“The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the attack carried out by members of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) against a judge and his family in 'Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis. The attackers beat and insulted the judge, in addition to treating him cruelly and inhumanely at the Palestinian police station. PCHR calls upon the Attorney General in Gaza to open an investigation into the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
"The courts sentenced eight suspects to nine years in jail and five suspects to pay fines in the amount of 29,880 TL [$16,580], three of them directly to the person of Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Ergogan."
On May 23, Hatikva had the dubious distinction of hosting the worst race riots since Israel's founding. Egged on by politicians from Israel's governing Likud Party, local Jewish residents brutally assaulted migrants and looted their stores.
For followers of Israeli politics, none of this was surprising. In the preceding weeks, right-wing activists and politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had been attacking African migrants, repeatedly calling them a threat to Israeli society and security. It was just a matter of time before something like this happened.
In the wake of the violence, conservative media activists-accustomed to going on the offensive to support Israel's policies toward the Palestinians-found themselves with an entirely new kind of problem. They had to defend the government against charges of supporting anti-African racism. Ill-prepared, they relied on media normally used for other purposes, like flyers that had been intended for Apartheid Week.
Featuring a black and white photo of a group of laughing Ethiopian Jewish kids, one flyer highlights an old headline quotation from the late New York Times columnist William Safire that reads: "For the first time in history, thousands of black people are brought into the country not in chains but as citizens." In larger bold type appears the word "Apartheid?"
The work of the pro-Israel organization Stand With Us, the flyer was distributed by the controversial Elder of Ziyon blog. As an Israeli journalist, I received an emailed copy from someone who thought I would find it useful. A right-wing activist I know similarly plastered Reddit with links to it in the days immediately following the rioting. There was nothing especially unusual about the activity. It was the flyer itself that was noteworthy.
As propaganda, it's relatively straightforward: How can Palestinians and leftists argue that Israelis an apartheid state if it officially encourages black African immigration? Never mind that these Falashim, or Beta Israel as they are also called, happen to be Jews (or, at least, recently Jewish, according to religious authorities).
I never heard of Schalit, but I am disappointed that he didn't have enough confidence in his thesis that the refused to link to, or post, the poster that got him so hot and bothered:
He is also factually wrong in saying that StandWithUs made the poster and I distributed it - it was actually the other way around.
I was intrigued that he referred to me as "controversial." As I wrote in a comment to his article,
I was not aware that my blog was "controversial." Is there a controversy I am unaware of (or have forgotten about) or do you just consider opinions you disagree with to be "controversial"? I hope you will admit that using a term like that is prejudicial; you could have said "well-regarded" or "popular" and been at least as accurate, I suppose.
His main point in the article - which seems to be that Israelis are inherently racist - is just as sloppy as his fact checking.
Not to mention that someone on Reddit using my poster as an argument against Israeli racism is hardly the work of the organized Zionist community as he implies.
But he is apparently above such concerns. After all, he is a former editor of the nutty-left journal Tikkun and current editor of equally far-left European-American webzine Souciant. Which I suppose is "mainstream" in his opinion.
Tomorrow evening, some 93,000 Jews will gather in MetLife Stadium, along with hundreds of thousands of other Jews worldwide (including in Tel Aviv's Nokia Stadium and Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium), to celebrate the 12th Siyum HaShas of Daf Yomi.
Daf Yomi is a study program initiated in the 1920s by Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Poland. His idea was that Jews worldwide would study a folio (2 pages) of Talmud every day, in sync. The entire Talmud - 2,711 folios - would be completed in roughly seven and a half years. (The English Artscroll translation spans 73 volumes, and each folio of Talmud is between 6-10 English pages.)
The Siyum HaShas is the celebration of the completion of the entire Babylonian Talmud.
Think about it: Every day, tens of thousands of Jews take time out to study the day's "Daf." Many go to lectures in synagogues or in ad-hoc workplace conference rooms, and some have been doing it on the Long Island Railroad for over twenty years. Lectures usually take an hour or so.
Others started off the current cycle in 2005 listening to lectures on cassette tapes or CDs; now many listen on MP3 players, or online. Still others learn it in pairs, or by themselves.
Sample page of Artscroll translation of theTalmud
Through business trips, holidays, births, bar mitzvahs and weddings, the people who follow the program kept going.
The Talmud, the richest source of the Jewish legal tradition, discusses every conceivable topic, from fanciful stories of ancient rabbis to heavily detailed discussions of the dimensions of every portion of the Temple and all its parts, from the laws of blessings to the laws of sex, from geometry to astronomy. It records intricate arguments using a unique logical framework, painstakingly parsing every letter in some Torah verses to extract hidden meanings. Pairs of rabbis became famous for their arguments with each other - Hillel and Shammai, Rav and Shmuel, Abaye and Rava.
The arguments are perhaps the most fascinating, and integral, part of the Talmud. The two sides must not only back up their arguments, but they must show how their arguments are consistent with the teachings of earlier, more authoritative rabbis, how they are not redundant, and how they are consistent with their own teachings in other areas of law. Each side would bring challenges to the others' arguments and they must defend themselves, each building an edifice of logic that ensures consistency even as they come to different conclusions. (Or, as often happens, one of them fails and cannot answer the final challenge. ) Sometimes the arguments are three- or four-way, and sometimes there are disagreements as to what the earlier arguments were, where the later interpreters must defend their own ideas of the basis of the earlier discussions.
(And this is only in the Talmud itself - I'm not even talking about the arguments among the commentaries, written hundreds of years later!)
