Thursday, February 20, 2014

From Ian:

Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov: 90-Year-Old ‘Settlement’
Most of these neighborhoods were built and populated after Israel liberated them from largely unrecognized Jordanian control in the Six-Day War of 1967. Of course, they are all built upon the remains of ancient Jewish settlements, or have signs of Jewish life from the First or Second Temple periods. During the construction of Gilo, for instance, archaeologists discovered a fortress and other remains from the times of the first Beit HaMikdash, and a biblical town of Gilo, slightly further south, is mentioned in the Books of Joshua and Samuel II. In Talpiyot there have been discoveries of Second Temple-era graves, and winepresses, graves and more have been found under Pisgat Ze’ev.
But one of these neighborhoods stands out in this respect: The northernmost one, a fascinating area named Neve Yaakov – a full-fledged Jewish community up until 1948. Today it is once again a thriving neighborhood many times larger than it was several decades ago, with a population close to 30,000. Despite this, the Arabs claim that this old-new village is “illegal.
Modern-day Neve Yaakov was first established in 1924 on a 16-acre plot of land purchased by members of the American Mizrachi movement from the Arabs of Beit Hanina. First called Kfar Ivri, its name was soon changed to commemorate Mizrachi leader Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Reines, who had died a decade earlier.
State Department Takes Issue with Erekat
The United States on Wednesday expressed concern over comments against Israel by the chief Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator, Saeb Erekat.
"We are of course concerned about the recent comments by Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, hinting that Secretary of State John Kerry would raise the issue during his meeting in Paris with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
"We've said all along that it's important to create a positive atmosphere around these discussions. The personal attacks, quite frankly, are unhelpful, and the secretary will make clear that these kinds of comments are disappointing, that they are unhelpful, especially coming from someone involved in the negotiations, indeed the lead negotiator," said Harf.
Yes Mr. Erekat, Jesus was a Jew
The kindest thing one can say about Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian “negotiator,” is that he suffers, or pretends to suffer, from delusions or fantasies. How else can one explain his statement on January 31, 2014 at a conference in Munich when he specified the reason for the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state? To do so, he said would be “asking me to change my narrative.”
That fabricated Palestinian narrative of victimhood has concocted hyperbolical and inaccurate commentaries about Middle East history and Israeli policies. Erekat has employed it, as so many other critics and boycotters of Israel have done, for political ends.

Robert Malley and the Shift to Appeasement
In the years since then, Malley has remained a virulent critic of Israel and an advocate for recognition and acceptance of the Hamas terrorists who rule Gaza as well as engagement with Iran and other rejectionist states.
All this should have been enough to keep him out of any administration that professed friendship for Israel. But by putting him in charge of relations with the Gulf states, President Obama is also demonstrating that he is determined to continue a policy of downgrading relations with traditional allies in favor of better relations with Iran and other radicals. As much as Israel has cause for concern about the headlong rush to embrace Iran, the Saudis have just as much reason to worry, especially because of the administration’s failure to act in Syria, where Iran’s ally Bashar Assad appears to be winning his war to hold on to power. The Saudis are right to dismiss the president’s attempts to reassure them on Iran. Now that he has appointed a longtime advocate of embracing America’s foes, it’s not likely they will feel any better about U.S. policy.
The return to a position of influence of an Arafat apologist like Malley is one more sign of just how far the president has strayed from his campaign pledges on the Middle East. The U.S. drift toward appeasement of radical Islamists is no longer a matter of speculation but a fact. Any constraints on administration policies based in concern about alienating America’s allies are now a thing of the past.
US framework draft is too vague, says top PLO official
Ahmed Qurei, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee and a former prime minister, said that current American positions on a number of core negotiating issues including borders, Jerusalem and the settlements do not satisfy the Palestinian need for clarity.
“Trying to put ambiguity in the text will not help the parties. I don’t want to continue discussing what this or that [phrase] means … this would be a waste of time, and the Israelis on the other side will continue their projects on the ground to change the status of the West Bank and maintain the separation of Gaza from the West Bank,” Qurei, known more commonly by the nom de guerre Abu Alaa, told journalists at his office in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem.
