict Research Program at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).
As the terror group loses territory, “it appears that suicide terrorism will be a key tool for the Islamic State in consolidating its image as invincible, creating deterrence against its enemies, and taking revenge for the international activity against it,” the think tank said Thursday.
“The Islamic State’s partners and other terrorist groups will also likely redouble their efforts to carry out mass casualty large-scale terrorist attacks.”
Israel returns bodies of two terrorists
Israel on Friday returned to the Palestinian Authority (PA) the bodies of two terrorists who carried out attacks in Hevron four months ago, Army Radio reported.
One of the terrorists is 25-year-old Hatem Shaludi, who stabbed a soldier and lightly wounded him. The second is Mohammed Rajabi, a 16-year-old terrorist who tried to stab a soldier.
The two terrorist attacks occurred two days apart and both were shot by IDF forces.
The Israeli government had at one point promised to stop the transfer of terrorists’ bodies to the PA, though this would not be the first time that Israel has done so after promising to cease the practice.
The policy was an issue of contention between former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who in the past argued that the return of terrorists’ bodies to their families prevents escalations, and Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who has opposed such transfers.
Around 1,500 attend terrorists' funerals
Around 1,500 Arabs attended on Saturday the funerals of two terrorists who were killed by IDF troops last year.
The funerals were held in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Hevron.
The terrorists,Hatem Shaludi, 25, and Mohammed Rajabi, 16, were shot dead after carrying out separate stabbing attacks against IDF soldiers in Hevron.
Mourners attending the terrorists' funerals carried pictures of the deceased, Palestinian national flags and banners of various Palestinian groups,including the Islamist militant movement Hamas.
The terrorists' bodies were returned to their families on Friday, despite the fact that Hamas has not yet returned the bodies of IDF soldiers Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and Sergeant Oron Shaul, who were killed and kidnapped in Operation Protective Edge.
Fatah Militant Leader in Gaza: Fatah Has Lost Its Path

The enemy of my enemy: Egypt thaws toward Hamas
High-ranking Israeli officials and journalists alike have occasionally found themselves amazed at the waves of curses and vicious invective that Egyptian officials unleash when asked for their views on Hamas. In one recent encounter, a former IDF Southern Command chief had to calm one of his Egyptian counterparts, who was using particularly colorful language to express his views about high-ranking Hamas operatives in Gaza, replete with frequent allusions to their mothers.
The Egyptians have never troubled to hide their abhorrence of Hamas, particularly after President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi took office in the summer of 2013. The Egyptian army has since blocked hundreds of tunnels that were dug between Gaza and Sinai and waged all-out war against the smuggling taking place from Egypt to Gaza.
But in the new Middle East, everything is possible. It seems that the current Egyptian leadership, the bitter enemy of the Muslim Brotherhood (which it ousted, and of which Hamas is a subsidiary), has decided to change its behavior toward Hamas. This decision stems not from any sudden affection on Egypt’s part for Hamas, but rather from Egypt’s hatred of the Islamic State terror group.
This change in direction, which is already visible on the ground, has Israel concerned. Suddenly the Egyptians are opening the Rafah Border Crossing, including for the entry of merchandise. This week, high-ranking Hamas operatives said that former Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, the incoming chief of its political wing, was planning a visit to Cairo in the near future — a dramatically symbolic step.
Venezuela’s New VP is a Suspected Drug Smuggler with Ties to Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah
The newly appointed vice president of Venezuela is suspected by American intelligence of drug smuggling as well as close ties to Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, Business Insider reported Thursday.
The appointment of Tareck El Aissami, formerly the governor of Aragua state, means that if he could become the country’s president if the increasingly-embattled Nicholas Maduro is recalled or steps down.
While serving as interior minister under Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez, El Aissami reportedly participated in a program to provide Syrian terrorists with Venezuelan passports. Joseph Humire, the founder of the Center for a Secure Free Society think tank, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2015 that El Aissami “developed a sophisticated, multi-layered financial network that functions as a criminal-terrorist pipeline bringing militant Islamists into Venezuela and surrounding countries, and sending illicit funds and drugs from Latin America to the Middle East.”
Russian Monk: "Kikes" Downed the Russian Plane as a Ritual Sacrifice for Chanuka

The Israeli gadgets wowing the world at CES
As the 50th annual CES gets underway today in Las Vegas, the world’s gadget-aficionados and tech devotees are keeping an eye on the newest technologies making debuts.
Once again, many Israeli companies are taking part in the world’s largest consumer electronics show, snagging top interest and media coverage for their novel technologies.
Intel demonstrated its Project Alloy VR headset to much hype at this year’s event – handing out barf bags to hundreds of reporters and analysts in case the gaming experience proved too much for them. The technology for the headset was created in Intel Haifa using RealSense (Israeli-developed 3D vision technology).
Consumer Physics, the Israeli makers of the SCiO device, teamed with China’s Changhong and US chipmaker Analog Devices to unveil the world’s first molecular sensing smartphone at CES.
6 Israeli startups that want to change your everyday life
As any pro-Israel activist will tell you, innovators from the Jewish state have invented products and technologies you use all the time, from instant-messaging technology to Waze, the crowdsourced traffic app.
Israel’s tech scene is famously thriving, with about 5,000 startups across the country. Nearly 1,500 of those are in Tel Aviv alone — that’s one startup for every 300 residents of the city, the highest ratio in the world.
A new wave of Israeli companies is inventing more technologies to improve day-to-day life, and 16 of these innovators are in Las Vegas this week to present at the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the world’s premier technology trade shows that draws more than 150,000 attendees.
From slouch-prevention technology to a device that turns any surface into a touchscreen, here are six remarkable Israeli innovations participating in the show.
6 Israeli TV shows to binge-watch now
As the folks on the next season of “Game of Thrones” might say, “Winter is here.”
That means it’s time to get under the covers and engage in the national pastime of binge-watching TV shows. Since Netflix pioneered the streaming model in the late 2000s, other streaming services have been popping up regularly, like Hulu and Amazon Prime, with relatively affordable streaming subscriptions and lots of viewing options.
There’s something really comforting about putting on a good show whenever you want and just relaxing — or you may want to obsessively consume an entire series in one sitting.
If you’ve already worked your way through HBO Go’s offerings and seen every Netflix Original, consider an offering from the Jewish state — Israeli TV has improved markedly over the years. Though Israel may be small in size, it has plenty of fodder for great TV: wars, terrorism, religious tensions.
These six shows draw on the inherent drama that just comes with being Israeli. Some are funny, some are painfully suspenseful, some are even terrifying — but they’re all worth watching.

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