Wednesday, September 22, 2021

From Ian:

Elie Wiesel (Sep 8, 2001): Durban: A Circus of Calumny
Hatred is like a cancer. It spreads from cell to cell, from organ to organ, from person to person, from group to group. We saw it in action in Durban. Even a man of the stature of Kofi Annan somehow lost his way and said things that were inappropriate for him.

With the scandal of Durban in the backdrop, how can the world expect of Israel to trust the United Nations? And how can good people, idealists, have faith in the UN's mission to unite countries in an atmosphere of respect?

The conference in Durban will be remembered as a forum that was governed not by anti-Israelites but by anti-Semites. The fact that militant Palestinians hate Jews -- that is known already. One needs only hear the various Islamic leaders and read the books printed by the Palestinian Authority: They preach hatred and violence, not against Zionists but against Jews. Their slogan, naked and brutal and identical everywhere, was keenly felt and even heard in Durban: "Kill the Jews."

What is painful is not that the Palestinians and the Arabs voiced their hatred, but the fact that so few delegates had the courage to combat them. It is as if in a strange and frightening moment of collective catharsis, everyone removed their masks and revealed their true faces.

By means of the disgraceful conference in Durban, history has given us, the Jews, a sign. And we had better learn how to decipher it.
34 countries boycott Durban IV Conference
A total of 34 countries openly boycotted Wednesday’s conference at the UN marking the 20th anniversary of the World Conference Against Racism in Durban because of the antisemitism and anti-Israel bias at the 2001 event.

More than twice as many countries opted out of the event than the previous Durban Review Conference in 2011, when 14 did so.

The countries boycotting Durban IV were: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, UK, US and Uruguay.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry thanked the countries for their support.

“The original Durban Conference, an UN-hosted event, became the worst international manifestation of antisemitism since WWII,” the Foreign Ministry stated. “Inflammatory speeches, discriminatory texts, and a pro-Hitler march that took place outside the halls were only part of the ugliness displayed in 2001. The ‘World Conference on Racism’ actually ended up encouraging it, including through the parallel NGO forum, which displayed caricatures of Jews with hooked noses and fangs dripping with blood, clutching money.”

The Foreign Ministry said that the organizations seeking to demonize and boycott Israel 20 years ago continue their campaign, but have failed. “Israel is a thriving state that is increasing its cooperation with countries in the region and will continue to do so,” it said.

Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, who has worked for the past year to bring more countries on board against Durban, pointed out that few heads of state addressed the conference, like those of South Africa and Cuba, and only a handful – like Iran and the Palestinian Authority – sent foreign ministers to the event, in addition to more countries boycotting it than ever before.
Noah Rothman: Progressives Hand Democrats Another Embarrassment
To state this proposition as plainly as possible, more Israelis must die if there is to be peace. The logic articulated here is so sordid that it’s understandable why progressives would fail to articulate it plainly.

On top of being ghoulishly cruel, it is an idea that is strategically unsound and devoid of almost any theoretical basis. We know what this conflict would look like in the absence of this system because most of us remember a time before Iron Dome’s relatively recent introduction. That was a time that did produce more Israeli casualties as a result of rocket barrages from within Gaza. It was also a time that involved far broader and bloodier Israeli responses to those provocations, including costly ground operations that produced vastly more Palestinian deaths. The elimination of this entirely defensive system of radar installations and interceptor missiles would produce more violence and destruction, not less. To hear the left’s more honest members tell it, that’s not necessarily an undesirable outcome.

Fortunately, and despite their outsize influence on committees, it’s not hard to find Democrats across their party’s ideological spectrum condemning (albeit obliquely) the left and the setback they’ve dealt their colleagues. Democrats are now forced to clean up after their blinkered congressional allies. After spending his evening on the phone talking interested parties from Jerusalem to Washington off the ledge, House majority leader Steny Hoyer promised on Tuesday to reverse the damage his leftwing colleagues had done with a stand-alone vote that will restore funding for Iron Dome.

This will not, however, be the last time that Democrats are forced to mop up the wake their ideologically rigid progressive friends leave if only because it isn’t the first. Until Democrats understand that the costs associated with the influence of “Squad”-type legislators are steeper than the benefits, the embarrassments will continue.


House Democrats Remove Iron Dome Money in Government Funding Bill
House Democrats have stripped a provision of the government funding bill that would have provided $1 billion toward Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

The provision was reportedly removed due to criticism from progressives in the House, including Representatives Alexandrio Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). The Continuing Resolution (CR) would fund the government until December 3; if it isn’t passed by the end of the month, a government shutdown would occur. The Iron Dome funding will instead be inserted into a separate defense bill.

Some House Democrats criticized the move.

“Iron Dome is a defensive system used by one of our closest allies to save civilian lives,” Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL) tweeted. “It needs to be replenished because thousands of rockets were fired by the Hamas terrorists who control Gaza. Consider this my pushing back against this decision.”

Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY) similarly tweeted, “A missile defense system (i.e. Iron Dome) defends civilians from missiles. Hence the name. Only in a morally inverted universe would this be considered a ‘controversy.’”

Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) also tweeted: “The Iron Dome protects innocent civilians in Israel from terrorist attacks and some of my colleagues have now blocked funding it. We must stand by our historic ally — the only democracy in the Middle East.”
It might be political, but Iron Dome is a lifesaver for Israelis - analysis
It might be just politics. But news that Democrats are holding up $1 billion for the Iron Dome missile defense system led many Israelis to worry that the bond between the two allies is breaking.

And that bond, especially in terms of military aid for Israel and the Iron Dome missile defense system, is a lifesaver.

Israeli politicians like Foreign Minister Yair Lapid downplayed the move, and after Lapid spoke with US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, he released a statement saying the defunding was a “technical delay” and that the money would be approved at a later date.

