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Sunday, September 21, 2014

How could a Bedouin be a refugee?

Silly me, I thought that Bedouins were nomads. If that's the case, how could they ever have had homes from which they could be 'refugees'?

But UNRWA is threatening Israel over a plan to move Bedouin from the area of E1 - between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim - to the Jericho area, which is further east.
"If such a plan were implemented this would ... give rise to concerns that it amounts to a 'forcible transfer' in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention" banning involuntary population relocation in occupied territory, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl said.
"It might also make way for further Israeli illegal settlement expansion, further compromising the viability of a two-state solution," he said in a statement. "I urge the Israeli authorities not to proceed with the transfer...and I also urge the donor and state community to take a firm stand against it."
UNRWA added that most of those slated for resettlement to Jericho, in the east of the Palestinian Authority territory, were registered Palestinian refugees.
The IDF Civil Administration said there were various plans to rehouse Bedouin and they were being conducted in consultation with community leaders. "As part of the effort to draft master plans for the benefit of the area's Bedouin population, whose purpose is to enable the Bedouin to live in places with suitable infrastructure, dozens of meetings were held with Bedouin leaders," the Administration said in a written response to AFP"Several plans to prepare such places have been advanced, partly through such meetings."
 Why don't I hear any Bedouin protesting this plan? Hmmm.

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Slimy Shimon strikes again?

Israel's Channel 2 television reported over the weekend that former President Shimon Peres was behind Yair Lapid's Sabbath press conference. According to the report, Peres has urged Lapid and Tzipi Livni to try to topple Prime Minister Netanyahu's government.
The report said Peres had relayed a message in closed conversations to Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid that he should quit together with Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni. If both parties would leave Netanyahu's government, it could stay together if haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties would join, but elections would be the most likely scenario.

"The Netanyahu government has reached the end of its path," Peres was quoted as saying. "It did not meet my expectations and did not advance the diplomatic process." Sources close to Peres, Lapid, and Livni did not confirm the report.

As a former president, Peres is now more free to criticize Netanyahu than when he was president, a post seen as statesmanlike and apolitical.
Peres has never been statesmanlike and apolitical. I don't think he knows what those words mean.

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If a terror attack is committed and no one talks about it, does it still exist?

My opinion of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has just sunk some more. Barkat apparently believes that if we don't talk about the terror attacks he's been unable to prevent in Jerusalem, they don't exist.
News site 0404 has published a recodring of Barkat speaking before the City Council on Thursday.
The mayor can be heard saying: “In my opinion, if people are too afraid – and we know that the problem exists – this can serve the interests of the terrorists and rioters who want to disrupt our lives. We are must make a great effort to put the city back on routine tracks. We are not ignoring the problem. We are aware of it. This discourse does not advance us, media wise.
“We are aware of the problem. This discourse does not advance us media-wise – not the city of of Jerusalem, Every time there is a discussion and great fear about some matter, immediately the merchants and the businessmen and the cultural institutes will tell you that their income is down."
"I am very angry at the railway people,” he says, in a reference to the Light Rail, which has been very hard hit by terror attacks. “I, the Transport Ministry and the police are very angry at them. They could have said that Light Rail is the safest means of transport and there are zero casualties. It is protected. Instead of talking about it every day, contrary to the position of the police, the Transport Ministry and the Municipality – and by the way, they are doing so for the wrong reasons.”
The fact that Jews are no longer using the Light Rail is the railways' fault, Barkat insisted. “They are causing it. They scare people for no reason. They keep on making it public. The police closed down the Light Rail twice or thrice when the police thought that there was need for this. The fact is that although windows were smashed, no one was hurt because it is protected.”
"I trust the police on this matter and it is better for this discourse to remain outside the media. We are not avoiding anything. The prime minister is worried about this and the minister for public security is worried about this and the police commissioner and the district commander and myself and all of us. We have one police force, we cannot replace it.”
 Sure - let's just pretend the problem doesn't exist. What could go wrong?

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Someone please tell me I'm going to get home for Rosh HaShanna

My father z"l (of blessed memory), whose grave I am about to go visit, used to say that in Israel, half the country was always on strike, and the other half was always watching. He said this back in the late 70's when it happened much more often than it does today. But today, it seems to be happening again.
Unions representing government workers stepped up their work sanctions in support of Israel Post Office employees, who are protesting an efficiency plan they say is likely to get many of them fired. On Sunday, Israel's courts were effectively closed until further notice, as court workers refused to accept petitions, complaints, and other paperwork from citizens.
In addition, workers at border crossings began preventing the transfer of packages and goods through Israel's eastern and northern borders. That work action mostly affects Palestinian Authority Arabs, who import and export goods via the bridge crossings into and out of Jordan.
Meanwhile, sanctions that were begun last week continued on Sunday. Tax Authority offices were closed to the public, and Israelis who owe back taxes can only pay via credit card over the Internet (penalties and interest, of course, will apply to late payers, despite the lack of service).
Airports Authority workers held a wildcat strike Thursday morning that affected 58 departures and arrivals, with 8,000 passengers experiencing serious delays.
Meanwhile, post offices in most parts of the country are continuing their strike. The labor disputes surround demands by workers that none of their number be fired as part of an efficiency plan Post Office management says is necessary. The Treasury has said that it can give no such assurances, and that without the efficiency plan, the Post Office Corporation will go broke by the end of the year.
That ought to help the tourism industry, eh? I really don't feel like spending Rosh HaShanna in Cyprus, but I can rest assured that if anyone doesn't get home before Rosh HaShanna because of one of these inane sympathy strikes, the government will finally bite the bullet and break the unions.

בשביל זה יש הסתדרות (for this we have the Histadrut).

