Tuesday, October 29, 2013

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas's "Diplomatic Intifada" Against Israel
The next steps the Palestinian Authority is planning include seeking full membership in the United Nations General Assembly and other international agencies and conventions, especially the International Criminal Court. The Palestinian Authority says it has prepared a list of dozens of Israelis that it hopes to prosecute as "war criminals."
The anti-settlement drive should be seen in the context of the Palestinian Authority's massive efforts to isolate Israel in the international arena. Palestinian Authority leaders are hoping that international pressure will force Israel to its knees and prompt it to accept all of Abbas's demands, first and foremost a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.
With such an intifada raging against Israel, it is hard to see how the peace talks could ever result in an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Abbas obviously does not believe that the talks will produce an agreement. That is why his strategy these days is, with the help of the international community, to try to impose a solution on Israel.
HRW and Amnesty Int´l Whitewash the PFLP Terror Group
In a press release protesting Israel’s alleged “harassing” of members of Palestinian NGO Addameer, Human Rights Watch (HRW) referred to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terror group responsible for hundreds of horrific attacks against civilians, as a “banned political organization (Israel: Military Harassing Rights Group Staff, October 27, 2013). HRW accuses Israel of “apparent persecution” of Addameer employees because of their supposed human rights work, erasing the clear “security risk” posted by membership in a terrorist organization.
Amnesty International also called the PFLP “an organization which Israel has banned” – ignoring the wide recognition of its terror status (Israel must drop charges against Palestinian human rights lawyer released on bail, October 24, 2013). Amnesty’s Middle East Programme Director, Philip Luther, accused Israel of “prosecut[ing] activists because of their peaceful work in defence of human rights” and of “harassment of Palestinian human rights defenders.”
‘Mail & Guardian’ parrots description of Marwan Barghouti as a “political prisoner”
This euphemism of course distorts the clear meaning of a term widely understood as referring narrowly to those imprisoned merely for their political beliefs. In fact, earlier in the year CiF Watch was able to gain corrections at both the Guardian and The Independent after they initially referred to the pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners (who Israel agreed to release in order to resume peace talks) as “political prisoners.”
More recently, while monitoring press coverage of Israel’s latest announcement that they will release 26 additional pre-Oslo prisoners, we noted that a major South African newspaper used this distorted term in a story about Desmond Tutu’s support for a campaign calling for the release of convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti.
Bereaved Sister: We Are Not a Gesture
Also speaking was Gila Molcho, sister of Ian Feinberg who was murdered in Gaza while working in the European Union building. One of Feinberg’s murderers was released in 2011 as part of the Shalit deal, a second murderer was released in the first release of terrorists three months ago. The next release wave will see a third murderer being released.
Molcho said that Israeli and Jewish blood can’t “be sold as a gesture.”
“We are not a gesture,” she said. “There is no peace process at the moment, and we cannot pay the price. Bibi Netanyahu needs to wake up and realize that our youth is getting a terrible message, that their blood is no longer sacred.”
Abbas vows to continue efforts to release all Palestinian prisoners
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Monday to pursue his efforts to secure the release of more Palestinians from Israeli prisons.
“We won’t have comfort until they are all released,” Abbas said in reference to the prisoners.
Palestinian minister: Israeli concept of 'life in prison' has collapsed
"The second phase of the prisoner release is a great achievment for the Palestinian leadership, for Abu Mazen [Abbas] and for the Palestinian people because it represents an extra step toward the release of all the prisoners from the Israeli occupation's jails," Karaka stated.
During a visit to the families of prisoners set to be released in Nablus, Karaka said that "the Israeli concept of 'life in prison' has collapsed, because the prisoners who are set to be freed were sent, according to this concept, to be locked up behind bars for the rest of their lives."
The Independent Constructs a “New Settlement”
No wonder an uninformed observer could get the impression that Israeli settlements are multiplying at a rapid pace. Take this paragraph from an article in The Independent about the release of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails:
To appease Israelis who oppose the move, which will see detainees involved in killing Israelis freed, the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the construction of a new settlement on the West Bank.
CAMERA: Ha'aretz on Prisoners: A Correction, and An Error
As first noted yesterday on our Snapshots blog, the front-page article by Barak Ravid and Jonathan Lis had erroneously reported:
The Prime Minister’s Office stated that all of the prisoners slated for release were involved in attacks before the Oslo Accords were signed, and all received sentences of between 17 and 27 years in prison.
All of the prisoners slated to be released tomorrow received sentences longer than 27 years. While prisoners slated to be released served 19 to 28 years, almost all received at least one life term. The exceptions were Mukbal Mahmed Badawi Najach (38 years), Ashur Masabach Khalil Mhamed (30 years), and Karan Azzat Musa Musa (28 years, the shortest sentence).
UN envoy files complaint over Gaza rockets
In the complaint, Ron Prosor accused Hamas of continuing to launch attacks against the Israeli people while Israel attempts to reach a deal with the Palestinians.
“Instead of committing itself to improving the lives of Palestinians, Hamas proves time and time again that its only commitment is to terrorism,” said Prosor in the complaint.
“While Israel works to advance peace, Hamas responds by firing on Israeli citizens.”
“While Israel brings trucks with construction materials into Gaza,” he added, “Hamas uses them to build terror tunnels.”
Hamas, circa 2013, is in a lot of trouble
Nevertheless, it’s too early to eulogize Hamas. Despite the difficulties it faces in ensuring the transfer of goods, it has succeeded in partially resuming its tunnel activities, especially south of Rafah, on the border with Egypt. The scope of the smuggling has lessened significantly, but several dozen tunnels continue to operate, mostly serving to transfer raw materials for Hamas’s military industry. And this industry has undergone a significant upgrade.
Instead of relying on long-range missiles from Iran or Libya, Hamas has opted to locally produce its M-75 rockets, which are capable of reaching Tel Aviv. According to reports, Hamas currently has several dozen of these readied, in case of an escalation with Israel.
10 Hamas Men Arrested in Samaria, Judea
"Ten Hamas operatives were detained overnight across the West Bank," an IDF spokeswoman told AFP, without giving any further details or reasons for the arrests.
'Free Officers Movement' Founded in Gaza
On the "Rebellion" movement's Facebook page the "Free Officers in Gaza" movement posted its first announcement, in which they warn the Hamas government about its attempts to suppress the popular demonstrations by force, demonstrations which according to the announcement are the legitimate right preserved for every nation.
The name chosen by the Free Officers in Gaza appears to be an allusion to the Free Officers' Movement of Egypt, which instigated the 1952 revolution that forced the unpopular King Farouk to abdicate as Egypt's leader in favor of General Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Song glorifies violence at memorial under auspices of Abbas
Sign: "Memorial under the auspices of Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine and Chairman of Fatah's Central Committee"