Former defense minister and chief of staff Moshe (“Bogie”) Ya’alon also said the move won’t affect Israel’s military superiority, but it brings to light the deep divisions between the Democratic Party and Israel.

Those major divisions, Ya’alon said, were because of the behavior of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, actions that “severely harmed” Israel’s bipartisan status in Congress, and among American Jews who tend to vote for the Democratic Party. The new government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has identified the loss of Jewish support as a major area of concern, and he is working to get that support back.

“It’s more a political issue because it brings out the issue that the Democrats are becoming more vocal on the issue of Israel,” Ya’alon said. “Netanyahu publicly supported the Republicans during the last election, and we are paying a price for it.”

Politics aside, Ya’alon also warned that the situation would make Israel’s many enemies happy.

“Israel’s enemies, led by Iran and Hezbollah, would be happy about any dispute between Israel and the United States, especially in the area of security assistance,” he told The Jerusalem Post.
Iron Dome: When every vote counts, fringe Progressives carry weight - analysis
Moderate Democrats so far have dismissed progressives’ calls to condition aid to Israel. They argued that those who call to condition aid are a small group who do not represent the majority of the party. However, following Tuesday’s 220-211 vote – along party lines – it is becoming clear that when every vote counts, and given the Democrats narrow majority, even a small group can have a great deal of influence.

The larger question, of course, is whether this was a one-time victory for the Left flank of the party or a new trend. It is still not clear what would happen the next time such funds are part of complex legislation that would come down to a slim majority, and whether Hoyer will again need to find creative ways such as using suspension bills to pass it.

Halie Soifer, CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, defended the party and told The Jerusalem Post, “The bottom line is that Democrats will ensure that Israel gets this aid.

“Joe Biden made the commitment to Israel after the latest conflict with Hamas that he would replenish Iron Dome beyond the commitment in the MOU [memorandum of understanding], and it will get done; and Democrats will make sure it gets done,” said Soifer. She went on to say that “Democrats have passed aid to Israel numerous times in this Congress, and it will happen again when they vote on a standalone measure later this week.”

Unlike Soifer, Dan Arbell, scholar-in-residence at the Center for Israeli Studies at American University, believes that “bipartisan support for Israel is eroding.” Arbell previously served as deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, and worked as former ambassador Michael Oren’s second-in-command from 2009 to 2012.

“Public opinion polls show a consistent decline in Democratic support for Israel and rising support and solidarity with the Palestinians,” he told the Post. “The funding for Iron Dome will go through at the end, but Israel must invest great efforts in widening and deepening the dialogue and contacts with elected officials and constituencies who do not feel a strong bond with Israel before it’ll be too late.”
Iron Dome will be funded, but more ‘Squad’ trouble is on the way - analysis
Israel also gets billions of dollars from the US for weapons because we are a US ally, a democracy that shares America’s values, and fighting terrorist groups who profess to wanting to commit genocide against us.

Perhaps the most absurd response to The Squad is that the Iron Dome saves Arab lives too, which is true – it not only has saved Arabs in Israel and their homes from being struck by rockets, but it saves many Palestinians, because Israel would likely strike Gaza much harder if it faced more casualties at home.

But what is the implication there? That it’s understandable if The Squad doesn’t care if Jews die, but maybe they’ll care more if Arabs do? Why is anyone legitimizing that view?

The things the progressives find objectionable about Israel – ranging from its control over Judea and Samaria to its very existence as a Jewish state, depending on the squad member – did not change when Bennett and Lapid entered office in June, and they’re not going to change anytime soon. That means the obstacles Israel faces from the Democratic Party’s left flank are here to stay for a while, and this government in Jerusalem will have to learn to advance Israel’s interests in this complex reality.

The solution seems to be to work even closer with the Biden administration and moderate Democrats and Republicans in Congress to circumvent the progressives – as they are doing this week.

But minimizing the problem as purely technical, and blaming Netanyahu, is not going to help.
Commentary Magazine Podcast: Suppressing Speech and Going After Israel
Israel part starts at 57 min
Today’s podcast points out the continuing scandal of the media’s and Big Tech’s efforts to suppress stories they don’t like—both about Hunter Biden and about China’s role in the promulgation of COVID—and what the practical consequences for them both may be. And then we get into the Democratic party’s courtship of political meltdown, shown in part by an effort to defund Israel’s anti-missile efforts.
Top Democrat Admits Forces In Her Party Have ‘Desire To Attack’ Anything ‘Related To State Of Israel’
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) admitted on Tuesday that a sizable number of Democrats are constantly on the look out for ways to attack the state of Israel.

Slotkin made the remarks on social media after Democrat leaders removed a provision from a short-term government spending bill to help fund Israel’s Iron Dome which protects its citizens from terrorist attacks like the ones out of Gaza earlier this year.

“There has never been a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress,” Axios reported. “While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic party over Israel.”

Slotkin then took to Twitter to address the issue, saying that the anti-Israel policy positions of some in her party were “devoid of substance” and that they were “irresponsible.” She did not call out any specific member of her party.

“Iron Dome is a purely *defensive* system — it protects civilians when hundreds of rockets are shot at population centers. Whatever your views on the Israeli-Pal conflict, using a system that just saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives as a political chit is problematic,” Slotkin said. “Iron Dome, like other missile defense systems, was co-developed by the US and Israel. The research that went into the design of this system is shared between our two countries and can be used to protect our bases abroad, in addition to Israeli civilians in their homes.”
'The Squad' is Against Israel, Doesn't Want the Jewish State to Win Its Wars

'If we do not have the Iron Dome we will have to be more offensive'

US nominee for Israel envoy tells confirmation panel he backs Iron Dome funding
Asked whether he supports Iron Dome replenishment, Nides responded curtly, “Yes sir.”

He also noted to the committee that the Iron Dome, which has been used to intercept thousands of rockets fired at Israel by Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip, is a strictly “defensive system.”

