Thursday, March 27, 2014

From Ian:

PMW: PA religious leaders: Jews must not pray at Western Wall
The Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash and the former Chief Justice of the PA's Religious Court both recently declared that the PA's Islamic belief and political position is that Jews are prohibited from praying at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that the PA denies Israel's history and rights in Jerusalem, but these statements by top religious leaders go even further.
The PA claims that the area of the Muslim holy site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, includes not only the mosque itself, but extends over the entire Temple Mount and includes Judaism's holy site - the Western Wall.
JPost Editorial: Recognition
Now it is official – again. The Arab League capped its two-day summit in Kuwait with the following statement: “We express our total rejection of the call to consider Israel as a Jewish state.” This was essentially a repeat of the second of the “three noes” issued at the 1967 Arab League summit at Khartoum.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas now has all the backing he needs to continue to refuse the Israeli demand to recognize the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. Abbas has consistently opposed such recognition, presenting it as a completely new, never-before mentioned, Israeli condition for peace.
The fact is, however, that defining Israel as a “Jewish state,” if for no other reason than to differentiate it from an Arab or a Palestinian state and to ensure that at least one country in the world is set aside for the Jewish people, dates back to Israel’s very inception. Palestinian rejection of this term happens to be just as old. The 1947 United Nations partition plan, which the Arab nations and the Palestinians rejected, and which the majority of the nations of the world as well as the Jewish leadership in Palestine affirmed, called for the creation of “Arab and Jewish states.”
1947 or 2014? Arabs reject Jewish State
1947: The United Nations General Assembly approved yesterday a proposal to partition Palestine into two states, one Arab and the other Jewish, that are to become fully independent by Oct.1. The vote was 33 to 13 with two abstentions and one delegation, the Siamese, absent….
The vote on partition was taken at 5:35 P. M. Representatives of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen, four of the six Arab member states, announced that they would not be bound by the Assembly’s decision and walked determinedly out of the Assembly Hall at Flushing Meadow. The Egyptian and Lebanese delegates were silent but walked out, too.
2014: The Arab League announced on Wednesday its full backing of a Palestinian refusal to meet Israel’s demand to be recognized as a Jewish state, a condition Jerusalem says it requires for peace.
“We express our total rejection of the call to consider Israel as a Jewish state,” read a statement from the final day of the Arab summit in Kuwait.

Temple Mount Used as Prop in Arab League Condemnation Frenzy
While the Arabic media is focusing on many of the key rifts between Arab states, regional leaders used this week’s Arab League Summit in Kuwait City to unite in their calls for “Jerusalem” to be the capital of a Palestinian state and for Israel to stop its assault on the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. The notion that Israel is undermining the Muslim de facto control of the Temple Mount is far from the truth, with Jerusalem enjoying unparalleled religious freedom for Muslims and Christians, as enshrined in Israeli law.
Abbas To Kerry “Sorry, Not Interested In Even Discussing Any Peace Deal Just Now”
After meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Kerry trundled off to Ramallah to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, the PA’s unelected dictator, in an effort to get some kind of commitment from him he could take to the Israelis to show that Abbas was actually serious about continuing the negotiations. And Mahmoud Abbas basically told him to go pound sand.
In fact, as he told Kerry, Abbas won’t even discuss Kerry’s over-hyped framework for a peace agreement further until the Israelis release the last batch of the 100 convicted terrorist killers they were arm twisted into agreeing to just to get Abbas to the table. Just to show you how cynical this was, the United States specifically asked that Israel not release any terrorists who have the blood of American citizens on their hands…but those who only murdered Israelis, of course, or even their fellow Arabs are just fine with President Obama and his team.
Former Islamist Says 'Palestinian Leadership' Preventing Peace
He said that although it is undeniable that many Palestinian Arabs are suffering, the facts on the ground prove that the finger of blame should be pointed not towards Israel, but towards Hamas and "the Palestinian leadership" who, instead of responding to repeated Israeli overtures for peace, instead pursue an agenda of anti-Semitic incitement, rejectionism and terrorism.
"You have one million Arabs living in Israel with the Jews, and they are not suffering like the Arabs who are actually controlled by Arabs" elsewhere in the region, Dr. Hamid pointed out.
"To be honest, you have to say that the suffering of the Palestinians is because of their leadership and the wrong decisions of leaders like Hamas, not Israel," he said. "The moment the Palestinian leadership stops its arrogance and its barbaric attitude towards the Jews then you will see that things will change and you will see that no Palestinian will be suffering there."
Egyptian doctor: stop exploiting Palestine as wedge against Jewish Israel