Page from Latin translation of Mishnah
Seeming non-sequitors are introduced, and it can take pages before their relevance to the topic at hand is revealed. Stories can be brought up which brings up more stories; questions are not just asked on how rabbis thought but on how they acted.
Jews learn to argue from the Talmud.
And, in a sense, much of the entire Western legal system was heavily influenced by the Talmud as well, through the early innovators such as John Seiden, who was amazingly proficient in portions of Talmudic law. (The entire Mishnah - which outlines the Talmud - was translated into Latin in the late 17th century, along with commentaries by Maimonides and the Bartenura; here it is.)
To study the entire Talmud is a remarkable achievement, and it is almost beyond belief that so many people have managed to do it. The current Daf Yomi cycle started before Twitter existed, before Facebook was anything beyond a college phenomenon, before the iPhone. Over seven years of dogged study have occurred in every Jewish community worldwide.
Daf Yomi is a modern manifestation of Jewish unity - and a remarkable proof of Jewish continuity.
The Siyum is a real celebration for every Jew, whether you have ever studied Talmud or not.
But even if you haven't - the new cycle starts on Thursday. Feel free to join!
President Peres has previously sent two letters to the Egyptian president. The first was sent upon his election as president and the second was sent on the occasion of the month of Ramadan. In his first letter, President Peres congratulated President Morsy for winning the elections, emphasized the importance of peace between Israel and Egypt and expressed his hope for the continued cooperation between the two nations. In the letter, dispatched on 28 June, President Peres wrote: “As a person who participated in the process that led to the establishment of the peace agreement between your country and mine, I know that both Egypt and Israel attach supreme importance to the peace and stability that serve the interests of all peoples in the region. All of us in Israel respect both Egypt and the Egyptian people, which served as the pioneer that outlined the path to peace and reconciliation in the region. We know that the work is not yet finished. The people of Israel congratulate you on the democratic elections and hope that under your leadership Egypt will meet the complex challenges facing your nation. We look forward to continued cooperation with you, based on the peace agreements that were signed more than 30 years ago. It is our duty to preserve and nurture these agreements for the benefit of both our peoples. Peace has saved the lives of countless young people in Egypt and in Israel. Our commitment to the younger generation will always be valid. Unlike war, peace means victory for both sides.”
Prior to the Ramadan holiday, President Peres sent an additional letter of greeting to the Egyptian president, in which he expressed his holiday blessings to President Morsy and the Egyptian people.
UPDATE: Egypt denies sending this "telegram" and said that Morsi has not initiated any contact with Israel so far.
July 26, 2012: The Prime Minister "warned that it might take action to stop groups it deemed 'terrorists' from forming" an autonomous region. "No one should attempt to provoke us. If a step needs to be taken .... we would not hesitate to take it (Fox News)."
July 25, 2012: "... forces killed at least 15 ... in a raid near the country's border ... after tracking them with drones and attacking them with helicopters and on the ground, officials said on Wednesday."
1) Who is the Prime Minister who threatened to use his military forces to attack a neighboring state in order to stop militants from setting up an autonomous region? 2) Is the media complaining about the use of "disproportionate force" against the militants in these cases? 3) Has the U.N. Human Rights Commission launched a special investigation like it did for the Israeli Cast Lead operation in 2009? 4) Have the Presbyterian and other churches set aside large blocks of time at their national conventions to debate and vote on motions to boycott and divest from companies that do business with this state because its forces utilize American technology, including drones, to crush the aspirations for autonomy of a dispossessed people?
As a bonus, this state was also involved in one of the worst genocides of the twentieth century.
The answer to question 1): Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's Prime Minister. Erdogan's unapologetic resort to military force in dealing with Kurdish militants contrasts with his condemnation of Israel's response to the Gaza flotilla in 2010 which resulted in the deaths of 9 Turkish militants who attacked an Israeli boarding party initially armed with paint guns. Erdogan continues to demand an Israeli apology even though a UN investigation found Israel's interception of the flotilla to be legal.
To questions 2), 3) and 4) the answer is no.
Major news media report on the Turkish-Kurdish conflict in a perfunctory and dispassionate manner. This contrasts with much of the reporting on Israel. The New York Times and the BBC, for example, do not routinely publish editorials, op-eds and columns lambasting Turkey for failing to show any willingness to accomodate Kurdish demands for autonomy. Compare the Times's measured handling of Prime Minister Erdogan's bellicosity with its scathing treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Then consider the fact that the Turkish-Kurdish conflict has taken an estimated 40,000 lives, including many civilians, over the past 30 years.
Renowned Latin singer Jennifer Lopez will give a concert in Istanbul and meet her Turkish fans for the first time on November 16 as part of her tour "Dance Again".
Lopez's concert will take place at the Ulker Sports Arena.
Tickets for the concert will be available for sale as of August 6.
Anyone calling for J. Lo to boycott this genocidal state that denies the rights of an indigenous nation from self-determination? Any "human rights" organizations who are aghast that Lopez could even consider playing in such a country? Any Facebook groups popping up demanding that unless J. Lo. cancels the concert, she will be ostracized and hounded on Twitter as an accomplice to murder?
Speaking to Turkey's Anadolu news agency, according to Palestine Press Agency, he criticized the US and whined that "the United States does not pay attention to the peace process at this time because of concern about the country's presidential election in November."
And what exactly has Abbas done to further the peace process?
Translating the whining into English, what he is really saying is that the US is not pressuring Israel to give in to all of Abbas' demands and preconditions before "negotiations" can even start. (His implication is that should Obama win, then things can get back to how they were before the campaign began, when Abbas was quite pleased with the US role in pressuring Israel.)