“Upholding Israel’s security serves America’s national security interest and ensures that we will always have a strong reliable and secure partner,” Nides said.

Nides’s unreserved backing of the Iron Dome funding could put him at odds with committee member Chris Murphy, a Democrat.

Murphy tweeted Tuesday that though he also supports funding the system and Israel’s need to be able to defend itself, “this funding cannot be at the expense of economic/humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Iron Dome funding and Palestinian aid should move together.”

Nides also expressed concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. Confronting the potential of Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is a prime concern, he warned.

“Israel is one of our closest security partners in countering the broad spectrum of threats, chief among them is the critical threat that Iran poses,” Nides said. “President Biden has made it clear his commitment to ensure that Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon.”

The Abraham Accords, mediated by the preceding Trump administration and which normalized ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan “are critical to the region’s stability and prosperity,” Nides said.


Iron Dome replenishment bill to be brought 'before end of week' - Hoyer
House majority leader Steny Hoyer vowed on Tuesday to bring a suspension bill to the House floor later this week to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome, hours after Democratic leadership had to remove the $1 billion provision from a continuing resolution amid pushback from Progressives.

“It’s my intention to bring to this floor a suspension bill before the end of this week, that will fully fund Iron Dome,” Hoyer said on the House floor. “We ought to do it.”

Hoyer said he talked to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid “and assured him that the bill was going to pass this House. I hope that my colleagues on that side of the aisle would join me. I intend to bring it to the floor and it will be done. It is absolutely essential.”

He said that the air defense system was instrumental in warding off the 4,400 rockets that were fired from Gaza over 11 days in May.

“Iron Dome saved lives and property and held Israel secure,” Hoyer said. “The president wants this bill passed... and I believe scores of others on both sides of the aisle want to make sure that Israel is secure and that she could replenish the assets of Iron Dome – which are defensive only, not offensive weapons – so that if somebody sends a rocket toward either people or places in Israel, they will be able to intercept that rocket and save lives and save property.”

Senator Norm Coleman, Republican Jewish Coalition national chairman, said that House Democrats “should be ashamed of themselves. By cowardly caving to the Israel-hating wing of their party and blocking vital assistance to support our ally Israel, House Democrats have emboldened the likes of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to continue dragging their party even further to the radical Left,” he said in a statement.


Dems Back Measure To Give Aid to Iraqi Militia Groups Tied to Iran
Democratic leaders in the House are backing a measure to provide U.S. assistance to Iraqi militia groups that are known to be dominated by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

A Democrat-led amendment to the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, the sprawling annual bill that funds U.S. military operations around the world, would permit U.S. funding for Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, a confederation of militia groups that work alongside the corps's Quds Force, Iran's paramilitary fighting brigade.

The amendment, authored by Rep. Brad Sherman (D., Calif.), was slipped into a larger package of measures that are backed by Democratic leadership and expected to easily pass into the larger National Defense Authorization Act, which is set to be finalized this week.

Sherman's measure, which purports to help vulnerable Christian populations in Nineveh Plains, would allow the United States to provide Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces with aid to help resettle religious minorities who have been attacked by the Islamic State terrorist group. Those militias, however, have close ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a former leader of the group, was killed alongside Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a 2019 drone strike. The United States has sanctioned the Popular Mobilization Forces' new leader, Falih Fayyadh, for mass human rights abuses backed by the Iranian corps.

The Popular Mobilization Forces include at least three designated terrorist groups and have been implicated in several drone attacks on U.S. positions in the region, including a deadly 2019 strike on the U.S. embassy compound in Iraq.


We must call for an end to Durbanism
In light of this history, it is not enough to praise the countries that will boycott Durban IV nor to oppose the many more that apparently still plan to participate. Beyond that, we must face the reality that the United Nations has found it necessary to stage yet another major international event to commemorate this grand global travesty. To do that, we must understand why so many still support Durban despite its ugly legacy.

For those who celebrate Durban, that conference laid the foundation for the world to accept – and to believe – that systemic racism lies at the core of our global system. Over the last two decades, this worldview has taken hold internationally, nowhere more than in the United States. For many, Durban represents the war on a global system of white supremacy. It also reflects the growing worldview that capitalism is unsustainable, as is the global influence of the United States. These understandings are reflected in Critical Race Theory, the Black Lives Matter movement, and a host of government, corporate and educational programs.

Too often, these programs adopt not only Durban's commendable opposition to racism but also its tragic descent into bigotry. This can be seen, for example, in cases where university training sessions have separated employees by race, treating Jews and whites as privileged oppressors and teaching other groups to view them in stereotypical terms. In California, supporters of a first-draft Ethnic Studies Curriculum would promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and omit lesson plans about antisemitism.

For those who are committed to ending racism, this new anti-racism is a diversion from the real, hard work of civil-rights enforcement. Instead of identifying actual instances of discrimination where people are treated worse because of their race or other group identity Durbanist approach is to overhaul our social order, dividing people by their perceived status as an oppressor or oppressed. This feeds into racial stereotypes, with Jews viewed in antisemitic terms as privileged, powerful, conspiratorial and controlling.
Israeli ambassador calls UN's Durban event 'rotten,' asks world to 'share the truth'
A day after the General Debate at the 76th UN General Assembly began, the international body turned the spotlight on the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the controversial UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, which was dominated by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery.

More than 30 countries are boycotting Wednesday's commemoration, according to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which urged more countries to join them "in continuing to fight racism, bigotry, and antisemitism."

The original Durban Conference in 2001 singled Israel out as racist, with draft resolutions saying Zionism is a form of racism. The legacy left by the first Durban conference, where Israel was labeled an "apartheid state," and, according to many of the speakers, Zionism was linked to racism in the lexicon of left-wing groups, was also evident in the follow-up conferences in 2009 and 2011.

