Saturday, February 15, 2014

From Ian:

Palestinians Confirm: It’s a “No”
The Palestinians may be aware that issuing an outright “no” to having any agreement with Israel ever would not play out well for their international standing. A “no” has to be delivered in such a way that it can at least be framed as merely a rejection of specific proposals. But by making every single proposal a red line it is clear that the Palestinians are in effect saying “no” to the whole thing. And if they are serious about pushing this line that they don’t have the authority to make an agreement with Israel, then they are essentially ruling out the very possibility of agreeing to anything. Presumably the only thing that would change this status would be new Palestinian elections–and there’s no sign of these coming anytime soon.
Whether the U.S. administration or the international community wish to acknowledge it, the Palestinians are saying loudly and clearly “no.” At some point policy will have to be adjusted to recognize this reality. (h/t NormanF)
Erekat: No to Recognition, No to Israeli Presence in 'Palestine'
Erekat, the report said, told his audience that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas made it clear to the Americans that he would not recognize Israel a Jewish state, claiming that Israel's demand for recognition stems from its desire to change historical facts.
He further noted that Abbas will not agree that any Israeli civilians or military officials remain in the future Palestinian state.
Erekat also said that the PA demands that Israel compensate the so-called “Palestinian refugees” whether they decide to stay in their own countries, move to the Palestinian state, or return to Israel.
Anti-Semitic, Anti-American Conspiracy Theorist Set for Princeton Honors
The long tenure of Richard Falk at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNHRC) – where for years he served as the body’s special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights – did not exactly cover that already controversial organization with glory.
In just a few months last year, he embroiled the UNHRC in controversy by blaming the Boston Marathon bombing on “American global domination” and “Tel Aviv,” trying to ban a pro-Israel human rights watchdog group from attending UNHRC sessions, and publishing anti-Semitic cartoons and articles on his blog.
U.S. officials routinely and repeatedly called for Falk to resign.
Under the headline “Trusting Khomeini,” Falk once praised the Iranian dictator as “a desperately-needed model of humane governance.” He is a quite open 9/11 conspiracy theorist. He has accused Israel of “slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust.” In 2011 he defended the government of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi as the “lawful diplomatic representative of a sovereign state.”
Now comes news from the Wall Street Journal that Princeton is preparing to honor Falk:

UN Watch: Top Falk allies defeated in bid for UN post
After they were first exposed in this column, five virulent anti-Israel activists have been eliminated in the race to replace pro-Hamas official Richard Falk, the UN’s permanent investigator on “Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law.”
In addition, the 5-nation vetting panel – exceptionally comprised this year almost entirely of democracies — produced a final list of names that also puts an end to the candidacies of four other severely biased applicants, each of whom was strongly opposed by UN Watch: Christine Chanet, Michael Mansfield, William Schabas, and Johannes Wijenberg.
All of these candidates have now been defeated.

