Monday, February 17, 2014

From Ian:

Renowned scientists debunk myth Arafat was poisoned
What was this blood disorder mentioned by Palestinian officials?
Arafat’s personal physician, Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, had already answered this question in 2007. Arafat’s blood contained the HIV virus, he said while insisting that the virus had been injected into Arafat’s body close to his death.
When al-Kurdi claimed this in an interview with Al-Jazeerah, the network cut short the live interview. Al-Kurdi was kept away from Arafat when his situation began to deteriorate and was refused entrance to the French hospital where Arafat died.
Roth may have laid to rest the claim that Arafat was poisoned by Israel once and for all. But it seems we are likely to see the myth continue to live on in the Arab world and poison the minds of Palestinians.
Palestinians: The Invented People
“The history of the Palestinian people goes back as far as”… This is where Arab “historians” disagree.
Some say the “Palestinian people” have a proud 4000-year history; others say 10,000 years, 30,000 years, and even –don’t laugh- 200,000 years, which makes the Neanderthals pretty young people compared to the “mysterious Palestinians”. But although Arab historians do not agree on the “insignificant” details like the age of the “Palestinian people”, they do agree that this people is incredibly ancient-far more ancient than Jews, Romans or Greeks.
In the glorious history of the “Palestinian people”, there is only one “small” problem; nobody in history ever found them. (h/t Bob Knot)
David Singer: Kerry Confronts Ghosts In State Of Confusion
US Secretary of State John Kerry and the US State Department apparently missed – or deliberately ignored – the demise of the Palestinian Authority.
Kerry obviously believes he has been involved in negotiations under the agreed negotiating framework with a Palestinian Authority President, a Palestinian Authority negotiator and a Palestinian Authority – that clearly no longer exist.
The War of the Letterheads should serve as a clear signal to Kerry that he is negotiating with ghosts – not a legally constituted and accountable entity under the agreed negotiating framework.
Kerry – in preparing his own eagerly awaited framework agreement – needs to take notice of this fundamental change wrought by Abbas – who no longer wears a hat or name tag designated “Palestinian Authority”.