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Hundreds of Gazans drown while fleeing to Europe

Hundreds of Gazans have drowned over the last week while trying to flee to Europe.
According to Wednesday's daily Haaretz, the Palestinian Embassy in Greece reported that the ship that sank off the coast of Malta was carrying more than 450 passengers, most of them Gaza Palestinians. Other reports say the vessel was rammed intentionally by another ship run by rival smugglers.
The Gaza-based human rights group Adamir collected the names of more than 400 missing people. “No one knows where they are; the whole Gaza Strip is talking about it. It’s such a painful story, as if it’s not enough what happened in the last war and now another blow comes,” Adamir director Halil Abu Shamala told Haaretz, noting that most of the passengers were young people but that there were also whole families aboard.
At least 15 Palestinians drowned when another ship sank off the Egyptian coast near Alexandria on Saturday.
Abu Ahmed, who lost his son on that ship, explained to Haaretz that most of the Gazans leave through tunnels that originate in the southern Gaza town of Rafah and come out on the Egyptian side of Rafah.
One Gazan involved in such operations told Haaretz: “This trip costs between $3500 to $4000 dollars a person. It’s a relatively small tunnel; most of the big ones have been blocked by the Egyptians. People crawl dozens of meters and at the end of the tunnel on the Egyptian side of Rafah a minibus or other vehicle waits for them and takes them to Port Said.”
He added that Egyptian security officials are bribed to look the other way.
Haaretz heard testimony that the refugees board small boats, sometimes dozens per boat. Once they leave Egyptian territorial waters they switch to another boat that in most cases sails to Italy. The trip usually takes about a week.
One refugee told Haaretz that when the boat approaches the shore it issues a distress call and Italian navy and Red Cross ships pick them up. In other cases, people jump into the water with life jackets, and are rescued by the Coast Guard or the Red Cross.
Evelyn Gordon points out that 'Palestinian refugees' are the only refugees in the world who are denied the right of resettlement.
The news that hundreds of Palestinians from Gaza drowned last week when the boats in which they were trying to reach Europe sank once again highlights the hypocrisy of the world’s attitude toward the Palestinians. After all, the “international community” has designated two-thirds of all Gaza residents as bona fide refugees, even though the vast majority of them were born in Gaza and have lived there all their lives. And as bona fide refugees, they shouldn’t have had to board rickety smugglers’ boats in a desperate attempt to reach Europe; they should have been able to apply to the UN for orderly resettlement right from their refugee camps, just as thousands of other refugees do every year. But they can’t, because Palestinians are the only refugees in the world who are denied the basic right of resettlement.
Granted, they are also the only “refugees” in the world for whom refugeehood is an inheritable status that can be passed down to one’s descendants in perpetuity, generation after generation. Under the definition used by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which deals with all the world’s refugees except Palestinians, only a few thousand elderly Gazans who were personally displaced in 1948 would be considered refugees today, rather than the 1.2 million actually on UN rolls. So if the “international community” were to argue that Gazans don’t deserve a right to resettlement because they aren’t really refugees, that would be perfectly legitimate.
But it doesn’t. In fact, not only has the world adopted the unique definition of refugeehood promulgated by the Palestinians’ personal refugee agency, UNRWA, but it actively supports this definition by funding UNRWA’s ever-expanding budget to keep pace with its ever-expanding number of “refugees.” And once having accepted the claim that these born-and-bred Gazans are actually refugees from an Israel they’ve never seen, the international community is morally obligated to ensure that they enjoy the same rights as all other refugees.
Instead, Palestinians are the only refugees in the world who are denied the right of resettlement. Whereas UNHCR resettles tens of thousands of refugees every year, UNRWA hasn’t resettled a single refugee in its 65 years of existence. On the contrary, the schools it runs for Palestinian refugees indoctrinate them from kindergarten on that there is one, and only one, way for them to end their refugee status: by “returning” to the towns or villages in Israel that their ancestors fled–which most of them have never seen, and some of which no longer even exist. In short, since Israel would never voluntarily accept all five million “refugees” on UNRWA’s rolls, it’s telling them that the only solution to their refugeehood is Israel’s destruction.
But as long as there are no Jews killing the 'Palestinian refugees'... what difference does it make?

Read the whole thing

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If you thought Hillary Clinton was a bad candidate...

If you thought Hilary Clinton was a bad candidate, please meet her rival - extreme Leftist Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Jack W).

Yes, that's right. She just agreed with someone comparing Israel's actions to the Holocaust.

The person who was speaking in the video whom you could not see was one Eva Moseley, a long-time anti-Israel 'activist.'
There has been a lot of debate over whether or not Moseley's claims are legitimate.  Front Page Magazine called her an "honest fraud" because she describes her holocaust story as her "schtick."
In a shockingly unguarded moment, she wrote the following email to her comrades at the Peace Commission: “I can do my “I escaped from Nazi Vienna and am unhappy with what Israel does” schtick, if you think that would help.”
Moseley has been an activist for years.  Most recently, she signed a Change.org petition called “Unequivocally Condemning Israel's Ongoing Massacre In Gaza,” which it called “The Latest Chapter In More Than A Century Of Zionist Colonialism, Dispossession, Ethnic Cleaning, Racism, And Genocide -- Including Israel's Very Establishment Through The Uprooting And Displacement Of Over 750,000 Palestinians.”
Warren could be President of the United States two and a half years from now. Would Moseley play a role? What could go wrong?

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Will Yair Lapid's Sabbath press conference become the excuse to undo the coalition?