Instead, council president Baudelaire Ndong Ella of Gabon has been given a list of three names. In consultation with UN member states — including the powerful Arab and Islamic blocs — the president will make his choice in late March.
Hamas, Fatah in war of words over Abbas' NATO proposal
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ proposal for NATO troops to secure a future peace in lieu of the IDF elicited opposition from Hamas, the Islamist organization that rules the Gaza Strip.
A Hamas spokesperson is quoted by Israel Radio as saying on Saturday that any foreign military force that will be deployed to safeguard an Israeli-Palestinian peace "would receive the same treatment as the [Israeli] occupation forces."
The statement is Hamas' way of making it clear to Abbas that it sees itself as exempt from any agreement he reaches with Israel.
Jordanian Islamists Rally Against Israel-PA Peace
Hundreds of Islamists rallied in Jordan on Friday against a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), The Associated Press (AP) reported.
The largest protest in months came hours before Jordan's King Abdullah was scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in California.
The 1,200 protesters affiliated with Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, who demonstrated against Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace framework, also burned the Israeli flag, reported AP.
John Kerry is Working to Scuttle Israel-India Arms Deal
Until recently, it appeared that the major arms contract between Israel and India was all but finalized, according to the report. The Spike missiles were tested extensively by the Indian army, which had reportedly agreed to spend millions of dollars on the rockets.
At the last moment however, John Kerry along with other senior U.S. government officials began to exert political pressure on the Indians to renege on their agreement with Israel.
According to Ma’ariv, the Americans’ motivation for meddling is financial. The U.S. government is reportedly trying to lure India into acquiring American-made Javelin missiles instead of the Israeli Spike. Washington is allegedly making an offer that it hopes New Delhi won’t be able to refuse: active participation in the development of the next U.S. anti-tank missile.
Tensions on Gaza border: 2 rockets land in open areas in Israel
2 rockets fired from Gaza landed in Israel on Friday evening, the IDF Spokespersons office reported.
The first rocket landed in Hof Ashkelon and later on in the evening a second rocket landed in the Eshkol Regional Council.
Facebook promotes the oldest anti-Jewish libel
I learned on Wednesday that Facebook has a page devoted to “Jewish ritual murder” which I found hard to believe — so I checked and found it’s true.
So, as one does, I used Facebook’s complaint procedure to formally report harassment. After all, I do feel harassed — as a Jew and a human being — by people promoting vile anti-Jewish propaganda.
Electronic Intifada Gets Desperate; Claims “Rolling Stones: Boycott Israel FB Page” Is Zionist Plant
Electronic Intifada is getting desperate. They realize this looks really bad for them, BDSholes and pro palestinian “activists.” But the fact remains, antisemitism is more often than not the motivation behind the pro palestinian “cause.”
Guardian’s Andrew Brown ponders the connection between camels & Zionism
First, the 21 (putatively erroneous) references to camels in the five books of Moses of course don’t undermine the remaining 79,826 words.
Second, Zionism is based not on the literal truth of every word in every Jewish text, but largely on the more than 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.
Further, modern Zionism was largely a secular movement.
Finally, though Brown’s assault on Israel’s legitimacy is arguably among the strangest we’ve ever encountered at this blog, we decided to humor him and set out our ‘crack team of researchers’ on a very peculiar mission to see if we were hasty in mocking the Guardian “journalist”.
Of Zionism and Camels
While it may not be wise to engage such people on such matters as to whether the history of domesticated camels does or does not invalidate the Bible, there are a couple of brief points to be made here. For one thing, the research cited in all of this only appears to concern specific copper smelting sites in the Negev’s Aravah Valley. What the study seems to show is the date at which domesticated camels were probably introduced to work at that specific site, which by all accounts is some several centuries after the time at which the Patriarchs and their camels are believed to have been moving through the surrounding region. (h/t NormanF)
Syria peace talks collapse in Geneva
Saturday’s talks, which lasted less than half an hour, left the future of the negotiating process in doubt and no date was set for a third session.
Brahimi told a news conference that both sides agreed that the agenda for the next round should focus on four points: ending the violence and terrorism, creating a transitional governing body, building national institutions, and reconciliation.
Syria's death toll now exceeds 140,000
More than 140,000 people, over 7,000 of them children, have been killed in Syria's uprising-turned-civil war, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday.
The pro-opposition Observatory said the period since the "Geneva 2" peace talks for Syria began last month had been the bloodiest of the nearly three-year conflict.
Spain shuts border crossing to avert Syrian migrants
Spanish police closed a border crossing between its North African enclave of Melilla and Morocco[Ceuta?] after Moroccan authorities warned that a large number of Syrian migrants were going to try to push across by se[a], officials said Friday.
Officials in Morocco said some 80 Syrians, including men, women and children, attempted to cross the border late Thursday but were stopped by Moroccan forces without incident. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. (h/t Renato H. M. de Oliveira)
Lebanon rallies behind nude skier
The old footage of Chamoun posing topless in the snow for a photographer prompted a Lebanese government official to order an investigation. The inference was that Chamoun had somehow harmed the country’s reputation.
It was only after that decree that many people in Lebanon realized they had athletes competing at the Winter Games.
Supporters took to social media immediately to criticize politicians for targeting the young athlete while turning a blind eye to corruption, nepotism, bombings and a litany of other problems. (h/t Bob Knot)
Lawyer: Salzburg Nazi Art Find More Significant Than $1.6 Billion Munich Cache
German art hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt’s collection of 1,400 paintings in Munich valued at some $1.6 billion, may be less significant than the 60 or so pieces by Renoir, Monet and other French impressionists recently discovered in his Austrian home, according to an interview with his lawyer, Hannes Hartung, published by the BBC on Friday.
Hartung told the BBC that no decision had been taken yet about publishing photos of the newly found artworks, whose discovery was announced on Monday, or giving fuller details about them.
Israeli drama to pilot on CBS
‘The Ran Quadruplets’ was originally created by Giyora Yahalom and Oren Jakobi, and ran for two seasons in Israel on Israeli satellite platform YES.
The show is a fictional story of the first quadruplets born in Israel. Three brothers and one sister, they have had their lives documented at every stage of their development in an ongoing documentary.
Now aged 32, the show captures the angst of a family that shares the same DNA, but not the same lives.
Ariel Sharon Park to be inaugurated next week
The Ariel Sharon Park near Tel Aviv will inaugurate a new compound on Tuesday, marking the completion of a massive conversion of a former landfill into an eco-friendly park.
A helicopter tour of the park, located on the former Hiriya landfill, was held on Wednesday ahead of the grand opening.
Israeli Company Tests Ambulance Drone
The Federal Aviation Administration is testing the viability of having drones operate in civilian airspace. So is the European Union. Drone delivery services are being developed in the Gulf, in Africa, and of course famously by in North America.
It was all but inevitable that Israel, a global leader in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), would get in the civilian drone game. The country’s thriving start-up scene functions as a technology incubator, up to and including in the medical and biosciences.
Put all of those ingredients in the pot, stir a little, and out comes AirMule: the new ambulance drone being tested by Israeli startup Urban Aeronautics: (h/t Yoel)
AirMule autonomous takeoff, hover & landing

Twitter: Israel Tweets ‘I Love You’ More Than Any Other Country
In a blog post published on Friday, Twitter said it analyzed 481 million tweets saying “I love you” in 116 languages.
The most common day of the week for Israelis to express their love on the social network is Friday and the most active month for love is December, according to the data.


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