Could the Peace Process Be Destroying Israel’s Legitimacy?
In a hard-hitting follow-up piece for Mosaic, Yoav Sorek tells us that since the beginning of the Oslo peace process, when Israel reneged on its pledge to itself not recognize or negotiate with the terrorist PLO, the net result has not only been unprecedented waves of carnage and violence, but the onset of deep self-doubt about Israel’s own national legitimacy. By promoting the idea that the conflict is a territorial one, Israel at once legitimized the PLO and undermined its own legitimacy before the world, as well as to itself. Accepting the land-for-peace equation meant that Israel was now saying it was the problem, not Arab annihilationism toward the Jewish state, but rather its occupation of “Palestinian land.”
Israel has placed itself in the dock by endorsing land-for-peace. By promoting this idea Israel accepts that its activities over the 1949 armistice lines are illegitimate if not illegal. For the international community, land for peace means that Israel withdraws from territory and gets peace in return. By that logic the absence of peace is on account of the presence of Israelis in occupied land. Israel knows that it can’t hand over territory to those who will only use it to advance warfare against its people. So Israel is forced to say one thing and do another; the debate becomes fixated on whether or not the Palestinians are really a partner for peace and the Israelis just appear dishonest. Nor does Israel get any praise for the withdrawals it makes for, as Evelyn Gordon has argued previously, by denying its claim to the land Israel earns the status of a thief only partially returning what never belonged to her.
The legality of the settlements
The Levy Report is Israel’s response to those who unfairly, and in our estimation incorrectly, conclude that the settlements are illegal under international law. The Levy Report is our case made before the international community.
It would appear however that no amount of facts, evidence or lack of precedent can dissuade parts of the international community, a few brave voices notwithstanding, that the settlements are illegal.
I recently challenged the local representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross on their rendering of the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Convention regarding their possible application to Judea and Samaria, and have yet to hear a formal response, even while their initial article welcomed a debate on the issue.
Now I call on the international community to explain why the arguments contained in the Levy Report are invalid, rather than simply assert that they are, as is usually done, without addressing the enduring complexity of Israel’s rights in the territories.
Israelis And Palestinians Make Peace? I Plan To Be Dead (satire)
The time just is not right for a comprehensive peace deal between us and Israel. Even if it is, you won’t see me signing it. When that happens, I plan to be six feet under.
Committing to the end of the conflict would mean a host of changes, none of which I, or my compatriots, are prepared to implement. There’s only so much we can do and not be ousted by more openly anti-Israel factions, or assassinated outright. So one way or another, when a final-status agreement occurs, I’ll be pushing up daisies.
IDF prepares for possible terrorist attacks as 75,000 plan to visit Cave of Patriarchs
The army's assessment is that the planned holiday event can proceed and that security threats are under control. Nevertheless, a terror cell that shot dead an IDF soldier in the area last year remains at large, and preparations made in recent weeks included an exercise led by the IDF Medical Corps to practice responses to mass casualty terrorism attacks at the holy site.
Captain Hisham Abu Salah, the chief Medical Officer for the Judea Brigade, told The Jerusalem Post last week that responses to mass casualty incidents can be activated at a moment's notice.
Lawless Arab Neighborhood Petitions Water Shortage
The petition, which was filed with the aid of the controversial NGO Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), claims many homes in the Arab neighborhood have "either no water at all, or water pressure so weak that it stops periodically," reports AFP.
In response, Jerusalem-water supplier Hagihon released a statement arguing security concerns have prevented maintenance in the area.
"Security problems (including employees needing to have a police escort) and frequent attacks against infrastructure," such as illegal syphoning of water from points along the water mains, were highlighted in Hagihon's statement.
Turkey, Israel said ready to reopen missions as deal nears
Israeli negotiator David Meidan met with Turkish national intelligence head Hakan Fidan in Ankara Monday and came to the breakthrough conclusion, Today’s Zaman reported.
The paper said the two also discussed a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Israel in the coming months.
However, a senior Israeli official denied the Zaman report.
Columnist On Hamas-Affiliated Website: The Jews Have Conquered The German Spirit With The Lie Of The Holocaust
In an article titled "When Will The Jews Liberate Germany?" published on February 25, 2014 on a website close to Hamas, Palestinian pundit and former Khan Yunis mayor Faiz Abu Shamala claimed that Germany is trapped by the "lie" of the Holocaust and cannot break free of it, since the Jews have conquered the Germans' spirit. As evidence, Abu Shamala stated that Germany has ceased its attempts to make restitution to Holocaust survivors conditional upon a halt of settlement construction.
Coming Soon to Gaza: Lashes in Criminal Code
