Tuesday, January 21, 2014

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians vs. Pro-Palestinian Israelis
There are a number of disturbing elements in the story of the "anti-normalization" advocates.
First, the protesters are acting against Israelis who openly support the Palestinian issue and are completely opposed to the policies of the current Israeli government. In other words, the Palestinians are "spitting in the face" of those Israelis who support their demands and are prepared to put their lives at risk by entering Ramallah to talk peace.
Second, most of the activists who are protesting against such meetings are affiliated, in way or another, with the same Palestinian Authority, which is conducting official peace talks with Israel under the auspices of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. So why don't the "anti-normalization" folks also turn out against the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah? Most probably because they are scared of being arrested or harassed by Palestinian security forces. Moreover, many of the activists are on the payroll of the PA and are afraid of losing their salaries.
UNESCO’s scrapping of Israel exhibit ‘a slap in the face of every Jew’
“I’m not going to hide the frustration in my voice when I say that this decision is a blow to peace, and a slap in the face of every Jew,” said Rabbi Avraham Cooper, associate dean of the SWC and project director of the exhibition.
Cooper said the press conference was “a plea to Arab nations” that think that portraying Jews’ historical ties to the land of Israel would be a barrier to peace negotiations in the Middle East, calling such thoughts “sheer nonsense.”
Author of UNESCO’s nixed Israel exhibit decries ‘appalling betrayal’
Professor Robert Wistrich had bought a ticket to Paris to attend the opening of an exhibition he wrote about the Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel, which was supposed to take place Monday at the headquarters of UNESCO. But after the exhibition was indefinitely postponed, without prior warning, due to Arab pressure, he canceled and decided to stay in Jerusalem.
“This is such a betrayal. To do it in this way is so disgraceful,” fumed Wistrich, who directs the Hebrew University’s Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism and is one of the world’s leading authorities in the field. An “appalling act,” the cancellation “completely destroyed any claim that UNESCO could possibly have to be representing the universal values of toleration, mutual understanding, respect for the other and narratives that are different, engaging with civil society organizations and the importance of education. Because there’s one standard for Jews, and there’s another standard for non-Jews, especially if they’re Arabs, but not only.”

