Sunday, July 21, 2013

From Ian:

To Ramallah and back
A US college student’s perspective on Israeli security: The actions Israel has taken to keep citizens, tourists protected are invaluable.
This past month I went on a trip to Ramallah with J Street. I signed up for the trip with very little in terms of expectations – I was merely looking forward to a tour of Ramallah. Of course, I hoped the trip would be an educational experience. I expected to hear insight from Palestinians, activists and UN officials that I would disagree with. However, the most alarming encounters I was confronted with were from the American Jewish college students with whom I traveled.
Ex-PA minister: Abbas cowed by threat of US aid loss
“Abbas feels American pressure, and Arab [League] pressure,” said Abuzayyad, a former Palestinian legislator, cabinet minister and negotiator. “The Arab League is telling him, ‘You can’t be seen as responsible for Kerry’s failure.’”
Asked about reports that Abbas faced US threats to withdraw aid if he didn’t enter talks, Abuzayyad told Army Radio, “Of course there was a threat of economic sanctions, as much as $500 million per year. There was pressure related to the end of aid.”
1967 lines not the basis for new talks, report says
Contrary to Palestinian claims, the terms for restarting long-dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace talks do not include a reference to the pre-1967 lines, according to a Western official quoted by The New York Times late Saturday.
Hamas spokesman accuses US of deluding Palestinians
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Ma’an news agency Saturday that the negotiations are just a cover for the Israeli “agenda of Judaization” and that they threatened Palestinian reconciliation.
“Stopping political reconciliation [between Fatah and Hamas] for negotiations between the PA and Israel is very dangerous,” Barhoum said. “For Hamas, reconciliation is a strategy that must be implemented instantly in light of the current Arab and global situation and US and European collusion with Israel.”
PMW: PA TV: Terrorist Dalal Mughrabi is "a Palestinian and Arab symbol"