Khaled Abu Toameh: PA and Hamas ring alarm bells over Israeli plans to 'impose sovereignty' on Temple Mount
PA Minister for Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash said that there would be no sovereignty over the Aqsa Mosque and Islamic and Christian holy sites other than Palestinian sovereignty. “This is the full right of the Arab, including Muslims and Christians,” he said.
Al-Habbash claimed that Israel has plans to “divide” the Aqsa Mosque. “These efforts won’t succeed,” he added.
He was referring to routine visits by Jews to the Temple Mount and calls by some Israelis to impose Israeli sovereignty over the compound.
The PA minister said that only Muslims were entitled to pray at the holy site.
Danon: We Don't Need Permission to Pray at Kotel
Speaking Sunday night, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Danon sarcastically said that the Jewish people “are grateful” to Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas for “recognizing the Jewish right to pray at the Kotel.” Abbas made the comments earlier Sunday, speaking to Israeli students in Ramallah.
“We do not need the permission of anyone to pray at the Kotel, certainly not from the Palestinian leadership,” Danon said. “Jews have prayed, Jews pray, and Jews will pray at the Kotel forever.”
Jordanian Palestinian who writes for ‘Post’ sentenced in Jordan to life with hard labor
Mudar Zahran, a Palestinian writer and academic from Jordan who has written op-eds for The Jerusalem Post, was sentenced in absentia last week in the Hashemite Kingdom to life in prison with hard labor.
He says he has learned that the Jordanian government may seek to have him extradited to Jordan to serve his sentence.
Zahran told the Post in an interview from the UK, where he has sought refuge, that a source inside the palace told him that King Abdullah, on his visit to the US, pushed for control of east Jerusalem, and for an upgrade in status to key US ally in the region, even bypassing Israel in importance.
He said that Jordan sees itself as being able to help US interests in the region by handling refugees from Syria and aiding peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, partly by handling cities in the West Bank.
Hamas will endorse 2-state deal, Fatah leaders assert
That position was reiterated by Fatah officials present in the hall during Abbas’s speech. Asked whether Hamas would endorse an agreement with Israel, Azzam Al-Ahmad, Fatah’s chief negotiator with Hamas, was unhesitating.
“Of course they’ll join, why wouldn’t they?” he said. “They will be obligated by the decisions of the Palestinian leadership. I am confident of this. In my opinion, the real impediment to peace is not Hamas but [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and the extremist right-wing government in Israel.”
Hamas blasts Abbas’s meeting with Israeli students
Meetings such as the one Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s held with Israeli students on Sunday merely serve Israeli interests and must be stopped immediately, the Palestinian terror group Hamas said on Sunday.
“These meetings are a normalization of relations with Israeli citizens and serve their image in the world,” read a statement from the organization, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007 and vehemently opposes normalization or peace talks with Israel. “It is necessary to stop these meetings, which point to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority’s positions,” the group added, according to Maariv.
Mahmoud Abbas Incites Against 'Settlers'
Turning to the largely left-wing audience at one point, he urged them directly to "stop the settlers", accusing Jews in Judea and Samaria of committing "murders".
"The settlers are cutting down trees, and wreaking destruction," he said. " They are not just settling our land, they are also killing us - you must stop them!" he urged.
It was not clear what instances of "murder" Abbas was referring to, though his comments mirror regular PA incitement against Jews living in Judea and Samaria, in which "the settlers" are portrayed in crudely anti-Semitic terms, and deserving of violent treatment.
Cabinet Approves Stripping Terrorists of Benefits
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted Sunday in favor of the bill to prevent Israeli Arab terrorists released in deals or "gestures" to the Palestinian Authority from receiving the “acclimation stipends” that are paid to newly released prisoners, and make them ineligible for basic social security stipends.
"The situation whereby a terrorist who has not served the full term of his sentence and is released receives full social security and benefits from the government is absurd and unacceptable," MK Levin stated Saturday night. "Denial of benefits can make up for, on the smallest level, the pain of their early release."
Egypt refused Israeli medical help for Taba bus blast
Although Israeli-Egyptian security cooperation has never been closer, Egypt refused Israeli offers of medical assistance for the tourists wounded when their bus was blown up by Islamic extremists Sunday afternoon, just inside Egyptian territory at the Taba border crossing.
More than two dozen Israeli ambulances were despatched to the crossing immediately after the bombing — which took place just across the border and was audible inside Israel — but the Egyptian authorities refused Israel’s offers of assistance. Israeli “emergency forces were ready within minutes,” the local Israeli Magen David Adom emergency chief said.
Taba terror attack sends dual murderous message
The attack, which killed three South Korean tourists and an Egyptian bus driver, was carried out, apparently with a remote-control explosive device, only 100 yards from the border with Israel. The blast, as intended, reverberated across the territorial divide. It was a symbolic reminder to Israelis that the global jihad, once relegated to far flung corners of Somalia, Yemen, and Afghanistan, has taken root in the heart of the Levant, half a day’s drive from the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“It is very hard for them to penetrate into Israel,” said Maj. (res.) Aviv Oreg, formerly the head of Al Qaeda and Global Jihad desk at the IDF’s military intelligence directorate. But for jihadist organizations in the Sinai Peninsula, this sort of attack is ”very sufficient in order to pinpoint that Israel is their target in their aspirations.”

