Saturday, August 24, 2013

  • Saturday, August 24, 2013
From Ian:

No summer break in the violent Middle East
Amid horrific bloodshed all around Israel, Hamas is redoubling efforts to regain center stage — defying Egypt, and seeking to abduct IDF soldiers
Despite Hamas’s attempts to ignore the signals that it receives from Egypt and to keep a low profile, it has been working tirelessly to reignite terrorist activity in the West Bank. These should not be mistaken for signs of empowerment, as they are clearly indications of distress. Hamas has reached rock bottom both in Gaza and in the West Bank. Hamas’s attempts to incite terrorist activity in the West Bank are motivated by its struggle to restore its status as a central authority for the Palestinian people without risking clashes with the IDF in Gaza.
Increasing numbers of terror alerts have been piling up in the Shin Bet and Palestinian Authority security offices. Hamas activists in Gaza, particularly those who were released and sent to Gaza as part of the prisoner exchange deal for Gilad Shalit’s release in 2011, are now trying to establish a terrorist network to carry out terrorist attacks such as abducting Israelis, in order to disrupt the relative peace and quiet.
Arab Terrorists Ignite Forest Fire in Israel
While throwing Molotov cocktails at passing Israeli cars driving on the Nachliel road, near the Arab village of Dir Nizzam, Arab terrorists ignited a forest fire near Neve Tsuf, in Israel’s Benyamin region. Volunteers quickly arrived on the scene and began to extinguish the blaze, amid fears that the flames would spread to nearby homes. The volunteers were soon joined by firefighters. No injuries were reported, but significant damage was caused to the area’s greenery.
Abbas planning elections to wrong-foot Hamas
Abbas intends to call elections in the West Bank, and require that Hamas enable elections in the Gaza Strip as well. If Hamas fails to do so, Abbas could declare Gaza a rogue entity, and might suspend the transfer of PA funding to the Strip, the TV report said.
Although Abbas has frequently threatened to step down as PA chief, and indicated he would not seek another term as president, he is now ready to run again, the report said.
Report: Gaza protestors march against peace talks
The marches, reportedly organized by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, condemned rival West Bank-based Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's "political failure" for returning to the negotiating table with Israel.
Protesters marched from various mosques across the enclave toward a square in central Gaza City, according to AFP.
"All the Palestinian factions say you don't have the right to relinquish any piece of our land, or to give up Palestinian rights," AFP quoted Hamas Religious Affairs Minister Ismail Ridwan as saying during an address at the demonstration.
Hamas official: Palestinian Tamarod group was trained by Egyptian intelligence
"The 'Tamarod against the injustice in Gaza' group, that has bases in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, is guided by foreign forces, among them the Egyptian security and intelligence forces," Yahya Moussa said.
"These groups were trained and were organized with the aid of the Egyptian intelligence, to act in the Gaza Strip like the Tamarod movement in Egypt [that brought to the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi]," Moussa added, speaking to the Lebanese newspaper Elnashra.
UN chief condemns rocket fire on Israel
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned on Friday the rocket fire from southern Lebanon into Israel that occurred one day earlier and prompted an Israeli response.
According to a statement issued by the UN chief’s spokesperson, Ban considers the firing of rockets from the area of Tyre “a clear violation of resolution 1701,” which called for the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel in 2006.
Hezbollah on Rocket Attack: ‘We Don’t Condemn Actions Taken Against Israel’
Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah claimed on Friday that his organization was not behind Thursday’s rocket attack on Israel, but would not condemn the attack either, asserting that military action against Israel is justified, Israel’s Channel 10 reported, citing a Lebanese television interview with the Hezbollah MP.
Death toll in Lebanon bombings rises to 47; al-Qaeda blames Hezbollah
Meanwhile, al-Qaeda claimed Saturday that Hezbollah, backed by Iran, was behind the bombings in Tripoli. The organization’s North African branch, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, said via social media that it was “certain” that Hezbollah was behind the “heinous act” in Lebanon. The organization also vowed to retaliate for the attack.
For its part, Iran said the instability in Lebanon plays into the hands of “the Zionists,” aka Israel.
Will Syria Be the Graveyard of Obama’s Presidency?
Rarely has an administration looked as inconsequential as President Barack Obama’s did this week.
A year after Obama warned the Syrian regime that using chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” rebel forces said Wednesday that the army of President Bashar Assad had used poison gas to attack civilians near Damascus, killing hundreds.