PA Official: Abbas Ready for Israel as a Jewish State
A senior PLO official was quoted as saying that Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas was prepared to recognize Israel – this time, for real. A story in Maariv Thursday quoted Nabil Amaro as saying on PA television that Abbas would agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, as part of the negotiations being conducted by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The road to Jerusalem that’s off limits to Israel’s leaders
Behind the Paratroopers’ red-and-white flags at the entrance to the base, in a warm, airless caravan lit by fluorescent lights and lined with IDF code maps, a dozen female soldiers worked a four-hour shift, their eyes fixed on the screens in front of them.
In a corner of the room, a soldier with coral-pink nail polish monitored what the IDF has deemed a “strategic route” – the West Bank section of Route 443, a 16-kilometer stretch of road linking Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The route, one of the two main roads into the capital, runs east of the security barrier. After months of near total quiet, it has witnessed a flare-up of violence, including 20 Molotov-cocktail attacks during the first two months of the year. In early February, the Israel Police unit Magen, concerned by the unpredictability of the attacks, ruled the road off limits to Israeli government ministers under its protection.
'We Heard a Boom, and the Windshield Shattered'
Palestinian Arab teenagers hurled rocks at an Israeli car just outside the Samaria community of Eli Wednesday afternoon. While the victims of the attack are shaken, no one was hurt.
"We were in a full car - two women and several children - traveling from Jerusalem to Elon Moreh," Alona, the driver, recounted to Arutz Sheva. "Right after we passed Eli we heard a loud 'boom' that shook the car. We saw glass shattered in our car and realized that the Palestinian Arab teenagers we saw earlier had thrown stones at us as we passed."
It took a few moments - but, thankfully, the victims of the attack managed to find help.
Bulgaria identifies third suspect in Burgas bus bombing
"Two individuals were previously established. They are now three," chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov told reporters on Thursday.
"The identification of the new suspect will extend the investigation and there will be new requests for legal help from abroad... It means we will need just a little more time," Tsatsarov said. He did not give any more details.
Bill legally distinguishing between Christian and Muslim Arabs advances
Coalition chairman Yariv Levin’s proposal to legally differentiate between Christian and Muslim Arabs passed its second and third readings in the Knesset Labor, Health, and Welfare Committee on Wednesday.
Levin’s proposals would identify Christians as a minority group separate from Arabs, most of whom are Muslim, and give them their own, unique representation on the Advisory Committee for Equal Opportunity in Employment Commission.
The bill calls for more representatives on the commission for Christians, Druse and Circassians, as well as for haredim, new immigrants, reserve soldiers, senior citizens, and women
Arab MK Pleads with Pope to Stop Christians Enlisting in IDF
MK Basel Ghattas (Balad) appealed to Pope Francis Wednesday, asking him to personally intervene to stop Christian Arabs from recruiting into the IDF, according to Ha'aretz.
Ghattas submitted the request to Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the Vatican's representative in Jerusalem, at the Holy See's office on the Mount of Olives. The MK linked the timing of the request with the Pope's upcoming visit to Israel, scheduled for May 24, 2014. Rumors circulated earlier this month that the Pope's visit will be marked by a show of support for the Palestinian Arabs.
IDF Blog: 8 years, 8 Quotes by Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh
Eight years ago, Ismail Haniyeh became the Prime Minister of Hamas. He has followed well in the footsteps of former Hamas leaders, holding strong to the terror group’s commitment to violence, radicalism, and hateful rhetoric. To mark Haniyeh’s eighth year in power, we bring to you eight quotes that characterize his time as Prime Minister.
Hamas and UNRWA Try to Manipulate the Media
Manipulating Hamas to attack UNRWA is a method that UNRWA successfully engineered four years ago.
At the time, UNRWA spokespeople spread a false rumor that UNRWA had initiated curriculum to teach the Holocaust, but that Hamas had stopped them from doing so.
We asked the UNRWA administrative office in New York whether there was indeed a plan to teach the Holocaust in UNRWA schools.
We received an immediate, clear, and definitive response that there had never even been any plan to teach the Holocaust through UNRWA in Hamas schools. However, UNRWA accomplished its mission of distorting the truth about its relationship with Hamas.
Hezbollah Chief’s Speech Reignites Concerns Iran-Backed Group Manufacturing Conflict with Israel Over Underwater Energy Resources
A Sunday speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is fueling concerns that the Iran-backed terror group intends to use Lebanon’s off-shore energy resources to provoke a conflict with Israel, with the terror group chief reportedly insisting at least three times that Israel is engaged in a plot to plunder Lebanese oil. Lebanese media noted that Nasrallah began his extended speech by invoking Israel as a threat to Lebanon.
