Tuesday, December 31, 2013

From Ian:

Netanyahu condemns hero’s welcome for prisoners
“The essence of the difference between us and our neighbors can be seen in one picture,” Netanyahu said at the seventh annual Galilee Conference Tuesday, referring to the sight of throngs of Palestinians giving the released prisoners — almost all of them convicted of murder — a hero’s welcome.
“While we prepare to take very painful steps in an effort to try and reach an agreement that would end the conflict, they, along with their top leadership, are celebrating,” said the prime minister.
“Murderers are not heroes,” he declared. “This is not how one educates for peace.”
Report: Israel tells US it will not release Israeli-Arab prisoners
The official told Channel 2 that Israel felt "deceived" by Kerry, who caved to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' demand to increase the number of prisoners released from 82 to 104, and led him to believe Israel would be willing to release prisoners with Israeli citizenship.
The PMO denied that claim by the official as well, saying Kerry did not deceive Israel on the peace talks, Channel 2 reported.
Netanyahu reportedly told Kerry that while Israel was not willing to release Israeli-Arab prisoners as a gesture to the Palestinians, it would be willing to release them as a gesture to the US, in return for the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.
Abbas: 'No final deal until all prisoners are released'
"This is day of happiness for our nation, our families and our prisoners, the heroes, who have seen the light of freedom," he said. "We are guaranteeing that this won't be the last time that prisoners are freed."
Abbas said that for the prospective fourth release he hoped that sick prisoners would also be freed, and that they would be sent home and not expelled to other places. He also said that he would not tolerate one Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail if there was to be a peace agreement.
"There won't be a final agreement with Israel until all the prisoners are released."

Woman who Saved Terrorist Protests his Release
Twenty-one years ago, Jerusalem woman Bella Freund was propelled into sudden fame when she saved an Arab terrorist from an angry mob. Freund ran across an angry crowd beating a 21-year-old terrorist who had just stabbed and wounded two Jewish children; she protected him with her body for nearly half an hour, taking blows meant for him and preventing the mob from killing him on the spot.
Her act was widely publicized at the time, and later inspired the song “Bella Bellisima” by the popular Israeli band Dag Nachash.
Now Bella is in the public eye again – this time, protesting the impending release of the terrorist she saved, along with over two dozen others. She explained to Arutz Sheva that the release of the terrorist undermines the very values that propelled her to save his life.
2 Officers Honored For Preventing Bat Yam Bombing
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino awarded a certificate of honor to two police officers, whose actions saved many lives in the Bat Yam bus bombing on December 22. The award was decided on following an investigation of the incident.
The incident occurred on a Dan Bus Company 240 line bus on its way from Bnei Brak to Bat Yam. As the bus arrived in Bat Yam, a passenger notified the driver to the presence of an unattended bag with wires protruding from it, at which the bus was evacuated.
Police arrived at the bus only 4 minutes after the suspicious bag was noticed, helping to distance civilians from the site. A police bomb squad officer was wounded in the blast, but otherwise casualties were avoided.
Children's hate speech against Jews broadcast on PA TV children's program
This is the fifth successive year that official PA TV has chosen to broadcast these statements by children accusing the Jews of poisoning Arafat. Originally, they were part of a larger collection of statements by children broadcast at an official Arafat memorial, several of whom repeated the libel that the Jews murdered Arafat. However, this is the first time this hate speech has been broadcast as part of a program directed at children. Following the boy and the girl's statements, the PA TV host confirmed the libel:

Arafat, Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State (REVIEW)
State of Failure: Arafat, Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State, by Jonathan Schanzer (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.)
In the Palestinian case study, Palestinians have attempted to circumvent the building phase in favor of “instant statehood,” that is to argue that because we think we should have a state, we will.
Enter Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who specializes in Palestinian politics. In his latest book, State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State, he methodically details the corruption, lack of leadership and countless excuses by the Palestinians to avoid building a viable state, in favor of Jewish rejectionism at large. As the author correctly describes Arafat’s leadership, “While Arafat was revered by his people for almost singlehandedly focusing the world’s attention on the Palestinian cause from the 1960′s until his death, the problem of corruption would, to some extent, define his legacy.”
Hamas reels as Egypt dubs its twin a terror group
Egypt’s establishment daily Al-Ahram called the decision to ban the Brotherhood “an earthquake” for Hamas, quoting Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum as saying that his movement is “proud” of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood school of thought.
Fatah rushed to jump on the Egyptian bandwagon. On Sunday, its central committee called on Hamas to “join the national movement and stop intervening in Egypt.” Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf said that Hamas’s refusal to cut its ties with the international Muslim Brotherhood proved that “it couldn’t care less about the interests of our people.
“This Hamas position proves once again that its priorities were and continue to be realizing the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood and not the interests of the Palestinian people and their just national cause.”
Hamas Finishes 2013 With a Whimper, Not a Bang
Quite simply, Hamas does not enjoy that kind of clout anymore. Over the past 12 months, the fortunes of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas that loudly proclaims, “Islam is the Solution,” have gone from a peak to a trough in a dizzyingly short space of time. In Tunisia, the governing Islamist Ennahda party was chastened by a coalition of secularist groups, and is currently in the final stages of handing over to a caretaker government. And in Egypt, where the Brotherhood was first formed in the late 1920s, the regime of Mohamed Morsi that came to power in 2012 was unseated by the Egyptian military, following angry demonstrations against the Brotherhood that, left unchecked, might have resulted in a nasty civil war.
In these conditions, Hamas is just about clinging on to power in Gaza. But all the signs are that the Gaza Strip’s Palestinian residents are becoming more and more fed up with Islamist rule. Recently, a fuel crisis triggered by Egypt’s destruction of tunnels from Sinai into Gaza that had been used for smuggling, as well as a tax hike on fuel prices engineered by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, compelled Hamas to cancel the celebrations around the 26th anniversary of its formation.
Jordanian Palestinian who writes for ‘Post’ indicted in Jordan for ‘inciting hatred’
Mudar Zahran, a Palestinian writer and academic from Jordan who has written op-eds for The Jerusalem Post, was indicted in a Jordanian court for incitement and damaging the image of Jordan.
“The court has indicted me for the crime of ‘inciting hatred and attacking Jordan’s image and the image of its one nation,’” Zahran told the Post.
The indictment also mentions that since his arrival in the UK, he started writing in Israeli newspapers.
The Tragedy Of Syria's Child Refugees
The civil war in Syria, which has been raging for three years, has created an unprecedented refugee tragedy: The largest displaced population is probably the "domestic refugees" – those who have remained in the country despite having lost their dwellings to the destructive forces of war. Nearly as large a group – and the focus of this paper – are the "refugees" proper, namely those forced by circumstances of war and violence to leave their country for an unknown future in mostly neighboring countries.
For more than six decades, the Middle East has been preoccupied with the Palestinian refugees. That will no longer be the case. The enormity of the number of the Syrian refugees and the very special demographic structure will likely shove the Palestinian refugee issue onto a back burner. It is the nature of history that new problems displace old ones. There is an important Roman legal principle of Lex posterior derogat priori ("most recent law overrules previous ones on the same matter"). And so will be the case with refugees.
A Film Joins the Fight Between the Syrians and Saudis
The movie depicts a young Abdul Aziz as a violent plunderer raiding desert camps, stealing valuables, maniacally smashing a man’s head with a stone, and performing religious ablutions with the blood of an enemy. He is portrayed as a dishonorable hypocrite, permitting the stoning of a young couple for alleged adultery while he rapes several women. (Anzour avoided some taboos: there are no explicit sex scenes.)