Which has been his entire strategy for years - wait and try to get the world to pressure Israel, rather than actually do anything that might involve making concessions or compromises.
Will this revealing bit of doubletalk that shows Abbas' hypocrisy make it into the mainstream media? Ha!
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday told Romney in a Jerusalem meeting that diplomacy and sanctions leveled against Iran have not worked so far.
"I heard some of your remarks and you said that the greatest danger facing the world is the Ayatollah regime possessing nuclear weapons capability," Netanyahu said. "Mitt, I couldn't agree with you more, and I think it is important to do everything in our power to prevent the ayatollahs from possessing that capability. We have to be honest and say that all the diplomacy and sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota."
Netanyahu said that a "strong and credible military threat coupled with sanctions" was needed to "have a chance to change the situation."
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta sent a tacit message to Israeli leaders on Monday, urging that diplomacy and economic pressure be given more time to work before they move ahead with any military strike on Iran.
In comments to reporters in Tunisia a day before he was to arrive in Jerusalem, Mr. Panetta said that economic sanctions against Iran were increasingly effective, although he acknowledged that they might not seem so.
“These sanctions are having a serious impact in terms of the economy of Iran.” He added that “while the results of that may not seem obvious at the moment,” the Iranians had expressed a willingness to negotiate, and that they “continue to seem interested in trying to find a diplomatic solution.” Mr. Panetta concluded that “what we all need to do is continue the pressure on Iran.”
Although the sanctions have cut seriously into Iran’s oil exports, and its currency has plunged by more than 40 percent against the dollar since last year, they have failed to force the country to stop enriching uranium. Negotiations aimed at getting Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions have stalled. Mr. Panetta and the Obama administration remain hopeful that a sweeping new round of sanctions imposed in June, meant to cut Iran off from the global oil market, will further increase the pressure.
It is beyond belief that this administration, after watching Iran's use of "diplomacy" over the years to buy more and more time, still believes that Iranians are interested in a diplomatic solution.
The fact is that the only US action that helped to delay Iran's nuclear program was not diplomacy or sanctions, but cyberwar, presumably via Stuxnet and perhaps other covert computer espionage. While delays are welcome, they are not a strategy to stop the program and they will not reduce the Iranian desire for nuclear weapons one bit.
And the last word has to go to the Wall Street Journal, which in early July revealed that even the latest round of economic sanctions are riddled with holes to allow Iran to withstand them:
Though economic sanctions still haven't slowed or stopped Iran's nuclear drive, the Obama Administration has decided to make them even weaker. The Iran sanctions regime is looking like the U.S. tax code—filled with loopholes.
It's so weak, in fact, that all 20 of Iran's major trading partners are now exempt from them. We've arrived at a kind of voodoo version of sanctions. They look real, insofar as Congress forced them into a bill President Obama had to sign in December. The Administration has spoken incantations about their powers. But if you're a big oil importer in China, India or 18 other major economies, the sanctions are mostly smoke.
This is possible because, thanks to lobbying by the Obama Administration, the sanctions law contained several loopholes you could drive a warhead through. One provided that if a country "significantly reduced" its oil imports from Iran, the State Department could exempt it from sanctions for a renewable period of six months. Naturally, the definition of a significant reduction was left to the Administration's discretion.
As of last week, we know that its definition is trifling: India earned a free pass after merely pledging to cut its Iran imports by 11%, and Japan earned one after cutting 22% of its Iranian business in 2011. Then there's China, the Islamic Republic's biggest customer, which is now exempt after cutting Iran imports by 25% between January and May (measured year-over-year).
The problem is that China's reduction is an apparent fluke, not a dedicated effort to reduce trade or isolate Iran economically. Imports fell by about 50% in February and March because a Chinese oil giant delayed the start of a contract over a price dispute. Once that was resolved, imports shot back up—by 34% between April and May, and again by 35% between May and June.
All this "is completely legitimate and justified," said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, and "does not violate any U.N. Security Council resolutions or undermine the interests of a third party or the international community." So much for the Obama Administration's assertion last week that China-Iran trade shows "the success of our sanctions policy," as Beijing "supports our dual-track approach of diplomacy and pressure."
This fantastic claim follows years of Chinese troublemaking—via open opposition to U.S. and European Union sanctions, sales of sensitive nuclear-related technologies and materiel, currency schemes to avoid banking restrictions and more.
To be sure, Iran is feeling some pressure these days.... Iran is suffering real economic pain.
But enough pain to stop the 30-year nuclear drive of a revolutionary regime built around a messianic cult of martyrdom? A regime with foreign currency reserves between $60 billion and $100 billion, and which would net more than $40 billion in oil revenue even with a 40% drop in sales?
We've never considered sanctions likely to persuade Iran to drop its nuclear program, but it's dangerous to pursue them half-heartedly while claiming progress and keeping the international temperature down as Iran's centrifuges spin. That's been the Obama Administration's consistent approach, and it'll probably continue at least through Election Day in November. It's a good way to comfort adversaries in Tehran and Beijing while undermining friends in Jerusalem and beyond.
Al Akhbar proudly published the results of an investigation that must have taken months, as they uncover the scandal of the century!
An investigation by the Campaign to Boycott Israel Supporters in Lebanon has exposed that Israeli-made products are being widely used in the beauty and cosmetics sector in Lebanon.
Therapeutic and cosmetic laser surgery is now an integral part of a booming medical tourism industry in Lebanon. Medical and beauty centers are sought after by locals and patients from the Arabian peninsula.
