Sunday, January 19, 2014

From Ian:

UK parliament launches inquiry into funding for UNRWA, Palestinians
The British parliament has formed a committee of inquiry to probe the flow of funds used by the international refugee agency UNRWA to support the Palestinians, according to an exclusive report first revealed on Saturday by The Jerusalem Post's Hebrew-language sister publication, The Post.
According to the report, the British government contributes 90 million pounds annually in aid to the Palestinians. A third of that sum is earmarked for UNRWA – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees.
The parliamentary committee was formed in response to heavy lobbying by pro-Israel organizations and with the encouragement of former Israeli Labor MK Einat Wilf. The committee is due to submit its recommendations to parliament soon.
"UNRWA is perpetuating the notion that the descendants of refugees are themselves refugees, and it is based on this principle that the Palestinians are demanding the right of return, something that will not happen in any future agreement," Wilf said. (h/t Bob Knot)
US, Canada urge UNESCO not to postpone exhibit on Land of Israel
“UNESCO’s decision is wrong and should be reversed,” said US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power on Friday. “The United States has engaged at senior levels to urge UNESCO to allow this exhibit to proceed as soon as possible.”
”UNESCO is supposed to be fostering discussion and interaction between civil society and member states, and organizations such as the Wiesenthal Center have a right to be heard and to contribute to UNESCO’s mission,” said Power.
In spite of her harsh rebuke, the US had opted not to sponsor the exhibit, which bore the sponsorship seal of only three countries, Canada, Israel and Montenegro.
Netanyahu slams UNESCO for scrapping Israel exhibit
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a scathing criticism of the UN’s cultural agency at his Cabinet meeting Sunday, for indefinitely postponing an exhibit on Jewish connections to the Holy Land.
“It would not harm the negotiations,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Negotiations are based on facts, on the truth, which is never harmful. But what does harm the negotiations is the automatic summoning of Israeli ambassadors in certain countries regarding matters of no substance, while significant violations by the Palestinian Authority pass without a response.