The King is presented as a lustful brute throughout his life. In several scenes, he is a wheelchair-bound old man who, with a quivering hand, reaches between the thighs of a nervous girl in a niqab to deflower her. As if all that wasn’t enough, the movie portrays Abdul Aziz as a tool of the British who sells out Palestine by agreeing to allow the creation of a Jewish state in its place.
Anzour draws a straight line from the alleged cruelty of the late King to global terrorism, 9/11, the London bombings, Osama bin Laden, and the armed Syrian rebels fighting Assad’s forces. It is not subtle. “We might have killed the man,” a male voice says over an image of bin Laden, “but did we kill the idea?”
Iran doesn’t take Obama’s military option seriously, says Oren
Moreover, Oren warned, there was “nothing that would indicate” the Iranians believe US President Barack Obama would ever resort to force to prevent them from attaining the bomb.
He stressed that if Iran is not stopped at the enrichment stage, thwarting it once it had moved the key components of its bomb-making program underground would require thoroughly unlikely “massive, massive bombing campaigns” that would “flatten all of Iran.”
And any last-resort Israeli military intervention, Oren acknowledged, has become “much harder” since the charming, mild-mannered Hassan Rouhani succeeded the confrontational Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s president and the US-led international community became deeply engaged in diplomacy with Iran.
The Rouhani delusion
After all, the whole purpose of sanctions was to give the regime a stark choice – keep your nuclear weapons programme at the risk of economic collapse, or survive in exchange for dismantling it.
Rouhani's analysis shows that Iran was dangerously close to that moment of truth – and sanctions relief in exchange for reversible concessions gives it the kind of breathing space it has been denied until now. Considering how hard it was to get there, this is the worst possible unforced error that diplomacy could score.
For almost a decade, the United States and the European Union built a sophisticated, multilayered sanctions architecture to persuade Iran to comply with its international obligations. Those obligations are defined by six Chapter VII Security Council resolutions that patient diplomacy successfully pushed through – and that the interim deal has now undermined.
Iranian chief negotiator: ‘Good progress’ in nuclear talks
Iranian deputy foreign minister and lead negotiator Abbas Araqchi told state-run Press TV that “relatively good progress” had been made in the Geneva meeting and that the results of the negotiations would be announced later Tuesday.
However, he said, there remained issues to work out “at the political level.”
Critics Slam EU Response After Top Lebanese Hezbollah Foe Murdered in Beirut Massive Car Bombing
The murder will likely be read against deepening sectarian violence spilling into the region from inside Syria, where the Iran-backed Assad regime has been fighting a nearly three-year war against largely Sunni rebel groups. An upcoming conference in Geneva designed to dampen the violence has been severely criticized for potentially maneuvering Syrian Sunnis into accommodating the regime, and the international reaction to Chatah’s assassination has fueled similar criticism. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton reacted to the attack by calling on “Lebanon’s political leaders and the Lebanese people to put aside all differences and join forces… to restore security in the country.” Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), criticized Ashton’s statement:
Lebanese Army Reportedly Finds Launchpads Used to Strike Israel
The Lebanese Army found four rocket launchpads that may have been used to strike Israel on Sunday, Lebanon’s The Daily Star reported on Monday, citing an unnamed security source.
The Daily Star said the Army discovered the launchpads in Khreibet, in south Lebanon, where two rockets fired towards Israel’s Kiryat Shmona likely were launched from. In a statement, the Army said two rockets were launched into Israel from somewhere in Khreibet at 7:02 a.m.
Egypt Calls on Arab Countries to Blacklist the Brotherhood
AFP reported that Egypt called on Arab League members to enforce a counterterrorism treaty that would block funding and support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Cairo also wants the League’s members to hand over wanted Islamists linked to the Brotherhood,
to which deposed president Mohammed Morsi belongs, the report said.
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said that Arab League members that signed the 1998 counterterrorism treaty should enforce it against the Brotherhood.
Report: Erdogan Supporters Shout ‘Are You Jewish’ While Attacking Istanbul Woman
The group of attackers, who numbered 15-20 according to the victim, were leaving a rally hosted by Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Friday night. The event, which was held outside Istanbul’s airport, was hosted in honor of Ergodan who was returning home from an international trip.
The thugs then encountered the young woman, who is only identified by the paper by her initials E.Y., as she was leaving an anti corruption protest at Istanbul’s Taksim Square. They then began to shout “are you Jewish” as they attacked her physically, the paper reported.

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