But unknown to most of these patients, the Lebanese market hosts a wide variety of medical equipment originating in Israel. These banned products make their way into the Lebanese market disguised as imports from the US, Europe, and Dubai. They are marketed through distributors who have no problem getting front seats at specialized conferences organized by the Lebanese health ministry.
The issue is under investigation and scrutiny by the Campaign to Boycott Israel Supporters in Lebanon, which found that the Lebanese market has been invaded by four such Israeli companies.
Boycott campaign activist Samah Idriss told Al-Akhbar that they had been working on the case for a long time, but did not want to slander distributors of Israeli products. Instead, he had met with them to warn them about the identity of these companies which tend to conceal their primary source or that they originate in Israel.
Idriss indicated that the campaign expects that the ministries of economy and health will seriously tackle the issue. They need to conduct a comprehensive survey to discover the amount and types of Israeli products in the cosmetic medicine sector in Lebanon, and confiscate them immediately.
The most famous of these companies is Syneron. Its products are available on the Lebanese market, as confirmed by its sole agent, Medica, located in Jal el-Dib with headquarters in Dubai.
Medica enjoys remarkable promotion for its Israeli products on many Lebanese stations, including MTV (Murr TV) and Sawt al-Mada radio station. The two outlets responded to a letter sent by the boycott campaign and vowed to stop broadcasting ads from the agents of such products.
Syneron was established by Shimon Eckhouse, a physicist who later specialized in medical technology. Its main headquarters are in the Yokneam Illit industrial zone in occupied Palestine, south of Haifa. It is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
It goes on like this for another 30 paragraphs or so, in exacting detail of every Israeli company and their aliases.
How outrageous to think that Lebanese women are beautifying themselves with Israeli products! Better they be ugly!
I'm really waiting for when these hypocritical groups - which are little more than small Facebook groups - will finally decide to boycott Microsoft, Intel, Apple and Google, and put themselves out of business.
Notice also that Al Akhbar, a liberal Arab newspaper, refers to Israel as "occupied Palestine."
Key point: these are not simply cosmetics products. While the author of the article focused on cosmetic laser technology from Israel - no doubt because attacking high-value, life-saving Israeli technologies would risk alienating even their readers - Israeli medical products and technology includes many unique, world-class products at practical prices. Israel is one of a very small number of world leaders in the med-tech arena.
You should emphasize that these are MEDICAL products. As the article says, "the Lebanese market hosts a wide variety of medical equipment originating in Israel." The fact that some of this equipment, including laser equipment, is used for cosmetic purposes is a relatively minor detail.
In other words, Al-Akhbar and the campaign to boycott Israel are attempting to keep out of Lebanon MEDICAL PRODUCTS that benefit Lebanese people.
Furthermore, the article claims that Lebanese medical and cosmetic medicine practices are sought out by Arabs from other countries, calling medical tourism a "booming industry" in Lebanon. Lebanon's widespread use of the best technology available is evidently something that attracts foreigners to Lebanon, where they inject money into the local economy and provide jobs for Lebanese people, even during a bitter global recession. Lebanese doctors can evidently provide a better standard of care than doctors in wealthier, more conservative Arab states, in part because of their readiness to use the best modern equipment available.
Any sane person, organization or country would seek to make sure that Lebanese medical personnel have at their disposal the very best medical equipment available. No matter where the equipment comes from originally, the best medical equipment translates into better medical care for Lebanese people and cash flowing into Lebanon's economy from abroad. Both of these are distinct wins for Lebanese people and for Lebanon, and Lebanon should pursue its own best interests.
Al-Akhbar and the Lebanese boycott-Israel crowd, however, believe that asinine anti-Israel gestures are more important than the lives, health and comfort of ordinary Lebanese people, the effectiveness of Lebanese doctors or Lebanon's reputation for having a relatively modern and skilled medical establishment. For the boycotters, Lebanon's ONLY interest is to make pointless anti-Israel gestures.
The Syrian conflict could worsen one of Jordan’s deep domestic schisms, between citizens of Palestinian descent and so-called East Bank Jordanians.
The government seems set on not letting more Palestinians enter.
Jordanian officials strongly deny that they turn back Palestinian refugees. In a report this month, an Interior Ministry official told Human Rights Watch that Jordan had not “sent any Palestinians back, period.” Near the border, though, refugees said they had seen it happen.
A Kurdish woman from Damascus said that when she and her family reached the border a few days ago, they met a Palestinian man and his two children going the other way. The father said Jordanian officers patrolling the frontier had told him he could not enter.
And to think that Jordan was the only Arab country to allow Palestinian Arabs to become citizens in 1948. I guess the honeymoon is over. (Actually, it has been since at least 1967, when Jordan tried to get rid of the Palestinian Arabs who did not want to live under Israeli rule. The Gazans who fled to Jordan then were never given citizenship.)
But don't call this apartheid. That term has a very specific use in the Middle East.
Of course, the NYT is late to notice this. See also here and here.
"But of the whole speech, it is the final words that most struck me: "May God bless America, and may He bless and protect the Nation of Israel." When last did a politician ask the Lord to protect another country and not his own?"
A Truly Heroic Sportsman by Michael Curtis
“Gino Bartali, the legendary Tuscan Italian cyclist who died in 2000 and is acclaimed in his home country of Italy, but less well known internationally, is a heroic figure, not only in his sport, but even more outside of it, as documented in a recent biography.”
“Palestinian non-negotiator Saeb (“we will only negotiate after you first agree to our terms”) Erekat pointed out that William Blake was really a Palestinian whose name was “Balak”, and the poem he wrote in 1492 was originally called “Al Kuds”. He wrote it after he invented algebra.”
