Sunday, September 15, 2013

From Ian:

BBC’s educational resource website describes Yom Kippur attack by Syria and Egypt as ‘pre-emptive’
Consider then the statement below which appears in the section titled “The Middle East from the 1880s” on the BBC’s ‘Learning Zone’ website: supposedly a resource for secondary school educators.
“During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Egypt and Syria acted pre-emptively against Israel at the Suez Canal.” [emphasis added]
Beyond the rather obvious fact that Syrian forces were nowhere near the Suez Canal at the time, the description of ‘Operation Badr’ as a pre-emptive action is clearly inaccurate. The Israeli government had not ordered a general mobilization of reserve forces during the build-up to the Egyptian and Syrian surprise attack and the US had received confirmation from Golda Meir that no pre-emptive Israeli strike would take place.
Netanyahu: Actions, not words, will be test for Syria and Iran
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed cautious optimism over the US-Russian deal, which will begin its implementation with Syria reporting on its chemical weapons stock by the end of the week.
However, he said, the commitments had to backed up by actions, not only in Syria but in Iran as well.
“We hope the understandings bear fruit. Those understandings will be judged by the results,” he said, referring to the total destruction of Syria’s chemical arms, which should take place by mid-2014. “The test of the results also applies to the efforts by the international community to stop Iran’s nuclear armaments. There, too, not words but actions will be the deciding factor.”
Netanyahu added that Israel now needed to have the ability to defend itself more than ever.
Israel: We’ve been ‘absolutely certain’ for months Assad using nerve gas
In his April address, Brun showed a photo of a child with narrowed pupils and foam coming out of his mouth. Both of these were indicative of a nerve agent, he said. He repeated those indicators in the Saturday interview, broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 news, while making plain that the IDF had other, more conclusive, sources of information.
Israeli military intelligence reportedly played a key role in providing evidence of Assad’s chemical weapons use in the August 21 attack that sparked the current crisis over Syria. On the Friday after that attack, Channel 2 reported that the weapons were fired by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, a division under the command of the Syrian 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 TV report said.
Kerry briefs Israel’s leaders on Syria deal
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier Sunday expressed cautious optimism about the deal.
Officials in Jerusalem said late Saturday Israel would of course be delighted to see the regime of President Bashar Assad stripped of chemical weapons, but that Israel is extremely wary of the unfolding diplomatic framework, concerned that Assad is bent on buying time, and that the optimistic timetable set out in Saturday’s agreement will not be adhered to. Kerry will meet a “skeptical” Israeli leadership.
Kerry was to have met with Netanyahu later this week in Rome, but Netanyahu cancelled his planned trip amid the current regional tensions.
Obama: Military action still on table if Syria diplomacy fails
Obama said the United States will continue working with Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United Nations and others to "ensure that this process is verifiable, and that there are consequences should the Assad regime not comply with the framework agreed today."
"In part because of the credible threat of US military force, we now have the opportunity to achieve our objectives through diplomacy," he added.
US forces were still positioned for possible military strikes on Syria.
"We haven't made any changes to our force posture to this point," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement Saturday.
McCain and Graham Slam Syria Agreement
The two called the agreement “meaningless” and said it sends the wrong signal to Iran, which is suspected of building a nuclear weapon.
The Republican senators said the framework agreement reached by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is toothless without the UN Security Council Resolution that threatens the use of force should Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad fail to comply.
Putin Puts International Law Before War
However, Putin now certainly needs to explain the lack of "real leverage" demonstrated by the failure of those same 5 Permanent Members to agree on the terms of a resolution to end the 30 month civil war in Syria that has already claimed over 100000 lives, created 2 million refugees and displaced 5 million Syrians in their own country.
Russia needs to do its own soul searching as it continues to exercise its veto vote to paralyse all efforts by the majority of the other Permanent Members to obtain a Security Council Resolution to try and end this humanitarian outrage.
Russia cannot continue to be the impediment frustrating any resolutions to try and end this conflict - if Putin wants to be taken seriously.
Video Reveals Key Iranian Role in Syrian Civil War
Remarkable footage has emerged of Iranian military forces on the ground in Syria, fighting alongside pro-government militias.
Shia Iran is the Assad regime's closest ally, along with the Hezbollah terrorist group, and Iranian support is nothing new. But whilst Hezbollah has officially acknowledged that its fighters are actively engaged in battle on behalf of the Assad regime, Iranian officials always maintained that any Iranian presence in Syria and support for the Assad regime was limited to logistical support and "military advisers," away from the front lines.