The International Legal Forum (ILF) said in a letter to UN ambassadors and foreign ministers that the recurring event has "descended into an infamous hotbed of unbridled Jew-hatred, antisemitism and vilification of the State of Israel."

Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gilad Erdan on Wednesday noted that the boycott of the event by so many UN member states was a major accomplishment for the Jewish state. "The Durban conference was rotten to its core and therefore any event that commemorates it is the fruit of the poisonous tree," he said. "I am glad that many more countries have realized this, and I will continue to fight this fight until the UN realizes that the Durban stain has to be erased."

"We doubled the number of countries that will boycott the hate conference!" Erdan wrote on Facebook, adding that "31 countries will boycott the shameful event ... more than twice the number of countries that boycotted the Third Durban Conference in 2011."


Biden Says Two-State Solution Is ‘The Only Way’ to End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that a sovereign and democratic Palestinian state is the “best way” to ensure Israel’s future.

“We must seek a future of greater peace and security for all people of the Middle East,” Biden said in a speech to the UN General Assembly.

“The commitment of the United States to Israel’s security is without question and our support for an independent Jewish state is unequivocal,” he said.

“But I continue to believe that a two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian state,” he said.

“We’re a long way from that goal at this moment but we should never allow ourselves to give up on the possibility of progress.”
Cotton: Biden Told Israel It Needs to Negotiate with Terrorists During U.N. Speech



Police arrest 2 suspected Palestinian accomplices in Nahariya police deaths
Police on Tuesday night arrested two Palestinian illegal workers suspected of being accomplices in the ramming of a police team in Nahariya in the morning, which left a police volunteer dead and an officer seriously hurt.

The two were allegedly at the construction site in the northern city when the chief suspect in the case, a manager at the construction company, allegedly ran over the two policemen.

Police nabbed the two suspects along with nine other illegal workers near Jerusalem in the evening. The two were taken for questioning. A third suspected accomplice is still at large.

Police roadblocks set up to catch the suspects caused heavy congestion on the major Route 1 highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Police said that the two-man police team had arrived at the Nahariya site in the morning, after residents complained of noise and work being done during the Sukkot holiday. The work was part of a project to improve flood defenses in the city. The team also began questioning Palestinian workers at the site to check whether they were in the country legally.
‘One of the best:’ Police volunteer killed in Nahariya car-ramming buried
Hundreds gathered in Yarka on Wednesday to bury a police volunteer who was killed after a vehicle drove into him in the northern city of Nahariya a day earlier.

Hossam Zaghir, 32, a Druze father of two, had been volunteering since 2016, police said. He and Amir Abu Rish, a police officer, were seeking permits from workers at a construction site in Nahariya when they were hit by the vehicle inside the site. Zaghir was killed, while Abu Rish was injured.

The main suspect, Nasim Sah, 44, from the Lower Galilee city of Arraba, reportedly confessed to the ramming. His remand was extended by eight days on Wednesday morning.

In Yarka, Zaghir was given a police burial, which followed a religious Druze ceremony. It was attended by Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, Minister Hamed Amar who personally knew Zaghir, and Likud MK Fateen Mulla who lives in the town.

“How will I go home and he won’t be there?” Zaghir’s wife Ranin cried out, the Ynet news site reported.

“Dear Hossam, it hurts so much to mourn a young volunteer. You represent the beautiful side of Israeli society,” Shabtai said.
Israeli woman moderately hurt in alleged West Bank ramming
Police on Wednesday arrested a Palestinian suspect over an apparent hit-and-run near the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Michmash, during which an Israeli woman was moderately wounded.

According to the victim, the car passed her on the road between Ma’ale Michmash and Neve Erez, turned back, and then accelerated toward her. After she was hit, the driver fled from the scene.

She was taken to hospital, and only reported the incident to the police some two hours later.

Police located the vehicle at the Palestinian town of al-Eizariya near Jerusalem, and took the Palestinian man in for questioning.

An organization representing local security officers claimed the ramming was an intentional terror attack, but police officials did not confirm it as such.

Tensions have been running high across the West Bank over the past month, following the dramatic escape of six Palestinian prisoners from the high-security Gilboa Prison on September 6.
Financial Times claims Zakaria Zubeidi turned to terror to avenge his mother's death
A Financial Times article (“Recaptured Palestinian prisoners become folk heroes”, Sept. 20) by Jerusalem correspondent Mehul Srivastava included the following claim regarding one of the terrorists captured by Israel after they escaped Gilboa Prison in northern Israel earlier this month.

In Jenin, the West Bank town where the last two men were eventually captured and historically a hotbed of militancy, the escape only added to the myth of Zakaria Zubeidi, the most high-profile of the six.

Zubeidi, 45, became a militant after Israeli soldiers shot his mother and brother, eventually rising through the ranks of the al-Aqsa martyrs brigade


However, the timeline – suggesting Zubeidi only turned to terror to avenge his mother’s death – is wildly inaccurate. His mother was killed in 2002. Zubeidi’s terror activities, by his own account, began during the 1st Intifada. His first stint in an Israeli prison was when he was a teenager, after being convicted of throwing Molotov cocktails at soldiers. That was around 1990.

Zubeidi was further radicalised while in prison and, by 2001, during the 2nd Intifada, a year before his mother was killed, was making bombs to use in attacks on Israeli civilians, and became leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah.

The Financial Times claim is clearly inaccurate, and we’ve complained to editors.


Carlos the Jackal seeks to reduce life sentence for deadly 1974 grenade attack
Carlos the Jackal, the leftist militant who carried out attacks across the globe in the 1970s and 1980s, opened a bid in a French court on Wednesday to reduce the life sentence he had been given for a deadly grenade attack on a Paris shop in 1974.

The self-declared "professional revolutionary," whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, has been behind bars in France since he was captured and spirited out of Sudan by French special forces in 1994.