“On the other hand”, Freedland continued,” if Israel has to try to absorb 60 millions Brits that could imperil the Jewish character of the State of Israel and the original Zionist concept of Manchester as a Jewish homeland.” The Guardian’s editors are still trying to understand his last comment and are wondering if it has anything to do with circumcision, a topic of great concern to its readers.
Islamists occupying the northern Mali town of Aguelhok stoned an unmarried couple to death in front of about 200 people on Sunday, two local government officials said.
“I was there. The Islamists took the unmarried couple to the center of Aguelhok. The couple was placed in two holes and the Islamists stoned them to death,” said a local government official on condition of anonymity.
“The woman fainted after the first few blows,” he said, adding that the man had shouted out once and then fallen silent.
A second official confirmed the information, saying the couple had two children, the youngest of which was six months old.
“They were living in the bush, they were brought to town by the Islamists who stoned them to death. People came out to watch, there were witnesses,” he said, also not wishing to be identified.
The small town in the region of Kidal near the Algerian border was one of the first to be captured by Tuareg separatists rebels on January 24.
Some 82 civilians and soldiers were summarily executed, France said earlier this year, accusing the rebels of using al-Qaeda style tactics.
The Tuareg rebellion sparked a coup d’etat in March by angry and overwhelmed soldiers, but the chaos only allowed the desert nomads and Islamists fighting on their flanks to seize the country’s north, an area larger than France.
The Islamist groups, which experts say are acting under the aegis of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have since chased out the Tuareg separatists and are firmly in control of the region.
Alleging that an Iranian state agency was involved in the February 13 bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat in the capital, the Delhi Police has concluded that the suspects were members of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the nation's military.
The investigation report, exclusively accessed by TOI, states that the IRGC members had discussed the plan to attack the Israeli diplomats in India and other countries with Indian journalist Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi in January 2011, after Iranian scientists had been attacked allegedly by the Israelis. The cops have also learnt that Kazmi was in touch with these people for almost 10 years.
Details about the suspects have been shared with Iran through a letter rogatory. Delhi Police has sought more details of the five IRGC members, including the main bomber, Houshang Afshar Irani, who mentions his profession in Iran as a builder, Sedaghatzadeh Masoud (sales employee in a commercial company on Baharestan St, Tehran), Syed Ali Mahdiansadr (a mobile shopkeeper in Tehran), Mohammad Reza Abolghasemi (clerk in the finance department of Tehran's water authority) and Ali Akbar Norouzishayan (a retired accountant in Tehran).
According to the sources, Masoud is said to be the operational head and it was he who planned the attacks in Georgia, Bangkok and Delhi.
Apart from these five, police have also come across the role of an Iranian woman, identified as Leila Rohani, in the February 13 attack in New Delhi as well as the attacks in Bangkok and Georgia, and has sought details about her as well from Iran. Rohani had allegedly helped Iranian suspects in Bangkok attack of February 14 in getting a flat, after which she fled to Tehran.
The photos released by Bivol.bg show the distorted face of a young blue-eyed Caucasian male with black hair. The photos have seemingly been computer modified, Bivol.bg notes without specifying the source of the photos.
The report states that the images of the alleged Burgas Bus Bombing perpetrator further questions the version presented to the Bulgarian and international public by Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov that the attack was committed by a suicide bomber as it appears increasingly more likely that the bomber was in fact used as a "mule" by the real organizers of the attack.
According to this version, the young man was blown up from a distance without being aware that he was smuggling explosives into a bus that was supposed to take Israeli tourists from the Burgas Airport in Sarafovo to the Sunny Beach resort.
Bivol.bg cites as further evidence for this version the testimonies of an Israeli tourists, Gilat Kulangiya, who says she saw how the bomber removed suitcases from the baggage compartment of the bus in order to place there his bag; this led to a scandal between the bomber and Kulangiya's husband and another tourist, which is when the explosion occurred. The report presumes that the actual organizers of the terrorist attack decided to detonate the explosives in the backpack upon seeing the row from a distance.
Bivol.bg reminds the statement of former Chief of Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau, Brigadier General Nitzan Nuriel, who snubbed the suicide bomber version of the Bulgarian investigators, saying that the perpetrator was not a suicide bomber because he would have detonated the bomb in a different way to inflict more casualties, and that his task was to place the explosives on the bus.
Bivol's report notes further than on Friday the Bulgarian government members and MPs continued to reiterate the suicide bomber version in order to justify the failure of the Bulgarian security and intelligence services to prevent the July 18 terrorist attack, and reminds the conflicting statements of the Bulgarian leadership, with PM Boyko Borisov saying at one point that the bomber might have entered Bulgaria from the Schengen Area, while Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said there was no data that the bomber had been present on EU territory.
The site also says that original suspected accomplice is still potentially the person wanted for remotely detonating the bomb:
The former detainee at Guantanamo, Mehdi Ghezali, might in fact be the wanted accomplice involved in the July 18 terrorist attack in Bulgaria's Burgas, judging by his photos and computer-generated images of the potential accomplice.
The days immediately after the Burgas Bus Bombing saw initial media reports that Mehdi Ghezali, a Swedish citizen and former Guantanamo inmate, was a possible suspect to be the actual suicide bomber. This information was quickly repudiated by the police authorities of Bulgaria and Sweden, which, however, made no mention of Ghezali's current location and occupation, and provided no grounds to base their claims on.
A comparison of Ghezali's photo, which can easily be found online, where he has short hair, appears to match the computer-generated image distributed on July 21 by Israeli media of a man, who is believed to have been an accomplice in the Burgas terrorist attack, and might even have been the one who detonated the bomb from a distance once the suspected mule placed it on the bus filled with Israeli tourists. (Please see the photos above).
