Tuesday, September 17, 2013

From Ian:

The UNRWA Dilemma
The Palestinian people, according to a recent study by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, have received per capita, adjusted for inflation, 25 times more aid than did Europeans to rebuild war-torn Western Europe under the Marshall plan after the Second World War.
Most of these funds, according to the study, reached the Palestinian people through The United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
UNRWA is the only UN refugee agency dedicated to a single group of people, and the only agency that designates individuals as original refugees if they have lived in areas effected by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, for a minimum of only two years, before being displaced. UNRWA is also the only UN agency that designates the descendants of the original refugees as refugees as well – even though 90% of UNRWA-designated refugees have never actually been displaced.
Palestinians: Deserving of a State?
There are currently twenty-one Arabic countries, all in various states of dysfunction. Iraq, wracked by internecine warfare, is swiftly unraveling with 1,000 of its citizens murdered in sectarian conflict just in the past month. Syria, whose leader recently used Sarin to gas his own people, has long since ceased to be a country, having fractured along ethno-religious lines. And Egypt, always regarded as the premiere Arab state, is just barely functioning and teetering on the brink full-fledged civil war. The rest of the Arab world is in no better shape and there appears to be no end in sight to Arab internal conflict and its brutal consequences.
If past performance is any indicator, the Palestinian state, should it ever come to fruition will almost certainly end up like the rest of the Arab lot and devolve into a stateless, lawless region marked by extremism, violence and terror. Such an entity will pose a direct challenge to regional stability. Indeed, the clan-based ethno and religious schisms that currently exist within Palestinian society are not new and date back to the 1930s and 40s when the Husseini and Nashashibi clans violently battled each other for Palestinian leadership roles. (h/t NormanF)
JPost Editorial: Learning from Oslo
Kerry seems to be devoting too much of his effort to talks and not enough to changing realities on the ground. And this is unfortunate, since the simple truth is that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other PA leaders lack the will and/or the ability to negotiate a final-status peace agreement with Israel.
Instead, much more American energy must be invested in the more modest goal of building a viable Palestinian state that is capable of living in peace alongside Israel.
That means insisting that PA-sponsored media and schools put an end to incitement against Israel.
It also means improving Palestinians’ day-to-day living conditions. The building of Rawabi, the first new Palestinian city, should be seen as a positive development.
Legal Experts Call on Kerry to Hold Palestinians Accountable
Hundreds of legal experts from the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to demand that the Palestinian Authority (PA) exercise proper conduct in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations, Israel Hayom reported.
In a letter sent to Kerry on Saturday, the legal experts called on the secretary of state to enforce the rules and behavior stipulated and agreed upon in the preliminary negotiations, and to have the Palestinians stop detrimental behavior, including economic sanctions, boycotts, and acts of incitement.
Israel-PA Negotiations Continue Amid Jordan Valley Controversy
Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority continued in Jerusalem on Monday, amid a familiar pattern of Israeli and American silence and PA leaks.
Israeli sources refused to confirm the meetings, in line with an agreement by the involved parties - Israel, the US and the PA - to refrain from public comments on the talks until real progress had been made. However, a Palestinian Authority officials leaked news of the latest meeting between the sides to AFP.
But while Israeli officials have remain tight-lipped about the talks, PA officials have made several leaks to the press.
IDF pulls soldiers out of communities bordering Gaza, Lebanon and Syria
In the past, the IDF's Southern Command placed soldiers at the entrance to nine towns and villages near the Gaza and Egypt borders, while the Northern Command secured 13 frontier communities in this way.
Evaluations carried out at IDF headquarters concluded that enhanced border security measures, such as electronic sensors, patrols, and lookout posts, combined with additional components, meant that the practice of placing soldiers inside the communities is no longer necessary.
"We know where the threats come from, what routes threats could take, and we understand these measures are no longer needed," the source said. "The need to defend from inside communities seems less relevant," he stated.
Israeli academic sues British labor union for racism and discrimination
The Israeli expert, who lives in Tel Aviv, had been due to lead a session for managers and union officials at the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust last May when he received an email stating that Unison had to his presence and its members would boycott the event, apparently because the invitation to an Israeli academic was in conflict with Unison policy. Although the health union has a long-standing boycott of goods produced in Israel settlements in the West Bank, lawyers for the academic told 'The Independent' that they could find no lawful justification for an apparent ban on Israeli citizens. (h/t Daphne Anson)