Hezbollah flinches in the face of its Sunni counterpart
The double suicide bombing that rocked Beirut’s Shiite neighborhood, al-Dahiyah, on Wednesday — killing at least six and injuring dozens near an Iranian cultural institute — illustrated Hezbollah’s near-helplessness in the face of radical Sunni terrorism.
Time and again, Sunni terrorists have succeeded in striking at Hezbollah and carrying out serious attacks in the Shiite group’s most sensitive site, despite unprecedented security arrangements taken by Hezbollah to prevent attacks of this sort. Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army deployed dozens of checkpoints across the southern Beirut Shiite stronghold in recent weeks, checking suspicious cars and people. And yet, Wednesday’s attack claimed by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades — the Lebanese branch of al-Qaeda — succeeded in overcoming these obstacles.
Iranian President Wants Jerusalem Liberated ‘From the Yoke of Israel’
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “wishes” for Jerusalem to be liberated “from the yoke of Israel,” according to state-run media reports.
Rouhani expressed his desire during a meeting with Palestinian Parliament Speaker Salim Zanoun, who has been in Tehran for meetings with top officials.
Israel's UN Envoy: Lift the Mask Off Iran
Speaking to the UN Security Council, Prosor launched a scathing attack against Iran and its violations of human rights.
“In what country in the Middle East would you like to be judged?" he asked the 15-member body during a debate on the rule of law. "The answer is categorical - Israel - which has an independent, ethical and fair legal system."
"The Iranian regime may be displaying a smiling face to the West but behind the mask this is a murderous and cruel regime,” continued Prosor.
Obama Weapons Expert: No Chance of Success With Iran
One of the many reasons for this, he believes, is that the West has given the Iranian regime insufficient cause to feel as if it must give up its nuclear dreams. The negotiations might drag on for two or three years. And then? “And then the Iranians could decide they’re strong enough to walk away,” he says.
This analysis does not make him a new pessimist or a harsh critic of the administration’s approach. Samore has never believed that the U.S., alone or in combination with other like-minded powers, could do anything but delay Iran’s nuclear program. A full-scale ground invasion could bring about the end of the Iranian nuclear program, but that is quite obviously not happening, and short of that, he says, there is no permanent fix. What we have now is, essentially, a truce for a truce.
Two Israelis arrested in Iran arms sales case
Weinstein and Cohen have both been investigated multiple times for allegedly trying to sell and ship military equipment to the Islamic Republic in violation of international sanctions.
The two had previously tried to ship the arms to Iran via intermediary states such as the United States, Germany, Thailand and Portugal, Channel 2 reported. According to the report, Cohen has been investigated six times on such charges in the past 12 years.
Douglas Murray: Blow People Up? What a Surprise!
It is purely and solely about the extremist religious ideology which they have inhaled -- so predictable, so by rote, one could have written the career trajectory of Abdul Waheed Majeed on a napkin ten years ago. Yet we continue to express surprise. And in that is a problem not just for the world at large, and any particular battle-ground of jihad, but a problem for us. When you continue to be surprised by the obvious, it is clear that the obvious must be a problem for you. If we cannot see what is happening, it seems likely that we simply do not want it to be happening. But apparently not enough to try to stop it from happening. "Oh my, have you heard, another suicide bomber from West Sussex." Now why would that be?
‘Save the Boy – He’s All I Have’
Six-year-old “K” was brought to Israel by his father six weeks ago after suffering life-threatening injuries in an explosion. The same blast killed his mother and sister and also wounded his older brother, who later died of his injuries.
His father begged the Israeli medical team, “Save him – he’s all I have left.”
Immediately after arriving at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, K underwent an hours-long surgery in which doctors worked to reduce pressure on his brain. Doctors were forced to remove parts of his skull.
Muslim Martians beware: UAE clerics issue fatwa against settling Mars
Muslims dreaming about living on Mars better think again, for they might be violating a religious edict.
According to the Daily Mail, clerics in the United Arab Emirates have issued a fatwa banning Muslims from settling the red planet, which has yet to be inhabited by humans.
The General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment ruled that settling Mars would be so dangerous that it would be tantamount to suicide, an act which is not permitted by Islam. (h/t Bob Knot)

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