The computer-generated image of the wanted accomplice or perpetrator (if he was the one who detonated the bomb) in question appears to be based on testimonies of Bulgarian witnesses. Initial media investigations in Bulgaria, however, were based on the statement of the Bulgarian government that the attack was committed by a suicide bomber (which is different from the "mule blown up from a distance" version mentioned above); that is why most reports at first assumed that the description provided by witnesses must match that of a suicide bomber acting alone.
Here's another photo of the dead bomber's head and the reconstructed faces based on it:
The investigation into late President Yasser Arafat's death is ongoing, director of the committee responsible for the inquiry said Sunday.
Tawfiq al-Tirawi told Ma'an that a medical committee headed by Abdullah al-Basheer is undertaking research in coordination with international specialists and will brief officials on the results once investigations reach their final stages.
"We haven't initiated the investigation based on the hypothesis that Arafat was killed by poison, but we agreed to begin an investigation searching directly for the killer regardless of the medical reports which will eventually show the method of killing and name of the toxin," al-Tirawi told Ma'an.
"All Palestinian people know the truth about Arafat’s death," he added, stressing that the committee needs time to get produce results.
See how objective al-Tirawi is? The investigation into Arafat's death is completely unbiased, except that he already knows that Arafat was killed and who did it.
Following are excerpts from several TV interviews with Syrian MPs and Lebanese sympathizers, which aired on various TV channels in July 2012.
Al-Manar TV, July 20, 2012:
Syrian MP Ahmad Shlash, deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee: These biological and chemical weapons are intended for a confrontation with the country's enemies.
As for those terrorist groups, the defenders of the land can get rid of them...
Interviewer: Yesterday, Ehud Barak toured the area...
Ahmad Shlash: Let him tour it. He wants to see where he will be buried if he tries to...
He's wondering what hole will be dug for him...
Let me tell you something. I cannot tell a lie. We have biological weapons. What's the problem? We have advanced weapons. Why lie to the people? We have them. That is what's known as the balance of power. You have nuclear weapons, and we have advanced biological weapons.
We counter might with might, but we're keeping this for the end. If you consider using nuclear weapons, we will use something equivalent, or something that causes similar damage.
Nasrallah said that Syria has drastically changed its [military] systems. Syria no longer relies upon artillery, tanks, and airplanes. Syria relies upon missiles. We have all types of missiles. All types of missiles!
Let them bear in mind and take into consideration that Syria has both chemical and biological weapons.
I would like to convey a message to my beloved Syrian president. Honorable President, enough with the leniency and the tolerance. Enough giving one respite after another. I am against the principle of tolerance. If you want to be tolerant toward someone – save it for later. This is the time to finish it off militarily – throughout the country. For the sake of Allah, oh President, the people want you to finish it off.
Al-Manar TV, July 23, 2012:
Interviewer: We are talking about unconventional weapons. Today, Syrian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Jihad al-Maqdisi said: "We will use these weapons in the event of a foreign attack."
Syrian MP Sharif Shehadeh: So, what's wrong with that?
Interviewer: You're taking precautions for any attack on you?
Sharif Shehadeh: I don't know, but if the Syrian government has weapons of that type – of course they will use them against any attacker. What should we do with them? Make tabouleh or fattoush salads? Of course we will use them against of attackers. That's only natural. When Israel was waging war against Syria and Lebanon, they used cluster bombs, which are banned internationally. Why is Israel allowed to do this while the Arabs must accept being tramped underfoot on a daily basis? Let me tell you, the Syrian public is hoping for a war. The Syrian public is hoping that we will wage a war. Either [they win, or we do].
Al-Dunya TV, July 24, 2012:
Syrian MP 'Issam Khalil: I'd like to say to those [Israelis]: The missiles of Hizbullah, which defeated you in the 2006 war, were nothing more than extremely simple fireworks compared with the firepower that Syria has in stock, which could burn you to ashes. This is well known. I'm not revealing any secret. The range [of our missiles] far exceeds what you believe. Indeed, Syria possesses weaponry, as is its right, because its facing the danger of the Zionist enemy.
NBN TV, July 10, 2012:
Hizbullah MP Brig.-Gen. [ret.] Walid Sakariya: The coalition between Syria, Iraq, and Iran builds up a power superior to Israel, even without nuclear weapons. They can annihilate Israel in a war, even if it costs them a million martyrs. We should not consider the figure of one million martyrs to be catastrophic. By no means. The USSR sacrificed 26 million martyrs in WWII, yet it became a world superpower. France and Germany suffered 6-7 million casualties in the war. We have a total population of 130 million in these three countries
If 5,000 martyrs are sacrificed out of everyone one million people...
It's like in the 2006 war – this is a price that we can cope with. Even 10,000 martyrs per million... You could easily afford a million martyrs.
Interviewer: Now we are over-simplifying things...
Walid Sakariya: It's true. People need to know this, rather than delude themselves that 100 martyrs is such a big deal. It’s not the end of the world. The living nations are the ones that are prepared to sacrifice blood for the sake of their freedom. Those that are not willing to pay for freedom with their blood will remain subjugated and will live the life of a slave.
Al-Mayadeen TV, July 24, 2012:
General Mustafa Hamdan, Former Head of Lebanese Presidential Guard: If foreign soldiers or forces try to enter Syria, there will be an all-out war – not only with chemical weapons, but with biological weapons as well. Davutoğlu Effendi also declared: We may participate in an operation within Syria. They deployed some surface-to-air missiles, in an attempt to raise the morale of the saboteurs in Syria. The Syrian reaction was quick: Any attempt of foreign intervention will lead to an all-out war, in which all types of weapons will be used, including chemical and biological.