Iran 'already past point of no return,' warns ex-IAEA official
Dr. Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned Monday that Iran's pursuit of military-grade nuclear capability has passed the point of no return.
According to a report in The Tower Magazine, Heinonen has reviewed the latest Institute for Science and International Security report assessing Tehran's nuclear progress, saying that Iran's use of its existing lineup of 19,000 IR-1 centrifuges and its plans to install an additional 3,000 IR-2 centrifuges in its enrichment facilities have reduced its breakout time -- the amount of time that would elapse between a decision to manufacture a nuclear weapon and actually possessing one -- to just a few weeks.
'Grand Day of Death to America' rally planned in Iran
Militant factions in Iran are reportedly planning a sweeping rally titled, “Grand Day of Death to America,” to coincide with the 24th anniversary of the storming of the U.S. Embassy there.
According to The National, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri is saying the planned Nov. 4 convocation outside the long-shuttered and now-graffiti-covered diplomatic institution in the capitol city of Tehran will be organized by a newly created bureaucratic body called the “Death to the U.S. Committee.”
‘Syria had 1,230 missiles ready to be loaded with chemical weapons’
The organization estimated, based on Syria’s declarations, that the regime actually possesses about 1,000 tons of Category 1 chemical weapons, which do not have peaceful uses, along with 290 tons of Category 2 substances, such as toxins with industrial uses, according to the London Times.
The UN report also suggests that Syrian rebels may have obtained small amounts of chemical weapons. It reveals that “Syrian authorities have reported finding two cylinders not belonging to them, which are believed to contain chemical weapons.”
Beleaguered Syrian Christians fear future, increasingly targeted by jihadis
The shelling and recent rebel assaults on predominantly Christian towns have fueled fears among Syria’s religious minorities about the growing role of Islamic extremists and foreign fighters among the rebels fighting against President Bashar Assad’s rule. Christians believe they are being targeted — in part because of the anti-Christian sentiment among extremists and in part as punishment for what is seen as their support for Assad.
Nasrallah Blames Saudis for Syria's Problems
"Today, political dialogue and the search for a political solution are enjoying international, regional and interior support ... but there is a state in the region which is furious (about the proposed Geneva II peace conference), and its name is Saudi Arabia," Nasrallah charged.
Iran, UN Envoy Agree on Syria Solution
According to the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen television network, an aide to Iran’s Foreign Minister on Monday said that Iran and the UN envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, have reached an agreement on a political solution to the crisis in Syria based on internationally supervised elections.
Brahimi, who arrived in Damascus Tuesday, has been trying to arrange the "Geneva II" peace conference to deal with the Syrian issue, but until now has not achieved much success.
'Puppy Bombs' Rescued from Egyptian Violence
Two puppies from Egypt were rescued just moments before they were to be used by the Muslim Brotherhood in their protests as "puppy bombs" dipped in gasoline and set on fire.
The revelation about the Brotherhood's cruel tactic used two weeks ago at Tahrir Square during demonstrations against the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi's was made known by Robyn Urman, a pet rescuer in Tenafly, New Jersey, as reported by CBS 2.
What happened when anti-FGM campaigner asked people in the street to sign a petition in favour of mutilating girls
Leyla Hussein, 32, said many were scared to speak out against FGM because they were worried about criticising another culture.
She decided to conduct an experiment to see “how crazy political correctness has become” but was left in tears by the end.

Approaching shoppers with the petition supporting FGM, she told them she wanted to protect her “culture, traditions and rights”.
In only 30 minutes 19 people signed it with some saying they believed FGM was wrong but because it was part of Ms Hussein’s culture they would add their names. Only one person refused to sign.


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