No one is fooling himself that Yair Lapid is a Sabbath observer. But the Israeli government nominally observes the Sabbath. And when the Finance Minister calls a press conference on the Sabbath to announce that there will soon be a solution to the 'budget crisis' (not exactly a matter of life and death that would permit desecrating the Sabbath), it could lead to the undoing of Lapid's agreement with the Jewish Home party and the end of the current coalition.
It should be noted that in December 1976, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin broke apart his coalition with the Mafdal religious Zionist party over tensions, after an IAF ceremony at an airbase welcoming the arrival of the first three F-15 fighter jets to Israel desecrated the Sabbath.
Jewish Home, the offshoot of Mafdal, has yet to issue a response to Lapid's Shabbat gaff, which comes mere days before the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) on Wednesday. 
However, Jewish Home MK Shuli Muallem hinted that Lapid's move may indeed cost the coalition, saying on Saturday "Yair Lapid has the right to do as he pleases in his private home - to cut down trees or pump water (forbidden acts on Sabbath - ed.) - but Yair Lapid works on Shabbat and desecrates the day of rest with the goal of gathering a few lost mandates."
"Jewish Home as a religious party in the coalition can not sit in the government with someone who gathers mandates and desecrates the Sabbath as if it's a normal work day," said Muallem, without elaborating on what exactly her statement will mean in terms of practice.
Surprisingly, the criticism of Lapid didn't just come from the Right.

Surprisingly far-left Meretz party chairperson Zehava Galon joined the criticism of Lapid on Saturday.
"While you were enjoying your day of rest, Finance Minister Yair Lapid decided to drag all the financial journalists from their homes in the middle of Shabbat, inviting them to park at the entrance to his house in Tel Aviv so that they could hear him read off a thoughtless announcement," charged Galon.
"The reading took exactly a minute-and-a-half, but it certainly was enough to destroy the Shabbat of the camermen and journalists forced to arrive to hear the utterances of his excellency the finance minister," added Galon tongue-in-cheek, noting the "unfairness" towards Sabbath observant journalists wasn't the only problem about his "futile announcements" on Shabbat.

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The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l's view on the Six Day War and 'land for peace' was more than you have probably heard

Shavua tov from Boston, a good week to everyone.

This evening, I found in my email a pdf from Zvi S with three pages of Joseph Telushkin's new book Rebbe, a biography of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. In the three pages (275-77), Telushkin discusses the Rebbe's views on the Six Day War and 'land for peace.'

I knew - as I am sure many of you did - that the Rebbe opposed 'land for peace.' He did not believe in it. He even opposed the return of the Sinai as part of the peace treaty with Egypt - which I forgot or may not have known.

But what I really didn't know was that in 1967, he felt Israel should have expelled all the Arabs of Judea and Samaria. He felt that during war time, and given the Arabs' continuing threats to annihilate Israel, such an action would have been understandable (and as I have described many times, the Arabs may even have expected it).

Makes this Litvak misnaged (non-Hassid) want to go out and buy the book.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

The Supreme Court's craziness results in chaos

The unbridled interference of Israel's Supreme Court in political and military issues of which it understands nothing has led to a situation in which Israel is about to place most of the land designated for the city of Gvaot outside the 'security fence' while still angering the fence's proponents and opponents.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice at the Hague issued a non-binding advisory opinion, explaining that construction of the [security fence] over the pre-1967 lines was illegal.

Israel designed the barrier to prevent the type of suicide bombings that killed around 1000 thousand people during the second intifada. It has refused to heed the ICJ opinion, which it believes is legally flawed and the result of a biased process.

But the pace of construction has been slow and according to the United Nations, 12 years after the barrier's inception, only 62% of its 712 kilometer route has been completed.

Among the uncompleted sections is the route in the Gush Etzion region, just outside Jerusalem, including a 45 kilometer stretch that was approved in 2006.


Palestinians, settlers and environmentalists oppose the route and have appealed to the High Court of Justice. Gush Etzion Regional Council head Davidi Perl said that the planned route also places land outside the barrier which is assumed to be part of Israel’s final borders in any permanent status agreement.

This includes, he said, large portions of new project, Gevaot, where his council hopes to build a new West Bank city.

The Defense Ministry last month reclassified the property as state land, to pave the way for future building, but now the government intends to approve barrier route that excludes the bulk of that project, he said.


In hopes of blocking construction of the barrier near Battir, the Palestine Liberation Organization sought help from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, whose World Heritage Committee registered the village's ancient terraces in June to the state of Palestine. The Palestinians, the Gush Etzion Council and environmental groups have also appeal to Israel’s High Court of Justice.

On July 29th the HCJ ordered the government to review the issue by October 2nd, particularly in light of the diplomatic implications of Battir’s new status as a World Heritage site. It noted a review was also needed because in the last eight years the route has been altered for environmental and quality of life reasons.
The status as a 'World Heritage' site - clearly a political move - has absolutely no effect on Israel's security needs, which should be the sole criterion in determining the fence's route.
The defense ministry’s legal expert Ahaz Ben-Ari advised the government that it could reauthorized the route.

“The High Court of Justice’s orders to reauthorize the security barrier’s route in the area of the village of Battir in light of UNESCO’s decision, does not stem from legal issues resulting in the recognition of the Battir terraces as a World Heritage site, but rather from the diplomatic questions connected to the topic.”
And therefore the court has no place interfering. In a normal democracy, it's not up to the Supreme Court to determine the handling of diplomatic questions. Israel, however, is not a normal democracy.
“There is no legal obstacle to authorizing [the barrier’s route], especially given that in response to legal proceedings before the court the route has been changed to lessen harm to the environmental and the landscape,” Ben-Ari wrote. He added that the state has also promised to preserve the quality of life of the Palestinians living in Battir.
The environmentalists are also whining about the route, but if the IDF was allowed to plan the route properly it probably wouldn't be anywhere near this area, but rather far deeper into the Judean desert.