A Facebook page has popped up saluting Tunisian swimmer Taqi Murabit for refusing to compete against Israeli swimmer Gal Nevo, featuring this photo that is being copied all over the place in the Arab blogosphere:
It would have been a great story, but it is a lie. Mrabet did compete against the Israeli and was in the pool at time - but he was disqualified.
Tunisia’s quest for Olympic glory is off to a rocky start as Taki Mrabet has been disqualified in the first heat of the 400m Individual Medley.
Violations punishable by disqualification include not observing the required strokes during the medley (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle) and exceeding the underwater distance limit in the freestyle section, among other violations.
According to the news agency TAP, Mrabet was disqualified by a judge for a technical foul.
But perhaps he purposefully drew a foul so as not to enter the same disgusting waters as the Israeli?
Well, no. Here is the video of the heat, showing all eight swimmers in the pool, that I grabbed from Israel's "One" website (UPDATE - video taken down for copyright violation but you can see it on the Israeli site..)
Israeli swimmer Gal Nevo is in lane 1, Mrabet is in lane 8, as the NBC Olympics site shows:
So in reality, the Tunisian was disqualified for a technical foul, but he did try to compete against Israel. And now fans are trying to cover up for his ignominious outing by pretending that he disqualified himself on principle.
But having terrorists shooting rockets aiming at women and children into your country is considered acceptable behavior by the world (when your country is Israel.) So this is hardly even worth mentioning.
Residents of the French Hill neighborhood in Jerusalem plan to combat Arab prayer-calls by blasting music from loudspeakers, in defiance of Arab religious conventions. According to Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, Israelis plan to broadcast music from loudspeakers positioned toward a mosque in the Arab village Al Issawiya, located in Jerusalem on Mount Scopus near Hadassah Hospital.
A widespread practice among Muslims, the adhan is a call for Muslims to attend voluntary prayers that are broadcast from a Mosque’s large towers called minarets, like the one standing over the western wall in Jerusalem. In previous centuries, the muezzin, leader of the adhan, would stand atop the minaret and project his voice, but technological advances have yielded microphones and loudspeakers, which are now utilized to project the adhan remotely at volumes of up to 100 decibels. Jerusalem residents are often bothered by the noise because adhans occur before each of the five daily Muslims prayers, the first of which begins before sunrise, and feature Arabic versions of the basic Muslim creed, to persuade Muslims to attend mandatory prayer service.
In an effort to convey their displeasure, residents of Jerusalem’s Givah Tsarfatit, or French Hill neighborhood, have approached an amplification company with intentions of buying four giant loudspeakers, from which rock and roll music will be played to clash with the Muslim prayer songs. The music, specifically chosen from the hard rock musical genre rather than mellower styles like classical or Mediterranean music, will be played when the Muslim broadcasts begin.
The campaign to limit the Muslim broadcast has until now taken place at Jerusalem’s city hall, where attempted negotiations between the village of Al-Issawiya and the French Hill have taken place. The agreements yielded a promise by Al Issawiya to lower the noise level of their adhans, but French Hill inhabitants claim that no such change has been instituted, leading to the launch of their more drastic rock and roll campaign.
If the campaign is successful, other neighborhoods have pledged to follow suit.
There go those Jews again, disrespecting the rights of Muslims to blast their prayer calls as loud as they want at any hour of the day.
In Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs banned small mosques from using loudspeakers for the nightly tarawih prayer in Ramadan. The sounds of prayers coming from different mosques at the same time can be confusing, the ministry said explaining the rationale behind their decision.
“Raising the sound of loudspeakers above the accepted level is not permissible,” said Sheikh Tawfiq al-Sayegh, imam of a mosque in the coastal city of Jeddah, to Okaz daily. “There are ill and elderly people in the neighboring houses who need rest and quietness.”
However, the ministry is struggling to enforce their decision. Writing for the same paper, columnist Humoud Abu Talib said very few mosques have actually respected the ministry’s instructions to control the noise levels.
In a move few could have predicted, Indonesia’s hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) threw their support on Wednesday behind calls to curb the excessive use of loud speakers by mosques during Ramadan.
“It is indeed better that mosques adjust their loud speakers when reciting the Koran, so as not to disturb other people, especially if the reciters can’t recite fluently or don’t understand what they are reading, lest there be negative comments from others,” the head of the Jakarta office of the FPI, Habib Salim bin Umar Alatas, told beritasatu.com on Wednesday.
Central Kalimantan’s deputy governor Achmad Diran asked local mosques on Wednesday to refrain from blasting their speakers sporadically throughout the day.
“Don’t use loud speakers when reciting the Koran. Take pity on people of different faiths who want to rest,” Achmad said during an event in Palangkaraya on Wednesday.
The Jakarta branch of the FPI — usually known for inciting angry protests against “immoral” culture — surprisingly agreed.
“If they recite well and understand what they read, then [using loud speakers] should be okay; it might even inspire remorse to those who hear it. But please don’t be too loud, and do it only during the day not at night,” Salim said.
The difference, of course, is when Muslims complain about loud calls to prayer, it is an internal matter; when Jews complain, it is Islamophobia.
A 12 word exchange tells you all you need to know about the international community and Israel
“You didn't hear the voice of the world,“ the two ladies exclaimed. “'Yes, I did," he replied. That, according to the Jewish Chronicle, was the exchange of words at a meeting earlier this week between two Munich massacre widows and the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, who refused their request for a minute’s silence at the opening of the London games."