UN Watch: UNESCO honors executioner Che Guevara
Cuba held a ceremony on Friday to celebrate UNESCO’s despicable decision to include “The Life and Works of Ernesto Che Guevara” among 54 new additions to the Memory of the World Register, approved on June 18 by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.
CiF Watch prompts correction to Guardian claim on Gaza construction material
We noted that Sherwood’s claim that ‘Israel only allows construction materials into Gaza which is destined for UN projects’ was not true – citing widely reported news in Dec. 2012 that Israel had expanded the legal passage of construction materials (which had previously only allowed materials for UN projects) to include such materials for private contractors, as well.
Shortly after contacting Guardian editors, the passage in question was revised to more accurately reflect Israeli policy vis-a-vis the import of construction material into Gaza.
European Sanctions on Israel Destroy Two-State Delusion
In a report that was recently presented to and ignored by members of the European Parliament, the reputable NGO Monitor details the damaging impact of highly secretive European Union funding for radical political advocacy Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). There is overwhelming evidence that these shadowy groups are involved in anti-Israel boycotts and violent demonstrations that undermine the EU’s stated efforts to secure peace in the Middle East.
Yet, it would be a mistake to interpret the European Union’s latest foray into Palestinian state building as a betrayal of high minded ideals. Rarely in the history of nations does such a clarifying, unifying event take place. The vast majority of the Israeli public has reacted with outrage to the EU’s heavy-handed attempt to placate their Islamist masters.
Like free men and women everywhere, Israelis will not accept external ultimatums related to matters inside their country’s borders. This Israeli-Palestinian conflict can and will only be resolved via direct negotiations between the parties.
Germany backs away from EU settlement directives
In a statement issued by MP Philipp Missfedler, the Bundestag spokesman for German chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party and its coalition partner the Bavarian Christian Social Union, he stated the guidelines are “pure ideology and symbolic politics” and will not contribute to finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
EU should stand up to Hezbollah
On July 16, France 24 held a roundtable discussion on the topic “Has the West forgotten about Syria?” Around 5,000 people are dying each month in Syria in a conflict that has claimed more than 80,000 lives. The death tolls have only risen since Hezbollah decided to intervene fully in the conflict by committing large numbers of terrorists to fight in the Battle of Qusair on June 5. Now is the time, with Hezbollah increasingly involved in human rights abuses, for the EU to label the organization a terrorist group, thus cutting off its funding sources and ensuring that fewer Syrians die at its hands.
EU terrorism experts have been meeting in the past month Lebanon but also the region through its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s brutal policies.
Inside Israel’s Preparation for the Next Hezbollah Conflict
Much has been written about the tunnels in Gaza where goods and weapons are smuggled into the Islamist enclave, but Cohen confirmed that Hezbollah also has a huge amount of tunnels leading from village houses, mosques, and other buildings, and often leading outside the village. Hezbollah fighters try to use these tunnels to emerge behind their attackers. The tunnels are often built with cement reinforcements – sometimes two meters high, allowing the terrorists to dash back and forth, emerging from unexpected angles, and often giving the impression there are more of them than is actually the case. Even the tunnels have been recreated in the mock village.
Hezbollah Defending Cannabis Fields against Rebel Takeover
Hezbollah owns vast areas of thousands of acres of cannabis, both in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon and in the Alawite areas in Syria, and this, according to the Arab news website, is the main reason for their exceptional loyalty to the Assad regime this days, a loyalty that so far has cost them at least 100 casualties. The most important goal for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is to keep those billion dollar assets from falling into rebel hands.
Twitter Data Shows How U.S. and Europe Treat Online Anti-Semitism
Stern believes that it is generally “more effective to have hateful speech marginalized than censored,” particularly by having high-ranking officials or politicians call it out. In 2005, Stern was part of a debate in the U.S. between Jewish groups on the issue of anti-Semitism online. One school of thought was in favor of removing anti-Semitic content, the other side believed such content “is a way to train kids in this new medium,” on how to distinguish hateful speech from benign speech, he said.
The bigger problem, Stern said, is when anti-Semitism, online or otherwise, is expressed as normal, polite dinner conversation. “I’ll be less worried if it’s half a dozen neo-Nazis with tattoos sitting in a bar someplace,” he said.
Facebook Removes Page of Racist Hungarian Website After ADL Complaint, Replacement Page Posted Next Day
APF’s Bodnar said Kuruc is indicative of a greater problem in Hungary: “The quality of Hungarian public speech is deteriorating day by day. The anti-Semitic utterances in Parliament are the representatives of employers and with a proud voice, and you hear their racist, anti-Semitic speeches blight the public thinking, destroying the quality of public discourse.”
TAU Scientists Improve Transplants with a ‘Heart of Gold’
Scientists at Tel Aviv University are integrating cardiac cells with nanofibers made of gold particles to create engineered cardiac tissues for transplants and post-attack therapies.
Heart tissue cells cannot multiply or regenerate, and cardiac muscle contains few stem cells, making it impossible for the tissue to repair itself.
EcoStream beats boycotters
EcoStream, which sells SodaStream recyclable bottles made in the West Bank settlement of Mishor Adumim, is picketed every Saturday afternoon by anti-Israel activists.
But despite the protesters’ efforts, the shop has seen an increase in sales, expanded its product-line and this week launched its website.
EcoStream manager Steve Bannatyne said: “A few of weeks ago, we saw a 38 per cent increase in trade. And it’s stayed steady from there on.” (h/t Rabbi Andrea Zanardo)
Asian-American Congresswoman Meng Chides Asian Studies Organization for Adopting BDS Resolution
Meng told The Algemeiner in an email that she couldn’t sit by idly as the AAAS tried to harm Israel.
“This is an unprecedented action for an academic organization, let alone for an Asian American group, so I chose to voice opposition to it,” she said.
She added she has “always been sympathetic to Zionism,” and that a trip to Israel in 2010 “deepened my understanding of the Jewish state. It also provided context to what I already knew about the unique historical persecution of the Jewish people and the great achievements of the Jewish State.”
IDF Blog: Meet the Bedouin Soldier Who Enlisted in the IDF Against His Father’s Wishes
When Ibrahim graduated high school with honors, his father urged him to forgo on the army draft and direct his potential towards academic studies. When he enlisted regardless, his father banished him from the house. Now, upon completion of his officer’s course, Ibrahim describes the pride he holds for his country, the obligation he felt to enlist in the IDF, and the friends he met on his way to completing his dream of serving in the IDF.

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