He was found guilty in 2017 over a grenade attack in 1974 on a shop on Paris's Champs Elysees, the Drugstore Publicis, that killed two people and injured 36.

The appeal that started on Wednesday will not seek to overturn that conviction but will only concern how many years he should be jailed for after the country's top court struck down the latest ruling over technicalities and sent it back to the lower court.

The decision is expected on Friday.

Ramirez, who was born in Venezuela and is now aged 71, is already serving two other life terms and has lost appeals against them. One is for the murder of two French police officers and an informant in June 1975 and the other for attacks on trains, a railway station and a Paris street in 1982 and 1983 that killed 11 people and wounded about 150 others.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Marxist militant became public enemy number one for Western governments and the world's most wanted man.
Poll: Nearly 80% of Palestinians want Mahmoud Abbas to resign
Some 78 percent of Palestinians want to see long-ruling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas step down, according to a Palestinian public opinion survey released on Tuesday.

The survey was conducted by Khalil Shikaki, a veteran Palestinian pollster who directs the Palestinian Center for Survey and Policy Research. According to Shikaki, 1,270 Palestinian adults were interviewed for the survey across the West Bank and Gaza between September 15 and 18.

“This is the highest number we have seen calling for Abbas’s resignation since Abbas’s election,” Shikaki said in a phone call.

Abbas was elected to a four-year term in 2005 in a vote boycotted by his Hamas rivals. No national elections have been held in the intervening decade and a half, despite numerous pledges by the Palestinian leadership.

In mid-March, 68% of Palestinians demanded Abbas’s resignation, according to an earlier poll by Shikaki. But the Palestinian Authority has increasingly struggled to assert its legitimacy among Palestinians, many of whom see Ramallah as corrupt and ineffective at realizing their dream of an independent state.

Abbas pledged to finally hold parliamentary and presidential elections in January after 15 years of political stasis. But in late April, Abbas indefinitely delayed the vote, blaming alleged Israeli intransigence. Observers, however, said Abbas likely feared electoral defeat following internal divisions in his Fatah movement.


Palestinian factions oppose PA plan to hold municipal elections
Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip announced on Tuesday that they are opposed to the Palestinian Authority’s intention to hold municipal elections in December.

They said that the decision to hold the elections, which was recently announced by the Ramallah-based PA government, was taken without consultation or agreement with the factions in the Gaza Strip.

The PA government said the initial phase of the elections, the first since 2017, will be held on December 11 for 388 municipalities and village councils in the West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The second phase of the elections will be held at a later date.

Last week, the head of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission, Hanna Nasser, sent a letter to PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh informing him that holding elections in the Gaza Strip “requires political approval” of Hamas.

On Monday, Shtayyeh urged Hamas to allow the elections to take place in the Gaza Strip.

But Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif Qanou said the decision to hold the elections was taken “unilaterally and without a general agreement.” The Palestinians, he said, are not interested in holding elections for municipalities alone.

Sheikh Hassan Yusef, a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, said there was no point in holding municipal elections separately from the presidential and parliamentary elections.


Hamas presents ‘roadmap’ for prisoner swap with Israel
Hamas has presented mediators with a “clear road map” for a prisoner exchange agreement with Israel, Zaher Jabarin, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said on Monday.

Jabarin did not provide details about the alleged road map. He also did not name the mediators involved in the contacts to reach a prisoner exchange agreement, although it is widely believed that the Egyptians are leading efforts to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas.

He said the Hamas leadership and its armed wing “pay special attention to the prisoners’ issue, especially those serving lengthy sentences.” Jabarin said Hamas was also insisting on the release of all ex-prisoners who were re-arrested after being freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

The 2011 deal, brokered by German and Egyptian mediators, saw the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in return for kidnapped IDF soldier Shalit, who was being held in the Gaza Strip.

“Freeing the prisoners of the last swap deal who were re-arrested will be a condition for the completion of any upcoming deal,” Jabarin said in a statement. “The occupation tries to obtain information about its soldiers without paying any price.”
Terrorist prisoners are more sacred than the Al-Aqsa Mosque, says Fatah spokesman

Fatah official praises terrorist prisoners: “Our elite and most favored people”

Lebanese Shari’ah Judge praises Fatah/Hamas riot and rocket war, says Arabs “not afraid of death

Islamic Jihad official promises more terror

Iran a 'clear danger to Middle East,' says Foreign Ministry after Raisi speech
Tehran finances terrorism, poses a global threat and must never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, the Foreign Ministry said in response to the speech of new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday.

“Raisi continues to fool the international community in a speech filled with lies and cynicism,” the Foreign Ministry said after Raisi spoke by video at the opening session of the annual UNGA gathering.

“Iran’s ayatollah regime constitutes a clear and immediate threat to the Middle East and world peace,” it added.

Israel has long been concerned by the Iranian regime, but it has been worried specifically by the hardline Raisi since he took office in June, given his involvement in political executions in 1988.

“The new government in Iran, headed by the “Butcher of Tehran” Raisi, and consisting largely of ministers suspected of [committing acts of] terrorism and [whose names are] on global sanctions lists, is the extremist face of a regime that has brought harm to Iranian citizens for over forty years. Iran encourages and finances terrorism, which is destabilizing the entire Middle East,” the Foreign Ministry said. “The international community must condemn the Iranian regime and prevent any possibility of nuclear capabilities and weapons falling into the hands of these extremists.”


Biden: 'We are prepared to return to full compliance' with the JCPOA if Iran does the same
US President Joe Biden called on Iran to return to the nuclear deal and said Israelis and Palestinians were still a “long way” from two-states, when he delivered his first high-level address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

“We are working with the P5+1 to engage Iran diplomatically, to seek a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. We are prepared to return to full compliance if Iran does the same,” Biden said.