'The Levy Commission’s resurrection of the Mandate for Palestine as the legal title deed establishing Israel’s entitlement to claim sovereignty in the West Bank has come 48 years after the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) first tried to bury it.”
Romney: I listen to your views with ‘great seriousness.’ Republican presidential candidate says he’s honored to visit Jerusalem on Tisha B’Av and to ‘recognize the solemnity of the day and also the suffering of the Jewish people’
Ma'ariv reports on the discovery of a stone seal that seems to depict an image of a man holding onto a lion-like animal with a large head and tail.
The seal was excavated in Tel Bet Shemesh, and comes from around the 11th century BCE, the same time period that the biblical Samson was said to have lived, according to the archaeologists who discovered it, Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman from Tel Aviv University.
In the Biblical story from Judges 14, Samson killed a lion with his bare hands, and used it as a source for a riddle that ended up starting a feud with the Philistines.
The archaeologists also discovered an early pre-Kingdom temple in the area, which had thousands of animal bones that seemed to be of Israelite origin.
Remains of thousands of Jews massacred by the Romans on the Temple Mount at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple may have been uncovered in Jerusalem, according to a veteran archaeological journalist.
During a conference on Thursday at Megalim – the City of David Institute for Jerusalem Studies, journalist Benny Liss screened a movie recorded a few years ago that clearly shows thousands of skeletons and human bones in what appears to be a mass grave.
Liss, veteran archaeological correspondent for Israel's Channel 1, told the amazed audience that the film had been shot in a spacious, underground cavern in the area of the Mercy Gate, near the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, but just outside it. Liss raised the possibility that the skeletons were the remains of 6,000 Jews, mostly women and children, killed on the Temple Mount when the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, as described in the writings of Flavius Josephus, who witnessed the destruction.
The movie shows a group of people accessing the cavern with construction tools. Liss goes in first, followed by a lighting technician and cameraman. The three first pass through a narrow passage and then enter the cave with the skeletal remains. Liss says he tried to work out the size of the pile of remains by putting his hand in as far as he could, but he could not reach the bottom. The movie shows Liss crumbling some of the carbonized materials near the skeletons. As soon as Liss left the cave, Antiquities Authority staff resealed the cave, he says.
During the lecture, Liss also cites historical sources that show that in the area of the Old City where the Muslim cemetery now stands, there was once a Jewish neighborhood and cemetery, which was moved to the Valley of Josaphat. He basis his theory that the skeletons are the remains of the people killed on the Temple Mount on the site of the mass grave, the soot in the cave and the written history.
"The Romans stayed on the Temple Mount for a month after the destruction of the temple until going on to conquer the upper city [today's Jewish Quarter],” says Liss. “They had to get rid of the thousands of decomposing bodies and the most obvious place to do this would have been the natural caves on the upper slope of the mount, around Mercy Gate."
The veteran journalist emphasized that this was just a theory. "Now, after publishing this information, the experts should go into the field and examine what we found back then, evaluate it and publish their own findings," he says.
A host of senior archaeologists approached by Israel Hayom said that photographs were not enough to determine the history of the cave and that samples need to be taken from the site and dated.
The chances of the site being reopened are very slim as it is located in a particularly sensitive area, where the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf keeps a close watch and interprets every movement by Jews or Israeli authorities on the mount.
The Antiquities Authority said in response that it was unaware of the findings presented in Liss' movie, and it would be happy to receive the materials. One official told Israel Hayom that he was aware of unsubstantiated reports of a cave with a large amount of human remains in the area, but because of the extreme sensitivity of the location and its close proximity to the Muslim cemetery, the cave had never been explored.
Jordan entered the Guinness Book of World Records on Saturday for the largest falafel weighing 74.75kg.
A representative from Guinness was present and confirmed that Jordan created the world's largest falafel.
"This is a great achievement and a difficult record to beat for years to come. We welcome everyone who successfully took part in the family of Guinness World Record holders," Annabel Lawady, adjudication manager at Guinness, said after announcing the results.
According to the Guinness World Book Record's official website, the previous record was set last year in the US when a 23.95kg ball of falafel was made at the Santa Clarita Valley Jewish Food and Cultural Festival in California.
In Arabic, the organizers make it clear that the idea that Jews had made the biggest falafel was an insult.
General Manager of Hotel Landmark Acer Batayneh told reporters that "the hotel managed this feat of stripping Jews of the claim to the Guinness world record for a falafel ball, as [Jews] try to market themselves to the world that they are the owners of heritage and roots in Palestine by stealing the culture of its inhabitants associated with the indigenous Palestinian dress and food to make it appear that they are the owners of the culture and roots in Palestine and the region. "
Batayneh said "We were able to break the record and to beat the Guinness record instead of the Jews to thwart the goal of the Jews aimed to introduce the impression in the minds of the West and the world that they are the makers and the heirs of Palestinian culture."
In other words, if some Chinese had decided to break the record, they wouldn't have minded so much, but when Jews did it, then they were all fired up.
Just more evidence that the Arab love of "Palestine" isn't real, but rather just a manifestation of hate towards Jews and Jewish nationalism.
As I've mentioned before, people who are secure in their own heritage aren't so quick to be insulted when others borrow it for whatever reason. I cannot imagine such hate coming from Jews or Israelis if Arabs decided to create the biggest gefilte fish or Bamba.
They would just laugh, which is the proper reaction to the constant Arab attempts to one-up Jews in order to assuage their own feelings of inferiority.
Matti Friedman, former AP journalist, spoke at a BICOM dinner in London on January 26. His speech is an absolute must-read. (h/t Alex) U...
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