The rebels’ allegations have been verified by videos showing victims convulsing and choking, as well as photos of children wrapped in clean white shrouds, lined shoulder to shoulder with their dead faces visible. Foreign governments, such as Israel, have also verified the claims.
Yet, despite the growing body of evidence of chemical weapons attacks, the Obama administration continues to assess, reassess, hem, and haw.
US naval forces move closer to Syria
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declined to discuss any specific force movements while saying that Obama had asked the Pentagon to prepare military options for Syria. US defense officials told The Associated Press that the Navy had sent a fourth warship armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea but without immediate orders for any missile launch into Syria.
Following Reports On Chemical Attack In Syria, Articles In Arab Press Blame International Community, U.S. For The Massacre
Articles published today (August 22, 2013) in the Arab press, and especially in the Saudi and Qatari press, likewise held the international community and the U.S. responsible for the massacre. Especially noteworthy are two articles. The editorial of the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi stated that it was the inaction of the international community in the past two years that had led to the massacre. Tariq Al-Homayed, a columnist and former editor in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, wrote, in a similar vein, that the massacre resulted from the absence of a clear American policy in the Middle East.
Israel TV: Chemical weapons were fired by Assad’s brother’s unit
The chemical weapons allegedly used to kill an estimated 1,000 or more Syrian civilians by the regime of President Bashar Assad last Wednesday were fired by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, an Israel TV report said.
This division is under the command of the president’s brother, Maher Assad.
The nerve gas shells were fired from a military base in a mountain range to the west of Damascus, the Channel 2 news report said.
Report: Syrian rebel forces trained by West are moving towards Damascus
Le Figaro reported that this is the reason behind the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus on Wednesday morning, as UN inspectors were allowed into the country to investigate allegations of WMD use.
The rebels were trained for several months in a training camp on the Jordanian-Syrian border by CIA operatives, as well as Jordanian and Israeli commandos, the paper said.
Reeling from crackdown, Egypt's Brotherhood fails to show street power
Mass protests called by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood mostly failed to materialize on Friday as the movement reels from a bloody army crackdown on followers of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
Troops and police had taken relatively low-key security measures before the "Friday of Martyrs" processions that were to have begun from 28 mosques in the capital after weekly prayers.
But midday prayers were cancelled at some mosques and few major protests unfolded in Cairo, although witnesses said at least 1,000 people staged a march in the Mohandiseen district.
Erdogan Sheds a Tear Over Muslim Brotherhood Politician's Poem
In 2010 Erdogan cried on camera at the deaths of children in Gaza at which time there was some comment in Turkey about why he did not do the same when Kurdish children were killed.
His wife, Emine Erdogan, also cried on camera during a 2012 visit to Myanmar’s western Rakhine state where she met with members of the Rohingya ethnic group, a heavily persecuted minority.
Kiwis battling their country’s anti-Israel media bias
Kiwis for Balanced Reporting on the Middle East – an NGO in New Zealand – feels it hasn’t been able to properly get Israel’s message across in the country’s mainstream newspapers.
The group was formed in 2006 after the Second Lebanon War, due to common sentiments that media coverage of the conflict was very one-sided and in many cases untruthful.
PBS Includes Vicious Anti-Semites in Show About Mohammad
One anti-Semite to appear on the show was Sheikh Ikrema Sabri, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. According to the New York Sun, Sabri is a fan of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a well-known forgery that portrays the Jews as the enemies of humanity.
Sabri, who testifies to Mohammed’s cosmic flight to Jerusalem or “Night of Power,” in the PBS series spoke with Jeffrey Goldberg in 1999. Goldberg reported the following:
“If the Jews want peace, they will stay away from Al Aksa,” Sabri told me when I met with him in his office near the Temple Mount. “This is a decree from God. The Haram al-Sharif belongs to the Muslim. But we know the Jew is planning on destroying the Haram. The Jew will get the Christian to do his work for him. This is the way of the Jews. This is the way Satan manifests himself. The majority of the Jews want to destroy the mosque. They are preparing this as we speak.”
Latma: Raise your blue and white flag (closing song)

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