Muslim Brotherhood says Taba victims were ‘Zionists’
The Muslim Brotherhood’s official Arabic Twitter feed reported Sunday, however, on “the killing of 3 Zionists and injuring of 14 others in a bus explosion in Taba in Sinai.” The @ikhwantawasol Twitter handle has over 98,000 followers on the microblogging site.
Although the 31 South Koreans aboard the bus were on a church trip to Egypt, Israel, and Turkey, their political affiliation is unknown. The term “Zionists” is often used in Arabic to refer to Israelis.
Al-Qaeda-linked group claims Sunday’s Taba bombing
Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis took responsibility for Sunday’s bus bombing in the Egyptian town of Taba that left 4 dead and 13 injured.
On its Twitter account, the organization promised to continue to attack Egypt’s economy, tourism, and military, Israel Radio reported.
Hamas Forced to Ditch Live Ammunition Terror Exercises for Laser Tag Simulation
Egypt’s recent targeting of Gaza Strip smuggling tunnels has cut off the terrorist organization Hamas from much needed revenue streams, forcing the rulers of Gaza to switch to simulated military exercises since there is no budget for live ammunition, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Sunday.
Recently, Hamas’s Interior Ministry conducted a week-long series of war games that used laser beams instead of bullets, Ma’ariv said. The simulation software used during the drills was developed by Hamas itself and the military maneuvers were part of a broader plan to establish a permanent training facility in Gaza that’s based on the use of simulation technology.
Netanyahu Says Iran Gained ‘Without Giving Anything Significant’
Speaking at the start of his government’s weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said, “Until now, it must be said, it is Iran which has gained without giving anything significant. It has received a major easing of sanctions and the Iranian economy is already responding appropriately.”
“Iran is also continuing its aggressive policy both inside Iran and outside Iran” he said, according to a statement. “Inside Iran, it is executing innocent people. Outside Iran, it supports the continued killings by the Syrian regime, which would be unable to act without it, without its support. Iran is also continuing to arm terrorist organizations with advanced, deadly weapons and, of course, it is continuing to call for the destruction of the State of Israel.”
“At the same time, Iran is continuing with advanced research and development of centrifuges. Iran is not prepared to concede even one centrifuge.”
Ayatollah Strangelove and drone porn
This video raises serious doubts, though. Peddling drone porn like this on national TV suggests there’s something other than rational calculation at work in Tehran. A few months ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that the leaders of Iran are a “messianic, apocalyptic, radical regime” and a cult “wild in its ambitions and its aggression.” Like most leftists I dismissed these statements as unfounded hyperbole. Such immoderate criticism, I thought, caused more harm than good, damaging Israel’s credibility and destroying whatever small chance we had of indirect dialogue that might allow us to settle with the Iranians using words instead of bombs.
But this video makes me realize that Netanyahu may have been more right, and his point more important, than I gave him credit for. People who made the film, aired it, and enjoyed it, may well be wild in their ambitions and their aggression.
So this short video accomplished what hours of Netanyahu’s speeches at home and abroad failed to do. It made me to see the world, for once, as he sees it, alive with peril that rational discourse alone cannot eliminate. And allowing me to see the world through Netanyahu’s eyes; that is yet another disconcerting aspect of Iranian drone porn
Revealed: how Syrian rebels seek medical help from an unlikely source in Israel
When a rebel was shot and severely wounded during a new offensive on Syria’s southern front, his colleagues knew the only hope of saving his life was to get him to Israel.
The rebels called their contact on the Syrian side of the frontier, a man known as Abu Nidal, who had a phone given to him by the Israelis to facilitate emergency border crossings.
Abu Nidal called Israeli forces, which put an ambulance on standby and the rebels took the injured fighter to a crossing point and left him there.
After the rebels pulled back, Israeli soldiers checked the patient for booby-traps and weapons, and then whisked him over the border and rushed him to hospital.
US Boldly Almost Considering Maybe Weighing Possibility of Mulling Syria Involvement (satire)
Fresh from a trip to the Middle East and eager to showcase American decisiveness and will, US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters today that the Obama administration is seriously considering leaning in the direction of talking seriously about examining the ways in which the US might convey its possible intent to get involved in the Syrian conflict.
Obesity rates are soaring in Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Gulf states
Now Daifailluh is 3, and at 61 pounds he is nearly double the typical weight of a child his age. So the Bugamis are planning the once unthinkable: To have their toddler undergo bariatric surgery to permanently remove part of his stomach in hopes of reducing his appetite and staving off a lifetime of health problems.
That such a young child would be considered for weight-loss surgery—something U.S. surgeons generally won't do—underscores the growing health crisis here and elsewhere in the Middle East. Widespread access to unhealthy foods, coupled with sedentary behavior brought on by wealth and the absence of a dieting and exercise culture, have caused obesity levels in Saudi Arabia and many other Gulf states to approach or even exceed those in Western countries.


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