Read the whole thing

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Metropolitan Opera sinks to new low in terror glorification

The New York Metropolitan Opera has sunk to a new low. The poster above is how they're promoting their new opera Death of Klinghoffer, which celebrates the 1985 murder of a wheelchair-bound Jew by 'Palestinian' terrorists aboard the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro.
The Metropolitan Opera has sunk to a new low in its glorification of the Palestinian terrorist murder of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer, on the Achille Lauro in 1995, say outraged Jewish groups. In its promotional materials, including a video on its official website, the Metropolitan Opera features a Palestinian terrorist pointing a gun at the back of a wheel-chair bound Klinghoffer, when he is about to murder him. 
“The Met Opera is clearly trying to sell tickets off of an evil Palestinian terrorist who is in the process of murdering a crippled Jew in the back in cold-blood” said Mark Langfan, President of Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI). The group, headed by Langfan and Helen Freedman, is spearheading an unprecedented coalition of over 60 Jewish and non-Jewish organizations for the demonstration planned for this coming Monday, September 22, at 4:30 pm in front Metropolitan Opera at the Lincoln Center Plaza at Broadway and 65th Street.
Langfan said that the Met Opera’s clear organizational message is that “killing a Jew is not just a good thing, but it’s ‘Art.’ The Met Opera, and all its board of directors are actively promoting Jew-murder in its ugliest form. It’s rank, pure Jew-hate, anti-Semitism in its most vile form.”
For those of you who have forgotten what happened to Leon Klinghoffer HY"D (May God Avenge his blood)....
In 1985, Klinghoffer, then 69, retired and in a wheelchair, was on a cruise on the Achille Lauro along with his wife Marilyn (née Windwehr), to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary. On October 7, 1985, four hijackers from the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) took control of the liner off Egypt as it was sailing from Alexandria to Port Said, Egypt. Holding the passengers and crew hostage, they ordered the captain to sail to Tartus, Syria, and demanded the release of 50 Palestinians then in Israeli prisons, including the Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar.

The next day, after being refused permission by the Syrian government to dock at Tartus, the hijackers singled out Klinghoffer, a Jew, for murder, shooting him in the forehead and chest as he sat in his wheelchair. They then forced the ship's barber and a waiter to throw his body and wheelchair overboard. Marilyn Klinghoffer, who did not witness the shooting, was told by the hijackers that he had been moved to the infirmary. She only learned the truth after the hijackers left the ship at Port Said. PLO Foreign Secretary Farouq Qaddumi said that perhaps the terminally ill Marilyn Klinghoffer had killed her husband for insurance money.[4] However, the PLO later accepted full responsibility for murdering Mr. Klinghoffer.[5]

Initially, the hijackers were granted safe passage to Tunisia, but U.S. President Ronald Reagan ordered a U.S. fighter plane to force the get-away plane to land at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy. After an extradition dispute, Italian authorities arrested and later tried the Palestinian terrorists, but let Abu Abbas fly to Yugoslavia.

Klinghoffer's body was found by the Syrians on October 14–15, and it was returned to the United States around October 20. His funeral, with 800 in attendance, was held at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City.[6] Leon Klinghoffer was buried at Beth David Memorial Park in Kenilworth, New Jersey. Four months after her husband's murder, Marilyn Klinghoffer (October 5, 1926 – February 9, 1986) died of colon cancer, aged 59. The Klinghoffers are survived by two daughters, Ilsa and Lisa Klinghoffer.
By the way, the Met isn't the first group to try to make an opera out of Klinghoffer's murder.
American composer John Adams' second opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, based on the events of 1985, opened to great controversy in 1991. The concept for the opera was suggested by director Peter Sellars and it featured a libretto by Alice Goodman. The Los Angeles Opera shared in the work's commission but never presented it, after the work was criticized by some as overly sympathetic to the terrorists. A Prix Italia-winning television version of the opera, starring Sanford Sylvan and Christopher Maltman, and directed by Penny Woolcock, was screened by United Kingdom's Channel 4 in 2003.
I hope that the Met goes out of business over this. And I hope that those of you in the New York area show up to demonstrate against it on Monday. Despicable.... 

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'With Jews we lose'

A reminder once again that I am in Boston where the Sabbath does not start for another six and a half hours, and therefore I am continuing to post even though the Sabbath has started in Israel.

A candidate for the US Senate in Kentucky has decided that since he cannot win anyway, he is going to show his true colors as an anti-Semite instead. Robert Ransdell has posted some 20 signs around his state with the slogan 'with Jews we lose,' and plans to post at least 200 more.

Let's go to the videotape. More after the video.


Thanks to television station WLWT, the signs have apparently gone away.
After receiving several calls on the signs, WLWT made sure the signs were legal.
According to a Kentucky statute, political signs are required to include the words “paid for by” followed by the name and the address of the responsible person or party.  In this case there is no address shown.
Many residents said they wish the signs and his message would just go away.
“I believe that there is no such thing as racial equality. You see that in our cities everyday,” Ransdell said.
As of Wednesday the signs were gone. Apparently Ransdell did not ask the property owner for permission.
Ransdell had earlier told WLWT that he was getting 'positive feedback' online about the signs. I didn't know that there were so many KKK members in KentucKy.

Here's hoping this spells the end of Ransdell's nascent political career. What a moron.

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A disgrace to Israel

Israel has introduced a new 50 Shekel note this week, and a call has been issued to boycott it. Here's why.
A new 50 shekel banknote bearing the likeness of Russian-born Hebrew poet Shaul Tchernichovsky (1875-1943) entered circulation on Tuesday, but Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi of Bar Ilan University refuses to use the new note and calls on others to follow suit.
Ben-Artzi, who is the brother-in-law of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and lectures on the Torah and Jewish Thought, told Arutz Sheva that the new banknote is a disgrace to the state of Israel.
The noted lecturer reminded that Tchernichovsky was married to a Christian woman his entire life, and refused the insistent pleading of former Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi Shlomo Goren to have her convert to Judaism as befitting the wife of a key Hebrew poet in modern Israel.
"Shaul Tchernichovsky became a symbol of assimilation - the ideology of assimilation. It cannot be that a man like this, even with all his importance as a poet, should become a symbol of the state of Israel," said Ben-Artzi.
The new note sends exactly the wrong message at a time when "in Europe there's an 80% rate of assimilation and in the United States 60% assimilation," argued Ben-Artzi. "The Jewish people are becoming annihilated due to assimilation; how can the state of Israel be capable of turning precisely Tchernichovsky into a symbol?"
With all due respect to Rav Goren, zt"l, the conversion would have likely been meaningless, but other than that Ben Artzi is spot-on. I just don't know if it is possible to boycott a bank note, but I intend - bli neder (without taking a vow) to try. 