20 trucks with Syrian chemical equipment said sent to Iraq
Twenty trucks laden with equipment used in the manufacture of chemical weapons were driven across the border from Syria into Iraq on Thursday and Friday, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal reported on Sunday.
The trucks were “heavily protected” by security forces, and were not inspected by border guards, the paper reported, adding that its sources confirmed the illicit cargo.
Guardian Jerusalem Syndrome: Giles Fraser fears Judaisation of Temple Mount
Lending polemical support to such an often repeated lie that Israel – which allows freedom of worship for all faiths at holy sites in Jerusalem – represents a threat to the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism), is the Guardian’s Giles Fraser, whose latest piece at ‘Comment is Free’ is titled ‘An Israeli claim to Temple Mount Would Trigger Unimaginable Violence.’
Feiglin Challenges Waqf Control over Temple Mount
In his response, Gordon stated that the policy of Muslim control over the Temple Mount was a government decision taken immediately after the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967.
Feiglin, however, was unimpressed.
"Since I am not aware of any such government decision since 1967 to grant control over the Mount to the Waqf, I request that you supply me with a copy [of the decision," he retorted.
Feiglin went on to point out that - far from deciding to hand the site over the Muslim authorities - a number of ministerial committees clearly stated that the opposite was true.
Israeli Health Care of Palestinians
Once again Israel is coming under attack from a foreign government financed NGO, this time claiming Israel is ignoring its humanitarian obligations with regard to the taking care of the health of the Palestinians.
In spite of the constant calls for Israel’s destruction and the culture of hatred and demonization that permeates Palestinian society at all levels, Israel is, in fact, meeting its humanitarian obligations in respect of the Palestinians, albeit under circumstances fraught with danger.
Border Police Come Under Attack in Anata
A video has been released showing Border Police unit coming under attack during a routine patrol on Yom Kippur. The unit was driving through the Arab town of Anata, near Jerusalem, when local youths attacked with concrete blocks, bottles, and buckets of paint.
A local man filmed the attack and uploaded footage. The video shows the reality of “rock attacks,” which often involve heavy concrete blocks thrown from upper floors of buildings.
Putin to visit Iran for first time in six years
“Putin has been invited to Iran, and he will certainly take advantage of this kind invitation,” the Interfax news agency quoted spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday. “The dates of the visit will be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.”
The announcement came on the heels of a report that Russia had agreed to sell to Iran the advanced S-300 air defense system and construct a new nuclear reactor at the Bushehr site.
New IOC head to resign from controversial Arab-German trade group
Thomas Bach, a German sports functionary who was elected Tuesday for an initial eight-year term at the helm of the IOC, is the chairman of Ghorfa, the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Founded in 1976, the organization is accused of helping companies make sure they avoid any trade with Israel. Since Bach’s election last week in Buenos Aires, several Jewish groups have called on Bach to step down from his position at the trade group.
Bach also came under fire from Jewish groups for opposing a minute of silence for the Israeli victims of the Munich 1972 terror attack during last year’s Olympic Games in London.
Tel Aviv University, China’s Tsinghua University to Create XIN Life Sciences Center in China
In a statement reported by Israel’s Globes business daily, the two universities said they plan to create a research center to be called XIN, which means “new” in Chinese. They will dedicate “hundreds of millions of dollars” to set up the research institute which will focus on life sciences and nanotechnology, and co-ordinate frequently with high-tech industry.
The agreement between the two educational institutions comes as China seeks to harness Israeli innovation, in major ways, including establishing a technology incubator in Israel and beefing up the frequency of flights between the two countries to facilitate business interaction.
Sapiens wins 2 financial services contracts for NIS 80m
One contract with Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings Ltd. (TASE: CLIS), which selected Sapiens Life & Pensions software to manage its pensions portfolio, in a multimillion dollar deal.
The second contract is a follow-on deal with that LV= Ltd., the UK's largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual, with more than five million members, which renewed its maintenance and services contract with Sapiens for five years. The contract is worth $10.5 million (NIS 38 million).
Meet Jerusalem’s Etrog Man
If you’ve ever been to the century-old Jerusalem marketplace Machane Yehuda and haven’t stopped by the booth of third-generation Yemenite healer Uzi-Eli Chezi, it’s time for a return visit.
Click below to see how Uzi-Eli has built his citywide reputation on drinks and cosmetic preparations using native plants including the fragrant etrog, or citron, which is better known for its starring role in the Sukkot holiday.

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