He underscored, however, that the “United States remains committed to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”

Since taking office in January, Biden has unsuccessfully sought to revive the 2015 Iran deal, which former US president Donald Trump’s administration exited in 2015. European Union-brokered talks in Vienna to restart the deal signed between Tehran and the six world powers – the US, China, Russia, France, Germany and Great Britain – were last held in June.

Iran said on Tuesday that talks would resume in a few weeks, the official Iranian news agency IRNA said.

Speaking hours later, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told the UNGA that Iran wants a resumption of nuclear talks with world powers to lead to the removal of US sanctions.

“The Islamic Republic considers the useful talks whose ultimate outcome is the lifting of all oppressive (US) sanctions,” Raisi said in his address, which was his first before the UNGA since his election in June.

US sanctions, imposed by Trump in 2018, “were crimes against humanity during the coronavirus pandemic.” Sanctions are the Americans’ new method of war with the world, Raisi added.
Trump Admin Sanctions on Iran Decimated Regime’s Global Trade, Report Says
Trump administration sanctions on Iran decimated the hardline regime's trade with the world's largest economies, knocking it from $46 billion in 2019 to $28 billion in 2020, according to a non-public report sent by the Biden administration to Congress earlier this month.

The roughly $18 billion decrease in trade was a significant blow to Iran's attempts to gain access to hard currency amid an ongoing cash crunch that has ruined the country's economy and sparked nationwide protests. All told, the reimposition of sanctions, which began in 2018, decreased Iran's trade by more than $70 billion.

The extent of damage caused by the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran was disclosed this month to Congress in an unclassified but non-public mandatory report, a copy of which was reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon. It demonstrates that sanctions on Iran leveled by the former administration prevented the Iranian regime from making profits, even as critics of the GOP-led sanctions claimed such measures were ineffective.

The disclosure comes as the Biden administration pursues negotiations with Iran and aims to ink a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear accord, which provided Iran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Iran is pushing U.S. officials to dismantle the former administration's bevy of sanctions, which would provide the hardline regime with a cash lifeline. The Biden administration has signaled that it is willing to waive the most crushing economic sanctions on Tehran, drawing criticism from GOP hawks in Congress and others who say the United States is giving up its leverage on the regime.

The latest report was submitted to Congress under the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, which requires the president to inform lawmakers about the dollar value of Iran's trade with leading global countries known as the Group of 20. The significant decrease in trade occurred after the Trump administration invoked in August 2020 a mechanism known as "snapback," in which all international sanctions that were lifted on Iran as part of the nuclear deal were reapplied.
Do lost cameras mean disappearing uranium in Iran? - analysis
The IAEA spokesperson did not respond to inquiries on whether its own staff had established that the June incident had caused damage to its equipment, or whether it was repeating Iran’s assessment.

In addition, the IAEA spokesperson did not address if any of its equipment was damaged during prior explosions at different nuclear facilities in the Natanz area (also attributed by Iran and others to the Mossad) in July 2020 and in April.

Despite Grossi’s talk of a deal for IAEA inspectors to replace their monitoring cameras at nuclear facilities, Fars reported on September 16 that Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency Chief Mohammad Eslami had said a large number of the cameras had been shut off.

Confusingly, Eslami seemed to distinguish between permitting certain cameras under a pre-JCPOA deal with the IAEA to continue, while deactivating additional cameras installed as part of the JCPOA.

The follow-up question is: would the IAEA know if Iran was smuggling some of its 60% enriched uranium to a clandestine site for a sneak-out to a nuclear weapon scenario?

Maybe Grossi will be able to give some reassuring answers in the coming weeks, once his inspectors receive the expected restored access to the cameras.

But this vacuum period of weeks or months might also be impossible for the IAEA to reconstruct.

If that is the case, the Mossad might need to perform yet another daring operation before the sneak-out scenario becomes a reality.
Exclusive: the New York Times stole my story
Fakhrizadeh, the man responsible for pursuing the means for the genocide of Jews, woke before dawn most days ‘to study Islamic philosophy’, the New York Times told us.

Despite his ‘prominent position’ in the murderous regime’s hierarchy, the authors added, the fanatic ‘craved small domestic pleasures: reading Persian poetry, taking his family to the seashore, going for drives in the countryside’.

He also routinely refused to be driven around in an armored car, preferring to drive his own car and ‘disregarding the advice of his security team’. So modest.

The journalists even went to great pains to ensure that we pronounced his name respectfully and correctly in our heads (‘fah-KREE-zah-deh’, they wrote).

By the time I got to the end of the story, it had become a tale of a kind of Iranian Gandhi, shot down in cold blood by murderous Israeli spies. The fact that Fakhrizadeh was committed to the ideal of mass murder was not mentioned.

‘Iran has steadfastly insisted that its nuclear program was for purely peaceful purposes and that it had no interest in developing a bomb’, the New York Times reminded us.

‘Ayatollah Khamenei had even issued an edict declaring that such a weapon would violate Islamic law.’

Wait. Isn’t Tehran the place where they hang gays from cranes? And isn’t Iran the foremost sponsor of terror in the region? And don’t we already know that the regime was lying about its nuclear… Oh, forget it.

The New York Times did find the time to credit one source, however: the Fars News Agency, a mouthpiece for the Iranian regime, for contributing the important detail that three bullets hit Fakhrizadeh’s spine. So what was it about the Jewish Chronicle that they didn’t like?
NYT Criticized for Romanticizing Iranian Nuclear Scientist
The New York Times is being criticized for allegedly romanticizing a top nuclear scientist for the Iranian government who was killed in November 2020.

The Times reported that the scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was killed by a remote-controlled machine gun that fired at the vehicle in which he was traveling at the time. The report states that the Israeli government was likely behind the assassination, as Fakhrizadeh was considered to be the mastermind behind Iran’s nuclear program.

In a September 18 tweet promoting the story, the Times tweeted: “Despite his prominent position, Iran’s top nuclear scientist wanted to live a normal life. He loved reading poetry, taking his family to the seashore and driving his own car instead of having bodyguards drive him in an armored vehicle.”