To those of you in Israel, Shabbat Shalom. Shabbat starts at 6:05 pm in Jerusalem. I am in Boston so posts will continue today to the extent I am able to continue them.

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'How we were used as human shields'

A reminder to all of you that I am in Boston and therefore will be posting later than usual today.

Jordanian Mudar Zahran has done what no one in the international media is willing to do: He has actually interviewed Gaza residents about their experiences during Operation Protective Edge.
Although Gazans, fearful of Hamas's revenge against them, were afraid to speak to the media, friends in the West Bank offered introductions to relatives in Gaza. One, a renowned Gazan academic, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that as soon as someone talked to a Western journalist, he was immediately questioned by Hamas and accused of "communicating with the Mossad". "Hamas makes sure that the average Gazan will not talk to Western journalists -- or actually any journalists at all," he said, continuing:
"Hamas does not want the truth about Gaza to come out. Hamas terrorizes and kills us just like Daesh [ISIS] terrorizes kills Iraqis. Hamas is a dictatorship that kills us. The Gazans you see praising Hamas on TV are either Hamas members or too afraid to speak against Hamas. Few foreign [Western] journalists were probably able to report what Gazans think of Hamas."
When asked what Gazans did think of Hamas, he said:
"The same as Iraqis thought of Saddam before he was toppled. He still won by 90-something percent in the presidential elections. If Hamas falls today in Gaza, people here will do what Iraqis did to Saddam's statue after he fell. But even though Western journalists may not have been able to speak freely with Gazans, they still need a story to send to their editor by the end of the day. So it is just easier and safer for them to stick to the official line."
"What was that," I asked: "'Blame Israel'?"


D, a store owner, said:
"There were two major protests against Hamas during the third week of the war. When Hamas fighters opened fire at the protesters in the Bait Hanoun area and the Shijaiya, five were killed instantly. I saw that with my own eyes. Many were injured. A doctor at Shifa hospital told me that 35 were killed at both protests. He went and saw their bodies at the morgue."
To verify those reports, I spoke to a second Gazan academic, who holds a PhD. from a Western university, who stated:
"Hamas did kill protesters, no doubt about that. But we could not confirm how many were actually killed. If I have to guess, the number was more than reported. I am confident that not all of the 21 men Hamas killed on August 22 were collaborating with Israel. Hamas killed those men because it was weakened by Israel's attacks and felt endangered. So it went on a 'Salem Witch-Hunt.' They arrested everyone who opposed them and had to make a few examples to scare people from standing against Hamas. Hamas's tactic worked. Now Gazans are afraid to talk against Hamas even in front of their own family members. Gazans are probably afraid to criticize Hamas even in their sleep!"
S. a medical worker, said:
"The Israeli army sends warnings to people [Gazans] to evacuate buildings before an attack. The Israelis either call or send a text message. Sometimes they call several times to make sure everyone has been evacuated. Hamas's strict policy, though, was not to allow us to evacuate. Many people got killed, locked inside their homes by Hamas militants. Hamas's official Al-Quds TV regularly issued warnings to Gazans not to evacuate their homes. Hamas militants would block the exits to the places residents were asked to evacuate. In the Shijaiya area, people received warnings from the Israelis and tried to evacuate the area, but Hamas militants blocked the exits and ordered people to return to their homes. Some of the people had no choice but to run towards the Israelis and ask for protection for their families. Hamas shot some of those people as they were running; the rest were forced to return to their homes and get bombed. This is how the Shijaiya massacre happened. More than 100 people were killed."
Another Gazan journalist, D., said:
"Hamas fired rockets from next to homes. Hamas was running from one home to another. Hamas lied when it claimed it was shooting from non-populated areas. To make things even worse for us, Hamas would fire from the balconies of homes and try to drag the Israelis into door-to-door battles and street-to-street fights -- a death sentence for all the civilians here. They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did. They are cowards. If Hamas militants are not afraid of dying, why do they run after they fire rockets from our homes? Why don't they stay and die with us? Are they afraid to die and go to heaven? Isn't that what they claim they wish?"
K, another graduate student at an Egyptian university who had gone to Gaza to see his family but was unable to leave after the war started, said on July 22:
"When people stopped listening to Hamas orders not to evacuate and began leaving their homes anyway, Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot without being asked any questions. That way Hamas made sure people had to stay in their homes even if they were about to get bombed. God will ask Hamas on judgment day for those killers' blood."
I asked him if Hamas used people as "human shields." He said: "Hamas held the entire Gazan population as a human shield. My answer to you is yes."


A first-aid volunteer, E., said that Hamas militants had confiscated 150 truckloads of humanitarian supplies the day before. He said the supplies were donated by charities in the West Bank and that their delivery was facilitated by the IDF. He commented: "This theft angers all of us [Gazans]. The Israeli army allows supplies to come in, and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas."
Another aid worker, A., confirmed that Hamas steals the humanitarian supplies given to Gaza. "They [Hamas] take most of it, sell it to us, and just give us the stuff they do not want."
A Gazan mosque's imam said that the most precious aid item Hamas stole was water. "Gazans are thirsty and Hamas is stealing the water bottles provided to us for free and selling them at 20 Israeli shekels [approximately $5] for the big bottle and 10 Israeli shekels for the small one."