Nafez Al-Madhoun, the secretary of Hamas’s parliament in Gaza, said on Tuesday that the government is working on passing a new law pertaining to lashes. Speaking in an interview with a local newspaper, Madhoun said that the provisions of the new law will include a range of between 80 lashes for major offenses to 20 lashes for minor crimes.
Madhoun further explained that a change in the Penal Code to include lashes is required, in light of the reality where the current law does not deter criminals, who view the Gaza prisons as a place for a vacation.
After 50 Days, Egypt Set to Reopen Gaza Crossing
Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas announced Wednesday that the blockaded territory's border with Egypt would open after a 50-day closure, and told Palestinian Arabs wishing to travel to present their passports.
Egypt has severely restricted access through the crossing in the border city of Rafah since July, when the army deposed Hamas's ally, president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The crossing will reopen for three days starting Saturday, Hamas's interior ministry said.
Egypt’s new nationalist icon sets his sights on the presidency
Sissi, 59, became Egypt’s most popular political figure and de facto head of state after he led the July 3 ouster of Egypt’s first freely elected and civilian president, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi.
“Today I stand before you for the last time in a military uniform, after deciding to end my service as defense minister and commander of the armed forces,” Sissi said in a televised address, dressed in field marshal’s uniform.
“With all modesty, I nominate myself for the presidency of Egypt, ” he said, vowing to rid Egypt of “terrorism.”
Egypt to build anti-terror fence in Sinai
Egypt began constructing its own security barrier a few days ago around the north Sinai city of El-Arish in order to prevent terrorism.
The move is meant to isolate the coastal city from others in the Sinai region and to control entry and exit points, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Wednesday.
Prominent Iranian Analyst, Author, And Columnist Amir Taheri: Nobody Has Actually Seen Khamenei's Anti-Nuclear Fatwa, Which Obama Often Quotes
In a March 14, 2014 article in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, titled "Obama, the Bomb and the Fatwa," prominent Iranian Middle East analyst, author, and columnist Amir Taheri berates U.S. President Barack Obama for citing an anti-nuclear fatwa allegedly issued by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and presenting it as proof that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful.
Taheri, who was editor of the Iranian daily Kayhan before the Islamic revolution and today resides in Europe, notes that neither Obama nor anyone else has ever seen this fatwa, and that, even if it exists, it is likely to be phrased so ambiguously as to be open to countless interpretations. Moreover, he says, Iranian clerics recently voiced opinions suggesting that the religious ban on nuclear weapons is by no means absolute. One ayatollah even implied that building a nuclear bomb is a necessary condition for the return of the Mahdi, the Shi'ite messiah.
IPT Exclusive: State Dept. Condemns Ayatollah's Holocaust Denial After Pressure from Press
Harf's statement comes five days after a reporter first asked about the Iranian leader's remarks. State Department officials did not respond to the IPT's multiple requests for comment on the matter before publishing the story. According to the State Department's transcript, Harf's comments came only after a reporter brought the issue back up.
Iran Behind 2013 Global Death Penalty Increase
Iran and Iraq's ruthless increase in using the death penalty led to a sharp spike in the global number of executions in 2013, according to a new Amnesty International report.
There was 15% increase in the death penalty in 2013 compared to the previous year according to the human rights group, BBC reported Thursday.
Moonshine liquor is a phone call away in Islamic Iran
Despite the ban on alcohol and frequent police raids, drinking in Iran is widespread, especially among the wealthy. Because the Shiite-dominated Muslim state has no discotheques or nightclubs, it all takes place at home, behind closed doors.
Some of the alcohol is smuggled in, but many resourceful Iranians make their own.
"My friends and I routinely gather to stamp down on grapes in my bathtub," said Hesam, a 28-year-old music teacher in Tehran, asking to be identified only by his first name. "It's fun, a cleansing ritual almost."
No Blasphemous Miming Here
The Arab League has drafted a blasphemy law that would likely be voted down at the U.N. Accordingly, any expression, however vague or symbolic, may violate the law, which explicitly bars invoking “freedom of expression and opinion” as a defense. The law includes a sweeping definition of complicity and criminalizes the mere possession of “blasphemous” material for the purpose of “informing others.” But the most drastic measure is found in article 16, which states that the law covers acts “perpetrated wholly or partly within or outside the territory of the State and even if the perpetrator is a non-national.”
In other words, if you share the supposedly “blasphemous” Katy Perry video “Dark Horse” on Facebook in Illinois, organize an atheist conference in Geneva, or mime The Satanic Verses on the streets of London, you may be prosecuted in any of the Arab member states that choose to enact this law. The Qatari draft and its endorsement by the Arab League members of the OIC raises the question of how serious these states’ commitment to tolerance really is.

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