Jewish man stabbed in Kiev in suspected anti-Semitic attack
A Jewish man was stabbed in the leg Friday night outside a synagogue in Kiev in a suspected anti-Semitic attack in the Ukrainian capital.
Dov Baar Glickman was attacked by three assailants, who knocked him to the ground and stabbed him multiple times, Ynet reported. He managed to drag himself to a nearby ritual bath and was taken from there to a hospital. He was in good condition, Israel Radio reported. (h/t Bob Knot)
Kerry said set to present framework deal at end of month
US Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly set to present a memorandum of understanding between Israel and the Palestinians at a conference in Jordan at the end of the month, London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat reported on Saturday.
Palestinian sources told the newspaper that the document was just a vague outline with flexible contents, as the two sides are due to discuss the particulars of the agreement as peace talks proceed through April.
Canada’s PM urges Abbas to negotiate with ‘Jewish State of Israel’
Stephen Harper, the staunchly pro-Israel Canadian prime minister, was scheduled to arrive in Israel Sunday afternoon, marking his first official trip to the Middle East and the first visit to the region by a sitting prime minister from the North American country in over a decade.
Harper’s support for Israel was underlined in a press release issued by his office about the trip, which used the “Jewish State of Israel” formulation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking the Palestinian Authority to endorse as one of Israel’s conditions for a peace deal. “Canada supports the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to build the institutions and infrastructure necessary for a viable Palestinian state established through a negotiated agreement with the Jewish State of Israel,” the press release stated, in a section discussing Harper’s scheduled meetings with Palestinian leaders during the trip.
Demonstrations Held Throughout Israel in Opposition to Kerry Peace Plan
Demonstrations were held across Israel on Friday against the peace plan currently being pushed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported.
The demonstrations took place at several motorway intersections, with protesters waving signs bearing slogans such as, “To Keep Israel Safe, Don’t Surrender to Kerry”, the paper said.
PM: Hamas would do well to take into account Israel's policy of responding forcefully to every rocket fired
Israel will maintain the quiet in the South by forcefully responding to every rocket attack coming from the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the cabinet at its weekly meeting Sunday.
Netanyahu's comments came just hours after the IAF killed an Islamic Jihad member who allegedly took part in the launching of rockets on Ashdod Thursday evening.
"We are determined to preserve the quiet in the South," Netanyahu said. "We do this through a policy of prevention and by responding powerfully against those who try to harm or hurt us. I suggest that Hamas take our policy into account."
IDF Blog: IDF Targets Palestinian Islamic Jihad Terrorist Ahmad Sa’ad
The IDF successfully targeted a terrorist operative involved in recent attacks against Israel. The terrorist was planning further attacks on Israel in the coming days. Ahmad Sa’ad, a senior operative in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, was in the northern Gaza Strip when an IAF aircraft carried out the mission. The IDF operated in order to eliminate an imminent threat to the lives of Israeli civilians.
Ahmad Sa’ad was a key Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative in the Gaza Strip specializing in rocket launching. Sa’ad is personally responsible for the launching of five rockets towards Ashkelon on January 16, 2014 which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
LA Times: Palestinians Fire First, Israel Breaks Ceasefire
This LA Times headline is a sneak preview of more misleading reporting of Palestinian terrorism:
Israeli forces attack Gaza in new round of cross-border violence
The headline deliberately portrays Israel as an aggressor while a “new round of cross-border violence” is the equivalent of the “cycle of violence” where Palestinian terrorism and Israeli responses are treated as morally equivalent. (h/t Bob Knot)
Revealed: Terror Attacks Doubled in 2013
Terrorist attacks nearly doubled in frequency in 2013, according to new data released by the IDF. There were 62 terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria (Shomron) in 2013, compared to 35 the year before.
The IDF website quoted senior sources as saying that the violence is still nowhere near “Intifada” levels.
Israeli company to unveil laser-based rocket interceptor
The new system, Iron Beam, is a high-energy, laser-based defensive system designed to knock mortar rounds, artillery shells and other projectiles out of the sky, according to a report Saturday on the industry website Israel Defense (Hebrew).
Iron Beam is designed to complement the Iron Dome missile defense system by focusing on smaller projectiles and “pinpoint defense,” the report noted.
The system would be most relevant to the Negev town of Sderot, which is situated less than four kilometers from Gaza and, therefore, largely unprotected by Iron Dome.
Kuwait bails UAE meet over Israeli presence; Iran stays
The presence of a senior Israeli minister at a renewable energy conference in the United Arab Emirates garnered mixed reactions from other delegates on Sunday.
While the Iranians, who have been continually at odds with Israel over their nuclear program, left a lower-level delegate in position at the International Renewable Energy Agency meeting in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait decided to boycott the event altogether in protest at the presence of Silvan Shalom, the minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water.
Egyptian security forces destroy 8 Gaza tunnels
Citing an Egyptian military source, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that the tunnels were demolished in order to protect Egypt’s borders “in all strategic directions.” (h/t Bob Knot)
Palestinian Minister Mahmoud Habbash: Jihad Should be Directed at Jerusalem, Not Syria

Lebanon says spying device with Hebrew letters discovered
A mysterious device reportedly containing Hebrew writing was discovered by authorities in southern Lebanon near the border with Lebanon Saturday, the country’s state-run news agency reported.
A statement from the Lebanese Army, carried by the National News Agency, reported that an Indonesian unit serving in the international peacekeeping body UNIFIL found the device near the town of Adaisseh, Lebanon.
State-run Iranian press claims that "Zionists planning to annihilate Islam"
In reality, Iran wants to annihilate Israel. But we have seen many times that Islamic supremacists tend to project their own evils onto those whom they fear and hate. "Zionists planning to annihilate Islam," by Catherine Shakdam for Press TV, January 18: (h/t Bob Knot)
Iranian President Rohani: Geneva Agreement Means the Superpowers Have Surrendered to Iran