K., a Gazan school teacher agreed:
"When Hamas starts caring for our children we will start caring for Hamas. Hamas has one policy, to attack Israel; so Israel attacks back, and gets us killed and Hamas then gets more money from Arabs and Erdogan [Turkey's president]. My son has autism; he cannot handle the sounds of rockets and bombs landing. Why would I support Hamas, which causes this suffering to him? Gazans have had enough of Hamas, any claims that we love Hamas is just propaganda. A recent poll indicates that most of us support Hamas; this is not true, except maybe in the West Bank where they have not yet lived under Hamas rule. I cannot accuse the polling center of fabricating the poll, but my safest explanation for the result is that Gazans polled are too afraid to give their true opinions of Hamas. Hamas watches everything here. Most Gazans now have to deal with the aftermath of the war. Almost 300,000 Gazans are now homeless and Hamas is not providing them with anything. So why would they or their extended families have any love for Hamas? Would there be any common sense to that? Most Gazans are angry at Hamas, and most of us would love to see them replaced by any other force."
Despite all Hamas has done to Gazans, they do not seem to hold much love -- or less hatred -- for Israel.

Unfortunately, the interviews are necessarily anonymous. Wouldn't it be great if someone could take some of these people to the 'human rights council' and show what a farce its proceedings are? Not that it would really matter. So long as it's Muslims killing and torturing Muslims, the world doesn't care.

As long as the excerpts above are, there's much, much more. Read the whole thing.

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Left blasts Hillary Clinton for - wait for it - being too much of a hawk

I guess that the Left has decided that they want Elizabeth Warren (God Forbid) to be President of the United States. They have decided that Hillary Clinton is too much of a hawk.
“[A] Clinton presidency undos [sic] all our progress and returns the financial interests to even more prominence than they currently have,” Melissa Byrne, an activist with the Occupy Wall Street movement, said in a November 2013 email.
 The progressives expressed an appetite for an alternative to Clinton to teach her — and those from the centrist wing of the party — a lesson.
Liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has repeatedly said she won’t run for president, but some on the left aren’t convinced.
“The establishment Dems need to be punished, and the best way for that to happen is for Warren to beat Hillary in the primary on a populist message,” Carl Gibson, a progressive activist and writer for Occupy.com, wrote in one email.
Even though months have passed since the emails were sent, the sentiment remains.
One of Clinton’s biggest critics among the group is Guy Saperstein, a major Democratic donor and part owner of the Oakland Athletics baseball team.
In emails, Saperstein called a report out in December of last year that Clinton offered a “reassuring” message to Goldman Sachs executives “horrific,” and slammed her for “ducking a lot of issues, like the Keystone pipeline.”
He also raised questions about her leadership at the State Department and referenced “the type of intimidation the Clintons want to quietly promote [in the velvet glove, of course].”
Saperstein expressed concerns that voters would begin to speculate over her personal life and relationship with her husband.
“None of that would be helpful to her candidacy,” he wrote.
For Israel, either choice would be a disaster. What could go wrong?

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Hamas' Marzouk threatens new war if 'blockade' is not lifted

In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, Hamas deputy politburo leader Moussa Abu Marzouk threatened another war with Israel if the 'blockade' of the Gaza Strip is not lifted. The current truce expires next Thursday. Israel refuses to lift the 'blockade' from its side unless Hamas is disarmed. And no one is even asking about lifting the 'blockade' from the Egyptian side.
The deputy leader of Hamas, Moussa Abu Marzouk, insisted Thursday that Hamas won the war, despite the apparent military setbacks.
He said his group's popularity among Palestinians has increased and that it would likely defeat Abbas and his Fatah movement if elections were held today.
Early this month, a survey conducted by a prominent West Bank pollster found a significant increase in support for Hamas after the war.
Abu Marzouk warned that failure to negotiate a new Gaza deal and a lifting of the blockade would "lead to another war."
"We don't want that, and the Israelis, I guess, don't like to see that (war) again," he said in halting English, speaking in an office in a Gaza City high-rise overlooking the Mediterranean.
Abu Marzouk, the deputy of exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, said the people of Gaza lived in a difficult situation before the war as a result of the blockade.
"We can't put the Palestinians after the war in the same situation," said Abu Marzouk, who has lived in Egypt for the past three years but has visited Gaza several times. "They (the Israelis) have to change their policy."
There are a lot of people in Israel who would love another crack at finishing Hamas off. Hmmm.

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Senate authorizes arming Syrian rebels - what could go wrong?

Because of President Obama's aversion to committing US ground troops to fight wars, the Senate has voted within the last hour to arm Syrian rebels fighting against the Assad regime. Many of the rebels are Islamist.
President Obama’s proposal to arm Syrian rebels passed, along with a continuing resolution to fund the government, with the support of 78 senators.
“I want to thank leaders in Congress for the speed and seriousness with which they approached this issue,” Obama said after the vote, which he noted received a majority of Republican and Democratic votes.
Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) was one of the 22 senators who voted against the measure. “I cannot vote to empower our lawless president to continue his plans that threaten the economy and our national security,” said Sen. Cruz. “The Continuing Resolution funds Obama’s Amnesty, it funds Obamacare, and it funds military operations in Syria that are not authorized by Congress and are dependent on unreliable actors in the region.”
ISIS is fighting Assad. The al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra front is fighting Assad. And now they will have US arms to better fight Assad and establish their Caliphate.

What could go wrong? 

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New York Times piles on the 8200 scandal

It's been a wild day at work and I'm going back to work momentarily....

You will recall that last weekend, I reported on the letter written by 43 (hopefully former) members of Unit 8200 in which they decried their unit's 'harming innocent Palestinians.'