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon, who currently chairs World Likud, tweeted, “If you ask the @nytimes, Fahrizade was a poetry-loving family man. They ‘forget’ to mention that he was developing nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal of destroying the USA and Israel.”

Other Jewish and pro-Israel Twitter users also denounced the tweet.

“Unbelievable this [New York Times] tweet remains up,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted. “Absolutely disgraceful to romanticize Fakhrizadeh as a ‘lover of poetry.’ Who cares about his hobbies when he made clear his true passion project was the annihilation of the only Jewish state in the world.”


Florida Pension Leader Says on Track to Divest Unilever
Florida’s top pension investment officer said on Tuesday he expects the state will divest Unilever PLC in October after the company’s Ben & Jerry’s brand halted sales in the West Bank.

Ash Williams, chief investment officer of the Florida State Board of Administration, which oversees pension assets, said at a webcast state hearing that “we’ve not seen any meaningful response from Unilever” after discussions with the company.
Lib Dems pass motion banning trade with Israeli settlements
The Liberal Democrats have voted overwhelmingly in favour of “a ban on UK trade with the illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory” at their annual conference.

Welcoming the passing of a lengthy motion dealing with Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran accused the UK government of doing “nothing” to stop Israel’s “continued expansion” outside its “sovereign territory.”

She tweeted: “The UK has condemned the settlements. It distinguishes between the settlements and the sovereign territory of Israel in its trade policy.

“But, despite continued expansion, the UK and the international community does nothing.”

Moran said she was a “firm believer of a two state solution” but she said a “new approach is desperately needed” by the UK to ensure that this scenario materialised.

In an occasionally fiery debate on Monday the conference – which took placed behind an online paywall this year – delegates backed a motion which committed the party to recognising two state solution with secure boundaries for Israel and Palestine based on 1967 lines.

Addressing the issue of settlements the motion committed the party to declare “illegal Israeli settlements represent a de facto annexation of Palestinian territory and that such settlements are a major but not sole factor in making the search for a listing peace ever more difficult to achieve.”
Survey: Half of ‘Openly Jewish’ College Students Have Tried to Hide Identity on Campus
A poll released Monday found that half of “openly Jewish” college students have at times attempted to conceal their religious identity on campus, and that they are more likely to do so the longer they’re enrolled.

The study — conducted by the Cohen Research Group with the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law — surveyed 1,027 members of the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) fraternity and Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi) sorority during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It found that fifty percent of students have masked their Jewish identity and that more than half have hidden their support of Israel, while some two-thirds experienced or were familiar with antisemitic incidents that occurred over the past 120 days.

The Brandeis Center said the study was the first to exclusively examine the college experiences of students who are “openly Jewish” and actively engaged with Jewish life on their campuses.

Kenneth L. Marcus, Chairman of the Brandeis Center and a former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education for Civil Rights, told The Algemeiner that choosing to be openly Jewish at school distinguished this cohort’s college experience from some of their more secular peers.

“It was our understanding, confirmed by the survey, that those students [in AEPhi and AEPi] who choose to live with other Jews in a Jewish fraternity or sorority are highly invested in Jewish life, and we wanted to know what’s going on for those students who don’t just happen to be Jewish but are highly invested in the Jewish community,” he said.

“I was especially alarmed that the longer they’re on campus, the more pessimistic they seem to become about the situation and the more they feel a need a need to hide who they are,” he commented.

The Brandeis Center’s survey found that 30% of students who concealed their Jewish identity did so out of concern for receiving low marks from their professors. Others feared being targeted for the kinds of verbal and physical attacks on campus they had seen or heard about; the respondents reported 47 assaults, with 16 Jewish students being spit on and 14 attacked with a weapon.


Jews in Hagen, Germany Look to ‘Fly Flag Against Terror’ in Sukkot Celebrations After Foiled Yom Kippur Plot
The Jewish community of the German city of Hagen — which had to call off its Yom Kippur religious services last week over a threatened Islamist attack against its synagogue — is planning to sit in the Sukkah as the Jewish holiday of Sukkot starts Monday evening.

“We would like to thank the many police officers who have stood by us in times of need, who continue to protect us and put up with many additional burdens,” Hagay Feldheim and Rimma Gotlib, chairpeople of the Hagen Jewish community, wrote ahead of the holiday. “It is thanks to them that we can now look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles with confidence.”

A 16-year-old Syrian boy was arrested with three members of his immediate family over an allegedly plotted terror attack against the synagogue in Hagen as Jews marked Yom Kippur, the holiest day in their calendar, on Thursday. Hagen, a city just east of Dusseldorf in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, has a small Jewish community with mainly elderly members, the Jüdische Allgemeine newspaper reported.

“For many, the prospect of being able to celebrate another Yom Kippur this year as usual, albeit still with a mask and socially distanced, has given strength and hope,” according to Feldheim and Gotlib. “This year, for the first time in the history of our community, we couldn’t celebrate together.”

Going forward, members of the Jewish community in Hagen declared that they would not be intimidated, and seek to take on their coming religious duties to celebrate Sukkot in close coordination with German security forces.

“In doing so, we will also fly our flag against terror and terror plans,” the Hagen Jewish community stated. “We think it is wrong to make the exercise of our fundamental rights and our religion dependent on terrorists or would-be terrorists.”
Austrian court overturns fine for showing Israeli flag
A court in Vienna has expunged a police fine against four activists who displayed Israeli flags while protesting against an event calling for the boycott of the Jewish state.

Vienna police fined four students €150 ($176) for waving an Israel flag at a protest in March 2019 against advocates of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) targeting Israel.

Benjamin Hess, from the Austrian Union of Jewish Students, told the Austrian daily Der Standard, which first reported the court decision, that it was “clearly decided” that holding up an Israel flag and expressing pro-Israel sentiments is a legitimate expression of opinion.