Stephen Harper at Knesset: Canada Will Stand by Israel ‘Through Fire and Water’
In his speech to the Knesset, Harper explained why it is important that Canada stand with Israel.
“Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so. This is a very Canadian trait, to do something for no reason other than it is right even when no immediate reward for, or threat to, ourselves is evident,” said Harper.
“Support today for the Jewish state of Israel is more than a moral imperative. It is also of strategic importance, also a matter of our own long-term interest,” he said.
Canadian PM Harper: Academic boycott part of “mutation of the old disease of anti-Semitism”
You can now add Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the growing chorus who recognize the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement for what it is — as former Harvard President Lawrence Summers put it, anti-Semitism “in effect” if not “in intent.”
Harper addressed the Knesset today, and voiced unflinching support for Israel (video added at bottom of post). The part that addressed the international boycott movement was of particular interest, considering what has happened this past month with regard to the American Studies Association.
Israelis Demonstrate Their Support for Canadian Prime Minister
A group of demonstrators gathered outside the Knesset on Monday for a positive purpose: to show gratitude and support for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his delegation, who has been visiting Israel since Sunday.
The group, mostly Canadian-Israelis, were seen happily singing Canada's national anthem and waving posters, flags, and banners.
Canada’s visiting PM Harper pledges $66 million to PA
Under Harper, Canada has been seen as one of Israel’s staunchest allies, backing the Jewish state at the United Nations and working to isolate Iran. But in Ramallah, Harper insisted that his government did not intentionally favor Israel, and said his country’s policy was free of outside influence.
“Canada is a strong supporter of the peace process,” Harper said.
“Our position is not an Israeli position or a Palestinian position; it is a Canadian position of principle supported by the overwhelming majority of Canadians. While Canada has its views, a settlement ultimately has to be decided through negotiations between the two parties.”
American Group 'Delighted' by Australian Stance
“We were delighted by the comments of the Australian foreign minister,” they stated.
“Minister Bishop made a critical point that the international community chooses to ignore,” they explained, when she forthrightly questioned the assumption that there is anything illegal about Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.
”The decision about whether to negotiate is a political one. But if there are going to be such negotiations, they must be based on legal realities. The Levy Report – which has concluded that the settlements are not illegal and that Israel is not an occupier – should inform and animate Israel’s position," said Kushner and Daube.
The 1967 Lines Are ‘Auschwitz Borders’
In recent months, we witnessed the instability that wreaked havoc in Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. We know all too well that our “friends” one week can be replaced by our enemies the next. As Benjamin Netanyahu said in his speech to the United States Congress in 2011, “For in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow.”
As is axiomatic of Israel’s military doctrine, Israel must be the final arbiter of its own destiny. Not only can Israel’s national security not be outsourced, but it must be its own guarantor of its own security. That is why Israel cannot acquiesce to the reckless abandon of adopting the vulnerable pre-war armistice/Auschwitz lines.
Liberate Mount Scopus
Mount Scopus, adjacent to Issawiyeh, did not fare much better as a result of the fateful meeting. It became a demilitarized Israeli enclave in the heart of Jordanian territory, where once every two weeks an Israeli supply convoy was allowed in. Today the matter is abundantly clear -- Mount Scopus and the village of Issawiyeh both sit inside a unified Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Far less clear is the actual reality of the situation. The reality has become so blurred that it often seems as if Israel is still adhering to those old maps.
Romania: Palestinians should recognize Israel as Jewish state
Basescu, whose second and final term in office will end this year, landed in Israel on Sunday for his second presidential visit there. He said his objectives for the visit were to consolidate progress in bilateral relations with Israel and relations with Romanian-speaking Israelis, who number approximately 500,000, according to the president.
Basescu compared the situation to Romania’s recognition of the Republic of Moldova as the homeland of the Moldavian people, despite the presence of a large contingent of Moldovans who consider themselves Romanians.
PA incitement is entrenched and getting worse
The solution requires refocusing away from statehood, and forcing Arab Palestinian leaders to choose between continuing incitement and support for their political and economic aspirations. No doubt the international community will continue to ignore this issue, as they have done for decades, but they must understand the consequences: it will embolden Arab intransigence, fuel more hatred and prevent any progress toward peace.
Ending incitement should be a prerequisite for any future financial support and political involvement, including diplomatic recognition. It is moral, reasonable and practical.
The struggle against PA and Islamist incitement, therefore, is one of the most crucial elements in the war against terrorism because it strikes at the motivation for people to murder “for the sake of Allah,” and “Palestine.”
IDF observing Hamas strides to deter Gaza rocket fire
The IDF was seeing substantial Hamas attempts to cease rocket fire emanating from Gaza by smaller terrorist factions.
Hamas has reportedly deployed hundreds of forces along the border fence with Israel in attempt to deter escalations and prevent further rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.
In light of the recent slew of rocket fire on Israel, the ruling organization in the Gaza Strip has pointed toward rogue elements as responsible for the attacks.
Three rockets fired at Eshkol, bomb detonates on Gaza border
Palestinian terrorists fired three rockets at the Eshkol Regional council in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The projectiles slammed into open fields and failed to cause injuries or damages.
On Tuesday morning, Palestinian terrorists detonated a bomb on the border between southern Gaza and Israel. IDF sources said the explosive was planted on the Gazan side of the fence, and was an attempt to kill soldiers in the area.
Egypt Tells Hamas to Stop Attacks, Says Report
Egypt has reportedly been talking to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza in recent days, in an attempt to get them to stop attacking Israeli civilians with rockets.
A senior Islamic Jihad source, quoted by Voice of Israel public radio, said Tuesday that his group, like Hamas, does not seek an escalation of the conflict with Israel. He told Al Hayyat that senior-level Egyptians had been communicating with senior members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in an attempt to “stabilize the calm.”
Gruesome Syria photos may prove torture by Assad regime
A team of internationally renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts has found "direct evidence" of "systematic torture and killing" by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the lawyers on the team say in a new report.
Their report, based on thousands of photographs of dead bodies of alleged detainees killed in Syrian government custody, would stand up in an international criminal tribunal, the group says.
"This is a smoking gun," said David Crane, one of the report's authors. "Any prosecutor would like this kind of evidence -- the photos and the process. This is direct evidence of the regime's killing machine."
Islamic law takes hold in northern Syria: Singing, smoking and pictures banned
A group linked to al-Qaida, emboldened by its recent victory over rival rebels in Syria, has imposed sweeping restrictions on personal freedoms in the northern province of Raqqa as it seeks to consolidate control over the region.
Reuters obtained copies of four statements issued on Sunday by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) prohibiting music being played and images of people being posted in public.
After uproar, UN withdraws Iran invite to Syria talks
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon withdrew his invitation to Iran to join this week’s Syria peace talks, saying he is “deeply disappointed” by Iran’s statements Monday.
A spokesman for Ban Ki-moon announced the withdrawal less than 24 hours after Ban surprised the US and others by saying he had invited Syria’s closest regional ally.
The withdrawn invitation came shortly after Iran’s UN ambassador declared the Islamic Republic wouldn’t join the Syria talks if required to accept 2012 Geneva roadmap.
Only one in five Israelis trusts Obama on Iran
Asked if they agreed with the statement, “I trust US President Barack Obama to ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon,” just 22 percent of likely Israeli voters said yes.
Fully 64% in the survey, conducted by pollster Stephan Miller of (202) Strategies, said they did not agree with the statement, and 15% said they did not know or refused to answer.
Explosion hits Hezbollah neighborhood in Beirut
A large blast rocked Beirut Tuesday morning, hitting a Hezbollah stronghold in the capital’s southern neighborhoods.
The explosion struck near a library in the city’s Jerusalem street, according to Hezbollah’s al-Manar news website.
Four people were killed, according to al-Manar.

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