Wednesday's New York Times has an op-ed from James Bamford, who spent a considerable amount of time this summer interviewing Edward Snowden for Wired Magazine. Bamford claims that Snowden told him that information about 'Palestinian Americans' was routinely shared with the IDF's Unit 8200.
Among his most shocking discoveries, he told me, was the fact that the N.S.A. was routinely passing along the private communications of Americans to a large and very secretive Israeli military organization known as Unit 8200. This transfer of intercepts, he said, included the contents of the communications as well as metadata such as who was calling whom.
Typically, when such sensitive information is transferred to another country, it would first be “minimized,” meaning that names and other personally identifiable information would be removed. But when sharing with Israel, the N.S.A. evidently did not ensure that the data was modified in this way.
Mr. Snowden stressed that the transfer of intercepts to Israel contained the communications — email as well as phone calls — of countless Arab- and Palestinian-Americans whose relatives in Israel and the Palestinian territories could become targets based on the communications. “I think that’s amazing,” he told me. “It’s one of the biggest abuses we’ve seen.”
Bamford goes on to tie Snowden's 'revelations' into the 8200 scandal.
It appears that Mr. Snowden’s fears were warranted. Last week, 43 veterans of Unit 8200 — many still serving in the reserves — accused the organization of startling abuses. In a letter to their commanders, to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to the head of the Israeli army, they charged that Israel used information collected against innocent Palestinians for “political persecution.” In testimonies and interviews given to the media, they specified that data were gathered on Palestinians’ sexual orientations, infidelities, money problems, family medical conditions and other private matters that could be used to coerce Palestinians into becoming collaborators or create divisions in their society.
The veterans of Unit 8200 declared that they had a “moral duty” to no longer “take part in the state’s actions against Palestinians.” An Israeli military spokesman disputed the letter’s overall drift but said the charges would be examined.
The data was transferred pursuant to an agreement between the NSA and the government of Israel.

Read the whole thing

I'm not in favor of - and I don't believe that the information was used - just to harass people. On the other hand, if it's used to fight terrorism, I don't really have a problem with allies sharing information that way. Obviously, it's not admissible in court. But it can be used to stop terror attacks before they happen.

When you don't share information, the result is that people like the Tsarnaev brothers, about whom the governments of Russia and Saudi Arabia both claimed to have 'warned' the United States, but about whom no one had any solid evidence until after the Boston Marathon terror attack.

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Gaza 'closer than ever' to splitting from 'Palestinian Authority'

In a Tuesday speech, PLO Secretary General Yasser Abed-Rabbo whined that Gaza is 'closer than ever' to splitting from the 'Palestinian Authority' and of course he blamed Israel.
Referring to the ongoing dispute between Fatah and Hamas, PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the “danger of the split between the Gaza Strip and West Bank has increased in light of failure to end the dispute.”

Speaking at a seminar in Ramallah organized by the Palestinian Peace Coalition group, Abed Rabbo claimed that Israel has for many years been seeking to separate the West Bank from the Gaza Strip “by sowing seeds of division” among Palestinians.

“Israel is today close to achieving its goal,” Abed Rabbo said.
And I thought they split in 2007 when Hamas kicked Fatah and the 'Palestinian Authority' out of Gaza.... Silly me....

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It may have been a rocket - will the IDF respond?

It is now being reported that what was fired from Gaza on Israel around 6:30 this evening was a rocket and not a mortar.
There have been mixed reports on the precise nature of the projectile fired, with Channel 10 saying the attack was a mortar shell as opposed to a rocket; likewise, IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner labeled it a mortar shell on the IDF's official Twitter feed. However, nearly all other major Israeli media sources have identified it as a rocket attack.
As is usually the case outside of an official operation, Hamas is claiming that it did not do it.
The Hamas terrorist organization claimed Tuesday night that it had nothing to do with the rocket attack, saying it remains committed to the ceasefire. Hamas breached numerous ceasefires during Operation Protective Edge, as well as over the course of recent years.
"The Palestinian factions are committed to the truce," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said. "We want it to continue."
He questioned whether the attack as reported by Israel had in fact taken place. "There is no evidence that there was mortar fire from the Gaza Strip," he said.
Yeah, right....

Politicians on the right say Israel must respond in order to avoid a deterioration in the situation.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) spoke out after the attack, saying "we must not compromise with terror, we should have subdued Hamas during Operation Protective Edge because terror doesn't change its face."
"Now we must respond with strength in response to the fire for the sake of deterrence and for the sake of the faith residents of the south gave to the leadership which said there will be quiet for a long time," stated Danon.
The former deputy defense minister, who has been critical of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over his management of the operation, added "only 21 days have past and we're returning to the trickle of terror from the Gaza Belt. Self-restraint now signals acceptance of the situation."
The attack came hours after Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon predicted that Hamas would not renew its terror attacks on Israel on September 25 if an agreement - which appears unlikely - is not in place. Hmmm.

In the meantime, Yaalon is being slammed by MK's from the Jewish Home party for dismissing an IDF officer - alleged to be former IDF chief rabbi Avichai Ronsky -  for leaking information to Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett.
"Hamas fired a multi-rocket salvo in honor of the agreement to reconstruct Gaza. But the defense minister is busy hazing (former IDF Chief) Rabbi (Avichai) Ronski and slandering Minister Bennett," wrote [Jewish Home party MK Orit] Struk, noting a dispute over information Bennett reportedly used to attack top IDF brass in Security Cabinet meetings.
While Ronski was identified in reports as being the suspected source of the leaks who was later dismissed, he told Arutz Sheva on Tuesday that he did not pass any materials to Bennett, has not heard anything of the dismissal - and indeed still is scheduled to perform reserve duty next month.
Not responding to this rocket fire from Gaza would be a terrible mistake and would invite a creeping escalation of the rocket fire from Gaza - as has happened after the end of every other operation. Will the government authorize the IDF to respond? I would guess that we will know the answer to that question before the sun is up in Israel on Wednesday morning - about seven hours from now.

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It's come to this: Hamas may have no choice but to negotiate with the 'occupation'

Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk tells Hamas' al-Aqsa television that Hamas may have no choice but to negotiate with the 'occupation'... because the people of Gaza insist on it.