He asked, however, why it “is necessary in Austria at all to go to court in order to have something so fundamental to be established.”

The Vienna city authorities argued that police warnings against the Israeli activists has not deterred pro-Israel activists from showing Israeli flags, and that there was a threat of escalation between the rival groups.
2 charged with hate crime for May attack on Jewish diners in Los Angeles
Two suspects in an attack on Jewish men outside a Los Angeles restaurant earlier this year were charged Tuesday with a hate crime, prosecutors said.

The suspects were part of a pro-Palestinian caravan that stopped near Sushi Fumi on the city’s west side where diners were eating at outdoor tables on May 18, police said.

Witnesses told news media that people in the caravan threw bottles and chanted “death to Jews” and “free Palestine,” and men got out of the vehicles and began asking who was Jewish. A brawl erupted when two diners said they were Jewish.

Xavier Pabon, 30, of Banning, and Samer Jayylusi, 36, of Anaheim, were each charged Tuesday with two felony counts of assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The charges also include a hate crime allegation.

Jayylusi was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, while Pabon will make his next court appearance Thursday, CBS 2 reported. It wasn’t immediately known if the men have attorneys.
‘Anti-Semitic’ vandal defaced 17 bus stops ‘saying Jews and gays are aliens’
A conspiracy theorist vandalised bus stops with messages such as ‘Jews and gays are grey aliens’, a court has heard.

Nicholas Lalchan defaced 17 stops in London, causing £100 worth of damage each time, plus the windows of an accountancy firm, jurors were told.

He admits criminal damage but denies any religious or racial motivation.

Prosecutor David Patience said the graffiti ‘was daubed on bus stops in areas of north-west London, which have large Jewish communities, such as Edgware, Hendon, and Finchley’.

He said it ‘encouraged people to make searches on the internet’ which would make them ‘think badly’ of Jewish people and potentially believe in outlandish conspiracy theories.

Mr Patience said: ‘They were seen by Jewish people and non-Jewish people who were distressed by what they saw and reported it to the police.’

A still image of the culprit was recognised by a community support officer leading to the defendant’s arrest at his home in Edmonton, north London.
French Education Unions Condemn ‘Filthy Beast’ of Antisemitism at COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal Demonstrations
Three labor unions representing school teachers in France have roundly condemned repeated displays of antisemitic propaganda at demonstrations organized by opponents of the government’s “health pass” policy, which requires most citizens to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine in order to enter public places or go to work.

In a statement released over the weekend, three education unions in the Haut-Loire region of south-central France highlighted “the return of the ‘Filthy Beast'” at weekly demonstrations against the pass in the center of Le-Puy-en-Velay, the regional capital.

“For several weeks now, a handful of ultra-right activists have been instrumental in using the Saturday demonstrations against the health pass to display signs with hate messages with impunity,” the statement said.

It noted the presence of placards bearing slogans insinuating that the ongoing pandemic and the mass vaccination effort are part of a sinister Jewish plot. Signs on display have included “Je suis Cassandre” (“I am Cassandre”), declaring solidarity with Cassandre Fristot, an antisemitic activist and former far-right parliamentary candidate; “Non a la manipula-Sion” (“No to manipulation”), which underlines the French word for “Zion” (“Sion”); and “En marche vers le chaos mondial” (“Forward to global chaos”), a slogan associated with the convicted Holocaust denier and far-right agitator Alain Soral.

“Words and acts that target French people of Jewish faith, culture or tradition or attack their existence, their memory or their identity, hurt the whole of France,” the statement continued. “Antisemitism is a crime condemned by law. It should be neither excused nor trivialized.”
Israeli, Moroccan scholars to study food, water, culture
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel is forging collaborations with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) and Université Internationale de Rabat (UIR) in Morocco.

These are expected to be among the first formal collaborations between universities from Morocco and Israel since the two countries signed a normalization agreement on December 10, 2020.

BGU and UM6P will sign a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on scientific research projects and student and faculty exchanges in the areas of agriculture, water, energy and ecological restoration. The sustainability research partnership will be supported by global companies ICL (Israel) and OCP (Morocco).

“BGU and UM6P have much in common,” said Ben-Gurion University President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz.

“From their desert settings to their focus on applied research and innovative teaching methods, the two universities are well suited to collaborate on projects in sustainability and climate change. Both universities are committed to thriving in the desert, and both look outward – focused on helping our regions, countries and the world.”
DiCaprio Invests in Cultivated Meat Start-Ups Mosa Meat, Aleph Farms
US actor Leonardo DiCaprio is investing in and joining the advisory boards of Aleph Farms and Mosa Meat, the two cultivated meat start-ups said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Mosa Meat and Aleph Farms offer new ways to satisfy the world’s demand for beef, while solving some of the most pressing issues of current industrial beef production,” DiCaprio said in a statement.

“I’m very pleased to join them as an advisor and investor, as they prepare to introduce cultivated beef to consumers.”
Did ‘Cosmic Airburst’ Inspire Biblical Story of Sodom and Gomorrah?
A new study presents evidence that a “cosmic airburst” destroyed the Middle Bronze Age city of Tall el-Hammam, located in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea.

The 21 co-authors of the study, published Monday in the journal Nature, speculate that the 3,600-year-old cataclysmic event could have inspired the biblical account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible records God’s destruction of the cities for their wickedness.

The researchers propose that the explosion was larger than the 1908 explosion over Tunguska, Russia, when an air burst of a stony meteoroid about 50 to 60 meters (160 to 200 feet) in size caused a massive 12 megaton blast.

The archaeologists and other researchers involved in the study conclude that the airburst hypothesis would make Tall el-Hammam the second oldest known city or town to have been possibly destroyed by an airburst after Abu Hureyra, Syria, which might have been hit by a comet 12,800 years ago.











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