Israel dismisses letter in favor of EU settlement guidelines
Israel dismissed on Monday a letter by former European leaders calling on the EU to stick by its settlement guidelines.
As far as Jerusalem is concerned, the words of biased former officials are no longer significant.
“The people who signed the letter are no longer relevant and do not have control or say in the EU decision-making process,” a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. “This reflects their own biased positions and does not surprise us.
Secretary of State John Kerry has made it clear that these guidelines are not productive for the peace process or the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian discussions which have been held recently.”
The Media is Still Obsessed With Israel
What Middle East story does the New York Times, the newspaper of record in the United States, deem so important that it devotes most of the front page of its 12-page SundayReview section this week, including eye-catching art work, and the bulk of two inside pages?
Is it about Syria?
After all, the U.S. Administration’s surprise decision to turn to diplomacy and partner with Moscow to forge a deal on the Syrian chemical-weapons arsenal is one of the biggest geopolitical developments in recent history.
The Economist’s extraordinarily misleading 12 words on why Hamas hates Israel
Yet Israelis still loathe Hamas, which carried out scores of suicide-bombings against Israelis in the early 2000s. Hamas, meanwhile, reviles Israel for its assaults on Gaza and its leaders.
That’s why Hamas hates Israel?!
Well, for starters, Hamas’s obsessive hatred, which manifests itself in explicit calls by their leaders to commit genocide against the Jews, likely has something to do with their founding charter, published in 1988. The document cites the wisdom of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion‘ to “prove” that Jews are trying to take over the world, and asserts its theological commitment to destroying the Jewish state – regardless of where its borders are drawn – through a long-term strategy of violent jihad.
Jewish teenagers attacked at Paris sports court
According to France’s Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism, several teenagers “of African and North African origins” attacked the group of Jewish 13-year-olds from the Ner HaThorah Jewish school on Thursday. There were no serious injuries.
The attackers asked the Jews to stop “occupying the area,” the report said, called them “dirty Jews” and said “Hitler didn’t finish the job.”
Netanyahu Launches New 'Begin Virtual Exhibit'
On Monday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a virtual exhibit to mark the centenary of the birth of Israel's sixth prime minister, Menachem Begin. Begin is now the first Israeli personality to be remembered in a joint initiative between the Google Cultural Institute and museums and cultural institutions around the world.
Curiyo promises more information, less annoyingly
Dynamic contextual advertising and linking on websites is a big business today, but many of these services leave much to be desired, according to information guru Bob Rosenschein. “I don’t want to knock anyone, but many of these link services are very annoying,” he told The Times of Israel. “I wanted to develop something that would be much easier on the eye, and much easier for users to digest — a service with as good a user interface and experience as possible.”
It’s for that reason he established Curiyo, a new browser add-on “that allows users to get more information about just about anything on the web, using dynamic contextual technology they can live with,” he said.
Israeli Agricultural Technology to Gain Greater Access to India Farmers Through Centers of Excellence; 8 to Open in 2013, 29 by 2015
Ushpiz said Israel, which is known for its expertise in the dairy industry, is keen to collaborate with the Indian dairy sector to boost milk production.
“We are interested in dairy sector. We have expertise in raising milk productivity in extreme temperatures and limited water resources,” the ambassador was quoted as saying.
Although India is the world’s largest milk producer, the per capita milk output is the lowest in the world. An Israeli cow yields an average 12,000 liters of milk per year, four times greater than the 3,000 liters reported in India.
Israeli Tech Company Matomy Reportedly Plans 2014 London IPO at $400-$500 Million Valuation
Digital advertising technology company Matomy Media Group Inc. plans a 2014 initial public offering in London at a valuation of between $400 and $500 million, Israel’s Globes business daily reported, citing unnamed sources.
Matomy was founded in 2006 by CEO Ofer Druker, Adi Orzel and Kfir Moyal. In 2010, Ilan Shiloach, chairman of the Israeli arm of international advertising giant McCann Erickson and his partner Nir Tarlovsky made a strategic investment in Matomy as part of their move into Internet advertising. In 2009, Shiloach and Tarlovsky founded TheTime technology incubator to nurture new media start-ups, and Matomy is based in the same building, in Tel Aviv’s Ramat Hahayil.
Etrog-runners held at Ben Gurion
As many Israelis spend the days before the Sukkot festival browsing outdoor markets for the Four Species, Israeli customs authorities find themselves battling smugglers trying to sneak citrons into the country.
Over the past two weeks alone, four passengers have been caught in three separate incidents, trying to smuggle about 400 citrons, or etrogs, into the country without paying customs tariffs, the ultra-Orthodox website KikarHashabbat reported.
Simon Schama - The Story Of The Jews Part 3

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