Let's go to the videotape.

If we'd taken Hamas out altogether, maybe the people of Gaza would actually approve. Who says there's no military solution to terrorism?

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Breaking: Mortar round shot from Gaza UPDATED

Just received an email from someone in Israel telling me that Channel 1 television has confirmed that terrorists have shot a mortar round from Gaza at Israel. That's the first breach of the cease fire since it went into effect a few weeks ago.



JPost has more details
A Palestinian shell fired from Gaza landed in Israeli territory, near the southern border on Tuesday evening. There were no injuries or damages in the attack, which occurred in the region between Eshkol and Sdot Negev.

It was the first mortar or rocket attack from the Gaza Strip since August 26, when a truce went into effect between Hamas and Israel after 50 days of conflict.
Here's hoping we retaliate harshly.  Otherwise, we will creep back to the situation we were in before Operation Protective Edge.

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Report: Israel and 'Palestinians' reach deal over Gaza construction materials

United Nations envoy Robert Serry says that Israel and the 'Palestinians' have reached a deal over the passage of construction materials into Gaza (Hat Tip: Gershon D).
Serry told the U.N. Security Council that the United Nations had brokered the deal "to enable work at the scale required in the strip, involving the private sector in Gaza and giving a lead role to the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction effort, while providing security assurances through U.N. monitoring that these materials will not be diverted from their entirely civilian purpose."
Defense Minister Yaalon has warned that if the materials are used for building terror tunnels, the transfers will stop immediately.
"Building materials and reconstruction equipment will enter the Gaza Strip through a mechanism that Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai is building, together the with UN envoy Robert Serry and the Palestinian Authority," Ya'alon added.
But the defense minister warned that "if those materials are transferred to building tunnels - the transfer will stop immediately."
Of course, the terror tunnels were built from materials that Israel allowed in after the last two Gaza operations (Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense) in 2006 and 2008-09, respectively, and either the IDF didn't pick up on it or decided that they could not stop the materials from being diverted. Why will this time be different? What could go wrong? 

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Bill Clinton bashes Netanyahu on camera, says he has to be forced to make peace

Good morning from Boston.

Something tells me that Bill Clinton isn't too crazy about the idea of his wife Hillary becoming President. On Sunday, he based Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on camera, straying from his wife's false pro-Israel line.

It came at the end of a three-hour fifteen-minute C-Span coverage of Clinton's attendance at Sunday's Iowa steak fry with Senator Tom Harkin (D).

If we don’t force him to have peace, we won’t have peace … Netanyahu is not the guy,” a pro-'Palestinian' activist told the ex-president. I agree with that,” Clinton clearly replied, apparently unaware his remarks were being recorded. Then he bragged about getting Ehud Barak to give Arafat everything he wanted, including Jerusalem.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Jack W).

Much more from Yid with Lid (including a transcript if you, like me could not get the sound to work) here.

I have reported in the past that Hillary Clinton is an anti-Semite. I guess she has now won Bill over.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

And yes, I am on my way to Boston again....

Should be there by mid-afternoon Boston time.

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'Palestinians' seethe: The world is ignoring them because of Islamic State

The 'Palestinians' are seething because the world is ignoring them in favor of the Islamic State terror organization.
The Palestinian Authority has expressed concern that the international coalition against Islamic State would divert attention from the Palestinian issue.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas chaired a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah over the weekend to discuss the US efforts to form a coalition to fight Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

Following the meeting, the Palestinian leaders said the “international campaign against terrorism was currently lacking a political dimension that would address the issues of the region.”

They also warned that the campaign did not deal with the “core and central issue, which is the Palestinian cause, so that it would be able to dry up the sources that feed terrorism and extremism.”

The Palestinian leaders called on Arab, regional and international parties to insist on linking their anti-terrorism campaign to a political dimension and not to focus solely on military and security aspects.
I know that much of the 'international community' mouths the platitude that the 'Palestinian problem' is central to anything and everything that goes on in the world. But does anyone actually believe it? Does anyone really think that if there were a 'Palestinian state,' Islamic State would go away?

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Reid breaks with Obama, says Hamas and Islamic State are the same

Greetings from Madrid Barajas Airport.

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) has broken with President Hussein Obama, calling out the 'stunning hypocrisy' of condemning Islamic State (formerly ISIS) and not Hamas.
Reid’s speech to the Senate was made last Thursday but excerpts were published Sunday by JNS.
According to the report, Reid affirmed U.S. support for Israel, calling the failure to condemn Hamas as one would condemn the Islamic State group "stunning hypocrisy."
"Hamas and IS are both vicious, corrupt, hateful, evil groups. And both are extreme. Yet, for some reason, Hamas' brutality doesn’t elicit the same horror from the international community as ISIS. How can that be?" Reid wondered as he addressed the Senate.
He added that one of the few differences between Islamic State and Hamas is the latter's narrow focus on one single objective -- the destruction of Israel.
"Consider its actions over the past several months: Hamas raided its own limited supplies for housing and general infrastructure, intended to repair the destruction that occurred during the last conflict they initiated. But Hamas instead used the stolen materials to build tunnels to hide and infiltrate Israel -- infiltrating to kill, maim, kidnap and murder the innocent. These depraved agitators launched thousands of rockets into Israel, hoping to inflict death and destruction. Their rockets had no aiming capabilities -- they fired indiscriminately, not caring whether they hit a child, a family or anyone," he said.
During Operation Protective Edge, Reid's party's leaders - President Hussein Obama and Secretary of State Kerry - sought to replace Egypt with Qatar and Turkey as 'mediators' with Israel because the latter two are closely connected to Hamas. 

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Today is a travel day....

Today is a travel day - my flight boards in a few minutes. The airport is much more crowded than the picture above.

More when and if I am able to access the internet.

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