Police in Istanbul break up protest against new Internet restrictions
Riot police in Istanbul have used water cannons against hundreds of people protesting a government plan to expand controls over the public's use of Internet.
Police did that Saturday to prevent a protest march down a main street to denounce the draft bill that would allow Turkey's telecommunications authority to block websites accused of privacy violations without a court decision.
Has Turkey Become Pakistan on the Med?
Recent events in Turkey certainly put Turkey in the same category as Pakistan. Indeed, increasingly, it seems that Turkey has become Pakistan on the Med. Early on Tuesday morning, anti-terrorism police raided six different locations around Turkey in order to disrupt al-Qaeda operations, including depots of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) at Kilis, near the Syrian border. The raids led to the detention of approximately 25 people, some of whom have faced trial for al-Qaeda support, and others who have been active recruiting volunteers to fight with al-Qaeda and the Nusra Front inside Syria.
A normal government would celebrate the eradication of al-Qaeda support cells on its territory. Not so, Turkey: By the afternoon, the Turkish government had relieved the officers who had carried out the raids, putting them on mandatory leave. Likewise, when police stopped two buses in Gaziantep apparently headed toward Syria and found ammunition and anti-aircraft weaponry, the result was not prosecution of those on the buses but retaliation against the police officers who had carried out the raid
Map in TDSB student day planner fails to cite Israeli capital, publisher blames official Canadian policy
A Toronto Israeli family says they were confused by the omission of Israel’s capital from their son’s public school day planner, until they found out that waffling on the existence of an Israeli capital is actually official Canadian policy.
“We thought, ‘Is it an honest mistake?’” said Amir Lavie, whose family emigrated from Israel three years ago.
It was over dinner that Mr. Lavie’s son, a student at Forest Hill Public School, first noted the error. In the boy’s day planner, provided by the Toronto District School Board, he found that it contained a map that appeared to intentionally omit Israel’s capital city.
Pope may seek to unseal Holocaust-era archives
The relationship between the Vatican and the Jews has improved greatly over the past 30 years, and confidants of Pope Francis I say he intends to take another step forward: opening up the Vatican archives to address accusations that the Holy See, led by then-pope Pius XXII, neglected the plight of Jews during the Holocaust.
“The pope is consistent with all he said as a cardinal, and as pope he will undoubtedly make happen what he said he would do when he was a cardinal,” Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a friend of the pope, told The Sunday Times, based on conversations with Francis.
Wounded Syrian couple treated in Israel
During our exit from the village we were fired on by the army and my brother was killed before my eyes. We managed to escape back to the village and were treated in a field hospital. But the wounds got worse -- until my cousin took us to the border and we got into Israel for treatment," the woman said. Her brother, 19, fought with rebels trying to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
Currently the couple remains hospitalized, both in the same room. The woman is struggling with being away from her family, but admitted that she did not expect such friendly treatment from her enemy. "We were surprised by the treatment and dedicated medical care we got in Israel," she said. "We hesitated coming to Israel, because we were taught to hate it. We were taught this is a brutal enemy state, but we learned that reality is different. People here have a conscience. Our enemy is in Syria, not in Israel. If only we could stay here."
Africa: The next big destination for Israeli start-ups?
If you still think of Africa as a backwater where people live in squalor, you’re behind the times, according to Dr. Aliza Belman Inbal. “Africa today is a lot different from it was even a decade ago,” said Inbal, director of the Pears Program for Innovation and International Development at Tel Aviv University. “Technology has reached even the most remote villages, with solar energy systems providing electricity in many places where the electrical grid hasn’t been installed, and cellphones being used for everything from Internet surfing to banking.”
This technology development means big opportunities for entrepreneurs willing to brave a foray into Africa. Traditionally, Israeli entrepreneurs have looked to the U.S. or Europe for funding and for customers, but it’s time to upend that tradition, said Inbal. “Six of the ten fastest-growing markets in the last decade were in Africa, and there is a great need there for the kind of things Israeli entrepreneurs do best, like mobile apps, environmental technology, agricultural technology, and more.”


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